Sunday, 26 August 2012

Snap on Sunday

Something a bit out of the ordinary this week for the Snap on Sunday. This 18 meter beast is a Van Hool TG821 'Alligator'. JPB 738V was new to Across in 1980, built to operate on 'Jumbulance' services across the UK. When new she was fitted with 14 beds along the nearside, stacked in twos, hence the non standard double tiered windows, with standard windows and seating on the offside for carers and family members. Her duties simply were to operate day trips for the sick, so that they were able to get out and see the world, from the comfort of a bed, and alongside friends and loved ones. Today, JPB has been converted to a mobile home ( despite looking a bit rough round the edges, drove 210 miles between her previous home in Chipping Camden, and her new home in Cornwall under her own power, and what power she's got! As you'd expect she's a heavy old lump, and therefore is fitted with an engine to match, a 17 litre Fiat V8! Certainly a very rare find, so thanks must go to Mr Mayhew senior for spotting this one among hedges on his commute through Cornwall. Her new owner certainly seems to have a real interest in bringing her back up to top notch condition, so it certainly appears that the future is bright for this remarkable survivor. 

Photos of her in original condition can be seen by following the links below:

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Peugeot for the Peninsula

The Maker with Rame (now re-branded Rame Peninsula) community bus has just been updated with this 2 1/2 year old Peugeot Boxer. HG59 HJZ replaced the Ex-Downderry Mercedes Sprinter WK55 ACU which has been plagued with problems since its introduction a few years ago and hence a replacement has been sought earlier than usual. With a lot more branding included on this new livery design, it is hoped that she will attract new users in the areas she will serve. Apologies for the quality of photography, she's parked far to close to that fence for any decent photography! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Back to Barnstaple

After being away from Barnstaple depot for nie on 3 years, K803 ORL has recently returned to the depot in its final weeks of operation to cover for the Tridents that had been at work on the Plymouth Park and Ride. K803, along with 801 and 804 were of course based up in Barnstaple for several years prior to their move to Torpoint at the withdrawal of the C-HJN Leylands. This is why in particular that these three had been somewhat pampered with a refurbished interior and newer coat of paint than sister bus K802 ORL, which never made the move to North Devon. May well be nice for the drivers at Barnstaple to re-live a bygone era, also rekindling memories of their batch of very similar Olympians. This of course is the L-CFJ batch, of which only one now survives, this being L816 CFJ, currently based in Cornwall. She is pictured at the top in the bus station after a run to Ilfracombe, with the photo coming with thanks from Kameron Allan. The photo below coming with many thanks from Luke Farley is from her time when permanently based in Barnstaple, without the headlight surrounds fitted which I think actually detracts from the 'happy' face found on a Northern Counties bodied Olympian with round headlamps!  

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Well, at least there's a bit of blue

While photographing Ex-London Dennis Dart X769 HLR yesterday there was a certain little surprise hiding in the blind box! After zooming in on the photos it appears that instead of using a paper number as they have done before, First have dug out a blue Western National number blind dating back to the 80s! Obviously they'd thrown out all the black ones, other than the black destination blinds, and hence have had to install this rather than continue using bits of paper. Weird to think that this is the only bit that is at least in some way coloured correctly on the vehicle! 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Relaying the Enviros

So to the skeptics that thought the '12 plate Enviros may not return after Olympic duties, fear not! All of the original batch we've had have made it back to Plymouth after their work at Eton Dorney, with a majority of them being out on the PR1 and PR2 today. Quite of a few of them are still clinging onto fame, with their First for London branding. I'd presume this is likely because they'll be needed once again when the Paralymic games start in a few weeks time, and hence would have been a waste having to re-print them all and to re-apply them. As for the Barnstaple stock that has been on loan to cover, three of them have been confirmed working today in place of the 12 plates that aren't back on the road yet, but as to the whereabouts of the rest of them, it appears a bit of a mystery. They may well have been sent back up to Barnstaple again to live out their final few weeks, but then again it does seem somewhat wasteful of time and money to make such a transfer for only a few remaining weeks. We'll just have to see what pans out.  

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Snap on Sunday

Today I take you up into the foothills out Mount Snowdon, with the photos shown here being taken in Pen-Y-Pass at the base of the iconic Welsh mountain, but yet still being at some 1'200ft and hence is widely considered to be the highest bus station in the UK. This of course does depend on your definition of a bus station, but Pen-Y-Pass is a pretty safe candidate, with several stands, and several terminating services, as well as through services stopping here. The two Solos seen here are CX08 AOG of Express Motors aboard which I traveled right up from Porthmadog, and Padarn Bus' CH60 CDH having climbed from Betws-Y-Coed. Both very challenging routes, particularly the S97 which negotiated some pretty tight roads and steep climbs on its run up.  

