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

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 EastbourneWed. 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. NB Owing 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 such  things. 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 7.30pm 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]                                   


Gus Weir’s World Tour of the U K

Part Five: Still Getting There! (Photos by the author.)


            Leaving 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 7:00 am, no jet lag meant there was total interest in the surroundings. Zűrich Airport has a mainline underground station, where we headed and boarded a double-deck electric train bound for Lucerne (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.

            From 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 Lucerne for 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.

            A day trip from Lucerne to Berne by electric train enabled me to see and photograph trams and buses in the Capital. Stâdtische Verkehrsbetriebe BernBern 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 Zermat

Electric Battery Bus, Zermatt

Siemens Trolley Bus & Trailer, Lucerne

vbl No 271 Siemens Trolley Bus & Trailer, Lucerne


            One 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.

            Switzerland, to 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 –                                

Metrolink Scania 2146

Scania/ Designline 2146/ EPN257 in Feilding during delivery, August, 2008. (Photo: Mike Butler)


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. North Shore will retain its North Star identity and West Aucklanders will continue to GO West.


            DUNEDINNick 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 MAN 328 DPT 30

Left: 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)

            HAWKES  BAY – Nimons -             

Nimons 12 Mitsubishi

Nimon’s new No.12, near the top of Haast Pass 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.

Reesby 37 Optare Solo

A new look in Rotorua – Reesby’s 37/RO37, an Optare Solo M880. (Photo: Michael Kilgour)


            WELLINGTONGreater 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, Victoria and Wakefield Streets is used. Ah me….the trams knew the better way after all…!!!

Go Wellington 212
Go Wellington 341

Top: 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.

Wellington Airport Flyer 1013

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 or Singapore 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., 194530 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

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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