Saturday, 28 March 2015

‘Scene’ in Weston-super-Mare (WsM)

A short break in the Southwest recently enabled a number of interesting days out sampling the local transport scene. They included Bath, Cardiff and Bristol but seeing as we were staying in ‘WsM’, I will start there.

The major group operator is ‘First West of England’ but they get some serious competition from a local operator by the name of ‘Crosville’.

Older readers may well remember ‘Crosville’ as a British Transport Commission company who operated in North and Central Wales as well as North West England from a base at ‘Crane Wharf’ in Chester.

The company disappeared after the early 1970’s when it was broken up after the foundation of the National bus Company of which it became a part.


The present company dates from 2005 when Jonathan Jones-Pratt acquired the dormant company name and set up the current operation based in ‘WsM’.


The livery of green and cream closely follows that of the original company and a number of the original ‘Crosville’s buses still operate in the new ‘Crosville’s heritage fleet.


W975 TRP

A Dennis Dart SLF with Plaxton Pointer 2 bodywork. One of 5, the others being W973 TRP, W968 TRP, W976 TRP and W977 TRP.

They were new to F.E. Thorpe for service 70 in the Wembley area of London which explains the dual doored layout. That company was acquired by ‘Metroline’ in 2004 who kept the buses until 2010. They came to ‘Crosville’ in 2013.

W975 TRP Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer 2

 W976 TRP


W976 TRP Dennis Dart SLF Plaxto Pointer 2

CRZ 9320 (formerly E214 MSG).


A Leyland Olympian with part open top Alexander ‘R’ type bodywork that previously worked in Scotland for ‘Lothian’.

CRZ 9320 Leyland Olympian/ Alexander 'R'

V139 LGC

A Volvo B7TL carrying Alexander ALX 400 bodywork that was new in dual doored form to London United.

V139 LGC Volvo B7TL/Alexander ALX 400




First, I must apologize for the slightly blurred registration plate on this bus. It was the only time I saw it, it was late in the day and the light was going and it was moving quickly. It was one of those where you either get what you can or not at all.


An interesting bus in that it is an  early Wright Gemini bodied Hybrid propulsion bus that started out in the fleet of ‘Arriva London as its HW5’.


One of 3 that joined the fleet in October 2014.

LJ109 KRN Wright Hybrid


 MIG 6219


A Dennis Trident with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork again that was new to ‘First Capital’ as W935 ULL before moving to ‘First Glasgow’ with the same registration. Now with ‘First Bristol and Avon’ in the old ‘Barbie’ livery.


For some reason, ‘First’s own fleet list shows this bus as being bodied by Plaxton....!

MIG 6219 was W935 ULL Dennis Trident/Alexander ALX 400




An Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) E40D with Enviro 400 bodywork wearing branding for

‘First Somerset and Cornwall’s (FSC) X! ‘WsM’ to Bristol express service.


Over the years, I have commented unfavourably about the various liveries worn by ‘First’ group buses. This is the first (no pun intended) that I have actually liked.




A Dennis Trident with Alexander Enviro 400 bodywork in a slightly revised livery in that the bus while carrying its X branding has lost the number ‘1’. 


Presumably, it has been downgraded to normal bus work without having had to spend a lot of money on re painting it.


It was new to ‘First Devon & Cornwall’ and worked on ‘Park & Ride’ services in Plymouth.

WA56 FUB ADL Enviro 400



A Volvo B7RLE with Wright bodywork. Branded for the local No. 7 service.

WX54 XDH Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse



A Transbus Enviro 300 of ‘FSC’ wearing no identification as to ownership which could be because the bus had only a few days previously been transferred from ‘First Midland Red’.

SN53 KKY Transbus Enviro 300




A Volvo B7RLE with Wright bodywork wearing ‘First West of England’ titling.

WX55 TZT Volvo B7RLE/Wright



A Irizar i6 bodied Scania of ‘Solus Coaches’. A widely known operator based at Tamworth in Staffordshire.

YN64 APU Scania/Irizar i6



A Mercedes-Benz Tourismo working for ‘Arvonia’ Coaches who are a North Wales based operator.

BK09 LBV Mercedes-Benz Tourismo



NXI 814


One of those 


 “What on Earth is that”. 


moments I am afraid. I don’t know what it is or where its from and all the research I have done has taken me nowhere.


If you can fill in any of the unknowns, I would be most grateful.

NXI 814


Thursday, 26 March 2015

‘Scene’ on a a day out to Buxton

This set of images is to illustrate an article written for a magazine called ‘All Things Local’.

This community magazine is produced and distributed from a base in Kilburn, Derbyshire and covers large areas of the towns of Ripley and Belper.


Depending on where you start, your first bus is either a ‘trentbarton’ (tb) ‘the sixes’ or a ‘tb’ ‘red arrow’.


Both coincidentally have chassis built by the Swedish company Scania. 


‘The red arrow’ coach pictured having bodywork built in Spain by Irizar. 


The ‘sixes’ bus having bodywork built by Wright’s of Balymena in Northern Ireland.




