Bristol Vintage Bus Group

News items 2009


30th November - 31st December 2009


Maintenance work has taken place on GHT127's brakes, and member David Cole's Mercedes Midibus has received transfers and now advertises the group as well as providing an idea of how these buses might have looked if Tilling livery had still been in use when they entered service.


The website now includes a series of pages detailing Bristol Tramways and Bristol Omnibus routes over the years.  This is still under development but many of the years from 1911 to 2009 are now included.  View them here.  Where there are gaps it's because our archives are not complete - if you'd like to help us by donating any of the missing timetables, we'd be very grateful.


You can also view a selection of old bus and tram tickets here.


23rd - 29th November 2009


On Saturday 28th November GHT127 provided replacement transport for Father Christmas to get to Asda at Longwell Green to allow his overworked reindeer some time off.


9th - 22nd November 2009


RM1363 has returned from Ward Jones with a reconditioned gearbox fitted, and KLJ749 has passed its MOT.  On Sunday 22nd, GHT154 returned to the Downs in Bristol for another photo shoot for next year's open day poster as the photos from the previous shoot in September unfortunately were destroyed due to an IT failure.


The dates of next year's mini running days have provisionally been confirmed as Sunday 28th March and Sunday 31st October.


26th October - 8th November 2009


Work took place on Sunday 1st November to rectify the fault with GHT154's fuel system that was causing the autovac not to lift fuel from the tank.  The fault was traced to an air leak and the bus has been road-tested.  Further work has been undertaken on FTT704's brakes in preparation for another attempt at the MOT test.


The chairman checks the autovac to ensure it is correctly lifting fuel from the main tank


On Monday 2nd November, RM1363 travelled to Ward Jones at High Wycombe again, this time to have a reconditioned gearbox fitted, as the existing gearbox is coming to the end of its current life and needs to be rebuilt.


19th - 25th October 2009


On Sunday 25th October our final event of the season took place, in the form of our autumn running day.  Many of our buses, and several visiting buses were in action running trips around the area.   View photos.


12th - 18th October 2009


On Saturday 17th GHT127 and RM1363 set off for Southampton and the Isle of Wight, and took part in the Isle of Wight bus museum's rally on Sunday 18th.  The museum had again arranged excellent weather for the event.  View photos.


Members pose with RM1363 while waiting for the ferry.. ..which arrives in the form of Red Funnel Ferries' Red Falcon


The October edition of our members' newsletter has now been loaded on the members' area of the site.  Click here to view it if you're a member.  If you receive your copy by post, it should arrive next week.  E-mail copies have already been sent.  If you would prefer to receive your copy by e-mail in the future, please e-mail to let us know and you will receive them electronically from the next edition onwards.


5th - 11th October 2009


Following the Trustees' meeting on Monday 5th October, the last set of minutes are published on the members' secure area of the site.  The date of the 2010 AGM has been agreed - it will take place on Sunday 7th February 2010 at Unit 'H', Flowers Hill, at 11.00 am.


As it has not yet been possible to get an MOT on FTT704, it has been decided to use RM1363 instead for the Isle of Wight rally on 18th October.


21st September - 4th October 2009


Over the weekend of 3rd and 4th October RM1363 again performed the role of Bulgy the Bus for the Avon Valley Railway's Thomas the Tank Engine weekend.



The Group went to Showbus at Duxford on 27th September, although we took no buses, only our sales stand, which made a healthy income on the day. Here are a couple of photos from the event:


Crosville Bristol SC, 783 EFM United Counties Bristol 'J', VY5696
Photos: Ken Jones


14th - 20th September 2009


Unfortunately due to continuing problems with FTT704's brakes, this bus was not able to go to Kingsbridge and Exeter on 19th/20th September.  AHU803 went to both events instead.  View photos from Kingsbridge.


GHT154 posed on the Downs on Sunday 20th for next year's Open Day poster, the photos being taken by Hilary Orchard, a young professional photographer.



RT1599 has passed its MOT and will be in action on our mini running day on 25th October.


7th - 13th September 2009


Members wishing to go to the Exeter rally on Sunday 20th, please note that the departure time from Flowers Hill has now been set as 07.00 hrs.


Three of our buses were invited to take place in an event at Cheltenham Racecourse on Saturday 12th September to mark the introduction of a fleet of new Gold Enviro 400s by Stagecoach.  The new buses entered service during the day and a selection of vintage buses also operated public services.  We took GHT154, AHU803, and 536JHU.


