Highland Omnibuses – Guy Arab – HGC 147 – E8

Highland Omnibuses - Guy Arab - HGC 147 - E8

Highland Omnibuses Ltd
1945
Guy Arab II
Alexander L27/26RD (1952)

In July 1965 I did a tour of Scotland on a railrover – I think one week though it may have been two – the object of which was to cover as much of the existing passenger rail network as possible, many of the lines being threatened with closure at that time. There was little time to do any bus photography, as arrival in a town at the end of daylight with no booked accommodation meant that finding this was first priority. Then it would be up in the morning for the earliest appropriate departure.
One of the very few occasions where leisure was enforced was near the beginning of the adventure, on my arrival in the far north of Scotland. The railway timetable simply didn’t allow the Thurso and Wick branches to be covered exclusively by rail without an inordinate waste of time. Having arrived at Thurso around 4 pm, it was then a matter of finding a bus to take me to Wick, from where I would catch the early train back to Inverness.
Highland was very much the ‘Second-hand Rose’ of the Scottish Bus Group, particularly as far as double-deck buses were concerned. As far as I can make out, none were bought new between a Guy Arab IV in 1950 and a batch of Fleetlines in 1978.
Having observed (and photographed) a ‘new’ (1963) Lowlander – recently transferred from Central – on the Scrabster service, and a venerable former Scottish Omnibuses Arab II – still with utility body – on the town service to Mount Vernon, I was quite happy to see E8 as seen above turn into the High Street with its destination showing Wick.
HGC 147 began life as London Transport G368, a Guy Arab II with Massey H30/26R utility bodywork. LT’s Guys were always odd-men-out, so had a short life, being withdrawn with the expectation of sale for further use in the early 1950s. The Scottish Bus Group took a number of them, and 19 found their way to Western SMT who in 1952 replaced the utility bodies with smart new Alexander low-bridge bodies in their domed style. HGC 147 took WSMT fleet number 1005. 13 years later, the chassis now fully 20 years old, E8 was still looking smart.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Murray-Rust


20/05/19 – 07:24

These Massey G’s were delivered in the second half of 1945 and probably had the weakest, certainly the most ugly, utility bodies of all LT’s vehicles of this type. ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ website states that she was acquired for use on Dounray work. She certainly looks smart here and was finally retired in May 1967.

Chris Hebbron

 

London Transport – AEC Merlin – SMM 15F – XMB 15

SMM 15F

London Transport Board
1966
AEC Merlin P2R
Strachans B46D

In the mid 1960s London Transport began moving away from its ageing bespoke designs – RT family/ RF/ RM family – and belatedly began investigating the standard offerings of the bus manufacturing industry. The ensuing saga became a sad, expensive story of incompetence, profligacy and waste, from the RC Reliances, XA Atlanteans and MB/SM Merlins/Swifts of the 1960s, and onward through the 1970s and beyond with the Daimler Fleetlines and Metro Scanias. The first London Transport Merlins (Chiswick clung to this appendage even when Southall changed the name of the AH691 engined 36 ft long version to Swift 691) had Strachans dual doorway bodies seating 25 at the rear and accommodating (exceedingly closely – I speak from personal experience) 48 standing passengers in the lower front section. These early examples of the Merlin had a low driving position that was raised on later production models. Classified XMS, fourteen of them equipped with coin operated turnstiles went into service in central London on Red Arrow service 500 in 1966 and performed that duty well. At the same time, the Country Area was pursuing a policy of adopting the Merlin for conventional one man operation as the XMB type, and had nine Strachan B45D bodied examples ready for service in the early months of 1966, but the T&GWU refused to accept them. All except XMB 1 were then repainted red, de-seated to the 25 plus 48 standing format, and used on Red Arrow services. The solitary Country Area survivor, XMB 1, which had 46 seats and then carried the registration JLA 57D, went into store, during which time it was first reclassified as XMB 15 in November 1966, and then re-registered in January 1967 as NHX 15E. In August 1967 its registration was changed yet again to SMM 15F, and it continued to spend time in store with occasional forays out and about for route surveying and training purposes. Finally, in January 1969, nearly three years after delivery, it was transferred to Tring garage where, in the following month, it carried its first fare paying passengers on the single bus allocation route 387 between Tring and Aldbury village. In 1970 it became a member of the London Country fleet, but its identity crisis was still set to continue. In mid 1971 it was reclassified MBS 15 in accordance with the rest of Merlin fleet, but in November 1973 it was sent to the by now GLC controlled London Transport who repainted it red and promptly put it into store. MBS 4, formerly XMB 4 was sent from LT to LCBS in exchange. MBS 15 saw very little, if, indeed any service use with LT thereafter, before being dumped at the old Handley Page airfield at Radlett in 1975 along with very many other unwanted LT Merlins. The following web page illustrates the chequered career of this bus:-
https://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/

