Old Bus Photos

London Transport – AEC Regent II – HGC 225 – STL2692

London Transport - AEC Regent II - HGC 225 - STL2692

London Transport
1946
AEC Regent II
Weymann H30/26R

HGC 225 is an AEC Regent II with Weymann H56R body, and it dates from 1946. It wears Country Area green in this view, and the fleet number STL2692. Allowing for the London method of bus overhauls, how many chassis and bodies have worn this fleet number over the years? It is on Itchen Bridge, while taking part in the Southampton city transport centenary rally on 6 May 1979.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


19/03/17 – 10:49

"How many chassis and bodies have worn this fleet number over the years?" The answer is, just this one. These post war STL Regents didn’t last long enough with LT to pass through the Aldenham works, which only became fully operational in 1956. These buses were sold off by LT in 1955 as deliveries of the RT type became an embarrassment to the point where many new ones, together with others of the RTL class, were put straight into store upon receipt from the manufacturers. Some of these light STLs were used in 1954 on the 327 route at Hertford which traversed a weak bridge, but they were replaced in the following year by "pre war" (actually wartime) RTs which were less heavy than their post war cousins. This allowed the entire class of post war STLs to be sold to the dealer North of Leeds in July/August 1955. They soon found new owners with Dundee, Grimsby and Widnes corporations where they gave sterling service for upwards of six more years. STL 2692 went to Grimsby who got twelve years out of it before withdrawing it early in 1968.

Roger Cox


21/03/17 – 06:19

Thanks, Roger!

Pete Davies


21/03/17 – 06:20

Roger, do you happen to know if one of the municipalities you mention, perhaps Grimsby, changed the gearboxes in their examples from crash to pre-select?
I’m sure I’ve read it somewhere!

Chris Barker


21/03/17 – 08:45

Chris B – I hadn’t heard of this procedure, but if it did take place in Grimsby you have to wonder why go to such expense in a town which I assume is "as flat as a pancake" and driving a bus with a traditional transmission should surely present no problems.

Chris Youhill


21/03/17 – 15:55

Chris and Chris – I can find no record of any of these former LT STLs undergoing a gearbox change from crash to preselector, but, if true, the most likely candidate amongst the subsequent owners must surely be Dundee which had a fleet of Daimlers and AEC Regent III at that time. Do we have a Dundee expert on OBP? The Grimsby situation should be easily determined by an examination of HGC 225 itself.

Roger Cox


22/03/17 – 06:08

One of my wife’s friends lives in Grimsby. I’ll check and find out in respect of the pancakes . . .

Wife’s friend has been consulted. Grimsby is largely flat with bumps, but Cleethorpes is generally hilly with flat bits.

Pete Davies


22/03/17 – 06:10

I think I travelled on all of Grimsby’s ex-STLs (nos. 42-47 of which HGC225 was 47. 43 was HGC222 and 46 HGC219 – don’t know the others). I am sure that none were changed to pre-selectors. However there were four (I think) ex-Sheffield Regents – nos. 41 and 48-50 (?) with registrations in the KWE250 series. These had more or less identical Weymann bodies, and were pre-selectors from new. They were visually identifiable by the deeper windscreen. I’m away from home at the moment, so this is all from memory plus one or two snippets I have filed on here!

And then I realised…one of the Sheffield transfers featured in David Careless’s post in June 2013, and I responded at the time thus : "The transfers became Grimsby-Cleethorpes Transport numbers 41 (KWE 258), 48 (KWE 251), 49 (KWE 252) and 50 (KWE 254). The intervening numbers 42-47 were occupied by similarly Weymann-bodied Regent IIs ex London Transport (HGC 233, 222, 227, 228, 219 and 225 respectively)."

Stephen Ford


22/03/17 – 06:11

As a one-tome Grimbarian, I remember STL2692 as Grimsby No. 47, bought in 1955 with five other STLs to replace trolleybuses on the 10 route. Dundee was the only buyer of this batch of STLs to convert them to preselector gearboxes. HGC 225 served her initial Grimsby years in a crimson lake and cream livery, after the 1957 combination of the Grimsby and Cleethorpes operations, her colours were various permutations of blue and cream.

