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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Date of Change
|Source of Information||Details of Change|
|29th July 2020
||Great news is the repatriation from southern France by David and friends of former Western National 1148 (AFJ750T).
It drove all the way without missing a beat and is planned to be
returned to the Flambards advertising livery which previously made it
famous in Cornwall.
|29th July 2020
||After many years with the MoD on Salisbury Plain, Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset KRU854W has passed to Ironsight Airsoft at Goodworth Clatford in Hampshire for use as a battle prop in their paintball arena.
|28th July 2020
||Former East Kent VR 7674 (BJG674V), converted to open-top in 2001 and well known as part of the Jurassic Mule operation prior to its retirement in 2017, has now been sold out of preservation for further use on Merseyside for wedding and other private hire use. It has just been outshopped in allover red for the purpose.
|10th July 2020
||A rare survivor in 2020 is ex-Crosville FSF6G 874VFM, even more remarkable having been missing since 1979 when it was exported to Germany!
It appears to have been used as the "Nordhorn Oldtimer" bus for many
years, finally retiring from its community role around 2000 whereupon
it was sold to a dealer in Birkenfeld. A photo on a local newspaper website
shows that it still survived as recently as October 2019. Close
inspection of the photo shows that there is another vehicle behind -
possibly another Lodekka - and a quick check on Google Maps shows that
it is a partial open-top conversion. I am hoping to receive
confirmation of the
pair's identity in due course.
|4th July 2020
||Still alive and well and noted in use at Rijswijk, Holland is ex-Southdown SNJ592R which is now partial open-top with a seating area towards the rear upstairs.
|30th June 2020
||Every now and again an FLF turns up that's not been reported for a long time - in this case former Eastern National 2831 (KNO954C) which is looking very sorry for itself in the desert in Qatar, but still a great survivor having not been heard of since 1981!
|21st June 2020
||Bristol Omnibus 7129 (822SHW) has made a very welcome re-appearance in Phoenix, Arizona
where it is currently at a repair shop in Mesa being prepared for sale
by a company called BDM Customs who are believed to have owned it since
2013. Built as one of the very rare Leyland O600-engined FLFs it has
sadly been fitted with an International diesel engine and automatic
|17th June 2020
||Mark has become aware of the location of former Crosville LD6B RFM419 in Ontario, Canada
and visited it yesterday with a view to possible purchase. It is in
very poor condition, but that is to be expected given that it has
probably sat in the same place since its last known movement in 2004.
|26th April 2010
||Very welcome news is that rare Duple Dominant-bodied LHS 6804VC (originally registered XFP836Y and unusually delivered new to a non-PSV owner) has been acquired by Trevor Shore's Dekkabus operation in Bournemouth. The plan is for restoration to take place this year for a return to service in 20201.
|18th April 2020
||It has come to my attention that there are two LDs in use as static diners in Japan carrying the registration 501BTA! The real 501BTA was at Curry and Noodle House in Ichinomiya in 2011 (photo here), while former Crosville 848AFM is at Shiroi Koibito Park in Hokkaido (photo here).
Both were prepared by London Bus Export Company in Lydney, BTA having
been shipped in 2011 and AFM in 2016/7. Thankfully they have different
styles of grille or they would be causing me nightmares for years to
|24th March 2020
||Last week Shane made what will be his last European trip for a while, visiting a number of Bristols in France. MCS756 was sold last December and is now with a business called L'Instant in Laon where it is planned to be used as a food truck. JKH510V is also a food truck trading as L'Imperial Bus at Greade sur Garrone while long-lost WWY121S is a snack bus at Carbonne. WWY's owner told Shane that he drove it all the way from Stockton-on-Tees in 2011. VVV63S is still at Grande-Combe on a travellers site. Finally DAL306C is still at Vaulx en Velin on the outskirts of Lyon as All Bus cafe.
|28th February 2020
||Shane has been on his travels again, this time to Germany. SVX277D is still at the Speyer Museum in Sinsheim, SAX989 is still in Weingarten, RUA452W is still in Landau, 886CFM changed hands last year and is now in Saarbrucken and KAH467D
is still in Berkenfeld with Stefan Morsch. Sad news is that after more
than 20 years of attending the Cologne Carnival as a mobile bar and hospitality unit, 2019 was the last year
for BNN292C which has now been retired and may be for sale.
|13th February 2020
||As ever Shane has been on the
lookout for Bristols on continental Europe and has turned up news on
four more Lodekkas and three VRs. Former coach-seated Eastern National 185XNO
has been used as a static restaurant at Charleroi in Belgium since at
least 2011. Last year it was sold to Yohan Battais in Bassenge who
hopes to renovate it. There is an article from May 2019 here in French....
On the move from Belgium to Vaulx-en-Velin in France is Mansfield District DAL306C which had still been in use as a mobile bar in Belgium as recently as 2014, but is now a static cafe at Avenue Marcel Cachin as seen here on Google Maps.
Another Eastern National FLF is GNO788B which has been undergoing renovation work with a group calling themselves "Le 788 Bus" in Vercel-Villedieu-le-Camp in the far east of France, close to the Swiss border. It is believed they may be converting it for use as a cafe, but that isn't clear yet.
Pride of place has to go to another Mansfield District FLF TRB587F which has been missing for 30 years since it was exported in 1990. It is located at a judo club in Celje, Slovenia where it has been converted for use as a clubhouse with pinball machine, jukebox and a seating area. In addition the ceiling has been removed towards the rear opening out a double-height area with a gallery overlooking.
On the VR front, a big surprise is the emergence of City of Oxford dual-door OUD483T which had been presumed scrapped in 1997 but has in fact been somewhere in Italy for all these years. It was recently recovered to City Motors Automobil, Pianezza, Torino where it is for sale for 10,500 euros. The owner of East Yorkshire PAG515W in France has been identified as Nathalie Bassner, Frontignan. Finally another East Yorkshire example, this time highbridge JKH510V remains in Toulouse in use as a mobile cafe and has been repainted in a blue livery and rebranded as L'Imperial Bus.
|1st February 2020
||Ray flew from Texas to Boston this week to view DHW352W,
decided to buy it, and is now 350 miles into the 1300 mile journey
home! He has bought it for his Calavera Cakery company besed in Longview, Texas.
|27th January 2020
||Having been owned and operated by Banksia Tours in Adelaide, Australia since it arrived in the country in 1982, former Western National 1993 (139HUO) is now for sale on Gumtree.
|25th January 2020
||Former Crosville DVL494 WTU494W has become the third VR in New Zealand to pass into the hands of Headfirst Travel. Currently in Christchurch where it was completely renovated and fitted with an "interesting" front end, it will be collected soon and driven the 200 miles south to Dunedin where it will start its latest chapter.
|10th January 2020
||Former Crosville LD6G 836AFM which has been in Australia since 1972 is currently for sale on Ebay
in New South Wales having been converted as recently as last year for
use as a ukelele school (!) It has previously been reported fitted with
a Cummins engine and Allison gearbox, but is now quoted as having a
Perkins unit - confirmation would be appreciated if anyone local has
the opportunity to check the vehicle out.
|14th December 2019
||David Grimstone/Dan Shears/Darren Tasker
||David, Dan and Darren visited
Philadelphia this week and found no fewer than eight VRs. Seven of them
are the remaining fleet of Big Bus, although they are now out of passenger use and awaiting sale. Listed here the most notable VR is WTH952T
which the lads have finally identified after many years of mystery over
Big Bus 320 - amazingly it retains its Leyland 501 engine which would
have been reason alone for me to visit the city if it remained in
service. The eighth is UWV618S which is
owned by McCloskey Mechanical and was at the Philadelphia Eagles
stadium on match night as a hospitality vehicle. It is fitted with a
very strange home-made roof cover which fits (kind of) over the upper deck of this open-top VR.
|17th November 2019
||It is rare these days to be able to report on an LH returning to service, but GTX761W
has been repainted, reregistered VGC932 and is used for private hires
by London Bus 4 Hire. It is in fact of course one of the ultra-short
LHSs that were new to National Welsh.
|9th November 2019
||Great news is that former Bristol Omnibus 7172 (BHU401C) is alive and well in Germany, having last been reported back in 1985. Photos have been found of it in 2017, converted to open-top and running for "Artland's Drachen Express"
|2nd November 2019
||Finally returning home after a very long time in non-PSV use is West Yorkshire DX40 (AYG941H) which has been liberated from Chepstow Classic (who for many years have used it as a mess hut at Glastonbury) by Neil Halliday and his colleagues at Escrick Bus & Coach Preservation.
|26th October 2019
||In 2017 the owners of Coda Co in Bellevue, Kentucky, U.S.A. visited Asheville in North Carolina and discovered former Bristol Omnibus 808SHW
in use as a bakery there. So impressed with the idea they decided to
find a double decker of their own to convert into a cafe selling
doughnuts. Two years later they have acquired former East Kent VR XJJ650V which has been sitting unused in Cincinatti, Ohio for very many years. Work is now continuing to convert it for its new use. You can read more of the story here.
|26th October 2019
has been sold out of preservation to an owner in Cumbria who has
repainted this open-top VR into a rather drab allover dark green. Ian
spotted it parked at Tebay Services on the M6 and noted that it appears
the interior is also undergoing conversion to some form of retail outlet.
|24th October 2019 *update*
||Cardiff Transport Preservation Group
||Very distressing news from
Cardiff is that a fire which started in a neighbouring hay barn on the
night of October 22nd has spread to the storage unit where 868NHT
was kept. Sadly it appears to be a complete write-off along with two
very rare Cardiff trolleybuses and our sympathies are with Alan Smith
(who owned the FS) and the team who had been working for very many
years on the trolleybus restoration project. **UPDATE
Although the FS is sadly confirmed destroyed welcome news is that the
trolleybuses have only been scorched and are reparable**
|22nd October 2019
||Former Mansfield District FLF6B 378RNN is now in use as a static bar named "Bubble Decker" sited at Decker Square in Marshall, Virginia, U.S.A. It has been fitted with a hydraulic roof section and further photos and information can be seen in this article.
|22nd October 2019
||What may possibly be the highest spec VR available for private hire anywhere is Bristol Omnibus DHW352W which is now being run by London Double Decker based in Rhode Island, U.S.A.
but offering airline transfers to and from Boston Airport. The interior
is advertised as having been reupholstered in black leather with red
trim and sounds very appealing. You can see further photos and
|21st October 2019
||Another FLF to turn up after many years unreported is Western National 1971 (470FTT) which was left abandoned at One Stop Industries in Enterprise, Alabama over a year ago and is now available to a sympathetic buyer.
|20th October 2019
||Former City of Oxford dual-door VR HUD474S has been renovated as part of a $15m project to spruce up Levy Park in the Upper Kirby district of Houston, Texas.
It is another to have been saved from scrap, becoming a retail outlet
for the sale of refreshments at the park. I only have a photo of it
after repaint - if anyone manages to get a photo of it in situ at the
park I would be grateful for a copy or link.
|20th October 2019
||Former Yorkshire Traction HWJ925W was exported to Romania
in 2015. At the time the new owner wasn't known, but has now been
identified as Big Red Bustaurant in Cluj. Their details can be found here.
|19th October 2019
||Tim Weatherup/Julian Patterson
||Entrata Software of Lehi, Utah, U.S.A. have had former Eastern National PWC514M
installed into its HQ building as a collaborative work space with a
slide at the back of the top deck for employees to exit the bus! There
is a very good time-lapse video here showing how they removed the roof
to get it inside the building. This picture shows the extent of the work done to prepare the VR for its new role. I had previously incorrectly identified this as former Yorkshire Traction OWE853R which has been in Utah for some time now, but this is believed to remain in Salt Lake City.
|19th October 2019
||Tim found this entry on Source Weekly showing Bristol Omnibus C7147 (840SHW) which had been totally refurbished back in 2005 but now sadly has hit hard times and is a static "taco wagon" in Bend, Oregon.
|9th October 2019
||Great news is that Andy has repatriated former Crosville FS6G DFG220 (JFM220D) from Holland.
It made the long trip home to Bangor via ferry to Dublin last week and
will now be assessed for an eventual return to the road.
|6th October 2019
||Robert has recently acquired interesting former Hartlepool RELL6L GEF191N from Nick Larkin who has been its custodian for many years. It was the sole coach-seated example in the Hartlepool fleet and also ran briefly for Northern Bus,
being one of their last REs in service. The plan is to use it as an
exhibition vehicle for the North Yorkshire Moors Railway for the time
being, with the ultimate aim of a return to Hartlepool livery.
|14th September 2019
||Former Hants & Dorset FLF6G CLJ868C has been in Australia
since 1982 and was acquired for restoration back in 2014 by a private
owner in New South Wales. Sadly this plan appears to have been
abandoned and it is now for sale without an engine and is being offered
for spares here.
|26th August 2019
||Zak La Gumina
||Former Southern Vectis 679 (FDL679V) has been sold by Used Bus & Coach Sales to the same company in Italy that converted OCD769G to an amazing mobile food truck a couple of years ago. It went by boat to Savona for the short drive up to Torino.
|22nd August 2019
||Shane's latest trip to Belgium/Holland has yielded a few more sightings. SNJ590R
is now at Antwerp Bowling as part of an escape room experience where it
has received a new 007-themed paint job but is now engineless. Mart
Leek's premises near Amsterdam yielded WHY947 and JMR818F while at Veen enthusiastic owner Piet Verbeek has been moving VRs around having acquired GTX748W and sold TEX401R while PHY702S remains with him.
|12th August 2019
& Dorset FS6G 4384LJ has been noted active in Germany and Austria
for many years, and has now found a new lease of life promoting Bayer
Leverkusen Football Club and painted in the team colours of red and black as can be seen here.
|8th August 2019
||Former Western S.M.T. FLF6G TCS179
now provides extra incentive to visit Las Vegas, having been
incorporated into the On The Record restaurant on the main strip at the
resort. It has been fitted out with a bar downstairs and seating
upstairs as shown here.
|27th July 2019
||Hot on the heels of MDM285P passing into preservation from a non-PCV role, MDM284P
has now been moved by Roger Wright's London Bus Company (where it has
been dry stored for nearly 20 years) to their workshop for renovation
work and a possible return to class 6 for further use. It was used in
the 1990s by London Coaches and then Arriva on the Original London Tour, converted to partial open-top and then passed to UNISON where it was used as a mobile exhibition unit.
|19th July 2019
||The end of an era has been reached at Abus, Bristol with the sale of the last Bristol-built chassis from the fleet. XHK221X has been sold to Steve Thompson and will be repatriated to the Southend area in the near future. Abus have operated many Bristols
since the early days when it was associated with Crown Coaches. I
believe that this sale leaves the Bristol area without a VR with a
small operator for the first time since 1990 when the first examples
were sold off by Bristol Omnibus for further service.
|11th July 2019
||Shane has been on his travels again, this time a trip to Germany where he tracked down a good number of Lodekkas in the form of UOD478, 867NHT, AVW398F, GRX129D, LWN49, FHW157D, JPW459D, KPW483E (long resident at Bremen Airport but now in use as a bicycle shop in Wiefelstede), 4225FM, 465FTT, GAE883D and UOD503. I was interested to see from Shane's photo that 465FTT now has an extended "snout" to its bonnet following its accident repairs in 2012. I wonder what engine it now carries under that bonnet?
|10th July 2019
||The derelict shell of a former Western Greyhound
VR has been known to reside at Summercourt Metals near Newquay for many
years. With Jason's help this has been identified as former United Counties VVV959W. Also on site are the remains of DCA531X
plus a mound of mangled metal which is bound to contain the remains of
several other Greyhound VRs which ended their days here.
|5th July 2019
||Dan has acquired JWV257W, long used as a caravan in South Devon, as a shell to be stripped for spares.
|2nd July 2019
||I'm pleased to say that Abus XHK221X snuck in to work on the last day of the Glastonbury Festival to make it a total of eight operational VRs on shuttles this year.
|1st July 2019
||Bob Tarling/James Eastwood
||Bob has passed his former Cynon Valley RESL6L GHB148N
on to join RAH260W and VTH941T with James Eastwood at Trooper's Lodge
garage situated near Bourton-on-the-Hill. He had good reason though,
because Bob's heart lies with Bristol Omnibus and he has snapped up
RELL6L OAE954M which recently came available having been released by Abus.
