Old Bus Photos

Eastern Belle (London) – AEC Regal III – NXL 847

Eastern Belle (London) - AEC Regal MkIII - NXL 847

Eastern Belle (London) - AEC Regal MkIII - NXL 847
Copyright Ken Jones

Eastern Belle Motor Coaches (London)
1953
AEC Regal III 6821A
Duple C39F

I am a contributor to Focus Transport main site, their blogsite and other sites, I hired a 1950’s AEC half canopy as part of my 60th birthday celebrations to take invited guests for lunch in a 1928 Pullman Carriage at the Spotgate Inn in Staffordshire (www.spotgateinn.co.uk)
With no heating the guests survived low temperatures in the morning and the snow on the way home, but everyone had a great time. Very atmospheric.
The vehicle is part of the Roger Burdett collection, and stopped in two suburbs in Birmingham as well as Lichfield to collect guests on the way to the restaurant and followed the same route back.
The pictures were taken on arrival at the Spotgate Inn and just before departure back to the West Midlands. Most guests took pictures of the vehicle – the first time for nearly all of them that they had travelled on such a vehicle.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones


11/03/12 – 09:17

My word, what a truly magnificent vehicle – that well worn word "classic" must surely apply here – and in a livery uncannily like that of Samuel Ledgard. They say that "you learn something new every day" and I believe its the first time I’ve ever seen a thirty foot long Regal or even been aware of such a variant. It must surely be one of the most handsome vehicles of the "good old days."

Chris Youhill


11/03/12 – 19:35

Very impressive. It might be the camera angle, but it looks a very long vehicle!

Chris Hebbron


11/03/12 – 19:51

As Chris says a true classic and what a fine vehicle. It is however surprising that a half cab design was selected for such a quality heavyweight coach as late as 1953 as underfloor models had been readily available for a couple of years by then. I agree 30ft long half cab coaches were pretty rare. Other examples I can immediately recall were a batch of Guy Arab half cabs with Roe coach bodies bought by Lancashire United for the Tyne-Tees-Mersey service about the same time.

Philip Halstead


12/03/12 – 06:44

Now you DO surprise me, Chris Y. What about the 1953 Doncaster 30′ Roe bodied Regal IIIs? (…..and I thought one of those had been preserved). The bodies are almost identical to the West Riding 30′ Roe bodied PS2s. PS2s and 9.6 Regal IIIs were rarer than PS1s and "7.7" as were 30′ rarer that 27’6" – but there were still appreciable numbers.

David Oldfield


David Beilby

Crossley produced 54 30-foot long chassis. However, nearly all of the received full-front bodies, with only eight being of the traditional half-cab layout. Coach design was in an experimental phase at this time, as ten for the USAF had raised rear saloons and a further three were half-deckers.

David Beilby


12/03/12 – 16:04

Yes, David – I’d also thought of the Doncaster 30ft Regals. However, in defence of Chris Y, they had a straight-sided profile with deep windows which didn’t emphasise the length. However, this beautiful Eastern Belle example looks like a 27’6 version stretched to 30′. Indeed, I now see that EFE made a model of this coach, but using their 27’6" mould with six side windows instead of the Eastern Belle’s seven. I wonder if, in 1953, the Duple staff had to delve into the back of the stores to find the patterns and templates for this late example from a different era. A rash question to our knowledgeable readers, but was this the last curved-sided half-cab ever made?

Paul Haywood


12/03/12 – 16:05

Here an example of a Lancashire United Guy Philip alluded to. The Roe body is not dramatically different from the Duple style. They were built in 1950.
https://secure.flickr.com/ For some reason the page does not display correctly in IE you will have to scroll down to find the picture all other browsers work fine.

Chris Hebbron


12/03/12 – 17:17

What Ken did not mention but makes it rarer is that it is 7ft 6ins not 8ft. The West Riding PS2s from 1953 (I have one of those as well) are much bigger vehicles and 8ft

Roger (rbctc)


12/03/12 – 19:08

There’s a picture of the West Riding Leyland half cab mentioned above at http://www.focustransport.org.uk she’s commonly referred to as Ethel because of her registration plate

Ken Jones


13/03/12 – 06:37

Barton Transport had a Duple A coach body which they lengthened themselves to a 30ft 39 seater as part of their BTS1 re-building programme, I think it was the only only one which retained a half cab body. No doubt they had lots of spare body parts from all their alterations but perhaps it wasn’t as easy as may be thought, I imagine it would have involved altering the body pillars to correspond with the increased wheelbase but the side window pattern on the finished product was exactly the same as on the one above.

