Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

2013 News Log Archive

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

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

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

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

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
26th December 2013 Sergio Fiorenza It's not often that new coverage of a historical overseas fleet comes to light, but Sergio has supplied new material from the 1980s of Boston Double Deckers who ran a very tidy fleet of Lodekkas for several years before packing up abruptly at the turn of the decade.
24th December 2013 Dave Longbottom VVV951W, for many years used as a mess room at Booker Gliding Centre in High Wycombe, is currently for sale here, although in need of a little TLC.
23rd December 2013 Top Deck Buses Facebook Group Dave Morse ("Moose") was senior engineer/mechanic with Top Deck Travel during that company's busiest years of running Lodekkas to all corners of Europe and Asia. Now back in his native Australia he acquired former Crosville FS6G JFM236D (not a vehicle which ran for Top Deck) back in 1990 and had it shipped over with the idea of restoring it one day. Well, that day has come and the work has seen no expense spared with the mechanicals getting a complete overhaul (see a view from inside the engine bay here) and the interior has been fitted out with soft furnishings as can be seen here. Enjoy your bling bus Dave!
22nd December 2013 Paul Bateson/BBANA Very disappointing news is that former Eastern Scottish LD6G (SWS719) has recently been sent to the crusher having previously been stored in a safe location in Ontario, Canada. Its destruction is particularly unfortunate on the back of the news that SWS742 and SWS743 are in the process of being saved in Texas and the spare parts from this one would have been invaluable in the restoration of that pair. The previous owner did warn of this course of action earlier in the year, but sadly nobody came forward and I didn't see his post on BBANA until it was too late. It managed a creditable 35 years during its Indian Summer in North America.
19th December 2013 Phil Logie Phil has just returned from a successful bus hunting trip around New Zealand.

VRs
OPW183P with First City Tours in Dunedin was at the depot having work done on its engine. It seems the tour it has been used on for many years may have been discontinued, so it is possible this VR is now surplus to requirements, so I look forward to future reports with interest. Prototype Series 3 VR ODV78M was still present with Bountiful Blessings at Hansbury Village, Waikouaiti - this one really needs to be saved one day considering its significance. NHH406P is still very much in use with Alan McLay Transport at Oamaru and was seen on the road. GNJ569N is still with Top Bus, Auckland (as a party bus) and - finally but most pleasingly - WRC832S was noted out in revenue earning service with Auckland Explorer Bus on their city tour. The owner of this one has stated his aim of keeping this one running for many years to come - let's hope this comes to pass. Sadly there was no sign of any VRs at Party Bus Company in Auckland, so most likely these have all now gone.

REs
The days of REs in passenger service in New Zealand are over due to age restriction laws on vehicles (ridiculous rules introduced by bureaucrats who understand nothing of engineering), but many can still be seen around the country in private use. Phil came across XW6670 (ex-JW1915) still withdrawn on site at Otago Road Services, HH9905 at Waimate in use as a static home and just around the corner was SE5094 (ex-IU9940). At Waipara was HL9405, also a static home while RC6826 (ex-IU9060) had gone from Country Life Motel in Blenheim but was believed to still be in the area. JN9626 is at Te Horo and finally IY6809 is still at Northland as a mobile camper.

