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Tales from the Past
by George Potter

I have been in bus work, more of less, all my life. I used to live near Cambridge and in the 1960s worked as a driver for a firm called "Progressive Coaches." The boss, a Mr Harris, was an Irishman and insisted that all the vehicles had some green in the livery. The standard colour scheme was green and white.

A lot of the fleet was second hand and included some ex-London Transport pre-war RTs. I also remember well a Dennis Lance double decker we had. (This was ex-Aldershot K3 No 127 - Ed.) I often drove it on Schools and contract work and soon got used to the back-to-front gearbox fitted, with the pre-selector overdrive. I always liked the overdrive top. I remember one day using the Dennis to take a party of youngsters up to London. Once I got the 5th gear selected, nothing could catch me on the A11!

Ex-Aldershot K3 No 127
The Aldershot K3s went far and wide after use by the company. Here, No.127 is seen in Baldock while working for Progressive Coaches of Cambridge.

Later on, I drove for another firm at Biggleswade. They had an 8-foot wide Dennis double decker, with a Gardner 5 pot engine. (An ex-Aldershot K4 - Ed.) The boss said to me "I don't know if you can manage this one - it's got Chinese gears". But he needn't have worried. I told him I had driven a Dennis bus with a gearbox like that in my last job.

This article first appeared in Newsletter no27, May 2000


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