Jump to content
Felly Magic

Bus Shite

Recommended Posts

All these Merc's are reminding me of the old 51 reg Vario's that Fleet Buzz used to operate. Remember riding them a few a times, bloody loud and uncomfortable but quite charming at the same time. On a seperate note, living up here in Leicester, all I can hear in my flat are the bloody 06 reg Wright Gemini's with their continual cooling fans. Like having a bastard hoover parked outside the window every 10 mins!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the benefit of shiters who are not familiar with the town of Beverley, the Beverley Bar is the last surviving medieval gateway into the town. Until the 1970s when new roads were built the buses used to go through the bar, hence the specially shaped roofs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Eyersey1234 said:

Until the 1970s when new roads were built the buses used to go through the bar, hence the specially shaped roofs.

With a couple of inches spare on each side of the mirror.

In the proper colours as well. The National Bus Company has a lot to answer for in terms of destroying local identities, liveries and choices in the name of the government..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, busmansholiday said:

With a couple of inches spare on each side of the mirror.

In the proper colours as well. The National Bus Company has a lot to answer for in terms of destroying local identities, liveries and choices in the name of the government..........

It's a shame EY didn't return to the original colours (or a version of) after privatisation in a way but suppose it was easier to keep the Poppy Red. I'm still not sure about the new livery, they look nice when freshly applied but I can see it being hard to match after an accident. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/11/2019 at 8:58 AM, cms206 said:

We had nine Mercs; three Beavers (M354 SDC, N491 FDT and P939 YSB), two Wadham Stringer Wessex 2s (N221 MUS and N779 OGA), two Beaver 2 Vario automatics (SF03 YXP/R), one Marshall C16 (N810 PDS) on an 811D and a Mellor Duet (P478 TGA) on an 811D.

M354 SDC or N810 PDS were my second choice if N221 MUS was off the road, though 810 had no right hand steering lock and a clutch that took two legs to operate - heaviest Merc I've ever driven! 221 was never refurbished by us though it did eventually end up with 354's engine after it gave up but was always quite dry, if a bit foosty inside.

The other Wessex, 779, was a horrible bastard to drive despite having had loads spent on it. It continually cracked windscreens until it was worked out that the destination glass was letting in water and had rotted out the steel windscreen surround to the point it was only held in with the fibreglass.

Never liked the Mellor one, nothing particularly wrong with it as such but I just didn't like driving it. Beaver 491 was a Beaver 2 prototype of sorts, air sprung and fitted with a full Beaver 2 interior. It was my one "not driving that" card, hated every single inch of it. Naturally one of the two times I did actually drive it I got papped in it... Beaver 939 rattled like a bastard.

The Varios were much of a muchness; YXR had the louder gearbox and better retarder so it was generally my preferred one.

The only one of ours with a clutch judder was 354, the rest pulled away quite happily in second. Oddly when 354's engine went into 221 (and subsequently into N205 UHH at another operator!) it never had the judder; we put it down to 354 having a really low idle.

491 papped with me at the helm as promised...

2019-11-10_03-56-51.jpg

Mmmm Beavers. 

We had the odd couple of them in Cornwall during Western Greyhound's reign. Well, I say odd couple, more like 70-odd of them. 

A few off the top of my head: 

500 - S100 PAF. The Jesus bus, just kept getting resurrected. It'd get withdrawn due to being the oldest Vario in the fleet, spend 3 months being raped of parts before they decided they were short of a bus and put it all back together with new(ish) parts and a fresh test. Drove well because of this. Survived at least 3 attempts on its life if I remember correctly. 

522 - V22 WGL. Just an all round good little bus. Was the shorter 27-seater making it easily recognisable in a fleet that standardised on the 33-seat variant. 

530 - S30 ARJ. Had weird gearing. The rest had gearboxes/diffs that were a good compromise between hill-climbing and fast A-roads, this had a wide ratio box and a high speed diff. Made it gutless and 5th virtually useless. Sometime towards the end of my time there 530 was withdrawn and the drivetrain transplanted into another Vario, making it just as shite. 

540 - T400 CBC. The 2nd 540, this machine was originally sent from Anglian Bus after the fire as a loaner. It was an appalling piece of junk that they were more than happy to be shot of. After a fucktonne of work to get it on the road, it promptly shat its gearbox on the way from Tregony to Truro one morning. A replacement was fitted from the spares vehicle that came with it (the only other auto Vario in the fleet), which lasted all of 4 weeks before expiring again. It became a parts donor not long after that. 

