The History of 255 (continued)
Carris withdrew their 255 in March 1983 after its providing nearly 29 years of arduous service, frequently fully loaded, in a hilly and hot city pounding along its many cobbled streets. It was amongst the last of the open-rear-platform double-deckers to remain in service in Lisbon; indeed virtually worldwide except in London.
The bus was purchased by John Shearman direct from Carris, straight out of service, for immediate preservation. Over the previous two years he had been liaising with the Company in order to acquire one of these buses and he had carefully selected an example that remained in substantially unmodified condition.
255 departed Lisbon on 17-April-1983, (an unusually damp day for the time of year) with its new owner and with the necessary assistance of friends, it was driven through Portugal and northern Spain to Santander where it was shipped by roll-on/roll-off ferry to Plymouth.[view pictures]
Since then those same colleagues have provided indispensable and solid, loyal support for the on-going preservation of 255 under the team's collective title of ‘The Carris AEC Preservation Group’.
Restoration work is continual with a policy that the bus is to remain in ‘as withdrawn’ condition, whilst it is tidied-up and smartened.
However, in contradiction to that strategy is the Group's desire to refit interior sun blinds and external rain shields over the windows as were fitted when the bus was new. These distinctive features will have the effect of restoring and strongly emphasising its visual appearance as an export design. The Group have these items in store, along with many other spare parts, most important of which is a spare left-handed A.E.C. engine, which would otherwise now be completely unobtainable.
Carris 255 has heritage importance in representing not only the traditional British double-decker bus in export guise, but also serves as a reminder of the era when the products of the British bus manufacturing industry dominated much of the world's import market for buses
255 is also representative of the era when British manufactured buses were the most dominant export force in selling to the world market for buses.
Furthermore, added interest is provided by the operator which purchased it. Lisbon Electric Tramways (‘Cams’), was notable in being one of the many British owned and managed bus companies which once operated overseas and, as such, this bus serves as a reminder of those near-forgotten British enterprises.
The appeal of 255 is that its design concept is of the once familiar layout of typical, traditional British double-deckers with their front-engine, exposed radiator, half-cab and open rear platform/staircase. And yet this vehicle is all so very different!
Circa Aug 1954 : Shipped from UK
30 Oct 1954 : Entered service
1966 : Upseated from H32/26R (58) to H37/28R (65)
Withdrawn 1983 (earliest Jan, latest March) final use was with the reserve fleet
17 April 1983 : Collected from Carris & departed Lisbon via Spain
22 April 1983 -: Arrived Plymouth
22 May 1983 : First public appearance (North Weald Rally)
01 June 1984 : First registered in UK (KSV 102)
1954 : Built
1983 : 29 Years in service
2003 : 20 Years in Preservation
2004 : 50 years old
2012 : 29 years in preservation (as long as in service!)