MARCH, 2006

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



All good wishes for 2006 to all members of the Omnibus Society and to all perusers of this Newsletter. I apologise for a later than usual first issue for the year. I shall use the different mast-head style for any issue that is briefer than normal so that important notices can be sent out, particularly to Society members. Once this issue is out, I’ll begin a RUNNING SHEET that is fuller and deals with our usual content.    Mike Secker



3583’s trip to Plimmerton

Arranged at short notice, the Society ran a very interesting trip to visit a couple of places of other transport interest in the Plimmerton area.  Lindsay Cameron kindly made the arrangements and drove 3583 on a Saturday, 11 February, with eight members travelling. Two further members joined us at Plimmerton. 

First we went to meet Vic Draper, of Drapers Earthmoving Ltd. at the Aotea Block subdivision above Porirua Harbour.  Here, he had an impressive array of earthmoving machinery including bulldozers, scrapers and graders which the group admired and photographed.  Then we went to Main Line Steam’s depot at Plimmerton where we were welcomed by owner Ian Welch who gave us a brief talk on his operation and philosophy.  Ian had kindly arranged for streamlined locomotive J1211 to be in steam.  This enabled members to enjoy a footplate ride and to pose the loco beside 3583 for an interesting photograph.  Inside the shed we saw the work being undertaken on restoring or maintaining locomotives K 911, Ka 942, Ab 663, DJ 3303, DJ 3292, DSC 2759, TR 534 & Ew 1805 and several coaches and service wagons. 

Next we went to Vic Draper’s workshop at Judgeford where his wife, Sandra, generously put on a yummy lunch for us.  Vic has restored a Ruston Bacyrus 10RB excavator, which was once owned and operated by his grandfather, and he demonstrated its range of movements.  The group also admired a Leyland Hippo truck that Vic is rebuilding from the ground up.  He has restored the chassis and motor to a very high standard and it will be a sight to see when the cab has been fitted out and painted.  Finally we returned to Wellington via SH2 to complete a very pleasant and interesting outing.  Our thanks are due to Lindsay Cameron, Henry Brittain, Vic and Sandra Draper and Ian Welch and his willing volunteers at Plimmerton for making this trip a success.


[ I thank Michael Berry very much for his report on a really good day. I was able to be present only at Plimmerton and can endorse how welcome we were made to feel and how fascinating the visit was. Others have made clear that the Vic Draper parts of the day also offered this high standard of welcome and interest. If you haven’t supported a Society outing for a while, you should! See over for this year’s Programme of Events.]




18 March – BBQ at Peter Rendall’s house. (*See below for further details.)

9 April – Visit to Mana Coach Services’ Porirua Depot. (*See below 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.

*March Event

Your last chance to enjoy a barbecue in sunlight!  Celebrate the end of daylight saving by attending our annual BBQ on Saturday 18th March commencing at 6pm. The venue will be Peter and Robyn Rendall’s house at 5 Bidwill Street, Mt Cook, Wellington.  Please bring food and drink. Partners/friends/spouses are very welcome.

*April Event

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 move some buses around for photography.  Gather outside the main gate at 10am on Sunday, 9 April.


New Routemaster in Napier

Ex London Transport RML 2724 has found its way to Napier.  It is the first lengthened, 72-seat  RM in NZ, the standard version seating 64.  Now registered DBD 664, it is in the First Group livery for London service (all over red with yellow relief and emblem) and has non-matching yellow lettered blinds and NZ adverts.  It was imported in November and is owned by a Napier couple trading as Double Decker Tours.  They chose a Cummins-engined version as those engines are used in NZ.  It has been giving an hourly $10 tour of Napier over the Art Deco weekend and will be used for special events and private hires.

 [All the above material has been sent to me by our Events Organiser, Michael Berry, after the recent Committee Meeting. Grateful  thanks, Mike. ]


CORRECTION… In November/December’s RUNNING SHEET I published some comments on the meaning of VDL, as in the bus manufacturer. This attracted the attention of Mike Bennett of the PSV Circle (UK); he kindly offered the following notes. Many thanks, Mike, for your interest.

VDL is the large group headed up by a Dutch chap named Van De Leeght.  VDL Bus is the former bus division of DAF, also in the group is VDL Bova, VDL Jonckheere, VDL Kusters  (three body builders/convertors).  There is no direct connection with Volvo or Leyland except that, in the UK, Volvo did not continue sale of its B6BLE chassis and now markets the Wright bodied VDL SB120 as a complete package, called the Merit, instead. The SB200 model is a direct lightweight replacement for the more familiar but now discontinued SB220.   As the European legislation on vehicle exhaust emissions tightens, engineers have discovered that smaller, higher revving engines are better placed to meet the targets.  Consequently buses have been able to be built lighter, hence the Volvo B10B is replaced by the Vo B7RLE,  MAN's range is supplanted by the range (in the UK at least).


            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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