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Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

2011 News Log Archive

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

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

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

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

Date of Change

Source of Information Details of Change
31st December 2011 Steve Randall Sad news is that after a lengthy career as a non-PCV and mobile home former London Country LHS GPD302N is now being broken for spares. All parts are available and some are already on eBay here.
31st December 2011 Anthony Brewer An elusive VR for many years has been former South Wales 955 (WTH955T) which has been owned by Radio Cardiff as a mobile stage with large doors incorporated in the body. It has been stored out of use for quite some time and Anthony reports that it has now moved - presumed scrapped - so if you come across it do please let me know. Also I would be very interested in a photo of it in use as a stage if anyone has one?
29th December 2011 Tony Swift Tony sends news from Australia that two of the three VRs operated by Blue Mountain Explorer near Sydney for many years have sadly been replaced and scrapped (JFE539G and HHL737L) while the third (HHL739L) looks set to be retained as a heritage vehicle. I had the opportunity of riding on the two ex-West Riding Series 2s in 2001 and they were in absolutely superb condition with totally original interiors.
26th December 2011 South West VR News Hants & Dorset's final VR, 3456 (KRU856W) was known to have been exported somewhere back in 2008 after a brief stint in service with York Pullman, but it has only now turned up with Big Bus of Philadelphia in the U.S.A. Thanks are due to Nick Morton who supplied photos to our friends at South West VR News and I am grateful for permission to reproduce them here. Also noted were UFX857S, FDV781V and LFJ884W (which carries the identity of FFR170S).
21st December 2011 Carl Ireland Carl reports a further Lodekka in his ownership, none other than former Cheltenham District 7277 (HHW460D) which has been used for many years as a spares storeshed.
19th December 2011 Tadpoles Crew Great news is that having left London on September 26th Top Deck "Tadpoles" (aka Southern Vectis LD6G PDL519) arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal this morning - surely providing the ultimate proof that the Lodekka was the most rugged and dependable bus ever built when this 53-year-old veteran can complete such a journey with only (relatively) minor hiccups along the way.
19th December 2011 Carl Ireland Carl has supplied information about a number of Bristol vehicles that have passed through his hands in recent times. Thames Valley FLF6G DRX122C had been owned since 1994 and was a spares donor for other Lodekkas. It was used as a store but was cut up for scrap around four years ago. Another FLF was SRB64F but this fared better being sold to XL Line in Groningen, Holland albeit about a decade ago now.

VRs bought and sold include RAU810R which passed to Konrad Sass in Griefswald, Germany in 2006, KKK887V passed to Publiarts, Madrid, Spain in 2009, BMA524W to Hans Smit in Amsterdam, Holland during 2010. This year has seen HWE826N pass to Bart Prins, Zeist, Holland, RUA452W to Hupper, Patrington in Yorkshire apparently for non-PCV use at a golf club, RUA457W to Szabolcs, Targu Mures, Transylvania, Romania and FFL463V (ex-YUM516S) to Wilson, Halifax for conversion to a mobile home (although this one has since been noted in Glasgow). Carl currently has VRs MWG941X and VPF288S in stock plus former Ulsterbus RELL6G/Alexander WOI2438.

13th December 2011 Jon Pratt The latest acquisition for Jon's Weston-super-Mare based Crosville Motor Services is an open-top FSF6G Lodekka new to the original Crosville as DFG81 (891VFM).
13th December 2011 John Hembry/Leo Roberts/John Haines News of Southern Vectis's very first VR, 622 (NDL490G) is that it has passed from a consortium of owners on the Isle of Wight to another consortium based in Dorset. They are already preservationists, but for this venture have named themselves the 622 Splinter Group with humorous reference to its previous use as a tree lopper prior to conversion back to a bus in preservation. It made the journey successfully under its own power just this past weekend.
4th December 2011 Bart Prins Bart's latest acquisition for his Prins Classic fleet is former Southern Vectis LD6G 555 (ODL15) which has been in Holland since 1978. He reports that it is in fine condition for its age.
4th December 2011 Ralph O'Hara A top quality motor home conversion in New Zealand is former Christchurch 553 (IY6809) which has been converted by the owner of the Hukerenui Tavern in Northland and is currently for sale here.
27th November 2011 Trevor Carroll Regular readers will be aware that former Top Deck "Tadpoles" PDL519 has been recreating the route from London to Kathmandu in recent months. The crew are then due to fly to Perth where they will pick up "Loft" - LWC665C which has been in Australia since retirement. It has recently been renamed "Robbie" after a well respected Top Deck driver who passed away earlier this year. An article on Robbie's journey over to Perth can be found here.
24th November 2011 Jim Pullen/Sean Keating Both of these gentlemen pointed me to the current eBay auction for an FLF6G carrying the registration GVF446D. However, I believe this to actually be sister FLF from the Eastern Counties fleet HPW448D which was fitted with the cowl from FLF446 during its time with Cleveland Double Deckers in Ohio. It has obviously travelled a long way to get to its new home in Louisiana, so it's not surprising its clutch has given out - let's hope someone buys it and gets it back on the road!

News of sister vehicle FLF456 (JPW456D) from Julian Patterson is that it has recently been tested and is now back on the road in Belgium in its role as a mobile cafe!

21st November 2011 Tim Biddle Former Western National/Devon General FDV810V has turned up in an unlikely spot, behind a barber's shop in McCordsville, Indiana, U.S.A. It is no longer mobile and has been fitted with a hideous wooden front door! Tim has also kindly sent an updated view of Western National BOD21C which is still in Lawrence, Indiana despite having been listed there on eBay last year. It appears to still be mobile which is always welcome news.
20th November 2011 Richard Stedall Richard spotted a photo recently of former Central SMT BL339 (HGM339E) which has been in Ethiopia for many years but has now been sponsored by Coca Cola as a "food bus" in Addis Ababa.
15th November 2011 Wolfram Niedermayer Unreported in over 34 years, former Southern/Western National LD6B 1902 (TUO503) was acquired by Wolfram in January of this year, following which he has completely renovated this 55-year-old veteran (or "Oldtimer" as they call it in Wolfram's native Austria) for use as a commercial party bus.
15th November 2011 Dave Mulpeter Dave has provided a welcome update to his Seaford & District fleet. HKE690L is in use and is proving popular for private hires. TRB589F is in the works but is going to take longer than expected for its restoration to be completed. KPM87E is currently in store having been inspected and found to have quite severe chassis rot. VRs NCD563M and GNJ583N have been determined to be surplus to requirements and the former was sold earlier this year for use as a mobile home. The latter is now for sale here and represents an opportunity to acquire a unique vehicle.
15th November 2011 Keith Smith Martin Macey has passed SNV933W on to Koncept Coaches of Milton Keynes who are obviously keen on NBC-era vehicles as they also have a Leyland National. It is believed that both vehicles are to be restored as time allows.
4th November 2011 Steven Hughes Very welcome news is the entry into preservation of JJT437N with Michael Cole of Frinton who also has another Hants & Dorset VR in the shape of KRU848W.
4th November 2011 Philip Higgs Philip was in Vienna, Austria recently and came across former Bristol Omnibus LC8501 (826CHU) which has changed hands since 2009. Previously owned by Christian Goll he has now sold it to Johnny Szewczuk who uses it to promote his Johnny's Pub.
2nd November 2011 Paul Bateson Paul has posted a characteristically detailed report of his recent tour of major operators of British buses in the eastern half of Canada, including news of a number of VRs both in and out of use in the area. The biggest news is that there is a new operator of VRs - Prince Edward Tours of Charlottetown. This operation is found on Prince Edward Island - which until Spring 2010 was the home of the largest fleet of surviving ex-London RTs in regular use with Abegweit Tours - but now resounds to the melodic Gardner tones of LUA717V and XHK232X. These have come from Absolute Charters Inc of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who retain PRR115L for spares. Also withdrawn in Halifax is the entire remaining fleet of Double Decker Buses Inc comprising JVL620H, MVL129P, DUP750S and VCA464W - there used to be five but FFR170S has been removed and its whereabouts is currently unknown.

