Restoration


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Photos Wanted!

I'm constantly on the lookout for photos of E186 BNS in service. I've got stacks of photos of it in Strathtay colours, but I'd like some more of it in Strathclyde Buses, GCT, KCB Network / Kelvin f and Yorkshire Traction.

 

If you've got any photos, email me on and let me know. Cheers! 

 

All photos on this page Kenneth Hay unless otherwise stated.


First Impression: This is E186 BNS as it looked before leaving Arbroath Depot for the long trip back to Glasgow. Now: This at Brough Grand Prix, on the Sunday of the Eden Classic Vehicle Group Easter Classic Commercial Vehicle Rally 2007. 2007 Douglas Robertson.

Vehicle History:

 

E186 BNS is an M.C.W Metrorider MF154/12 with chassis number MB9868 and a capacity of B33F. 

This bus was new to Strathclyde Buses as their M89, entering traffic from Larkfield depot on 6 June 1988, initially on service M11 along with other "wee happy buses" from its batch, Strathclyde marketing their Metroriders as "Your Wee Happy Bus - We're the easiest way!". This delivery of 32 formed the first production batch built to the new long and wide body dimensions. M89 quickly moved to Knightswood in July as more of the batch entered service, but returned to Larkfield in November 1994 for six months.  

On 23 April 1995, most Metroriders remaining with Strathclyde Buses followed previously transferred sisters to the Comlaw No.313 "GCT" company, M89 being renumbered GM47 and moving to Possilpark depot. Remaining in Strathclyde Buses' orange for the time being (due to the large number transferred simultaneously), it was around October 1995 further transferred to the Kelvin Central fleet in exchange for an ex-Dublin Bus short Metrorider. GM47 became KCB 1059 in an unusual direct swap of identities (the Dublin vehicle 1059 in turn assuming GM47), receiving full KCB Network livery at this time, although it continued to operate out of Possilpark depot. In May 1996, the combined SB Holdings fleetnumbering system was implemented, and 1059 became MM34 still heading the rest of the ex-Dublin batch, although this was soon altered to the expected MM89. It received a partial repaint into FirstBus red at the end of 1997, the lower panels being treated while the roof remained in KCB (lighter) red! The bus was withdrawn from regular service around February 1998 and placed in the reserve fleet, at that time swollen to cover for mass repaints into "Barbie" livery and the drab overall red. E186 BNS had received a full red repaint before being sold out of the group by October that year.

Most Metroriders withdrawn by the SB Holdings group during the time following acquisition by FirstBus plc were scrapped, and their condition probably dictated this, but a number had this fate deferred, passing to Traction Group for spare parts. E186 BNS appeared with Strathtay at Arbroath in July 1999 after a spell at dealer Tiger's yard in Salsburgh, then moved to Yorkshire Traction in August. Three of these longer models (E186,197,207 BNS) in fact escaped scrapping altogether at this stage, being in much better condition than some of the others. They were heavily refurbished by Yorkshire Traction with the intention of another five years' use, and re-entered service over winter 1999/2000 as that company's 352,351,350 (E186 BNS operating out of Barnsley from February 2000). After serving for around a year, they migrated to Strathtay (as fleetnumbers 215,213,214) in November 2000, or December in the case of E186 BNS, which ran from Blairgowrie depot until November 2004 by which time it had moved to the larger garage at Arbroath.

The trio operated together for Strathtay until 2005, 213 and 215 being withdrawn in June, while 214 served until the following summer. 213 was by now pretty rotten and succumbed to cannibalisation, but 215 remained in reserve, in generally good order. Considering its age, the bus was in good condition compared to other remaining specimens of its type. The underside and body framework were in sound condition and the mechanical units also, although the engine was rather reluctant to start after six months' disuse. Body-wise, the usual areas around the skirt and long rear overhang had suffered bashes and dents, but these fibreglass panels are relatively easy to repair. Internally, there was a full set of matching (albeit not original)  seats,  the  floor  had  been  renewed  at  refurbishment,  and  the  driver's  area  was  tidy  and  fairly  original.  After inspection E186 BNS was purchased for preservation by Kenneth Hay and Peter Grant in November 2005.

The bus was collected from Arbroath depot "graveyard" and returned to Glasgow on 10 December, being driven to its new home at the Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust's Bridgeton Bus Garage. As an addendum to this history, Traction Group was bought by Stagecoach plc on 15 December 2005, and despite the bus having been sold off well before the takeover, 215 was numbered into Stagecoach's national scheme as 47992! Bought with a current MoT certificate, the bus was taxed immediately and  freshened up in Strathtay colours. The plan is, in time, to repaint the bus in mid-1990s "GCT" green and yellow livery as fleetnumber GM47, as few vehicles operated by "GCT" have survived. Over its first year in preservation, both its owners trained for their PCV licences, feeling there was little point in having a bus we couldn't drive!

