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Last updated: 17 January 2022

 
     
  Archive/Photograph of the Month  
     
 

The Christmas and New Year season is traditionally a time to reminisce, so, as we head into 2022, let’s look back to 2002. This was the final year that Hoeford operated a sizeable number of Leyland Nationals, 21 were in service at the start of the year, but only 4 were still active at the year’s end.

Replacements came in the shape of 14 Wright Renown bodied Volvos, new to First’s South Yorkshire business in 1998, backed up by 5 Leyland Lynx, dating from 1989/90 which transferred from First Bristol Buses. These included 1090 (H640 YHT), pictured here on Grove Road South, Southsea in August 2002. New in Bristol’s “City Line” livery 1090 had arrived in Hampshire in July 2002 after a spell working on “the Bright Orange” routes serving the University of Bath. It would run from Hoeford for some three years after sale for scrap in 2005.

Hoeford’s first five Nationals, 13-17 (HOR 413-7L), had arrived in autumn 1972 and a total of 40 were delivered until the last two 3,4 (C103/4 UHO) arrived in 1985. Further Nationals had been added in April 1983 when the Fareham allocation of Hants & Dorset was incorporated into Provincial fleet. The Provincial fleet became 100% National in early 1984 after the remaining Bristols were replaced by Nationals transferred from other N.B.C. companies.

69 Nationals were included in the fleet purchased by “People’s Provincial” from the N.B.C. in 1987 and there were further regular additions for fleet expansion and replacement until 1991. When FirstBus purchased the Provincial business in 1995 there were 56 survivors, only two of which were less than 16 years old. Not bad for a bus originally intended, by N.B.C., for a 13-year service life.

First drafted in newer Mk.2 Nationals from elsewhere in the business which, together with deliveries of new Dennis and Volvo single-deckers chipped away at the National fleet. By the end of 2001, the survivors were, apart from the sole surviving “MkI” (400, new to Hants & Dorset”) and Mk.2s 401/2 (new to Provincial), all buses transferred in by First.

In March 2003, the impending withdrawal of the last survivors (400-402, 432) was marked by the staging of a running day, the first event staged by the newly established Provincial Society.

 
 
 
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Posted this afternoon (16/12) on the official "First Bus Solent" Facebook page

"To brighten up a gloomy day we bring you our bright new colours for your local buses along the Solent."

 

Photo by First Hampshire & Dorset Ltd

 
 

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