The annual Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust Running day arrived on Sunday May 24th 2015, amid some gloomy skies then the sun popped out. With some fine vehicles on display near the Midland Hotel, Morecambe and other static buses around the Market area car parks. The RVPT used a selection of their vehicles with other visiting buses invited to go on some runs during the day.
As with previous running days, the main area for getting buses was the Winter Gardens stop on the main Morecambe seafront, for either Carnforth or Heysham village. For the first bus to Heysham was the Weymann bodied Leyland Leopard PSU3/A 811 ARN811C at 10:40, while across the road Bristol RESL6L/ECW 338 NCK338J was getting ready to depart for Carnforth at 10:45. 811 replaced the former Stagecoach Ribble 2186 Leyland Olympian/Alexander which was used as part of the display of buses, near the Midland Hotel. Which also saw two standard Stagecoach ADL double and Single deck buses, along with Ribble liveried 18156 a 2004 Dennis trident with Alexander ALX400 body. Harrington bodied Leyland leopard 1036 was joined by 1052 a Duple coach bodied Leyland Leopard, both former Ribble vehicles. These were joined by a Midland Red Plaxton coach bodied Leyland Leopard, in full NBC dual purpose livery.
The next bus to arrive at Heysham village was the Leyland National 2 831 DBV831W, smartly painted in the standard National Bus Company poppy red and white relief livery. The National was the standard saloon used by the NBC from 1972, a project with Leyland which saw some five years of development and the ultimate demise of the much fabled Bristol RE. Ribble took to the National well purchasing all the model variations including the light weight short B series National. Ribble 338 would be the next bus to visit Heysham, with a short ride back into Morecambe then forward to Carnforth. Then back to Morecambe on 2101 ( Leyland Olympian ONLXB/ECW) the first of the many Leyland Olympians Ribble would purchase in the early 1980's. This Olympian performed very well along the winding country roads and eventually into the very packed road on the Morecambe sea front.
As the Olympian then headed back to Carnforth, your author waited in Heysham village for the arrival of Ribble 1481 the ECW bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68A, which I saw at the Rear-Engine 50th celebrations held at the Manchester Museum of Transport in May 2010. 1481 had been rested for a few years but was out in service on the running day. ECW bodied quite a few Atlanteans for Ribble and other NBC companies, as well as examples for Colchester and Ipswich Corporations. Naturally 1481 had a high bridge body normally a style used on many Atlantean chassis, the ECW body was more suited to the standard Bristol VRT chassis. Along with the already mentioned Ribble buses, Fishwick 5 a preserved Leyland Titan PD2/Weymann body, Barrow 104 a late 1983 Northern Counties bodied Atlantean AN68D and preserved Blackpool Corporation MCW bodied Titan PD3 512 were used along with rare Duple bodied Leyland Tiger Ribble 900.
One of real treats of the Morecambe running day is the scope of photography open to all enthusiasts, from sea front shots to lazy village centre shots to rural out of town photos. The RVPT are a friendly bunch of hard working folk, who do have a vested interest in the whole of Ribble's transport history, from group owned vehicles to privately owned Ribble buses, the whole of Ribble's history is kept alive by these people. The programme is well produced, containing several items about Ribble buses and most important is the days timetable, which is adhered to until the very last departure, which is the 18:00 from Carnforth to Morecambe.
So if your around towards then end of May next year why not give the Heysham-Morecambe-Carnforth RVPT running day a go. Its worth a visit just to ride on some proper vintage and veteran vehicles, this was my second visit to this event and I really had a good day.