Old Bus Photos

Cheltenham District – AEC Regent I – DG 9819 – 2

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Colin Martin

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Davis Simpson Collection

Cheltenham District
AEC Regent I
Weymann H30/24R

When my photos of the Cheltenham & District Albion Venturer
CX19 No. 72, were published they attracted a comment from Ian Thompson which read as follows-
"Three of the civilised and handsome Weymann-bodied 56-seat AEC Regents, mentioned by Chris, went in 1947 to fellow Red & White company Venture of Basingstoke, passing in 1951 to Wilts & Dorset. They were DG 9819 (No. 2) and DG 9820 (No. 3) of 1934, and BAD 30 (No. 10) of 1936. I remember seeing them (and secretly clambering aboard them in the AWRE Aldermaston bus park in 1955-56)."

Above are two photos of No.2, firstly looking immaculate with Cheltenham & District on 23rd May 1939 and then, about 1952, as ex-Venture 91, looking a little careworn on a filthy day, after Wilts & Dorset had taken over Venture.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


This later-life picture of DG 9818 brings back not only happy memories of AWRE Aldermaston bus park in the 50s, but also a question that has niggled me for years.
I was never content with bus-spotting from outside and was always curious about staircases and upstairs seating layout. I very distinctly recall a decker whose staircase started in the usual way–three or four steps rising towards the offside rear corner–but then instead of turning to rise forward, it made a 180-degree turn to debouch upstairs facing the nearside. The two forward-facing seats opposite the top step were only singles. I don’t remember any incursion downstairs: the whole staircase fitted into the platform-well. My admittedly fallible memory recalls this bus as one of the Cheltenham trio, but when I asked a retired Cheltenham driver about it sixteen years ago he could recall no such layout; nor could Colin Martin, author of Cheltenham’s Trams and Early Buses (Tempus 2001) and other authoritative bus books.
I’ve studied hard the photos of the DGs and BADs in Colin’s books and in Venture Limited by Birmingham and Pearce (1995) and in Wilts and Dorset, by Colin Morris and Andrew Waller (Hobnob 2006) and can see nothing that suggests what I recall. The DGs had only 24 seats downstairs and the BADs 26, but they all seated 30 upstairs, so there again there’s nothing to back me up. I begin to wonder whether the bus that I recall so clearly wasn’t an ex-Cheltenham after all, but then whose was it? All the E. Yorkshire Beverley Bar buses I’ve clambered around on seem to have had conventional stairs but with Roe-type square top steps. Can anyone disentangle me? Thanks!
And thanks, Chris H, for the pictures.

Ian Thompson


10/02/11 – 10:16

These three AECs which went to Venture as nos 85, 88 and 91 all had Gardner engines on arrival at Venture. The front bulkhead downstairs had a large rectangular panel (with round corners) protruding into the lower saloon above the flywheel cover – presumably because the Gardner 6LW took up more room than the standard AEC. They sounded rather like tractors compared with the usual Venture AECs. The staircases did indeed turn through 180 degrees and the top step protruded into the lower saloon above the off-side sideways seat next to the staircase: it was rather oval-shaped and a good example of the metalworker’s art as despite the many footsteps no dents or bumps were visible. It was just large enough for a footstep. There was no danger of a passenger bumping a head as upon standing up the body was clear of the intrusion.

Michael Peacock


24/03/12 – 09:25

As a kid I remember traveling to school on these old AEC Regents. One of the features of the Weymann coachwork was access to the destination blinds on the top deck by undoing two latches thus enabling one to alter the route number. As some of the stops were shared by more than one route such action caused some concern to passengers and did not last very long as astute conductors would remove us guilty or otherwise.



