Please help to support this website by using these links.
Anything you buy (not just bus-related items) on either eBay
or Amazon, having clicked through from here, results in a
commission payment of a few pennies which I put toward
the cost of having this website professionally hosted.

Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

2009 News Log Archive

As always, if you have any additional information or photos for the pages on this website I would be delighted to hear from you at rob@robsly.com. From September 29th 2007 I shall record all changes of vehicle status on this page with credit to the contributor.

I am in the process of adding a page for every operator who has ever run a VR, RE, LH or Lodekka. You can follow progress by visiting the Operator Cross Reference page.

I am also adding a history page for every individual VR, RE, LH and Lodekka. You can follow progress by visiting the Illustrated History Log page.

Current News Log
2012 News Log Archive
2011 News Log Archive
2010 News Log Archive
2007/8 News Log Archive

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
24th December 2009 Dr Mike Walker, Chris Stewart, Don Roberts A number of reports have been received in recent months concerning the demise of the last large fleet of operational REs anywhere in the World - Bayline of Tauranga, New Zealand has run in excess of 30 examples for several years, many with original Leyland 510 engines (as fitted in the Leyland National) and also some with Christchurch Transport Board retrofitted MAN engines. Sadly stupid age-restriction rules (which totally ignore quality of maintenance regime) have caught up with the fleet and they are being quickly replaced by horrid Japanese imports. Survivors include RE2551 (reregistered with this suitable mark from IP4359) which is the only one in the fleet with an ECW-pattern body (built under licence in New Zealand by Hawkes) and was recently receiving a new radiator so may be retained.
24th December 2009 Jeff Tattershall Well-travelled former Devon General LH 112 (KTT42P) has been sold on again, this time turning up in a yard near Bedlington Station. Jeff managed a view of it through the fence revealing that it has received home-made Bristol LH badges at the front.
19th December 2009 Richard Hughes It appears that fifteen years of continuous VR operation at Alpine of Llandudno came to an end quietly this week when the two remaining ex-Williams of Deiniolen-liveried examples - BEY938W (ex-YMB507W) and UEY551T (ex-BAU179T) were taken off the road.
19th December 2009 James Griffiths The sale of XJJ663V to Chepstow Classic from Pike of Andover fell through and so the Hull & Country Preservation Group have taken the opportunity to snap it up for preservation alongside XJJ669V. It still retains Stagecoach stripes and has a seized engine, but a replacement engine is planned and it will then be run in its existing livery.
18th December 2009 Steve Cocks Steve has reunited the two remaining Western National Marshall-bodied LH coaches, fleetnumbers 1318 (BDV318L) and 1319 (NTT319M). 1319 had previously been saved by Neil Halliday in Yorkshire after a lengthy career and will require plenty of restoration work, while 1318 has never been based very far from Cornwall, having spent a very long time with Willis of Bodmin prior to purchase and subsequent restoration to Royal Blue livery by Steve.
10th December 2009/Updated 13th December 2009 Bob Martin Bob has confirmed two further VRs with British Bus Company in San Diego, California, U.S.A. seen during his visit in September of this year. WKO128S has had some of its upstairs windows and pillars removed but retains its roof, whilst VPF287S is now fully open-top apart from the front and rear domes which remain intact. Bob has now forwarded me full details of his amazing trip to California in September - he tracked down no fewer than 12 Lodekkas and 21 VRs showing just how prevalent these wonderful machines are on the other side of the Atlantic!
7th December 2009 Jock Brandis Jock has recently been cutting away enough overgrown trees to be able to reach a Lodekka buried in a garden in North Carolina. He has now identified it as former Crosville DFB100 (910VFM) which is in need of a lot of TLC but is basically intact. It was exported in the late 1970s and appears to have been in Rhode Island and Connecticut in the meantime but has clearly been in its current resting place for very many years.
4th December 2009 Bob Martin VRs believed to have been long-since scrapped continue to turn up unexpectedly overseas. The latest is former United Counties 861 (RRP861R) which was discovered recently by Bob in the fleet of British Bus Company in San Diego, California, U.S.A. It was identifyable by the fleetnumber 861 showing inside the cab, the top-mounted windscreen wipers characteristic of some R-registration VRs and - most tellingly - signs of the previous two-tone green livery not having been covered by the new red livery.
3rd December 2009 Wayne Snowden Wayne has acquired his second Yorkshire Traction VR for preservation. He has just acquired Johnson of Hodthorpe Series 2 HWE826N straight from service and this will look great alongside MWG941X which was acquired from Embling of Guyhirn this time last year.
29th November 2009 Chris Stewart The second former Embling VR to turn up today (see update three entries down) is SUB793W which is in use as a mobile advertising unit and was noted as such in Braintree last week.
29th November 2009 Peter Hellgren Peter informs me that he has now acquired his second Lodekka and it makes a pair because he now has both 803KDV and 809KDV, formerly Western National 1998/2004.
20th November 2009 Robin H It is understood that Hants & Dorset/Hampshire Bus 3315 (GLJ467N) has passed to Black & White Motorways of Winchester after many years in store at one of their premises. They hope to return it to the road during 2010.
18th November 2009/Updated 29th November 2009 John Wakefield/Tony Barfield/Robin H Former Cumberland VR 418 (FAO418V) has turned up with Chris Coombs of Melbourn, Cambs. It had previously been thought that this sale by Embling had been for preservation, but Chris runs a house clearance business and is converting the VR for non-PCV use in conjunction with this. More details here. A photo has come to light of this VR in its new environment here.
17th November 2009 Roger Downs All four Johnson VRs (HTU159N, OWE854R, OWE857R and TDT864S) attracted bids at the auction on Saturday, but none reached their reserve and all four are still available - details here.
