458 was parked in New George Street as a static exhibit for Diabetes UK. This marked the end of a busy 3 weeks for 458 and after today's event it was taken out of service, pending its overhaul and repaint during the winter months.
458 was on loan to Plymouth City Council for tree cutting again this week. Group members Paul Furse, Mike Hudson, Ralph Delbridge was manning the bus while Council workers chopped down the over-hanging branches with chain-saws. Thanks go to new member Jacob Eaton who has helped prepare 458 and accompanied the driver on several days. Unfortunately 458 suffered a broken off-side windscreen on Tuesday 26th but this was repaired within an hour and was soon back in service. Photos of this courtesy of Jason Beverley.
Plymouth Hoe was blessed for some nice weather for the Western National Preservation Group's annual Plymouth Bus Rally. The group took 137, 458, 201, 168, 171 and 105 to the rally and along with other vehicles provided free trips around The Hoe and the city centre.
2 trips were in fact driven by BBC Radio Devon's Gordon Sparks! Well done to Gordon who did an excellent job with 458. 2 full loads around the city centre is quite hard work on a bus without power-steering! And his 3-point turn was very impressive too!
And well done to Ralph Delbridge who picked up 3 awards at the bus rally. 137 was awarded The Norman Cooper Trophy for best bus at the rally, and The Lucas Service UK Ltd shield for overall show winner (all classes). 201 was awarded The Saltash Bus & Truck Ltd cup for best double deck bus, post and including 1962.
Unfortunately 168 had suffered another problem with its gear box so it looks like it will be out of service again for the time being.
176 (B176VDV) officially became part of the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group's fleet on this day, following its acquisition from Plymouth CityBus. It was new to Plymouth CityBus in 1984, wearing stripey red, orange and cream Citycoach livery and the name "INVINCIBLE". It fills an important gap in the preserved fleet as it is capable of higher speeds than the Atlanteans and is therefor capable of attending events further from Plymouth. Unfortunately it failed the MOT, which is unsurprising as it has been parked up at Milehouse for around 16 months out of service, but work is on hand to get it through its re-test. More details of this vehicle will appear on its Fleet page in the near future.
Rare Plaxton Pointer bodied Volvo B6 no. 53 (M53HOD) has entered our preserved fleet as new group member Andy Cooksey has purchased it from Plymouth CityBus. 51, 52 and 53 were new to Plymouth Citybus in 1994 and no more Volvo B6's were purchased so they really are unique. 53 had been withdrawn for many months and was put through its MOT today. It failed on just 1 thing - its brakes! And it was so close to passing too. The bus will be retested within a week following some brake adjustments. It is in a really good condition internally and externally and will compliment Bobby Darch's 105 in preservation. More info to follow on its Fleet page in due course.
Work is being carried out in preparation for the annual Plymouth bus rally this weekend. 201 and 458 have had some cleaning done in these pictures by Tom Pearce. Other vehicles have had work done on them to get them through their MOTs. Thanks to Paul Furse, Paul Burch, Mike Hudson and Tom Pearce for their hard work during this week.
201 took part in the Historic Transport Club's Devon Coastal Run. As usual the day provided ample opportunity to see old cars, lorries, motorbikes and buses which took part in the run. The driving was performed by Mike Hudson and Paul Furse and was accompanied by many of the groups members.
Thanks to Tom Pearce for the pictures here, showing 201 and some of the other vehicles that took part.
Both of our newest additions to the fleet, Volvos 53 and 176, have passed their MOTs and are now fully operational.
458 was on loan to Plymouth Citybus during this week to assist Plymouth City Council with tree cutting on many of Plymouth's streets. Group members Gareth Ruby and Mike Hudson (who are both employed by Plymouth Citybus) were the drivers picked by Plymouth Citybus to man the bus during the week.
Thanks to Gareth Ruby and Tom Pearce for taking the photographs.
