Old Buckenham Bus Rally Special

RM2151 after arrival at the Old Buckenham Rally Field
What a day we have all had. This year's Old Buckenham Bus Rally was a huge success and seemed to me as if it was enjoyed by all who I spoke to on the day. Once again, it was great to speak to so many enthusiasts and put so many faces to names of contributors who before I had not met. Again, it was nice to catch up with all the many friends of the blog and make some new ones. It was just the fourth time the event has been held, and the third time I had attended - and as many agreed this year has been the most successful, and... the weather was on our side, at least until the last fifteen or so minutes of the rally!

My day began at half past eight in time to collect RML2151 CUV151C, operated by Awaydays of Wood Dalling. The bus was chosen to operate the free shuttle from Hellesdon and Norwich and I was asked to be conductor for the journeys - so off we went bang on time arriving at the rally just after it officially began. RM2151 was joined by a duo of two more Routemasters, both from the fleet of Bus and Us. Interestingly, the trio have three different engines, all retrofitted from the original AEC or Leyland choices - between them, Scania, Iveco and Cummins were all represented. 

The winner of the London Connection Award was RF326
Staying until the end of the rally, I was able to watch the winner's ceremony. Awards were presented by society chairman Richard Dixon, both of which are presented in memory of two enthusiasts who have since passed away. The Bernard Watkin Memorial Cup was presented, as decided by society members and vehicle owners, drivers and conductors, to Chris Speed and Daniel Beales' Great Yarmouth Transport Eastern Coachworks bodied AEC Swift 85 WEX685M. 85 was certainly a head turner, and spent much of its day parked up alongside 'little brother' heritage liveried 32059 W219XBD. Likewise, awarded the Peter Claughton London Connection Award was 1952 Park Royal bodied AEC Regal IV RF326 MLL963.

Both vehicle entries and visitor numbers were high this year. Bus wise, at least twenty five motors were in attendance - two cars and a motor bike were also shown off in the line up. There really was something for everyone; from First Norwich's Plaxton President bodied Volvo B7TL 32100 LT02ZCJ through to preserved Westcliff-on-Sea 1939 Bristol K AJN825, everybody commended the line up on its diversity.

Deserving an award for their sign is Syd, Dan and Richard
This one deserved an award in its own right. Displayed as a light hearted joke on Richard Alger, Sydney Eade and Daniel Peart's Lowestoft Corporation Massey bodied Leyland Titan PD2 PBJ2F was the "THIS BUS IS NOT A ROUTEMASTER" sign. The sign was placed for a joke at the number of non-enthusiasts who think that their lovingly owned bus is Routemaster, claiming to have travelled on it in London when they were children. The bottom of the sign reads "Discalamer: This poster is designed to educate ill informed members of the public who believe that every double decker bus on the planet (irrespective of whether or not it is painted red) is a Routemaster, which not only ran in London but is the exact bus they remember going to school on. It is hoped this simple educational tool will prevent private bus owners from seeking out a dark corner of the rally field in which they wish to sit and cry in. These owners know their stuff when it comes to the vehicles so please do not try to tell them otherwise!" I know I was not the only one who had a chuckle at the signs, even a non-enthusiast family who visited saw the humour in it!

A duo of ECOC buses, just like a scene from the sixties.
Like a view from sixties, here we see two beautifully preserved Eastern Counties Omnibus Company Bristols having completed a circuit on the extended free service route. Heading the duo is Patrick Burnside's wonderfully preserved Bristol SC4LK 3003AH, new to Eastern Counties in 1959. Following closely behind is 1954 Bristol Lodekka LKD229 OVF229. 300AH came second to Chris and Daniel for The Bernard Watkin Memorial Cup

This year's free services route was extended from last year's. The new route saw vintage buses operate along Hargham Road, Dodds Road and Springfields before reaching Attleborough Town Centre, as First's 13 and 13B and Konectbus' 6A are routed to do so. So many turning heads and waving children were seen on the route, many of which I noted later turned up at the rally. One of the most rewarding parts of the day for me was giving an eighteen month of lad, who's favourite thing is buses, a tour of the Routemaster I conducted for the day. It was great to see non-enthusiasts take an interest into the history of the buses they see today, and was something I was thrilled to relay.

Nineteen of the some twenty five buses in one photogaph.
And to end the post, as many buses as I could manage in one photo. Unless I have not counted correctly, nineteen are visible in this one, all of which were extremely well turned out. 

Thanks to Sam Larke who since has pointed out there are twenty one buses in the line up, it appears you do need to "read between the lines".

As I have already said, the day was really made by the people who turned out. An enormous well done goes out to the organisers at the Eastern Transport Collection Society, who I must also thank for giving me the opportunity to get involved this year.

Also from the rally came the purchase of a few more historical timetable, which you can expect to see in the coming week.
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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: samuel.larke@gmail.com
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