A VINTAGE bus is coming back to Ashton-under-Lyne after decades in a north Wales field before being painstakingly restored to as-new condition in a Yorkshire shed.
Ashton Corporation bus number eight was built in 1928 to carry the town’s citizens to work, market or the cinema.
But by the 1930s it was already obsolete, so it was discarded to be used as a caravan for nearly half a century.
However, it was then rescued and rebuilt to the same condition as it was on the day it left the factory, by a Yorkshire craftsman enthusiast Geoff Lumb.
The Karrier model was made in Huddersfield and has six wheels, drinking fuel at the rate of just three miles to the gallon. Despite this, it still has only 32 seats and is smaller than modern buses.
The colour scheme is royal blue and white, which was Ashton’s house colours for its buses.
It became a static caravan at Talacre on the north Wales coast before being rescued in the 1970s by Geoff, of Huddersfield.
Now the project is complete and number eight is in mint condition, it will leave Yorkshire and come back to its home region, where it is going on permanent display at the Museum of Transport, Greater Manchester.
It launched an urgent appeal to raise £20,000 to help buy it.
And on Friday, June 30, it will be in Ashton’s Market Place – which it must have called at nearly a century ago – to celebrate coming home.
Among the welcoming party will be the town’s MP, Angela Rayner, who said: “I’m proud of Ashton’s heritage and this amazing old bus is a living piece of history.
“I don’t find it difficult to imagine people going to the mill or the music hall in it and I’m really pleased that it’s not only coming back to its home region, but it’ll be on display where people can see it.”
Dennis Talbot, chairman of the museum based in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester., added: “It’s an amazing thing to look at, and no-one has seen it in decades until now.
“There’s literally nothing like it anywhere, it’s totally unique so we were determined to raise the funds so we can buy it and keep it here, in Greater Manchester and accessible to the public.
“We think it’s important that it was not sold abroad to be used as a novelty in a themed restaurant somewhere.”
Councillor Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for heritage, culture and digital inclusivity, said: “This old bus is a fantastic piece of Tameside’s heritage and it’s wonderful to welcome it back to its home town of Ashton as it stops off during its journey to its permanent home in the museum.”
Kelvin Platt of the Museum of Transport said: “Number eight fills a huge gap in our collection and we’re thrilled that it will be on public display in our museum.
“Our heritage isn’t just to be celebrated but to be seen, and its new home in Greater Manchester is the best place for it to be.”