Monday 20 December 2010

More For the Collection!

Photo: Ken Jones

Although the Collection has owned three new vehicles for some months now, the opportunity has not been available to update the blog.

During August the Collection purchased two former Bristol Omnibus Bristol MW buses - 981EHY (2969) and 990EHY (2978) - which have been stored after being used as fruit pickers transport. One has good running units, but requires body attention, whilst the other has engine problems but a good interior. David Hoare and his colleagures moved them from Central Scotland to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at the time opf the Museum open weekend, and they have been stored there until the Collection decides what to do with them Hopefully, at least one will be on the road and attending rallies by late 2011. Mike Walker and Alan Peters share ownership of the buses.

During the late summer Mike also acquired Bristol Omnibus KSW6B C8319 (UHY359) from William Stanifort: she is a sister bus to the Collection's C8320 - C8322 is also preserved, by Adrian Hunt. The Bristol AVW engine has been removed and is shortly to go to Winkleigh to put in to LWL coach 2815 - whose engine has a cracked block. When C8319 eventually reaches the end of the queue for restoration, she will be fitted with a Gardner 6LW engine, in common with many of her sisters when they were running in service.

Winter Update

With temperatures plunging to well below freezing, some extra checks have been made on the antifreeze of those vehicles whose parking places leave them to be most vulnerable to the dropping temperatures, and hopefully we shall get through this bad spell without losing an engine! Thanks to Pete Simper and John Hitchings for turning C8320 around so that her engine is now well inside the shed at Marksbury rather than facing out into the snow and winds!

Good news is that after much work on the brakes (and I believe a big bill to come!), LH 353 has now been returned to the road, and has gained a class 6 MOT into the bargain: she has been returned to store at Keynsham.

Attention is now turning to MW coach 2150: she is being prepared for a class 6 test in mid January, but because she has dropped off of VOSA's list of PCVs she has to have a full Certificate Of Initial Fitness (C.O.I.F.): attention will then turn to Lodekka LC8518, which will also need a C.O.I.F. If they pass, we will have two MW coaches, two LHs and two LDs with class 6 tests!

Olympian 9552 has been removed from under cover storage to Burnett with a view to getting her to Chepstow in early January: her MOT expired in mid December. Bedford OB 219 will need a new MOT on January 4th, and Lodekka L8515 at the end of the month.

Monday 1 November 2010


Throughout this year, work on Bedford OB bus MHU49, former Bristol Tramways 207, has been ongoing at TDC Bodyshops, Lydney. To date the body has been stripped and most of the wooden frame replaced, whilst the seats have been removed and stripped for re-trimming. It is possible that she will re-enter service in late 2011, but more likely to be 2012, when she will run alongside MHU193.

Last of the season

Yesterday, Sunday October 31st, was the last event of the season as far as the Collection is concerned: Peter Davey and I brought Bristol MW coach BHU92C and Bedford OB bus MHU193 up from Claverham for the day. As is the case with the beginning and end of the season, yesterday was a thoroughly relaxing day with a lot of talking, a lot of tea (and coffee!) and many old friends. MHU193 was used by Lionel Tancock to visit Bath Bus Company's yard, and I was able to talk through spares with Phil Sposito and Alan Neale and discuss present and forthcoming projects with David Hoare. He told me that, on stripping, a small part was found to be missing from Bristol LH 353s braking system, and this is now being sourced, hopefully ending her brake problems. During the winter he hopes to progress the engine replacement for LWL coach 2815, test MW coach 2150 and Bristol LD LC8518 to class 6 standards, bring 353 up to spec and also test her for a class 6 certificate. It is also hoped that the rust on the chassis of open top Bristol FS L8579 will be tackled, and Bristol K C3386 will come back from Scotland and be prepared for the road. On the way back to Claverham, Peter drove the OB, a bus that he had ridden on many times at Clifton College when he was at school there sixty years ago!

