|A A A2002 Bus Tour weekend: a report|
Friday 3 May 2002
The 2002 LUPTS weekend began at 14:00 at Sandhills station where 10 members met up for the short walk to the Liverpool Museum reserve store. We came away from it with the message “tell your friends about us, but don’t tell them where we are” so the location of the premises must still remain a secret.
We were shown round the three units of the reserve by curator Sharon Brown. In the entrance hall, we were first met by the sight of ex Liverpool tram 245, looking a bit sad for itself having not properly turned a wheel since 1957. There is some optimism though – the Museum is in negotiation with preservationists to restore the tram to working order in the next couple of years. “At last” is a phrase which springs to mind – LUPTS made an approach to Liverpool City Transport as long ago as 1958 with a view to running the tram at Crich, but were turned down on the grounds that the tram should be accessible to Liverpool people. Other than a short period on display at the Large Objects Collection in the mid 1980s, this has never happened yet. [In response to a query, its period on display at Steamport in the 1970s doesn't count. Sharon told us that she nowadays gets complaints that L&MR Lion is on display at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry - on the grounds that it's in Manchester.]
The three units themselves contained all sorts of goodies. The first unit had a collection of horse drawn carriages from the Croxteth Park, stevedores handcarts from the docks and dozens of bicycles. The second unit had the real goodies: ex Mersey Railway ‘Cecil Raikes’, MDHB 0-6-0ST No 1 (as used by LUPTS on the tour of the Mersey Dock railway system in 1965, a carriage from the Overhead Railway, the ex Southport Crossley single decker and various cars and lorries. The third unit had a collection of fire appliances of various vintages and the restored chassis from the ex Liverpool six wheel Thornycroft, the remains of its body being hidden away in the corner of the first unit.
No sign of the ex MDHB worksplate and bell which LUPTS donated in 1970. These were apparently in the Conservation Centre in the city centre and, due to a breakdown in internal communications, they remained there for the duration of our visit. Perhaps next year?Seven of the party the walked the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal back into the city centre. A couple of pints at the Vernon Arms in Dale Street got people in the mood for Saturday.
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Saturday 4 May 2002
‘The Industrial Yorkshireman’. An 08:15ish start from outside Exchange Station in Liverpool Motor Services’ Plaxton bodied Dennis Trident II PO51UGF, the only low floor double decker in Liverpool, driven by LMS’s proprietor Dave Forrest. Pick up at the University and then a high speed run over to Dewsbury for a visit to the Bus Museum. A fairly small shed but cram packed with interesting exhibits – a Routemaster in 1979 Shillibeer commemorative livery, an ex West Riding Guy Wulfrunian, the prototype Bristol LS and a Ford Cargo carrying the body of an ex London Transport Guy Special single decker. The museum then gave us a quick tour of Dewsbury in ex West Riding Roe bodied Leyland PS2 733 (EHL344), cosy with 38 in the LUPTS party and 39 seats on the bus.
Next stop was Armley Mills in Leeds, home of the Industrial Museum. An interesting range of things to look at – spinning looms, recreated cottages, cinematographic equipment. Some of the latter was in use in a recreated cinema, in which was being projected a video on Leeds trams with a rather familiar sounding voice (Martin Jenkins, for those who can’t guess). A shed at the far side of the site contained locomotives from just about all the loco builders which were based in Leeds in the heyday of manufacture – Hunslet, Fowler and Hudswell Clarke to name but three.
Then back to the bus and the 45 minute trip to Saltaire, home of Titus Salt’s mill and village. We arrived there expecting our chartered canal boat to be waiting for us on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Problem – no boat. Quick thinking by Graham Unwin abandoned this element of the day, leaving people to go the pub, walk to the Shipley Glen Tramway (visited by LUPTS on the 1983 and 1999 bus tours) or improve their cultural knowledge by viewing the David Hockney exhibition in the mill. The best entertainment was reserved for those who stayed by the canal side. An unsuspecting cabin cruiser owner failed to notice that repair work to the arched bridge significantly reduced the headroom. This meant that a scaffolding pole scraped along the top of the cabin, thereby removing the bicycle and several other items which were resting there. Some of the these fell into the canal but the boat owner correctly surmised that his best course of action was to sail on, rather then try and fish his possessions out of the canal in full view of the LUPTS party. Perhaps he returned there in the dead of night? Next entertainment was Graham’s negations with the captain of the next boat to pass along, one run by the same company as the one from which we thought we’d hired our boat. The inference is that they tried to fob us off by just running a boat in public passenger service, and this had had to leave at 13:30. We arrived at 13:40 and it had gone. Negotiations will continue, but tour participants received a £4 a head refund in the expectation of the boat owner coughing up our deposit.
Next stop was Bolton Abbey, the eastern terminus of the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway (as it's called this week). A round trip to Embsay and back, hauled by an 0-6-0ST proudly bearing the LUPTS Tour headboard, allowed tour participants to part with money in the excellent shop at Embsay station. Back at Bolton Abbey, the traditional rigmarole of the group photograph took place.
Then the short trip in the bus to Skipton, a close encounter with a rubbish bin in the coach park and a chance for teas, beers or chips to sustain people for the trip back to Liverpool. Back in Liverpool, the bus dropped off at the usual places, double parked outside Dr Duncan’s to prize DA out, finishing in Dale Street and a repeat session in the Vernon. So ended the 26th LUPTS annual bus tour – many thanks to Graham Unwin for its facilitation.
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Courtesy of Paul Hollinghurst, here are some photographs taken on the Saturday.
|Tour bus alongside preserved Crosville Bristol L LFM767 at Bolton Abbey.|
|Ex West Riding Leyland PS2, now housed at the Dewsbury Bus Museum. The tour party was given a cosy trip round Dewsbury in this vehicle.|
|Hunslet 0-4-0ST 'Jack' at Armley Mill.|
|Wot, no canal boat? (Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Saltaire)|
|Bolton Abbey station|
|The obligatory group photograph at Bolton Abbey.|
Sunday 5 May 2002
Lunch at the Martin Inn near Burscough for about 20 LUPTS members and families – at least it was once the food was served. Then to the nearby Windmill Farm Railway. This 15 inch gauge line was a real surprise to many. A variety of locos – steam, diesel and petrol – petrol originating in all parts of Britain. The owner, Austin Moss, gave us a tour of his workshops and chapter and verse on all the locos and other rolling stock in his collection. We had two return trips on the half mile line, hauled by an 0-4-0ST.
As ever, an excellent weekend. Mark Telfer has stepped forward to organise next year’s bus tour (Saturday 3 May 2003, this not clashing with the FA Cup Final) so anyone worried about getting stitched up with the job can relax. Suggestions for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be gratefully received.
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Again courtesy of Paul Hollinghurst, here are some photographs taken on the Sunday.
|Windmill Farm Railway:
Austin Moss gives us an explanation of the stock in the collection.
JC looks bored.
|ASLEF rules require a crew of 2 1/2 on the footplate of all trains on the Windmill Farm Railway.|
|Small, medium and large.
A collection of Miss Marshes.
|Returning to the windmill on
the last train of the day.
Graham continues to tell people that it wasn't his fault that the canal boat didn't turn up.
For those who need an explanation, the Webmaster sits astride a bar stool converted by Austin Moss, with judicious use of lawn mower components, to run under its own power on 15 inch gauge railways.
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Last updated: 01 June 2004
© Charles Roberts/LUPTS 2002