18th December 2013 Richard Denny One of the last regular VR operators in the UK has given up quietly after 23 years of running the type. VEX301X of Country Lion in Northampton (formerly Brittain) developed engine and gearbox problems in September which rendered it uneconomic to repair and so it was despatched unceremoniously to Barnsley for scrap. It may still be worth making enquiries if you are interested in saving it as there is a chance that it is still there in one piece.
17th December 2013 Dale Tringham An interesting article has appeared today in the Leicester Mercury here. The FLF pictured is in fact CHT541C - as betrayed by the four-track numerals in a T-type destination layout which was unique to Bristol Omnibus - but the Leicester connection is interesting because this bus was used by Midland Fox as a driver trainer during the 1980s which means it would have been based in that city - but if anyone can suggest why it was fitted with appropriate blinds when it was not believed to have been used in service I would be very interested to hear.
17th December 2013 Mike Pannell Mike has been to San Antonio, Texas, to inspect Tom Fuller's two remaining ex-Eastern Scottish LD6Gs, SWS742 and SWS743 with a view to acquiring them for spares for his own ex-Southern Vectis example (KDL413). Having seen them, it is possible that one could be made good from the pair, but time will tell and Mike first has to figure out how to raise the funds to get them to Wyoming!
17th December 2013 This website's Accident Victims page An update on Eastern Counties LFL68 (68DNG) has been added to this new feature on the website.
14th December 2013 Mike Nash Mike has recently acquired a VR which had disappeared from view back in 1999. Former Maidstone & District 5132 (WKO132S) was operated for a while by North Surrey Buses before being sold for preservation. It has however sad untouched ever since and is now in pretty dire shape, although Mike reports it not to be in too bad condition mechanically so there is still some hope for its future.
13th December 2013 Viv Carter/Duncan Roberts Two "last" VRs have experienced mixed fortunes during 2013. The last VR delivered to the NBC, VEX294X, has finally had its restoration completed and has been finished in Carters red livery as it is to earn its keep in the operational fleet. 294 reached pretty derelict condition during its years stored outside with windows missing and Viv is to be congratulated in bringing it back from the brink. Less good news however is the loss of the final VR of all, UVT49X which was delivered to Stevensons of Uttoxeter in late 1981. It was about to be sold for further preservation when it was stolen from its long-term storage in June of this year. I had hoped that the passage of time may see it turn up, but there have been no sightings and so it must, sadly, be concluded that it was quickly broken up for its scrap value. This continues a long line of Bristol prototypes and final deliveries which have slipped through the preservation net, notably the prototype Lodekka (LHY949), prototype RE (7431HN) and prototype VR (GGM431D).
12th December 2013 Julian Patterson A good spot on Flickr revealed a previously unknown FLF6G photographed in Stuttgart, Germany in February 2007 here. Close inspection of various features (destination blinds, vents layout, winder gear, etc) indicated it to be a 1966 Eastern Counties bus and the only one known to be in Europe and unaccounted for was FLF467 (KAH467D). Another search on Flickr and even closer inspection of this photo showed that the missing Lodekka badge on the front cowl is common to both photos, almost certainly proving the identity of the bus as FLF467. I have made some enquiries and hope to establish the current whereabouts of the bus.
2nd December 2013 Stephen Cho/Martin Curtis/Allan Macfarlane There are not too many LD6Gs still running in service so full marks to the operator in Shizuoka, Japan still running former Southern/Western National RTT995 on a city tour, even if it is inevitably masquerading as a London bus. Stephen has posted a YouTube clip of it in action here. Allan noticed from the video that the upstairs seating arrangement has been altered to lowbridge layout, ie, seating right across the upper deck with sunken gangway to the offside, no doubt to offset the loss of height of the vehicle when the roof was lowered. This probably makes this Lodekka unique and therefore worthy of inclusion on my new Unusual Bristols feature page.
24th November 2013 Bob Margam Bob has been in touch to say that he is the proud new owner of Marshall coach-bodied LH NTT319M. Bob comes from Ludgvan, near Penzance, and NTT is to be kept close to where BDV318L is already housed.
13th November 2013 Julian Patterson Julian hadn't added to his fantastic collection for a while, but the sad news of the cessation of trading by Dreadnought Coaches spurred him into acquiring his first FLF in the shape of Eastern National 2841 (MVX878C). Although an Eastern Counties man Julian can justify this purchase on the grounds that a couple of this batch were long-term members of the fleet as shown here.
12th November 2013 Traveller Dave A recent conversion for use as a mobile home is former Ulsterbus/Citybus 2591 (BXI2591) which has been very pleasantly restored into Citybus livery. It was noted as such by Dave in June of this year, having previously been stored at various sites in England since withdrawal by Ulsterbus in 2004.
12th November 2013 Roger Dawson Still alive in Belgium in May this year was Western National FLF6G 2064 (BOD24C). This was converted as long ago as 1982 into the "Flying Kitchen" mobile restaurant by Ian MacNab and has remained in this role during its time on the Continent since export in 1991. It is not clear whether or not it is still mobile.
12th November 2013 **updated 13th November** Derek Gawn/Facebook It is good to report that Shanklin's Pony, Southern Vectis 864 (TDL564K), one of only two REs to be converted to open-top (the other is PHN178L), is safe and well in preservation with former director of Village Bus on the Isle of Wight, Derek Gawn, in County Cork, Republic of Ireland. I understand from Derek that 864 remains in secure dry storage in the UK, pending a commercial decision on a possible future project
27th October 2013 Ben Bartram Ben was delighted to inform me this evening that he has just re-acquired unusual coach-seated former Southern Vectis LHS KDL202W from Jason Rayner for continued preservation. It is already back on the Isle of Wight - back home again!
21st October 2013 Malc McDonald Malc came across former PMT/East Yorkshire GRF696V in Amsterdam in April still in use as a mobile cinema and proudly still carrying East Yorkshire fleetnames despite having enjoyed a repaint!
13th October 2013 Carl Lemon/Nigel Eadon-Clarke Ensign Bus Company have recently acquired a couple of Lodekkas in contrasting condition. XFM203 is rough and needs a full restoration, while SRU981 has only just returned to the road as reported below (23rd September). It is believed that both are being safely stored for resale when someone comes forward to continue their preservation. Nigel has sent a nice photo of the pair which can be seen here. Ensign can be contacted through their website.
2nd October 2013 Klaus Gotschalk Klaus has sent links to a number of Lodekkas in Denmark. Top billing goes to the earliest surviving Lodekka anywhere, former West Yorkshire pre-production DX2 (MWR618) which is alive and well with an unknown owner looking in superb condition having undergone some considerable renovation in recent years. More details can be found here.

Other websites for Danish Lodekkas exist for Western SMT LD6G GCS254 (here) and Hants & Dorset LD6G YRU65 (here).