In two weeks time, Friday November 12th, it is hoped that Bristol KSW C8320 will go to First's depot at Lawrence Hill to take part in the Rememberance Service, has she has done in previous years.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Preparing for winter

Malcolm kindly did some ferrying today, to begin the antifreeze check: 2467 has returned to covered storage, whilst 2150 has been removed ready to return to Chepstow for class 6 preperations; 2800 has also had her antifreeze checked. Those that remain will be checked over the next few weeks. 353 returned to Chepstow for repairs on her brakes (and a seemingly blown rear oil seal) and C2736 has now returned from her MOT and awaits returning to covered storage.

2138 is attending Bob Edworthy's Red and White event this Saturday, courtesy of Dave Fricker from North Somerset Coaches.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Warminster - good in parts!

We attended the Warminster Running Day on Sunday with five of the Collections' vehicles. As detailed before, 2467 and 2815 travelled down from Bristol "on service" and whilst there performed a Mystery Tour, before returning to Bristol as a "786" service, and both performed admirably.

L8089 and L8515 were brought down empty from Claverham: in the event L8089 had a slow puncture on the front offside and could not be used, its' all day duty card being given back to the "Inspectors" for covering - although Bristol LH 353 stepped in to operate the last trip. Thanks are due to Tim Tincknell for helping me with the spare wheel from NAE3, and to the excellent people from the Bristol Vintage Bus Group - particularly Dave and Phil - for actually getting down to it and changing the wheel over with the spare from NAE3. NAE3's spare had a 9.00-20 tyre, against L8089s 10.00-20, and so it was thought best not to use her, although she was able to return home safely at the end of the day: during this week it is hoped to get the puncture fixed and the wheels changed over again.

353 performed admirably - albeit with some comments about braking efficiences - and unfortunately on the return journey to Burnett the rear brakes siezed on and she had to be recovered to Burnett, where she awaits attention at the moment.

Thanks to all who helped, to Martin and Derek for driving the coaches - and Dave Cole's MW which we volunteered to cover -, to Peter and Roger for manning L8515 and bringing her and L8089 from Claverham, and to Malcolm for bringing 353 down for the day from Burnett. Thanks are also due to Tim and Simon Jennings, to Alan Peters and Mike Smith and to Andy Fear for taking a hand at the wheel and ensuring that I didn't have to!!

Now the rally season is almost over: a coach will be going over the bridge on Saturday to attend the Red and White event in Chepstow, organised by Bob Edworthy, and then a couple of vehicles will be going to the BVBG final open day on October 31st - and then we start the winter maintenance programme to be ready for next year!

Thursday 7 October 2010

Warminster Running Day Weekend

This Sunday is the Warminster Running Day: 2467 and 2815 will be running from Bristol, picking up at the Bristol Fashion at 0840, arriving Warminster at 1000. they will return from Warminster at 1720.

353, L8089 and L8515 will be coming down empty and are in use all day at the event. The charging problem on 353 has been cured.

L-type C2736 has gone to Chepstow for its MOT, and C8320 has returned having had its brake adjusters repaired.

In addition to the Warminstere event, other group vehicles will be in use during the weekend:

L8515 will be used by Kelvin Amos for an event in Cheddar on Saturday, and he is using C8320 for a wedding on Sunday, whilst Chris Gould is taking 219 to a wedding on Saturday.

A busy weekend!

Tuesday 28 September 2010

NHY was working - of course!

I should of course explain: in a previous post I bemoaned the fact that NHY would not start, and her trip to Duxford looked in doubt. However, David Hoare to the rescue, and on the Thursday before the event, he went over to Keynsham storage and got her going (an air lock), and changed her oil (to replace the oil and water mix!!), which is why she was able to rake part - and perform beautifully! If an AVW engine with a cracked block can perform that well, just imagine how a perfect one performs!!

Greyhounds in Victoria again!

Wet Greyhounds

Monday 27 September 2010

A Good Weekend

Another epic weekend trip to Duxford, and a succesful one in many ways.

In the event, the party less BHU left Burnett at 1230 and went straight to Reading Services where it joined BHU, which had worked up from Swindon following its private hire. We continued to Birchanger Green, arriving at 1830.

An early start on Sunday and we were in place at Showbus by 0900.

