A MODERN COACH!!


I normally only drive vintage buses but on this occasion I found myself at the wheel of (for me !) a modern coach. I’m not sure if this is on par with Bob Dylan picking up an electric guitar or not! How did this come about? Well just helping an old friend out. I was in Shrewsbury after a short holiday with my wife in north Wales when I picked up a Facebook message. “Dave. Are you around on Tuesday?” “Yes. why?” I really must stop answering these messages! It turned out that Tom Pearce of Tamar Coaches was desperate for a driver to take a party of school children from Plymouth to Go Ape, Exeter. (No, I had to Google it as well!)

So once safely back home, time to check out the route on Google Streetview. Didn’t look too difficult, always a worry that, so I set the alarm clock for an unearthly hour and retired.

Tuesday morning and at 7:30, I’m at Tamar Coaches yard. I’ve been allocated a Volvo B10M/62 Plaxton Premiere coach.  I does cross my mind that the last time I sat behind the wheel of a similar coach was eight years ago on my PCV test! But, much like riding a bicycle, it soon comes back to you. Paperwork sorted, walkround check completed and off I set, still feeling a tad nervous. The run out to the school was fairly easy and gave me time to become accustomed to the coach. Very smooth ride, especially compared to the buses I normally drive, and quite a good turn of speed. The coach has a 6 speed manual gearbox but with synchromesh of course, and power steering.

Pick up time was 9:00. The school has a large parking area for buses but I waited outside to let the regular school buses come and go before entering. I had already been accosted by a teacher enquiring if I was her coach so once inside and turned around, I waited for the party to gather. About 40 pupils and several teachers. Soon I was given the ok to proceed and I set out for Haldon Hill, just before Exeter. Easy drive there, once I’d got out of the side street and onto the main road, then the A38 dual carriageway.

About an hour later and I’m at Go Ape. A marshall there greets me and asks if I’m staying or just dropping off? There’s a £15 parking charge for coaches but I’ve been advised to head back a mile to the service area where there’s free parking, and a chance to grab a cup of coffee. I have a three and a half hour wait so I’ve brought a book to read! A murder mystery with an apothecary as the hero. Right up my street!

I do find myself reading the book with one eye and the other keeping a watch on the clock!

Time up and back to pick up my passengers. This time there’s no sign of a marshall which means I have to move some cones to reach the drop off zone. Everyone gets back onboard, and the children are still well behaved! I do realise though that the five rear seats are much prized and the teachers have to sort out a rota.

Then back to Plymouth but not straight to the school. No, we’re off to Super Tramp. Now I thought they were a rock group. But turns out this one is a trampoline park. While the children enjoy themselves, I park outside and finish my book. (No, I didn’t work out who the murderer was!) One hour later, they all troop back and onto the coach. Then back to the school. One of the teachers enquires if I’m driving tomorrow. They have another trip but I told her this was a one off.

Only thing left was to return the coach to the yard. Unfortunately, rush hour has started, along with roadworks closing one lane of a busy road. My left leg was starting to ache by the time I got back!

Just the tacho to sign off and complete the defect book. Quite an enjoyable day and a change from my usual mode of transport. I’m back behind the wheel of an open top VR on Sunday.

Subbed!


March 16th, and I’m on the roster to drive for The South Devon Railway. Normally I’d be driving their Routemaster, RM1872 but unfortunately, she was unavailable so 1 RDV, the 1964 AEC Reliance/Harrington coach was substituted. I hadn’t driven her before, so John Keohane, the volunteer co-ordinator suggested that I come up on the Friday afternoon for some familiarisation. No problem, but it did occur to me that the last time I’d driven a manual synchromesh coach was when I passed my PCV test back in 2011! https://davemoore1.wordpress.com/2012/09/21/hold-tight-please-a-very-painful-transition-from-conducting-to-driving/  So having completed my walk round checks, I somewhat cautiously, drove the coach out of the yard. She’d passed her MOT test that morning, and I soon discovered that she’d never have failed on her brakes! Excellent, although it took me a little while to judge just how much pressure to apply to the brake pedal to get a smooth stop.

1 RDV

From the yard, it was out onto the A38 then a lap of the normal route to and from Buckfastleigh Station. The gearbox became easier as I got used to it but the lack of power steering was noticeable. I do prefer the RM!

