30 August 2008

Oh Yes - More Oh Eights

The final set of this small series looks at buses...

Plymouth Citybus 137 WA08LDJ

First Devon and Cornwall 33422 WA08MVG

I know its not a Plymouth bus - but it was photographed in Plymouth

Taxifast Northern Connect SF08BUP

This is the bus I catch to work - when I miss the Target Travel Solo at 8am

Thats it for 08s at the moment. Will be having a quick look at Emergency vehicles this next week starting with a look back a few years ago then a look at the more modern scene during the rest of the week.

29 August 2008

Oh Eights


Plenty of new 08 registered trucks for Viridor including:

Viridor WK08BPOViridor WK08BPUViridor WK08BPX

28 August 2008

Oh Eights

National Blood Service

Ford Transit van seen in July 2008

National Blood Service MJ08XTT

Bonus picture

Absolutely nothing to do with transport in Plymouth whatsoever, but its my blog so...

Our cat Trudi (still a kitten herself really) has just had her kittens. 4 born on Wednesday. Mother and babies all doing well!

New kittens

First moves in mysterious ways!

Every now and again a post generates a lot more interest than the others - and yesterdays photo certainly generated a lot of discussion both here on the blog and also the the bus discussion groups.

One thing that has been confirmed is that there are 5 currently due and that they are not for the 14/18 routes down in Cornwall. This much has been confirmed by Marc Reddy but he is keeping details of their proposed use close to his chest! With the current climate of competition in Plymouth (more on this soon) that is understandable.

First Group are having lots of fun with their standard Volvo / Wright buses at the moment with quite a few moving around between fleets 'on loan'. The FDC batch have come to us from Somerset & Avon and it seems are still expected back in Yorkshire later in the year. A large number of them are expected to be released from First in Manchester later in the year and it seems that some are on their way down to FDC with 9 possibly bound for the 14/18 in Cornwall. It remains to be seen if any come to Plymouth to replace the loaned buses - assuming that they are still 'loans'

First Group quite rightly looks at the whole fleet picture across the country and will allocate their fleet as they see fit to meet demand. Plans can be made well ahead, but the group can of course change those plans at very short notice in reaction to events anywhere in the country. That is why there is a national livery and a national fleet number scheme. We bus enthusiasts are very good at discussing plans and making educated guesses at / predictions of fleet movements, but as ever with First Group - its always a case of wait and see what happens.

27 August 2008

Oh Eights Oh Wow!

I spent the afternoon down at Marsh Mills taking photos of just about anything which caught my attention during the three hour stint. Plenty of interesting and useful photos taken but the real surprise was kept back to almost the end of the spell.

First Devon and Cornwall YJ08CFE

Brand new Volvo single decker bus for FDC! Certainly carries full FDC legal lettering so appears to be staying rather than just a loan? It would be good to see a few more of these down here in Plymouth but it remains to be seen where they end up.

Are there anymore out there?

26 August 2008


I have been 'home alone' with child this last few days so spent most of the time indoors and haven't really got out much at all, but today I did manage a round trip into town - the long way round!

Zak decided he wanted a double deck ride and a taxibus ride so it was a taxibus ride to The George and then straight onto a very noisy (lots of rattles) Enviro doubledecker to town. Cant say I have noticed much noise on these buses before but even Zak asked why it was so noisy.

We didn't really have any reason to go to town, other than we needed a bottle of milk so it was just twenty mins or so taking a few photos and chatting with my friend Dave who was filling in an extra duty on and Park and Ride for a change.

One bus we did get on camera was FDC 48267 - it was making life difficult for other buses down on Royal Parade. It got even more difficult once the recovery truck arrived to take it home!

First Devon and Cornwall 48267 W607PAFFirst Devon and Cornwall 48267 W607PAF

Then back home on the Park and Ride and then another Taxibus back home. Mum is now back from her weekend away so I get a day out tomorrow all by myself!

Oh Eights

Continuing the theme for the week:

May Gurney

May Gurney EY08ZGZ

25 August 2008

Oh Eights

In a week the new 58 registration series starts so now seems like a good time to do a quick recap of some of the local fleets who have introduced new 08 vehicles:

Plymouth City Council

Plymouth City Council VU08RMUPlymouth City Council WA08CXGPlymouth City Council WA08CYTPlymouth City Council LK08HLM

Plymouth In Bloom WA08HTO

There are also quite a few new vans out there but i have not managed a decent photo yet!

