I was delighted to arrive at the Crosville depot last Saturday to find that I was rostered with my friend Paul to drive a two-bus wedding day trip to Clifton Downs, Bristol. Not only that, but we had two buses that I may have seen in my youth. Regular readers will know all about the ex-Hants & Dorset Bristol FLF which I seem to have driven more than any other bus this year (not that I’m complaining, of course). H&D buses often ran into Salisbury bus station on the Southampton service and I saw these many times during family holidays to Salisbury.
The other vehicle was LD6G 696EHW from Bath Services, a subsidiary of Bristol Omnibus. I used to see this bus (and others from the Bath Services fleet) pass my grandparents’ house in Wilton Road, Salisbury on its way in to the city’s bus station. So you can imagine it was rather special to have these two buses out on a private hire job together. They are pictured below parked up in Albert Road, Bristol awaiting the call to pick up wedding guests nearby.
As you can see, both vehicles are equipped with the Cave-Browne-Cave cooling system, the filling of which requires two people so Paul and I helped each other top up each other’s bus before we left the depot.
Both buses are fitted with 5-speed gearboxes so our progress up the A370 was fairly swift. We arrived near the pickup point with time to spare so we waited for a call from one of the ushers. The pickup point was on the busy A4 and we had arranged, with military precision, a pickup with minimal disruption to the traffic. The only flaw was that there were roadworks right outside the Arnos Vale Cemetary, where we were to pick up our passengers. As it happened there was a gap in the coned off areas just big enough for a bus to pull in. Paul pulled in with the Bath Services Lodekka while I waited further back up the road at a bus stop. The road was helpfully straight so I could see the bus being loaded. When Paul climbed into his cab I pulled out of the bus stop and stopped in the gap which he had just vacated and continued to load the remaining guests.