Buckfastleigh Station

 

Having passed this hurdle, it was back in service on the Saturday. Four round trips as usual, and all went well……… Except for the last journey! Heading out of Ashburton towards Buckfastleigh, I noticed a strange noise. Seemed to be coming from the engine. I couldn’t make out what was causing it. Neither could Gordon, my conductor. Had to be the engine, as the engine speed increased, so did the noise. Looking in the mirrors, I couldn’t see anything untoward in our wake, the dashboard instruments were fine, and the coach was behaving normally. So, keep going and drive carefully. I managed to get into the station allright and bring her to a stop, still puzzled as to the cause. Then one of the front passengers, who’d been following my conversation with Gordon, stood up and said, “Hang on! That noise. It’s coming from the loudspeaker in the ceiling”! What??? Yes. The coach has a PA system with the microphone positioned by the corner of the windscreen. At some point whilst turning a corner, my arm must have caught the mike and turned it on! What I was hearing was interference from the engine dynamo! So, red face, but at least, we didn’t have to call out the fitter.

Sunday’s journeys were without incident, although the coach still had a few tricks up her sleeve! Nice also to see full loadings, no doubt helped by the better weather. She has a five speed gearbox with synchro on all gears except 1st and reverse. Fortunately, even with a full load I only had to go down to 2nd gear on the hill out of Buckfast. Not sure I wanted to attempt using 1st!

A great bus and one that I hope I’ll find myself driving again soon.

A Birthday Bash!


March 31st, and I’m at an 80th birthday party. I don’t get many invites for an 80th birthday, and this is a first for a bus! The very special old lady was AJN 825.

On Friday March 31st 1939, three Bristol K double deck buses were delivered to Westcliff on Sea Motor Services from Eastern Coach Works, Lowestoft.  AJN 825 was the last of the trio.

Now she’s had a bit of a charmed life. In 1955, she passed to Eastern National when they took over Westcliff. By 1960, they decided that she’d reached the end of her life and sold her to a scrap merchant. Lansdowne Motors of Leyton, Essex. Co-incidentally my home town. Fortunately, someone there realised that there wern’t any pre-war Bristol Ks in preservation so sent her back to Eastern national who in turn, passed her onto the Clapham Transport Museum. In 1971 she was entrusted to The Eastern national Preservation Group. Now her trip to Leyton wasn’t her only close encounter with the Grim Reaper! in December 1996 whilst in winter storage at Walton-on-the-Naze depot, the bus next to her caught fire. The heat from this fire broke her windows and buckled her panels but luckily, the woodwork didn’t ignite. In 2007, First Essex sold her to the 825 Preservation Group, (for the princely sum of £1.00!) and this is where I came into the picture. Keith Peacock, one of the group, sent an e-mail to The Isle of Wight bus museum, where I happened to be the company secretary, knowing that we had Bristol Ks in our collection and asking if I knew what the tracking measurement for a K was. I said, No, but I know a man who does! My involvment and friendship with this group stems from that e-mail!

The Old Lady’s Backside!

 

So onto the party. Very well organised, with more people attending than expected. First job of course was to get the old lady out of her barn and onto the field. Despite the fact that it was rather cold that morning, and she hadn’t been out for over a week, she started on the button. The other three double deck buses kept on the farm soon came out to join her, then five single deck buses came from further afield.

Some of the visitors

At 11:30, she was to go off on a lap of the surrounding area, and Keith Peacock very kindly allowed me the privilege of driving. It’s been over five months since I last drove a bus with a crash box, but perhaps she realised that it was her birthday as she was in a very benevolent mood! Still a wonderful, if Sparten, bus to drive. A real testament to the men at Brislington and Lowestoft.

Cutting the Cake

Back to the farm and time for the catering. Lovely spread from the Essex Lady’s Crew, but possibly more down to their wives. Once refreshed, and seen yet another diet go out of the window, time for a second journey out on AJN, this time with Keith taking the wheel.

Some of the vintage cars attending

 

Another Wormingford resident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the VIPs attending was John Lidstone. He has posted on YouTube a short video of this journey.

Far too quickly, the day came to an end. The Essex Lady was parked back in her barn ready for her next outing. All being well, I should be reunited with her on May Bank Holiday Sunday for The Ipswich to Felixstowe rally. Looking forward to that.

