Old Bus Photos

Crosville – Bristol SC – 782 EFM – SC 12

Crosville - Bristol SC - 782 EFM - SSG 612

Crosville Motor Services
Bristol SC4LK

Crosville was one of the main users of the Bristol SC4LK model, with a total of seventy nine examples, of which fifty five were buses and twenty four were coaches, although the latter were soon downgraded to bus status, without being greatly modified. The first batch were new in 1957, numbered SC1 – 16. but in May 1958 they were renumbered SSG 601 – 616. These vehicles were a familiar sight in most of the Company’s Welsh areas, with their small size making them ideal for running along single-track roads. The Gardner 4LK engine resulted in extremely good fuel consumption (over 20mpg) but limited their speed capability. It was often said that they could climb any gradient, but might take all day to do it!
After withdrawal, SSG 612 was used as a maintenance vehicle for the Runcorn Busway, numbered G612. This enabled it to be bought for preservation and restored to its present superb condition. In April this year, the bus, now carrying its original number SC12, was used for a Crosville Enthusiasts Club outing, revisiting some of the routes which used to be operated by this type. it is seen here at Cwm Swch, having just left Cwm Penmachno, the terminus of Crosville’s route from Llanrwst and Betws-y-Coed. This route is nowadays covered by Llew Jones using Optare Solos – a very poor comparison, although it can perhaps be said that the Solo is a modern day equivalent of the SC!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

16/06/16 – 05:52

Arguably, United must have covered the largest geographical area of any Tilling/BTH group company. I don’t know how many vehicles or depots they had, but numbers at each varied from a handful up to a hundred or more. Many operating areas were similar to those of Crosville, but so far as I am aware, United avoided this particular Bristol/ECW offering like the plague

Ronnie Hoye

16/06/16 – 05:52

Nice view, Don, and not just of the bus! Thanks for posting. Here’s a silly question. It’s clearly a full-fronted vehicle which, in most circumstances, would be recorded as ‘FB’ or ‘FC’, so what was it about the SC series that it was felt B or C alone would suffice?

Pete Davies

16/06/16 – 09:41

349 MFM

By way of comparison, I attach an image from a slide of a standard Bristol MW6G bus SMG 373 taken in the early 1970s on service M3 seen returning to Llanrwst – the driver kindly stopped to permit the photo. At the time the SC and MW types were the regular vehicles on the Llanrwst country routes – those were the days.

Keith Newton

16/06/16 – 10:18

The Bristol SC series was designed and always built as a full front vehicles, never as a half-cab. Therefore the decision makers in the PSVC decided that a plain B or C would suffice. The same rule is applied to Bedford SB, Ford 570E and Commer Avenger coaches. I don’t think I have ever travelled on an SC4LK. From the descriptions here and elsewhere, I’m glad I didn’t do so in their hey-day, but curiosity today might just make me try one at a running day!

Michael Hampton

16/06/16 – 12:37

643 LFM

The attached photo was taken from the bridge looking to the terminus at Cwm Penmachno again in the early 1970s and again the driver had kindly stopped. The running times in those days were very generous even for an SC and the Llanrwst drivers were always very friendly towards a young English enthusiast riding into deepest Wales. With grateful thanks to them.

Keith Newton

16/06/16 – 13:22

Thank you Michael.