23rd September 2013 Mark Lyons Very welcome is the re-appearance of LD6G SRU981 at a rally in Southampton earlier this month with restoration work nearing completion. It has been repainted into Tillings green livery and merely awaits fleetnames and few other finishing touches. Credit is due to current owner Phil Blair for completing the job started by Jon Pratt of Crosville Motor Services.
9th September 2013 Traveller Dave Welcome news of a surviving Duple-bodied LHS coach is that HTH518N is in use with a lady called Lucy Branch in Devon as a static home. A photo of its rather idyllic-looking location can be seen here.
5th September 2013 South West Bus News Yahoo group/Jim O'Hara More than twenty years since being sold by Devon General, VDV138S has returned to home soil with Rail-River Link of Dartmouth after many years of plying its trade on Scarborough seafront with East Yorkshire. New as Western National convertible open-top 938, it is not clear whether its roof still exists but presumably it would not be needed if placed into service with its new owners. It suffered a seized engine leading to its withdrawal by East Yorkshire and it is intended to be repaired and returned to service named "Illustrious" once again. Rail-River Link remain committed to their VRs and plan to run them for many years to come.
1st September 2013 From the Internet After a few years stored away in preservation, former Western National AFJ760T has found a new lease of life this year on the Devon coast in use as a mobile mess hut with Croyde Surf Academy.
28th August 2013 Wayne Snowden Wayne has just completed a thorough restoration on former Yorkshire Traction/Embling of Guyhirn MWG941X including a repaint into its original NBC red livery. He has recently moved it from Sheffield to his new home in Cornwall with no problems on the journey.
22nd August 2013 Nigel Essen Nigel has been researching British buses exported to Japan and has turned up a recent report and photo of former West Yorkshire DX208 (KWR911D) owned by a communal living centre for the disabled in Gifu prefecture. It was still present and looking in excellent condition in March 2013.
19th August 2013 Jason & Dan Rayner I am delighted to report that former Brighton & Hove RESL6G (although currently without the "G") PPM210G has just changed hands and is now with Jason & Dan (in conjunction with Richard Sinclair) for restoration. Full details are on their website's news page here.
15th August 2013 Jace Chandler Jace is proprietor of Black Diamond in Oklahoma City and has been in touch to let me know that one of his two amazing party bus conversion VRs, OWE853R, has just been sold to a company in Salt Lake City, Utah. These are the most amazing buses and if you haven't seen them it is worth taking a look at the YouTube link on the original news entry here.
14th August 2013 Open Top Bus website/Mike Lewis Mike spotted an open-top VR in a commercial yard in Swindon and sent the photo he took to the Open-Top Buses website. Luckily I have had good links with this site for many years and they knew to forward it to me - it turned out to be the long-lost ex-Southdown 621 (UWV621S). As it was known to be in very poor condition I was possibly interested in acquiring it for spares for my own VR so I visited it today. It turns out that since 2001 (the last time it was reported) it has been in use at a polo club near Birdlip (not too far from Cheltenham) as a grandstand for watching the action. Judging by the derelict fridges upstairs it had also seen plenty of use for Pimms and champagne! Of interest is that it still retains the signwriting it carried for the Eastbourne and Beachy Head tour with Stagecoach South Coast Buses and the signwriting had even been masked and retained when the green areas were overpainted blue. The club had sold it for scrap earlier this month and, sadly, it had been towed to Swindon without disengaging the half shaft, thus destroying the transmission and gearbox and any real value to me for spares. It seems inevitable therefore that it will succumb to the breaker's claw in the near future (but do contact me if you would like the owner's phone number to make an offer).
11th August 2013 Will Hughes An unusual event is the re-entry into regular use of a former Ulsterbus RELL, especially on the mainland. WOI2432 has been converted into a mobile bar for Appleton Estate, brewers of Jamaica Rum and is scheduled to appear around the UK to promote this product. Note the barrels on the roof (there is a larger photo here) and the smart interior (here).
10th August 2013 John Adams I am grateful to John for an update from the Swansea Bus Museum where they have representatives of all three engine options for the VR. They line up as follows:

RTH931S (new with a Leyland 501 but fitted with a Gardner by Badgerline in 1994)- currently undergoing bodywork overhaul prior to repaint
VTH942T (another 501 repowered with a Gardner, this time by Western National in 1996) - due to emerge very soon in an interesting livery!
WTH957T (501 engine) - undergoing spares recovery
WTH961T (another Western National Gardner repower) - restored in NBC red livery, now owned by Mal Hier
BEP978V (501 engine) - also undergoing restoration and due for repaint this year
VCA460W (Leyland 680 engine) - still owned by Darren Ridgway but now stored here after being damaged by vandals, it is awaiting its turn for repair work to be undertaken.

All of which goes to show what important work is being done at the Museum - well done to all involved!