|30th June 2019
||The Stroud RE Group have a long
and impressive record of restoring vehicles, mostly (but not
exclusively) REs of course. Launched today at the Stroud Running Day
was former Thamesdown (Swindon) RESL6G JMW169P
which has been restored in a facsimile of later Stroud Valleys livery
as carried on refurbished Leyland Nationals and such like!
|29th June 2019
||Jack Bayntum, Nigel Utting
||A couple of VRs still active overseas are DHW352W (former Bristol Omnibus 5530) which is currently for sale at auction in Connecticut, U.S.A. having been exported to Chicago back in 2015. Cumberland FAO423V has been used for many years by the "Oranjefans" to follow the Dutch football team (see my report on the 2010 World Cup) and is currently in France with the women's team who have their quarter final match today.
|26th June 2019 ***updated 27th June***
||Derek Gawn, John Hammond
||This year's Glastonbury is already in full swing and Chepstow Classic VRs once again figure on the festival shuttle. Noted so far are ex-East Kent BJG671V and CJJ677W and ex-Hants & Dorset/Southern Vectis convertible open-top UFX856S which still sports its Jurassic Sightseeing lettering from last year's use on the south coast with Derek's Jurassic Mule. Thursday
saw no fewer than four additional VRs in use.... and all four of them
came from the same East Kent batch in the form of XJJ653V, XJJ655V, XJJ658V and XJJ659V!
|June 22nd 2019
||After six years as a local landmark in Bristol, DNG233T was removed by crane from the "Bear Pit" (the large hole in the middle of the St James Barton Roundabout) yesterday. It was towed away for storage,
future unknown, but having been occupied by squatters in recent months
it is unlikely to attract a buyer other than possibly for spare parts
and seems likely ultimately to be scrapped.
|May 31st 2019
||The conversion of two Bristol double deckers into mobile bars has been completed recently. In Yorkshire former West Yorkshire FS6B MWW114D is now the Yorkshire Bar Bus, having been completely renovated from poor condition by Chris Manning. Meanwhile in Devon Southern Vectis FDL682V
is now with New Coast Events in Barnstaple and looks fine in its new
graphite-grey livery. I am personally pleased to see both vehicles
seeing a new lease of life and restored mechanically to fight another
|12th May 2019
||The recent trend that has seen several Lodekkas repatriated to the UK from overseas has continued with Eastern Counties FLF456 (JPW456D) being returned from Belgium
by Julian. It actually came back in January, but I was sworn to secrecy
until its debut on the rally scene which came today at Dereham. It will
be progressively restored as a bus having been converted for use as a
catering vehicle during its time in Belgium.
|9th May 2019
||Thanks to a recent visit to Spain Shane has solved a long-standing mystery over the identity of
the FLF converted as a mobile restaurant for La Pepita. Continung the Eastern National theme it is none
other than 2799 (BVX675B) which had last been reported on the Canary
Islands in 1982!
Shane also confirmed a number of Lodekkas still at Movil Bus, Vigo from outside the compound, but they sadly refused permission to enter which would have allowed further identification of members of the fleet. They have also ignored my requests for information and offers of help with spares and are not to be considered an enthusiast-friendly operation.
In news of former Crosville Lodekkas SFM260F is now with Auto Gonzalez at Ourense and is undergoing substantial reconstruction and is expected to emerge as a mobile conference/classroom. Finally 308PFM is now at Street Trucks in Leganes where it has been repainted a rather drab allover dark grey.
|9th May 2019
||Lodekkas continue to turn up on a regular basis. This time it is Eastern National's turn with Paul spotting a picture of 2852 (OVX296D) in use somewhere in Finland on a sightseeing tour in 2017
|27th April 2019
||Carl Ireland/David Stretton
||A couple of VRs on the move thanks to Carl's export activities are RUA457W which has been sold from its owner in Romania to a buyer in Madrid, Spain and PAG515W which has finally boarded the ferry after many years passing between UK preservationists and is now on its way to a new life in France.
|17th April 2019
||Hot on the heels of Shane's discoveries, Frans has tracked down two more VRs; SNJ591R and YMB518W are both in use as caravans at Kampeerterrein De Lievelinge in Vuren, Holland, having been fitted out as living accommodation.
|17th April 2019
||Shane has recently returned from yet
another fruitful trip to mainland Europe. This time he has scoured
Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland and has come up with some real gems. Pride of place has to go
to former Eastern National MVX879C which has been missing for so long
that it doesn't even appear on my list of possible survivors! Exported
to an unknown owner in Belgium in 1982 it has sat for more than 35
years at a site near the Moulin tram station in Charleroi.
Another long-lost FLF to turn up is rare 31' ex-Central S.M.T. BL316 (FGM316D) which has recently been acquired by Bus 2 Be in Lobbes, Belgium after 25 years of sitting in a scrapyard! They plan to put it back on the road with the engine from a Leyland PD3. we wish them luck and look forward to checking back in with this project in future.
Further Lodekkas tracked down and photographed were VCS354, OVL488, 832SHW, HEV996B, KDL412, LDL720 and BOD35C plus VRs HWE826N and PRC851X, all in various conditions from concourse (the pair at the Heineken brewery) to derelict (the pair at the paintball park) as can be seen by clicking on the various histories. Many thanks to Shane for his hard work locating this impressive haul and for sharing the results with us all.
|13th April 2019
||Convertible FS6G 866NHT is a completely remarkable vehicle. Delivered to Bristol Omnibus
as L8576 in 1961 it had a full 20 year career with them which would be
more than enough to see most off to the scrapyard. 8576 however was
only just getting into its stride. Periods of operation followed with Stagecoach, Wilts & Dorset, Mac Tours (Edinburgh), Dreadnought Coaches and finally East Yorkshire until this February when it was sold into preservation for the very first time after an incredible 58 year career!
|7th April 2019
||Former Eastern National FLF6G JHK459C has been in use at Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
as a static restaurant called Zesty Freddy's since at least 2010, but
is now out of use and in poor condition. This was one of the Lodekkas
converted with a rear staircase for use at Boston Double Deckers in the mid 1980s and had been missing since 1990 until Bob sent me a link recently.
|6th April 2019
||Former Red & White LD6G L657 (SAX989) has been in use as a playbus in Germany
since at least 2003. It was spotted recently having moved south from
Gutersloh to Weingarten on the Swiss border, still mobile and still
entertaining the kiddies.
|4th April 2019
||Mike has just returned from a
three week trip to New Zealand. In contrast to his first visit in 2005
when there were Bristols to be seen right across the country he saw a
mere three vehicles this time! Former Christchurch RELL 573 (JJ7227) was in use at Tauranga as a hut or static home, while VRs GNJ569N and NHH406P remain in use with their caring owners in Auckland and Dunedin respectively.
|19th March 2019
||Mike's Used Bus & Coach dealership in Warrington currently has five VRs on the books, all for sale. They are CRU301L (Hants & Dorset's first VR which is in poor condition and would really need a serious preservationist to take it on if it is to be saved), JWV258W (derelict, having previously been used as a storeshed), AHW198V (also derelict having previously been used as a mobile home), CJH119V (open-top, converted to offside entrance and repainted for another customer who then cancelled) and FDL679V, recently re-acquired from non-PSV use. Finally, former Yorkshire Traction/Johnson of Hodthorpe TDT864S has found a new home as a static classroom at a school in Westminster.
|18th March 2019
||Two ex-Western National FLFs have been parked at Cameron's Restaurant & Inn, Half Moon Bay in San Francisco for nearly 20 years. EDV513D and BDV261C remain at Half Moon Bay, the latter being used as an "eyecatcher" for the nearby RV park.
|15th March 2019
||After 14 years hiding away under cover in Denmark, former Wilts & Dorset LD6G OHR123
is being prepared by its owners, Lunde Taxi & Turistfart, for
restoration work and a potential return to use as a tourist bus.
|1st March 2019
||A rare piece of news in 2019 is
the acquisition of a VR by an operator for a return to service! Before
readers in the UK get too excited the company involved is Headfirst
Travel in New Zealand who already run former Cumberland NHH406P on tourist services in Dunedin on South Island. Amazingly their latest purchase is another Cumberland VR, KRM433W. It is to be restored having been out of use with Party Bus for some time after which it will be used on Headfirst services in Napier on the east coast of North Island.
|23rd February 2019
||Former Clevelant Transit Northern Counties-bodied VR RDC108R is currently for sale on Facebook Marketplace. It has been in Denmark for several years and is pretty much gutted inside.
|19th February 2019
||Paul has been on his travels again and has tracked down a number of vehicles in the Caribbean. He confirmed that SKL682X and 266SFM are both still with their owners on the Netherland Antilles
and Aruba respectively, but had a harder time on Antigua. 817MHW proved
elusive and he hopes to track it down on a future trip, but he did find
205NAE and CDL480C with Rum Bus, Crab Hill, the former now in use as
accommodation while the latter has been converted for use as part of
the restaurant with a bar downstairs and seating upstairs.
|17th February 2019
||Former Maidstone & District FKM878V changed hands last June and is now owned by Simone FM in Emmen, Holland as a very luxurious exhibition unit. It's not the first VR to carry advertising for them, TEX401R having been prominent in their livery some years ago.
|14th February 2019
||Having been for sale for several months, EWS752W has now been bought by a private owner on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides for conversion to a mobile home.
|12th February 2019
||Piet Verbeek has added another Lodekka to his growing fleet. This time it is former Wilts & Dorset 683AAM which has had an extensive overhaul and has also lost its roof.
|7th February 2019
||Rare little Plaxton-bodied LHS coach RGF231P, new to Epsom Coaches, is currently for sale on eBay.
|5th February 2019
||London Bus Export
||After no fewer than 20 years in the Lydney yard of London Bus Export, former United Counties VR HBD914T has been resurrected and converted for use as an immobile classroom and has nmow been installed at Icknield Infant School in Letchworth.
|3rd February 2019
||Unfortunately former West Riding RUA456W has been destroyed by a fire on 3rd February at Shoreham Cement Works where it had been in use as a static caravan for several years.
|16th January 2019
||Rhys ap Tegwyn
||It is a rare occurence these days to add a new operator to the lists who have run VRs, REs, LHs or Lodekkas over the years, but Mid Wales Travel of Penrhyn-coch have joined the ranks recently with the acquisition and repaint into fleet livery of UWV622S. It is also of note that this sale leaves Express Motors of Bontnewydd without a Bristol for the first times since 1986.
|13th January 2019
||Frans has confirmed the identity of several Lodekkas with Movil Bus of Vigo, Spain including Western National 2054 (BUO202B)
which had not previously been reported as exported and had been
presumed scrapped, having last been noted with Church Army in London in
|24th December 2018
||The ADM in Amsterdam is probably
the highest profile "squat" anywhere in the World, having grown over
more than 20 years and occupying a large area of north Amsterdam. The
city council recently gave them six months to quit the site and that
period is up this week. Many vehicles have emerged from the depths of
the woods in which many people have been living, but a big surprise
was Northern Counties-bodied Bristol LH which was new to Lancashire United as their 332 (UTD295H). This had been last seen in 1990, converted to a caravan in Wiltshire and was last taxed in the UK in August 1991 so probably went overseas then. A photo of it is shown here and as can be seen it is in very poor condition and seems likely to be going immediately for scrap.
|16th December 2018
||Almost twenty years since the last VR was reported in use with British Double Deckers in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
a pair have turned up in a yard in the Lakewood area of the city. They
are the two survivors from the fleet that were still known to be
present in 1999 - fleetnumbers 302 (YNW290S) and 307 (HUP764T).
Sadly both are derelict and after being advertised on Facebook have now
been sold for scrap. At one point in the mid 1990s Denver was a central
hub for the importation of VRs to the US - you can read the background
|5th December 2018
||A rare addition to the list of survivors on this website is former Hants & Dorset LD6B SRU998 which has reappeared in Holland after
almost 30 years hiding away in storage! It was extracted in November
and sold almost immediately to enthusiastic owner and operator Piet Verbeek of Veen.
|21st November 2018
||Shane has been on his travels
again, tracking down Bristols in Belgium and Holland, and has kindly
provided detailed notes and photos from his trip.
First visit was to British Hours Events in Couvin where owner Johann Hallet showed Shane round his three VRs; former East Kent XJJ669V, United SGR797V and Hants & Dorset KRU838W.
Next up was Camping de la Semois at Florenville, near the Luxemburg border, where Western National FLF EDV517D is in use as a static caravan. It appears to have been repaired since its mishap in a ditch last year!
Bus 2 Be at Lobbes yielded possibly the only collection of a Lodekka, VR and RE anywhere outside of the UK! The Lodekka is Western National BOD24C, the VR is dual-door City of Oxford OUD484T which was in the paint shop receiving red livery, while the RE is former Citybus XOI2527 which is in an unusual livery applied for some film work.
Final stop in Belgium was Lokeren where Crosville 900VFM is kept in Frank Bellens's back yard. Frank bought the FLF from my correspondent Karl van Camp in 2006 and operated it for several years as a mobile bar. It has been off the road for about three years now, but Frank intends to renovate it at some point.
|18th November 2018
||Benny has recently acquired Bristol Omnibus FLF6G 7252 (FHW157D) which joins his other FLF (JPW459D) in Hoykenkamp, Germany.
|14th November 2018
||Steve Graham/Bob Pain/Martin Roberts
||There is currently plenty of
activity in the preservation world affecting United Counties vehicles.
Great news is the completion of the restoration in NBC green of VR XNV882S by Bob Pain which has received great attention to detail during the work. Steve Graham has rescued RE TBD278G from Express Motors
who had been slowly restoring it since withdrawal more than 25 years
ago. Work has accelerated and a Gardner 6HLXB engine from an Irish RE
has been fitted which should give it sparkling performance. Other
United Counties vehicles also being readied for work are UBD757H and RBD319G.
|10th November 2018
||Paul's latest discovery is former Bristol Omnibus/West Riding/Lincolnshire JAE630D which has been in Canada
since 1983 and changed hands most recently in May 2018 when it was
bought by Snyder Farms. Bright, Ontario who have repainted it and
converted it for use as a static restaurant on their premises.
|6th November 2018
||Karl van Camp
||A nice pair of Lodekkas with Axel de Sadeleer in Brussels, Belgium are former Western S.M.T. VCS354 and Eastern National HEV996B, both of which are in red "London" livery.
|5th November 2018
||Karl van Camp
||Former Eastern Counties ONG352F is currently for sale in Austria, while rare Leyland O600-engined KRU239F is for sale in Germany.
|4th November 2018
||Karl van Camp
||Another FLF alive and well overseas is former Bristol Omnibus 7258 (FHY128D) which is currently for sale in Sweden.