Pete Davies

17/06/16 – 15:55

In answer to Ronnie’s query my 1967 Crosville Company Fleet List shows there were 1,173 buses + coaches plus 15 service vehicles in the fleet in an ’empire’ stretching from Newcastle-under-Lyme in the east to Aberaeron in the west. That’s throughout England and Wales of course, and 32 Depots plus 3 sub-depots (outstations) ranging from 1 vehicle at Barmouth to 123 vehicles at Wrexham.
Referring to the Bristol SC4LK I agree with all the comments about them, but nevertheless have a soft spot for them, I suppose because they were such a nostalgic part of my summer holiday bus riding in North Wales. The cacophony of the engine noise and the vibration on a long uphill gradient such as ascending the Crimea Pass could likely induce a nosebleed in those susceptible, and combined with the competing din of twenty-odd housewives chattering in Welsh on a returning market day service from Llanrwst to Blaenau Ffestiniog would ensure your ears not just popping but actually ringing for ages after you hurriedly made your exit in Duffwys Square! That was the R34 service from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llanrwst taking all of 1 hour and 10 minutes. I think the reason why the smaller vehicle was chosen in preference to an MW was that between Betws-y-Coed and Llanrwst, unlike any of the other services linking those towns, it operated down the western side of the Conway Valley, i.e. via Cwmlanerch and then had a tight turn onto the river bridge at Llanrwst.
It operated two return journeys from Blaenau Ffestiniog throughout the year, although I should think that it was occasionally suspended in winter when snow afflicted the Crimea Pass!
Those two journeys were denoted in the timetable by L, indicating Llanrwst Market and Fair Day.
It then helpfully mentioned that Lanrwst M.D. was Tuesda , but would not operate in the week of Fair Day (Wednesday following the first Tuesday of the month) when it would operate on the Wednesday instead! Such operational trivia used to be common in rural area timetables all over Britain. In North Wales other Market Day/Fair Day footnotes were necessary for Denbigh and Ruthin. To digress a little I used to live near Lancaster and the Ribble timetable for service 79/80 between Lancaster and Knott End on Sea had amongst the various codes the footnote: ‘On the occasions when the tide renders the direct route between Conder Green and Glasson Dock impassable, the route will be diverted via Upper Thurnham’. Today, a ‘dyke’ has been constructed making such interesting diversions away from the cold muddy River Lune estuary well and truly a thing of the past.
Back to the SC’s.
The subject of Dan’s article SSG 612 was perhaps in Dan’s photo of the late 50’s, allocated to Llanrwst. In 1967 it had migrated to Pwllheli, or Porthmadoc outstation, maybe for the Borth-y-Gest /Morfa Bychan service.
The other allocations, including the downgraded 33 seater ‘coach-seated versions (CSG’s) were:
AN Aberaeron                        1
AYH Aberystwyth                  4
AMH Amlwch                         2
BR Bangor                             8
BF Blaenau Ffestiniog            2
CFN Caernarfon                     9
CR Chester                           3
CWN Corwen                        3
DH Denbigh                          6
DU Dolgellau                         2
HD Holyhead                         2
JT Johnstown                        5
LL/T Llandudno Town            4
LJN Llandudno Junction         5
LT Llanrwst                           6
MYH Machynlleth                   3
OY Oswestry                         2
PI Pwllheli                             5
Incl. Porthmadog O/S)
RL                                        5
WXM                                    2                  (Total = 79)

SSG 612 and sister SSG 613 were eventually preserved,even appearing on Crosville Wales heritage services in the mid 90’s. Perhaps someone else will be able to continue that story.

David J. Smith

25/06/16 – 06:32

Thanks David for the garage allocation. My sister lived in Wales for much of the 1960s, in various locations between Barmouth and Harlech and I had a vague memory of seeing a Bristol SC in Barmouth. The allocation list shows a couple at Dolgellau, so no doubt I will have seen them –and ridden on them – on the S34 service between the two towns.
I reckon all enthusiasts will have some regret about disposing of items many years ago which they wish they had kept. Mine would have to be a complete set of Crosville timetables, five volumes I think, from the late 1960s. I would give my right arm to still have them. There must be dozens and dozens of small Welsh villages which no longer have a bus service and it would be fascinating to read them.

Dave Towers

27/06/16 – 06:40

782 EFM_2

782 EFM_3

To conclude the small gallery of Crosville Bristol SC buses I am attaching two more photos of SC12. This was used in the 1990s along with SC13 on various vintage services by Crosville. It is seen on the service based at Bangor which linked the town with both Beaumaris on Anglesey and Penrhyn Castle which is owned/managed by the National Trust. As far as I am aware this was the first time a bus service had entered the grounds of the castle.