Chris Barker


13/03/12 – 06:38

Don’t forget the possibly largest batch (?) of 30 foot half cab coaches, Royal Blue’s 1951 Bristol LL6B/Duple C37F, 24 in number.

Dave Williamson


14/03/12 – 06:54

In my last post, I forgot about the further 14 Bristol LL6B/Duple C37F which Southern/Western National acquired in 1951 for their own fleets.

Dave Williamson


15/03/12 – 09:30

Again though the Royal Blue Ls were 8ft.

Roger (rbctc)


15/03/12 – 12:07

……..and nothing as late as 1953. Unless someone knows different?

Paul Haywood


16/03/12 – 07:23

David O. mentions the three Roe-bodied 30′ Regal III’s for Doncaster. According to the PSV Circle’s chassis list for the type, the previous three chassis numbers to these were three seemingly identical Roe-bodied buses supplied to the Belfast Steamship Co. of Liverpool. I have never otherwise heard anything else about these buses, or ever seen photographs of them. Does anyone have any information about these totally overlooked machines?
The list shows around 50 Regals with seating capacities of 37 or over, so which were probably of the longer length – surprisingly AEC did not give them a different chassis code.
There were 108 Leyland PS2 30-footers:
12 Roe-bodied buses for West Riding.
6 Roe-bodied coaches for West Riding (with the similar bodies to the LUT Arabs).
71 buses for C.I.E. (with their own bodies)
14 East Lancs-bodied buses for Burnley, Colne and Nelson.
1 Burlingham-bodied coach for Wilkinson’s, Sedgefield.
1 Burlingham-bodied coach for Harding’s, Birkenhead.
1 Heaver-bodied coach for City Coach Co.
2 Observation Coaches for U.T.A. bodied by themselves.
The City Coach and U.T.A. examples were six-wheelers with a temporary additional lightweight front axle, to legitimise their 30′ length prior to the relaxation in the length limit. They were designed to be removed when this came into force.

John Stringer


16/03/12 – 08:36

C H Roe (Geoff Lumb) p82 shows a Belfast Battle, sorry, Steamship bus – of 1954. These are quoted as being the same as the 1953 Doncaster examples. I believe that there were earlier 27’6" examples before and also Regal IVs.

David Oldfield


17/03/12 – 16:31

This Eastern Belle coach (NXL 847) was the company’s second similar vehicle. In 1951, they had taken MLC 343, a photo of which is included in Eric Ogden’s ‘Duple’ book.
Were the Royal Blues 8 feet wide? The LL chassis was the 7ft 6in version, the 8ft option being the LWL. Southern/Western National introduced white steering wheels to denote 8 feet wide vehicles; the photos I’ve seen of the Royal Blue LL6B coaches have the traditional black steering wheels.
There were more than the 108 30 foot PS2 Tigers listed by John Stringer. In the PSV Circle Leyland PS2 chassis list, as well as those 108, 44 of the PS2/3 are quoted as 30 feet long, with the note that ‘there may be others’. It seems that early production 30 footers were conversions from the shorter models (Doug Jack’s ‘The Leyland Bus’).

Dave Williamson


18/03/12 – 07:55

My Duple L LTA 898 has a white steering wheel and whilst I would not stake my life savings on it I think is 8ft.
On the PS2 8ft vehicles most were buses and I think only the West Riding were 1953

Roger (rbctc)


18/03/12 – 09:00

I rather think white steering wheels to remind drivers that the vehicle was 8ft wide was standard Bristol practice.

Roy Burke


19/03/12 – 09:10

West Riding’s last PS2s came in 1953 some of these had Roe coach bodies Burnley continued to buy PS2s until 1955 and these (fitted for OMO) lasted until the early seventies

Chris Hough


19/03/12 – 17:28

Two of the contributors to this thread mentioned the Regal IIIs supplied to Doncaster Corporation.