16th November 2009 James Griffiths/John Butt Hull & Country Bus Preservation Group made a trip to Andover today to pick up XJJ669V from Pikes for preservation. They would have liked XJJ663V as well but that has already been snapped up by David Hoare's Chepstow Classic Bus, presumably for spares.
14th November 2009 Robin H Matt Reynolds made the trip from Bristol to Purfleet this morning to seal the deal on the purchase for preservation of former Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset 3455 (KRU855W) from Ensign.
11th November 2009 BBC Wales I have received an update on the VRs used during the filming of the Doctor Who episode "Planet of the Dead" earlier this year. The two VRs remaining in the UK have turned up in Wales and the BBC are looking to sell them either for scrap or to a preservationist. GGM84W is confirmed as the one damaged on purpose as the studio "double" for RUA461W, whilst HJB455W appears largely intact. Where will they turn up next?
8th November 2009 Robin H/Tim Weatherup A trio of former Hants & Dorset LDs are worthy of mention. 1368 (SRU981) was still in non-PCV use in Birmingham as recently as 2007 but is now restored to Hants & Dorset livery (although still in exhibition unit configuration) in the North East. The very next member of the fleet, 1369 (SRU982) is still intact, although very derelict, at Mount Carmel in Ohio, U.S.A. while I am delighted to report that an LD that I came across on a cold January night in 1996 remains in exactly the same spot at MacDonalds restaurant at Västerås in Sweden - 1402 (UEL723) is used as a cinema where children can eats their burgers and chips (and of course the fruit salad on offer these days!).
7th November 2009 Mart Wools A couple of VRs have been acquired by car dealer First Call Trading of Ipswich from Blue Bus of Debach in the shape of HJB459W (which was driven back to Ipswich today) and BRC839T which will follow next week. HJB seems to be in excellent condition with a full set of original autumn gold seats throughout. Both are available for sale - please contact Mart at mart2005@btinternet.com.
6th November 2009 Ben Vallance Johnson of Hodthorpe continue to run many of their VRs on schools and other contract services for the time being. SVL179W is now confirmed as having been withdrawn in July. Four VRs are to be put up for auction at Redferns on November 14th, viz, HTU159N, OWE854R, OWE857R and TDT864S (Yorkshire Traction fans take note!). I don't have any contact details for the auction, but I daresay an enquiry direct to Johnson Bros will prove fruitful.
1st November 2009 Richard Waterhouse Richard, along with Ian Thurman, has added a Series 2 Midland General VR to his Series 1 (BNU679G) and Series 3 (LRA801P). The acquisition is YRC125M, said to be in fantastic condition and a credit to Enterprise Boats of Truro who owned it for more than 18 years. The VR is making its debut today at the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society event.
30th October 2009 (updated 5th November) Chris Stewart/Robin H (update Ross Newman) After a prolonged period of storage, Wilts & Dorset have now sold their remaining stock of VRs to dealer Ensign. Confirmed in Essex are GEL682V, KRU848W and KRU851W - others are certainly involved but firm identities have not yet been established. The fourth VR confirmed at Purfleet is KRU855W.
28th October 2009 Christian Göll This discovery is why I like my hobby so much! Regular readers will know that Bristol Omnibus Company is my "home" fleet so it is always special when a former BOC vehicle turns up, but I can't remember one being unreported for 32 years before surfacing again. The vehicle in question is former City fleet LD6B Lodekka LC8501 (826CHU) which was exported to Austria in 1977 and as far as I can tell nobody has heard of it since - until Christian emailed me yesterday to say that he now owns it. Used for many years as a fast food outlet he describes it as "fit for scrap" but the photo he sent (see LC8501's illustrated history page) shows it to be reasonably intact and it still runs, presumably under power from its original Bristol AVW engine.
26th October 2009 Tony Greco/Bruce Henderson Two Bristol double deckers have surfaced recently in different parts of the World. Tony Greco has former West Yorkshire VR 1997 (WWY127S) which has turned up after ten years unreported in Italy. The other one is former Scottish Omnibuses AA768 (USC768) which has been standing outside at an antique store in Powells Point, North Carolina, U.S.A. for a long time now and is steadily deteriorating. This one has proved tricky to identify as it carries some marking for former Hants & Dorset YRU70, but detailed analysis has confirmed it is definitely a former Scottish example.
20th October 2009 David Bloomfield Former Bristol Omnibus 5033/8615 (JHW107P) open-top VR didn't last long in preservation, having now been sold to Shropshire Bus & Coach of Wem for use in their operational fleet.
11th October 2009 Thomas Bond Preserved former Scottish Omnibuses/Southdown/Alder Valley open-top VR LFS296F was purchased in September by Foundry Coach Hire of Oughtibridge, north of Sheffield. It is still considered to be preserved, but will venture out on the occasional private hire to earn its keep.
4th October 2009 Steve Graham/Julian Patterson  The unique prototype ECW B51-bodied RELH coach (VHK177L) has just this weekend passed from Steve to Julian. Steve was reluctant to see it go, but the proceeds will allow him to build a more balanced fleet for his Classic Coaches North West private hire business. It will regain its original registration in the next few days.
4th October 2009 James Griffiths Former West Riding VR RUA455W didn't last long in preservation, having been sold to Carl Ireland in September after a brief stay at Keighley Bus Museum.
3rd October 2009 Bob Martin Bob located two Lodekkas in a scrapyard in Burbank, Los Angeles recently. He paid $2 to be allowed to inspect one of them (yes they charge their customers to look and see if there are any parts they need!). Its chassis plate identified it as former Mansfield District 546/East Midlands 346 (242MNN). Sadly the other one was inaccessible, but do take a look at it here and please let me know if you know which one it is (that open-top conversion must give some clues).
1st October 2009 Sean Keating Former Western National 2044 (ATA125B) is currently for sale on eBay in North Dakota, U.S.A. and such is the interest it is generating it looks like it has found a new home!