 

FEBRUARY 2019


North Weald Station

Well, it’s been a little while since I added to this blog. Very remiss of me. But, 2019 was only six weeks old when I found myself back in the cab of a vintage bus. The bus in question was RML 900 of The London Bus Company. That’s a long way from my Cornish home but they had arranged two one day dCPC courses and it was about time that I looked to renewing my card. Without it, I cannot carry passengers for Hire or Reward. Course was on the Monday and Tuesday and luckily, Epping Ongar Railway were looking for a driver for the Saturday.

RMLs 900 & 902

Only doing the one driving day meant that I didn’t follow my usual pattern of staying overnight at North Weald Station, instead I’d stayed near my sister in Leyton and drove up to Blake Hall in the morning.

Two RMLs were parked up in the drive, 900 being the bus on duty. And the only bus on duty! For that weekend, the 339 service, which in the summer runs from Shenfield Station to Epping, was doing a half hourly shuttle between Epping Station and North Weald. One bus yes, but two crews. First things first, cup of coffee for me and a cup of tea for my conductor, Geoff.

Do a walk round check, then we’re off to Epping although I’ve been asked to call in at North Weald to drop off some tickets for the booking office there. (I remembered!) Journey gave me time to get re-acquainted with driving a routemaster. Soon came back to me!

We arrived at Epping Station with a few minutes to spare. The station approach road was re-surfaced last year and as a result, is much improved. Only difficulty I encountered was using the turning circle.  RMLs are 30′ long, 2’6″ longer than a standard RM, and the extra length extends the wheelbase. One shunt to get the bus around. But I did notice that the drivers of the modern buses there were also failing to get around in one go.

The View From The Office – At Epping Station

Then back to North Weald Station. The timetable for this duty is a tad tight. Fine if you can keep up, but Epping High Street is notorious for congestion. I think the Gods were with me. Despite the slow moving traffic, I did manage to get back to North Weald on time, without having to step on the accelerator too hard.

Three round trips, and as I approach North Weald Station, I see the relief crew waiting to take over. Time for a break. 90 minutes!  Coffee and a bacon roll in the station cafe.

Off for a break

Eventually, my second spell of driving arrived. A bit of a longer wait as traffic in Epping was obviously getting worse. The bus came in five minutes down. So for my next three trips, it was a case of arrive at journey’s end, off load, load up and straight off again. There’s only a two to three minute layover at each end and it took me all three trips to catch up.

Two driving spells over, and that was my lot for the day. Came far too fast! Bus was a delight to drive and I hope I’ll get another duty with her later. Back to base. But with only one bus in use, the only way back was to wait an hour for the last train to Ongar and arrange a stop at Blake Hall Station.

Once there, we discovered that RML900 had developed a problem.  Fuel wasn’t  getting through to the engine. The driver described it as driving with a full load and the handbrake on! An RMC was despatched to sub for it and I followed it to North Weald as a backup if RML 900 didn’t make it back to the yard.

Wonderful to be able to drive her, before she failed. My next driving duty is with another Routemaster, 1872 for South Devon Railway.  Looking forward to that.

 

 

 

RM 1872

Hope the weather is better than last year!

EASTER 2018


And a busy three days on the buses!

GOOD FRIDAY

Good Friday found me at The South Devon Railway’s Buckfastleigh Station. As per last time, I’d agreed to meet John Keohane at the yard where RM 1872 is stored. Also there was Ex Grey Cars No.1, a 1963 AEC Harrington coach. The railway acquired this coach last year and it’s just had a class 6 MOT. Today would be its first day in revenue earning service.

John and I carried out our respective walk round checks then headed off to Buckfastleigh Station.

RM 1872 and 1 RDV at Buckfastleigh Station

For Good Friday, the buses would be operating five trips along the route, a figure of eight that goes from the station, up to Buckfast Abbey then north along the A38 where it turns south, through Ashburton town, along what was the old A38 back to Buckfast Abbey and over the hill into Buckfastleigh village before making the return to the station. Departures are at 11:35, 13:10, 14:10, 15:10 and 16:10 with each trip taking 30 minutes, provided you don’t get held up by inconsiderate drivers parking in Buckfastleigh! The plan was for me to take the first journey in the Routemaster and John to do the 13: & 15:10 trips in the coach. No problem for me, I’d get an extended lunch break! The station cafe does an excellent selection of hot food.

