Enthusiasts of vintage transport had a real field day earlier in the summer when, thanks to a teaming between the Avon Valley Railway and the Bristol Vintage Bus Group, they were able to enjoy a vintage bus and steam open day.

This new venture, which it's hoped will become an annual event, came from a shared belief by both organsations that Bristol's transport heritage should be preserved and restored - and made available for public benefit. The event was based at the Bristol City Councils Brislington Park and Ride site, where over 40 public transport vehicles were on display. A free vintage bus service then took visitors to the Bus Group's nearby headquarters at Flowers Hill to see the work being done to preserve old omnibuses. Added to this, another service brought people to the Railway and the opportunity to take a train and boat ride.

One of the brains behind the scheme was AVR's Business Development Manager David Cole who owns a number of vintage buses himself, including a 1961 Bristol Medium Weight (MW).

"Although I became interested in steam trains many years ago, out of that grew a passion for buses," said David. "It's really all about being able to preserve our heritage".

Despite early rain on the day of the event, the skies soon cleared and hundreds of people took the opportunity to take a step back in time and enjoy a combined road, rail and river journey. Passenger numbers from Bitton were double those of a normal Sunday and the shop and buffet were especially busy.

"It was a particularly nostalgic day for a number of visitors", commented David, "and the added attraction of a train ride and a boat cruise on the river made it a great day out for the whole family".

Below - a selection of some of the buses on view at the Rally.  All Photo's - Tony Wray.

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This page last updated by Tony Wray on 30/12/2004.