Another Collection vehicle slipped in to the event almost un-noticed: Gary Williams had called on Friday to say that his Volvo B10M had broken down and asked to take blue Olympian "Sir George White" - 9552 - to the show, and she made it up on Saturday and back on Monday without incident.

The event was as large as ever, and the two L coaches operated a free service to Duxford village at 1245, with the two MWs following at 1330, both appreciated by those who travelled on them.

Then came the rain, which put a dampner on the rest of the day, resulting in many exhibits and trade stands leaving early.

However, in the pouring rain, I was pleased to be able to accept the award for the best ECW bodied Bristol on behalf of NAE3 - making the long drive up well worth the effort.

On Monday we left Birchanger Green at about 5 to 9 and, led by Derek White in 2815, we went down the M11 and threaded our way through London, arriving at Victoria Coach Station at just on 1100, where we were all ushered on to Bay 20 and, joined by Carl Berry with his "Greyhound" RE, and Duncan Law who had taken time from work for the occassion, we recorded the event on camera.

At 1130 we departed Victoria for the long drive to Reading Services and the A4 through Newbury, Marlborough and Chippenham, home to Burnett, arriving at 5.30.

All four coaches behaved perfectly, and thanks are due to Martin, Derek, and David and Mike from North Somerset Coaches for their stirling efforts in helping to get all four Greyhound coaches through the long weekend!

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Ups and Downs

Good news on NAE3 - the broken camshaft was it seems the only (identifiable) problem, and she should be now be on her way back up from Winkleigh.

Today Malcolm and I went to get NHY947 out of storage so that she could go to Chepstow to have an oil change (she runs better on oil rather than an oil/water mix!) ready for Duxford, but she wasn't having it and it sounds like the fuel is not getting up to the engine - so she had to be left there, and although NAE3 will now go to Duxford, NHY will not!

We took 972EHW over to TDC at Lydney (at just over 30 miles per hour!) for a wooden rear door to be fitted ready for winter storage, and Malcolm brought FHW156D back (no COIF yet) ready for the weekend. The Duxford convoy will consist of NAE3, BHU92C, FHW156D, a Stagoach (Gloucester) RM and a Bath Bus Company 10-plate East Lancs open topper, although the convoy will probably not join up until Chevely services, since David fricker is using BHU on a private hire in Swindon on the way up, and all but NAE3 will probably not leave until lunchtime!

Monday 20 September 2010


Oh dear, a not so good weekend. Whilst our friends at Bath Bus Company were having another excellent weekend with their service to Imber, NAE3, en-route to Kingsbridge, started making some very strange nosies from under trhe bonnet, and after a few miles went bang in a big way! I had driven her down from Burnett on Friday last, September 17th, with no problem, but from starting her up on Saturday she didnt sound quite right, and after a few miles she protested in a most violent way: as I pulled her over into a slip road, she stopped running. A talk with David Hoare and another to Autohome (thanks Autohome), and two and a half hours later she was picked up and towed to Winkleigh. Pete was there and, interested to see what had happened, started by taking the rocker covers off, to reveal a camshaft that had broken clean in two. Further work by Pete will tell if this was the cause of the problem, or simply a result of something more serious. Duxford looks unlikely now for NAE3, but keep looking in to the blog for more information! Luckily BHU92C was ready to bring home after examination by Pete, so I arrived back at Burnett at 7pm!

Tomorrow a number of other vehicle movements take place to get the remaining three coaches, NHY947, BHU92C and FHW156D, ready for the marathon trip to and from Duxford next weekend.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Bristol Open Doors

Lodekka LC8518 was used for the Bristol Open Doors event today, providing six return trips between Millenium Square and The Rocks Railway. Good loads were carried and the bus was admired by passengers and passers by alike! Malcom Morgan, John Hitchins and I crewed her and it was a very enjoyable day - including snatch changes from first to second and long slow climbs up Park Street!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

A quiet time

Not much to report since the last post: there were a number of important events over the last two weeks, but the Collection was not represented - I speak particularly of Merthyr and Wythall - the last particularly being a "Bristol" event.

