Friday 30 January 2009

Bus bay being retarmaced

Today saw 2 tipper trucks, 2 road rollers, a van, and the all important tarmac laying vechical decend on Cremyll. None of the bus companies were warned about there being re-surfacing going on today and this did cause some problems for Olympians and Tridents turning in Cremyll, even in a Vario it was a challenge. It also seemed like they were trying to get it done in one day with the amount of machinery and men there and it being the weekend but only the staff car parking bit was actually completed in the day. So a lot of wasted effort I think was made bringing all the machines down when they were all gone by 4pm. Will be interesting to see when they return!!

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, they were taken with the phone!

A day out with Louis (Part 4)

The next thing on the list well non bus related was having a nice pasty!

Then it was off to see driver Mike Hudson who had just pulled in on a 39, driving Optare Solo 53007 in place of the more usual Vario on route. There was also a man from the council on the bus doing a survey on how many people used the bus, where they were going and why they were there. So we confused him a lot. The question was "Where are you going", we're going to Royal Parade, "But your in Royal Parade", yeh we're going to Southway and back "So your getting off at Southway" no we're getting off at Royal Parade. And this went on until we came to the right conclution!

After that the trip was largely uneventful but was interesting to know that Mike's VR (XDV 608S has now been sold on to someone at the Plymouth Citybus Preservation group.

More to come

Thursday 29 January 2009

A day out with Louis (Part 3)

Here are a few interesting coach pictures from Saturday. A few interesting things turned up and there seems to be an increasing number of tri-axel coaches around.

R.I.T 34809

News has come to me of the absence of an Olympian at Torpoint. C409 HJN has now left Torpoint and has moved into further retirement in Truro. 34809 was the first Olympian to be tranfered to Torpoint back in 2005 when LFJ 847W came to the end of her working life. She has been a very reliable and brilliant edition to the depot and I am very sad she has gone.

More recently she has become what I would call the best Olympian at the depot. With 34812 spending all its time off the road, 34813 becoming unreliable and 34817 the same, 34809 has been hardest working of the lot. A great shame she was the one that has gone.

So therefore this looks like the end for the Olympian's life at Torpoint and very likely soon to be the end of there working life. To think this time 4 years ago they were the newbys in town, now I can't imageine Torpoint without them.

The film shows her departing Cawsand on one of her last weeks of service, film is quite fitting seeing her disapear from our bus scene.

R.I.T 34809
(Rest in Truro)

Wednesday 28 January 2009

A day out with Louis (Part 2)

Continuing the story from Saturday.

The next event of the trip was when we reached the Torpoint ferry. I got off to take photos of the buses disembarking. Unusually there were 4 different buses on the ferry. These being 2 MOD Volvo B10Ms, a Dennis Trident and a Mercedes Vario. Though when 50306 went to start up a huge cloud of smoke arose. The picture was taken about 10 seconds after the startup so I'll leave you to imagine what it was like at first!! The video below also shows the other 3 buses coming up the ramp and more fumes coming out the back of the Vario. You will also notice the suspension is somewhere lower than usual. Does show that this one is pretty shot and likely at the end of its life unless a major overhaul is undertaken, similar to the other 2 Torpoint Varios which have already had this overhaul.

Trident troubles

Talking to driver Tony Body yeseterday, it came aparent that since the buses have been working in Torpoint they have been more mistreated and used in different ways.

32760 and 32759 were seen in Plymouth because of differnet parts going wrong. Obviously the work would usually have been carried out in Torpoint though the 2 were sent to Plymouth. As another of the Plymouth Tridents were already off the road parts were taken from 32760 to get it back on the road. later when 32759 was brought in and more parts were taken from 32760. So it seems like the bus is already being cababalised even though it is perfectly roadworthy and only 4 years old!