GHT154 in service in Cheltenham

Stagecoach's new fleet at the launch...

...and some of the other participating buses


Also on Saturday 12th September, KLJ749 provided transport for a group of Cubs from Wotton Bassett to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway's wartime weekend.  The Cubs dressed as wartime evacuees. The event included displays of military vehicles, bomb-disposal demonstrations and mock battles, while passengers danced on the platform to the sounds of Glenn Miller and ate wartime food from the refreshment carriage.  Well worth a visit if you're free when they repeat it next year.


British soldiers chat up a nurse over a pint from the beer tent...

...while a German sentry checks the line for mines



31st August - 6th September 2009


The weekend of 5th and 6th September was a busy one for our buses.  RM1363 made what's become an annual trip to visit relations in Surrey, RTW29 went to the rally at the Royal Forest Hotel in Chingford, and on Sunday, KLJ749 went to the Swanage rally.  Photos will appear on the site shortly.

RM1363 heads along Reigate High Street.  Route 414 was home to green Routemasters for a while in the 1970s.


24th - 30th August 2009


TD130 has now been sold and will be leaving the group in a few months' time when its new owner has arranged storage for it.


RM1363 and KLJ749 participated in the 124th Hawkesbury Horticultural Show on Saturday 29th August in company with Morris dancers (they're not a type of vintage vehicle), Morris Minors (they are), a brass band, the Marchioness of Worcester, a steam traction engine, the longest carrots and largest marrows you're ever likely to see, and numerous other attractions.




10th - 23rd August 2009


OTT98 participated in the National Centenary Royal Blue Penzance to Aberdeen run on 12th to 14th August. Five other Royal Blue coaches made the complete journey.  OTT98's round trip covered 1465


After the long climb, OTT98 reaches Shap summit (near Penrith) en route to Aberdeen, 13.8.09

(Photo: Ken Jones)


FTT704 has been prepared for MOT later this week.


Meanwhile, work started to rub down member David Cole's ex-Badgerline Mercedes midibus prior to a repaint:



3rd - 9th August 2009


The big event of our season took place on Sunday 9th August 2009 - the Bristol Vintage Bus Group and Avon Valley Railway rally and open day.  The excellent weather helped to draw the crowds, and this year's event was one of our busiest.  Many thanks to all our members who helped out during the day with a variety of duties. 

The line-up of half-cabs at the end of the day


If you came along, we'd love to hear your feedback so that we can continue to improve the event for future years.  if you didn't, please come next year - details will be on the site nearer the time.  View more photos.


If you're a member and you were hoping to get a ride on part of the Royal Blue Penzance to Aberdeen run on 12th-14th August, places are still available on Carl Berry's Bristol Greyhound-liveried coach, although not on Royal Blue OTT98.  Carl plans to leave Bristol between 09.00 and 10.00 to arrive at Taunton at 11.30 to join the run there.  He will then take part as far as Cheltenham (arriving 16.30) before returning to Bristol.  If you would like a place, e-mail and we'll put you in touch.


Carl Berry's coach (right), with BVBG vehicles, Weymouth 2009


27th July - 2nd August 2009


RM1363 took a small group of members to the West Somerset Railway's steam fayre and vintage vehicle rally at Norton Fitzwarren.  Although it was planned that RTW29 would also attend, due to concerns about the condition of the ground on the rally field, it was decided not to take it.  However, the weather stayed fine and the ground, though soft, was not a problem.



RM1363 at the rally, in company with RT935


Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway loco no. 88 approaches Crowcombe Heathfield station


More photos


20th - 26th July 2009


RM1363 helped residents and staff of the Aspects & Milestones Trust's Somerset Lodge nursing home at Pill re-create "A summer holiday" on Wednesday 22nd July.  All that was lacking was Cliff Richard.


The repair work to FTT704's engine has been completed, the bus has been road-tested and went to Plymouth as planned on Sunday 26th July.  Some photos of the Plymouth rally have now been loaded on the site.


13th - 19th July 2009


RM1363 provided transport between Frenchay Village Museum's classic vehicle exhibition and Frenchay Flower Show on Saturday 18th July.



RTW29 attended the Alton rally on Sunday 19th July.


Work progresses on FTT704's engine.  Replacement valves have been installed and the heads fitted back to the engine.  The broken valve that caused the breakdown is shown below - you can see the missing chunk on the top edge, which should be circular.



