Old Bus Photos

City of Oxford – AEC Regent V – WJO 947 – H947

City of Oxford - AEC Regent V - WJO 947 - H947

The City of Oxford Motor Services
1956
AEC Regent V MD3RV
Weymann H30/26RD

City of Oxford I think were one of AECs most loyal customers. According to my 1963 British Bus Fleets South Central book it states that as from 1927 apart from a batch of 5 Dennis Loline Mark IIs delivered in 1961 with AEC engines by the way, all their vehicles were AECs. Interestingly enough the next batch of vehicles ordered after the Lolines were AEC Bridgemasters. What I find strange, and I hope someone can explain why it was that the Bridgemaster had been available from 1956, why wait until December 1961 to take delivery of their first batch. Not to mention the fact that they took delivery of 15 lowbridge Regent Vs as well as the 5 Lolines in the 56 – 61 period. As a matter of interest they also took delivery of 30 highbridge Regent V MDs and 16 LDs in the same period of which the vehicle in the above shot is one of the first. It was chassis number 29 of the MD variant and had as can be seen an exposed radiator rather than the more recognisable concealed version more associated with the Regent V. All City of Oxford 27ft Regent Vs were MDs (Medium Weight) having the smaller AEC AV470 7.68 litre six cylinder diesel engine. But they were not quite so loyal when it came to body builders Park Royal and Weymann were the norm for the double deckers, apart from a batch of 5 Regent Vs and the Lolines that had East Lancs bodies and the first batch of front entrance Regents that had bodies by Willowbrook. I am afraid that is where my information ends but if you know something that maybe of interest to others your comments are more than welcome.

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


I think you’re a little unfair about loyalty with bodywork. When you buy one car or bus at a time you can be loyal to one maker. When you bulk order you have to be aware of the capacity of the supplier – which is why most large operators (even London Transport) dual sourced. At least COMS managed fidelity to AEC – with which I would fully concur – and the two bodybuilders were among the acknowledged best at their craft at the time. [Lolines were only available late in Weymann's life but maybe they were arguing with Dennis for an AEC option when the body style and finish of the Bridgemaster was truly dreadful.]
Whatever the reasons; maroon, cream and duck-egg green AECs – that is the heyday of a superb operator.

David Oldfield

P.S. Re-reading Alan Townsin’s chapter on the Bridgemaster in his "Blue Triangle"…..
The original version was attractive with curved profile and aluminium body but BET were likely to be the model’s biggest customer. They wanted steel frames and single skin domes, like the MCW Orion, and a wholesale re-think had to be made.
Very few of the original Crossley built Bridgemaster’s were made before it was totally retooled and production moved to Park Royal from whence came the uglier production model. This probably helps answer why COMS didn’t buy Bridgemasters before 1961 – that and being on the end of a queue which would involve PRV vehicles for other customers. The Bridgemaster was now firmly based in London and would, or could, not be sub-let to Crossley or Roe.


I don’t know who took this photograph but I know the setting is Gloucester Green Bus Station in the heart of Oxford.
Oxford Bus Co’s livery was absolutely gorgeous, restrained and stately but still gorgeous!!

George Taylor


23/03/13 – 08:02

Eventually this ended up with Wallace School of Transport as a driver trainer bus – I took my PSV test on it in 1970

Brian Lamb


23/03/13 – 12:28

Coming from a Leyland/Daimler Orion bodied stronghold on my visits to Oxford with my father in the late 1950s/early 1960s I always thought this batch had a certain refined air about it. Again, coming from the a place where the Orions were coated in acres or red or green the Oxford livery was to my eye very attractive.
A few words on the Bridgemaster. Alan Townsin is, of course, correct regarding the BET demands for the Bridgemaster. The original bodies were developed from a specification drawn up at Park Royal but the final design and build was by Crossley at Errwood Road using the basic outline and many of the panel sizes of the then current Park Royal design it was also building. It is interesting to see that a few of the design touches of the original were incorporated into some orders throughout the production run see: www.brindale.co.uk/  
Whilst Graham Hill’s information on the site is a little suspect e.g. his contention that the Lodekker (sic) had saturated the market leading to poor Bridgemaster sales, the pictures show well the versions of the final design though, as it is a Park Royal site, omit pictures of the Crossley version shown here: www.sct61.org.uk/  
I was told by an ex Crossley employee who was there to the end that the transfer of the Bridgemaster to Park Royal, which was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of Crossley, would not have been so final had there been a commercially viable demand from non BET operators who would have specified the original body, leaving Park Royal to deal with the BET revamped design. As it was, no significant interest was shown and the shut down went ahead.
Regarding Oxford’s order, whilst BET companies could deviate from group policy, at the time the group was pressurising its constituents to take the Bridgemaster. With a very much AEC dominated fleet Oxford found it hard to resist unlike Ribble, North Western and other fleets which had either a Leyland dominance or a more diverse fleet.