560 - WK02 BUS. A proper turd of a machine. Noisy, cold, notchy 3rd/4th gears, drivers seat was fucked, rattled, noisy... Just one of those 'oh for fucks sakes....' vehicles. Very rarely did I ever get off the depot in the morning with it without finding a fault that required attention. See also 561 - WK51 BUS. 

577 - WK04 HSD. The polar opposite of 560. Just one of those machines that was 'right' and rarely went wrong.

599 - YN53 VBO. The silver bullet. Many of the later Varios were DP spec with a boot and DP seats as well as narrow doors and roof carpet. 599 was very plush for a Beaver, even having the fake walnut stickers on the dash and floor carpet. Went well and was very well looked after due to it being the private hire machine until the final 2 years when everything got run into the ground.

Overall though the Vario proved itself a hardy and capable workhorse - nowhere else have I seen buses worked as hard and for as long as WG did with their Varios. Route timings were always tight, the buses were out 18+hrs a day (most Varios got refuelled at least twice a day, with passengers on board) doing 60mph blats to Plymouth, slogs up and down hilly routes over Bodmin moor or Clay Country, mostly fully laden and driven by thrash merchants (which you had to be to keep to time) or stop start around Newquay or Truro. Maintenance could have been better (especially post the 2013 fire), and yet despite it all the Varios would keep soldiering on, even when they were bodily falling apart. More than one had some very 'interesting' rivers of seam sealer applied over the bulkheads to mask the bulkhead cracking that they were all suffering with to some degree, you could tell the worst ones by how much the windscreen moved about whilst on the move. The replacements in the form of Solos and Dart MPDs simply couldn't sustain the pace and regularly went pop in fairly terminal ways, whereas a Vario went wrong far less often and more often than not would at least get you home or somewhere safe before dying. Several times the clutch slave cylinder would fail and I just carried on to the end of the run without the clutch until a replacement bus was available. The breakdown wagon (an old Mercedes 815) got sent out once to a Vario with a blown turbo, I took the replacement bus and came back with the wrecker. Except the wrecker was fairly knackered so as we were on the bar I dropped the Vario into gear and pushed the wrecker up the hill off the Wadebridge viaduct to the racecourse roundabout. 

They even went well through flood water:

Nautical Markings on a Vario!

The water was around 'VI' on the way back from St Ives to Newquay near Gwithian, I wasn't about to give up on the homeward trip!

I do have a lot more photos somewhere, I really need to find them. Now that WGL have been dead and buried for nearly 5 years I think they're fairly safe to publish....

Holey Vario.

I've got it in my head that this was possibly one of the 55x-numbered buses, I was wondering why there was such a draught up my left leg until I found the hole.

I'd like a Vario even now to potter about in, preferably a DP-spec machine with a manual box to convert to a camper. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those Mercedes mini-buses reminded me of a very small company that operated out of Ashton under Lyne, east of Manchester. They ran very small buses and were unusual because they still went around the houses, at a time when they were cutting those kind of routes. This would have been through the mid to late 1990s. Can't recall what they were called. Red, something?

I was also reminded of the older Little Gems, but it seems they were Dodge(Ivecos?)

48609168976_b703c436f4_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Snipes said:

Those Mercedes mini-buses reminded me of a very small company that operated out of Ashton under Lyne, east of Manchester. They ran very small buses and were usual because they still went around the houses, at a time when they were cutting those kind of routes. This would have been through the mid to late 1990s. Can't recall what they were called. Red, something?

I was also reminded of the older Little Gems, but it seems they were Dodge(Ivecos?)

48609168976_b703c436f4_b.jpg

Little Gems were either Northern Counties Dodges as shown, MCW Metroriders or Iveco Dailys; they used all three. I think the Ivecos were all bodied by Robin Hood to their 'City Nippy' design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun* fact: there are Little Gems in Manchester again now as Go Goodwins revived the name and livery, and they even have original headboards from those Dodges sourced from the transport museum. One of them is some weird low-floor VW Transporter thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@83C I always found the Vario a bit of a retrograde step from the 709D but for what WG did they were absolutely a better vehicle; we did a weird mix of intensive urban and ultra rural stuff for a small outfit based in a large town.

