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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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THE SELNEC BRISTOL VRT'S AND THE PRESERVATION OF 408 (AJA 408L)

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Manchester and the other 10 Companies that were brought together to form SELNEC on 1st November 1969 did not operate any Bristol double-deck buses whatsoever. In fact the only Bristols that were inherited and operated were six single-deck Bristol RESL6G's from SHMD 5073-5078. Later on, because of the acquisition of North Western on 1st January 1972, these six Bristol single deck vehicles were added to, with an additional 61, taking the total to 67 - 270-275/277-301/315-344 all Bristol RESL6G's.

SELNEC themselves ordered three Bristol LHS6L coaches 92-93/98, and a Bristol LH6L coach (LLG 340G) was acquired from Godfrey Abbott.

The absorption of Wigan in 1974 meant that six Bristol single-deck LH2's, 1320-1325 joined the Fleet and one of these has been acquired by a member of The SELNEC Preservation Society, being 1321, BNE 764N. However, although ordered by Wigan, these six LH2's were actually delivered to Greater Manchester Transport after the absorption of Wigan on 1st April 1974.

In April 1981, the full absorption of the LUT Fleet into GMT following initial acquisition on 1st January 1976, brought the following additional single-deck Bristols into the GMT Fleet, being 245-264/294-313/414-423, 50 RESL6G vehicles. In addition, there were 20 LH2 single-deck buses, 318-327. Consequently, Bristol was a rare make of vehicle to be seen in the SELNEC/GMT Fleet as preference by Manchester and most of the other organisations, particularly in terms of the double-deck vehicles, had been Leylands and Daimlers.

Stockport had ordered ten East Lancs bodied Bristol VRT double deck vehicles (5898-5907) one of which had been completed before they were destroyed by fire in April 1970. However, at the time of the absorption of North Western into the SELNEC Fleet in January 1972, on order were 25 Eastern Coachwork bodied Bristol VRT's, being an order placed by North Western, which could not be cancelled by SELNEC, and thus the vehicles arrived, the only Bristol VRT's (and the only double deck Bristol vehicles) to be in the SELNEC Fleet.

They arrived in sunglow orange/mancunian white with orange moquette on the lower deck and orange hide on the upper deck, with Manchester style destination lay-outs. Original numbers were 400- 424 (AJA 400-424L), being later re-numbered 1400-1424.

SELNEC ran in three Divisions -Central, Northern and Southern, with appropriate flashes of blue, red and green, and all experimental/pool vehicles ran with orange SELNEC flashes. North Western became a special Division of SELNEC, being SELNEC Cheshire, and ran with brown flashes, and although ex-North Western re-painted vehicles had the SELNEC Cheshire name applied, 400-424 were the only vehicles delivered new in the SELNEC Cheshire livery.

When these vehicles came out of service in 1985, GMT were operating a vehicle smashing policy and only two vehicles were sold, 418 and 421 before this policy of destroying vehicles (so that they could not be used by the competition) was adopted, rather than selling them on for further use.

The remaining 23 were destined for destruction this way, although this occurred to 22 of them, as 408 was set aside in Altrincham Depot for possible preservation and by the time it became available for disposal, the smashing-up policy had ended. The preservation did not go through and the PTE sold it to Kirkby Central, with hundreds of other surplus vehicles, at de-regulation.

Consequently, it was purchased by Willis's of Bodmin on 30th May 1988, who ran it in their pleasant light blue livery for over ten years. Therefore, out of the 25 vehicles, only three saw further service, and early in 1998, 418 and 421 were scrapped by Silcox, leaving 408 as the only remaining example of this type of bus. Willis's ran the bus on School Service for the last 10 years, and looked after it extremely well, always having a Conductor on board. They regularly maintained it and replaced parts, as and when required.

We had planned to visit the vehicle during 1998 as part of our programme of keeping in touch with the owners of buses that we hope to acquire for preservation. We did a tour of all other projects between 23rd and 25th May 1998 and planned to visit 408 over the weekend of 24th-25th October 1998. However, whilst confirming these plans, Mr & Mrs Willis explained that they were retiring at the end of the year, and as a result, 408 was to be sold, and because we wished to preserve it, we were given first refusal of purchasing it.

