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Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

2012 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
2011 News Log Archive
2010 News Log Archive
2009 News Log Archive
2007/8 News Log Archive

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
29th December 2012 Georg Strabon Further to the entry for December 17th, JWV270W has now made the journey overland to Ukraine successfully (with my help in getting it through customs by telling them where to find the chassis number!). It is owned by Heorhiy Telatitskiy of The London Steak House in Kamyanets-Podilskiy who plans to convert it to become part of the restaurant.
27th December 2012 Traveller Dave Traveller Homes continues to throw light on vehicles long since believed to have been scrapped. Former Hants & Dorset LH GLJ481N was used as a mobile home in the U.K. for many years but then disappeared and was in fact driven to Portugal where it survived a close shave with a forest fire in 2000 and remains in the same spot. The ornate livery carried is used to promote a bus painting business
26th December 2012 Traveller Dave Former Eastern Counties DEX231T has been sitting in a field in Brittany, France for several years, so it is a surprise to see it advertised for sale here, having been converted for use as a static cafe. The story of how it came to be here is quite interesting - havinng been converted to open-top in 2003 it was in use on a service in the Bournemouth area with C & S Coaches of Poole and was a lovely vehicle to drive by all accounts. The operator had an idea to ship it to France to run around St Malo as an overall advert for Condor Ferries, but once in France, before it could be repainted, it sprung a water leak. The local garage fixed the leak but didn't refill the tank and the engine soon seized - and to add insult to injury they reported the vehicle to the French "ministry" for chassis rot even though it had only recently passed a UK MOT! Sadly that was to be it for its operational life and it has sat unloved until this year (with thanks to Allan Macfarlane for the story)

Dave's website on Traveller Homes is a must for fans of Bristol vehicles and he has provided information on a couple of other vehicles. Firstly, KTL28V, which had been in use as a static home near Exeter, was finally broken up on site in 2009. The other was a big surprise to me in the light of my owning VR JOU161P - near-neighbour LH6L JOU163P (former Bristol Omnibus 384) had been believed scrapped after a long stint as a non-PCV with Lakham Agricultural College, but it turns out to have had a further life as a mobile home even fitted with its own wooden front door! It is unreported for very many years now, but may still exist and I would be very interested if anyone knows of its current whereabouts.

17th December 2012 Mike Ede One of the two VRs used by Smiths Domestic and Commercial Skips in Gloucester as mobile adverts for the past few years has been sold. VDV111S has passed to Stroud RE Group (who own VRs amongst other preserved vehicles) in October for stripping for spares. Smith's other VR - AFJ773T - remains licensed and active. Both were of course new to Western National.
17th December 2012 Andy Tanner/Colin Yarlett/Rob Lane A couple of vehicles have found new owners through the For Sale page of this website recently. Former London Transport LH6L BL49 (OJD49R) has now joined BL55 (OJD55R) with Andy Tanner in preservation, having previously been owned by Claire Green of the East London Traction Society while Southdown VR JWV270W failed to find a new owner in preservation and has now been sold to an owner in Ukraine where it will be shipped later this month to beat an import ban which comes into force on January 1st 2013.
17th December 2012 Phillip Stringer Former Maidstone & District 5882 (FKM882V) is alive and well in use in Budapest, Hungary as a mobile exhibition unit for a children's ecology project. There is a video showing the bus in use here.
13th December 2012 Andrew Boomer Andrew spotted OCY955 at Strood Green a week or two back - this LD6G has been on one of its rare sorties out and about having been owned by Brockham Scouts since at least 1976 - one of the very last operational LDs still with its post-NBC owner.
7th December 2012 David Smith During a recent visit to Dunedin, New Zealand, David went for a ride on former Eastern Counties VR183 (OPW183P) on the First City Tour. It is possible that this is the only VR anywhere that is owned an operated by a municipality. VR183 was off the road for six months earlier this year to receive an overhaul which saw the rear axle, diff, water system and exhaust either replaced or refurbished. The other VR previously operated on this tour - WTU494W - was last noted in 2008 and was subsequently sold when it would have cost too much money to bring it up to Certificate of Fitness standard. It now resides outside the old Waitati post office, to the north of Dunedin, as a static caravan where it replaced a much older AEC double decker which had rusted out.
4th December 2012 Enzo Rapp Lodekkas continue to turn up at regular intervals. Enzo has been in touch to tell us about former Western S.M.T. 1473 (MCS762) which he owned in France from 2002 until last year when he lost his parking spot. It is converted for use as a mobile home and Enzo lived in it for five years! His photo collection of "Le Bus Anglais" (shouldn't that be "Ecossais"?) is worth a look here.
2nd December 2012 Tony Middleton Tony came across early Southern Vectis LD6G 517 (KDL413) in Denver, Colorado this week. It was rescued from destruction by the local Corporation having been abandoned by its previous owners and seems to be in reasonable condition just waiting for someone else to come along to give it a new least of life!
30th November 2012 John Howden John was surprised and delighted to come across two Lodekkas at work during a trip to Vienna, Austria last week. Still operating in the city in its "blue cloud" livery is ex-Hants & Dorset DEL891C, while ex-Crosville FS 4226FM blasted past John on the other side of the motorway still in immaculate condition advertising Red Bull.
20th November 2012 David Jones Rare Plaxton-bodied LHL6L coach UAR929M - reported on this website for the first time on May 22nd this year - is now under threat of sale for scrap having developed a few faults which York Gliding Club are not in a position to rectify. It has been given a short stay of execution - click here for more details.
18th November 2012 Ben Vallance Three former Lincolnshire Road Car VRs ex-Johnsons on the move are SVL177W and SVL179W to Used Coach Sales, Warrington and SVL180W which has already been sold through that dealer to an unknown owner in Sicily, Italy.
