Monday 6 December 2021

Buses Playing a Bigger Part at Beamish

 Buses are playing a bigger part at the Beamish Museum in Co Durham.

With the opening of the 1950's town at the museum which includes a bus depot, the number of buses in operation is increasing and now an ex Darlington Roe bodied 
Daimler CVG5 304 VHN has been added to the fleet, joining the ex Rotherham CVG6 KET 220 a Weymann bodied vehicle

While the two Daimler buses are very similar, there are subtle differences between the two models. Darlington 304 has a five cylinder engine and has a crash gearbox, whilst the ex Rotherham vehicle has a six cylinder engine and a pre-selector gearbox. Aside from a handful of other detail differences, Darlington 304 also has slightly more seats than 220.

Darlington 304 underwent a period of maintenance work before being put into service. The bus, along with the addition of the bus depot, help to tell the rich and diverse story of transport in the region in the 1950s.

A 1933 Leyland Cub bus has also joined the fleet which has been subject to a seven year restoration. It has been specially adapted with a lift fitted at the rear, so Beamish visitors with access needs can be transported around the museum on a vintage bus.

The bus will share this work with the existing Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), and means this important service can continue when repairs to either vehicle are being carried out.

Paul Jarman, Assistant Director – Design, Transport and Industry, said: “The seven-year restoration of Crosville 716 has not been without its challenges, but the initial work carried out by Historic Vehicle Restoration and the concluding work by Gardiners Coach Repairs, has produced a tremendous result.

It is now, with some relief, the time to hand the bus over to the operating department for our visitors to enjoy and which will make our Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle operation more resilient – as for the first time since the first WAV bus was completed in 2007, we have a spare!" More about the vehicle here

The Bus Depot project has been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Go North East and The Reece Foundation, along with local, regional and national trusts and foundations, the Friends of Beamish and the Business Friends of Beamish.

A bus event is planned for 16th & 17th July 2022 which will welcome visiting buses. Details are being finalised.

Below are photographs showing buses that have visited Beamish this year.

Two visiting Crossley's. 1947 Sunderland GR 9007 now owned by the North East
Bus Preservation Group and FUN 319 Crossley SD42/Burlingham owned by Wright Bros.
GR 9007 came to the NEBPT from the estate of the late John Jackson.
It was restored by John Jackson and Tony Melia.

On the left, AHN 451B, a visiting vehicle belonging to Aycliffe & District Bus Preservation Society,stands next to the now resident Daimler 304 VHN

1964 Northern General Routemaster now owned by the North East Bus Preservation Group.
The vehicle is maintained by Go North East and recently attended the Imberbus event.

1966 Strachan bodied Leyland Panther - FBR 53D ex Sunderland Corporation

Right to Left Strachan bodied Leyland Panther - FBR 53D, WBR 248 ex Sunderland
Atkinson Alpha Gardner 6HLW with Marshall Bodywork and Crossley GR 9007. 
On the left ex Sunderland tram 16.

Above & below, UPT 517 'Venture' Leyland Leopard / Alexander ‘Y’ alongside AHN 451B

For more details about the July 2022 Beamish Bus Event keep checking the Beamish and NEBPG websites