King Alfred Running Day 1st January 2014

King Alfred Running Day 1st January 2014

The King Alfred Running Day has been held in Winchester on or about New Year's Day for a number of years, with the occasional foray into (hopefully) warmer weather in April to mark anniversaries of the operator's demise. The 2014 event was advertised as being the last to be held on New Year's Day, with two main reasons. One is the wish to move to better weather, and the date for 2015 hasn't been announced yet as I type this. The other is that the long-threatened SILVER HILL development in Winchester is said to be imminent. Among other things, it will remove the bus station.

First view is of LDV 467F, a 1968 RELH with ECW coach body in the livery of Royal Blue but with Southern National fleet name. She's just pulled out from the Stagecoach depot at Bar End, on her way to St Catherine's Park & Ride Site, where the buses on static display are usually seen. Those seen behind the bus station are "between duties".

326 CAA is a 1961 Bedford SB3 with Harrington coach body from the host fleet. She's parked near "His" statue at the eastern end of Broadway.

POU 494 is another from the host fleet, a 1956 Titan PD2/24 with East Lancs L55R bodywork. She's more or less opposite 326 CAA in Broadway and is behind one of the Panthers, which are too new to appear here!

POD 830H is a 1969 Bristol RELL6G with the flat fronted version of the ECW bus body. Note the Devon General fleet name and NBC livery (sorry, chaps!)

Here we have a trio of Lodekkas in Tilling green. 5677 EL and DEL 893C are from the Hants & Dorset fleet, while SDL 268 is from Southern Vectis. They are behind the bus station. If you're wondering what that blue gem is on the right, read on!!!

FNV 557 is a 1950 Tiger PS2/3 with Whitson FC33F bodywork from the fleet of that other Royal Blue based in Northamptonshire.

SMM 90F is a 1968 Merlin 3P2R in London Transport Country Area green, as MB90. Again, she's behind the bus station. The King Alfred VAL coach is alongside.

Near the statue again, we see UHY 384, a KSW6G from the Bristol fleet, 8336 with crest rather than fleet name. She dates from 1955.

5677 EL, a 1961 version of the FS6G, backs out from her stand at Winchester Bus Station for another trip.

CCX 777 is the famous Daimler CWA6 from 1945. She still has Duple "Utility" style body and is seen as London Transport D130. Was she ever thus in normal service?

373 FCR is of the Southampton City Transport AEC Regent V/East Lancs, fleet numbered 353. She's at St Catherine's.

BBK 236B is on the right of this trio of Portsmouth City Transport buses. This 1964 Atlantean PDR1/1 has Metropolitan Cammell bodywork. In the centre is ORV 989, a 1958 PD2/40, also with Metropolitan Cammell bodywork, and on the left is an AN68 version of the Atlantean, dating from 1973 and with Alexander bodywork.

Pete Davies

01/01/14 - 17:27

Great instantaneous photos. Reflecting on the Royal Blue Bristol RELH, visually this was a classic, if understated, design. If only they had been available without restriction they may well have usurped many a Reliance and Leopard (North Western would have been right up there in the queue) and the colour scheme possibilities were legion. It has to be said that the Royal Blue scheme would have taken some beating.

Phil Blinkhorn

01/01/14 - 18:09

Thanks for your comments, Phil. I must say that, despite the organisers' wish to move to better weather, today's was the worst event in that respect I've ever encountered! My supposedly 'monsoon proof' wet weather gear needs to be replaced, I think.

Pete Davies

02/01/14 - 08:32

Have to say that I was impressed by how quickly you posted these pictures. I should have been there myself but have had a cold and chest infection and decided against it when I saw the weather forecast. [Missed seeing a friend as a result.] Not sure I think the move of date is a good thing.

David Oldfield

03/01/14 - 08:17

To answer the question on CCX 777, it only ever operated in normal service as Huddersfield 217 and then West Bridgford 24.

Peter Williamson

03/01/14 - 09:55

David O, and anyone else who might be interested, if you'd like our editor to send you copies of any of these views, he has my permission to do so.
Peter W - thought so! Thanks for the confirmation.

Pete Davies

03/01/14 - 12:00

Pete. That's a very kind offer. Thank you. Appreciate it.

David Oldfield

03/01/14 - 12:08

Thanks for the gallery, Pete. Either the camera or you---or more probably both---have managed to make the weather look a lot less awful than it was! My shoes still haven't dried out. Very disappointing for the organising team, who had put on the biggest KA Running Day ever and justifiably hoped for bumper programme sales, and dispiriting too for the hardy passengers and photographers, who will have remembered the wonderful sunshine we had on January the first 2013. Those of us driving halfcabs at least had a nice warm engine for comfort. I was grateful to be allocated 3 late morning turns in UHY 384, the ex-Bristol Tramways highbridge KSW6G, which only confirmed my long-held opinion that the KSW is a marvellous vehicle that fully deserved to be as ubiquitous as it was---however boring that may have seemed to the enthusiast at the time! I took a patch of flooded road at King's Worthy without slowing down enough (should have known better) and received an alarming reminder of what happens with vacuum brakes when you get water in the drums. Late afternoon I had my first-ever go in an FS, ex-Southern Vectis YDL 318, which has what feels like a pretty new or at least extremely well-maintained 6LW coupled to a four-speed gearbox. Very relaxing to drive (apart from the brakes, but this time for a different reason), and another reminder of just how good was the design tradition that gave birth to the K and L series and the Lodekka. One thing, though: thank goodness for today's mirrors and windscreen wipers! Although there's no absolute guarantee of better weather in late April, at least snow and ice are highly unlikely and there's 6 3/4 more hours of daylight. Whatever the outcome of the Silver Hill proposals, I do hope that KA Running Days continue to thrive.
A question: the spec of the Bristol PS gearbox (as used in the K and L) quotes overdrive as 0.69:1 (the same ratio, incidentally, as in the gearbox used in the Dennis J and K) yet the ratio in the UHY 384 felt closer---nearer to the 0.77:1 found in the totally different Lodekka 5-speed box. Is it possible that very late Ks, such as these Bristol Tramways and BHD examples, had a closer ratio 5th?

Ian Thompson

03/01/14 - 14:35

Ian, thanks for your comments. I "saw" YDL but it was one vehicle I didn't manage to photograph. Never mind, some other time!

Pete Davies

07/01/14 - 16:40

The camera seems to have become far wetter than I thought. While this batch of views came out quite well, the next time I switched the beast on, to photograph the most spectacular sunrise I've seen in years, the autofocus didn't want to know. I've had to buy a new camera!!!

Pete Davies



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