The Newsletter of the Omnibus Society Inc., PO Box 9801, Wellington,
Editor: Mike Secker – Contact details at the foot of the last page.
DRIVERS… The Society
often needs the volunteer services of any member with a “P” licence who can
offer to help drive some of the Society’s charters, which are a source of vital
revenue to help fund the maintenance and restoration of our vehicles. If you
wish to gain a licence, the Society can help you do this. Please phone Henry
Brittain, Ph. 476 4155, or Peter Rendall, Ph. 970 1405.
OUR SOCIETY, DEPOT AND FLEET… thanks to Henry Steele, Henry Brittain
Relevant to the above
box about “Drivers”, member, Henry Steele, informs me that he now has his Class
2 licence with P endorsement. Well done, Henry….may you enjoy long and
pleasurable use of your new qualification.
Henry Brittain reports
that parts have been removed from Leyland Leopard 420 for use on the Omnibus Society’s 462, with some parts being in use already. Also, a number of injectors
have been sourced from Kilbirnie.
RECENT EVENTS… thanks to Michael Berry
Rendall’s Rambles Magic Light Show, 8 May,
On a dark
cold night in the pouring rain, I wondered why I was venturing out instead of
staying in by the fire. However, Peter’s house was warm and welcoming and I
settled in for a virtual trip around the world. Along with a handful of other
members, we enjoyed a look at buses, trams and trains that were different to
the ones we know in New Zealand. San Francisco’s trams include old European
examples as well as the classic look of the native PCC
type. Of course, the cable cars were a must-see. Hong Kong
provided a modern Metro system as well as three axle double deckers for our
viewing pleasure. Surprisingly, London
provided a relatively small number of scenes and featured a variety of modern
buses and the Croydon tramway.
the photos were taken on the Continent, starting in Italy and travelling to France via a
few countries in between. Obviously, European manufactured vehicles
predominated and featured some stylish designs. The townscapes in the background
were equally fascinating. Peter travelled extensively and related stories of
the many trips that were made to the end of the line and back. He photographed several trains in Europe and it was upsetting to see the way that graffiti
was daubed over the rolling stock and infrastructure, even in Switzerland.
exhausting the pictures from his trip, we viewed photos that Peter had on his
computer from all over New
Zealand from the near and distant past. A
light supper closed a pleasant evening. And when I went outside, the rain had
like to thank Peter for hosting this event, and Morris Moller for providing the
A PLEA FROM IAN
ROBERTSON…. ( I am including this piece from Ian, in
edited form, hoping to give it a wider airing. – Ed.)
This is a last minute effort to save a bus preserved from
the days when New Plymouth City Council operated local bus services. You
may know someone who would be prepared to help save the bus
from destruction. The last AEC
Regal IV bus that was purchased and operated by New Plymouth City Council from
1954 was given to Taranaki Aviation, Transport and Technology Museum
(TATATM) for preservation. I have received word that the TATATM committee is
proposing to the AGM on 21 June that the bus be sold as scrap.
Briefly, its history….nothing much
was done with the bus until an effort to restore it in the late 1990s. It
was at times stored under cover and outside. A group of up to ten people, led
by Ben Uncles and me, spent many hours dismantling and restoring parts of the
body that had deteriorated. The team dissipated for various reasons and
work stopped just as exterior panelling was being refitted. Since then the bus
has remained under cover in the workshop and all the parts kept with it. As
some pipes and cables were removed to facilitate restoration of the body and
chassis, it is not at present mobile under its own power.
Preserving the bus would
require: 1 A place to
store it and maybe work on it.
to pay for continuing restoration, some of which may have to be done
commercially. Funds exist for this type of activity. New Plymouth
District Council has contributed about $10,000 toward the restoration so far.
person/organisation to take ownership and responsibility for maintaining and
If you are able to help in any way, please contact Ian Robertson. email@example.com
( Note: Before I completed this issue, Ian advised me
that he’d had a good response to his own mailing out of the above with most
responses showing a desire to save the bus, and the search is on for
under-cover storage for it when TATATM want to be rid of it.
to Henry Brittain, Michael Berry and, especially, Peter Rendall
(*and watch for further
news about a Trolleybus Festival
later in the year. After all, sixty years ago, in 1949, the current Wellington trolleybus
system was inaugurated. These were my
original opening words – now read the disappointing news. Ed.)