Doncaster Corporation - AEC Regal III - MDT 222 -22

Doncaster Corporation - AEC Regal III - MDT 222 -22
I’m happy to attach a photo of number 22, taken at it’s home at Sandtoft Transport centre.

Andrew Charles


20/03/12 – 16:01

What great pictures, Andrew, of a superb and beautifully preserved vehicle. 22 is just fabulous, and shows how well Doncaster’s livery could look when clean and fresh, which, at the risk of offending anyone, I have to say it often wasn’t. The use of front-engined vehicles for one-man operation was, I think, quite rare. It must have required some twisting and turning for the driver.

Roy Burke


21/03/12 – 07:28

As Roy rightly says, the use of front engined vehicles for one person operation was comparatively rare, but certainly not rare enough. The degree of contortion necessary for the driver at every stop was totally unacceptable and must have been the cause of spinal and inner organ damage. Much scoffing is aimed these days at "Health & Safety" which can admittedly sometimes be over the top, but in this particular instance it should have been applied with full force to prevent this ludicrous practice.
I should juts clarify that I’m referring to front engined vehicles of the traditional layout – a modern exception of course being the wonderful, in my humble view and from experience, Ailsa Volvo double decker – a vehicle whose incredibly skilful design allowed a front engine, adequate passenger flow on the platform, comfortable room for the driver, and 79 seated passengers conveyed reasonably speedily by a 6.7 litre engine. I’ve always had the feeling that the sales figures of the Ailsa were mortally wounded by the unreasonable fear of the layout which the ill fated Guy Wulfrunian left as its legacy.

Chris Youhill


21/03/12 – 07:29

Am I correct in thinking that an operator called Homeland Tours bought a number of 30ft Leyland Comets? I’m sure I’ve seen a picture somewhere, I would imagine they really were unique!

Chris Barker


22/03/12 – 08:07

Re Chris’s comments about the Ailsa, I don’t think anyone would make comparisons with the Wulfrunian because it was well documented that the problems there were caused by Guy overreaching itself with advanced braking and suspension systems.
What operators probably were fearful of was the small turbocharged engine, an idea which was virtually unknown in Britain then. In other words, a bus ahead of its time.

Peter Williamson


22/03/12 – 13:35

There were some outstanding bus liveries around and one nomination I would give is to West Bromwich Corporation, witness the preserved Daimler CVG6-30 seen HERE: https://secure.flickr.com Pity that, whenever I caught glimpses of them lurking around in Brum, they were always as tatty as Hell! It didn’t help that B’ham Corp’n generally kept their vehicles impeccable.

Chris Hebbron


22/03/12 – 13:36

Homeland Tours was an operator based in Croydon during the post war years who had a number of Leyland Comets with Strachans C37F bodies. As a schoolboy in the Croydon area in the 1950s, I used to see these coaches about frequently. I believe that these vehicles were actually owned and operated by Wallace Arnold to whom Homeland had "passed" the licences and goodwill. Homeland Tours still exists as a travel agent in Croydon.

Roger Cox


23/03/12 – 06:40

Regarding the Ailsa Peter, the engine theory is an interesting one which I hadn’t thought of. In the event though, any concerns about the performance and longevity of those tiny Volvo engines have proved to be unfounded, and the performance of their immediate successors leaves me full of admiration. For example, the speed at which the Volvo B7TLs ascend Royal Park Road (very steep) on the 56 service in Leeds with around ninety passengers, while confidently changing gear upwards, is nothing short of amazing – those long in the tooth like me recall the 7.7 litre Mark V AEC Regents whistling, wheezing and protesting at little more than walking pace when heavily loaded.

Chris Youhill


23/03/12 – 09:33

Thanks, Chris H for the link to the West Bromwich Daimler. A very smart vehicle indeed. It made me think about other liveries, and I wondered what other correspondents’ favourites might be. East Yorkshire’s indigo and primrose has its fans, and from my own neck of the woods, York Pullman was always both smart and attractive, (and it still exists). Any nominations?

Roy Burke


23/03/12 – 16:43

Sheffields smart cream and blue always smartly turned out was a favourite The many variations in the late lamented Black Prince livery again always smart Pennine Motors unusual orange and black The LCT one man livery was always smart though often dirty Others will no doubt have their own choices. One other to mention is the Leeds blue and cream pre-war livery on both buses and trams examples of which happily survive.