Meanwhile in Toronto the two sightseeing tour operations (Bus & Boat and ShopDine Tours) have recently merged with all vehicles including the latter's LHT725P and HWJ928W being garaged at the former's yard.

1st November 2011 British Buses Abroad in North America A very unusual FLF is currently on eBay in the U.S.A. It is former Western National 2098 (BOD40C) which has been converted to Cummins N-series 270hp engine with 9-speed gearbox, engine break and is capable of 71mph! It was once owned by Wally Mellor who was famous for keeping a fleet of ex-London RTs running for Unitrans in Davis, California, but has been owned for several years by correspondent Vance Sprock in nearby Cupertino as a camper.
29th October 2011 Martin Roberts Martin reports that Express Motors continue to own United Counties 278 (TBD278G) and 284 (TBD284G) although after very many years of storage, much of it outdoors, they are both now in extremely poor condition. 284 is certainly beyond restoration, but 278 can still be saved.
28th October 2011 Paul Fuller I'm delighted to record here that early United Counties RELH dual purpose 252 (ABD252B) has been acquired by Dreadnought Coaches for renovation and further use in service. I can hardly wait to see this in their magnificent fleet livery!
22nd October 2011 Paul Forbes Action for Children in Carmarthen continue to operate former City of Oxford VR GUD751N as a playbus. It is now the back-up vehicle to a Leyland Olympian, but still sees regular use.
22nd October 2011 Ben Vallance Johnson of Hodthorpe VRs continue to find new owners. Three have left recently for lives with non-PCV operators around the UK and further information is eagerly awaited on PFE541V which is with Challenge for Change, Trafford Park as a playbus, LVL807V which has gone to Braemar in Scotland for conversion to a mobile restaurant and FDL679V which is for conversion to a mobile bread shop at an unknown location. It is believed that most of the remaining withdrawn VRs have been sold to Mike Daly of Warrington (dealer).
22nd October 2011 Andy Hill Mansfield District FLF6B 378RNN has been acquired from the National Presidential Wax Museum in Mount Rushmore by an owner in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada and has been driven the 1300-odd miles over a period of seven days. I'm not sure whether or not it retains its original Bristol BVW engine, but this is still a tremendous achievement for a 47-year-old bus!
22nd October 2011 Roger Moore/Buses magazine Hugh Lowe Farms in Kent have been hiring VRs from Chepstow Classic Buses for many years now, but it turns out another trio of VRs have also been in use with Vinson of Faversham for transporting seasonal workers. They are a pair from Western National (convertible VDV142S and AFJ770T) and Yorkshire Traction EDT916V.
18th October 2011 Glyn Jones Another Bristol for sale on eBay is former Crosville dual-purpose RELL YFM283L, now converted to a mobile home.
13th October 2011 Tadpoles road trip Following on from the entry for April 8th 2011, Tadpoles (aka PDL519) arrived in Venice on October 3rd and managed to find two of its former Top Deck stablemates at Fusina Camping in the form of Sniffer (GSG208D) and Narelle (MAH494E) living there. The latter has been converted for use as an internet cafe and is now called CyberBus. The former was renowned as a flyer with Top Deck and was fitted with a Gardner 6LXB engine and high speed diff. Sadly it appears to be off the road these days. Tadpoles has since made it to Asia, passing through Istanbul on October 7th and is now at Gallipoli.
13th October 2011 Various Flickr albums It has come to my attention while browsing that a very important - and now unique - RE coach has made its rally debut this year following extensive restoration work over a long period of time at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum. Eastern Scottish EWS168D was one of a batch of 33 identical Alexander-bodied RELH6G coaches (EWS162-94D) fitted with toilets for newly-introduced (in the 1960s) motorway services, especially the overnighters to London. There were a further 12 without toilets (EWS195-206D) presumably for shorter-distance interurban services. These coaches are often overlooked as they were soon overshadowed by the magnificent REMH6G coaches that followed them a couple of years later, so it is great to see one of them magnificently restored.
11th October 2011 Jason Rayner Stagecoach South still employ VR JWV251W as a tree lopper. It is currently being used in Winchester and has received a fresh coat of yellow paint since it was last reported back in 2009.
11th October 2011 Mike Nash One of the many RELLs new to Northern Irish operators Ulsterbus/Citybus that has been preserved on mainland Britain has recently made the journey back home. Mike has sold 2533 (AXI2533) to Stewart Graham of Enniskillen and it was shipped back to Ireland via Birkenhead on September 24th.
4th October 2011 Paul Harrison Paul found a very interesting link on Flickr to a photo of a former Eastern National coach FLF Lodekka in use as a fast food outlet in Charleroi, Belgium. Close examination shows this to be 185XNO which was exported there in 1977 and - as far as I can make out - has not been reported since.
2nd October 2011/updated 4th October Nigel Eadon-Clarke/Robert Hawken The last VR in a long line operated by Roselyn Coaches of Par arrived at Winkleigh today during their open day event, presumably for the Chepstow Classic fleet. It was on suspended tow so its future operation must be in doubt. Given that Roselyn had a long association with former Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell vehicles it is fitting that this last VR should be one of theirs, AJH854T. It is now thought that this VR was only at Winkleigh for attention on behalf of Roselyn Coaches, so it seems my report of the demise of the VR in this fleet may have been premature!
29th September 2011 Mark Bennett Mark was in Rapperswill, Switzerland last week where he came across Hants & Dorset FLF6G 1531 (EEL894C) looking immaculate at the local Railway Station obviously still very much in use with long-time Lodekka operator Londag of Basserdorf. I have also recently received a report from Morris Battig, the owner of Londonbus Holzigen, who has Crosville DFG235 (JFM235D) and Western National 2008 (813KDV), equally immaculate and both in regular use. He also mentioned another Crosville survivor; DFG156 (4226FM) is with Red Bull and is based just over the border in Austria;
26th September 2011 Bryan Sharpe Bryan has had HTU159N - last operated by Johnsons of Hodthorpe - reseated and repainted in NBC livery with Crosville fleetnames over the past year and it has now also passed its MOT which means it is all set to make its public debut on November 6th at the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society event.
21st September 2011 Stephen Hampson-Tindale Series 2 VR GNJ569N was used for many years as a non-PCV based in the UK by a couple of Kiwi chaps who took it all round Europe as a camper. When they returned to New Zealand they took the bus with them and it is now converted to an absolutely stunning party bus (complete with hot tub) and operated by TopBus in Auckland. It even carries the NZ registration TOPBUS!! A video of the conversion can be viewed here - it really is hard to remember that you are looking at the same vehicle which once plied the streets of Portsmouth for Southdown Motor Services!
21st September 2011 Lez Carter Lez had VR OWE857R shipped out to New Zealand in August 2010 for conversion to a camper under the name Hotel Splendid. Unfortunately bad timing saw Lez and his family emigrate to Australia earlier this year and so the VR is now for sale in New Zealand. The advert can be seen here and the handsome chap leaning against it with his green VR in the background is none other than your webmaster during its delivery run to Southampton Docks!
18th September 2011 Ben Vallance/Paul Whiteside Three further VRs are confirmed as having been withdrawn by Johnsons of Hodthorpe at the end of the Summer term (ODL663R, FDL677V and HWJ925W) leaving just eight licensed. The trickle of disposals continues with LVL807V noted today heading north on the M6 at Preston, destination unknown.
14th September 2011 Mark Bennett Mark came across a Lodekka languishing in a yard used by Simon Munden for his Bristol Bus & Coach dealership. I recognised it as a rare FL model and Allan Macfarlane confirms that it is 7682LJ, previously with Quantock Motor Services. It is to be fully renovated for export to a customer in Italy.
