My next driving duty – a trip into the country with a Bristol L5G

My next driving duty, in about three weeks time, will see me sitting in this cab. It belongs to a Crosville Bristol L5G which is shortly to join the heritage fleet at Crosville Motor Services of Weston-super-Mare.

[Photo: “Trunkerthree”]

All the Bristols I’ve driven so far have been Lodekkas of various types, so this should make a welcome change. I did drive a Bristol L once, at the WHOTT ‘Drive It’ day at Westpoint, Exeter. That was on a private road network though, not on main roads and I only had about 10 minutes in the cab as I had to share a driving session with several others.

To make it even more interesting, this wedding duty won’t involve driving through Bristol city centre! This time I’m heading for rural Somerset and I will of course post some details here shortly after I’ve done the job.

I’ve had some interesting blog comments from Dave Moore, from the Isle of Wight Bus Museum (scroll to the bottom of the post). He has written a brilliant description of his PCV driving test, which he took last year. You can read it here. Like me, he is looking forward to taking charge of the noisy end of a classic bus at the beginning of the 2012 season.

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8 comments on “My next driving duty – a trip into the country with a Bristol L5G

  1. leytonexile says:

    I had an interesting (!) experience whilst driving our MW last October. The day before our running day, I took it out for some familiarisation and went from the museum to Newport along Quay Street. This is a rather wide road, by island standards, and cars park nose to the kerb rather than parallel to it. Suddenly, a car to my right reverses out of a parking space and charges straight at me! No hope of accelerating out of trouble so I hit the horn button and did an emergency stop, reasoning that a dent in my side would be easier to fix than a gouge along it. The horn on this bus is rather impressive, not quite QE2 standard but near enough. Luckily, the car stopped in time. I took a deep breath, sorted out the gears then went on my way.

    Unbeknown to me at the time, some friends had been walking along Quay Street and witnessed the whole incident. It was they who told me the driver was a woman, as I couldn’t see the driver from my cab. (Ladies, don’t get upset. Read on!) My friends told me her car was parked in a very awkward situation. She had a very large car to her right and thus had no vision of anything coming from my direction.
    I said, “So she just stormed out and hoped for the best?”
    “No Dave. Worse than that. You didn’t notice the chap on the other side of the road, did you?”
    “No. What chap?”
    “The one seeing her out and giving her directions. They had quite a domestic after you drove off!”

  2. leytonexile says:

    Yes! Definitely looking forward to the noisy end. You get a buzz in the cab. One means stop, two means drive off, three means……I’ll get back to work.

  3. Mike Dan says:

    Isnt it great to have to new title of heritage bus DRIVER!

  4. Dave Moore says:

    Over the May Bank Holiday, I took our museum’s Bristol MW, ex SV 806, on The Historic Commercial Vehicle Society’s London to Brighton Run. There is an account of that at http://www.iowbusmuseum.org.uk/Page%20102%20London%20to%20Brighton%202012.html
    if anyone is interested.

  5. busmanjohn says:

    Very good write-up, Dave. I enjoyed reading it. I’m glad it’s not just me who has had trouble with ‘5th gear’!

  6. Dave Moore says:

    It’s always “nice” to come across a professional driver who makes a hash of it! I have seen such drivers come unstuck on our FLF. That bus has a similar gearbox to the MW but its quirk is that 5th is a magnet for the gearstick, especially if you’re looking to go from 4th to 3rd. You have to push the gearstick away from you as you push it forward into 3rd otherwise instead of getting more power as you bring the clutch up and try to accelerate, you very quickly grind to a halt. Grind being the operative word! Getting out of 5th when stationary is rather trickly, to say the least. However, on the MW, any hint of forward movement when looking for 5th and you miss the gate. The bus doesn’t like engaging 3rd when you’re doing over 30 and makes sure you know it! Unfortunately, it is rather embarrassing to lose forward momentum on a motorway!
    Lucklily, my passengers were very understanding. I’d report what they said but I think there’s a law against it!

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