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

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 Lindsay Cameron for reminding me to re-insert the following words: 

Our aging fleet needs constant care. On Tuesday work nights at Karori Depot, the small dedicated team of regulars deserve our thanks and 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 team would welcome your presence and support.


            BOOKS FOR SALEMorris advises he has these for sale to members:

On the Buses in New Zealand  $45-00 each    (2 copies available)

            Te Kopuru – Dargaville Bus Company Ltd    $7-00 each   (2 copies available)

            Composites – New Zealand Freighter Coaches    $12.00 each   (3 copies available)

To purchase any of these, contact Morris Moller Ph. (04) 477 9467 Mob.027 216 2304 or email  


…HAPPENINGS AT KARORI…many  thanks to PeterRendall for these observations: Peter also mentions the Herculean labours of the very small workforce. He notes that work done under 322 has made this 52-year old bus look almost new underneath with Mike Flinn being the cleaning hero. Peter’s notes on the condition of the fuel tank are overtaken by the news in the October RUNNINGSHEET  EXTRA  that a new fuel tank would be required. Thanks, here, to members who made donations towards this unexpected expense. A reasonable level of charter work continues - in dollar value and quantity somewhat lower than the previous year - which in the current economic situation is to be expected but the drop is pleasingly low considering. Wally Hammond contacted us to say that he had a quantity of spares for the VAS including a second gas tank.  Unfortunately when a visit to uplift these items was made it was found that the gas tank had vanished !  However PR has been able to source a replacement from Go Bus in Hamilton, which will be uplifted in October.
Departed to the great bus yard in the Sky via MoTaT is ARA trolley 109 which went north in August, and as I write is diminishing - assisted by, among others, Lachlan, the elder Rendall son. Components are being used to remedy a range of defects in sister vehicles in the MoTaT collection.  Sort of sad to see it go but you can't just pop down to the corner store for some things, and its demise will see at least 4 other buses live on in operational condition.   The truck that took 109 north was travelling back from the South Island unladen, so the opportunity was taken to bring the chassis of the ex King of the Road (Oamaru) Leyland Cub north.  This was a bit more expensive than anticipated, but is a task achieved.  This chassis is now positioned under the Trackless Tram body.  This was raised to height by PR and Neil Brown using our two manual tram jacks and multitudinous pieces of wood - including most of the pit planks that were out from under 322.  Over the next few weeks we will level the body on bearers on the chassis.  This effort achieves two aims - it stores the chassis inside, and makes the trackless body much easier to move about. To do this 95 - the Thornycroft - had to be towed outside for a rare outing. Sadly it didn't rain so its encrusting layer of dust has stayed in situ. At the same time, having a bit of space available, we were able to use fleet No 13 to do some tidying and obtain better use of space.
The future? I've had a meeting with Fran Wilde, Chairperson of the Wellington Regional Council. We discussed two issues, one the need for interim covered storage and the other a longer term solution for the storage and display of our fleet. It was a very positive meeting from our perspective. Fran was very sympathetic to our aims and ambitions. Regarding short term covered storage, I asked for the Council to consider allowing us the use of the former Dog Obedience shelter at the Tilley Road end of QEP. We haven't had a final answer as yet, but indications are positive. In the longer term, Fran would like to see us, and other groups such as car clubs and the printing museum, clustered around the tramway site at the MacKays entrance to QEP.  To this end, she has asked that the officers of the council investigate this - what was seen as a relatively quick process looks like it will take two years.
We are at present sorting out some parts for Ross Jowitt in Auckland. He is restoring two Luxury Landlines vehicles - a Worldmaster and a Panther.  The standard of work is impressive - both have been soda blasted back to bare metal.  Ross is also a vintage aircraft restorer and owner so uses techniques that are usually applied to aircraft restoration. He's also got a number of military vehicles and communications equipment.  As a former Edwards Motors staffer, his initial move into bus preservation was to try to secure the remaining Reo pusher, but this fell through when the bus was torched in an arson attack, so he moved to grab the Luxury Landlines Worldmaster. Not too long after getting his teeth into this vehicle the Panther became available. The Worldmaster is in a barn on his property near the GVR passenger terminus, while the Panther is in his hangar at Ardmore where it rubs shoulders with a couple of classic aircraft.



Gus Weir’s World Tour of the U.K.

