www.kellstransportmuseum.com - Irelands Operating Bus Museum

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www.kellstransportmuseum.com - Irelands Operating Bus Museum
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Re: Them Tigers You Boys Hay


Which is the best Tiger? My reply.

A very interesting question has been asked. I do not think any of them is any better than anyone else as they are all in superb condition, on the button and without defects.

It is certainly a tribute to Ulsterbus that we have such a fleet of perfect Tigers as no other models or group of buses - other than possibly the 14 Ulsterbus Leopards - reaches the same standards of excellence.

The only machine with potential problems is 340 which suffers severely from corrosion and considerable meachanical wear but to drive her and look at her you would not think anything is wrong. On the other hand she has no imminent problems and the problems she has will not show for ten years or so.

However, as she is the first Tiger she will be preserved and whatever is necessary done to her to keep her in prime condition. We hope to match her with 1299, the last Tiger so we have the first and the last.

As regards the Portglenone buses, they arguably, keep their buses in the best condition of any buses, hopefully because they take a pride in them and know that if they look after them, then, in turn when we get them, they will be proud to come and see them in years to come. Portglenone is an outstation of Ballymena Garage, as is our Kells, which again, arguably, has one of the best maintenance records of any Ulsterbus station.

1274 is probably the next to come and we had hoped for 1223 but she has been earmarked for a further ten years in service, she is so good, and that is a tribute to Ray Holmes and his men.

Our current fleet is:


This has to be an amazing record for preservation and it certainly means the roar of an Ulsterbus Gardner or TL 11 will be heard for fifty years and hopefully one hundred and more.

What of the future? At least four more N's and then the Q's will start. Ideally we would like about 20 Q as well. We think the Q will be a much more difficult machine to maintain just as the N is over the Leopard. You really cannot beat a 680 Leopard for ease of maintenance.

So that is why we say thanks to the Portglenone men and Ballymena Garage and ask them to keep up the good work so that we get Tigers as near perfect as possible. You must remember these are twenty year old machines and still in showroom condition.

I would welcome hearing from the Portglenone people themselves on this board.

Finally, we come to the unfortunate subject of scrapping. We really need to scrap a Gardner and a TL 11 machine to provide spares to keep the rest running. It is a very difficult decision to make as every machine we have right now is of some historical significance so I would think two of the next group will be likely candidates.

Most people do not realise that the Gardner and the TL are two entirely different machines under their bodies, in not alone the engine department but also suspension and hence we need one of each as spares.

And again everyone is invited to come and see them and drive them - if they can drive one in the first place!

Michael Grimes

Re: Which is the best Tiger? My reply.

very interested in comming to see these and mabye a drive ;) can it be done on a class C lorry license