Congratulations to our Group Chairman and Secretary, known to us as Ralph and Cath, who got married today at St. Edward's Church, Eggbuckland. We wish them the very best for their future together and anyone who knows them would agree their marriage certainly completes a great family.
168, 171, 201 and 458 have all passed their MOT's with no problems but 168 has lost 4th gear again so we're hoping to get the fitters to look at this before this year's Plymouth bus rally. 168's upstairs seat cushions have all been changed and is now looking as smart as the downstairs.
Following 137's repairs and repaint, the original Tramway style fleetnumbers and coat of arms have now been applied by Barry Pomeroy and Paul Burch and the bus is looking very smart again.
Thanks to Barry and Paul for their hard work and to Tom Pearce, Managing Director of South West Bus Models for taking the photographs.
Paul Burch helped Mike Hudson replace the downstairs seat cushions on 168 and it is looking a lot tidier now. The upstairs will be treated with some new ones soon.
168 is due for its MOT on June 13th.
Paul Burch has been busy applying new fleetnumbers and fleetnames to 458 in recent weeks. It attended the Devon General Society's Sea Dogs event in Torquay on May 1st, following it's make-over. The picture shows 458 next to Plymouth Citybus' Leyland Titan 358 which also attended the event in Torquay. Thanks to Paul Burch for the hard work and to both him and Ian Byrne for manning 458 on the day.
458 was busy providing free trips from the Plym Valley Railway site around the Barbican and The Hoe and back via Royal Parade. All 3 trips were fully loaded on this hot and sunny Easter Sunday. Cath was busy with sales on the static sales bus (105) at Coypool and beat all records for takings.
Bobby Darch took 105 to Penzance for the annual running day. As you can see in the pictures by Tom Pearce, it was a warm sunny day and the event was attended by many vehicles including this ex-Southern National Bristol LWL5G, built in 1951.
168 had its gearbox repaired on 29th March. It was found that it had very little gearbox fluid, as the seals in the dump valves on 3rd and 4th were split. These were replaced with good seals from another pair of dump valves. The top of the gearbox was taken off to check for internal adjustments and a very slight adjustment on 3rd gear was all that was needed. A quick drive around the depot showed all gears were working again, however a proper road test is on the cards to test it under load.
Also the right hand number blind was changed with another one to match the others. Next on the list is the repainting of the orange handrails and seat frames followed by a set of retrimmed seats being refitted.
Young Group Member Bobby Darch took 105 to Heybrook Bay for a run. He didn't drive it of course (he's only 10!) so Mike Hudson assisted with that.
Of course, Plymouth CityBus' route 49 serves Heybrook Bay and 105 would have been used a lot on this route before its withdrawal in July 2008. Here's the best of the 20+ photographs taken from the day.
Mercedes-Benz minibus N276PDV with Plaxton Beaver body has joined the PCTPG fleet. This bus was number 276 in the Plymouth Citybus fleet and it has been purchased by Ian Byrne. It is the first minibus to enter our fleet.
More info about 276 will be shown on its Fleet page, as with all our other recent acquisitions.
Mike Hudson took The Herald's beautiful Face of Plymouth finalists for an open-top tour of Plymouth City Centre, The Barbican and The Hoe. Click on The Herald's article above to download it and read.
Is it buy one get one free at Citybus? Group member Andy Cooksey has purchased Dennis Dart 116 (L116YOD) from Plymouth Citybus to go with his Volvo B6 no. 53 which he purchased last month. 116 was part of the second consignment of Darts for Plymouth Citybus, back in November 1993, and joins Bobby Darch's Dart no. 105 (K105SFJ) in the preserved fleet of the PCTPG.
More info about 116 will be shown on its own Fleet page soon.
The Winkleigh bus rally was back after a 3-year absence and the PCTPG attended with 176 "INVINCIBLE". The journey to the North Devon site was in the hands of Mike Hudson (driving) and Paul Burch (conducting). It proved a popular day out so no doubt we will be repeating this trip next year too. Thanks to all who came with us and for your kind donations.