I know this Lodekka from my time in Stockholm in the mid 1990s when it
was highly active, but it has become harder to operate in recent years
as regulations in Scandinavia make it difficult to keep older vehicles
on the road. I would love to see this one repatriated, but tellingly
the asking price is not displayed on the advert!
|3rd November 2018
||Former Western SMT RAG401 is still alive in Castle Rock, Colorado
in Arun's ownership and is indeed being given a new lease of life
having been fitted this week with the redundant Gardner engine from a
scrap VR. A photo of the operation can be seen here.
||Karl van Camp
||Former Hants & Dorset 1564/1261 (KRU238F) is currently for sale in very poor condition in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A. The advert can be viewed here.
|9th October 2018
||AJH854T had last been seen in 2012 with Roselyn, but has now turned up with Dan at Winkleigh having been stored off site until earlier this year.
|9th September 2018
||Paul has been on his travels around Canada once again. He visited Sault St Marie where Bristol Omnibus DHW983C
had been used as a storage unit at a breaker's yard but the site has
now been cleared and Paul was told that the FLF was sold for scrap at
that time, six or seven years ago. 700 kilometres down the road at
Thunder Bay was 31' Scottish Omnibuses GSG210D,
converted for use as a restaurant at Northern Lights Golf Club. It has
been converted to partial open-top with tables on the top deck and a
kitchen and servery on the lower deck.
|7th September 2018
||Java Dawg Coffee in Sarasota, Florida confirm that they are still using open-top ex-East Kent VR TFN988T
as one of their mobile retail outlets. This must be the last
Willowbrook-bodied VR anywhere still in any kind of revenue-earning
|5th September 2018
||Former United Auto 739 (CPT739S) has been in Russia
since at least 2008 as a tour vehicle in St Petersburg. It was last
seen there, converted to open-top in 2014. However it has now appeared
in a yard in Yalta, Crimea (the disputed territory between Ukraine and
Russia) where it appears to have been fitted with a replacement engine
and possibly a new transmission with a huge bonnet extension at the
back. Photos can be seen here. It will be interesting to see whether this conversion ever sees a repaint and returns to the road.
|2nd September 2018
||Derek has just returned from Prince Edward Island off the coast of Canada where former West Yorkshire VR LUA717V is still hard at work with Prince Edward Tours, still carrying registration RLJ799H which of course originated on a Wilts & Dorset RE. Ex-Eastern National XHK232X (carrying SMS37H) was not seen however.
|10th August 2018
||Mark exported former Eastern Counties FLF473 (KPW473D) to his home town of Oberon, Australia back in 2012, the bus having spent the previous 26 years as a mobile caravan
with Church Army, being seen all over the UK during that time. Six years later and he has completed a marathon
restoration including a repaint and mechanical renovation - a great
effort on the other side of the Globe for which he should be heartily congratulated!
|10th August 2018
||Paul Bateson||Paul continues to keep track of British double deckers throughout the North American continent and recently visited two Lodekkas in Canada in the shape of Eastern Counties FLF449 (HPW449D) and Wilts & Dorset LD6B 612 (LMW915).
The FLF is located at Body by Biggs workshop in Coldwater, Ontario
where work has not progressed since Paul's last visit in May of last
year. The LD is also untouched, and therefore still in very poor
condition stored at Campbellford in Ontario. Photos of both can be seen on
the Spotter's Log page of this website.
|14th July 2018
||A very early Lodekka export was Crosville DLG879 (836AFM) which went to Melbourne, Australia in 1972.... and is still there today with Dee Decker Tours!
It was fitted with a Cummins engine during accident repairs a few years
ago and has an AEC front grille (having masqueraded as RM4 for a
while), but is otherwise reasonably original and is currently for sale on Gumtree.
|12th July 2018
||Karl van Camp
||Former Yorkshire Traction ultra-lowheight VR LWG847P is currently for sale in Holland.
|24th June 2018
||A rare visitor to Manchester this weekend at an outdoor event is former P.M.T./Ribble ultra low-height VR URF661S which these days is based in Holland
but is obviously still highly mobile! It is converted for use as a bar
and has no doubt been much appreciated in the current hot summer
|21st June 2018
||RELH6G with ECW Series 1 coach body RDV419H is currently for sale on eBay.
|21st June 2018
||An FLF very much on the move in the U.S.A. is former Crosville EFM634C
which has until recently been the "Lodekka" dress shop in Portland,
Oregon but has now made the long journey across to the East Coast and
is parked at the Wooden Bat Company in Cooperstown, New York. Its new
use is currently unknown but this looks like an exciting new chapter in
the life of this bus!
|19th June 2018
||Of all the places to run into a VR Dave chose to be in Yerevan, Armenia this week and came across former Eastern Counties VR245 (KVF245V)
plying its trade as an oversized ice cream van! It has been converted
with an offside entrance and also appears to have had a telescopic roof
section fitted. It was noted at Felixstowe Docks in January 2017 going
for export having sat at London Bus Export for many years, so it is
very lucky for us that Dave stumbled across it.
|17th June 2018
||Tom reports that Thornes of Bubwith still have their lovely little trio of preserved Bristols in the form of Plaxton coach LHS LBT380N, prototype Nimbus-bodied LHS MBO1F as well as SUL EWT836C with plans to restore one or more of them to use in the next year or so.
|15th June 2018
||Benny has successfully acquired former Eastern Counties JPW459D and has relocated it from France to Germany.
|28th May 2018
||Ian reports that his company Howard's Coaches acquired RELL6L SJA382K last November and are busy preparing it for Class 6 MOT and repaint into North Western livery. By my calculation this is actually the fifth application of this livery that it has received during its life!
|25th May 2018
||Former United Counties VR ONH928V is still alive and well in Italy - in fact I have just sold the owner a drive belt for the Gardner 6LXB engine in it!
|25th May 2018
||Cliver has added to his collection of Crosville vehicles with the acquisition of DVG509 (YMB509W) from Grierson of Fishburn where it has been sitting unused but mostly complete for many years. This leaves just LHG447T and BEP975V
on site with Grierson, although both have been derelict and open to the
elements for a couple of decades and are probably well past
|21st May 2018
||Ipswich Bus Enthusiasts
||A recent repaint into very attractive Suffolkbus livery is Alexander-bodied RELL6G XOI2526 which is owned by Andy Cooke.
|21st May 2018
||The second FLF from the same batch to turn up within a week is KRU225F which has been discovered to be in Zagreb, Croatia. It was photographed in 1996 in beautiful condition with "London-Zagreb" in the destination box. Sadly by 2015 it had been discarded and was photographed in derelict condition
without its Bristol BVW engine and it seems likely that this will be
the end of the road. Some mystery had surrounded this Lodekka because
the registration was carried by HRU677E for many years in Florida and it had been thought that both had crossed the Atlantic, but the swap must have taken place at Omnibus Promotions prior to them going their separate ways.
|20th May 2018
finally withdrew its last Alexander-bodied RELL6Gs in 2003/4 a large
number crossed the Irish Sea back to England where it was hoped there
might be a significant secondhand market for these reliable buses.
Sadly time had moved on and only a handful saw any further
revenue-earning service. Although they turned up all over the country
most were owned by dealer Wealden of Nettlestead and many were placed
in long-term storage. Tommy (who recently purchased AXI2541
after 13 years of inactivity) confirms that only four remain in
Wealden's ownership - AXI2545, AXI2548, AXI2552 and BXI2562, so if
anyone can shed light on the fate of UOI2374, UOI2386, AXI2532,
BXI2579, and BXI2584 please do get in touch.
|18th May 2018
||Former Alder Valley HJB460W is being used in Holland as a mobile clothing outlet with Vintage Factory.
|17th May 2018
***updated 18th May***
||There are currently three FLFs for sale on the German buy-and-sell website TruckScout24. Former Central SMT/Top Deck "Crusader" EGM276C has been on there for a while (link here); Eastern Counties ONG352F has been in use as an exhibition unit for Playstation in Austria for several years (here), while the identity of the third has not yet been established (here). ***update - the third FLF has appeared on eBay with further photos which identify it, and what a cracker it is - former Hants & Dorset KRU239F
which was one of the rare Leyland 600-engined FLF6Ls. It is not clear
whether or not this engine is still fitted. The item can be viewed here***
|15th May 2018
||Dominik Wojcik||Another Lodekka on the move is ex-Thames Valley FLF6G FJB738C which David-Jan Baan has sold to operator MPK Czestochowa in the town of that name in Poland where it is already in use as a tour bus. Footage of the bus in use can be viewed here.
|13th May 2018
||More welcome news from Holland is the re-appearance of former Brighton, Hove & District/Top Deck Travel FLF6G KPM83E which was registered OPC48E latterly with Top Deck. It is currently static at Nieuw Rengelink Camping in Aalten.
|12th May 2018
||Due to restrictions introduced in Holland in recent years most Lodekka sales these days are out of the country, but a 2017 import from Germany is former United Auto SHN252F
which has been acquired by Zijpe Stijl for use as a mobile seafood
restaurant in the Amsterdam area. No doubt its Carl Ireland roof
modification to reduce overall height to 4 metres was a major factor in
|8th May 2018
||I have been aware of an ex-Thames Valley FLF with Anton Graf Reisen in the town of Herne, Germany
for several years (since at least 2008) but Frans has now finally
provided a chassis number for it (231022) which positively identifies
it as GRX129D.
|2nd May 2018
||A glut of Bristols have appeared on the market today! Former Lincolnshire/Johnsons VR LVL807V is currently for sale on eBay, having been part converted for use as a restaurant in Scotland. RESL6G LED72P, ex-Warrington is in poor condition but available here, while a gem is Mark I ECW coach-bodied RDV433H which was new to Western National and is in the middle of what looks to be a very thorough restoration here.
|27th April 2018
||Shane Ross/Frans Angevaare||Further VRs and Lodekkas tracked down by Shane and Frans this month are WJM820T, buried in junk (and not licensed since 2010) at Pine & Classics at Oirschot; MEL562P still carrying its massive wooden clog on the roof at Monnickendam promoting Mart Leek's Cheese & Clogs business; OVX297D and JMR818F (over which there remains a mystery as to which is which as they appear to have swapped builder's plates at some point) and GRF696V
which is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment at
Hoogezand-Sappemeer near Groningen in preparation for use as a catering
vehicle. Shane's photo reveals that GRF has received a Gardner 6LXB
engine at some point replacing its original Leyland 501 unit. If anyone
knows when this happened I would be pleased to hear from you. Last - and most definitely not least - Frits van Eerd's JFM234D was viewed at Jeghel in the Jumbo supermarket complex. This former Crosville
FS6G was comprehensively refurbished in 2014 and looks utterly
immaculate. All the chromework has been renewed and it is fitted with a
piano which doubles as a bar. Frits is the member of a band which
obviously uses the bus on occasions as the seats have been specially
recovered with instrument motifs. Truly a magnificent example of a
|25th April 2018
||Shane Ross/Frans Angevaare
||On the advice of Frans (who seems
to know the whereabouts of every British bus in Holland!) Shane visited
Paintball Twente in Hengelo last week in order to visit VR UWV620S
(which was indeed present, in use as an open-top hospitality vehicle). However, a big surprise was the presence of
an engineless LD in use as a fast food outlet with a big hole cut in
the offside where customers could sit and eat. Fortunately the bus
retained its fleetnumber (2360) and builder's chassis/body plate
(150013/10297) which positively identifies it as ex-Lincolnshire SFU314 - unreported for nearly 40 years when Frans himself photographed it with Kleyn Trucks in 1980!!
|25th April 2018
||Alan came across former United Welsh LD6B LWN49 in Einbeck, Germany
this week. It is owned by PS Speicher who have a technical museum in
the town and acquired the Lodekka around four years ago. Sadly it is
restricted to the private roads of the museum due to being 3cm too tall
for the surrounding public roads, but at least it is still mobile and
in good hands!
|20th April 2018
||Martin came across former Christchurch RE 540 (JI9340)
last week, now converted for use as a mobile home and on its way from
Waihi (in the far north of New Zealand) to Hampden in the far south!
Believed to still be powered by its Leyland 501 engine this is quite a
survivor! Less fortunate is former 605 (JP5907, now registered RC6832)
which is for sale on TradeMe less engine and gearbox in the
|19th April 2018
||A recent visit to London Bus
Export at Lydney (who generally do not welcome enthusiasts, so please
do not just turn up expecting to look around - they have a large
alsatian!) revealed that they still have a good stock of Bristol double
deckers. Three Lodekkas were present - a new arrival is EHT854C which is a caravan conversion, OPN807 which arrived from preservation last year and 467BMR which has been owned since 1995 and is used as an exhibition unit.
As the company name implies these are all likely to end up with
overseas buyers reducing the U.K. Lodekka total yet further. Six VRs
were also in the yard, all long term residents in the form of HBD914T, EWS740W, DRB307H, NUD101L, HJB452W and HJB453W. Some photos from Ken's visit are on the Spotters' Log page here.
|9th April 2018
||Shane Ross/Frans Angevaare
||Shane and Ross recently visited De Raekt Investements in Budel, Holland who own three Lodekkas. SRU981 was new to Hants & Dorset and was used in the UK as a non-PSV for many years before being exported in 2013. 558BNG is a rare Eastern Counties FL6G which has been in Holland since the mid 1990s, while DEL893C was sold by Crosville (the Weston-super-Mare version) in 2014 and its location was unknown.... until now!
|28th March 2018
||The first news for a while is that ex-East Midland KWA215W has changed owner in New Zealand.
Having gone from Auckland at the north of North Island to Invercargill
at the south of South Island it has now passed to Sam Carroll....back
in Auckland! It is currently undergoing some repairs to prepare it for
the long slog back up the length of the country!
|21st February 2018
||Mark drove open-top YMB519W
from its long term storage location in Lydney to Dover docks on
February 12th and then onwards to its new owner, Ewald Restle in
Pfullendorf, Germany where the VR is to be used to promote a music festival. It had been acquired directly from service with Arriva Cymru
in 2005 and had spent 13 years virtually unused before receiving a new
MOT and driving - without fault - the 741 miles to its new home at a
steady 43mph over three days!
|8th February 2018
||Les has followed his favourite FLF, former Crosville DFG260 SFM260F,
for many years since it left the UK, through France and on into Spain
where it has been converted into a very highly specified exhibition
unit. Owned for the last few years by Carlos Hernandez it was sold last
year to a "bus enterprise" in Ourense. This could be UNVI, the
manufacturer based in that town or it coud be Movil Bus who are based
in Vigo about 10 miles away. We will make some enquiries to see if we can confirm the current owner.
|7th February 2018
||LHS/Plaxton coach RGF231P, new to Epsom Coaches,
has been in the hands of the Burke family for many years and has
obviously received a lot of love and attention in that time. However
sadly two members of the family have now passed away and the remaining
brother is now selling the coach. Restored and running LH coaches are relatively rare and you can buy it yourself here.
|2nd February 2018
||Roy Wilson, Alun Rogers, Richard Dixon, Glyn Jones
||Every now and again a VR stars in a TV show and last night was the latest example. George Clarke's Amazing Spaces featured ex-Southern Vectis ODL662R which Ellie Banner-Ball acquired after Johnson of Hodthorpe had finished with it and has converted it into a mobile home
as is the current fashion. The addition of double-glazed windows means
that the original bodywork is now considerably hacked about, but it
means the bus will survive and hopefully the new owner will get many
years of enjoyment from it. Thanks to several correspondents who got in
touch to let me know about this - you can watch the programme in full here.
|23rd January 2018
||Former Western S.M.T. B1561 (OCS65) is currently for sale in Austria here. The squeamish should not look at the asking price!
|18th January 2018
||Chris came across former Mansfield District BNN292C in Cologne, where it has been in use by the city's Carnival Committee since 1997 when it was exported.
|12th January 2018
||Sad news, given that it is the sole remaining LDS6G left in the UK, is that Brighton & Hove 7 (OPN807) has passed to London Bus Export, Lydney (dealer). Photos of it on tow show
that the registration plates have already been removed which suggests
that the mark is to be sold separately and that an overseas buyer is
already lined up.
|10th January 2018
||A remarkable and very welcome working today is KRU224F (owned by Trevor Shore of Dekkabus)
on rail replacement work for South Western Railway at Bournemouth. It
is the first time that this vehicle has performed such work since 1980.
|9th January 2018
||I have managed to source some
merchandise to complement this website which are great fun and
reasonable prices. Please take a look at what's available here.
|3rd January 2018
||LD6G ODL10 has recently begun a new life on the island of Gran Canaria in the Atlantic having been sold at auction in Holland. It is of course well used to island life having been new to Southern Vectis, although it may find the climate somewhat different in the Canaries!
|2nd January 2018
||Bernard kindly supplies news that former Western National LD 501BTA, resurrected back in 2011 and exported to Japan,
has moved on within that country and is now at Shiroi Koibito Park,
Hokkaido where it is a static exhibition at this theme park.
|2nd January 2018
||Julian's latest discovery is Hants & Dorset FLF6L KRU236F which has migrated in recent years from Germany to Russia.
