The Newsletter of the Omnibus Society Inc., PO Box 9801, Wellington,
Editor: Mike Secker – Contact details at the foot of the last page.
Early Christmas Notice: Diary this now! The OS Christmas Dinner Trip will use ex-Eastbourne
Royal Tiger Cub No.20 on a trip to Eastbourne
– Wed. 10 Dec. 2008
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 7278, or Peter Rendall, Ph. 970 1405. NBOwing to health reasons (see Peter’s piece below), Peter Rendall has
surrendered his licence, so the Society is short of the services of one regular
driver. Henry and Morris Moller are, therefore, carrying the burden of the
driving requirements of the Society, and no immediately available licenced
driver is handy for helping out in an emergency. If anyone can offer any help
here, please ring Henry, Peter or Morris – Morris’s Phone No. is (04) 477 9467.
OUR SOCIETY, DEPOT AND FLEET… thanks to Peter Rendall
While the Society has not held any
social events this year, the small team at Karori have been working industriously
on a range of projects. The major one has been to markedly increase our
storage space - this was achieved by building a platform over the top of the Farmers
trolleybus using materials salvaged from the former stores area at
Kilbirnie. A large number of seat squabs and frames and other bulky but
light material now reside up here. The shelving below contains a
substantial amount of spares - mainly Leyland
but a few other bits as well. In addition a large quantity of glass -
windows mainly - has been moved from Kilbirnie to Karori. We also needed
to create space to store the remains of 4 Leyland
680 engines, and two Ansaldo traction motors, all materials sourced from
Kilbirnie. We have also made a start on tidying other spaces at Karori so
we know what we have and where it is. All tedious and heavy work - but we
are making good progress. Another change has been to shift the buses from down
the yard to in front of the stores area. In our spare moments we
have checked 322 over. After it went
out to Boss Engineering for brake work, it is back in traffic with a new COF.
The drum on the left rear needed to be skimmed to bring it back into round, and
new seals were fitted to the hub to deal with a minor oil leak. These tasks are
beyond our skill levels and so we have to pay for suchthings. Thanks to Henry and Morris in
the main, we are earning sufficient funds to allow this sort of thing to
happen. Next on our list is getting the paint job on 397 completed, and I'm also planning to give 23 a going over to ensure that it’s a runner. We expect 20 to be returned to our care in the
not too distant future. Early photos show it looking very good. The
work on this bus is funded through a donation from Joanne and Gareth Morgan. Members
who would like to see what’s happening are most welcome to put their heads
around the door at Karori on a Tuesday evening from on. We also need more drivers -
especially now that president Pete has decided to surrender his licences after
another health scare - mind you there are not many who can say they've survived
three strokes and are still mobile and otherwise functional. - Pete R.
[We can say, though Peter, that we
are all very glad you have survived. We, all of us, wish you the best of
health for the future. - Mike Secker]
OVERSEAS FEATURE …
Gus Weir’s World Tour of the U K
Part Five: Still Getting There! (Photos
by the author.)
Singapore, an upper deck Boeing 747-400 business class seat ensured a
comfortable 12 hours to Zűrich, Switzerland, arriving there 6:25 am. My
diary records Singapore Airline business class travel as total luxury, last to
be called for boarding, first to disembark at the destination with attractive
smiling air hostesses looking after your every need (almost), and food and
drink to satisfy all needs and then some!Having chosen a ‘Round the World’ tour, our flights were all westwards and neither of us suffered from the
dreaded jet lag, so, although it was still not , no jet lag meant there was total interest in the
surroundings. ZűrichAirport has a mainline
underground station, where we headed and boarded a double-deck electric train bound
(Luzern) via Zűrich
main station arriving at Lucerne
about an hour later. As it was early in the morning, our room at the hotel was
not ready for us so we decided to explore. After dodging a horrendous rainstorm,
we eventually arrived back at the Railway Station (Bahnhof) which is also the
hub for the local bus services. A veritable paradise for a Busnut.
here, in vbl (Verkehrsbetriebe Luzern) light blue and white livery, depart
diesel buses, trolley buses, trolley buses with trailers, and articulated
buses, of various makes. Most, if not all the trolley buses were by Siemens and
were labelled NAW, which I assume is the bodybuilder. Diesel buses were Volvos
with Hess bodies, a Frech-Hoch rigid (new to me) and Mercedes Citaros,
articulated and rigid. These seemed to be popular as well as being handsome
vehicles. During my time in Europe I saw many
of them. The trailers towed by trolley buses were quite substantial, being
almost as big as the bus itself. Most operators in Switzerland tend to use initials to
identify their organisations rather than the actual words eg vbl, as above (German), TPG for Transports Publics Genevois in
Geneva (French), TPL for Transporti
Publici Lugonesi in Lugano (Italian), which illustrated the language variations
in Switzerland. Another group of buses seen in Lucerne and, in fact, all over Switzerland, were
the yellow SwissPost Buses. These vehicles operate under various titles depending
on the language of the area. In Lucerne
they are titled ‘Die Post’ obviously
German and in other French areas ‘Post
Auto’. The actual vehicles are all in the same smart yellow livery and
carry the stylised horn logo. I saw various chassis types, MAN, Mercedes Citaro,
and Neoplan, indicating that the organisation spreads its favours. A must-do in
anyone interested in transport is to visit, and it can take all day, the Museum of Transport in Motion (Verkehrshaus). This
Museum is on the lakeside and easily reached by a regular bus service. Among
the exhibits are two former Swiss Air aircraft DC3 or similar, many locomotives,
steam and electric, trams and a whole wall divided into about fifty pigeon
holes each containing a motor cycle.There are working models of the Mt Titlus cable car and a shipping lock.
