Today nearly 50 buses of various vintages from exceptionally old to so young the paint was barely dry filled Regent Street for a display that felt as static as a normal rush hour, except that frustrated faces were replaced with happy smiles.

The Year of the Bus took a departure from transport geeks and came storming into the middle of town where the general public were more likely to turn up, by design or accident.

No stands filled with arcane collectables here, it was family-friendly fun that dominated.

Some photos:


IMG_7350Regent Street full of buses, and flower arrangements.

IMG_7166Plenty of seating for the tired, or, in a reversal of the usual shopping trip, wives waiting for husbands.

IMG_7205A street full of buses, and tourists.

IMG_7356The prevailing view — people holding cameras.

IMG_7235Some younger visitors might have been surprised to learn that buses aren’t always painted red.

IMG_7199Queuing to sit in the drivers cab.

IMG_7217A long line of buses down Regent Street

IMG_7296I might need to update my list of TfL roundels!

IMG_7266Crowds mingle around Hamleys less interested in the small toys within than the big toys outside.

IMG_7253Long term readers will know the significance of Route 23A to Imber.

IMG_7211Transport Museum deployed their mobile shop to sell suitable branded wares — including a new Battle Bus moquette.

IMG_7305The buses with the longest queues to go inside, were the three New Routemasters.
Each had queues as long as any other bus on display, and had there been just one of them, the queues would have been exceptional.
The buses may be loathed by some vocal commentators, but put them on display and they always top the interest level at events.

IMG_7371The traditional way to greet a vintage bus these days.

IMG_7226Bus stop turned into some sort of art form.

IMG_7181Old bus with WW2 blackout covers over the headlamps, and white paint to make the bus easier to see by other motorists.

IMG_7293The Year of the Bus

IMG_7214Time for a gin. More importantly, notice the power coupling at the top for this tram/bus.

IMG_7190Really long queues to go inside one of the few buses with an open top — to get better photos of the street.

IMG_7262A bus stop made out of Lego.

IMG_7244How many of us saw the buses on display — though little display screens.

And finally, one of the stars of the show, the oldest bus on display with replicas of the original “engine” in place.



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  1. Annabel says:

    We were amazed at how still the horses stood, they must have been there for hours without moving. Excellent training!

    As for the Boris buses, my daughter and her sons hadn’t been on one before so were very keen to see one – and then they caught one from Oxford Street to King’s Cross to get home! I don’t find them very impressive inside – all the worst features of the Routemasters – but they are lovely to look at!

  2. Andrew says:

    Lucky you! Looks like a great time was had by all.

    Surely a bus with an overhead power pick-up is a trolleybus, not a tram?

    • Simon says:

      Hear hear, Andrew; a clean non-polluting electric bus which collects its power from twin overhead wires is indeed a trolleybus.

      I am stunned that Ian did not know this!

      Unlike battery buses which either need to keep stopping to recharge their batteries (as per the induction-charged buses on the H98) or have batteries which are so heavy that passenger capacity is reduced (as per London’s BYD buses) the trolleybuses can operate a full 18+ hours day without ever worrying about running out of power.

      Their zero tailpipe pollution makes them even cleaner and greener than the new buses recently introduced by Mayor Boris Johnson.

      London used to have over 1800 trolleybuses. With air pollution a serious issue we would do well to have that many again (if not even more!)

      btw, it was a lovely event, very well attended, only spoilt because for most buses the direction of the sun made it easier to photograph their backs than their fronts!


    • ianvisits says:

      “I am stunned that Ian did not know this!”

      I did, but prefer to avoid unfamiliar technical terms on a mainstream blog.

    • Simon says:

      ^not the real Simon. An impostor.

      The real Simon is a great deal more polite.

  3. Morris Hickey says:

    “Tram/bus”? How ridiculous. It’s not a tram – it doesn’t run on rails. It’s a bus that uses two trolley poles to collect electric power from overhead wires – hence trolleybus.

  4. Simon says:

    Well clearly there is more than one person named Simon.

    It was not intended to be rude, judgemental or anything like that and I apologise if I came accross in that way.

    But I was forthright in what I said.

    Possibly my comment showed frustration in whats going on here in London. We have severe air pollution, we all know this.

    We also know that people are suffering ill health and premature death because of this, and that diesel exhuast fumes are a significant part of the problem. Whilst its from liquid fuels rather than coal, the people behind the clean air acts of the 1950’s must be turning in their graves because of this.

    Trolleybuses offer a way to reduce the portion of the air pollution that comes from buses. In sofar as they are electrically powered they are indeed like trams, and London’s electric railways. No-one would ever consider diesel powered Underground trains!

    The issue is that TfL seem to want to use anything except the only proven viable bus solution to air pollution. At Sunday’s cavalcade I saw new induction charged battery electric buses. I wonder how many people know that when similar buses were introduced to Milton Keynes earlier this year (2014) they found that to maintain the same schedules (and give the buses time to top-up their batteries between journeys) they need 9 battery electric buses (plus drivers) to replace 7 diesel buses. This would not be so with trolleybuses.

    Simon P. Smiler, webmaster of the website.

  5. David Bradley says:

    Quote: Time for a gin. More importantly, notice the power coupling at the top for this tram/bus. End Quote

    Personally I like to see a spade called spade. You may not know what it is, or how it’s use, but if that’s what you need in the hardware store, that’s what you have to ask for!

    No pubic trolleybuses systems in the UK [yet], but these vehicles are used extensively throughout Europe and far beyond. To suggest trolleybus is an unknown word is clearly a stupid statement to make. Change your caption straight away!

  6. Stephen Barry says:

    Great photos. I was one of the volunteer stewards on the trolleybus and was kept busy repeatedly telling people that it was not a bus, and explaining that it had to be towed to Regent Street as it could not move on its own without overhead power lines. All the ‘oldies’ who remembered trolleybuses loved it, as did younger visitors..

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