I know some of you are still waiting for news of the long-awaited replica Tilling dust jackets. Thanks for being patient – it will be worth the wait. But for those who are keen to have a look-alike jacket ready for the 2015 season, there is an alternative.
This is a bus-style jacket produced by Yarmouth Stores, a workwear manufacturer on the east coast of England. They’ve been making these for several years now and they look quite convincing if you regularly play the part of a traditional bus driver or bus conductor. In fact I used to wear one of these before I found an original one online. I’m wearing a Yarmo jacket in the photo below, which was taken by Cherry Selby, a lovely lady conductor who took me under her wing when I first started conducting.
Sold under the ‘Yarmo‘ brand, the Summer Bus Jackets (ref JK37) are available in most sizes with a choice of green or maroon trim. When their new website goes live you will be able to purchase these online but, until then, call Yarmouth Stores on 0800 1300521 and ask for Sharon, the Sales Manager. The price is a very reasonable £31.95 plus £3.50 for delivery. If you ask nicely and mention ‘Busman’s Holiday’ you might even get a small discount!
If you have your own collection of bus uniform buttons you can use them with these jackets because the black plastic buttons provided are removable and have a split-ring fastening just like the originals.
I ought to point out that these jackets are made to a freelance pattern and the fabric is polyester, rather than the cotton twill that the originals were made from.
If you are interested in uniform trousers as well – complete with coloured piping down the legs, these are available from Yarmo as well. Like the jackets, these are made from polyester fabric and come in most sizes. You can choose from yellow, red or green piping. I wear a pair of these in the summer as they are much lighter and more comfortable than the original woollen serge trousers.
In other news, it’s nearly time to blow the cobwebs off the 1947 PD2 bus in readiness for the 2015 sightseeing season and I have my first Crosville private hire duty of the year in about 10 days’ time.
While posting comments in a Bristol Lodekka-related Facebook group I mentioned a Bus Conductors’ Rule Book that I wrote several years ago and a few people have asked if they can have a copy. It is for their benefit that this is posted here.
This was written by me in 2009 specifically for Quantock Motor Services and with their Service 400 ‘Exmoor Explorer’ in mind. The Rule Book is based on traditional practice but is obviously tailored towards the needs of QMS at that time. Rule Books from other heritage operators (and indeed the major operators in years gone by) will have been significantly different.
A PDF copy of the Conductors’ Rule Book may be downloaded here.
Looking back in my family archives I came across this photo of ex-London Transport AEC Regent III, RT 1377 when operating with Guernseybus in the 1990s.
The bus has been on the island of Malta since 2008 and the BusWeb site carries this snippet of information about it: “Originally London Transport RT1377 (KXW 476), this AEC Regent III operated for many years as an open-topper on the island of Guernsey, first with Guernseybus and then with Island FM as a publicity vehicle. It arrived on Malta in 2008 and is pictured in March 2009 in as acquired condition. The intention was to use it on sightseeing tours, but it never entered service and is now with the Malta Historic Vehicle Trust.
The young chap in the driver’s seat in the photo above is my eldest son, who shares my interest in historic transport. He’s grown up with his own family now but last year sampled the cab of a Crosville Bristol L5G when I passed through his neck of the woods last year.
What is it about Dads? We feel constrained to put our young children in the driver’s seat of any old bus we come across! I did the same with the old RT on Guernsey. In the back of my mind I was trying to re-create the photo my Dad took of me in the cab of a Lodekka when I was about 4. How could I turn down the opportunity to do the same?!
So here’s young son Peter in the cab of RT1377.
If you have been following this blog for some time you will have seen evidence that Peter joins me sometimes as bus conductor. I’m delighted that, although he never saw half-cab buses in service, he’s developed an affinity for the old days and is more than happy to don a Tilling uniform and run the platform on special occasions.
There are some seasonal heritage crew jobs being advertised at the moment by Crosville Motor Services. They need to recruit additional drivers for their private hire bookings which, if you are a regular reader of this blog, is the main reason for my own involvement with this firm.
As you know I drive for them occasionally and, if last year is anything to go by, there were heritage buses going out virtually every Saturday from March until December. On several summer Saturdays there were four out at a time!
If you are a driver with a clean Category D PCV licence and current Driver CPC entitlement, call Crosville on 01934 635259 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an interest in older vehicles that would be great. If you are experienced with a crash gearbox be careful – they might bite your hand off! If you’re not, don’t worry as training may be given to suitable candidates.
They are looking for conductors as well, mainly for private hire jobs (weddings mostly) but also for timetabled services in the tourist season. They often use Bristol Lodekkas on a couple of their routes around W-S-M so conductors will need to be able to take fares as well as run the platform. Just like the old days, really! Ticket machines will be provided but if you have your own Setright, even better. Conductors weren’t used very much on wedding duties last year but they are likely to be needed more often this year because they will be included (or offered, at least) as part of the wedding ‘package’ by Crosville.
The work is not difficult if you know what you’re doing and it’s great fun too. If you’re like me, it’s like being paid to enjoy your hobby! Form an orderly queue, please.