By the summer of 1996, FRA1, despite still being a Stagecoach Fife vehicle, had effectvely finished it's working career and was parked up at Cowdenbeath depot with it's preservation by the Fife Bus Club surely only a formality. So it was clearly time for us to start work on sprucing it up ready to go to rallies in the future.
Cleaning and tidying the inside wasn't too much trouble, but since a re-paint would be a bit expensive for the Bus Club right after paying for the vehicle, we elected to thoroughly wash the only slightly faded but still serviceable paintwork, and then varnish the whole bus to extend the lifespan of the livery for a few years. (13 years at the time of writing, but who's counting!) And here are a few captured pictures from that day.
1. This picture is a bit of a cheat,
since it was't taken from the same piece of camcorder footage as the rest, but
I have included this single shot from an earlier date as it shows FRA1 on the
pit at the back of the garage that it was permanently parked on after it was
withdrawn from service work - Cowdenbeath had two sets of pits, and the end
one at the back of the main shed was the hardest one to get a bus in or out of,
so the mechanics didn't use it much and were happy for FRA1 to park there.
2. The first shot of the varnishing
shows Alistair hard at work...
3. ...with a couple of other people
holding the depot gantry, which wasn't exactly the steadiest working platform
I have ever used!
4. A side on view of sorts! As usual
on a Sunday the shed was far from empty, and also as usual, the gantry holders
have found something more interesting to do!
5. Moving round...
6. ...Alistair gets started on
varnishing the back of FRA1.
7. A better side on view, or
would have been if I could have got everyone out of the foreground!
8. Not long after I tried to film a bus
arriving back at the depot, but suceeded in getting a rather dark view of FRA1 and
a rather too bright image of the imcoming bus!
9. Since I wasn't too busy, I had time
to look for a new angle to film from, so here is a long view from the pits at the
back of the main shed...
10. ...and since (unusually) there were
no Stagecoach Fife buses on any of the pits, I got a rare side-on shot of FRD187
sitting in it's little bay at the other end of the pit area!
11. I then tried for a zoom view of FRA1
parts of which were now looking rather shinier!
12. Finally here is a view of FRA1
from later on that afternoon, once the gantry had been moved round to the front.
The varnishing was a reasonable success by most peoples standards, as it turned out that the varnish was still fighting a rearguard action to protect the paintwork when we managed to revive our chances of getting FRA1 preserved in the spring of 2008! But that is another story...