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Exhibition charts Ulsterbus' remarkable 50-year journey

By Staff Reporter

Old Ulsterbuses from yesteryear will feature in a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous vehicles.

The new showcase at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum's Dalchoolin gallery features a series of photographs and the museum's miniature double decker bus displayed in its Ulsterbus livery.

As well as a nostalgic look at the old vehicles, there is a sobering reminder of the dangers drivers faced in the Troubles, during which more than 800 Ulsterbuses were destroyed. Many were hijacked and set on fire to create barricades.

The exhibition - Barricades To Bus Passes: 50 Years Of Ulsterbus - is part of National Museums Northern Ireland's Collecting The Troubles And Beyond initiative.

Mark Kennedy, curator of Road and Rail Transport at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, said: "We were very keen to mark half-a-century of Ulsterbus and also utilise the anniversary to show visitors the company's unusual history and its achievements in the face of considerable adversity.

"Ulsterbus is one of the few success stories of the Troubles, providing continuity and ensuring the travelling public's daily routines could be maintained.

"It should be fascinating for people who remember the period, and also for younger people to learn about the company's extraordinary history. The exhibition will no doubt create a real sense of nostalgia as well as showing the integral place Ulsterbus holds in local society."

The exhibition reflects major milestones for the firm, including how the former Ulster Transport Authority returned to profitability in 1967 after its rebranding as Ulsterbus.

Its opening will be followed this Saturday with a major bus rally at the museum. Hosted by Irish Transport Heritage, it will be Ireland's largest gathering of buses, with vehicles ranging from the 1940s to one that has just driven off the production line. Visitors will have the opportunity to see these immaculately presented vintage vehicles in the grounds of the Transport Museum and watch current bus drivers compete with amateur enthusiasts for a range of trophies. Howard Cunningham of Irish Transport Heritage described the Cultra rally as the "premiere event" in its calendar.

Barricades To Bus Passes: 50 Years Of Ulsterbus will run until the end of September 2017.

Normal admission fees apply.

  • For further information on the exhibition visit www.nmni.com/uftm

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