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 apologies for extremely late running on the Newsletter service. An overseas trip was partly to blame, as was a key birthday and resuming work – Mike Secker


PLEASE NOTE: If you change any personal details – address, email, phone numbers etc. – please advise Morris Moller as soon as possible so records can be amended.



As you will probably be aware, the Council of Tramway Museums of Australasia is holding its current Conference in Wellington from Thurs. 16 Sept. to Wed. 22 Sept. One of the attractions to take place during the event will be a Trolleybus Tour on Tues. 21 Sept., commencing at 9.30 am, involving historic and new vehicles. People will travel in two groups covering the same ground. There are still some details to finalise, but if, as an Omnibus Society member, you are interested in participating, please ring Henry Brittain (04) 476 4155 or email him on


            MORE BOOKS FOR SALEMorris advises he has these for sale to members:

On the Buses in New Zealand $45-00 each    (1 copy – slight water damage)

                Te Kopuru – Dargaville Bus Company Ltd    $6-00 each   (2 copies)

                Composites – New Zealand Freighter Coaches    $12.00 each   (2 copies)

                Whangarei Buses a brief illustrated history   $13.00 (9 copies)

                New Zealand Buses Prior To 1930   $7.00 (9 copies)

                Over The Plains To Thames   $6.00 (9 copies)

                Buses & People - a New Zealand album   $12.00 (9 copies)

                Wellington's Volvo Trolleybus Finale   $7.00 (9 copies)

                South Island Buses in Colour   $12.00 (1 copy)

To purchase any of these, contact Morris Moller Ph. (04) 477 9467 Mob.027 216 2304 or email  


            …HAPPENINGS AT KARORI…many thanks to Peter Rendall, Chairman and Preservation Officer, for these observations.

Fog City Happenings

            Up in the drizzle and damp of Karori a small band of workers toil on.  The main focus over recent months has been BUT 90, which we hope will soon be up to COF standard and hopefully will do a bit of running on the system.  We hope that it will be available to do some trips on the COTMA tour, and, later, be part of the opening event for the return to Manners St.   If you think about it, 90 and 322 could carry posters saying:

Hey we are back! We used to run this way when we were younger!”

            After a quick going over, 462 has a COF. While it was awaiting its going over 322 has been carrying the loads…. Henry B says that the AEC is going very well. It cost us nearly $1000 to get its certificate – main issue was a leaking fuel system which took some remedying.   Henry has been carrying much of the income earning load with this bus as Morris Moller has been unavailable for medical reasons… we understand that he’s almost ok to return to the coalface. (Best wishes, Morris, from all of us, for a speedy and complete recovery. – Mike S.)

            Eastbourne 20 is out at Boss Mechanical services, getting the clutch done, and having a chassis issue resolved – this was a flitch plate supporting the chassis on one side which had got water between it and the main chassis rail. This generated rust, which pushed the two plates apart.  When 20 was heading out to Wingate the roof hatch popped out and was broken.  All these issues are fixed and we hope to see 20 back in action soon. There was a substantial cost involved in the work on 20 and we were fortunate enough to get a grant of $5000 from the Community Trust of Wellington to meet most of the expense.  We are very grateful to the Trust for their assistance.  (The Community Trust of Wellington is not a gaming trust, but was set up after the sale of the Wellington Savings Bank.)

            The other vehicle getting attention is 49 which is currently a topless bus. Mike Flinn and Jim Austin removed the roof – with Mike unintentionally taking it down faster than anticipated by falling through it!  Jim is making up the new timbers for the roof framing – a major task. We are very fortunate that Jim also donates not only time and skills but timber as well. We were very fortunate that Mike received no major injuries from his slightly faster than planned descent to the floor. After that he confined himself largely to hiding under 90 where he has been derusting, cleaning, and painting the chassis and underfloor items.  Where he has worked now looks like a new bus. MF is currently off to the UK for two months where he has a very busy programme of visiting museums and vehicle rallies. He plans to attend the AGM of the UK Omnibus Society.

