Showbus success

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Richard Sharman and Jonathan Welch report from Showbus, with CBW’s very own coach

After the ‘flyby’ event held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Showbus returned to its traditional format with an event at the Hertfordshire County Showground on Sunday 26 September. Despite problems caused by the panic-buying of fuel which had been well-documented in the media over the preceeding days, over 110 of the booked 192 vehicles still made it, and it appeared well-attended by visitors too.

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The CBW perspective

Although things are starting to return to ‘normal’ after more than a year of Covid-19 restrictions, this year has still seen very limited numbers of trade shows, with the big NEC events and BusWorld in Brussels cancelled. And of course, that means that CBW has had fewer chances to go out, speak to people, and meet our readers.

Whilst CBW is a very trade and industry-focused magazine, we recognise that we have a strong following among the enthusiast community too, and of course we realise that there is a lot of crossover between the two. So we thought that we’d do something different this year, and head to Showbus instead, an event which we regularly cover. Without the restraints of an indoor stand at a venue like the NEC, it gave us the opportunity to not just go somewhere new, but to try a different approach too – and what better than taking our very own coach?

We looked at what options we might have to take a vehicle to represent CBW, and considered looking at a preserved bus or coach, or maybe approaching an operator to partner with, but before we had made any firm plans, a chance conversation during a test drive with Pelican Bus & Coach Sales Manager Bob Elliot made the decision for us. Hearing of our idea, and never one to miss a potential sales or marketing opportunity, Bob immediately offered us a choice of one of Pelican’s TC9 midicoaches or a GT12 full-size 53-seater, and made the trip south to join us on the day, taking the opportunity to catch up with familiar faces and introduce the Yutong brand to potential new operators.

In some secrecy, and with Pelican’s approval, we made plans with local signwriting company Edward Signs of Rotherham to have the coach liveried with CBW’s logo, and after a few designs settled on the eye-catching full-height logo, finished with Eurolines-esque red stripes to give the full effect. The coach made its debut on our social media channels the week before Showbus – and by the time most of you read this, it will already have been de-liveried again, as much as we would have liked to keep it! We’re already considering whether to attend again next year, and what vehicle we might bring…

Taking advantage of the GT12’s PSVAR specification, we had originally expected to have ‘Pelican Bus Coach’ on the destination screen, as a thank you for the loan of the coach, but following the passing of industry legend Cyril Kenzie in the days before the show, we – and Pelican – felt it appropriate to carry his name instead, as a small mark of respect for a gentleman who was very highly regarded during his long career.














Arriving at the Hertfordshire County Showground well ahead of the official opening time of 1100hrs, it was a misty and murky start to the day as we started to freshen the coach up on the exterior after its jaunt down from Yorkshire. As the morning proceeded the sun appeared and stayed out for the rest of the day, along with the 22°C temperature, which meant that many visitors were wondering around with ice creams rather the usual umbrellas! During the day, we managed to chat to a lot of current readers and hopefully gained a few new ones too, as well as have a walk around ourselves and enjoy the wide variety of coaches and buses new and old, large and small, that were on display.

Personal favourites included the tri-axle Leyland Olympian brought along by GH Watts, which was well on its way to the completion of a full overhaul.

Coaches were also well represented, with the opportunity taken to pose a Kenzies 1985 Van Hool Alizee-bodied Volvo B10M alongside our Yutong GT12 in homage of Cyril Kenzie.

Another great aspect of Showbus is that you are always guaranteed to see several people that you know, which makes for a friendly atmosphere.

Stalls selling bus models, books and photographs were mostly undercover and well organised. Another aspect that was appreciated by visitors was the provision of bus services from Luton, St.Albans and Hemel Hempstead, with connections to further afield.

Dr Martin Isles, Showbus organiser. RICHARD SHARMAN












Delaine Buses took all three of its recent Alexander Dennis Enviro200MMC purchases, with Director Kevin Delaine-Smith leading the convoy. The operator went on to win the Premier Operator Award. RICHARD SHARMAN













One of the early arrivals was from Stagecoach West’s Banbury depot. Now carrying Thames Transit legal lettering as opposed to Midland Red South was Alexander Dennis Enviro200MMC 37630, which formed part of the Enviromania display RICHARD SHARMAN













G.H Watts’ immaculate former Hong Kong Alexander-bodied Leyland Olympian was a firm favourite with visitors. RICHARD SHARMAN












Hearn’s Coaches’ recent Mercedes-Benz Tourismo won Best Modern Vehicle post 2019. RICHARD SHARMAN












Midland Classic’s Irizar i3 YN17 ONJ won Best Doyen Single-Decker. RICHARD SHARMAN












Arriva the Shires was well represented at the show and entered a number of vehicle types. RICHARD SHARMAN












Causing much interest at the show was Dennis Condor YUI 1498, now owned by the Hong Kong Bus Association, a Community Interest Company, further details of which can be found at @HKBusAsso on Facebook. RICHARD SHARMAN













Marshalls Mercedes-Benz Tourismo PM16 JAM won Best 2010-9 Entry. RICHARD SHARMAN












The award for Best 1951-9 Entry went to former Epsom Coaches Duple-bodied Bedford SB PPH 698. RICHARD SHARMAN












BYD1471, an early electric double-deck BYD K8SR was shown by Uno Bus. RICHARD SHARMAN












Transdev-owned Team Pennine attended with Hudds Quick-branded 571. RICHARD SHARMAN












Oxford Bus Company-owned City Sightseeing Oxford Enviro400-bodied Scania 202. RICHARD SHARMAN












A rare sight was two Enviro500s next to each other. The Ensignbus example started out as a developmental vehicle for Alexander Dennis, with a roof on, the Youngs Coaches’ example having come from Dublin Bus
and being a Volvo B9TL. RICHARD SHARMAN













Cresta Coaches stunning Plaxton-bodied Bedford VAL dating from 1973. RICHARD SHARMAN












Fowlers’ immaculate Plaxton Leopard sits alongside Dews Coaches Plaxton-bodied Bedford VAL UFX 360L, which won Best 1970-9 vehicle entry. RICHARD SHARMAN













New Wrightbus StreetDecks from Ensignbus and Diamond Bus North West were in attendance, with the Diamond example winning the Best Modern Bus Post 2019 category. RICHARD SHARMAN













Sullivan Buses has painted two WVL-class Wrightbus Geminis in a different livery to the standard London Bus red normal used. The Leaf Green and Lincoln green liveries stood out at the show. RAYMOND WARD











Rise of the Scanias! East Lancs-bodied OmniDekkas belonging to Red Rose and Carousel Buses shine in the sun, having both recently gained fresh coats of paint with their respective owners. They were in use on the shuttle services. RICHARD SHARMAN













2021 is the 100th anniversary of United Counties. Showbus celebrated this with a small display of historic vehicles operated. Duple-bodied Ford R1014 EBD 111M is seen on arrival. RICHARD SHARMAN













Looking ahead

Next year marks 50 years of Showbus, having make its debut in 1973. Given the importance of 2022, Showbus are not just planning one event. Showbus Flyby, which was a big success when held in 2020 due to the pandemic, will make a return on Sunday 18 September, route details to be confirmed. The following Sunday will see Showbus return to the Hertfordshire County Showground. Look out for full details at