Saturday 4th March 2017
Farewell to an old friend
It is hard to believe that it is over 20 years since the
first low floor buses entered service with Citybus and
Ulsterbus. Initial vehicles were the Volvo B10L with
Alexander (Belfast) Ultra bodies, vehicles
that were not without their problems. For the second
intake the companies turned to Wrights who by then had
developed the Volvo B10BLE with Wright Renown
body, a vehicle which was to go on to be one of the more
successful of the early low floor designs. A total of 90
were placed in service between 1999 and 2000, split
equally between both companies. These proved to be much
more successful being a lot more reliable and popular
with engineers and crews alike. Over the years there have
been many intercompany transfers to balance up fleet
requirements. Service cuts in 2015 saw the final
Ulsterbus examples withdrawn (sadly before we could
arrange a farewell tour) and at the time of writing fewer
than 20 remain in traffic with Citybus. New deliveries
later this year will spell the end of the type and to
mark this milestone a tour is being organised to cover
some of the routes on which they would regularly have
operated in everyday service. Departure will be at 10.00
from the bus stands at Donegall Square West and the tour
will finish in the city centre around 16.30. No advance
booking is required for this tour. We are particularly
grateful to Citybus for their co-operation in organising
Saturday 8th April 2017 Bristol RE
The Bristol RE was one of the mainstays of both the
Citybus and Ulsterbus fleets until ousted by the low
floor generation of vehicles. Quite a number of REs
survive in preservation and today we intend to use
several to visit some of the places you would have
expected to encounter REs in their service days.
Departure will be from the Belfast (Europa Bus Centre) at
09.30 and the tour should finish in the city centre at
around 17.00. No advance booking is required for this
tour. A big thank you to the respective owners of the
vehicles for providing their pride and joys
for use on this tour.
Saturday 22nd April 2017 Annual Bus
& Coach Rally, Cultra Ulsterbus at 50
Please note that with our normal last Saturday in April
falling on the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend, our annual
bus and coach rally will be held one week earlier than
Once again the premiere event in our annual calendar is
almost upon us but this year there will be a twist to the
In April 2017 it will be 50 years since the formation of
Ulsterbus and our Rally this year is set to reflect that.
Discussions are ongoing between ourselves, Translink and
the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum about the exact
format it will take but it is hoped there will be a
display of about a dozen vehicles reflecting the types
operated over the last half century and that there will
be an exhibition of memorabilia in the UFTM gallery area
from the last fifty years of the company. If anyone has
items that they think would be of interest (especially
early publicity material and uniforms) and would be
prepared to place them on loan for the exhibition, could
they contact Howard Cunningham on 07738941848 or howard
at upsilon.org.uk without delay. This exhibition may run
for a number of months and items loaned will where
possible be housed in glass display cases.
It is also intended to hold a luncheon in the UFTM for
former Ulsterbus managers and staff which may well
involve many of our usual panel of judges as well as some
members of the ITH board.
As a result the vehicle judging will have to be greatly
curtailed (hopefully for this year only) but the road run
will proceed as usual. Member Noel ORawe has once
again kindly agreed to organise and run the popular
shuttle bus service in the afternoon and a big thankyou
to Noel for taking on this task.
In short we are faced with organising a bigger event than
usual with fewer than normal staff. At our last winter
meeting I put out an appeal for volunteers to help us
both in the run up to the day and the day itself. To say
that the response was not exactly encouraging is an
understatement. I got one offer of help (and thanks to
the member concerned) and Howard got no offers at all. We
need volunteers for duties both on and off the site and
we also need a couple of members to take on specific
tasks. We need someone to take on production of the
programme (not the vehicle insert), mainly obtaining
adverts and liaising with the printers. We also need
someone who is prepared to locate trophies from previous
years and ensure they are returned to us either before
the event or on the day itself.
In short WE NEED YOU to help us out both in the run up to
the Rally and on the day itself. If you are in a position
to help you can contact me as soon as possible on
0787827070 or willhughes2003 at yahoo.co.uk or Howard on
07738941848 or howard at upsilon.org.uk.
As in previous years, we will have total use of the car
park at Cultra and as a result there will be no car
parking on site. Usually we have around 50 entrants and
if we get that sort of number again this year, we will
need all the space we can get. Disabled parking
facilities will be made available at the rally site for
blue badge holders only (badges must be displayed). Due
to the limited space at the Transport Galleries as a
result of the Ulsterbus at 50 display, there
will be no parking available at this location for road
marshals who are asked to use the Folk Museum car park
both before the road run and on their return to the rally
site. All other members are requested to park at the Folk
Museum car park to conserve space on the site.