Chris Hough


24/03/12 – 09:16

Just one more from me then, City of Oxford. This photo of an AEC Regent III with Weymann lowbridge body (a pseudo LT RLH) shows of its livery superbly. See HERE: http://www.fotolibra.com/

Chris Hebbron


24/03/12 – 12:17

Indeed many of us have our favourite "traditional" liveries, and with good cause, when we have to live with some of today’s ghastly and inappropriate offering, most of which make me despair as to where the Industry is going. I just wish the "marketing" fraternity would stick to promoting baked beans etc. and that operators would cease wasting so much money on garish and incomprehensible horrors which the travelling public are probably unaware of and totally disinterested in. Rant over, but not for long, as I feel so strongly about this issue that I can rarely get it out of my mind.
Now then, another favourite livery or two of mine – Southend Corporation’s beautiful light blue and rich cream, especially when they spent their money wisely against the 1960s trend by increasing the number of places on the intermediate destination blinds from three to six – the expression "getting your priorities right" springs to mind. How about the most dignified Accrington Corporation dark navy and red – different and sombre, yes, but most impressive.

Chris Youhill


24/03/12 – 18:12

Yes Chris, Accrington’s was indeed a most dignified and distinctive livery. I once read in a book somewhere that it was first applied after World War I, as a mark of respect to the many Accrington Pals killed in action. Their regimental colours were red and blue with gold lining. It is also said that the mudguards of the buses were painted black at the same time, as a sign of mourning. However, other operators also had buses with black mudguards over the years, so I’m not quite so sure about the latter. A very touching tribute nonetheless though, to such brave men.

Brendan Smith


25/03/12 – 09:11

I agree with Chris Youhill’s hatred of modern corporate colour schemes (I hesitate to grace them with the title "liveries"). My particular dislike is having windows plastered with stupid advertising tosh. WINDOWS ARE FOR LOOKING OUT OF! If they want to cover them over they may as well save on glass and just panel the sides in altogether (as they have the rear of many vehicles).

Stephen Ford


25/03/12 – 09:12

I’m waiting for Chris Y to vote for South Yorkshire Motors, (from West Yorkshire) whose Oxford/Cambridge blue was very handsome & well maintained despite the age of some of the vehicles. As someone said, Doncaster’s Crimson Lake was potentially good, but attacked by filthy roads around collieries until it went a sort of dark maroon. Doncaster’s old livery never had any names- just the coat of arms. The old umbery East Midlands had a mention here- but it was dropped for the ultimate in boring. Perhaps the most horrific "new" livery was South Yorkshire Transport’s (not to be confused) Yuk yellow & red, with some dreadful graphics. What a far cry….

Joe


25/03/12 – 09:13

The Accrington livery up to the late sixties also included black window surrounds on the lower saloon, which I always think set it off. This may be the black that was referred to rather than the wings.

David Beilby


25/03/12 – 12:07

As many will know Joe, I spent my last fourteen years with South Yorkshire Road Transport (and several successors) at Pontefract Depot. The vehicles were indeed well maintained and smart, inside and out, and I can’t imagine many private firms employing a team of four daytime lady cleaners Monday to Friday to keep the interiors of around twenty vehicles in pristine order. These splendid ladies left no stone unturned and could often be seen on their knees washing with difficulty the seat support rails and other areas usually unknown to the average cleaner elsewhere. There honestly were amusing occasions when a vehicle had to be rapidly collected from the depot for an unexpected changeover – I have personally experienced leaping into a cab and setting off promptly for the bus station to hear an anguished cry from up aloft – "Just a minute luv", and two of the worthy ladies would come downstairs with buckets and mops and alight just in time to avoid being whisked away to Doncaster or Barnsley !! The original South Yorkshire Motors livery of two blues and rich cream with traditional fleetname was indeed a classic one. When the Company was reconstituted (still under family ownership) as South Yorkshire Road Transport Limited the livery gave way to the familiar modern one of two blues and stark white ir-rational (to me) rectangular shapes, and bold white large fleetnames. Rumour has it that the white shape of the lower forward panel was to emphasise the presence of the front wheels which I suppose had some merit – but I have to say that I found the new livery to be a retrograde step and I didn’t particularly like its layout and the stark white.

