Plaxton coaching contrasts

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Nick Larkin reports on a trio of preserved Plaxton coaches, one of which is believed to be a unique survivor

A believed to be unique, new to London Country Leyland Tiger has been restored to join a former stablemate, and a Plaxton-bodied Volvo coach has been saved for preservation.

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All three vehicles belong to London Vintage Bus Hire manager Mike White. The Tiger is believed to be the only surviving example with Plaxton’s ultra-low driving position on its Paramount 3500 C53F bodywork.

C201 PPE was delivered to London Country in July 1985. Based at Guildford, and used on Jetlink service’s the coach passed to Guildford and West Surrey, before passing to Goldcrest Travel in Worcester Park and then, re-registered RIL 9469, to Shropshire Bus & Coach, finally being acquired in 2011 by Southern Transit.

Mike was given the chance to take on the coach as it had fallen down the list of potential restoration projects.

Much reframing, repaneling and paintwork later, the Tiger is now immaculate and ready to attend rallies, being stabled alongside Mike’s other London Country Tiger, Plaxton-bodied B288 KPF, dating from 1985.

In contrast, Mike has recently bought a 1997 Plaxton C51F-bodied Volvo B10M-62, new to Stagecoach Fife and just recently withdrawn from service, having spent some years as a driver trainer with Stagecoach Cambus.

“I’d known this vehicle for so long and I wanted to see it preserved,” Mike explained. “It has a superb original interior.”

Mike says he is probably going to paint the Volvo in the outgoing Stagecoach ‘beachball’ livery rather than the famous original stripes. “The coach only wore the stripes for two years and I remember it in the later livery,” he said.