Part Seven: Back to the Mainland

Leaving Dun Laoghaire, Dublin’s port, on a huge HSS (high speed sea ferry), Stena Explorer car and coach carrying catamaran, we had a pleasant 40 knot journey to Holyhead in North Wales. Our tour continued to the place with the long name, Llanfair-+47 letters-H, for souvenirs and photos with the lady in traditional Welsh dress including the flower pot hat. Our accommodation that evening was at Ruthin Castle, very grand and featuring peacocks and hydrangeas in the garden. For the next few days, our tour didn’t have too much to interest a bus nut apart from a short stop in Chester where I spotted Chester City Transport No 100, a Dennis front entrance double deck bus, the odd Scania/Wright Axcess Floline on ‘Park & Ride’ duties and an unidentified Arriva single decker. This was all until reaching Edinburgh several days later.

I found the buses in Edinburgh very interesting with a variety of vehicles and liveries. On our first visit, our hotel room overlooked Princes Street,  Edinburgh’s main street, allowing one to view the bus activities. We were high enough on the first floor to use the camera and camcorder as well! Most services are run by Lothian Buses Group, 91% owned by the Edinburgh City Corporation. The Group provides local, Park and Ride, All-night and Airport operations. Local services, numbering about 50, use buses in two liveries, the original livery being  madder (a shade of dark red) and white which was the livery of the city’s tram fleet. This livery has been updated to the current ‘harlequin’ livery, basic white with a brown lower edge, a gold diamond pattern at the rear and a red front to distinguish the Lothian Buses from the First Group buses also operating in the city. Lothian also operate extensive tourist services using some open top AEC Routemasters, Leyland Titans, and Leyland Olympians all wearing the red, seen- all-over-the-U K tours type livery. Airport services, Route 100, are operated by a dedicated group of Dennis Tridents with Plaxton President bodies in light and dark blue. Lothian’s vehicle fleet is varied, and includes Dennis Dart SLFs and Volvo B7RLE single deck buses and Leyland Olympian and Dennis Trident double deckers. There is also a variety of bodies, Plaxton, Wright and Alexander. As well, the Lothian group has a fleet of 37 vintage vehicles. This Scottish operation is most impressive and certainly impressed me so much so that I collected many photos on both our visits to the home of the Scottish Parliament and the famous Tattoo.

First York 19007 Volvo B7TA

First York No.19007, a Volvo B7TA Wright "Streetcar"

First Glasgow Volvo B7TL

First Glasgow No. 31508, a Volvo B7TL, East Lancs Nordic.(Photos by the author.)

As mentioned, First Group also provides services for the citizens of Edinburgh, and operates many buses. The Group operates all over the UK, running not only buses but also trains and the London Tramlink. One of the Group’s interesting innovations I saw only briefly, was the striking purple ‘Streetcar,’ a concept of the Wrightbus Group and Volvo, that was intended to mimic a tramcar. It was running in York carrying the logo ‘ftr’ which is the text abbreviation for ‘future’, indicating that this vehicle is the first step into the future of public transport. The ‘Streetcars’ are used on Route 4, a dedicated service to York University. Unfortunately, some problems beset the new service, in particular very unreliable automatic ticketing which did not endear the Streetcars to the public. Eventually conductors were employed. I understand that, teething troubles being overcome, the ftrs are now running in Leeds and Swansea, coincidentally on route 4 in both cities and are also on service at Luton Airport.

In Glasgow, I saw that First have a strong foothold on services using both single and double deckers. One type in particular was a three-axle double decker No 31508, a Volvo B7TL/East Lancs Nordic, one of ten vehicles based on the success of similar vehicles run in Hong Kong by them. First have in their fleet many buses from Irish bodybuilders, Wrightbus, which have the distinctive three-piece ‘W’ shaped logo incorporated on each vehicle’s front panel. I noticed that the Volvo B7 chassis with the Wright Eclipse Gemini and the DAF chassis Pulsar Gemini style body was very popular among operators. Seeing examples in red in London, in the red, white and blue of National Express in Dundee, and the white and lavender of the First Group everywhere, this bus body so appealed to me that I bought two models of the type, one in London United red and the other in First Group standard livery, to enhance the shelf of models in my ‘office’.  (More in Part 8)


            OBSERVATIONS…Thanks to Henry Brittain, Graeme Inwood,, Peter King,, Ian Robertson, Stephen Watkins, Alan Wickens  

