Regent V delivery for Devon General

Devon General is an operator that I remember well, having grown up in a town which was served by its attractive maroon and cream buses. In the 1960s and early 70s they were mostly AECs, both single and double deckers.

For a relatively small operator, a large number of Devon General’s former vehicles have survived into preservation and no less than 5 of them attended the Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day last September. Regular readers (some of whom I met at the event) will remember that I brought an ex-Western National Bristol LDL6G to the Running Day.

This photo was taken by my friend Bob Brimley and shows two examples from a batch of AEC Regent Vs that was new to Devon General in 1965. This is of particular interest to me because I remember the Regent on the right (CTT518C) being delivered! The bus on the left (CTT513C) was delivered at much the same time but is fitted with the longer (and uglier, in my view) Park Royal bodywork.

CTT518C is one of 6 similar vehicles with Willowbrook bodywork and two of them, including this one, were destined for the DG depot at Exmouth, where I lived at the time. However, I happened to be staying with relatives in Salisbury, Wiltshire during the Easter Holiday in 1965 when I saw this bus being delivered when new.

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Christmas Park and Ride duties

OK, so Christmas was several weeks ago but I think I can just about get away with a Christmas-related post!

For people like me, who only work on buses part time (and then only during the tourist season) the winter months are like a drought. No heritage bus activity and, apart from the annual Christmas meal, no contact with my bus colleagues.

So you can imagine that a regular winter duty helps to break up the long wait before the new season begins. This was the case until a couple of years ago. Quantock Motor Services were contracted by the local Council to run a park and ride service for Christmas shoppers, using heritage buses. The route went from the Blackbrook estate (near the motorway junction) into the centre of Taunton and ran annually until 2008, when a purpose-built Park and Ride Car Park was completed. A year-round bus service was tendered and Quantock’s fleet was no longer needed.

Those of us that crewed the vehicles (usually 6 ran all day) really enjoyed the challenge of running a ‘proper’ bus service, with 10 minutes separation, throughout the day. We ran this service on the five Saturdays leading up to Christmas, although I didn’t ever do all five due to other committments. Fares were only 50p – a bargain – but no bus passes were valid. You’d be surprised how many older folk begrudged having to part with 50p when they found they couldn’t use their passes!

We used a variety of vintage vehicles on the service. Open platform as well as front entrance double deckers, single deck buses and coaches but definitely no open toppers! I’m pictured above on the platform of an ex-Stockport Corporation Leyland PD2 during the first occasion I conducted on this service. This was before I managed to find a genuine Tilling Group winter uniform and, dressed in a lightweight jacket, I sometimes f-f-froze on that open platform!

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2010 in review

Best wishes to all my readers for 2011!

I hope you all had a marvellous Christmas and New Year holiday. Mine was busy, with a fair amount of travelling, lots of good food, many family members to catch up with, lots of gifts to share and all this with Jesus Christ at the centre.

Mercifully, we were relatively unaffected by the snow and ice that caused chaos in other parts of the country. In fact, Torbay only had about 2 inches of snow and we only suffered travelling difficulties on one day.

So, what will 2011 hold? Will the higher VAT rate and rising fuel costs affect heritage bus operations? They will certainly affect private bus-owning individuals who may cut back on the number of events they attend. Numbers of people attending events around the country may also be adversely affected. As I write, the well-known Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) running day in Winchester should be in full swing but will it be the last in the current format? There are plans to develop the centre of Winchester which include pedestrian areas and the demolition of the bus station, both of which will affect the future operation of the running day.

My plans for 2011 include passing my PCV Practical Test before May, so that I can begin driving heritage buses during the summer season. Regular readers will remember that I have already passed my PCV Theory Test and CPC Case Studies modules, with only the practical test and practical demonstration left to do. I will of course post news of my progress.

I look forward to meeting some of you again at various events during the year, or on the Service 400 “Exmoor Explorer”. Keep checking back for updates or sign up for email notifications or RSS feeds.

Here’s a summary of my blog’s performance during last year. All the activity shown below helps with my online visibility and ratings in Google searches. I’m happy to say that it’s done pretty well for a blog with fairly sporadic posts!

Many thanks to you all.

John.

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterâ„¢ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 50 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 58 posts. There were 54 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 27th with 61 views. The most popular post that day was Drive It Day in Exeter.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were quantockmotorservices.co.uk, bobbrimley.fotopic.net, skylineaviation.co.uk, mail.live.com, and wsr.org.uk.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for psv badges, cpc case study questions, cpc case study test, hold tight please, and cpc case study.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Drive It Day in Exeter April 2010

2

Driver CPC Case Study Test passed March 2010
2 comments

3

Obsolete badges November 2009
2 comments

4

A Day in the Life of a Bus Conductor November 2009
7 comments

5

Bus Conductor’s Winter Uniform March 2010
4 comments