Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Answer's a Lemon? (2)

Bananas in Great Yarmouth
The years of post deregulation brought competition to Great Yarmouth. Flying Banana used mostly second-hand minibi including  a couple converted to open top.
They also had an ex London bus which, obviously, was christened ...
... the Fruitmaster.

It was later (?) acquired by First, returned to a red paint scheme ...
... and suitable re-re-named!
Thus the fruity Flying Banana passed into history, although the name remains as a Transport Consultancy company.

The name appears on-line as given to a motor bike with its own web site.
The recent Trainspotting TV programme introduced us to the Notwork Rail Measurement Train, converted from an HST; it too is known as the Flying Banana.
Even more curiously, the nickname was applied to GWR self-powered railcars from the 1930s. In this case it was the shape, not the colour that inspired the appellation.
Equally some trainspotter, no doubt pining for the lost days of steam, named the High Speed rains (HST) in their original livery after the aerial yellow fruit.
But back to the fruity bus company project.

Strawberries in Lancashire
In the North West, around Wigan, Strawberries appeared ....
... operating a range of tendered and commercial services. Part of their web site is stiull archived on-line and the publicity was very attractive indeed.
Probably their most famous PR event was the offer of free travel to redheads!
In January 2012, Strawberry merged with South Lancs Travel and moved its operations to the larger operator's depot in Atherton. South Lancs Travel had itself been acquired by D&G Bus, which held shares in Strawberry, shortly before the merge. Strawberry's founder Oliver Howarth became joint operations director of the enlarged company.

Or so says Wikipedia.

D&G no longer operate in Lancashire; South Lancs Travel was bought by Rotala and is now part of the Diamond Group.
So at last we bring our trip to the fruit shop to an end with:-

Lemons in Brighton
Getting Ready for September 4th
 Next lemon blog : Friday 22nd July 


  1. Flying Banana were bought out by First in the 90s and incorporated into the EC business.

    The Fruitmaster was one of three RMLs transferred to First Eastern Counties in the early/mid 2000s after the type's wholesale withdrawal from the capital, and painted in a heritage livery; the other two wore attempts at Tilling red and Great Yarmouth blue & cream.

  2. The Flying Banana Bus Company never owned a Routemaster.
    After the sell off to First, one of the owners became Operations Director at First Eastern Counties. It was him that commissioned the Fruitmaster livery.
    RML 2623 was invited to participate in Blue Triangles Vintage Services Running Day on 16/10/2006 resulting in some very interesting photographs -
    RML 2623 also operated 954.6 miles on the Coastmaster Route 5 in 2006 -

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