7th August 2013 Dan Morelli Dan was surprised to come across two flat-fronted VRs in Rapid City, South Dakota last week. They were being used on a promotional tour of the city for two local hostelries which jointly own the buses. From Dan's description and the photos on their blog it was easy to identify the pair as rare long-wheelbase ex-Eastern Scottish LFS298F and Western National's very first VR, OTA284G. The pair had been together for very many years with Dan Nash in Chula Vista, California and were very well cared for by Dan. It is worth reproducing Dan's report of each VR here for the interesting details of each bus:

OTA284G - The letters ECW were visible on the front grille. With the exception of marker lights all around (which are a requirement for operation in the US) the bus did not appear to have been modified. The engine ran smoothly and sounded like a British diesel. The transmission was the semi-automatic type commonly found on VRs. Overall the bus was in decent shape and the driver said that it drove well.

LFS298F - This coach had one visible modification - there was a grey box-like structure protruding from left rear and appeared to be an enhancement to the fan which draws in air for the cooling system. The second modification wasn't visible but was audible. When the air compressor shut down it purged the lines with a rather loud whooshing sound which is more characteristic of an American bus and one I'm familiar with having recently retired from driving transit buses for New York Transit after 22 years. Like its sister the British diesel ran smoothly and the transmission was identical. The bus was also in decent shape and the driver said that it ran well.

I would love to show this to an engineer from the Scottish Bus Company in the late 1960s who so comprehensively rejected the VR (including one of this pair!) for their "appalling build quality". I have no doubt that there were serious teething problems from a design with a troubled and complicated birth, but the fact that this pair are still in use some 45 years later proves that underneath the VR was a sound and well-built vehicle (but then of course I am biased!).