The first time we looked at the bus and made contact with Mr & Mrs Willis was in October 1992, and we visited on a second occasion in 1996. Consequently, during our third visit we travelled to Bodmin on the Saturday, 24th October 1998, staying overnight, and visited the bus on Sunday, 25th October 1998, we made arrangements for the purchase of 408. We finally travelled down to Bodmin again on Tuesday afternoon, 29th December 1998, stayed overnight, then brought back 408, 350 miles to Leigh on Sunday, 30th December 1998, thus making it, at the time, our 22nd vehicle in preservation.

408

BATCH:

400 - 424

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(AJA 408L)

BODY:

Eastern Coachworks H43/32F

 

CHASSIS:

Bristol VRT/SL2/6LX

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

1st May, 1973

 

PURCHASED:

1st January, 1999

 

DETAILS:

The only remaining Bristol VRT from the SELNEC Fleet, ordered by North Western and delivered to SELNEC Cheshire.

The only remaining Bristol VR delivered to the SELNEC PTE is 408, being one of the original order placed by North Western but delivered to SELNEC Cheshire in 1973, as the remaining 24 vehicles from the batch (400-424) have been scrapped.

We collected the vehicle on Wednesday 30th December 1998 from Willis's of Bodmin who were running it in their pleasant two-tone blue livery and we secured official ownership on 1st January 1999.

The bus was originally stored in our Wigan facility, being moved in-doors to Leigh during 1999, and it has been designated as the major restoration project for 2001.

When we returned from the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park on 3rd September 2000, we decided to bring 408 to the front of the premises in Leigh in order to position it ready for work to commence. Bearing in mind that we had four vehicles out of Leigh at the time, this was an ideal opportunity to undertake this mini move around.

On the day, we attended the rally in 7232, EX1, 8001, 1451 and 8765, and when these vehicles returned to Leigh, before they were parked up 7185 and 1066 were taken out to allow more room, and 5001 was moved back. 408 was driven out from its position in the middle of the depot and 1451 parked in its position. 7185 and 1066 were then put back in position, along with 5001, and the remainder of the vehicles that returned from the rally were parked up (i.e. 7232, EX1 and 8001) with 8765 returning to Wigan.

408 was now in place in the working bay at the front of the depot in Leigh, and initial work commenced on it on our working day on 15th October 2000. As is usual, the first task was to undertake a full inspection of the vehicle and to list all aspects to be repaired, renovated or replaced. 

A full analysis took place of the spare parts that would need to be secured that were unique to the Bristol VR design, that we did not have in stock or could not be replicated, and armed with this list we made arrangements to visit a scrapyard that specialises in Bristol VR's, being Ben Jordan's yard in Coltishall, Norfolk.

As a consequence of our need to secure parts from this yard, a trip was organised for seven members of the Society who all travelled by train or by car to Coltishall, on Saturday 25th November 2000. All stayed overnight at a local Guest House, with an early start on Sunday morning, 26th November 2000, to visit the scrapyard which had an enormous array of hundreds of vehicles, most of which were Bristol VR's of one design or another.

The first task was to identify which vehicles contained parts that would be of use, which took some time bearing in mind the size of the site and the number of vehicles present, but having organised ourselves into groups to identify the parts in question we then undertook the exercise of securing all the parts we needed. We did not come away with everything we wanted, but we secured the majority of the parts we had identified that were unique to the Bristol VR's and which we needed to assist in the rectification of 408.

Unfortunately, as only 25 of these vehicles were delivered to SELNEC/GMT, there are certain internal aspects missing which we were never going to secure from Ben Jordan's yard, as they are unique in terms of colour or design to SELNEC/GMT vehicles and these will have to be specially made or replicated in the future.

Many years ago when we embarked upon securing a number of ex-SELNEC/GMT Standard Atlanteans and Fleetlines bodied by Northern Counties and Park Royal, records were available and transfers were still readily accessible, and we identified exactly what the transfers were that were applied to these vehicles, and where, and secured a quantity.

