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Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

2010 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
2009 News Log Archive
2007/8 News Log Archive

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
27th December 2010 Philip Higgs BusWorks has continued to rejuvenate VRs in 2010 and has now had an impressive number pass through their doors over the past three years. Philip has added a Flickr set celebrating them all, including of course my own VR JOU161P - I wish it still looked as pristine as it does here, but for the time being it has to stay outside to face the elements and, under the circumstances, the paintwork has worn well.
19th December 2010 Luke Deal Sadly another VR bit the dust last week - MOD569P had a good innings but was finally broken up at an Ipswich dealers on December 8th.
9th December 2010 Steve Conway Great news (in terms of its chances of re-entering service next summer) is that Arriva's remaining VR has recently been fitted with a state-of-the-art flip-dot electronic destination display. 3992/DVG512/OVG512 (YMB512W) looks set to continue on the Pride of Llandudno Tour next year - I have added a hi-res copy of Steve's scoop photo here.
2nd December 2010 eBay By pure co-incidence two former Bristol Omnibus Lodekkas have appeared on eBay in Germany and Austria this week. LC8501 (826CHU) is a wonderful LD6B still in great condition and in use as a retail outlet with Christian Göll (see entry on October 29th 2009), whilst 7252 (FHW157D) is a somewhat more "everyday" FLF6G which is for sale by Thomas Wollenberg in Essen, Germany.
29th November 2010 **Updated 1st December** Tim Weatherup/Maurice Bateman Tim has also brought a most remarkable photo to my attention, for which I need readers' help in identifying the actual Lodekka in question. Take a look at this photo for an amazing conversion of what is believed to be an early (1954 or 1955) LD model outside a beach bar at Gros Inlet on the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean in 1981. Quite why anyone would ship a double decker all that way only to convert it into something akin to a toastrack is a mystery, but my guess is that they found out too late that it was too high for operation on the island (it wouldn't be the only time that that had happened!) and converted it just to spite the authorities. If anyone knows the truth about the story of this strange machine, or most importantly has any record of an LD being shipped out there I would really like to hear from you. As John Dawkins commented when I first posted this link on Facebook, no doubt the performance of this beast was sparkling with all that weight missing! New information on this is that the conversion was actually done in the UK back in the early 1970s and also there were in fact two of these "toastracks", although originally they also had an upper deck! The actual identity of the pair is not yet known, but it is believed that they may have been ex-Hants & Dorset. I have added a page here with some additional material courtesy of Maurice.
29th November 2010 Tim Weatherup Two further Lodekkas have recently been identified through collaboration by a number of contributors. Tim found this blog showing both vehicles in use in Spain in the past year. The upper view shows a 1966 FLF which has been narrowed down to STW763D, formerly Top Deck Travel "Rush", whilst the lower view shows a 1961 LD which immediately narrowed it down to a Scottish vehicle (English and Welsh operators were taking F-series vehicles by then) and indeed the only such vehicle with Movil Bus is Western SMT B1638 RAG404. This was a particularly tough nut to crack because Movil Bus have at least four LD/FS Lodekkas with almost exactly the same partial open-top conversion.
23rd November 2010 Malcolm Pelling I am delighted to report that a long-standing mystery has been solved through the Unidentified Photos section of my Facebook page. There has long been a Midland General/Mansfield District LD6G lying near the beach at Negril in Jamaica, slowly deteriorating to the point where in 2006 it was almost totally obscured by undergrowth. It is known that six such LDs were operated by Montego Bay Municipality from 1973, but only one had previously been traced and identified - RAL978 being photographed in a derelict, almost completely scrapped condition on the wonderfully-named Treasure Beach in 1993. However, we now know the identity of the LD at Negril as it was visited a few years ago by a friend of Malcolm, during which the ECW body plate was found to be still intact and showing 7355 which tallies with VRB524. Unfortunately the site is believed to have been cleared in the last couple of years and the LD removed, almost certainly for scrap.
22nd November 2010 Peter Bates One of the more imaginative uses for a Lodekka can be seen at Controversy Tram Inn at Hoogwoud in Holland. Former Southern/Western National 2066 (BOD26C) has been incorporated into the side of one of the buildings at the hotel complex and is used by the proprietor as his bedroom! Take a look at the website for this amazing place and in particular take the 360 degree tours about two thirds of the way down this page. The one on the right leads to a gallery of about 12 further tours which allow you to see many different views of the exhibits. Who will be the first reader of this website to go there as a paying guest?
20th November 2010 Dave Mulpeter Dave has been busy assembling the right vehicles for his new Seaford & District operation and has now settled on two VRs and a Lodekka as the Bristol contingent for his opening fleet. Operations have not yet started, but we look forward to some interesting events and perhaps liveries during 2011.
17th November 2010 Steve White A surprising survivor to turn up in Germany is former Alexander Midland/Eastern National SMS42H, last reported in Deptford in 1999 and believed long-since scrapped. It is currently for sale on mobile.de having been lettered as The Festival Bus.
14th November 2010 Anthony Brewer Former South Wales 955 (WTH955T) had been believed scrapped some time ago, but in fact it remains on site with community radio station Radio Cardiff, although it has not seen any use for quite some time. It has been converted for use as a mobile stage, with large opening doors incorporated into the nearside of the bodywork. Anthony was unable to get any photos, although the staff on site were helpful, so if anyone has any photos of this either here or in any of its earlier guises I'd be very pleased to hear from you.
9th November 2010 David Beilby It is always nice when a Lodekka turns up and can be identified just from a photo - this is exactly what has happened recently with former Hants & Dorset 1461 (4384LJ) which is in Vienna, Austria - see Photo of the Month for the full story.