27th September 2009 Paul Harrison/Chris Stewart The most wonderful vehicle restoration hit the road this weekend. Paul Harrison has owned former Eastern National FLF coach 2614 (AVX975G) for more than 20 years and has finally been in a position to restore it to its former glory. It made a run from Essex into London yesterday and today is making its public debut at Showbus. It also now features as the new Photo of the Month on this website.
25th September 2009 Chris Fenner (RVPT) C & G Coaches of Chatteris have not run a VR since 2006, but they have only recently sold their last VR - former Ribble 1440 (LHG440T) for scrap - a shame because it was about to be visited by the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust to see if it was saveable.
22nd September 2009 Rob Evans BCL213T - former Eastern Counties open-top VR - has been spotted several times in and around Blackpool in recent months. Rob Evans has now reported that he is planning to operate it on tours of the illuminations this season, but thus far the company has no name so it is recorded under Evans of Blackpool.
22nd September 2009 Peter Green A Lodekka changing hands (and country) in North America is former Crosville FLF6B DFB114 (147YFM) which has been in use as a food retail outlet since arriving in the US in 1995. It has now crossed the border to an as-yet unidentified owner in Canada who is currently trawling through the paperwork to get permission to continue to operate the bus in the same role.
17th September 2009 Gareth Crowther Dual-door VRs are thin on the ground these days, but Tyler Horne owns one in Texas, U.S.A. which he is in the process of getting back onto the highway. It is former City of Oxford 474 (HUD474S) which is still in fleet livery and carrying the Brighton & Hove fleetnames it received in 1995 during a brief loan spell. By complete co-incidence I have just this evening finished adding the history page for CJO473R, its immediate predecessor in the Oxford fleet!
14th September 2009 Jeff Hanson Jeff is the proud owner of former Eastern Counties LD5G LKD194 (VVF194). He bought it last year and keeps it in his home town of Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A. He hopes to get it back on the road ASAP.
13th September 2009 Tim Weatherup A photo has surfaced of former Bristol Omnibus VR 5054 (LEU262P) at a service station in Astoriga in Spain having been abandoned by a group of travellers after suffering mechanical failure. The photo is dated October 2008, but it is not known whether or not the bus is still there.
8th September 2009 Operator Pikes of Andover have two former East Kent VRs for sale - further details here
8th September 2009 Mark Howarth Another Embling VR on the move is Western National 1211 (LFJ858W) which has passed to Western Greyhound where it will join JWV259W in the heritage fleet. Lodekka FLF6B EOO590, ex-Eastern National is still owned, stored awaiting its turn for restoration.
6th September 2009 Julian Patterson Having previously been sworn to secrecy I can confirm that former Eastern Counties (but ordered by Waveney District Council) VR190 (VPW85S) has been restored by Julian into NBC red livery and made its debut at today's Norwich Rally.
6th September 2009 Ross Newman Former Hedingham & District L245 (SGR780V) was sold on in August by Ensign (dealer) to a company called Prosolve Consulting in London W1, its intended non-PCV use currently unknown.
5th September 2009 Mark Golding Lodekka FLF6G DHT784C, new as Bath Tramways 7204 and later Bristol Omnibus has turned up in Switzerland, still owned by Serg Kaslin more than a decade since it was last reported.
4th September 2009 Ian Lang Ian was very surprised this morning to discover DNG233T in the Totnes yard of River Link. It is still in full Embling of Guyhirn livery, but has been pressed into service here and ran schools service 102 from Totnes to Brixham and then on to Paignton on the 68 this afternoon.
3rd September 2009 Mike Smith Mike has become the only person in the World to own two London Country VRs with the acquisition last October for preservation of PPH462R from Chepstow Classic. It joins PPH471R in his stable.
3rd September 2009 Rob Hardy/James Griffiths VPF288S didn't spend long back in revenue-earning service. After 18 months with McEwen Travel it has re-entered preservation with Rob Hardy and Luke Reveley in Hull.
2nd September 2009 Mel Williams Three Bristol double deckers have been spotted recently in Brittany, France. Two were known previously and are former Crosville ML688 (RFM433) and Western National 1906 (UOD489), both LD6Bs with Publibus, Lezardrieux. The third however is a big surprise, being former Eastern Counties DEX231T (now registered BRX381T) which had previously been believed scrapped in 2003/2004. It is currently dumped in a field in pretty poor condition.
30th August 2009 Caroline Cleaveley It isn't often that an RE is scrapped these days, but former United Counties 279 (TBD279G) was in poor condition and has been broken by the Stroud RE Group in order to keep other vehicles going.
27th August 2009 Tony Edwards Hants & Dorset VR 3311 (NRU311M) passed to the Church of Scientology in 1998 and apparently went for use in France but has been unreported ever since. It has recently been vandalised and is now for sale for spares.
23rd August 2009 Clive Williams Clive was amazed to spot the unmistakable shape of a flat-front VR whilst on a touring coach on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco on August 1st. He was able to glance enough of the registration to confirm on this website when he got home that it was former West Yorkshire VR44 (BYG851H). If anyone is ever in a position to check out this VR and - especially - grab a photo of it, Clive noted it was parked (definitely not dumped) on the side of the main road heading back into Tangier from Cap Spartel and the "Caves of Hercules". Also if anyone can provide further updates for its history (disposal date by WYRC, acquisition by Tillingbourne, confirmation of ownership by Top Deck Travel) I'd be most grateful.
21st August 2009 Tim Weatherup Kells Transport Museum in Cork, Republic of Ireland has amassed a huge collection of vehicles including several REs, but has only now added its first VR - former Ribble 2026 (DBV26W) which has been in Ireland for several years in use as a film location vehicle. Their website reports that a second VR is due soon - it will be very interesting to see which one turns up!