Leyland Royal Tiger 255

Here’s a great  view of one of our less-seen buses, ex-WCT Leyland Royal Tiger 255 at Whareroa, Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekakariki, home of the Wellington Tramway Museum. Many of us recall earlier WCT buses lettered “Wellington Tramways” – see Peter’s last paragraph on P.3 regarding hopes for a physically closer association of the WTM and the Omnibus Society. (Photo: Alan Wickens)

            Another major job is locating a replacement carburettor for 95 – The Thornycroft BC.  This bus has a Leyland E60 engine, and the carburettor on it failed, and was unrepairable. We asked the UK-based Leyland guru, Mike Sutcliffe, what would be a suitable replacement.  He gave us the details of a suitable carburettor, and I put an advert on the Leyland Society’s web page. The only replies to this were from scammers who displayed their ignorance and also wanted extortionate amounts of money. We followed up a couple by asking a London-based enthusiast, John Bedford, who visited NZ earlier in the year to try to see the items on offer. He usually found that the offered addresses didn’t exist or the individuals didn’t exist. After a recent trip to Taupo, I was returning south via Raetihi and Wanganui, so I stopped off at Smash Palace – Horopito Motors. The chap who looked after the older stuff wasn’t there that day – being off at a swop meet in Rotorua. I emailed up the details and a few days later got a reply – which had photos attached.  Looked promising, so I forwarded the message to Mike Sutcliffe and he replied saying that was what we wanted exactly !  A cheque was written and Neil Brown dispatched to uplift the needed item. Neil was heading to Te Kuiti where Neil Dobson (Dobsons Motors) had offered us a load of new bus fittings he’d acquired when Coachwork International closed, and which were now surplus to his requirements.

            What’s happening with 90? Most of the bodywork and underbody remedial work is complete and we are moving onto the electrical system aided by Peter Hawke and Trevor Burling from the Tramway Museum. More on this next time. On the 24v side we’ve had to fit a new horn, and new halogen sealed beam headlights, as we can no longer source the types of incandescent bulbs used previously. We are awaiting the delivery of new fibreglass bases for the roof ventilators. The interiors of these have rusted out in the 40+ years since the bus was delivered so our solution was to get new ones made up. Fibreglass tops would have been too costly so we have done the necessary reclaim work on the old ones to reinstall them soon. Completing this will only leave tidying up the rear dome. Once this is done and painted, a new sticker or two saying “NO STEP” will be applied. These stickers were noted on aircraft built by the Vintage Aviator, and we were able to source a supply from the Aircraft Spruce Company of California.

            Another chore that has been done is the improving of the power supply network in the big store area. This saw old span wire strung between the pillars to support conduits with new TPS wiring. So we now have a good supply to the side over by the Farmers’ bus and under the mezzanine floor. The lighting in this area is also much improved as well.

            As you will all be aware, one of my dreams has been to get a permanent covered home for our collection. There is a chance that this might become possible. Greater Wellington – the Regional Council – has been carrying out a review of regional parks. One of the recommendations is for a heritage area adjacent to the Tramway Museum at Mackay’s Crossing. We hope this recommendation will be carried through to the final policy document. If this happens we will certainly be applying for space that we can use as our permanent home. Given the level of overlap in manpower and interest between WTM and us, this can only be a positive step forward, with benefits for both groups. I will be speaking to the Council committee considering the public submissions next week, supporting the proposal.


A Lovely Old Bus......

1974 AEC how member and Treasurer, Michael Boyton, describes this very tidy 1974 AEC, ex-Wyldes of Runanga, that he has acquired and intends to restore for day charter work. He has the vehicle at Motueka where he is also giving tender care to the Society’s Bedford VAL.(Photo: Michael Boyton)



Gus Weir’s World Tour of the U.K.

Part Eight: Trams & Things

            Being an all-transport nut rather than just being interested in buses, it was natural for me to take the time to visit some well known Transport Museums. I was looking forward to with some relish, the first of these, The London Transport Museum in Convent Garden, only to be a bit disappointed.  The Museum has many interesting exhibits, but is arranged more like a children’s games park. Whilst I agree it is important to encourage the interest of children, I feel this Museum went a little over the top. On the subject of Transport Museums, although it is not in the UK, a must is the Museum of Transport in Motion (Verkehrshaus) in Lucerne, Switzerland. This is a real enthusiast’s heaven, featuring railways, actual passenger airliners, funicular cable ways, motorcycles and even some tramways. I got lost here for a whole day and still didn’t see everything.