In the picture above, taken early in London Country days in 1970 at Tring garage, XMB 15 has lost its London Transport roundel on the front panel, but has yet to receive its LCBS “Flying Wheel” symbol. The Strachans bodies on the early Merlins proved to be of sounder construction than the Metro-Cammell examples on the later deliveries, which quickly showed evidence of structural failure in the roof section above the central doorway.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


10/05/19 – 06:58

Thank you Roger,
Little known about vehicle article and photograph, I just thought these were rather mundane vehicles but did travel on the Red Arrow when they were new. So which one was the model done of ?, possibly a Dinky Supertoy or a Corgi, I did have one, but in my younger days it was repainted to look like an LUT Seddon, that will start the comments flowing, methinks.

Mike Norris


10/05/19 – 07:00

Didn’t quite a lot of these end up being sold to Belfast after being stored at Radlett?

David Pomfret


11/05/19 – 07:00

Several of the Strachan bodied versions along with the regular ones ended up at Gatwick Airport. Gatwick Handling had both types but Bcal and Airtours only had the latter ones. Nearly all replaced by Leyland Nationals.

Keith Hanbury-Chatten


17/05/19 – 06:50

In fairness to LT they were far from alone in having to withdraw MCW Scanias early as they suffered badly from corrosion. The one bought by WYPTE were all withdrawn early for this reason.

Chris Hough


17/05/19 – 10:32

All MetroScanias suffered this fate but, eventually, the Metropolitan had feet of clay. It did not fail as quickly as the MetroScania but in later life there were serious corrosion problems at the back end which some operators addressed by rebuilding them. The reasons for the LT failure with "off the shelf" designs is well documented (here, as elsewhere) – a sad indictment …..

David Oldfield

 

Upminster & District – AEC Regent V – 220 CXK

220 CXK

Upminster & District
1961
AEC Regent V 2D2RA
Park Royal H38/31F

In 1961, London Transport bought a Regent V on behalf of BEA to test the practicality of using double deckers on the service between Cromwell Road Air Terminal and Heathrow. The vehicle had a Park Royal H38/17F body, the restricted seating figure arising from the adaptation of the rear section of the lower deck to serve as a large luggage carrying compartment. The 2D2RA chassis had a 9.6 litre AV590 engine coupled with a Monocontrol gearbox. Proving that the double decker concept was feasible, it wore several liveries as it served with BEA for a number of years alongside RMF1254 and then the RMA fleet with their luggage trailers. It was sold in 1968 to Super Coaches (Upminster) Ltd., one of whose trading names was Upminster & District, and the new owner converted it back into standard bus configuration with windows and 31 seats on the lower deck. It is seen here on the HCVC Brighton Run in 1971, where it seemed to be functioning as a support vehicle rather than as an entrant itself.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


09/04/19 – 09:13

Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be any references to this vehicle after 1971. Super / Upminster & District were rather fond of AECs and ex London vehicles, probably due to their traffic manager, a young man called Peter Newman. In 2019, as chairman of Ensign Bus, his fleet suggests that he is still very fond of AECs and ex London vehicles.

Nigel Turner


11/04/19 – 06:16

I’m pretty sure that this Regent V was destroyed not long after this picture was taken. I cant recall now if it was a fire or an accident that put paid to it, but think it was the former. I’m sure someone with better knowledge will confirm my thoughts

Malcolm Pelling


13/04/19 – 06:00

I don’t believe that this was taken on the 1971 rally, since by then it had been sold from Super Coaches to City Coaches and on to Ementon, Cranfield.
It’s history is:-
B.E.A, Ruislip 6501 12/61
P.V.S. (London) Limited (dealer), Upminster 5/67
Super Coaches, (Upminster) Limited, Upminster 1/68 re-seated to H37/31F as no 681
City Coach Lines (Upminster), Limited, Upminster No, 506 2/69
S.M. Ementon, Cranfield 10/70
Withdrawn 6/72 after an accident and to Paul Sykes Organisation (dealer), Barnsley 12/72 for scrap. I photographed it with the identical destination setting, including the paper insert, on the 1968 rally as seen in this link.

John Kaye


14/04/19 – 06:11

You are right, John. As you suggest, it was the previous year. My mistake.

Roger Cox


21/04/19 – 07:18

I am not really a bus person (more into coaches) but to me the rather square Park Royal body on 220 CXK looks very similar to the bodies supplied to East Kent also on Regent V chassis, perhaps 220 CXK was tagged onto an EK batch?. I like the coach style wheel discs, Delaine used to have them on their Atlantean d/ds.

Andrew Spriggs

 

All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 22nd May 2019