Provincial – AEC Regal 4 – CG 9607 – 24

Provincial - AEC Regal 4 - CG 9607 - 24                                                                                          Copyright David Whitaker

Provincial (Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Co)
1934
AEC Regal 4
Harrington B32R

I well remember these Regals from my childhood in the Gosport area between 1949 and 1952. The very first Regal 4 – the Arabic numeral denoted the installation of a four cylinder engine – was converted in June 1930 from a stock Regal chassis simply by replacing the 7.4 litre six cylinder petrol engine with the four cylinder 5.1 litre petrol used in the Monarch and Mercury goods ranges. However, sales of the new model were very modest in comparison with the main competing four cylinder offerings, the Leyland Lion and Dennis Lancet. In March 1933 an oil engine option became available for the Regal 4, initially of 5.35 litres capacity but soon increased to 6.6 litres, which enhanced the market appeal of the model. Provincial took an interest and ordered eight, CG 9606-9613, numbered (rather illogically, though this might have reflected the 1934 delivery dates) as 23/24/29/30/25/26/27/28, with Harrington B32R bodywork. These Regals went on to acquire a legendary reputation in enthusiast circles. In 1945/46 the four cylinder engines in these buses were replaced by 7.7 litre six cylinder units. Between 1953 and 1955 four of the batch were rebuilt to forward entrance format and then, in the years from 1957 to 1962, all eight received new Reading bodies, varying in capacity from FB33F to FB35F.

CG 9607

The final two rebuilds, CG 9607 and 9612 had bodies partially constructed by Provincial and completed by Reading. At the end of 1966 the redoubtable manager, Mr H Orme White, who had begun his Provincial career at the Great Grimsby Street Tramways Company, retired at the age of 81 after 30 years at Gosport, and the inexorable decline of the Gosport & Fareham business then began. Under the new manager, withdrawals of the Regals took place between 1966 and 1970, Provincial Traction having been sold off in the interim period to the Wiles Group, later renamed the Swain Group, part of the Hanson Trust, in 1969. The title picture above was given to me in 2006 by David Whitaker, the owner of the also illustrated 1961 rebuilt survivor, CG 9607, and it shows Nos 25/24/23, CG 9610/9607/9606, possibly not long after delivery in 1934. I did initially wonder if the photograph had been taken at Hoeford, but the unidentified double decker in the background is not a Provincial vehicle, though it certainly appears to be contemporary with the second half of the 1930s. More information about these Regals may be found at this link.
Click on the arrow near the bottom of the page and then select ‘Provincial AEC Regals’ from the list that appears.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

 

West Riding – Bristol Lodekka – HHY 183D – 452

West Riding - Bristol Lodekka - HHY 183D - 452

West Riding Automobile
1966
Bristol Lodekka FLF6G
ECW H38/32F

Proceeding on a very wet day into Leeds city centre is West Riding No. 452, Bristol FLF6G HHY 183D with ECW H38/32F bodywork, originally delivered to Bristol Omnibus as C7280 in October 1966. When, in 1967, West Riding sold out to the Transport Holding Company, which became the National Bus Company in 1969, steps were taken to withdraw the very troublesome Guy Wulfrunian fleet, and to secure this end as quickly as possible, buses were transferred from various parts of the NBC empire. This FLF6G was sent from Bristol Omnibus to West Riding in February 1970, so it had not been there very long when I took this picture in April of that year. In November 1971 it was renumbered 544 and stayed with West Riding until 1980, during which period it acquired the abysmal NBC poppy red livery. It was then sold to Top Deck Travel of Horsell Common with whom it spent several years in the USA up to 1986 before finally being consigned to the scrapyard in 1989.
I acknowledge this very informative website as the source of much of the foregoing information:– http://bcv.robsly.com/lodekka.html

A complete West Riding fleet list may be found at this link

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


01/10/20 – 06:33

If it’s not my imagination, this bus appears to have hub caps on the rear wheels. If this is the case, was this a West Riding feature carried forward to this hotchpotch of foreign incomers!

Chris Hebbron


02/10/20 – 06:41

This is a good point, Chris. I have blown up the picture on my computer screen, and you are right. I hadn’t noticed the rear wheel trims, rather similar to those on London Transport RT/RTL/RM/RF types. I have looked at my own pictures of other West Riding buses – Guy Arabs and Wulfrunians, Daimler Fleetlines, AEC Reliances, and other’ imports’ brought in to ease the Wulfrunian crisis, and none have these wheel trims. Perhaps an OBP expert can enlighten us.