Mark Evans


 

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London Transport – AEC Regal IV – UMP 227

UMP 227

London Transport
1949
AEC Regal IV
Park Royal B40F

I have submitted this vehicle under the London Transport heading as it is in ‘Country Area’ green and carries the London Transport fleetname. It is an AEC Regal IV with Park Royal B40F body, new as an AEC Demonstrator in 1949. Neither the Jenkinson list of 1978 nor the PSVC list of 2012 gives it a model number. It now forms part of the collection at Brooklands, where we see it (newly restored) on 13 April 2014.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


10/02/17 – 07:04

Looking through the driver’s windscreen this bus seems to have the later control binnacle beneath the steering wheel as produced for the Regent V/Reliance from around 1960. It also looks to have the Monocontrol semi-auto gearchange on the side of it. Was this original or has it been modified at some stage?

Philip Halstead


10/02/17 – 07:05

When this vehicle was constructed in 1949 the maximum permissible length for a single decker was 27ft 6ins. This one and its left hand drive counterpart, together with the 25 private hire examples of the LT RF class were the only Regal IVs built to that length. After serving as a demonstrator with London Transport at St Albans, and then with others including SMT, UMP 227 went back to AEC as a works hack, where it managed to survive into preservation. The bodywork styling is clearly related to the immediate pre war LT Chiswick and Park Royal built buses of the Q, TF and CR classes.

Roger Cox


According to Alan Townsin’s book ‘Blue Triangle’, there were two Regal IV prototypes – as Roger has mentioned – both with Park Royal bodies. UMP 227 was finished in green livery as seen in Pete’s photo, and the other – a left hand drive version – wore a blue livery and went to Holland for a time before returning and being sold around the mid-1950s. (Sadly where it ended up is not stated). The author states that the prototypes "had chassis numbers in the U series of numbers used for experimental parts, a practice that became usual for subsequent prototypes or experimental vehicles, though the production type numbers were 9821E and 9831E for right and left hand versions". UMP 227’s chassis number is given as U135974, but that of the left hand drive prototype is not mentioned.
Philip, the same source describes the Regal IV as having a "horizontal A219 version of the 9.6 litre engine and air-operated preselective gearbox, and air pressure brake operation". I would hazard a guess – a foolish thing to do on this well-informed website I know! – that the ‘Monocontrol’ semi-automatic gearchange binnacle you mention may well have been fitted during UMP’s subsequent life as an AEC Experimental Department hack.

Brendan Smith


11/02/17 – 06:38

Philip, I’ve just had a look on the London Bus Museum website, which states that UMP227 was "originally fitted with air-operated pre-select gearbox, later fitted with mono control (sic) with overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears". Well spotted that man!

Brendan Smith


11/02/17 – 06:39

UMP 227 does indeed have Monocontrol transmission.

Mark Evans


12/02/17 – 07:14

Regarding the second prototype fitted out as left hand drive I have a very vague recollection of seeing a photo somewhere, I know not where, of it being used as a roadside café somewhere in the south of England.
I am probably totally wrong and having a senior moment if so I apologise in advance.

Diesel Dave


12/02/17 – 07:17

I see distinct similarities to the 1950 AEC Regal IV/Park Royal demonstrator VMK 271, which ended up on the Isle of Man as Douglas Corporation no. 31.

Petras409


19/02/17 – 07:34

In Gavin Booth’s book "British Buses In Colour" (Ian Allen 1996) there is a picture of Douglas Corporation No. 31, NMN 355 mentioned by Petras409. As he suggests, this was VMK 271, the other 27ft 6in Regal IV AEC demonstrator dating from 1950, originally built with left hand drive. It passed to the Isle of Man in 1951 and stayed there until 1974 when it was sold to Manx Metals for scrapping. A working life of 24 years is pretty good for a prototype, and testifies to the rugged reliability of the Regal IV, borne out by the long lives of the members of the LT RF class.

Roger Cox


 

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London Transport – AEC Routemaster – WLT 339 – RM 339

London Transport - AEC Routemaster - WLT 339 - RM 339

London Transport
1960
AEC Routemaster 4/5RM5/4
Park Royal H36/28R

The 630 trolleybus route took over from the former South Metropolitan tramway that ran between West Croydon and Mitcham on 12 September 1937, and was extended northwards over ex LCC tramway routes to a destination that, on the vehicle blinds, rather indecisively declared itself to be “Nr. Willesden Junction”. It was actually about half a mile short of that point, and, many years later, the displayed destination was amended to “Harlesden”. The 630 trolleys ran speedily, quietly and reliably for 23 years, until the cheapness of diesel fuel against the price of electricity, coupled with the costs of overhead maintenance, spelt the doom of the trolleybus, not just in London, but nationwide. The 630 route fell victim to the diesel bus after operation on 19 July 1960, and brand new Routemasters on rebranded route 220 took over the following day. Here is RM 339, delivered to LT on 16 May 1960, approaching the West Croydon terminal point shortly after the introduction of the 220 route – the trolleybus overhead wires are still in situ. Today, the Croydon transport scene has changed beyond recognition, and route 220 no longer serves the town.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