19th August 2009 Paul Palmer Paul has kindly sent an update on the Pike of Andover fleet. Just one VR remains in service, this being IUI5036 (formerly JWV256W). XJJ663V and XJJ669V are stored and complete. 663 has a seized engine but is otherwise sound, whilst 669 has a corroded chassis. Both are available for sale and it might be possible to make good one from the pair. Finally IUI5037 (EAP978V) was sold for scrap earlier this year having previously been heavily cannibalised for spare parts.
7th August 2009 Mick Bruce An update to the July 2008 entry for VHB672S is that, sadly, this unbelievably well-travelled VR was destroyed by fire last November when two gas cylinders used for cooking caught fire and reduced the bus to just its chassis.
6th August 2009 Nick Green Former Crosville VR DVG468 (WTU468W) has just been thoroughly renovated for continued use as the Buzz Stop - a mobile community drop-in centre and coffee bar in the North East
5th August 2009 ***Updated 7th August 2009*** Rob Hardy/Alan Walker Two further VRs have been exported recently - KKK887V and FRP907T had both previously operated for The Running Footman of Martlesham, but had been with dealer Carl Ireland since 2007. The latter has gone to Italy, but the destination of the former is unknown. FRP907T is in fact with Columbana, Oxford which also has several other VRs - see Non-PCVs in Central England
31st July 2009 Brian Coney Spotted in March in the same area of San Francisco that it went to back in 1980 was former Bristol Omnibus C7245 (FHU58D), sister bus to Mike Walker's C7246 (FHU59D).
28th July 2009 (August 1st 2009) Tim Weatherup/South West VR News (update from James Pratt) Long-withdrawn convertible VDV134S has been sold (just last week) to Terry Partridge for preservation. It was the penultimate VR in First ownership. Another VR saved is URU691S, latterly 5063 in the Damory Coaches fleet which now lives at Carnon Downs, near Truro and was present at the Plymouth Rally last weekend. The owner of 5063 is in fact converting it for use as a film location unit, but is enthusiastic towards VRs and is making the conversion as sympathetic as possible.
25th July 2009 Dave Arnold Hedingham Omnibuses are down to just three VRs now, with the sale of L245 (SGR780V) to Ensign (dealer) last Thursday.
22nd July 2009 Julian Patterson Two further former Eastern Counties VRs have passed into preservation although unusually neither of them are owned by Julian! VR260 (RAH260W) is with Neil Jordan in Norfolk, whilst VR291 (VEX291X) was withdrawn recently by Hulme Hall following a minor electrical fault and is with as yet un-named owners.
21st July 2009 Steve Simister Steve reports that four Embling VRs are currently for sale - DNG233T, LFJ858W, SUB793W and FAO418V. The remaining four VRs are intended to stay in the fleet for the time being. A full list of these (and other surviving operational VRs in the UK) can be found here.
21st July 2009 Tim Weatherup Tim found a picture on the Internet which shows former Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset 3400 (BFX568T) was still running in London, Ontario, Canada as recently as August 2008.
18th July 2009 Stewart Brown Stewart recently found former Hants & Dorset FLF6B FLJ156D alive and well in the wonderfully-named US town of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
15th July 2009 Dave Preston  Dave has recently sold his Lincolnshire FS5G DFE963D to well-known Lincoln-based preservationist Mike Gallagher and the Lodekka made its way "home" earlier this month.
14th July 2009 Chris Stewart Two of the final few RELLs still owned by Lough Swilly have been shipped to the mainland for preservation. BXI2570 is in Swilly colours and will remain so with Chris Stewart, while AXI2539 remained in Citybus colours throughout its time with Swilly and has joined Mike Nash's preserved fleet. Two RELLs remain with Swilly - BXI2581 in use as a storeshed in poor condition and XOI2512 which was only ever used for spares and which is now almost totally dismantled.
13th July 2009 G Tether Another Alexander-bodied RELL of Ulsterbus has been saved for preservation. Mr Tether came across BXI2588 at dealer Wacton of Bromyard and just had to save it from being scrapped.
11th July 2009 Tim Weatherup Identified by a rear view showing its towing hook, former Hants & Dorset/Southern Vectis convertible open-top VR UFX857S is now numbered 360 in the Big Bus tour fleet in Philadelphia, U.S.A. It carries Big Bus purple livery, but that is currently covered by a vinyl advertising wrap which includes rear wheel covers.
5th July 2009 Russell Meddings Present today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed was former United Counties Lodekka FS6B 717 (KBD717D) which is actually now based in Switzerland for Londag (translates as "London") but was being used as an exhibition unit for Red Bull.
30th June 2009 Shaun Courtnage Griffiths of Port Dinorwic have sold their last VR in the form of Crosville DVG521 (BMA521W) to an as yet unknown preservationist in the North West of England.
30th June 2009 Derrick Cuff Former Lincolnshire VR 1966 (SVL176W) is on a farm off the A3075 towards Newquay in Cornwall. It was previously used as a film unit for a TV company but is now in a poor state.
29th June 2009 Mr & Mrs Crump Acquired by Coney Green Farm, Stourport-on-Severn is well-travelled former Maidstone & District Series 2 VR HKE678L. It is to be used as a showpiece at their annual steam rally.
26th June 2009 Richard Sinclair An unusual survivor on the Isle of Skye is LHL coach EAW752L (originally XTF468L with Robinson of Great Harwood). It has previously been used as a horsebox but is now converted for use as a mobile home. Richard and a group of enthusiasts recently commandeered the vehicle for a ride with its current owner, Robbie Pict!!
20th June 2009 Tony Barfield Jane Dicker's preserved ECW coach-bodied RELH6G, former Eastern National 454 (RPU869M) is undergoing extensive rebuild and restoration at Cobus in Bridlington. It is currently without internal fittings, electrics or glass, but when reconstructed it will surely be the finest example of its type.
19th June 2009 Rev Patrick Coleman You wait years and then two Bus Ministry VRs come along at once. Hot on the heels of HDL409N in Scotland we have HJB454W which is undergoing a transformation as the Abergavenny Community Bus. There is a report on this conversion in the South Wales Argus which you can read here.
19th June 2009 Richard Hughes Arriva Cymru 3992 (YMB512W), the last surviving VR with the group, has been unveiled with signwriting for the new Pride of Llandudno open-top service which starts on June 28th and runs into early September.
18th June 2009

