Darren revs up for historic bus run

Buses 17 and 18 on The Hard, Portsea, in 1969
Buses 17 and 18 on The Hard, Portsea, in 1969

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Bus driver Darren Marshall will drive his old route one last time this Saturday in a preserved bus from the 1980s.

The 29-year-old drove the 17 and 18 circular route through Southsea to The Hard for seven years, but the route will be axed from Sunday.

He says: ‘It’s one of the oldest routes in Portsmouth and it’s remarkable that after all this time most of it is unchanged despite the number of operators who have run it.’

The 81-year-old route began in 1931 as a tramline.

Darren has organised six preserved buses to drive the route on Saturday, acting as non-stop tour buses.

The first will depart Stand A at The Hard Interchange at 10am.

Subsequent tours will run every 30 minutes until 5pm. They are free.

A history booklet of routes 17 and 18 will be available to buy for £5 in the travel office at The Hard Interchange.

The pictures in our In Pictures feature show Darren with a modern-day bus, Service 17 crossing a deserted Guildhall Square in April 1963 and the Number 18 crossing the northern leg of Bradford Junction in April 1963.

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please e-mail Chris Owen at chris.owen@thenews.co.uk or write to him at The News, The News Centre, Hilsea, Portsmouth,PO2 9SX