With the light switch wired in and carpet tiles relaid the locker room is now virtually ready for use. A few more lockers need the doors cleaning and the carpet tiles will benefit from a shampoo but our first room is completed. Next......... the rest room!
Meanwhile, 162, TTT162X has returned to our Colebrook Depot after a spell at Milehouse for on-going air valve and gearbox repairs. 162 was, on Saturday 24th January, driven back to our Colebrook Depot entirely under her own power, and performed absolutely faultlessly.
Sunday was a busy day with a hive of activity. 335 had its batteries fitted and Terry Whittard, Roger Matthews and Eric Mansfield were attending to minor jobs. The ongoing work on 89 and preparing and refitting the seat frames was carried out by Mike and Rebecca Bojanitz assisted by Mikes brother in law. Dave Jenkins, Philip and Ed Heseltine continue work on 9. Mike Delbridge assisted by Alan and Paul Stevens coaxed the Mk1 escort into life and Mike Harwood has made a start in preparing the rest room and will be aided by Aaron Underwood and Jason Beverley. Mike also took away some seat frames to sand and paint and has begun a regular routine to work through these outstanding jobs.
Meanwhile, a new Vehicle Status board has been created, allowing us to keep track of where each vehicle is located, and in what condition; e.g. awaiting MOT, at Milehouse for repairs etc.
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We held the first of this year's Working Parties at our Colebrook Depot today, with an aim of re-organising the inside parking following our recent acquisitions, to create suitable working and access space around each vehicle, and to clear some space for those members of our fleet who are due to return to Colebrook in the near future, such as 162, 131 and 458. A few other tasks on individual vehicles were completed, such as preparing C412 HJN's batteries for charge, and our locker room comes even closer to completion.
February has been a very busy month for us behind the scenes. Hours and hours of work has gone into many of our vehicles and some fantastic progress has been made. Seats have been further restored on 89 in addition to stripping paint and numerous other jobs; all result in this vehicle being that bit closer to returning to the roads. Both upper and lower deck seats have been repainted and refitted. All bases and backs are now in.
Dave Jenkins travelled down from Wales in mid-February for three days of work on 9. The cab window has been re-fitted which compliments the excellent job Ed has done inside the cab. A ticket machine has been fitted, more paint has been stripped off and some red undercoating has been applied.
162 has seen considerable progress this month with Ed Heseltine, Jason Beverley and Rob Darch all putting in hours of work to get a variety of odd jobs done which all add up to make a big difference. This includes re-fitting hinges, the pay as you enter sign, and attention to various other internal jobs. After which, the vehicle was moved over to the corner for a wash and tidy up.
168 has seen further progress made on re-instating the side destination box; the glass has been replaced, the box cleaned up and a new edge for the box is being manufactured, then 168 only awaits new number blinds.
And finally.... Laurence Mayhew's Leyland Olympian C412 HJN was fired up and taken out for a run around the City before heading to Milehouse Depot for attention to be given to a sticking accelerator/throttle issue. This was only possible with huge thanks to Oakley's employee Ian Emmett who happened to be passing and lent a hand to get the batteries back in. Ian spent a good hour or so helping us out, and without him being so kind, C412 HJN would have most likely been unable to go out for a run. This should be resolved within the coming weeks to allow this vehicle and Andy Cooksey's Volvo B6 M53 HOD to be taken to Penzance Running Day on April 19th.
Ian Byrne and Tom Michaels got together this morning to get 185, F602GVO up and running. After a few attempts, the engine started which isn't surprising given the recent very cold weather, poor batteries and being parked up for a prolonged period of time. The chance was also taken to top up the engine oil, water, coolant and anti-freeze. 185 was able to be driven just forwards and backwards to keep things moving and get the brakes used again; which were actually very good.Next on the list is awaiting for some new batteries to arrive, and once installed, attention can be given to a few minor electrical issues before an MOT. A small step - but the most important thing was we got her moving, engine running and warmed her up after months of being parked outside in all weathers!
Thanks to members Den Fairchild and Mike Harwood who spent a day assisting in the ongoing efforts to transform our premises. The Charger was repaired owing to the connections coming away from the clips, (which has already been back in action!), the new whiteboard for the fleet status to be displayed on has been erected and the oils chart recovered from the Milehouse raised depot has been fitted up. Thanks guys! Superb job.