I'd like to thank Strathtay, now Stagecoach Strathtay, for selling the bus in the first place, and in particular Tom Robertson for giving us the chance to clear a lot of their redundant Metrorider stock of panels which would otherwise have gone in the skip. Hopefully we'll never need most of the stuff, but you never know when a large boulder is going to take a dislike to you!

 

A lot of this history comes from Iain MacGregor - Thanks Iain!


New: Strathclyde's Buses M89 (E186 BNS) when new at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988. 1988 Martin Gurr.

Not so new: KCB Network MM34 at Buchanan Bus Station in 1996. 1996 Christopher Lowe.

Even less new: E186 BNS in as-withdrawn from Kelvin condition. This was taken at Arbroath bus depot around July 1999, when the bus had been acquired "for spares". 1999 Suzy Scott.

Getting old: A Summer 2003 (5 July) shot of it at Blairgowrie Wellmeadow, about to run to Perth via the big hedge. 2003 Suzy Scott.

Restoration so far:

Over the bit of winter 2005 since we bought the bus, a lot of odd jobs have been done, and the interior and exterior were both cleaned out thoroughly. Pushing into early spring 2006, the bus was repainted, still in Strathtay colours. 

Winter 2006 saw a selection of irritating niggles sorted out, but no major work.

Over winter 2007 corrosion to the brackets which hold the fibreglass skirt panels on at the back was discovered, and some major repair work to most of the back framework was required. We got it assembled again only just in time for the 2008 season, following which the compressor died and needed reconditioned. With no previous experience, we managed it (well, Peter managed it, mostly!)

Over winter 2008 we did very little to the bus, concentrating instead on the start of LA1204's restoration. The main jobs were replacing the injectors and the starter motor, dramatically improving the cold weather starting ability of the bus.

 

The 2009 rally season saw the engine develop more serious back pressure, followed by a stuck thermostat causing it to overheat and blow the cylinder head gasket. Winter 2009 has consequently been devoted to sourcing a new engine from ex-West Coast Motors N661 LBX (formerly N100 WCM). The engine swap was completed just in time for the bus to be MOT tested before Kirkby Stephen. Then it broke down on the way back from the test station. Following further repairs it has been running well through the 2010 rally season.

 

2011 has seen more work on the Atlantean (still ongoing!) with some minor welding and repairs to the windscreen washers required for the 2011 MOT.


Now what?

We originally planned to touch up the bus in Strathtay colours for the 2006 rally season, then get it stripped down, and repainted properly over winter, but the touching up ballooned into a full repaint to Strathtay colours, and since then we've been thinking "It looks good, no need to repaint it again yet!"

The ultimate plan was to restore the bus to the GCT colours it would have carried while it was numbered GM47. There are no vehicles from this fleet in preservation, and very few of them are even still in existence. However, the idea of restoring it as a "Wee Happy Bus" is also very tempting and we haven't decided either way yet.


Appeal:

Keeping a bus on the road is an expensive business, particularly when it needs diesel, but you can help:

 

Click here to make a donation

 

 All donations are very welcome, and will be spent on the bus in some way.


Work record of restoration to date - Click Here


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Photo Gallery  - Before, During and After

There are going to be more photos eventually, but here are some to start off with. More photos can be found on my photo gallery once I succeed in getting it back online. here.

"Touch up":  Half way through sanding the nearside before repaint.  Done!: This is how the bus looked when we took it out for a run on 16 July in the sunshine. It is seen here at the Eaglesham terminus of the 44, where the bus changes destination for the trip to Knightswood.

Before-and-after: The framework under the rear overhang. It's very obvious which bits have been treated and painted (and which bits haven't!). During: The latest framework repairs, and new brackets for the air tank which have just been welded on.

New brakes: One of the new back brake spring chambers. Fares please!: Our new Wayfarer ticket machine in place, as seen from the driver's point of view. Now with the proper labels! Junk store!: One of our new storage areas - the box under the back seat, sticking in to where the boot would be if our bus had a boot.

Oops, no exhaust: Where part of the exhaust pipe isn't! Much better: Replacement chunk of flexi exhaust pipe in place after a lot of effort.

Inside then: Looking forward from the back of the bus. It's worth noting how much cleaner the right step is than the left one it had been scrubbed, but the left one hadn't yet. The mess the silicone left on the handpoles is also clearly visible.

2005 Catriona Hay.

Inside now: Looking forward from the back of the bus. The handpoles have all been painted orange, and lots of Metrorider photos are covering the lack of paint on the cab wall. The whole inside has been cleaned up, and it also looks better in daylight!

 

 

Business end: This is what makes her tick. The engine, viewed from inside the bus with the inside cover removed. Tidying the ends: Replacement trim cap, as cast by Lindsay Wilson (http://www.imajeenyus.com/). Once painted, they'll look just like the originals. Shame the trim itself is so squinty!

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