View of Buckfastleigh Station

L92 pulls away with the first train to Totnes

A welcoming open fire in the ticket office

Being Easter, the railway was busy and the local cadet force had been drafted in to control the car parking. The car park is quite large but access involves a 90 degree turn under an 8′ high low bridge with a single track roadway under the rails. Thus, for busy days like today, the cadets manned the checkpoint.

And, boringly (!), there were no untoward incidents whilst I was driving the bus! Day over, I headed up to Weston-super-Mare for my next driving stint.

EASTER SATURDAY

Easter Saturday saw me doing a wedding hire for Crosville Motor Services. This was my first drive for Crosville, and my first drive of a crash-box bus, this year. The driving job was a heritage equivalent of a spread-over. Collect a party from an address in Worle, transport them to The Grand Pier, go back to the depot, return after the wedding and carry the guests back to the starting point. A relatively easy assignment but it involved travelling to the north eastern suburbs of Weston, somewhere I’d not been before. So, taking advantage of the fact that I would be in Weston fairly early on the Friday evening, I had a brief drive around the area checking out a route.

972EHW awaits her passengers in Worle

Saturday morning, and I had a bit of a lie-in! But time soon came to find my bus and get going. The bus was 972 EHW, a  Bristol Lodekka new to Bristol Omnibus in 1959. Usual walk round checks done, collect my conductor, James, then head out. First drive of a crash box this year but soon discovered that I hadn’t forgotten how to drive this type. All gear changes went smoothly, some more smooth than others!

First pick up point was a private house in Worle but on a bus route so no problem getting to it. Wedding hires rarely go to time, and this was no exception! I arrived on time but had to wait for all the guests to get themselves ready. Photographer was there of course, and I found myself being asked to pose in front of the bus. http://www.emmabatemanphotography.com/ Trust I didn’t damage her camera too much. https://www.facebook.com/EmmaBatemanPhotography

Then finally everyone was onboard and I could take them down to The Grand Pier.

No problems along the route, and an empty bus stop by the pier for me to stop and disembark my passengers. Then the spread-over. Four hours to wait back at Crosville’s depot. Chance for a bite to eat, and a book to read.

My job ticket asked me to pick up the guests after the ceremony at 16:45. I arrived just before then and waited. As I said, wedding hires rarely go to time. It was gone five before anyone came off the pier and walked towards my bus. Once all were safely onboard, I could transport them back to the house in Worle. Finally, I got the bus, and James, back to the Crosville depot. Fill out all the paperwork and head off to my next job. Back at Buckfastleigh!

Safely back at the depot!

EASTER SUNDAY

 

Again, I met John Keohane at the yard where RM 1872 is stabled. Plan was as per Friday, to take both vehicles and use in service. I kept the RM, John had the coach. Weather back at Buckfastleigh wasn’t too bad, no rain, or snow! Thus the railway was proving popular. The station has a large car park but on good days, it can fill up. Today was a good day! Operation Park & Ride kicked in. The plan for today was for me to do the 11:35 departure on the normal route then John would take over whilst I went to Park & Ride. The cadets were controlling everything, and doing a great job. If I needed to contact them, they had provided me with a radio and told me my handle was “Playtime!” They assured me that this was a military term for anything related to transport, but as it was also April Fool’s Day, I wasn’t totally convinced!

Easter Sunday Scene at Buckfastleigh Station

Oscar, the station cat

Ready for service.

So, once back from the first service journey, the bus blinds were set to Special, and I drove over to the park & ride site where a small queue of intending passengers had gathered.

Special. But aren’t all Routemasters? Ready for Park & Ride

Load up and make for the station. Shortest route would have been through Buckfastleigh village but not wanting to get stuck behind yet another badly parked car, I headed back the way I had come via Buckfast Abbey. There’s a wonderful view of The Abbey as you drive over the hill, something I miss on the regular journeys as I’m looking the other way. Two more trips on the park & ride then time for a break.

John seemed to be having good loads on his coach but I was concentrating on park & ride. By the middle of the afternoon, I thought I might chance a return from the park & ride site to the station via Buckfastleigh village. I thought I was in a parallel universe! No badly parked cars in the village, in fact, no parked cars at all! I never had such an easy run through the village.

The normal last service run from Buckfastleigh Station is 16:10 but on park & ride, we wait for the last train to come in from Totnes at 18:10 unless the car park has emptied. Today, we had to wait for the last train. But not a problem, just told my wife that I’d be a bit late home!

Easter Monday? Back home and some time with my long suffering wife! Not a bus in sight.