1st November 2010 John Hitchins The entire stock of VRs from Woolley of Llanedwen has turned up at Hardwick's scrapyard in Carlton, Barnsley. Two of them are former Cardiff Alexander-bodied examples, WTG361T and WTG367T, worthy enough examples. However the third is an absolute must for a preservationist somewhere being former Bristol Omnibus G5091 (NWS288R) - originally dual-door but converted to single-door in 1993 and operated by Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucester right up to 1999. It is "now or never" for this trio - they will be cut up for scrap in short order if nobody comes forward - please give Alan or Malc a call on 01226 725702.
22nd October 2010 James Pratt James has written to report that his preserved VR, former Western National 1215 (LFJ862W) turns 30 early next year, and by way of celebration he is taking it out for a tour of East Devon on November 7th. Departures are from Torquay at 9am, Exeter Coach Station 10am and Exeter Honiton Road P&R 10.10am, returning Exeter 5pm and Torquay at 6pm. If you would like to join James and his VR please drop him a line at exeterjames@gmail.com
17th October 2010 Martin Perry New Zealand is teeming with converted buses in use as campers and plenty of those are REs. Martin came across former Christchurch 489 (IP4251, now registered RZ5760) last week and there are many more, both those listed and also REs recently sold and as yet untraced.
16th October 2010 Ian Moorcroft Former Trent 775 (RCH637L) is currently for sale on eBay and looks to be a tidy vehicle for someone. Not too many Series 2s come on the market these days.
15th October 2010 Cliff Frisby Another long-term VR operation has recently come to an end with the withdrawal from service of Verwood Bus VCA455W. It has been used in Dorset on rural services for the best part of a decade in its attractive two-tone blue livery and will be missed.
15th October 2010 Peter Green A Lodekka which has been on the move recently is former Crosville DFB114 (147YFM). Based in Pennsylvania until 2009 it had made it north to Port Dover in Ontario, Canada where John Hopkins had hoped to continue to use it as a fast food outlet. However, local regulations kept getting in the way and so this week it has passed on again, this time to Ken Loughen in Athens, further north in Ontario. Its proposed new use is not yet known.
14th October 2010 David Jones David is the owner of unique former Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley & Dukinfield Board Northern Counties-bodied RESL6G 117 (YLG717F) which has spent very many years deteriorating after last seeing use at Haven Holiday Camp in Prestatyn in the late 1980s. He is now gearing up to start restoration work and would be delighted to hear (via me) from anyone who knows of any NC-bodied saloons languishing in scrapyards or elsewhere. David recalls the weekend in June 1996 when he acquired 117 from the former yard of Pennine Blue in Denton - seven preserved vehicles had been left to the scrapman as payment towards storage debts but by the end of the weekend only two remained, the rest having been saved by preservationists. The two which were ultimately scrapped were former Crosville RELL6G SRG44 (UFM44F) and Thames Valley LH6L 213 (VMO233H).
3rd October 2010 Luke Deal First Essex's heritage VR has finally been sold, after many reprieves in recent years. 3072 (KOO790V) has passed to local preservationist Luke Deal who already has a request for parts.
3rd October 2010 John Hembry A VR that hasn't been heard of for several years is Damory Coaches 5068 (GEL683V) which was severely damaged in 2005 when in collision with an Optare Spectra. It was swiftly dispatched to preservationist Laurence Burt and has sat in his Somerset yard ever since slowly yielding parts. However, it has recently been for a visit to WS Metals in Henstridge who have scrapped the remainder of the body, returning the chassis to Laurence for further spares recovery. Good to know every last bit is being used to benefit other VRs.
1st October 2010 Flickr A chance discovery on Flickr led to the identification of two RELL saloons which have been saved and are stored in the Lincoln area. Southern Vectis TDL567K is a long-running saga which has been under restoration for almost as long as it was in service, whilst Lincolnshire LFE832H was last used as a mobile office by East Yorkshire but had gone missing for a decade or so. If anyone can confirm their current owner I'd be grateful.
1st October 2010 Chris Sargent The last of the four VRs that went to Ensign from Wilts & Dorset last year has now been sold to Chris Sargent of Kibworth in the form of KRU851W. That means three of the quartet have found homes in preservation, the fourth (GEL682V) having passed to dealer Carl Ireland for export.
29th September 2010 Pete Kane Former Crosville LD6G MG879 (836AFM) remains in revenue-earning service for Dee Decker Tours in Melbourne, Australia no less than 38 years after it left the UK.
29th September 2010 Dave Mulpeter A short-lived but welcome VR operation within the London Transport boundaries has come to an end with the sale of PWY39W from TWH of Romford to Dave Mulpeter for use for spares for his recently acquired fleet of fascinating vehicles.
24th September 2010 **updated 29th September** Stephen Cobb/Brian North Last week Stephen spotted former Lincolnshire Road Car LD6G 2344 (PBE123) parked at Conemaugh Valley Elementary School in Johnstown, Philadelphia - close to where it was last reported to be for sale some eleven years ago. 2344 is still owned by Bernie Podlucky who has had the bus for the past 20 years and uses it for "fun" (and why not?!)
24th September 2010 Julian Patterson Former Lincolnshire Road Car 1964 (SVL174W) is reported to have been destroyed by fire at the premises of Wilby of Hibaldstow. Eastern Counties WPW202S is believed to survive, although neither VR had actually ever seen any operational use here.
7th September 2010 Ben Vallance Johnsons of Hodthorpe have relicensed 14 VRs for the new term (see here for the current situation) - it is presumed that all other VRs are now withdrawn. However the company have let it be known that they do not want any of their VRs to go for scrap and are prepared to wait for the right buyers to come along so if your dream VR is amongst those currently delicensed/SORN why not get them a call and make them an offer? VRs sold recently include HTU155N which has joined BMA521W in preservation with Dave Barnes of Warrington, HTU159N which is Bryan Sharpe's first preserved double decker (he already had three REs and a Leopard!) and OWE857R which was driven by yours truly to Southampton Docks a couple of weeks ago and which is now safely on the SS St Petersburg on the way to Auckland, New Zealand via Hong Kong and Melbourne.
