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Everything posted by Yoss

  1. It's certainly quite far removed from our own Pugs. It's more car than van. I don't think anyone makes proper vans anymore. When I started, admittedly 30 odd years ago, we didn't even have radios. And the high top Sherpas had longitudinal tip up vynil bench seats in the back. We used to go out with six or more posties perched on these with no seat belts, no windows and lots of naked spot welded seams. Admittedly some of us probably died but there ought to be a happy medium of a decent, safe reliable van without all the pointless tech.
  2. This will be the last in an occasional series of random van reviews as our duties are changing next week and I'm going back to a trolley duty. Can't come soon enough, our entire fleet of vans are fucked and I shan't miss them at all. I had a puncture last week, they fixed that then on Tuesday my regular van FTP'd. We'll, almost, luckily it was still drivable enough to finish the duty. It has said 'risk of filter clogging' for about three weeks but our van manager said drive it til it breaks as we have no spare vans. Well it went into limp mode on Tuesday not surprisingly with the cooling fan staying on. The next day I get given this fine machine. Several shades of pogweasel and not a straight panel anywhere. But I more interestingly, as soon as I start it up it displays these two messages. Well I obviously can't do either of these things so I decided to carry on regardless. As soon as I drive out of the yard it is obvious that this too is in limp mode but at least with out the cooling fan on like the Peugeot. So I decide to carry on, we never leave a 30 zone so being in limp mode isn't too much of a hardship. When I get back I told somebody in the office but didn't report it officially (if I fill a form out it has to be taken off the road until fixed) as they had told me how short of vans they are. But I said if they give it to me again I will report it because eventually it's going to stop, I assume it is DPF related, and I don't want to be in it when it does. I saw it out again today. It wouldn't surprise me if some our drivers don't even notice it's in limp mode. So the next day I get this. You can see it uses the same basic bodyshell as our 11 and 12 reg Partners but it is quite different to drive. The biggest difference being the lack of a handbrake. There is a button to switch it on and off but you don't feel any mechanical movement, just a brief buzz of a distant motor. But you don't actually need the button, it is fully automatic. It comes on when you switch off the engine and releases again as you drive off. This is better than a recent Merc Vito I had which had a foot operated handbrake with what looked like an ashtray to pull out to release it. Another thing of note is the absolutely tiny steering wheel with much higher gearing than our old Partners and no feeling at all. Also, people used to laugh at Allegros quartic steering wheels. Well they weren't nearly as daft as this one. Then I had a little time to play with screen today. That's really useful in a van. If I was in the least bit tech savvy I'd have loved to have filled it with pictures of shite off my phone but alas I haven't the foggiest. This sounds interesting. But turns out not to be. To my mind it says press it and all the tyres instantly go flat. Sounds like more fun. And as a parting shot, as this will be my last driving duty for some time, I changed the language to German before parking up. No pictures because that would be childish (I just forgot).
  3. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    Yes, the one man drivers were paid more, that's what I meant. Sometimes the one man drivers would work on the RMs but not the other way round. Personally I'd rather get paid less to work on the RMs. Just to avoid all the passengers.
  4. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    That doesn't sound a million miles from my own youth. We knew all the crews on the Southampton RMs. There were ten buses rostered each day from 05.40 until 19.44 so there wasn't quite an early and late shift, there were a few spread overs. The crews were dedicated to the Routemasters, for instance the RM drivers never drove one man buses ( they were paid less) and drivers and conductors always worked in the same pairs unless one was off. Obviously some crews were nicer than others so we had our favourites. In fact I had an absolute favourite. A young clippy called Jane, only a couple of years older than me and always cheerful and also an Iron Maiden fan so I was always on the look out for her. I managed to get hold of a crew duty sheet and also worked out the bus duties and managed to overlay them on on to one A4 sheet which I laminated. This way once I'd seen a bus or crew I knew where they would be for the rest of the day. Does this sound like stalking? I still have it upstairs somewhere but can't currently find it. I did find this though. A tick chart showing how many trips I made on each bus. The apparent randomness of the fleet numbers is actually in CityBus fleet number order. 401 was the original Southampton City Transport Regent V that was returned to service for a while. The RMs were then numbered from 402 upwards with RM 1793 being 402. My bus, RM 2037, was 404. It is no coincidence that I had more trips on that than any other, using my special chart, if I saw it go the other way I always knew where to find it later on. There was a strange social life going on on our Routemasters. All the crews were quite young so some of the conductors attracted a band of teenage girls. So there were these bus groupies and us bus cranks all hanging round on the buses together for different reasons. It even made the local paper. The two groups were quite incompatible but we still got on OK and shared information. The more I write the more it sounds like stalking! It was a fun time. The whole Southampton Routemaster episode only lasted 20 months but it had a lasting effect on me. I only sold the bus couple of years ago.
