Bristol Vintage Bus Group


14th November - 31st December


Work has continued with the repainting of EMW284.


Ted King applies red paint to miscellaneous parts...

...while Dave Withers applies sealant to the roof


31st October - 13th November


The Group is sorry to hear of the death of another long-standing friend and member.  George Vowles died on Wednesday 9th November.  He was 93 years old.  His funeral took place at Weston-Super-Mare crematorium at on Thursday 17th November.


George Vowles, 1918-2011.  Photo: Allan McFarlane


24th - 30th October 2011


The Group's autumn mini-running day took place on Sunday 31st October.  More photosVideo (on YouTube)


KLJ749 squeezes through the low bridge that carries the Bristol and Bath Railway Path (the former Midland Railway line) over Easton Road, on the group's autumn running day.  Photo: Ken Jones

XOU396T at Pensford among the autumn leaves.  Photo: Ken Jones


10th October - 23rd October 2011


The Group is sad to announce the death of two long-standing members.  On Thursday 20th October, Gordon Richmond died after a long period of declining health. He had been a friend of the group for many years and in the past while he was in better health, a generous donor and supporter of the group's activities.


On Friday 21st October, Geoff Bruce died after a brief battle with cancer.  He had been involved with the group since its formation in 1972 and was a stalwart, helping out every Sunday morning with the photograph collection and with maintenance tasks.  He was one of the central members of the team responsible for photograph sales, and had an encyclopaedic knowledge about buses, and had written or contributed to several books, and was a regular contributor of articles about the history of Bristol's buses for our members' newsletter.  He will be deeply missed by the group and its members.


Geoff Bruce, who died this week



GHT154 represented the group at the Isle of Wight Bus Museum's rally over the weekend of 15th and 16th October.  View photos.


GHT154 in company with sister Bristol 'K' types of similar vintage at the Isle of Wight Bus Museum.  Photo: David Cullimore


19th September - 9th October 2011


On 2nd October, the Group's Mercedes Midibus J858FTC went to Winkleigh, and on 9th, AHU803, FTT704, 536JHU, and XOU396T went to Warminster.  More photos from WinkleighMore photos from Warminster.


Open-top Bristol Lodekka VDV752 squeezes through the narrow streets at Winkleigh.  Photo: David Cullimore


FTT704 and AHU803 await their next turns at Warminster.  Photo: Roger Newport


15th August - 18th September 2011


The weekend of 17th and 18th September was a busy one for the group.  FTT704 took part in the Kingsbridge running day on Saturday 17th.  J858FTC went to Showbus on Sunday 18th, while OTT98 went to Exeter and KLJ749 went to the Severn Valley Railway (view photos).


KLJ749 at Bewdley Station on the Severn Valley Railway

FTT704 at Kingsbridge.  Photo: Ken Jones

9th - 14th August 2011


Our annual rally and open day with the Avon Valley Railway took place on Sunday 14th August.  Thanks to support from Family Travel Centre we welcomed Alan Dedicoat "the Voice of the Balls" from the National Lottery. 


With rising costs of fuel, we had fewer buses entered this year, but there was still an excellent display of buses, and plenty of choice of free bus trips, and the weather smiled on us again.  If you came along and would like to give us some feedback about how you felt the day went, we'd love to hear from you:





Alan Dedicoat riding one of the many buses giving free trips during the day.  Photo: Matt Simms

A little bit of south London comes to Brislington.  RF366 en route to Norbiton is followed by RM1363 heading for Embankment.  Photo: Ken Jones

Uniformed crews add an extra bit of authenticity to the day.  Photo: Ken Jones


1st - 8th August


We are delighted that Alan Dedicoat, "The Voice Of The Balls" from the National Lottery will be visiting our Rally and Running Day on Sunday 14 August. Alan will be at the rally from 13.30 - 14.30 at the Park and Ride Site. As well as looking at the buses on display he will be helping with some announcing and may act as a conductor.


25th - 31st July


The electrical work to KLJ749 has been completed and the bus is now ready for use again.


We have decided not to attend the Merthyr Tydfil rally in September this year, and it has been removed from the rally programme.


In an effort to improve information for members thinking of coming along to rallies and events, the Trustees have agreed to publish fuller details of expected journey times, return departure times and intermediate stops.  The first step towards this is that you will now see on the rallies page the expected time of departure of the return journey for all the remaining rallies of this season.


27th June - 24th July 2011


The fault with FTT704 has been traced to blocked radiator pipes, which have been cleaned out and the bus is now running correctly again.


