November 19, 2014

Queen Elizabus fixed and running again for Dickens

By GAGE HIRST

Since last Thanksgiving, the Dickens Festival’s main attraction, a cherry red, double-decker British bus going by the name "Queen Elizabus," has been immobile and sitting in a barn on display in Garrison.

Its needed quite a bit of fixing up since its construction in 1961. In 2009, a total make-over was done. Windows were taken out, the interior and exterior were cleaned and then painted. Holes were covered and patched up, all the imperfections were fixed. The improvements were paid for by a major fundraising that involved the sale of seats from tours, corporate donations and the Garrison Sale and Use Tax Committee. And now, gaskets in the three engines it requires to run have blown out and need replacing.

Replacing parts sounds easy, right? Well, the only problem is that the gaskets needed are no longer made, and the last one in the world is owned by a man in England, who would rather not sell it. Instead, blueprints of that gasket were drawn and with those plans, three replicas were specially made for the "Queen Elizabus."


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