White Knuckle Bus Ride

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by Basher, 2 Oct 2018.

  1. RELL6L

    RELL6L Member

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    My favourite 'white knuckle' ride from the past was from Stevenage to Biggleswade on a Charles Cook Metropolitan, I guess in the late 80s or early 90s. I don't believe the route had a number but was quite long standing and, as I recall, always run with double deckers. I think it was a Saturday lunchtime departure from Stevenage with a good load and the driver floored it the whole way.

    Always loved Metropolitans from commuting on them on the 63 from Kings Cross to the city in their early days at London Transport and later in Reading town centre alive with the roar of the Scania engine and the squeal of the brakes. Very powerful buses with a good turn of speed but the suspension was on the soft side and they did wallow a bit going quickly, certainly on the Charles Cook run they did. There has never been a bus with as much character - shame they rusted away too quickly!
     
  2. lxfe_mxtterz

    lxfe_mxtterz Member

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    Speeding down country lanes on a bumpy, shaky, rattling Stagecoach Optare Solo on the route 33 from Guildford to Woking is a pretty terrifying, albeit entertaining, experience! Furthermore, the fares for this route are also quite scary! :D
     
    Last edited: 30 Jul 2019
  3. cnjb8

    cnjb8 Member

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    Whenever I go to Kimberley Sainsbury's, you can hear the 'roar' of the TB Versa pulling away. They then go quite fast up the hill and when they descend again its like being on a rollercoaster.
    As I'm writing this, I realise you don't know where I'm talking about. Kimberley is the place near Nottingham.
     
  4. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Speaking of Arriva Wales, the X51 Wrexham-Denbigh can be hairy on the Nant Y Garth Pass, with drivers having to put there foot down to keep to the timetable.

    Queensway[Birkenhead] tunnel can be hairy too, drivers need a bit of nouse when driving a bus through due to the narrow lanes

    London night buses drivers really put there foot down with traffic light or clear
     
  5. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Add to that 100 Redhill-Crawley-Maidenbower, which i caught Redhill-Gatwick last autumn, the driver was going so fast to keep with the timetable the bus suspension was banging on the chassis[well there was a few loud bangs].
     
  6. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    Some of the trips on our local route weaving round badly parked cars can be pretty hairy.

    Not quite "white knuckle" but my most memorable ride was as a teenager in a GS hammering down the Dartford Tunnel approach road and sounding as if it was about to fall apart.
     
  7. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    If I could nominate one route I have driven it would be the rail replacement service from Hounslow to Ascot. Some of those roads in the Sunningdale area are surprisingly uneven. Last time I drove it I took one of the depot's most powerful buses which was limited to 65mph and it was certainly a shift to remember!
     
  8. Great_Western

    Great_Western Member

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    Some of the rural routes we have down here in South East Wales fit the bill. The 43/X43 between Abergavenny and Brecon can be great fun, speeding down long country lanes and the very twisty A40. Possibly the most fun journey you can do on a Streetlite, it's a shame that it mostly gets allocated Solo's these days.

    We also have the 83 which follows a similar pattern on the A40 east of Abergavenny to Monmouth, and there's the very scenic 65/69 from Monmouth to Chepstow. If you can tolerate an Envrio 200 with Urban 90 seats, the 60 between Monmouth and Newport can also get very entertaining, especially when late.
     
  9. class387

    class387 Established Member

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    Centrebus' 88 from Hitchin to Luton is quite good for narrow lanes, tight turns and steep hills.
     
  10. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member Associate Staff General Discussion

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    I took a 16 hour long overnight bus ride from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in India in the 1990s.
    Both drivers were insane, and one of them had clearly taken something.
    The bus had one headlight that worked (which was permanently stuck on full beam) and the same five songs were blasting out of the stereo all the way. There were people asleep on the floor all down the aisle and we were racing along overtaking coach after coach on blind bends on the wrong side of the road all through the night swerving out the way of lorries and cows at the very last moment.
    There were two French girls sitting behind us and they spent much of the journey crying and terrified.
    We were only overtaken by one other bus on the whole journey, god knows what the passengers on that one were going through! :lol:
     
  11. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Last rites?:lol:
     
  12. lxfe_mxtterz

    lxfe_mxtterz Member

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    As terrifying as this sounds, I'd love to try a journey like this, just for the experience, haha! Gives a whole new meaning to the term "white knuckle bus ride". :D
     
  13. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I remember a few "white knuckle rides" when I was in my late school/student years (1990-92). One memorable journey was from Aberdeen to Glasgow on a Caledonian Express service. The route took the A92 coast road from Aberdeen to Dundee rather than the more direct A94 (now A90), and the vehicle was a relatively new Volvo B10M/Plaxton Expresssliner. The driver was (putting it politely) eager to make good progress and somewhat lacking in patience, and it made for a rather hair-raising journey. Of course, that was when vehicle limiters were set to 70mph. The early morning National Express (around 7am) from Aberdeen also took the same route, and usually ran with one of Bebb's Setras - that could often be quite a fast run with the right (or wrong!) driver.