Tuesday 27 January 2009

Poor old 812

Breaking news has come to me that my favorite Leyland Olympian C412 HJN has again broken down. I saw her with driver Tony Body at around 6:30 this evening at the Torpoint ferry on a run to Crafthole. But it was quite literally Crafthole. When Tony went to pull off again the drive belt snapped and left him stranded in the pooring rain with a leaking bus which was immobile. As there are no fitters at Torpoint now a support van was sent out from Plymouth. As they don't bother with spare parts for Olympians anymore therefore a drive belt from another bus had to be used. This can only therefore be temporarily to "Limp" her back to the depot. She is now awaiting a new drive train. All of the Olympians have recently been becoming very unreliable and they do seem to have finally well are coming to the end of there working lives. If i'm honest as I have always thought drivers do really need to learn the ropes when it comes to driving an elderly bus like that. Drivers espeically the newer ones just do not know how to treat an Olympian anymore. I could literally count on one hand the drivers who can still 'drive' at Torpoint, including Tony Body, Mike Jacobs and Johnny Walker (soon to retire).

Trip with Louis will be continued in a quiet gap possibley 2 days.

Monday 26 January 2009

A day out with Louis (Part 1)


Saturday saw myself and good friend Louis Rawlings take a trip out as usual, but this time staying in the local area! And we never though you could have so much fun in a day in Plymouth!

My days started out catching the 8:45 81C from Cawsand. Sadly it was a Trident but was the best one at least (32758). It didn't take long for troubles to start though. Coming towards Witsand bay holiday camp, 10 minutes into my journey we came across an Ambulence. I know it has every right to park where it was but if I'm honest it was inconsiderate parking as you can see in the picutre. If he had parked just a few feet further back, driver Terry could have threaded her through with no problem. But after an unsucessful attempt we reversed back and waited. After going down to the beech wear I alearted local "1st responder" Brian he came up and explained the situation to terry. Terry then convayed this information to the passengers saying that a young boy had, had a heart attack on Witsand bay and the crew of the ambulence were too busy. Brian could not move the Ambulence because of scrict rules.

A few passengers cam eup with alturnatives while we sat there. Such things arose as "Can you bring another bus from the depot. The responce was that no other buses were avalible (though 52557 was sitting in the depot) and that no other drivers were avalible. Another idea was reversing back down and going via Millbrook like the old 80B used to do back in the good old days!!! Though Terry rejected this after declaring it too dangerous to perform a reversing monover. Another idea was when the bus bound for Cremyll arrived we could switch to that one alturnate buses taking alturnate passengers either side of the Ambulence. Though there was not a bus for another 45 minutes. Therefore this meant a wait of around 45minutes until the Ambulence was moved and we could proceed.

Terry therefore drove at a fast pace to try and make up time, also shouting to the passengers "Is there anyone for Great Park". No was the responce and as 40002 had just turned up that way Terry took the desistion to miss it out to make up time. By the time we reached the ferry we had caught up around 40 minutes and missed our feryr by around 5. Therefore after trying to hard we lost another 10 minutes after waiting for the next ferry.

Something to be learnt from the expierience though was while terry was trying to contact control to let them know he would be delayed there was no one in control, and no one at Torpoint depot. This meant terry having to ring up the fitter at plymouth to let them know the situation. really control should be managed at all times the buses are out though this is rarely the case.

Luckily Louis was also late after oversleeping and his 11 not turning up!! Ahh buses these days!!

More to come tomorow!

Friday 23 January 2009

A-Line update

To start with I have to correct myself on the new routes. The 80 is how I said though 80A is a Cawsand to St Germans service and 80B is a St Germans to Trago Service. I have done this with a driver now and the route is very well timetabled and is very convienient for the users meaning they can go and do shopping in multiple destinations.

The school contracts were also slightly wrong. Because of timings the Torpoint Narkus is actually Antony-Narkus with FDC providing the link between Torpoint and Antony. And there is actually a Cremyll, Cawsand, Witsand bay school service and is not seperate as stated before.

