You wait ages for one Sunday to take your preserved bus out and then two come along at once!
Today I took GCT 113 to the Great Central Railway - Nottingham's (GCRN) Ruddington station, located south west of Nottingham. The rally had been arranged by the Nottingham Area Bus Society (NABS) and in addition to various buses to view, the facilities at the GCRN were also available and there were three departures on the steam railway, operating between Ruddington and Loughborough.
The line itself is ten miles in length and there is an intermediate station at Rushcliffe Halt. Plans exist to re-open the station at East Leake. The leisurely journey takes 41 minutes to reach Loughborough, with a 5-minute wait at Rushcliffe Halt (which acts as a passing point on Gala days when two trains operate). A round trip takes 1:35.
Back to the buses, and it was another scorcher of a day. Every time I've taken GCT 113 to a rally this year the weather has been astonishingly good. As I'm now unable to attend Sandtoft later in the month, and with the heatwave we've been experiencing of late forecast to extend into the early part of next week, I metaphorically chose to make hay while the sun shone and posted off my entry forms to NABS just ten days ago.
Heading into Nottingham from Lincolnshire was a piece of cake, with traffic very light and in what seemed at no time at all we arrived and I was directed to park next to a Trent open-top Leyland, which was replaced by a Nottingham-standard Atlantean an hour or so later
The owners of fellow GCT stalwarts GCT 133 (NJV 995) and 57 (NAT 766A (TJV 100)) were also in attendance, with GCT 133 offering to take part as a relief bus in a special mystery tour, though sadly her services were not required.
Having spent time catching up with others whom I've come into contact with at previous rallies - and even getting the lo-down by LEYTR Treasurer Richard Belton on the progress of his latest restoration project (an ex-Road Car Bristol LH) - it was soon time for lunch. At the GCRN's cafe I encountered the most efficient server imaginable - there were no queues here!
The heat by now was very noticeable and there were a number of seats in the shade, which I made good use of before having a look around the Model Railway Exhibition, which was very impressive. There were two, possibly three, miniature trains offering rides from the cafe end of the site to the main station, though sadly I never made it onto one of them.
Before it was time to leave, all GCT buses were lined up next to each other to create a particularly poignant piece of history, never seen before. All three buses were based at the Victoria Street depot in Grimsby between December 1976 and 1981 and 37 years later they were gathered together once again.
Plenty of photographs later, we all went out separate ways, though until Bingham both GCT open-toppers followed each other along the A52 through Radcliffe.