RT1599 has passed its MOT.


Work continues to rectify the fault on KLJ749's wiring.


EMW284 has arrived at Brislington to be prepared for repaint.


OTT98 attended the Plymouth rally on 24th July.  Photos will follow.


Over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July, RM1363 took part in the Talyllyn Railway's Tom Rolt Rally in North Wales.  On 23rd, the bus provided a free connecting service from Abergynolwyn Station to the Corris Railway. During one of these trips, the nearside under-run protection bar was damaged, but the Talyllyn Railway works did an excellent repair - thanks very much!


RM1363 waits at Abergynolwyn Station as a train approaches


On Saturday 16th July, RM1363 provided a free shuttle service in connection with the Frenchay Flower Festival.


Passengers loading for the Frenchay Flower Festival.  Photo: Roger Newport


13th - 26th June 2011


FTT704's radiator has been removed, the defective hoses replaced, and the radiator refitted.  Unfortunately on a test trip after that the engine boiled again, which probably means that the head gasket has failed.


Work underway to remove FTT704's radiator


Work continues, so far unsuccessfully, to trace the source of the short-circuit on KLJ749.


RT1599's electrical control panel has been returned from professional refurbishment and refitted and the bus has been checked over prior to MOT.


Over the weekend of 17th - 19th June, OTT98 participated in the Royal Blue run from Oxford to Newquay and back to Exeter.


OTT98 in Wiltshire on the Royal Blue run.  Photo: Ken Jones


On Sunday 19th, KLJ749 had been due to take members to the Black Country Museum at Dudley but due to electrical problems, FTT704 made the journey instead.  This was fine until Strensham services on the M5 after which FTT704 began to boil over at regular intervals and the fear was that the head gasket had failed.  The return trip from Dudley to Bristol took a gruelling four and a half hours due to repeated stops to fill up with water.  In fact the fault has now been traced to a leaking radiator hose.


The kind owner of the Hoo House Nursery outside Tewkesbury allowed us to refill our water containers.


Our participation in the St Paul's Carnival has now been cancelled, as has the possible trip to Beamish Museum, for which there was unfortunately not enough interest to make the trip viable.


6th - 12th June 2011


RTW29 and OTT98 spent a day in Weymouth on Sunday 12th June.  Unfortunately the event was badly affected by heavy rain.


RTW29 will now be going to the Alton rally on 17th July in place of EMW284.


It has now been confirmed that the Isle of Wight rally on Sunday 16th October will be going ahead, and we will be taking GHT154 this year.


30th May - 5th June 2011


KLJ749 and OTT98 took part in the Cheltenham rally on Sunday 5th June. View photos.


23rd - 29th May 2011


The repainting of KLJ749 was completed on 29th May and the bus is now looking smart and ready for the trip to Cheltenham next weekend.


Fixing the Hants & Dorset fleetnames.  Photo: Phil Sposito


The finished article.  Photo: Phil Sposito


Members of the Merseyside Bus Club visited the Avon Valley Railway on Wednesday 25th May and the group sent GHT154 and RTW29 to meet them, and offered a brief trip on GHT154.


GHT154 approaches Bitton Station with members of Merseyside Bus Club on board


16th - 22nd May 2011


Several of the Group's buses were at the Bristol Harbourside rally on Sunday 22nd May.  View video (hosted on YouTube)


GHT154 at the Harbourside Rally.  Photo: Roger Newport



2nd May - 15th May 2011


536JHU has passed its MOT following some attention to the electrics and is now ready for the season. Meanwhile, RT1599 has also suffered electrical problems and part of the electrical system has been dismantled and sent for specialist attention.


AHU803 took 11 members to Oakham Treasures, Portbury on Saturday 14th.  This is an enormous collection of mainly retail and farming items, including a huge number of galvanised signs, several of which are transport-related.  Well worth a visit.



Over the weekend of 7th and 8th May RM1363 again performed the role of Bulgy the Bus for the Avon Valley Railway's Thomas the Tank Engine weekend.  One of the other classic buses ferrying passengers between the railway and the Park and Ride site at Brislington was Stroud RE Group's Bristol RE WHW374H (2062), which has newly been repainted in National Bus Company blue Gloucester city livery, and is looking very smart:




11th April - 1st May 2011


GHT127, GHT154 and RM1363 took part in the celebrations for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on Friday 29th April.  RM1363 carried the royal couple to the Beaufort Arms in Hawkesbury Upton as this picture demonstrates (and the camera never lies):


TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelling in style


Meanwhile, GHT127 and GHT154 went to Castle Park in Bristol for a party in the park to celebrate the wedding.