06/12/12 – 16:54

Somehow I managed to miss Michael Peacock and Deryck’s comments on the Cheltenham Regents that ended their careers with Wilts and Dorset, and have only just read them! It’s a relief to know that my recollection of the odd staircase wasn’t mistaken after all. I think this arrangement must have been a Balfour Beatty speciality, as it’s shared by the 1949 Notts and Derby BUT/Weymann H32/26R trolleybus at the West of England collection at Winkleigh, Devon, which I saw only two months ago. Given the above-average upper deck seating capacity, the nearly-180-degree staircase was obviously space-thrifty. Belated thanks to Michael and Deryck for shedding more light on these fascinating vehicles.

Ian Thompson


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St Helens Corporation – AEC Regent V – GDJ 438 – H138

St Helens Corporation - AEC Regent V - GDJ 438 - H138

St Helens Corporation
AEC Regent V MD3RV
Weymann H33/28R

The letter in front of the fleet number denotes the transport committees sanctions codes for new vehicles, I think I have seen this before with another operator but who just slips my mind at the time of writing. I am not quite sure as to why it is used unless it is a way of dating the vehicles. The strange thing is that it was only used on their double deckers mind you when this shot was taken in the summer of 64 St Helens corporation only had 4 single deck vehicles. Three AEC Reliance Marshall bodied buses and rather strange for a corporation fleet a Leyland Leopard L2 centre entrance Duple Britannia coach. Not quite sure what that was used for, school children to the swimming pool perhaps or for private hire, they would not of been the first municipality to go down that road.

A full list of Regent V codes can be seen here.

H or L often meant High or Low bridge? Some municipalities would have coaches to take civic parties on tours of inspection- eg the planning committee!


It’s been said before, and it’s still true. In the right livery, the Orion could be a handsome beast. This is an excellent example. [So is an STD Orion!]

David Oldfield

In this colour scheme, being light on the top half, the whole vehicle looks balanced and attractive. And the rear wheel spats give a touch of class!

Chris Hebbron

Sheffield had the (in)famous 9000 WB, a Reliance/Roe Dalesman C37C – for the use of the Transport Committee but available for Private Hire.
It was alleged that this was bought "because Leeds had one" – but I do not know whether this was true.
Salford had a late (1962) Weymann Fanfare/Reliance which became an airport coach after SELNEC took over. It replaced a Daimler CVD6/Burlingham – both originally committee coaches.
The St Helens Leopard was a 1962 Motor Show exhibit and is pictured in Doug Jack’s book "Leyland Bus".

David Oldfield

You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head David. In the right livery the Orion could indeed be a handsome beast. In this neck of the woods Samuel Ledgard operated four ex-South Wales AEC Regent Vs and an ex-Tyneside Leyland Titan PD2 with such bodies, and they looked a treat in Sammie’s blue and grey livery. The Regents were somewhat spartan inside mind you, but they had the most beautifully raucous exhaust note to compensate. Following Ledgard’s takeover by West Yorkshire in 1967, the AECs were numbered DAW1-4 and later allocated to Harrogate depot. My brother and I would deliberately walk from our usual stop in Bilton, to the one at the top of King Edward’s Drive, just for the sheer pleasure of catching one into town (and obviously back!!). They were generally to be found on the 1/2 Bachelor Gardens-Woodlands and the 9 New Park-Oatlands services, which suited us just fine. At the time I had a morning paper round, and so was also treated to the glorious sound of them barking their way up Bachelor Gardens or the Hill Tops just after seven each morning. Fabulous!

Brendan Smith

DAW 1 – 4 were indeed vehicles full of character Brendan. DAW 2, MCY 408, was the first Ledgard vehicle to be painted in West Yorkshire colours quite soon after the takeover. Along with all the AECs it was initially allocated to Otley and while working the last journey home at 22:35 from Cookridge Street it failed at the Gaumont Cinema (as was). It was taken to Roseville Road and treated to a mechanical wash with a vengeance – being 14’6" inches high it fouled the washing machine and suffered a damaged front roof dome, it was quickly repaired and became the first red "Sammy’s" double decker since G.F.Tate’s WN 4759 in 1943.