3rd September 2010 Ken Jones A member of the Bristol Omnibus Vehicle Collection which is locked away safely awaiting restoration is former C7201 (CHY419C) - Ken managed to get a photo recently when it made a brief foray out into the light! Ken also snapped another interesting Bristol at Seaburn Rally last week - Northern General VR 3406 (JPT906T) is unusual in almost every respect - highbridge body, Leyland 501 engine, dual-purpose seating - all of which makes it quite unique so I am delighted to see that it has been repainted in NBC dual-purpose livery.
2nd September 2010 Thomas Borch/Tim Weatherup Lodekkas continue to pop up around Europe.1959 LD6G, former Hants & Dorset 1426 (YRU65) is alive and well in Denmark with London Bus of Hjortshoj. This Lodekka was the subject of a lengthy and extensive renovation project between 2002 and 2006 and is in immaculate condition. Meanwhile Southern Vectis 553 (ODL13) is in Den Haag in Holland working for Bristol Promotions as an exhibition unit.
1st September 2010 Rene Rozema Shocking news from Holland is that of the destruction of no fewer than four Bristol double deckers from the fleet of Delta Tours, Wapenveld. Two Lodekkas - 2031YG and SHN254F, a VR - FTU382T (which had been acquired for and used as a source of spares) and an as-yet unidentified 1950 K.
1st September 2010 Steve White Eastern National Lodekka FLF6B 2860 (RHK345D) has been returned to the UK by dealer London Bus Export of Lydney after 20 years employed in Belgium as a mobile bar.
1st September 2010 Allan Macfarlane A sad day has dawned in Cheltenham as a 35-year association with the VR finally ended with the withdrawal in August of the Marchant pair of ex-West Riding RUA452W and RUA457W. Both have been acquired by Hull-based dealer Carl Ireland and are expected to be quickly exported.
20th August 2010 Facebook Continuing the recent trend of vehicles with its own Facebook page is the only Lodekka known to be in Mexico, former Crosville ML696 (RFM441). It is now in use as a party bus in Mexico City.
18th August 2010 Anthony Johnson A couple of VRs have been sold by Johnson of Hodthorpe. OWE854R made the journey to Finland in June to an as yet unidentified owner, whilst OWE857R is due to go to Southampton Docks next week (possibly with yours truly at the helm!) for onward transport to New Zealand where it has been acquired by Lez Carter of Napier, South Island who plans to convert is for use as a camper with the rather - er splendid - name of Hotel Splendid.
17th August 2010 **updated 18th August**  **updated 20th August** Ken Menagh/James Denny/Julian Patterson A former Ulsterbus RELL has gone out with a bang (and a crash) at the Nutts Corner Demolition Derby near Belfast. Latterly with City Sightseeing Belfast it had been auctioned off when that business folded and met its sticky end last weekend as you will see from the photos on its profile page at BXI2596. I am only aware of one other Bristol to end its days in similar circumstances - this unknown VR was used at a demolition derby in Kings Lynn in April 2005 - if anyone knows which one it is or has any photos from the event I'd be delighted to hear from you. The identity of the VR has been put forward as RRP858R which certainly fits from last known location and photographic comparison. Now confirmed as RRP858R
16th August 2010 Mike Nash Not to be outdone by the other open-top RELL (see 24th July), PHN178L has been saved by previous owner Mike Nash who found it languishing in a very sorry state in a yard in Essex. Not one to waste any time Mike made an offer and here is a video of it arriving back in his Surrey yard this week.
15th August 2010 Glyn Jones Lodekkas turn up in the U.S. fairly frequently, but this is the first one that has been discovered through its own Facebook page! Former Crosville DFB200 (EFM634C) was last reported in Minnesota in 1982 and here it is in 2010 still in the same livery! It has been acquired by Erin Sutherland in Portland, Oregon who plans to convert it to a mobile dress shop.
11th August 2010 Ross Bulcock Ross is based near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada and has acquired Western National FLF6G 2002 (807KDV) which had spent some years sitting derelict in a yard since previous operator Nite Tours ceased trading. He has plans to restore it to running order for use by a local music group and we wish him good luck!
11th August 2010 Allan Macfarlane Two P-registered VRs have entered the sales stock at Bristol Bus & Coach Sales recently. Former United Auto 672 (MGR672P) has been in store for some years after use by Blue Bus of Debach but for the time being has suffered a broken rear axle causing the rear wheels to buckle inwards! The second is a gem, former Bristol Omnibus C5055 (LEU263P), now open-top, which Allan himself drove down to the docks in 2002 for shipping to the Channel Island of Alderney where it was used by Riduna Buses. Later passing to Universal Limousines on Guernsey it has now returned to Bristol for the next stage in its career, whatever that may be.
11th August 2010 Anita Camera Former Eastern National 2817 (HEV995B) has been hidden away in a Scottish wood since at least 1999 having previously been used by a theatre/clown group (fitted with "fool injection"!). Unfortunately its condition has deteriorated to such a degree that it is really only fit for spares, and so it is good to know that the major salvageable units have been acquired by Dreadnought Coaches to help to keep their wonderful fleet of Lodekkas on the road.
11th August 2010 Dave Mulpeter Yet another excellent vehicle has joined Dave's expanding fleet, this time former Mansfield District semi-auto FLF6G TRB589F, acquired from Viv Carter.
6th August 2010 Niki Johnson LAK937W is sitting derelict in the yard of the Bird's Nest pub in Deptford, London SE8, still carrying East Yorkshire livery. Its owner, use since leaving Yorkshire and current status are all unclear. Interestingly this is the second VR reported at this pub - SMS42H was used by them as a mobile bar in the late 1990s - perhaps the intention was to convert LAK similarly?
