After the closure of Crosville Motor Services in Weston-super-Mare it was decided to vacate the large hangar where the vehicles had been based. I was invited to help move the single deck members of the fleet, which are still owned outright by the business owner, to a new location in another part of the town.
Earlier in the day a team of volunteers had been beavering away with soapy water and a jet wash, removing dust and debris which had settled on the cherished vehicles over several months of inactivity. I had earlier arranged for Mrs Busman John to be ‘steerswoman’ (is that a word?) on 1912 MacLaren steam road locomotive ‘Gigantic’, which was also to make the same journey across town as the buses. So, while the buses were being prepared, I rode with her and shot this video:
Needless to say, she was ‘chuffed’ to bits as it had been a long-held ambition of hers to drive a traction engine! Many thanks to JJP and his steam team for making this happen.
Soon all was ready for the first of two short convoys. Each was led by a steam vehicle, the first being 1931 Sentinel DG6P steam bus ‘Elizabeth’. I was invited to drive FAE60, a 1938 Bristol L5G which had long ago been converted into a tower wagon as departmental vehicle W75 for maintaining the high level structures in Bristol Tramways (later Bristol Omnibus Company) depots. The chassis, apart from having been shortened, was unchanged so it drove just like a normal Bristol L bus. It was lovely to drive, with a very easy gear change. Crash box, of course!
The convoy is pictured from the back window of ‘Elizabeth’ leaving the old depot for the last time. The journey was short, only 15 minutes or so. There was of course much tooting from the front, as the Sentinel announced our presence.
There followed a certain amount of shunting and jostling, as the vehicles were carefully parked in their new home. Some adjustment to a roller shutter door had to be made to allow the tower wagon to pass through but otherwise there were no major surprises and we were soon transported back to the depot for Round Two. The second convoy was led by the MacLaren ‘Gigantic’ and its matching WW1 grey living van. I was tasked with bringing Bristol Tramways C2736 (LHY976), a very tired Bristol L5G which had been bought some time ago and is in need of a complete re-restoration. It’s very appropriate to the area, having been based at Weston during its operational career, so it is a worthy member of the fleet. It is seen briefly in the video above, lurking behind the smarter buses! As you might guess, the driving experience was not as pleasurable as the tower wagon so I look forward to the day when it has been rejuvenated.
Although I’ve moved on to pastures new, I was grateful to have been asked to help with this move. This all occurred in early September and I haven’t been near a heritage vehicle since then, so I’m getting withdrawal symptoms!