Latest Omnibus Society News

February 2017

The Great Manawatu Steam Fair is coming up on March 18-19 and we are planning to take a bus up to Fielding on the Saturday. We intend on taking Wellington Leyland Leopard 401 for the day and cost will be $50 including entry to the fair. For more information take a look at Steam Traction Society Booking required, so please contact obnz@paradise.net.nz Note that there is no Eftpos on site, so bring cash or a picnic.
Our Tuesday work parties are continuing and all are welcome to come and join in. It can also be possible to view at other times if you get in touch.

401 back in its service days - Trevor Jones photo


September 2016

The Omnibus Society has now established our base of operations for bus preservation and restoration in Gracefield, Wellington. With most unpacking of spare parts completed we will be holding open days over Labour Weekend. We will have a number of buses on site, as well as access to view our current restoration projects, spare parts inventory and library. There will be bus tours on Sunday, with destinations including the Pahiatua Railcar Society, an off site storage location including what may be NZ's oldest NZ new Mack, as well as Bedford and Leyland buses. The trip may include the Foxton Trolley Bus Museum, but will be confirmed closer to the time. Booking required, so please contact obnz@paradise.net.nz

May 2016

In October 2012 Wellington trolley bus 82 started a long trip back to England, where it was originaly built and tested. The exterior and interior restoration has now been completed at outside contractors. It has now been moved onsite at Sandtoft where the focus moves onto electrical work with the aim of public debut on 11th June. To see the progress, take a look at our Facebook page.

April 2016

Work is continuing at our Gracefield site with regular work parties on Tuesdays. The recent focus has been on organising the space and putting away numerous spare parts, manuals and other historical material. Today's work party saw 7 members on site with work including shelving of material from Marcus Lang's bequest to the society of photos, clippings and timetables. Anyone wanting to join in the work, or just meet with members and see the collection on site is welcome.

Work has progressed at Foxton and there is now a Facebook group to get updates on activities there. Wellington Volvo 268 was able to complete a few laps under the wires and Ansaldo 134 (half the Volvo?) also paid a visit. It has been purchased privately for preservation and will remain as a diesel for the time being. To keep updated check out Facebook.

I have also added some personal memories from the son of a bus operator to Dominion The personal memories really add to the history of bus operations and the communities they serve, so we always welcome any additions people would like to record.

What could be... A visit to the London Bus Museum last year at Brooklands showed what is possible in bus preservation. They have a large building as part of the wider Brooklands center, which includes aircraft, cars, and the Barnes Wallis (of bouncing bomb fame) Stratosphere Chamber. The displays include fully restored vehicles, restored chassis showing what is under the floor and a lot of large wall hangings detailing the history and personal stories around buses in London. Some of the buses on display are privately owned, while most belong to the museum. They have also recently come to an agreement with Mike Sutcliffe to acquire three of his famous Leylands to fill gaps in the collection over the next few years.

1922 AEC S-Type and Tilling Stevens TS3A Petrol Electric

AEC Q buses also operated in Christchurch

February 2016

Welcome to the new year. Things may have been quiet on website updates, but works continues on the Society fleet. The trolley buses that were at Otaki have been shifted to either Foxton or Gracefield. There are plans for work parties on the Foxton overhead to be able to operate trolleys there again. If you are keen on trolleys and would like to be involved, drop us an email.

Hybrid buses are seen as the way of the future by some, but they actually have a long history in New Zealand and around the world. We have compiled a brief history of hybrids in New Zealand along with some detail of what makes a hybrid, which can be read at Hybrid.

I have received some great emails recently with infomration and photos which will be added to the site as time allows. We like to have your input if people would like to give feedback or provide more infomration to update the site, please get in touch. An example is an email from the UK with a number of NZ shots from 1990 - over 25 years ago already - showing a number of different buses and coaches, some of which the author had identified through the website. Others were not on the site, but we will look to add as the infomration is gathered. Below is a Parakura Coaches Bedford outside the Auckland museum. It is showing a Perkins badge and rego is GJ4186. Photo is by Jim Hewson and from the Donald Hudson collection.

December 2015

82 Freshly Painted

New roof walkway under construction

WCT fleet number 82 is undergoing restoration in England and has now been repainted.

September 2015

462 acting as shift truck

A break in the move with workforce relaxing

Inside the new workshop space

Tuesdays are work days at Gracefield with a workforce of six on site today. Now that we have inside storage some of the spare parts that have been stored in containers are being unloaded. Today saw 49 moved inside with 462 acting as shift truck. Now it is undercover restoration work can continue.

Not directly Omnibus Society, but likely to be of interest to many of you, is the release of James Duncan's 2016 trolley bus calendar. "For 2016, we are revisiting the Auckland trolleybus system once again, with some more previously unpublished images, some of which are in colour. To place an order, please contact me at email jrduncan@xtra.co.nz - remember we only print enough to meet the order quantity. Price is $20.00+post"

August 2015

The society fleet has a new undercover home at our Gracefield base. 322 has been moved inside and work will continue to tidy up and paint her. 49 will also be moved inside to carry on restoration work. If anyone would like to get involved, please get in touch.

On the 6th of December Steam Incorperated will be operating a diesel hauled round the block excursion. This will include a stop at Opaki to visit the Paper Road Vineyard. Over the road from the vineyard is one of the Omnibus Societies storage sheds and this will be open to view during the lunch break. This site includes the Leyland Lion and Comet, Mack AB and Bedford Omnicoach, along with the Indiana seen in the photo above. See our fleet page for more information on these vehicles. If you are interested in coming, please contact obnz@paradise.net.nz

July 2015

At the end of July the Society's NZRRS Bedford 3583 gained a temporary permit and was taken to Picton by the Interislander. It then cruised down to Christchurch to Ferrymead where it is on long term loan to the National Railway Museum of New Zealand. Photo: Peter Rendall

Leyland Leopard 401 has a current COF and is available to hire. Contact Henry on (04) 476 7278 for information. Photo: Peter Rendall

Website Updates

Our long time web master Mike Butler is stepping aside after many years of service. His efforts have resulted in a site with a wealth of infomration about New Zealands road transport history. He put in countless hours on the Bus Location pages tracking a significant portion of New Zealands buses. I will be taking over the updating of the site, firstly concentrating on updating the Omnibus Society fleet information. I will also continue to update the bus location details if people send through new infomration. I can be contacted through omnibussocietynz@gmail.com. Thanks, Lachlan