Obviously our Preservation activities have diversified over the years, in that we have secured a considerable number of different types of vehicles and it occurred to us that we did not necessarily have all the information we needed as to the application of transfers on the Bristol VR's, Metrobuses or other newer types of vehicles we have secured. We are therefore embarking upon research to establish precisely the transfer locations on all the vehicles we have when they were new, and securing supplies. Most urgently, of course, this activity has been undertaken with 408. We have been analysing a considerable number of original photographs taken of these vehicles when running for SELNEC in 1973, with a view to identifying the transfers in question, resourcing them from our suppliers if they are the same ones used on Standards or having them manufactured if necessary, where they are unique to the SELNEC Bristol VR's.

As a result of our research into the original specification of the application of transfers to these Bristol VR's, we have identified that when they were withdrawn in 1985/86 certain of them appeared never to have been painted in the white/orange/brown livery.

We have clarified that 403, 404, 415, 416, 417 and 418 remained in GMT orange/white throughout their operating life and did not receive the white/orange/brown livery. We also identified that all the others did receive the white/orange/brown livery except for two, which remain as mysteries, those being 414 and 421. Hence, we are not certain whether 414 and 421 finished their operating career with GMT in orange/white or white/orange or brown. If any members have photographic evidence that they were painted in white/orange/brown then we would welcome being advised. Our telephone number, address and e-mail contact are given at the end of this newsletter. It may also be the case that they did not receive the white/orange/brown livery, in which case we would welcome photographic evidence of them being sold at the end of their operating career for GMT in orange/white.

Stage 1 of the work on 408 was to begin to remove all the seat frames so that the internal of the vehicle could be exposed for full renovation and rectification.

We had previously rectified a series of ex-SELNEC/GMT Standards and found the seats on these vehicles came out relatively easily but we faced a particular difficulty with the Bristol, as the seat construction was somewhat different, making their removal after 27 years in place somewhat difficult. Consequently, although this task commenced on 15th October 2000 it continued over subsequent working days, on 12th November 2000 and 17th December 2000, with the final seats being removed on the working day of Sunday 13th January 2001. These will now be sanded down and red-oxided and work will commence on cleaning all the melamine inside the vehicle, sanding down all the surfaces and undertaking the necessary replacement of parts and and they have now almost all been repainted in grey.

We have managed to secure a source of orange vinyl and consequently all the upper deck seat backs and cushions were sent away to Gordon Morris at GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers on 27th May 2001 to be recovered with replacement material.

It is also the case that six of the upper deck seat backs have been changed from the wood-grain effect to white, and we have had to secure replacement wood-grain formica, which we did from Plastic & Veneers in Liverpool. However, on the Bristol VR the wood-grain on the seat backs runs vertically as opposed to horizontally on the Standards, and we have had to have the formica for the six seat backs cut specially to depict the vertical wood-grain design. These are to be fitted by Gordon Morris at GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers as part of the re-trimming exercise of all the upper deck seat backs and cushions into orange PVC.

As for the lower deck, we spoke to Holdsworths to have a supply of SELNEC/GMT orange moquette produced. Previously Holdsworths had produced the earlier and rarer orange moquette used on EX1. In other restorations, thus far we have managed to secure the appropriate later orange moquette from spares and seat swaps, and this is how we managed to kit out the lower deck orange moquette on 7206, 7185 and 8001.

However, the seat cushions and backs on 408 are of a different size to the spares that we have and we were also conscious that, in 2002 when we work on 5001, the whole of that bus will have to be remoquetted in GMT orange moquette to reverse the London conversion. Hence, we have arranged for 70m of the later orange SELNEC/GMT moquette to be produced by Holdsworths, in order this year to have a sufficient supply to re-cover all the seat cushions and backs on the lower deck of 408 and next year to have sufficient available for the entirety of 5001.

The actual moquette was not manufactured until July 2001, when it was sent to GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers in Hindley, along with the lower deck seat cushions and backs in order for the lower deck to be re-covered and re-trimmed with orange PVC edging.

Whilst the seats are out of 408 it has allowed access to the interior of the vehicle and we are cleaning all the white, brown and black melamine and repainting all grey and aluminium surfaces. The cab area has been cleaned, rectified and repainted, and a new driver's seat fitted. An original fire extinguisher has been acquired and refitted below the nearside windscreen and the painstaking cleaning of all the interior white rubber and aluminium on the windows progresses.