14th September 2011 Allan Macfarlane Former South Wales/Western National VR WTH946T has spent the last seven years in Sweden as a promotional vehicle. It has now been acquired by a chap called Johhny Svensson from Gothenburg who has returned it to Bristol Bus & Coach for refurbishment before return to Sweden for further use.
13th September 2011 Brian Watkinson Brian visited his VR, carrying the registration VVV948W, at its place of storage in France earlier this month where he confirmed that it is in fact former Cumberland FAO417V. The identity swap took place many years ago and the real VVV948W was scrapped. The reason why this was done is unknown but it certainly created some confusion when the VR was in the UK!
13th September 2011 Tim Weatherup Former Midland General FLF6B 631 (1392R) has been in use as a non-PCV first in the UK and more recently in Dublin for very many years. It has now turned up in Italy having been exported early in 2008.
13th September 2011 Mark Bennett Mark came across a VR on the outskirts of Malaga last week and managed to get a photo, but didn't find any identifying marks. Luckily the photo yielded enough clues (most significantly its intact centre door) to allow me to establish that it is former Bristol Omnibus 5148 (AHW199V). It has a current Spanish MOT and looks to be in good condition in its role as a mobile advertising unit.
9th September 2011 Bart Prins The latest VR to make its way to Holland and Bart's own fleet is former Yorkshire Traction/Johnsons-Redfern Series 2 HWE826N. It has enjoyed a brief spell in preservation with Wayne Snowden alongside MWG941X which is also currently for sale.
6th September 2011 Frank Sharkey A very rare movement these days is of ex-W.M.P.T.E. MCW-bodied Series 2 VR TOE427N which has been bought by Eastover School in Bridgwater for use as a teaching resource. It had latterly been with Time Out Together charity as a playbus.
2nd September 2011 Trevor & Susan Boakes Trevor & Susan have acquired Hess-bodied RELL AWG429 (ex-JW1916) from Bayline of Tauranga for conversion to a motor home. It is affectionately known as "Ole Yella" due to the yellow paint job applied by Bayline.
1st September 2011 Jake Bamford Another East Kent VR to join Jake's preservation fleet is former 7041 (MFN41R). It has been in use in Kent for many years as a crime prevention unit and it would have been a crime to see this rare highbridge VR going for scrap so much credit goes to Jake for saving it.
1st September 2011 Rienk Mebius Two Bristol Omnibus VRs alive and well in Holland are former 5108 (PHY702S) and 5131 (TWS912T) which have both been active with Toer Bus in Groningen in the last few weeks.
31st August 2011 Nigel Eadon-Clarke After many years unreported Nigel sent me photos of UWV611S in one of the sheds at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond during the recent open day. It was last owned by Stagecoach's Western Scottish company and still carries the same allover tartan livery and Stagecoach decals - obviously now considered preserved does anyone know whether it is now privately owned or remains in Stagecoach ownership?
29th August 2011 Peter Cook Damory Coaches have picked up a great many contracts in Dorset recently and amazing news is that two of the remaining VRs with Go Ahead Group have been drafted in to operate school services when the new term starts next week! GEL681V and GEL685V have both come from the Isle of Wight where they were enjoying semi retirement! GEL685V is still in Damory livery but GEL681V is allover blue and it will be interesting to see whether it gets a respray. I would also be pleased to receive confirmation of their allocated fleetnumbers.
26th August 2011 Don Roberts Former Christchurch RELLs continue to turn up converted to mobile homes in New Zealand. The lastest is former 594 (KB1875) which is with an unknown owner in Hamilton and retains the allover orange livery it carried with Nimbus of Napier for Tui Beer but now with the graphics removed.
25th August 2011 Tim Weatherup It was a sad day when coach-seated former Eastern National FLF6B RWC607 was exported to Germany having been painstakingly restored with parts that had been specially stowed away when these vehicles were downgraded to buses in the 1970s. Very good news though is that it is being well looked after and is currently in use as the "Londoner" (for once the title is actually applicable to a Lodekka!) with Hamburger Rundstadtfahrt.
23rd August 2011 Mark Golding Former West Yorkshire LD6B OWY428 has moved on from Connecticut to Buffalo in New York having been used for spares by Chris Greaves for use in the restoration of his KSW (FMO975). It has given up its AVW engine and transmission so is to serve the rest of its time as a static cafe.
22nd August 2011 Bristol Passenger magazine Bristol Omnibus FLF6B C7253 (FHW158D) has become a static exhibit sealed inside the "M Shed" at the Bristol Industrial Museum. It was last seen on the road at the Harbourside Rally in Bristol in May.
20th August 2011 Tim Weatherup Sadly missed former Bristol Omnibus 5033 (JHW107P) was lost to the preservation movement last year and exported to Poland. At least it has now turned up intact, photographed in Warsaw repainted in the inevitable "London" red livery (it last carried inauthentic but fun City of Gloucester blue livery applied by Chepstow Classic Bus and finished off by the Stroud RE Group!).
20th August 2011 Paul Harrison Two remarkable VR conversions to party buses have surfaced in Oklahoma City in the U.S.A. Both VRs were previously owned by British Bus Company in San Diego and were used on a contract for Rimmel Cosmetics in which they had their interiors converted into mobile make-up parlours. They have now received total refits as very high class party buses with leather seats, air conditioning and a host of other features to the order of Black Diamond Limousine Service of Oklahoma City. The red one is former Yorkshire Traction OWE853R (now called Roxanne) and the blue one is one-time Gloucester bus NHU672R. Both had a centre door when with Rimmel - of course NHU's is original, whilst OWE had a very good quality conversion job done. A flavour of the work involved can be seen in this YouTube video walkaround of "Lola". Roxanne is currently on eBay.
16th August 2011 Dr Mike Walker Having been sworn to secrecy since Mike told me about it in May, I am delighted to be able to report what must be the most surprising preservation news for some time! Mike has returned former Christchurch Transport Board RELL JD4954 from New Zealand after withdrawal by Bayline of Tauranga for preservation in the U.K. Some import problems were encountered, not least when VOSA declared the window glass not to be to EU standard which might have been a barrier to registration as the windscreens in particular were going to be very difficult to replace. However common sense eventually prevailed and the New Zealand markings were deemed to be satisfactory. The RE was finally licensed on August 11th with UK registration XOU396T (reflecting the build year of 1979) and made its debut to the surprise of many at Brislington on Sunday. Of course strictly speaking only the chassis has returned home as the Hess body was manufactured entirely in New Zealand, but it is great to see such an unexpected addition to the ranks of preserved REs.
16th August 2011 Paul Harrison Former Maidstone & District highbridge VR WKO128S has found yet another home in the U.S.A. having passed in the last year to CitySights Los Angeles having previously been converted to open-top by Vizit Tours which appears to have gone out of business.
13th August 2011 Philip Higgs Former Alder Valley VR CJH119V, later converted to open-top, has been prepared by BusWorks of Blackpool for its impending export to Budapest, Hungary where it will operate as the spare bus to three Leyland Olympians on a sightseeing service in that city. It has been fitted with an offside doorway for its new owner.
11th August 2011 David Rodgers David has just returned from Munich, Germany where he was surprised to come across former Eastern National 2751 (JWC711) running sightseeing tours of the city. I'm off to Frankfurt with the family this weekend - what odds we come across a Lodekka?