    Anyone who travelled on Citylink routes with Rapsons (what speed limiters?!) around that time will probably remember a few hair-raising journeys. I didn't do the Inverness - Perth leg very often, but when travelling south from Aberdeen, I'd usually have to change at Perth for Edinburgh. If one of their elderly Volvos arrived from Inverness (usually late) I was guaranteed a "spirited" journey along the M90, with some heart-stopping moments along the way! Conversely, if it was one of Midland Bluebird's Tigers that turned up my heart would sink, knowing that it would struggle going up that bloody hill south of Perth.

    Happy days :)
     
  14. Jordan Adam

    Jordan Adam Established Member

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    December 2015, i had First Aberdeen's Volvo B7LA Wright Eclipse Fusion 10158 on a late running service 1 from Garthdee to Danestone. The driver really gave the bus a good kicking and showed what it was really capable of. Racing down the parkway at over 50MPH in a bendy bus is quite something!

    More recently i had a ride on the well known K1GRT around the Alford area. The whole route lasting about half an hour involved very narrow and tight B-Roads along with a hump bridge. Likewise quite something when you're sitting at the back of a bendy!

    'Bendy babble' aside, every run i've had in a manual Setra (Often the Allan & Black examples has been enjoyable! The noise the Merc examples make with their huge oversize engine! Just bliss.

    It's a shame in their later years Rapson's had a habit of putting stupid limiters on their vehicles. Pretty much all the Euro 3/4 stock they had was limited to 45MPH!
     
  15. FOH

    FOH Member

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    Universitybus Bluebirds before they had the speed limiters fitted. They'd bomb up and down the dual carriageways spanning out from Hatfield with a shockingly bad sprung ride.
     
  16. Bungle158

    Bungle158 Member

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    A bit of a hike, but l just took a local bus on the castle route in Gjirokaster Albania. Crazy, death defying corners, no barriers and steep cobbled tracks. Great fun
     
  17. cambsy

    cambsy On Moderation

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    I have had some somewhat over the speed limit coach journeys in the 80’s-90’s, one was a an early National Express Express liner, did Victoria to Birmingham, the coach had no governor and the drivers were keen to use it, speeds were 85-90mph, even between Victoria and Heathrow, and on the M25 and M1, had a couple a of times a Volvo Vanhool M39HJR, which due to blowing the clutch took governor off, and on one run left Golders Green on time and arrived Leeds about 45 mins early, was doing 85 up the M1, middle of the day, and would run regularly at 70mph though supposed do 62mph, had a return trip to Poland and coming back we were doing 70-80mph through Germany though supposed do 50mph, and 80mph coming into Calais overtaking everything in sight, left over hour late and arrived Victoria over hour early, another time had another National Express racing a lorry downhill both doing 80mph, the coach won, had one nutter driver recently doing the 404 from Victoria to Exeter, Paxton elite, was held up and extra drops, though not breaking 62mph, he raced at 60mph through 30mph villages, overtook car coming out of Bristol Airport double white line on bend, absolute nutter, his nickname was Mad Max, entertaining journey, coach rocking a lot, The Parks of Hamilton Plymouth drivers certainly dont hand around on minor roads.
     
  18. Bobdogs

    Bobdogs Member

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    I recall being behind the driver on a Midland Red express coach from Birmingham to London in the early seventies. Foot flat to the floor on the M1, pouring with rain, wipers in not the best of condition, outside lane all the way, occasionally slamming on the brakes when somebody dared to pull out in front of us. At the time, although they were timetabled, you turned up at Digbeth coach station where the coaches were waiting and left as soon as they were full.What an awful smoke filled dump that was.
     
  19. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    Shortly after they were introduced I was in Glasgow and fancied a ride on a Metropolitan. I was vaguely aware that they operated the 64 to Auchunshuggle (wherever that might be) so caught one. What I didn't realise that it passed Parkhead football stadium, it was a Saturday afternoon, and Celtic were at home. It quickly got very busy but it was well able to handle both acceleration and braking (the better lubricated football fans found it a bit more of challenge ...).