We have secured new windscreen wipers and wing mirrors to match the originals as fitted to the vehicle in 1973, and also have tracked down a supply of the original cream window rubbers. We have also fitted out, cleaned and painted the inside of the blind box and thus far have managed to fit the route numbers and the destination display. We have also sourced an appropriate 'via' blind and mechanism to finalise the destination area.

Unfortunately, over the years 408 has been in operation, the deck tread has perished in a number of areas and has hardened and cracked, and we have resourced a supplier of new 'treadmaster' deck tread in order to resolve this problem.

Previously we have undertaken rectification work on Park Royal and Northern Counties bodied Standard vehicles and have become quite familiar with the way these vehicles are put together and how to dismantle, renovate and rectify them. We have, however, found the Eastern Coach Works body on 408 to be something of a departure from our usual experience, and has presented us with a number of unexpected difficulties, especially the way the bus has been put together.

In the cab area we have replaced the control panel with an original unit, with a flick-switch for the ignition and push button start, removing the key that had been fitted at some time in its previous history.

The design of the litter bins on board the vehicle seem to be unique to SELNEC and consequently we could not resource one of these from scrap Bristol VRs arising out of our trip Ben Jordon's scrapyard in Coltishall on 25th November 2000. The damaged litter bin was taken away and fibreglassed, repaired and refitted as an alternative, in the absence of a replacement.

A full external examination of the bus took place and we marked with red x's those aluminium panels that will need to be replaced, thereby concentrating our efforts in terms of filling and sanding the remaining panels and fibreglass aspects that are not sufficiently dented or damaged to require replacement.

One of the largest areas of degradation, however, is the deck tread which is coming away from the vehicle, particularly on the upper-deck, and we have therefore decided to remove all of this from the upper-deck where it goes beneath the nearside and offside seat racks and around the front of the staircase area, just retaining the centre walkway. As for the lower-deck, we are to keep the deck tread in place and have renovated the small areas of degradation by filling with wood filler and sanding it down.

We took the vehicle (on trade plates) to Whittaker's of Penwortham, on the morning of Friday 3rd August 2001 from our premises at Robertshaw Street in Leigh. The vehicle moved quite apace, some 55 mph, although we were unable to identify precisely the speed as the speedometer does not work, constantly showing a reading of 80 mph!

Unfortunately, as we came off the M65 motorway a clunking, expensive sounding noise came from the back of the vehicle and thereafter it made a rather wounded sound whilst it travelled the last few miles from the motorway exit to Penwortham. Whilst the vehicle has been with Whittaker's it has had a full service and electronics check, has had the two inner rear tyres and the speedometer replaced and work undertaken on the fibreglass bonnet flap at the back, which was damaged. Even at this stage we have only managed to repair one of the bonnet stays, the other one is in need of replacement, which will have to be resourced from a scrap Bristol VR in due course.

Also whilst at Whittaker's, the source of the problem on its way there had been traced, being a transmission issue of an external bearing on the differential, which has been replaced.

The vehicle was taken for its MOT but initially failed, due to difficulties with the rear brakes, not the brake shoes themselves but the lack of application pressure, and after a full rectification of the brake system this problem was resolved and it was taken back to the MOT Station but failed again due to the front brakes this time, and one of the headlamps. These issues were then addressed and it passed its MOT on the third attempt on 29th August 2001.

One or two electrical problems with the indicator lights and the rear stop lights were also resolved whilst the vehicle was at Whittaker's, and it was returned to our storage premises in Leigh on Tuesday 4th September 2001.

This work that we have carried out on the vehicle has involved us removing virtually all the original deck tread from the upper deck floor, continued with the cleaning of the melamine and windows inside and painting all appropriate surfaces in aluminium, blue, black, white, as the case may be.  All the seat frames have been sanded down, redoxided and painted grey and progress is being made at GLG Coachtrimmers, in that they are now a good two thirds of the way through recovering the seat cushions and backs of the upper deck in all over orange P.V.C. and the seat cushions and backs of the lower deck in original SELNEC/G.M.T. production orange moquette with orange P.V.C. trim.