6th August 2013 Dave Mulpeter Dave has acquired another fine vehicle in the shape of RELH6G ORC417N for his Seaford & District operation. It is intended to obtain a Class VI MOT and put it into fleet livery, which should suit the lines of this ECW classic perfectly. This was the last Bristol single-decker delivered to Midland General and was among the last few dual-purpose RELHs built.
5th August 2013 Neil Gomme Neil is an ex-pat Brit living in Springfield, Missouri and as a taste of home he has acquired former Mansfield District FSF6G 60JAL from an owner in Los Angeles who was using it as additional seating for his restaurant!
4th August 2013 Facebook There is a trend towards bus and coach banger racing which has seen a number of Bristols destroyed in recent years. Today's victim at a meeting in Aldershot was ex-National Welsh LHS KWO569X which had been stored outside at Ward Jones's yard in High Wycombe for many years and this probably ultimately sealed its fate.
4th August 2013 Ian Rudd Another Lodekka on the move is EOO590 which has spent a decade in store with Western Greyhound but which has now been acquired by Ian for eventual restoration.
28th July 2013 Bart Prins Former Crosville DFG234 (JFM234D) has been in use in Holland for many years but is now getting a new lease of life by undergoing conversion for use as band accommodation. The new owner has decided that they would like to create a folder documenting the vehicle's life and this latest conversion and would like access to original drawings of an FS for this purpose - do please contact me if you are able to help with original drawings from ECW for copying.
27th July 2013 Alan Walker/Martin Bott Former Lincoln City Transport 37 (NFW37V) was transported to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides in 2008 with the intention of converting it for use as a mobile home. It has, however, sat untouched in use as an immobile storeshed and makes a sad sight at Portnaguran on the Isle of Harris.
14th July 2013 Jim Gorman Former Western National 2056 (BDV264C) was noted today in Centreville, Indiana, U.S.A. at the "Warm Glow Candle Outlet" at Exit 145 of I-70. It had been reported sold for conversion to a coffee outlet in Salem, Oregon in 2011 but since it has only made it a few miles down the road it is most likely still in the ownership of Tom Raper, Richmond, Indiana.
7th July 2013 Ben Vallance Great news is that former Crosville DVG266 (HTU155N) has emerged from its restoration in post-deregulation green and orange livery as seen here. All credit to owner Dave Barnes
28th June 2013 **updated July 2nd** Allan Macfarlane Glastonbury Festival shuttle has been a happy hunting ground for VRs for many years and 2013 is proving to be no disappointment. Spotted on Wednesday were Chepstow Classic VDV122S, WTG359T, XJJ655V, XJJ659V, XJJ661V, BJG671V and CJJ677W (so a bit of an East Kent reunion there!) as well as Martin Curtis's preserved AHW201V and - specially relicensed at short notice - Abus's last VR, XHK221X. Allan has followed up with an end-of-week report which lists further VRs in action as XJJ653V on Thursday, Wilts & Dorset's BFX666T on Sunday and VPR491S and VDV134S on departure day (Monday). An important correction to note is that VDV122S was in use on Wednesday (not VDV142S as reported earlier). The former is now with Chepstow Classic, Terry Partridge having sold all of his preserved vehicles, but sadly was towed back to Chepstow later in the week with a bad air leak.
27th June 2013 Phil Sposito Phil visited and photographed former Western National 2103 (EDV515D) at its resting place within Sidelines Bar & Grill in Murietta, Georgia back in 2006 where it forms the centrepiece of the restaurant with seating inside for diners. It was still there in January 2010 when a diner reviewed the (otherwise rather average) restaurant and when trying to describe the decor wrote "where do you start when there is a red double decker bus in the middle?"
21st June 2013 Sean Keating Former Southern Vectis LD6G LDL739 has turned up on eBay, now located in Dallas, Texas in use as an eyecatcher by the Three Sheets Pub.
16th June 2013 British Bus Club An amazing survivor which is now for sale through the British Bus Club (of North America) is former Crosville ML690/DLB690 (RFM435) which was first exported to the US in 1974. It is now fitted with an American diesel engine and fully automatic gearbox, so doesn't quite sound...authentic...any more, but it is still great to find it survives in running condition after all these years.
15th June 2013 Steve Johnson Steve has discovered former Northampton Alexander-bodied VR 63 (VVV63S) in a yard next to the railway at La Grand-Combe in the south of France. This was a very late survivor in service with Voel Coaches of Dyserth having only been advertised for sale in April 2012.
15th June 2013 eBay Former United Auto 684 (SUP684R) had previously been believed scrapped, having last been reported in 1994, but it appears to have been resident in a field at Biggin Hill for many years in use as a greenhouse and storeshed and is now available on eBay, although it seems very likely to be fit only for scrap now.
7th June 2013 Diaz Nuarez Thames Valley FLF6G D32 (GRX132D) is alive and well and was seen this week by Diaz in the remote Russian town of Kotlas still in use as a mobile bar.
4th June 2013 Chance Wolf Immaculate 1955 LD6B OWX163 has changed hands in the U.S.A. at auction for $17,000 - the identity of the new owner isn't known, but it has been with the Harold LeMay Collection in Tacoma, Washington since 1998 but was declared surplus in a recent clear-out. LeMay retain two further Lodekkas (MWY120 and BOD39C). Photos from the auction website can be viewed here.
4th June 2013 David Allen/John Allcock Three Lodekkas have been in use on the Caribbean island of Antigua for many years - airport shuttles operated by ex-Bristol Omnibus 7037 (205NAE - carrying the front cowl from BDV265C and long mistaken for that FLF in publications including this website) and ex-Southern Vectis 612 (CDL480C) and another ex-Bristol FLF 7022 (817MHW) in use as a mobile bank. All three have now been retired from their mobile activities, but 7037 is now in use as an immobile fish and chip restaurant with 612 also in attendance in the same yard. 7022 is reported to be stored in a garden somewhere on the island.
