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News - 2010


Some of the most recent events affecting us and our fleet:


Sunday, 26 December: following last year's 'trial run' we decided to operate a free bus service in Torbay again on Boxing Day.  This time we had received the backing of Torbay Council and had enlisted some advance publicity by way of the Council's website and mentions on Palm FM.  This had the result of bringing-out larger numbers than in 2009.  The service commenced at 10:15 and ran hourly between Torquay and Paignton until 16:30.  The passengers carried seemed most appreciative of the service and this event looks like becoming a permanent fixture in our events calendar.  View some photos from the day

Monday, 13 December: 563 made its annual excursion for MOT today and passed without incident.  It will now be available for the Winchester Rally on 2 January

Friday, 3 December: read the story of 88's restoration - a full account of the work required between 2005 and 2009 to bring the bus back to its current condition.  Click here

Sunday, 7 November: James's VR, 1215, celebrates its 30th birthday during December so we had an excuse (if one was needed) for an autumnal outing.  1215 was brought-up from its base in Torbay, via Exeter and a group of c 20 enjoyed a day traversing some of the old East Devon routes that it would have run when new.  Once again the weather was with us as we visited Ottery St Mary, Honiton, Axminster, Lyme Regis, Seaton, Sidmouth, East Budleigh and Budleigh Salterton.  Another great day out

Thursday, 28 October: for the past few weeks the ex-Safeway Leopard (TYD911W) has been in Devon receiving a complete re-paint and today we journeyed to Knowstone to collect it.  Our good friend and accomplished coachbuilder Terry Damerel has done another excellent job and the bus has been transformed.  The trip back to Dorchester was completed without incident ... funny how they always seem to go better when they've been re-painted!  View photos from the day

Saturday, 9 October: Woody had been asked to provided 5919 for the proposed Blandford Forum Running Day so we journeyed there to arrive at around 09:45.  The organiser immediately asked if we would provide 'VIP Transport' for c 40 mayors (yes, the ones that inhabit town halls and wear chains around their necks!) who had gathered in Blandford for a 'convention'.  This involved taking them from the town centre to Blandford Camp where they spent some time in the Royal Signals museum and then re-boarded the bus for a guided tour around the rest of the site.  The tour took-in a mocked-up Afghan Forward Operating Base (FOB) where we were allowed to look-around.  Lunch was then taken in the 'cook house' (we felt under-dressed as all the VIP guests were in their finery and we were in our bus gear!) and then the bus was re-boarded for the trip back to the town via a model railway exhibition at the local school.  Not at all what we thought we would be doing but very enjoyable nonetheless.  View photos from the event

Sunday, 3 October: heavy rain and strong winds did not appear to be an auspicious start to the day of the annual Wessex Transport Society rally.  Nonetheless, we persevered and journeyed on the Regent V to Swanage where it was clear that a few entrants had been put-off by the weather as numbers were down.  The rain, however, relented and those that had made the effort were rewarded by sunshine in the afternoon and fully-laden open top tours of the town!  A very enjoyable event.

Sunday, 26 September: Showbus, held at Duxford in Cambridgeshire, is usually a little too distant for our Dorset/Devon based fleet but this year saw the 40th anniversary of the end of BMMO vehicle production and a gathering of ex-Midland Red vehicles was planned.  With 5919 being one of the few remaining S23s, we were persuaded to attend and ventured up to Bishop's Stortford on the Saturday.  It would have been a shame to miss-out on another potential trip through the Capital (5919 is also LEZ exempt) so we avoided the M25 and took the A3 through South London and picked-up the A10 to head north.  This involved a journey across Tower Bridge with suitable photo opportunities for those on board (we hope to post a few of the shots in due course).  Unfortunately Duxford was not favoured with great weather this year but nonetheless is always a very large gathering and an opportunity to catch-up with many friends and 'colleagues' in the preservation world - there are also other attractions at the site in the form of a large number of aircraft from the Second World War and subsequently.  We then journeyed back on Monday via High Wycombe where we collected 1159 which had been at Ward Jones's for attention to the parking brake.  An enjoyable weekend ... if a little damp at times!  View photos from the event

Sunday, 5 September: our 2nd Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day was held today at Shedden Hill Car Park, Torquay.  The day dawned very wet and it looked for a while like our run of good luck in the weather department had ended.  The heavy rain did, however, abate as the morning went on and we even had sunny spells this afternoon.  A good turnout of vehicles and plenty of enthusiasts and members of the public ensured that the event was another great success.  Our sincere thanks go to all the vehicle owners, marshals, programme sellers and other helpers for making the day a reality.  We couldn't do it without your support and, of course, that of the public who come and ride the buses and buy the programmes.  We are also tremedously grateful to Stagecoach for their ongoing support and to Torbay Council for the practical help which was so freely given.  See the 'Links' page for details of sites where photographs from the day can be found

