Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Now Available in Green

T499 completed its metamorphosis from American Red Cross grey into the three tone green livery of the pre war Green Line coach fleet. We pulled out all the stops to have her ready for her first trip out in the new colours and indeed her first trip into central London since 1954 to attend the Year of the Bus Cavalcade and display in Regent Street last Sunday. Here she is looking in resplendent on Lambeth Palace Road in a photo by Peter Zabek, prior to setting off in the first tranche of buses on the road run to Regent Street

I'm pleased to report she performed as well as she looks and she now moves onto being an exciting new addition to our private hire fleet.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Projects finish, projects start

 So after a good long while in the restoration bay, having been acquired as an on location cafe RCL2226 has finally been finished and joins the private hire fleet. It was new in May 1965 and having first been stored at nearby Grays depot it then worked from Reigate and Godstone before finding itself in a scrapyard in Yorkshire by March 1979. Saved from oblivion by London Transports needs for some extra Routemasters she was put back to work in the capital for a further five years before being sold and converted to a cafe. Acquired by us, once again from a scrap yard in 2006, she has been an 'on/off' project but the need for an extra Routemaster for summer work saw the final push take place.

 So with the RCL out of her long term bay, there was a gap for something else. So in went 1944 built utility Daimler D27. Originally delivered to LT in 1944 she entered service at Merton, where she operated until withdrawn in 1952. The utility bodies were only built for short life spans but the chassis were still good, so a number of this batch were bought by Southend Transport who rebodied them with Massey's very distinctive bodies in 1953. They gave good service with 'The Corporation' until 1962 when this one was sold to Essex Police and used as a safety demonstration unit. By the early 1970s it had entered preservation but in recent times had fallen into a deteriorating condition and was acquired by us in November 2011. Whilst the body is generally pretty good, the rear end and staircase is completely rotten and is being stripped back as can be seen from this image.

 So another favourite is T499 which for our running day operated in the temporary American Red Cross livery. Well there is a lot of difference between the finish of a wartime look and a pre war coach so much needed doing including the addition of the brackets for the route running boards which as can be seen from this image were just going on at the time. However, this image is a few weeks old and...
 ... now she is back with us in pre war Green Line livery. Now I won't ruin the surprise as she is intended to debut at this Sundays Year of the Bus Cavalcade and display in Regent Street, but this image gives you a sneak preview... 
 And as the T came back from paint, another long term project departed for paint. MD60 is now running well, a number of electrical problems had been found and identified and are now all resolved and she made the 15 mile journey to the paint shop without any issues. The vehicle is an impressive piece of kit and I am sure will be a welcome addition to the preservation scene and will bring back memories for all those who remember these beasts in service.

Of course part and parcel of running such a fleet is the constant tidying up, repairing, replacing and repainting of vehicles. With the Year of the Bus event this weekend we are tidying up various bits and pieces. RT3232 got touched by a van on the very last tube strike day, so that was repaired, RF319 has needed a new exhaust system, whilst three RMs have just gone through MOT. We also have just done an inspection on our latest acquistion which is our oldest double deck to date in the fleet but which does require some fairly significant 'freshening up' but I will add something on that next month...