PHH 149W – Bristol VRTSL6G with ECW body
This Bristol VRT (a chassis built with a Vertical Rear Transverse engine) was new to Cumberland Motor Services in October 1980 as fleet number 431. The bus was originally registered KRM 431W. It’s Eastern Coachworks Body is the lowest of three options available at the time, being only 13 feet 5 inches tall, and able to fit under both railway bridges at Seaton on the 47 and 54 routes.
Cumberland bought 38 VRTs for service in West Cumbria. 431 spent its entire life with Cumberland, and was the last VRT owned by Stagecoach in the north west, becoming their fleet number 15731 in December 2002. It was shortly after this that it was reregistered.
In 2004, 431 was used on the peak summer Borrowdale service 79 between Keswick and Seatoller, and saw further sporadic service in the Preston area. Despite being in the reserve fleet and due for early withdrawal in September 2005 it was repainted into the latest Stagecoach livery. Final withdrawal came in May 2006.
It passed to John Burrow and Brian Pritchard in November 2006 and has since been repainted into the Ayres Red and Ivory post-NBC livery of cms Cumberland. 431 is fully serviceable, and can be seen regularly out and about at events, both local and further afield.
DYW 174V – Volvo Coach with Plaxton body
This had been advertised in Bus & Coach Preservation magazine by Sussex Coaches of Billingshurst. Negotiations with owner Sam Ayling proved successful resulting in the coach being driven over 350 miles back to Workington in February 2012.
The coach has recently had its upholstery re-trimmed, and this now looks spotless. The coach has plenty of performance and drove well on the motorway at 50-60mph. Leaving Sussex with a full tank of around 45 gallons there were still 16 gallons left at journey’s end, giving an impressive 12mpg.
C877 PRM – Land Rover fire appliance
This machine was donated by Cumbria Fire Service, now looked after by John Wall who is in the process of setting up a preservation group to care for the appliance. C877 PRM is in excellent condition, and requires just a good polish to put a shine on its paintwork. It comes complete with the bulk of its accessories. It is a 1986 machine, one of four that were replaced by more modern vehicles. This arrived at Pottery Field in May 2009.
K779 DAO – Volvo B10 with Alexander body
The Volvo B10 single decker with Alexander PS body was the mainstay of the Stagecoach in Cumbria fleet for many years from around 1992, with up to 90 in service. At one time they were to be seen on X5, 30, 46, 47, 50, 51, 300 and many other routes in West Cumbria. Their role has now been taken over by low floor easy access Alexander bodied MAN buses.
Many of these went on to see further service with independent operators. K777/9 DAO went on to The Big Lemon Bus Company in Brighton.
After withdrawal in October 2013 an assessment was carried out for work needed to gain a new MoT. Initially this was suggested as being in the region of £3,000 which was much more than the value of the bus. But a heritage bus specialist in Sussex sorted the bus and got it through its test for the princely sum of £400 – including the cost of the MoT test!
The bus is privately owned but is available for use on Trust work. It passed its MoT in November 2013, and was driven the 396 miles from Brighton to Workington at a steady 50-55mph, returning an impressive 12.7mpg. This compares with 7 – 8mpg from our Nationals.
In 2016 it had its damaged body skirt panels repaired and some mechanical renovation. At the end of the year it was undergoing a repaint into a new green and yellow livery.