10th August 2011 YouTube A series of videos have been posted to YouTube giving an interesting and detailed description of former Trent 831 (WRC831T) which is currently for sale in the USA. The commentary provides a surprisingly well informed insight into the operation and features of the vehicle:
Exterior Walkaround
Cab Details
Interior Walkthrough
Operational Overview
Gardner Engine
10th August 2011 Stephen Raine Six years after last being sold on eBay (since when it has gone unreported) former Burnley & Pendle 172 (FFR172S) has resurfaced on eBay again. It has apparently been in use as a commentary box for horse shows in Buckinghamshire in the meantime and still sports what must be the largest rear-end appendage ever fitted to a VR! It is the last remaining new to Burnley VR in the UK and appears to still be in running order from the YouTube video link related to this sale.
9th August 2011 Mike Nash Very good news is the acquisition from the estate of the late Nigel Adams by Mike of early United Counties RELH 252 (ABD252B). It arrived at Mike's yard on suspended tow a couple of weeks ago and is going to need some considerably TLC in the coming months.
9th August 2011 Mike Nash Contrasting news of a pair ECW LHs with very different histories. Mark Jenkins of Faversham acquired former Bristol Omnibus 358 (JHW118P) for preservation way back in 2002, but this news has only just now been reported. Mark also had KPB881P, new to Blue Saloon of Guildford, but this has now been broken for spares to repair JHW as that one was in immeasurably better condition. All that remains of the latter now is its front cowl, retained for posterity.
9th August 2011 Robin Harrison The TDL-K batch of REs new to Southern Vectis celebrated their 40th birthday last month with a special "Round the Island" event operated by TDL563K. Photos from the day can be viewed here. TDL564K was unable to attend on the day but is also well cared for. TDL566K has changed hands recently and is now with Gareth Blair of PB Bus at Eastleigh while long-term derelict TDL567K was also moved last year to a new home in Lincolnshire.
8th August 2011 Various Further to the entry of 18th July 2011 I can now confirm that the identity of the VR registered IUI5036 and being rallied by the Southdown Preservation Group this summer is indeed JWV266W and not JWV256W as had been thought during its time with Pike of Andover. It is good to see this one emerge into the ranks of preserved VRs.
7th August 2011 Norman Kemp Hugh Lowe Farms of Mereworth in Kent have no fewer than five VRs in use this summer for transporting fruit pickers to the fields. They are all on hire from Chepstow Classic Buses and comprise former United Counties OVV849R and VVV966W, Eastern National STW32W, AERE XAN48T and Alexander-bodied former Cardiff WTG359T.
7th August 2011 David Banks Former Western National 1215 (LFJ862W), latterly with James Pratt for preservation, has re-entered passenger carrying service with Rail-River Link in Dartmouth. It retains NBC red livery with Devon General fleetnames but has had Rail-River Link fleetnames added as well as carrying fleetnumber 4 and the name "Dorothy Grace". The company is very pleased with their purchase and plan to perform a full restoration of the chassis as well as a retrim in the original NBC autumn gold moquette. If anyone out there is interested in joining them in a bulk order for this material please let me know and I'll put you in touch.
6th August 2011 Paul Harrison Paul is spending his time working in America wisely, chasing down Bristol vehicles. Today he visited East Michigan to catch up with a pair of Lodekkas which have gone unrecorded for more than a decade. They are ex-Bristol Omnibus 807SHW and ex-Central SMT FGM320D which are both now non-runners and reside in a yard in the town of Au Gres. They are owned by Corby Hicks who has plans to restore 807SHW to running order for use as a mobile home.
4th August 2011 Paul Bateson/Stephen Raine A couple of FLFs have recently been confirmed in Canada. Ex-Bristol Omnibus JAE630D is still in the same place as a cafe in Englishtown, Nova Scotia, although since Stephen visited it last year it has gained a new awning/shelter attachment to protect its customers. Meanwhile Eastern National MVX881C has moved within Ontario to a new owner in Leamington where it is being renovated for continued use as a mobile fish and chip shop.
24th July 2011 Jon Pratt Jon has expended his Crosville Motor Services fleet yet further with the acquisition of former Southern Vectis FS6G YDL318. At this rate he might end up with the largest operational fleet of Lodekkas anywhere - I believe that Dreadnought Coaches enjoy that accolade at the moment, although there may just be another fleet somewhere overseas that I don't know about....?
19th July 2011 (updated 21st July) Steve Simister/Julian Patterson Stagecoach East continue to operate former Eastern Counties Lodekkas FLF452 (JAH552D) and FLF453 (JAH553D) on heritage and private hire use. However, FLF452 (the open-topper) has recently suffered a major and expensive failure which *may* see its withdrawal. We hope this is not the case, but either way the pair has seen an incredible 45 years with what is essentially still its original owners (they arrived with Stagecoach via Cambus). Good news is that the engine on FLF452 is set to be repaired for a return to service. Massive respect to Stagecoach for recognising
18th July 2011 John Haines John reports that Quantock Motor Services have sold the last of their trio of ex-Southern Vectis open-top LDs. MDL952 has apparently gone overseas but as yet there is no report as to its destination.
18th July 2011 Jason Rayner Former Pike of Smannell VR IUI5036 was present at the Alton Rally on Sunday. It is with Chris Pearce (Southdown Historic Vehicles) ostensibly for use for spares. Jason had the chance to inspect the vehicle closely and noted that it carries fleetnumber 7366 inside which makes it JWV266W. This is confusing because IUI5036 had previously been reported as JWV256W (with 266W being IUI5035). Can anyone shed any light on these reregistrations please? Photos of both VRs when with Stagecoach South would be very useful for comparison purposes.
18th July 2011 Arthur & Lisa Sharp Arthur and Lisa have acquired NCD563M from Dave Mulpeter (who did not use it for his Seaford & District operation). They plan to use it for travelling with the family and then probably to rally it when that use has finished.
17th July 2011 Fred McKale Former Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset GEL682V has passed from dealer Carl Ireland to Dan Kane of Newcastle-upon-Tyne for non-PCV to promote his print business. It has just passed its Class VI MoT and is to be kept in mostly original condition whilst out and about in Tyne & Wear.
17th July 2011 South West VR News Mortons Travel of Basingstoke has repainted recently acquired UWV623S in NBC green livery with a large white area, as applied by Southdown in the 1970s. It made its debut today at the Alton Bus Rally.
10th July 2011 Bristol VR Yahoo Group The very last VR in Arriva ownership has been quietly sold by Arriva Cymru to an unknown preservationist in Chester. YMB512W left Rhyl this week having been replaced just a few months after being fitted with an expensive electronic display unit. It lasted a magnificent 30 years with Crosville and its successors.
10th July 2011 Mark Hayward It is always good to report a Leyland-engined VR entering preservation. Mark has acquired TWN933S from local firm Greens Motors in Haverfordwest who had owned it for more than 21 years and used it as an exhibition unit. It currently has no seats and Mark's family would like him to convert it for use as a camper (which might still happen) but his long-term plan is to return it to original condition and a repaint in red livery is already under way.
9th July 2011 Mike Nash News of the fate of the LHs on Malta continues to filter out as the incoming Arriva regime struggles to get to grips with its new service network. Three LHs are known to have passed to Heritage Malta, nominally for preservation, but with over 70 vehicles going the same way there must be some doubt as to whether they will do anything more than just sit in storage. The fact that they appear to have been saved is however to be applauded. Two of the three are former Hants & Dorset examples which retain reasonably original ECW bodies in the form of NLJ523M (Maltese registration DBY422) and GLJ485N (FBY714) while the third is more unusual Plaxton-bodied RDE298S (EBY611).

