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




Subscription unpaid?  Subs for 2006 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.


          NEXT EVENT… MCS, Porirua Depot, 10.00am, Sunday 9 April

To see the many changes that have happened since our last visit, the Society will be re-visiting Mana Coach Services’ busy Porirua Depot in Commerce Crescent, Waitangirua.  Our host will be society member and Mana CS driver and supervisor, Mike Boyton, who will be able to move some buses around for photography.  Gather outside the main gate at 10am on Sunday, 9 April. Given the currently changing history of the Mana company, this may be somewhat of an historic occasion! [This is history now. A great time was had by all. Write-up in next issue. Many thanks to Mike Boyton. – Ed.]


          COMING EVENTS FOR 2006…

9 April – Visit to Mana Coach Services’ Porirua Depot. (*See above for further details.)

21 May – Karori Open Day for public and Society members.

June – Mid-winter Dinner.

15 – 16 July – Bus & Coach Assoc. Conference in Wellington.

August – Evening meeting.

September – Garage visit.

October – AGM.

November – Trip to Melbourne’s tram centenary.

December – Evening trip.


          PAST EVENTS…

This year’s BBQ was attended by a select group of individuals who, as usual, had a fine time dining, opining and generally holding forth on matters of the bus world and even matters of the wider world. It is hoped that slightly later notice of the event did not preclude some members’ attendance. Our thanks, once again, to Robyn and Peter Rendall for their hospitality.


          OUR FLEET… thanks to Henry Brittain and Peter Rendall

            4 -  MAN …. We seem, in everyday bus-life, to be surrounded by MANs, so what is a MAN doing in the OUR FLEET section? Well, in early February, 2006, Peter Rendall emailed me with the following:

I had a call today from Paul Williams, MAN Automotive NZ,confirming that the company had purchased IE6216, the first MAN PSV sold in NZ (but noting that it wasn’t the first PSV from any of the firm’s constituents – the pre-war Bussing was mentioned…) This bus will be made available to us on the same basis as the WCC  vehicles – it’s (the Omnibus Society’s)  as long as we exist, but, if we shut, it goes back to MAN.

The MAN is a 15.192 FOC-R new to Gisborne City Council as Fleet no 4 in 1976.  It was bodied by NZMB as B46D, but is now B47F I understand - we have yet to see the beast in the flesh.  It was sold to Newmans and went to Whangarei where is was F/N 116.  Next owner was Clarrie Withers in New Plymouth, from whose fleet it went to Dave Oxley at Okato.  While at Okato it had its back axle changed from original MAN to one from a Bedford YRT. Dave suggests that this improved the braking (!) as well as simplifying maintenance - the original was a reduction hub axle.  From Otako it went to its current home in Taumarunui with  McGrath’s.

MAN are willing to underwrite the costs of returning it to COF condition and repainting it into Gisborne CC colours (if the Council is agreeable to us doing this). MAN will also consider any costs associated with returning the bus to original condition mechanically. MAN  NZ wish the bus to be returned to near-original by July so it can be displayed at the BCA Conference.

MAN is also interested in preserving in original condition one of the ARA/Stagecoach Auckland SL200s. (Numbered in the 1600 series. – Ed.)
            95 – This one also from Peter….A little item – the (ex-NZRSS) Thornycroft  is getting some attention. The non- standard carburettor fitted to the non- original Leyland E60 motor has been failing, so when someone wanted to use the bus in an ad, we  thought we should remedy the problem - but the carburettor man says that the one we have is just about unsalvageable, so I (Peter) have been seeking advice as to what would have been  fitted originally and what suitable alternatives there are if we can't find an original. Bunged off a query to the Leyland Society and, lo and behold, I get a reply from God !   (In his guise as Mike Sutcliffe, well- known restorer of very early - like 1910 to 1920s - Leylands).  Having resolved the initial confusion about the motor, I'm hopeful that the "good oil" will soon be available.
49 (249)…and this one from Peter….and another little item – I recently had a call that is good news for 49.  The woodworking chap we had just about given up on called to say he had now finished off the renovations in his daughter’s house, and was off to the South Island for a trip - and did we mind if he got some suitable timber to start the reframing of our masthead AEC. So, hopefully over the winter, we will see some changes to this bus.   The restoration of 49 would be a major advance !


Henry Brittain reports the following details:

            20 – The Eastbourne Tiger Cub is having its front window framing renewed thanks to help from Wayne and Tania Little.

