Tynemouth and District
AEC Regent III
Northern Coachbuilders H30/26R
Eight of these splendid AEC Regent III were among the 1949 intake. By 1951, the size of the name had been considerably reduced; this would also be around the time these were due for their first repaint, so my guess would be that the photo was taken roughly 1950 or thereabouts. As things turned out, they would be the last new AEC double deckers to enter service at Percy Main, with the next four intakes all being Guy Arabs, although AEC remained the preferred choice for single deck vehicles and coaches.
After the intake at the beginning of 1940, no new vehicles were allocated to Percy Main until 1946. During the war several vehicles were requisitioned by the Ministry of Transport or transferred to other depots within the NGT group, to make matters worse, the bodies on all the NGT group forward entrance Short Brothers AEC Regent I’s, had developed serious structural faults at the leading edge of the doors, by 1943, they had deteriorated to such an extent that special permission was granted to have them rebodied, presumably as utilities. Northern Coachbuilders carried out the work at their Cramlington works. The H26/24R Short Bros and H28/24R Brush bodied AEC Regent I’s from 1931 and 1932 seem to have lasted somewhat better, they were rebodied in 1945. They were also done by NCB, but at Claremont Road in Newcastle. Once rebodied 42 – 51 – 79/80/81 & 89 all returned to Percy Main, the remainder were reallocated to other depots and renamed and numbered, but retained their original registrations.
The years between 1946 and 1949 saw a frenzy of activity, with no less than 52 new vehicles arriving at Percy Main, bear in mind that the total fleet was around 120 vehicles, of which about 18 were coaches.
New vehicles were:-
1946 – 123/127 – FT 5623/5627 – H56R Northern Counties Guy Arab II G5LW.
1947 – 128/142 – FT 5698/5712 – H30/26R Weymann AEC Regent II – 141/142 carried the Wakefields name.
1948 – 143/156 – FT 6143/6156 – H30/26R Weymann AEC Regent II – 155/156 carried the Wakefields name.
1949 – 157/164 – FT 6557/6564 – H30/26R Northern Coachbuilders AEC Regent III – 157/158 carried the Wakefields name.
165/174 – FT 6565/6574 – H30/26R Pickering Guy Arab II.
In addition, 18 pre war vehicles were rebodied in 1949 and returned to the depot, they were:-
93/95 – FT 4220/4222 – 1938 H26/26F Weymann AEC Regent I – Rebodied by Pickering as H30/26R: 1957 sold to Provincial as replacements for vehicles destroyed in garage fire, finally withdrawn 1964.
96/103; FT 4496/4503: 1938 H26/26F Weymann Leyland TD5 – Rebodied H30/26R Northern Coachbuilders MK 3.
1939 – 111/112 – FT 4941/4942 / 1940 – 114 – FT 5224 – 117/118; FT 5227/5228 – 119/120; FT 5262/5263 – All B38F Brush AEC Regal – Rebodied B38F Pickering.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye
07/05/14 – 12:26
I think this looks a very handsome vehicle, Ronnie. These NCB bodies always remind me very much – if you cover up the very obviously different front ends – to the Park Royal-bodied Regent III’s of my local operator Halifax Corporation/JOC. Bradford had some very similar to these, and Huddersfield JOC had some lowbridge ones. They appeared to develop quite a degree of body sag though and pictures of many of them a few years on show a distinct downward curve in the waistrail (I know how they must have felt!).
A nice straight forward, yet cheerful livery and an impressive gold shaded fleetname. Looks just right.
07/05/14 – 17:36
Sheffield had quite a number of these NCB bodies – 10 each on Daimler CVD6 and Crossley DD42 chassis and 2 lots of 10 on AEC Regent III chassis. The final 10 were of a slightly more modern appearance, and I thought they were rather handsome. I agree with you entirely, John, about the Halifax Park Royals – but I actually think the front has an echo of the classical Weymann front. They were, however, as you say, quite dire, with their pronounced body sag which I assume was for the usual reason of unseasoned timber – being all they could get, even in the early post-war period. The first lot of Regents were included in the green repaint experiments – which was an unmitigated disaster. One assumes that the quality of the timber had improved by the time of the Newcastle "ECW clones". NCB closed shortly after but Roe’s bought all the machinery AND the timber from the receivers.
07/05/14 – 17:36
Mention of the AEC Regent III /NCBs for Bradford Corporation (524 – 543; 1947/48) by John has made me think there were several variants of the AEC Regent III. Bradford specified the 9.6 litre engine and the pre-selector transmission, whilst some BET Companies preferred the 7.7 litre engine and the crash gearbox. What was the specification Ronnie of the Tynemouth and District AEC Regent III posted above?
When new these buses were splendid sight as shown above and the body fitted well on many other similar types of chassis such as the Leyland PD, Daimler CV and Guy Arab III.
They were 7.7 with a crash box, Richard. So far as I am aware, the NGT group never had any pre select half cabs, there were certainly none at Percy Main, and the only semi auto half cabs were the Routemasters. Newcastle Corporation had some very similar NCB bodied Regent III, although they were slightly different under the windscreen, I think they were pre select. Obviously they were double fronted, but they also had 4 and 6 wheel trolleybuses with this style of body (501 is in preservation) As I remember, these and the Newcastle Regents were outlasted by the Weymann bodied Regent 11 from 1947 and 1948, perhaps they developed the body sag problems mentioned. SDO had some Regent III with ROE bodies, they were later transferred to Northern, and lasted until about 1965 or so.
08/05/14 – 07:51
‘Bus Lists on the Web’ shows the Tynemouth and District Regent IIIs as type 9612A, which, if correct, gives them 9.6 litre engines and crash gearboxes.
08/05/14 – 08:11
I stand corrected, Peter. The 1947/48 Regent II were 7.7, and most of the 1949 Pickering bodied Guy Arab III, which came with Meadows engines were later converted to AEC 7.7, but these may well have been 9.6 units, so perhaps spares may have been another reason why they were withdrawn before the Regent II and the Guy’s.