Sunday August 15th was one of two very busy days in our callender, for it was the day of the joint event between the Bristol Vintage Bus Group and the Avon Valley Railway, held mainly at the Brislington Park and Ride site in south east Bristol. For this event, and the Harbourside event in May, our aim is to have as many of our vehicles that are roadworthy present as possible - and this year we managed 18, let down only by L8579s absence for repair.
Getting 18 vehicles to a rally, when your group has 3 members, is a logistical nightmare! However, we are lucky to be able to call upon the services of a number of friends who come from as far afield as Winchester, London, Essex and Norfolk to drive for us! To you all, and you know who you are, a big thank you.
Preparing bus and crew workings is also another time consuming problem, both in trying to get a "balance" of vehicles on succesive departures and trying to give the drivers a fair variety of vehicles to drive, and in the case of one or two people, specific vehicles that are their favourites. And I wouldn't have it any other way, since the preparation of bus and crew workings once formed a vital part of my job, and it is a pleasure to re-use old skills.
The day couldn't have gone better. Of course, there were problems: city KSW C8320 suffered from flat batteries but was jump started thanks to David Fricker's start pack, and FLF C7246 caught fire (!) - albeit only the door motor: a quick call by Alan Peters to electrician Richard Groves saw the fuse being pulled and all was well - but we did have the opportunity to use a fire extinguisher for the first time!
New acquisition Bristol LH6L 353 saw stirling service and was probably the most used bus of the day, and as always the KSW Kavalkade was very popular - although due to roadworks in Brislington, instead of 36 minutes the round trip took over an hour!
Another noteworthy operation was the running of what I believe were three Bristol REs together - I scheduled two (Abus and North Somerset Coaches) and I believe that the Crosville bus joined in as well.
Monday saw buses being returned again to storage, although C8320 has gone to Chepstow to have the brakes tightened and batteries sorted out, and 2150 went with her for C.O.I.F.ing (we hope to get her to class 6 standards to run with 2138).
Our next event will be running the Bristol "Open Doors" service, probably with LD6B LC8518, in early September, Kingsbridge with 2467 and Duxford with 2138, 2150, 2467 and 2815.
Whilst talking about 2138, she is kept busy by David Fricker of North Somerset Coaches,and was used on a wedding the day before the rally, and very nice she looked too. When David sends me a photo of the event, I shall post it here.
On another matter, later today I shall be taking L8515 to Cardiff to take members of the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group on an evening run, and on Friday I shall be taking 2467 to take part in the Wedmore Harvest Home Festival.