28th May 2013 Richard Waterhouse/Ben Vallance Very good news is the return to the road of former Trent 780 (YRC125M) which achieved notoriety as a shuttle bus owned by Enterprise Boats in and around Truro for a couple of decades. It is now preserved in NBC red livery by Richard Waterhouse and Ian Thurman. Richard wanted Midland General fleetnames but 780 was Ian's school bus when carrying Trent names, so as a compromise it carries Trent on one side with Midland General on the other! It made its debut last weekend and looks superb. While on the subject of Trent VRs, it was good to hear that RCH629L was out and about for the first time in many years last weekend.
28th May 2013 Julian Patterson Julian's fleet reduction plans continue to fail miserably as he has now picked up probably the most roadworthy Plaxton-bodied RELH coach in the form of NDP70M which has been dry stored with the Hampshire RE group for many years.
22nd May 2013 Alan Walker Former Western National 1153 (AFJ760T) was sold out of storage to Chepstow Classic Buses, probably in late 2011 and has now been sold on for further use as a playbus. It was repainted allover blue at Winkleigh by its new owners before being moved - any information about its new home would be appreciated.
20th May 2013 Allan Macfarlane Allan made an excellent discovery recently whilst on holiday in Brittany - two Lodekkas and two VRs in the yard of Publibus, Lezardrieux. He was able to photograph and identify them as UOD489, HHW459D, DEX231T and recently-exported VPF288S which had just been repainted and even still had the masking tape around the windscreen! Publibus have operated Lodekkas for many years as exhibition units but have only just now branched out into VRs - let's hope they too run for many more years.
16th May 2013 Steve Cocks Steve has reluctantly had to sell his wonderfully-restored Marshall-bodied LH coach BDV318L to fund another project (presumably not another Bristol as he didn't tell me what it was!). The new preservationist owner is Lee Shepard of Camborne, so it hasn't gone far. Steve is also selling unrestored sister LH coach NTT319M and further details on this sale can be found here.
16th May 2013 Mike Pannell Mike is now the proud owner of former Southern Vectis LD6G 517 (KDL413) which has been sitting derelict for the past few years in the Transportation Department yard of Denver Corporation, Colorado, U.S.A. He has acquired it with a view to preservation and plans to have it towed the 100 miles or so to his home at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Mike has an attachment to this vehicle having ridden on it on the Isle of Wight during the early 1970s!
14th May 2013 Andrew Mackintosh Andy has discovered former United Counties VR LBD923V, previously thought to be preserved, in a yard in deepest Herefordshire apparently in use as a static caravan. Access was difficult, but Andy was able to snap part of the vehicle.
14th May 2013 Oliver Fosker Oliver's brother Ben (former proprietor of The Running Footman) came across ex-East Midlands Series 2 VR JNU134N languishing in a yard at Playa de las Americas on Tenerife last week. This had previously been believed scrapped after withdrawal by Marshall of Baillieston back in 1996, but appears to have been used in a non-PCV role somewhere in the UK until making it out to Spain in 2012.
13th May 2013 Facebook A disastrous fire at Western Greyhound's Summercourt depot overnight has, very regrettably, destroyed heritage VR JWV259W which was affectionately known as "Clarissa". Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt, but a large proportion of the rest of the allocation was also lost (upwards of 30 vehicles). I would like to send my heartfelt sympathy and best wishes to Mark and all of his team at this terribly difficult time.
12th May 2013 Neil Halliday Former Trent Series 2 VR 637 (RCH637L) has been acquired by Neil and associates for use for spares to keep some of their preserved VRs going. It has been used for many years as an exhibition unit and so has no interior, but would be available if anyone wants to take it on for restoration (please contact me for further details).
29th April 2013 Ken Jones Bristol Harbourside, always a high point in the rally calendar, took place yesterday with the usual fantastic selection of vehicles and free services. Sadly I was unable to attend this year, but Ken has sent photographic coverage. My personal highlight is the appearance of former Bristol Omnibus RELL6L 1071 (OHU770F), refurbished and repainted into original Tilling green livery.
26th April 2013 Craig Schofield Craig has related a tale which shows just how precarious the life of a bus can be in preservation. Former Bristol Omnibus LH 452 (YAE518V) was purchased by Appleby's area manager Mike Hawksworth after withdrawal in 2001. Mike stored it at Bardney until 2004 when he sold it very cheaply to Craig who moved it to Lincoln. Craig then secured accommodation in Dudley and drove the LH there on trade plates ("only broke down once on the way"!). He then moved back to Lincolnm in 2005 and took the bus back with him. However, the LH suffered at its new storage location and Craig was made an offer by someone who wanted to convert it to a motor home. Wanting to see the bus survive Craig sold it in good faith only to find that it had gone straight to a scrapyard where it was broken up immediately. Sad story, but all part of the interest in our hobby.
22nd April 2013 Ed Sijmons Ed reports former Yorkshire Traction Series 2 VR GAK482N to be alive, still where it was last reported in 2005, in Almere, Holland still carrying East Yorkshire burgundy livery. It can be clearly seen on Google Maps by searching for "VVC Adventure, Bolderweg".
13th April 2013 Caitie West Caitie contacted me yesterday asking about a "Bristol double decker" which her company (Pro-Tow of Maple Valley, Washington state in the U.S.) had acquired in lieu of payment from a client who had abandoned the bus. After directing her to the chassis number stamped to the front dumb iron next to the engine we established that the bus was former Western National 2030 (410PTA) which had been missing since export in 1976 - a huge 37 year gap. However, it is in the livery of the National Presidential Wax Museum in Mount Rushmore, South Dakota so was the unknown FLF used there alongside 378RNN until quite recently (2011). The vehicle is a runner, has had $19,000 of work done on it at Pro-Tow, and is likely to be put up for sale in the near future.
13th April 2013 (updated 23rd April) Andreas Kaljo Another FLF currently undergoing maintenance overseas is former Eastern Counties FLF352 (ONG352F) which is in Austria (and has been for over 30 years) and is currently in need of a new rear shock absorber. If anyone knows where to source one please drop me a line and I will let Andreas know. These shocks are no longer manufactured, however Andreas has found a similar part which will be fitted to all four corners of the bus
