Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day 2010

An event coming up soon – one for which I have been planning for ages it seems – is the Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day. On Sunday September 5th a wide range of buses with a Westcountry connection will gather at Shedden Hill car park either for static display or to run free services along the seafront.

I have entered ex-Western National Bristol LDL 1935 (VDV752) and have permission to drive it down to Torbay for the day. Why this particular vehicle? Well, after operating from the WN Camborne depot from its introduction in 1957, it was converted to open top for tourist services (acquiring the name ‘Admiral Boscawen’) in the mid-1970s. It was soon transferred to South Devon where it ran services, along with sister LDL VDV753, to Totnes, Paignton and Torquay. By then Western National had merged with Devon General and 1935 wore the new NBC Poppy Red and White livery with Devon General fleetnames. I have acquired a photograph of this vehicle taken while the bus was parked in Palk Street, Torquay which is near the harbour, while on Service 124.

Why all this background? I intend to take the bus, owned and operated by Quantock Motor Services for many years, back to Palk Street and have it photographed again during the running day. A kind of ‘then and now’ shot, 35 years on.

If any of my blog readers are interested in joining me for the trip down to Torquay, please leave a comment and I’ll get in touch to make arrangements.

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Now, where was I?

It’s been a while since I posted anything (a whole month, actually) but several things have distracted me recently. Namely; Christmas, New Year and Snow. Yes, even in the South West. Ice and snow everywhere, not nice.

Bus services here are gradually getting back to normal after several days of cancelled or amended services. Routes that normally take in residential estates or rural areas have been curtailed to run on main roads as they have the only treated surfaces. Just as well really, Torbay probably has the hilliest terrain in the region to negotiate. That’s why, years ago, Devon General specified the largest engines available in the AEC Regents they ordered for service in Torbay. 9.6 litre I believe.

Anyway, back on topic. With life returning to normal shortly, I need to catch up on my theory revision and book a test. I’m sorry if posts are rather sporadic. Things will pick up again once I’ve passed my theory test and booked up my practical instruction. Even conducting is a rare event in the winter months as the service 400 “Exmoor Explorer” doesn’t start up again until May and private hire duties are normally covered by my conductor colleagues as they live nearer to the depot.