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158 HISTORY

New to P.C.T 15th August 1962, 158 started off as just another Atlantean in the Plymouth fleet. It was allocated to route 12/13 and then asa spare vehicle. Circumstances in the winter of 1974/75 led to it still being with us today. We should have been talking about 123/124 really as they were the ones chosen to be the new open toppers for the summer 1975 route to Bovisand. But as 158/159 happened to be in for overhaul they got the chop instead.

 158 did during the conversion get taken out on the road for use as tree lopping oj the new Bovisand route, minus upper deck seats but still in red and cream livery. ( i would love to get hold of a picture of this!!)

 The route 53 was to be an hourly service from Western Kings via Durnford st to the bus station. Then out along Exeter st, PomphletteDean cross, Hooe lake, Jennycliff, Staddon Heights and Bovisand, turning around in the car park behind the cafe.

 The livery chosen by the Transport committee was of yellow (Lemon Chrome, I've been informed by Ed Watkins, who worked in the paint shop at that time) with white lower deck window surrounds and red beading to break up the main colours.

 Prior to entering service and official unveilling on 22nd May, the Plymouth Bus Club hired 158 on the 18th May for a preview tour of Whitsands, Millbrook, Cremyll, Seaton and Looe. A covering was placed over the name "Plymouth Adventurer"so as to not give away the secret on its official launch . Its name was chosen by Class 3 east, St Peter's voluntary primary school, Wyndham square.

 158/159 along with several covered top duplicates started the route 53 on the 8th June. An extensive timetable ran into the summer evening, with last departure from Bovisand not until 22.00!! unimaginable today with many city routes finishing well before then. The service continued into September, so the last trips would've been taken in total darkness upstairs with only one light on the stairs.

 In 1976 158/159 recieved the traditional gold tramway numbers and a 3rd open topper 160 joined the fleet. By the 1978 season 158 sported advertising for "Plymouth Sound 261" a local radio station. By 1980 158/59/60 had to be renumber to make way for a new batch of East Lancs AN68 Atlanteans 148-161. Now numbered 458/59/60 

 1981 saw the open toppers converted to one man operation with coin vaults and setright ticket machine motors.

1986 saw 458 transfer to Plymouth Citybus LTD . 1989 saw it painted in various all over adverts promoting city attractions.

 June 1991, 458 was sold by Citybus and spent the next 18 years working on tours in Scarborough, then York city and Whitby. Finally being operated by Keighley transport of Yorkshire museum.

 After 47 years work, Keighley sold it back to Plymouth. Paul Furse securing it for our preservation group in sept 2009.

2011 it attended the Devon General "sea dog" event at Goodrington sands. An engine replacement at Colebrook and another period of storage saw 458 sold to West of England collection at Winkleigh.  It was then purchased by Philip Heseltine and returned once again to Plymouth by Towing on the first day of covid lockdown in Britain, March 2020. We finished the engine fittings at protected it with a very large Tarpaulin. Missing all its seats we collected enough frames from Winkleigh. 

 Some work has started on stripping the interior paint. The top deck floor will need replacing as it has long since rotted, being exposed to the element over many years. Hopefully the frames won't be to bad underneath. It will be finished back to original 1975 yellow livery as soon as time permits.

 Information taken from The Plymouth Bus club magazine "buses west" and P.S.V circle notes  

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