In addition to the pair of ECW LHs mentioned on 28th June, it is also confirmed that a third - OCA630P (DBY303) - has also been comprehensively destroyed during the filming of the movie World War Z. Finally, news of two more is that OCA626P (EBY520) is to be converted for use as a mobile home, while a big surprise is that Gozo-based GLJ482N (FBY035) has been acquired by Peppin Garage on Malta for repaint into their silver livery and potential use on unscheduled service!

4th July 2011 Jon Pratt Jon has added another vehicle to his private hire fleet, trading as Crosville Motor Services in the form of ex-Hants & Dorset Lodekka FLF6G DEL893C.
2nd July 2011 James Pratt In a surprising twist to the news reported on 18th June, LFJ862W has been sold on by Mortons Travel to River Link of Dartmouth to join their other VRs as wet-weather cover for the open-toppers.
28th June 2011 Chris Tunstall The Merseyside Transport Trust have made an unusual - but highly appropriate - acquisition in the form of extra-short dual-purpose LHS6L MUA45P. New to West Yorkshire P.T.E. it was one of five operated by Merseyside P.T.E. from 1980 to 1984. There is an interesting piece on this batch of small buses here.
28th June 2011 David Smith There is now less than a week to go for the surviving LHs (and other traditional vehicles) on Malta, but two have already been sold and prepared for their new - sadly short-lived - use on the island. NFJ596M (Maltese registration DBY360) and OCA635P (EBY592) have both been prepared for their role in the Brad Pitt "Zombie" movie "World War Z" during which it is expected that both will be destroyed.
27th June 2011 John Cierach There is a new addition to the ranks of places to eat out in Deptford in South East London - The Big Red Pizzeria is none other than former Yorkshire Traction/East Yorkshire LAK937W which has been converted for use as a pizza restaurant by John. We wish him well.
27th June 2011 Robin Harrison/Alistair Friar The restorations of two further VRs are nearing completion with Bristol Omnibus 5150 (AHW201V) which has received NBC green livery but with a white base for a Unibus-style advert which is to be applied soon, whilst East Yorkshire 526 (WKH526X) has emerged into the sunlight after two years of hard work in a new coat of NBC red livery.
24th June 2011 Avery Howell Avery has owned little LHS6L FDV788V for seven years and has been working towards getting it ready for further use as a mobile home. It is now nearing completion and he plans to take it to Portugal in celebration!
22nd June 2011 Andy Pratt Every now and again a vehicle gets away that you wish had been preserved, or in this case had stayed in preservation. Back in 1995 former Bath Electric Traction FSF6G 6041 (806MHW) was sold by its private owner to a dealer who found a ready buyer in Crotia. Nothing further was heard of it until yesterday when Andy sent me this link to the Varazdin Bus Company in North West Croatia. Apart from the offside doorway it is very pleasing to note that 6041 looks remarkably original and in great shape.
19th June 2011 Allan Macfarlane One of the most bizarre disposals for some time is of former United Counties VR 842 (OBD842P) to Kingdom Brewery of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Not only the destination for this VR is bizarre - it has a quite unique history during its time in the UK. Firstly it gained the identity for many years of another VR - DWF195V - except that it was fooling nobody because it is actually ten inches shorter than the highbridge version it was masquerading as. Then, as if that wasn't enough, it was the subject of a pilot conversion to left hand drive in which condition it sat at Simon Munden's yard for more than a decade before finally losing its roof for its new life in Asia!
18th June 2011 John Underhill Leyland-engined VR GTX750W made it all the way to Le Mans again this year for the 24-hour motor race. It has been there for the past three years, having been converted to open-top for this purpose.
18th June 2011 James Pratt After more than eight years of tending for former Western National 1215 (LFJ862W) James has now passed it on to pastures new at Mortons Travel of Basingstoke.
16th June 2011 Dave Morton Alive and well in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada is former Western National FLF6B 2044 (ATA125B) which is in use as a coffee retail outlet. Lucky for Dave he can just pop down the road for a coffee served in a Bristol whenever he wants! It has travelled a long way from its last owner in Minnesota where it was last seen for sale on eBay in September 2009.
15th June 2011 Jon Pratt Hot on the heels of Seaford & District is another new heritage operator to have completed a thorough VR restoration. This time it is Jon whose Weston-super-Mare based operation is using a very familiar fleetname, if in a rather different geographical location to the original. Jon's Crosville Motor Services has just unveiled open-top LEU263P in NBC green livery with Bristol scroll fleetnames, and wonderful it looks too! Not content with this, former Hants & Dorset LD SRU981 has now entered the workshops for a full overhaul.
9th June 2011 Dave Mulpeter Welcome news is that the renovation of open-top VR HKE690L is nearing completion with its emergence from the paint shop this week in Dave's new Seaford & District fleet livery. It is due to enter service with its first private hire later this month.
9th June 2011 Rob Hardy News from Hull Bus Restorers is of one VR sold - VPF288S to Carl Ireland (for likely export), one VR acquired - VDV136S (former East Yorkshire tree lopper for spares) and one VR nearing full restoration - WKH526X.
9th June 2011 Conny Ribič The long run-down of the Johnsons of Hodthorpe fleet of VRs continues. Conny has contacted me to say she has acquired former Southern Vectis example FDL680V for her Restaurant Via Mala in Maribor, second city of Slovenia. Its intended use is currently unknown.
7th June 2011 John Wilcox Wonderful to record is that John has completed the long restoration of rare Marshall-bodied Southdown RESL 490 (TCD490J) which made its rally debut this weekend at Clacton. It was a remarkable survivor in service, running for Blue Lake of Chichester as late as 1999.
30th May 2011 Richard Field First's very last VR, open-top MOD571P, duly entered service on the newly-introduced Swansea - Limeslade summer service yesterday and Richard was the first to send a photo which is now posted to the First Cymru Buses page. Naturally the commencement of the service has co-incided with the heaviest rainfall of the summer so far!
27th May 2011 Chris Vasey/Peter Bates Two former Southdown VRs on the move recently, both apparently remaining in revenue-earning service are UWV623S which has been snapped up from Coastal and Country of Whitby by Mortons Coaches of Basingstoke and JWV272W which has passed out of preservation to Nostalgia Coaches of Kingston Bagpuize under the fleetname School Bus Company.
26th May 2011 Dave Clements I was absolutely delighted to meet Dave at the Bristol Harbourside rally last Sunday where I took a good look at his beautifully restored ultra-lowheight coach-seated City of Oxford VR NUD105L. This is the only restored example of its type and is great to see it back on the road.
24th May 2011 Ian Fuller Ian noted former West Yorkshire VR WWY121S, for very many years an exhibition unit in Stockton-on-Tees, travelling westbound on the M3 near Hook today. Its destination is unknown, but there must be a good chance that it has been sold abroad and was on its way to a south coast dockyard. Reports are extremely welcome!
