For fifteen years one of Ribble’s ‘K’ registered flat windscreen Bristol VRTs enjoyed the wonderful scenery of Devon but was finally withdrawn by First Western National during 2001 after almost 29 years of passenger service.
After operation in Carlisle, 1997 returned south and operated from Preston, Kendal, Ulverston and Blackburn garages before being finally withdrawn in January 1985. Crosville had already purchased other members of the batch and No. 1997 joined its sisters and was quickly repainted in NBC leaf green livery.
It had a relatively short career with Crosville and in 1987 it was sold to former NBC subsidiary North Devon Red Bus and operated for a time in Crosville green livery but with ‘Red Bus’ fleetnames!
Later repainted in red and cream livery, Red Bus were absorbed into the FirstGroup in June 1999. By this time numbered 1056, the bus was based at Ilfracombe garage. Finally withdrawn in January 2002, the bus was offered to the LTT after clocking up almost 29 years in passenger service. It returned north in August 2002 and stored awaiting its turn for restoration.
Full restoration of 1997 commenced in September 2006, including a complete repanel undertaken by the BusWorks in Blackpool. Although repainted back into Ribble cherry red early in 2010, it was not until 2015 that no.1997 finally returned to operational use following final mechanical overhaul work.