Welcome back... The August Bank holiday Saturday was the first of our planned summer running days, on a new route, the X81, which ran up to Shenfield and Brentwood. The day dawned under blue skies as this early morning picture shows, where myself and a few others got the vehicles prepared for their day on the road. The summer runnning day allowed us the opportunity to operate open tops, and on our 'feeder' route the X55, some single decks, however it became clear at the end of the day that this route does now require more double decks such were the loads, particulalry in the afternoon, so that is something we will look into for next time.
One of the benefits of running open tops is that they offer a great photo opportunity when run as a duplicate. 333 that was featured last month 'duped' RT8 for a lot of the day so not only did it allow for some great photos but a ride over the bridge on an open top is always fun. Its amazing how that extra 14ft of height seems to make such a difference... or perhaps its just the clarity of view that makes it such an interesting ride, as can be seen from this shot kindly sent in by Alan Moore.
Whilst September is traditionally the end of the peak season for the commercial work for the vintage vehicles, they continue to have bookings which means we have to keep them on our maintenence schedule but we do have more time to catch up on some of the 'niggles'. This month has really been the tale of two Cravens mechanically...
On our running day RT1431, did perform 100% and had a few niggles that needed to be sorted. First off was an intermittent starter motor fault when the bus was warm, this was rectified by removal and replacement, with the defective unit been sent away for reconditioning. The bus had been running in our opinion to hot on the day, so the radiator was removed, drained and flushed before being refitted and to top it off a first gear issue meant that after further examination the gear box needed to be changed. In order to get it out on the 77A running day later that week, the gearbox from the other Craven (1499) that is in for body rot was removed and fitted to 1431, with its gearbox going away for reconditioning and on return going on to 1499.
Talking of 1499 and its problems, the main area of rot is around the rear mudguards, platform and lower deck floor, which has resulted in us having to drop the rear axle out to be able to get to the area of concern. On the positive side the affected area was not as bad as we had feared and progress has been slow due to our restoration guru being off sick for a fortnight.
We have also continued to iron out mechanical issues on RT8, which are to be expected after such a long absence from operating. On the Colindale running day, she suffered a break down from a fractured injector pipe, which was the result of the spacers that stop the vibrations and chaffing of the pipes not being there as they were a later modification. We now know why that mod was done... and it has now been carried out on RT8. She also had a water pump leak which meant the pump had to come off and be sent away... It eventually arrived back, was fitted and tested and thus allowed the bus to be part of the Aldwych Underground Blitz exhibition which was run by the London Transport Museum for four days and was a most excellent event.
We also had a rear hub seal leak on RT8, which resulted in us doing one of our conversions to a slightly later but far more efficient system. We thought we had done this previously, but somehow the rear nearside escaped but this has now been completed.
Another shot taken from our office windows, shows one of the vintage alongside its far more modern offspring. In this case its our PD KTJ204C that is being prepared for its annual class 6 MOT.
And finally a couple of shots kindly sent in by Peter Zabek which in many ways visually demonstrates the whole point and reason we keep these on the road! The first shows RT1431 working in central London on the 77A route/running day that took place a couple of weekends back. The other shows RT8 when she joined up with the LT Museums, LT165 outside St. Pauls to recreate a wartime (albeit without the blackout!) series of shots.
That pretty much covers most of September's bit and pieces...