Last of the Swagman LS Bristols VDV 749, this email is from Martin Fisher
What an excellent website; sadly I have never travelled overland to the far-east, but your write-up makes me wish I had! However, I spent a career as an engineer with city bus operators in London and Birmingham - a far cry from the conditions you describe.
However, the main reason for my e-mail is that a friend of mine, Peter Wigley, owns a Bristol LS, VDV 749, which once formed part of the Asian Greyhound / Swagman fleet and was, indeed, still in Asian Greyhound livery when he purchased it a few years ago. It seems to be the only coach used by the operation that has made it into preservation and the pictures and descriptions in your story make us realise the conditions that these vehicles endured. Peter, who has no internet connection (hence my writing the e-mail), would love to hear of any stories involving VDV 749; he has been given one or two pictures of it in use on the Asian Greyhound operation, but if any former passengers have any pictures or memories of it he would love to hear from them. It would be particularly interesting to know how many runs it made - it still has Kathmandu on the destination blinds. We thought we were doing well when we drove the 300 miles from the West Midlands to Exeter in one day in September for a Royal Blue commemoration run - the coach is now 48 years old - but it pales into insignificance compared to its past life. I've attached a low-resolution copy of a slide taken after the run, showing VDV back in Royal Blue colours - personally I think it should have been kept in Asian Greyhound/Swagman green, but Peter doesn't agree with me!
I'll keep looking at your website updates, as your journey description progresses East and hope that you, or a past passenger, may be able to give us a bit more information on VDV 749.
VDV 749 after the Royal Blue commemoration run
VDV still in Swagman colours
Me with VDV on a visit in December 2005