The only survivor of the 15-strong batch of MCW bodied Leyland Atlanteans with a front designed for Manchester entered the PCTPG fleet today. 214 (registration number FJY 914E) was new to Plymouth City Transport in 1967, and following its withdrawal in 1986, it spent nearly 25 years inside the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose in Cornwall. It entered preservation following a 3-way deal involving group member Paul Furse, The Seahawk Gliding Club and Plymouth Citybus. In exchange for 214, the gliding club today took delivery of its replacement vehicle - Dennis Dart 131 (M131 HOD) which has just come out of service at Plymouth Citybus due to the bus having a front step and not being compliant with the imminent Disability regulations. Until recently it was thought none of the 15 Atlanteans of this batch existed as 214 never ventured out of the main gates of RNAS Culdrose and never showed up on any DVLA search. For the winter months 214 will be staying under cover at RNAS Culdrose until all the kitchen equipment has been removed and fitted to 131. More information and pictures of 214 will be shown on its own fleet page soon.
Volvo B6 with Plaxton Pointer bodywork number 52 (M52HOD) has joined the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group fleet following its withdrawal by Plymouth Citybus earlier this year. The plan is to completely refit the interior of the bus into a sales vehicle for the group, with the possibilities of private hire to other organisations as an info bus / exhibition unit.
The Tamar Bridge which links Cornwall and Devon, celebrated its 50th anniversary today and as a fitting tribute, the PCTPG sent Atlantean 137 along to the celebrations and to take part in the parade across the bridge. The bridge was opened to traffic on October 24th 1961, replacing the Saltash Ferry. It was officially opened by HM The Queen Mother on April 26th 1962. More info can be found at www.saltashferrylink.com.
168 had it's gearbox fixed at long last! Nigel removed the dump valve on 4th gear to check the seal, which appeared to have split again. So it was decided to bypass the dump valve and connect straight through. We tested it round the depot and found 4th gear worked lovely but 3rd gear started slipping (probably because we had to take it off to get at 4th) so back in the workshop we did the same with 3rd. We then took round depot again to test it and all was fine, so we took it to pennycomequick roundabout to test her under load uphill, and all went well!
Many of our Group members enjoyed a day out on "INVINCIBLE". The day out involved lunch at Princetown and a visit to the restored railway station at Okehampton. Thanks to Paul Laxton for the photographs shown here.
458 has been out assisting Plymouth City Council with tree lopping again this week. It seems that after the all the hard work completed in July there were still a lot of roads with low hanging trees. 458 will also be out this coming week until December 6th so keep a look out for us!
137 passed its MOT with flying colours today. Not bad for a 51-year old veteran!
Our final events for the year kicked off in great style today as we provided a free bus link between Plymouth City Centre and the Plym Valley Railway for their annual Christmas Mince Pie Specials. Newly acquired 52 was put into service as our static sales bus - the role it was taken on for - although it hasn't yet been fitted out internally. Atlantean 171 was used on the free bus link and was driven by Andy Cooksey and Paul Furse and conducted by Paul Burch and our newest Conductor, Paul Laxton. Thanks to them and also to Bobby and Robbie Darch, and Jacob Eaton for their hard work on the sales stand.
Don't worry if you missed todays event - we will also be attending Plym Valley Railways Mince Pie Specials on December 11th and 18th. We hope to see you there. More details and a bus timetable is available on our "Forthcoming Events" page.
137 and 201 provided the vital transport for guests and dignatories to HRH Princess Anne's visit to the Tamar Bridge and Saltash Guildhall today. 137 was used to take the guests to Saltash, following HRH's visit to the Tamar Bridge in recognition of the bridge's 50th Anniversary. 201 provided a free shuttle between Plymouth and Saltash while the bridge was closed off to pedestrians for security reasons.
The royal event's planning took 4 months and involved over 60 people. HRH arrived by helicopter and attended 4 events during the day. After lunch at the Guildhall she then flew on to Truro.