King Alfred Running Day 2013

King Alfred Running Day 2013

I have decided to submit a batch of views from the King Alfred Running Day all were taken January 1st 2013. The event is normally held in Winchester on New Year's Day, but it is moved occasionally in order to avoid clashes or to celebrate the last weekend of the "real" King Alfred operation in April. It has become one of the major events of the year. Inevitably, a number of vehicles are far too new for these pages, and I confine the entries to those of suitable age. There were some which I have not seen and photographed at all before, and some which I didn't previously have in digital format.

First up are two views of the Ribble PD3/5, TCK 821, 1821, built in 1963. The body is by Metropolitan Cammell and - since there has been discussion on the site already about sliding or folding doors - I'm including one of the entry arrangements. I'd not seen her at all before, though she now lives locally. Comments others were making on a trip on her indicate the sluggish running and sloppy suspension mark her as having spent at least most of her career at Preston depot, though her blinds are for the Carlisle, Kendal and Lancaster area.

Next comes a view of HLJ 44, a K6A new to Hants & Dorset fleet number TD895. She was in fact one of a batch loaned to London Transport to cover a shortage, and the bullseye is seen. It's a pity that she now carries the Ensignbus fleetname instead of her real one, but she does at least survive. I last saw her in a rally in 1980.

Third entry is TTP 992. This Tiger Cub PSUC1/1 ex Portsmouth City Transport fleet number 18 has a Weymann body, currently B00D. The only seat aboard is for the driver! He was telling me she was in use as a "hippymobile" so is under restoration. I'd not seen her before.

SMK 679F, RML2679 an AEC Routemaster. She's in the fleet of Xelabus and is used for private hire work. I first saw her at the 2012 event.

Fifth up is something of an oddity! This is 136 NOU, a 1935 Renault from RATP. She's one of three similar vehicles owned by Robert Jowitt, one of the authors of the King Alfred fleet history. He comments in the book that the citizens of Winchester were so accustomed to the decrepit nature of many of the fleet that, when he acquired his first one (and I suspect it was this) they thought here was the operator's latest purchase and tried to hail it. I had seen one of the other two before, but not this one.

Leyland Tiger PS1/Harrington combination of Scarlet Pimpernel, Minehead. My previous sighting was in 1998, which I caught on slide film.

Here we have a pair of "real" King Alfred buses, with the Paris Renault behind them. HOR 592E is an Atlantean with Roe bodywork, and UOU 417H just qualifies on the normal web pages by being a 1969 Panther with Plaxton body. The shadow of England's most famous cook spreads across the Atlantean.

Here we have one of the Hants & Dorset Lodekkas which were on duty. DEL 893C is of the FLF6G variety, having been new as a 6B. She's in the Bus Station.

MMW 354G, 824, A 1969 Bristol RELL6G with an ECW B45D from the "real" Wilts & Dorset fleet, seen leaving Winchester for Romsey.

5677 EL, 1450, one of the Hants & Dorset 1960 FS6G Lodekkas. She spent some time in yellow as a training vehicle, but has been restored. This work includes both rear indicators, destination and service number.

LLJ 443F, 1577, 1967 Hants & Dorset. This outwardly similar FLF is actually an example of the FLF6L, and has a semi-automatic gearbox, rather than the more common three pedals and a big stick.

Yet another Hants & Dorset FLF, This time GLJ 748D, 1540. She is another 6G and is parked in the yard behind the Bus Station, awaiting her next duty.

JFM 575. Now in the Quantock fleet, but new in 1948 to Crosville and operating in their livery and fleet number TA5. She is a Regal III with a Strachan B35RD bodywork. I annoys me that the Preverved Buses listing from PSVC does not usually mention the door provision, when it is clear that there is indeed a door. As you see, she is a little adrift from her normal route, being seen behind the Bus Station.

Yet another smart vehicle behind the Bus Station. YFO 127 is Guernsey 8227, 77, in disguise. A 1958 Albion Vitor with Readings bodywork, PSVC insist on describing her as B35F, when she is quite clearly FB35F. It is, perhaps, fortunate, that I'm not a member of that organisation, for I'd have been roasted for heresy years ago.

Wilts & Dorset, EMW 284, 279. This L6B has a Beadle C32RD body, though PSVC omits the D. She has just arrived in the yard behind the Bus Station, and is being readied to park.