5th August 2010 Andrew Rasmussen Andrew reports the welcome news that former Hartlepool Borough RELL6L 93 (JAJ293N) has been undergoing substantial mechanical overhaul with Council backing over the past 18 months. Work is now completed and 93 is set to provide shuttle services for the 2010 Tall Ships event this coming weekend.
4th August 2010 John Hembry Through advertising on this website three of Laurence Burt's RELLs have found buyers in recent weeks. Jason Rayner (who already has DPX685W) has taken NLJ821G which is to undergo assessment as to whether it is fit only for spares or suitable for restoration. POD829H is to join Dave Mulpeter's growing fleet (joining KPM87E) in Brighton, while RLJ341H has gone to a private buyer in Swindon.
4th August 2010 **updated 13th August** Paul Palmer For the first time in at least 40 years there is no longer a Bristol double decker in the Hedingham & District fleet. The last pair have departed in recent days, MRJ8W for use as a mobile showroom (after losing its seats for fitting to SRU981) and STW30W for preservation locally. The conversion of MRJ8W to a mobile showroom has been aborted when it was found the seats would not fit SRU981. It has instead been sold to Ensign, Purfleet (dealer) with the seats intact
31st July 2010 Traveller Dave Sad to say that former Crosville ERG283 (YFM283L) has slipped the preservation net and has been used as a static home for the past three years. I do not personally have a problem with this - it is the owner's prerogative to use their vehicle however they see fit, but it is a shame from the enthusiast point of view. It is currently for sale.
30th July 2010 Michelle Webster/Tony Lloyd Hess-bodied REs continue to be snapped up in New Zealand for conversion to mobile homes. The latest is former Christchurch 515 (SA8326, ex-JD3226) which has been bought by Shelina Polkinghorne of Otahuhu. It was recovered to Auckland on the night of July 27th and is parked on Michelle's yard while its future is determined. Another, sold last year by Bayline of Tauranga is 524 (JD4902) which is with Tony & Adele Lloyd of Wellington.
29th July 2010 Paul Bateson Paul has been in Philadelphia this week and has noted FDV781V in service in Big Bus livery with previously unreported fleetnumber 315.
27th July 2010 Leo Roberts Quantock Motor Services have sold their VR, UFX856S, to Chepstow Classic Buses who continue to pick up good examples of the type. It was out and about at the Fairford Air Show last weekend.
24th July 2010 Andy Buchanan Andy and his son Mark have acquired former Yorkshire Traction/East Yorkshire VR HWJ931W for continued use as a playbus, now based in Renfrew, Scotland.
24th July 2010 Viv Carter Eastern Counties vehicles continue to enjoy many friends in preservation. The latest to be saved is former Ipswich-based FS5G LFS54 (54CPW) which had been used as a caravan for many years, registered in Germany although often stored in Blackpool. It has been bought by Viv Carter as a rainy day project - so don't expect to see it restored any time soon!
24th July 2010 Robin H Robin reports that Shanklin's Pony, former Southern Vectis TDL564K - one of only two RELL open-top conversions - is currently in service on the Isle of Wight providing Thomas the Tank Engine shuttles and is performing well in the hilly terrain.
22nd July 2010 Viv Carter Viv saved TRB589F from the scrapman back in April and was hoping to restore this rare ex-Mansfield District semi-auto Gardner 6LW-engined FLF Lodekka. However, plans have changed and he is now hoping to pass it on to another preservationist while other projects take precedence.
19th July 2010 Rich Waterhouse Eastern National FLF6G EOO579 has been spotted for the second time in three months in Naples - but this time a photo has been forthcoming and has been added to the Lodekka's profile.
17th July 2010 Adam Dowling Adam advises that Embling are now down to their last two VRs, FKM867V having been exported to France (precise destination as yet unknown) last month. Embling will be having a VR running day on August 14th with AUD460R and BKE861T expected to operate on service 701 between Peterborough, Whittlesey and Coates.
15th July 2010 Dave Godley Former British Airways LHS/Plaxton coach RLN230W has turned up with Somerset Coaches of Radstock, reregistered 673RHY. It was previously in preservation in Essex and is now on eBay once again.
14th July 2010 Stephen Raine Stephen rediscovered Bristol Omnibus FLF6G C7290 (JAE630D) on a recent trip to Nova Scotia - it has just started being used as a static cafe in the appropriately-named Englishtown after many years as a fish and chip outlet, followed by several more years lying derelict on Cape Breton Island.
11th July 2010 **Updated 14th July** Tim Weatherup/Keith Lee F.A.D.D.S. Party Bus of Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A. have added a second VR to their fleet alongside FDV779V which they have had since 2005. The new addition has been named "Skyscraper" and can be seen in detail here, but I have so far been unable to identify it - do please let me know if you can. Keith has kindly identified "Skyscraper" as RWT546R, courtesy of Paul Bateson's excellent British Buses Abroad magazine.
10th July 2010 Dave Beardmore Dave nearly crashed his van the other day when driving through the small village of Stow-cum-Quy near Cambridge when he passed former Eastern National VR 3074 (KOO792V) in the yard of The Missing Sock public house. It had been converted for use as a mobile bar by its previous owner in the Reading area, but had not been traced since its sale last year.
10th July 2010 Julian Patterson Julian's most recent acquisition is a surprise - former Ribble 1995 (OCK995K) which was one of a large number of that batch which passed to Eastern Counties in later life where it was open-topped and numbered OT5. It operated in various guises on the Norwich Tour before spending six years north of the border with Tennents Brewery in Glasgow as an exhibition unit. The reason it is a surprise is because it had only been repainted in traditional green and cream "Southdown" livery by Classic Bus, Blackpool in March of this year. Julian has, however, lost no time in having it repainted once again, this time into a version of Eastern Counties open-top livery which it never actually carried, but was carried for many years by the pair of rare open-top Lodekka LDL6Gs (VDV752 and VDV753 which continue to ply their trade for Quantock Motor Services in North Somerset to this day)
10th July 2010 Dave Mulpeter Dave reports that Brighton & Hove 87 (KPM87E) has begun its journey home having been transported by low loader to Belfast this week. It returns to mainland Britain on the ferry next Friday and we will follow developments in its restoration with interest.