We also organised for GLG Coachtrimmers to put new brown wood grain vertical pattern melamine on the back of six upper deck seats that were lost during its operating life and we have now refitted the six match strikers to these so the bus has got a full set of matching seat backs for when we refit all the seats to the vehicle once it has been returned to us. 

We did develop a slight difficulty with the semi automatic gear changing unit in the cab, in that it developed an electrical problem but this has been resolved.  We have fitted brand new front sidelights/indicator units to the vehicle and side indicator units and we are at present urgently trying to source new or replacement offside and nearside engine pods and a new one piece bonnet.   In the meanwhile, the vehicle was taken to Preston Bus on Friday 10th November 2001 for them to undertake a number of aspects with it.

Firstly, they are to put the new Treadmaster Deck Tread down on the upper deck following our removal of most of the old flooring.  Secondly, they are to undertake on our behalf the replacement of some white melamine on the upper deck ceiling and black melamine on the lower deck nearside and offside and some brown melamine in the staircase area. 

A third aspect Preston Bus is to undertake is to renovate and replace a whole series of dented panels on the offside/nearside and rear of the vehicle and finally they are to steam clean and spray, in protective silver anti-corrosive paint, the chassis, engine and drive units.  The vehicle is currently still with Preston Bus but we have asked them to slot this work into their quiet periods to keep the costings and this renovation work within our limited resources. 

As the year started this vehicle was still with Preston Bus and it was collected on Sunday 3rd March 2002.  On this date it was returned to Whittakers Coach Travel for some further attention.  Preston Bus in all have replaced a considerable number of exterior aluminium panels on the vehicle that were dented or creased and have re-fabricated the area just rear of the driver’s cab where the original windscreen washer filling recess and hatch had been panelled over.  On the inside of the vehicle they have replaced the majority of the decktread on the floor of the upper deck and undertaken some replacement of white, black and woodgrain brown melamine.  Also the vehicle has had its engine and chassis steam cleaned and spray painted in silver protective anti-corrosive paint.   

In fact the move of 408 across Preston from Preston Bus to Whittakers Coach Travel came at the end of a particularly busy day as reported elsewhere in the pages of this newsletter, in that earlier that day,  Sunday 3rd March 2002, we had collected new preservation projects 5320 (D320 LNB) Greater Manchester’s last original Metrobus and 7077 (WBN 955L) the ex-First Manchester Open Topper.  

Whilst 408 was at its second spell with Whittakers Coach Travel it had some remedial work carried out on it in terms of a few electrical problems that had developed and a replacement semi-automatic electro-pneumatic gear lever was also fitted.  In addition, Jason Hartley, one of our members and self employed bodybuilder, fitted two brand new rear engine covers to 408 which had been made for us from moulds through our contact with Johnson Brothers of Worksop.

On Wednesday evening, 13th March 2002, 408 was collected from Whittakers Coach Travel and returned to our working premises in Leigh, having been away since 10th November 2001.  In fact, on that evening, this was combined with us taking 5001 (GBU 1V) from our premises in Leigh to Whittakers Coach Travel, returning in 408.  Once back at Leigh, work has progressed on scheduled working days and additional working days with certain members visiting on evenings in the week in order to progress matters with the restoration of this vehicle.  In particular, all the inside surfaces have now been painted in the appropriate colours, be this black, white, silver, grey or blue and all the new and existing decktread has been painted in protective brown floor paint.  All the seat frames which had been sanded down, red-oxided and repainted grey have been fitted to the bus and all the new re-moquetted and re-trimmed seat backs and cushions have been fitted into the lower and upper decks. 

We had to have a via blind frame specially made for the vehicle by a company called Indicators International Limited in Northern Ireland, as this is shallower on the Bristol than on Standard Atlanteans and Fleetlines.  We then fitted to the bus destination and via blinds obtained over the years from our collection and had brand new number blinds made especially for it by McKenna Brothers and these have been fitted to the front, side and rear.  We had obtained two replacement roof vents to replace the damaged ones on the vehicle from our visit to Ben Jordans Scrapyard in Coltishall on 26th November 2000 and these have been fitted by Preston Bus to the nearside roof of the vehicle after they had replaced some dented roof panels.  