Members are reminded that we are the guests of the Ulster
Folk & Transport Museum and we are extremely grateful
to them for providing us with such excellent facilities.
Mark Kennedy of the museum and a number of his staff will
be in attendance on the day. Please be mindful that Mark
is in overall charge of the site and any instruction
issued by him or a member of his staff is to be adhered
to without question.
Any member wishing to operate a sales stand on the day
will be required to obtain a permit from the committee.
Applications should be made in writing and submitted to
the Hon. Chairman as soon as possible. Members will not
be permitted to sell any foodstuffs or items which are
also available in the Transport Gallery shop.
Please remember that this is our best opportunity to
promote the Irish Transport Heritage and its aims and
activities to both the current Translink management, the
public in general and to both the enthusiast movement and
the transport industry and that a little help can go a
long way in making this event a success.
Friday 28th April Monday 1st May 2017
Llandudno Transport Festival 2017
We are once again proposing to attend this popular event.
The vehicle we intend using this year will be either
Leyland Tiger 1431 or Leyland Leopard 339. Full details
and a booking form were circulated with previous
Dates for your diary
...Dates for your
Dates for your diary
A number of members have mentioned that it would
be useful to have a list of proposed future events for
the forthcoming season to allow them to organise their
weekends. Below is a list of proposed ITH events or third
party events which we may be attending/considering
attending. Please note that this list is PROVISIONAL and
subject to change. Details of all forthcoming events will
be contained in future mailings.
Saturday 27th May 2017 Clougher Valley
Railway (possibly in conjunction with the RPSI)
A day out looking at what (little) remains of the
Clougher Valley railway.
Saturday 24th June 2017 Sureline 30 Years
In June 2017 it will be 30 years since the demise of
Sureline, Lurgan. Today we will take a look at some of
the routes in the Lurgan/Portadown area which they used
to operate. Given that in latter years they used to
operate former Ulsterbus Leyland Leopards on service
work, it seems appropriate that we should use our own
Leopard 1591 for this tour.
Saturday 29th July 2017 Preserved Vehicle
An opportunity to give some of the many preserved buses
in Northern Ireland an outing.
Saturday 19th August 2017 County Down Day
Tour and Visit to the Downpatrick & County Down
Railway and Museum
A day tour around the Downpatrick, Ardglass and Newcastle
areas culminating in a visit to the Downpatrick &
County Down Railway and Museum.
Sunday 3rd September 2017 Possible visit
to Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust Open Day
We are looking at the possibility of a day trip to
Glasgow to sample the GVVT museum and one of their
excellent open days.
Saturday 28th - Monday 30th October 2017
Dublin Port Rally Dun Laoghaire
This popular event will hopefully be returning this year
but with the venue now moved to Dun Laoghaire Port. Day
one will be for buses, day two for trucks and buses and
day three for cars. It is expected that we will attend
both days one and two. For those wishing to overnight, we
may be able to arrange something along the lines of what
we did for the 2015 event.
Saturday 2nd December 2017 Dublin Day Tour
A day tour to Dublin for a spot of shopping (or more
importantly bus spotting). Hopefully by the date of the
event at least some of the extensions to the LUAS system
will be operational.
Thursday 9th March 2017
50 Years of Ulsterbus
Ulsterbus, one of Northern Irelands main transport
providers, celebrates its 50th birthday later this year.
It was originally intended to commence operations on 1st
January 1967 but a labour dispute saw this put back by a
month. In the event further problems saw the commencement
date put back once more to 17th April (which this year
happens to fall on Easter Monday).
Tonight our member Raymond Bell will take a look back in
photographs at many of the vehicle types, both inherited
and purchased new, operated by the company over this
period. A lot of ground to cover here and we are very
grateful to Raymond for taking the time and trouble to
put together this presentation which will no doubt be
delivered in his own inimitable style.
A special word of thanks to all who have agreed to give
presentations at our meetings, your efforts are very much
Indoor meetings are held in McElhinney Room 2, The
Pavilion, NICSSA, Stormont Estate, Upper Newtownards
Road, Belfast and commence at 19:45.
Admission free Open to non-members Retiring
The cost of holding our monthly meeting continues to
rise. We have looked at moving to alternative venues but
the facilities here are good, can be regarded as safe and
there is plenty of parking. In order to help cover our
monthly overheads, could we respectfully suggest a
donation of £2 a head for the retiring collection. We
are also considering moving the date of our monthly
meetings from the second Thursday of each month to the
first Thursday as it would suit one of our regular
contributors and the Pavilion better.