7th July 2010 John Hembry No fewer than three REs and also an open-top VR previously believed to have been scrapped are currently up for sale from Laurence Burt who is based in Shaftesbury. Full details including contact details can be found here.
3rd July 2010 Andrew Colebourne Former Western S.M.T. Lodekka LD6G GCS254 has enjoyed extensive renovation in Denmark and now sparkles following repaint in use as a mobile catering unit. It really is a credit to its owners and just goes to show that being exported can often lead to better days for a bus than slow deterioration back home!
3rd July 2010 Allan Macfarlane Former Hants & Dorset/Top Deck Travel FS6G Lodekka 4382LJ is alive and well extolling the virtues of Toledo in Spain. It was easily identified from the unusual open-top conversion as well as the retention of the very rearmost upstairs roof and window bay.
3rd July 2010 Mark Terrill/Julian Patterson Former Southdown Series 2 VR 569 (GNJ569N) has been noted in both Brighton and London this week, presumably in conjuction with the Gay Pride marches in each of those cities. It has been used for the last decade as a promotional vehicle for Durex condoms, although currently the only external lettering is for Absolute Radio.
2nd July 2010 Matt Reynolds A VR owned by Dutch football supporters has made it all the way to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup - and it doesn't seem to be doing too badly given Holland's win over Brazil this afternoon! FAO423V has been owned by the "Oranjefans" for some years and is used at the head of a 6km long(!) convoy of orange vehicles which travel from match to match to support their team. Something tells me that's a party I'd like to be at!
21st June 2010 Steve Simister (updated) Steve has recently been on a trip to North Wales which yielded a good haul of Bristol buses. Most noticeable is former Bristol Omnibus/Gloucester G5091 (NWS288R) which is now withdrawn in the yard of Woolley in Llanedwen and is looking very sorry for itself - this is a marvellous preservation prospect for someone and should appeal given its remarkable survival in service (until 2009). Anyone wishing to contact Mr Woolley, the phone number is 01248 714991.
20th June 2010 Jake Bamford/Graham Ashwell VRs continue to be popular in preservation and several have passed to new owners recently. Rare municipal survivor, former Great Yarmouth 31 (CVF31T) is now in the hands of the Eastern Transport Collection in Norwich where it joins OCK988K. Meanwhile highbridge former Maidstone & District 5137 (WKO137S) is now with Bernard Sealey in Kent joining Willowbrook-bodied TFN980T. There are now a record 218 recorded in private hands in the U.K. and I shall of course continue to update this increasingly important part of the website.
19th June 2010 Peter Cook Peter has gone beyond the call of duty and blagged his way into Netheravon Camp on Salisbury Plain to visit UDL671S which has now been converted into an immobile control tower for parachuting activity. The conversion includes part of the rear having been removed and part of the remaining roof replaced by a sliding perspex section. Plenty of desks and computer kit has been fitted. The VR was part of the Damory fleet until gearbox trouble saw its withdrawal in 2008.
17th June 2010 Ben Vallance Johnsons of Hodthorpe have withdrawn two further VRs in the shape of YDL676T and MWG940X. YDL was a surprise having received new seats and an internal refresh not too long ago. That leaves 22 VRs licensed for service, but expect worse news at the end of the school term as several ex-Megabus Scanias have arrived recently.
17th June 2010 Steve White A couple of Lodekkas are for sale in Germany at the moment, albeit for pretty silly money as is the norm for mainland Europe. Former Eastern Counties KAH461D can be seen here and is currently based in Leipzig while West Yorkshire/Keighley 950BWR is here although its current owner and location is somewhat less clear.
14th June 2010 Tom Bond Tom is a director at Foundry Coaches and is currently undertaking major refurbishment work to VRTLL open-topper LFS296F. However, his main reason for contacting me was to send me this link to an advert for former Bristol Omnibus 7214 (DHW984C). I last came across this FLF when I was working in Stockholm myself, one freezing morning in January 1996. The advert was last updated in March 2008 so I don't know whether the Lodekka has now found a new owner.
14th June 2010 Ross Newman Ensign (dealer) handled one of the rare Atomic Energy Research Establishment VRs in May. XAN431T was acquired in a part exchange deal with Chapman's Travel and passed almost immediately to Escape the City, London - an organisation which encourages people to leave their jobs and make a complete life change - the plan is to take the VR on an overseas trip, possibly as far as China!
14th June 2010 Nicholas Pope One of the last LHs still in operational service, former Western National 1557 (FDV787V) has recently been retired by Zoar of St Kevern in Cornwall and passed for preservation to Nicholas Pope of Pulborough, West Sussex. Nicholas says it is a shame to take it away from Cornwall, but I am pleased that it has found a good new home.
2nd June 2010 Carl Lemon Former Bristol Omnibus 5111 (RHT505S) has turned up on an industrial estate in Wickford, Essex having previously been believed to have been scrapped. It has obviously been used as some sort of publicity vehicle and appears to be largely complete.
27th May 2010 Barrie Gilbert I am very grateful to Barrie for information on an elusive VR. South Wales 933 (TWN933S) was sold directly to Greens Motors of Haverfordwest in 1989 with no seats and nothing much was heard of it for a great many years. It appears now that it has been used as a mobile hospitality unit and grandstand at the West Wales Showground promoting Greens Motors' car dealership (Greens used to run service buses but sold out to Western Welsh in the 1950s!).
21st May 2010 eBay It's a case of "good news... bad news" with respect to former London Transport BL91 (OJD91R). The good news is that its unique conversion to open-top is nearing completion at BusWorks in Blackpool. The bad news is that its sale to the Isles of Scilly has fallen through and it is now listed on eBay here.