23/10/16 – 13:37

As we know, hindsight is a exact science, and it was probably a mistake to get rid of trolleybuses. They were quick, clean and quiet, but they were restricted to where they could go by the overhead wires, they were capable of traveling short distances when disconnected, and had they been allowed to advance, its quite possible they would now be able to store energy and travel quite long distances when disconnected. They could use a pantograph instead of poles which could be dropped at the push of a button, thus allowing them to overtake each other, or go away from the wires altogether, and a single wire would probably be sufficient. Given the world we live in today, the biggest problem would probably be cable theft, or am I just being cynical?

Ronnie Hoye


23/10/16 – 13:37

I bet a lot of people wish the trolleybuses had stayed, given current concerns over pollution in towns, not to mention fluctuating fuel prices. They were quiet, comfortable and electricity could be generated in many different ways.

David Wragg


24/10/16 – 07:15

How would a trolley with pantograph and a single wire work without a return to earth. Surely a conducting strip rubbing on the road surface wouldn’t work.

John Lomas


24/10/16 – 07:16

I have seen photos of early trolleybuses, where the vehicle had a half-cab layout and even a representation of a radiator. Seeing this one under the wires, I wonder why I looked for the poles on the roof!

Pete Davies


24/10/16 – 07:18

And it’s a further irony that this section of road supports the overhead wires of the Croydon Tramlink.
The wheel has turned full circle, but I do regret the passing of London’s fabulous trolleybus system.

Petras409


24/10/16 – 07:19

The 830 route reminds me of my having a girlfriend who lived in Croydon and I used to catch the last trolleybus across to Mitcham – they could do 60mph across the common, according to a driver, with a lot of shuddering! I’d then get a 118 to Morden and walk the last two miles home. It will cause no surprise to learn that the relationship was short-lived! We did go to the Majestic Cinema at Fair Green a couple of times.
London’s trolleybuses were quite sophisticated, with regenerative braking and many had chassisless bodies, not repeated until the Routemaster. LTE had to pay a wayleave on each pole, unlike municipal operators. Also, much of the electrical infrastructure dated back to the trams and was worn out, as were the trolleybuses by the 1960’s. Electricity costs (already mentioned)and limited flexibility with route changes or new, expensive suburb extensions sealed their fate. However, to ride on them with their silence, amazing acceleration and hill-climbing ability was exhilarating!

Chris Hebbron


24/10/16 – 08:58

I think I’m right in saying that in the initial stages of design of the Routemaster there was the possibility of a trolleybus version being made.

David Chapman


24/10/16 – 10:28

John, I don’t know the ins and outs of how it would work, but I’m sure its not beyond the bounds of possibility. Remember, in 1969, the Americans sent a man to the Moon with less computer technology than there is in today’s mobile phones

Ronnie Hoye


24/10/16 – 13:22

Ah, Ronnie, you’re referring to what my son calls a camera that makes phone calls!

Pete Davies


25/10/16 – 06:41

I don’t think a pantograph would work as the big advantage of trolley poles was that if a trolleybus had broken down, all that had to be done was to lower the poles and following vehicles could then creep past it – there was that amount of leeway in the system. As a matter of interest, the very early and very short-lived Dundee system used buses with single trolleys, with the current being returned to the road surface using a trailing metal strip.

David Wragg


25/10/16 – 08:07

Never heard of that method before, David W. Why was the system shortlived; for being quirky or some other?

Chris Hebbron


25/10/16 – 14:00

The use of a single trolley pole with a return via the ground was used in the early days of trolleybuses when operators were testing them on existing tram routes. The trolleybus took the positive feed from the single overhead tram wire and used a skate running in the tram track for the negative return. I am pretty sure it was only ever used as a temporary measure under trial conditions.

Philip Halstead


25/10/16 – 14:01

This Dundee link shows picture of the first Dundee trolley which seems to have double poles/wires. www.dmoft.co.uk/2011/04

John Lomas


25/10/16 – 17:02

The system was short-lived because of the damage the trolleybus wheels inflicted on the poor road surfaces and the damage the road surfaces inflicted on the trolleybuses. As John L writes, the image he refers to does show twin trolley poles, but ‘British Trolleybus Systems’ by Messrs Joyce, King and Newman says that the trolleybuses used the existing tram overhead. The whole concept was seen as a feeder to the trams, not a replacement, giving the impression that once traffic built up or the city’s residential area expanded, the trolleybuses would be replaced by trams.
The system operated from September 1912 to May 1914, so it was Britain’s first trolleybus system, and also the first to be abandoned.

