Return to Sheffield - via Sydney

Richard Gregory, left, with former Sheffield bus he has brought back to UK from Australia, where it was in use in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.
Richard Gregory, left, with former Sheffield bus he has brought back to UK from Australia, where it was in use in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.
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As return trips go, the 21,000 mile journey made by a vintage Sheffield bus was some trek - and probably wouldn’t be covered by a standard ticket.

The vehicle, which used to trundle through city streets in the 1970s and 1980s, has spent recent years ferrying passengers around Australia’s Blue Mountains, near Sydney.

But last year it was brought back to the UK by enthusiast Richard Gregory - and after restoration the bus returned to Sheffield for an open day at Olive Grove depot to mark 100 years of buses in the city.

The bus was a second for Richard’s collection. His other bus, another former Sheffield vehicle from the same era, still needs more work to be roadworthy.

And he was so keen to acquire it that the money spent on purchase and ‘repatriation’ could have been ‘enough to have bought quite a nice car instead’.

Richard said: “I grew up on the Manor and became fascinated by buses at a young age. The buses I have managed to track down were ones I can remember travelling on as a child.”

The 43-year-old electronic engineer found out about the vehicle in Australia after being contacted by two British ex-pat enthusiasts, Tony Asquith and Tony Swift.

Richard said: “They said the bus was nearing withdrawal and would be up for sale. The chance of owning a runner was very appealing.”

The two Tonys helped Richard with the cost of the ‘repatriation’ by sea - but he still spent a considerable sum himself.

There was more outlay and a labour of love when the bus, still in its Blue Mountains livery rather than South Yorkshire Transport colours, was brought back to the UK.

“Although in service until November 2011, quite a bit of work was required for the MOT test,” said Richard, who is currently based in Rugby.