21st May 2010 Dave Mulpeter Great news is that KPM87E has been saved from the scrapman in Northern Ireland and has been bought for preservation and restoration in its home town of Brighton by Dave Mulpeter. Work has already begun to source some of the parts needed to put it back together again.
11th May 2010 **Updated 12th May** Jamie Vendy/Les Scott The only preserved Standerwick VRL coach LRN60J has been repainted in original red and cream livery and work is now to commence on the interior. There is a report that it has changed hands and is now owned by York Pullman, but that is as yet unconfirmed. The report of a change in ownership is entirely false. It remains with Les Scott and is merely in York for some work to be carried out.
11th May 2010 Mark Golding Did you ever think that the Willowbrook body on the VR was a little flimsy, not very well made, wouldn't last ten minutes? Well, that appeared to be true of a good many of these vehicles. However the Americans seem to be entirely capable of making former East Kent examples work because British Bus Company in San Diego are still using one and now TFN988T has had a fortune spent on it by Java Dawg in Sarasota, Florida to convert it into a mobile coffee shop.
10th May 2010 Allan Macfarlane Yet another VR snapped up for export to Italy is former Lincolnshire Road Car 1950 (LVL805V) which was in use as playbus in St Albans until recently.
5th May 2010 Chris Stewart/Martin Weyell Former Eastern National FLF6G 2737 (EOO579) was noted in Naples last week, painted in a deep red livery - the first time this one has been reported since it was first exported to Italy in the 1980s.
5th May 2010 Ken Menagh Former Brighton, Hove & District 87 (KPM87E) has turned up after 16 years missing in Northern Ireland. It has previously been used as a playbus but is now derelict and in very poor condition.
5th May 2010 **Updated 15th May 2010** Ken Menagh The Falls Bus Preservation Group have added their second vehicle to RELL6G/Alexander Belfast AXI2547 in the shape of former Bristol Omnibus/Ulsterbus LH6L SWS774S. This purchase has not, in fact, gone through on final inspection of the vehicle.
18th April 2010 Philip Higgs Classic Bus North West (the operating arm of BusWorks in Blackpool) have adopted pseudo-Southdown apple green and cream livery for their fleet and a recent repaint into these evocative colours is former Ribble/Eastern Counties open-topper OCK995K.
17th April 2010 **Updated 22nd April** Leo Roberts Hulme Hall have ended a very long association with the VR quite abruptly with the sale of DPX685W to dealer Hardwick, Carlton (Barnsley) for scrap. The VR is however considered to be in too good condition to break and is currently for sale. The VR is now happily sold for preservation.
6th April 2010 **Updated 18th April** Mark Howarth Western Greyhound's latest VR, former Western National 1211 (LFJ858W) is beginning to emerge from its thorough restoration and is now being prepared for a repaint in green and cream. 1211 has now been repainted and debuted at the Penzance Heritage Day this weekend.
6th April 2010 Simon Wiles Simon has written to confirm that he has recently acquired former West Riding 905 (RUA455W) from dealer Carl Ireland of Hull. It is also reported that Carl has now sold BMA524W for export - any reports very welcome!
2nd April 2010 Stuart Turner Stuart has kindly sent an updated photo of former Midland General/Trent FLF6G SRB75F which has received a new livery in Christchurch, New Zealand since I last saw it. Unfortunately the vehicle is no longer able to run its regular schools service, not because of the more usual reason of age restrictions but because last year one of its wheels buckled and a replacement has not yet been able to be found. I have published a plea on my Parts page and hopefully something will turn up to keep this one running.
2nd April 2010/10th April 2010 Roger Brown/Lee Garrett For several years I believed my own VR, JOU161P, was likely to be the sole surviving dual-door Leyland-engined example. However, this afternoon it came to light that there is another one in the form of ex Bristol Omnibus 5032 (mine is 5031!) JHW106P which was known to have been in non-PCV use but had not been reported for nearly a decade. It is lying derelict in a field in Derbyshire and is intact, but at the moment no further details are known. It may possibly be coming available for sale in which case I shall of course keep readers informed. Acquired for preservation, 10/4/2010. This opens the mouthwatering possibility of 5030, 5031, 5032, 5033 and 5034 all lining up together one day!
1st April 2010 Viv Carter Viv hasn't only been busy with VEX294X (see 28th March below) - he has also been working on FS6G Lodekka former Crosville DFG33 (314PFM). It had previously been fitted with a Gardner 6LXCT engine which was shoe-horned into the engine bay with some extension to the original front cowl. Viv has now fitted it with a 6LXB unit (itself unusual in Lodekkas) and has removed the front-mounted exhaust and lorry-style splitter gearbox fitted by Vincent Tractors in the 1990s. I can assure readers that the photo of the FS has not been doctored for April Fools' Day! It really has been fitted with a front cowl carrying the Bristol "wings" motif as fitted new to some CBC-fitted Lodekkas (since the normal radiator grille on the front of most Lodekkas was superfluous when CBCs were fitted)!
29th March 2010 Mike Ellis Mike has added another Bristol double decker to his preserved VR (FDV780V) in the shape of former Bath Carol Bus, LD6B YHT958 which was originally Bristol Omnibus L8462.
28th March 2010 Mike Walker Rare semi-automatic LH6L, former Bristol Omnibus 353 (DHW293K) has returned home this week under the care of the Bristol Omnibus Vehicle Collection where it is expected to receive the green and cream OMO livery it carried from new.
28th March 2010 Viv Carter Viv has contacted me with the very welcome news that a five-year effort to restore former Eastern Counties VR294 (VEX294X) is nearing completion and the VR will be entering the paint shop soon to receive a coat of NBC red. It is a highly significant bus, carrying the very last VR style body to leave the Eastern Coach Works factory in Lowestoft, and it is great to see it back together as it had deteriorated quite badly before Viv stepped in.
