Andy Peckham’s Transport 2000 Limited was a radical new attraction to the Cheltenham GWR Modeller’s Exhibition in aid of CLIC Sargeant staged in April 2007. The 4mm scale diorama represented a fictional Gloucester based coach and bus firm incorporating both the new brands of Concept 2000 and Provincial as well as the legendary historical style of Black and White. This is forever linked with mass monochrome departures from Cheltenham St Margaret’s Coach Station.
Some readers will be asking why a skilled modeller should be striving to perfect fictitious markings when most railway and aircraft builders go into rivet-counting detail trying to replicate reality. The answer is that bus modelling also has a function beyond shape and colour recognition that is more akin to wargaming. As further reported on the Model Bus Federation website and in their regular printed Supplements, some bus enthusiasts will use their scale replicas as the basis for hypothetical bus companies. These will bid for and operate routes and be allocated their own blocks of route numbers by Traffic Commissioners, operating to a timetable interlocking with other operators. Such operators, such as Andy Peckham and The Mellor Brothers also cope with changing conditions inspired by events in the real world such as new bridges and long term roadworks.
Even to the uninitiated however, a look round Travel 2000’s busy yard yielded some interesting sights. At the top end of the quality long distance travel range were rare Concept 2000 marked Dutch built Bova Futuras with the registrations DP20 and AP49. Also in the brown and gold of Concept 2000 was the 1996 vintage Neoplan Cityliner pictured above.
Black and White meanwhile provided more mundane coach accomodation, although by October 2008 one of their more modern Setra bodied two axled vehicles – registration JB22 – formed a backdrop to one of Andy Peckham’s other interests – Jaguar cars. This particular sunroof fitted blue example has the registration A1 – but to be totally topical to the time of course Andy would have needed two jags, a blonde Diary Secretary and some croquet mallets – but anything is possible in modelling!
Representing the small, flexible end of Black and White passenger operation was a Ford Transit minibus while PRC1 – a 2004 vintage Volvo with double decked Wright Gemini bodywork- was named “Silver Lady” and reserved for private hire work.
Travel 2000’s provincial division was further split into the brown and cream liveried coaches and buses used to transport office and factory workers and the dedicated fleet of school and university PSVs.
These included a Leyland Tiger with the longer version of the Plaxton Paramount body carrying the three brown stripes of Provincial livery and registered as AJP1 as well as an East Lancashire bodied double decker which served the University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls Campus
Spring 2009 saw a new short-chassis version of the popular Dennis Dart – registration ES 2 – enter Provincial service as a schools bus while Travel 2000 Ltd responded to the credit crunch by diversifying into a wedding car service: a white Jaguar Mark 7 and a white Daimler 420 along with a cream coloured Jaguar S Type being decked with ribbons.
Further noted at the Cheltenham GWR Modellers Exhibition in October 2009 were N314 BYA – a Volvo B10M coach with Black and White markings on its Van Hool body covered in dead insects after a long cross country journey along with a monocoque built Optare Excel and short wheelbase Dennis Dart chassis bearing a Ballymena built Wright Handybus body, once a common sight around London.
By the time it arrived at St Margaret’s Hall, for the Spring 2010 Cheltenham GWR Modeller’s Exhibition, Travel 2000 has expanded into a new gravel-floored yard – seen here being occupied by the school bus fleet – and gained an inspection ramp visible just behind the shed and to the left of the three-axle cream coloured Peugeot-Talbot Pullman minibus with brown “Provincial” branding.
Also of note was the Black Knight, a new luxury addition to the Black and White fleet. Based on the Original Omnibus Company model of a Volvo B12B with Van Hoole Alizee bodywork, this livery was derived from that of Hoddeston, Hertfordshire based Golden Boy. Meanwhile, Paul Mellor has added some beautiful detail to the AEC Routemaster 18 CLT in the ever growing wedding hire fleet.