We were most privileged to be asked to work with The Branch Line Society on Saturday April 13th.
A pair of preserved Black Prince buses were required to operate a shuttle service between Doncaster Interchange and part of the former Rossington Colliery site, which is now home to a huge recycling centre.
The centre is connected to the railway network by the branch line which used to be part of the "Merry Go Round" coal system.
The BLS train tour gave enthusiasts the chance to ride over this piece of track normally hidden well out of sight to public eyes, hauled by a class 08 shunter.
P441SWX was duly adorned with an appropriate destination display for the outing, ensuring nobody was in any doubt as to which bus was heading for the railtour!.
441 & 814 are seen basking in the morning sunshine outside the depot near Selby prior to departure towards Doncaster, where our first journey was timetabled to leave Doncaster Interchange at 0930.
Huge thanks are due to the management at SYPTE Doncaster Interchange, who were most helpful and accomodating of our arrival, allocating our bus departures during the day to stand B3.
I would imagine it has been rather a long time since the bus stops in the Interchange have seen a step entrance vehicle!. Mark Conlon is seen waiting time with the second departure of the day.
814 is shown skulking in the shadows, awaiting departure time in the layover parking bay area of Doncaster Interchange.
The Volvo Ailsa certainly turned heads and ears in the Doncaster area during the day, the characteristic scream of the Volvo engine being a sound the place has not heard for several years, since the SYPTE machines of the same type (such as LWB377P) were allocated to work in this area.
On arrival at Rossington, the passengers were escorted between bus and train by BLS marshals, the whole operation being very slick and well organised.
08527 is seen here receiving lots of admiring snaps from several cameras, the humble shunter not used to such attention or public exposure!.
At the end of a wonderfully successful day for all concerned, our buses were lined up for a photograph before departing from Rossington for the final time, conveying the remaining BLS guests back to Doncaster.
Many thanks are due to all involved with the organisation of this superb day, particularly Kev Adlam, spending several weeks liasing with myself over email to make sure everything ran smoothly between the buses and the trains.
We hope to see Black Prince buses partnering with BLS railtours again in the future!.
Please take a look at the BLS website, link below, for details of what the organisation is all about, planned future tours and maybe a tour will take your fancy!.