Chris Youhill


26/03/12 – 07:44

Here Here Chris re. modern liveries! Absolutely awful.
You mention the superb Southend pale blue and cream, laid out in traditional fashion. It was enough to inspire Bradford to change in 1942 when they borrowed some Southend trolleys.
I think the best traditional liveries were those employed by the Tilling Group, but perhaps my own personal all-time favourite was the deep green with cream stripes of that wonderful AEC fleet, Morecambe and Heysham Corporation, which showed off the lines of classic Park Royal and Weymann bodywork with real flair.
Them wer t`days all right

John Whitaker


26/03/12 – 10:34

I recall the attractive M & H livery on one visit there, with typical ‘tramway’ lettering and fleet numbers. The buses had no route numbers/letters.

Chris Hebbron


01/04/12 – 08:43

DSC_3259_lr

I had the chance to ride on this excellent coach again today and got a picture of the engine. I do hope it is of interest to you.

Ken Jones


29/04/12 – 16:56

I was at the Irish Transport Heritage Bus & Coach rally at Cultra, Holywood, Co. Down on 28th April and saw it tucked away. A lovely example and a welcome visitor. I didn’t get the best shot but here is a link to my photo on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/

Robin Parkes


03/05/12 – 08:48

600 mile round trip to take Eastern Belle to Belfast with 20 passengers-must be one of the longest trips for a half-cab in 2012 and it ran perfectly.

Roger rbc


05/01/13 – 15:40

NXL 847_02_lr

Whilst (laboriously) digitising my slide collection I came across this view of NXL 847 – then in a two-tone green livery – as it prepared to depart from the HCVC Brighton Rally in 1973.

John Stringer


06/01/13 – 11:19

1973 was the year I graduated from University and NXL 847 "Eastern Belle" belonged to Waltham Forest Council Welfare Services at the time.
– Thanks to Roger Burdett – current owner for this information

Ken Jones


16/11/13 – 11:06

Having been born in Bow, East London I remember Eastern Belle Coaches very well. In the fifties our street would book a coach with eastern belle to take us to see the Southend Lights. I also remember their garage being a very crampt premises on the Bow Road. I took my first car there for an MOT in the early sixties and remember seeing two redundant dust covered AECs wallowing in the corner.
I am now 70 years old but never forget these lovely well kept vehicles.

B Greaves


NXL 847_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


15/04/16 – 09:19

GZ 7709

Re the comment posted by John Stringer (16/03/12) regarding, the two "observation coaches" built on PS2 chassis by the UTA they were eventually rebuilt (along with many other PS2’s) into PD2/10C deckers with UTA 60 seat bodies. Curiously both survive in this format – one is preserved and the other is a former playbus.

Bill Headley


16/04/16 – 06:10

Further to John S’s post above (16/3/12) here’s a rear shot of PKD 588, one of the Belfast Steamship Regals. www.britishcommercialvehiclemuseum.com/

David Call


16/04/16 – 06:11

I see this old thread has risen again, thanks to a wonderful view from Bill Headley. Thank you for posting! I note the exchanges of thought about the Ailsa. I’m not sure if the claim is still made (if it ever was!) but I seem to remember the Volvo cars were designed for a 22 year life. No wonder their bus engines performed as healthily as CY reports!

Pete Davies


16/04/16 – 09:15

Not true of the B6 engine, Pete. The B6 was a dreadful attempt at a Dart clone, and a complete abomination.

Roger Cox


 

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London Transport – AEC Regent III RT – NLE 826 – RT3719

London Transport - AEC Regent III RT - NLE 826 - RT3719
Copyright Victor Brumby

London Transport
1953 (registration date)
AEC Regent III RT – RT8/2
Weymann H30/26R

Two weeks ago my contribution for the ex London Transport STL2117 was posted on this site, the shot was taken in April 1958. At about the same time that shot was taken, spiffing new RTs were coming on stream, and here is a shot of KGU 191 RT2262 and new NLE 826 RT3719 at the old Stevenage railway station route terminus. Would I be right is saying that NLE 826 RT3719 was one of many stored new at Loughton garage for ages, awaiting entry to service as NLE was 03/53 – 11/53, presumably because RT production had exceeded requirement?

