By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy QOCS

THE ENFORCED coronavirus pandemic lockdown has actually allowed the fast-tracking of three key historic bus refurbishment projects of the Queensland Omnibus & Coach Society (QOCS), the club reports.

(L-R) Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey MP, Coachworks general manager Scott Isaacs, QOCS president Nick Wilson and QOCS treasurer Martin Stepancich, inspecting the progress on Bus 80 at Coachworks, recently.

In what has otherwise been a very challenging time for the bus industry, the Covid-19-related slowdown has enabled the society and Coachworks in Brisbane to tackle various aspects of the buses’ regeneration, which would no doubt please avid bus enthusiasts alike.

"The club is an important part of the industry and we are always happy to support them with their projects," said Coachworks general manager Scott Isaacs.

"The Covid-19 slowdown has meant that the timing of these projects is mutually beneficial. 

"Our team always enjoy working on club buses and it’s a great talking point for our customers and suppliers when they visit our workshop," Isaacs said.

QOCS club president Nick Wilson commented: "Once again, we are extremely grateful of the support and generosity of Coachworks, who have made these projects possible in what has been and continues to be a very challenging time for the bus industry. We look forward to sharing the results of these projects with ABC magazine readers very shortly."



The first project is the refurbishment of the society’s oldest bus: Bus 80 - the 1948 AEC Regal III built by Commonwealth Engineering – which served more than 20 years’ service with the Brisbane City Council.

The club says it’s replacing a number of body panels and attending to some other minor rust repairs, plus undertaking a complete respray of the Council's original Aluminium-colour paint scheme. In fact, the vehicle has been ‘soda blasted’ back to bare metal, which has removed an estimated seven layers of paint applied during the past 72 years, QOCS confirms.

This work has been made possible by a Queensland Government Community Benefit Fund grant received in January, 2020, for AUD$19,000.




Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey MP, has taken a particular interest in this vehicle and recently inspected the progress for himself at Coachworks, QOCS states.

Once these repairs are complete, the vehicle will displayed in the Queensland Transport Museum at Gatton - a rural locality in the Lockyer Valley Region - for at least the next 12 months, the club reports.

"We are very pleased to have secured this loan to the museum, which will be the very first time the vehicle will be stored undercover for an extended period of time," stated Wilson.

"This will allow the vehicle to be appreciated by an even larger section of the public," he added.



The second project is the interior refurbishment of the society’s second oldest Brisbane City Council vehicle: Bus 498 - the 1968 Leyland Panther built by Athol Hedges.

The bulk of this work includes the replacement of the entire floor plus all of the interior side panelling from the top of the windows down, explains QOCS. After these items are complete, Coachworks is also going to respray the roof white, it adds.

As one of the club’s most used vehicles, this work will put it in good stead for events later this year and into 2021, it says.



The third project is the respray of Bus 100 - the 1983 MAN SL200 with the one-of-a-kind Denning prototype body - back into the gold and white colour scheme the vehicle wore in 1985 to commemorate 100 years since the first tram services commenced operation in Brisbane, on 10 August, 1885. As it turns out, 2020 is the 135th anniversary of this occasion and QOCS is looking forward to marking this occasion with its friends at the Brisbane Tramway Museum, it states.

Work on this vehicle will commence in the coming week, QOCS confirms.




The Queensland Omnibus & Coach Society Inc. (QOCS) is a not-for-profit organisation preserving passenger transport history since 1996, it states.

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