The South Yorkshire Transport Trust at Eastwood, Rotherham, is a much more hard-core enthusiasts’ affair than its companion down the road at Aldwarke.
Its occasional opening days are populated by individuals of a certain age brandishing serious cameras – a stereotype I find it remarkably easy to fit into – and these events seem to attract visiting vehicles from far and wide.
Formerly located in the former Tinsley Tram Sheds, in 2017 the collection moved to a former nut factory. (There’s a health-warning about allergies at the entrance.) It’s a businesslike location that already looks and smells like a bus garage – fragrant with diesel oil, rubber and sun-dried upholstery.
The core fleet is considerable and includes an immaculate village bus of 1963 from Cyprus, an American school bus dating from 1989, as well as buses that operated away from South Yorkshire – Devon General, East Kent, Eastern National, Lothian and Greater Manchester.
There is an impressive collection of South Yorkshire double-deckers mostly from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, many of them awaiting full restoration.
In some cases, their parlous condition is the result of vandal attacks when they were stored in the open. The Eastwood site offers much better security.
Among the stars of the collection is Sheffield 874 (7874 WJ) of 1960, a tram-replacement vehicle that notched up sixteen years in public service followed by over forty years in preservation, and has run in every single one of those years.
If South Yorkshire ever instigates an authentic heritage bus service, as London has, here is the fleet.
The Trust’s website is at http://www.sytt.org.uk.