Hello everyone-here is a round up of Black Prince news for Autumn 2016, which came and went as fast as the leaves fell from the trees!.. After our previously reported trip to "Showbus" in Donington, we turned our attention to the Aire Valley Transport Groups "Yorkshire Dales" running day, based in Skipton which took place on Sun Oct 9th. It was an early start at the depot, as we prepared 202 and 577, both buses scheduled to appear at the event.
Adam Smith was caretaker of 202 for the day, running as an excursion (X81) taking in Morley, Liversedge, Bradford, Keighley (for Keighley Bus Museum members) and on to Skipton.
577 was driven by myself and operated from Leeds to Ilkley, following the original route and schedule of the 781 route, operated by Black Prince for several years under Metro contract. The bus then changed into an Ilkley to Skipton feeder service to link in with the AVTG event. Both buses carried good loads and it was superb to see 577 on an old countryside service with a full complement of passengers enjoying the ride.
This year, in what the organisers hope will become an annual fixture, the event was over the Saturday AND Sunday, with the Saturday October 8th dedicated to the much loved Dales operator, "Pennine", whose orange vehicles were-for almost 90 years-a mainstay of public bus services in the area. The "Pennine" themed Saturday event was organised and timetabled expertly by John Wright and other bus enthusiasts interested in the Pennine bus company. The photo shows 202, glimpsed through John's R717YWC and Tim Moody's BYW432V, both ex-Pennine buses lovingly cared for in preservation.
577 was timetabled to operate one or two short services in conjunction with the running day event, both of the trips were well patronised and a great atmosphere prevailed on board. Before the return working to Leeds, the opportunity was taken to pose old rivals for a photograph, 202 and 577 seen flanking Dave Walsh's 8601.
The Journey home saw 577 posed for this beautiful photograph between storm clouds and the rainbow, in the village of Draughton, between Skipton and Ilkley.
The Skipton event proved to be a great day out with something for the whole family and is well worth a visit next year!. Many thanks to all who were involved with the organisation of the running day and all who attended and showed support for the owners of the vehicles on display.
577 performed impeccably during the Skipton event, but 202 had other ideas, when on the return working, the bus failed with loss of air. Adam managed to navigate to a safe spot and 577 was summoned to assist, dropping off passengers in Leeds then on to rescue the passengers on board 202. Dave Crowther came to the aid of 202, finding it was possible to nurse the bus back home to the depot, after a temporary repair at the roadside. The cause of the failure was a broken main air pipe resulting in the air brakes locking on until a degree of air pressure could be maintained.
The photos show the man himself in action, replacing the faulty air pipe and returning the freshly painted bus back to service-Well Done DNC!. As we (and all owners/drivers) have come to learn from operating older historical vehicles, always expect the unexpected!...
November 6th 2016 saw the Lincoln vintage vehicle society open day/running day, 577 being entrusted with an excursion from Liversedge and Morley, conveying Black Prince fans and family to this historic town.
577 ran superbly and was required to operate some extra journeys in service on the route to the city centre, in lieu of a previously advertised vehicle which had sadly not made it to the event.
The next event in the Black Prince calendar was the Dewsbury bus museum running day on Sunday November 13th 2016, where a request was made for 202 "Jack Berry" to attend, with the bus conductor for the day being none other than Jack Berry himself!.
As the main air pipe had been replaced by the engineering department, Dave deemed the bus fit for traffic, enabling it to run in service at the running day. 202 was duly cleaned and prepared, proving to be a huge hit with the riders and staff alike! This was the first appearance of 202, "Jack Berry" at a local event and the bus carried full standing loads for the trips it operated in service, which was a joy for us to see and makes everything we do worthwhile-thanks again for all your support!.
As night drew in after the Dewsbury event, I decided to take 202 out on a trip around our Christmas day X51 route, to confirm the new route and timings for 2016 worked. The bus was duly posed beneath the Christmas lights and looked awesome back on the streets of Leeds.
November 26th saw sub zero temperatures and freezing fog hit the Yorkshire region, but that did not deter the Black Prince mission, 202 needed some tyres, so myself and senior McMullan headed to "Tech Tyres" of York, for some new boots.
After the ice melted from both in AND outside, 202 is seen jacked up ready for a set of tyres fitting.