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Jakob Fichtenkamm GER-EM 40 Easter Sunday 1967 (1)
Easter Sunday 1967 - One of the most exotic coach hires made by Yelloway occurred on Easter Sunday in 1967 when this left hand drive German registered Mercedes-Benz O 302 coach ran as a duplicate on the 1345 Rochdale-Blackpool service X79! The coach, operated by Jakob Fichtenkamm of Rheinzabern, Germany was GER-EM 40 - the ‘GER’ letters in the registration plate indicating the plate was issued in the town of Germersheim which is about 10 miles from Rheinzabern. It became a regular caller at the Weir Street garage when it brought parties to Whitworth from their Rheinland twin town of Kandel. Help and assistance was provided to the drivers by Yelloway when required through the auspices of Mrs Holt (of the former Whitworth based Charles Holt and Sons Limited coach and haulage business). On one occasion the coach was scratched along the gold line by a vandal with anti-German feelings. Cyril Howarth and the Yelloway bodyshop staff did an expert job in rectifying the problem in a very short space of time. The heavy demand for seats on the Blackpool service over this sunny Easter resulted in the coach being used for a direct full load between the two Yelloway coach stations at Weir Street, Rochdale and Bloomfield Road, Blackpool thus avoiding any passengers having to be unloaded on the ‘wrong side’ and on a public road. The passengers seemed overjoyed at the experience of travelling on what was, it must be said, seen as a highly sophisticated vehicle at the time coupled with the novelty of it being a foreign left hand drive coach. These very grainy black and white pictures show the event and also show the deserted garage when almost every Yelloway coach was out at work – just what Hubert Allen wanted! Really this is the next to the last picture in the set but shown first to capture the flavour of the moment as the coach departed. One of the Yelloway Duple Donnington bodied AEC Reliances (of which I never took a proper photo!) waits beyond to follow the convoy being led by the Yelloway service coach.