If the cap fits, wear it!

Every well dressed driver or conductor should wear a cap, or so it was in days gone by.  I’m looking for a cap like the one pictured above, to go with a winter uniform as worn by Devon General crews. Black, with red trim, size 58 (7 1/8)

So, if anyone out there has one that they’re willing to sell or lend to me, please leave a comment and I’ll get in touch.

I’m due to have my driving assessment this week so check back later to read how I got on!

Crew change


Pictured above is an ex-Northampton Corporation Daimler CV6G in May 2009. Along with many other classic vehicles, it was providing an intensive bus service on routes in and around Minehead, Somerset. Click on the picture for a larger view. Photo © Bob Brimley.

My driver and I were relief crew on that day and the cameraman has caught us as we took the Daimler on its next duty while its rostered crew had a lunch break.

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Obsolete badges

Yes, I know, bus crews don’t wear those badges any more.

But, as you will have gathered, I have one foot in the past and I like to dress the part when conducting on a vintage* bus. That’s why, if you’re a passenger on the Service 400 “Exmoor Explorer” when I’m rostered, you’ll see me kitted out as a 1960s bus conductor. [Edit: sadly this service no longer runs. Also, I no longer work for that operator!]

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It takes all sorts to make a world

Summer seems such a long time ago now but, whenever I think back a few months to when the “Exmoor Explorer” service was in full swing, I can’t help recalling some of the regular faces we’ve seen.

Due to the fact that Concessionary Buses Passes are valid on our service, quite a few local people will travel quite regularly. There were some real characters among them and that’s one of the benefits of conducting; I get to meet some fascinating people.

There’s one elderly lady who seemed to be on board almost every time I was rostered. She would only sit in the lower saloon. “It’s too windy up there for me!” she would tell me. Even so, she enjoyed watching the wonderful Somerset scenery roll by and I would often sit and chat with her between stops.

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The story so far

Having decided that the time was right to migrate from the back of a bus to the front, I gathered the necessary forms from the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) along with several text books on driving large vehicles. I called my local doctor’s surgery and nearly fell off my chair when they quoted £104.00 to carry out a medical! I politely said “thanks, I’ll be in touch”. I was of course, but not with them. After a bit of digging around on the net, I found another doctor across town who would do it for £35.00. This suited my pocket much better so I made an appointment.

The day of my appointment arrived and my next challenge was to find the place. It was actually a Chiropractor’s surgery on the first floor above a small shop in a pedestrian precinct. This being a Saturday, it was occupied by a doctor whose waiting room was full of chaps like me, clutching D4 Medical Report forms. Continue reading

By way of an introduction…

on the platform

Me, on the platform. Photo © Martin Fowler.

Welcome to my blog! Follow me as I embark on a nerve-racking – but ultimately rewarding – journey towards my destination: becoming a bus driver.

For those who can’t be bothered to read the About Me page, or perhaps haven’t found the link yet, here is a little background.

I’m a bloke of… ahem, mature years who has a lifelong interest in vintage transport. I think I inherited it from my Dad, who took great delight in taking me for rides on buses and trains in the 1960s when I was growing up. I have abiding memories of riding into a certain town in Wiltshire which was served by one of the ubiquitous Tilling fleets. The red and cream variety.

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