Monday, 29 June 2015

Delights of the Dart [3]

Topless in Torquay
 DAY TWO (a bit more) 
PLUS : a few bits and pieces.

The other Dart River open top bus, also a VR ...
... began its days with Crosville Cymru (later to be Arriva) in North Wales ...
... where it found even greater fame as an EFE model.
But it was when the fbbs were seated atop the other topless VR that this beastie appeared.
The Riviera Tours fleet has a second and a more conventional "heritage" vehicle ...
... which came from Southport ...
... via Cobham Bus Museum. But the "chara" is "something else". Actually TR 6147 is something else. Despite its chauffeur's claim that the bus is "the only one running in the country" (which is true) the ancient motor vehicle dates from 1973/4.

It is a Hampshire Bus Bristol LH (NLJ 516M) like his one (possibly?) ...
... rebuilt at the company works at Barton Park, Eastleigh.
It has appeared in a variety of guises with a variety of owners ...
... before arriving on the English Riviera. It (or its double deck companion) operates two circular tours each day.

Two daily return tours leave Torquay Harbourside at 10.45 am and 1.30 pm (weather permitting) : 1&frac12 to 2 hour tour around the bay, visiting Babbacombe, Meadfoot and Paignton. With stunning views and live commentary from our tour guides. Call into our English Riviera Visitor Information Centre on Torquay Harbourside to book tickets, or purchase on the bus.
There doesn't appear to be an option 2!

Anyway, oddities apart, the fbb's were on a "Round Robin" tour.
Our best seller, the famous and award winning Round Robin is the best way to explore South Devon! You will visit the quaint towns of Paignton, Dartmouth and Totnes travelling on a steam train (c.30 minutes), a river boat (c.90 minutes) and a bus (c.30 minutes). Sit back and enjoy the scenery and we will take care of the rest. This award-winning ticket is a favourite with both young and old. Commentary provided.

 The "circular" started at Torquay (by bus) at 1000 arriving Totnes Steamer Quay at 1040 ...
... and time for coffee and a bun whilst waiting for the boat which left at 12 noon.
There was also time to enjoy the company's bus stop, welded together to slip over a wooden bollard at the layby ...
... and to muse on the poster designer's portrayal of an open top Bristol VR on the publicity.
Whatever vehicle it might have been, the company also had a left hand drive version as well!
fbb wonders if either have been preserved. The cruise down the river Dart was superbly tranquil and picturesque.
Arrival was in Dartmouth with an opportunity for lunch ...
... taken at The Wheelshouse caff. For Mrs fbb is was ...
... whilst your chubby blogger was a little more profligate with ...
... all washed down with a coupla cuppas each. Just under £20 all in. Excellent value and superb service.

Time for a potter round the shops or some observing of public transport (guess who did what) then to Kingswear on the frequent ferry, back to Paignton by train and across the road to pick up the 100 back to Taunton Torquay** from the conveniently placed bus station.

The Round Robin fares seemed good value as well.
But fbb wasn't paying.

** Thanks to Petras409 for the correction. That was the official schedule back to Torquay. But the fbbs' hosts live close to the local route 22 (St Matthias Church Wellswood; top right) ...
... so it was by one of Stagecoach's finest that they returned. Occasional journeys on the 22 are operated (at normal fares) by the ex Devon General open topper; but fbb never spotted it when he was travelling.
Yet More on Aggie's Bus
A correspondent has emailed the following:-

My wife and I were in Plymouth the week before last, and made the effort to visit Aggie's house at Greenway. We travelled by train to Totnes, by Stagecoach Gold to Paignton, steam train to Greenway Halt, and then the Dartmouth Rail and River bus NT1, the one you spotted at Churston, to Greenway. It was being well used. The bus only goes to the main gate ...

... which is about ¼ mile walk to the house, but the walk from the (restricted) car park is just as long. There is the usual NT buggy for the halt and the lame. which we decided we weren't. Greenway is well worth a visit, and not too crowded when we were there.  

The AC1 bus, run by Greenway Ferry Ltd ...

... used to go right up to the house, but the service is indeed suspended. We went on to Dartmouth by the ferry, and found the Leyland PS1 with its rather strange Barnaby body parked on the quay at Greenway, looking in a sorry state.

"This Barnaby bodied Leyland PS1 was new in 1947 to J Bullock and Sons. In 1950 Bullock merged with the West Riding Automobile Co and the bus passed to West Riding.
 Next shock horror bus blog : Tuesday 30th June 


  1. I don't think that you would have made Taunton on the 100; I think that you meant to say Torquay.

    But seriously, the offer from Riviera Tours of fares that 'may change on a daily basis' is highly unusual and not particularly helpful to the customer. And that's Option 1. No wonder they didn't want to publicise Option 2 !