MAY/JUNE, 2005

omnibus society inc., po box 9801, wellington, nz



* A VISIT TO THE OLD TIME CINEMA, 191 SUTHERLAND ROAD, LYALL BAY/MELROSE is planned for Saturday, 30 July, 2004. It is a combined movie and dinner event such as the Society held a few years ago. The cost is $25 inclusive per person. Drink – BYO. Starting time will be 6.00 pm for 6.30 pm. The main film is “Summer Holiday” starring a London Transport RT bus. Cliff Richard and The Shadows also appear in this light-hearted musical about a group of young travellers who drive through France and Hungary to Athens. The two-course dinner will be served either side of a selection of short films, one of which will feature Wellington in the old days. There is a choice of meat balls or lasagne for the main meal. Those interested, and/or needing further details, should contact Morris Moller on 04 475 9467 by 16 July. A minimum number of 20 is needed by this date and a maximum of 37 may attend. Friends and family are, of course, very welcome to attend.

*A VISIT TO MANA COACH SERVICES’ PORIRUA DEPOT – a visit to this recently enlarged and rebuilt depot is planned for late August, 2005.



NOTE that the Society’s new website, masterminded by Mike Butler, is now incorporated in RUNNING SHEET’s title heading as from this issue. Pay it a visit!



Subscription unpaid?  Some subs are still unpaid. Treasurer, Morris Moller, would appreciate hearing from you. Sub forms were sent out earlier but, if you need one, ask either Morris (475 9467) or Henry (476 7278) to send you one. Subs are $25.00 per year or $12.50 for non-earners.


OUR FLEET…Thanks to Peter Rendall, Henry Brittain



6the Nimon’s Morris Commercial has become a focus of activity as it is required for that company’s centenary celebrations on the 16 and 17 July, 2005, coinciding in the Hawkes Bay with the BCA Conference. Bryce has got the motor running, Wayne Little is handling the outside panel work and painting, and Henry (and, hopefully, Mike Flinn) will be leading the attack on the interior. A new exhaust system is being manufactured, some new panels have been sourced, and the reinstatement of the “eyebrows” over the windows is under way. Peter R. confesses to running round in circles! Someone’s got to!

Seriously, there are many jobs that could be done by unskilled members – rubbing down and painting seat-frames, painting cracked leather seats, sanding down and cleaning, washing the floor, stripping varnish off wooden fittings.

Donations would help if you wish to contribute in this way. Such activity costs money and it would help greatly to underwrite these restoration costs. We need your help NOW - there is much work to be done. All hands to the pumps for this one!

9- the Bedford VAL is available for service and has a new starter motor installed.

39 – the silver BUT is still at Kilbirnie, needing some electrical work done.

119 – this later BUT is going to be relicensed. At present, brake shoes are awaited.

255 – the Royal Tiger (at present at the Tramway Museum) earlier had its generator belt replaced and had a trip to Porirua for a pre-COF assessment. Peter Beale has bought two new batteries for it.

322 – the Mk 1 Reliance has been getting attention from Wayne. Many minor blemishes and faults have been sorted and it is in running condition. It is ready for a COF.

374 – the Mk 2 Reliance is still at Masterton getting TLC from Wayne. Will return soon.

462 – the Leopard, a useful performer, is available for service.

3583 – the Bedford is on the road. It was, earlier in the year, used at the official inauguration of Stagecoach’s Eastbourne Connection service and branding.

Cable Car 3 – is at Gladstone in the Wairarapa for restoration for the Cable Car Museum.

Leyland Beaver Truck – the ruptured hydraulic hose to steering pump has been replaced. Its rev-counter has been fixed but awaits re-installation. Indicators need attention.

            Tidying up of the storage area has been done, including the stowing away of heavy items.


NOW…. THE 3 NEW ARRIVALS….The following material was supplied by Peter Rendall:


FIRST - The Ford was new as Newlands Coach Service No 10.  It is an R226 model, C/N CLB41592545.  Body is NZMB and DP45F. Registration is CU9643 and it was new on 11 December, 1969. From Newlands it went to Rob Dowle at Taumarunui, and was transferred to Ray Charteris when he bought Rob's business. Charteris sold out to Kevin McGrath - McGrath Buses Ltd.    

 Neil Anderson drove the bus when he was working at Newlands, and when he found the dead hulk at Taumarunui, purchased it. It is in going order, but requires lots of little things done to it before we can think about getting a COF on it. Neil A.found the costs of the project were getting away from him, and 6117 Ltd* has taken an interest in the bus. It will be operated in the company fleet, along with 6117, when we get it up to standard.

 (* Neil Brown and Peter Rendall are the shareholders in 6117 Ltd.)