The ‘Stagecoach’ service X17 to Sheffield is usually operated by specially liveried double deckers which boast amongst other things better quality seating then standard buses bringing them up to semi coach standard.


The chassis again is by Scania whilst the bodywork is from Scotland being built by ‘Alexander Dennis Ltd’ (ADL) of Falkirk.


‘ADL’ also have a significant bus building plant at Scarborough in North Yorkshire.




TM Travel operate a mixture of mainly second hand buses on a wide variety of routes across North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. They can use any of their fleet on any service but I have seen double deckers such as the one pictured in use on the 65.


This is a Leyland (remember them ?) Olympian with bodywork produced in Northern Ireland by Alexander (Belfast).

J854 TSC


The journey South from Buxton could be in the hands of another ‘ADL’ product the Enviro 200.


Four of these have been bought by ‘High Peak Buses’ to modernise the buses on this service.



For those passengers choosing to travel back to Ripley by ‘yourbus’. You will probably travel on one of the German built Mercedes-Benz Citaro’s.

This highly successful bus has just passed the 40,000 built mark.



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

'Scene' on the 'red arrow' today 24th. March 2015

It is widely believed that 'trentbarton' have ordered a fleet of new Plaxton bodied Volvo coaches for this service to be delivered later in the year.

I, like many more await their arrival eagerly but it is hoped that the variety of rolling stock that this service attracts is not completely lost.

I was in and around Nottingham's Victoria Bus Station this afternoon for barely an hour and a half and these are what I saw.


A Scania with Irizar i4 bodywork



Another Scania this time with Irizar Century bodywork. Now in their eleventh year of service.


YRC 182

My personal favourite.

A Volvo B10M with Plaxton Interurban bodywork dating from 1997 when it was registered R62 RAU.

YRC 182


A Volvo B7RLE with Wright Eclipse bodywork.



An Optare Solo SR.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

‘Scene’ On the Buses in Sheffield

Another visit to my home town where the first two images were taken in the City Centre whilst the rest were taken at Meadowhall.

Meadowhall, on the outskirts of Sheffield is a major shopping complex serving the needs of  Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley.

Built at the side of the M1, it is very well provided with transport links boasting its own passenger interchange served by trams, trains and of course buses.




An Optare Solo of ‘Wellglade’ group operator ‘TM Travel’ (TMT). Liveried for ‘Sheffield’s Line 4’ linking the suburb of Bents Green with the City Centre.

New to ‘Powell’ of Ledbury it passed to ‘TMT’ in October 2007.


It was previously liveried in the blue/white ‘Travel South Yorkshire’ (TSY) livery and carried additional branding celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Sheffield FC in 1862. Sheffield FC being the oldest football club in the world.





Another Optare Solo of ‘TMT’ carrying that companies standard livery of the time. 


Again previously carrying the ‘TSY’ livery having operated in Doncaster on a Park and Ride service.





A Volvo B12M with Plaxton Paragon bodywork of ‘’ departs on its way to Leeds.




A Volvo B12R with Plaxton Elite i bodywork of ‘’ calls on its way to Glasgow.



V112 MVX

A much older Plaxton built body (a Pointer 2) is carried by this Dennis Dart SLF of ‘Powells Bus’ of Hellaby. 

Previously working for ‘Stagecoach East London’. It spent some time at Kettering in storage before coming North.

V112 MVX


V784 FKH

Another of the same but not carrying any titling.

Again with a London connection. It was new to ‘London United’ operating in central London from Shepherds Bush garage before a spell at Hounslow until 2011 and coming to ‘Powells’ in 2013. 

V784 FKH



A Wright ‘Streetlite MAX DF working in the fleet of ‘First South Yorkshire’ (FSY).

‘First’ group have taken to the ‘Streetlite’ in a big way and this is just one of many.




Another Optare Solo from ‘TMT this time in the livery of ‘Rotherham’s Line 31’.

It was originally branded for ‘TSY’s ‘Free Bee’ city centre service which as its name implies was free to all comers. They were so popular that the Solo’s were replaced by bigger Plaxton Centro bodied buses in 2008.

They in turn were replaced by Alexander Dennis Limited Enviro 200‘s when ‘FSY’ took over the contract.

Due to funding cuts the service was discontinued in early 2013.



Y867 PWT

A further Optare Solo seen in what I know as ‘TMT’s ‘old’ livery.

Y867 PWT



This Volvo B9R with Caetano Levante bodywork is part of ‘Travelstar European’s small fleet of coaches working on ‘National Express’ contracts. Seen heading North to Bradford.




Another Volvo B9R this time with Plaxton Elite bodywork.

It is part of a member of ‘Stagecoach Yorkshire’s fleet and is based in Chesterfield. Seen on its way to Halifax.



X856 UOK

A Volvo B7TL with Alexander ALX 400 bodywork still wearing ‘First’ groups ‘Barbie’ livery. Part of the ‘FSY’ fleet. I doubt that a vehicle this old will ever make into the latest fleet livery.

X856 UOK


Now a trio of Volvo’s B9TL’s with Wright Eclipse Gemini bodies shown to illustrate some variations in livery. All working for ‘FSY’.