This has also meant that sadly M152 LPL has not been brought out of retirement. The picture shows her current state in A-Line's depot and she will sadly very likely not be used in service again. School buses are operated by either of the 2 coaches and the Narkus is operated by X891 YGU, leaving R651 YCR to operate the services.

E920 EAY has now had branding put onto her in the smart new A-Line livery as seen on the Varios. I will hopefully get a picture of this soon.

And lastly welcome to new driver Steve who now drives many of the afternoon 80s and is soon to start the 80As and Bs aswell, so good luck to him.

More news to come when it happens.

More problems at Torpoint

More problems have been happening at Torpoint this week with several buses that have been unseen by myself.

On Wednesday while in Cremyll driver Mike Jacobs had a failed C413 HJN before doing the Cremyll to Torpoint School run. This bus wouldn't get going after layover in Cremyll after the run from Torpoint that morning. More details will hopefully come avalible as I get them. You can also note that for the past month odd she has had a dent where the fleet number is. Likely on a tree or lampost etc.

Thursday saw either a broken down or very late Millbrook school bus. The bus usually reaches Millbrook before my 80 service gets there though it was not seen for the 10 mins we were in the village. Again I will hopefully get more details on this in the near future.

Talking to a driver today (non FDC) we both came to the decision that 3 of Torpoints buses have disapeared. Olympians 34812 and 34817 have not been seen by either or us for the last week 34817 and 2 weeks 34812. Any sightings please let us know. But I would guess again these are in Plymouth for the same reasons as has been highlighted in the previous post.

50306 has also been seen in Plymouth, reading Plymothian Transit it looks like with the wrong destinations aswell!

(New driver in the picture above, its ok no one can see who you are)

PTOTPA will keep you informed of all the happenings at Torpoint in this time and as previously said I'm sure there will be many more.

Thursday 15 January 2009

Troubles in Torpoint

Since the news that the Engineer (fitter) at First Devon and Cornwall's Torpoint depot was made redundant there have been a lot of goings on with the fleet at Torpoint concerning the bus' health. At the end of last year and early this year problems were often occurring with the Varios. This saw as many as 3 Marshall Varios moved to Torpoint at one point to cover these. These being 52596/7/8 all ex-Essex vehicles.

This also saw Torpoint Vario 50306 on trips on the 2 hour+ 93 to Dartmouth. Something usually covered by route branded Tridents. Just the wrong branding on this bus. While coming into Plymouth the bus was packed and is no where near big enough for the amount of people that travel on the service.

More recently the Tridents have had to make a trip into Plymouth to be repaired. Though this has caused problems with workings at Plymouth and Torpoint. ON a Coombe Dean school duty 32756 replaced the more usual Volvo B10M Citybus, either 38015 or 38016. This therefore also went onto the routes this would then carry out 2s for the day. This would have confused Torpoint travelers as the terminus for the 2 is the same stop as where the 81 picks up from! This happened again a couple of days later with 32760 being used on 2s and 3s in the day.

Next on the list was 40002. Routine Maintenance would often be able to be undertaken at Torpoint but now this does mean a trip to Plymouth. This bus was kept in the depot and not on any other routes. Though this did mean a bit of an Olympian revival with Olympians replacing her on all of her duties that week. Also pictured is 50306 working one of her duties when an Olympian was not available.

Photo courtesy Louis Rawlings.

This therefore leads me onto the next and most recent event. This was 34817 regarded by most drivers as the best Olympian in the depot. Though problems with her obviously meant a trip to Plymouth. When fixed she was kept for 2 extra days. She was therefore seen on the 2 and even more amazing the 83! Nice to see a proper bus on the 83 instead of the more usual Volvo B6.

So so far its been going pretty bad at Torpoint and its probably costing just as much to keep sending them over to Plymouth. Though has been very interesting to observe the happenings at Torpoint and un-doubtabley there will be more to come!