“On the buses”

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  • 5th May 2024 at 2:33 pm #598766

    Seats generally were fairly basic, reasonably comfortable and could be adjusted for height and forwards/backwards. Some buses had quite low windscreens and they could be uncomfortable for taller drivers such as myself. You had to lower the seat right down to have good vision, not a comfortable driving position. The steering was heavy and as you imagine a fully loaded decker was a struggle especially low speed manoevering. Some of the single deckers could be very heavy too. We had some rear engined single decker buses and coaches which were well balanced and the steering was much lighter.

    We did carry parcels but not that many. There were parcel agents along the route near the bus stops and you had to deliver and collect from there. In the days of conductors it was easy for them to nip in to the agent while loading passengers but for driver only buses it was a pain and although I don’t remember that service being officially terminated, as time went on you saw less and less parcel traffic.

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    7th May 2024 at 3:28 pm #598843

    Fascinating reading JP

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    8th May 2024 at 9:46 am #598864

    There was a programme on TV where someone bought in one of the old rollers from a bus, listing all the places the bus went to, areas, streets and even pub names. It sold for good money and just seeing it was so evocative. Living history.

    9th May 2024 at 8:12 am #598934

    Did I read a good while ago that trolley buses were being introduced somewhere? Or am I imagining that?

    9th May 2024 at 8:22 am #598937

    Destination blinds and other bus related memorabilia is fetching strong money these days. models, books and even bus stops, timetable boards and fleet number plates are all eagerly collected by enthusiasts who are hungry for a piece of nostalgia. I have a number of models mostly of buses I have driven at some point and the pride of my collection is a pair of 1/24 scale London routemasters one in red and one in greenline livery.


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    9th May 2024 at 8:39 am #598938

    Did I read a good while ago that trolley buses were being introduced somewhere? Or am I imagining that?

    I don’t remember hearing that but there are a number of trolley buses in preservation and there is a site where a limited circuit is layed out which enables the trolley  buses to run on enthusiasts days. It wouldn’t surprise me if Blackpool at some point didn’t include some trolly buses in their heratige fleet although I don’t think they ever ran them, they stuck with trams. All the overhead wires are already in place, Blackpool being the only place in the UK to continually run trams from their inception to the present day.

    9th May 2024 at 5:10 pm #598974

    Here is one for JP

    A YT clip of London in 1968 the streets are so clean, so calm and there are buses everywhere.


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    9th May 2024 at 5:17 pm #598975

    A bit more of similar but I’m not sure about the shoes.




    10th May 2024 at 8:10 am #598987

    I think this must have been what I read JP (I did say it was some time ago!)


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    10th May 2024 at 8:12 am #598988

    Looking forward to the next episode of your story :good:

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    10th May 2024 at 2:00 pm #598995


    It is my first day in service on my own. I have done all my training, learnt the routes, driven the routes, carried passengers and now it is down to me. No mobile phones, no radio control, just a bus, fare tables, timetables and a duty board.

    My depot covers 5 routes. 213 Seaton-Taunton, 432 Axminster-Lyme Regis, 495 Lyme Regis town service, 497 Seaton- Beer-Branscome-Sidmouth, 499 Sidmouth-Lyme Regis and school services covering 4 schools.

    I arrive Monday morning 06.30, my first trip is 07.00 Seaton-Sidmouth via Beer and Branscombe. This is the most challenging routes we operate, most of the route is over narrow single track roads with passing places and a very steep long hill into Branscombe with hedges that brush the sides of the bus on both sides and thatched cottages that overhang the road at various points.43D2F7E1-457B-4A30-B2FC-EEB7C088DB65_1_105_c542C2361-DD05-452D-88C0-9545262B3745_1_105_c05FEBCE8-89B1-48D3-87E5-8F1130260AC4_1_105_cMy bus is sitting in the yard, a 1953 Bristol LS with manual steering and crash gearbox. waiting for me to carry out my safety checks.

