My second outing with a heritage bus this year took me through some familiar territory and some new. I was allocated former Bath Services LD6G L8515 (969EHW), a bus I had seen many times at the Crosville Motor Services depot but had never driven.
I had a relatively relaxed start, not having to pick up my passengers until 13:10 in Bath city centre. I took my time over my walk around checks, chatted to a few folks and did my paperwork. My first stop after leaving was the filling station, having borrowed a fuel card. On the way out I crunched a few gears, which annoyed me. It was mostly because the gear stick was… well, sticky. When it was time to change gear, it was reluctant to move into neutral which played havoc with my timing!
Fuelled up, I headed out of Weston-super-Mare on the Wells road, through the village of Banwell and on to the A38. Little by little I got used to the peculiarities of this Lodekka. It was built in 1959 for ‘Bath Services’, a division of Bristol Omnibus. I was rather pleased to be driving this bus at last as I remember seeing this one (and other Lodekkas in the XXXSHW batch) as a boy as it passed my Grandparents’ house in Wilton Road, Salisbury on the last leg of its Bath-Salisbury run.
I had to time my arrival in Bath very carefully because there is a maximum waiting time of 10 minutes at the pickup point in Terrace Walk. However, I had enough time in hand to be able to take a break in a layby in Saltford, where I ate some lunch. I had guessed that it would take me 20 minutes to drive from there to the city centre and I was just about right, arriving about 13:12 under the watchful eye of a lady warden. Almost as soon as I had got down from the cab to open the platform doors, she asked me to stop my engine!