Wednesday 2 August 2017

Summer in the city

 It's fair to say its been busy... In fact our busiest year on hires ever. So before the season really kicked off there were some jobs that needed doing on some of the front line fleet. One such job was RML2588 which had the start of some floor rot above the rear axle. The only way to complete the job was to remove the whole frame that holds the axle which as you can see was dropped down in one piece.
 The area thus in need of the work was thus exposed and this slightly unusual view taken from underneath looking into the lower saloon was I thought a little different and thus worth including.

 Of course you cannot work in such congested areas and not once in a while be a victim of driver error. In this case the bus clearly wasn't big and red enough to be seen and the rear end was damaged. Fortunately the framework was not stoved in and its therefore largely superficial, albeit frustrating but by the time you are reading this RML2405 will be back on the road.

 One of the easiest things in the world to do is to get a vehicle 'almost there' and then fail to go back and do the jobs that otherwise will never get done. The pre war Bedford WTB was in risk of going that way but we decided not to allow that to happen and to spend a fortnight doing all those final jobs. The jobs include things like, finishing beadings, painting the interior areas of the sliding roof, repositioning the mirrors, fitting original seat numbers and ash trays back in, a temperature gauge and warning buzzer now fitted, a minor water leak corrected, resetting one front wheel arch that was to low when the bus was fully loaded and correcting one front spring that was less tensioned. So she should be done by the end of this week and has her first wedding booking later this month.

 Another job tackled and completed was the side framing around the emergency exit of the ex East Kent Royal Tiger. As can be seen it was rotten in places and on safety inspection it was pulled from further use as the exit was sticking due to the framing being warped. Of course no point in having buses around that cannot be booked in, so we had to come off the St Helens RT to reframe the offside rear. At this early stage the scale of works is obvious and the bracing pillar wholly necessary. This work though is now all complete and the Royal Tiger is again fit and cleared for service.

 Engines... we've had our fair shares of issues over the past few years but with the addition of a new member of the team we are working hard to get all the long term VOR's back on the road. As a recap they are... The Cub, DUF179, RTW335 and the Jersey TD. The TD engine has been away now for six months and should be back fully reconditioned within the next month, DUFs engine and various other units are all being examined to see what can be reused from what we have found and then a decision made, whilst the RTW should be more straightforward...
 And that leaves the Cub... Well this is the engine back and then being built up. I am pleased to confirm that the engine is now in and running well and the vehicle has moved around under its own power. We are awaiting a heat sensor and gauge to discreetly fit and then mechanically she can come off the above list. Sadly however it suffered some front accident damage here, which will delay its final return to the road...
 With all of the above going on progress on BDJ is perhaps slower than otherwise it would have been, but still we progress. Ive added a few images here taken over the past couple of months to show the progress. As can be seen here, the framing was in a poor state both sides and...
 ...the rear, which is probably the worst area of all..

 The lower side reframing was completed in June and the cab area also tackled.

 The offside lower was also tackled...

 And the front was next. As can be seen the canopy was completely rotten, steel and wood all rusted and rotten
 However by this week that area was completed and secured and she is starting to look like an RT again.
 The upper deck framing is now completed on both sides which means just the rear to do...

 ...And as already mentioned the rear is in poor shape but is the last part we need to do complete the framing and reach a landmark point in the restoration. Hopefully and all things being equal this will be done in August, if we can get a clear run from other issues and all the joys that accompany running old buses!

 But of course, there is the positive side and its not all rot and rust!! We are lucky enough to own, safeguard, run and operate what are global icons of our proud city. One of our regular clients hire vehicles to use in and around town to help teach photographers how to take specific shots, often night, or at speed or indeed like they are period images. All way above my photography skills of pointing my phone at something! A great demonstration of their skills is this wonderful image of RTL453 taken by Peter Zabek and kindly shared with us, is there a better or more iconic view, not that I can think of...

Enjoy the summer

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