    3D7F720D-1C26-477B-9CCD-ABDA579E6DC3_1_105_cOff we go, not many passengers on this early bus so I don’t have to look up too many fares. Most of my passengers are regulars and know their fares or have multi journey tickets so I can concentrate on squeezing past other vehicles along the route before engaging low gear to start the long descent into Branscombe. I forgot to check that the windows were closed so as the bus brushed against the hedges both sides various incests, leaves and twigs rained into the bus, so much to remember!

    Eventually arriving at the bottom of the village I pick up another couple of passengers and re-adjust the mirrors which have been pushed inwards by the hedges. This village is 3.5 miles long and single track for most of it’s length and very narrow at several places where old stone cottages butt into the road on tight corners. The scenery is delightful and the passengers friendly, I came to love this route but for the moment by bottle is twitching all the way. Arriving at Sidmouth I am a few minutes late so I record my numbers on my waybill, change my destination, load my passengers and away we go again. A little busier now and more traffic so I cannot make up my time so by the time I arrive back in Seaton I should have left on the next journey 15 minutes ago but expecting me to be running late the spare driver has covered my second journey and I return to the depot and well earned cup of tea.

    I pick up my duty after my allocated break and then do a couple of short runs, one to Lyme Regis and one to Axminster and return at which point I would normally do a school run but I go with another driver as I haven’t learned the school routes yet. Duties are allocated for one week at a time so I have the same tomorrow. It has been a long day and very stressful but I am over the first hurdle and I know things will get easier with experience and I go home with a sense of achievement.

    AC5862A8-0AA8-4A8D-8D09-F451961BDD27_1_105_cThis is the first bus I ever drove in service. It is now in the Science museum in Wroughton, near Swindon. When it was withdrawn from service it was given to the apprentices at the Company’s workshop in Bideford as a project and was restored to its original condition. Later it was donated to the museum where it remains to this day.

    For those who like the technical bits, it is a 1953 Bristol LS 5G(light saloon) chassis. The 5G indicates it has a five cylinder Gardner engine of 6.9 litres mid mounted horizontally under the floor. Manual steering, 5 speed crash gearbox and vacuum assisted brakes. It has 45 seats and licensed for 8 standing passengers. Bodywork by ECW(Eastern Coach Works) of Lowestoft.

    To be continued…………………… :mail:

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    10th May 2024 at 2:12 pm #599022

    This post has taken 4 hours to appear and minus the pictures. I will try and post the pics again

    AC5862A8-0AA8-4A8D-8D09-F451961BDD27_1_105_cFirst bus I drove in Service now in a museum


    10th May 2024 at 2:14 pm #599023

    Sorry, pictures will not post

    10th May 2024 at 2:24 pm #599024

    Fantastic writing JP, have you been to see your bus?

    10th May 2024 at 2:44 pm #599025

    Brilliant JP! I could picture those country lanes, quite a baptism of fire!

    Shame about the photos perhaps they are too large?

    10th May 2024 at 3:06 pm #599027

    Agreed FC, I can see the leaves and insects flying through the windows.

    sometimes I have found pictures post on here in ones but not two or threes.

    11th May 2024 at 10:27 am #599048

    I have messaged FV. There is clearly a problem as all the photos seem to have disappeared now, not just mine. I am sure he is doing everything possible to resolve the situation.

    11th May 2024 at 10:58 am #599049

    Thank you, yes, Tom Wizard has been informed, hopefully it will be a simple fix.

    In the meantime I am looking forward to the bus pulling out of the depot.

    I am surprised that for your first day you didn’t even get a conductor.

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    12th May 2024 at 9:51 am #599067

    Fantastic writing JP, have you been to see your bus?

    Yes I have seen 1701, I took this picture.

    Great to see the photos back, it adds so much to the storyline. Thanks to FV and the team for resolving the issue. :good:

    12th May 2024 at 10:12 am #599068

    Thanks for bearing with us.

    please let me know of any further issues.

    JP What a vivid reminder of your past 1701 is. Most of us just have fading memories.

    Thank you again for sharing it all with us.

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