Thursday, 3 October 2013

Sublime Chaos

It's been a busy fortnight for our friend.

Following the Kingsbridge Branch Line commemorations at the beginning of September, we launched straight into the annual highlight of 270 KTA's calendar: the Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Running Day. This year, 35 appropriate vintage vehicles operated an intensive bus service around the South Hams, centred on Kingsbridge Bus Station, the original home of 270 KTA

Here, in pictures, are some highlights...

When you come along to a well organised running day, it feels as though the whole thing has happened by magic. In reality, the wizards are real people who spend many months folded over timetables and plans; and for Kingsbidge, the final days leading up to the final spell are not so much filled with boiling cauldrons as buckets of filthy water, as bus after bus gets a wash. Here, our friend and his friend dry off in the autumn sunshine after their turn.
 
 
Anything not look right, here? Ah, good. You failed to spot another of my home-made destination blinds, which had kept me awake with glue and scissors for most of the nights leading up to the running day. Very few real Kingsbridge blinds have survived, so needs must...
 
 
Here's a proud moment. This year's running day saw five Bristol SUs in service, by my reckoning a record in preservation. Here, the Sheppard clan are reunited with 1202 (336 EDV), the sole surviving early-style SUL coach.
 
 
The Kingsbridge event isn't complete without the now customary 'victory' shot at East Portlemouth, just to prove we made it. For our new readers, I should explain that this is one of the more challenging routes amongst a pretty tricky repertoire for drivers. It's 270 KTA's third year on the route, and it's still no less nerve wracking for the driver...
 
 
Sunday involved a procession of Western and Southern National vehicles along a portion of the famous 93 route, from Kingsbridge to Dartmouth. Here, the two Sheppard SULs have made it to their destination, and look very much at home in a town that was dominated by their type for almost twenty years.
 
 
Running Days are also about bringing friends together, and making new ones, too. Here, two old enemies - the Bedford OB up front, ousted by the SUL in the early 1960s - agree to put the past aside. 270 KTA is, no doubt, planning some trick...
 
As our experience has shown, when it comes to running a 51-year old vehicle, one should never take a successful weekend for granted. I've taken a few days to enjoy the achievement of having racked up another few hundred passenger journeys without a problem. I could never have dreamed of this back in the early days.
 
We must ask the God of running days to smile upon us again in less than a fortnight. The Warminster Running Day will see 270 KTA back in service in Wiltshire - her second home - once again. And given that we're on the posters, flyers, leaflets and on the cover of the timetable, we'd better be well behaved...