Saturday, 28 August: we were greatly saddened this evening to learn of the sudden death of our good friend Dave Habgood.  Dave was a lifelong bus enthusiast and a regular supporter of our events as well as a marshal and helper with the Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day.  His passing was unexpected and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him in and around Weymouth

Tuesday, 17 August: we were joined by 30 friends from the local Transport of Yesteryear group in a trip to Sandbanks (Poole) and the Luscombe Valley Railway (  This is essentially a garden railway in the grounds of Richard Knott's home but has been designed in a very imaginative and appealing manner.  Rides were taken behind several locos operating on the evening and a thoroughly good time was had by all.  Our transport for the evening was Atlantean, 913DTT which looked slightly out of place parked outside the rather 'up market' properties in that area!  View photos from the evening

Sunday, 15 August: 1804 made the trip to the Bristol Vintage Bus Group's annual Running Day at Brislington, near Bristol.  A large number of (mainly green) buses were in attendance and we had the opportunity to catch-up with a number of friends and acquaintances from the 'bus scene'.  View photos from the day

Thursday, 12 August: the work being carried-out on 5919 at Wythall had been completed and a new MOT gained so Woody and Rory travelled-up to retrieve the bus and bring it back to the Dorset 'depot'.  Work has been carried-out to the brakes as well as a general service and this appears to have improved not only the braking efficiency but also the engine power and general smooth running.  The trip back was trouble-free and now we will just have to find an excuse to take the bus out for some 'test runs'!

Saturday, 7 August: word had come through that 913's accelerator pedal problems had been resolved so the opportunity was taken to swap 913 and 1159, the latter having lately suffered with a slightly ineffective handbrake.  1159 made the 125 mile trip without incident and we were in High Wycombe just after midday.  Although it would have been easy to simply drive 913 back to Dorset, as the weather was fine and we had some time, we decided to fulfil a longstanding intention to take one of the older fleet members into Central London.  The Congestion Charge does not apply at weekends and, due to its age, 913 is exempt from the Low Emissions Zone restrictions - a perfect opportunity!  We journeyed down the M40 and A40 and eventually found ourselves in Baker Street where the traffic became 'interesting' but we battled-through and took a route along Oxford Street to Marble Arch and down Park Lane, Grosvenor Place and Victoria Street until we found ourselves in Parliament Square.  Here the serious photography began and 913 was photographed doing several passes over Westminster Bridge, then along Whitehall and around Trafalgar Square.  We then moved-on to Ludgate Hill and further shots were obtained with St Paul's Cathedral in the background.  The final stage of our excursion to the Capital took us to Tower Bridge which obligingly opened for us and enabled further photographic opportunities.  By this time a heavy shower was upon us and we therefore decided to head out of London again via Chelsea Embankment, Battersea Bridge and then the A3.  Dorchester was eventually reached shortly after midnight - a long but very enjoyable day.  View a selection of Woody's photographs from the day

Sunday, 1 August: we made our annual trip to Gosport today to attend the Provincial Society's rally at Stokes Bay.  Our transport was, once again, provided by the Leopard and this vehicle is proving itself to be a very useful addition to the fleet.  It provides a comfortable ride over distances and will happily cruise at 50 mph without quarrel.  The weather smiled upon Gosport today and a good attendance ensured that the event passed-off very successfully.  Woody seemed to know just about everyone who was there!  View photos of the event

Saturday, 24 July: we were not due to attend any events this weekend so had the opportunity to take Woody's S23 (RHA919G) to the Transport Museum at Wythall for its annual service and MOT.  The trip up the M5 was uneventful and took just inder 4 hours from Dorchester.  The plan then was to travel to High Wycombe where 913 has been receiving attention to a broken exhaust downpipe, trouble with the door motors and a few sundry tasks.  Although we reached High Wycombe OK, it was immediately clear that there was a problem with the accelerator pedal on 913 and it was in no state to be driven 125 miles back to base.  Hence something of a wasted trip but nothing too serious.

Sunday, 18 July: this seems to be the day each year when several events clash.  88 was committed to continue with the Yeovil Railway Centre work (see below) whilst 2883 and a group of friends made the trip to Alton for the Mid Hants rally.  This left no way to attend the ever-enjoyable Devon Coastal Run.  Nevertheless, both the Alton and Yeovil fixtures passed successfully and seemed to be enjoyed by all those who attended.  View photos from the Alton event

Saturday, 17 July: we were asked to assist the Yeovil Railway Centre with their weekend's celebration of the 150th anniversary of Yeovil Junction station and did so by providing the LHS (88) and Leopard (911) to provide the shuttle buses between the car park and the station, a distance of c 2 miles.  29 round trips were completed between the 2 buses and the visiting public seemed very happy with the show and their means of transport to and from it.  It was interesting to note the number of 'railway photographers' who re-focuses their lenses in the direction of the buses!