Group Member Ian Byrne's Atlantean 131, STK 131T was submitted for an MOT today. Unfortunately she didn't quite pass - failing mainly on the brakes which was purely as a result of lack of use, and no time to warm her up before the MOT. However, all is in hand, and a re-test is on the cards in the very near future, following some adjustments. While her current MOT is still valid, the chance was taken to take her out for a test run around Plymouth; heading to Tamerton Foliot and back to the City Centre. Thanks to Jason Beverley for the pictures.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, plenty of work has been happening on TTT 162X. On-going work on the gearbox and dump valves has been happening over the last few months, with cracking progress being made.
However, as of Saturday 10th January 2015, all five gears are fully operational. This is a fantastic achievement, and means 162 is well on course to be on the roads in the very near future. Members Jason Beverley, Rob Darch, Tom Pearce and Plymouth Citybus Car and Commercial staff have been working tirelessly on 162 for the past few months, and we are all delighted that it has paid off. We look forward to seeing 162 on the road very shortly.
A bit of a round-up on developments and news in the last month or so. As ever, some cracking progress is being made on 89 which has now reached the stage of paint being applied. MOT work is also on-going with 53, 105 and 185. 53 is currently at Milehouse awaiting an MOT this week. With thanks to Plymouth Commercial Breakdown Services, 105 received an inspection earlier in the week for its MOT today. Members Ian Byrne and Tom Michaels have continued working on the electrical issues on 185 and with an excellent effort from Ian, the air gauges and low air buzzer are both finally working. A few very worn fuses are in need of replacing, and one battery is continuing to discharge.
Our restroom moves ever closer to completion and should be ready for use in the next few days. Meanwhile, 162 has been taken out for a successful test run around the City, with the via blind re-instated with thanks to group member Paul Burch.
Members got together today at our regular working party and gave our sales vehicle a thorough polish to provide a protective coating and maintain its appearance. The inside was emptied to allow a clean of the windows and floor and the opportunity taken to compile a thorough stock list and reorganise our sales items. Additionally Aaron Underwood has assisted in painting our new rest room which is shortly to come into use. Thanks to all who helped, Ed and Philip Heseltine, Eric Mansfield, Aaron Underwood, Terry New, The Bojanitz clan, Tom Pearce, Jason Beverley, Trev Jackett, Roger Matthews and Ralph Delbridge.
We attended the annual Penzance Running Day with Leyland Atlantean 171 and Dennis Dart 105. The nice weather meant it was a busy day for not just our own vehicles, but for all the vehicles who provided free rides to Mousehole, Newlyn, Marazion, Lands End, St. Ives and around Penzance. This event has gone from strength to strength for the organisers and no doubt we will be back again next year. Thank you to Bobby Darch and Eddie Watkins for supplying their vehicles today and to the owners, drivers and conductors of all the vehicles who took part.
Work is ongoing with 137 replacing the door cushion rubbers in readiness for July. Also a section of rotten floor on the lower deck of 182 is being attended to. The return to passenger use of 182 after its tree lopping role continues with retrimmed seating being installed and all painted frames re-painted. Colebrook depot caretaker, Mike Harwood, has been busy extending the decrepit 1970's galley kitchen into a more open facility and is removing the prefabricated sectioned panels to the adjacent room.
The rotted section of floor on 182 has been cut out and a new piece fitted. Floor covering can then be stuck down and the remaining two lower deck seats refitted.
We attended Taunton Rally today with 105; which Bobby Darch very kindly made available following a last-minute fault with 131 which we hoped to attend with. Thanks to Bobby for once again saving the day with 105, and we hope those who attended agreed it was a good day out.
Work continues on 162 with the windscreen swapped from 170 making a big difference to the vehicles appearance. 117 was also towed away today to Plymouth Commercial Breakdowns in order to be stripped for parts to aid the restoration of former Western National Dart 4420.
137 is seen here at Clearbrook on route/timetable planning for our Rally on July 26th. Full details of our connecting service to and from the City Centre should be made public within the next week or so.
The group today took ownership of its first low-floor vehicle; Dennis Dart 10, N110 UTT. This will provide disabled visitors access to events such as our Rally on July 26th; whereas step-entrance vehicles would have prevented them. Parts and seats have been swapped to return it to 'as-delivered' spec, with our thanks to Plymouth Citybus for their support. For a full history, visit the fleet page.
