Photo Special: Great Yeldham Open Day 2015

Part of the collection stored at Great Yeldham (c) Richard Walker
Sunday was the 2015 Great Yeldham Transport Collection Open Day, where contributor Richard Walker was on hand to photograph the interesting selection of vehicles present. This was one of the event I hoped to attend this year, but after being shattered from a trip to London the previous day, I decided against it.

Great Yeldham Transport Collection is managed by a group of Essex based enthusiasts, who hold a large number of privately owned preserved buses and coaches in their undercover former military storage facility. The collection includes buses from the likes Ipswich Buses, Southdown, Eastern Counties, Eastern National, Harris Bus, London Transport, Grey Green, Countrybus, First and Leaside Coaches. Each year, an open day and running day is held which includes free bus services around the area operated by visiting and native vehicles. Open top bus tours operate in the Great Yeldham area and a free park and ride shuttle runs from Colne Valley Railway.

LT492 seen at Braintree Rail Station (c) Richard Walker
In 2014, Great Yeldham managed to secure a New Bus For London at the event. It was said to be such a hit, that Arriva London agreed to make a return with one this year. LT492 LTZ1492 was this year's offering, which operated a shuttle to and from Braintree, where Richard Walker's photograph was taken. LT492 was proudly placed in the London themed area at Great Yeldham, where it was joined by a number of beautifully preserved vintage vehicles preserved in London Transport and First Capital guises.

It seems that no matter how much the enthusiasts dislike them, they still are an enormous hit at rallies and other enthusiast events. At Showbus 2014, the Borismaster entered had a crowd of enthusiasts swarming it all day. I still think that these will one day be just as iconic as the original Routemaster!

The former Hadleigh pair at Great Yeldham (c) Richard Walker
I am told that this a shot that all the visitors were trying to get; now preserved former First Hadleigh based Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Darts. Both donated by First to the Great Yeldham Transport collection, this is an excellent representation of First's recent turn for the best regarding enthusiast involvement, and credit is most definitely due to the Essex team. Seen on the left is older 42439 P439ORL, or "The Oracle" as it is nick-named. This bus became the oldest bus based at Hadleigh, and was donated in immaculate condition from First on February 4th 2015. Sitting beside was slightly newer 43721 R721DJN, which had been in preservation for just one day on the day of the event. 43721 holds a number of 'lasts' under its reigns, being the last ever Barbie liveried bus based in Hadleigh, the last bus in Southend with a native "JN" registration mark, and the last of the batch of "Canvey Clipper" buses delivered new. The pair were joined by one of their successors, that being Wright Streetlite 47646 SN15AFF - which was delivered just days before the event, and I believe has not yet seen active service. The Streetlite marked the last of a delivery of twenty seven new buses delivered to the Hadleigh area to regenerate the fleet there.

An impressive line up of Southdown vehicles (c) Richard Walker
Southdown too were represented well, with this line up of three smart vehicles preserved from the operator - who this year celebrates their 100th anniversary. From left to right is "Queen Mary" 426 BUF426C, one of five identical open toppers delivered to Southdown in 1964 and 1965. Acquired for preservation in 1990, the bus was damaged mechanically beyond repair and sent to Ensignbus (dealer), who left it parked at their premises for many years out in the elements. The bus has passed from hand to hand and is now owned by a pair of preservationists in Essex. Central is 490 TCD490J -  as Marshall bodied Bristol RESL6L new in 1970, and first preserved in 1999. On the right is UUF335J, one of  twenty five a Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard preserved as Southdown 1835 fitted with just 32 seats in 2+1 format as it was originally used on tour work.

As I'm sure you can get the feel of, the event was a huge success and one which I am a bit gutted I missed out on. Luckily, Richard has a huge collection of photographs from the day, all of which can be seen here.
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About Kieran Smith

Norwich Buses Blog was founded in December 2013 by Sam Larke after he left another popular blog, Norwich Bus Page. Since it's launch, the site has grown dramatically, especially whilst written solely by Kieran Smith during 2015. The blog is now in it's third year and we look forward to more success and growth in the future. If you think you'd make a good writer for Norwich Buses Blog, please do get in touch via email:
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