Hello, and a hearty welcome back from a re-invigorated blogger, who has returned to the region for a lengthy summer break! For those of you interested, the first year of my degree, reading Transport and Logistics Management has been a success from all angles. Despite this being a realisation of a dream concocted over many years, with expectations very high, the University of Huddersfield has still managed to surpass them. Finally discovering what makes it all tick, learning about the processes involved, and ascertaining the required skills to enable me to take on these new challenges has been wholeheartedly thrilling. There's hardly been a day where I haven't wanted to get in to the University's converted Mill buildings, and listen intently to what the lecturers deliver. The things covered have ranged from the essential building blocks, the practical skills if you will, of accounting, financial management, and business statistics analysis, right through to looking back at history, with the breakup privatisation of the NBC, and formulating our own ideas to take on the 'Transport Challenges' currently being faced. A very exciting first year, with much more to come over the the next three, it's certainly a decision I am very pleased I made. So hence I am now on the lookout for extra experience over my summer break to boost my knowledge even further, and apply some of these new found skills I'm itching to use! If anyone has any ideas, or indeed offers for a summer job/placement, please do get in touch.
Now, to business, and my two penneth on the new livery now adorning poor old Heron. The Tamar Link livery was, at first, quite a startling livery to say the least. My first thoughts looking out the gates of Fourlanesend primary, were that it was far too bold, with it clashing awfully with the peaceful countryside and sleepy villages they wound their way through. Undoubtedly though, that's exactly what First (or indeed, the council) were going for, something that stood out to such an extent, people would take interest, and realise that a fair old sum of money had just been splashed out on some lovely new buses. This is indeed of course the thinking behind Mark Howarth's 1st generation Western Greyhound livery, that of the pink base, with blue fleetname, purely to attract the attention of potential customers, to get them to realise there was a new kid on the block, and doubtless this went part way to establishing the company so well, from the off. The livery being used as advertising works even better when you consider that the competing motorist has to spend at the very least, about 9 minutes of their journey looking at them, whilst travelling beside the pink monsters on the Torpoint Ferry. Tamar Link did indeed cause quite a stir, not just locally, but nationally as well, as branded routes became even more prominent in the mid 2000s (I'm still refusing to refer them to as the 'noughies'!). It's therefore quite a shame to see them finally passing into the history, books, although as has been mentioned, a repaint is certainly overdue on these. I've covered before how faded they are when compared to the coat being fresh, pink appears to be particularly susceptible to fading, and hence, maybe it was time to let go. It may surprise you to discover than the Mercedes Varios that were painted into the TL livery were actually repainted twice during their relatively short 4 year stint at Torpoint before withdrawal, whereas the Tridents have gone double that period, with just the single coat. The original Dart, 'Kingfisher', has also had 2 repaints into TL, but the question now looms as to whether she will make it into the new livery, considering one of her sisters from the S-RNE batch has now been withdrawn.
It has been remarked that the DEVON fleetname now applied to 32756 (she's lost her name, I can't call her Heron anymore :-( ) is somewhat inappropriate on a bus that does spend a majority of it's time at Torpoint, in Cornwall, and I have to admit, I do agree. A reapplication of just the Tamar Link fleetname, or even, Ferrybus would have been more suited, but considering not even the P&R Enviros have had PARK AND RIDE plastered onto them, it was always going to be a long shot. In all her wisdom, Mother Mayhew suggested, "Why not have Devon on one side, and Cornwall on the other?". Indeed, I've got to concede, this may well have been the ideal solution. The Cornish undoubtedly will be hostile towards this thing from DEVON taking over their bus route, it's not right! So a compromise at both, also of course showing the link between the two, would highly likely have been the happy medium, not causing confusion when operating in Plymouth, but still giving a nod, to it's true routes (pardon the pun!) in Cornwall.