Open top AEC Regent V

Making a change from the usual Bristol Lodekkas featured on this blog is this handsome AEC Regent V, one of Devon General’s 1957 batch of 59-seat double decks.

VDV818-Exeter-sightseeing

I took this photo just before boarding the bus in Exeter during a special event in May 1994 involving 2 steam locomotives. BR Standard Class 4 tank locos, 80079 and 80080 were visiting the west country for a tour of branchlines radiating from Exeter. This Devon General Regent, then owned and operated by Red Bus Services (and having been restored by them the previous year), was being used to run a sightseeing tour around Exeter. We picked up the tour outside Exeter St David’s Station and were treated to some aural delights as the raucous straight through exhaust bellowed mightily as we climbed up to the city centre from the station.

80080-80079-ExeterPart of the tour took us past what remained of Exmouth Junction railway depot, where the two Standard tanks were being serviced. Later on we returned to St David’s where the pair waited in Platform 3 to rejoin their train.

On another day, one of the branchline trips took the train down to Exmouth, where I grew up. We watched the pair drift through the tiny station at Lympstone. We’d lived there too and often caught a train hauled by a similar Standard 4 tank loco as it took us to Exmouth for shopping. Ah, happy days!

There’s a YouTube clip showing this pair of locos in action – the west country leg of the tour begins at 31:08.

Back to the AEC Regent – it doesn’t see much action now, but I believe it is part of Ron Greet’s collection at Nostalgic Transport.

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