Birkenhead Corporation – Guy Arab II – BG 8557 – 242

BG 8557

Birkenhead Corporation
1944
Guy Arab II
Massey H31/28R

From the mid 1920s up to the outbreak of WW2, Birkenhead Corporation had been a confirmed Leyland aficionado, specifying Massey bodywork for a significant proportion of the fleet since 1931. With the advent of WW2 and the utility bus era, Birkenhead was allocated the Guy Arab II, hitherto unknown in its fleet, the first two arriving in 1943 with Weymann H30/26R bodywork. Thereafter Birkenhead managed to have most of their Arabs fitted with Massey H30/26R bodies of that company’s severe utility outline. BG 8557 was one of Birkenhead’s second batch of Arabs totalling twenty two, that arrived in 1944, all of which had Massey bodywork. A further twelve Arab IIs arrived in 1946 with bodywork shared between Massey, Park Royal and Northern Counties. The robust and dependable Arab clearly impressed the Corporation, for Guys featured in its order book at times right up to 1956. BG 8557 was originally numbered 324, but, in 1953, it was one of fifteen selected for rebodying with new Massey H31/28R bodywork when it received the new number 242. This bus was withdrawn in 1969 before becoming part of the new Merseyside PTE, and went into private preservation. It is seen at Brighton on the occasion of the May 1970 HCVC Rally, and now resides with the Wirral Transport Museum.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


18/10/21 – 07:09

Fine, distinctive vehicle! Many thanks to those that saved it and brought it to this superb condition. Seeing the lower-deck seating capacity of 28 I assumed that the new body must have been over 26′ long, but even allowing for the angle of the photograph the rear overhang doesn’t look excessive. A google search then revealed that the original 5LW engine had been replaced by the longer 6LW, but of course Arab IIs were built with the snout whichever engine was installed. I still wonder whether the "new" length may be 26’6" or thereabouts. Would love to see and hear it in the flesh!

Ian Thompson


19/10/21 – 05:42

Ian, it is possible that the length may be as you surmise, because the body was built to a width of 7ft 9ins for weight constraint reasons. The wartime Arab, like other Utilities, had a relatively heavy chassis because lighter metals formerly employed for certain components were diverted to military needs.

Roger Cox


19/10/21 – 05:45

The seating capacity seems to be an error – see lettering on this photo
There is actually a way of getting 28 seats into the lower deck of a 26-footer. By reducing the longitudinal seats over the wheel arches to 2-seaters, it is possible to fit an extra pair of lateral seats, with the seat backs sitting directly on the front of the wheel arches. But that is not the case here.

Peter Williamson


20/10/21 – 06:27

Thanks for that picture, Peter, which corrects a widely misquoted error. Even Bus Lists On The Web gives the incorrect lower deck figure of 28 for all the Birkenhead 1953 rebodied Arabs.

Roger Cox

 

Rye Hill Park Coaches – Leyland Tiger – CKO 979

Rye Hill Park Coaches - Leyland Tiger - CKO 979

Rye Hill Park Coaches
1936
Leyland TS7
Harrington C32F

In May and June 1936 Maidstone & District bought twenty oil engined Leyland TS7 coaches with Harrington C32F bodies. These proved to be excellent purchases, but after thirteen years, including wartime, of hard work, the Harrington bodies showed signs of fatigue. During 1949 and 1950 the entire batch was equipped with new Harrington coachwork, again C32F, and went on to give upwards of eight further years of service. Seventeen were sold to a dealer in October 1958, but the remaining three survived until 1962. CKO 979, Maidstone & District No. CO 576, was one of those sold in 1958, serving first with Diadem Coaches of Luton before passing, in July 1960, to Holmes of London SE15, t/a Rye Hill Park Coaches. It is seen here in 1960 at New Addington, a large Croydon council estate on the extreme south east border of the then borough with Kent. A year later it went to Taylor of London SE1 who kept it for just four months before selling it to Elm Park Coaches of Romford in August 1961. Its subsequent history is not recorded. I acknowledge the Classic Buses website as the source of the historical detail.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


05/09/21 – 06:00

Even for a rebodied bus 25 years’ service is very creditable. I far prefer the restrained curvature of the Harrington body seen here to the exaggerated swoops that some builders went for, particularly after WWII. Do any photos of CKO 979 after rebodying survive?

Ian Thompson


06/09/21 – 07:26

Ian, I presume that you mean "Do any photos of CKO979 BEFORE rebodying survive?" This photo was taken after rebodying!

Nigel Frampton


06/09/21 – 07:31

DKL 591

Not of the same group, Ian, but here, nevertheless, is a 1936 M&D TS7 with original Harrington body. I used to travel from Kingston-on-Thames to Portsmouth on Southdown’s TS7s with this body type in the early to mid 1950s, although theirs had a sliding sunshine roof, on one occasion being opened at the Hindhead tea/toilet layover on a hot summer’s day!

Copyright: R.Marshall, via Bristol Vintage Bus Group

Chris Hebbron

 

North Downs – Albion Nimbus – WKG 48 – 19

WKG 48

WKG 37

North Downs Rural Transport
1961
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann DP30F

John Wylde’s initial involvement with bus operation occurred with the Orpington Rural Transport Association which operated a service between Biggin Hill and Orpington from 1963. Wylde departed Association shortly afterwards and began running services as North Downs Rural Transport between Orpington and Croydon, with journeys later serving the then new development at Forestdale, Addington. In 1969 North Downs acquired the Mitchell’s coaching business that ran rural services from Warnham into Horsham. Then, In October 1970, A.T. Brady of Forest Green retired and his routes between Horsham, Forest Green and Guildford were taken over by North Downs and the Brady livery of brown and cream was adopted for ‘new’ arrivals in the fleet. To complement the assorted acquired vehicles Wylde bought a trio of ex Western Welsh Albion Nimbus saloons, WKG 34/37/48, and numbered these 17/18/19. The first and last received the brown livery, but WKG 37 remained in Western Welsh red to the end of operations which occurred very suddenly on 17 April 1972. The pictures show WKG 48 in Horsham Carfax in October 1971. Behind it , operating the Horsham – Ewhurst – Forest Green route, is Tillingbourne Guy GS MXX 382, which had been hired in to cover mechanical problems at Forest Green, a portent of what was to come. The unrepainted Nimbus WKG 37 is seen at Rusper on the poorly patronised meandering rural service between Horsham and Crawley, a route that was withdrawn some months before the collapse of the business.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 28th October 2021