This may well now be a unique vehicle being a semi-automatic Leyand
O600-engined FLF. There is plenty of photographic coverage of its move
in June 2013 here.
|1st January 2018
||Julian clearly has too much time on his hands over New Year! He has found another Eastern Counties Lodekka, this time it is FLF467 (KAH467D) which has been in Germany
since 1986 and looks like it may have been with the same leukemia
charity - Stefan Morsch Stifnung in Birkenfeld - for all that time.
| 31st December 2017
||Julian stumbled across this image of former Eastern Counties FLF450 (HPW450D) today, taken in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The date of the photo is frustratingly vague, but is certainly
significantly more recent than the last reported date of 1993. So who
is going to be the first to take up the challenge of scouring the city
on Google Street View to find it and date it?
|30th December 2017
||Tim Weatherup/Frans Angevaare
||Crosville FS6G JFM234D received a comprehensive refurbishment in 2014 at the hands of Bart Prins (Opijnen, Holland) and is now owned by band Factor 12 who use it as a tour bus. It appears that prior to acquiring the Lodekka the band hired VR PHY702S from Drenthe Tours, Assen (who now own NUM341V). PHY was passed on in 2014 to Vos, Ter Apel who also own TEX401R
which is used to promote radio station Simone FM. The amount of churn
of owners for both VRs and Lodekkas in Holland shows no sign of
|26th December 2017
||Niek has recently started up English DoubleDeckerDiner, a mobile restaurant in Delden, Holland using converted ex-Western S.M.T. FLF6G AAG119B.
|26th December 2017
||Johann Hallet has two VRs in Couvin, Belgium for private hires under the name British Hours Event. XJJ669V is painted in a facsimile of East Kent livery, while SGR797V is partial open-top in pseudo-London Transport red.
|15th December 2017
||Carl has started a new vintage bus hire company in the Bournemouth area called Romeround.
From his Facebook page I can see that his first bus was a Routemaster
(no complaints from this quarter about that!) but in September he also
acquired ex-Southdown convertible open-top VR UWV623S from Mortons Travel of Basingstoke. We wish Carl well with his venture.
|11th December 2017
||Shane had an amazingly productive trip to Holland in May this year. In addition to 683AAM mentioned below he also came across YHT932 (of which more soon as I have some amazing news about this one), PVO812R, WDM348R, AAG119B, WVX527F, 68DNG, JFM220D, EHW191C, WVX525D, FJB738C, JHK455C, FAO425V, UWV612S, YMB518W, BNG886B, JAH551D, 691AAM, 692AAM, 694AAM, 504BRM, LDL720, LEL652F, EMR293D, RHN948F, BOD36C, 428PTA, CPT732S, STW22W, WHY947 and OVX297D. The last one has something of a mystery attached to it as it appears to be carrying the chassis number of JMR818F
including at least part of the actual chassis (enquiries are ongoing
about this). I am sure that you will agree this is a quite incredible
haul for 2017 and goes some way to explaining why I'm so busy keeping
this website up-to-date!
|8th December 2017
||Hot on the heels of the rediscovered VR below, a former Crosville FS previously believed scrapped has turned up alive and running well in Germany! DFG155 (4225FM)
is with Eiscafe Paulini in Ganderkesee, near Bremen and is undergoing
conversion to a mobile restaurant. It withdrawn by Crosville as long
ago as 1980 and had several owners as a driver trainer
until it arrived with well-known dealer Ted Brakell in Cheam in 1992.
There was always a good chance it had been sold on, but no proof had
turned up until Benny got in touch with a photo of the chassis plate.
If you are on Facebook there is a brief video showing it running here.
|30th November 2017
||Rather amazing news is that of former Brighton & Hove/Southdown Series 1 VR OCD769G which is currently in Italy
undergoing substantial renovation work for use as a mobile restaurant.
The surprise is that this one was believed scrapped more than 30 years
ago after disposal to Ensign. The clue was there however, because the
DVLA website does have it marked as exported! If anyone has more
information about what the bus has been up to in the intervening 30
years I would love to hear from you!
|19th November 2017
||Mark confirms that the last two survivors of the once-large Embling fleet of VRs remain in his hands. Open-top BKE861T still sees use on weddings and private hires, while AUD460R is now retired and is considered to be preserved.
|14th November 2017
||Two FLFs that have remained in
the U.K. since withdrawal from service in the early 1980s but which
have kept a very low profile are new-to-Eastern National RVW393D and RWC943D which both passed to Alexander (Midland) in exhange for early VRs in 1971. Both were subsequently used as driver trainers by Northern Scottish before being sold together to a Mr Bradley who has kept them in private ownership
ever since. They were converted for use as summer houses by the family
and were used as such for many years, but are now resident at the Last
Bus Works Canteen which is a vegan cafe at New Pitsligo near
Fraserburgh to the north of Aberdeen. They can be visited when the cafe
is open, but before you all book your flights to Aberdeen Airport do
note that the cafe is now closed for the winter and has restricted
opening hours, summer Saturdays and Sundays only this year. I will
endeavour to establish the opening plans for 2018 and will post them
here if successful. Meantime there is an excellent album here
showing both buses in detail. Of great note is that RVW has been fitted
with a brand new Gardner 6LXB engine, so will presumably be out and
about as a "pop up cafe" next year! RWC on the other hand has been
unlicensed since 1986 and will presumably remain a static exhibit.
|12th November 2017
||Previously unknown to me convertible VR UWV613S has been busy in Spain
for quite a few years as The Catalan Bus, painted in a striking version
of the Catalan flag. Catalonia is now very much in the news due to the
push for independence, although I haven't yet seen the VR take centre
stage on any news reports! It is still very much used both as a
closed-top and open topper as can be seen from this photo of the roof being removed.
|9th November 2017
||Ray came across former Trent WRC831S recently in its new location at The Hoosick Tavern at Hoosick, right on the border of the states
of New York and New Hampshire. It was towed there so is only used as an
immobile "eye catcher" but it looks good and certainly does what it
says on the tin!
|9th November 2017
||Simon reports the acquisition of a fine pair of VRs for private preservation. He is based in Leeds so West Yorkshire 1746 (PUM149W) is local to him, whilst VDV142S comes from further afield being one of the convertible VRs new to Western National which has latterly been in the private hire fleet of Chepstow Classic Buses.
|4th November 2017
||Former Western S.M.T. FLF6G TCS179 is currently for sale in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. at $37,000.
|4th November 2017
||Previously unknown to me is that former Southern Vectis FLF6G GDL815E has been busy running in service for Lady Dive Tours in Ottawa, Canada
this summer. Fortunately Paul photographed it hard at work in July. It
has had some upper deck side windows removed for ventilation and is
covered in a flowery livery for a local garden attraction.
|21st October 2017
||Another Lodekka tracked down in Holland by Shane is Wilts & Dorset 645 (683AAM)
which passed to Frank ter Laak t/a Wheels 4 Travel in Oldenzaal a
couple of years ago. It has been converted to partial open-top with the
central section of roof removed. However it currently sits in the
corner of a storage unit, surrounded by and filled with junk, so it
seems unlikely to have seen much use here if at all.
|20th October 2017
||Chris debuted his newly restored Southern Vectis VR NDL652R
at the Isle of Wight Beer and Buses event last weekend. By all accounts
it was a coomplete triumph. Ben and Charissa Bartram are to be
congratulated along with the rest of the team for their organisational
excellence and if you missed it - or would like to relive the
highlights - there is an excellent video here featuring almost wall-to-wall VR action!
|17th October 2017
||Peter reports that former Bristol Omnibus/Badgerline RE 1335 (OAE957M)
has finally been sold for scrap to a Barnsley dealer after many years
at Winkleigh used as a source of spares. Also now in use for spares
there is VR tree lopper JWV251W which has now given up its engine and looks very likely not to run again.
|10th October 2017
||Ian has sent links to two of Trouwvervoer's Bristol double deckers that are currently for sale in Holland. FLF6G FJB738C is a runner (auction here) while former Cheltenham VR NHU671R has a defective gearbox but is otherwise intact (auction here).
|7th October 2017
||Rare dual-door ex-City of Oxford
VR HUD479S is currently for sale on eBay in Rochester, Kent.
|4th October 2017
||Although many Bristols still
exist around the World, reports are now at a level where it is feasible
to list every sighting sent for inclusion on the website. I have
therefore started a new feature called "Spotters'
where I will record and date all sightings and publish any relevant
photos. There will not be time to go through large batches of photos of
preserved vehicles at rallies, although a list of attendees will always
be very much appreciated. This page will continue to record worthy news
items as it has done for over a decade!
|24th September 2017
||A disastrous overnight fire has
taken place at Shoreham Cement Works where many buses and coaches are
stored. It appears that 19 have been destroyed, but from a
Bristol perspective very good news from Rob Lane is that one of only
two remaining Leyland 680-engined VRs - Simon Holman's JWV275W
- was bravely driven out from the flames by Rob himself. He could feel
the heat inside the cab as the air built up - painfully slowly - but
the bus is safe. Our condolensces to other owners who were not so
|21st September 2017
||Further to the entry below for
April 17th, on a trip to Barcelona David
has discovered that LEU262P
is now owned by Skate Agora and is generally just used for storage.
Once a year it is moved to the adjacent car park for their main
skateboarding event, although it isn't clear whether or not this is
under its own power. The VR has recently received a repaint for its new
|19th September 2017
||Tim has spotted that former Hants & Dorset VR BFX568T
has travelled south from its last reported location of the City of
London, Ontario, Canada to Atlanta in the U.S.A. where it has been operating tours by Atlanta Royal Tours
since 2012. However, the last entry on their Facebook page is in 2014
so there is some doubt that the VR is still in active use here.
|17th September 2017
||Dave has saved another VR from
scrap, this time picking up RAH260W from
Ensign who had acquired it earlier this month from Neil Jordan (who
plans to concentrate on his other VR RAH268W).
It enters Seaford & District stock,
although time will tell as to whether or not it sees any further use.
For the record, NCD563M was scrapped last
year having sat derelict for many years, and PWY37W
is also fit only for scrap after many years of spares use while sitting
out in a farmer's field in deepest Sussex.
|17th September 2017
||Lodekka LD6G ODL13
is alive and well in Holland
having been photographed by Frans with its new owner after 37 years
with Delta III/Bristol Business Promotions! It has been repainted
allover red since its last report in 2010 and looks to be in good
|14th September 2017
||Matthew did something fairly
unusual a couple of weeks ago - he acquired VR KRM432W
from Chepstow Classic and then drove it
overland to Italy
where he lives! It says a lot for the bus that it made the trip
successfully and I look forward to hearing more about Matthew's plans
for it in due course.
|10th September 2017
||The latest VR tracked down in Holland by Frans is National
Welsh GTX748W which is still hard at
work and has been owned since 2012 by Frank Massop at Winterswijk.
|7th September 2017
||Alan came across former Alder Valley VR 621 (KKK887V)
in Malaga, Spain in August where it was
promoting a video gaming conference called Gamepolis.
|27th August 2017
||Chris reports former Crosville FLF AFM113B
alive and well and parked next to the highway in Holland. It retains its unusual snout which houses a DAF
|21st August 2017
||Steve noted Plaxton-bodied coach
LHS RLN230W in use as a mobile home at a music festival near Honiton
this weekend. This was new to British Airways as
airside transport, although it did spend a decade in normal
revenue-earning service with Taw & Torridge.
|15th August 2017
||David-Jan has kindly sent further
details of his Trouwvervoer
operation in Giessenburg, Holland which now boasts no fewer than 11
Bristols - 7 Lodekkas and 4 VRs. Previously unidentified VRs are FAO425V, LWG847P
all of which have been missing for varying lengths of time. LWG is
about to leave for pastures new with Ernst-Jan van Hoeve in Bilthoven
to promote his business topverkopers.eu
|11th August 2017
||Convertible open-top FS6G 866NHT
has been enjoying its private hire role with East Yorkshire since 2014,
but has recently gone one step further and received the company's
flagship registration, receiving the mark 80EYC.
|4th August 2017
||Ted Pottage/Julian Patterson
||Ted came across former Eastern Counties FLF6G JPW459D
yesterday in the French
town of Villefranche-de-Lauragais, relatively near Toulouse. It was
reported in use with Beziers-based operator Les Bus des Allées
last year and carried their fleetname on the front, but this has now
been painted out and it appears to have reverted to Dreams Limousines
who probably had it out on hire. By co-incidence Julian has also
checked up on sister FLF JPW456D recently
which remains in use as a catering vehicle with Patrick Gobert in
|3rd August 2017
||Great news is the appearance on
the rally scene for the first time of the very last VR delivered to the
National Bus Company, Eastern Counties VEX294X.
It attended the East Anglia Transport Museum event on July 9th to mark
30 years since the closure of the ECW factory in Lowestoft. Great
credit goes to Viv for the restoration of VR294 - it was in a truly
sorry state when he acquired it back in 2003, having been previously
used for spares by First and then left open to the elements for a
couple of years with many missing windows in Ben Jordan's yard at
|30th July 2017
||Will has just returned from a
trip to the Costa del Sol where he reports two VRs were active
promoting the Tivoli World attraction, Bristol
Omnibus AHW199V in red and Southdown UWV619S in
blue. There are many VRs in Spain but only
the current whereabouts of a few are known, so if you do ever come
across one please be sure to let me know.
|30th July 2017
||Simon has stored convertible
open-top UWV615S nice and dry for the last
four years, but it has now become the latest addition to the Seaford & District fleet where it is hoped
to be operational for the 2018 season.
|26th July 2017
||Very welcome news is the return
of KTL25V to its native Lincolnshire for a
life in preservation with a member of the
Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society. In recent years it has been used
by Chepstow Classic Buses on duties ferrying
berry pickers around Kent. This use has done nothing for its appearance
and it still carries battered Ebley of Stroud
livery, although mechanically it is sound and drove up to Lincolnshire
with no problems. Chepstow Classic are always open to enquiries from
genuine preservationists for their remaining VRs.
|26th July 2017
S.M.T. FLF6G TCS176
is currently for
sale on eBay.
It has been converted to a very high
spec mobile restaurant based in Paso Robles,
|25th July 2017
||Mitsuru has been in touch asking
for help with former Crosville open-top LD6G
OWJ637A (928CFM) which was used for many
years by London Bus Export in Lydney before being exported to Japan
in 2015. It has a poorly alternator which we are hoping to help him get
fixed. It is currently owned and operated by Shalleton Motor Services
who have a good English website here.
|23rd July 2017
was photographed this week in Munich in the latest in a long line of
schemes. This FS was hard to identify as it has lost some of its key
features (such as the beading for its upper Tilling cream band) when
being rebuilt with a large extension unit in the nearside for use in
exhibitions, but remaining residual features and a process of
elimination led to a positive identification. As can be seen from its
history it has seen a lot of varied use in recent years with
All-4-Event who also have former Bristol Omnibus
818SHW in their fleet.
|17th July 2017
District/Bristol Omnibus FLF6G 7276 (HHW459D) is currently for sale in France here.
|16th July 2017
Vectis LD6G 550 (ODL10) is currently for
sale in Holland here.
|14th July 2017
||David Williams/Mike Taylor
||Quite a surprise is the
outshopping by the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group of open-top WTG360T
in Cardiff Corporation Tramways livery and its use in revenue-earning
service on service 6 to Cardiff Bay! This is a re-application of the
livery which it first carried in the mid-1980s. The bus has been fitted
with cash vault
and contactless ticket machine, probably the only VR ever to be so
|13th July 2017
||Another former Johnson of Hodthorpe VR to pass through Mike's
hands is ODL661R which was driven to
Southampton Docks yesterday for onward shipping to South Korea where Mike is to rendezvous with it
and deliver to its new owners!
|13th July 2017
||Bob Pain/David Gibbs
||Preservation news sees flat-front
RELL6G NBD311F join a host of VRs in Bob's
collection based near Milton Keynes. All are ex-United Counties
vehicles and the VRs are OVV849R, XNV882S are HBD919T.
He also has UWV604S and JMB401T for spares, the latter having been the
last Leyland 501-engined example in active use with Chepstow
Classic Bus. Bob intends to use the 501 unit to re-engine OVV849R
back to original condition.