Our two Varios were auto 29-seaters that both did 60+ and they took no time at all to get there but they rattled like bastards and unusually both had fixed bandit screens fitted which made them even less appealing; any time I had trouble on a bus it was one of these two, never had an issue even doing late turns with a 709D or a Dart. That and you could hear the square route of bugger all through the sodding things.

SF03 YXP was marginally quicker accelerating but the gearbox was near silent and the retarder used to cut out when you hit the tiniest imperfection on the road (which was a bastard when you forgot there was one raised expansion joint about 100 yards before a roundabout, on a downhill, NSL section of road on the 18, 19 and clockwise 8 like I did every time I had one on the 18, 19 and clockwise 8... ). One of the lassies crashed it through the perimiter fence at Glasgow Airport on an early morning 19 short and it was never the same after that; it was rebuilt using an older O810D, R733 EGD which was a far better bus than the one it was broken to rebuild but it was manual so against the advice of everyone it was put to death.

SF03 YXR's retarder was less fussy and it had a properly tuneful gearbox which at least made it tolerable for a 12 hour shift. It rattled a little more but judicious placement of canvas cashbags and weekly ticket holders usually sorted that out. It drove much better than it's sister and did about 67mph before the limiter woke up.

After those two we bought another two Darts new then an ex demo Cummins Solo before a pair of PS B10M MK.IVs and smattering of ex Metroline Darts. The latter four Darts were the undoing of the company and it went to the wall in summer 2013.

FB_IMG_1573725849519.jpg

FB_IMG_1573725865379.jpg

FB_IMG_1573725847337.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, cms206 said:

@83C I always found the Vario a bit of a retrograde step from the 709D but for what WG did they were absolutely a better vehicle; we did a weird mix of intensive urban and ultra rural stuff for a small outfit based in a large town.

Our two Varios were auto 29-seaters that both did 60+ and they took no time at all to get there but they rattled like bastards and unusually both had fixed bandit screens fitted which made them even less appealing; any time I had trouble on a bus it was one of these two, never had an issue even doing late turns with a 709D or a Dart. That and you could hear the square route of bugger all through the sodding things.

SF03 YXP was marginally quicker accelerating but the gearbox was near silent and the retarder used to cut out when you hit the tiniest imperfection on the road (which was a bastard when you forgot there was one raised expansion joint about 100 yards before a roundabout, on a downhill, NSL section of road on the 18, 19 and clockwise 8 like I did every time I had one on the 18, 19 and clockwise 8... ). One of the lassies crashed it through the perimiter fence at Glasgow Airport on an early morning 19 short and it was never the same after that; it was rebuilt using an older O810D, R733 EGD which was a far better bus than the one it was broken to rebuild but it was manual so against the advice of everyone it was put to death.

SF03 YXR's retarder was less fussy and it had a properly tuneful gearbox which at least made it tolerable for a 12 hour shift. It rattled a little more but judicious placement of canvas cashbags and weekly ticket holders usually sorted that out. It drove much better than it's sister and did about 67mph before the limiter woke up.

After those two we bought another two Darts new then an ex demo Cummins Solo before a pair of PS B10M MK.IVs and smattering of ex Metroline Darts. The latter four Darts were the undoing of the company and it went to the wall in summer 2013.

FB_IMG_1573725849519.jpg

FB_IMG_1573725865379.jpg

FB_IMG_1573725847337.jpg

I didn't know you held a PSV licence CMS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Eyersey1234 said:

I didn't know you held a PSV licence CMS

Passed in January 2008 on a manual Javelin, was depot manager at a coach company until July this year when I fell out with the fella running it over a childcare issue when I left to go onto nights shunting; I don't have a truck licence.

 

Also: never work for your mates. It never ends well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, cms206 said:

Passed in January 2008 on a manual Javelin, was depot manager at a coach company until July this year when I fell out with the fella running it over a childcare issue when I left to go onto nights shunting; I don't have a truck licence.

I passed May 2007 in an automatic Volvo B10M-55. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Eyersey1234 said:

I passed May 2007 in an automatic Volvo B10M-55. 

