Finishing with a flourish

My time with the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company as a seasonal bus driver came to an end last week and, as I have an interest in the historical aspect of the business, I decided to pay tribute to the former days of the Totnes-Paignton bus route that I have been driving.

Busman_John_last_day

Long before the days of Stagecoach, First and the Dartmouth Steam Railway, Western National used to operate over the Totnes to Paignton route so, on my last day, I decided to wear an authentic Western National uniform. Although to some I may have looked a little out of place driving the No 100 bus (a Volvo Olympian dating from 1996) looking like the ghost of 1970, many of my passengers appreciated my parting shot. Comments such as “That takes me back to my childhood” and “Your drivers should all wear uniforms like that!” were made as I took their fares and clipped their Round Robin tickets.

Some time ago I came across an excellent set of photos on Flickr taken by a chap called Norman Craig, who spent a couple of summer seasons as a conductor for Western National, based at Paignton. With Norman’s permission I created a couple of posters to stick up inside my bus so that those passengers who were to shy to ask could read about why their driver was in fancy dress.

The uniform came from a Western National driver based in Plymouth and included a mint condition winter greatcoat. If the weather is cold on Sunday I will need to wear it at the Exeter Twilight Running Day!

Although my time with Dartmouth Steam Railway has ended for the time being, I may return next season as they have asked me back but that won’t be until May so it depends what employment I can find in the meantime!

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2 comments on “Finishing with a flourish

  1. John,
    Keep the blogs coming. Liked the picture of you in Full Uniform. Not a yellow tabard in sight.
    May I use it on my PSV Badge site?
    Nice to see you got a plug in for Crosville on your poster, nice touch, they should pay you.
    Good luck in your job hunting. I am sure you will keep us posted.
    Regards
    Stephen

    • busmanjohn says:

      Feel free to use the pic on your site. Although I ought to point out that the driver’s PSV badge I’m wearing is actually an ex-Devon General (Newton Abbot depot) one.

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