            Trentham Dispersals – Trolleys 55, 90, and Auckland 109 are in the yard at Karori. The VAL, 9, and trolley 88 are in store at Otaihanga, and trolleys 205 and 91 are at the Tramway Museum (who are the owners of 91). Neil’s Royal Tiger is in store at Te Horo. Henry and Peter went over to Opaki in early February and put the Bedford (minus its windows – no not 3583!) into the shed.

Henry also mentions the successful trip in 3583 to Vic Draper and Mainline Steam, as well as 322’s trip to the British car day in February at Barton’s Bush grounds at Trentham.



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.






            OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Anthony Greaney,, Ian Robertson, Nick Stoneman


            AUCKLAND Here are two photos, by Ian Robertson to go with his article entitled AUCKLAND'S NORTHERN EXPRESS AND BUSWAY INTERCHANGES, published in the last Running sheeT of 2005. Captions are also by Ian.

Albany Bus Station

Albany bus station:  From this road entrance on the hill above the Albany Bus Station, North Harbour Stadium seems very close.  Albany campus of Massey University is some distance beyond the stadium in the same direction.  For buses to serve both these places, Northern Express buses must extend their journey.



Constellation Bus Station

Constellation bus station:  A Northern Express bus 711 from Britomart in Downtown Auckland connects at Constellation Bus Station with a local Ritchie’s bus 683 (reg. CYP 280) on route 887 to Massey Univ. and Long Bay. [The Route 711 bus is in the MAXX livery which is similar to that of Auckland’s newer railway stock. – Ed.]





DUNEDINNick advises that Dunedin Passenger Transport (the Dunedin arm of Passenger Transport, once IPT) have two new Designline MAN 12.223s, B43D, the same as Mana Coach Services’ 47 and 48. Also, he adds that all of Otago Road Services’ work is up for tender this year.

HAWKES BAY – Anthony reports that, since the beginning of this year, quite a bit of vehicle activity has happened at Nimons. He outlines just what, as follows:

Acquired vehicles:

Two Leylands  ex Mana
44     NCS44      1983  Leyland Leopard PSUE3E/2R       ex Mana 144/ Newlands 44/ ICC 17.
66     NCS66    1981   Leyland Leopard PSUE3E/2R       ex Mana 166/ Newlands 66/ DCT 207.
Both retain their existing registrations.(…and, apparently, their NCS fleet numbers. I gather that NCS45, twin of NCS44, is already with Nimons. All the above answers a query of mine in an earlier Running sheeT. Many thanks. – Ed.)
            Six Volvo B10M ex Leopard CL, Chch   (originally WCCT trolley buses – “Ansaldos”).
84    TZ1641   ex  Leopard 33/ 06      orig. WCCT 128 
85    TZ1660   ex  Leopard 03          orig. WCCT 134
86    TZ1675   ex  Leopard 09          orig. WCCT 122
87    TZ1676   ex  Leopard 02           orig. WCCT 130      
88    TZ1678   ex  Leopard 08          orig. WCCT 127
89    TZ1680  ex  Leopard 10            orig. WCCT 126

(Are all ex-Ansaldos back in the North Island now? – Ed.)
            One 2nd hand Japanese import
57    CYP381   1989   Hino Blue Ribbon HT273B   Hino  B45F  (import 2005)
VIN = 7A8341R0905040062    
            New vehicle:
43     DEB405   2005   Mitsubishi Fuso Fighter FK220K5   Kiwi   B49F
If you think the model name is rather long for a bus chassis, you are right.  It is a truck chassis.

Meanwhile, down in Waipukurau,  Bruns Charters have a bus of note:
28   CHW96   1987  Scania K112TR  CWI "Conquest"  C46FAt.
It was purchased 11/04 from Scenic Coachlines, Auckland where it was their 39.  (SCL39, NJ639)
It is notable because it is built to Australian Coach specification, the most obvious detail being the exhaust stack exiting through the roof instead of at street level.  Behind all this lies a tale.
Technically this bus is an Aussie import.  It was one of a batch of six Scanias CWI built for the Aussie market on behalf of Saab - Scania Australia during 1986/87.  This coach had  not been in Melbourne for three months before it was sold -- back to a NZ company (Scenic Coachlines).  A few months later, a sister vehicle was also shipped back and became Scenic 40.