day trip from Lucerne
to Berne by electric train enabled me to see
and photograph trams and buses in the Capital. Stâdtische Verkehrsbetriebe Bern –Bern Mobil - operate trams, trolley and
diesel buses, all in distinctive all-over red livery recently introduced with a
new group of Siemens Combino low floor trams.The absence of manufacturer’s logos on the buses made the identification
of makes difficult.Most diesel and
trolley buses were articulated, many with air conditioning pods, and were very
clean and tidy.
During a ‘Country Roads’ tour we visited many other Swiss
cities and saw many transport systems, one of the more distinctive of which was
the bus operation in Lausanne
which is the Headquarters of the Olympic Movement. Transit Lausanne-tl, in common with other Swiss cities,
operates diesel and trolley buses. The diesels were from Van Hool. The trolleys
were similar in appearance but unbranded and could operate with poles down.
They did this under the wires for no apparent reason. The vehicles seemed very
large, the rigid ones towing large trailers, and the articulated buses had
articulations almost as big as the bus itself! We also visited Geneva and saw the tram and trolley bus
services there, with, again, articulated vehicles to the fore, and also large
trailers. Later, a fine day was spent on the lakeside in Lugano, an Italian canton
of Ticino in the southern part of Switzerland. In
this city the transport services are run by Transporti Publici Lugonesi –TPL. The services I saw were all run by
Mercedes Benz Citaro rigid buses, in a ‘standard’ Swiss blue and white livery.
Electric Battery Bus, Zermatt
vbl No 271 Siemens Trolley Bus & Trailer, Lucerne
unusual place was Zermatt, which stands in the
shadow of the Matterhorn and has been declared
motor engine free. No petrol or diesel engined vehicles are permitted. As a
result, all cars, buses etc., have to be parked at a huge carpark located at
Tasch, a few kilometres away. We left our coach at the carpark and a Toyota Hi
Ace taxi took us to the city’s edge where we boarded a 6-passenger electric
battery bus for the rest of the journey to our hotel. Apart from some horse-drawn
carriages, all vehicles in the town are battery operated.
a transport nut, is paradise. Apart from the bus services I have described,
there are extensive electric train networks, trams aplenty in Zürich, Berne and Geneva,
and also in Basel
and Neuchâtel which we didn’t get to see. After all this delight, we packed our
bags and headed for Zürich airport for a Lufthansa flight to London and the World Tour of the UK.
OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Graeme Inwood, Peter King, Nick
Stoneman, Alan Wickens
Congratulations to our correspondent,
Graeme Inwood, a senior GO Wellington
driver, for his achievement at the 2008 Transqual Australasian Bus Roadeo in Hamilton on 19 October.
He was Second Overall Winner.
NZ Bus –
Scania/ Designline 2146/ EPN257 in Feilding during
delivery, August, 2008. (Photo: Mike
The above livery, branded as metrOlink and with additional
ripple-pattern lines, is to be the central Auckland bus service identifier reports the November
Bus & Coach Association CIRCULAR. This will apply to buses from the City,
Panmure and Mt.Roskill depots. NorthShore
will retain its North Star identity and West Aucklanders will continue
to GO West.
DUNEDIN – Nick
reports that the Otago Regional Council have decided that route numbers will
return to Dunedin’s
bus routes. He adds that it seems strange to see numbers in use after so long
without them, Citibus being, at present, the only company using them. Dunedin
Passenger Transport’s fleet is largely unable to display route numbers.
More tenders come up in the next few months, including the Nights and Weekends
tenders. The southern routes will come up, also, which are mostly DPT services
but Port Chalmers (Citibus) is in there as well.
Citibus 328, a
third-hand Dart ex-Ritchies, working a 9 Normanby via Gardens. Right: In sharp new DPT livery bus 30 is
working a service to Maori Hill via the University. (Photos: N.Stoneman)
HAWKESBAY – Nimons -
Nimon’s new No.12, near the
top of HaastPass returning from BCA Conference at
Invercargill. All the Nimon family are in front plus Peter’s partner, Prue.
Peter says the 45-seat coach is on a Mitsubishi rubbish truck chassis, goes
well and rides as well as a Volvo.(Photo: P.King)
ROTORUA – Here, Reesbys have
at least four new Optare Solos from the UK, for the Rotorua Cityride
services. They are 35/RO35; 36/RO36; 37/RO37 and 38/RO38.