17th November 2012 Alan Walker/Dave Godley Following on from the entry for October 3rd, this summer has seen two VRs in use at Woolacombe Bay once again after a brief "upgrade" to Olympian operation. Repainted for the 2012 season was JWV269W as the closed-top cover for bad weather (one imagines it saw plenty of use this year!). The reason for the reversion to VRs is interesting - apparently the regular route features a reversing manoevre and anyone who has been in an Olympian going backwards will be well aware of the huge vibrations this causes. This shuddering was scaring the punters....so the leisure park requested VRs once again and Chepstow Classic were able to oblige!
16th November 2012 Paul Hamley Further to the entry for July 23rd 2012, further developments at Cardiff Transport Preservation Group have seen WTG348T exchanged with Chepstow Classic Buses for convertible open-top WTG359T which will be the long-term preservation project. Sadly on further inspection CTX397V was found to be in very poor condition both bodily and mechanically and so was stripped for spares and sold for scrap in October. All of this helps to clarify which Alexander-bodied VRs new to Cardiff are likely to survive in the longer term (many of these were very late survivors in service with various independents in South Wales).
12th November 2012 David Griffiths Former City of Oxford Series 2 VR GUD751N has recently become surplus to requirements for its charity owner who have operated it as a playbus for many years and it is now for sale.
12th November 2012 Sean & Karen Griffin/Rob Ball Sean and Karen sold former United Counties 934 (SNV934W) which they had converted and used as the Costa Blanca Party Bus to the Drowsy Duck pub at Ferrol in Galicia (still in Spain) in late 2010 where it is used on the dockside as an additional outlet. Rob visited last week and confirms that it is still in use there.
5th November 2012 Neil Jennings Neil visited Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island in Canada recently where former West Yorkshire LUA717V and Eastern National XHK232X are still going strong running tours for visiting cruise ships.
3rd November 2012 Bart Prins Bart has been to Weeze in Germany this week to inspect a pair of Lodekkas. They are former Bristol Omnibus 7239 (EHW191C) and Crosville DFG220 (JFM220D) which are both in reasonable condition and might just make it into the Prins Classic fleet.
1st November 2012 Sean Keating The latest Lodekka to appear on eBay in the U.S.A. is former Mansfield District FSF 60JAL which was last noted back in 2009, also on eBay, having been used for spares by Red Bus Rental in Tarzana, California. It is now minus its engine and transmission but has had a great deal of money spent on converting it for its new use as a static restaurant in the Moreno Valley district of California.
9th October 2012 N/A Not news exactly, but I am in the process of introducing a major new section to the website. Until now I have only listed surviving Lodekkas, but I am now making a start on listing all 5217 Lodekkas that were built and their many and varied operators. The survivor lists remain, but now you can also click on the individual models to get to the lists. The first completed operator is W Alexander & Sons and successors Alexander Fife and Alexander Midland.
3rd October 2012 David Balme Previously unreported this summer is the repainting of permanent open-top UFX856S in Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks yellow livery, although like the others that have been used on this service (AFJ705T and BJG672V) it remains in the ownership of Chepstow Classic Buses.
1st October 2012 South West VR News The chaps at South West VR News have made some observations on Starline Tours 324 (see entry for 23rd September) which have led to a positive identification for this VR of UWV608S. What I hadn't spotted previously (clearly I didn't look very hard!) is that this "VR" has had an extra bay inserted and the wheelbase increased accordingly plus a fair bit has also been added to the rear overhang resulting in a vehicle that is significantly longer than the standard VRTSL chassis - you might even call it a VRTLL!! A quite amazing and unique conversion, no doubt using parts from MRJ9W which was acquired for spares prior to the arrival of UWV608S.
25th September 2012 John Ives/Various One of the few Lodekkas remaining in non-PCV use in the UK has been sold for preservation - rare former Eastern Counties FL6B (long wheelbase, rear entrance) LFL60 (560BPW) is now with several other examples from that company at the Eastern Transport Collection at Carlton Colville. Meanwhile ex-Wilts & Dorset FLF6G 467BMR is still very much active in Non-PCV use with London Bus Exports, Lydney and is currently undertaking a lengthy UK tour supporting the campaign against tax avoidance.
23rd September 2012 Peter Yarwood The other US fleet challenging for the largest remaining fleet of VRs anywhere (see entry for September 22nd below) also has an unknown example running for them. Starline Tours of Los Angeles is now listed along with all other remaining overseas operators of regular passenger services using VRs and Peter has sent photos of fleet number 324. This one is unknown to me and despite a number of unusual features (circular front indicators, mesh front grille, offside entrance and unusual grille towards the rear on the offside) I have been unable to identify it - a large version of Peter's photo can be viewed here (see entry for 1st October for further news). Peter also noted several of Starline's other VRs on sightseeing duties during his visit last month.
22nd September 2012 Paul Bateson/Nigel Eadon-Clarke Paul and Nigel recently visited Philadelphia where Big Bus are still running a fleet of eight VRs on sightseeing services (certainly one of the largest remaining fleets anywhere in the World). Of particular interest is fleet number 320 because our roving reporters found two of them! The original 320 - EAP988V - was in the depot building in an advanced stage of dismantling for spares, whilst the new one - identity unknown - was out on service and was in absolutely immaculate condition! If you have any idea what it could be I would love to hear from you - there are high res views available of the front and rear - I have narrowed it down to a late-model (V, W, or X-reg) fitted with autolube (the hole ahead of the rear offside wheelarch), possibly ex-Southdown as there is panelling on the rear which may be hiding a square number plate aperture.
13th September 2012 **Updated 19th September** Marco Gescher/Joel Shaw/Michael Neugebauer Great news is that FLF6G 465FTT, severely damaged in an accident in June 2011, has been repaired and reinstated with Gottinger Verkehrsbetriebe mbh in Gottingen, Germany. It is reported that another Lodekka was acquired as a donor vehicle - if anyone has any information as to which one I would be pleased to hear from you. Miss Marple (as the bus is known) was relaunched on the Market Square in front of the Town Hall in July and was very well received by the locals. Michael further reports that former Bristol Omnibus FLF6G 7122 (815SHW) was acquired from an owner in Cologne as a source of spares to repair Miss Marple. It was finally broken up and scrapped in July 2012.