Keith Newton

02/10/16 – 06:00

SC12 was renovated at Crosville Motor Services Sealand road central repairs in Chester in the early 80s. I was an apprentice who along with others worked on the bus.
As it was being completed Enigmas Film Productions hired the bus for a Chanel Four film directed by David Putnam. The film was called “Experience Preferred but not Essential” (look it up on you tube and you will see the film).
My dad Eric Manley was a driving instructor at the time at Crosville and was the driver in the film.
The film was based in Phylleli North Wales in the 60s however it was filmed in Douglass Isle of Mann as in the 80s Phylleli was not as it was in the 60s.

Kevin Manley


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Crosville – Bristol Lodekka – RFM 413 – DLB 668

Crosville - Bristol Lodekka - RFM 413 - DLB 668

Crosville Motor Services
Bristol Lodekka LD6B
ECW H33/25R

This bus is from the first production sanction of Lodekkas and delivered to Crosville in March 1954. It is seen here in August 1963 at the remote terminus of the service from Holyhead to South Stack Lighthouse. I can’t imagine there has been a bus route there for many years but the bus has a few top deck passengers. I thought the original deep front grille made the Lodekka a very purposeful looking vehicle. The 58 seat layout and lack of entrance doors seemed fairly common amongst early Lodekkas, soon 60 seats and doors were standard. This was one of my earliest bus photos, taken with a Brownie 127 camera and has stood the test of time well.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

28/01/16 – 07:12

Yes, I can remember going to South Stack on a Lodekka in 1961. It was a useful link for folk staying on holiday at Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno etc. and who then bought railway Holiday Runabout Tickets. As I recall, the bus was pretty full in both directions. In those days, before lighthouses were automated, you could have a guided tour – very popular.

Stephen Ford

28/01/16 – 09:38

A lovely picture Ian of a very fine vehicle – and the picture conveys the fascinating "desolate cliff top" atmosphere of the location – you can almost smell the sea air!! The earliest Lodekkas (we had two such at the Ilkley depot of West Yorkshire) seated only 58 because of the large intrusive castings in the gangway intended to accommodate the twin diffs and prop shafts of the original height saving concept. By the time production commenced this had been amended to one prop shaft and diff only, and therefore the normal longitudinal seats for three could be fitted over the wheel arches, hence the capacity rising to 60. Personally I always preferred the original full depth radiator – the subsequent and later standard shorter one gave the impression that minor accident damage had been neatly repaired by shortening the bottom of the grille !!

Chris Youhill

29/01/16 – 07:12

Now Stephen, what a coincidence! We were on holiday at Llandudno – armed with a weekly rail runabout ticket for the North Wales Coast hence a visit to Holyhead and the trip to South Stack and the bus photo.

Ian Wild

29/01/16 – 12:58

Ian, I suspect Crosville’s South Stack route, and Trearddur Bay for that matter, did rather well out of the holiday runabout tickets. Holyhead was about the longest trip you could take, so everyone did it – but once you got to Holyhead it took about 3 minutes to conclude that the town was a dump! So where can we go from here?

Stephen Ford

29/01/16 – 17:37

Nice to see the photo of the Lodekka at South Stack. As can be seen , the terminus was a piece of waste ground and it was some distance from the lighthouse ,at least a quarter mile walk. Apparently the route was first introduced by the Holyhead Motor Company trading as Mona Maroon and passed to Crosville when said Company was acquired by the LMS Railway in November 1929. The 1932 Crosville timetable showed 5 weekday journeys worked as a loop – with the short double run to the terminus then referred to as Hill Top – via either Llaingoch [ which later became the N17 ] or Porthdarfarch [ which became the N19 ] , the latter involving a narrow twisting lane. By 1958 just 3 winter weekday journeys [ the morning one just twice a week ] but enhanced in the high summer so that in 1964 there was a choice of 9 journeys for July and August including a Saturday evening return at 9:25pm [21:25 hrs] and a limited Sunday service. However by 1972 there were just 4 weekday journeys which ran only in the high summer and I believe the service ceased entirely soon after , probably from early September 1973.