26th March 2010 Steve Warwick A coach-seated RELL which had led something of a nomadic life in recent years, formerly Hants & Dorset 3048 (UEL564J), has emerged this month in much better condition and repainted in its original livery.
23rd March 2010 Phil Logie Phil discovered former Crosville VR DVG500 (YMB500W) in Letterkenny in the Republic of Ireland last October. It has been substantially refurbished on the outside but is untouched inside since its days as a playbus. Phil's report has led me to add a page to the website recording all VRs known to be in Ireland.
22nd March 2010 ***updated 25th March*** Bernard Trudel Where can you find two Series 1 VRs in all-day service in 2010? Well, possibly still with Johnson of Hodthorpe but their two tend to be restricted to schools services these days. No, Vancouver is the place to go - Big Bus continue to use OCD763G and OTA292G, both of which were exported to Canada in 1992 and have operated on Vancouver sightseeing services ever since. Bernard is a driver with Big Bus and says that they are the preferred vehicles from the fleet. For once some crazy rules have worked in favour of these VRs - Canada only allows pre-1972 buses to be imported so replacement vehicles are near impossible to source! Vehicle histories now corrected
20th March 2010 Tim Weatherup Former United Auto VR 725 (BPT925S) has passed between owners in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. and is now used by Kells Irish Pub on shuttle services to and from home basketball games.
20th March 2010 Alan Walker Turbulent Scottish operator Bankfoot Buses of Perth have sold their last two VRs, both to Little London of Martina Franca, Italy (where a good many VRs have gone in the past couple of years). XBO121T was driven directly to Italy from Perth this week, whilst GGM108W has been moved to Simon Munden's yard in Bristol prior to going overseas.
19th March 2010 Tim Weatherup Another VR to meet its demise is former Trent 839 (BRC839T) which was destroyed by fire last month while in storage in Ipswich.
18th March 2010 Ivor Bufton Rare Leyland-engined former Crosville/Arriva Cymru open-top VR RLG429V is reported sold to an unknown owner in Sweden during 2009. Any further information would be much appreciated.
17th March 2010 Martin Macey Martin has reluctantly sold former United Counties VR 956 (VVV956W) for scrap. It has been used to yield vital parts for the restoration of Martin's two other VRs - Series 3 pre-production GNJ583N and another United Counties example, 933 (SNV933W). 956 was in relatively poor condition so the decision was logical and after all - you can't save 'em all!!
17th March 2010 Gareth Crowther Bankfoot Buses of Perth VR GGM108W was noted travelling south on the A1M near junction 53 today. It was presumably on its delivery run to its new owner as it was sold on eBay last month. It will be interesting to see where it turns up next.
11th March 2010 Michael Wootten, Mike Nash, Roger Brown All of a sudden REs are in the news! Firstly former Colchester RELL6L SWC24K has been sold by Woottens of Chesham to Dreadnought Coaches of Alnwick where it is hoped it will enter service next month. Secondly there are two REs for sale on a buy-one-get-one-free basis and finally a mystery RELL has been acquired by a Somerset operator for recertification and entry into service - more on this one soon!!
7th March 2010 Vince Mathers Former West Yorkshire VR 1769 (SUB793W) had a very short career in Essex as a mobile publicity unit and has now passed to Vince Mathers & Sue Hitchen of Stockport for preservation, although its first movement this week was to a storage location in Selby. It retains Embling livery with a large picture of Mike Tyson added!
7th March 2010 Tim Weatherup Tim has unearthed a photo of dual-door former City of Oxford VR 497 (HUD497W) at Santander Airport in September 2008. Spain appears to have become something of a hot spot for dual-door VRs with no fewer than six of them out there, three having previously been converted to single door but of course retaining their centre staircases.
4th March 2010 Richard Hughes Alpine of Llandudno are now down to just two withdrawn VRs, YMB507W (now BEY938W) having been removed today by Wigley, Carlton (dealer).
3rd March 2010 Barend Golverdingen The latest Lodekka to turn up is former United Automobile/Western SMT FLF6G THN263F which is out of use in Melle, near Brussels in Belgium. It is available for sale at 2,500 euros if anyone is interested.
23rd February 2010 John Bowden John Bowden and Marleen Schelvis of Shirehampton, Bristol have spent the last nine years slowly renovating the mechanicals and converting the body of former Cheltenham District/Bristol Omnibus 5087 (NHU670R) for use as a mobile home. It is expected that the work will be completed in 2011 and I am, of course, delighted that yet another former Cheltenham VR survives.
23rd February 2010 Karen Griffin Former United Counties/M&E Coaches VR SNV934W has been sold out of preservation and converted as a party bus to a very high quality and shipped out to Spain where it is now the Costa Blanca Party Bus.
19th February 2010 James Willmott/Richard Hughes A number of VRs have been scrapped in recent months. The entire stock at Wacton scrapyard in Bromyard has gone - WTU490W and VUA471X were broken last year, while XHK220X (for many years the Street Safe exhibit in and around Newquay) succumbed last week. Meantime Trevor Wigley (Carlton breaker) collected WTU499W from Alpine of Llandudno earlier this week.
18th February 2010 Danny Chabaud/Maurice Bateman A new addition to the pages of this website is former Midland General 310 (TRB577F) which has turned up for sale in Haute-Savoie in France nearly thirty years after being exported.
16th February 2010 James Denny James contacted me this morning with the great news that he has acquired both Doctor Who VRs remaining in the UK directly from BBC Wales. HJB455W has been taken to Suffolk on suspended tow already and is now preserved, while GGM84W will follow, although it is only fit to provide spares for HJB after the body was damaged beyond repair during the filming of the episode Planet of the Dead. A photo showing the rescue has been added as Photo of the Month.