David has been in touch to say that he has recently acquired very rare Leyland 680-engined EWS753W from Mike Ellis. It has returned to the Bristol area and still retains its originally-applied Badgerline livery.
|30th June 2017
||Stefan, a former Top Deck employee, came across an LD in Germany
this week, acting as the star attraction at a supermarket opening. He
immediately recognised it as a Lodekka of course and through various
identifying features has been determined to be former Southern National/Western
National 1908 (UOD491), last reported in
Munich back in 2002.
|21st June 2017
semi-auto FLF SFM260F is still alive and
well in north western Spain - lots of
photographic coverage as its conversion as a hospitality unit here.
|21st June 2017
||It's the time of year for that
great festival of bus operation that is Glastonbury and while there are
more Olympians in use than in previous years the first day of activity
yielded no fewer than eight operational VRs plus AYG941H in its usual
role as driver mess/accommodation. Six of the Chepstow
Classic fleet were in use, ie, VDV142S,
and CJJ677W while Abus XHK221X and preserved VDV122S
were the other two. Hopefully a few others might show up as things get
into full swing at the end of the week.
|19th June 2017
||Another great Lodekka survivor to
surface is former Bristol Omnibus LD6G L8482
(838CHU) which was last reported in Anchorage, Alaska
in 2004 in a very sorry state. Since then it has moved just a few miles
up the road to Wasilla where it has received a repaint (in red of
course) and now sports a neat cover on its radiator and cowl, no doubt
to protect it from the extremes of the Alaskan winter.
|16th June 2017
||Johan Alen/Mark Bowman
||Long-lost Lodekkas continue to
surface. The latest pair are former Eastern
Counties LFS17 (1117PW) which has been
with the same family (Johan's father) in Belgium
since it went there in 1978. To my knowledge this is the first report
of it since then.
Mark has sent news of a derelict FLF in Roanoke, Virginia which is currently being filmed in an episode of "Salvage Dawgs", a US scrapyard challenge-type TV program. Photos of the bus indicate that it is an ex-Eastern National coach example and the CBC radiators fitted indicate that it must be KNO949C which was last noted in Ohio in 2002. It will be interesting to see what happens to the bus during the course of the episode!
|16th June 2017
Yorkshire 1969 (RWT544R) is the latest
ex-Johnson, Hodthorpe VR to pass through
Mike's hands, this time setting off for a new life in Bordeaux, France earlier this week.
|13th June 2017
||The latest VR to be sold to a
primary school for use as a library is Southern Vectis YDL676T
which is at Bassetts Farm Primary in Exemouth, Devon. However it is
likely to be the last such conversion for a while as it was the last VR
in stock at InCube who stopped doing such conversions when they
realised that some cherished previously-preserved vehicles had passed
through their hands.
|12th June 2017
||Bristol LH NFJ592M
for sale on eBay.
|12th June 2017
||Bristol VR MDM285P
was in Cheltenham over the past weekend debuting in its new role on the
Mozzie Buzz Tour, operating as an anti-malaria exhibition
|8th June 2017
||A friend of Marty's has spotted
former United Counties 933 (SNV933W) now in use as an immobile library
at Swallowfield Lower School in Woburn Sands. It has been there since
early 2014 and has received a new coat of green paint (although I am
yet to find a clear photo of it since).
|7th June 2017
||Gerry was contacted by a chap in
California about a surviving Bristol K for his website
(the bus is Thames Valley GJB275) which is currently standing alongside
an FLF which has no obvious distinguishing marks. However a few
features on the bus have helped me to positively identify it - the main
clue is that it has covers fitted to its CBC radiator vents which were
fabricated by West Riding. It is also
missing its upper cream band which means it is a 1966 or later model
and that narrows it down to one of the Bristol
FLFs that were sent north to replace the troubled Guy Wulfrunians in
1970. Further photographic comparisons show conclusively that this is
former Top Deck U.S.A. "Rafferty" HHY184D
which had been presumed scrapped after Top Deck finished with it in the
mid 1980s when they closed their American operations. Both vehicles are
in imminent danger of being sold for scrap as they are part of a
collection of 122 old buses (most if not all of the others are US
models) which have been made homeless by the local authorities who have
requisitioned the land for redevelopment. The collection is owned by
Egon Kafka who is a distant relative of Franz Kafka, the fantasy
novelist known for his surreal and menacing settings - indeed this bus
"museum" would have not have been misplaced in one of his stories! You
can read more here.
|6th June 2017
||Another vehicle traced by Paul is
former Eastern Counties HPW449D which has seen many owners during its
time in Canada
since 1984 when it was converted for use as a fish and chip outlet.
Work has recently been undertaken by Body by Biggs in Coldwater,
Ontario to reverse some of the conversion. However payment has not been
forthcoming and the FLF is now languishing on their premises with its
|5th June 2017
||Paul has single-handedly kept
tabs on former East Kent VR SKL682X during its time on the Caribbean
island of Curacao.
Originally brought to the island in 2001 by Norbert Dooper for use on a
sightseeing route, permission was repeatedly denied for its use on the
island's tiny roads, indeed Norbert was threatened with huge fines if
it were ever to be used, so it sat and deteriorated for many years. It
was eventually sold and in December 2014 opened as the Double Decker
static restaurant at Santa Rosa in Willemstad. Its owner Maydolly Sano
was very friendly when Paul visited in February and was delighted to
learn more of its history when he presented her with a copy of the
British Buses Abroad magazine!
|5th June 2017
Vectis open-top conversion FDL682V is
sale on Gumtree having been partially converted for use as a mobile home. Sister bus (still in the same
livery) was noted in Southampton yesterday, but is safely in preservation.
|1st June 2017
||In 2012 I set out on a task to
list on this website every VR, RE,
Lodekka and LH
with every single operator who ever ran one. Now finally, with the
completion of the list of West Yorkshire VRs,
I have finished this task! This will allow me to move on the next phase
of the project which is to locate and publish photos of as many of
these vehicles with as many owners in as many liveries as possible.
Please contact me if you can help in any way. I am already holding some
20,000 further views from various contributors. Rest assured that I
will always ask permission before using a view and I am very grateful
to the many people out there who have already given me permission to
use photos from their Flickr collections to fill any gaps. I keep a
detailed record to ensure there are no mistakes made with copyright, an
issue which I take seriously.
|22nd May 2017
& Dorset/Damory Coaches URU691S has been in use as a film location vehicle in Cornwall for the last
eight years. It has been well maintained and is nicely fitted out with
tables internally as can
be seen on eBay
where it is currently being
advertised for sale.
|20th May 2017
||Further to the report of June 3rd
last year, former Bristol Omnibus 7224 (EHT113C) has now been converted for use as an
ice cream outlet and has assumed its new position on the banks of the
River Elbe in Meissen, Germany.
|19th May 2017
||Welcome news from Malta is that Plaxton-bodied LH coach RDE298S which had been saved from scrapping by
Heritage Malta has been repatriated to the U.K. for preservation, destination currently unknown.
|19th May 2017
||Frans came across three Lodekkas
in a visit to Mart Leek's yard at De Rijp in Holland this week. Present
were Wilts & Dorset FS6B 692AAM, Mansfield District
FLF6G SRB64F and Western
National FLF6G BOD36C.
|16th May 2017
Vectis/Johnson of Hodthorpe UDL668S has been
converted for use as a mobile home in
Wallasey, Cheshire but is currently for
sale on eBay
at what you might
call an optimistic price.
|16th May 2017
Party Bus in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, U.S.A.
own two VRs, FDV779V
(acquired in 2005) and RWT546R (2006). FDV
is known as The Majestic
while RWT was The Skyscraper but was withdrawn, presumably with
mechanical failure, in 2013 and has since been used as an occasional
source of spares to keep The Majestic (what an appropriate name for a
VR!) on the road.
|14th May 2017
||Last noted seven years ago in
Poole, former Bristol Omnibus VR EWS752W has turned up intact, stored on a farm
in Staffordshire, still in its livery as "The Resound Bus" mobile
|11th May 2017
||Rare East Lancs-bodied ex-Lincoln
VRTLL (long wheelbase) NFW37V is currently
It has been used as
a caravan in the Outer Hebrides for several years and is showing signs
of the tough weather conditions it has been enduring, but looks cheap
and may be useful for spares or restoration.
|8th May 2017
Counties DEX229T is currently for
sale on eBay.
It has been based
in California for the past 14 years as a
film/TV hire vehicle and looks
to be in very smart condition. It carries the identity of SWW301R but
the Reversing lamp to the left of the rear registration plate gives the
game away about its Eastern Counties origin.
|8th May 2017
||Adrian Healey/David Hills
||One FLF that has been down on its
luck recently is Midland General 1388R which is now in Langley,
British Columbia, Canada surrounded by junk with Napier's
Antiques. Furthermore it appeared in an episode of the SciFi series
Aftermath in 2016 which showed that it has had its upper deck floor
removed making it a very tall single decker!
|4th May 2017
Transport LH OJD55R was acquired by Jersey Bus Tours in 2015 for spares for their
open-top sister bus OJD91R. It was broken up
completely last year, but its front cowl lives on in their booking
office as seen here.
|4th May 2017
||John has been in Germany recently and came across RUA452W in use as a school library in Landau.
There are a number of good photos of the conversion on their website here.
|4th May 2017
National 2098 (BOD40C) already has a long
history of use in the U.S.A.
since it was exported there in 1978. It is now owned by the Coach House
Concert Hall in San Juan Capistrano, California who are undertaking a
thorough renovation including to the Cummins engine which was fitted
around the year 2000. A previous attempt at fitting a US engine
resulted in the bus having 13 reverse speeds and just one forwards, the
conversion not having taken into account that North American engines
rotate in the opposite direction to the original Gardner 6LX! The
current restoration work can be followed on Instagram here.
|30th April 2017
||Mark came across former Bristol Omnibus/Badgerline
5534 (EWS742W) in Peterborough yesterday
where it was working for Mutation Motorsport as a promotional
to help open motor sport participation to a wider audience. This VR has
been perhaps the most active example anywhere since it finished in
service in 2000 having been converted for use as a caravan and used on European and Asian tours
before its latest incarnation as a non-PSV.
|21st April 2017
||Neil is currently on a
continental tour in fabulous RELH6G mark I ECW coach AFM105B. When passing through the town of
in Germany a number of the party spotted the unmistakable profile of a
Lodekka roof behind some buildings. Naturally the tour came to a
temporary halt while the vehicle was checked out, but nobody expected
to find a bus that was previously believed scrapped and which went
missing some 35 years ago! In 1961 a quartet of FS6Gs were delivered to
Bristol Omnibus with convertible
open-top bodywork for use on Weston-super-Mare sea front. 866NHT is still in use with East Yorkshire, 869NHT is a regular on the rally scene and
868NHT is believed to be safely tucked away in storage in the Bristol
area. However 867NHT was sold by Stagecoach
in 1982 (very early in that company's history) and was thought to have
been sold for scrap, but as you may have guessed by now this is the
very bus which was discovered today in a yard in Germany!
The chassis plate was still in place to confirm its identity and it
even still carries its fleetnumber (8577) inside, so another truly
remarkable survivor takes its place on this
|20th April 2017
||A newly restored LHS is former Western National 1557 (FDV787V)
which has been painted in the attractive Blue Bus livery it first
carried in the late 1980s for services taken over from Harvey's of Mousehole.
Tiny buses were essential to negotiate the tight turn in the village of
Mousehole and it was highly appropriate that 1557 made its debut at the
recent Penzance Running Day thus recreating this historic scene.
|17th April 2017
||Mark pointed out to me that a new
photo of former Bristol Omnibus C5054 (LEU262P) in Spain
has been posted
This former dual-door VR has led a nomadic life in recent years, having
been left abandoned at a service station in central Spain in 2008 where
it was vandalised and covered in the graffitti which it still carries.
It was noted later at Llobregas in 2009 but had gone by 2011. It is now
on the sea front at Badalona waiting for the next installment in its
|16th April 2017
||Steven lives in Walthamstowe and
was surprised to find former Eastern National
VR STW30W at Mission Grove Primary School
locally. He has sent photos which I am pleased to publish on the Non-PSV page for Southern England.
|10th April 2017
||Another VR tracked down by Frans,
and another built to the extra-lowheight 13'5'' pattern is URF661S which was new to P.M.T. but passed to Ribble
in 1982. It was exported to Holland in 1992
and this is the first report I have seen since.
|10th April 2017
Country LHS GPD318N was noted complete
but in fairly poor condition at Moreton Valence near Gloucester this
week. It was previously preserved and
retains NBC green colours but looks like it may now be in non-PCV use.
Any updates would be much appreciated.
|2nd April 2017
||Ian Kent/Frans Angevaare
||An amazing proportion of VRs new
to Cumberland Motor Services
continue to survive, many of them in continental Europe, no doubt due
to their having been built to ultra-lowheight (13'5'') specification
making them just about low enough to pass the 4m height limit in many
countries (when fitted with low profile tyres). The latest one to turn
up is FAO428V which is in use as a mobile
snack bar with Tat's Patat based in the town of Renesse, Holland.
Interestingly it carries a red triangle on the rear indicating that it
is limited to 25 km/hour (about 15mph) on the highway which certainly
renders anything above third gear superfluous!
|29th March 2017
||Mike has rare (only two left!)
Leyland O680-engined VR EWS753W for sale.
He will only sell for further preservation
and is asking for offers over £5,000. If you fit the bill and would
like to further the restoration of this fine and worthy vehicle please
drop him a line at email@example.com
|20th March 2017
||As reported on 26th February 2017 Wolfram acquired former Western National LD6G 1933 (UOD487) last year for spare parts to repair his own accident-damaged TUO503. This work is now complete but he has no need for the remains of 1933 nor a place to store it, so he is offering the bus free of charge to anyone who can make use of it. The down side is that the bus is in Austria and you will of course need to have it towed away, but if you are interested please contact Wolfram either through Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|12th March 2017
||Mike's friend Arun Anandesager
has stumbled across former Western S.M.T.
in the Yorba Linda area of Los Angeles. It still carries the lettering
"Himbleton Omnibus" from when it was owned by a Mr Russell-Smith in
Driotwich in the mid 1970s. He had it converted for use as a caravan and took it to the U.S.A.
on his travels. I don't know what happened next, but by 1998 it was at
the Coach House establishment in San Juan Capistrano where it stayed
until being sold in recent years.
|8th March 2017
||ECW coach-bodied RELH6G ABD252B
is currently for sale for in the region of £1500. Requiring full
restoration this is a rare opportunity to acquire such a vehicle (now sold)
|8th March 2017
||A Lodekka which changed hands in
2016 is former Midland General 309 (TRB576F)
which having previously been a mobile cafe in the Republic of Ireland
with Bryce Odgers is now enjoying a well-earned static retirement on
the island of Inisbofin to the north west of Ireland where it continues
in its role as a cafe. Inishwallah Cafe has
further coverage of the bus on its Twitter feed here. Meantime I have
taken the opportunity to update the bus's profile on this website
including a nasty incident from
which it emerged to survive for many more decades.
|5th March 2017
||Another VR converted for use as a
library/classroom at a school is previously
586 (PUF586R) which is now at Walsh Church
of England Junior School in Ash, Surrey.
|27th February 2017
VR 437 (KRM437W) is alive and looking very
well in Holland as an exhibition unit with
De Kikvorschen in Den Bosch.
||Two Lodekkas still alive in the U.S.A. are Western
National 2102 (EDV514D) which is in use
as a roadside "eyecatcher" by Best Roofing in Miami, Florida and Scottish Omnibuses GSG211D
which is undergoing slow restoration in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Meanwhile Robin has come across two Lodekkas in Linz, Austria owned by FEEL Events (a successful party bus company owned by Wolfram Niedermayer). Southern National 1902 (TUO503) was their first vehicle acquired in 2011 and was converted to a mobile party bus in time for the 2012 season. However their other LD is a absolute beauty - yet another Western National Lodekka 1933 (UOD487) - but this one was last reported as exported in 1977!! What's more its destination forty years ago was Linz, Austria, so it has been hidden away in the same town for all these years! 40 years constitutes a record for this website for the number of years between reports for a single vehicle. Its last use was as a grandstand at MRSC Pettenbach, a local speedway club with no engine or other mechanicals fitted. Unfortunately 1902 was hit at the rear by another vehicle last year and sadly 1933 was only acquired so it could be used for spares to repair it. How lucky that there should be a suitable donor vehicle in the same town though!
|10th February 2017
||There is currently a glut of VRs
on eBay, although I'm not sure you will find a bargain amongst this
trio. Cheltenham District/Bristol Omnibus
is for sale in Holland with a broken
London Bus Export are having a clearout and have both JWT761V
for sale (although the photos of the latter are of RLG429V
which was exported to Sweden some years ago).
|6th February 2017
(VDV117S) is a very widely travelled VR,
having operated in Devon and
Cornwall for over 20 years, followed by a couple of operators in the
North East, then on Guernsey for a few
years. It then returned to the
mainland and has undergone conversion to a mobile
home in the past
couple of years. It is now for
sale on eBay
and is ready for yet
another life somewhere!
|31st January 2017
||Rare FSF6G ex-Mansfield
District 60JAL has had several lives in
the U.S.A. since it arrived there in 1979.
