Trident in Trouble

It’s not often that you see a modern bus on my blog but I had to chuckle when a Stagecoach bus broke down on the hill right outside my office in Teignmouth.


Alexander bodied Dennis Trident 19106 (MX07HMF) expired yesterday on the main road into Teignmouth from Newton Abbot. I’m not sure what service it had been on because the display had already changed to ‘Sorry! I’m not in service’ by the time I saw it from the office window. The breakdown truck had just arrived. This picture shows the Trident jacked up on blocks in preparation for a suspended tow back to base.

Modern buses are very comfortable, safe and economical but at the same time, hugely complicated. I don’t know the reason for the breakdown but it may have been something like an engine management fault. Bristol half-cabs have engine management, did you know that? It’s called an accelerator pedal.

Apart from a worn out clutch last year, which very nearly brought out the breakdown truck, I haven’t been let down by a heritage bus at all. I love the basic mechanics of the old Bristol buses, they are so reliable. With workshop staff who are on top of their jobs and conversant with 1950s engineering, I feel well supported too.

I’m out and about this Saturday with a refurbished Bristol FLF so I hope that my only problem will be coping with the cold weather. The wedding duty will take me to Cheltenham and thence into the wild flatlands of Oxfordshire.

Stagecoach passenger

I was a fare-paying passenger on a  regular Stagecoach bus today. Yes, I know. I wouldn’t normally choose to ride on one of these modern contraptions (a Dennis Trident, I think) but I’d just dropped my wife’s car off for its MOT and had to get to work pronto. So I caught the number 12 from town.

It’s not that bad really, but it just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. Yes, it’s clean and bright. Yes, it’s a comfortable ride. Yes, it’s packed with modern gadgetry. But, as I sat with a screaming automatic transmission behind me and having passed or seen half a dozen identical buses already, I thought to myself no, give me an open-platform halfcab every time.

Who cares if you can feel every ridge and knobble in the road? What does it matter if you can feel a draught around your ankles from the open platform? So what if the noise of the engine and gears drowns out all attempts at conversation? I want to ride on a bus with Character, Style and Charm. There’s more fun to be had on the journey than just getting to your destination!