Industry stalwarts help bus museum

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Nick Larkin looks at a new book which compiles interesting and diverse stories about London’s buses to raise funds for the LBM

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[/wlm_nonmember] [wlm_ismember] Some of the best-known names in the coach and bus industry have contributed their memories for a new book to raise funds for the London Bus Museum. Working for London’s Buses has been published by Capital Transport, and the Brooklands-based museum will receive the profits.

Leon Daniels, former Managing Director for Surface Transport with Transport for London looks at his involvement with the capital’s tour buses. He joined the legendary Prince Marshall’s Obsolete Fleet as a part-time driver in 1978. This concern ran everything from former Midland Red D9s to a 1925 Dennis, D142, on tourist services Lucrative advertising contracts were important income for tour operators at the time, London Pride Sightseeing even having an overall ad for Australian lager Castlemaine XXXX, which featured mock road dust on the side of the bus and a kangaroo bar complete with a (hopefully not real) sheep’s head on the front. Other operations from Ebdons to Harrods are also covered, and livery designer extraordinaire Ray Stenning reveals a proposal for special body styling for buses on a service to the Millennium Dome.

Former GLC Transport Committee Chairman Dave Wetzel recalls the Fares Fair policy and battles with the courts and the Conservative Government. Andrew Braddock looks at the history of low floor buses in London, while Michael Walton recalls his life as a management trainee in from 1972 and seems to reflect the views of many others, commenting: “Until 1980 it seemed to be a seriously outdated organisation employing people sometimes amazingly good and sometimes unemployable.” Long ago are the days when senior management had chauffeurs to ferry them around!
Ticketing, blinds, bus stops and radios are just a few of the other subjects covered, not forgetting running bus services for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Docklands Minibuses.

Sir Peter Hendy sums up the book in his foreward: ‘This book is rich on detail, personal and technical, which set it aside from many dry histories of vehicles, routes and garages. Everyone who reads it will know more than they did about how London’s buses work and how they have evolved.’

The book came about following an approach to Capital Transport by London Bus Museum Chair Leon Daniels to see if a book could be published to raise funds in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Potential contributors were gathered for book, which was put together by Capital’s James Whiting. Profits from the sale go to the museum.

Produced to the highest standards, the book (ISBN 978-1 85414 460 7) is available at £25

London’s controversial Fares Fair scheme is recalled in the new book. NICK LARKIN

Publicity and free trial tickets for Docklands Minibus – just some of the memories and reminders in the book. NICK LARKIN