Virtually all the interior of the vehicle is now finished, there are just a few snags and odd bits and pieces to put right, such as a staircase mirror, sun blind, new tax disc holder and other such small fixtures and fittings.

We then moved on to the exterior of vehicle to fill and sand down just a few bits and pieces that need attention before sanding down all its blue paintwork ready for repaint.  Because of the number of new panels on the vehicle the sanding down exercise was not as extensive as would normally be the case.  After a year of trying to resource replacement cream rubber a supply was obtained through Di Witta of The Bristol VR Society and this was fitted to 408 by Auto Windscreens between Monday 13th and Wednesday 15th May 2002.  The areas of replacement were the windscreen, air doors, front, side and rear route numbers, destination and via boxes along with the licence plate area,  and the lower rear offside emergency exit door glass.  They also fitted a replacement hopper in the nearside lower deck of the vehicle and the fire exit cover glass below the front nearside windscreen.

The plan is to have the vehicle repainted by the end of July 2002 so that original transfers can then be applied and for it to be ready for attendance at the Trans-Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park on 1st September 2002.  

Since 15th May 2002 work became quite intense on the vehicle on scheduled working days, extra working days and on other occasions.  Principally, this has concentrated on sanding down the paintwork which has proved arduous bearing in mind the various coats of paint it has had on it over the years, concluding with its blue Willis’ livery.  This is principally what our activities involved on Sunday 19th May 2002 and Sunday 26th May 2002. 

Also, when we looked at the replacement cream rubber that had been put in the vehicle by Auto Windscreens, on the windscreens, air doors, all route and destination boxes, rear emergency exit glass, and one of the side windows, it was apparent that this showed up the age and degradation of the remaining lower deck cream rubber windows in that there was a clear contrast.  Consequently, we decided to embark upon having another supply of cream rubber made so that the entirety of the remainder of the lower deck windows could be upgraded so that the whole of the lower deck of the vehicle was then fitted with new cream rubber which would look consistent throughout and the only old original cream rubber would be on the upper deck which being some ten feet in the air was not quite so obvious and was not sitting side by side to new rubber as had previously been the case.  Consequently, Auto Windscreens revisited our premises in Leigh on 6th June 2002 to fit new cream rubber to the remainder of the lower deck windows on the bus.  

On the following Sunday, 9th June 2002, we continued with the sanding down work and we finally resourced a replacement Series 2 Bristol VR bonnet which was collected by one of our members, Lawrence Mahoney, from the West Midlands Bus Preservation Society, who kindly let us have one of their few spares in order  to assist with the rectification of 408.  On Sunday 23rd June 2002 this bonnet was fitted after it had seen some rectification and repair work undertaken by Jason Hartley, one of our members and self employed bodybuilder, and at the end of this day 408 was driven into Bolton and through First Manchester’s bus wash to remove all the loose dust from sanding down.  Unfortunately one of the new wiper arms broke, but luckily this was on the nearside.

Thereafter the bus was taken up to Preston Bus where it was to be repainted in their paintshop by Ambrose Fox of the Ribble Bus Preservation Group.  Unfortunately, however, the following day on Monday 24th June 2002 we were advised by Preston Bus that due to the change of their insurers and new health and safety policies it was not possible for anyone to work on their premises who was not an employee.  Consequently, Ambrose Fox could not therefore carry out, as he had done over many years previously, repainting work on our vehicle or, for that matter, any other vehicles on those premises.  Conscious that we had to have the vehicle fully restored by 1st September 2002 a series of frantic phone calls were made and very kindly, through Bill Ashcroft, Fishwicks, a small local bus company in the Leyland area who are keen themselves in preservation, came to our rescue and granted permission to use their small satellite garage in Hewitt Street, Leyland, in order for Ambrose Fox to paint the vehicle.  Unfortunately, however, the premises did not have scaffolding large enough for a double deck repaint and so further telephone calls were made and we managed to contact Speedy Hire with a view to them hiring out scaffolding to us for the eight to nine week period necessary to paint 408 at Fishwicks Garage followed immediately by 5001.  408 was therefore moved on the evening of Thursday 4th July 2002 from Preston Bus to Fishwicks and on Monday 8th July 2002 the scaffolding was delivered and Ambrose Fox commenced with preparing the bus for repaint. 