17th May 2011 John Lidstone With just a few weeks to go before the huge variety of ex-UK buses (including a significant number of LHs) on Malta is due to be swept away by a sea of new Chinese-built King Longs there have been a number of regrettable accidents in recent months. Sadly today it was the turn of unique Plaxton-bodied, DAF-engined LH coach WJN22S which appears to have hit several cars before crashing into a large wall on the island of Gozo. Damage is severe and it would seem very likely that this is the end for this particular vehicle.
15th May 2011 Sean Keating An ex-Southern Vectis Lodekka FLF6G to appear on eBay is 603 (BDL579B) which has had a very comprehensive conversion in Michigan, U.S.A. as a mobile restaurant - a fact which is reflected in the asking price of $135,000!
13th May 2011 John Cherry After 15 years as a playbus in Ellesmere Port former Ribble 1442 (LHG442T) was, sadly, sold for scrap to an unknown dealer last week.
10th May 2011 Andy Colley A new addition to the ranks of restored REs is the unique surviving Alexander-bodied RELL UVL873M which was new to Lincoln City Transport. A huge amount of work has been done to the bus and it has been repainted into Lincoln Co-Op livery as main sponsors of the restoration.
8th May 2011 Don Roberts Another former Christchurch RELL to turn up as a mobile home is 603 (JP5905). This is no ordinary conversion however - its Hess body has been fitted with bonded glazing, the Leyland 501 engine has been replaced by an 11 litre Isuzu engine and it has every conceivable mod con, even down to the retractable BBQ unit! Little wonder then that it was for sale recently with a price tag of NZ$125,000.
5th May 2011 John Stewart Yet another ex-Cumberland ultra-lowheight VR has turned up in Holland. This time it is former 421 (FAO421V) which is with Texel Tours in Oudeschild and appears to be in fine fettle.
27th April 2011 Karl Wenn Karl is very pleased to report that former Western National FLF6B 2034 (414PTA) ran under its own power for the first time in many years this week. You can watch footage of the special event on YouTube in which the Bristol BVW engine sounds fantastic!
27th April 2011 Paul Gheorghiu Paul stumbled across former West Riding/Marchant VR RUA457W in his home city of Targu Mares in Romania yesterday. It has been fitted with the ugliest front door from a house imaginable and is presumably to be used for some form of habitation.
26th April 2011 Rich Belton/Andy Colley A very welcome to the ranks of restored VRs is early Lincolnshire flat-front 1904 (JVL619H) which has had a tremendous amount of attention lavished on it by Rich over a number of years. It made its rally debut in Tilling green livery on Sunday at the LVVS open day.
26th April 2011 Ralph O'Hara Ralph has just bought an ex-Christchurch RELL6L, former 539 (JI9338), for use as a static home while building work progresses on his house. He also points out that 560 (JM1976) is currently for sale on TradeMe after several years in use as a party bus.
25th April 2011 Mark Howarth Western Greyhound have taken a third heritage VR under their wing in the shape of ex-Western National 1145 (AFJ747T) which saw an incredible 27 years of front-line service with the company in its various guises, finally being withdrawn in October 2006 by First Devon & Cornwall. It retains its final livery (blue and white with a red stripe) but will soon be returned to the only colour it really feels at home in..... green!!
25th April 2011 Leo Roberts/Adrian Brown Former Hants & Dorset/Southern Vectis VDL613S (originally UFX855S) made a welcome reappearance yesterday at the running day at Kirkby Stephen. It had disappeared after being sold to an owner in Hexham in 2008 but is now owned by Malcolm Hodgson of Appleby (who also owns RESL THU354G). It is in a pseudo Cumberland Tilling livery and carries some posters for a Carlisle City Tour, although it is not known whether it has operated (or is to operate) on such a service. This VR was one of a batch of convertible open-toppers, but was rebuilt late in its career with Southern Vectis as a permanent open-topper with the first two bays intact.
20th April 2011 DVLA During the course of my research I often use the Vehicle Enquiry feature on the DVLA website. It lists a number of items of use - for example the last registered date can be useful for establishing when a bus was withdrawn or scrapped (although care must be taken as once a SORN expires it looks no different to when a road fund licence expires). Another useful item is the Export marker - although often an exported vehicle will not have this set, but sometimes a vehicle believed scrapped turns out to have been exported after all. This is the case with UAR587W which I have just discovered shows it was exported after withdrawal by First Cymru in 2000 - the only question to be answered is.... where to? If anyone is interested in running registrations through the DVLA website for me to extract the data for use on this website please contact me and I will tell you more about how to do it and what I need.
19th April 2011 Jason Lamb The first LHS new to London Country, BN1 (RPH101L) is nearing completion in readiness for the third phase of its long and active career! After finishing with LCBS it was converted for use as a transporter with a ramp fitted at the rear. It was purchased on eBay by Jason and his wife last September and after seven months of hard graft they have nearly finished another conversion, this time for use as a mobile home. It is due to be painted later this month.
16th April 2011 From the Internet One of the very few surviving West Midlands P.T.E. MCW-bodied VRs was repainted last year for continued use as an exhibition unit in Somerset. JOV718P was converted some 18 years ago and looks to be in good condition from the photo here.
15th April 2011 Jason Rayner/Allan Macfarlane A VR to slip through the preservation net is former Southern Vectis 685 (DPX685W) which is currently at Simon Munden's yard in Bristol for onward transit to Italy (a popular destination for VRs currently).
10th April 2011 Anthony Powell Anthony reports that there are plans to operate First's very last VR (MOD571P) this summer on a service between Swansea and the Gower Coast - if this comes to pass then I know where I'll be taking the family for a day out this year!
10th April 2011 Nigel Eadon-Clarke/Stephen Raine Good news is the return of Maidstone & District 5832 (BKE832T) to the ranks of NBC-liveried VRs. It debuted at the Dunsfold rally yesterday. Partially repainted (last summer, but I have only just caught up) is Southdown 651 (AAP651T) which has received an imaginative Unibus-style advertising scheme for Evoke Radio on its yellow Alpine livery.
8th April 2011 Trevor Carroll Top Deck still own one "Deckerhome" Lodekka conversion - "Tadpoles" PDL519 - and it is off today on a training tour of Europe in preparation for a recreation of the ultimate Overland Tour from London to Kathmandu later this year. That's a long way for any 53-year-old! Follow it on Trevor's Blog.
8th April 2011 David Huddlestone The last VR owned by Rallybeam to be traced to new owners is ONH928V, new to United Counties, which has been with David Huddlestone for the last ten months. He has now sold it to a gentleman in Italy, situated near Venice, and is leaving to drive it all the way there from Essex later this month.