SECOND - Currently sitting greenly at Mana Coach Services, Waitangirua, is CQ1420, the former Eastbourne Borough Council No 20.   The chassis is a 1958 Leyland Royal Tiger Cub, which was rebuilt in 1984 with an NZMB Commuter II body.  It is DP29F and its designation is RTC1/1 (I think - there is a remote possiblity it is a 1/2….). This bus has been donated to the Society by Mr Dick Hanham, of Hanham’s Buses, Albany. Dick has recently sold his business to Ritchies, but 20 was not included in the sale. It has been out of service for a couple of years - age and some body frame rust in the front. Paul Gourley of Auckland has been working for Hanham's and is a friend of Dick's. He suggested that, as Dick was looking at tidying up the section round his house, perhaps 20 could head home, and Dick agreed, very kindly donating this interesting unit to us.(We must have one of the best Leyland collections in the world - counting up, we have a Cub, an OPS3, a Royal Tiger, 2 Leopards, a Tiger Cub, now a Royal Tiger Cub, and Neil B has a Comet, a Lion and another Royal Tiger....).

All this happened very quickly - within 10 days of the first phone call, the bus was back in the Wellington Region. Early last Saturday, Malcolm Little, Peter Beale and Mike Boyton headed north by car and Malcolm's ERF tractor unit. Reaching Albany mid-afternoon, the RTC was driven from Dick's house down to Paremoremo Village (yes, it is quite driveable!) when the tractor was attached to the front. Some spirited running saw the crew overnight at the Tirau Pub (where a good time was had by all). By 1100 they were in Turangi and home to Porirua by 4 !!!  It is reported that the RTC was probably running the fastest it ever had on its return home! The motor ran all the way, giving the steerer brakes and lights. The costs of this expedition have been met by generous donations from members of the group – thanks, guys - you know who you are!

So we now have our first Eastbourne unit !!

A momentous couple of weeks, during which we have added historically interesting and relevant buses to our collection.


Note: Apparently, the latest issue of Memories magazine has an article on Eastbourne buses.


THIRD - Also added (and currently hiding at Neil B's place in Te Horo) is a Leyland Monarch tractor unit. This has been made available by Lindsay Cameron (who is waiting patiently for payment). This unit has been officially acquired for spares for the Beaver truck, as it is nearly mechanically identical.... and has the Ergomatic cab like the Beaver. We understand this unit was new to Inglewood Motors, and had passed to the Kairangi Poultry Farm, from where Lindsay and his truck restoration colleagues had acquired it. It comes with a spare vertical 680 and gearbox.  


AND NOW, IN HONOUR OF EBC20, some interesting comments from Steve Palmano about the RTC model, made available to me by Peter Rendall:


Most interesting - the Leyland Royal Tiger Cub was a relatively scarce model, anyway. I was actually unaware that Eastbourne had operated one – I thought that its Leyland "zoo" consisted of Tiger Cubs, Comets, and L1 and PSU4 Leopards.
Really, the RTC1 Royal Tiger Cub was part of the Leopard family, essentially an intermediate length model (33 ft overall, 18 ft wheelbase) that fitted between the L (30 ft overall, 16'2" wb) and the PSU3 (36 ft overall, 18'6" wb), and equipped as standard with the 13 ton gvw suspension that was optional on the PSU3 Leopard. In fact, the RTC1, announced very quietly around April/May 1960 as an export model, predated the PSU3, which appeared around third quarter 1961, and was primarily a domestic market model. The RTC1 filled an apparent gap in the Leyland export range. Previously, Leyland did not have an export 33 ft underfloor chassis below the heavyweight Worldmaster ERT1. On the other hand, AEC had for several years offered a 17'6" wheelbase, 33 ft version of its medium-weight Reliance, in addition to its 33 ft heavy-weight Regal IV. Effectively, most of the "beefing-up" engineering that Leyland needed to go from the L Leopard to the PSU3 had already been done for the RTC1.

The RTC1 seems to have been a low-key model throughout its life, not always mentioned in the Leyland standard lists or brochures. I think that, to some extent, the 1961 change in the UK regulations that allowed 36 ft buses, albeit necessarily with shorter wheelbases than were typical hitherto for 36 ft export models, may have had an effect, as other Commonwealth markets
followed suit, or in any event found the PSU3 Leopard to their liking. AEC maintained the 33 ft option on its export Reliance models through the 1960s, including into the 6MU (505) and 6U (691) era, but it seems to have disappeared by about 1970. By then, of course, the previous 16 ft +
wheelbase 30 footers had typically grown to around 32 ft or so, so the justification for the intermediate wheelbase had faded. In the Leyland case, what might have been RTC opportunities were also filled by special, shortened wheelbase, and in some cases shortened overall versions of the PSU3 Leopard. As far as I know, Dunedin and Sydney had such Leopards – maybe Wellington too, although I have never succeeded in getting definitive wheelbase and length information for the 1966 WCT Leopards. But to my eye, they looked to be very similar to the BUT trolleybuses, which were 33 ft overall with a 17'6" wheelbase.