 

 

The Polar Express!


It’s been a long time since I sat down behind the wheel of a bus, and even longer since I updated this blog! But March 17th saw me up at Buckfastleigh Station on The South Devon Railway driving their Routemaster, RM 1872.

I’d arranged to meet the railway’s volunteer co-ordinator, John Keohane, at the yard where the bus is stored, and set about doing the walk round checks. Nothing untoward, so I headed out of the yard and on to Buckfastleigh. As I said, it’s been a little while since I last drove a bus, this was in fact, my first trip of 2018. But Routemasters are fantastic buses to drive, and I very quickly felt happy with her.

RM 1872

I arrived at Buckfastleigh Station by 10:30, and hour before the first journey. Time to pop into the station master’s office for a quick cuppa!

Then out in service. If you recall, in the week preceding, temperatures had reach 14c. By the weekend, they were down to zero! I normally try to dress the part of a vintage bus driver, white shirt, black trousers, dust jacket and tie advertising The Isle of Wight Bus Museum. (http://iwbusmuseum.org.uk) If it gets cold, I can add a green jumper. This day, I had all that plus a large overcoat and gloves! Despite the cold, I found that I had some passengers, wanting a ride around the area. Gordon Hall was my conductor and once he’d given me two bells, I set off.

The route we follow is out of the station and up to Buckfast Abbey.

Buckfast Abbey Coach Park

Then onto the A38 up to Ashburton, through the town and back towards Buckfast Abbey following the old A38, past the Abbey gates and over the hill into Buckfastleigh village, then into the station. First journey passed without incident. Then there’s a break of about an hour before the next trip, so set the tacho to rest, and had a bite to eat in the station cafe.

Refreshed, time for the second trip. Again without incident but on my return, I was about to leave the cab when I saw Pete Legg standing by there. Pete owns RM 2116. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1542472159323319/)    If I had have known Pete was on my bus beforehand, I might have been a tad nervous! But we chatted about the buses, and it would appear that Pete enjoyed the ride.

14:10 and the third trip of the day. Third time unlucky? Everything went well until I reached Buckfastleigh village. Notorious for its narrow streets, and inconsiderate parkers! Turning into Chapel Street, and someone has left his car on the pavement and jutting out onto the road. One glance at the gap he’s left told me that I was never going to get through! Nothing for it but to sit and wait for his return. He  wasn’t long coming back, and looked suitably embarrassed at the hold up he’d caused. Then turning into Station Road, where there is a designated parking area, I encountered another car that didn’t think there was any need to fit within the marked space! A tight squeeze but I managed to get by. so, slightly late back to the station. Snow was starting to fall by this time but nothing serious, or laying on the ground.

A Bit of Snow!

No further incidents fortunately on the last trip then I took the bus back to its base and returned to Buckfastleigh Station where I found I was in time for the last trip on the railway to Totnes and back. Something I normally never manage to achieve. Pleasant change to let someone else do the driving.

Then into my motorhome where I had permission to spend the night in the station yard.

Start of the day.

Sunday Morning at Buckfastleigh Station Yard

The weather forecast for Sunday wasn’t good! I woke up to find that it had snowed overnight but although the hills and fields around me were white, the roads looked ok. At 9:30, John and I drove over the route to check the conditions. As at the station, all the roads were fine so we agreed to run the bus as per the timetable with John telling me that if I felt the weather had deteriorated later on, pull the bus off the road. Well by 10:15, nothing had changed. Still a few snow flurries but the roads were clear, So I set off to the yard to collect the bus. Usual walk round checks. Everything was fine and I got going back to Buckfastleigh. However, the snow started to fall heavier just as I left, and got progressively worse the closer I got to Buckfastleigh. I’m driving on the A38 and I can see the snow is now beginning to lay on the carriageway itself. Not good. I made it to the station where I found John waiting for me. After another fifteen minutes, it was obvious the snow wasn’t going to let up so we cancelled the service and I made tracks, (literally!) back up the A38. By the time I arrived, the visibility from the cab was becoming dangerous limited. Any doubts I had as whether I’d made the right decision evaporated by the time I reached the yard. The drive back to Buckfastleigh Station in my motorhome was bad enough, and I couldn’t get into the yard because of the lying snow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td2W0BgpSk8&feature=youtu.be  I had to leave the van on the road and walk to the station buildings to hand the bus keys over.

