The Bridge at Dozan, Bolan Pass, near Quetta, Pakistan

The Bridge at Dozan, Bolan Pass, near Quetta, Pakistan
The bridge carried both road and rail over a creek bed. The bed had to be dug out by hand over many days, with much help freely given by locals. Click on the photo and scroll down, to bring up the story of this bridge. Go to: to find more.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Confidential Briefing : (Names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Hi all Albert Crew!

Herewith the latest from No 2004 . . . (dated 16th July 2011)

Restoration . . . advanced significantly with ALBERT now independently mobile again.
This means . . . the overhauled engine is in the bus and fires up on the starter button!
With new batteries and exhaust system, all transmission, gear-boxes, drive shafts, etc., in place, and fuel in the tank, the big bus is free to roam the farmyard and re-adjust position for the next stage of work, being a rear-end body overhaul, a new set of windows (original style) and . . . a lower new, red roof.

The photo belies the extent of restoration already completed, most of which is underneath, out of sight, and concentrated into that magnificent rumble of the Albion EN243 engine. Do not be distressed at the shabby exterior. We are leaving the best to last - when there are most hands to help.
(For technically minded readers: the EN243 was a larger, 10 litre, identical-looking, version of the original Sydney EN242 9-litre engine. That engine had had to be replaced after troubles in 1970. Albion Motors Ltd. designed and built their own very successful diesel engines).

Crew Registrations . . . Albert has a serious registration list of fifteen (including myself), of whom eleven hold Albert-Shares.
Long haul Crew - of the eleven, FIVE are for the long haul, being: Myself; D G; R D: Popeye (can't name him just yet, his employers don't know); T W.

Sector Crew - joining for high energy adventure bursts are: P and A D; AM; L P; K P; H W.

Pausing Crew - accounting for those who are not yet in a position to commit themselves and bearing in mind two places are reserved for film crew/sponsors, I am very satisfied with where we are.

The most important thing is to have the right people involved, and that we have - dreamers and wannabees stay clear, please!

DG has agreed to be Albert's 2iC, for which I am most grateful; in other words to take over the helm should I step on an IED or otherwise fall over laughing with the Kazaks. For those who don't know him, D has not only restored and still owns an identical ex-Sydney Albion double-decker - so he knows where all the bits and bolts are - he is just a fine guy, engineer by profession, larconic sense of humour, articulate, speaks Russian (!) and shares the same dream . . . to get No 2004 home to Sydney by the most entertaining route!

RD lives in Perth, the one in the shire of Perth & Kinross, and will be Albert's Purser. A Scot with many years living and adventuring in South Africa, R's profession took her high in the secretarial and sales corporate world; she is an experienced librarian and currently . . . a secret-shopper. She told me she was heading into a quiet and peaceful retirement tending gardens and playing golf . . . until she found out about Albert. Now R is knee deep in exploring Silk Road visa regulations, driving licence rules and other critical journey data. Oh yes, she is fluent in Spanish too!

Others joining, please let me know your Crew portfolio preferences as soon as possible . . . your bus needs you - now!

Big Brother turns up:
Film Making and Sponsorship - until a week ago M (our film man) and I were in detailed discussions with an American based media promoter, with the prospect of film financing and trip sponsorship all taking place under one roof. However, when we reached the point at which they wanted us to recruit 5 dollie birds (under 30) and have all on board legally sign their lives away, we withdrew. Sorry boys! The company was steering Albert into a reality-type production - a big brother bus, as I saw it. No worries - we still have our Hong Kong based Media-mover agency talking the talk for us.

Improved Itinerary - always looking for ways to make the adventure more interesting we are currently researching the option of adding another journey sector from China to Singapore. This would take us through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia into Singapore. Personally, I would be thrilled because in the "old days" we trained that section, from Thailand to Singapore. Also, they drive on the correct side of the road. One other significant benefit would be shipping; Singapore to Perth is a 5 day sea voyage and . . . who knows . . . we might even get to sail with ALBERT. Now, that would be something!

Please feel free to share any thoughts on this.

One point I should add, if we do make the change, it will add another journey sector (2 x Albert-Shares), except for those who have already subscribed, of course.

Next Media Release will be when we have movie footage of the bus driving around the Farm . . . rattle, roll, shake and blue smoke!

That's it for now.


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