10 June 2007

Peterborough Bus Rally

Both I and m'colleague visited the Peterborough Bus Rally today, at Sacrewell Farm, on the A47 at Wansford. The location is ideally suited for such an event - so accessible from the A1, plus the site is a fair distance back from its entrance on the A47 that it becomes very quiet and secluded. The vehicles had all be parked facing south in order to allow the best photographic opportunities throughout the day, and they'd all been well spaced.

The latter may have been as a result of only 24 vehicles confirmed as attending on the rally's website last night when I checked. In reality today only 19 vehicles and 4 stalls were to be found.

The rally was sponsored by Stagecoach in Peterborough, who provided their Bristol FLF Lodekka 19552 (JAH 552D), to act as a shuttle bus between Peterborough city centre and the site - a journey taking about 20 mins, much of it flat-out on the A47 dual carriageway.

This was to be my first trip of the day as I boarded 19952 on the 1245 departure from Sacrewell Farm to Peterborough. There were only three of us on the top deck - two middle-aged gents at the front and Mr Invincible at the back. What an experience! I had to take my hat off for fear of it disappearing into the countryside as the wind was so strong. Normally I'm used to travelling at around 20mph on open toppers along the seaside not at 50mph on the A47!

In Peterborough we met a mutual friend and returned to Sacrewell on the same bus at 1315. Another driver had turned up and had been allowed to drive the bus back though by the Castor turn off we pulled onto the hard shoulder and Inspector Joe (who had been driving) continued as the guy was struggling to find the gears.

I purchased two books from the LOTS stall - both to do with the Harry Beck Underground Map - cartography being my specific passion within the bus industry - and also a Corgi model bus of a Strathtay MetroRider - now a defunct company and livery!

Next was a ride on RM2213 (CUV 213C) to Wansford Rail Station. This Routemaster was showing Service 6 to Trafalgar Square and riding down the A1 on a RM was an experience. At Wansford Station we witnessed a steam train pass through hauling a rake of carriages, as well as see Nene Valley Railway staff practice with their Mail Train carriages. We returned on RMC4 (SLT 59) in full Green Line livery and exceptional comfort was to be had inside.

There wasn't much more to do by 1530, so we returned to Peterborough on the 1545 open topper and then home via some watering holes in Boston and Burgh-le-Marsh.

Had more vehicles and stalls attended the whole event would have been far more enjoyable, but on the tiny scale that it was, I had a good day. It will be interesting to see if they repeat it again next year. No local operators sent vehicles - there were no vehicles sent by Kimes, Delaine, Cavalier/Huntingdon & District, Peterborough City Council or Fowlers which was a crying shame.