The latest chapter sees it acting as the London
Calling restaurant and party bus in Springfield, Missouri.
|30th January 2017
||Currently for sale on Reachoo in
Santa Barbara, California is former Bristol
Omnibus/West Riding/Top Deck Travel 813MHW. It is NOT a bargain at
$27,000 with "damage where it has been moved with a fork lift"!!
|28th January 2017
||David-Jan has just acquired FLF6G
EHW191C and FS6G JFM220D
to join his existing fleet of three VRs and four Loddekkas in
Giessenburg, Holland. He acquired the business of Prins Classic from
Bart Prins in 2012 and renamed it trouwvervoer.nl. He is a big fan of
the buses and will be helping me to complete his
fleet list in due course. From his
website I have already identified FJB738C
("Sarah"), WVX525F ("Elizabath"), JHK455C ("Mary") and NHU671R
|21st January 2017
VR245 (KVF245V) has sat in the yard of London Bus Export at Lydney
since 1999 when it was withdrawn by Cambus, so it was quite a surprise
to find that it was at Felixstowe Docks today, still in its PrinceBuild
overall advertising livery, off to an unknown overseas destination.
|11th January 2017
||Talk about good news, bad
news...! Paul came across former Western National
2105 (EDV517D) on the
website of Camping de la Semois in Sainte Cecile in Belgium where
during 2016 it had been reconverted from a static caravan to a mobile
vehicle fit for the road again. Unfortunately just a few months later,
on January 4th 2017 it had an accident on a narrow road over the border
in Holland involving a car which saw both vehicles ending up in the
ditch running alongside the road. A report from a local newspaper can
be seen here.
This is very similar to an accident which befell 68DNG
a few years ago and by co-incidence this is currently for
sale on eBay,
although not all photos shown on there are of the same bus so buyer
|3rd January 2017
||Shaun came across former Trent BRC834T during
a visit to Sofia, Bulgaria.
It had previously been used as a seating area for a local MacDonalds
restaurant, but since at least 2012 it has been languishing in an
inaccessible yard on an industrial estate.
|29th December 2016
||John took a tour of the Caribbean
in the summer of 1979 and we have reason to be grateful as he found no
fewer than six Lodekkas on his travels. Firstly, in May 1979 he visited
Freeport in the Bahamas where AAX23B was
running transfer for Princess Hotels. He
also tracked down NBD918 at their garage
premises, which means that they had three in total as 10EWO, another ex-Red &
example was already known to have been with them (indeed it was
reported still there in 1983). On to St Lucia in June and he found four
LDs, all converted to a highly unusual "toast rack" configuration
running for another hotel, this time the Halcyon Days. These
conversions have proved frustratingly difficult to identify over the
years, although at least two are known to have come from Crosville in 1970. I have a page dedicated to
these most interesting vehicles here.
|29th December 2016
||Jonathan spotted an FLF being
used as a prop in the new sci-fi series "Aftermath" which is filmed in Vancouver, Canada. A few screen grabs enabled
it to be identified as former Midland General
which was last reported in use as a hospitality unit for Youth For
Christ. Unfortunately it is now in a derelict condition, surrounded by
scrap and with the lower deck ceiling cut away to allow filming from
the upper deck and would appear to have run its last.
|23rd December 2016
||Buses Magazine/Mike Pannell
||Two former Crosville
Lodekkas on the move in and around North America are DFB100 (910VFM) which has been sold to an owner in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. and DFB53 (266SFM)
which Buses Magazine for January 2017 has identified as the mystery FLF
on the Caribbean island of Aruba. DFB53 had a long trip all the way
from Saskatchewan, Canada, while DFB100 is currently being towed from
North Carolina but has hit a large snag in Maryland when loose lug nuts
gave way on the rear wheel and smashed the hub. Mike is hoping to be
able to help with the loan of some parts from one of his fleet of
Lodekkas in Wyoming (KDL413, 409PTA, 412PTA and 535VRB).
|21st December 2016
||John reports that former Mansfield District/Midland
59JAL is alive and well as an "eye
catcher" at Maxwell Silverman's restaurant in Worcester,
|20th December 2016
||Dr Mike Walker
Omnibus 508 (THU354G)
has always been one of the most popular REs on the preservation
circuit, certainly due to its iconic registration batch (a THU-G) but
also because its
powerful Leyland O680 engine in a short RESL chassis makes it a pocket
rocket. It was actually also one of the very first REs to be preserved,
passing to the Bristol Omnibus Preservation Society in 1981 at the
tender age of 12 years old. In 1992 like a great many other REs it
became part of the Northern Bus fleet, where
it escaped both receiving their livery (it retained Tilling green
throughout) and a visit to the scrap man, passing instead to Malcolm
Hodgson who used it as part of his Lakeland
Voyager operation. In 2013 Malcolm had it repainted in Tilling red
livery with United fleetnames as a facsimile of
of which there are no survivors; at rallies it was fitted with the
registration XHN934G from fleetnumber 2834. Things have now come full
circle and in September of this year it was acquired by Dr Mike Walker
of the Bristol Omnibus Collection who has had it repainted yet again
into Tilling green livery with Bristol scroll fleetnames, and it is due
to return to its home city imminently.
|17th December 2016
||Sean Keane/Mike Walker
||Two very different vehicles on
the move this month are OTA645G (see entry
directly below) which has been snapped up by Catteralls
Coaches of Southam and will be used in their operating fleet as a
heritage vehicle, while former Western S.M.T.
FLF6G XCS961 has turned up in Bremen, Germany
just over 30 years since export there from the U.K. during which time
it had never previously been reported! There are plans afoot to
transport it over 350 miles to Cologne where it is hoped to get a new
lease of life.
|12th December 2016
||There is currently an extremely
rare opportunity on eBay to acquire OTA645G,
a Mark I ECW coach-bodied RELH6G here.
|7th December 2016
||Dale acquired Western National 2104 (EDV516D)
in Avison, Illinnois, U.S.A.
in 2004 and is now looking to sell it on. It ran in Alabama for many
years, then passed through Tennessee before reaching its current
location. I can put any interested parties in touch.
|4th December 2016
||Very early Crosville
(RFM435) is still alive and well in Bloomington, Illinois, U.S.A.
has received a new lease of life in the last couple of years having
been converted for use as a mobile restaurant known as The Bustaurant.
It had been fitted with a US engine and transmission many years ago to
replace the origina Bristol BVW unit, but it is still great to see a
1954 Lodekka still in regular use.
|27th November 2016
||Having been advertised for sale
recently from storage with Heritage Malta, great news is that Rob has
saved former Hants & Dorset LH6L GLJ485N.
He had hoped to drive it back to the U.K. himself, but it soon became
clear that there was no way the Maltese authorities would allow it to
be registered for use on public roads there, so he is having to have it
shipped instead. The bodywork is highly original inside and out, but
the same cannot be said for the mechanicals which consist of a DAF
vertical engine and ZF gearbox! Rob will rally it in this condition
initially, but intends to reinstate an original Leyland O401 engine and
manual box eventually. It will make an excellent stablemate for his
other LH, AFB586V.
|3rd November 2016
||Jason Lupton/Jon Hare/Clive Myers
||It isn't just VRs that are on the
move within the preservation movement - the sector is still very active
with many worthy vehicles continuing to find good homes. Hartlepool
REs have had a cult following for many years due to their long lives,
unique features and one-time dominance of the local fleet and there are
several survivors. An outlier was OEF77K
which had been in non-PCV
use for many years but which has now been saved for restoration by the
newly-formed Hartlepool Historic Vehicle Preservation Group. We wish
them well with this ambitious venture.
Another RE on the move is former Crosville YFM280L which has finally been bagged by Clive Myers after a near miss when he nearly acquired it in 2014. Finally Viv Carter's unique former Crosville FS6G with Gardner 6LXB engine and winged-motif front cowl, 314PFM, came up for sale earlier this year and I couldn't resist snapping it up myself, not just because it is a wonderful vehicle and a great survivor having been rebuilt by Viv from its heavily modified condition of a few years ago, but because I really want to gain the skill of being able to drive vehicles with a Bristol crash gearbox. It is proving a tough challenge, but I'll get there and will hopefully be able to swell the rank of such drivers at future running days.
|28th October 2016
||The latest disposal from the Johnson of Hodthorpe fleet is UDL668S which has been spotted under
conversion for use as a caravan with
several windows panelled over.
|28th October 2016
||Rail River Link/Dan Shears
||The introduction of Disability
Discrimination Act (DDA) restrictions for double deckers on regular
services from the beginning of 2017 has had a drastic effect on the
remaining VRs in use on sightseeing tours in two fleets in the South
West. Following the end of summer operation earlier this month, both Rail River Link and Crosville
Motor Services have sold open-top VRs, all four passing into preservation. Crosville have sold VDL613S (ex-UFX855S) and HTU159N
to an as-yet unknown owner from Gloucestershire - both are currently
stored at Winkleigh, with just LEU263P
remaining in stock. Meanwhile Rail River (who had sold WTU467W earlier in the year to Dan Shears
after its rear axle failed) have sold UWV614S
to Steve Salter who is to keep it in Plymouth and VDV138S
to.... me! I'm pleased to say that it made the journey up from Paignton
to Tewkesbury faultlessly earlier this week and it will enjoy care and
attention alongside my other (very different!) VR, JOU161P.
|20th October 2016
||An unusual vehicle to become a
static library/classroom is former Ulsterbus
which is at St Hilda's C of E Primary School in Prestwich, Manchester.
It arrived last year and has been fitted out on site unlike the VRs to
have found this role in recent years which have been converted and
supplied by Simon's InCube Ltd. in Staffordshire.
|19th October 2016
||John bumped into former Bristol Omnibus C7135 (828SHW)
on an industrial estate in Ettenheim, Germany
today. It was easily recognisable through the remaining sky blue livery
of its previous owner and its four-track number blinds which were a
unique feature of Bristol Omnibus vehicles.
|18th October 2016
||Emiliano runs an interesting
fleet of vehicles trading as Feste Divertenti in Rome, Italy, of which
at least five are Bristol VRs! Each bus has a different marketing
identity and each of them is shown on the front page of their website here. Clockwise from the top
left, Party Bus is FAO427V, Party Bus
Vintage is BKE853T, Party Bus Open is VDV139S, Bus Eventi is also VDV139S in another
livery, Wedding Bus Semi Open is XBO121T
and Risto Bus (converted to a 40-seat restaurant) is LFJ859W.
Emiliano also has a very active presence on Facebook if you want to
follow his VRs more closely. Quite a few other VRs have been exported to Italy
in recent years and may also be involved in this or other related
operations - any information received would be very much appreciated.
|16th October 2016
flat-front VR 516 (UUF110J) is currently
listed on eBay
for sale. It has been in preservation since
1999 when it
was withdrawn from service by Embling of Guyhirn.
It should be in very
good mechanical condition having received extensive attention in recent
years and is in original condition internally and externally so will
be a nice acquisition for someone.
|1st October 2016
||After a period of a few years in
store, former Malta Bus LHs GLJ485N (ECW-bodied) and RDE298S
(Plaxton) are currently being offered for sale by tender alongside
several other Heritage Malta vehicles. Full details of how to apply can
be found here.
|25th September 2016
||Blue Mountain Explorer operated a
trio of VRs based in Katoomba in the mountains above Sydney, Australia for many years, sampled and very
much enjoyed by me in 2001. However, by 2011 flat screen Series 1 JFE539G and curved screen Series 2 HHL737L
had been long withdrawn and were damaged in a fire service
demonstration. Both were subsequently scrapped, but in 2013 the last
one - HHL739L - was sold to Wagga Wagga
Winery and is still in use carrying groups of visitors during their
visit to the site.
|23rd September 2016
||Very welcome news received today
from Arizona, U.S.A. is the continued
existence of former Southern Vectis OT1 (MDL951). This is the last of six open-top Lodekkas
to run with Vectis to surface in recent years - amazing that all six
should survive in 2016. OT1 is not entirely original as it has received
an American engine and transmission, but it is receiving attention at
the moment and will be roadworthy again in due course.
|19th September 2016
||Keith (of Autobus Review
Publications) has produced three volumes of lists showing the vehicles
that passed through the breaker PVS of Carlton (Barnsley) from 1991
onwards (sadly records prior to this were shredded before Keith could
get to them). The vast majority of these buses and coaches were
scrapped on site and the lists have confirmed the fate of a good number
of Bristol vehicles not previously known. Four in particular have
given rise to significant updates on this website. All of RYG390R,
BRF688T and GGM81W had been reported exported in the mid to late 1990s,
least two of them had been rebuilt with offside entrances, but all
three are confirmed to have passed through PVS for scrap instead.
|18th September 2016
National FLF6B 818KDV has been owned by
Mike in Seattle, U.S.A.
since 1993. It has been converted for use as a mobile bar by his
"Hale's Ales" brewery business and is fitted with an International
DT466 engine, automatic Allison transmission and large truck axles and
is good for 65mph cruising. Mike is currently looking for a replacement
steering box, or at least parts to repair the existing unit - please contact me if you can help and I will
put you in touch.
|2nd September 2016
||On a recent trip to Italy Nick came across the two Lodekkas used
as props at Movieland Park Studios at Lazise, near Lake Garda. FL6G
10AAX and FS6G DAP64C
have been there for probably more than 20 years, but have recently been
repainted from orange into a more sedate red and cream London-style
livery. It is notable that htis is the third ex-Red
& White AAX-registered Lodekka reported in just over a month!
|30th August 2016
||Rare VRTLL6G LFS298F has moved on in the U.S.A.
having previously been used on a shuttle service in Rapid City, South
Dakota it has now moved to a static role at the Funk Yard in Uranus,
Missouri. You can get a very good idea of its setting in the first
profile photo on their website here.
Yet another Lodekka to receive a new lease of life is Bristol Omnibus C7112 (805SHW) in Italy which has been completely refurbished during its conversion for use as an unusual mobile tailor shop. It is now "Sartoria Mobile" based at Serravalle Scrivia in Northern Italy.
|26th August 2016
||VRs from the fleet of Johnsons of Hodthorpe continue slowly to find
new owner. Rob noted ODL662R
in Churston, Devon this week, apparently in private hands having been
sold last year by Johnsons to Used Bus & Coach (dealer) in
|25th August 2016
new to South Wales but later transferred to Western National (in whose colours it has been
preserved) is currently for
sale on eBay.
|24th August 2016
Vectis FLF6G BDL576B has had many lives
in the U.S.A.
since export, the latest following an extensive renovation and
conversion to the "Horny Taco Bus" owned by Evil Czech Brewery in
Tim has cracked a long-standing mystery - the identity of an open-top FLF that was used by German group The Kelly Family during the 1990s. He narrowed it down to one of the four FLFs converted to open-top by Eastern National (by the style of conversion). He then ruled out RWC608 (has been in preservation since 1982), NTW943C (destroyed by fire in 1981) and RHK348D (scrapped in the U.S.A. after further service with Chicago Motor Coach). This left MVX885C so he checked the list of Eastern National survivors on this website to find that it had been exported in 1982 to.....Germany! QED
|23rd August 2016
||Further VRs traced and identified
by Frans in Holland include SNJ590R (mentioned yesterday) which was
exported in 2004 and used by Esther Matze for spares for her other VR GRF696V.
SNJ was sold on to Fort de Hel in Willemstad who converted it for use
as an "escape room for a music studio. GRF696V meanwhile has also now
been sold, to Zorgboerderij De Mikkelhorst, Haren.