6th September 2012 Rufus Marye Further to the entry for 27th March, Rufus (who is based in Tennessee, U.S.A.) acquired HRU680E via eBay. He already runs a tour in Chattanooga using former London Transport RM395 and has plans to use the FLF on a new tour of Nashville. However, he was in for a bit of a shock as it turns out the bus had been refitted with a US engine which - quite commonly for such conversions - ended up with one forward and four reverse gears due to the fact that UK engines run in the opposite direction to their US counterparts. Even more surprisingly Rufus then paid a friend to DRIVE the bus over a thousand miles from Washington in reverse! Rufus has plans to do a driveline swap before using the bus in service (!) but would also welcome any other advice on the matter (through me if you have any ideas)
5th September 2012 Steve Simister The Sprockets continue their amazing adventure in former Hants & Dorset 1463 (4386LJ). There is a news article about them here.
29th August 2012 Paul Bateson Former Eastern Counties KPW482E has reached the end of the road, but what an interesting location that is - it has been incorporated as the entrance into the Safari experience at Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York. A set of photos showing its arrival at the site and subsequent transformation into the exhibit can be seen here.
28th August 2012 Paul Knight  Further to the entry for March 19th, 842SHW has now been repainted allover cream and looks good in its role as a cafe at Chain Bridge Honey Farm near Berwick.
24th August 2012 Mark Turner The last time I saw ex-Cumberland KRM434W it was heading down the street in Auckland while I was eating my breakfast and I sprinted out of the hotel and down the road after it to take the photo which appears on the Party Bus page. I was therefore pleased to receive a message on Facebook yesterday from Mark to say that he now has this VR in Christchurch where it is in use as Charlie's Party Bus.
23rd August 2012 David Elder Continuing the trend of Bristol double deckers appearing in popular culture, former Hants & Dorset FLF6G FLJ156D has starred this year in the US children's show "Noodle & Doodle". It was dressed up with colourful graphics and a smiling face, the effect being heightened by the fact that it has an elongated "snout" due to the increased size of its front cowl required to accommodate the Detroit Diesel which was fitted some years ago. It is believed to still be in the ownership of Gallaghers Eatery and Pub in Kalamazoo, Michigan as it was reported as still there as recently as May this year, presumably some time after filming was completed.
19th August 2012 Ken Jones/Keith Lee Many thanks to Ken for the comprehensive coverage of last weekend's Brislington Rally. There was an excellent turnout, especially of REs which were celebrating 50 years since the prototype emerged. One very interesting attendee was TOI2288 which has existed only in chassis form since its body was destroyed during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland. It used to be displayed at the Industrial Museum and I had wondered what would happen after it was evicted from the new M Shed display (by the way - be warned - the shed is CLOSED ON MONDAYS - I know because I visited although I now see that the website has been updated to reflect this). Good to see it is still in safe hands as a very useful - and now mobile - exhibit. Thanks to Keith and his first-hand knowledge I am very happy to set the record straight about the fate of the RE prototype, 7431HN
19th August 2012 Charles Roberts Sightseeing tours have been rationalised in Toronto this year, the existing companies all merging under the Shop-Dine Tours banner. It is very pleasing to report that Charles noted both VRs active on city tours in updated liveries earlier this month. They are former Yorkshire Traction HWJ928W and Bristol Omnibus LHT725P (which I used to ride to school during its time at Cheltenham!).
18th August 2012 Roger Newport Roger came across former Western SMT MCS756 at Rambaudieres in Central France last week. It has been converted for use as a static cafe and rather bizarrely uses an image of 297JHK - presumably taken from the Internet as this one is in the USA - on a promotional sign nearby!
17th August 2012 Paul Harrison Paul has identified the new owner of AEV811F as fish-and-chip sales outlet "The Codfather" at The Bend, Oregon, U.S.A. It was apparently driven up from California and joins an RT already in use. It has been called "The Codfather II" accordingly and is used for special events.
16th August 2012 Maldwyn Jones O R Jones of Llanfaethlu have finally finished with their VRs after several decades of Bristol operation. The last pair are now for sale and in need of a good home.
13th August 2012 Paul Harrison The latest Lodekka to reappear in North America is former Hants & Dorset 1542 (GLJ750D) which has turned up in Pinconning, Michigan, U.S.A. Paul has also managed to fill in some of the vehicle's recent history which is much appreciated.
13th August 2012 Martin Gould/Dave Henderson Three of the four late-surviving ex-London Country/Bristol Omnibus highbridge VRs have been with Bristol area preservationists for some time now. The decision was taken earlier this year to break PPH470R to provide spares for PPH462R and PPH471R. Meanwhile PPH475R, latterly a disco bus in Manchester, was noted in February on suspended tow heading towards Barnsley and it is feared this one has also now bitten the dust.
11th August 2012 Various A long-standing mystery Lodekka has finally been positively identified thanks to the good services of several viewers of this website and its associated Facebook page. Former Southern Vectis BDL576B was converted to a mobile bank in Amarillo, Texas in 1991 and is now with a private owner in Illinois having passed through an intermediate owner in Kansas City.
7th August 2012 Bart Prins Previously unreported is the renovation and return to service with Prins Classic in Zeist, Holland of former Eastern National FLF6G 2898 (WVX525F). Meantime Bart has passed on VR HJB460W to Robert van Achterberg (trading as Wedding Classics) who already has a good number on his books - several are shown here - if you are able to identify any from the photos I would be pleased to hear from you.
4th August 2012 David Beilby David passed ex-Maidstone & District FKM867V in use as a cafe in France today - the VR even has its own Facebook page (search for Le Bus Bristol).
4th August 2012 Tim Weatherup A great find is a photo of ex-Midland General/West Riding LD6G 968ARA still extant in San Luis Obispo, California, U.S.A. in October 2010 in the yard of a diesel shop - hopefully undergoing repair.
4th August 2012 Tim Weatherup Tim has turned up evidence of the only Bristol known to be in Malaysia in the form of ex-Western National LD6G 1964 (516BTA). It is parked in a totally anonymous yard in the Petaling Jaya district of Kuala Lumpur.