    Good fun.
     
  20. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Metropolitans were great (a) if you weren't paying for their fuel consumption and (b) if you overlooked the chassis corrosion, hence their virtual disappearance off the face of the earth!
     
  21. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I recall seeing a photograph of some ex-LT Metropolitans looking rather forlorn in a scrap line somewhere. The caption mentioned that these "nippy" buses seemed to be disproportionately prone to accident damage (or words to that effect). I've never knowingly travelled on one, although I'm fairly certain that Glasgow would still have had theirs when I was a nipper, so it's possible.
     
  22. 47550

    47550 Member

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    Yep, cant beat the Metropolitans on the limited stop 400 from Stockport - Ashton - Oldham - Rochdale - Bury - Bolton in the late 70s / early 80s.
     
  23. 47550

    47550 Member

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    The bus ride to the top of the Kaprun high water dam in Austria is something else. I think it's around 3000 feet climb from the visitor centre to the dam done with two buses separated by an open air lift section. The buses are full size Postbus Mercs and go full revs up the single track road though a number of tunnels that are barely wider than the bus. Higher up, there are breathtaking drops to one side and hairpin bends. Definitely not a drive for the faint hearted.

    https://www.kaprun-stauseen.com/anreise/
     
  24. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member Associate Staff General Discussion

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    That looks superb.
     
  25. mb88

    mb88 Member

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    TfL routes R5/R10. Drove these for some time when I was at Bromley garage. Cudham Lane in an E200 was always interesting to say the least. Road about the width of the bus, no passing places, hedgerows on either side, and cars coming round blind bends at 50mph. Add that to the numerous HGVs who were either deliberately ignoring or not noticing the ‘unsuitable for HGVs signs’, all made for an interesting journey. Barely a day would go by when I didn’t end up in a stand off with some buffoon in a Chelsea tractor who would refuse to reverse the length of themselves so we could pass. I always said the route needed the narrow width Optare Solos but TfL refused to allow it.
     
  26. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    Sadly, whilst they were still about, I didn't manage to enjoy one of the ones in Newcastle so never experienced them. Every single account I've read seems to recall the speed of these machines (and the corrosion issues).

    Perhaps some of the DNA was passed onto the MCW Metrobus though; I remember having to very "spirited" runs on those in the Black Country and across Co Durham. Go Ahead's turbocharged Gardner coach examples were hellfire machines!
     
  27. Typhoon

    Typhoon Member

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    I still remember these experiences. One journey I went on had a DP Leopard substituting for a coach, so uncomfortable seats, and miserable driver as well as outside lane and foot flat on the floor.

    Digbeth - not just smoke filled but having to weave your way through the coaches to find yours (while inhaling exhaust smoke), and no-one really bothered whether you found it or not.
     
  28. RELL6L

    RELL6L Member

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    The decline of the Metropolitan was sudden and sad. I remember a line-up of accident damaged ones from New Cross in Kingston coal yard. Some of the drivers on the 53 had obviously enjoyed their performance too much!

    In some places, eg Manchester and Liverpool, they used them where they could take advantage of the performance, the 400 limited stop around Manchester and the ring road service in Liverpool (60?). Other places, eg the three in Doncaster, probably never got out of low ratio, being used on a short local route. In West Yorkshire they were all based in Bradford and certainly got used properly on the inter urban runs. The old subterranean bus station in Bradford reverberated to the roar of the beasts like Top Gear thrashing cars in a tunnel! In other places, such as Newcastle, Reading and Leicester, plus Newport with the single deckers too, they became the primary allocation for a while and were used on a wide range of services. Reading got some London cast-offs and had nearly 60 at one time and the town enjoyed their tuneful sounds - and squeaky brakes! Sad so few survive.

    I always thought the Metrobus was a poor replacement with much less character. Only at the very end when some got Cummins engines - and the handful of Gardner 6LXCTs - did they become faster and more interesting machines.
     
  29. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    The West Midlands ones were quite nice when climbing around Dudleiiiiiggggghhhhh - guess they were Gardners? However, I remember getting quite a few evening 723s from Durham to Darlington. The United Olympians were quite sedate compared to the Northern Metrobuses (Cummins engined); a good run out on the old A1 with clog down and some sweeping bits of road.
     
  30. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    The Timesaver West Midlands MCW Metrobuses were beasts, especially on the A34 diving in & out of the underpasses & overpasses on the old 951 route
     

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