Friday, 10 March 2017

Tantalising Taunton Trail.

A bus registration plate is rarely of great interest, but spotting this one on a Buses of Somerset single decker last Saturday did set fbb's brain cells alight. One of the huge privileges of today's on-line world is that research which might, in the past, have involved letters (remember them?) ...
... with follow-up phone calls ...
... (remember them?) can be achieved using one confuser and a splodge of time at the dining room table. It was this bus that started the trail.
It didn't look like a standard First Bus shape and was obviously the proud bearer of a so-called "cherished" reg. plate.

260 ERY first saw the light of day on a Leicester Corporation Leyland double decker like his one ...
... which ended its life at Powell's of Wickersley near Rotherham. The PD3 (or was it a long PD2?) was, presumably, scrapped and the plate transferred to at least one single decker.
This vehicle (?) found its way to Truronian ...
... and with the demise of the Bedford, the plate re-appeared on something a bit more classy.
First Bus snapped up the ailing Truronian for far too much money, a rash expenditure designed to keep the dreaded St*g*c**ch at bay. The coaching side of the business was abandoned and the cherished plate appeared on one of these, Y51 RJO, to be precise.
This particular "one of these" was originally housed in York!
It them moved from Plymouth to Buses of Somerset where it gained the superb two-tone green livery and looked very smart.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch that is called First Worcester, SN53 KKY (fleet number 67600) was trundling the highways and byways of local and country routes.
fbb likes the backwards route number!
It gained new First livery and a spell by the seaside at Weston super Mud.
And then moved a few miles to the south west to gain BoS green at Taunton.
With the departure of the original green bearer of 260 ERY (to where?) the former Worcester interloper has now appeared with that far travelled cherished plate.
How much has First spent on DVLA fees and staff time in these transfers?

Was it worth it? And where will it appear next?
First Borders Capitulation
Nothing yet on West Coast Motors web site, but First repeat much of the press release that prompted yesterday's press articles. A new snippet, however, is a thumbnail sketch of West Coast.
It was just 12 months ago that Wes Coast bought Perrymans. From (almost) a one route operation between Berwick and Edinburgh ...
... developed at the expense of First, Perrymans has expanded significantly in recent years.
Many of these are ex First Bus operations. The fleet is now modern with a batch of Optares delivered in 2013.
They'll need a good few more in the next couple of months! Although nothing has yet been said, you would assume that West Coast will use First's buses in the interim.

Perrymans also run town services variously throughout the Borders.

With the takeover of the remainder of First's network, West Coast will become the dominant operator in the Borders.
Sheffield's Secret Night Bus Update
See previous posts (read again). A Sheffield correspondent has been asking about this new service starting in the early hours of Sunday morning 12th March. Here is Roy's email.
By way of explanation, STI = Sheffield Transport Interchange a k a bus station. "the star" is the Sheffield newspaper.

Travel South Yorkshire and First Bus web sites still have no information.

Beyond belief!
Tomorrow we return to Paris to explore a triangular junction.

 Next Paris tram blog : Saturday 11th March 


  1. There are details on First Website and a timetable is available

  2. Dateless reg plates have a value and for historic ones like 260ERY that figure can be very significant but that value only exists as long as it remains an active registration and the easiest way to do that is to attach it to a licensed vehicle (be it a bus, car or van). Given that First have only apparently transferred it twice themselves (ex-Truronian Coach to Volvo to E300) the costs won't be high compared to the book-value of the plate itself. For coach companies it can have a separate value to disguise the age of older vehicles, which is why these type of plates are often inherited from the take over of companies doing hire work, and from a marketing perspective where quality from the hirers perspective can be unfairly skewed by the apparent age of the coach being provided this can help neutralise these kneejerk views and allow a well-maintained vehicle speak for itself.

    1. Absolutely right. The value of the plate is much more than the relatively easy process of transferring it.

      FBB has also missed out on some history in that Powells also had it on another vehicle (a Royal Tiger Doyen ex C67BFX), and Truronian had it on a Plaxton B10M. As you say, First have only transferred it twice, from an inherited coach to a B6 and now onto the e300.

  3. Border Buses Ltd is the Perrymans business, renamed four weeks ago, according to the Companies House website.

  4. To Anonymous at the top. Nothing was there when the blog was composed. It is there now, you are quite correct.

  5. Think FBB is being a little bit unfair on First though I will put that down to being unfamiliar with the area rather than anti-First bias (who, FBB?).

    Perrymans may well have some form of genesis with what was the former Lowland 104 and the old 35 to Eyemouth. The latter was subject to competition from the early days of de-reg from a local taxi firm.

    However, what really turbo-charged Perryman's growth was their deal to acquire Arriva's Berwick local operations. The other services around Kelso/Jedburgh/St Boswells were First but were lost on tender to Munros IIRC and passed to Perrymans when Munros went bust.

    Appreciate the limitations of a blog but in the pursuit of an overview, some of the pertinent detail has been omitted.

  6. Thank you Anon immediately above. Clarification much appreciated.