23 August 2008


To be a successful wild life photographer takes a lot of skill and determination. There is also a large element of luck, being in the right place at the right time to get that elusive shot that no one else has managed. It requires patience, sometimes waiting at the same spot for hours if not days on end because you heard that your 'target' was seen in the area at this time before, so if you wait long enough you will get the shot you want. Becoming a successful bus photographer is no different. I am not talking about just sitting by the road and catching anything which just happens to pass by. I'm talking about tracking your prey, monitoring its movements, studying its behaviour so that you can anticipate its next move,so that ultimately you can be one stop ahead of it and get that elusive shot of the bus in its natural environment behaving exactly as it does in the wild. For that perfect shot that captures the essence of the bus itself.

To be a serious wild life photographer you have to learn not to get too involved. Sometimes you will get too attached to your subject and then when nature intervenes and predators come hunting you want to intervene and save your subject. of course you are a professional and you don't. Your aim is to capture wildlife in its true state - wild. For in that perfect shot, you, the photographer do not exist. If the subject is aware of your presence then even if you get a half decent photograph it just wont be 'true'. The picture will be soiled by the outside world, in this case, you. A truly serious wildlife photographer would not allow this to happen.  This is how it should be. As I said before, bus photography is no different.

So it is with a heavy heart that I give you this prime example of bus photographers 'soiling' their subject. They have committed the cardinal sin of interference with the subject in such a brazen upfront way, that an audible gasp can be heard from other bus photographers when they first come across it. Indeed, I myself gave out such a gasp this afternoon when I came across the subject in question. I quote:


See what I mean - I really did say that - its in quotes so it must be true.

Back in my day young bus photographers would never have done this. I am so jealous!

Louis and Tommy, bus fans 

Well done to my young friends Louis and Tommy - Bus Fans from Plymstock!

22 August 2008

Plymouth International

The latest timetable changes for Plymouth Citybus saw the 42 being routed through the Plymouth International Business Park for the first time. This is the first Citybus through this estate although First have tried before, but gave up. Since then more businesses have opened up on the estate so maybe this is why Citybus feel its worth a go now. Taxifast / Target Travel run their Northern Connect service here already so now we do get a choice of buses.

Today I managed to catch a 42 on camera while I sat with Zak waiting for the Taxibus to bring us home from McDonalds.

Waiting for the bus

No timetable info which is a shame - I dont think any of the bus stops have timetables along this section.

Plymouth International

There is a great big 'display post' right behind the bus stop which isnt being used for anything at the moment, but it would probably be overkill for how few buses use this stop, even if it available for use in this way. The new Future Inn building is quite impressive but I dont suppose it generates much bus traffic along here!

Future Inn PlymouthPlymouth Citybus 145 WA08LEF

There was actually one other passenger who got on this 42 at our bus stop, which is the first other person I have seen use this service along this stretch other than myself. I am sure there are others though and its not as if its much of a detour for Citybus so cant be costing much extra to serve this area. With its plush leather seats its almost as tempting as the leather seats in the Taxibus which is coming up a few mins behind this one. Well done to Citybus for trying to serve new areas though, just one of the many improvements in public transport in this section of the City over the past year or so.

21 August 2008

Another new livery!

Tally Ho! or rather tally ho as it seems to be calling itself now was recently sold to new owners and they have now started to make a few changes, including the adoption of this nice crisp new livery. The coach fleet will apparently receive the same livery but in silver and blue instead of white. Certainly a big improvement on the current state of affairs although the loss of the '!' is a bit sad...

Tally Ho new livery

©Terry Partridge. More of his photos here

See Plymothian Transit PhotoBlog for Tally Ho back in 2006

20 August 2008

Citycoach is not dead...

Thanks to Brian George I can now reveal the 'City Coach' version of the new coach livery as its been applied to 311.

Plymouth Citycoach 311 JSK264Plymouth Citycoach 311 JSK264

Both pics ©Brian George

The banner along the side is likely to be replaced with a slightly modified version more in keeping with the lines of the bodywork. A nice tidy livery, although the fleet name style does seem a bit 'fussy' to me. It does help identify the Citycoach brand with the rest of the fleet though which is the intention - so it works from that view.

