Friday 29 October 2010

October @ Ensign

We'll start off this month with a departure... But in a good sense...

10T10, T499 left us by way of low loader to start her restoration. She is going to be done off site and was swapped with another long term project that was returned to us nearly complete, but more of that in a bit.

T499 was originally based at our nearest garage Grays, and after service as a Green Line coach before the war, she became an Ambulance based at Hendon working throughout the Blitz. After this exciting period she returned to the more mundane country area bus work, spending time at Windsor amongst others.

After withdrawal she was sold via the dealer North's to Australia, where she worked as a school bus for many years. Eventually purchased for conversion to a caravan, that fortunately never happened, she was spotted by an ex pat and recovered from the Western Australian desert and recovered to Perth, from where we repatriated her after a kind donation by the owner, in 2004.

The photo is taken from our main entrance with the low loader behind, like many of the shots on here they are not trying to be great pictures as I am no great photographer but more to give a flavour of what goes on here keeping the old buses on the road, and so are largely taken on my phone as I see something worth adding...

RT 1499 continues to be the main project as the rot is slowly sorted out. Like all these things as you progress you find more and more and where do you stop... This particular shot is taken from under the platform looking up at the conductors storage area, as can be seen the bottom end has rotted away and was no longer held in place but 'floating', so it has all had to come out and be sorted, once and for all...

Looking from the offside rear quarter after a new cross member has gone in gives an idea of the work required. The rear end framework is also being replaced where necessary to ensure all is well under the skin. There is probably a further weeks work left on this and then the axle and gearbox need to go back in. Its tight but possible that she may well return to the road in time for our winter running day in December.

We have also continued to work on finishing touches to RT8. The nearside stencil (by the platform) has gone on, the framework around the conductors area is now completed, as are the treads going up the stairs. We still need to do some minor jobs, such as fitting the front bulkhead advert board, blackout blind and rexine on the emergency exit, but little by little these jobs are getting ticked off. Another job was to improve the hidden indicators that we are obliged to fit. So in the drainage holes we have fitted detachable LED's and inset in the front further lights, that are clear to traffic but not to detracting from the period feel of the vehicle.

.. and finally as I mentioned at the beginning of the blog we have swapped one project for another... This has been under restoration and has been a massive task (despite its size) for a few years now. Its back with us for finishing touches, mechanics and electrics... I am only going to tease you with the interior for now, but it will be a welcome addition to the restored London bus scene when completed, and if you know what it is well done... or is it?

So thats October in a nut shell. If you do have any questions or comments please feel free to add them and if I can I will do my best to answer them.

Cheers for now