Douglas Carnival makes a welcome return

This month saw the first Douglas Carnival for over fifteen years, it also marked the 100th anniversary of Douglas Corporation Transport.

What better way to mark the event than a parade of buses new and old representing a wide range of operators and manufacturers dating from the early 20th century to the modern day.

Three preservationist groups took part in the parade along Douglas Promenade as well as government-owned operator Bus Vannin – although it wasn’t just buses that took part. A wide range of different vehicles took part from ambulances to tractors and classic cars to horse trams.

Douglas Corporation Transport (DCT) was founded in 1914 and as the name suggests primarily ran services around the Island’s capital of Douglas. Throughout their existence, the DCT fleet primarily consisted of vehicles manufactured by the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) – although other manufacturers such as Guy Motors and Leyland were also represented in the fleet.

Douglas Corporation Transport (DCT) was founded in 1914 and as the name suggests primarily ran services around the Island’s capital of Douglas. Throughout their existence, the DCT fleet primarily consisted of vehicles manufactured by the Associated Equipment Company (AEC) – although other manufacturers such as Guy Motors and Leyland were also represented in the fleet.

Douglas Corporation Transport was merged with Isle of Man Road Services (IoMRS) in 1976 to form Isle of Man National Transport – the forerunner to today’s Bus Vannin.

Bus Vannin
Bus Vannin had the most vehicles taking part – with 85 years separating the newest and oldest vehicles. The Heritage Fleet had a strong presence with all four active vehicles in use. Representing Isle of Man Road Services were Hall Lewis bodied Thornycroft BC MN-5454 (13) and Leyland Titan PD2 KMN-504 (2) – the former being the oldest vehicle to take part.

Representing Douglas Corporation Transport were Northern Counties bodied AEC Regent III KMN-835 (64) and Willowbrook bodied AEC Regent V 410-LMN (15) with the latter being a very historically important vehicle – being the last double decker ever produced by the Associated Engineering Company. Three members of the service fleet were also present – East Lancs bodied TransBus Trident II GMN-372-N (12), Wrightbus bodied Volvo B9TL JMN-55-R (169) and Mercedes-Benz Citaro LMN-228-H (228). Trident 12 is currently the oldest member of the service fleet, however, it is due to be withdrawn from service in the not too distant future.

Manx Transport Enthusiasts Association
Jurby Transport Museum was represented by three vehicles. Taking part from the Museum were Douglas Corporation Guy Otter UTU 597J (11) and Isle of Man Transport Alexander bodied Leyland Atlantean PDR2/1 MAN-3432 (48) – new to Merseyside PTE with the fleet number 1235 – and Leyland Olympian BMN-64-V (64) which was painted in the Douglas Corporation Transport livery to commemorate the anniversary of the foundation of DCT.

The Manx Transport Enthusiasts Association also had a presence with their Isle of Man Road Services Willowbrook bodied Leyland Leopard 697-HMN (97). Recently, 97 took part in filming for an episode of The Hairy Bikers which is due to be broadcast in the near future. MTEA is the newest preservation group to be formed on the island and is currently based at a former coach depot at Summer Hill – a stone’s throw from where the parade took place on Douglas Promenade.

North West Vehicle Restoration Trust
Representing Merseyside-based preservation group North West Vehicle Restoration Trust, was the unique Douglas Corporation Park Royal bodied Leyland Comet KMN-519 (21). Usually, a resident at the group’s Kirkby base the vehicle is currently a resident at the Jurby Transport Museum – arriving on the island last March.

Tours Isle of Man
Last but not least local coach operator Tours Isle of Man sent one of their heritage Duple bodied Bedford OBs to the parade. 1950-MN was new to Went of Boxted in 1951 with the registration RHK 843. Today Tours Isle of Man owns this and a second OB – registered 1949-MN which was new back in 1950.

Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, I look forward to seeing if the event is held again in future years as I would certainly attend it again.

It made a very pleasant and interesting sight to see so many different bus types carrying a wide range of different liveries old and new – particularly with the Leyland Olympian painted into the Douglas Corporation Transport livery.

What was also an interesting sight was to see the evolution of bus design and how much it’s changed – the oldest bus there being a Thornycroft BC from 1928 and the newest being a Mercedes-Benz Citaro from 2013.



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