A Belper man has finally
published a book about the history of Nottingham City Transport buses after
spending more than 30 years putting it together.
Former bus driver Daryl Hemsell, of Monyash Way, began work on his epic in 1980 as a young ‘bus buff’ but the finished version of ‘Nottingham City Transport’s Buses From Daimler to Scania’ was only published last month.
Daryl, 47, landed his dream job when he became a driver for the firm between 1993 and 2005.
Daryl said: “The general manager wrote a book in 1978, but there’s been such a long gap, I thought I would fill it.”
The book traces the design and development of the buses from 1962 – when the first rear engine Daimler fleet lines arrived in Nottingham – and charts the process of how Nottingham developed a passenger-friendly vehicle.”
The book, which features 159 pages with 300 photographs, tells the story of how engineering manager John Lowrie and his assistant David Bradshaw were allowed to make improvements to the buses for the benefit of drivers and passengers.
He said: “They were quite unique. Nottingham had a lot of input on the design. You can’t do that nowadays – they are all off the peg and bog standard.”
Among the innovations Daryl charts are angled front windows to stop reflections for drivers, stainless steel handrails to guide blind passengers and destination signs angled to prevent glare.
“They basically took a bus and changed it to how they wanted it,” said Daryl.
“They put on pneumatic bumbers on to prevent damage. They made it more comfortable and easier to use for passengers.
“On the Dennis Arrows in the late ‘90s, Nottingham took the back seats off and made them more streamlined to make more room for passangers.”
Intriguingly, the Nottingham transport team even developed a one-off vehicle called the 666 with a whole host of experimental features.
Dubbed ‘Damien’ after the satanic character in the Omen horror films, this prototype bus is still on display at the Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre in Ruddington.
As well as writing about buses, Daryl owns his own audio-visual company which produces documentaries on the subject. He said: “ Basically I was filming transport events for myself. Then began producing them for the enthusiast to buy in 1998. The first video being the Sheffield Gathering at Meadowhall, although I had filmed the Leicester Abbey Park event in 1996.”
Daryl became a bus driver because of his life long interest in the vehicles, but family commitments obliged him to leave his treasured West Bridgford route in 2005.
He now works part-time as a parish warden in Codnor and is a house busband, looking after three-year-old daughter Lauren.
He said: “I do miss driving and all the vehicles. It was a nice job and you got to meet some nice people. Maybe I will get back behind the wheel some day!”
The book retails at £19.95 with £4.50 postage and is available from Daryl’s website www.nextstopproductions.co.uk.