Saturday, 10 April 2010

A classic lives on!

Well she may not be looking as happy as she once was, but at least she's safe! NFJ 592M survives after I feared something had happened, after she disappeared from her spot at the South Devon Railway! 

She is now back in Plymouth, but living in the Plympton Target Travel depot. Of course as many of you will know NFJ was bought new by Western National to run Torpoint routes, but was only based at the depot for 9 years. Ridership had grown and VRs needed to be introduced, so she was moved into Plymouth to run Plymouth Citybus' new rural routes under the 'Plymouth Countrybus' fleet name. In this short period she also worked in Swindon when on loan to Thamesdown Transport. She then passed to Emerald Ambassadors Marching Band for their personal use. This could have been the end but Woods Brothers of Buckfastleigh stepped in to buy her for school contract work, but ended her working life in 2000. Luckily before falling into dis-repair David Fricker and  James Pratt spotted her and brought her into the preservation circle. No mechanical work needed to be carried out, and after the bodywork had been tidyed up she was ready to rally in 2001 and indeed was! 

Though this is where the story takes a turn for the worst. NFJ then was bought by Ralph Delbridge, who hoped to paint her into NBC leaf green for the 2002 rally season. Instead she was stored at the SDR, and remained there for some 7-8 years in outside storage. I pictured her at the SDR in 2007 on the blog, and three years later something positive is happening! She looks to have had some work done to her already, the front panel was not sighted so could mean it was either in dis-repair, but hopefully being touched up! I would like to try and find who does own her now, or indeed whether it is still Ralph Delbridge. So if anyone knows more than I do then please feel free to comment on the post.

Great to see that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, for this fantastic little bus. 

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