10/12/2014

Ensignbus Vintage Running Day 2014 - part 1

Last Saturday (6th December) saw the popular annual Ensignbus Vintage Bus Running Day take place in Essex, as in previous years our regular correspondent David Bell went along to observe vehicles working on the three special routes and has kindly sent us a stunning selection of photographs taken in the autumnal sunshine around Lakeside on the day, this post will be split into two parts - enjoy!

Ensignbus FXT 183
The first photo in this part shows early wartime AEC Regent III RT8 FXT 183, this bus was new in 1940 and was eventually withdrawn from use in 1960 following various movements and overhauls. It was eventually exported to new owners in the USA and after various uses as a promotional vehicle went on display in the Museum of Transportation, St Louis in 1965 where it remained for 40 years! In 2005 Ensignbus repatriated the bus to the UK and after an extensive restoration over five years this remarkable survivor returned to the road in 2010 (c) David Bell.

Ensignbus KGK 758
Next we have rare Cravens bodied AEC Regent III RT 1499 KGK 758, this bus was new in 1949 and after only eight years in London service was withdrawn, it then passed to the London Brick Company in Bedfordshire where it operated as a staff bus until 1971. It later entered preservation in 1978 and was loaned to London Transport for use as driver training vehicle, it was eventually acquired by Ensignbus in January 2005 and following a significant restoration was returned to the road in late 2006 (c) David Bell.

Ensignbus MXX 261
The penultimate photo in this part shows Weymann bodied AEC Regent III RLH61 MXX 261, this bus was new in 1952 to Harrow Weald garage, after withdrawal from London service in 1971 it was exported to Toronto, Canada where it operated on sightseeing duties in Ottawa and Kingston. After years of deterioration the bus was repatriated and restored by Ensign as a surprise birthday gift to their company chairman in 2004/5, it still proudly displays its Canadian number plate below its British one (c) David Bell.

Ensignbus THX 101S
The final vehicle in this part is MCW Metrobus M1 THX 101S, as it fleet number suggests this was the first of the batch new in 1978 where it operated route 16 from Cricklewood garage, it was relegated to training duties around 1997 and spent time at Harrow Weald and Willesden before passing to the Ensignbus in 2008 where it entered preservation in their heritage fleet, it has also been pressed into service during emergencies such as rail replacements from time to time (c) David Bell.

Many thanks to David Bell for the photographs used in this post, look out for the next part - coming soon!