Updated 19th June 2009

Vincent Lochhead Well-travelled ex-Southern Vectis VR 647 (HDL409N) is currently in a yard outside Cumnock in Scotland, having been replaced as an exhibition unit with Ignite Bus Ministries by a Metrobus. It would likely be for sale to a sympathetic buyer. Vincent has contacted me again to say that he has since discovered the Ignite Bus Project website which indicates that the VR is to be retained and used alongside the Metrobus - good news indeed!
18th June 2009 Robin Harrison

Robin - please note, all attempts to email you result in "undeliverable" messages so I have been unable to respond to your messages

Former Go South Coast VRs continue to see use with special events BFX666T and recently-preserved GEL685V running Festival shuttles on the Isle of Wight last weekend.
16th June 2009 Chris Knight Lodekkas continue to turn up all over the World. The latest to appear is former Western SMT B1933 (XCS954) which is lying derelict in the town of Amory, Mississippi in the U.S.A. This FLF6G was last reported in March 1982 with Gray Line in Galveston, Texas.

You can actually "visit" this bus using Google Maps - type "Amory MS" into the search function, you'll bring up the town.  Zoom in to where US 278 (6th Avenue S) crosses Main Street S, just to the east of the railway track. Between the track and Main Street S, you'll see a long narrow white building parallel to the road. Just where the dirt meets the grass, to the left and closer to the road, you'll see a vague reddish oblong at a diagonal to the road. Zoom in on that and voila. Use the Steet Level icon and pop him in front of the bus and have a walk around it. Thanks to Chris for these instructions.