Phil Blinkhorn


26/03/13 – 06:38

While the redesigned Bridgemaster is widely regarded as a styling disaster, it is often forgotten that some of the rear-entrance examples were nothing of the kind, as is well illustrated by the photos of the Sheffield buses on Graham Hill’s site (see Phil’s brindale link above).

Peter Williamson


 

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Hebble – AEC Regent III – BJX 57 – 246

Hebble Motor Sevices AEC Regent III
Photograph taken by Robert Mack in 1956 copyright held by Don Akrigg

Hebble Motor Services
1950
AEC Regent III 9612E
Roe L27/26R

This a shot of a Roe lowbridge bodied Regent III owned by Hebble there as been a shot of one of their Willowbrook lowbridge bodied Regents on site before to view click on ‘Hebble’ in the left side bar. This bus is on route 17 which was Bradford to Halifax via Queensbury. Bradford Corporation did not have any lowbridge vehicles nor did Halifax and both ran services to Queensbury so why did Hebble only have lowbridge vehicles at the time this shot was taken. Hebble acquired their first highbridge vehicles in 1957 and were three rear entrance Regent Vs, there must of been another route that needed the lowbridge vehicles. Hebble did have a Bradford to Bingley route via Wilsden which may have encountered a low bridge of the old railway line. If you know why Hebble had an all lowbridge fleet until 1957 please leave a comment. This vehicle was originally numbered 46 but was renumbered in 1957 and was withdrawn from service in 1962 only twelve years.

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

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Hebble had no highbridge buses until the depot was modified, after this highbridge buses for some years (Regent V’s) had cream fronts to distinguish them from lowbridge buses. The depot roof being raised but not the full area and thus there were dangerous places for high buses to go.
Oddly Todmorden had the same problem and both ended up as part of Halifax.

Christopher

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I had a very soft spot for these fine vehicles in their lovely traditional maroon and brown original livery.  They shared the Samuel Ledgard terminus in King Street Leeds by the GPO wooden parcels office, and appear in the background on many Ledgard pictures.
They set off here for Burnley or Rochdale on services 15 and 28, and left at twenty past and ten to the hour. A particularly congested time was from 5.15pm to 5.30pm Mondays to Fridays when there were six departures in ten minutes:- two of the fine Hebble vehicles and, four good old Ledgard’s, 5.27pm to Rawdon, 5.28pm to Guiseley White Cross, 5.29pm to Ilkley and 5.30pm to Ilkley. All were heavily loaded and the bus industry was still healthy, although about to "catch a cold" in those happy days.

Chris Youhill

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15/08/11 – 13:25

I rode on these often on the 17 Bradford-Halifax via Queensbury route.
This route was interworked with the Halifax-Bradford via Shelf Route 7 in that the bus started on Route 17 Halifax-Queensbury-Bradford then Route 7 Bradford-Shelf-Halifax then 7 to Bradford via Shelf and finally 17 back to Halifax via Queensbury.
It used to take two and a half hours full trip (I’ve done it). This arrangement survived the demise of Hebble when the routes become joint Bradford CT and Halifax routes 76/77 and then PTE routes 576 577. I remember round trips on Metro Halifax’s Alsia and the Metropolitan demo. Hope this may be of interest.

Kev

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15/08/11 – 21:49

Before using the 9.6 litre Regents on the 19 service, Bradford to Bingley, Hebble used their 1946 Regal II single decks, with Weymann bodies, new in 1946. 19 was on "home territory" and I do not recollect any lowbridge necessity on the route.
What intrigues me is why Hebble reverted to 7.7 Regents with the CJX Willowbrook batch.
I well remember some City of Oxford lowbridge utility Guys running, on loan, on the 19 route, but I cannot remember the year! Mind you, cannot remember much of note these days!

John Whitaker

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26/08/11 – 07:11

Hebble’s fifteen Roe-bodied Regent III’s 26-37, and 44-46 were 0961 or 9612E models with 9.6 litre engines and preselector gearboxes.
The four Willowbrook-bodied Regent III’s 67-70, were not 7.7 models, but type 9613A with 9.6 litre engines and D124 crash gearboxes. This previously long running and successful gearbox design proved troublesome when matched to the 9.6 unit and after a short time these four had them replaced with synchromesh boxes as used on the Regent V. Some late Regent III’s had this box fitted from new, being model 9613S, but these Hebble ones remained officially 9613A.
They were wonderful buses apart from the poor visibility through the front upper deck windows. Their interiors had polished woodwork which gave a much more quality feel than the painted wood of the Roe-bodied ones. They sounded great too.

