Sunday, 19 May 2019

Hastings 2019

It was my first time at Hastings Bus Rally, and their first time at a new venue.

Frankly, I hope they don't use the site again as it just wasn't suitable for a bus rally.

For starters one had to squeeze between two bollards to enter the roadway off the main drag, then it was an immediate and tight left turn to access the display area. The display area itself wasn't wide enough to accomodate buses on both sides but the marshalls persisted with parking vehicles opposite each other regardless - as a result it took me 8 shunts to get my coach into position.

I left my coach in the display area whilst I went for an explore and when I returned I found Ensign's Enviro parked at an angle to the coach such that it was blocking access to the rear emergency exit door on the coach. Given that I'd blocked the front entrance door of the coach with a piece of wood to prevent unauthorised access, the plan was to access the vehicle via the emergency door which I can lock with a key. But of course with the Enviro parked as it was, I had no access to my vehicle.

I would stress that this was in no way the fault of the Ensign driver. He'd simply parked his vehicle under the guidance of the marshalls and they were trying to make the vehicle fit in the only [unsuitable] space available.

Vehicles struggled to manovoure around the extremely tight display area with several shunts often required to get into or out of display positions.

W649FUM on display

This image shows the blocked rear emergency exit door
And the end of the day was just as bad with a now tight right turn to get through the tight bollards.

Whoever looked at this site and thought is was just wasn't I'm afraid.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Detling 2019

On display at the 2019 South East Bus Festival
Today was the first rally of the 2019 season, the South East Bus Festival at Detling in Kent. It was a 150 mile round trip from the storage barn in North Essex and 649 soaked up the miles effortlessly. So much so that despite departing some time after the other vehicles from the same barn at the end of the event, we arrived back "home" first!

The weather forcast for the day was cloudy but dry. In reality there was a freezing cold breeze and it rained on and off all day with rolling mist towards the end. The weather certainly didn't ruin the event - indeed no vehicles got stuck on the damp grass - but mother nature could have done better!
Copyright Dylan Thomas - awaiting the Arriva bus connection

At the event we did three round trips on the external shuttle service that links up with Arriva's local services passing on the nearby A249 dual carraigeway. Each of the trips carried a decent load and again 649 took it all in its stride.

Hopefully I'm not tempting fate when I say it seems to have setled down nicely after the issues that plagued the 2018 season.

So all in all, a cold and damp day. But enjoyable all the same.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

2019 Season Begins

Here it is being washed
So Winter appears to be over and the first big rallly of the season - the South East Bus Festival at Detling in Kent - is just over a week away....

Seems like a good time to visit the storage location and wake up my preserved Hedingham coach in order to get it prepared for the season ahead.

First things first, it was given a wash. Not only has it gained a layer of dust over the past few months, but it rained on the day it was last out on the road; a private trip for friends and family only to Rochester in early December hence the yellow signs which were required due to special parking restrictions. It had gotten a bit dirty from that rainly day.

All systems were given a check and all appears to be healthy. Happy days. I'm hoping the 2019 season will be much more enjoyable - and indeed busier - than 2018 proved to be.