16th June 2009 Chris Stewart After a lengthy period in hibernation the first production short-wheelbase VRT is now out and about on the rally scene, having been treated to a coat of NBC green paint. The vehicle in question is of course former Eastern National 3000 (CPU979G).
16th June 2009 Paul Bateson/BBANA Former Western National FLF6G 1989 (135HUO) is now in derelict condition in Edmonton with broken windows and no tyres. It was recently with Nite Tours, but they seem to have ceased trading and this Lodekka now needs saving before the inevitable one-way trip to the scrapyard.
15th June 2009 Caroline Cleaveley  I'm pleased to hear that former United Counties RELL6G 311 (NBD311F) has been acquired in Gloucestershire for restoration and renovation. The intention is to return it to Tilling green and cream.
15th June 2009 Steve Graham The prototype B51 coach-bodied RELH, former Eastern National VHK177L has recently been reregistered 819XUP for use by Classic Coaches North West on regular rail replacement work. The original registration mark is retained on paper for when the coach is returned to pure preservation. Two other RELHs operate in the fleet - former Crosville AFM106G and Western National 837SUO, although these have been restricted to private hire work so far.
9th June 2009 Allan Macfarlane One of the most widely-travelled VRs in the UK has made yet another move. Former Western National 1117 (VDV117S), latterly on Guernsey with Universal Limos, has arrived in the yard of Bristol Bus & Coach Sales. It is hoped that a preservationist will move in for this most worthy bus.
7th June 2009 South West VR News Convertible VR VDV142S is the latest to join the Chepstow Classic fleet, having recently been in the hands of preservationist Terry Partridge. It was noted in use in open-top configuration at the Epsom Derby.
4th June 2009 Chris Candy There are literally hundreds of former buses converted to mobile homes running around the length and breadth of New Zealand and a good proportion of those are former Christchurch Transport Board RELLs. It is very hard to trace these, but now and again I get reports of one and the latest is former 478 (HH8179) with ECW pattern Hawkes bodywork which is now reregistered DQK434 and is currently undergoing conversion.
3rd June 2009 Ivan Chircop Ivan has former Bristol Omnibus 5136 (AHU513V) in Melbourne, Australia and is giving it a most thorough refurbishment before putting it to use over there.
2nd June 2009 BBANA Former Southern Vectis LD6G 549 (ODL9) is currently in a yard in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, U.S.A. having been under the same ownership for nearly 30 years. It is for sale, and a deal looks imminent for it to pass into safe hands.
2nd June 2009 Sam Malins The Leyland engined VR was always a flaky vehicle and most were rightly scrapped twenty or more years ago. Right? Wrong!! Apart from my being obviously biased (I do own one after all), the survivors are definitely proving this to be an unjust reputation. Take GTX750W - recently withdrawn from passenger duties it has been open-topped and will be heading off to Le Mans this weekend for the 24-hour endurance race (taking punters not participating, you understand)
1st June 2009 Ross Newman The ranks of preserved VRs continue to swell as examples come available straight from service with operators such as Alpine, Wilts & Dorset, Hedingham and Damory. There are now no fewer than 207 listed on my Preservation Focus page. The most recent one, acquired last month from Hedingham via dealer Ensign is former West Yorkshire 724 (JWT757V) which has been acquired by Nick Peters of Farnborough.
1st June 2009 Ben Vallance Most regrettably, and entirely due to the arbitrary rules being introduced by the local authorities, Johnson of Hodthorpe have begun the withdrawal of their fabulous fleet of VRs, many of which are in superb condition and far more sound than many more modern vehicles. However, all are over 25 years old and so will have to go as they will no longer be allowed on schools services. Three withdrawn in May were HTU159N, OWE854R and OWE857R. On the positive side, and showing what a shock these new rules were to the business, LVL804V is just emerging from thorough refurbishment and repaint; it is believed that the recent refurbs will be kept for suitable work for the foreseeable future.
19th May 2009 Shaun Courtnage Some seven years after SKL685X was deroofed under a Basingstoke railway bridge whilst operating with Hampshire Bus, another one of the very same batch of East Kent exiles has suffered exactly the same fate in Hampshire, this time SKL680X with Pike of Andover. The accident happened on May 12th and it was towed for scrap just two days later.
19th May 2009 Ben Vallance Former Eastern National 3112 (XHK217X), latterly registered XIL1254 with Flagfinders of Braintree, has finally gone to Barnsley for scrap after clinging on for a couple of years being used for spares at various locations.
12th May 2009/19th May 2009 Andy Owen/Ivor Bufton (photo) Voel Coaches of Dyserth have owned Alexander-bodied VR 63 (VVV63S) since 1992 and for some time it has been the last former Northampton example in passenger service. The great news is that it has just returned from repaint in orange livery, matching the colours carried by their premier coaches and its future is secure for the foreseeable future.
11th May 2009 James Griffiths/Charles Roberts Another VR has made it into preservation, this time former West Riding RUA455W which ran for Grierson of Fishburn over the past year or so. It has taken up residence at Keighley Bus Museum.
7th May 2009 Robin Harrison After nine years unreported, Robin (sorry, my replies to your email are being returned as undeliverable) confirms that former Southern Vectis RELL6G 866 (TDL566K) is safe and well in storage on the Isle of Wight, owned by preservationist Derek Priddle.
29th April 2009 Daniel Stazicker Former East Yorkshire VR 511 (PAG511W) has emerged in Holland from a very long refurbishment including being lowered by taking out some inches from the upper deck windows and pillars. 
27th April 2009 YouTube The oldest surviving RE has found another claim to fame as it currently appears in a national advertising campaign for Maltesers chocolates. You can watch (and hear!) 837SUO in action here. It forms part of the Classic Bus North West fleet operated by Steve Graham.
23rd April 2009 Mark Priest Unique former Sheffield Corporation East Lancs-bodied VR 271 (OWE271K) has recently been treated to a reapplication of its eye-catching Corporation livery.
16th April 2009 (updated 23rd April 2009) Bart Prins Bart has acquired four VRs from Alpine of Llandudno and these are already safely at his depot in Holland. The four are URU689S, HJB460W, HJB461W and YMB518W. Bart has also acquired former Eastern National Lodekka 2898 (WVX525F) which is currently undergoing extensive renovation work.
16th April 2009 Russell Meddings Spotted and photographed by Russell at Blue Star's Eastleigh yard today was newly-repainted VR GEL681V which has been donated by Go South Coast to City College where it will be used as a mobile training vehicle.
16th April 2009 Geoff Meek Sad news is that former Standerwick VRL coach 79 (PRN79K) has left the Freckleton premises of the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust for dismantling. However, all useful parts are being used to restore LRN60J which has been out on road test in Barnsley this week having been fitted with a new engine. 
14th April 2009 Glyn Bowen VRs are alive and well still in New Zealand. Glyn's daughter Alison saw former Trent 832 WRC832S in service on the Auckland Explorer yesterday - I rode on this magnificent tour last year but was VERY disappointed to find it was in the hands of a horrible Japanese minibus thingy for the entire duration of our visit!!
13th April 2009 Wayne Ball Wayne has added a former Bristol Omnibus ECW-bodied VR to his collection of preserved Reading Northern Counties "Jumbos" in the form of MOU739R (which your editor used to travel on to school in Cheltenham in the 1980s). It last ran with Black & White Motorways of Winchester but will be on SORN for some time to come as it has a seized engine. Good to see it in safe hands though.
13th April 2009 BBC Doctor Who website The episode Planet of the Dead duly aired on Saturday evening with no fewer than three VRs starring alongside David Tennant. RUA461W had been patched up in Dubai to appear in the desert (but seems likely now to be scrapped), HJB455W did the street scenes in Cardiff (posing as London) while GGM84W was butchered in the UK to resemble RUA for internal scenes shot in the studio. It too will likely be scrapped post production - it will be interesting to see whether HJB surfaces again.
10th April 2009 Mike Ede Former City of Oxford dual-door VR HUD496W passed to the Stroud RE Group last month for use for spares after many years sitting outside at Woodchester. It has quickly been broken up and now all that remains are the two axles. Unique parts have been salvaged for help in restoring the centre door on AHU518V to full operation.
