You Wait for Three Years and Then…

… along comes Donny 375.

All images: The author

A dozen or more reasons prevent your author from driving more diverse vehicles, but determination and perseverance can warrant its own reward. Anyone can pop down to a dealership and sample something new to them, but on the other hand, the total number of places you can Continue reading “You Wait for Three Years and Then…”

Reluctant To Fall – The National

Remembering the Leyland National.

Leyland National. Image: keybuses.com

The pall of smoke hung closely to the clattering, diesel din. The gruff acceleration, occasionally squeaking, yet hollow sounding brake alongside the hiss of the air compressor; these, more than any roaring car engines were the sound of my childhood as we rode the buses, and one in particular, the Leyland National, fifty this year.

By nature, Coachbuilt meant craftspeople hand building the bodywork onto a supplied chassis and taking anything up 1,000 man hours to complete. The National was “designed like an aircraft, built like a car” and took around 300 man hours, the idea being to Continue reading “Reluctant To Fall – The National”

The Quiet Revolution

Our Northern correspondent gets off his trolley.

trolleybus
Image: Bancroftsofyorkshire.blogspot.com

Not wishing for one moment to hasten the demise of our favoured automobiles, we must take into account the future. With planners believing we’re all to live in mega cities with no need to own or run a car, we seek out alternatives, and as is so often the way, we look to the past to see the future.

In March 1972, the last of the UK’s once comprehensive trolley bus network was hooked down from the frog[1] in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Leeds toyed with resurrecting the idea in the early 2000’s but came to nought. A sixty-year fling with this curious hybrid[2] of omnibus and a railed, electrified tram was deemed non-standard, and the web of ‘must-be-followed’ grid was removed, never to Continue reading “The Quiet Revolution”

The New Routemaster Bus – Part 1 : Room For One More, Love!

There are two names connected with the New Routemaster London bus, Boris Johnson and Thomas Heatherwick. 

telegraph-co-uk
Two New Routemasters meet – almost – image : telegraph.co.uk

The latter is a controversial designer, feted and sometimes scorned. He is maybe, in stature if not style, the UK’s Philippe Starck. Someone who is obviously clever and ambitious, and doesn’t want to be hemmed in by specialising in a particular field. The same, of course, can be said of Mr Johnson which, one might assume, is why they gelled. The original Routemaster, let’s call it RM, a vehicle never a bus stop away from having the ill-used adjective ‘iconic’ added to its name, was a product of a very different era. It was never designed to attract tourists to Brand London but its longevity on the roads meant that it became an ingrained part of the city, viewed with affection by all those who didn’t get stuck on the rear platform on a freezing Winter’s day. Continue reading “The New Routemaster Bus – Part 1 : Room For One More, Love!”