As most of the work on 5137 was completed by Paul today, I decided to commence the overhaul of Nuw the Titan's interior. Her LT panels will become Stagecoach blue and eventually all her LT seating will be swapped for Stagecoach trimmed seats making her interior all rather blue but clean looking. This will go well with the exterior when done, as she will don the traditional Devon General livery and the older Devon General vehicles had blue interiors. Nuw's interior will be completed with a mix of paint and sticky vinyl.
The last few weeks I've been commuting to work on the bus due to the taxi having a few issues with the steering box. Sitting on these all singing all dancing low floor Breeze buses, you can't help but think whether they'll last long enough to reach preservation. Stagecoach are already having huge problems with the chassis on their N, P and S reg Volvo Olympians which are cracking BIG time. Apparently, so I'm told, this was due to Volvo making the chassis out of recycled metal which has created imperfections which have grown into cracks. With the Enviro 200s and the earlier generation of Dennis Dart there are problems with rot in the rear of the chassis. The Scanias that are the previously mentioned Breeze buses have also had a few mechanical issues as of late too. Is there any type of modern vehicle that is built to last? The chassis cracks in the Olys is bad news to Stagecoach and also the dealers who would sell these 86 seat buses on for further use - mostly school buses. This would've lengthened their service life considerably, many finding use with small bus and coach companies up and down the country. This won't happen now with most of them destined to be used as spares and/or broken up by dealers. The low floor double deckers tend to have lower seating capacity so aren't as useful to the smaller operator (unless they do rail replacement work) - this proven by some having been withdrawn from London and getting scrapped! So I wonder if these modern wonders will have the 15-20 year life span of the older vehicles, the VRs that plod on forever and the faithful Atlanteans and Fleetlines? Somehow I doubt it.
Well at long last Bernard and myself have collected 40306 from the garage in Rye were she's spent the last two years. She still needs a small amount of work doing to her before her launch on 6/7th May at the Kent & East Sussex Railway's Steam Gala. As you can see, one of the fleet names is incorrect and the rear n/s brake is binding where she's stood for so long. She comes with an MOT so once these minor things are attended to look out for her near you.
Claire and myself were busy working on Nuw the Titan today, just making her look a bit better and trying to fix the drivers side windscreen wiper that had broken in the blizzard. The destination equipment has been installed and just needs proper masking up to complete it. She is also due a wax and polish too in the next week. I've also added some fleet numbers to her. She now carries her London numbers on the sides and an honorary Stagecoach East Kent number front and rear to celebrate the M&D and EK Bus Club's 60th birthday. I've got a few other small jobs to do on her before she is ready for her first trip to a bus rally on Saturday 31st March at Detling Showground.
Whilst waiting for the coach to be serviced Claire and me popped into Canterbury to have a look around. We visited the Westgate Towers Museum which allowed these unusual shots of Stagecoach East Kent Alexander bodied Tridents. The Towers has to be one of the wonders of the bus world. If watching a double decker squeeze through looks tight, you should see it from the driving cab. Pull the offside mirror in and get as tight to the wall as you dare! I've done this many time when on the Compass service without any issues until one day I went to pull the mirror in .... and it came off in my hand! Yes, that's right, nobody at Canterbury Bus Station believed me thinking I'd hit the Towers too hard and knocked it off!
This is Bernard's Mercedes Minibus (N306XRP) which last saw service with Stagecoach United Counties. He's owned her for nearly 2 years now but what with everything else going on the work was trusted to a garage which worked on her as and when! Finally she's been done, MOT'd and repainted into a different livery - more on that at a later stage. I've always been a big fan of these Mercs when I used to drive them at Stagecoach East Kent. This one differs from our local Kent ones by having coach seats. Just one remains at East Kent now (as far as I know) and that is N933NAP although there are a few in use with our local independents. A future classic for sure and in another ten years we will be wondering where they have all gone. Considering the huge part minibuses played in turning the flagging industry around, they are very poorly represented in preservation. Imagine if the same had happened to the Bedford OB??? I would've liked to have acquired an early Transit- in fact I owned one for a while which was a works van having been an ex welfare bus with Hackney Council - to restore as an ex EK Minilink or Southern Vectis Wanderer. If you know where any old Carlyle, Robin Hood or Alexander bodied Ford Transit is, I'd love to know... although I'm not holding my breath!
More from my files. This one goes back to 2000 when the first Herne Bay Rally was organised to mark the garage's closure. Fortunately the garage (and the rally) are still around. Although at the time of this first show I own 7681, she was not on the road and Thanet not having any Bristol VR's left I decided to take 7122 an ex Selkent Leyland Olympian with late ECW bodywork. We had four of these things at Thanet and although lovely to drive they were totally unsuited to life outside London with (this particular one) having a top speed of 40mph! One was even slower 7134 which would bomb along at 36mph - perfect for the 18 mile drive to Canterbury! Also the front doors with its split level step caused many a local in Thanet to hit the deck. They lasted a few years from what I can remember and the next imports from London, the Northern Counties bodied Scanias were a bit more successful.
Going through my picture collections I stumbled across a shot of this Stagecoach East Kent Unibus liveried Volvo Olympian seen in Pin Hill, Canterbury. Although only taken a few years ago, the Olympians have now been replaced on this service by 'Transbus' Tridents in an orange, brown, white and blue livery (which from the front looks very Greater Manchester PTE!). With the surviving Volvo Olympians becoming preservation prospects in their own rights, I wonder if anyone will preserve one in this livery. It's certainly not a classic but would make a change from standard Stagecoach colours.
As you would of have seen from some of the pictures, our Titan (known as Nuw) is in need of a real tidy up outside. Inside she's ok but the exterior bodywork is rather shabby. After a lot of thought, Bernard and myself came up with putting her into a heritage livery. As stated on her page, Nuw ran with Stagecoach United Counties but Titan's like her were found all over the Stagecoach network. Yes, we could restore her back to the Stagecoach stripes which would be different now days and would allow for her to appear as a United Counties, East Kent, Southcoast or Devon vehicle. After quite a bit of thought we wondered what would've happened if Stagecoach Devon had run her in a heritage livery. Both of us being fans of Devon General and me having encountered a similar liveried Titan in Canterbury some time ago kind of swung the balance. Eventually we hope to present Nuw in a Stagecoach Devon General livery. The Titan (T638 of the same batch as Nuw) which inspired us can be seen below. At the time it was running for Poynters Coaches of Wye having come from MTL. It's seen here providing service to the local Beer Festival 2 years ago.
Click here for the archive news pages dating back to 2008.
Owner of 5807, 5809, 5137, 7656, 7681, 7041 & 40301
All pictures and information contained within this website are the copyright of J Bamford, R Addison, P Tripptree, B Sealy & R Harrison 2008-2019. Any images or information supplied by individuals will be credited to that individual and will be copyright of that person/persons/website.
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