I put myself through with my last big overtime payment before it was all cut... happier days working in Glasgow Airport, earning more in overtime than I was in wages!

2019-11-14_10-45-30.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cms206 said:

I put myself through with my last big overtime payment before it was all cut... happier days working in Glasgow Airport, earning more in overtime than I was in wages!

2019-11-14_10-45-30.jpg

UVG body. Wightbus on the Isle of Wight had 3. I learned with EYMS. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Eyersey1234 said:

UVG body. Wightbus on the Isle of Wight had 3. I learned with EYMS. 

They did indeed, one of only four UVG Unistar Javelins supplied that year outwith the MOD, P81-3 VDL. The other was P100 LOW which was a demonstrator ISTR.

The one I passed in wasn't a UVG though, it was one of the last Wadham Stringer Vanguard 3s; the Unistar was a light facelift of the Vanguard 3 before they became the horrorsome UVG S320 and later still the SCC Compass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks I hadn't realised it was derived from a Wadham Stringer body. P81 VDL was one of my regular school buses around 2000/1, the others were H840 DDL, J142 JDL both of which were Javelins, the former was Wright bodied the latter Wadham Stringer, or sometimes we had one of the UVG bodied Darts. Southern Vectis had N810-5 PDL which AFAIK were the only 8.5m UVG Urbanstar bodied Darts built

 

Edited to add H840 DDL was so low geared the drivers would often set off in 2nd or 3rd as 1st went to maximum revs as soon as it was rolling. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I went through my PSV we used two Javelins; ex-Skills L31 ORC which was a Javelin GX290 with a big Cummins L10 and N188 RGD which was the one I passed in. In both the instruction was to always pull away in second, EXCEPT during the gear changing excercise (which I believe I was the last test at Bishopbriggs to feature it before it was phased out) or when the examiner stated to "pull away in the lowest available forward gear".

Javelins were happy enough in second anyway. Still one of my all time favourite buses to drive, great things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, cms206 said:

When I went through my PSV we used two Javelins; ex-Skills L31 ORC which was a Javelin GX290 with a big Cummins L10 and N188 RGD which was the one I passed in. In both the instruction was to always pull away in second, EXCEPT during the gear changing excercise (which I believe I was the last test at Bishopbriggs to feature it before it was phased out) or when the examiner stated to "pull away in the lowest available forward gear".

Javelins were happy enough in second anyway. Still one of my all time favourite buses to drive, great things.

J142 JDL and the P_VDLs were a bit higher geared so would happily pull away in 1st. Some of the best I have driven were the Optare Prismas, the aforementioned B10Ms and Gardner engined Leyland Olympians. We standardised on MCV bodied Volvos for the last couple of years of independence before the Go Ahead takeover last year, I drove one of the Evosetis when it was about a fortnight old and couldn't believe how atrocious the build quality was, I thought it was going to fall apart from the amount of rattles and bangs and flex in the bus. Thankfully new management have said there will be no more of them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still want to know what bloody engine that ex demonstrator Spectra I had a shot of...that thing was a bloody rocket.  Especially as hitting resume on the cruise control seemed to result in the various systems calculating the fastest possible way to get back to the set speed...normal gearchange points, rev limits etc totally out the window.

The best fun game was release handbrake, wait for bus to roll just enough the speedo picked itself off the stop, hit resume...watch other drivers react with complete befuddlement as this double decker bus catapulted itself off down the road more rapidly than seems physically possible.  Hit the rev limiter at about 55mph, but God it could accelerate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love these videos. Not just for the nostalgia of the buses, liveries and sounds, but for the shite spotting in between.

 

Oddly, talking of the Spectra, my local bus preservation group just got hold of Dundees old one (R2 NEG), so that's been added to their fleet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, busmansholiday said:

Spectras generally had DAF engines.

That would make sense, they're engines I'm not so familiar with so would tie in with my being unable to ID it by ear...which I'm usually pretty good at.

Well, save for the last couple of years anyway when everything has wound up sounding like exactly the same tumble drier full of ball bearings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/15/2019 at 9:50 PM, busmansholiday said:

Spectras generally had DAF engines.

I thought they all did and the Spectra was the missing link between the Metrobus and DAF's DB250. All recognisable in that the angle drive was between engine and gearbox, not gearbox and driveshaft. Some of the loudest modern buses I've found.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...