Wednesday, 25 April 2018

2018 Season Starts....

But without my vehicles taking an active part.

Detling did indeed come and go, as did the Brooklands Spring Gathering.

The siezed alternator on the coach turned out to be very broken as you can
see on the right - something very catastrophic must have occured to crack
the casing like that!

A replacement was eventually sourced from a very helpful company in
West Lancashire and the coach is now mobile again.

Once my pocket recovers I'll be able to look at getting the original work done to fix the faulty air dryer and push on to finally get the MOT done.

It is hoped to get the coach fully fit in time for the Essex Bus Rally
(Shameless plug: but time will tell.....

Monday, 19 March 2018

Pre season update

Its been hard to get the vehicles ready for the 2018 season due to the recent adverse weather we've been experiencing - snow in late March is bonkers!

I had attempted to get the coach to a bus mechanic last week as it has an air dryer fault which needs fixing, and whilst there a pre MOT inspection was planned.

However, when I started her up there was an awful squeal and lots of black smoke with an acrid burning smell attached - I geniuely thought it was on fire. Obviously it was stopped and electrically isolated straight away. On close inspection it was found that the alternator has siezed solid and the black smoke was being generated by the rubber belt that's driven by the engine trying to move the said siezed alternator.

Oh the joys of preservation!

Unfourtnately, aside from the obvious financial pain and time needed to put this issue right; the dead coach is currently blocking in 4 other motors - one of them is my Olympian.

The first event planned to attend is the South East Bus Festival at Detling on 7th April. As things currently stand, this is looking doubtful.

Monday, 1 January 2018

New year news

It's been a over a year since I lasted posted on this blog, and my fleet has been through some changes in that time.....

In terms of events attended, 2017 was the quietest year since I got into the preservation scene 7 years ago. The big issue has been lack of money - increased monthly storage costs since being forced to move due to redevelopment  of my previous storage location at Yeldham being the main problem.

So the decision was made in October 2017 to reduce my fleet from four vehicles to two. I was also paying for a spare space - "just in case something else comes along" - but in reality this was being used to store all the equipment associated with my Basildon Bus Rally. With that equipment moved to a mates garage I was able to free up 3 storage spaces and slash my storage costs back to a level which is more manageble and thus allows me to attend more events.

The decision to reduce the fleet was the easy bit - actually choosing which two to sell was initially the hard part, though I used this rationale in the end:

I had two double deckers and two single deckers, so it made sense to keep one of each.

Once I'd decided to split them into the categories of doubles and singles, the choices became a little easier to make;  the deckers were relatively straightforward in that DAF P337ROO had a brake issue that needed sorting but which I couldn't afford to put right, and I'd started repainting Olympian H105GEV into its former Grey Green livery (cheaper to do as I use Dulux and a roller!). So the DAF was put up for sale.

The choice between the single deckers was easier still - 45mph automatic Dart (J317XVX) or 70mph six speed manual B10M (D302PEV) - the B10M was originally bought to give me the "longer distance rallies motor", so the Dart lost out and was also put up for sale.......the Dart was my first bus which I'd previously sold and instantly regretted. On the previous occasion I got it back after six months; although this time I needed to let them both go because it makes finacial sense, will I regret my actions again?.....

As it happens two buyers from within the same group came forward - the group is based in Northern England and so the chances of me seeing the two vehicles again in the flesh is quite remote (though Showbus 2018 may well provide the oportunity for a timely reunion). This is in contrast to when I sold the Dart previously as it was kept in the same storage place and was thus constantly 'in my face'. I'm happy with the outcome this time around though as not only are the vehicles far enough away to not be a constant reminder of my loss, but the new owners really appreciate the livery and history of the vehicles; they've found a really good home.

So that was that........or so I thought.....

I'd always fancied a coach but I also had this self imposed criteria where I would only buy vehicles I had an association with - this limited my interest in coaches and most I could muster an association with had been scrapped anyway. Having reduced my fleet and bearing in mind coaches usually command much higher prices than buses, I'd given up on the idea of adding a coach to my fleet.

Then, just I was down to two vehicles I saw an appeal on a Facebook preserved owners group to save a coach! Agghhh!!

The motor in question, W649FUM, is a Volvo B10M and a six speed in some respects similar to already owned D302PEV. The coach belonged to Essex operator Hedingham so is local, but has no other association to me. Mind you, I did take the last UK Olympian off First Eastern Counties despite having no association with it so the precedent was already there to ignore my previous association rule I guess........