Roger Cox


02/10/20 – 06:42

The black fibreglass rear wheel trims were introduced as standard NBC spec. mid 1960s to all Bristol chassis. Somebody must have thought it looked smart and perhaps would aid mechanical vehicle washing without asking the operating engineers. The need to remove the covers for every tyre pressure check and wheel nut tightening led to depots under pressure (pun not intended!) leaving them off and then taking off the fixing brackets which incorporated a spring loaded catch and became a bit of a danger as they stuck out, being bolted to the axle shaft hub. Few Chief Engineers insisted on re-instatement because the newer vehicles then looked the same as the earlier deliveries and weren’t noticed! No doubt there were enthusiast depot engineers (usually at smaller and remote locations) around the country who took pride in retaining the wheel covers in good condition.

Geoff Pullin


02/10/20 – 06:44

I wonder (suppose, really) that I’m the only person who thinks the ECW Lodekkas are amongst the best looking double deckers ever to enter service.
Angular, functional, almost minimalist design which was of its age, no doubt, but which still looks perfect for the job it was designed to do.
Or is it my age and I haven’t moved on – old buses are as much a part of me in the same way I still look at TV actresses from that era and think that Jan Francis, Paula Wilcox, Felicity Kendall etc, etc haven’t really been improved upon 50 years later??

Stuart C


03/10/20 – 06:33

No Stuart C, you’re not the only one who considers the Lodekka to have been among the best looking double deckers. I must admit to a slight preference for the rear entrance variety, with their more raked fronts. Having been a conductor for a brief period, I also appreciated the extra space on the platform – on an FLF, I always seemed to be in the way!

Nigel Frampton


03/10/20 – 06:34

It’s nice that these vehicles arrived in time to wear the traditional West Riding livery and fleetname, if only for a couple of years. As Roger says, the adoption of NBC poppy red was regrettable and something of a mystery when every other NBC fleet for miles around was also red, the nearest fleet to opt for green was perhaps East Midland, a considerable distance away.
It’s also good to see that WR went to the trouble of having non-standard destination blinds made to fit the aperture which was nothing like their own standard display. Dare I say, some may have been content to simply show the word ‘Service’.

Chris Barker


03/10/20 – 10:26

This photo also illustrates how the cream glazing strip that ECW used for a few years made the destination aperture look smaller. In this case it looks as if the already small lettering is too big, yet with black glazing strip it would look fine!
If I remember rightly, the cream rubber coincided with complaints that the older green leathercloth interior side panels and green criss-cross Formica on seat backs looked a bit dull. It always looked to me that the response was that of an engineer looking through the pattern books (and certainly not an interior designer) – and choosing golden leaves cream Formica instead.
The radiator cap also looks to be painted red. That was most probably part of the necessary operation in those days of using antifreeze only during the winter and the cap would have been painted red (or a different colour each year) for drivers to know that it needed topping up with antifreeze mix and not water. Happy days!
Did anyone else feel vulnerable sitting at the back downstairs of an FLF? I always avoided those seats!

Geoff Pullin


08/10/20 – 06:50

Chris. This isn’t the "traditional" West Riding livery – it is Tilling green which West Riding adopted after it sold out to the THC, the traditional West Riding green was a shade lighter/brighter. I understand that the decision of West Riding to adopt NBC poppy red was driven by the Regional Director who wanted an "all red" Region; I suspect that the West Riding Group GM, Fred Dark, who had come from Yorkshire, didn’t put up too much resistance given that if West Riding had adopted leaf green then Yorkshire would probably have had to do the same under NBC’s rationalist policies.

Philip Rushworth


09/10/20 – 16:13

Presumably this bus, being quite new on its transfer to West Riding, simply retained its Bristol Omnibus Tilling Green.

Roger Cox


10/10/20 – 06:56

As I understand it, West Riding adopted NBC red because the regional management wanted an "all-red" area as Philip says, but that wasn’t universal across all areas of NBC. In the south, Western National used green, but Devon General (which was by then under common management with WN) used red. A similar situation applied to Provincial (green) which was managed by Hants & Dorset (red); and Cheltenham (red) was a subsidiary of Bristol OC (green).

