End of the road for bus terminii?

In the good old days, or so I’m told, bus conductors used to call out “Terminus!” when their bus reached its destination whereupon any remaining passengers would alight.

Salisbury-Bus-Station-(DJD)

These days, it would seem, Mr Progress is shouting “Terminus!” at terminii up and down the country, signifying the closure of once-busy transport hubs in our town centres. So, just for old times’ sake, here is a photograph of a bus station in its heyday. This is Salisbury Bus Station, taken by my father in about 1954 from his office window. Just like me when I worked for the Express & Echo newspaper in Exeter, my Dad enjoyed a fine view while supposedly at work! In his case he was learning the ropes as an architectural technician at Rawlence & Squarey.

The notes accompanying this photo state that the two buses in the foreground were at the time being used as a canteen and staff restroom. The double deck bus is Wilts & Dorset no 20 (ex-Southdown 920), a Leyland TD1 with a Willowbrook body. It originally carried a Short Bros body.

OHR919-leaving-Salisbury-Bus-Station

Fast forward 60 years and Salisbury Bus Station closed in January 2014. I was there, regular readers will recall. With a tear in my eye, I led a cavalcade of historic Wilts & Dorset buses on the last ever scheduled departure. In this rather shaky clip (fast forward to 14:15) I’m driving the leading Lodekka.

On the same day Amesbury Bus Station closed. Salisbury Reds, the present-day operator of bus services in the area, could no longer justify the cost of maintaining the crumbling and outdated structures. Services now arrive and depart from various stops around the city centre. How times have changed.

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PCV practical training – 2 down, 3 to go

At long last my PCV practical training has begun. After several false starts, I’ve spent the last 2 days training to pass my PCV driving test.

The vehicle I’m using is a Bova FLC12.280, if that means anything to you. I’m not sure what engine it has but it’s more powerful than any heritage bus I’ve driven! More importantly, it’s 8′ 2″ wide and about 40′ long, quite a beast.

My test will be taken in Plymouth so all of my training will take place there. I met my instructor, a cheerful chap called Martin, at a small coach depot on the outskirts of Plymouth. It turns out that he passed his PSV test on exactly the same ex-Hants & Dorset Bristol Lodekka that I drove in Exeter all those years ago, with Devon General’s instructor Bill Porter too! What a small world.

I’m not training alone, there are two of us. David is also learning and is hoping to drive a community bus in the South Hams. He doesn’t have the advantage of having driven buses before, which I do. Even though I’ve only driven heritage buses (apart from my assessment sessions), those experiences have taught me a great deal and I’ve made good progress as a result.

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