Seen here looking down Llanberis Pass is Padarn Bus Volvo Olympian M215 VSX working an S2, which I journeyed on in place of the Ex-Plymouth Citybus Leyland Atlantean which is the usual allocation to service S1 and S2 from Pen-Y-Pass. The S97 on which I rode on with the Solo has been operated by open top Bristol VR in years gone by, but unfortunately UWV 622S, sister to two of Riverlink's examples,  is now residing out of use in the depot with tarpulin draped over it, and is not set to be used in service again any time soon. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Coaches in the capital

It wasn't just local buses that made it up to the 2012 Olympics though, a couple of our local coach companies also won work on various duties within London. 

First up is Filer's of Barnstaple's Bova Futura FT12 BBB, new only a few months ago, looking good in its dark red livery.

Also on offer was Carmel Coaches King Long WA09 LKX, looking somewhat strange with various body panels, particularly around the wheel arches, painted in a non matching creamy colour rather than the pure white found on the rest of the coach. Still looking very smart though in its 3rd year with the company since she was bought new in 2009

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Benz bonanza

The Mercedes 709D appears to be making somewhat of a comeback in the area of late, now joined by the introduction to service once again of N276 PDV, returning to service out of preservation for the first time in several years. After passing her Class 6 MOT first time yesterday, N276 was brought out onto service 80 this morning, and ran capably and reliably throughout the day, despite having sat out of use at Winkleigh for many months, showing how reliable these little machines really are. I'd like to see a Vario do the same!

She was joined in Torpoint by PUI 6627, also out working today on service 80A/B. giving a nice comparison not only with the differing frontage fitted to them, but also the difference in length. It is quite interesting to note though how much younger PUI does look, despite actually being a year older than N276.

The other 709D (hmm possibly a 811D actually!) that could have been spotted was the South West Ambulance Service's J126 UNV, appearing extremely well presented in Plymouth City Centre.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Go 2 the Olympics!

How could have I possibly turned down the chance of a day trip to London to photograph vehicles from all over the country gather together in one venue! It was certainly a unique opportunity, unlikely to repeat itself again any time soon, if again in my lifetime at all, and hence the £45 price tag for a return journey to the capital seemed very reasonable! Unfortunately with a somewhat limited knowledge of London itself, decent photography was a huge challenge, but thankfully we did stumble across some quieter areas to acquire some decent photos. Central London just proved a nightmare though, practically impossible without some real knowledge and a fair amount of practice to get the photos you'd want! But anyway, I post here a small selection from the day, all of which are relatively local vehicles to us. At the top we see Go 2 branded Enviro 400 WA08 NOF, of course used on Stagecoach's route along the coast between Exeter and Newton Abbott. Below that you will find Exeter Park and Ride liveried Enviro WA59 FWS, and below that, WA60 FHO, a Torbay based Enviro 400. It seemed slightly strange to me that despite a majority of Stagecoach's newest Enviros having a Scania chassis, that only the ADL versions were used during the Olympics, despite Enviros such as WA08 NOF being comparatively old compared to other on offer. If anyone does know the reason as to why only the ADL ones were used, I've very much appreciate hearing the reasoning behind it. In the mean time if you're interested in some more of my photos taken last Friday in London, then please do follow the link below to view the whole collection.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Snap on Sunday

This week, my first go at some night time photography with the D5000, after looking through some fantastic shots produced by the likes of Nick Rice and Shaun Courtnage, to which I have provided some links to at the bottom of this post. With the wonders of Flickr, you are able to delve into the various settings that the masters use to gain the best photos, without this guidence, I would have been completely lost, but am fairly happy with the first attempt! The photo shows Plymouth Citybus Dennis Dart R114 OFJ standing on Royal Parade late on Friday night, about to head for Whitleigh on the 44. It is amazing how different the whole scene looks when dark, the whole atmosphere of Royal Parade, or any area for that matter changes creating a completely different, but certainly desirable photograph to be had!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Snap on Sunday

This week, I go back two weeks to the WNPG's Plymouth Hoe Rally, and the resplendent 824 KDV. This stalwart of the preservation scene is a regular visit to the rally, but never fails to impress, and turn heads with the general public. As I've probably mentioned in previous years, its lovely that the public are able to mix with enthusiasts in this environment, where usually it is purely a gathering of enthusiasts. Then again, its not uncommon to overhear some quite spiteful and derogatory comments from some of the public who seem to think that they know better how we should be spending our time! But there we go. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Turner's turn up the wick

Turner's Tours are infamous for operating their somewhat rough looking beige fleet, the mainstay being Dennis Darts, in and around Barnstaple and Exeter; but look at this! What a step up. This is KX60 DVP, a 1 1/2 year old Dennis Enviro 200, which had been new to Thurmaston Bus, but unfortunately less than a year after KX60 had been purchased, the company entered bankruptcy. Although this will have meant the bus was undoubtedly cheap in comparison, its still a quantum leap from what you would normally expect from Turner's, as pictured below...