HAWKES  BAY  Nimons -  Peter says he has the three Scanias (Nimons 101 – 103) bought from Ritchies ready for the road. 101 has been on "Steiner School, Haumoana" for the past two weeks, and he got the other two sorted on Friday. He’s still deciding where they will go, but will work on that later.
He continues: Effective, start of First Term 2010, Nimons take over all Taupo School Services ex Waipawa Buses. I am now looking for 16 new buses. At least as I come up to 71 years of age, life is never dull. Managing Director, Bill Nimon, and General Manager, Pete Patterson, have completed a marathon Tender Round, and established the building blocks for the Company into the future. (Anyone got a spare Leopard I can have? I might need it!) Following the sale of 112 to a chap in Carterton, who intends running it in Wellington colours doing local tours there. I am now down to one Wellington Leopard, our 117 ( 463). It is my bus, and has been for many years. I am going to be sorry to see it go. Hopefully, it will hang around for a while yet as my "spare". 

Nimons Scania L94

Above: Nimon’s 101 – 103 (ex-Ritchies) in their new livery, one of the most effective white-based liveries, I think. The red wheels set it off nicely. (Photo: Peter King)

NEW PLYMOUTH  - Stephen updates us here and we welcome him to RS. Funding issues continue to delay much needed upgrades to the city’s public transport network, with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announcing that the application for additional funds submitted by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) has been declined.

In the application, the TRC announced their intention to increase the total number of bus routes within the city to nine, to provide all routes with on-peak  service intervals of 30 minutes and 60 minutes off-peak, to extend electronic ticketing to all services, and to launch a new 'orbiter' service primarily aimed to service major High Schools, but which would also be available to the general public. The new services would bring the total annual cost of providing passenger transport services in the city to approximately $1.2m per annum. In order to reach this target, the TRC intended to increase the annual passenger transport component of the regional rate by approximately $3 per rate-payer, which would be combined with an additional $147,600 per annum in funding being sought from the NZTA. No changes were planned to the existing bus-fare structure.

While this setback is disappointing, similar funding-related applications made by a number of other councils throughout the country, have also suffered similar fates.  The TRC have, however, indicated  that they will continue to work with NZTA to find a way forward. Service levels have, overall, remained relatively static since the last moderate revision  that occurred in 2005.


PALMERSTON NORTHAs mentioned in the last RS, Ian had done an article on this city - TRANZIT COACHLINES IN PALMERSTON NORTH - and here it is. Sorry for late publication:

From their Masterton base the  Snelgrove family-owned Tranzit Coachlines expanded into Palmerston North when they bought into the Intercity and Newmans Group in 1991. Further consolidation of the Palmerston North operation came with the entry into urban transport in 1998. Later, contracts were won for urban services in Wanganui and New Plymouth in July 2008, Manakau CIty to Mangere Airport in 2008, and Palmerston North to Feilding (previously run by Madge Coachlines/Uzabus) in January 2009. Some newer buses with electronic destinations show destinations for all these centres, including the original Masterton services, and buses are often shuffled between centres.  

Tranzit won the contract with Manawatu Regional Council (Horizons), to operate Palmerston North city routes previously operated by Palmerston North Taxis. The Tranzit depot until recently was the travel centre on the corner of Main and Pitt Streets, a former restaurant premises. This depot became increasingly congested as urban services outgrew the minimal parking available adjacent to the terminal. At night urban buses were parked in a nearby parking lot used during the day by the Senior Citizens Association. In December 2008, the depot was moved to a new site in Matipo Street which has been purpose-built by Tranzit. All urban operations are now conducted from this depot, which also houses coaches used on Intercity and Newmans services, as well as on charters. Currently on site there are also a number of buses acquired with the purchase of Marton Bus Service and Okato Bus Lines in New Plymouth. Besides providing greater parking space for buses and coaches, a two-storey office building provides clean, light facilities for all staff. An additional benefit was bringing on-site the maintenance facilities with a well-equipped workshop.

Most city services are well patronised, using a combination of 26 seat MAN 10.160s and whichever of the larger MANs are available. Urban routes are coupled to provide circular routes with services more or less alternately in each direction. They are routes 1/2 Awapuni/Rugby, 3/4 Highbury/Takaro, 5/6 Cloverley/Milson, 7/8 Rhodes/Roslyn, 9/10 Rangiora/Brightwater, and 31/32 Fernlea/Heights. Services to Massey University are the most heavily used, with overload buses on all routes at busy times, morning and afternoon. There are four routes, all beginning from the City Terminal. Route 12 from City Terminal to Massey direct, connects with other urban buses. The other three Massey routes (12A, 12B, 12C) travel via Hokowhitu, Awapuni, Takaro and Highbury. Some trips travel to Massey main campus via the Hokowhitu campus (route 15), and Tranzit also provide a shuttle connecting both campuses. As Massey University and Horizons subsidise these services, travel anywhere in the city, as well as to and from Massey, is free to staff and students. A less frequent service is provided between the city and the Japanese-run International Pacific College (route 14), and some trips are combined with the Massey service.

