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LONDON BUS MUSEUM SPRING GATHERING


News


T


he 44th Spring Gathering was held on Sunday 9th April. This is the most presti- gious annual event organised by the London Bus Museum and one that attracts large numbers of visiting vehicles, traders and the general public. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Pay As You


Board’, acknowledging and celebrating the notion of a public service vehicle being operated by one person, although a Victorian Hansom Cab or perhaps even a Roman Chariot may also be considered an OPO (one person operator) vehicle. The redevelopment work on the Brooklands site did cause a few headaches for the organisers in placing visiting buses, coaches and other vehicles in meaningful display areas, but just under 90 visiting vehicles were successfully accommodated and drew large crowds of admiring enthusiasts. A display of OPO buses from the London Bus Museum’s own collection was arranged in the Paddock. Amongst the five vehicles on show was M6, a MCW Metrobus that was the first produc- tion model in which was installed an Automatic Fare Collection machine and turnstile. A similar device was fitted to SMS369 which, along with other Swifts, first entered service in 1971, replacing double-decker buses with two crew members and RP90 replaced the coach variant of the Routemaster on Green Line routes 715 and 715A, again as the two-person crew was expen- sive to operate. Another bus with connections to OPO was PD2/37 in ex-Brighton Corporation livery which was the first double-decker in the


40


Some of the London Bus Museum’s ‘OPO’ buses in the Paddock (Tim Morris).


UK to be operated by one person, whilst also on display were examples of the latest double-decker buses to be found on the streets, boasting digital display boards and wi-fi with one running on gas. The free circular bus route 462, linking


Weybridge Railway Station and Brooklands, was supplemented not by the traditional park and ride service from the Community Park close to Tesco, but by the ‘Brooklands Bus’. Buses on this service carried the route number 110, in recognition of Brooklands being 110 years young. A sight to behold in the Motoring Village was a splendid collection of vintage London taxis that did not look out of place in their surroundings, quite the reverse in fact. Provision was made for those young at heart with a traditional ‘Punch & Judy’ puppet show which played to full houses. ‘Professor Crump’, a stilt walker, walked, skated and cycled all over the site and was ready to en- gage with anyone, telling some dreadful (in a very good way) jokes. ‘Simon Twistit’ spent the entire day producing fantastic balloon designs coveted by many, including me. There was an exhibition of photographs, documents and memorabilia of ‘Pay As You Board’ vehicles and their history in the Vickers Suite, alongside further activities for children. And on the subject of children, the London Bus Museum was honoured to receive from the Head of Commercial and Planning at the bus operator Stagecoach, a Dennis Dart single deck bus which


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