Friday 31 October 2014

Ipswich interrupted - Again!

After having my plans for a photoshoot in Ipswich on Monday hijacked by Carters providing a rather interesting Olympian I returned today to try again, and had my plans hijacked by Carters providing a rather interesting Olympian. This time an ex Dublin Bus example.

Carters 456 Volvo Olympian R156 LHK at Old Cattle Market
New to Dublin Bus in 1998 as RV388 reg 98-D-20388 this Alexander (Belfast) bodied Olympian was bought by Carters in 2010 and has obviously been extremely well cared for. It took some finding but here is a pic of her in Fingal Flyer livery, courtesy of Irish Coaches on Flickr whose photopage you can access by clicking here.

98-D-20388 in Fingal,Flyer livery in 2007
Now you might be wondering why I'm concentrating so much on this Olympian. I like Olympians - that's hardly a shock revelation but why is this one attracting so much column space? I'll tell you. It is STUNNING! I travelled on her for nearly two hours to Manningtree and back, this time with a far nicer and more chatty driver than Monday's effort, and I reached the conclusion after a lot of thought that yes, this WAS the best bus I have been on this year so far. I doubt she rattled less when she left the factory, no sign of rust or internal fatigue and the seats? Oh my those seats were just sumptuous for standard old fashioned bus seats.

The smart interior of R156 LHK
But it doesn't matter if I like it or not, a good bus isn't a great bus unless the driver likes it too. The driver was overflowing in his praise for his vehicle and that sealed it for me - the best bus I have ridden on this year.

Carters 456 sitting at Maningtree
So for the third time I got back to Ipswich intent on getting some of the ex Essex Volvos on camera and for the third time Carters said oh no you don't! Not sure who told them Olympians are my weakness but when I heard the unmistakeable sound of a Cummins Olympian engine I knew they had gone for the jugular. Arriving at OCM was 427, Leyland Olympian G727 XDL.

Carters 427 at OCM next to Trident 451
H727 XDL started life at Southern Vectis before going to Wilts and Dorset and finally Damory Coaches of Blandford Forum in Dorset before moving to Carters, where she is normally used for school work and private hire including weddings. Here she is heading for Bournmouth in her Wilts and Dorset days, when she was registered TIL 6727. The pic is by Andrew Stopfoid, whose Flickr page you can access here.

Wilts and Dorset 727 heading for Bournemouth in October 2008
Now the interior shouldn't be underestimated on this now classic vehicle. The majority of the ceiling is carpeted, for example, in the same moquette as the seats, which believe me are extremely comfortable but maybe not what you'd want to see the morning after a heavy night out!

The erm striking moquette on the seats of Carters 427
I couldn't travel on her too far as the 94C basically doesn't meet anything coming the other way so it was only 5 mins, but that was enough to show me the Cummins engine still had all the acceleration powers I loved when driving them myself, and despite being 25 years old she still rattled far less than a Plaxton President half her age. Did her driver share my enthusiasm? "I'd be over the moon if we had a fleet of these" just about sums it up. Thank you Carters for making my week. Think I need to get down to Capel St Mary for a natter! Btw was back on my not so good phone cam for the last pic as my camera's battery had run out, so not quite as good as it might have been,.

I did get some pics of the Volvos I was after, and an extremely rare working by another operator, but that will have to wait for another post. Today rightly belongs to the senior citizens, who prove there's nowt can beat experience and top quality build.

427 pulls into the stand before setting off for Manningtree


  1. Hi steve an update. On galloway. 133 the Dennis dart and the other dart left today for there home. The sale of the ex anglian beaver did not happen. As they could. Not get on the lorry. And will in time go to a local. Scrapyard. Two new coaches are ex bells coaches lowestoft volvo vanhool seen in yard nji9241 and l believe the sister coach that's. In paint shop being painted white. These. To replace. The two ikarus. Coaches

  2. My current aim is to try and get a ride on G727XDL before the end of the year, whether to Colchester or Manningtree and back. Sadly, it seems like it's pot luck whether it'll turn up or not. I managed to catch the other two Carters Olympians last Saturday, and they were fantastic buses.