Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A Special Garden Party

We were invited to a very special garden party this weekend, to celebrate the 80th Birthday of Sir William McAlpine. Here's the 'garden'...

The party was the unique Fawley Hill Steam & Vintage Weekend, laid on by the McAlpines as an opportunity for charities like ours to showcase what they do to the public, to fundraise and recruit new support.

Our stand and display had a strong Thames Valley flavour, appropriate for the area, with five 'Valley vehicles joined by our Great Western Guy FBB and friends from neighbouring fleets. Tilling Stevens 152 (MO 9324) arrived under its own power, along with our Bristol K6A 446 (DBL 154), Graham Tyler's LL6B 556 (FMO 938), Peter Pribik's KSW6B 748 (JRX 823) and FLF6G D40 (GRX 140D).

Besides our buses, attractions included camel racing, a ride on Sir William's full sized garden steam railway, parachutists, stunt aviation, a railway museum and a full fairground. Here's our stand as viewed from the helter skelter!

There was great interest in the vehicles and our forthcoming events, particularly Didcot Railway Centre Transport Rally, now less than a fortnight away on 5 June. If you came to see us for the first time, we hope you'll consider returning your form to become a Supporter of the Trust to continue the good work you inspected at the weekend.

As always, many thanks to the volunteers who helped to assemble the display, crew our stand and answer questions from visitors. And, of course, our thanks to Sir William and Lady Judy for welcoming us to the event.

Penzance: Painting By Numbers

If you came along to our 2016 Penzance Running Day, jointly organised with our pals at Cornwall Bus Preservation Society, you'll know what all the fuss is about. 

The glorious scenery of West Cornwall, together with guaranteed sunshine, makes for an excellent day out in itself. Add to that 30 vintage buses, many of them native, and this is the kind of magic our visitors enjoy.

Passenger numbers were up 20% on the previous year, at 5,836 journeys. The most popular destinations were St. Ives (visited by 1,609 passengers on three different routes), followed by St Just (903 passengers) and Land's End (640 passengers).

For the first time, we had 10 Bristol VR double decekers in service, the type whose retirement from service was celebrated by the inaugural Penzance event in 2006. a decade later, they were out in force, and Western National blue/cream/red-liveried 1230 carried more passengers than any other bus on the day (400).

The two native Bristol SUS single deckers, 600 and 603, proved to be the most popular vehicles by percentage utilisation (running 91% and 85% full respectively).

Despite a mechanical problem with one bus (a Bristol LH) and two buses which were unfortunately unable to attend on the day, all our timetabled services ran as planned.

Our thanks go to everybody who helped to make the day such a success for all the passengers and onlookers.

Save the day for next year: Sunday 16 April.