16th February 2010 Danny Chabaud Long-time French correspondent Danny Chabaud reports that Alexander-bodied Tayside VR 187 (OSR187R) is parked outside a restaurant somewhere in Alsace, France - an incredible survivor! He also sends news of an as-yet unidentified Lodekka FLF for sale in Haute-Savoie - you can see it here - do please let me know if you are able to identify it.
13th February 2010 Steve Simister Very unusual news in 2010 is that of a VR entering service with a new operator. Former West Yorkshire/Hedingham Omnibuses PWY39W was acquired by Ensign on January 21st and was in service in Harlow on service 55 the following day on hire with quaintly-named Travel with Hunny. It has now been acquired.
8th February 2010 Phil Logie Great news is that, courtesy of the Lincolnshire Co-Operative, unique former Lincoln Corporation Alexander-bodied RELL6L 73 (UVL873M) is to see full restoration over the coming months, as reported in this article.
7th February 2010 Paul Palmer/John Haines Former Southern Vectis FS6G 573 (YDL318) has been in Scotland for the last few years with McKindless of Wishaw, but has now been bought by Phil Blair for return to the South Coast. When Paul went up to Wishaw to inspect 573 he found two further Lodekkas (FLFs) in the yard surrounded by scrap vehicles. They are Central SMT BL341 (HGM341E) and Mansfield District 694 (TRB589F) and are also both up for sale.
6th February 2010 Thomas Wollenberg Bristol Omnibus FLF6G 7252 (FHW157D) is alive and well in Germany in the hands of Thomas Wollenberg based in Essen. It is used for private hires and pretty much anything else they can think of! There is a gallery of photos of the bus which is in fantastic - if not exactly totally original (!) - condition here. Take a look at some of those interior views!!
5th February 2010 Bob Martin Rather amazingly, former Eastern Scottish AA287 (LFS287F) has moved on once again from California where it has resided for the last 21 years (spending many of those immobile in the desert) and has turned up in a garage close to Chicago, Illinois! This is rather ironic because it was purchased by Chicago Motor Coach in 1991 but never actually made it there, remaining in the desert for the next 12 years before being resurrected by British Bus Company of San Diego. It will be interesting to see whether it makes it into service in the Windy City - it would certainly be a waste after making the effort to transport it so far!
21st January 2010 Dave Arnold And then there were two.... Hedingham & District L253 (PWY39W) passed to Ensign, Purfleet (dealer) today leaving just two VRs in the fleet.
20th January 2010 Simon Watkins Simon acquired well-travelled former Hants & Dorset VR 3402 (BFX570T) from Morris of Pencoed in December 2008 for preservation. He has been steadily working on it since and hopes to have it MoT'ed next month, ready for the rally season in the Spring.
17th January 2010 Keith Rapley/Allan Macfarlane Long-lost Lodekkas continue to reappear in North America. The two most recent examples were identified as a result of posting photos to the Unidentified Lodekkas photo album on my recently-added fan page for this website on Facebook. There are more to be identified on there - do please visit and become a fan. The first is a rare 31' FLF6G, ex-Eastern Scottish AA210 (GSG210D) which lay derelict in Beaver Bay, Minnesota in July 2007 - it had previously been last reported in 1982. The other is a gem - photographed in black and white in April 2004 was former Bristol Omnibus LD6G L8482 (838CHU) which was looking in poor condition in a yard in Anchorage, Alaska - a long way from Denver, Colorado where it had arrived in the US in 1977 and had remained unreported ever since!
9th January 2010 **Updated 10th January and again 20th January Ben Vallance Since reporting the number of licensed VRs yesterday the figure has already dropped by two with the withdrawal of SVL177W and SVL180W by Johnson of Hodthorpe, the latter with what is described as a "terminal problem". Good news is that SVL180W has now been reinstated, the problem having turned out to have been minor.
8th January 2010 Chris Fenner A unique vehicle currently for sale is the prototype Series 3 VR, new to Western National as 1078 (ODV78M). It is still fitted with its Leyland O510 engine and is kitted out as an exhibition unit. The only slight fly in the ointment is that it is in New Zealand, having been exported there in 1991. You can view the advert here.
8th January 2010 Jake Bamford Another VR entering preservation is Maidstone & District 5807 (PKE807M) which was bought for Jake Bamford as a Christmas present by his partner Claire! It had spent more than twenty years as a mobile crime prevention unit with Kent County Constabulary and joins former East Kent 7681 (SKL681X) in Jake's stable.
8th January 2010 DVLA I have been using the DVLA website to check the remaining VRs owned by operators in the UK. The total licensed for service currently stands at 67, the lowest ever total. This is down from 95 in September 2009, although many of those now on SORN are seasonal vehicles (open top/contract) which tend to be relicensed for the summer months. On the positive side there are now 212 VRs recorded in preservation in the UK, many of which are either undergoing restoration or already fully restored.
6th January 2010 Karl Wenn Two long-lost FLF Lodekkas have been identified within a few miles of each other in California. Karl was looking for a bus to convert to a motor home during 2009 and ended up buying Western National 2034 (414PTA) which had actually been converted to a high standard back in 1982 but had become derelict in a field in Paso Robles. Karl has already stripped out the interior and plans his own conversion during 2010. He had a choice of two because in nearby California City sits Bristol Omnibus C7018 (813MHW) which had been "Flynn" with Top Deck Travel's short-lived US operation in the 1980s and which still carries a green version of their livery. Despite requiring a lot of work its current owner was asking a lot more money than for 2034 so it had to be that one! The full fascinating story is told on Karl's blog at Gone with the Wenns.
4th January 2010 Buses Magazine There's a nice article in the January issue of Buses magazine celebrating 50 years since the launch of the first Lodekka prototype. An accompanying photo showed former Thames Valley FLF6G D23(FJB739C) still in service with Nostalgia Travel in Oxfordshire - I hadn't previously appreciated that this bus was still in regular use with this PSV operator and, as such, is one of the longest-lasting Lodekkas in continuous passenger service in the UK.

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