As promised today’s rally focus will be on Mark Howarth’s newest acquisition, Ex-Western National LFJ 858W. She was recently bought by Mark from Emblings, of course well known for keeping quite a sizeable amount of VRs going, and luckily Mark heard 858 would be going, and managed to buy her for preservation.
Over the last few months restoration has begun and she is now looking superb. She is now painted in Western Greyhound’s double deck livery, similar to the route branding that is on the ‘510’ branded Enviro 400s. She has been put into WGL’s ‘501’ livery, and advertised as ‘A heritage bus on a heritage route’. So as you have guessed, she will indeed be in service this year on the new 501 between Penzance and Lands End.
Its great to hear that a VR will be returning to Penzance on a regular basis after nearly three years since FDC got rid of their last open top VR. Indeed I feared that Cornwall may be without service VRs this year, after the withdrawal of Enterprise Boat’s VR. Also interesting to note (on the bottom photo) is that Mark has chopped off part of the rear engine cover. Reason? So she can be taken on the Torpoint Ferry! I very much looking forward to seeing a VR on the ferry again. Its amazingly now been 4 years since LFJ 844W last sailed across the water, and even worse, I only ever took one photo of a VR on the ferry!
Anyway back to the actual point of this post I only managed one trip on 858 unfortunately but indeed she is a fantastic example of the VR. She sounded glorious on the run, and indeed even though she’d been used on school runs the interior was in very good condition.
I very much am looking forward to riding on the bus later in the Summer and the bus really is a credit to Western Greyhound.