  5. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    Yes the engine and gearbox are totally different which is the problem. A small capacity, high revving engine mated to a conventional automatic gearbox. But not a very good one. The gear changes were always very harsh which played havoc with the half shafts. RMs had never had a problem with half shafts even with the 11 litre engine towing a trailer at motorway speeds on the RMA. All the original engines and even the 1990s refurbs with the Cummins/Iveco/Scania lumps had a fluid flywheel between the engine and gearbox. The gear change was lovely and smooth and was part of the Routemasters character. But the later refurbs, Dartmasters as they were known, like I said, had these high revving (compared to the original engines which were limited to 1800 rpm) Cummins things with an auto box mated directly to them. It changed the whole feel of the bus, and broke the halfshafts in the process. Avoid.
  6. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    Without having watched the video, I assume they will be the buses off the Heritage 15 route that was withdrawn a few months ago. The route was temporarily* withdrawn nearer the start of the pandemic but it was made permanent more recently. You wouldn't want one of these, trust me. They are ghastly things, vaguely Routemaster shaped but once you get close up you realise they are anything but. Get inside and it gets worse. They neither look, sound or move like an RM. Actually some of them might have had some original fittings returned but there is no escaping that running gear.
  7. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    Embarrassing photo time. On South Today tonight they had a story about an old Southampton Regent, 344, that has been found in Italy being used as a mobile* home. To illustrate the point and pad the article out a bit they showed some old footage from the last day of Southampton Routemasters from which I include this screen grab. That's me in the middle with the short lived facial hair. On the left is my friend Barry (no idea who the guy on the right is) who was joint owner of RM 2037 with me and another friend. I remember seeing this on South Today at the time, actually 33 years ago this coming Friday, but I hadn't seen it since. The seeds of the purchase were put in place a few hours after this picture was taken. At this point we were completely oblivious of what was about to happen. When the last RM returned to the garage at about 8pm that night, 14th Jan 1989, instead of going home, about a half hour walk, we joined a preserved RM that had come down for the day and went with it back to its storage at Tilbury docks. It was over a meal at Fleet Services en route that me and Barry were convinced that RM ownership was a genuine possibility and not just a fantasy as we thought. Bearing in mind we were 20 years old and didn't have driving licences. I didn't even have a bank account, used to get a proper pay packet every Friday lunchtime! We knew Ernie who was older and wiser than us was interested in buying one so we spoke to him the next day, a Sunday, to say we'd be willing to split it three ways but only if it was RM 2037. So Ernie contacted CityBus the next day and the wheels were put in motion. And the rest is quite literally history.
  8. I was thinking the same, especially at that price. You'd pay five times as much for an equivalent Vdub and this looks much more interesting. I'd happily go touring in that.
  9. Is it just me that can't help but hear the Homes Under The Hammer theme tune whenever I hear somebody say Stoke on Trent? Mrs Yoss started doing it, now it's a Pavlovian reaction. I know they go to other places but at least once in every program they seem to be in the Stoke/Derby area. Usually with Dion Dublin, he must live local. This post does not apply to anyone reading it in Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand etc...
  10. Yep, you're right there. Not even that long when I started, though that was 32 years ago. That's the difference between a private company as we are now or effectively an arm of government when I started. Having said that, I moan about my Pug quite a lot but I don't think a 1990s Sherpa, or probably a Maestro is closer to what I have now, would fair anywhere near as well. The main problem is the 'risk of (DPF) filter clogging' message comes up at least twice a year but that is down to the duty I do (around seven miles in four hours) being totally unsuitable for a diesel.
  11. I walked out to load the van today and found this. This is the second puncture I've had in three weeks. What are the chances of that, or is somebody out to get me? One of the advantages of having many people off with the plague is that we have a few vans spare. In normal times I'd have to wait for somebody to come up from the garage. It's only five miles away but even if you phone them straight away you can be waiting a while. I got given this wee beastie. Full of the latest technology. Though at least it had a CD player. Not that we have time to worry about such things but we have some 08 reg Combos that still have tape players which must be some of the last tape players sold anywhere.
  12. Yoss

    Bus Shite

    I clicked on the link above and started following the road. Turns out RNAD Coulport scores 4 out of 5 from 15 reviews on Google! Who is reviewing the top secret nuclear warhead storage facility and what criteria exactly are they reviewing?
  13. The news feed on my phone gave me a link to an Express story about the mail delays. I clicked on it to see if Southampton got a mention. It did but one of pictures they used was this. I didn't realise the delays were that bad.
  14. Cheers, like I say most of us do our best. There are a few try to do as little possible and seem to get away with it, but probably no more than in any other large organisation. I do alright at Christmas so I must be doing something right.