1st August 2012 Paul Harrison/Karl-Heinz Scholz News of two Lodekkas in Ontario, Canada has been received recently. Former Eastern National MVX881C has started a new lease of life as Birdie's Perch Fish & Chips in Leamington. A local report of its launch can be seen here. Meanwhile Karl has owned former Western SMT B1644 (RAG410) for no less than 38 years and is currently having it converted back for use as a motorhome, similar to the condition he had it from 1974 when he toured Europe and North America.
24th July 2012 Bart Prins/Conningbrook Hotel Facebook By co-incidence twin ex-Southdown VRs SNJ591R and SNJ592R have both been reported this week in Dutch ownership. The former is now owned by Bart Prins, prolific owner/dealer in Lodekkas and VRs in Zeist, whilst the latter is currently in Ashford, Kent at the Conningbrook Hotel where it is broadcasting Limburg Live radio station for the duration of the London 2012 Olympics.
23rd July 2012 Paul Hamley/Anthony Brewer/Richard Cawsey The last VR new to City of Cardiff and the last Alexander-bodied VR new anywhere, CTX397V has recently been acquired by the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group after more than a decade in use by Cotswold Gliding Club at Aston Down as airside transport. It is apparently in pretty good condition and features what might now be a unique Maxwell gearbox - the word is that consideration is being given to restoring this significant vehicle at the expense of WTG348T which has a fairly poor chassis and would be a useful source of spares. A decision will be made on this later in the year.
23rd July 2012 David Love David was in Salzburg last week where he came across BUO150B - exported as recently as 2010 after extensive renovation and conversion for the Continent - running a bus and boat tour of the city.
23rd July 2012 Bart Prins/Sky News An update on the incredible-looking Olympic Lodekka (see 21st July) is that it is former Southern Vectis LD6G 555 (ODL15) and it does hydraulic push ups! There is a video here of it along with an interview with its "creator" (I don't think he ever worked for Bristol Commercial Vehicles!). I am particularly pleased to see the Bristol scroll badge proudly displayed on the front of the bus.
23rd July 2012 Stephen Harrison VRs continue to soldier on in various types of service around the UK as listed here. A recent repaint into a very attractive new livery is East Yorkshire 638 (VDV138S) which has operated the Scarborough Sea Front shuttle service for very many years. 
22nd July 2012 Nick Moore Members of the Mid Kent Bus Collection have been working very hard to locate and negotiate to buy the only surviving highbridge-bodied Series 2 VR, KKE736N which is alive - but not well - in a yard in France. The only thing now preventing its repatriation is the need for a suspended tow back to England which they have been unable to source at anything like a sensible or affordable price. If any enthusiast is able to help in this matter then Nick Moore would love to hear from you.
21st July 2012 Julian Patterson Julian's latest acquisition is a Series 1 VR with a very unusual history. New in 1969 to Western SMT as their B2247 (OCS577H) it was one of only a handful to escape the infamous SBC/NBC Lodekka/VR swap of the early 1970s and instead ended up in the hands of a Midlands engineering firm, T J Richardson & Sons Ltd. who used it to promote their business. Some 40 years later and with only 89,000 verified miles on the clock, it is now enjoying some well-deserved TLC prior to full restoration.
21st July 2012 Ian Hardie The strangest Lodekka conversion ever has been spotted in Essex, believed to be bound for the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony next week. Full details can be found at Photo of the Month. If anyone can positively identify this LD I would be very pleased to hear from you.
19th July 2012 ***updated 21st July*** Mike Nash/Pete Renault

Some further news has emerged of the fate of the LHs on Malta following the complete replacement of the bus service on the island last July. Confirmed as having been scrapped (alongside many of the historic old buses) are PTT606M, OCA630P, HBX948N, NFJ596M, GDV464N and GDV458N - notably bad news for fans of Western National. Better news is that NLJ523M, OCA626P, RDE298S and GLJ485N are confirmed as being safe with Heritage Malta. It does seem that the ones that have been saved are those that are still recognisable as LHs whilst those that have been scrapped were the ones that had been modernised and therefore heavily rebuilt - a shame as some of those were most interesting conversions. Several LHs remain untraced and may still be retained by their previous owner-drivers. Pete reports that the grey-liveried ex-Gozo LH/ECW GLJ482N is active again on Malta this year with Peppins Garage.

18th July 2012 Charles Roberts/Online Transport Archive Charles came across former Hants & Dorset FLF6B(G) DEL891C earlier this week in use in
11th July 2012 Nathan Merryweather Nathan is the enthusiastic new owner of former Hants & Dorset 3402 (BFX570T) which had recently passed to the Nottingham Heritage Vehicles collection (who had no use for it). He lives in Peterborough, where this VR also once ran for Viscount, in whose memorable yellow livery he plans to restore it.
11th July 2012 Stephen Bailey LFJ853W, which lives on the rather inappropriately-named Leyland Court Farm in Bradley Stoke has been treated to a repaint in overall bright green for its use as a control tower for equestrian events.
7th July 2012 Peter Hellgren Peter is based in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. and is currently restoring not one but two FLFs in the shape of 803KDV and 847SHW. A list of parts he urgently requires can be found on my Parts page.
7th July 2012 Duncan Roberts/Nigel Hartley A couple of privately-owned Bristols have changed hands recently. Former Crosville ERG3 (OFM3E) is now with Clive Myers, Colwyn Bay, restoration having made excellent progress in recent times when in Duncan's ownership having previously been badly damaged by vandals.

Meantime, former Southdown VR XAP638S, retired by Sussex Coaches of Billingshurst earlier this year, has been acquired by Dark Star Brewery for use around the Amberley Working Museum site. It is to be restored to Southdown livery in due course.

7th July 2012 Malcolm Grace/Dave Kriesler Further to the entry for May 31st 2012, CJJ677W remains on loan with Sunray Travel. It is apparently there as a replacement for their ex-East Yorkshire Volvo Citybus which suffered a suspension collapse.
