Work has restarted on 214 following the Christmas break. The front and rear roof domes have been repaired and are now ready for sanding down at a later date. The rear dome came into contact with a glider wing in the final months of its life at RNAS Culdrose which punctured a few holes, either side of the emergency exit door. The front dome had many holes drilled through it where weather apparatus was fitted. Work has moved on to repairing the front headlight panel now. Meanwhile a problem starting 214’s engine has been resolved by removing the fuel filters, which were absolutely thick with dirt, and cleaning of the injectors. New fuel filters and an oil change together with attention to a minor fuel leak will be happening imminently. Meanwhile, lots of progress has been taking place on 9 with some images to show recent improvements, together with seat frames now being ready for painting on 162.
During February, 214’s wheels were replaced with a set of freshly painted black ones, which also had better tyre tread. The front wheel trims were stripped of red paint and a set of rear wheel trims were sourced from Manchester and both will be painted and fitted at a later date. Meanwhile work continues on the repanelling, with attention to finishing off the front panel ready for refitting.
March 2016 has seen the top deck seats complete on 182, Bobby Darch's newly acquired Volvo B6 W604 PAF successfully passed its MOT, pass and some cracking progress on our vehicles. 102 was driven back to Colebrook without a hitch, under her own steam too! Meanwhile a working weekend on 9 has resulted in superb progress and even being moved, under her own power.
Firstly, an exiting new development this month sees East Lancs bodied 138 (VJY138V) join the PCTPG. See The Fleet page for a link to 138's History. Work has progressed well on 458's new engine which is the old one from East Lancs bodied Atlantean 153 (ATK153W) which was scrapped in Cornwall last year. It has been converted from power-steering to non-power-steering, and broken pipes and engine mounts have been replaced along with the torque converter. Its almost at a point where it can go onto 458, but this can only happen after the gearbox is re-fitted. Meanwhile 214 has been shifted outside to enable messy jobs to take place. The inside panels have started to be sanded down ready for repaint while work continues on exterior repanelling.
214’s brakes have had some time spent on them and as a result they are working a lot better. The rear brakes weren’t working at all and were completely seized up. They have now been freed and greased up. In the future, in order to be fit enough for an MOT they will need to be completely stripped but this will be done when it’s time for an MOT. The engine repairs, in particular to the diesel pump, has been finished off and a new seal had to be sourced and fitted to fix a fuel leak which had developed in it. Inside, the regency cream panelling up the staircase, as well as the crimson side panels below the upper deck windows have been sanded down, revealing some very colourful graffiti! This is in preparation for repainting during June. The original seat frames have also started to be rubbed down which is a lengthy process in itself as there are 28 to do in total. Over the next few months these will be repainted and fitted back onto the bus.
June has seen a big push towards vehicle preparation for our weekend events in July. Regular working parties on both Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month has resulted in almost all of our fleet being cleaned, tidied, and ready to go. We also pay our sincere thanks to our in-house mechanic, Martin from Plymouth Commercial Breakdown Services, for his extensive efforts in getting our fleet mechanically up and running. 182 is at Milehouse pending MOT and repaint, while Paul Burch has been busy preparing our Setrights ready for the weekend events, and Eric Mansfield & Roger Matthews have been hard at work continuing applying paint to 335. It's all coming together!
After a lot of behind the scenes planning and months of preparation the weekend finally arrived and, with a huge sigh of relief, so too did the summer weather.
By Saturday morning Bretonside was once again roaring to the sound of Leyland engines and by lunch time was awash with the colours of its heyday, City Transport red and Western National green, with a hint of Devon General maroon too.
As planned around 1230 the Cavalcade of coaches, organised jointly between the Devon General Omnibus Trust and the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group, that had left Exeter bus station some 3 hours earlier began to arrive at Bretonside bringing yet more colour and variety with vehicles and operators from all eras from the 1950s to current day being represented. The event was officially opened/started by the Deputy Lord Mayor.
All afternoon in the glorious summer sun people took trips out on a variety of buses and coaches to destinations like Mount Batten the Hoe and Ivybridge as well as Tavistock. While enthusiasts were able to photograph vehicles from many vantage points.
After a social event for PCTPG members and visiting owners and drivers on Saturday evening there was still another full day of events on the Sunday.
Again in beautiful summer sunshine, this time at The George park and ride site on the outskirts of Plymouth a second day of vintage and classic buses joined by some newer counterparts was to be enjoyed.
Visitors also took open top bus rides, enjoyed ice-creams and were able to shop at a variety of stalls in addition to viewing the classic cars and commercial vehicles in attendance.
Another great family day out was enjoyed by many with bus rides to The Hoe, The Moors and Princetown, Tavistock and Tamerton Foliot and Tamar Bridge.
We would like to thank each and every person who attended and supported these events; by either buying a programme on the day, or being one of many people who gave up a great deal of their own time to volunteer for a range of roles from vehicle preparation to conducting. We could not have held these events without each of you kindly giving up your time.
The Saturday event was kindly sponsored by National Express, while Sunday was sponsored by Plymouth Citybus. And last but by no means least, thanks to Plymouth City Council for their support.
In August after the joys of the rally, we have seen a fair amount of minor tinkering and touching up work done on a number of vehicles. Dart 42 has seen seats swapped from withdrawn sister vehicles due to be scrapped, while 178 has had the seats removed and the roof fixed/sealed ready to be painted.
September saw Plymouth's new Coach Station open, and to mark the event, the Plymouth City Transport Preservation Group were asked to have a presence and mark the event with a departure from Bretonside Bus & Coach Station and arrival at Mayflower Coach Station using preserved AEC Harrington, 100 VRL, with our thanks to member Roger Thomas for bringing his superb vehicle for all to enjoy. We also attended Crosville Bus Rally and Running Day using our Sales Bus 52; an enjoyable day was had by all who attended. And last but by no means least, PCTPG are this month pleased to announce another new arrival, fresh out of service with its most recent operator Rail Riverlink group member Steve has secured convertible open top Bristol VR UWV614S which will be arriving at our Colebrook Base shortly. UWV614S will make appearances across the region in the 2017 rally season.
A fairly quiet month, but not without some important news. Atlantean 138 arrived back home (almost!) It is currently stored at Winkleigh, and will remain there for a while before returning to Plymouth in the new year.
We ended 2016 on a real high with another vehicle acquistition in the form of Dennis Dart SLF 27, S127 FTA. Plymouth's only S reg Dart, it has been saved for preservation by member Jason Beverley.