Sunday, 10 August 2014


I'd like to thank all of my visitors over the years who have viewed this blog. Even without an update this year, my blog still sees regular visits every day. Your support is greatly appreciated.

However, the time has come to "mothball" the blog officially. A bit like when a railway line is closed without taking up the tracks, my blog is now mothballed - there will not be updates for the foreseeable future, but I will leave all existing posts up on-line and accessible. One day my blog may re-open, but that day is not today.

I will not leave it without replacement, however.

My photo website is regularly updated at Southern England Bus on Smugmug.

As well as this, I operate the First Hants & Dorset Enthusiast's Website with a lot of help from forum contributors and other sources of information.

I'm also officially launching a flickr website, taking the name of the "Southern England Bus Scene", which should have updates nearly every day. Here I will post shots of topical importance or historical significance. It will not replace my smugmug - my smugmug will be the library or the vault, where the flickr will be the topical news. I hope it will be successful - we will have to see! At least it should be lot easier to keep updated.

Thanks again to all. See you on flickr and smugmug!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Southern Vectis week - Saturday

Southern Vectis 752 - R752GDL - Shanklin (crossing Landguard Road) - Summer 2003

Finally, the livery and operation that is probably most associated with the R-reg batch of Volvo Olympians. They were bought in 1997 to give the Island Explorer 7 series of routes a new brand, advertising stunning views and a 4 hour round trip. Heading for Ventor and Alum Bay is 752, numerically the first of the batch, in the original livery with accompanying hot air balloons on the front. These buses are still in service with sister Go South Coast company Wilts & Dorset, and were for a time again associated with another major route - the 184 from Salisbury to Weymouth.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Southern Vectis week - Friday

Southern Vectis 711 - TIL6711 - Shanklin (Landguard Road) - Summer 2003

I was never sure if I liked this livery. The red seemed to fade over the years (as red tends to do), but when new and gleaming these buses did look excellent. I suppose I also grew up in my pre-enthusiast days with the mushroom and cream livery, which I much preferred. Here 711 (TIL6711) heads for Cowes, via Godshill and Newport. It is pictured on a lovely day in Shanklin. 711 moved to Wilts & Dorset following the arrival of Scanias in 2008 and 2009.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Southern Vectis week - Thursday

Southern Vectis 683 - 934BDL (DPX683W) - Shanklin (town centre) - September 2003

Bristol VRs have always had a long association with Southern Vectis, and their last hurrah and livery was on the Open Top Tours network, wearing this rather eye-catching orange and sun livery. Today, the bus and the route have gone - 683 was dispatched to York Pullman where it continued open top duties, where the 43 became the Sandown Bay Tour, and was eventually cut in favour of the reduced PVR on the Shanklin Steamer. Summer afternoons photographing these in Shanklin and Sandown were glorious!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Southern Vectis week: Wednesday

Southern Vectis 741 - K741ODL - Oakfield - a very wet day in October 2003!

Route 8 was not part of the Island Explorer network. It connected Ryde Tesco, Oakfield and the town, with Seaview. It was really a glorified town route, that flitted between Iveco minibus operation and Olympian operation throughout its operation. The Olympians were sometimes overkill - especially on rainy Autumn/Winter days - but in summer months, sometimes the Ivecos - especially the 23 coach-seated examples - didn't have the capacity that route 8 sometimes demanded. Here is 741 heading for Seaview, with a Dart on route 1 in the distance behind. Pictured in Oakfield.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Southern Vectis week: Tuesday

Southern Vectis 743 - K743ODL - Shanklin (railway station) - Summer 2003

743 is one of only two Olympians native to Southern Vectis to still be in service with the company. It was one of two of the K-reg batch to receive Route Rouge livery - advertising the 2 and 3 from Sandown, Shanklin and Ventor to Newport and Cowes, via the centre of the island. It is pictured heading past Shanklin railway station. It could, this summer, still be found on open top routes on the island, but there was/is a rumour it was the last year for these grand buses on the route.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Southern Vectis week: Monday

Southern Vectis 817 - G526VYE - Ryde (Brading Road) - 24th April 2004

Former London United Dennis Dart 817 (G526VYE) was bought in around the turn of the millenium (2000 / 2001) to bolster services and the quota of short Darts that could fit down to the Red Jet terminal in Cowes. This is pictured on the then-recently extended route 1 - every half an hour from Cowes to Bembridge (via Ryde and Newport), with hourly extensions to Sandown. A long time on a Dart methinks! This Dart is now in preservation, carrying this livery.