WNO480 goes to Torquay

1953 Eastern National Bristol KSW5G WNO480 is now enjoying a new career down on the sunny English Riviera. Or is it?

After its sale by the owner of Crosville Motor Services I recently drove this bus down to Torquay which, until last year, was my home patch. In many ways WNO is more suited to English Riviera Sightseeing Tours than it was to its former Weston-super-Mare owner, where it never really found any proper work to do.

The bus arrived needing work done to its dynamo and this was duly carried out last year. Accident damage to the front nearside mudguard was also fettled but, after a brief appearance at the Crosville bus rally in September, it remained idle in the garage. Crosville already has two other active open top buses (both visible in the photo above) and there just wasn’t enough work to sustain yet another, albeit more historic, open top bus. Hence the decision to sell.

In the photo above WNO480 is seen being prepared for the journey south with trade plates displayed and carrying a generous supply of water under the stairs! To the left of the KSW is ex-Bristol Omnibus VRT LEU263P. It was also being prepared for a long journey, this time northwards for MOT work. Unusually, the KSW has a 12 volt electrical system with just one enormous 12 volt battery under the floor instead of the usual two. The battery had been on charge the previous day as months of idleness had taken their toll.

Mrs Busman John had decided to follow me on this occasion, not only to transport me home to Weston later but also to visit some friends before we left. True to form, she had to hold back as we drove out of the estate. WNO, in common with most Gardner-powered vehicles, was emitting clouds of blue/white smoke from the exhaust but this cleared as the 5-cylinder engine warmed up. This particular 5LW engine sounds rather nasal and raucous due to having large mesh gauze covering the ports where an air filter would normally be fitted. I don’t know why this was done – a previous owner is responsible for this modification!

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Tilling summer jacket on Ebay

[Edit: this auction has now ended]

One of my blog readers has just spotted this Tilling summer dust jacket, ex-Eastern National, on Ebay. I can’t vouch for its quality but, looking at the photograph, its not bad!

Tilling Group Bus Driver’s Jacket

The auction ends on Saturday, June 30th 2012, at 10:53 so put your bid in if you’re interested. When it comes to acquiring one, these are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth. When I was looking for one, I resorted to having one made especially for me by a workwear company in Yarmouth before I was able to buy a genuine one.

The down side is that it is likely to go for a fair amount of money. However, in this case, it is being sold for a good cause. Apparently the money raised will be used in the restoration of a 1950s Eastern National bus (I don’t know which one, though).