29th June 2012 Matthew Brunton Vehicles in Australia seem to be flavour of the month! Matthew Brunton has been in touch about his VRL coach OCK66K which he hopes to restore with some original parts - he provides a list of needs here. This is of course one of the very rare coach VRs new to Standerwick but is unique in having been converted some years ago from the original longitudinal engine layout to the more normal (for a VR) transverse engine position - an interesting vehicle indeed!
24th June 2012 John Lidstone John's recent trip to Dee Deckers in Melbourne, Australia yielded a drive in their excellent ex-Crosville LD 836AFM as well as confirmation that KPM84E and rare Northern Counties "Jumbo" VR NRD51M remain in their yard, albeit the latter in a very sorry state. The owner reports that both are to be renovated for further use at some point.
23rd June 2012 Barrie Gilbert Two often-overlooked survivors are JMB401T and CTX396V which remain in service with Cole of Treorchy - the former will have clocked up 20 years with this operator in January 2013. It was still Leyland-engined in recent years but is reported to have received a Gardner in the last year or two - confirmation on this point would be appreciated if anyone is able to check.
9th June 2012 Ken Lansdowne Ken came across Dutch-registered former Eastern National FLF6G WVX527F in London today on a promotional tour. This was Da Bus with Top Deck Travel for many years but has been transformed back to bus configuration for its latest career.
7th June 2012 Bart Prins Bart has been in touch with the rather sad story of Eastern Counties FS5G LFS68 (68DNG) which had been renovated by Carl Ireland in 1995 and subsequently kept in beautiful condition in Holland while earning its keep as a wedding/party bus. However, one fateful day in March 2007 it was driven off the road and into a dyke near Utrecht - when submerged the engine continued running and unfortunately took on water, probably rendering it damaged beyond repair. It was extracted using inflatable rescue equipment but the company went bust and it has since sat derelict in a yard owned by a leasing company and requires a great deal of work to make it roadworthy again. A report of this event with photos appears here.
7th June 2012 Nigel Eadon-Clarke Only two open-top Bristols visited Epsom for The Derby this year - VPR491S and UWV607S. Gone are the days of legions of Lodekkas and VRs lining the finishing straight, but it is nice to see that at least one Southdown example still made it!
7th June 2012 Roger Pinder Roger has kindly sent an update on several former London Transport/Tally Ho! LHs down his way in Devon. Two had been in use as potting sheds at "Grandad's Garden Centre" near Kingsbridge but OJD58R has now been scrapped whilst KJD414P had been stripped, but the shell and mechanicals have been saved for possible future restoration. Meantime, Roger and fellow preservationist Chris Alger have continued their work on the restoration of KJD419P which is coming on well and should be on the road again in 2013. Finally KJD413P remains in first class condition and now carries a plaque to the memory of Simon Wellington, former proprietor of Tally Ho! who sadly died in 2010. Roger mentions that if anyone requires any LH spares they have an extensive stock at reasonable prices. He can be contacted at loddiswellinn@supanet.com.
5th June 2012 Mike Elkin Mike's former Southdown/Brighton & Hove VR PUF586R has debuted in its interesting restored livery of NBC green with Unibus-style advert for Uncle Sam's burger bar, a style it first carried during the 1980s.
4th June 2012 Daniel Stazicker There are still plenty of VRs out there in non-PCV use if you know where to look for them.... which is where this website comes in handy! Daniel has been out and about recently and has tracked down a good number still in use. These include LFJ853W, PBD40R, HKE678L, KTL26V, HJB454W, CJH122V and HUD501W.
2nd June 2012 eBay Rare Duple-bodied LHS coach XFB836Y has turned up with executive coach operator Cavendish Liner of Poole. It was last reported with Roadliner of Poole in 2008 but that operator ceased in 2009 and Cavendish Liner acquired the assets of the company. The LHS has had plenty of money spent on it, including a respray, but is now for sale on eBay having blown its engine. Not many of these little coaches survive - this one must surely be a good project for someone?
31st May 2012 Chris Mawer Chris has made me a aware of a Lodekka in Belgium on the N4 south of Bastogne towards Arlon which is used to publicise a local "frites" outlet. He cannot supply an identity but says it would make a reasonable project for a preservationist. This is a plea for anyone who might be passing to pop in and get a photo and any identification marks.
31st May 2012 Mark Hayward Mark has completed conversion work on former South Wales Leyland-engined TWN933S which is now fully fitted as a mobile cafe and ready for its latest non-PCV incarnation.
31st May 2012 Mark Armstrong A long-lived Lodekka in the UK - former Eastern Counties KPW473D - came to grief last year after 26 years as a non-PCV when its Gardner 6LW finally gave up the ghost. I am pleased to be say that through the For Sale page of this website Mark successfully bought the bus and is busily renovating it for export to Australia for further use.
31st May 2012 Malcolm Grace/Alan Walker Malcolm reports that Chepstow Classic VR CJJ677W has appeared on Surrey schools service 518 from Ashstead to Tattenham Corner and Banstead. This is normally operated by Sunray Travel so they presumably have it on hire at the moment - it would be great if anyone could confirm. Meantime the two VRs currently on loan to Hugh Lowe Farms in Kent for transporting fruit pickers are AFJ770T and OVV849R.
24th May 2012 Chris Orme Former Cardiff Alexander-bodied VR WTG380T has been a static playbus at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Scarborough for many years, but has been removed in the last few months - any reports of its fate would be appreciated.
22nd May 2012 Barry Smithies It is not often that a surviving Bristol bus or coach is reported which does not already feature on this website, but Barry has sent photos of LHL6L/Plaxton coach UAR929M, new to Richardson of London SW14, which has spent considerably more than twenty years as a gliding club support vehicle, first at Dishforth Riding Club and latterly at Rufforth Gliding Centre.
22nd May 2012 Challenge 4 Change The conversion of former Lincolnshire Road Car/Johnsons of Hodthorpe PFE541V to a playbus has been completed by Challenge 4 Change. It featured this week in Channel 4's "Secret Millionnaire" programme as the £10,000 was provided by a secret benefactor. The programme can still be viewed on Channel 4's 4OD viewer.