4th April 2011 ***Updated 8th April*** Dave Spencer/Albert Masip/Julian Patterson Three VRs in Barcelona previously run by Publicidad RG as mobile exhibition/advertising units have been discovered by Albert. Two are in poor condition, while the third is fairly complete and is a gem - former Hants & Dorset coach-seated Leyland O501-engined 3346 (NEL120P), although sadly the coach seats have now been removed. One of the others is confirmed as former City of Oxford OUD436M while the other is believed to be OFA646P (quite a co-incidence given the news item directly below) although this is still to be confirmed. Well, it turns out that I made a pigs ear out of identifying two of these VRs! The VR that is relatively complete is in fact former Eastern Counties/Circle Line HAH237V while the other one in poor condition is the real NEL120P. However, the third VR is definitely OUD436M. The confusion came from the fact that these VRs carry incorrect registration plates inside the bus at the foot of the stairs, presumably designed purely to confuse UK enthusiasts!
4th April 2011 Gareth Crowther Sensational news is that Hampshire Bus-liveried Series 2 VR GLJ467N was spotted on the road today after many many years in storage. It is currently owned by Black & White Motorways of Winchester but was made famous during 1990s as the operational vehicle of the Bristol VR Enthusiasts Society, pioneers of the preserved. It was new to Hants & Dorset as their 3315.
4th April 2011 Andy Saunders Former United Auto VR 685 (SUP685R) is currently sitting in a field off the A12 at Carlton, near Saxmundham, Suffolk slowly sinking in the mud as a farm store. It is still in Hedingham & District livery, having carried this livery throughout its time with Rallybeam.
4th April 2011 Phil Logie I am delighted that, with a little help from this website in tracking it down in 2009, Lodekka FLF6G L263 (THN263F) looks set to return to the UK from Belgium in May with the North East Bus Preservation Trust. If the rescue is successful then it will become the only surviving example of a United Automobile Lodekka in the UK.
3rd April 2011 Paul Pearson Having failed to find a buyer on eBay and with the relatively high price of scrap at the moment, former Potteries VR 647 (OFA647P) has sadly been sold for breaking.
24th March 2011 Peter Coney An unusual item for the British Airways staff magazine this month comes in the form of a photo of former Bristol Omnibus 7258 (FHY128D) in Gothenberg, Sweden alongside a tram from that city.
24th March 2011 Mark Golding Almost unbelievably within three days of OWY427 reappearing (see 22nd March), sister Keighley-West Yorkshire Lodekka KDX40 (OWY428) has also turned up in the U.S.A. having been unreported since export there in 1973!! This time it has been acquired by members of the British Bus Club - sadly it is in very poor condition, but parts from it will be used to keep a number of other Lodekkas on the road.
22nd March 2011 **See update on 22nd January 2012** Malcolm Pelling Having been tipped off by Malcolm about a Lodekka in a YouTube clip from a junkyard in New Jersey, U.S.A., a collaborative effort has managed to identify it as former Keighley-West Yorkshire KDX39 (OWY427). Watch the clip here - the Lodekka appears around the 5:00 mark.
22nd March 2011 Paul Bateson A Lodekka on the move is Western National 1950 (502BTA) which has spent at least 20 years as an "eye catcher" outside a motor speedway in North Carolina, U.S.A. and which is now to be driven to its new home in Mexico City where it is to be used to publicise an English School. The full story can be read here.
21st March 2011 UK Bus Fleetnews Yahoo Group Former Bristol Omnibus 5115 (RHT509S) was reported to be in the yard of Countryliner in Guildford today in an allover red livery. It is not known who owns the vehicle, or its current mechanical status, but if anyone is looking for a Bristol Omnibus VR the opportunities are becoming rarer all the time. I believe the depot to be located on the appropriately-named Slyfield Industrial Estate in case anyone local is able to find out any more.
10th March 2011 Steve White Several Lodekkas are currently for sale in Germany. First up is former Western National and Top Deck "Rox" LD6B UOD503 here. The next is a beauty - former Eastern Counties FLF359 (ONG359F) which has not been reported in the 27 years since it was exported to Austria in 1984. Its advert can be seen here. Next up is Eastern National 2812 (GNO788B) which was a relatively late export (in 1997) for sale here. Finally a rather better known FLF in the shape of 818SHW which has been active with Lobus in Boblingen, advertised here.
27th February 2011 Andy Colley In what could be a trendsetting move, well-known Lincolnshire-based preservationist Mike Gallagher has repatriated a former Road Car FLF - 2715 (CFE231C) - from Holland. It arrived safely back in the UK through Hull Docks this morning.
26th February 2011 Mark Golding Through his British Bus Club, Mark continues to unearth Lodekkas around North America and beyond. This month however he has surpassed himself with the discovery of no fewer than five long-lost examples!
First up is an ex-Crosville FLF with a new owner in Spain. It is SFM260F which was recently acquired by Carlos Hernandez of Zamora and is the only surviving semi-automatic FLF left in Europe originating with that operator.
Next is a consecutive pair of Eastern Scottish LDs which have been "missing in action" since 1988. They actually remain with the same owner, Tom Fuller of San Antonio, Texas in the U.S.A. They are AA742 (SWS742) and AA743 (SWS743) and sadly look like they haven't turned a wheel in a good many years.
Tom Fuller also owns another Lodekka which has gone many years unreported in the shape of former Bristol Omnibus G7231 (EHT853C) It is also derelict having sat in the same place for a long time with several broken windows. Although not shown in the photo I understand that this one carries the front cowl from Crosville GFM203C. Apparently all of Fuller's Lodekkas are now for sale - enquiries through Mark at the British Bus Club
Finally another FLF, this time in Canada on Vancouver Island, former Hants & Dorset 1554 (HRU679E) which had been converted to a mobile fish and chip shop many years ago. It is based in the town of Comox and also appears not to have moved for some time.
24th February 2011 Paul Talbot BusWorks in Blackpool performed a unique conversion on former London Transport LH OJD91R during 2010 to create the only open-top LH. It was intended for Island Rover on the Scilly Isles, but that sale fell through and it is now due to enter service on another island, for Jersey Bus Tours. The vehicle was badly vandalised on arrival on Jersey but Paul has now repaired the damage and all he needs now is a set of blinds front and rear - do please let him know if you can help.
22nd February 2011 Mark Lyons/Keith Thompson I have made three corrections to the website today, both involving Hants & Dorset Lodekkas. Firstly the FS for sale in Holland with Streamline has been identified as 683AAM and not 691AAM as previously thought. It is believed that 691AAM remains with Piet Verbeek, also in Holland. In addition it has been confirmed that LLJ440F does indeed survive in the U.S.A., believed to be somewhere in Ohio. It was previously believed that this had been decapitated in a low bridge accident with Boston Double Deckers in 1988 but photographic evidence has now shown that vehicle to have been KRU237F - which creates another problem, because it had been believed this was at the Freestyle Music Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (photo here) but in fact this is an as-yet unidentified former Midland General or Mansfield District FLF which happens to be carrying the front cowl from FS ABD661B. Phew! My brain hurts after all of that!