Nigel Frampton


21/10/20 – 06:46

West Riding were a partially red fleet for many years as the former tram routes were run with red vehicles West Riding had actually begun to change from their traditional green to Tilling green before the Lodekkas began to arrive.
On the subject of the use of NBC red there is an apocryphal story that Yorkshire Woollen and West Riding tossed a coin and West Riding lost!

Chris Hough

 

Red & White – Albion Valkyrie CX13 – FWO 646 – S1447

Red & White - Albion CX13 - FWO 646 - S1447

Red & White Services 
1947
Albion Valkyrie CX13
Bristol (Body Building Works -BBW) B35R

Living in Clevedon, Red and White territory was very close and could be seen easily but was not accessible except by paddle steamer, the mildly frightening Aust car ferry or a drive through Gloucester! This photo was taken on 24/03/1963, probably in Chepstow, on an expedition across the muddy waters. The fleet was very varied and strange to me, brought up on Tilling regularity, although it was rapidly changing as Tilling Group standard vehicles arrived en masse. This vehicle suddenly caught my attention as it looked like an ECW body to excite me in the gloom. I see from Richard Smith’s website that this 1947 chassis had a Pickering body when new. It was replaced in 1953 by a Bristol (Brislington Body Works) body. The BBW single deck design was very similar to ECW with the main identifier being that the side windows had square corners to the top sliding vents, but in this latter-day product, even that distinction had gone.
I was always bemused by the company’s fleet numbering system. It took me a few visits before I managed to fathom out how it worked! I assumed that it was designed by the secretarial / finance department so it could see how the company’s assets were depreciating! I can’t think that it held any advantages for operating or maintenance staff to know that this was the 14th single decker delivered (or was it ordered?) in 1947 (despite having a 1953 body!)
When I was on the Tilling Group graduate training scheme at Bristol, I went for an interview for a technical assistant post at Chepstow. I learned something there that I never forgot:
Q (from Doug Flooks, Chief Engineer): What fall does a water drain pipe need to ensure water will flow along it?
A (which I didn’t know): 1 in 40. A fact that I have actually used from time to time in various situations but still cannot convince domestic rainwater gutter installers!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin


30/08/20 – 08:26

Interesting view, and thanks for posting. When I was being retrained from Admin to technical I was told that (certainly for highway drainage purposes) a fall of 1 in 200 was adequate to move the water!

Pete Davies


31/08/20 – 06:29

Location appears to be Albion Square, Chepstow. There is a sign directing to the bus station on the wall, above the rear of the vehicle. The Chepstow-Coleford service operated via Tidenham – route number was 29, although not displayed on that vehicle.

Nigel Frampton


01/09/20 – 06:14

In January ’64 I saw several of these delightful Valkyries (not sure which batch) in Monmouth as I was hitch-hiking towards West Wales. I should have taken more notice of registrations and other details, but time was against me with the shortness of the days. Here my memory probably tricks me: I thought I saw at least one (engine side cover removed) with a Gardner 4LW engine, which I understand was an option for the Valkyrie CX9, but from what I’ve read in Richard Smith’s very informative R&W fleet history there would have been no 4LW Albions there at that time. Very grateful if someone can set me straight on this one!

Ian Thompson


01/09/20 – 10:45

I know this is straying from buses, but ref water flowing downhill.
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal between Gloucester docks and the top lock at Sharpness is approx 25.25km and the surface elevation drops from 13m to 4m, a gradient of approx 1:2807.

John Lomas


03/09/20 – 06:25

Red & White had got rid of most of their Albions by 1960 and just a few hung on. By 1964 there were just a few surviving CX39 Valiant coaches (demoted to buses and all out of service in 1964) and fifteen of the BBW-rebodied Valkyries as seen above which lasted until 1965. All of these had Albion engines so it is most unlikely that Ian saw a 4LW-engined version. Such a small engine would not be any use to Red & White who had hilly operating terrain.
The 29 service to Coleford via Tidenham saw just four through journeys a day, with a fifth on Saturday evenings. The odd thing was that two of these departures were at the same time! They followed each other most of the way but had slightly different routes between St. Briavels and Coleford. There was another route, also the 29, that ran via Tintern. This was referred to in timetables in later years as the 29A but I’ve never seen a picture of a bus showing that route number. In any case it later fizzled down to one journey a day to and from Brockweir only.

