APRIL, 2007

The Newsletter of the Omnibus Society Inc., PO Box 9801, Wellington, NZ

Editor: Mike Secker – Contact details at the foot of the last page.



Please accept my sincere apologies for the long absence of this Newsletter. As I write this, our house is still carpetless, but reasonably habitable. I hope you enjoy this first issue for 2007.

                                                              Mike Secker




Subscription unpaid?  Subs for 2007 are due. Treasurer, Morris Moller, would appreciate hearing from you. Sub forms were sent out earlier but, if you need one, ask either Morris (477 9467) or Henry (476 7278) to send you one. Subs are $25.00 per year or $12.50 for non-earners.



            FUTURE EVENTS…Thanks to Michael Berry for these notes…

2007 Event Programme

Actual dates and times to be advised closer the date.

The Committee apologises for the lack of events in the first part of the year.


May 19 Saturday         Trip to Wairarapa.

June                             Speaker at an indoor venue.

July 21 Saturday         Mid-Winter Dinner and Movie at Times Cinema

August                         Visit to Newlands Depot

September                    Hutt Valley Bus Rover

October                       Annual General Meeeting

November                    Trip on WCT 322 to celebrate its 50th birthday.

                                    Also Open Day at Karori Bus Depot.

December                    Social Gathering.


Wairarapa Trip

Mark down Saturday May 19 in your diary to come on a trip to the Wairarapa.

It is hoped to use the Society’s latest bus if it is available (ie the Wally Hammond Bedford – see OUR FLEET.)  Alternatively, the trip will be undertaken by private cars.

We will visit Transit’s depot in Masterton and the Society’s outstation of stored vehicles.  Other places of transport interest will be visited if time permits.

Please call Michael Berry on 479 3111 to register your interest.



Mid-Winter Dinner

The Society’s longest running regular event (beside the AGM) is the Mid-Winter Dinner.  This year it is again at the Time Cinema in Lyall Bay on Saturday 21 July.  Inspired by Peter Jackson’s forthcoming re-make, we will be seeing the original version of “The Dam Busters”.  Cost for dinner and movie is $30 per head.  Please book your place before 14 July by ringing Morris Moller on 477 9467.


            OUR FLEET… thanks to Henry Brittain, Peter Rendall

NOTE: 322 – The ex-WCT AEC Reliance is 50 years old this year. (See Future Events section.)

            322, 462 and 3583 all currently have COFs and are available for use. We have a couple of regular customers, notably Karori West Normal School and Wellington Girls’ College.

            Work focus is on 397 which has had a new “piggyback” brake cylinder installed on the rear axle. Another “fun” job, as Peter describes it, taking about six hours in limited space, has been tackled by Mike Flinn in his usual methodical manner – he has been attacking the chassis of the bus, cleaning back to metal, rust treating and then painting. Peter says it looks like new. The roof is also being rubbed down to get rid of lichen and returned to clean white. Henry has been working on the front step area and progress is noticeable. Material has been purchased to re-instate the lower framing of the lantern windscreen. We need some technical assistance to finish this job (ie Malcolm Little’s plasma cutter…)

            4 – we are following up on a possible starter motor for the ex-Gisborne C.C. MAN. Getting this would be very helpful.

            109 – the ex-ARA Queen St. shuttle trolleybus has had its front bumper re-instated.

            20 – the ex-Eastbourne Tiger Cub is still at Boss Transport Services. It has had mechanical repairs to the motor – a bearing had failed. We hope to get it to COF standard soon.

            Last but not least is our latest vehicle which is Wally Hammond’s ex-NZRSS Hawke-bodied Bedford VAS (not to be confused with his original Bedford). Receipt of this vehicle was arranged by Jo Morgan and we’re awaiting some more info about it – space is at a premium at Karori with the depot now functioning all day on weekdays.  


NB Our fleet needs constant care. Tuesday work nights at Karori Depot could use more people. If you don’t mind getting your hands a bit dirty, and, irrespective of whether or not you have any particular expertise, the small dedicated team of regulars would welcome your presence and support.

322 at Eastbourne barn

‘The Intruder.’ An interesting study from late last year. Photo from M Boyton and H Brittain

 Photo from M.Boyton and H.Brittain



OVERSEAS FEATURE.... Here is the first part of Gus Weir’s account of two recent trips to the United Kingdom. All photos are by the author.  [NB For space and sending reasons, I had to divide Gus’s article into smaller sections than earlier planned - Ed.]