13th April 2013 Carl Ireland XJJ669V, until recently with Hull & Country Bus Preservation Group, has now passed to Carl for his dealer stock.
9th April 2013 Nick Raven VEX301X continues in use with Country Lion of Northampton, however it has recently developed a fault on its speedo sender unit which the operator hopes to rectify soon or it may be curtains for this very late-surviving VR.
22nd March 2013 John Tyson !!Authenticity alert!! Traditionalists READ NO FURTHER!! Former Bristol Omnibus RESL6L THU354G has been repainted in a fabulous quality representation of United Automobile Tilling red livery as fleetnumber 2834 which was registered XHN934G. Like every single one of its sister vehicles 2834 has not survived into preservation and owner Malcolm Hodgson (of Lakeland Voyager) has chosen to remember the class using THU as the base. He has even gone as far as to panel over the rear reversing window for authenticity (United REs did not have this feature), although this would be easily rectified in any future return to original condition. As usual some people will be "outraged" by this act but I personally think it is an imaginative use of the vehicle and I am pleased that 508 (as it will always be for me) is in safe hands and seeing plenty of use. As a Bristol Omnibus fan what goes around comes around - Carl Berry's Crosville RELH AFM103G carried Bristol Greyhound livery for several years (as none of the original vehicles survived) and ruffled a few feathers in the process - but is now back in traditional Crosville coaching colours.
18th March 2013 John Veerkamp Lodekkas have turned up in most corners of the World over the past couple of decades, but former Red & White L560 (5AAX), missing since export in 1992, is the first one I can recall in Costa Rica, Central America. John came across it there at the side of the road as long ago as January 2001 but has only just now got round to scanning his photos from those days and I am very grateful to him for sending this one on.
18th March 2013 Dave Farrier A recently-broadcast episode of "Salvage Hunters" on the Quest channel revealed the continued existence of former West Yorkshire/Eastern Counties/Western National VR WWY123S which had previously been believed scrapped. The filming was done in the Penzance area in 2011 and the VR is believed to reside in the yard of a collector in Hayle.
18th March 2013 David Rhodes A momentous development for Lodekka operation in the 21st century is the application of City Sightseeing decals and use of former Western S.M.T. LD6G (RAG403) in Toronto on sightseeing duties. I believe this is the first time that a Lodekka has operated under this banner. The bus is fitted with a Ford engine and automatic transmission so must make some very unusual sounds! The seats are covered in a bizarre "cow hide" moquette, a hangover from the time in the 1990s when RAG carried an allover advert for Movenpick ("Moo"venpick - geddit?). Many thanks to David Rhodes for forwarding Bill Taylor's photo taken last week.
16th March 2013 Viv Carter A welcome - but somewhat strange - repaint is of Stagecoach East's heritage closed-top FLF6G FLF453 (JAH553D) which has been given a coat of Eastern Counties Tilling red livery. The reason it is strange is because it carries United Counties legal lettering and the bus is to take part in centenary celebrations for United Counties this year, but either way Stagecoach's respect for the history of their companies is appreciated.
12th March 2013 Julian Patterson Yet another vehicle to join Julian's fantastic collection of ex-Eastern Counties vehicles is FS5G LFS54 (54CPW). This one was used for very many years as a touring caravan and is reported to have made many journeys to and from Germany before being saved for preservation by Viv Carter in 2009. It will require a lot of work to restore it to its former glory but at least it is in very safe hands.
9th March 2013 Dave Stretton It isn't very often these days that an active Lodekka comes to light still in the UK which was previously unknown, but this is the case with former Bristol Omnibus 7206 (DHW981C). There had been reports over the years of an inaccessible open-top FLF with Baylis Distribution in Pucklechurch, Bristol and of the possibilities 7206 was believed to be the most likely candidate, but it was not until Dave got in touch today with more information and a photo that a positive identification could be made. Baylis merged with Culina Logistics in 2008 and it is now in use as a promotional vehicle for Culina. Dave came across 7206 at a body shop in Peterborough so it may be that it will be seen out and about rather more during 2013.
7th March 2013 Neil Jones Alive and well in Tarragona, Spain last October was ex-Maidstone & District 5860 (BKE860T) now in permanent use as a mobile exhibition unit.
28th February 2013 Lluis Cuesta Lluis took a photo of former Eastern Counties DEX228T alive and well in Switzerland back in August 2010 - this had gone very many years unreported, but it was still in the same vicinity as when it was first exported in 1997.
28th February 2013 Phil King During a recent visit to Tarpon Springs, Florida, Phil came across an FLF carrying the registration EMR290D at the front. However, he was able to see the chassis/body plate through the window which revealed this Lodekka to be in fact former Southern Vectis BDL580B which has been believed to carry the front cowl from EMR for many years now. It is painted as an "eyecatcher" for Captain Jack's Waterfront Grill (or should that be grille? LOL).
28th February 2013 Tim Roberts/Martin Roberts Great news is that after some 13 years off the road (due initially to having been caught up in the foot & mouth crisis), early pioneering preserved VR GRP794L has been taken to Central Bus Works in Stafford for a good mechanical overhaul prior to being used to help celebrate the centenary of United Counties this summer.
26th February 2013 Facebook One of those unbelievable co-incidences in life happened to me yesterday; in the morning I was in a hotel room in Vienna looking at the very active and interesting Facebook Lodekka page as Carl Ireland posted a photo of DEL891C prior to export and John Dawkins asked whether it still existed today. I checked the Hants & Dorset Survivors page of this website and discovered that it just happened to be last reported in Vienna. By pure chance I then came across this very bus while in the taxi on the way to the Airport, very much still in use and hurtling around the streets of the city. It is amazing events like this which continue to renew and reinvigorate my interest in this hobby!
