The value of traditional values
Avid readers of CPT’s daily News Desk service may have noticed a reference to a talk hosted by the Werrington Local History Group entitled The History of Delaine Buses on Thursday evening last week. Alerted by this mention I went along after work and found the car park at the community centre of this Peterborough village already full. By the time I found somewhere down the street and got back Peter Moore was just beginning his talk, which meant I didn’t get chance to buy a raffle ticket or get a cup of tea.
Peter began driving for The Delaine after 30 years as a teacher and has acquired considerable knowledge of this most traditional of independent operators. The company combines traditional operating values, attitudes to customer service and interior design concepts with regular investment in modern rolling stock; the latest examples being Wrightbus Gemini bodied Volvo B9TLs with high speed axles for the main service between Bourne and Peterborough. More Euro5 examples are on order because Delaines aren’t at all sure about Volvo using a five-litre engine in the next generation.
Running through the company’s history, which started in 1890 though the first motorised bus – a Model T Ford – was not purchased until 1919, Peter’s illustrated presentation mentioned some of the characters and noted the changing company titles, vehicles and services. There were a few issues that meant that any bus painted red in his pictures came out green on the screen, but fortunately the two tone blue and white colours displayed perfectly. Interaction with the audience included questions about where particular shots had been taken, with many of the locations now completely disappeared though the centre of Bourne itself looks much as it ever did, even if the memorial cross has gone and traffic lights have arrived.
What hugely impressed me was that I counted around 70 local residents who had voluntarily turned out on a cold night to hear about the history of their local bus operator. They appeared to enjoy it too, with quite a number of questions asked at the end. I venture to suggest that the number of operators able to draw such a crowd for talks on their, probably rather shorter, history is perhaps not that great.
Peter still has a few copies of his book, ‘The Delaine – Celebrating 120 Years of Service’, which concentrates on the years 1991 to 2010, available at £12 each. You could buy them after the talk, when timetables for the current services were also offered. He’ll soon be doing another presentation, this time in Market Deeping.