12th May 2012 Siggi Óla A very welcome report is of former Bristol Omnibus 5528 (DHW350W) which is alive and well in Iceland, having been exported there in 2001. It is with an operator just outside Reykjavik called Travel Bus who have painted it in a stunning orange and black livery.
4th May 2012 Greg Martin Greg has acquired formerly preserved Western National 1215 (LFJ862W) from Rail-River Link for conversion to a mobile cafe called "Fuel" in Exeter. Although a sad loss to preservation these things inevitably happen and Greg has already "fallen in love" with the bus and is looking forward to breathing a new lease of life into it.
30th April 2012 Nagy Szabolcs RUA457W has undergone a complete internal transformation and is now trading in Targu Mures, Romania as The Bristol Bus Cafe. Their Facebook page is well worth a visit for the photos alone (Facebook account required).
29th April 2012 BusWorks blog The blog details progress on a large number of Bristol double deckers recently. The sale of CJH119V to Budapest fell through but it now awaits shipping to Florida, U.S.A. instead for use on tourist services. Former Ribble 1997 (OCK997K) was a celebrity VR for many years in the South West, lasting in service in First ownership as late as 2001 - the very last closed-top flat-front VR in service in the UK. Its restoration has been a protracted affair but it is now nearing completion and it is hoped that it will be used by Classic Bus of Blackpool this summer. Crosville Motor Services of Weston-super-Mare have two Lodekkas going through the Works currently - 891VFM has been outshopped in authentic Bristol Omnibus cream open-top livery and will be delivered home soon, whilst SRU981 progresses including a lot of structural work to bring it back to passenger-carrying condition. Very rare LDS6B OPN807 has been restored to Brighton & Hove livery but - very regrettably for all parties involved - is now the subject of litigation over the costs incurred during restoration work. Finally another former Crosville Lodekka, 838AFM has been in for some interior work - this one was another celebrity vehicle as the last LD in regular use in the North West. It was repainted in NBC green a year or two back.
25th April 2012 Mark Austin Johnsons of Hodthorpe VRs continue to turn up elsewhere after sale. Latest to re-appear is FDL679V which was noted in Fishponds, Bristol last week recently repainted allover green and undergoing conversion to some sort of mobile cafe/retail outlet.
20th April 2012 Allan Macfarlane/Peter Bates Further changes at Chepstow Classic Buses include the stripping of VVV966W and 232ENX (ex-PHE816M) for spares before sale for scrap. The latter had previously been considered preserved, but no restoration had been performed and the rear axle has been fitted to STW33W which is believed to be undergoing preparation for export to Italy.
19th April 2012 Carl Berry Yet another former Bristol Omnibus FLF has turned up alive - if not particularly well - in Pamplona, Spain in the shape of G7268 (HAE277D) which is owned by Angel Molina who has used it over a number of years for spares to repair former Crosville SFM260F.
17th April 2012 Roger Moore Crosville Motor Services of Weston-super-Mare continue to gather interesting Bristols, latest acquisition being one a of a pair of convertible Alexander-bodied VRs new to Cardiff, WTG360T. Still owned by Classic Bus of Blackpool it is on loan and it would be good to see it plying the Seafront at Weston this summer.
17th April 2012 Niall Spencer Niall came across former Hartlepool Corporation 77 (OEF77K) in use as a control vehicle at Trent Valley Gliding Club near Kirton-in-Lindsay, Lincolnshire still in its orange and blue allover livery for Age Concern applied in 1999.
14th April 2012 Welsh Bus News Yahoo Group Chepstow Classic Buses have been having something of a clearout in recent months with five sales to breaker Wigley of Carlton, ie, BKE859T (10/2011), DBV31W (12/2011), VEX288X (2/2012), BUH238V (3/2012) and FDV818V (3/2012). In addition AFJ705T has returned from long term loan with Lancaster Leisure at Woolacombe Bay (and was for sale on eBay in November 2011), but has been replaced there by UFX856S which has received suitable signwriting.
5th April 2012 eBay It's a bumper week on eBay for Bristol vehicles. Matt Reynolds has his ex-Bristol Omnibus LH REU326S listed while River Link are already selling LFJ862W while over the Pond WRC831S is for sale in Alabama, U.S.A. although the price tag might put some off.....
4th April 2012 Karl van Camp Former Bristol Omnibus 7224 (EHT113C) is still alive and well in Belgium and is currently run by two ladies as Pic Nic Del Mundo, a mobile restaurant based in Ledeberg.
4th April 2012 David Oborn One of the more active VRs in Chepstow Classic Buses is BJG672V which spent a decade on loan to Lancaster Leisure at Woolacombe Bay in Devon for a tourist shuttle service before entering another loan period in March 2011 to Edward Vinson Fruit Farm at Faversham in Kent. It has recently been relicensed for a further season and was noted on the farm last week still in full Woolacombe Bay yellow livery.
3rd April 2012 Flickr A photostream on Flickr here reveals that former Eastern Counties/Cambus VEX298X has been in use at a riding school at Potterspury as a control tower for equestrian events. This VR had gone missing after being sold for preservation in 2004 - the photos are dated August 2009 so it would be interesting to know if the VR is still there. Readers are, however, reminded to ask permission before entering or taking photos on private property - I was recently sent a photo which turned out to have been taken on private land without permission which put me in a difficult position when I added it to this site in good faith and it was seen by the owner.
2nd April 2012 Oliver Hochmuth Oliver has been in touch to say that his brother owns former Western National 1924 (UOD478) in Germany and has been taking steps to get the bus back into roadworthy condition. It has an interesting history involving three countries plus a spell with South Wales operator John Lewis Coaches.