6th - 12th July 2009


AHU803 took members on the scheduled Weston routes running day on 12th July.  In the event, few came along, so the bus went to Weston by the scenic route 121 (through Winford, Felton, Lulsgate, Wrington, Langford, Shipham, Winscombe, Sandford, Banwell and Locking) and then stayed there for the day so that members' families could enjoy a day at the seaside.



While we were there, this modern minibus set off on the return journey over the same route, which still runs:



While this FirstGroup bus, R906BOU departed on route 126, which is the modern equivalent of the route 43 displayed on AHU803's destination blinds. I say "modern", but in fact the route number changed in the mid 1960s.



29th June - 5th July 2009


FTT704's engine is being dismantled to repair the cause of the breakdown last weekend.  The culprit was a broken valve, and we're now looking for a replacement part.


RTW29 went on the long trip to the North Weald rally on Sunday 5th July.


22nd - 28th June 2009


536JHU, FTT704 and RM1363 took part in the Stroud rally on Sunday 28th June. Leaving Stroud in the afternoon, FTT704 suffered an engine failure, the cause of which is not yet known, although it may be a broken crankshaft, and had to be towed home, while its passengers travelled home in the Routemaster.


FTT704 awaits recovery

The tow begins

Ignominious arrival back at base

16th - 21st June 2009


EMW284 and KLJ749  took members to the Weymouth rally on Sunday 21st June.  OTT98 had travelled from Cheltenham on Saturday 20th as part of the Royal Blue Cheltenham to Portsmouth run, although OTT98 itself only went as far as Swanage.


OTT98, freshly repainted,  passes Greenhill Bowling Club en route to the rally site


RM1363's broken injector pipe has been replaced and the bus will be attending the Stroud rally on 28th June.


1st - 15th June 2009


AHU803 went to the rally in Barry on Sunday 14th June.  View photos.


RM1363 returned from Ward Jones following work principally to the engine and brake system.  The engine is now producing much more power and the bus was briefly back to its old self; however, on the journey back an injector pipe broke and this is now awaiting replacement.


18th - 31st May 2009


After an engine rebuild, MOD978 arrived on 31st May at its home near Keynsham.  All that is needed now is a rewire and internal and external restoration.  Meanwhile, OTT98 has been repainted.


Photos of the Harbourside rally are now loaded on the site.


KLJ749 took part in the Cheltenham running day on Sunday 24th May.


Our rallies and events schedule has been amended again: RTW29 will now be going to the North Weald rally on 5th July and there have been a couple of other minor changes.


RM1363 has been taken to Ward Jones near High Wycombe for attention to the engine (to try to get better power output) and to the braking system.


11th - 17th May 2009


FTT704, AHU803 and GHT154 took part in the Bristol Harbourside rally on Sunday 17th May.  The weather wasn't kind.  Photos of the event will appear shortly.


Another slight amendment has been made to the rally schedule: we will be attending the Barry rally on 14th June.


27th April - 10th May 2009


RM1363 again acted as Bulgy the Bus for the Avon Valley Railway's Thomas the Tank Engine weekend on 9th and 10th May.


21st - 26th April 2009


KLJ749 set off on Sunday 26th April for Minehead in an impromptu trip to mark National Drive-it Day 2009.

For more information about these days, see the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs' website.  Perhaps the BVBG should plan to do something to mark the event next year.  If you're a member and you have an idea for a suitable event, please contact the Webmaster (


Work has progressed on LAE13 following the very generous donation of the necessary replacement timber parts for the body frame by member Mike Walker. 



6th - 20th April 2009


536JHU has passed its MOT and is ready for the season.


A number of changes have been made to the rallies and events schedule following a Trustees' meeting.  In particular, please note that the members' pub lunch scheduled for 10th May has been deferred and will be re-arranged for either the 23rd or 30th August - the date will appear on the site once it's been confirmed.


30th March - 5th April 2009


RTW29 and a number of members went to the annual Cobham rally on 5th April.  In contrast to last year, the weather was excellent, and there were a huge number of buses on display and running in service.  View photos of the event.


RT4825 (the last RT built) heads off on a trip to Cobham Bus Museum.


23rd - 29th March 2009


Our mini-running day took place on Sunday 29th March.  The weather smiled on the event and a good number of members and friends came along to enjoy rides on the buses.  Several visiting vehicles joined in.  Photos have now been loaded on the site.


RM1363 has passed its MOT, and apart from sorting out its power output, it's ready for the season.


