I've been offline for much of September thanks to a change in broadband supplier. Who knew such a relatively seamless change would result in a complete loss of service that won't actually be concluded until 7 October? And, of course, it came amidst the 'press week' for the September/October LEYTR, which has been done over the course of a month, adding significant time to produce the forthcoming edition.
With the use of my neighbour's broadband as a temporary measure (my laptop is able to find their wifi signal and I've been given their password enabling me to connect) I thought I'd catch up on my transport diary for the whole of September.
14 September - Going to Great Grimsby
As you'll read in greater detail in the next LEYTR, and on the www.GCT113.com blog once I am back online, I took my bus back home today and along with three other preserved Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport vehicles ran a free shuttle service between the Fishing Heritage Centre and the Docks. Of note and not mentioned elsewhere is the knocking sound that started coming from the entrance doors while they were closed and the bus was in motion. The sound disappeared when the doors were opened and so I made the assumption that the noise was coming from one of the runners at the top of the doors. While driving the bus back to where I keep it, I called at lay-by after lay-by to shove shards of folded paper in anything that I could find to see whether it solved the problem. It didn't. It wouldn't be until the end of the month when I sorted out the problems.
I wanted to expand further on driving GCT 113 through Grimsby's town centre today. The return trip from the Docks was deliberately routed this way to offer a better connection for those who travelled in on public transport but it had the unexpected effect of garnering significant interest from many members of the public and Stagecoach staff, some of whom had driven MBE 613R in service from 1977 until 2005 and again during the summer of 2014. Some had even driven TJV 100 in service from 1966 until 1981. Even more had, I'm sure, had the pleasure of driving E930 PBE from 1987 until the early-naughties when the bus was transferred to Chesterfield depot. Frustratingly, the latter (Leyland Tiger/Alexander P) has yet to be painted into a GCT livery, but internally the bus is very familiar.
The last time I took GCT 113 home (a year earlier) was was inundated with emails from people who didn't ride on the bus but simply witnessed it pass them who's made enquiries and discovered my website. I was asked by no fewer than seven people if I'd effectively hire the bus out for events ranging from Year 11 Proms to a birthday treat for a 10-year-old boy. Sadly I'm unable to hire the bus out and on a technicality I'm still not legally permitted to receive a 'restoration donation' for providing the bus for free so I had to sadly turn down all requests. Had I been living in Grimsby I'm sure I'd have loved to oblige some of the easier requests for free but living there other side of Lincolnshire it would take a not inconsiderate amount of time and diesel to do a round trip.
Back to today and it was a great day, helped by the weather, and I was able to catch up with Stagecoach staff I'd not seen in years, who all managed to make it for a short time to the Fishing Heritage Centre. I actually thought one chap had died, so was rather shocked when he shook my hand, as large as life!
26 September - Delightful Delaine
I'd not stretched the legs of my bus for almost four months since the Fenland BusFest in May until mid-September when I took it to Grimsby and two weeks later I found myself behind the wheel of GCT 113 yet again. Again, a full write-up of the day will be made on www.GCT113.com's blog once my internet is restored, but a major news story for me is that I finally established why my entrance doors were knocking. Initially I was a little dismayed when I was driving the bus to Bourne as despite the specifically located bits of folded paper, the knocking sound still persisted. I met with my friend and transport journalist/writer Steve Knight and had arranged to give him a lift to Bourne Bus Station for his 1500 bus for Peterborough. With a little more mechanical know-how than I, Steve was able to try out various theories while the bus was in motion and within two minutes had identified the problem and offered a solution.