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Leicestershire visit in 1993

Page last updated on 9th November 2013

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1993 saw a photographic trip to the East Midlands area. Base camp was in the Leicestershire village of Mountsorrel, just off the A6. After a late evening arrival, a brief walking trip the next morning revealed that the two routes (126 and 127) through the village were being worked by what seemed like a kaleidoscope of acquired UK operator's vehicles, all in the distinctive Midland Fox livery of yellow and red. Ex Scottish Metrobuses with Alexander R type bodies were seen alongside an ex Merseyside Olympian, as well as some late 1970s ex South Yorkshire Fleetlines again bodied by Alexander. It seemed like an amazing variety of vehicles for a small town.....

This Roe bodied Olympian, ACM 706X, new to Merseyside PTE, was photographed passing through Mountsorrel on Midland Fox service 127. It was one of many second-hand deckers then being operated by the eastern part of the former Midland Red company.

Some miles away was Barrow-on-Soar, which was the home base of Kinches Coaches. On a fine summer's evening I tracked down a number of buses outside the company's depot, many of which were ex West Midlands or London Fleetlines, and below is a photo of the former London DMS2340. Perhaps I had travelled on this very bus on the 1986/87 trips to London, who knows?

Kinch had invested in used deckers to run services in Leicester and Nottingham, such as route 48 (in the latter city) for which this bus is suitably labelled in its destination blind box. Midland Fox were also running ex London DMS class and ex West Midlands Fleetlines, as well as some Iveco midibuses with the brand name of "Fox Cub".

Leicester Citybus's fleet was, by then, largely back in the traditional maroon and white colours, although rumours of a decker still in the red, white and grey were proved right when a Marshall bodied Dennis Dominator shyly appeared on route 54 one morning, which can be seen at the back of this four strong line-up of two maroon and cream East Lancs bodied vehicles and a Kinch DMS.

The red, white and grey bus is seen in more detail below:

Midland Fox were running some Iveco midi-buses, the pair I photographed being in allover advertising livery but retaining yellow fronts. Imaginatively, the company chose the marketing name of "Fox Cub" for these smaller vehicles.

Midland Fox took several of the last version of the London DMS class Fleetlines into its fleet. As they had also acquired the older version of these buses in earlier times, they became one of the few operators to run both models. Ex DMS2548 is seen in Central Leicester with a revised destination box layout.

A more localised source of used Fleetlines was West Midlands, where this MCW bodied bus had originated. This purchase helps to recall the acquisition of 90 Midland Red D9 class buses by West Midlands some twenty years earlier.

Further afield, a visit was paid to Stratford on Avon, the home base of Guide Friday. I was quite pleased to find that 264 ERY (new to Leicester Corporation in 1963), the company's only half cab rear platform decker was working on the town tour instead of its advertised Warwick service.

An afternoon diversion into Mansfield one day produced very little of interest. A few Stagecoach corporate liveried buses, a couple of Trent's fleet, and one of Skill's vehicles was about it, apart from a Bristol VRT in green and cream, which I think may have been a post NBC privatisation revival of an older livery.

Stagecoach East Midland Olympian 321 is seen departing from Mansfield on the 53 to Sheffield.

Mercedes G825 KWF seen in Mansfield bus station with a very uninformative destination display.....

Having had my appetite whetted by the appearance of the Guide Friday PD3, more classic buses were sought. The AEC rally was being held in Nottingham – wall to wall AEC trucks, buses and coaches. And a few strange interlopers as well, such as a preserved utility Douglas Corporation Daimler CWA6... A DAIMLER?, at an AEC show? Then of course it dawned on me that it had an AEC engine! Likewise with a Bristol K6A which also turned up. But I couldn't figure out the appearance of a Plaxton bodied Ford, converted to a large motor home. Surely there couldn't be an AEC engined Ford, could there?????

The well known preserved Leicester Corporation 1939 AEC Renown was one of the oldest vehicles attending. It's restored to wartime specification with no headlights, and the bus has a Northern Counties body.

A more modern AEC was this newly refurbished 1976 Duple Dominant coach on a Reliance chassis.

Ex London Transport vehicles were to be seen in large numbers, and the RT type was represented by this duo, red RT2293 and green RT4494.

An older London Regent was the former STL169, seen here partly restored. Alongside is ex RM429, entered by Capital Citybus.

And finally, I visited the Black Country museum at Dudley, and sampled travel on a trolleybus, another first for me, as these vehicles never saw active service in the Republic of Ireland. Anyway there were a pair of them out that day, one each from the local municipal fleets of Wolverhampton and Walsall, the latter being pictured above.

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