19 August 2008

Blast from the past!

©Sou'wester (Flickr blog this)

One of a batch of ex Western Welsh Alexander-bodied Leyland Atlantean PDR1s passed to Western National, seen here in Plymouth on 1st August 1980

I was never an Atlantean fan but these Alexander bodied machines always seemed so special compared with the standard Citybus examples. Probably just because they were so different to anything else down here. Mostly used on Callington routes they did occasionally appear on Plymouth City routes such as the 7.
Still seems amazing to think that this photo was taken over twenty eight years ago - I must be getting old!

SouWester has a great set of 1980s photos here on his Flickr account

18 August 2008

The Plymothian Transit Photo Blog

Plymouth Citybus 144WA08LDZ

Plymouth Citybus Photoblog is no more, well its still there, but its not being updated anymore. But dont worry it still lives on in spirit. The all new Plymothian Transit Photoblog is the successor to PCP. It has been designed to show off the photos in a much larger size than the old blog could manage. It will cover all forms of transport in Plymouth, just like the main blog. It will only consist of a single photo along with a caption. Nothing more, nothing less.


16 August 2008

Devon General Sisters

My good friend Dave Boulter sent me some photos recently, one or two of which have already appeared on this site. One of them was of this fine open topper of Devon General

Devon General OD7497

It was by pure chance that I then came across sister bus OD7500 at the Western National rally back in 2001:

Devon General OD7500

Nice contrast in liveries - I must admit to preferring the red one.

Thanks as ever the Dave for use of his photos.

15 August 2008

A good show

As I mentioned yesterday, 2001 saw the Western National annual bus rally take place at Seaton Barracks instead of its more favoured Plymouth Hoe venue. It was a good show with plenty of buses entered, and offered some great rides but didnt attract the same size crowds as normally attracted to Plymouth Hoe. I didnt take many photos at this event as it was before digital for me, but I have come across a few scans:

First Western National 1755 A755VAF

First Western National 4411 M411CCVFirst Red Bus HTA844NFirst Western National 1114 VDV114SStagecoach Devon W102PMSFirst Bristol W819PAE and First Western National X503BFJBadgerline D102GHY

Exeter EFJ666Exeter 86GFJ

14 August 2008

Bendy bus in Plymouth

I mentioned yesterday that I managed another ride on a bendybus in Plymouth other than the Stagecoach Devon Volvos on the X38. First Western National had its bus rally on the Seaton Barracks site back in 2001 as the Hoe wasn't available. One of the vehicles down for the day was First Manchester 2201 X401CSG which proved extremely popular on the free rides. Just getting in and out of the site which was just waste ground provided some very tight turns which added to the fun of bendy bus riding.

First Manchester 2201 X401CSGFirst Manchester 2201 X401CSGFirst Manchester 2201 X401CSG

A few more photos from this event tomorrow night!

13 August 2008

X38 Now and Then

Stagecoach 19093 (MX 56 PHK)

©Ian Kirby (Iantherev)

The Enviros are now the order of the day on the X38 between Plymouth and Exeter. By a nice coincidence I have just today come across a batch of photos from 2001 including this one of the X38 allocation of the time:

Stagecoach Devon P564MSX

This was not the only Bendy bus that I managed to ride on in Plymouth back in 2001 - but more on that tomorrow!

12 August 2008

Plymouth helps out

Copyright 2008 Dave Boulter MBE - used with permission

Torquay has its own Bronto aerial rescue machine but when not available (ie for mechanical reasons) the similar appliance from Camel's Head, Plymouth moves to Torquay, thus ensuring high rise access is available in the Torbay holiday town and surrounding area. (Sufficient aerial coverage remains in Plymouth in the shape of the turntable ladder based at Crownhill.) . Camel's Head's appliance, Volvo reg.no. H188 AFJ, is seen on a routine journey on Torquay seafront on 26/7/08.

The same appliance back on its home ground back in April 2008

Devon & Somerset Fire H188AFJ

11 August 2008

Another demonstrator

Thanks to Brian George we can bring you photos of the latest Optare Demonstrator for Plymouth Citybus.

Optare YK57YHMOptare YK57YHM

©Brian George - used with permission

Well its a lot better looking than the Enviros (in my opinion)!

