Ireland's Operating Bus Museum - Buses - Irish Railways - Peru Railways - Chalks Ocean Airways
September 2, 2004. We finally got the photographs of our surprise present of a Ford "Greyhound", registration 84 G 659 and also details of her history which is very interesting as she seems a most unusual vehicle.
84 G 659 is the second of the two Fords R 1014 built by Sureline of Lurgan although was effectively finished by Wright of Ballymena using Plaxton parts (hence the Plaxton front screen and panel. It is actually recorded as Wright C45F.
It was registered new as HIB 2138 on 1.4.84. It passed to Ulsterbus on 27.6.87 with the rest of the Sureline fleet and became Ulsterbus fleet number 698. Only used for a couple of days it was withdrawn on 30.6.87 and placed in Reserve. It was sold for scrap to Beattie, Hillsborough, Co. Down in February, 1992 but obviously survived.
Duple used trapizoid windows on their Goldliner and Dominant III bodies, mainly for Scottish Bus Group in the early 1980s. SBG initally had some Alexander bodied coaches with similar windows. Plaxton did not buy Duple until 1989 and there is no connection between them at this time. Plaxton only built a few 320 and 425 bodies from Duple's range after take over.
Sureline was renowned for building odd bodies such as this. It may have been a long winded process. The classic irish buses site gives a "new" date of 1979 which may have been the chassis build date. Ford R series ceased in 1985 and prior to that R1015/1115s were standard not R1014/1114s. The Plaxton front style must pre-date even 1979
The coach left Beatties for Chambers of Moneymore who in turn sold it down South. After that all trace was lost of it until surfacing with Kells Transport Museum. Burkes in Galway have informed us that they never had it so who got her a Galway reguistration? It then went to Barretts of Donoughmore. The latter we certainly know.
Although it was only completed and entered service in 1984 the chassis had been with Sureline for a long time, possibly as much as 5/6 years. Records originating with Ulsterbus indicate it to be an R1014 and not the later R1015.
Although there may be a temptation to see Duple in the side-window design there is no connection with that Company nor Plaxton except in the latter case that Wrights bought some parts from Plaxton in order to complete what Sureline had started. Both Plaxton and Duple used steel framing for their construction (and hence it is not unusual for surviving coaches from those sources to be riddled with rot particularly at the rear). 84 G 659 is probably of alloy construction.
The other Ford coach constructed by Sureline also had no connection with either Duple or Plaxton - in fact it was of a rather unfortunate design (not unlike 84 G 659 in some ways. However, it was sold out of service by Sureline even before the Ulsterbus takeover in 1987 (to a church in Lisburn) and was probably scrapped some time ago.
We are most grateful to both Paul and Howard for their help in finding out the above information.
It was John Quirke who obtained her and presented her to the museum and we are most grateful to him. John has provided us with some of our best vehicles.
Front view of 659 at turning bay.
Rear and side View of 659 clearly showing the "Greyhound" style windows.
Ewan Duffy with her.
Coming down the "boreen" and the grass is growing again.
Inside of 659 - Superb.
Drivers cab of 659.