Graham Tout, Derek Doney, Daniel Dawson, Dave Bryant, Jason Beverley and Rebecca Bojanitz assisted Ralph following the acquisition of the ancillary equipment for the Foden and other misc equipment including some exhaust hoses to help reduce the diesel fumes within the depot building. Derek also helped organise the uniform rail in readiness for the rally and Dave Bryant attended to maintenance of our setrights to ensure their availability for the rally as well. Thank you all!
A working party was held today to clean and prepare 178 & 7552 for the upcoming Plymouth Bus Rally. Thanks to those who came along to help.
The interior of 7552 was given another clean whilst the stock was removed, while Daniel Dawson assisted Ralph with washing 137 and Fire Services were employed to carry out a full inspection of all our extinguishers to ensure if needed they would function. Lastly we attended the CItybus driver of the year event. Thanks to Jason Beverley, Keith Helley, Peter Heath, Eric and Daniel for supporting us and manning the sales vehicle.
A really productive working day was held at Colebrook today, as preparations for the Rally continue. Batteries were removed from 53 and 175 ready for charging, while 335, 168, 53 and 105 were all cleaned inside and out. A really useful and enjoyable day was had by all, with nice weather and good company. Thanks to Jason Beverley, Tom Pearce, Tom Michaels, Eric Mansfield, Daniel Dawson and Bobby Darch for helping out today, and bringing us that step closer to being ready for the Rally.
Today was the day of our long-awaited Rally and Running Day. Despite the weather it was a great success and an enjoyable day was had by all. We attended with 7552 in use as a Control Vehicle, 105, 131, 137, 162, 168, 171, 178 and 34812. We took home three awards and ran trips to Yelverton, Princetown, Tavistock, Tamerton Foliot and more. A selection of highlights can be seen above. Thanks to all those who supported us to make the day the success it was.
August has been a busy month for us; both behind the scenes and out in the public eye. This month has seen 34812 and 162 both pass their MOTs - the latter has recently had a full oil and filter change. 89 has been out attending multiple events across the region, while more recently, we exhibited 131 at the Bus Users UK event held in Plymouth City Centre.
Group Member Ian Byrne used his Atlantean 131, STK131T, for a wedding of one of his close friends. As usual, 131 performed faultlessly and a great day was had by the newly wed couple's family and friends.
Today saw owner members Jason Beverley and Tom Pearce take 162 out for a members only trip around Plymouth re-creating former PCT routes. A great day was had by all.
We attended the annual Winkleigh Open Day with 168 and our Sales Bus, 7552. 168 performed impeccably; providing a comfortable and enjoyable journey for the many who travelled with us, and enjoyed a good day out.
No.10 provided transport and took 33 members on the annual Chairmans trip. This time to the Babbacombe Cliff Railway, Torquay. Once owned and run by Torquay Tramways this magnificent piece of Victorian engineering took our members to Oddicombe beach where one brave soul, Allan Collins, braved the sea for a dip! Several others also partook in liquid enjoyment but from a pint measure! We then continued into Paignton where tea could be obtained. Thanks to all those who came and made the day enjoyable. As could be seen the owner of the Toyota is unable to understand the significance of 'Buses' being painted on the road. Still we managed to squeeze in anyhow.
The new battery chargers have arrived and were put to use straight away charging up the booster batteries. Roger Matthews has been at work refitting batteries to 335.
Work has continued on 182 with the original steel blind box fittings removed and new ones installed to permit the installation of an electronic blind.A new panel has also been cut to shape with a narrow and wide aperture similar in size to that of the dart and B6's in our fleet.
137 was submitted for mot and passed with no advisories.The opportunity was taken to measure up for 102's new batteries as well. This Winter will see the fuel issue addressed so restoration can commence in time for Summer 2016. The latest addition to the fleet; Bobby Darch's Volvo B6, W604 PAF was also on Saturday moved to Colebrook. We wish him the very best of luck with this increasingly rare vehicle. We also held our Tramways by Twilight event which was well attended by over 40 members. 137 and 131 were used for what proved a very enjoyable evening for all.
With the imminent closure of Bretonside Bus Station, we were incredibly fortunate to take ownership of the old classic sign for the Bretonside canteen, which is now safely stored at Colebrook. This is a significant piece of transport heritage and we pay our sincere thanks to Plymouth City Council; especially Philip Heseltine and Mike Crewe for making this possible.