Three Volvo B10M at Stagecoach

Bertha The Bus Update - 05/03/2017

Bertha With New Paint

A lot has happened since our last update over a year ago. Bertha has been completely transformed into her original paintwork of 1993 and we've been to a few bus events across the UK. Though Bertha's continued preservation has slowed recently, mainly due the fact that she's looking the best she has in a long time. We're not yet at the end of her story.

Bodywork and Re-Spray

When we got Bertha her bodywork was looking tired. She had corrosion between every window, manoeuvring war wounds and general age related marks. So, before we could spray her back to the original Stagecoach stripes of 1993, we had to fix her body first.

All the bodywork and spraying was completed by Meridian Coachworks of York. They took her in and stripped back her broken panels, replacing with new. All the window surrounds were replaced and they even removed the GPS tracking modules from the roof. Just previous to sending Bertha to Meridian we had fitted a full brand new exhaust, the tailpipe didn't quite fit the old position in the body, so the surround was made to measure in the new bodywork.

Stagecoach Chevron

From start to finish of the work, Meridian were great. More than happy for me to come and photograph the changes as they happened, and were fantastic sourcing the original paint codes for the three stripes. And when the unveiling happened, they were on the phone to ensure I was there to photograph. My thanks go to Andy and the team.

Re-Trimming The Seats

Luckily, I managed to source some of the original pattern fabric for the seats, called Stagecoach Chevron. Finding the material was tough, it's generally no longer used for Stagecoach and most upholsterers no longer stock it. I contacted the original manufacturers and they wouldn't run less than their minimum 3 rolls, costing £10,000. I couldn't find enough fabric to fit all the seats, though I did manage to change a third of the bus' seats. This meant that I could replace all of the back row, which were badly damaged, and replace the front few rows, which are obviously used the most.

Bus Rallies

It was always the plan to 'show' Bertha at Bus rallies in the UK, but we didn't want to visit them all. Remaining picky with where we take Bertha, but still with plenty of rallies we would have liked to attend, we joined the following:

  1. The East Yorkshireman (Enthusiasts Tour) - April 2016
  2. Eastern Bus Enthusiasts BUSFEST - May 2016
  3. Stagecoach Rally and Open Day - May 2016
  4. Alton Bus Rally - July 2016
Before and After - Stagecoach Bus

Recreating A Photo From 1995

Completely by chance I stumbled upon a photo of Bertha for sale on eBay. Unfortunately the item had ended by the time I had found it. So, keen to get my hands on it I messaged the seller who was happy to sell me it and posted it back for sale on the website. After a few messages to the seller, I discovered that the seller was the actual photographer from 1995, and from there the idea was born to recreate the same photo, some 21 years later.

The original photo was taken in September 1995, so we decided to recreate the photo in September 2016, hoping to capture the same weather and lighting conditions as in the original. After discussing the idea with a contact at Stagecoach, they arranged for us to visit the Carlisle depot and park in the bus station while the photo was taken. Lee, from Stagecoach, also supplied us with the details for Bertha's old Route 75, which she used to run while based at the Carlisle depot. So, in addition to the photograph we decided to run her old route from Carlisle depot to Cotehill. Picking up some Bertha fans at Carlisle bus station, we ran over to Cotehill, which presented some excellent photo opportunities.

The whole day was kindly videoed by Mara Acoma, who truly captured the event in her video.

Further Bus Fixes

On our last post we had fixed the rev-counter, though on occasion it would still stop working, mostly after the engine had warmed. This has now been completely fixed and it was simply a bad connection on the positive wire.

The cold start on Bertha had been disconnected, which we're told is common on these buses due to the unreliable heating element in the air inlet. Not being able to fix the heating element, we reconnected the fuel pumping part of the cold start. Even though the heater doesn't work, with the extra fuel pumped into the engine on cold start, Bertha starts much easier when cold. The only downside, the bus smokes on initial start up.