30th March 2012 Robert Nogues/Richard Shannon/Chris Stewart/Martin Bott News of some of the preserved RELLs over in Northern Ireland; the unique survivor of the original batch of Potter-bodied REs new to Ulsterbus, 1058 (9058UZ) has recently passed to Richard Shannon (who also has 2134 - MOI2134) for eventual renovation. Meantime 2446 (WOI2446) has also moved on recently, to another member of Ards Bus Preservation Group, Robert Nogues. Another of the group's buses, TOI2306, is reported to be undergoing heavy renovation currently. Two other Alexander RELL6Gs moving to pastures new this month are TOI2316 which Chris Stewart has sent back to Northern Ireland for further preservation with a private owner in Belfast and BXI2598 which had been the last RE with South Lancs Transport, although none were actually ever used by this company.
27th March 2012 Paul Bateson Unfortunate news from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada is that four of the five VRs which have been in long-term storage with Double Decker Tours Inc were destroyed by fire on March 21st and the resultant pile of twisted metal removed. The four included early Lincolnshire flat-front JVL620H - a particularly sad loss having survived this long - as well as MVL129P, DUP750S and VCA464W. The only piece of good news is that FFR170S had been stored elsewhere on site and so escaped the inferno, although the future of this one is also unclear.
27th March 2012 Sean Keating Former Hants & Dorset FLF6G HRU680E has turned up on eBay in the US having been converted to open-top in recent years. It was last reported previously to have been used on a 3000-mile US-wide promotional tour for Mitre shoes and has now been driven from its previous home in St Louis in the south to Blaine, Washington state in the north west. It surely deserves to find a new home. The re-appearance of this one also clears up a mystery as an identical FLF was recorded in Chicago in June 2005 carrying the registration HRU680E, and indeed up until now I had listed this as the "real" HRU, but it is now clear that the Chicago FLF was in fact JMR816F which had been a stablemate at Classic Limo in Minneapolis. Something else I have uncovered in researching this vehicle is that the apparent Chicago operator "Three Brothers Bus Tours" whose name was carried by the FLF was in fact totally ficticious and the bus was in fact being used as a significant prop in the film "The Break-Up" starring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. There has been no sign of this bus since - let's hope it turns up again one day!
22nd March 2012 Mick Bruce A big surprise is that rare Northern Counties-bodied VR RDC108R, new to Cleveland Transit, has been found in a yard on the outskirts of Aarhus Airport in Denmark. It was previously a playbus with C.L.O.W.N.S. in Minehead and had been reported as sold in 2008 for further use in Australia, but clearly it never made that trip! It is currently for sale for DK20,000 (roughly £2,000), is said to run well, and is only 100km from the Esjberg-Harwich ferry terminal so might just make someone an interesting project....I can put you in touch with Mick if you would like further details.
21st March 2012 Traveller Dave It's always nice when a photo turns up of an elusive vehicle. On this occasion it is former Eastern Counties LH WEX925S which disappeared a number of years ago in the North East of England. Traveller Dave has maintained a website recording vehicles used as mobile (and not so mobile!) homes for quite some time now and this photo shows this to have been the fate of this LH. It also confirms that it was scrapped, probably in 2004 when it was last recorded on the DVLA database.
21st March 2012 Chris Hays Further to the item on February 26th last year, it is pleasing to report that EHT853C has been acquired by The Dog and Bee Pub in Beeville (of course!), Texas where it has been tidied up and now acts as a static advert ("eyecatcher" in US parlance) pointing potential customers to the pub.
20th March 2012 Allan Macfarlane Former Alder Valley coach-seated VR CJH123V has arrived at Bristol Bus & Coach for onward sale to unknown owners in Italy. It is a shame to see such a fine example being exported, but no doubt it is an even greater shame for the preservationist who sold it.
19th March 2012 eBay A rare surviving Lodekka in non-PCV use in the UK is TRB576F which has been in the same ownership for nearly 30 years as a mobile pizza parlour, although it has seen several different guizes in this time. The owner is now preparing to retire and the bus is available on eBay - it would be very nice to see it continue in the same use.
19th March 2012 Mat Southart/Keith Lee Always good to see is a former Bristol Omnibus FLF being restored to former glory. The latest to get the treatment is 7283 (HHY186D) which has just received a repaint into Tilling green and cream livery. Another one "on the up" is 7149 (842SHW) which has been on Chainbridge Honey Farm near Berwick as a static cafe since 2004 but which has now been started up and moved under its own (Bristol BVW engined) power. It too is due to get a repaint into Tilling green and cream in the next few weeks.
16th March 2012 Garry Luck I am delighted to hear that the last LH built, Bristol Omnibus 466 (AFB597V) has found a new home in preservation with well-respected operator The Eden of West Auckland. It is to be restored to PCV standard and I look forward to seeing what livery they apply. It had latterly been with South Lancs Travel who have also sold their unique LH towing wagon (KHU323P, also new to Bristol Omnibus) to the ever-expanding fleet of Seaford & District.
9th March 2012 Brian Howell Another Bristol Omnibus FLF has turned up, this time only eight years since it was last reported, but in the meantime 7116 (809SHW) has lost its engine and roof and has been converted as a high quality fast food retail outlet which is towed from site to site by a powerful truck. It is currently available on eBay for a reasonable-looking starting bid of $18,000.
4th March 2012 Ben Vallance Converted for use as a mobile home is formerly preserved ex-West Yorkshire 724 (JWT757V) which has appeared on Traveller Dave's invaluable website. Meanwhile VEX291X has passed from private ownership in Shropshire to VR Travel of Merthyr Tydfil. Although a quality coach operator, VR Travel are so named because they are run by enthusiast Robert Price who has owned several preserved examples privately in the past.
29th February 2012 Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society/Paul Forbes Welcome news is that VCA455W, previously believed to be undergoing cannibalisation for spares, has had a reprieve with the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society who plan to return it to the road for use on Park & Ride services at the Waddington Air Show. Meantime sister VR VCA458W, which has been used for many years as a storeshed by Linkfast of Benfleet, has now been sold for scrap after a brief spell in the hands of preservationists. It was found to be in too poor condition to save - you win some you lose some!
27th February 2012 Jon Gulliver/Gregg Collins VEX288X has been extracted from storage with Chepstow Classic Buses recently, stripped of some useful parts and despatched to the Carlton scrapyards.