Back to the UK - half a day’s travel in a Great Eastern class 321 EMU from London brought us to Norwich, where we took an Anglia class 150 DMU to Lowestoft and a bus to East Anglia Transport Museum, at Carlton Colville. Here, on this Sunday, there were a London double-deck tram, an Amsterdam single-deck tram, a double-deck Maidstone trolleybus, a single-deck Copenhagen trolleybus and an unknown open top double-deck trolleybus, all carrying passengers. It’s an impressive museum with brick buildings, tram track set in cobblestones and the operating staff in khaki dustcoats with red trimming.....well worth the visit!  The enthusiast fraternity was evident here.  I enquired about buses to get us back to Lowestoft Station and a kind lady Museum member volunteered to take us in her car which was appreciated greatly.


(Photo: Gus Weir) Carlton Colville, E.Anglia Transport Museum – (L. to R). London 1858, Amsterdam 474, and  Maidstone, Kent, trolleybus 52.    


            We returned to London to collect our luggage and catch a train to Matlock via Birmingham and Derby. Using our Matlock B & B as a base, I first spent a day at the National Tramway Village at Crich. Again an impressive place, trams from all over UK and Europe. This busy day, double-deckers Nos 180 and 399 of Leeds City, and Blackpool & Fleetwood toastrack No 2 were the service trams, East Berlin single-deck No 3006 being used for disabled passengers. As I was wearing my WTM sweat shirt I was recognised by a Crich member John Markholm who had been to WTM to help out with a fault some years ago. He showed me round the workshops etc. - very interesting - and at the end of the day drove me back to Matlock. The fraternity again!

            Next day we took a train to Nottingham to see, photograph and ride on the then new Nottingham Express Transit (NET) Bombardier light rail vehicles. These are all named for local notables, No 201 being Torvill & Dean for the Olympic skating gold medal winners and No 210 is Sir Jesse Boot, founder of the famous chemist’s shops. These LRVs in dark green and grey livery run on tracks mounted in rubber to reduce track noise and currently service two destinations from Station Street at Nottingham Railway Station. I read recently that the UK Government have approved construction of two new routes for this system.

            The following day we left Matlock and took the train to Sheffield to observe the Sheffield Supertrams. Sheffield Supertrams are Siemens Duewag light rail vehicles operated by Stagecoach and are painted (or were then) in Stagecoach standard allover white with blue red and orange stripes. They service five routes and have an interesting destination signage system. The cars display the name of the destination and alongside the name there is a coloured square allowing passengers to determine the destination from a distance. Since my visit, the livery has changed to dark blue (main colour) with the car ends in red and orange stylised stripes similar to the Stagecoach electric trains in the South.

            These, then, were some of the tram systems and Museums I saw. It’s interesting to note that the new tram systems did not use automatic ticket systems but employed conductors to collect fares. Maybe there is a lesson here!  (More follows in Part Nine.)


OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Alan Roi, Ian Robertson, Peter King     

            CHRISTCHURCH – Alan Roi alerts me, through Ferrymead’s Tracts Newsletter, that the first MAN bus in the city, SL202 No.612, is being presented to the Tramway Historical Society at Ferrymead by Red Bus Ltd. on Sunday, 5 September, at a special ceremony. SL202s figured prominently in Auckland, Wellington and New Plymouth, as I recall. In the first two named they are still running, in fact. Other ex-Ch’ch’ SL202s are running for Malcolm Little’s NCS (New Zealand Coach Services) in the Wellington area..