John Stringer

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27/08/11 – 14:18

The 9613A was fitted to quite a few post 1950 Regent IIIs and was not up to the challenge. Most were retro-fitted with syncromesh boxes – as was the case with Sheffield’s 1952 Roe bodied batch of 9. They were meant to be delivered with syncro boxes but apparently AECs own syncro box had not been developed sufficiently so they were delivered, in the interim, with D124 boxes. [So the story goes.]

David Oldfield

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01/07/12 – 09:48

This has been a very nostalgic visit. I was trying to find out what buses would take people from Bradford to Shipley Glen in 1959, and thought maybe it was the Hebble. Can anyone confirm that?
My mother used to say, ‘Time, tide and Hebble wait for no man and once you’re on ‘em, they can shek yer liver pin out.’ !

Lynda Finn

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04/07/12 – 05:10

Lynda It wouldn’t have been Hebble to Shipley Glen, the nearest they would be would be Cottingley Bar on the Duckworth Lane to Bingley route – a good 2 miles away.
Until the withdrawal of the trolleybuses the nearest you could get on the South side of the river would be Saltaire (either by Trolleybus or West Yorkshire Keighley bound buses – necessitating a walk down Victoria Road and across the river. When motorbuses were introduced Bradford City Transport (blue buses) introduced a service down Victoria Road to Salts Mill (23) which showed ‘Shipley Glen’ on the front but you still had to walk across the river – and then in all cases you had to either use the Shipley Glen Tramway if it was running or walk up the path to the Glen.
On the North side of the river West Yorkshire buses to Baildon via Baildon Green (61) got you a tad nearer and they eventually introduced a service 60 in the early 60′s along the Coach Road virtually to the bottom of the tramway. I think this also showed (more accurately) ‘Shipley Glen’. By the way – and John Whitaker will confirm – your Mum was absolutely right with her saying !

Gordon Green


 

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Eastern Scottish – AEC Regent III – GSF 645 – BB62

Eastern Scottish AEC Regent III

Eastern Scottish
1949
AEC Regent III 9612E
Duple L27/26R

This would of been a lovely shot apart from the glare on the front upper deck but then again it does not take anything away from the sleek lines of a Duple bodied bus. There is as usual the decoration associated with Duple more a coach than a bus builder on this vehicle which did spoil the looks sometimes.
I started looking into the history of this operator but what a minefield Scottish Omnibuses Ltd was made up of three separate operators Eastern Scottish, Baxter’s Bus Service and Stark’s Motor Services. I think the history of the Scottish Bus Group of Alexander, Highland Omnibuses, MacBrayne, S.M.T. and Scottish Omnibuses is far to complicated for this posting more for an article if anybody is up to it.

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


I liked these Duple bodies with the mouldings. However, am I right in thinking that Duple only made lowbridge versions with these features? I can’t think of any highbridge examples. I’d love to be proved wrong.

Paul Haywood


As far as I know you’re dead right about there having been no highbridge Duples of this design on AEC chassis, more’s the pity. The Red and White group had a number of very nice examples of both lowbridge and highbridge design on Guy Arab III chassis though. In addition to the "home fleet" four highbridge models were delivered to the Venture, Basingstoke fleet in 1950. These were reallocated to the former Newbury and District fleet when only a few months old. Here they joined one highbridge and two lowbridge examples of a similar vintage, all of which survived in Thames Valley ownership until 1968. Newbury depot also had some utility highbridge Guys and, following a couple of low bridge incidents when highbridge vehicles had been allowed to accidentally strayed onto the Lambourn road it was decided to renumber them in a series H1-H16, the splendid Duple bodied examples being H10 (the original N&D example) and H13-6 (the former Venture vehicles). The two lowbridge vehicles, which had platform doors and heaters as well as what were effectively dual purpose seats from new and which had been chosen to compete with the Lambourn Valley railway on the Newbury – Lambourn routes, retained their original numbers, 170/1. I quite literally grew up with these buses and they were absolutely superb. The highbridge examples were a little less luxurious than the lowbridge but still of a very high spec. Despite being non standard in the Thames Valley Bristol/ECW fleet they were very well thought of by both drivers and engineering staff and were both well used and beautifully presented throughout their lives. The two lowbridge examples were still invariably on all day workings up to their withdrawal. Sadly, despite rumours to the contrary none survived to see further service or preservation as at the time of their withdrawal Gardner engines were worth a fortune and all seven of these are believed to have ended up powering junks in Hong Kong! The buses that they came from were all scrapped very quickly thereafter. A beautiful Red and White highbridge example lives on in preservation though.