David Beilby


04/09/20 – 06:44

A small book about the Ledgard fleet which I purchased many years ago comments about the five ex-Red & White Valkyries which were bought by Ledgards in 1959, registered FAX and EWO but otherwise broadly same as the one illustrated above.
The author writes: "Passengers were treated to a rattling good time, the sheer body noise emanating from these had to be heard to be believed! – At the same time, they were just about the fastest buses on the Bradford – Harrogate route, their hill climbing being nothing short of extraordinary when handled by a good driver".

Chris Barker


06/09/20 – 06:14

David Beilby and Chris Barker: thanks for your comments, which jointly prove that the 4LW engine I thought I saw in a Red & White Valkyrie was just my imagination. Being CX13s they will have had Gardner 6LW engines—especially if the five inherited by Ledgard crested the West Riding hills with such ease. The only apart from those I saw in the yard at Monmouth the only Valkyrie I ever remember seeing in service was one of King Alfred’s, just north of Winchester. It was only 5 years old at the time (1955) but I assumed it was much older.

Ian Thompson


06/10/20 – 06:47

The CX13 Valkyrie had the Albion 6-cylinder 9-litre engine. The Gardner 6LW version was the CX11, but these were all prewar, not being reintroduced postwar. There was also a CX9 with a 4-cylinder Albion engine.

John Stringer


07/10/20 – 06:33

My understanding is that the 17ft 6ins wheelbase Albion Valkyrie CX, which was introduced at the 1937 Commercial Motor Show, was available in the following versions. All had a four speed constant mesh gearbox fitted in unit with the engine.
CX9 6.1 litre 85 bhp 4 cylinder petrol engine
CX11 Gardner 5LW
CX13 9.09 litre 120 bhp 6 cylinder petrol, or Gardner 6LW, this version having a longer engine bay
Production stopped at the outbreak of war and resumed in 1945.
CX9 6.6 litre 78 bhp four cylinder oil engine
CX13 9.09 litre EN242 105 bhp 6 cylinder oil – no Gardner options
The CX9 remained in the catalogue until 1950, but the CX13 was replaced in the home market in 1948 by the Valiant CX39 which had the 9.9 litre 120 bhp EN243B oil engine that was fitted also to the CX37 Venturer double decker. All production ended in 1950. Leyland took over the firm in 1951.
A list of Valkyrie production may be found on Bus Lists on the Web

Roger Cox


20/10/20 – 06:25

Geoff – that is a fine portrait of a R&W BBW-re-bodied Albion. May I point out, for the general benefit of all, the meaning of the term BBW – it actually stood for Body Building Works, plainly and simply, as it was a Bristol Tramways internal designation, to go along with the Motor Constructional Works (MCW) and Central Repair Works (CRW), having been introduced before WW1 while the company was building for its own or associated operations only. After 1920 and Bristol’s first appearance at the Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia, the plates attached to bodies completed at Brislington always carried the full BT&CC name and "Bristol" as the site and never Brislington. The body on the R&W Albion is an evolution of the post-WW2 Tilling Standard pattern, revised almost annually for the BT&CC fleets until the 1951 product was very similar indeed to the ECW body, then further developed, with a revised glazing style, for R&W’s 45 Albions. These were bodied from Autumn 1951 to late 1953 and were to BBW’s S23 pattern. BBW built over 2,300 bodies before closure in 1955 and full details are given in my 1999 book, "Coachwork by Bristol Tramways". Geoff, I, too, am from Clevedon. I was born there in 1945 and, after being weened on Js and Ls, or Ks on the Bristol service, moved in 1958 into Bristol. Are you related to Pullins the bakers, where we bought our bread?

Allan Macfarlane


21/10/20 – 06:39

Allan, yes, my father and his brother ran the company set up by their father at Yatton and then Clevedon. The company is still run by my cousin and his family. I got up at 4am in school holidays to help make hot cross buns, Christmas bread etc to earn some pocket money but it was not for me!! So got a couple of holiday jobs with BCV and BOC and ended up on Tilling senior trainee scheme (at BCV and BOC!) after graduating at Liverpool.
Thanks for the info on BBW – I knew it was an internal designation but not sure of its actual wording. At an early time at BCV, the Brislington BOC depot (on the corner of the A4) had a far corner in which I took to be BCV built the trailers to go with the HA tractor units for BRS.
I came across three letter codes like BBW, CRW etc again in my first job at ECOC. Every depot and post had a two or three letter code; DMS/YAR = Depot Mechanical Superintendent Yarmouth. I was DA/Eng = Deputy Assistant Engineer reporting to A/Eng and CE!

Geoff Pullin

 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 26th October 2020