By Thomas King
Students at Highfield campus may have noticed a rather old burgundy and cream bus around and about. Toastrack, as she’s called, is a very significant part of the University of Southampton, has been a students’ run-around since 1958, and is still on the road available for use. You may wonder why an 83-year old vintage bus is here at all!
Now, if student societies want to go out somewhere they grab a train, a minibus or a mate’s car, don’t they? Back in the 1958 only 8 people could get into a Morris Minor and it was in this year a group of students in the Engineering Faculty hit upon the idea of buying the bus from Llandudno Urban District Council. £24 was exchanged (equivalent to £455 today) and a major renovation project began. Over the years, Toastrack was taken all over the country and also abroad in the summer vacation as far away as Spain, Portugal, Italy and Yugoslavia. Petrol must have been affordable! In her heyday she was frequently seen milling about on campus and has been looked after by a small team of dedicated students and staff, resulting in her excellent present-day condition.
Toastrack is here to be used. Granted, the bus won’t keep up with your mate’s Renault Clio, or any modern minibus for that matter but with 16 comfy seats, room for an orchestra and bags of style, you’ll be preoccupied watching other motorists’ faces! And when the sun shines, we roll the roof back.
Anyone wishing to use or get involved with Toastrack should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet most Wednesday evenings and are planning to take her for a holiday to Llandudno seaside resort to work at the exciting Classic Transport Festival (5th May).