Chris Youhill

20/11/11 – 07:30

The Leyland Leopard L2 coach was number 200 (SDJ 162).
On October 9th 1965, I had booked to go, as a Liverpool fan, to Old Trafford to see Liverpool play Manchester United. My friends and I went by bus from Huyton down to Lime Street as we had booked on Crown Tours of Liverpool to get to Old Trafford.
I had a pleasant surprise to find that our coach was SDJ 162, on hire to Crown. However we lost 2-0 to goals from Best and Law, so the coach remained the highlight of the day.
It was later part exchanged against Bedford VAM 201 (KKU 77F) and was not traced after that.

Dave Farrier

20/11/11 – 13:35

David Oldfield mentions above the fact that Sheffield had a coach because Leeds had one. Leeds first coach was a 1965 AEC Reliance with a Roe body based on the Roe bodied AEC Reliance service buses bought at around the same time It was numbered 10 ANW 710C and was bought for private hire it went into preservation but its current whereabouts are unknown. Just before the PTE took over a trio of Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopards were also purchased numbered 21-23 MUG 21L etc

Chris Hough

20/11/11 – 14:44

Chris. How interesting – since the Sheffield one predated your Leeds one by about seven years. The story mangled the facts a bit, evidently.
As a matter of fact, I actually drove 10 when it was owned by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe on a private hire from Reading to Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, and back.
It was of Classics original fleet of four (including a West Riding Dalesman, a "Brown Bomber" Harrington and a Royal Blue MW/ECW). Mr Crowther then grew too quickly and went pop – after which I lost track of his vehicles. A lot of the interesting ones found further homes in preservation – it is to be hoped that the three Reliances above were among them.

David Oldfield

22/11/11 – 07:27

David This posting proves what a small world it is! I went to secondary school with David Crowther and later worked with his wife. Like many enthusiasts I think he let his heart rule his head despite training as an accountant

Chris Hough

22/11/11 – 09:16

Small world indeed. A very nice man – but not a successful operator – but I know a number of "professional" operators who would fit this bill as well. [I also know a number of the latter who run the ship with military precision but are thoroughly unpleasant people to work for!]
PS David had a cracking pair of Leyland engined REs as well!

David Oldfield

13/07/12 – 06:10

I went to school on this vehicle. If I remember I think the Letter in the fleet number was related to the registration number. A DDJ bus would be D### and K199 was a KDJ registration.

Geoff Atherton

14/07/12 – 18:09

To pick up a point raised in the original post, about "sanction codes" in front of fleet-numbers: the ten AEC Regent Vs delivered to Bradford Corporation Transport in November 1962 (126-135) carried the code "A" – they were the only vehicles so to do. These vehicles had been ordered in March 1961. John Wake, GM at St. Helen’s, had been appointed GM at Bradford in March 1961 . . . but left for Nottingham in July 1962. This innovation didn’t survive beyond his departure – although the St. Helens-style three piece destination layout did, and the earlier Regent Vs (106-125) were converted to this layout. I gather, from J S King’s excellent three-volume history of BCT, that John Wake didn’t stay long at BCT because his anti-trolleybus views put him in conflict with a good proportion of the Transport Committee . . . although that didn’t, during his short tenure, stop him pushing through the agreement in committee that led to the final decision to decommission the trolleybus operations.

Philip Rushworth

05/08/12 – 07:24

Re the comment from Geoff Atherton, St Helens K199, Reg No. KDJ 999 was an experimental Regent V front entrance bus bought in lieu of the fact that Leyland could not supply Atlanteans. She was unique to the Corporation and as far as I can remember had the nickname "Big Bertha". She ended up on the 309 service from Burtonwood to Southport, but had a habit of running out of diesel on route. Apparently, whilst on charter to Blackburn, she also dropped part of her engine on the nearside lane of the M6! As far as I am aware, she is still extant in the North West Transport Museum in St Helens.