Fishwicks have had a number of their vehicles preserved by private preservationists, Mark Hayes and Bill Ashcroft, as follows:-

3 – Leyland Titan (TMX 535R) (Ex BCK 706R)  5 – Leyland PD2/40/Weymann (528 CTF)
7 – Leyland Olympian LW1/Weymann (521 CTF) 12 – Leyland Tiger Cub/Fowler (VTD 441H)
18 – Leyland Atlantean AN69/East Lancs (XTB 728N) 24 – Leyland National (XCW 955R)
19 – Leyland Atlantean AN69/East Lancs (XTB 729N)

Whilst 408 was away we carried on working on other projects for attendance at Heaton Park as reported elsewhere in this newsletter with us collecting the vehicle fully and totally repainted on the evening on Tuesday 6th August 2002.  On this occasion we actually delivered 5001 to Ambrose Fox at Fishwicks to commence its repaint and we took 408 the short distance from Leyland to Penwortham to Richard Whittaker at Whittakers Coach Travel so that it could have a few bits of outstanding work carried out on it and for it to be re-MOT’d.  Rectification had taken so long that the previous MOT was due to run out in late August 2002 before the Heaton Park event on 1st September 2002. 

Whilst the vehicle was at Whittakers a replacement windscreen wiper was fitted and problems with the nearside fog light were sorted out.  A number of others items were attended to and on Friday 9th August 2002 408 passed its MOT.  It was returned to our premises in Leigh on Sunday 11th August 2002 where final preparatory work was carried out on the vehicle just going round touching up here and there on the outside and snagging odd bits and pieces on the inside.  

Although Ambrose Fox had applied where possible original 1973 transfers to the outside and inside of the vehicle where we did not have certain unique wording or the transfers were too brittle to be used, we undertook on this Sunday 11th August 2002 and the following Sunday 18th August 2002 to complete the original appearance of the vehicle by applying vinyls we had specially made from specifications we had researched.  The working day on 18th August 2002 came about due to the fact that the intended rally on that day from Southport to Blackpool had been cancelled due to difficulties with its intended rendezvous point as detailed in other sections of this newsletter.  Also on 18th August 2002 the replacement correct designation windscreen was fitted to the offside of 408, being one that has the heater element in place and last minute checking activities took place to ensure it would be ready for 1st September 2002.

RECTIFICATION COSTS – 408 (AJA 408L) (2001-2002)

1 Batteries 2 x 12 volt £90.00
2 Woodgrain laminate - 6 seat backs £115.00
                              - Staircase £115.00
3 Wing mirrors £48.13
4 Windscreen wipers £41.80
5 Floor covering £411.54
6 Repair to bonnet/fiberglass at rear £293.00
7 Upper deck vinyl £252.67
8 Lower deck moquette £548.35
9 New blinds x 9 £204.35
10 Re-covering of seats £816.00
11 Repair work/MOT/differential bearings/brakes £2,343.45
12 White rubber £336.70
13 Auto windscreens £293.75
14 Preston Bus – panels/flooring/chassis £1,841.16
15 Replacement drivers windscreen £50.00
16 Via blind frame £186.51
17 New front/side light units £127.15
18 New licence disc holder £24.66
19 New rear corner panels £399.50
20 Further work on rear corner panels £210.00
21 All paint £168.91
22 Extra white rubber £335.00
23 Fitting of extra white rubber £235.00
24 Replacement bonnet £100.00
25 Work on bonnet and fitting £108.10
26 Scaffolding for Fishwicks £237.57
27 Fishwicks Rental £50.00
28 Whittakers £470.00
29 Whittakers £82.00
30 Re-paint £750.00
  TOTAL £11,286.27

408 has subsequently attended a number of events, being a rare PTE-specification Eastern Coachworks Bristol VR and won the cup for Best Double Decker Post 1967 at the Meadowhall Rally in Sheffield on Sunday 8th September 2002 - it's second appearance fully restored.


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