26th February 2013 Carl Ireland/Phil Howes  Two further VRs on their way abroad to mainland Europe are VPF288S and SVL179W. VPF was last used by McEwen Travel of Mansfield and has been sold for unknown use in France, whilst SVL is ex-Johnson of Hodthorpe and was taken by ferry to Bilbao and driven across Spain to Tarragona where it is to be converted for use as a mobile home.
26th February 2013 Ben Vallance Former Eastern Counties DNG233T has languished at River Link of Dartmouth for a few years now, yielding spares for their other VRs. However, last year it was repainted in green and cream livery and has now been towed to Stokes Croft in Bristol where it is set to be converted to a static cafe for use in a run-down part of the suburb. A YouTube video has been posted of its arrival.
17th February 2013 Jon Pratt Rare convertible Alexander-bodied WTG360T has been returned by Crosville Motor Services of Weston-super-Mare to Classic Bus of Blackpool, from whom it was loaned for use on the Sand Bay service last summer (and which I was pleased to ride on the weekend of the Crosville rally). It has been replaced from the same source by genuine ex-Crosville open-top DCA528X which is due for a repaint for use during the 2013 summer season.
16th February 2013 Steve Graham An RE coach changing hands recently is the oldest surviving Crosville RE, AFM105B, which has joined Steve's stable of RELHs.
7th February 2013 John Royle John has come across former Bristol Omnibus 7129 (822SHW) in the Mesa district of Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A. This was last reported back in 2002 as having been stolen and still hadn't been recovered in 2004 - I have no idea how this situation was resolved, but it is now in a yard being worked on and looks to be in very good condition. This FLF is interesting in having been one of a trio with Bristol which had Leyland O600 engines, but this now appears to have been replaced with a Cummins of some description, which is a shame, but great to see that it survives.
7th February 2013 Paul Vine Paul found HEV996B deteriorating outside at 230 Chaussee Gabrielle Richet, Ollignies in the town of Lessines in Belgium, having previously been with the charity Medicine sans Frontieres in Brussels.
1st February 2013 Richard Delahoy A Lodekka which spent two decades on the streets of mainland Europe (based in Belgium) has now made the trip over the Atlantic to the U.S.A. where it is currently in use as mobile advert or the Jekyll & Hyde bar in New York. Lowered to 4m height and converted to partial open-top, former Eastern National RHK345D is enjoying (at least its fourth different) life in the Big Apple. Many thanks to Joe Caronetti for capturing these views of it.
30th January 2013 Mike Nash Another LH/Plaxton coach has appeared on eBay. This time it is former Silcox of Pembroke Dock GDE374L which has been in use as a motor home for many years.
28th January 2013 Sean Keating Surely one of the tidiest Lodekkas in North America, former Southern Vectis LDL739 is currently for sale on eBay. It has obviously had plenty of money spent on the interior and its attractive paintwork gleams in the photos, but with nearly 500 horse power now under the bonnet it is a little startling that no upgrade to the braking system is mentioned in the listing! I am particularly pleased to note that it retains its original long-apron radiator cowl.
23rd January 2013 Chris Tunstall/Caroline Cleaveley Sad news is the demise of one of the few remaining Leyland-engined VRs - Crosville RMA442V was stored outside at the Wirral Transport Museum and has sadly been scrapped following serious vandalism late last year. The great shame is that this had a serviceable engine and I am very much in the market for a spare 501 unit for my own VR. Within an hour of this news arriving came a very welcome email from Caroline to say that her long-term derelict ex-United Counties RE NBD311F has just emerged from the paintshop in Tilling green livery after a lengthy restoration. You win some, you lose some....
22nd January 2013 Peter Bates Great news is that after an extended period stored in deepest Surrey out of use and untouched, former Hants & Dorset FS6G 5675EL has been bought by well-known bus photographer Paul Green for restoration. Paul had been looking for the bus for quite some time, having taken his PSV lessons in it during its time as the Devon General trainer TV2 in the 1980s.
19th January 2013 John Heaton By pure co-incidence, following on from the item for 8th January 2013, an LD which ran for both Windjammer Cruises and Sugar Cane Train on Maui, Hawaii has been rediscovered some 30 years after it had been believed broken for spares. Former Southern/Western National 1944 (VDV778) has clearly seen further use since it was spotted by Ian Lynas in October 1982 apparently being robbed for spares at Sugar Cane Train's Lahaina depot and is now undergoing conversion to a caravan some ten miles away from its previous resting place. It is unclear whether or not it is still mobile.
9th January 2013 Robbie Pict Robbie's fabulous LHL camper van conversion, former Plaxton coach XTF468L is reluctantly for sale. Currently based on the Isle of Skye this one must be of interest to someone?
9th January 2013 Dick Gilbert With former Cheltenham District FLF 7277 (HHW460D) having been rediscovered late last year in use as a storeshed in Hull (carrying the front cowl and registration from long-scrapped JNU988D), news arrives hot on its heels of twin 7276 (HHW459D) very much alive and well in France in continued use as a mobile advertising hording and looking to be in excellent condition here.
8th January 2013 Ian Lynas Ian is based in Australia but has been able to provide some considerable extra information and photos about Lodekkas that ran in Hawaii from the late 1970s until the mid 1990s. Two operators were involved - on the island of Oahu Windjammer Cruises ran dining tours based initially on tall mast ships (and later schooners) in Honolulu while on Maui Sugar Cane Train ran a free shuttle service from hotels to the train itself using - among others - the prototype FLF, ex-Bristol Omnibus 995EHW which was still extant on the island in 2004; it would be wonderful to establish whether or not it survives today.
7th January 2013 Viv Carter Viv has two members of his heritage fleet available for sale here in the shape of open-top Eastern Counties VR JNG50N and ex-Eastern Counties/mobile home Lodekka FS5G 54CPW.
5th January 2013 Gregor & Conny Ribic Gregor and Conny are nearing completion of their conversion of FDL680V to a mobile restaurant in Maribor, Slovenia.

Return to Home Page