a call for donations to restore a vintage bus from the 60s

Notice to history buffs. The ASPTUIT, which works to safeguard the heritage of Toulouse’s urban and interurban transport, is launching a call for donations for its new renovation project. This is a Chausson brand bus, put into circulation in the 1960s. The objective: to restore it to its former glory and revive the history of Toulouse.

60 years of history

October 1, 1962: the Chausson bus arrives at the depot. It is a Saviem-Chausson APH2-522 type B. It has 18 seats, in addition to those of the driver and the receiver, but also 68 standing places. Fitted with a 4-cylinder Panhard engine, it has a power of 110 horsepower. It will take five days, October 6, 1962, before this little gem is put into service by the Société des Transports en Commun de la Région Toulousaine (STCRT), the ancestor of Tisséo. In those days, the Chausson bus wore the colors of the network: green and cream. “In 1969/1970, the new colors of the network changing from green to brick red, it will be repainted in red for this purpose, but will not benefit from the transformation into self-service and will keep its reception cabin until its reform on May 17, 1976”, report theASPTUIT. It runs mainly on lines 1, 2, 5, 10, 12, 14, and 26. After years of good and loyal service, the coach will be sold to several individuals.

© APSTUIT Fund

Bearing the number 277, it is part of a series of 41 buses purchased between 1962 and 1965. impatient the president of the association Jérôme Bonato, contacted by The Independent Opinion. A vehicle all the more symbolic that it belongs to the urban transport network of the pink city.

It took the ASPTUIT almost fifteen years to recover the machine. “I had known about its existence for years but it has only been a little over a year, after multiple unsuccessful attempts that began in 2005, that we were able to buy it from a private individual, who stored it in a field near Saint -Gaudens”, reports the president. On March 2, 2021, the Chausson bus therefore joined the depot, 45 years after leaving it for the last time. “He will celebrate his 60th birthday next October”, celebrates the enthusiast.

© APSTUIT Fund

A bus expensive for Toulouse residents

By restoring this bus, the ASPTUIT wants to save part of the history of Toulouse. Indeed, this bus has come a long way, on the cobblestones of Toulouse. For the association, “it is a real witness of the past which represents the 60s” and “will allow those who knew it to recall many memories”. Indeed, once restored, it brings back many memories to many Toulouse residents since “Toulouse is the city, after Paris, where Chausson buses have circulated the most in France”, informs the president. It is the oldest bus in the ASPTUIT collection, which currently has 9.

But this restoration project hides an even deeper dimension. “The only identical model of this bus went to shreds 21 years ago, during the explosion of the AZF factory”, laments Jérôme Bonato. “Since then, I thought there were none left, but that was before I learned of the existence of this bus.” For the enthusiast, restoring this model would therefore be “a little revenge” on the tragedy.

Bringing back to life a bus of the same model as the one that was destroyed would be a way to turn the page on this traumatic experience,” he explains.

A project supported by Jean-Luc Moudenc, Mayor of Toulouse and President of Toulouse Métropole. “As soon as we communicated on the purchase of the vehicle, we received many letters from Mr. Moudenc, in order to congratulate and encourage us on this restoration of an emblematic vehicle”, greets the president of the association. In a letter, the mayor even told a few anecdotes: “when I was a schoolboy I had this bus, I took the 16 (city of hers), we paid in small parts to make the receiver complain”. Or even “I took it from Joan of Arc to Blagnac every day, it vibrated, it slowed down sometimes!”. A nostalgia that will echo many Toulouse residents, once the bus has been renovated.

A call for donations

It will take patience before you see this bus back on its feet, or rather on wheels. The association estimates that 3,066 hours will be needed for the bodywork and 570 hours for the mechanics. “The engine is running, it’s already a great relaxation”, says Jérome Bonato. Nevertheless, the construction site remains no less titanic. “Such a project will require a substantial investment, both in terms of human and financial resources. Other quotes for the renovation of the radiator, the seats and bars or the injection pump are in progress in order to refine this estimate”, warns the president of the APSTUIT.