Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thursday 23rd December 2010

The bus has been out of sight for a few weeks at a different location to receive its new coat of paint.  The good news is that this has now happened and that it will return to Faversham tomorrow.  Tomorrow being Christmas Eve and my wife's birthday we will not get to see it until the New Year.  So in the meantime we would like to wish everyone who reads this MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR and look forward to posting some pictures of the newly painted bus in a few weeks time.

Meanwhile here is an artists impression from one of the many primary school children who have previously visited the bus.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Thursday 9th December 2010

Work is back underway again in preparation for a new coat of paint.  It wasn't wise to hang around for long today as the dust from the sanding was piling up everywhere, including our lungs!  Hopefully the bus will receive a new coat of paint next week.

South East Coachworks have also agreed to tidy up the entrance to the Air Raid Shelter.  Many of the sandbags that surround the entrance have split and become dislodged.  They will be repaired or replaced and more securely refitted.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday 27th November 2010

Only a few jobs remain before the bus is ready for paint.  Meanwhile attention has turned to other matters.  Vinyl graphics for the outside of the bus are being prepared by Sign Graphics of Folkestone.  It will of course look fantastic and designed to look very attractive to potential visitors with a 1940's period feel.  It is tempting to show a mock up, but you will just have to wait for the real thing!

Inside the bus, plans are underway to install an unexploded bomb at the front of the bombed out street on the upper deck.  Even better, once viewed it will explode with new sound & light effects.

Technology for the sound effects for the rest of the bus will be updated with new speakers, a single new amp and MP3 players.  All this will replace the present space consuming 3 amps and 2 large CD players.

Although there has always been space for a TV screen in the air-raid shelter one has never been fitted as it was thought that it would spoil the effect.

Plans are now underway to remodel this area and project images directly onto the corrugated sheet.  Watch this space for developments.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wednesday 17th November 2010

The new radiator surround and front wing have now been fitted making a vast improvement to the front end.

The old front wing was in an even worse condition then thought.  Once removed, the large chunk of filler fell out revealing the scale of the damage.  The outer rusty rim has started to disintergrate rendering this part suitable only for the scrap bin.

Another unseen area to recieve attention is the roof.  It currently has a lunar appearance, but the good news is that all the joints have been cleaned and sealed to make it water tight and ready for paint.

Further repairs are needed to the rest of the front wings and new light units need to be sourced, following which the bus will be ready for its new coat of paint.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Fiday 5th November

With progress well advanced on the bus I made a trip to Swansea Bus Museum where I acquired a brand new fibreglass radiator surround together with some other second hand parts from scrap buses.  We calculated that it would be easier and cheaper to go to Wales and buy a new part rather than attempt to repair the original that had been messed with and badly repaired years before.

In addition I was also fortunate to obtain a new nearside front wing which will replace the damaged and rotten old one.  The other wings could also do with replacing but will have to make do with a repair for now.

When delivering the new parts to Faversham I was pleased to discover that the cab had been reassembled with new metal and that they were still hard at work stripping and cleaning all the fiddly places in preparation for new paint.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Tuesday 2nd November 2010

It was time to catch up with the bus after three weeks at South East Coachworks in Faversham.  They have  been busy, as the photos below hopefully illustrate.

The nearside frame steel work has undergone some repairs and the panels refitted.  The offside has received the same treatment where some new panels were also fitted.  A new panel between the decks can be seen at the back of the bus fitted with two small vents.  These supply air to the newly installed air-conditioning system, which replaces an inadequate old extraction system and its ugly large vent.   Even though it is November we tested this system out and are confident it will solve the problem of a sauna like top deck.

Both rear corners have been renewed together with the skin of the emergency exit, which used to shed rust every time it was shut.  I have been commissioned with finding some new light fittings to replace the old rusty ones.  Please get in touch if you can help.

The cab floor has also undergone a substantial amount of work with repair sections added.  The offside steel window frame has been removed and is awaiting a new one to be fabricated.  The old driver training window behind the cab has also been removed and replaced with a new metal panel.

The big task still to come is to replace the radiator surround and repair the nearside front wing.  This was all badly repaired following a mysterious accident some years ago and now needs attending to properly before the bus is repainted.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday 12th October 2010

We now have some decent photos of the newly painted underside courtesy of Woods Garage. 

Meanwhile South East Coachwork's have started to remove some of the outer panels to reveal the state of the steel rails that hold it all together.  They are naturally corroded but still retain their integrity.  Therefore they will be patched up as to replace them would entail extensive work including removing the interior display to gain access.  In three years time we will assess how well the business is performing and the wear and tear to the bus and the on board display.  At that time we will consider more extensive work.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tuesday 5th October 2010

The underside of the bus and engine bay has now been cleaned and painted silver, which makes it considerably shinier than the rest of the bodywork.  I wasn't able to get a shot of the underside so here is one of pristine looking engine.

With the work at Wood's now complete the bus has moved to South East Coachworks in Faversham where they will soon start removing the lower body panels to inspect the extent of the rot that lies beneath.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tuesday 28th September 2010

The bus is structurally sound once again thanks to the new body bearer beam expertly installed by Woods Garage.  The next step is to give the whole underside a coat of silver paint for its protection against the elements.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday 21st September 2010

Ed and I paid a visit to Woods in Aylesham to check on progress with the bus.  Super Ed was feeling strong and found that he could support the weight of the bus with just one hand!

