Preparations for the Games
Reading Transport have signed a short-term contract with First to accommodate and look after 40 vehicles that are to be used on the special shuttle services between Maidenhead Station and the rowing events at Dorney Lake during the Games from mid-July until early September. The buses will form part of an 80-strong fleet running these services, with the drivers staying in accommodation at the University of Reading.
The first four vehicles arrived on 10th July direct from the manufacturers, and then at the rate of about five a day. Reading will be responsible for fuelling, washing, sweeping and parking them each night. Extra space on the east of the depot has been rented in order to accommodate the vehicles, mainly in the location of the former east staff car park, with extra security and cleaning staff being employed as well. The list of the vehicles observed so far can be downloaded here.
Reading Transport will be providing 18 buses of their own for operations in July and August, but not September.
First Games Transport 33670, 33679 and other new Enviro 400s in the former east staff car park. Thanks to Richard Mallett for this photo.
33689 on 15th July. Thanks to Mark Chandler for this photo.
In addition, an enhanced arrangement was announced for the First RailAir service earlier in the month. Currently the vehicles used on this service are parked at Great Knollys Street over night and maintained at First's depot in Slough, but from mid-September Reading will provide engineering support as well. The arrangement will include maintenance, routine checks, MoTs, washing, interior cleaning and parking.
BTS Annual Tour
Yesterday was the British Trolleybus Society's annual tour of Reading by preserved bus. This year saw the debut of recent preservation acquisition Optare Spectra 701 along with former Reading Mainline No.25.
The tour proceeded with a run out along Oxford Road and Overdown Road on route 38 to Purley (much like the current 16), returning via Line D to the Town Centre. From there Line H was followed to Lower Earley via Northumberland Avenue, returning by an approximation of route 12 (the current 21).
701 on Wintringham Way just around the corner from the terminus at Chestnut Grove, Purley.
So far restoration work has focused on the interior, but an exterior repaint will undoubtedly be on the cards.
No.25 and 701 at Kilnsea Drive, Lower Earley.
Reading Buses Annual Open Day
Today Reading Buses held their fifth annual family open day at the Great Knollys Street depot. The doors opened at 1100 with all of the usual attractions alongside Star Wars Storm Troopers, Ewoks and even Darth Vader. A free vintage shuttle bus ran every 20 minutes to/from Great Knollys Street via the Station and Town Centre loop using a mixture of guest vehicles, whilst all proceeds from the day went to the Duchess of Kent House charity for the second year running.
1103 providing rides through the bus wash.
The hybrids and Streetlites were the main focus for the display of vehicles - those on route 17 not having arrived at the time of last years event. A final cavalcade of vehicles around the Town Centre was led by the hybrids as follows:
Former No.25 on Forbury Road.
Recently repainted Optare Solo 123 was in the main yard on driver shuttle duties.