9th April 2009 Philip Higgs VDV139S has become surplus to requirements at Classic Bus in Blackpool and has been sold to an operator in Rome, reportedly for use on sightseeing work (I would be VERY grateful for more news of this). It is believed that it will rejoin VDV140S which was driven to Italy last month, ex-Mortons Coaches of Basingstoke.
3rd April 2009 Chris Clegg Pike of Andover have sold one of their withdrawn VRs to an unknown dealer in Barnsley for scrap. Former Southdown IUI5035 (ex-JWV266W) leaves just two VRs in service here.
31st March 2009 Richard Hughes/Ivor Bufton/Darren Tasker Further valued updates from Alpine continue to arrive. They are now down to just two in service - and against the odds it is the two former Williams VRs that remain : UEY551T (ex-BAU179T) and BEY938W (ex-YMB507W). The two ex-Southdown VRs have been saved for preservation - new owners Darren Tasker and David Grimstone hope to drive PUF586R and AAP651T back to Brighton in the next few weeks.
22nd March 2009 ****updated 26th March 2009**** Ivor Bufton/Ian Wilson Alpine are down to just three operational VRs now: BMA520W, BEY938W (ex-YMB507W) and YMB517W. Sadly UEY551T (ex-BAU179T) was damaged in a depot accident with an Olympian (which came off worse apparently), but the remaining serviceable VRs appear to be attracting plenty of interest from potential buyers, so expect to hear more of those before long.  ***Correction - the damaged VR is in fact YMB516W and not UEY551T (which remains in service for the time being)
19th March 2009 Leo Roberts Damory Coaches 5066 (UDL673S) has kindly been donated to the Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum and arrived back on the island yesterday afternoon for its new life in preservation.
18th March 2009 David Oakley Well-travelled former Western National VR LFJ853W has turned up on the appropriately-named Leyland Court Farm in Bradley Stoke in use as a control tower for show-jumping events. It is not operational these days - if it needs to be moved it is dragged by a tractor!
17th March 2009 Ben Vallance It had been thought that ex-Lincolnshire Road Car VR LVL804V had been withdrawn by Johnson of Hodthorpe last August when it was put on SORN, but the good news is that it has been undergoing renovation and is due to be tested in the next few weeks. Still 31 VRs up and running with the largest remaining operator of the type anywhere.
13th March 2009 Barrie Gilbert Former City of Cardiff 350 (WTG350T) very nearly clocked up a full decade with Swansea City Council as the T.A.R.D.I.S. playbus but has now passed to a scrap dealer at Neath Abbey
8th March 2009 James Willmott Former West Riding 471 (VUA471X) has turned up at dealer Wacton at Bromyard having gone missing after being sold by Walton of Freckleton around 2005. The upstaird seats have been removed, and sadly this one is only fit for scrap.
4th March 2009 Crosville Yahoo Group/Richard Hughes Alpine of Llandudno are rapidly winding down their VR fleet with the recent acquisition of replacement Olympians, some not much newer than the VRs themselves. PUF586R and YMB516W have already been withdrawn and the remaining nine are all in danger.
4th March 2009 Philip Higgs/Carl Berry BusWorks have yet another Bristol on their books right now in the shape of Lincolnshire Road Car Mark I ECW-bodied RELH6G coach 1431 (CVL850D). It has been in preservation for over 25 years and will make a very welcome addition to the ranks of restored vehicles when done.
1st March 2009 John Rickard/Andy Baldwin The VR which has been running around Newquay for the past few years as the "Street Safe" exhibition (XHK220X) has been superseded this year by a portakabin and so the VR has been sold to dealer Perry of Bromyard.
1st March 2009 DVLA/South West VR News I have finaly come to accept that the VR has run its last in ordinary service with Go South Coast (Wilts & Dorset/Damory Coaches). Several examples remain licensed, but all have now been stored for some time, with the exception of GEL681V which was withdrawn on February 25th with Marchwood Motorways and appears to have been therefore the very last active VR within the group. The current whereabouts of BFX666T is unclear, but I am going to consider this one to be in active preservation. Thus the final operation of closed-top VRs with a former NBC operator quietly ends.
28th February 2009 James Willmott Always welcome is the news of a dual-door VR being saved for preservation. Former Bristol Omnibus 5141 (AHU518V) has been purchased by James from a non-PCV owner in the North East and returned to Bristol today, covering the 300 miles requiring nothing more than oil and water top-ups. Although it has been used as a kitchen for several years the interior is basically intact, including the bulkheads for the centre doorway, and James plans eventually to restore it to City Line condition.
25th February 2009 Peter Cook Excellent news is that the future preservation of the very first VR new to Hants & Dorset (CRU301L) has been secured by John Cumming who will now be sharing ownership (and therefore restoration costs) with the Heritage Bus Collection of Hants & Dorset and Wilts & Dorset - the new name for the consortium of owners of UFX858S amongst other vehicles.
22nd February 2009 DVLA website Former Crosville VR DVG285 (MDM285P) has been in use as a non-PCV since 1987 and has recently (January 2009) been relicensed, recorded as in a green livery. It was last reported in 2004 as with Hackney Adult Education Institute in a grey livery - if anyone has any sightings, or any photos at all (not necessarily current) I would be very pleased to hear from you at rob@robsly.com.
21st February 2009 Dave Godley David Hoare (Chepstow Classic) continues to acquire VRs. Latest to join the fleet is XAN48T which had spent the previous decade with Roselyn in Cornwall. It was one of seven that were new to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
21st February 2009 Craig Allan A rare survivor is long-wheelbase Tayside Alexander-bodied VRT/LL3 195 (OSR195R) which is in use as a playbus at the Maynard Arms, Bagworth, Leicestershire
19th February 2009
Updated 20th February 2009
Chris Mason Former Southern Vectis FLF6G 609 (CDL477C) has turned up in Washington state in the U.S.A. having not been reported since 1992! It is with The Old Cannery, Sumner having been bought from a dealer in South Carolina in 2005. It was previously with MacDonalds in Charlotte, North Carolina and still carries their sticker in the stairwell. From pictures now supplied by Chris I must correct this item. The FLF in Washington is in fact former Mansfield District 657 (FNN159D) which has had its identity swapped with CDL477C, even down to the chassis/body plate inside the bus!
11th February 2009 Mike Nash The last three open-top VRs have finally been sold by Southern Vectis after 28 years of continuous ownership. They were, I believe, the last three VRs to have remained under the same legal ownership from new (go ahead, prove me wrong) so ends an era in the history of the make. FDL681V, FDL682V and DPX683W have all passed to K&J (York Pullman).
8th February 2009 Julian Patterson A pink VR with a furry snout (I kid you not!) which has been photographed several times in the Nevada Desert in the USA has proved difficult to identify but we have now cracked it and what a gem it is - none other than former West Riding/Circle Line/various Essex independents UNW928R (I know a certain reader in Shenfield will be pleased)
4th February 2009 Maurice Bean Maurice has fulfilled an ambition and has today completed the purchase of a Bristol RE, and an Irish one at that! New to preservation is former Citybus 2526 (XOI2526) which has spent some time stored in Kent since withdrawal from Belfast in 2003.
1st February 2009 Andy Chown Steve Hillier has come across long-wheelbase East Lancs-bodied former Lincoln VR 38 (UFW38W) well off the beaten track - in Seoul, South Korea. It is a static display at Jau Centre Wedding Hall and has never run in Korea having been exported without an engine.
31st January 2009 Peter Newman A surprise development in the Doctor Who saga is that Ensign have reported that they have supplied a third VR, former Alder Valley GGM84W, to BBC Wales for filming on the Easter Special. It is believed (although not confirmed) that it is on its way to Dubai to deputise for RUA461W which was severely damaged in transit earlier this month.
29th January 2009 Julian Patterson Former Eastern Counties coach-seated VR VEX291X has been spotted at the Carlton dealers this week, but fear not - it is there to have a reconditioned gearbox fitted and Hulme Hall have no intention of selling it in the next 12 months.
26th January 2009 ***updated 29th January*** Dave Henderson, Allan Macfarlane An update on WTU465W which was on eBay last week :- it sold for £1070 and was noted today heading south on the M5 near Cheltenham. It will be interesting to see where it finally ends up. It has been acquired by Bristol Bus & Coach for onward export to Italy
25th January 2009 John Hembry John has re-acquired famous ex-Western National RELL6G 2700 (HDV626E) from Terry Partridge who is thinning down his fantastic fleet of preserved vehicles.
23rd January 2009 BBC Doctor Who website!!

