Restoration destination for historic bus

A Shropshire bus which has just reached its 70th birthday is making steady progress on its latest journey which will restore it to its former glory.

Sentinel bus
Sentinel bus

The Sentinel bus which left the famous Sentinel Works in Shrewsbury new in November 1950 returned to its old Shropshire haunts a year ago having been acquired by three enthusiasts who aim to restore it to running order for display at local events.

And despite work being interrupted by the pandemic lockdowns, already it is looking resplendent having been repainted in the cream and green livery of Brown's Coachways of Donnington Wood, which was the last operator before its sale for preservation back in 1972.

Glyn Bowen, one of the enthusiasts, said: "Once the restrictions were eased, work was resumed preparing the bodywork and, by the time the latest restrictions again halted work, much progress was made with initial coats of cream and green paint applied.

"The aluminium Sentinel grille badge and mouldings have been refitted after polishing. The destination blind was removed and found to be in poor condition so the decision was taken to commission a replacement and this has now been fitted.

The bus at the start of its journey to Shropshire in November 2019.

"When work can recommence, attention will move on to the required electrical and mechanical work to return GUJ 608 to running order.

"The Facebook group 'Friends of GUJ 608 Sentinel Bus' has become well established and there are now over 300 followers and it is gratifying to see how much public interest there is in this bus with many former drivers and passengers posting their memories.

"The Brown's Sentinels were certainly a big part of the local scene for many years."

The single decker bus, which is being restored at a secret location in Telford area, had been a common sight in the Donnington and Oakengates areas in its service days.

It began life as a demonstration vehicle for Sentinel, as part of a largely unsuccessful attempt to try to entice operators to add Sentinel buses to their fleets.

Looking good with the spruced up Sentinel badge and grille.

It then passed through a couple of operators before being bought by Brown’s early in 1959.

It was in regular service in Donnington and Oakengates areas until 1971, and soon afterwards it was sold to a bus enthusiast for preservation and restored to its original dark blue livery, and was then exhibited at the Aston Manor Transport Museum in Birmingham where it stayed until the museum was forced to vacant the site.

GUJ 608 was then moved to indoor secure accommodation where it remained for eight years.

During 2019 the owner decided that, because of other commitments, he reluctantly had to offer it for sale for continued preservation and negotiations were begun to return it to Telford in the care of local enthusiasts Peter Gilbert, Steve Hand, and Glyn.

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