            NEW PLYMOUTH  -  (Ian Robertson first told us of the plight of this bus in June, 2009 and he now happily updates.) I can now report some good news about the ex-New Plymouth AEC Regal IV bus which is currently at TATATM.  My last report indicated that the museum had come to the end of the road as far as preserving it was concerned, and that it might be disposed of. Last week (the second week of August) the bus was advertised on TradeMe, arousing interest from several people.  The outcome is better than any of us had hoped for.  It has been bought by an enthusiast who intends to restore it fully. He already has a Daimler bus, either restored or being restored. He has also offered, once the AEC is fully restored to operating condition, to lend it back to TATATM for special occasions. It is very gratifying to me, and no doubt to the ten or so volunteers who put in a considerable number of hours over many years, and to those of you who have followed the saga with interest and concern.  Although the bus doesn't look good, a lot of work has been done, and it is great to know this will not be wasted. Thank you all for your interest. I shall certainly follow progress closely.

            HAWKES BAY - Over the last two or three months, (Peter King sent this material in late May, while I was overseas. – Ed) Nimons have increased the fleet by five. Two 2nd hand Toyota Hi-aces have joined the Taupo fleet, while my personal bus has been upgraded from No 81 to 5 which is a brand new Volvo B7RLE, FGH 158, and is  the first in NZ using Ad Blue fuel additive - a lovely bus to drive. Also arriving over six weeks or so were three Hino FC truck-chassised 46-seat school buses, all for Taupo (which means I will get some buses back). They are 123/4/5 (Reg. FER 558/9 FHS 136) and built by Kiwi Bus at their new Christchurch plant.

WCT Leopard 463

At left,  Peter with a favourite bus of his and of many people, (Photo: Peter King)

Nimons 123 and 124 Hino FC

At left,  Two of  the new Hinos. (Photo: Peter King)

            On a personal note, at the end of May, 2010, Land Transport are going to pull my Class 2 and 4 licenses, and my "P" endorsement following my stroke. They were kind enough to leave them with me until this time, as on the 27th or 28th of May, 50 years ago, I got my bus licence with Inspector Jimmy Christiansen at Kilbirnie Depot, trolley licence at the same time, and tram licence a few days later with the dreaded Ken Wolland. (buses 25 ( A.E.C. Regal), 23?(B.U.T) and tram 253(Fiducia)). Since then a huge range from the U.K., Canada, and later a long hitch with Newmans in the South Island, followed by my own outfit, "Stagecoach Ltd" and the "Connections" services through the South Island, and ending with over ten years with Nimons in the Bay, encompassing every conceivable vehicle with every known gearbox, and, my girls estimate, over 2 million Ks on the road. Most of all, I salute the wonderful people I have met in operating and preservation areas, and kind regards to all those who I have enjoyed spending time with over the years.

(Peter sent the following section in mid-August, after my return from overseas. Ed.) Reported in the BCA CIRCULAR also, is Nimon’s move from Havelock North to new multi-million dollar premises in Whakatu, due to be finished by the end of the year. Also, two B10s bought from Australia by John Nimon, Nos. 24 and 25, have both now been rebuilt into charter buses in Nimon’s own body shop, 25 being done two years ago and 24 being only very recently completed.

Nimons 1 Volvo B12B

Above is Nimon’s brand-new pride of the fleet, Kiwi-bodied Volvo B12B No.1 (Photo: Peter King)


            WELLINGTON  Mana Coach Services    Kapiti Depot – a recent arrival is Volvo B6, 49, once a regular part of the fleet out here. Mechanically very similar to Designline Volvo B6 SLFs 9, 10 and 11, this bus, along with sisters 50 and 51, was part of an interesting scheme to marry new Volvo B6 parts with the Hess bodywork of withdrawn ex-Christchurch Bristol RELLs. 50 was written off some years ago in an accident, the other two staying at Porirua until withdrawal. Now, it seems, those B6 parts from 49 may help keep the B6 SLFs going.

From Porirua, three-axle Mercedes 43 (ZG 1843) is now part of the fleet at Kapiti. Though outwardly resembling the SLF two-axle Merc’s 77-88, this higher capacity vehicle is not a SLF.

Mana Volvo B6 049
Mana Volvo B6 49

Top, 49 when much younger at Porirua, and, bottom, 49 during August, 2010, withdrawn and partially dismantled at Kapiti.  The  liveries are interesting to compare, too. (Photos: Left, Gus Weir and Right, Mike Secker)



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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