Note the matching rego’s as is often done in the UK. Mitsubishi Rosas continue on
Cityride services, too.
A new look in Rotorua – Reesby’s 37/RO37, an Optare
Solo M880. (Photo: Michael Kilgour)
WELLINGTON – Greater Wellington Regional
Council has called for expressions of interest from firms that might want to
design, supply and implement a real time information system. The BCA CIRCULAR says that the $10m system will track the
city’s 500 buses and 90 commuter trains and be able to inform people when they
will actually arrive. There is also a plan to return two-way bus services
through Manners Mall – at present a zigzag route via Dixon, Cuba,
Wakefield Streets is used. Ah me….the trams knew the better way after all…!!!
A September photo from
Graeme Inwood with trolley 212 being towed away “for the chop” as he puts it.
He opines also that the wrong vehicle may be for the chop as the tow-truck
broke down!Below: Here’s a happier trolley towing photo from Graeme Inwood,
taken in August with new 3-axle trolley 341 being taken to Kilbirnie “round the
bays”, as they say in the capital. Note the livery contrast. The truck is now
black and yellow.
Contrasting with the blue-greens of Lambton Quay is new
MAN 16.223/Designline 1013/ ENU733 on Route 91, Airport Flyer duty in August
– lettering had yet to be added. 1011/ ENU731 is also in orange but
1012/ ENU732 is in Valley Flyer livery. Word is that when enough new
Scanias are to hand, they will take over all Route 91 duties. These MANs have
no rear doors, so they are likely to be put on Eastbourne
services. Fleet numbers continue the series 1001-1010 that are with
Infratil-owned Adams of Whangarei(Photo: Alan Wickens)
-Mana Coach Services –
Kapiti –143/NCS43, Hino/Designline
34-seat coach has gone from Kapiti. Some body rectification will be done and it
is to be sold. 26/BDU936, 38-seat MAN, is based at Kapiti in its place.
Ex-Ritchies 456, an Ansair-bodied Mercedes O305, has now been completely
dismantled for spares (for SLFs, 77 – 88). Replacing it is a Volvo B10
chassis that arrived during the last week of October. The remains of the body
work at the front carry an Alexander badge (Scottish bodybuilders) and it is
R/H drive – signs in Chinese suggest possibly a Hong Kong
history. Our head mechanic does not think it ever ran as a bus in NZ. Spares
from this will be for the three dedicated Kapiti Commuter B10s. Leyland Tiger 135/NCS35
is still a spare vehicle at Kapiti – in fact, I had the real pleasure of
driving it to Plimmerton recently on a school technology run.
Porirua – This depot has at least one
UK-derived Dennis Dart, with noticeably English bodywork. It is F/N 63 and
is in service in the area. I have no other details and would welcome
information about it.
Newlands – no sign yet of the new Volvo
B7Rs for service here.
OPINION… Here’s a piece from Peter King of Nimons about the
September allocation of school bus contracts. Feelings are running high on what
has happened. Many contractors may go to the wall as they do only, or mainly,
school bus runs. In the Ruapehu area, for example, John Dempsey of Raetihi also
does many school runs and the local paper reflects his strong feelings on the
subject. Schools, too, are worried at losing local expertise. But the concern
is not only school runs. This is only lightly edited. Read on…..
Well, what a week! Talk
about a blood-letting! The school bus tender round – Nimons lost two small runs
and gained ten. Waipawa Buses lost all their runs bar four (from over 80…!)
Go Bus own the East
Coast from Gisborne to Dannevirke. Ritchies own the South
Island. Every small family business has been wiped out. Bruns have
run all the school runs in Waipukurau for generations – they have no runs. It
is the same all over the country. The number of bus operators in NZ has been
cut in half.The major operators in NZ are Ritchies and Go Bus. And, one
assumes, NZ Bus.
This pm, (22 Sept.) we
were advised that Go Bus have taken the tender for urban services off Nimon and
Sons, effective 1 Feb. 2009.
Get your photos now! Nimons have been running the Havelock North – Hastings service for over
103 years. Nimon and Sons have a pro-active team, building on their school
operations, charter and tour work, with a major input into the cruise ship
business, and local events, and will survive and grow from this. All our staff
are totally gutted by the carnage, and feel deeply for all the operators and
staff of companies who no longer have a business.
The last term of this
year will see the end of liveries that have been part of the NZ bus scene for
generations. Get out and get the photos for the history books. A sad week.
Ian Foster Little 2 Nov.,
1931 – 15 July, 2008
Colin Robert Perfect 26 Sept., 1945 – 30 Sept., 2008
Both these people will be
remembered for their very different but memorable personal styles. Ian was a bus
man who saved many different vehicles and had a variety of other interests as
well. Colin was also a man of wider achievements than his transport interests
which were more in railed vehicles and he was,in fact, to produce a
conservation document on the Kaiwarra trolleybus for the O.S.
They are both missed.
Finally, warmest good wishes from me and the Omnibus
Society office holders for a great Christmas and New Year. – Mike Secker