Another pair of VRs whose stories have become intertwined are NHU671R (a former Cheltenham District dual-door vehicle which used to take me to school) and BRF692T, a former P.M.T. Leyland-engined single door example. The number of doors on each of these VRs turns out to be crucial; BRF was registered BL-FS-27 locally in 2001 and changed hands a number of time. Then, in 2012, a VR turned up in a white livery carrying BL-FS-27 and even indicating chassis number VRT/SL3/1687 from BRF - but it couldn't be the same bus as it had a central staircase. Some sleuthing ensued and it was positively identified as NHU. Presumably BRF hit a terminal mechanical problem and was replaced by a more sound vehicle, although recent eBay auctions show that it too now requires a replacement gearbox before it can return to the road.
|22nd August 2016
||In his latest travels Frans has
tracked down two VRs to the quayside at Amsterdam Noord docks. WDM348R
has been in use there as a cafe for a while now, but has recently had a
very imaginative conversion where the rear engine covers have been
removed and altered for use as a bar.
The other VR has been a difficult one to identify in the past and I am indebted to Frans for checking the chassis number which shows it to be URU689S. This passed to Wedding Classics on export to Holland in 2009 but had arrived in its current position at the docks by 2012 in a half-red half-cream livery, which led me to believe that it was a former Currian Road vehicle and I had assumed it was SNJ590R (which is also in Holland). It has now been repainted allover red by its current owner Stichting Convoi Exceptionnel.
|22nd August 2016
||More fascinating internet links
from Tim. KRU240F
is the third vehicle reported in the past week in use as a paintball
prop for the "wars" that are becoming an increasingly popular pastime.
This time it is on the idyllic Hawaiian island of Maui where it ran for
many years for Sugar Cane Train, but had
hit hard times and was unlikely ever to run again. The same applies to
the amazing surviving FLF-series prototype 995EHW
which turned up at the bottom of a garden in Maui recently; it was
inspected with a view to repatriating to the UK but was found to be too
far gone and is now - very regrettably - likely to be broken for scrap.
|19th August 2016
||Another VR exiled in Europe is
former Trent 851 (PRC851X)
which is now used by John Martin SA brewery in Belgium
to advertise their Waterloo beer brand.
|16th August 2016
||Frans visited Paintball-Games
Venhorst in Boekel, Holland this week and found both BOD35C and HWE826N
in use as props for use during the paintball "wars". Not surprisingly
both are looking pretty awful having had their own paint taken off shot
by shot, but at least they are providing entertainment rather than
sitting in a scrapyard somewhere.
|15th August 2016
||Tim Weatherup/Frans Angevaare (part 2)||Former Bristol
Omnibus/Badgerline 5533 (EWS741W)
has found an unusual resting place having been incorporated in the
fabric of the building at Hotel den Helder in the town of den Helder in
PAG511W (now known as "The Red Lady") remains with Jan van Esch in Boxtel, Holland where it has received a thorough refurbishment and an unusual conversion to reduce its overall height below 4m. Unlike other conversions where the roof is flattened, on this one the windows have been reduced in height (while retaining the hoppers and vents) giving an interesting appearance which can be judged here.
In 2001 Willowbrook-bodied VR TFN991T was sold by dealer Bristol Bus & Coach to an entrepreneur in Copenhagen, Denmark who planned to use it as an office in a warehouse. The reality turned out rather differently - the roof had to be cut off for the journey and was intended to be refitted on arrival, but in fact the bus sat at the harbour for a number of years, used as a pavillion until the upper deck floor deteriorated so badly that it was sold to a local scrapyard where it was believed to have been broken up around 2006.
Former Devon General VR 1188 (FDV832V) has been used as a mobile home based in the Forest of Dean area since 2005 but has now been retired and converted for use as a static caravan at Pope's Hill. Full photographic coverage can be found here.
Two Lodekkas still clinging on in someone's back garden in deepest Michigan, U.S.A. are 807SHW and FGM320D which have been sitting derelict for many years now and really will need some attention soon before they are past saving. There is a recent picture here.
MVX883C spent many years after export in Alaska keeping well under the radar, but in April 2012 it was acquired by David Sale in Vancouver (Washington state U.S.A., not the one in British Columbia, Canada) and after a complete refit from top to bottom opened in May 2015 as Nellie's Food Cart. Further details of the conversion and more about the history of the bus can be found here.
Another mobile cafe conversion is another former Eastern Counties, VR228 (DEX228T) which is in Fribourg in Switzerland. It has received a repaint since its last report and appears to be in good condition.
Finally, completing a trio of mobile cafe conversions, former Crosville DLG792 (XFM203) is now Blakey's Bus Cafe in the village of Mulbarton in Norfolk.
|12th August 2016
||There are two VRs currently on
eBay - PAG515W
|12th August 2016
||Tim Weatherup/Frans Angevaare
||Lodekkas and VRs continue to turn
up regularly and I am grateful to both Tim and Frans for providing lots
of information for this website, Frans having visited many of the
vehicles in Holland and Belgium in person. There may be several parts
to this update due to the volume of material!
7 Hills Camping in Rome used to be a regular haunt for the Lodekkas of Top Deck Travel and when they suffered major breakdowns both KGH891A (ex-804SHW) and STW763D were acquired for static use on the camp site and both were still there in April. 7 Hills were also reported to have had Brighton & Hove OPC165D (ex-JPM80D) but there was no sign of this.
LEL652F has a new owner in Holland at Van Vlastuin Taxi & Touristbus in Woudenberg. Many operators are finding it hard to meet new Dutch regulations - this Lodekka has been fitted with an offside entrance, roof escape hatches and a second staircase in order to continue in use. Hans Classic Cars of Nijkerk have a similar conversion under way on former United Auto VR CPT732S, although this work has now come to a halt and the bus has a thick layer of dust from sitting in the garage for some time now. Hans also have 428PTA which spent quite a lot of time registered BOC362A in the UK after finishing with Western National.
|4th August 2016
||In an amazing co-incidence the
second former Red & White FS of the week
has turned up, this time it is L763 (AAX21B)
which is currently for sale in Moscow. This one was a late export
having been fitted with a Gardner 6LX engine and lowered to 4m overall
height by London Bus Export in Lydney prior to shipping to Russia in
|30th July 2016
||Sholto was on a train in Switzerland
between Murten and Fribourg earlier this month when he spotted a red
Lodekka while passing through the village of Cressier. A few Google
searches later he had tracked it down to the company Limo1 and from photos on their
website we have identified it as former Red
& White FS6B L1063 (AAX24B). This had
not previously been reported since it was exported to Germany in 1985,
so this is a great discovery.
|28th July 2016
||Paul Bateson & Nigel
||Paul and Nigel have just visited
Philadelphia and report the great news that the entire fleet of VRs
used by Big Bus there remains intact, although
not too many of them were
actually noted in service. Most of their identities are well known, but
fleet number 320 remains a mystery (one which I am hoping to solve
|25th July 2016
||Bryan Sharpe, Lyndon Carter, Dave
Mulpeter, Tony Barfield
||A number of preserved vehicles
have been reported on the move this summer. RDV419H,
one of the very last Mark I ECW RELH coaches to have seen service back
in the 1990s, has passed to Richard McAllister of Sowerby Bridge, West
Yorkshire. Meantime the loss of storage at the former Denyer yard in
Essex has led to rare dual-door RESL6G CCG296K
being moved off site while VTH941T has
passed to Robin Harrison on the Isle of Wight, HKE680L
to Dave Mulpeter (Seaford & District,
where on inspection it is not considered to be in fit condition for
restoration and is likely to be used for spares) and XHK234X (Eastern National's
last VR) to Jonathan Brenson of Little Waltham, Essex. The final
escapee is long-derelict HPW447D which
passed initially to Viv Carter of Colchester but which is now with
Viv's son Lyndon for restoration.
|7th July 2016
||A surprise was the continued
existence of LHL6L (long wheelbase LH) Plaxton Elite II-bodied coach NWW162K in the yard of Bain
It has been withdrawn since at least 2000 and has survived a major
clear-out of older vehicles from the yard in recent years. It is not
being advertised for sale, but if anyone is genuinely interested in
saving this rare coach then it might be worth a polite enquiry to the
|7th July 2016
||Rare dual-door ex-City of Oxford VR 474 (HUD474S)
is currently undergoing restoration work in Houston, Texas in the U.S.A. This is welcome news as the last report of
this was in 2009 when it was sitting in a muddy field gradually
|30th June 2016
||Information received directly
from the operator has helped to clarify and confirm the fleet of Piet Verbeek of Veen, Holland. 504BRM is a rare ex-Cumberland
FSF6G which has been in the fleet for the last 18 years and has
recently received a thorough overhaul and repaint into allover white
livery. Former Eastern Counties BNG886B retains its original Gardner 5LW
engine which had a rebuild a few years ago while JAH551D
is also owned and has also had its 6LX engine rebuilt. Wilts & Dorset 691AAM
is now fitted with a DAF 1160 engine, while 558BNG (also ex-Eastern
Counties) was owned until recently but has now been sold.
Another fleet of Lodekkas on the Continent which has recently been confirmed as intact is that of Movil Bus of Vigo, Spain. No fewer than ten are owned, all converted for various promotional activities, and a fantastic line-up of the whole fleet was recently posted to their website and is currently Photo of the Month on our home page. The identity of eight of them is known, but two of the closed-top examples are a mystery so if anybody has any additional information about this fleet I would be delighted to hear from you at email@example.com.
|27th June 2016
||Jon Gulliver and others
||Once again this year the
Glastonbury Festival has provided much of interest to VR fans. Pride of
place goes to former East Kent XJJ658V which has finally appeared on the
shuttle services some 15 years after acquisition by Chepstow
It has been thoroughly prepared for service mechanically but amazingly
retains Stagecoach stripey livery (minus most of the orange!). Others
also confirmed at the event are UFX856S, CJJ677W, JMB401T
(still with its Leyland 501 engine), XJJ653V,
Martin Curtis's AHW201V and AYG941H in its usual role as mess hut and
|19th June 2016
||Jason Rayner/Mike Ede
||Two notable restorations recently
completed are Brighton & Hove RESL6G 210 (PPM210G) which has been returned to NBC green
livery and Cheltenham District dual-door
RELL6L 1003 (KHW309E) which has been
repainted in Cheltenham's
rich red livery. Both the Rayner family and the Stroud RE Group are to
be heartily congratulated in returning REs to the road which had
previously been in poor condition.
|17th June 2016
||Frans came across former Maidstone & District 5886 (HKM886V) today under tow in Den Haag following
a breakdown. It is currently owned by Andere Weg Vervoer of Amsterdam
who also show WWC743F as current on their
website. The VR had not been reported since export to Holland in 2000 but the sequence of subsequent
owners has been obtained from the website of the Dutch authorities.
|15th June 2016
photo shows that since it was last reported in 2007 in Holland, former West
Yorkshire DX30 (OWX174) has had a repaint
in allover white and has also been fitted with a rather small offside
|14th June 2016
||Ian's brother Paul came across
early Series 3 VR MDM285P
at Richard Hale School in Hertford earlier this month - this one was
known to survive somewhere as it had continued to be relicensed
year on year, but was last reported with Hackney Adult
Education during 2009. It is believed to have moved to Hertford soon
afterwards, although it is not known whether it is still used as a technology classroom nor whether it is
|10th June 2016
||Mark posted a photo of an
unidentified FLF in Alaska to this
website's Facebook page last night. I had an idea which one it
might be from features on the bus and previous photos of it, but help
from some Mansfield District enthusiasts
confirmed it to be FNN158D which has made
the very long journey from San Diego,
California since 2007 when it was last recorded.
|3rd June 2016
||As reported earlier in these
pages, InCube Ltd. of Stafford have made a niche for themselves
recently in converting VRs for use as mobile classrooms. It appears
this has now stopped as they have placed three VRs on eBay - AHW198V,
|3rd June 2016
||Adrian Clarke/Robert Fox
||A couple of ex-Bristol Omnibus FLFs on the move in Europe are 7165 (AHY981B)
which has been re-acquired by Londag in
Wadenswil, Switzerland for further onward sale, and 7224 (EHT113C)
which had been used as a mobile restaurant by Pic Nic Del Mundo in
2010 but has now been acquired by Robert for refitting as an ice cream
outlet. It will soon be moved to the banks of the River Elbe in
|29th May 2016
||Rebecca is already the owner of OCD771G, rescued from the island of Victoria
in British Columbia, Canada last year. She is now in Vancouver where
she has tracked down OCD763G and OTA292G, still with Big
where they operated for almost a quarter of century. Both are now out
of use and we hope for news of a further rescue effort soon!
|28th May 2016
||Paul brings welcome news of Southern Vectis open-top LD6G MDL563 (now registered BAS562) which has been
unreported since sale by Quantock Motor
Services in 2007, but which is stored with Tony Hagon of
Bowermadden, near Wick in the very north of Scotland.
It has been left outside and is in poor external condition, but
renovation is imminent and hopefully it will one day be returned to
|27th May 2016
||Paul has very kindly sent a
detailed update on recent changes relating to Bristols in Ontario, Canada. First up is former Southdown convertible (although it was separated
from its roof many years ago) VR UWV605S
which had previously been running for Lady Dive
tours in Ottawa. It has recently been acquired by James Doucet of
Cumberland, Ontario for conversion to a mobile chip wagon alongside a
pair of Daimler Fleetlines also owned by James.
JAE630D has already had a long and interesting career in Nova Scotia, having first been a sightseeing vehicle in Halifax, then as a mobile chip wagon, and finally a static cafe in Englishtown. By 2015 it had been sold and was towed to Ontario, owned by Andre and Natalie Audet and is parked in Greely. Much of the interior has now been removed in preparation for a further new life as a retail outlet.
147YFM remains in use with Ken Loughren as a fast food outlet at Elizabethtown-Kitley and was observed by Paul doing a roaring trade earlier this month.
Finally a mystery for Paul which I was able clear up thanks to the wonder that is Facebook. Wilts & Dorset LMW915 had been parked adjacent to George's Fish & Chips at Carrying Place, Ontario since 2005 and was still there when Paul last visited in October 2015, so he was very surprised to find earlier this month that it had gone. The owner told him that it had been towed thousands of kilometers to Alberta, but had no idea where in that massive state the new owner was located. It just so happens that Nigel Clydsdale had already posted photos on Facebook of the bus being towed back in November 2015 and that he is the new owner, based at Fort McMurray - famous in World news recently for the wild bush fires that destroyed part of that city.
|27th May 2016
||Brian Ross/Paul Harrison
||Brian came across former Mansfield District 378RNN
in Palm Beach, Florida
this week. It was in great condition and has been painted in an unusual
livery of red on one side and white on the other, lettered for Palm
Beach Double Decker.
Paul also reports that Eastern National AEV814F is undergoing repaint and preparation for a further season in use with Antique Auto in Belgium. The business has recently moved to Antwerp from Brussels.
|23rd May 2016
||Having passed from preservation to dealer Mike Daly of Warrington
(Used Bus & Coach Sales) in January, VR FDL677V
sale on eBay.
|19th May 2016
||A surprise survivor, although
only just, is Northern Counties-bodied UTD283H
which was new to Lancashire United in 1969.
The batch was withdrawn at a fairly young age and therefore many found
buyers, often in non-PSV roles. 283 ran
for Haydock Timber in the 1980s, then saw use as an immobile storeshed
before being converted for use as a caravan.
It was a common sight in the Manchester area in the early 1990s but
then disappeared, presumed scrapped. However, it has just turned up at
an unknown - but very remote - location in mid Wales where it has been
resting in woods since at least 1996. It seems that any attempt to move
it would result in it falling in a heap, but at least it makes an
interesting sight here.
Sadly the other late survivor from this batch, UTD298H,
was finally scrapped in 2014 after looking like it might make it to
|19th May 2016
National STW26W has already had more
lives than most buses ever see and it is now nearing completion as the
Menehune Tiki Bus in Eaton, Ohio, U.S.A.
The conversion is extensive and the interior looks amazing! To follow
its exploits after it opens for business next month they have a
Facebook page here.
|18th May 2016 **updated 19th May**
Suncruisers open-top VR HPK507N is
sale on eBay.
After 26 years working Scarborough sea
front it would be a shame to see it escape preservation.