Sunday, 4 July: a trip to Stroud in Woody's ex-Safeways (Yeovil) Leyland Leopard.  This was the first time the Leopard had been taken to a show or running event (although it was on static display at Weymouth) so it was a good opportunity to see how it performed over a distance.  Happily, the answer is 'very well' and no problems at all were encountered during the journeys up and back, nor on any of the 3 service trips it undertook.  A final re-paint is planned for later this year, after which 911 will be another fine addition to our 'finished' fleet

Sunday, 27 June: the last Sunday in June is the date on which Transport of Yesteryear hold their annual show in Chickerell, near Weymouth.  In previous years we have been unable to attend due to a clash with the Stroud rally but have left a bus (sometimes two) as a static display.  As we were able to be there 'in person' today we took both 5919 and 563 and the former provided free tours of Weymouth at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00.  These were well patronised and assisted in the fund raising effort for Dorset Air Ambulance

Sunday, 20 June: today saw the 4th Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day since the event was revived during 2007.  We were, once again, blessed with excellent weather and with some 50 buses entered, there was a great variety of transport nostalgia both on display and also running in service for the enjoyment of enthusiasts and members of the public alike.  This year we were able to introduce a new service to Littlemoor as well as continuing with the well-established trips to Portland Bill, Nothe Fort, Bowleaze Cove and the Town Circular.  Two 'Mystery Tours' were also provided using Woody's Midand Red S23.  From feedback we have received it seems that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day.  Who knows, we may even do it again next year!

Friday, 18 June: 1804's annual outing to the Testing Station with a pass duly achieved!

Sunday, 6 June: we had originally intended to support our friends in the Transport of Yesteryear at their annual Road Run but, as we were unable to obtain an MOT appointment for 911 (TYD911W), we did not take part.  Instead, we ran Regent V, 518 down to Weymouth and put it on static display with the 40 or so vintage cars that had taken part in the Road Run.  As we had planned to take a trip to Portland Bill in the afternoon anyway, this was thrown-open to anyone who cared to join us and we quickly had a load of 25+.  This tested 518 up the long Portland Hill but it coped fine ... albeit at 5 mph in first gear!  A scenic diversion via Hope Square on the return journey backfired when it turned-out to be closed for some form of music festival so a 3 point turn was required and we re-traced our route down Boot Hill and back to the Pavilion

Sunday, 30 May: Devon General Society Exmouth Running Day.  Four of our vehicles attended this event (CTT518C, VOD88K, LFJ862W and FDV829V) with 2883 providing the transport from Dorchester.  This was the first time that a running day had been organised around the little-used Exmouth Bus Station and the crowds of enthusiasts brought welcome vitality to a site that is usually very quiet on a Sunday afternoon!  The routes ran around the Exmouth locality and involved a dozen or so ex-DG vehicles.  Our own buses performed very well and the event seemed to go down well with all those in attendance

Sunday, 23 May: 'Happy Birthday 913!'.  Our Atlantean (913DTT) was 50 years old during May and that's obviously a good reason to have a party (balloons and a cake both featured!).  The celebration took the form of a trip down to Torbay where the bus ran over a few of the routes that it served during the summer of 1960 - plenty of nostalgia was assured.  The timetable for the day was:

08:00 - Top of Town, Dorchester
09:45 - Honiton Rd Park & Ride, Exeter
10:00 - Exeter, Belgrave Rd
10:45 - Teignmouth (Triangle)
11:15 - Newton Abbot (Sherborne Rd)
12:00 - Torquay (Strand)

We then followed the old '12' route as far as possible through to Brixham and back to Paignton where we paused for lunch.  Afterwards we re-created the '30' back to Babbacombe where we took-up the '50' service which ran between Babbacombe and the Strand, via Ellacombe and Plainmoor.  After this we ran through to Hesketh Crescent where the cake was cut (many thanks to James and Karen for their hard work on this) and route 32 was then taken through to Chelston.  We then re-traced our route back to Exeter and Dorchester.

The weather was perfect and 36 friends joined us for this special event.