The current news
on this Festival, planned to start on Friday 23 October, 2009, and run through Labour Weekend
until Monday 26 October, is not at all as cheerful as first planned. Peter
Rendall advises that, after a meeting with Bruce Kenyon of Go Wellington, he
has discovered that the fraught relationship between Go Wellington, the
Regional Council and Wellington Cable Car Ltd (owners of the overhead), has
seen a decision taken that there will be no
weekend trolleybus operations until 2011 at least….!!!
WCCL entered into a contract with a lines maintenance
company which didn’t allow for weekend operations – in complete disregard of
the Regional Council’s decision to maximise trolley use…!!! As Peter puts it,
we’ve been caught in the crossfire ! Go Wellington
have asked that we defer any weekend operation plans for at least a year !
Bruce is happy for us to do
something on the Friday. We will have available 2-axle and 3-axle 300 series buses and a preserved Volvo
for tours. If work on the fleet continues, we could slip in a trip or two
between Karori Depot and Karori Terminus using 90, 119 and, possibly, 39.
Gus Weir’s World Tour of
the U K
Part Six! We’ve
arrived and how!
Arriving at London Heathrow from Munich in July 2004 was not without
its problems, such as three times around the stack before landing and then
forty-five minutes touring the airport taxiways waiting for our air-bridge slot
to be vacated by the previous occupant which had a technical problem, before we
could disembark from our aircraft.
were not right yet, we were to be met by a courier for transfer to our hotel,
but no courier appeared. After many phone-calls by the Information Counter
staff, he turned up as a black cab forty-five minutes later! Things should have been OK but no, our hotel
had had a ‘computer glitch’, was overbooked, so we had to transfer to another. Not a very auspicious arrival. However things
came right and we began our exploration of the UK big smoke next day, much of
which I described in Part One of this series.
this trip, we spent only a few days in London
before departing on a coach tour of Europe. On
arriving back in London,
we took a further coach tour around the British Isles.
Obviously bus or tram nuts do not run the tours, so opportunities to view buses
and trams do not occur very often!
However, I tried to see what I could. In Europe
I managed to see the new Brussels Bombardier LRVs, the Karlsruhe Duewag LRVs,
and many Mercedes Benz Citaro rigid and articulated buses. In Munich there were handsome blue and white MAN LRVs. I
was lucky in Vienna
to have two hours filming in Schwedenplatz, a tram transiting point, then in
Rue Victor Hugo in Nice I saw a variety of Renault Agora low floor buses and a
number of Volvo CNG Sunbuses which have a curious handle-shaped attachment over
the body front. In Paris
I saw a mixture of Renaults, rigid and articulated.
the Europe tour we learnt from our guide a new
acronym, abc, (another bl***y cathedral), due to the tour organisers believing
that these edifices were highly desirable viewing. For this tourist the first one
or two were fine, after which, time was usually spent getting pictures. For
example, in the UK,
naturally we saw all the tourist sites and cathedrals and at Winchester when all the rest of the group
were marvelling at the beauty of the local Cathedral, where was Gus? Outside, filming a Stagecoach Dennis Dart
with Plaxton bodywork, and others! Our
tour took us South and West to Land’s End and
two overnights in Plymouth.
we had a very interesting rail trip on the South Devon Railway, a heritage
operation using Great Western locomotives and rolling stock, along the River
Dart to Totnes and return to Buckfastleigh and yet another cathedral but
there was also a preserved Devon General AEC
Regent in splendid order. In the evening of this day, our tour took us to the
small town of Princetown,
service town for the infamous Dartmoor Prison, and hideaway of HRH Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. I had a pint of
Jail ale and we were treated to probably the best fish and chips I remember,
and entertained by a former prison officer called Jack who told us tales of old
Dartmoor, hairy hands and ghosts!
bach, next and a night in Cardiff.
After breakfast before the tour departed, I got some photos of the passing Bws
Caerdydd (Cardiff Bus) Dennis Darts in their handsome dark green and off-white
795 Scania L94 4B/Wright
Stagecoach Dennis Dart/Plaxton in Winchester. (Gus should
have been admiring the Cathedral at this point!) (Photos by the author.)
the various fleets I saw were in good order and very tidy. The red and white
Bus Eireann in Limerick with a variety of chassis, Mercedes Benz Citaro, Volvo
B10M, and Wright bodied DAFs was a good example. Again, in Belfast, were a varied lot of chassis, Volvo
Alexander double deckers, Leyland Leopard and perhaps inevitable Wright-bodied
Wright-bodied vehicles appear to have gained considerable popularity in the
whole of the United Kingdom.