As far as I know, the RTC disappeared from the Leyland catalogue around 1968, in the same rationalization that saw the elimination of the Tiger Cub (to protect the new Bristol LH) and the Panther Cub (slow sales and to steer potential customers to the short-wheelbase version of the AEC Swift 505, which shared essentially the same chassis.)
Presumably, the EBC RTC, as an RTC1/1 model, has the "easy change" (Leyland terminology) 4-speed synchromesh gearbox. Does it have a single-speed or two-speed axle? The only RTC1 specification that I have (dated May, 1961) shows a choice of either, without change of model designation.                                                                                            (From Steve Palmano)


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.


         NEW BOOK… For sale through the Society is Leylands and Trolleybuses by Sean Millar assisted by Ian Lynas, a combined reprint and update of two popular booklets of the 80s, Trolleybuses in New Zealand by Sean, and Leyland Buses in Australia and New Zealand by Sean and Ian. Price to Omnibus Society Members is $25.00 (or $30.00 by post). Normal non-member price is $29.95. Please contact Morris Moller (04 475 9467) if you are interested in a copy. Hurry, though, as four of ten copies have sold.


OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Henry Brittain ,Neil Brown, Graeme Inwood, Morris Moller, Ian Robertson, Peter Rendall,  Nick Stoneman, Peter Thompson


*Welcome to Nick Stoneman whose contributions appear in Running Sheet for the first time – thanks, Nick.


AUCKLANDBoth Ian and Peter T. comment that not much is going on at the moment. Peter says the known Stagecoach deliveries are taking place but that next time there will be the Ritchies deliveries to consider. Ian seems to have caught a glimpse of the Ritchie’s phenomenon. In his words, he saw “….an Optare painted in Ritchie’s colours. Only a fleeting glimpse so I didn’t pick up much detail, and it had NO rear number plate that I could see as it turned from Great North Road into St. Luke’s Road. It has been rumoured that Ritchies have on order a large number of British-sourced buses but I have not sighted one again since.”

(NB May’s issue of the BCA’s “circular” magazine has John Murphy testing one of Ritchie’s new 12.6 metre 3-axle SLF urban buses for Auckland, to wit a Scania L94UB6X2, bodied by Kiwi, 601/CMZ632 – (I think that F/N is right! Please correct me, if it isn’t.)

            Hanham’s Buses, Albany, as noted in the piece on EBC 20, has been bought by Ritchies.


            CHRISTCHURCHChristchurch Bus Services – your Editor spotted, parked along Mana Esplanade (ie SH1 at Paremata), during Queen’s Birthday Weekend, a low-floor Optare Excel in this company’s livery, with recent C— plates. I am assured it was F/N 140 being delivered from Kiwi, who sorted it out for NZ regulations, to Christchurch.  


WELLINGTON – Stagecoach – new trolley 302/CQM 368 arrived in Wellington on Monday, 9 May, and was first used in service on Friday, 3 June. As I write, it had not been in service since then. “Spotting” details include F/N at front on the black area below the windscreen (301 has the front F/N on the driver’s side white area), a more neatly styled fairing round roof-top equipment, and the “blacked-out”side window area has the bottom edge forming a straight line, i.e. there is no rear kick-up as on 301. Conventional doors distinguish it from the earlier bus, too. All in all, it’s a very good-looking, state-of-the-art vehicle. The Dominion-Post of Wed. 25 May carried an article, with photo, of 302 under the headline “Higher trolley bill confirmed”. Why this continual whinging about costs all the time? Easy short-term appeal to readers, I suppose. It’s about time some-one started praising the long-term environmental and, yes, economic benefits!

Curiously, The Dom-post also referred to it as a “Brazilian trolleybus”. Well, yes, certain vital equipment has been sourced from Brazil but the all-important and highly visible body was, of course, built in Ashburton, NZ, by Designline.

            Another new arrival on 9 May was MAN 2454/CQF 860. Mon. 16 May saw the arrival of trolley 303 and MAN 2457. MAN 2455 arrived on Tues. 10 May. I also have a sighting of a 2400 with the registration CRA 217 which could, of course, be either 2455 or 2457. Further info on these regos would be appreciated.

Mana Coach Services

Newlands Depot – Here, reports Peter B., the only vehicles left in the old colours are NCS 38, NCS 41 and NCS 66. How quickly things change! NCS 61 is parked at Porirua to ease congestion in Newlands yard.

Kapiti Depot – Newlands 143/ NCS 43, 1989 Hino RG197 34-seat coach, at Kapiti for engine repairs as earlier recorded, is likely to remain at this depot. Mercedes-Benz 0302 46 “Peanut”, a favourite of your Editor, has finally gone to its new owner, departing the fleet by the weekend of 28/29 May. I do not know where it has gone – does anyone have this information?