24th February 2012 Sandra Schüssler/Daniel Stazicker Sandra has confirmed that OSR187R is alive and well in Germany, but is no longer being used or undergoing conversion to a mobile theatre. It is one of only two of the long-wheelbase Alexander-bodied VRs new to Tayside to survive, the other one being OSR204R with the Tayside Vintage Vehicle Society which is undergoing extensive restoration as can be seen here. The other recent survivor, OSR195R, was vandalised in 2009 and disappeared overnight last summer, believed removed by scrappies and broken up.
23rd February 2012 John Hembry Former Western National 1053 (OTA287G) has been used as a playbus and then a storeshed for very many years in Cornwall, but has now been sold to members of the 622 Splinter Group in Dorset to provide spares in the renovation of similar (but ex-Southern Vectis) NDL490G
23rd February 2012 Bob Valder There are not too many Lodekkas in Asia, but Bob Vardon came across one of them last week in Japan in the form of former Southern/Western National 1876 (RTT995).
18th February 2012 Matt Seymour WTU468W continues in use as a mobile community outreach cafe having made the move from Middlesbrough to York towards the end of last year.
17th February 2012 Ian Moorcroft Former Bristol Omnibus FLF 818SHW was sold on eBay in Germany last year, but it has only just turned up again, having moved from Boblingen in the south to Geldern in the north west....and is once again on eBay, this time for an eye-watering £107,000!
7th February 2012 Dave Henderson Former London Country/Badgerline highbridge VR PPH475R was noted on suspended tow heading east on the M62 this morning. Previously used as a mobile disco in Manchester it was almost certainly on its way to the Barnsley breakers. If anyone was thinking of snapping up one of these now would be a good time to make some phone calls.....
29th January 2012 Carl Ireland Former Top Deck "Rox" UOD503 has recently changed hands in Germany, now in use in Bavaria as a mobile curry house!
25th January 2012 Stefan Hommel Stefan is a mechanic in the town of Alland, Austria and is currently working on ex-Hants & Dorset FLF DEL891C. Apparently his client has had it converted to electric power steering (!) but now cannot re-assemble the steering column as they are struggling to get the scroll gear to come together with the cogged wheel. If anyone with relevant experience is willing to help please drop me a line and I will put you in touch with Stefan.
25th January 2012 David Hunter A visit to South Lancs Travel recently yielded four single-deck Bristols still on site in various conditions. The very last LH off the production line, AFB597V is preserved whilst ex-United Auto MUP713T is a source of spares. Also present are ex-Bristol Omnibus cut-down towing wagon KHU323P and ex-Ulsterbus RELL6G BXI2598. These vehicles are currently for sale
23rd January 2012 Jennifer Ford Lodekkas continue to turn up in the U.S.A. at an astonishing pace - the latest is former Bristol Omnibus C7304 (JHY390E) which has languished in a garage in Astoria, Oregon for the last 14 years. Work is now under way to return it to working condition and I will follow developments here with interest.
22nd January 2012 Richard Barratt-Atkins Very welcome news is that a Plaxton-bodied LHS coach remains in service in the Republic of Ireland. Barratt Tours of Cappamore retain 75-LK-539 (formerly HEJ337N) which has been converted to seat 27 with two tables, food servery, fridge and boiler - almost certainly the highest specification any LHS coach has ever had! Richard has also been breaking another similar coach, 261VPI (ex-JVW425N), and has a number of parts available here.
22nd January 2012 BBANA Yahoo Group Regular readers will know that some remarkable vehicle identifications are possible from photographic evidence alone. It is, however, not always an exact science and a recent exchange on the British Buses Abroad in North America Yahoo group has turned up an error - see March 22nd 2011 below for the original entry. The LD previously identified as KDX39 (OWY427) cannot be that one as the one in New Jersey has the later sloped driver's cab window which was carried from DX47 onwards. The LD in question must therefore be DX58 (RWY836) which was also last reported in New Jersey but now appears to be beyond hope in the yard of Fleming's Auto Parts of Egg Harbour, NJ. KDX39 is believed to have been broken up some years ago.
14th January 2012 Bob Martin Bob undertook a comprehensive tour of Oregon and Washington states in the US and British Columbia in Canada in October 2011 tracking down the many British double deckers in the region. He found no fewer than 21 Lodekkas and 5 VRs which is an amazing haul! In Oregon he visited Lodekkas GSG214D, 840SHW, BDV264C, SWS745, EFM634C, TCS176 and VR BPT925S, Washington yielded MWY120, BOD39C, OWX163, 818KDV and 845SHW whilst Lodekkas 1388R, 283BWU, 409PTA, 412PTA, 534VRB, 535VRB, 1389R, GDL816E, MWY118, 957BWR and VRs OCD763G, OTA292G, OCD771G and OCK986K were located in British Columbia.
8th January 2012 Ian Revill Ian has managed to track down the last remaining ex-United Auto RESL6G 2844 (GHN444J). This is quite an achievement given that it is tucked away in a small village in central France! Converted for use as a mobile home during the 1990s, it was last registered in the UK in 2001 and has since been as far afield as Moscow. It is now out of use, but just the fact that it still exists gives hope that it might one day return to these shores for preservation. More photos of it can be seen on Ian's Flickr photostream
7th January 2012 eBay An FLF has been on eBay for a while now in Hambuhren, Germany but it has taken me a little while to identify it as former Western SMT B1726 (TCS174). Unfortunately it has seen better days, but it has found a buyer and hopefully it might turn up again one day in better condition.
5th January 2012 Serge Maurice Serge acquired former Crosville LD6B RFM433 back in April 2011 from Publibus in Brittany, but other commitments now mean that he has placed the bus for sale. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a member of the very first Lodekka sanction (this is chassis number 100093)
1st January 2012 ***updated 5th January*** Rex Sparks What better way to start the New Year than with a Lodekka that has turned up after more than 35 years missing in the US! Former Western National 2028 (408PTA) has recently changed hands and I hope to get further information on the current owner and location soon. I think this one breaks the record for the longest period unreported before being found again! The new owner is confirmed as Paul Alamo of Lodi, California

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