Stagecoach/Infratil – This firm, otherwise known as NZBus, has agreed not to proceed with the purchase of Mana Coach Services, pending the outcome of a High Court ruling next month. An article in the Business Day section of the Dompost of 4 April, attractively illustrated with a photo of Eastbourne Connector, MAN 903/CHW259, goes over the issues. In an earlier Dompost business section but tucked away at the bottom of a page, Infratil were quoted as saying words to the effect that they were going ahead with buying MCS anyway, whatever the Commerce Commission said ie they withdrew their voluntary application for clearance. A “hurry-up”ploy, I wonder. An earlier offer to run MCS as a separate company was rejected by the CC. NZBus could forfeit its $3.1m deposit if the whole matter was not determined by 30 June, said their lawyer. One particular point that raises different opinions is whether MCS and NZBus really do compete much at all. Certainly, they seem to serve very different areas and each firm’s charter work has a different focus. Also, I hope that any legally and commercially muddied waters in all this do not dilute the purposeful course of retaining and refurbishing the trolleybus system.


Stagecoach 302

Nice study here of  the second two-axle prototype trolleybus for Wellington, 302, under the wires doing what

it is designed to do – carrying passengers quietly, non-pollutingly and without depleting fossil fuel reserves overmuch. (Attractive design, I think – Ed.)  Just imagine a fleet of 57 more of these with three axles. Photo: Nick Stoneman


Mana Coach Services – Porirua – A write-up of the Omnibus Society’s April visit to this depot  will appear in the next Running sheeT .

                                      Kapiti – As Anthony reports, ex-DCT Leyland Leopard 166 has been at  Nimons for a while, so the last two Leylands in the overall MCS fleet are out on the Coast. They are 135, a Tiger coach, and 136, a Leopard coach. I had the pleasure of driving 135 on a trip to Wanganui recently – an aural and driving delight, in a vehicle of real character.

Out at this depot at present, for engine repairs, is Hino 3-axle coach 155/NCS55. Volvo/Kiwi 75/BSH155 is awaiting parts at present, so 136 (and, occasionally, Volvo B6FA 14) have been deputising on the Kapiti Commuter alongside regulars, Volvo B10Ms, 70 and 71.


          BRIEF OBITUARY… Hitherto missed by Running sheeT is the sad news that well-known and long-time bus enthusiast, Dudley Kirker, died in early December, 2005, his funeral being held in Christchurch on Friday, 9 December, 2005.

(I would be very pleased to publish a more detailed obituary of such an important, respected and liked enthusiast if someone out there could contribute one. – Mike Secker)



            SALZBURG….Trolleybuses have returned to Gnigl in the birthplace of Mozart after an absence of 20 years reports BUSES, February, 2006. It is the latest expansion of the country’s largest trolleybus system. New Obus (trolleybus) route 2 has been extended to replace a diesel route. Salzburg AG, the municipal operator has invested 2.7 million euros in the rewire. This saves 194,000 litres of diesel fuel a year. Route 1 was extended last year. Eighty mainly low-floor trolleys are operated on 149 km of overhead and there are plans to further extend the system. Public acceptance of the trolleys is apparently very high. (The niggardly, insular and, it has to be said, ignorant souls who cavil about the Wellington system have to come into this century. Like it or not, fossil fuels will lessen in availability and grow in cost. We have established our trolley system. The cost of modernising it is small weighed against necessary long term gains. – Ed.)


            ROUTEMASTERS….Here’s an interesting item from the Routemaster Association in the UK, whose website is

The 2 London Heritage RM Routes, announced in September, 2005, are now in operation.

Heritage Route 15: Trafalgar Square - Strand - Fleet Street - Ludgate Hill - Cannon Street - Eastcheap - Tower Hill             (Operator - Stagecoach)

Heritage Route 9: Royal Albert Hall - Kensington Road - Knightsbridge - Piccadilly - Trafalgar Square - Strand - Aldwych (Operator - First)

As we predicted, the buses are the Transport for London (TfL) owned ones that were refurbished with modern 'clean' engines two or three years ago.

Also as predicted, 10 buses operate the routes (5 on each) with 6 others held in reserve, giving a total of 16, and will run from 0930 to 1800, seven days a week  with a 15 minute service interval. They will employ a total crew of 50 and all the usual London ticketing arrangements will apply i.e. there will not be any special fares.
So, good news at last and let us hope that these will be successful ventures. Please support them so that RM operation can continue in London beyond December 9th.
[The latter plea extends, of course, to any of us who may travel to London. Don’t forget to write it up for Running sheeT if you do! – Ed.]