A visiting Routemaster, CUV 208C in Shillibeer livery. The blinds are being reset.

This is a 1959 Bristol Lodekka LD6G, ECW H58RD, 969 EHW, L8515 from Bath Services. I have seen her previously, at Duxford and captured her on slide film.

JAA 708, A 1951 Leyland Olympic HR40 with a Weymann B40F body from the "real" King Alfred fleet, newly in service after many years under restoration. She's in The Broadway, near "his" statue. I've seen her several times over the years, during that restoration.

JOW 499E, 1, a 1967 AEC Swift MP2R of Southampton City Transport. She has a Strachan B47D body and is another back on the road after a very long restoration. She's leaving the St Catherine's Park and Ride site for City Centre.

OAX 9F, RC968 from the Red & White fleet a Bristol RELH6L with an ECW C47F. Note the setting on the blind over the driver's position. I last saw her at a rally in the 1980's.

YLJ 147, Leyland Titan PD3/1 with a Weymann H37/25RD fleet number 147 in the
Bournemouth Corporation fleet. I have seen her several times, most recently
before this was at the Winkleigh Open Day in October 2012.

ALD 990B, another Routemaster, but this one is in the livery of the erstwhile Reading Mainline company.

SMM 90F, Another Swift 3P2R - though the London Transport variation was usually called the Merlin. She was new in 1968 with fleet number MB90 carrying a MCW B41D bodywork.

Finally, we finish in the way we started with a pair of views. This time of Southamptons number 1 again, arriving at St Catherine's for another journey.

And "I hope you enjoyed this gallery. Why not put the event in your diary for 2014?"

Pete Davies

04/01/13 - 13:00

Thanks for an excellent gallery. I just wish there was something similar down here in S W Ireland. All we get are tractor and farm machinery rallies!

Phil Blinkhorn

04/01/13 - 14:11

Nice to see someone else's pictures of the event although I was there with my camera. My comment is that JFM 575 didn't move all day as it experienced a blow out on a tyre on the way to the event and Stephen Morris decided it was not safe to carry passengers in service. He did however decide to stay for the day and we should be grateful he didn't just head home.

Ken Jones

04/01/13 - 16:13

Thank you, Phil and Ken for your kind words. I had wondered why the Crosville vehicle wasn't active. The K started late, after a fuel leak which had a repair at St Catherine's.

Pete Davies

04/01/13 - 17:45

Unfortunately I didn't make it to Winchester this year (sadly had to sit at the office desk instead). Re the comment about the fleet name on HLJ 44, this has recently been sold by Ensign to the Blair family (of Xelabus fame) hence why it appeared at Winchester. Presumably the fleet name will change in due course.

Nigel Turner

05/01/13 - 05:52

Thank you, Nigel, for the update on the K. Yes, I hope that the fleetname will revert to Hants & Dorset. The transfer of ownership must be very recent, as she still carried the Ensign legal lettering.

Pete Davies

06/01/13 - 18:06

Excellent set of shots of another grand Running Day,
The owner of the Shillibeer Routemaster should be commended for running his vehicle with a correct set of destination blinds for each of his routes.
Specially made for the occasion - well done Adam.

Peter Murnaghan

08/01/13 - 07:36

Partly because I was lucky enough to have some driving turns at Winchester, but more importantly because I'd left my camera at home (!) I couldn't take any pics, so many thanks to Pete D for this fine gallery. Having sung the praises the other day of the utilitarian, unpretentious Tiger Cub, I'd like to do the same for the Lodekka. With excellent route availability, reliability and fuel consumption it must have put a smile on many a manager's face; the step-free entrance is a boon to passengers and it's a real delight to drive. The low centre of gravity also affords great stability on corners. Bath Services 969 EHW was like a comfy old shoe, warm and familiar, and she behaved impeccably. H&D DEL 893C had all the same virtues except that the brakes had a very disconcerting tendency to grab at very low road speeds. Were FLFs known for this? I remember one at Thames Valley with a sliding door (1960 batch, I think) that had very fierce air brakes, however gently you caressed the pedal. All that apart, a retired H&D electrician I spoke to said that the lightweights (he didn't specify make) were always in the workshops with one fault or another, whereas the Bristols "put up with" numerous different drivers and very seldom failed.
A very enjoyable day!

Ian Thompson



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