Tranzit Palmerston North fleet

Above: City Fleet: Front (L-R):  F/N 393, MAN 16.223 new in 2008. F/N 273 and 274, MAN 10.160 (ex Brisbane) .

Back  (L-R): F/N 281, MAN 12.223, F/N 394 MAN 16.223, F/N 270, MAN 10.160, F/N 298 and 286, MAN 12.223.

(Photo: Ian Robertson)

When I photographed the depot on Sunday 8 February 2009, the yard contained the following: City fleet: 281 MAN 12.223 (2008) DSL, also 282, 283;  284(1996), 393, 394 MAN 16.223 (2008) DSL; 270, 273, 274, 300 MAN 10.160 (1999) These last have Ansair bodies and came from Australia. Instructions on destination blinds on some suggest they have seen use in Brisbane with Brisbane City Council.

Artics: 550 Volvo B56 (1981), Reg DHD 796 [N.S.W. reg DOT 924-367];  583 MAN SG192 (1979), Reg ALT 991; 552 MAN SG192 (1977), Reg AJS 553?; 569 MAN SG192 (1979), Reg CLT 679 [Known in Okato ownership as "Kaima"]

Intercity: 1005, 8303, Kiwi 1136  (Several buses were not in the depot, being used for Sunday services. Among the acquired buses parked up were 578 Mercedes 0305 (ex ARA 1525 via Okato Bus Lines) and 42 MCW Metrorider, Reg XJ 7903 from Wanganui.)


WELLINGTON – Go WellingtonHenry advises current usage of the Volvo trolleys: 233 re-entered service towards the end of October, after some repanelling and repainting all-over white. 227 has already been so treated, 268 is possibly next, then 258. (See Graeme’s pic below.)



Volvo Trolley 233 Designline Trolley 387

Left: Volvo trolley 233 at Kilbirnie, receiving a life-extending sand-down and some new panels before its coat of white paint and re-entry to service.(Photo: Graeme Inwood, taken mid-October.) Right: A nice study of trolley 387/EZS579 crossing the old tram terminus area in Dundas St., Seatoun. (Photo: Alan Wickens.)


Mana Coach Services    Newlands Depot – This depot now has all of the new Scania/Kiwi 3-axle buses, F/Ns 160 - 167. Kapiti Depot – New routes, and numbers, new timetables - it’s all go on the Coast. Routes 71 to Paraparaumu Beach (now 262), and 77 Waikanae (now 280) are the only routes unchanged. Changed are 72 to Paraparaumu Beach (now 261), 73 to Raumati Beach (now 260), and 74 to Raumati Beach and South (now 250). New are Route 270 to Paraparaumu East, and a straight down Kapiti Rd. to Paraparaumu Beach only express version of Route 260. Also new are late evening buses 265 (Routes 250/260 combined), 266 (Routes 261/262 combined) and 280 (Waikanae). These buses run at 8.00 pm and 9.00 pm Mon.-Thurs., with 10.00 pm buses on Fri. and Sat. as well. Route 285 is the Kapiti Commuter but the number is not displayed on the two Volvo B12 coaches (122/YR6207 and 130/CEP214) that work the service. The route numbers are decreed by the Regional Council as part of a regional route number system. (The 100-series numbers already used in the Hutt Valley seem to be part of the same process.) Route 290 (formerly 70), Paraparaumu – Otaki, is operated by Madge/Uzabus.

Newlands Scania 162

Above: Mana C.S. 162 /FAW20, one of eight new Scanias with steering tag axles, and bodied by Kiwi, at Johnsonville Hub. All of these operate from Newlands Depot. (Photo: Alan Wickens.)



Editor:  Mike Secker, 63 Glen Road, Raumati South, Kapiti  5032.  Ph: (04) 902 1173   Fax: (04) 902 1174 

Mob: 027 426 7901.  Email:


Return to Running Sheet Index

Home | About the Society | Fleet | Publications | Library | Bus History | Badges, Books & Posters | Links | Bus Location