Thursday 7 March 2013

A Mass Departure

If you like your buses green in colour then a visit to South Yorkshire is worth taking. Whilst other parts of the United Kingdom were bathed in sunshine on the 5th March, the North Midlands and South Yorkshire surrounds were somewhat gloomy. With a promise by the local weather man that things would brighten up during the day I decided to have a look at the MASS (t/a Brightbus) fleet's afternoon schoolbus runout from their base at North Anston. Knowing of a nice sunny nearside spot between the depot and the A57 at North Aston, I pointed the chariot northwards. Even though it was still misty, things looked promising with a hint of sunshine breaking through. Onto the M1 for a short jaunt to Junction 31 and the A57, where by now I was bathed in sunshine. However, my euphoria did not last for long, for as I approached my turn off of the A57, Todwick Lane was blocked off by major roadworks. 
I persevered and a long diversion saw me near to where I wanted to be at Pocket Handkerchief Lane. But it was obvious that no buses nor indeed any traffic at all would pass by the intended location, and be at all good for sun-bathed front 3/4 nearside shots.
So it was a quick run up to the depot and was told that all buses had to depart north west away from the area, with none passing by the intended photo location.
North westwards at this time of the day was hopeless with the sun by now round to the South. But as luck would have it, just as I was abandoning all hope, the mist duly rolled back in, so I popped up the road to the nice wide junction and waited for the fleet to depart. This it duly did, and whilst there was the odd occasion when Mr.Sunshine did his level best to force its way through the gloom and spoil things, I managed a reasonable selection of the fleet with the Box Brownie. 

Most were of the tri-axle variety, a mixture of Dennis/Duple and Leyland/Alexander from Far Eastern parts, but sprinkled with their latest acquisitions in the shape of nine of the former First Glasgow Volvo/East Lancs 'Nordics', in an allover white livery. Hopefully these will attract the attentions of the man with a paint brush and receive the green livery.

The fleet of ex.London and Reading Optare Spectras which have been with the company for a while were definitely dwindling, in fact I could only see four of the ex.London versions tucked away in a corner of the compound, obviously not going anywhere. 

Those on the road were two ex.Reading and one ex.Optare demonstrator (K170 FYG). On the other hand there are still several of the former East London S-class Scania/Northern Counties still knocking about.
A larger selection of images can be seen on the Focus Flickr here.

Tony Wilson