Twilight time

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Transport Museum Wythall’s final running day of 2020 attracted nearly 300 visitors, which despite Covid-19 was well up on the 2019 figure of 235.

Stealing the show was Steve Morris’s new to SMT Leyland TD5, an ‘unfrozen’ vehicle built on a 1938 Leyland chassis assembled at SMT with Alexander panels and registered in 1942. Once again Roger Burdett supported the event magnificently with his 1950 Coventry Daimler CVA6, GKV 94.

Volvo Ailsas, two from West Midlands Travel (TOE 527N from the first batch and later JOV 738P) along with A101 SUU, the first example delivered to London Transport. TMW

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Other welcome visitors included two Bristol VRs (ex-PMT GRF 709V and RAH 260W, new to Eastern Counties), ex-Midland Red Leyland National NOE 602R, Midland Red Leyland Leopard JHA 227L, the 1991 Leyland Atlantean conversion, single-deck RAW 808M from Hulleys of Baslow (ex-South Notts) and former Fowlers of Holbeach Drove Bedford YMT/Plaxton Supreme IV JDO 241W.

Along with the Coventry Daimler and TD5, these vehicles joined several of Wythall’s own on the free bus service during the day. In fact the majority of these half hourly runs required the addition of two ‘service extras’ due to demand coupled with the need for social distancing.

A highlight of mid-afternoon was the arrival of not one but three Volvo Ailsas, two from West Midlands Travel (TOE 527N from the first batch and later JOV 738P – sporting many detail differences in its build) and V1 A101 SUU, the first example delivered to London Transport.

As twilight fell, the glow of tungsten bulbs brought back memories of damp 1960s winter evenings, providing some excellent photo opportunities.  Dave Taylor, TMW’s Chairman, reflected on a tough year: “Covid-19 has brought the heritage sector to its knees so I am particularly proud of the hard work and determined attitude of our all-volunteer team here at Wythall.

“Reopening in August has been hugely beneficial in helping to secure our future but has also raised the morale of the whole team. It has also provided a much needed escape for our visitors, the vast majority, families eager to find an interesting and safe day out within the confines of the Covid-19 rulebook”