GHT154 being dressed in bunting. Photo: Roger Newport

While GHT127 is prepared for use as the DJs' station.  Photo: Roger Newport



28th March - 10th April 2011


For those going to the Cobham spring gathering on Sunday 10th April, departure will now be from Flowers Hill, not Westerleigh, at 06.30 hrs.


21st - 27th March 2011


The Group's spring mini-running day took place on Sunday 27th March with a good selection of our buses running along with a number of visiting buses.  Photos have been loaded on the site, along with a video filmed by Roger Newport (hosted on YouTube).


Update to the rally schedule: We will now be attending the Winkleigh rally on 2nd October, using EMW284.

AHU803 poses for photos while out on a tour.  Photo: Ken Jones


14th - 20th March 2011


FTT704 and RM1363 have both passed their MOTs and are ready for next weekend's mini running day.  Don't forget to come along if you can and enjoy the free rides between 10.00 and 17.00 hrs.


28th February - 13th March 2011


The March edition of the Group's newsletter has been loaded on the members' area of the website, and will be in the post in the next couple of days.


KLJ749 is being rubbed down ready for a repaint, and work has begun to refit the two nearside windows that were removed to correct the line of the bodywork.


Refitting one of the windows


On Sunday 6th March 536JHU celebrated its 50th birthday by taking members on a rather cold trip to the rally at Bournemouth Aviation Museum.  View photos.


536JHU takes a break on the way home



14th - 27th February 2011


Work to spruce up 536JHU for its 50th birthday year has now been completed and the bus is ready for the trip to Bournemouth on 6th March.



31st January - 13th February 2011


Following the quarterly meeting on 6th February, the list of all current outstanding work that the group needs to do has been loaded in the members' area of the website. Have a look, and if there's anything that you would like to help with, please get in touch.  A wide range of work is needed, and most of it doesn't require mechanical skills.


The Group's AGM took place on Sunday 6th February and was followed by the second in our programme of quarterly meetings open to all members.  The Trustees' report has been placed on the members' area of the website.


The route history pages and the searchable routes database now contain listings of all Bristol, Bath, Cheltenham, Gloucester and Weston-Super-Mare tram routes between 1875 and the dates of closure of each of the tram systems (in Bristol's case 1941). There have also been a lot of updates to bus route information in recent weeks.


24th - 30th January 2011


Following the visit to Queenshill School earlier this month, the year 4 class there sent us a thank-you card, which was presented to us by junior member Oliver Leighfield who goes to the school and who drew the picture of GHT154 on the card.


Oliver with the card from year 4 at Queenshill School


17th - 23rd January 2011

536JHU is currently undergoing a facelift ready for its 50th birthday in March. This includes new windscreen glass and rubber, plus a repaint.

FTT704 and several members went to Victoria Park Primary School in Bristol on Wednesday 19th January to help Year 2 and 3 pupils look at how public transport has changed over the years.  About 90 children took part.


10th - 16th January 2011


A record number of members attended the annual New Year lunch on Sunday 16th January at the Beaufort Arms in Hawkesbury Upton.  FTT704 provided the transport from Brislington this year.


Members and friends enjoy their New Year lunch.  Photo - Sally Jones


FTT704 departs Hawkesbury Upton into the damp and gloom of a January afternoon, after the annual Group lunch.



On Tuesday 11th January GHT154 visited Queenshill School in Knowle as part of a history project there for 50 Year 5 pupils.


Memories of The Bristol Omnibus Company

Oral History Project.


Are you a former employee of The Bristol Omnibus Company? Would you like to share your memories of work, recreation, traffic, driving a bus, being a bus conductor?

Firstborn Studios have received a grant from the Heritage Lottery and Bristol Legacy for a project to explore the history of the Bristol Bus Boycott and collect memories from former employees of The Bristol Omnibus Company. They are interested in speaking to people who worked for the company from the 1950s onwards.

Most of the interviews will be audio only, they will be very informal and take place in the home of the interviewee. The recorded and catalogued interviews will be part of an archive at the Bristol Record Office, excerpts from the interviews will be used for exhibition and education.

If you would like to contribute to this interesting and important project please get in touch with Mary Ingoldby, tel 0117 924 3175


1st - 9th January 2011


KLJ749 took members to Winchester to participate in the King Alfred rally there on Sunday 2nd January 2011.  More photos are available here.


Photo: Ken Jones




News items 2010



Copyright 2011 Bristol Vintage Bus Group. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28/12/2011