There are lots more photos on Brian's Fotopic pages here

09 August 2008

Now thats better!

Having posted about the poor display at St Budeaux the other day, this is more like it!
I actually took this photo when it was displayed on one of the Enviro buses prior to their being placed in service by Citybus. It shows almost everything you need when trying to catch a bus. The map is great to see exactly where the bus is going, the times and neatly displayed and also the RTP panel giving the bus stop number to text in.
In some ways this is an easy bus stop as all the buses from it go pretty much the same way but there is no real reason (apart from a lot of time and effort needed!) why it cant be the same at most bus stops. The map could always be a bit smaller if there are lots of service and more than the one bus company serving the stop. Derriford Hospital is perhaps one of the exceptions where lots of buses go in all different directions but I am sure it would be worth the effort.
The killer statement here is of course - a lot of time and effort - and that also means money - but all our local bus companies and the City Council have already shown us what they can achieve when they put the time, effort and money in: this type of timetable display is just another example of that commitment being worked out in practice.

07 August 2008

Devon Samson

Devon Samson

A photo that I had forgotten taking! Devon Samson is a large floating crane used by the Royal Navy which I caught on camera sailing into Devonport Dockyard back in July.

To see the crane at work click here

I did try to find out more about this impressive beast but drew a blank!

06 August 2008

Its just as well we are anoraks

Every now and then you get a day when public transport really does seem the worse option. When you get bad weather like we are getting used to this summer then it does amplify how bad things are. Minor difficulties become major headaches when you are getting soaked!

Seemed a simple enough plan at the time. I had to get to The Station by 15:43 at the latest. I knew the train we were meeting was running on time as the Rail Track web site gives a real time arrivals board - great idea! A quick check on the Internet and I found a bus, FDC service 84 (I think - always get the mixed up!) that got to my stop at Derriford Roundabout about 15:10 and then straight through to Milehouse and then the City. A quick check on the RTP showed the bus as due so I waited, and waited, and waited. By now the bus had disappeared from the display board so clearly this bus wasn't equipped with the RTP system. I was actually on the phone to wife to explain I wouldn't make it when just before 15:25 the bus arrived a the stop. It didn't leave long to get to town but I decided to give it ago. Much to my surprise Plymouth traffic was having a day off so it was high speed, almost non stop, no traffic jams all the way into town and I got to the station with a few minutes to spare.

I probably could have caught a Citybus service down to near the station but the timetables printed at the bus stop only give departure times, with no indication of route - and how long the journey takes. FDC do give this in a simple diagram for each route which really does help.

Due to the weather getting worse we all caught a taxi to St Budeaux as we didnt fancy carrying our friends luggage all the way to the bus stop in the pouring rain.

Later in the evening I had to get me and Zak back to Estover from St Budeaux. I knew the 46 came through some time and also the 29 to Derriford might be an option as we could change buses there. It would save a long ride on the 46. Down to the bus stop and sadly there was no RTP display. There was a full display board...

A poor display

Not a well thought out board really!

Plenty of room but some timetables overlap while others have fallen down. Once again there is no route information to indicate where buses go and how long they take. At least the Target Travel timetable includes a full timetable which did give us an option to catch as far as Crownhill. We had missed the 29 and just missed a 152 so we decided to wait for the 46. A 29 did fly by just before the 46 - not sure what one this was as it wasn't on the timetable. We saw the 46 and Zak wanted to catch that one as he didn't want to change buses at Derriford. A very quite ride in a very damp Dart, we were just about the only passengers until Derriford, through the vast housing estates of North Plymouth - hardly the most scenic of routes at the best of times. The only highlight being The George Park and Ride site which was a hive of activity with no less than 4 FDC Park and Ride buses getting ready to depart back to the depot, a couple of the Northern Connect Taxibuses and a couple Northern Connect Solos  either parked up or arriving / departing at the same time. Zak enjoyed that - he likes the Northen Connect service - as he always gets a wave back from the drivers!

Actually to be fair, when I read back my post, it hardly qualifies as the journey to hell and back does it? Like I said

Minor difficulties become major headaches when you are getting soaked!

still, get the RTP up and running in more bus stops and buses, and get better route information printed up at stops and life as a bus passenger would get a little bit more bearable, even if likely to stay just as wet