            LAST ROUTEMASTERS…. The official last Routemaster on London’s Route 159 was RM2217, the highest numbered standard-length RM. Incidentally, it was accompanied on this duty by RM5, the lowest numbered standard-length production RM. However, BUSES, February, 2006, reveals that the unofficial but actual last RM on the 159 was RM54.


            WHAT MONTH IS THIS AGAIN?….In BUSES magazine for April, 2006, under the header “Old banger technology takes the double decker into the 21st Century”, is an article declaring that the biggest problems besetting today’s D/Ds are the location of the engine and the hostile environment of the top deck. The grand-daughter of a German engineer who allegedly perfected a miniature engine based on sausage boilers fitted in all German touring coaches (!), has apparently installed his tiny transverse engines at opposite right hand corners of the chassis of a prototype Enviro 400 (these actually exist, being Alexander Dennis’s striking new double deckers – Ed.), the forward engine being used for normal traction and the rear engine used only for reversing. The driver has been relocated to the top deck where drive-by-wire optic technology obviates the need for overlong brake cables and an 11 foot tall steering column…… [and there is more of the same ilk, including a digitized photo of the prototype.]



                        Now, here’s an interesting query from Alan Smith, Omnibus Society member and Editor of the Tramway Museum Newsletter Tramlines:  Can anyone confirm the closing dates of trolleybuses to NORTHLAND, and along TINAKORI Rd.? I have the opening date to Northland [including I guess that connection from Karori depot with the weird sharp turn into Northland Tunnel Road – was that really ever used??] and along Tinakori Rd between Molesworth & Bowen Sts. as 20 Feb 1956 [Doug Greenhill in NZRO July/Sept 1960 pg.78] . I have a photo of a BUT passing what is now the Shepherd’s Arms in November 1966, and another of tower wagons dismantling the Tinakori Rd. wires in May 1967. I’ve also found a photo of a Northland-bound BUT at the intersection of Raroa Cres and Northland Tunnel Road which I took in October 1967. So there must have been two separate closure dates.

The Wellington Tramway Museum has received a request from the Northland School Jubilee Committee for information on the Northland trams for their booklet – those opening/closing dates are well-referenced but I can’t put a trace on the trolleybus closing details, to complete the electric traction story – and the trolleybuses ran past the school to Orangi Kaupapa Rd., whereas the trams stopped short, at Woburn Rd. Any help much appreciated, to


            BOOK REVIEW… Alan Smith has also contributed this book review. I have the book, too, and thoroughly endorse his views.

“Twenty-five years of Stagecoach”, a new book by Doug Jack, published at the end of 2005 in the UK by Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-3103-7, retail price GBP16.99. This is an excellent hard-cover 96-page book, A4 size. It is a very interestingly-written (i.e. good style) history starting with Brian Souter’s first bus (a Bristol MW5G) in 1980. There are heaps of colour photos, including Wellington 301 in Courtenay Place, and one of sundry Volvos parked in the old Kilbirnie yard. There are also plenty of acronyms and cryptic technical tags but mostly it deals with the commercial side and the business strategies used as the business grew. I came across a copy in the Lower Hutt Public Library, Classification 388.322 JAC for Hutt City residents or for others to track down through library interloan. Thoroughly recommended even if it does stop short of the Infratil sale – as the author notes, Stagecoach is the sort of company where it’s impossible to draw any logical closing point in its history!

[I thank Alan very much for this review and would be very happy to publish any book reviews that anyone cares to contribute. After all, there is much written about buses. – Ed.]


            Infratil UPDATE  - Public Transport – Speaking of publications, has anyone come across this one? A friend passed on to me the copy I have. It is a beautifully produced brochure setting out the group’s reading of the transport scene in Auckland and Wellington, and is probably intended to encourage further investment in the group as well as to keep current investors on board. It is quite lavishly illustrated, the two covers being adorned by blocks of “thumb-nail” photos, both up-to-date and historic, including trams! I was particularly taken with a view of the Lambton Quay/Hunter Street corner with a palace car on the Quay and a combination turning down Hunter Street. However, I don’t think we should see it as a portent of what Infratil may intend!



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 this newsletter, back numbers are available on the website.



            Mike Secker, 63 Glen Road, Raumati South, Kapiti  6010.  Ph: (04) 902 1173  Fax: (04) 902 1174  Mob: 027 426 7901




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