The thing is with old buses, its all about the people and memories they hold which is what is so great. Whether it was a trip out with the grandparents to see the Christmas lights, or a summer excursion, going to school or perhaps working on them, memories abound.
So I was delighted when I received an email from a gentlemen whose father, Bernard Allen had driven a staff bus for London Brick Company in Bedfordshire in the 1950s. A recent visit to a transport museum where an RT was on display had made Bernard reminisce about his time driving LBC's fleet number C3. He even dug out a photo to show the family of him proudly standing by his bus, the registration only partly visible was KGK75?. Well some online research by the family showed that the only KGK75? that was owned by LBC was KGK758, the ex LT RT1499 and to their amazement the vehicle survived and was still in use with us as part of our vintage fleet. 'Would it possible to view it' was the question... The answer was 'we can do better than that' and that he must come for a ride in it and sit back in the cab!
So it was that on our Running Day we scheduled 1499 out early so it could pick up Bernard and his family at Lakeside, including his son who had flown in from Australia especially. On finishing its rounder the bus and its special guests returned to the depot where we assisted Bernard back into the cab of his bus for the first time in over 50 years and where we presented him with an RT bonnet plate proudly displaying the number RT1499 for him to put on the wall at home.
So here is Bernard with the bus in the 1950s...
Whilst here is the recreated image 50 years on...
The story was picked up by the Bedfordshire press where Bernard commented : “It was a very emotional day, I thought that the bus had been scrapped years ago but she was running beautifully and she was in original condition, she even had the same engine.
“I never thought I would sit behind the wheel again. I am very grateful to Ensign and the Newman family for such a fantastic experience”.
And we here were delighted to welcome Bernard and his family to our depot to be reunited with the bus, like I said to start with, its all about the people and stories.
So whilst I am mentioning people the image below shows one of our unsung heroes of the works here Jason, who was integral to making sure the 10T10 and indeed many other vehicles made it to the road in time, sitting in one of our latest restoration projects that was being moved last week for work to commence. Whilst Jay is great with buses his choice of head dress is notoriously poor....
And lastly, its that time where I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and promise to be more active in putting up posts in 2014. So what better way to end the blog and start the festive season than with a festive image. For me one of the best shots I have seen taken of one of our buses for a long time. Taken by John King and forwarded to us it shows RTL453 on our running day in Gravesend, Kent, enjoy!