Alan Blincow

22/08/12 – 14:58

St Helens Corporation had a kind of year letter system but it was only briefly used on double deckers. Some had the letter stencilled internally, others didn’t. Some had just the fleet number at the front of the bus, others didn’t.
It was only used between 1954 and 1966, the final six Leyland Titan PD2As and three AEC Regents (1967) were just 50-58.
Letters A-D were retrospectively applied, A being pre-1945, B were 1945-47, C 1948. The London specification AEC Regent RT types were given letter D. Sanction E was the first to be applied new, to Leyland Titan PD2s (1954/5), F (1955/6), G (1956). H, J and K were AEC Regent Vs of 1957-59 and the first "St Helens bonnet" Leyland PD2As of 1960. Letter L applied to AEC Regent Vs and Leyland PD2As built in 1961/62. L was used for the 1965 Leyland PD2As instead of M, but these had year-letter registrations and the corporation decided that with future new buses having year letter registrations the fleet number prefix was no longer necessary so it was dropped. However many of the L prefixed buses carried them internally until withdrawal in Merseyside PTE days in the late 1970s.

Paul Mason

25/05/13 – 08:34

Re Alan Blincows post…
K199 was used on the 309-319 services between Warrington and Southport extensively between 1963 and 1967 and most certainly didn’t run out of fuel on the ‘last Southport’!!!. The tank was more than ample for any duty that the Corporation ran.
I think you are referring to an article in Mervyn Ashtons otherwise excellent book on St Helens Transport…. Let’s just say that Mervyn was using a little ‘poetic licence’ at times!!!.
I bought Big Bertha from Tom Hollis at Queensferry in June 1978, and later sold her on to Ray Henton at the North West Transport Museum, where she still resides…

Roy Corless

GDJ 138_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

24/08/14 – 10:39

Yesterday I did a wedding hire with ex St Helens AEC Regent V/MCW bus no 58. A warning in the cab says Unlaiden height 14ft 3 1/2in . So this must have been the standard for the corporation till the last half cabs were delivered

Geoff S


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London Transport – AEC Routemaster – ALD 924B – RM 1924

London Transport - AEC Routmaster - ALD 924B - RM 1924
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

London Transport
AEC-Park Royal Routemaster
Park Royal H28/36R

Here is a nice action shot of a standard Routemaster, and it’s probable out accelerating the mini next to it. This particular vehicle had the Leyland O600 9.8 litre diesel engine and it would of had a throatier sound than the AEC engine. This was due to the fact that London Transport did not use air filters for some reason and it was the air entering the Leyland engine rather than the exhaust that produced the throaty sound. If memory serves me correct I think the London Transport practice of not fitting air filters meant that the RT had that lower bonnet line than the Provincial Regent.
The main reason for posting this shot is I visited Southport recently and found an excellent second hand bookshop that had a good selection of bus books and was lucky enough to get a copy of ‘Blue Triangle’ by Alan Townsin. One thing I noticed in the chapter for the Routemaster was that the prototypes had the radiator and fan positioned under the floor behind the engine bay. This explains how the first RM prototype achieved engine cooling when having no radiator just a solid panel with a London underground type logo on it, I have searched high and low for a shot on the internet to no avail I’m afraid. But fortunately by the time the first production model RM 8 appeared in 1958 the radiator and fan had been moved back to the normal position in front of the engine. This meant that the bonnet length had to be increased by 4 inch though to accommodate them and the good looking Routemaster that we all know came to be.

A full list of Routemaster codes can be seen here.

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.


London Transport RM1 STL 56
Photograph taken by Colin Tait in 1955                                          

Here is a photo of RM1 SLT 56 with the solid front plate and bullseye motif, it’s worth observing that this prototype had no opening windows in the upstairs front.
Photograph courtesy of the London Transport Museum.

Chris Hebbron


The final design was far more balanced, and arguably more attractive, than the original.
There was an interim design of grille which had the LT bulls-eye on the round protuberance (just visible above the grille in the first photograph) and no "AEC" triangle at the top of the grille divider.
The final version (shown) had the LT bulls-eye but not the letters "AEC" on a triangle in the usual place.
There were, over a period of time, variations in the depth of the ventilation grille beneath the destination/route number indicators. (RM 1 is shown with standard route indicators – which it did not carry originally).

