Classic Bus day in Ebbw Vale means just that. The only non-buses in the town centre included a modern field gun carriage and two obviously amphibian military vehicles, one quite massive, although the newest army kit, fitted inside a large suitcase – a drone aircraft – almost like an Airfix Kit!  The other four wheel vehicle was a modern blue Mercedes Minibus kitted inside to fold out as a mobile Police station!
Classic buses included the 1961 AEC Reliance, Western Welsh 1284 looking just the part displaying Ebbw Vale on the destination blind, whilst following were Red & White RS167,  National Welsh NS492. And then three  double deckers. These were the 1949 Red & White Guy Arab III as L1749,  the 1964 Western Welsh AEC Renown 713 and 1966 Caerphilly 36.  Then came the 1952 Leyland PS2 single saloon, Caerphilly 1  only to be followed by a very modern 2013 Edwards Coaches vehicle, a Neoplan Starliner ML13XNZ. The big Edwards Coach could not get past Caerphilly 1, and the army helpfully did a loop in one of their parked vehicles so that the Starliner could be manoeuvred past the shiny steal balls that dot that part of the pedestrian area of Ebbw Vale.
The Bus Depot Barry, collection arrived leading with double deck Caerphilly 32, the 1965 Leyland Titan to be followed in by Brenton Reynolds owned 1985 Islwyn Borough Transport 41 C41GKG Leyland Leopard with East Lancs body devoid of fleet names. Then in came the 1966 Park Royal bodied Western Welsh 1370 FUH370D.  Much later in the morning Mark Barnet arrived in his two tone blue and white Islwyn Borough Transport Marshall bodied Leyland Leopard number 34, DNY534V.
By 10.15 public address announcements told everyone free open top bus rides were available for the main bus stop on the By-Pass, just yards from all the high street activity. CTPG’s 1964 Guy Arab V as Cardiff 434 soon filled with people and ran a ten-minute circular tour of Ebbw Vale every half hour incorporating the Gwent Archives and new College site on the former Steel Works area. This proved a popular visitor experience and an extra bus ran after the so called” last bus”. Richard Sanders undertook the driving duties and Dan Taylor did the conducting.  The Guy Arab had a few looks from Stagecoach and Harris Coaches drivers checking were not pinching their customers, what they made of the destination display: 39 Rhydypenau.  Thanks must go to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council for organising a great day.

April 4th, 2013

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