Gus Weir’s World Tour of the UK

The First Part: London


Even although I had never been to the UK till 2004, I have always had a fascination for the red buses of London. This interest was gratified when, in 2004 and 2006, Win and I took our big OE and paid visits to London and England.


By this time of course the ‘romantic’ age of AEC RTs and Routemasters was well over. However there were still a few Routemasters (RM) operating on service routes in 2004, and on Heritage services in 2006.

United AEC RM 1933, Trafalgar Square

Quite by coincidence, part of our first stay in London was prior to a tour of the Continent. The tour began from the Novotel Hotel, Hammersmith. Close by the hotel is the Hammersmith Interchange and operating from there were AEC Routemasters on London United route 9 to Aldgate. Both types of the RMs, the short RM and the longer RML, were to be seen and ridden on, which we did.

Our first outing on a No 9 Routemaster, took us past many places with names not unfamiliar to us like Kensington High Street, Hyde Park, and Albert Hall. We also drove through Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square, with St Martin-in-the-Fields in the back corner and the National Portrait Gallery nearby. It was quite an experience to be there amongst all this history. One of our surprises that day was to discover Piccadilly Circus.

The impression we had from pictures we had seen was that it was quite a large area with lots of buses going hither and yon.  Well, there are certainly lots of buses, but a large area?  It was surprisingly small. As to the buses, they were mostly double-deckers and all with liveries 80% red minimum. I think that London without red buses would not have had the same impact.

On arrival at Trafalgar Square I found a great photography spot behind Nelson’s Column and set out to capture the passing scene. Passing by were the previously mentioned Routemasters on the No 9 and others on Nos 15 and 19.  In evidence here, too, were some of Stagecoach London’s and

London Central’s Mercedes Benz 0503G Citaro articulated vehicles, both working Red Arrow type services.


London Central MAL 93 Mercedes Citaro, Trafalgar Square

In a fairly short period, I saw a Greenline Coach, many First Group all-over red vehicles with yellow ‘F’ logos, Stagecoach with a blue skirt and the familiar blue and orange upsweep at the rear, and Arriva all-over red buses with their white ‘horns’. Also, there were many London Central Volvos with black skirts, Metroline Volvos with blue skirts and similar London United Volvos wearing a grey skirt livery. In short, a veritable bus nut’s paradise.

In addition there were hordes of black taxis, which would be Londoners’ next choice of transport after buses. Many of these taxis were ‘decorated’ with advertising material. Some were not even black!

I discovered that the practice adopted by London Transport, which grouped vehicles into classes depending on chassis and bodywork, familiar to us all, was now largely changed.

Many of the new companies have adopted their own systems, Stagecoach for instance have adopted a countrywide numbering scheme, each class of vehicle being included in a specific number series, and First Group also have a similar system. Other companies in London use versions of the London Transport system, but again they each have their own systems. For example, Arriva use VLW (Volvo Low Wright), London General use WVL (Wright Volvo Low), East Thames use VWL (Volvo Wright Low), all for the same chassis, ie Volvo B7TL with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodywork. All rather confusing till you get to grips with it!

An expedition I was looking forward to doing in London was to visit the London Transport Museum at Covent Garden. In fact this turned out to be something of a disappointment. There were many interesting exhibits, buses, trams and underground trains. But the emphasis of the Museum appeared to focus on their child visitors with games to play etc. etc. and since it was a Sunday there were plenty of children present which was quite distracting to the serious visitor.  Nevertheless I spent a good four hours looking around on my first visit to the UK and intended to make a weekday visit in 2006 to have a quieter look but by then the Museum was closed for refurbishment and only the shop was open.


  [ Many thanks to Gus for this fine, interesting and well-illustrated article. Ed.] 


OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to  Mike Boyton, Peter King,, Nick Stoneman, Alan Wickens


            DUNEDINSome photos of new Citibus livery:

Leyland Leopard MAN SL200

Top is Citibus Leyland Leopard 203 in the Octagon and below is Citibus MAN SL200 318 heading respectively to St Clair and Normanby in the early morning, Oct 2006. This modern- style front treatment seems to suit these two older vehicles. (Photos: Nick Stoneman)


And here is a modern bus treated in the same way…Citibus MAN SLF 321 (ex-Leopard Orbiter 72) on a Shiel Hill service. The livery uses local rugby colours. (Photo: Nick Stoneman)


            HAWKES BAY 

            Nimons – Peter King recounts the events of a busy week, including a day trip to Te Kuiti to collect new F/N 64 (ex-Birkenhead 8, a Hawke-bodied Volvo B6). [Photos Page 8.] He will have two 64s, as old 64, a Volvo B58, acts as a spare seats and junk shed in the yard. Both 68 and 47, a 1992 Mitsubishi Fuso MP218K went on the road at the beginning of April.

Sadly, Peter  reports, the first two of Nimons ex-Wellington Leyland Leopards, 101 and 119 (formerly 100), also left in early April to become motor homes. He adds that the next two up for sale are 102 and 118, “and with buyers in the wings, others will follow shortly, on the assumption my boss gives me something to replace them with.”

He also reports the departure of 30/ DE 4152, a Bedford with the traditionally shaped NZMB bodywork, to MOTAT in August, 2006. (Who was the original owner of 30?)

Volvo B6 Volvo B6

Top is ex-Birkenhead 8 newly at Havelock North to become Nimons 64 and above is 10 having become 68.  The red wheels finish the attractive Nimons livery well. (Photos: Peter King)>



            Go Wellington (NZ Bus) – The two pictures below illustrate both the recent status quo and recent changes to the bus scene in Wellington City.

Volvo B58

This idyllic study of Volvo trolley 254 in Lambton Quay was taken by Alan Wickens in December, 2006.

As NZ Bus rapidly repaints buses, and is to get new trolleys, the photo almost has historic status.

Go Wellington buses

The new Wellington order is nicely caught here on 2485, 1480, and 2460, again by Alan Wickens, in February, 2007. The “Go Wellington” livery also echoes the local rugby colours. A reflected Designline rear at right shows the back-end application.

Mana Coach Services –

            Kapiti –. New, from Newlands, is 138/ DCF386, 1993 Dennis Javelin, UK bodywork. It is DP (UK description Dual Purpose seems to fit it) 49F. It has Hanover destinations and has already been used on both bus and charter work. It may be fitted with air-con. Later. The two Leylands 135 and 136 are still used, though are for sale. Volvo/Kiwi 75 has gearbox problems and 135 has replaced it on the Kapiti Commuter. 34-seat Hino 143 has done some Commuter work.

            Porirua/Newlands – The company has bought three Volvo B7R buses ex-Gobus, Hamilton and is likely to receive more from that source. The first three have F/Ns 142, 144 and 145 and are slightly shorter than those already owned – they are 43-seat not 47-seat. These first three, at least, are with Newlands.

Titahi Bay Charters and Tours and Classic Coaches – Classic Coaches sold their splendid (ex-Scenic 27) Leyland Tiger coach, BCF434,  to Titahi Bay C.and T. in early Jan 2007. 



                DESTINATIONS…One of the detail focuses of bus interest is the display of destinations, which can show local eccentricities and can be shown on vehicles in various ways from today’s electronic digital sophistication through roller blinds to a simple card or board in the windscreen. Following a suggestion from Morris Moller, Peter Rendall sent  current Wellington City destinations and route numbers which were published in the last RUNNING SHEET. Readers were invited to add to the list, correct things, comment or send in lists from other places, and this invitation still stands.

Note from Editor: Almost no sooner had the Wellington destinations and numbers been published than NZ Bus changed the Karori-Lyall Bay route number from 12 to 3. This is interesting as it is another tram echo. In tram days, the usual number for Lyall Bay-Railway Stn. trams was always 3, with exceptions for various peak hour workings using different city streets. This recent change leaves 12 at present unused.      




The Society’s website, masterminded by Mike Butler, is now incorporated in RUNNING SHEET’s title heading. Pay it a visit – it’s well worth it! Also, if you’ve missed or lost issues of the newsletter, back numbers are available on the website.


Editor:  Mike Secker, 63 Glen Road, Raumati South, Kapiti  5032.  Ph: (04) 902 1173  Fax: (04) 902 1174 

Mob: 027 426 7901  Email:

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