Sunday, 16 May: a small number of us travelled to the Bristol Harbourside rally on board LHS 88.  The weather on the way up was poor and showers were a feature throughout the day.  This, however, did not spoil the enjoyment of the event and it was good to catch-up with various friends as well as ride on some great preserved buses

Thursday, 29 April - Tuesday, 4 May saw our annual pilgrimage to Llandudno.  We had hoped to take 3 buses along this year but Woody's S23 had a last-minute Water Pump issue (now resolved) and was unable to make the journey.  Hence, 1159 and 2883 trekked through central Wales and we arrived on the north coast at around 19:00 Thursday.  Friday was a 'recouperation' day before the main event on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, during which our 2 vehicles (along with several others) provided the free bus service to and from Bodafon Fields (the Rally site) and the town centre.  We returned home on Tuesday and both buses made the 550 mile round trip without incident

Sunday, 25 April was the occasion of 518's first 'official' outing with the DDG having returned the previous evening from 2 months at Ward Jones' in High Wycombe.  We travelled (slowly!) to the Devon General Society's commemoration of 30 years since the last AEC Regents came out of service on the historic '2' route between Exeter and Newton Abbot.  A number of preserved Regents were in attendance (along with James's 1215) and we carried full loads over the hills between Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth throughout the day.  518 behaved well and an enjoyable day was had by all.  It was also good to meet-up with our friends from Stagecoach Devon represented by Michelle Hargreaves and Graham Bailey, along with Richard McAllister who took time out from preparations for the launch of his new venture - Devonian Motor Services - on 1st May.  We wish him every success with this interesting operation involving a number of preserved vehicles

Sunday, 18 April saw our annual visit to the Brijan's Tours Open Day in Botley, near Southampton.  1159 provided the transport and ran in service for one outing during the day.  We were able to speak to most of the stallholders present and hopefully have drummed-up some further support for the Weymouth and Torbay events

Monday, 5 April (Easter Monday): we undertook an informal outing to West Bay and Portland with the 5070 Group.  5070 is an ex-Damory VR now owned by a syndicate based in North Dorset and we have often spoken of staging a joint event with their VR and 1159.  Unfortunately, due to lack of driver availability, 5070 was not able to attend but the event went ahead with just 1159.  Having picked all of our passengers up from Blandford Forum and Dorchester we headed for Bridport and then West Bay where we broke for lunch.  After this we took the coast road to Weymouth (great on a sunny afternoon such as we had) and then on to Portland Bill for a further break.  We then returned to Dorchester and Blandford Forum.  A good attendance and some fine weather enjoyed by all

Sunday, 28 March: we have a regular fixture at the Weymouth Tourist Information open day held at the Pavilion.  This is aimed at publicising events that will be held in the town during the year and our rally, of course, features prominently within the calendar.  1159 and 2883 were parked on the forecourt all day by way of publicity for our event

Sunday, 21 March: we held our 'Bridport VR Day'.  Departing from Dorchester at 09:00, we travelled to Bridport to meet-up with Ian Byrne who brought his ex-Western National VR (VDV608S) up from Winkleigh.  We re-created a few local Bridport routes using both vehicles and then made an excursion to Lyme Regis, Axminster and Seaton during the afternoon

Monday, 15 March: both the Atlantean (913) and LHS (88) were due for MOT and these were duly taken to Dorset Works in Charminster.  Both successfully passed.  The National (2883) was also due and this too achieved a new MOT later that week

Sunday, 7 March: we attended the Vintage Vehicle Day at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum and provided transport between the site and Bournemouth Travel Interchange as well as a few scenic runs around the east side of Bournemouth, Boscombe and Christchurch.  Our efforts were rewarded with 563 receiving the 'Best Bus' award!

Sunday, 28 February: the Warminster - Gillingham Road Run was not blessed with the best weather this year.  Nonetheless, 5919 made the trip and it was good to catch-up with a few friends, especially those who had travelled up from Devon in the WHOTT LH.  5919 decided to spring a leak on the way home but early signs are that this is nothing too serious

Thursday, 25 February: 1215's annual outing to VOSA where it cruised-through a Class 6 (PSV) MOT.  Well done James!

Saturday, 13 February: work on 2883 was completed quickly so we were able to go and collect it again today

Saturday, 6 February: ongoing work on refurbishment of the lower deck on 518 has been completed and the time has come to collect the vehicle and take it to High Wycombe for a few further jobs to be finished-off.  Not the quickest journey as comfortable cruising speed is c 38-40 mph and we had 175 miles to cover ... but we made it without incident.  The opportunity was taken to deliver 2883 to Knowstone for a few minor jobs to be done by Terry Damerel

Friday, 1 January 2010: New Year's Day means Winchester and, usually, rain!  This year the skies were clear throughout the day but the temperature barely rose above freezing all day.  Nevertheless, an enjoyable day and 5919 performed faultlessly throughout (pity about the heaters though!)



Updated 31 December 2010          E&OE.  Nothing contained in this website constitutes a legal contract or guarantees availability.