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Last Updated: Monday, 30 May, 2005, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Labour of love to restore red bus
Steve Griffin with his 1966 London bus
Steve Griffin drove the 1966 bus from London to Tyneside
Twenty-first century transport worker Steve Griffin has his heart set on restoring a relic from the 1960s.

Mr Griffin, who is a technician with Metro and bus operator Nexus on Tyneside, has set to work restoring the classic red London bus from 1966.

He got the bus after putting his name in a draw, along with 400 others, who were hoping to buy one of only 32 buses up for sale.

It took the classic car enthusiast nine hours to drive it to Tyneside.

The 1966 Routemaster was taken out of service after 38 years on the streets of the capital.

Mr Griffin, from Whickam, said: "It's a labour of love. I'll be hard work, but I'll enjoy it and it's a worthwhile effort to preserve a fantastic piece of public transport heritage that's a tribute to British engineering.

Proud owner

"Someone dropped out at the last minute so I was bumped up a position and I got the bus. I was over the moon.

"It's in good condition bearing in mind its age, but the body work needs re-panelling and the paint work needs looking at as well."

The Routemaster was the last bus to be wholly designed by London Transport.

The first examples of the 1950s design were to complete the replacement of the once large London Trolleybus fleet.

Built between 1958 and 1968, it was the last open platform bus to enter service in London and was designed for a 17-year life.

Some 50 years after its first appearance in 1954, just under 1,000 examples of the vehicle exist in the British Isles out of the 2,876 built in total.

Mr Griffin has been a classic car enthusiast for many years and is already the proud owner of some vintage London taxis.

His fleet includes a 1957 Austin FX3, a 1965 Beardmore and a 1983 Austin FX4.

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