We were delighted to find the old rusty beam cut out and the new one waiting to be fitted.  Here they are side by side.

 A close up of one of the brackets reveals the extent of the rot.

The weight of the body is temporarily supported by jacks whilst the new beam is prepared for fitment.  Once in place attention will turn to the rear wheel arches before the chassis is cleaned and painted.  The next blog should reveal a very different looking underside.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday 14th September 2010 - New Website Goes Live!

I am pleased to announce that the new Home Front Bus website has now gone live.  There are still minor changes to make, but it is 90% there.  Please follow the link, take a look around and let me know what you think .

Now that the site is up and running we can start to let everyone know about the bus and its availability for hire from Spring 2011.  If you are reading this and would like to book the bus or find out more, then please get in touch.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Friday 10th September 2010

Woods have measured the bus for its new body bearer beam and this is now being fabricated.  The engine began to misbehave but this was diagnosed as being no more than a loose rivet that had fallen into the throttle linkage.  That was quite a relief as adding engine work to the bill would not have been welcome.

It's about time that I showed an interior view of the bus.  Immediately above the body bearer beam is the 1940's shop.  This will be tidied up and new artifacts added before the bus goes back to work.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Friday 3rd September 2010

Prior to moving the bus to Woods Garage in Aylesham attempts were made to solve the problem of a spongy clutch.  A spongy clutch is no fun at all in such a heavy, manual beast.  A new master cylinder and pipe work was installed, but by the late afternoon the clutch was no better, in fact it was worse!  The fluid was frothy indicating stubborn air in the system and we will now have to find a slave cylinder to go with the new master.  Nevertheless the bus was driven carefully to Aylesham with the minimum of gear changes (i.e. slowly!).

Woods have been engaged to undertake the next major step to getting the bus in a fit state for service.  The photos show the rear of the underside.  The large rusty looking beam that sits on the chassis and spans the width of the bus bears the weight of the body.  It is rotten and will be removed and a new beam fabricated and installed.  Following this major surgery the whole chassis will be checked, cleaned and painted silver, a job that Woods have a good reputation for.  Hopefully this whole process will be well documented with photos so please check back for updates.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Friday 27th August 2010

Prior to the bus having its chassis cleaned and painted and a new body bearer beam installed, an oil leak on the differential needed to be repaired.  This led to the removal of the diff revealing a wonderful, heavy duty piece of bronze engineering.  At the same time a new battery cover was fabricated and more cosmetic work took place in the cab.

Thanks to Andy and Mick of Crosskeys for all their hard work and expertise.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Friday 20th August 2010

Whilst my son Ben and I spent an afternoon working on the bus in Cheriton we were treated to a fly past by a Spitfire & Hurricane.  It turned out that it wasn't for our benefit but to comenorate the 70th anniversary of the famous speach given by Winston Churchill to 'the few' who fought for 'the many' in the Battle of Britain.  We had excellent views of the aircraft performing barrel roles over Hawkinge.

Meanwhile the bus benefited by having several coolant leaks fixed and the radiator flushed and refilled with new anti-freeze.  Ben worked away in the cab getting into tight spaces to refit the freshly painted demister and to prepare and paint sections of the cab door.  The window frame in the cab door has been removed in order to change a broken piece of glass.  We now have to track down some new rubber sections to accompany the new glass.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Saturday 7th August 2010

Military & Flying Machines Show, Upminster

Ed and I spent an enjoyable and fruitful day exploring the show.  We learnt a lot, especially form Captain Mike Authers of the 25th Bomb Disposal Co RE Living History Group .  This group visit schools to teach and demonstrate the work of the Bomb Disposal Core during the war.  We acquired quite a few new exhibts for the bus, chief amongst which was an incendiary bomb and some assorted shrapnel, which we will show to school children who visit the bus.

The trip was especially poignant for Ed as he spent his wartime childhood living in Upminster and remembered when Spitfires flew over in anger and not just for display.

We waited in vain for a cup of tea from the WVS Mobile Canteen.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Tuesday 3rd August 2010

Loose items are put back together and the bus makes the short trip from Dover Transport Museum to Crosskeys Coaches, Folkestone where it is to undergo some mechanical checks and repairs. The bus is well known to the mechanics who last year serviced it and tailor made a new exhaust pipe.

Sunday 1st August 2010

Today the bus passes from the ownership of ABM to Recycled Bus, the operating name of the new business, which will operate Home Front, the new name for Moving Memories. A new website has just launched and carries pictures of the bus and another new website has been commissioned and plans to launch in September.

The bus itself looks particularly tatty but is showing off a newly restored side light in the colour that half the bus will one day be painted. Little acorns come to mind!


April - July 2010

With the help of my good friend Ed Chambers careful consideration was given to whether or not the Moving Memories bus owned by Associated Bus Ministries would operate more effectively as a small business. The bus conversion, whilst excellent, couldn’t hide the fact that the bus itself had fallen into a poor state of repair and would require a large investment of time and money to put right.

We took our time, did plenty of research and carefully and prayerfully drew up a business plan. Following negotiations with ABM it was finally agreed to push ahead with a view to spending the rest of 2010 restoring the bus and preparing a team to work with it in schools and at events.

My daughter Amy and I donned a disguise and undertook some research at the Jersey War Tunnels whilst on holiday in July.