At Kapiti, old Mana livery is still worn by Volvo B6 14/RX8173, Hino RK 30/NA7377 (and, of course, it still adorned 46 until its departure.) Newlands metallic green, with large gold “N”, livery is still worn by coaches Leyland Tiger 135/NCS 35 and Leyland Leopard 136/NCS 36. Leyland Leopard bus 144/NCS 44 has the striped green and white livery with “N” incorporated in the stripes – it is used largely as a school bus. Otherwise, Jamaican lime is the predominant livery in the yard.

            Thompson’s Passenger Service of Otaki, possibly the only all-Bedford fleet left in NZ (does anyone know whether this is true?), have operated since 1963. The proprietor is incensed that Greater Wellington has suggested an exact duplication of their shopper services (Wed./Fri. to Coastlands, Paraparaumu; Tues./Thurs. to Levin) running every day. Michael Thompson claimed to have been given the impression that he should not bother tendering. Chris Turver, Kapiti’s regional councillor, said that Mr. Thompson had the right to tender for the service. Otaki Community Board chairman, Andre Baker, welcomed GW’s announcement but expressed concern over the possible demise of “a loyal” Otaki provider who had faithfully served the area for many years. Mr Thompson said, “….They came to talk to me….Said they’d get back and never did….It will cost me up to $70,000 just to qualify for their tender process with no guarantee that I will get it. They are squeezing me out.” It has been elsewhere said that GW stipulated a low floor requirement which meant considerable new investment for an operator like Mr Thompson. It appears that he may have withdrawn from the Paraparaumu service and Tranzit taken it over in the interim – though theyre not using an SLF!


            INTERNATIONAL… Pictured in BUSES magazine (UK) for May, 2005, is Stagecoach 80009/VX04MZG. What, you may ask, is all that about? Well, this vehicle is the group’s first UK-spec. Designline Olymbus diesel electric hybrid bus, a vehicle type that can be seen, yellow-liveried, every day in Christchurch, NZ. The numbers are its F/N in the group’s UK numbering scheme, and its current British rego. This particular vehicle was briefly numbered 100 in the group’s Auckland fleet before going overseas. It was photographed in February, 2005, on London route 276, in the group’s not-for-NZ attractive later livery which suits it well.

                                                ... Featured in “Global News” of the June issue of the same magazine, is Wellington Volvo trolley 253 at the Taranaki St. traffic lights on an inward route 2 trip, to illustrate an article headed “Wellington renewal is back on track”. The theme here is, as we know, the welcome news that funding has been allocated for new vehicles and improvements to the capital’s iconic trolleybus system. Immediately above this item is another article headed “Quiet start for Rome’s new age trolleybuses”. A diesel bus route has been converted to trolleybus operation (I’d love to see this in Wellington – how about Oriental Bay/Roseneath?) and this route was opened on 23 March, 2005. ATAC, Rome’s public transport organisation, has invested the equivalent of 30 million pounds sterling in electrifying the Largo Labia express route and equipping it with 30 Polish-built Solaris Trollino 18 articulated trolleybuses with Hungarian Ganz electrical equipment. A photo of one of these in attractive two-tone green accompanies the article. Operation uses a combination of overhead and, on the innermost section, battery power. There are plans to convert at least two more routes to trolley operation, and ATAC are also increasing the number of gas-fuelled buses they operate. The main reason for all this is to reduce vehicle emissions in the city. (NB Don’t let anyone here try to tell you that trolleybuses are out-moded or not manufactured anywhere! Wellington is in good company.)


ENQUIRIES… As noted in OBSERVATIONS, I should like to know the new owner and location of Mana 46, if anyone out there knows anything.

                                      Peter B. has three queries as follows: (i) What are the present whereabouts of Mana’s ex-CTB Bristol RE 1? (ii) Information is required about Leopard Coachlines’ current Christchurch operation – what vehicles are in the fleet, with makes, models, fleet numbers, registrations.(iii) EV6635, WCT Daimler tower truck No.15 – this vehicle has been restored as a Daimler truck by John Veneberg. It has an original sleeve valve engine and is in running order. Photos, old registration numbers are needed – its early history is required for registration.


Note: I’m quite happy to make an Enquiries section an occasional, or even a regular,  feature if readers of this Newsletter send me their queries. We do circulate to a wide pool of knowledge.  


            BCA 75TH ANNIVERSARY… It will be the 75th (Diamond) Anniversary of the Bus and Coach Association (NZ) Inc. next year. John McCrystal, a well-known author and literary reviewer with a particular interest in transport, is to produce a commemorative book for the occasion. Research – the gathering of company profiles, photos and other memorabilia – is under way as I write. The resulting book should be of great interest. 



            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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