Back at Base

L92 comes in to Buckfastleigh Station

I’m down to drive for the railway again over Easter, but worryingly, the papers are reporting that The Beast from The East might return then!!

 

Felixstowe and Back!


This turned out to be a brilliant weekend but nearly didn’t happen. The event was the 47th Ipswich Felixstowe Historic Vehicle Run organised by The Ipswich Transport Museum.  I went to last year’s event for the first time and drove AJN 825, the 1939 Bristol K of Westcliff on sea Motor Services. I was hoping to drive her again this year but a week beforehand, I got the sad news from one of her owners that she was off the road with fuel problems. What to do? We already had our dog booked into the kennels, and my wife Vivianne had arranged to meet up with a cousin of hers who lived in Colchester. So we decided to go ahead and have a long weekend in Essex/Suffolk. Then on the Tuesday evening, I get another phone call from Keith Peacock, one of her owners. AJN is still off the road but she shares her home in north Essex with two Crossley buses, and they are going. Would we like to come along? And, there’s a possibility of a drive! Keith knows how to twist my arm!

So we drop the dog off at the kennels and head east. Sunday morning find us at a secret location, outside a barn containing vintage buses. AJN still looks poorly but work is in hand to rectify her. Also there are the two Crossley buses. GR9007, a 1947 bus originally with Sunderland Corporation, and VV9146   a 1946 bus originally with Northampton Corporation. Both buses have been restored by John Jackson and Tony Melia, and they are both stunning.

Someone asks me what I’m driving, but I have to say I’ve no idea which bus I’ll be travelling on let alone if I’ll be driving. Then Keith appears with the information that he’ll drive GR9007 up to Ipswich and would I like to drive her in the run to Felixstowe? Would I??!!

We all pile on and Keith drives off to the start point. He tells me afterwards that that is only the second time he’s driven her. He makes a marvelous job of it. No pressure on me then!

The start time from Christchurch Park is 11am and we arrive in time for a quick look at the other entrants, not just buses. Vintage cars and commercial vehicles are present along with motor bikes, scooters and cycles. There’s also time for a bacon roll and drink, plus a visit to the amenities!

Then it’s my turn in the hot seat. I have driven a Crossley before, but only one, once! So get to grips with the controls and various switches. The marshalls indicate that I should get going. First problem is trying to avoid the crowds. People are uncomfortably close to my wheels, on both sides. But, slowly does it then out onto the road. Full credit to the museum, the route is very well signposted. A bit like the HCVS’s London to Brighton run, people are lining the route and waving as we pass. Slowly! At times, I’m struggling to get out of 2nd gear. And when I do, it’s obvious that I’m a bit rusty! I think the last time I drove a crash box was last September. But the Crossley isn’t bad, with quicker changes possible than on Bristols. Just one hiccup, when I tried to change down from 4th to 3rd and missed it. I had a couple of attempts but soon realised I wasn’t going to find it so nothing else to do except stop, engage 2nd and try again. Embarrassing, yes, but not as embarrassing as having to tell the owner you’ve damaged his gearbox!

The finish is along Felixstowe sea front and I’m asked to park on the seaward side. Very relieved to have made it without incident. Who’s going to drive back to Essex? Keith asks me if I’d like to! What a question.

We have a few hours in Felixstowe before we head back. Plenty of time for a drink, Coke in my case! And time to wander around the town.

Just after 4, it’s time to make tracks. I have to reverse the bus to avoid a pavement jutting out but, with quite a few people watching me, I stall it! Cue, laughter from my passengers! And Keith calling out, Keep it running, Dave! Take 2. Off we go, and on the return leg, I’m finding the gearbox easier to handle. Route home is vis the A14 out of Felixstowe then the A12 south. This time, I can get up a bit more speed. All 30mph of it! And along a 70mph dual carriageway. The route goes over The Orwell Bridge and there are wonderful views from the bridge as you pass over it, so I’m assured! Keith does advise me to keep my speed below 30mph which is fine except the steering wheel hub is directly in line with the speedometer! I wonder if when the bus was in service, the drivers ever looked at the speedo.

No incidents along the way and I get her safely back to base. I’m happy to let Tony Melia reverse her back into the barn. It’s been a marvelous drive, and I didn’t want to spoil it by backing into something!

Thanks must go to John Jackson for allowing me the privilege of driving his wonderful bus.