Showbus makes its Hertfordshire debut this Sunday

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Britain’s biggest display of vintage and modern buses and coaches will be staging its 47th gathering for the first time at the Herts Showground this Sunday.

Entries span the years from 1921 to the latest new buses and coaches on 69 plates.

Buses and coaches of all ages attend the UK’s largest rally. Heritage-liveried vehicles are particularly popular, and in 2015 First Worcester took both of its Midland Red-liveried vehicles. RICHARD SHARMAN

Two 1921 buses are expected, a single-deck London General S type owned by local enthusiast Barry Weatherhead and a Leyland open top double-decker, locally restored by the Leyland Bus Man, Mike Sutcliffe from Totternhoe.

He is also bringing his latest restoration, a 1934 Leyland Tiger; both buses used to run in Todmorden. They will be joined by two of the three other Todmorden Corporation survivors, double-deckers from the 1940s, to make a unique display in the Flamstead Ring.

Amongst the newest buses will be an Optare Metrodecker EV all-electric powered bus from Potters Bar garage and a new gas powered bus from Nottingham City Transport, which operates the country’s largest fleet of these environmentally friendly buses. Westway will be attending with its Yutong TCe12 electric coach, and visitors will also be able to experience the silent ride qualities of Yutong’s latest UK offering.

Normally there are no bus services to the Showground on a Sunday but on the 29 September there is a half hourly service from Luton Interchange via the busway, Dunstable and Luton Parkway – Arriva’s SX Showbus Express. Two Red Rose buses an hour cross from St Albans serving both City and Abbey stations with half the journeys via Verulanium for those who want to stop off at the Museum. From the south Carousel Buses is extending its hourly High Wycombe – Hemel service to Showbus via Redbourn. This will give locals a chance not only to visit Showbus but the popular Redbourn Car Boot Sale on the same site and the Hertfordshire Garden Centre next door – and Whipsnade Zoo.

The Showground is only a 15 minute drive to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and a free bus every 20 minutes shuttles between the two venues. A select display of buses will be at the Zoo until midday when they will parade to the Showground. A special deal has been struck with the Zoo whereby anyone showing a Showbus admission ticket on the day will be able to visit the Zoo for half price.

At 1430hrs local operator, Mullany’s Coaches, is offering a free tour of Dunstable Downs. There will also be a free hourly trip to Harpenden on some of the Showbus exhibits in the afternoon.

If you want the ultimate ‘bus selfie’ and get your name up in lights, Reading Buses is raising funds for its Kids Cancer charity this year and for a small fee will program your name on to the destination display on a Jet Black bus.

This will be located next to the Traders Village where you can buy anything to do with buses – models, DVDs, books, photos, tickets and ticket machines – even spare parts.

Showbus International 2019 takes place this Sunday 29 September at the Hertfordshire County Showground from 0930hrs to 1700hrs.

Admission prices are Standard: £12 Concessionary: £10 Family: £25 and Late Entry: £5 (admission after 1500hrs for exit parade).

Look out for a special report on the show in next week’s issue.