After some four years of hard graft in service, stalwart Mercedes Vario R651 YCR has recently had a refresh, and has returned to the road in this new guise. There's no way of circling the facts with this one, the livery really doesn't look good. The UVG bodywork of 'Bertie' has never been something that is particularly aesthetically pleasing anyway, and this blocky, miss placed livery has done her no favors. The fleetnames in particular make the livery look even more ill-fitting, and the curve that you can't quite make out right at the rear of the bus again makes it all look a bit amateur. This said, R651 was in desperate need of a repaint, she had been looking very tatty indeed, particularly on the nearside, after 4 years of brushing through hedges and splashing through mud along its rural route, never really visiting any urban areas, other than its once a day blast through Liskeard before the route changes in April. So in that sense, this has been positive, but the loss of the 'map livery' is an unfortunate one. The idea appears to have been to copy the Stagecoach-esque livery adopted by the Volvo B6LE, but simply doesn't work on the Vario. Expect to see other members of the fleet follow suit in the near future though.
On another note, N276 PDV, which had suffered engine seizure has now returned to the road. An unfortunate mistake saw her grind to a halt a few weeks ago coming into Cremyll, as pictured, leaving her in need of a tow back to the depot. A replacement engine was quickly sourced though, and she is already back in traffic, earning her keep once again! A credit to manager Jim, and son Danny being able to get on and do a job like this so quickly, on top of everything else! She reportedly "Goes like a train" now, and she wasn't a slouch to begin with, so I look forward to sampling her in just over a month's time when I return to the South West for Christmas!
Photos come, with thanks, from Jon Oxley and Derrick Cuff