15th - 22nd March 2009


The Group has provided a number of photographs of the area's buses through the 20th century for an exhibition at Yate Heritage Centre.  The exhibition is called "Getting around in Yate" and runs until 18th April.  It covers not only road transport, but also railways, air travel and farm vehicles. Entry is free.


9th - 15th March 2009


Destination blind rollers have been fitted to KLJ749 with Hants & Dorset blinds so the bus can now display a range of authentic destinations.


We have located and fitted a replacement leak-off pipe for RM1363 and re-fitted the injectors.  Road testing shows that there has been no improvement in performance, so there's still work to be done, but the bus is now back in action.


The Netley rally scheduled for 7th June appears to have been cancelled, so our rally and events schedule has been updated.


RM1363 will be again playing the part of Bulgy the Bus for the Avon Valley Railway's Thomas the Tank Engine weekend on 9th and 10th May.  Tickets are available on the railway's website.


2nd - 8th March 2009


RM1363's injectors have been checked and found to be in good order.  However, during the process of removing them we broke the bleed-off pipe for the rear head.  If you know of anyone who can supply a replacement pipe for a Leyland O.600 engine (or a Leyland TL11, the part appears to be identical), please get in touch - you can e-mail us at



Please note that a couple of amendments have been made to the rallies and events schedule: we had the wrong date down for the Kingsbridge running day.  Members - the correct rally schedule is here on the website, and updates the version in the newsletter, which will reach you shortly.


23rd February - 1st March 2009


Apologies if you've had any difficulty getting to the site in the last few days.  The amount of data on the site exceeded the space we'd bought from the web hosting company, and the site had to be upgraded.  This resulted in a temporary loss of access.  The lack of space is also why if you tried to view the new photogallery for KLJ749, you would have been unsuccessful.  The upgrade has fixed that problem.


KLJ749 attended a rally at Bournemouth Aviation Museum on 1st March.  This was a new rally, with relatively few buses in attendance, but was an enjoyable day out for a good number of members.  Click here for photos.


16th - 22nd February 2009


The dates for the rallies that we're attending this year have been agreed, although some dates await confirmation from the organisers.  We haven't yet planned the dates for members' events, so keep watching the site for more details in due course.


The latest publication by a group member has arrived hot off the press this week.  It is "Independent buses and coaches of Bristol and Gloucestershire" by Colin Martin and Geoff Bruce.  Group members can obtain both this and Colin Martin's earlier booklet on Soudley Valley Coaches for 10 plus postage and packing.


If you're a member and you're interested in getting a copy, click here and complete the sales enquiry form.



The history of KLJ749 has now been updated on the site.


In an attempt to improve RM1363's power output, the injectors have been removed for inspection and servicing. 


RM1363's injectors being removed for examination


26th January - 15th February 2009


It has now been confirmed that KLJ749 will be used for the rally at the Bournemouth Aviation Museum on 1st March.  It will be leaving Brislington at 08.00.


Martin Curtis' book "Bristol Lodekka" has now been published by Ian Allan and is available from bookshops and from Amazon. A review will appear in the next members' newsletter.



12th - 25th January 2009


The Group's AGM took place on 25th January 2009.  Briefly, the accounts were approved, as was the Trustees' report to the Charity Commission, and the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and other three Trustees were re-elected.  Members discussed this year's rallies and events, considered improvements to the running of the August Open Day, and discussed additional ideas for generating income for the continued maintenance and restoration of the Group's vehicles.


Work on RM1363's fuel system has been completed, and the bus has been road-tested.  The issue of a comparative lack of power remains to be dealt with.  The power steering system fault also appears to have been successfully fixed.


FTT704's starter motor has been removed for overhaul.


1st - 11th January 2009


The Group's annual New Year lunch took place at the Beaufort Arms, Hawkesbury Upton on Sunday 11th January.  37 members and guests took part, many of them travelling on KLJ749.


Members pose for the photographer (who doesn't like feet, obviously)


The bus heads off into the gloom of a January afternoon


12th - 18th January 2009


KLJ749 visited Penrose Special School in Bridgwater on Thursday 15th January so that pupils could learn a little about the area's transport heritage.





RM1363's injector pump has been refitted. Initially the shaft was connected 180 degrees out, and the pump had to be removed and the alignment corrected.  The power steering relief valve has been dismantled and cleaned, and a possible cause for the overflow appears to be that a small port in the value may have been blocked by dirt. 



News items 2008



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Revised: 22/10/2011