Seen on the X78 Doncaster/Sheffield service carrying ‘Rotherham’ branding.






Seen on the same service and branded for the X78.




Again working on the X78 but carrying the livery of ‘FSY’ constituent ‘Rotherham Corporation Transport’.


It being painted as such to celebrate 100 years in 2013 since buses first (no pun intended) ran in Rotherham.


This panel at the foot of the stairs shows images of a cross section of buses employed by the Corporation and its successors in that time.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

‘Scene’ at RAF Cosford (Trainers)

We are particularly fortunate in the UK with the availability of Aviation Museums. Apart from the Royal Air Force Museum at Cosford. There is the Imperial War Museum’s collection at Duxford and The Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon.


They of course are the major collections but there are many other private museums probably the best of which is at Newark in Nottinghamshire. 


Another excellent aviation museum is the East Midlands Aeropark which is located adjacent to the East Midlands Airport. See my blog dated 17th. December 2013 for details.


I have visited all of them at various times but its 4 years or so since I visited Cosford so it was a long overdue return.


WL 732

A Boulton Paul Sea Balliol T21. One of 30 built in the early 1950‘s for the Royal Navy

They differed from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Balliol T2’s in having folding wings and an arrester hook for aircraft carrier deck landings.

Powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine, the Navy’s Balliols served with No. 781 Squadron at Lee on Solent and with No. 1843 Squadron of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve at Abbotsinch.

In addition WL 732 also served with the Aeroplane & Armaments Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down.



XD 674


A Hunting Percival Jet Provost (JP) T1 which was the ‘RAF’s first basic jet trainer.

Powered by the Bristol Siddeley Viper 201 engine, XD 674 was the prototype ‘JP’ and the first of ten T1s produced. It first flew in June 1956.

All T1’s were withdrawn from service by 1957 and this one became maintenance airframe 7570M.

The T1 was superseded in production by the T3. 


It regained its service serial for display purposes.


XW 418


A British Aircraft Corporation  (BAC) Jet Provost (JP) T5. It was the final training development of the Hunting Percival Jet Provost ‘ family’

Delivered to the ‘RAF’ in August 1972, many T5’s were upgraded to T5A standard

It eventually became Ground Instructional airframe 8173M at RAF Cosford before being transferred to the museum.

It regained its service serial for display purposes.



WP 912

A De Havilland DHC1 Chipmunk T10. A basic trainer, it was delivered to the RAF in December 1952.

It became Maintenance Airframe 8467M at Hendon. 


At one time it joined the Royal Flight when it was used to train Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh to fly.

It regained its service serial for display purposes.



XX 654

A Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1. A basic trainer, originally designed  and flown by Beagle Aircraft, the company ceased trading and the rights to the aircraft were taken over by Scottish Aviation (Bulldog) Ltd.

The ‘RAF’ production run of 130 were built at Prestwick Airport. The civilian equivalent being known as the ‘Beagle Pup’.



XR 977

A Folland Gnat T1. Advanced 2 seat trainer. Developed from the single seat fighter which saw service with both the Finnish, Indian and Yugoslav Air Forces.

Folland Aircraft became part of Hawker Siddeley and went on to produce 14 pre production aircraft and 91 production aircraft between 1962 and 1965.

These being operated by the Central Flying School at Little Rissington and No.4 Flying Training School at Valley on Anglesey

Powered by the Bristol Orpheus engine the Gnat was flown by the RAF’s ‘Yellowjacks’ aerobatic team. Yellow did not show up well against grey cloud so the colour was changed to red.

So the ‘Red Arrows’ and a legend were born.



XL 568 

A Hawker Hunter built by Hawkers as a T7 for the RAF but later converted to a T7A.

It spent some time with 74 Squadron and 237 Operational Conversion Unit before being retired to ground instructional work.

It came to Cosford 2002 and was painted into an early training livery. It is displayed suspended by cables from the roof in the 

‘Cold War Exhibition’.



XX 496

The Jetstream was designed and built initially by Handley Page (HP) Aircraft. When ‘HP’ went bankrupt, the design was taken over by Scottish Aviation.

26 Jetstream 201’s were built for the ‘RAF’ as Jetstream T1’s of which 14 went to the Royal Navy as T2’s.

The RAF’s Jetstreams served for 30 years before withdrawal in 2003/4.



XS 709

A De Havilland project that became a Hawker Siddeley and later British Aerospace product the DH (HS) 125 was designed as twin engined business je

The ‘RAF’ acquired 20 as Navigation Trainers under the designation Dominie T1.

XS 709 first flew in December 1964 and was delivered in March 1965.

It continued in service when like the survivors of the batch it was withdrawn coming to Cosford in 2011.



WL 679

A Vickers Varsity T1. Developed from the Valletta and Viking family it differed in having a longer wingspan and fuselage than either together with a tricycle undercarriage.

Introduced to replace the Wellington in the crew training role, the prototype first flew in 1949.

Of 160 built, WL 679 was the last airworthy example serving in 1992 with the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) at Boscombe Down in who’s livery it is preserved.