When Onni Vilkkaa’s run-down toy bus was on its way to the landfill, many wanted to save it – “It’s been quieter now” | Yle news

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A vacuum cleaner hisses in the transport company Jyrkilä’s warehouse in Aittakorvi, Kotka. The sanding work on the old toy bus has just ended today, and the vacuum cleaner eats up the old paint dust inside.

Repairs to the popular toy bus have begun this week.

The toy bus was a well-known landmark in the center of Kotka in Sibelius Park, where it was Ilona for the townspeople for twenty years. However, the bus had gotten into poor condition and suffered from vandalism for a long time.

In April, it had to end up in a landfill due to its poor condition. At the last minute, however, the bus ended up in the care of Jyrkilä Oy, a bus and taxi company in Kotka.

A toy bus peeks out of the garage

Kotka’s famous toy bus is now housed in the stable of the transport company Jyrkilä, where it is being repaired.Mirjam Tahkokorpi / General

Now the company has ordered a refurbishment contract from the employment company Sotek Foundation.

– All old decay bottoms are removed, cracked and loose glass fibers are replaced. The bus is then ground all over the inside and outside, foreman Jurkka Limes Sotek Foundation says.

The outer surface of the toy bus is then painted and the floor is coated with epoxy. Kalke says that a few months have been set aside for the work.

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The bus model has been used by a bus operator in Kotka Congratulations to Vilkkaa Sisu brand bus. Transport Adviser Onni Vilkas was a pioneer in the bus industry in Finland. His active career as an operator lasted 70 years, from the 1920s to the 1990s.

In the spring, the people of Kotka wondered how the toy bus left Sibelius Park and gave feedback to the city of Kotka. The removal of the bus also came as a surprise to the bus entrepreneur Onni Vilkkaa’s legacy.

Read more: The city removed Onni Vilkusi’s toy bus from the popular park with the least noise – ended up in the stable of another bus company: “That’s hugely great”

Renovation of thousands of euros

For the bus renovator To Tommi Saarelainen no similar work project has come up before. However, he compares the refurbishment of a toy bus to the maintenance of a boat.

– We have two nautical boats with my brother and sister. Every spring, too, they have to grind to the bottom and put poison, says Tommi Saarelainen, an employee of the Sotek Foundation.

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Operator Antti Jyrkilä estimates that the entire work will take about a hundred hours. Sotek Foundation employees renovate the toy bus alongside their other jobs.

– We hope that the end of summer will be ready, Antti Jyrkilä says.

Antti Jyrkilä holds the bus wheel

Antti Jyrkilä says that a new Sisu-branded steering wheel has been found for the toy bus to replace the missing one.Mirjam Tahkokorpi / General

Jyrkilä estimates that the renovation will cost several thousand euros, up to a maximum of 10,000 euros.

The bus company has promised to acknowledge the bill, but other companies and people have also indicated that they want to participate in the refurbishment of the bus. When the toy bus lost from Sibelius Park, Jyrkilä received a lot of contacts about financing the renovation of the bus.

– It has been quieter now, and of course I hope to be contacted if people and companies would like to buy a few working hours from Sotek, Antti Jyrkilä says.

There will be no actual fundraising for renovations.

– Maybe a fundraising permit for such a project is a bit of a flip-flop. This is work done by Sotek, and it is probably possible to buy this work from there, Antti Jyrkilä says.

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Jyrkilä Oy intends to offer the toy bus back to the city once it is in order.

– If they care about this, then they probably also know a good, nice place for it, Antti Jyrkilä says.

So far, the new location of the toy bus is not yet known.

Antti Jyrkilä holds a sign at the top of the toy bus

A new sign must be commissioned for the toy bus according to its future location.Mirjam Tahkokorpi / General

Smoother surface

Until the spring, the toy bus was especially used by children. The roof of the bus enticed me to climb on it to a height of a couple of meters.

Antti Jyrkilä wonders whether the bus will no longer be suitable as a play tool in the future and whether it will be possible to climb on it.

– You can probably, unless some regulations prevent it and you have to put barbed wire or something else, he laughs.

The hand holds the former bus decoration

Luck on the busy toy bus keeps new wooden parts.Mirjam Tahkokorpi / General

Work manager Jurkka Kalke says that the toy bus is a copy of a 1930s bus. However, this is not a genuine car.

– It is a fiberized playhouse built on top of a wooden frame from plywood and fiberglass, says Jurkka Kalke from the Sotek Foundation.

The toy bus will remain the same style in the future, only a small make-up is coming.

– Let’s try to make it a little prettier. The aim is to make smoother surfaces. The fiberglass surface becomes a little smoother to make it look more authentic, says work manager Jurkka Kalke.

Slides in Sibelius Park in Kotka

The former location of the toy bus in Kotka’s Sibelius Park now has a children’s slide (pictured right).Mirjam Tahkokorpi / General

What kind of memories do you have of the Onni Vilkkaa toy bus? You can discuss the subject until 11 pm on 12/06/2021.