The operator in Dublin,
Bus Átha Cliath (Dublin Bus), as viewed in the famous O’Connell Street, appeared to have a
preference for Volvo chassis, many with Alexander bodies, and some newer Volvo
artics with Wright Fusion bodies. These buses were in two liveries, a white and
blue which seemed to be an old livery being replaced by a dark blue and yellow
strip. A bonus in Dublin
for this tram nut was to secure a photo of a passing Luas Alstom Citadis three
section LRV on test, prior to the new light rail system opening. (More
coming in Part 7.)
OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Michael Berry, Earle Howe, Graeme
Inwood,, Peter King,, Allan Neilson, Ian Robertson, Nick Stoneman , Peter Thompson (Owing to trolley overload at this time, much
contributed material has not been used.
It does not mean it won’t be!! Ed.)
Bus – Peter Thompson sends details of new Scania 3-axle buses at Roskill
/ENA86, 2141/ENA91, 2142/EPN280,
2147/EQG692, 2148/EPN273, 2149/EQG695, 2150/ERA229, 2151/EUJ376,
2152/EUJ378, 2153/EUJ385, 2154/EUJ386,
2155/EUJ390, 2156/EWE92, 2157/EWE91.
All are in Metrolink blue and silver livery (illustrated in the Oct./Nov. 08 RS .)
Ritchies also have new 3-axle Scanias.
attractive Waka Pacific livery on MAN
2451 at Onehunga. (Photo: Peter Thompson)
– Earle reports that NZ Bus MAN
SL202, 150 (ex Stagecoach ex WCCT)
is now in the H & E yard at Botany. He suspects it is being used for backup
to school runs while things are quiet on Waiheke during winter! He comments
that some of these vehicles that have almost literally run all over the
countryside would have some interesting stories to tell!
CHRISTCHURCH – Michael notes that an item in the Nelson
Mail reported that a bus in Christchurch
has clocked up 1.2 millon kilometres since 1986 on its normal city routes. It reports that this is the equivalent of
travelling to the moon on three one-way journeys. Unfortunately, no details of
the bus are provided.
Nick reports that Christchurch will have some changes in which operator
runs which routes when the changes kick in on the 2nd of November this year.
The major winner out of a lot of the tenders was Leopard who have taken work off both Redbus and Christchurch Bus
Services. Redbus lost a couple of routes and CBS lost quite a bit of work
to both Leopard and Redbus. Leopard has won 8 Casebrook / Hoon
Hay , 12 Northwood / Murray Aynsley , 15 Bishopdale / Beckenham and the
18 St Albans / Huntsbury routes. Leopard have
also been successful in keeping their existing routes which were also up for
tender. these being the 21 , 24 and 35.The routes won by Redbus are 9
Wairakei , 11 Styx Mill / Westmorland , 14 Harewood / Dyers Pass , 16 Belfast ,
20 Burnside / Barrington , 22 Redwood / Spreydon, 77 Kennedys Bush. Christchurch
Bus Services have won 7 Halswell. The 7 contract is only for 7 months,
until the 60 New Brighton
and 70 Queenspark routes will come up for tender. It is widely known that
the 70 Queenspark and 7 Halswell routes will be linked, meaning the 7 tender
will come up again at the time the 70 is due and so will The Orbiter.
This marks major change for Christchurch
and means for the first time since 2000, Leopard will be buying more new buses -
will it be to Designline or to Kiwi? There are few new through routes being
created. Route numbers 8 and 20 are returning but 22 is not.
BAY – Nimons - Peter comments on having
plenty of buses to play with, many due for sale, but the big loaders (photo below)
are needed especially for some of his new school runs. They’re Class 4 3-axle
2005 Scania L94s, ex-Ritchies, with 51 seats and 70-plus loadings. They’re
upgraded to 100 km, speed-limited and go well. Their details are in the May
section of Fleet Notes on the Omnibus
Above: Nimon’s Scania L94s, , destinations ready programmed
by their new owner. (Photo: Peter King)
PALMERSTON NORTH – Ian Robertson, whom we
welcome as a correspondent has sent details of this city’s Tranzit bus
fleet as well as an article on their new depot. There is more to come about
WELLINGTON – Go Wellington
– Volvos – Ave atque vale (Hail and
Above: Photographed, by Allan Neilson
in Darlington Rd., Miramar,on Friday 3 April, 2009, are Volvos 248 and 261.