20th February 2011 Martin Curtis Martin & Tom Curtis have secured an excellent VR for preservation. It is former Bristol Omnibus 5150 (AHW201V) which has spent the last decade with Chepstow Classic and is a rare survivor to retain its dual-door configuration.
20th February 2011 Tom James Tom reports the welcome news that another LHS coach has joined his York Pullman fleet. Duple-bodied 976YTD (ex-CNK633T) should look good alongside Plaxton-bodied PHL454R.
13th February 2011 Martin Perry Martin continues to winkle out RELLs in New Zealand that have been converted to campers. His latest is a gem in the form of numerically the last ECW kit body shipped to Christchurch as their 483 (HH9905). It was reregistered RO1955 at some point and is now in use as a static home at Waimate.
10th February 2011 Tim Weatherup A new operation in Los Angeles that is competing with Star Line is Vizit Tours who have two VRs of their own. One is unmistakeable highbridge WKO128S, now converted to open-top, while the other is as-yet unidentified in a vivid yellow livery.
9th February 2011 Viv Carter Another very welcome addition to the ranks of preserved VRs is former Eastern Counties open-topper JNG50N which has been acquired by Viv for renovation and eventual use by his operation both on open-top service and also as a recovery vehicle (for which purpose it was converted when with Eastern Counties).
9th February 2011 Jon Pratt I'm pleased to report that former Bristol Omnibus C5055/8622 (LEU263P) has joined Jon's stable in Weston-super-Mare and is hoped to be reunited with the seafront before too long!
8th February 2011 Glenn Knight Former Yorkshire Traction VR 937 (LAK937W) has been sitting dumped outside a pub in Deptford for a large part of the last decade but has recently seen a repaint and is apparently undergoing conversion to some form of cafe/restaurant. Glenn has promised to return to the VR to find out more about its intended future use.
5th February 2011 Nick Doolan/Ben Vallance A big surprise is the sale of early Series 3 VR ex-Yorkshire Traction KKY835P from Johnson of Hodthorpe to Marshall of Leighton Buzzard where it is already in use on schools services. This was one of the VRs that received a total refurbishment in 2007 and its sale indicates that the days of the VR with Johnsons is well and truly numbered. I have taken the opportunity to update my list of Current VRs showing that the number currently licensed for service in the UK is at an all-time low of just 51.
5th February 2011 Dave Morse Dave owns former Crosville FS6G DFG236 (JFM236D). Don't worry about the apparently perilous condition of the bus in the photo - having been former chief mechanic with Top Deck Travel, Dave is very well versed with taking Lodekkas apart and rebuilding them, and the FS is undergoing a thorough restoration. He took the bus out to Brisbane, Australia when he returned there in 1991. He originally bought Cumberland 554 (113DRM) with the same intention, but this was regrettably destroyed in the fire at the Top Deck garage at Horsell Common in March 1990. 
1st February 2011 Tim Weatherup Unfortunately former Crosville LD6G 836AFM - which has been in Melbourne, Australia since 1972 - was involved in an accident last week which saw four passengers hospitalised. The news report video can be seen here. Damage looks to be minor and hopefully it will be back on the road soon and not attempting too many steep hills in future!
1st February 2011 Alan Moore Alan has provided a wealth of very welcome information about VRs in Holland and Belgium. Firstly he came across FKM878V in 2008 having been converted to a very high standard as an exhibition unit. Then in June 2010 he visited Bus Prophils in Belgium where he discovered no fewer than six VRs in the shape of PWY38W, PAG514W, OUD484T, KRU838W, SGR797V and DNG232T. Finally he visited Bart Prins in Opijnen, Holland where he found KRM437W in the workshops.
29th January 2011 (Updated 1st February) Andrew Cameron's Flickr site/Daniel Stazicker Andrew's visit to the Barnsley scrapyards yesterday yielded three VRs - sadly United Counties 878 (XNV878S) is past saving, but former Bristol Omnibus G5091 (NWS288R) is intact and really does need to be saved (call 01226 725702). Also present was Alexander-bodied WTG367T. XNV878S is confirmed as being broken in Trevor Wigley's yard.
28th January 2011 Tim Weatherup/Alan Walker Another formerly preserved VR has left the UK, this time Bristol Omnibus 5033 (JHW107P) which has been to a firm in Warsaw, Poland that supplies unusual vehicles for hire. VDV143S has also gone overseas having recently been in the fleet of Chepstow Classic Buses, but is now based in Spain. Better news is that open-top LEU263P (returned to Bristol from Guernsey last summer by Simon Munden) has gone for preservation to Roger Smith of Glastonbury.
21st January 2011 Scott Todd-Howard/Melvyl Williams Mel reports that former Lincolnshire Road Car VR SVL176W was broken up at Sims Metal, Camborne yesterday. He managed to salvage the only remaining useful parts - the wheels and tyres!
20th January 2011 Anthony Brewer Numerically the last VR delivered to Cardiff City Transport Services, 397 (CTX397V) has been confirmed as still being in use for internal transport by the Cotswold Gliding Club at Aston Down Airfield. Rather interestingly, especially to potential preservationists, Anthony points out that 397 is most likely the last mobile VR anywhere with a Maxwell gearbox. Apparently some 30-40 of Cardiff's fleet of 71 Alexander-bodied VRs were so converted, but all but a handful were converted back to normal semi-automatic control when Maxwell spares became a problem.
19th January 2011 Jeremy Pate Former Trent VR WRC831S is alive and well in Dothan, Alabama. Its previous owner had sadly died a couple of years ago and it was acquired by Jeremy who spent most of 2010 restoring it. The bus is currently for sale and a brochure for the sale can be seen here.
12th January 2011 Peter Bates Very occasionally a Lodekka turns up that I knew nothing at all about. It is perhaps not surprising that it has kept a low profile, given that it was exported in 1977 and appears to have remained in the same place - Luxembourg - ever since. It is former Bristol Omnibus C7139 (832SHW) and is a welcome addition to the survivors listed on this website.
10th January 2011 Erin Sutherland I reported on August 15th last year that Erin had acquired former Crosville EFM634C and was transforming it into a boutique dress shop in Portland, Oregon - well she completed the job in double-quick time and is already open for business - causing quite a splash in the local press.
4th January 2011 Tom Bond/Meleri Ennis As one VR enters preservation another bites the dust! Good news is that MEL560P found a buyer on eBay and has found a new home in Pembrokeshire. Apparently it covered the 200 mile journey from Northampton with no problems and "drove beautifully". On the other hand WPW202S, which has sat idle outside for many years, has been bought by Foundry Coaches and is to be broken for spares, some for use on their LFS296F and others for sale to whomever might find them useful.

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