Two VRs (HJB455W and RUA461W) were reported on December 2nd to have been sold to BBC Wales, ex-Hedingham. Nobody would have believed then that just a few weeks later a photo of David Tennant and Michelle Ryan would appear on the home page of the BBC's Doctor Who website at the rear of the upper deck of HJB! RUA has been shipped overseas for "outer space" filming but has unfortunately been damaged beyond repair when a 30' container was dropped on it at the dockside. It will be patched up sufficiently for filming to be carried out then will be scrapped.
18th January 2009 Alan  Moore Alan has provided extensive coverage of a trip to Holland and Belgium last June, and I will be updating the website accordingly over the next few days. First vehicle to come to light was former Hants & Dorset 1508 (BRU138B) which had previously gone missing since 1999.
17th January 2009 James Griffiths, eBay A couple of ex-Crosville VRs have recently left preservation, DVG465 (WTU465W) being advertised on eBay with a dealer in Ashton-under-Lyne and DVG508 (YMB508W) already in the scrap line at PVS, Carlton.
14th January 2009 Dave Arnold Hedingham Omnibuses are down to just four VRs now - former Alder Valley 614 (GGM84W) was taken off to Ensign (dealer) today.
10th January 2009 Simon Wood Preserved York-West Yorkshire Lodekka FS6B YDX221 (NWU265D) has recently received a repaint and looks fabulous in its Tilling red livery.
7th January 2009 Colin Billington Colin, well known for his fabulous collection of preserved Western National vehicles, has recently acquired the oldest surviving ECW-bodied LH saloon, former Cornwall-based 716 (MUO328F).
5th January 2009 Julian Patterson Ensign have already sold VEX287X to a new owner in Italy - this one was previously preserved in Eastern Counties "venetian blind" coach livery. Updated January 10th - the owner is Little Italy, Lacatena, owner of RAH265W and HJB464W as well.
5th January 2009 Julian Patterson Dealers Ensign of Purfleet have acquired the latest VR from Hedingham Omnibuses in the shape of former West Yorkshire 724 (JWT757V).
4th January 2009 Richard Hughes Alpine of Llandudno still have eleven VRs in use (all in yellow schools livery), but PCA425V was sold to Wigley, Carlton (dealer) for scrap last October.
4th January 2009 VR-Lewis Lewis kindly got in touch to say that the other remaining M&E VR, former National Welsh 501-engined GTX750W was sold in October 2008, to Chris Markey of Ongar for conversion to an exhibition unit.
3rd January 2009 Glenn Knight The first VR of 2009 to enter preservation is former United Counties 934 (SNV934W) which has been acquired by Martin Macey from M&E of Southend.
2nd January 2009 Nigel Eadon-Clarke A very welcome addition to the ranks of restored Lodekkas in the UK made its debut at the Winchester New Year event. It is former Hants & Dorset FS6G 1450 (5677EL) which has been beautifully restored in Tilling green livery.

Return to Home Page