Sunday, 27 October 2013

Museum on the Move? [1]

But in a different way from First's donated vehicle (read again).

  This blog was initiated by our senior  
 Isle of Wight correspondent, Alan; with 
 additional historical material from fbb.
 The photos are mostly Alan's. Thank you.

The Isle of Wight Bus museum billed its recent running day as the last one (possibly!) to be held on Newport Quay.
The museum is currently located in the uninspiring grey shed tucked behind the splendid red brick warehouse seen in the distance to the right of the big ship's mast.
The quay is an excellent location to have such an event as there is plenty of space to display the static buses and for the those in passenger service to load up for visits to places of interest.

However, there was a slight problem this year! In the winter, the Isle of Wight Council uses the quayside to make some money by renting plots out to boat owners for winter storage. The running day is always timed to take place before the boats are craned out of the river. This year, apparently due to low tides, the boats had to come out of the water over the same weekend as the event!
Not only did this mean lack of space, there were some boats being uplifted using a massive mobile crane; maybe an added attraction but also a headache for the organisers; Even more so when the crane sprung a leak and deposited a small pond of hydraulic fluid on the roadway.

The weather forecast was not too good for the day but this did not seem to put off either visiting buses or customers; there was just room enough to park buses and people and manoeuvre the latter on to the former.
A lunchtime thunderstorm made everyone not riding on buses at the time dive for the cover of the Museum building. This of course was a clever and successful ruse by the Museum Management to raise sales of refreshments and memorabilia.
The shower lasted about 30 minutes and then the sun came out for the rest of the afternoon.

Tours went off to many points around the island, including Godshill, Yarmouth and Havenstreet for the steam railway. For legal reasons most of these trips have to be free as the buses and owners do not have an operating licence.
The Museum produces an excellent timetable and programme which it sells for £5.00. this is the main source of revenue for the day.

The event is supported by Southern Vectis, which provided four vehicles for the event, the "Old Girl" Bristol K (CDL 899) dating from 1939 ...
... the Shanklin Steamer (a partial open top conversion of a 1993 Volvo B10B with Northern Counties body K125 BUD) ...
... and two of today's double deckers. The "Steamer" began its life in Oxford ...
... then moved to Blue Star ...
... before the lads at Newport works got out their tin opener, cut a hole in the roof and removed the glass from a few windows. This intriguing vehicle was modified for the former Shanklin town service, historically numbered 44 but now officially a "tour" and thus unavailable free for old crusties. (And too expensive for locals to use at all!)
the old Old Girl

The Old Girl did short local tours but the others were used to take visitors to Ryde to view the former Southern Vectis depot which, it is hoped, will become the new home of the museum.

Tomorrow, then, we look at some of the historic visiting vehicles which graced the somewhat cramped quayside and we go on an exploration of Ryde bus garage.
At short notice (yesterday lunchtime for that evening) the fbbs obtained tickets (via a cancellation) for a concert by the Yeovilton Military Wives Choir and the HMS Heron (also at Yeovilton) Royal Navy Reserve band.
It was a splendid evening, made even more enjoyable by this piece of lovely nostalgia ...
... affixed to the balcony of the Guildhall, Axminster. It is, of course, the nameplate from West Country class steam locomotive 21C118, later 34018; and this ...
... isn't it! This is Blackmore Vale, currently non-operational and in store at the Bluebell Railway.

P.S. Just in (1200 noon Sunday), Wadebidge (34007) in BR Livery at work (?) on the Mid Hants Railway yesterday afternoon, sporting its more sombre British Railways green.
 Next Bus Blog : Monday 28th October 


  1. The Steamer bus actually started life in London with London General (all the Northern Counties bodied B10Bs that were operated by Oxford & then Bluestar were part of this batch) and had personalised K-KLL (for Keith Ludemann, London General MD at the time & later Go-Ahead head honcho) and were re-registered on sale to Oxford to their Subsequent K-BUD plates.

  2. Thanks for that correction. I did have a memory of something extra but could not rootle out any information. The change of reg. no. ensured my search was unsuccessful on-line. Try harder next time!