  15. Only new years eve, you're doing well! The week before Christmas we lost over 40 staff to covid. That's in an office of around 130, so almost a third of our staff. Most of those are back now but more are off as it spreads. I was lucky* enough to catch it in November so I was immune to this wave but it has been both chaotic and eerily calm at the same time as parts of the office are practically empty. The bosses have given up, there's not a lot they can do really. We work in pairs from each van but every time one of us has a day off we don't have any cover so it'll just be me covering both duties. What tends to happen is I concentrate on the packets and leave the mail behind as its the packets people want and they take up more volume. Then the next day we'll have two days mail to clear. Then it will be my partners day off and we're back to square one. But our customers are the lucky ones, they only miss out one day. The duties where both posties in the pair have gone off are a lot more hit and miss and it is just pot luck. We do our best. Most of us anyway. Ha ha, I've never washed it and it's ten years old. There are no facilities at our office to wash them even if I wanted to. But there is no time in the duties anyway, I'm usually at least half an hour late getting back. When I started we only kept the vans for three years. You always used to see old Royal Mail Sherpas knocking about in private hands. I think they were auctioned off and probably a good buy as they were generally well looked after. Not any more, my Pug is ten years old this year. You never really see them in private hands now because we keep them until they utterly fucked. I guess it makes sense from a private companies point of view but it doesn't do much for the public image. It does get serviced twice a year and obviously MOT'd but the garage never wash them either. I even have lichen growing on mine and that takes decades to grow.
  16. As electric vans still seem a distant dream for us poor posties, at least at our office, I've been cultivating my own moss gardens in the scuttle of our Pug Partner to reduce our carbon footprint. So imagine my delight yesterday when I noticed we have a tiny mushroom in there too. So not only do we offset the carbon from all the diesel we use but we now have our own food supply. I'm hoping the two separate gardens in each corner will spread to become one big one right across the scuttle. Should be able to grow enough to be self sufficient then.
  17. Ha ha, thanks. Was that this afternoon? Just off to get the dogs worming pills. Annoyingly that junction is being shut for 21 weeks from tomorrow and it's only 2 minutes from hour house. It's going to be a real pain. And I really should get those rear mudflaps refitted, it does look wrong without them. They are the only bits I haven't refitted but I have to jack it up to do them and I really can't be arsed to if I don't have to at this time of year. They really are part of the design, the wheels look really exposed without them.
  18. Ha ha, no, it was almost a barn find though. More of an industrial unit, so it was nice and dry. This guy had bought enough cars to fill two units and decided they were going to be his pension fund. But he made some very strange choices and decided to whittle them down to fit in one unit. He had things like a Pug 309, a BX a Rover 75 and 400, things that are really popular here but you know they're never going to go seriously up in value. He did have a late Capri, that would be the only thing he might have made a profit on. My car was here when I first saw it. Completely inaccessible. I couldn't get in, there was no chance of moving it as there were plenty of other cars in the way, not just the Merc you can see the corner of. Just managed to open the passenger door to pop the bonnet and that was it. I agreed to buy it on what you can see here because, let's face it how much can go wrong with a Favorit? That Streetwise was his pride and joy. Apparently a Rover press car. Anyway he dug it out a few days later and one brake caliper was sticking so I freed that off and drove it straight to an MOT as a means of getting it home. It failed on a few minor things but nothing much. Obviously makes a big difference storing cars in nice dry units rather than fields. Anyway, apologies for thread hijack, back to Invacars.
  19. I currently run a 30 year old daily (I exaggerate somewhat, it's not 30 until March) and I don't have to work on it constantly at all, in fact I barely have to touch it from one MOT to the next. I change the oil every MOT time and don't have to top it up in between as it doesn't use any. But then it's not old VW tat. Sorry, I can't help myself! I resent VW involvement in Škoda, even though I know they needed the investment at the time but I can't help thinking Škoda would be building much more interesting cars without VW leaning on them. And I know my Fav is better than Polos and Golfs of the time and yet everyone wants VWs and is prepared to pay scene tax for them. Which suits me fine I just don't understand it. Sorry, I'll shut up now. If you'd just said old tat I wouldn't have said anything but sometimes my irrational dislike of VW boils over. As you were.
  20. Fair enough. But at his age I was obsessed with impractical vehicles. I mentioned the RM (constantly, some of you will say) but I also had shares in an old (1957) diesel train that was based 100 miles from where I live in Hastings (I mean the train was in Hastings,I was and still am in Southampton). I went there at least once a month if not more. I wasn't doing it for practicality, that's for sure. I was doing it because I wanted to. And once I learned to drive I bought a fleet of old Leyland chod and spread them around three different council car parks on our estate with usually no more than two taxed and insured at any one time but it was a lot easier in those days, you could get away with leaving untaxed cars in car parks for a little while with a bit of juggling. But Dez doesn't have that option now.
  21. That's not what I said, I don't even think the car is that far away from usable, I just mean at least once every few days somebody suggests just buying a normal car and every time Dez politely responds as to why that is not an option and yet it keeps happening. Which makes the thread longer and longer and leads to other people complaining that a thread this long should have a fully restored car. And in doing so makes the thread longer still. And yes I realise I'm adding to the problem. It's 237 pages long because it is essentially the history of the Invacar. All of them, not just model 70s. Edit : 238 pages.
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