Dave Wilder


19/09/13 – 18:08

This AEC Regent would have been new, or acquired, to SMT Scottish Motor Traction and is seen in a variant livery in the transition to Scottish Bus Group, which was created ca 1964 and reorganised the SMT companies into Western SMT, Central SMT and Eastern Scottish, and the Alexander’s empire into Midland, Fife and Northern. The Edinburgh SMT company had changed to Scottish Omnibuses, to differentiate itself from SMT Motors (the original parent), which continued as a Vauxhall dealership in Edinburgh Fountainbridge and Lothian Road.
Scottish Omnibuses had acquired/merged with Stark’s Dunbar, Baxter’s Coatbridge and Lowland Omnibuses (all over the Borders). The first two retained their liveries and identities into the 70s.

David Scott


09/10/13 – 08:29

Somewhat belatedly, may I add some clarification to one or two of David’s remarks?
This vehicle would have been new to Scottish Omnibuses: they had 20 in all, BB61-80, GSF644-GSF663.
All the constituent companies of the Scottish Bus Group pre-date its formation. Western SMT and Central SMT both date from June 1932. Alexander’s dates from 1914 although the familiar ‘W Alexander & Sons’ name was only introduced in 1924; prior to that, the company had been known as Alexander’s Motor Services. The ‘split’, which created Midland, Fife and Northern took effect on 15 May 1961 although the empire had been split, operationally, into Southern, Fife and Northern Areas prior to that, not to mention David Lawson of Kirkintilloch which was purchased in 1936 but retained as an operating subsidiary until it was absorbed by the newly-created Midland company in 1961.
The history of SMT and its various fleetnames is complex. SMT operated its first bus on 1 January 1906. The bus company split from SMT Sales & Servicing at the time of Nationalisation in 1949 but secured an agreement to retain the SMT fleetname for a limited period; the legal name became Scottish Omnibuses Ltd, though. Coaches started appearing with both SMT and Scottish Omnibuses fleetnames in 1959 although, in 1961, the SMT was dropped. In 1963 the fleetname ‘=Scottish=’ made its debut but the SMT diamond was resurrected after about a year, before the company finally settled on ‘Eastern Scottish’ in late 1964.
Stark’s Motor Services of Dunbar was taken over on 1 January 1964. From about the mid-50s, however, buses on the Dunbar to Edinburgh service, which was co-ordinated with the SMT and United services over the same stretch of route, carried SMT diamond fleetnames and a reversed SMT livery. After takeover, the Stark’s livery was slightly revised and Stark’s fleetnames were carried by all vehicles operating from Dunbar and North Berwick depots; the Stark’s livery was retained for 15 years. (And, yes, this does mean that the SMT fleetname was carried by certain vehicles when they were owned by Stark’s whilst the Stark’s flletname was carried after they were owned by SMT!)
Baxter’s Bus Service was acquired on 1 December 1962 and, initially, buses operating the former Baxter’s routes were painted in a revised version of the SMT light-green livery. The management in Edinburgh, however, not for the first time – or the last – out of touch with operations in the West of Scotland, seriously underestimated the loyalty of the people of Airdrie and Coatbridge towards their local operator; within a few months, after considerable disquiet and criticism in the local press, the management realised their error and Baxter’s blue livery and fleetnames started reappearing on Victoria depot’s buses. This arrangement remained until 1977.
When David mentions "Lowland Omnibuses (all over the borders)" he may be mixing the formation of Lowland Scottish in 1985 with the purchase of Lowland Motorways of Shettleston on 13 January 1958. Lowland Motorways’ services to the East of Glasgow and their vehicles, hitherto painted in an attractive livery of two shades of green, were all taken over and their livery disappeared. Lowland Scottish, on the other hand, took over all of Eastern Scottish’s depots in the Borders and, additionally, the former Stark’s depots at Dunbar and North Berwick. Interestingly though, in view of events 25 years later, in May 1960, Stark’s were short of vehicles and hired one from SMT; knowing of Stark’s liking for Leylands, SMT sent them the ex-Lowland Motorways’ prototype Tiger Cub H106, LYS943, and this operated for Stark’s for a very short period.

Alan Hall


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 30th July 2014