However, a few things are coming up for which we now have to prepare.

North Somerset Coaches reported some possible difficulties with MW coach 2138 (BHU92C) - surely the most used vehicle in our collection - and she went into Premier in Bristol for them to take a look: she also had a break in her exhaust pipe, and so 0700 on Monday saw me crawling under her to apply a "bandage" to the break in the exhaust, and then drive her to Winkleigh, where David Hoare's mechanic, Pete, will be taking a look at her and preparing her for her run to Duxford at the end of the month.

On Saturday we have the Open Doors Day in Bristol and LC8518 will be revisiting her old haunts whilst providing one of the free services between some of the open events: however, before this, on Friday she will be attended to by the electrician because one of the rows of interior lights just will not go out!! On Saturday, Malcolm Morgan and I will be piloting her and John Hitchins looking after the platform.

Another bus with electrical problems is 353 which is "not charging": hopefully this will be sorted soon as well.

After that, I must get 2467 ready for her trip to Kingsbridge (18th September), and 2815 to Chepstow to have her oil (mixed with water!!) changed and brakes adjusted for the trip to Cambridgeshire.

You can of course visit the collection at, although there is an amendment pending to bring the site up to date.

Monday 23 August 2010

2467 comes first!

At Wedmore Harvest Home's vehilce display on Friday last, the Collection's Bristol Greyhound coach 2467 came first in its class - yes, I know that there were only two entries, but it triumphed over a Bedford J-type lorry! It was a lousy journey down from Burnett to Wedmore, with heavy rain and low mist, but the weather improved as soon as Cheddar was reached. Of course, 60 years ago, when 2467 was new, she would have visited Cheddar many times on tour from Weston super Mare or Clevedon.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Keeping Busy!

It is a busy week for the two principal class 6 vehicles in our collection.

On Tuesday, George Vowles, known to many of us as the most senior "Bristol" enthusiast, celebrated his 92nd birthday, and, at his request, Malcolm Morgan took BHU92C along to his sheltered housing in Burnham and gave George and his friends a few hours out at the seaside.

On Wednesday, I took L8515 over the bridge to give the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group an evening tour, arriving back at the base at Claverham at 2330, having covered 150 miles at just over 14 miles to the gallon. On the way over I called in to see David Hoare to collect a spare wheel (you can never be too careful!)and David kindly adjusted the engine idle speed so that you can now do professionally sounding gearchanges!

Today, both L8515 and BHU92C are off to Gloucestershire, on a private hire for North Somerset Coaches: I can imaaine the conversation that took place between the two buses last night when I parked L8515 next to BHU - "Don't you think that at our age we should be given a little rest? All these late nights and long journeys." "Still, it's better than a trip to Barnsley.....!"

Wednesday 18 August 2010

A busy weekend!

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 (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.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Getting ready for Brislington

It is of course the Brislington Rally this Sunday coming: today, Martin, Malcolm Morgan and myself have been collecting buses from far and wide.

From storage and work at Chepstow came 353 (just repainted!), 2934 (the engine idles at the proper speed now - no excuse for missing those gear changes!) and C7246, whilst from storage nearer home came C2736, 2800 and 2815.

All being well, the following will be "in service" at Brislington:

"219", 353, 461, 2138, 2150, 2467, C2736, 2800, 2815, 2934, C7246, L8089, C8320, 8336, L8515, LC8518 amd 9554, with 9552 providing the crew rest room and Model Bus Federation display. That's 18 buses and coaches! It would have been 19 but FS open topper L8579 is off the road at present - it was being prepared for a class 6 MOT when some corrrosion was discovered on the chassis - David Hoare will be having a look at it next week and so we hope that it will not be away too long.

Monday 9 August 2010


It was the Kemble event last Sunday. The Collection entered three vehicles:

l8089 was taken up by Peter Davey, her former owner: she was at one time stored here when owned by Geoff Green and The Bristol Aerospace Collection also had a collection of buses.