David Wragg


26/10/16 – 06:16

David, perhaps the Dundee trolleybuses were the first to operate in Scotland, as the first trolleybuses to operate in the UK were those of the Bradford and Leeds Transport Departments in 1911. Both undertakings first operated their trolleybuses on 20th June 1911 on their respective inaugural runs, but whereas Leeds then continued to operate them in service from that date, Bradford’s entered public service a few days later on June 24th. The Bradford vehicles operated on a short route from Thornbury to Dudley Hill via Laisterdyke, and connected with the tram routes on Leeds Road and Wakefield Road at either end. Leeds decided to close its system in 1928, when the trolleybuses and electrical equipment were apparently in need of replacement. In contrast however, Bradford continued to expand its network over the years and operated trolleybuses very successfully until March 1972 – the system being the last to operate in the UK.

Brendan Smith


26/10/16 – 06:17

Birmingham used the Skate to travel between depots and their overhaul works probably at night I guess.

Patrtick Armstrong


26/10/16 – 06:19

Two of those Dundee trolleybuses went to Halifax for the Corporation’s only trolley route between Pellon and Wainstalls. They were joined by a new Tilling-Stevens machine, but the route operated only from 1921 until 1926, when trolleybuses were abandoned forever by Halifax. During those five years, the trolleys ran between Pellon and Skircoat Road depot by connecting the positive trolley boom to the tram overhead and dragging a metal skid in the tram track to give the negative return to earth.

Roger Cox


27/10/16 – 08:19

If you would like an idea of what a Routemaster trolleybus might have looked like go here www.britmodeller.com/forums/ to see one modeller’s ideas and how he developed the idea and the advice he received.

Phil Blinkhorn


02/11/16 – 05:55

In Ken Blackers book he does mention that the option of electric power was considered,although given that by this times sentence had been passed on the trolleybus.
The trolleybus route 630 was intended to be worked from Thornton Heath and crews from there were provided with a staff bus whilst waiting for the wires to reach into Surrey which they unfortunately never did.
Trolleybuses should be the environmental public transport vehicle of choice, cheaper and more flexible than Trams

Patrtick Armstrong


03/11/16 – 06:20

Not quite sure, Patrick, what you mean about "the wires reaching into Surrey which, unfortunately, they never did". Croydon and Thornton Heath were in Surrey until 1973. Even Mitcham was, if I recall rightly.

Chris Hebbron


03/11/16 – 14:45

WLT 334

Here is another shot (rather less clear – it was taken in a heavy thunderstorm) of a Routemaster under the trolleybus wires at West Croydon. This is RM 334, taken into LT stock on 12 May 1960. If there ever was a project to make a trolleybus version of the Routemaster, it must have been abandoned early in the development programme, since the decision to abandon London’s trolleys was absolutely cast in stone by 1954, the year in which RM 1 appeared. On the subject of trolleybuses running in Surrey, parts of Croydon may well have been in the postal district of Surrey (some fell within the London SW postal area), but it was a self governing County Borough from 1889 until 1965 when it was incorporated into the GLC. Thus, trolleybuses never did run in the county of Surrey proper.

Roger Cox


04/11/16 – 06:16

With apologies to Chris H, he is right. Mitcham was a municipal borough in Surrey from 1915 to 1965, so yes, trolleybuses on route 630 did just enter the very northern tip of that county.

Roger Cox


06/11/16 – 09:52

That’s a lovely shot of RM334, Roger, ploughing through rain. I like evocative photos like this, as my recently-posted one of Morden Tube Station forecourt, in driving snow, testifies.
Apologies graciously accepted about the 630 route going through Surrey! I had kept some of my powder dry to mention the Fulwell Depot trolley routes 601-605, some of them working their way through Kingston to Tolworth and Wimbledon. Kingston-upon-Thames was only a borough, albeit a Royal one (I’m on one knee as I type this)! I’m old enough to recall travelling from Raynes Park to Kingston/Hampton Court) on the ‘Diddlers’ that frequented the 604/605. Poor things, sound chassis but frail bodies, even when extensively rebuilt, they creaked their way around and were replaced none too soon. I’d hazard a guess that they were the most worn-out vehicles London Transport ran at that time, lasting from 1931 to 1948. But I digress (again)!

Chris Hebbron


 

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