David Oldfield


Your comment about the throaty sound of the Leyland-engined RMs brought back fond memories of riding on one or two of them while I was on a week-long course at CAV in Acton in the early 80’s. The induction roar was absolutely gorgeous, and all the more audible as you say, due to the lack of an air filter. West Yorkshire Road Car had some Bristol RELH coaches (ECW and Plaxton bodies) fitted with 0.680 Leyland engines, which always sounded grand on the road. However, they had a similar induction roar when being tested on WY’s dynamometers at Central Works, as they were tested without air filters. I used to love running such engines in, and then fully bench-testing them on the dynamometers after overhaul. It was lovely (and quite addictive) to hear that roar – even with ear protectors on! The Routemasters had a lovely ‘song’ whether AEC or Leyland powered, as the accompanying melody from the transmission was so gentle and tuneful. Sadly, the tune went off somewhat when they were re-engined and re-gearboxed later in life, but at least it kept them running. P.S. Does anyone else think that someone has lost the plot somewhere with the ‘Borismaster’?

Brendan Smith


Simple answer – "Yes"
I drove for Reading Mainline on a casual basis.
Everyone knows I’m an A(mbassador) for E(xcellent) C(oaches) – and buses – but our two "Leyland" Routemasters were great fun and didn’t half shift (especially up – and down – Norcot Hill).

David Oldfield


22/04/12 – 07:34

Brendan, I’m so glad someone else is clearly so addicted to the Routemaster "melody". I fell in love with the Routemaster sound as a young lad and, some 40 years later, I am still totally absorbed by the unique harmonies of the engine (has to be AEC or Leyland) and the various parts of the transmission.

Mike Wakeford


22/04/12 – 16:10

What engines were used to re-engine the RM’s? I understood at one time that they were Italian, but would like to know if this was so.

Chris Hebbron


23/04/12 – 05:44

Chris, some of the power units used to re-engine the Routemasters were indeed Italian, these being of Iveco manufacture. Iveco is owned by FIAT, but I seem to recall it collaborated with Magirus and Ford to produce a range of commercial vehicles in the 1980s/90s. (The Ford/Iveco EuroCargo truck springs to mind). Other engines were also fitted to the Routemasters in later life, notably by Cummins and Scania. It was rumoured that Ken Livingston had planned to have the original Routemaster engines replaced with Gardner units at one point, as they had an excellent reliability record, were very economical, and were of British manufacture. The cost of the programme was said to have been too great however, given the perceived extended lifespan of the RMs/RMLs at the time, and so mass-produced engines were used instead. One also wonders if Gardner would have been able to fulfil an order for over 500 engines in time. Their engines were all hand-built from start to finish, and as well as building bespoke engines for the automotive industry, Gardner also built engines (plus gearboxes and pumps) for marine use. Therefore it would probably have been difficult to increase production simply by speeding up the various processes, or transferring production from marine to automotive. Such a shame though that we were cheated out of hearing the sounds of a ‘Gardner Routemaster’. I’m sure Mike and I would have found such a gentle beast just as delightful to the ear as the original AEC and Leyland-powered ones had been.

Brendan Smith


23/04/12 – 05:45

Chris. Three different engines were originally tried out and used to re-engine RMs. Cummins C (ie 8.3 Dennis Javelin), Scania DS 9 and IVECO 7.7. There was at least one DAF tried as well. The majority were Cummins, minority Scania, IVECO somewhere in the middle. IVECO is Italian (FIAT), but most of their PSV output is made in Spain. Later re-engines (like the "Heritage" RMs in Central London) have the Cummins B (5.9) as in the Dennis Dart and are know – less than affectionately – as Dartmasters.
The well preserved RML that I drive regularly has the IVECO engine – not a patch on the AEC or Leyland originals.

David Oldfield


23/04/12 – 05:46

I heard they (or some of them) were "Fix It Again Tomorrow’s."

Stephen Ford


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 2nd March 2015