L8515 was taken up by Malcolm Morgan: L8515 also lived here at one time, when she was also owned by Geoff Green, and it is here that most of her restoration was undertaken by Geoff before Alan Peters and I finnished the job.

9554 was taken up by Martin Curtis - and the run thankfully proved that - like her gearbox itself - gearbox problems are behind her!

Monday 2 August 2010

L8515 was kept busy yesterday at the Ilton Festival of Transport giving rides along the runway - and allowing the drivers to hone their gear changing skills!

The trip to Fawley Park went exceptionally well and both coaches performed admirably: the last mile and a half from the Henley to Marlow road was up a single track lane (with passing places) and the coaches were pushing the tree branches out of their way as they went!. When we arrived at the site there was some doubt expressed by the car park attendant as to whether we could get the coaches down into the display area, but after another narrow avenue of trees and some manouvering through gates and between railway rolling stock we were able to park up - but when it came time to leave we had to reverse the coaches up hill and perform a three point turn in the narrowest of roads!

On the return journey we stopped at Marlborough for dinner - thank you all at the Wells Railway Fraternity: 2138 and 2150 were parked up in the main street whilst we ate - just as they would have been over forty years ago when taking a break whilst operating the London to Bristol service!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Getting back to normal

Yesterday's outing in 2467 showed that the electrics are back to normal, as they are with LC8518, and 9554's gearbox should now be ok, so we are hoping for a good turn out of vehicles at Brislington.

This weekend L8515 and 2138 are off to an event at Ilton, near Yeovil on Saturday (thanks Malcolm and David), whilst on Sunday 2138 and 2150 are taking members of the Wells Railway Fraternity from Keynsham to Fawley, the Sir Robert Mcalpine railway. Last year we took the Fraternity to the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway and a really good day was had by all, but one can't but help notice the performance of the MW coaches against modern ones! Warwick and I will have aching right feet on our return Sunday evening, trying to keep the Gardner throttle return spring down on the M4 motorway between Chippenham and Reading!

Nocturnal Bus gathering

NAE3 visited The Compass Inn at Tormarton last evening to take part in the Nocturnal Bus Gathering organsied by Ian Hudd. In the event only NAE and Simon Smart's Royal Blue Bristol RELH represented the mechanical members, but around 10 fellow enthusiasts attended and shared memories and discussions over good food and drink. Thank you Ian for arranging the gathering.

Friday 23 July 2010

A Lodekka on service!

L8515, 969EHW, has a class 6 test enabling it to be used for hire and reward, and every now and again it is used by ABus, North Somerset or Rubicon for a wedding or other private hires.

Yesterday it actually operated a registered service!

I was able to drive the bus on the 1530 service from St. Katherine's School in Pill via the Avonmouth Bridge and the Portway to the Centre, with North Somerset's owner David Fricker as conductor. We then went on to Clifton to take a private party, but disaster struck when we realised that there was a problem with one of the tyres and the bus had to come off the road at Temple Meads, where emergency arrangements were made through ABus to provide a more modern bus.

Still, it was fun while it lasted!

Monday 12 July 2010


Hi all

I hope to be able to keep you all up to date with what is happening with the Bristol Omnibus Vehicle Collection, and let you know the movements of our vehicles.

Yesterday we sent two of our fleet (LC8518 and C8320 - thanks Pete) to FirstGroups Muller Road depot to take part in a staff photocall, alongside Bristol Vintage Bus Group's blue Bristol K and a FirstGroup decker, We were pleased to be involved - I was especially pleased as I had conducted out of Muller Road on a number of occassions in my youth!

The next major rally for us is Kemble on August 8th, and then of course Brislington on August 15th. Currently LC8518 and 2467 have electrical defects and 9554 accident damage and a gearbox fault, all of which we hope to get fixed in time for the Brislington event. C7246 is away for MOT, and I am sure that will be back, whilst 353 is away for repaint having had most of her panels replaced at bulwark Bus and Coach in Chepstow. When painted, she will be re-rubbered. The inside of 353 however will have to wait a little longer to be restored.

I will now try and keep you up to date with our collection and give you advance warning if any of our vehicles go on display anywhere!