Curiosity got the better of me and so I asked what the price was - the answer that came back got my attention! Thing is, its too good to scrap but at 17 years old and with DDA regulations for coaches on the horizon, that was its likely fate. So I threw caution to the wind and bought it.

Ah!, yes, I was now back to three vehicles........ONE HAD TO GO!

It made no sense to keep two vehicles that essentially do the same thing, so D302PEV had to go. This was really hard to do given its rarity and I was extremely wary about ensuring the right person took it on, but financially I couldn't afford for sentiment to get in the way. Happily the right person did come along and 302 is very much in the safest of hands.

So there we are, my fleet now consists of just two vehicles - Leyland Olympian H105GEV and Volvo B10M Plaxton Premiere 350 W649FUM.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Ensign running day

For a lot of preserved owners the rally season finishes in September or October. Not mine!

Having acquired Leyland Olympian H105GEV with a class 6 MOT (that's what you need to operate for hire & reward), I offered myself and the vehicle to Ensign Bus for their heritage running day on Saturday 3rd December. As the running day is operated commercially, collecting fares, only class 6 vehicles can be used.

Subject to a satisfactory safety inspection, check of my licence and agreement on how the vehicle would be correctly insured etc, Ensign Bus agreed to the Olympian's inclusion in their event.

We were allocated to the X81 Grays to Shenfield route - we were unable to work either of the other two routes (X21 Upminster to Ongar & X55 Upminster to Gravesend) because of the London Low Emission Zone, and also a low bridge on the X21 means its a single deck only route.

Ensign had the Olympian stored at their depot from the Tuesday prior to the running day to allow time for the safety inspection to be completed, so it was only a short dead trip on running day morning to take up service at Lakeside on our first trip to Shenfield. We then duly completed 3 round trips.

Because the running day uses only class 6 vehicles, it is a properly registered bus service that observes all bus stops on line of route and thus offers local journey's and one off connections for one day only. It was certainly different stopping when people put their hands out or ring the bell..........and collecting fares - the last time I did that was 16 years ago! We sold £17.10 worth of local fares, so it goes to show that we didn't just have enthusiasts on board.

Here we are at Lakeside before entering service on our first trip to Shenfield:

Friday, 14 October 2016

W437CWX moves on

Having come to the conclusion that I'm getting nowhere fast with Olympian W437CWX, and given that its storage location at Yeldham is about to be redeveloped into a housing estate, I've decided that the best thing for the vehicle is to find a new preservationist owner.

To get a base value for the vehicle I got a quote from a scrap yard and then advertised the vehicle within select preservation circles. Only one serious person stepped forward and the vehicle is now destined to make its way North to Yorkshire to hopefully be restored to its former glory. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous so that's as much as I can say at the moment.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Theydon Bois & Canvey

Having gotten my new Olympian (H105GEV) painted in time, I was invited to take it to the transport sale held at Theydon Bois village hall.

The arrangement is that a small number of buses are displayed in the car park and they offer free rides around the local area as an added attraction alongside the transport sale.

H105GEV completed two trips, the first to Waltham Abbey and the second a loop via Debden and Abridge.

The image on the right shows H105GEV on display in the car park at Theydon Bois Village hall.

The day after the Theydon Bois event was Canvey bus rally. This is one of my favourite events as I get to run in service as much as I like. As the Olympian was now ready to rally this was the chosen weapon and as such I thought it would be nice to have my Dart (J317XVX) there too as they're a matching pair. I had a second driver available so all was looking good.....

Unfourtunately the Dart had other ideas and developed an alternator fault which has to led to the alternator being removed for repair. Whilst unbolting the alternator I noticed that the header tank has a slight split in it and so this also needs to be replaced.

As the Dart was unavailable I offered my second driver the oppourtunity to take DAF P337ROO instead which was accepted. Both buses completed a number of trips - possibly 5 each but we lost count! I gather the DAF carried healthy loads on all trips - I had the Olympian and this proved particularly popular with full loads on trips operated, though the last journey was a tad lighter owing to an open topper coming out to play.

Here's the Olympian on the shuttle service at the bus museum and both vehicles on display at the rally (yes, the parking was that tight unfourtunately).

Sunday, 4 September 2016


As a follow up to the Londoner Live event at West Ham garage, I was asked if it would be possible to film some bits & pieces with DAF P337ROO to be used as part of the DVD covering the event.

I was happy to oblige, and here's a sneaky shot of the action unfolding......