Bristol SC4LK

The attached shows the terminus in 1971 when a downgraded Bristol SC4LK coach – CSG class – was more than sufficient for the loadings. It was a nice ride but as I say a little inconvenient for visiting the lighthouse.
Lovely 1963 photo. Lovely weather too.

Keith Newton

02/02/16 – 06:58

Holyhead still is a dump. Have to regularly pass through using the ferries with only the South Stack area worth visiting. The lack of Crosville hasn’t helped.

Phil Blinkhorn

03/02/16 – 13:50

What a very sad and non transport related coincidence in the news. I’m sure that I’m one of many folks who’d never heard of South Stack until this interesting topic appeared here but now the remote location is the centre of an awful murder inquiry following a distressing discovery in a house at Allerton Bywater near Castleford West Yorkshire of a mother and two children in their home – it seems fairly certain that the suspected perpetrator has himself been found dead at South Stack, perhaps the best part of a hundred miles away – very very sad.

Chris Youhill

28/09/16 – 06:33

The CSG photographed at South Stack is very likely to be CSG 637 (198 KFM) which was allocated to Holyhead depot. Holyhead also had SSG 677 (250 SFM). Holyhead needed two Bristol SCs because of the N1 route to Amlwch which was too narrow north of Rhydwyn for anything bigger.

Tim Mills

19/03/17 – 07:02

Arriva Cymru were still running form Holyhead to South Stack in April 2006 – I had a trip there in an East Lancs-bodied Dennis Dart.
What a lovely photograph of the Lodekka. Interesting that it still had its 3-part blind in place.

Tony Moyes


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Crosville – Bristol LWL – LFM 810 – KW 229

Crosville - Bristol LWL - LFM 810 - KW 229

Crosville Motor Services
Bristol LWL6B

Quite a number of Crosville’s L-types have survived in preservation, and this year two of them have changed ownership after many years in the same homes. This example is KW 229, later numbered SLB 229, registration LFM 810. This superb vehicle was owned by the late John Prince for forty years, but has recently been purchased by Mr. Clive Myers.
KW 229 was used on the 18th April 2015 by the Crosville Enthusiasts Club for a tour of the former network of rural Crosville bus routes in the Vale of Clwyd. Just over twenty of us had an excellent day out in beautiful scenery, in this real classic vehicle. Wherever we went, heads were turning and passers by took photographs of the bus! Here it is seen at Penycefn, on the long abandoned service M59.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

04/05/15 – 08:00

Nice, Don! Thanks for posting. Most of my experience with vehicles in Tilling livery had them in red (Cumberland and West Yorkshire) before I moved south, with very rare views of Crosville. Down here in the "Sunny south" – swilling down as I type this! – it was the other way, mainly Hants & Dorset in green with the occasional Wilts & Dorset.

Pete Davies

04/05/15 – 08:01

If ever there was a truly classic bus then this Bristol/ECW combination must surely be it!

Larry B

05/05/15 – 07:29

Beautiful! Brings back schoolboy memories of Hants & Dorset’s 73 and 73A, as well as the very short-lived 73B (Lee-on-Solent to Fareham direct, missing out Stubbington).

David Wragg

06/08/16 – 07:18

What a fine condition this bus looks to be in here and nice to see it’s in the hands of an ex-NBC owner! Did Crosville vehicles have green wheels in those days?

LFM 757

I rarely visited Crosville territory, other than Liverpool, but one swift foray on July 3, 1962 to Llandudno resulted in this photo of LFM 757 Crosville fleet no. SLB176 (formerly KW176) showing, what I now see on the classicbuses website, a unique attachment. The GPO box appears to be in a scruffier condition than the bus!
Although SLB176 has a very close registration to KW 229, it is of the 7ft 6in wide, 30ft long LL6B variety. The 8ft wide ECW body fitted to some LL chassis and the LWL chassis had two rear windows thus providing a quick identification from the rear.

Geoff Pullin

08/08/16 – 06:56

One assumes that the opening boot no longer opens on LFM 757.



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