Even better than preservation, the VR
has been sold to Stagecarriage of Middlesbrough
for further use!
|7th May 2016
||If you ever needed proof that
Bristol Lodekkas are almost indestructible how about the prototype FLF,
former Bristol Ommibus LC8540 (995EHW) which has just turned up again on Maui, Hawaii, some twelve years after it was
last reported and 35 years after it first arrived on the island. It is
at a reasonably affordable $6000, although obviously rescuing it is
going to cost a lot more than that! David found out from the current
owner that it was inherited when he purchased the property. Apparently
one day he was cutting the grass and discovered a road he didn't know
about (as you do!). He cleared out the road and at the bottom he found
the bus sitting in the bushes! He towed it up to the top of the hill
and it has sat there ever since.
|5th May 2016
||Bob, now based in Daventry, has
added OVV849R to his impressive collection
of former United Counties vehicles. It has
left Chepsow Classic where it retained its
touched-up Stagecoach livery.
|2nd May 2016
||Garth C Bakke/Ryan W
||Two more Lodekkas have turned up
recently in North America. Garth has
former Bristol Omnibus 7061 (506OHU)
in Saskatchewan, Canada. It had been used in previous years for stag
tours and pub crawls but has been laid up for a while. Garth is now
looking to sell it, but of course any rescue would be hugely expensive
from such a remote location. Ryan has former Lincolnshire
in Columbus Falls, Montana, U.S.A. This one has been around a bit,
having been in Virginia, Wyoming and Utah before its current home and
is approaching its 40th year overseas. Ryan is busy restoring 2376, but
is hitting the usual problems of sourcing spare parts that are hard to
find in the UK let alone the other side of the Atlantic!
|13th April 2016
||Daniel is in Philadelphia at the
moment and has confirmed the very good news that VRs continue in use
with Big Bus here. Noted during his visit were
350 (KRU856W) and 395 (JWV264W)
which continues in use as a promotional vehicle parked on the street to
|12th April 2016
||Peter Findlay/Donald MacRae
||A rare find reported on 5th
February 2015 (see below) was that of flat-fronted VR CBD783K which was for sale at the time in Belgium. Today Donald came across it
undergoing restoration in the open on a street in Berlin, Germany.
It has been bought by an organisation called Bus Pi who have a Facebook
page which can be found easily if you want to see more photos of it.
|11th April 2016 **updated 22nd May**
National 297JHK and the 1000th Lodekka
off the production line is currently for
sale on Craigslist in Los Angeles,
have been contacted by Justin Nilson who has bought the bus and has had
it transported to its new home in the Bay area of San Francsisco where
it is planned to receive a thorough restoration**
|10th April 2016
||John came across HJB456W in Milan
this weekend working for IdeaE20 Marketing promoting McVities biscuits.
A look at their Facebook page reveals that they have been running this
VR since 2013 during which time it has been on extensive tours of
|8th April 2016
||Paul dropped in at Antique Auto
in Brussels this week and confirmed that former Western
National EDV521D and Eastern National AEV814F
FLFs are still resident, although both looking rather down-at-heel
Paul also contacted me with the news that he has decided to sell XHK234X, numerically Eastern National's final VR. He would of course like to see it go for restoration - more details can be found here if you are interested.
|8th April 2016
||A former Eastern
Counties FLF currently
is GPW441D - it is in Minnesota in
the U.S.A. and has clearly seen better
|3rd April 2016
Coach Services was sold recently, signalling the end of several
decades of interesting operation of Bristols of all types. JNG50N has recently been sold locally for preservation, and they currently have FS6G 314PFM for sale. However, Viv Carter is
retaining the last VR to enter service with the NBC, VEX294X, which we really hope to see on the
road later this year.
|2nd April 2016
||A sale has been concluded for NNU449J, former Midland
General dual-door RELL6G. It has been sold to an owner in Worthing
who plans to finish the bus as a mobile home
and take it for an overland tour to India! Let's hope it turns up on
Flickr at some future date.
|25th March 2016
||A friend of Phil's was on the
Falkland Islands recently. Having flown into a grass airstrip, a
20-minute Land Rover ride across Carcass Island and a 2 hour boat trip
to a remote offshore island called West Point the last thing he
expected to find was an ex-Crosville Bristol
LH6L - but that's exactly what he found there! In fact MCA617P
was flown to the island suspended from a helicopter in the mid 1980s
was used to transport tourists from a cruise ship landing stage to
Devil's Nose penguin and albatross colony. It has however been
out of use for many years after these duties were taken over by Land
Rovers and is slowly decaying in the corner of a
Another LH in the news is AFB597V which was the very last LH chassis built (there were later LHSs and a pair of LHL van conversions). It has been bought by Morton's Coaches of Basingstoke who have turned it out in Wilts & Dorset post-deregulation livery. Although many of this batch operated for the company this one actually never did, but rather satisfyingly it has been numbered 3859, following on from AFB595V (which carried 3858).
|18th March 2016/23rd March 2016
||Two FLF Lodekkas are currently
for sale on this German-based vehicle sales website. Former Bristol Omnibus 7165 (AHY981B)
has undergone a thorough renovation and conversion to a mobile catering
outlet in Switzerland as can be seen here.
There is also a Scottish FLF on the same website owned by Heinrich Wulfes, forrmer proprietor of the well known German Lodekka importer Der Blickfang. Heinrich has promised to send me the chassis number of this one next week to properly identify it. He also owns former Bristol Omnibus C7262 (GAE883D - the last FLF in regular service in the UK) which he is to keep for his own private collection. After arriving in Germany with another owner in 1994 it sat for 20 years outside, unused and deteriorating. When Heinrich acquired it in 2014 it started immediately and he was able to drive it to its new locaation!
The Scottish FLF turns out to be an absolute corker. The chassis number supplied by Heinrich Wulfes (236279) shows it to be SHN252F, new to United Automobile, but soon part of the VR/Lodekka swap which saw many FLFs go to Scottish operators. It landed with Eastern Scottish and lasted right up to 1990, latterly as a driver training vehicle. It was exported to Germany in 1992 but had remained lost..... until now!
|16th March 2016
||Two Bristols currently for sale
on eBay in Holland (at what would seem to be vastly inflated prices
compared to what they would be worth in the UK) are former Western S.M.T. FLF6G 1951 (AAG119B) (the auction can be viewed here)
a gem for me (being one of the VRs I used to take to school) former Cheltenham District 5088 (NHU671R)
For anyone thinking of repatriating a bus from the Continent there has
to be a deal to be done on these when the owner realises their true
|6th March 2016
||Paul Emery/Chris Brown/Steve
||As if to emphasize the continuing
Bristol variety to be found even in 2016, four news items
have been received in the last 24 hours about two Lodekkas, a VR and an
LHS. I am always so grateful to the many people who contact me with
information and photos for use on this website and can assure you that
everything received is appreciated and will be used on the site sooner
Paul came across rare surviving ex-P.T.E. LHS6L JUG357N clinging on in use as a storage shed amongst preserved vehicles while Chris has found a buyer for FLF6G HPN79D which will hopefully secure its future. Steve rediscovered Alexander-bodied VR PBD40R at Chiltern Park Aerodrome near Woodcote in Oxfordshire (and has added photos of it to his excellent Flickr site) while James came across 529VRB in Switzerland last August, still sporting its Midland General livery applied during its period in preservation up to the early 1990s.
|20th February 2016
||Peter Dalley/Ben Vallance
||Great news is the repatriation of
PTT98R to the South West for preservation almost 30 years after it left for
the Isle of Wight. After a long stint with Johnson
it was withdrawn in 2011 and had been badly vandalised in its storage
unit with many windows smashed and much of the electrical cable
stripped. Peter is determined to put this all right though and it will
be great to see what livery he chooses for it.
|19th February 2016
||A rare ex-Midland
General FSF6G to turn up in Piedmont, Oklahoma, U.S.A. is 450SNU
which was last reported in 2001 in Ballard, Kentucky. It has been
around and about in the US as it was originally sold to an owner in
Florida as long ago as 1979.
|18th February 2016
||It turns out that the report on
November 3rd 2015 of GRU975D
still being in Florida was incorrect. It was in fact purchased a few
years ago by Duncan Quinn, an ex-pat Brit who runs a successful fashion
company in the U.S.A. Duncan had the FLF
towed to New York where it received a complete revamp for use as a
mobile exhibition unit.
A Lodekka that has gone unreported since it left the UK in 1992 is former United Counties KBD716D which went to Germany but has now turned up in Italy with Mostra Scambio in Borgo d'Ale. Local sources suggest that its Italian registration was issued in 2007 so presumably that was when it arrived from Germany.
|16th February 2016
||Tim continues to turn up
interesting links. Former Southern Vectis 562
(SDL267) remains in the Czech Republic with Crossline Systems and is
used as a mobile exhibition and entertainment unit. There are lots of
photos on their website here.
XAN431T, an unusual VR in that it was new to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, has passed from its previous owner Escape the City (who used it in its orange livery as accommodation for private trips) to Membus (also of London) who have repainted it in light blue and have converted it for use as a mobile language classroom/studio. Funds have been crowd for a grand tour of Europe which it is due to undertake later in 2016.
CJH115V is another VR which has got around a bit during its life. It is now converted for use as "The Bristol Pub" and plies its trade on the Hungary/Slovakia border in Sturovo (on the Slovakian side) and Esztergom (over the bridge into Hungary).
|10th February 2016
||Tim Weatherup/Danny Chabaud
||An FLF very much still in use is former Hants & Dorset 1537/1234 (FLJ154D) which is available for hire through Laperuta Turismo of Naples, Italy - see their website here. Another Lodekka on the move is Western SMT B1467 (MCS756) which had previously been converted for use as a mobile cafe and is now owned by Pascal and Marlène Mandavy at Marillac-le-Franc in central France.|
|4th February 2016
||Anthony reports the demise of
several VRs over in New Zealand and I am
grateful to him for regular updates from the other side of the World. KRM436W is now owned by Auckland Explorer and
is being used for spares to keep WRC832S on
the road. Similarly KWA216W is being used
by Charlie's Party Bus in Christchurch to keep KRM434W
running. KRM433W remains with Party Bus in Auckland but has no engine or gearbox
and is only used now as a photographic "prop" for the business. SAO410R
has also reached the end of the road and is used as a cow shed on a
farm at Tikorangi. Very welcome news however is that the restoration of
Anthony's own VR - none other than the prototype Series 3 ODV78M
- is progressing well and has begun to receive a repaint into NBC
green. It has also moved under its own power for the first time in
several years recently.
|4th February 2016
conversion by InCube Ltd. of Stafford to turn up is former Maidstone & District WKO132S
which is was delivered to Preston Hedge's Primary School in Northampton
last October. The teachers (if not the children!) should appreciate the
additional headroom of this highbridge VR.
Former Eastern National FLFs have figured regularly in these columns and the latest to surface is former 2837 (LWC663C) which is still with Vector Group in Italy, having moved from their previous base at Monfalcone to Udine province. Photos of this and also their Dennis Loline can be seen on their website here. The third vehicle shown is OWJ637A mentioned two entries below (17th January) which was never owned and which has now gone to Japan.
|29th January 2016
||Top Deck Travel Facebook
||Further to the item below from
17th January, the great thing about Top Deck
having been run mostly by Australians is that many of the Lodekkas in
that country have been snapped up by former TDT personnel and are well
cared for. In addition to 503BTA with Paul
and Roz Willcocks (it was successfully shipped from Southampton this
week), KPW473D was shipped from the UK in
2012 by Mark Armstrong, while Dave Morse has JFM236D
and Bill James has LWC665C. Another one to
gain another life is KPM84E
(former Top Deck "Moose") which passed from Dee Decker in Melbourne to
Paul Brunton in Geelong back in June 2015. It had hit hard times in
recent years and was pretty derelict, but Paul is determined to return
it to the road. On top of these Paul Ludemann also has FLJ155D ("Deep
Purple") over in New Zealand.
Finally, VR AHU513V has also been bought by Paul - this had been shipped to Australia in 2009 for conversion to a motor home but funds ran out when it had been stripped out and the bare hulk is to be used for spares in the restoration of Moose. Paul is of course also the owner of the unique transverse-engined VRL conversion, former Standerwick OCK66K.
|17th January 2016
||A recent visit to Robert's
treasure trove of a yard at London Bus Export in Lydney yielded a
wealth of news. Pride of place was taken by former Western
National LD6G 1951 (503BTA).
The last time I saw this one it was a total wreck, open to the elements
and looking like nothing more than a collection of spare parts. More
than two years of hard work for customer Paul Willcocks, an Australian
formerly of Top Deck Travel, has converted it into a gleaming pseudo
Top Deck vehicle. I was lucky enough to take a ride on it with Robert
at the wheel and the Gardner 6LW positively purred - I have posted
several videos to YouTube here (others
can be found by searching for 503BTA). The bus leaves on the long sea
journey to Australia next week.
Further recent sales from Robert's stock of vehicles include former Bristol Omnibus VR 5530 (DHW352W) which was extensively refurbished and shipped to New York in 2015 for onward movement to Chicago, and former Crosville open-top OWJ637A (ex-928CFM) which was also shipped last year, this time to a buyer in Japan.
Many interesting vehicles remain on site, including 467BMR, DRB307H, NUD101L, JWT761V, EWS740W, HJB452W,
HJB453W, YMB519W and another wreck of a Lodekka, 848AFM, which is also earmarked for a back-from-the-dead refurbishment! Readers are warned that casual visitors are not welcome and will find themselves face-to-face with a very fierce dog!
|13th January 2016
||Graham Harrison, Blake Folgner
||The Lodekka reports just keep on
rolling in for 2016!
Graham received a photo from a friend of former Eastern Counties FLF459 (JPW459D) running a free service in the French town of Béziers today. It was last noted with Dreams Limousines in the town of Cugnaux in the same region of France back in 2011, but now appears to have passed to Les Bus des Allées and carries the Béziers town crest.
Blake has contacted me from the Coach House concert venue in San Juan Capistrano, California. This is a place I have been aware of for many years as both JSD925 and 811KDV had been attributed to them since at least the late 1980s until quite recently. It turns out that they have used a stylised image of 811KDV as their logo since 1980 (and therefore, presumably, have owned it since then). It can be see on their website here. Sadly 811KDV was stolen in 2005 and was never traced (although it was advertised on eBay in 2008!), while JSD925 was sold locally a couple of years ago. Great news is that they have just acquired an operational Lodekka in the form of another ex-Western National FLF BOD40C. This was last reported with my correspondent Vance Sprock of Cupertino (also in California) in 2011, but had since been sold to Eric Maltais who drove it the nearly 3000 miles to Tampa, Florida with the intention of converting it to a party bus. Sadly Eric's business partner passed away and he sold it on to Blake for use at the Coach House. Consequently it was driven all the way back to California. This was no 45mph plod however - some years earlier Vance had overseen the replacement of its Bristol BVW engine with a 270hp Cummins unit, 131b turbo, 9-speed Eaton gearbox and "Jake Brake" engine brake with a maximum speed of 71mph! You can bet that this one shifts like no other Lodekka!
|11th January 2016
||Anne Sarrag, Paul Harrison
||A couple of updates on Lodekkas
have been received early in the New Year, one recent, one not quite so.
Anne Sarrag stumbled upon this website by accident and was kind enough to take the time to let me know that she still has former Hants & Dorset FS6G 1504 (BEL677B). It is currently stored in the Brighton area, but is still in its guise as a Book Bus which it became as long ago as 1982. It is a rare survivor in a pure non-PSV role in the U.K. these days.
Paul forwarded a link to a photo of an FLF sitting unloved in a yard in Montagnac in the south of France. Unfortunately the photo was taken in June 2003, so the chances are very likely that it is no longer there, but a series of features on the bus mark it out as former Eastern National 2851 (NTW944C) which was exported in 1981 and has not been reported since. If anyone is going that way (or is prepared to scour Google Maps) it would be great to see if its location can be identified and whether or not it still survives.
|6th January 2016
||Trevor has opened the year with
welcome news of his acquisition of Hants &
Dorset FLF6B 1557 (KRU224F) from its
owners. It is his intention to test it to Class 6 MOT standard and run
it on private hire work in the Bournemouth area this year. The plan is
to restore it in NBC red livery and carrying its later fleetnumber of
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