Wythall’s final running day of 2020 drew nearly 300 attendees and a very special selection of visiting vehicles.
‘Twilight’ has become a firm fixture in the calendar and is always well supported but despite the firm grip of Covid-19 still having a major effect on the heritage sector, the team was overwhelmed at the attendance this year, well up on the 235 of 2019.
Once again Roger Burdett supported the event with his Coventry Daimler GKV 94 but stealing the show was Steve Morris with his magnificent SMT Leyland TD5, an ‘unfrozen’ vehicle built on a 1938 Leyland chassis, assembled at SMT with Alexander panels and registered in 1942. Twilight certainly enhanced its splendour!
Other welcome visitors included two Bristol VRs (GRF 709V from PMT and RAH 260W from Eastern Counties), ex Midland Red Leyland National NOE 602R, Midland Red Leyland Leopard JHA 227L, the 1991 Leyland Atlantean conversion, single deck RAW 808M from Hulleys of Baslow (ex South Notts) and Bedford YMT/Plaxton Supreme IV JDO 241 from Fowlers.
Along with the Coventry Daimler and TD5, these vehicles joined several of Wythall’s own on the free bus service during the day. In fact the majority of these half hourly runs required the addition of two ‘service extras’ due to demand coupled with the need for social distancing.
A highlight of mid-afternoon was the arrival of not one but three Volvo Ailsa’s, two from West Midlands Travel (TOE 527N from the first batch and later JOV 738P – sporting many detail differences in its build) and V1/A101 SUU, the first example delivered to London Transport.
As twilight fell, the glow of tungsten bulbs brought back memories of damp 1960s winter evenings, providing some excellent photo opportunities.
Dave Taylor, TMW’s Chairman, reflected on a tough year – ‘Covid-19 has brought the heritage sector to its knees so I am particularly proud of the hard work and determined attitude of our all-volunteer team here at Wythall. Reopening in August has been hugely beneficial in helping to secure our future but has also raised the morale of the whole team. It has also provided a much needed escape for our visitors, the vast majority, families eager to find an interesting and safe day out within the confines of the Covid-19 rule book’.
Twilight marked the end of the 2020 season for TMW but it already has plans for 2021 using the same successful formula as this year – a free bus service, the miniature railway, online booking and innovative ideas. Keep an eye on the website for 2021 announcements as several long-silent vehicles in the collection are slated to hit the road again next year!