Following a reasonably successful Bus & Steam Rally in September, the team at Crosville Motor Services has pledged to run a similar event next year and the date will be Sunday September 10th, 2017 from 10:00 until 16:30.
Once again, I’m looking forward to taking part in this rally. Not only does it give me the chance to browse among the many visiting vehicles, it also allows me to drive several of Crosville’s own heritage buses as well as those belonging to the Bristol Omnibus Vehicle Collection. Those who know me well will probably know that the Bristol marque is my favourite!
This time the rally will return to the seafront at Weston-super-Mare, the static displays and vintage bus rides all being based at the Beach Lawns. The biggest benefit for everyone of course is that now the whole event will be free to enter. Understandably, there were moans this year that “…we shouldn’t have to pay!” as entry to the Helicopter Museum rally site this year was £10 per adult. Although admission tickets were sold by the Museum, Crosville received a proportion of the gate takings. Most (but not all) vintage bus running days and rallies don’t levy an entry charge and enthusiasts have been used to this format for years. Also, and this is neither new nor even confined to the bus world, enthusiasts are notoriously ‘thrifty’ and many resent having to part with cash in order to enjoy a rally. What they perhaps fail to realise is that rallies and running days don’t just happen by themselves. Much time, effort and expense is needed to put these events on and operators like Crosville like to cover their costs if at all possible. As I mentioned, the 2017 event will be free so, if you attend and see a programme for sale, please buy one as this will help to offset costs.
By September 2017 ‘Elizabeth’ the Sentinel Steam Bus will have returned from her refurbishment and will hopefully have been already running in Weston. Like many other projects, work on the steam bus over-ran this year and she was still in bits at the time of the Crosville rally. If all goes well, ‘Elizabeth’ will be giving rides up and down the prom and will be joined in the static display by ‘Sonsie Quine’, Crosville’s Clayton & Shuttleworth steam road locomotive. I haven’t yet had the chance to ride on the Sentinel so perhaps I will at the next rally!
In addition to the free vintage bus service linking the seafront to the railway station and the Crosville depot, occasional Mystery Tours are planned but these will only run if buses and crews are available.
As I mentioned above, these events don’t happen by themselves and rely on volunteers to help out. It is actually more fun to be actively involved than to just turn up and watch. I know, I’ve done both! So please, if you are planning to come to the Crosville rally next year, consider if you could take an active part. Whether it’s marshalling, despatching or conducting on a heritage bus, we’ll make sure you also have free time to enjoy the rally. Don’t contact anyone yet, it’s far too early for that. Just make a mental note and look out for volunteering details nearer the time. I’m sure I will be involved again next year so I’ll post details here.
In the meantime, keep checking the Bus & Steam Rally page on the Crosville website for more info and updates.