London Transport - AEC Regent III RT - OLD 528 - RT4742
Copyright Victor Brumby

Or was OLD 528 RT4742 one of those last entrants to the fleet? (In Green Line rig, unusually……) Seen according to my notes at Hitchin along with AEC Regal IV LUC 225 RF25 which was last in the first batch of 25 Regals delivered at the 27ft 6in length and were classed as Private Hire Coaches for sightseeing tours and the like. In the mid 50s ten of the batch 16-25 were transferred to Green Line. Unfortunately the glazed sightseeing roof panels can not be seen in this shot.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Victor Brumby

———

27/01/12 – 17:37

According to the vehicle histories on "Ian’s Bus Stop" website, RT 3719 entered service at Windsor (WR) garage in May 1953, and transferred to Hitchin garage in 1957. (http://www.countrybus.org/)
His histories haven’t got as far as the 47xx sequence, but RT 4742 was (according to Ken Glazier’s "London Buses in the 1950s") one of those delivered straight to storage in 1954 and entering service between March 1958 and August 1959. Ken Blacker’s definitive work on the RT class lists dates of entry to service, but I do not have a copy to hand.
The appearance of (bus livery) RTs on Green Line coach services was not that uncommon – many routes at that time had one or two peak hour duplicates, and most routes required relief buses particularly on summer Sundays – to cater for Londoners visiting the countryside, and (where routes served new towns such as Stevenage) visits between new town residents and their friends and relatives still living in inner London.
The provision of a few RTs in semi Green Line livery (green central band, Green Line transfers between decks) at country bus garages to cater for this happened in 1960 (again, according to Ken Glazier’s book.)
There is more about Hitchin garage (closed 1959) here – http://www.ampyx.org.uk/  – the building is still standing, although I understand there is a current planning application in which will involve demolition.

Jon

———

29/01/12 – 07:32

According to Ken Blacker’s RT book, RT4742 (OLD 528) was indeed one of those stored for the first few years of its life, finally entering service in March 1958, at SV (Stevenage, Fishers Green).

Bob Gell

———

27/08/12 – 07:58

Firstly can I say how pleased I was to see the photo of the RT’s at the old Stevenage Station, I can only just remember this Station, I was five when it moved, and new ‘AN’s were coming on stream. The other photograph of the Green Line RT is a real gem, as it is the only photograph I have seen, besides one in Ken Blackers ‘RT’ book of the first Stevenage depot, situated in a cul-de-sac off Fishers Green Road, behind the old Station which was in use as a temporary outstation of Hitchin & Hatfield until the new depot in Danestrete opened in 1959.

Alec Bright

———

06/11/12 – 06:46

Just a quick note to confirm that the building shown behind the RT is Stevenage Fisher’s Green, and not Hitchin. You will find a 1990s image of the garage with its curiously pitched and slanting roof span on my web page: http://www.ampyx.org.uk/
The story unfolding in Hitchin today is complex, and the local historical society are still trying to persuade the planning authorities of the value of the structure. You may have seen coverage in BUSES an B&CP magazines.
By coincidence, the National (later UCOC) garage in Fishponds Road was demolished in September of this year.
I am shocked at how much revision of my historical pages is necessary. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

Jonathan Wilkins


 

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Nottingham City Transport – AEC Regent III – SAU 203 -203

Nottingham City Transport - AEC Regent III - SAU 203 -203
Copyright Bob Gell

Nottingham City Transport
1954
AEC Regent III 9613S
Park Royal L27/26R

After Nottingham City Transport had obtained the ex Bradford lowbridge Daimlers to start the services to the then newly developing Clifton Estate, an existing order for Park Royal bodied AEC Regent IIIs was amended, and 10 were delivered in April and June 1954 with lowbridge bodies as 199-208 (SAU 199-208).
These lowbridge vehicles were needed as the railway bridge on Wilford Lane (ex GC main line) precluded highbridge deckers being used.
However, in March 1958, another bridge over the River Trent was opened, and NCT services serving Clifton Estate were diverted over this new bridge, known as Clifton Bridge. This meant NCT no longer needed lowbridge vehicles, but West Bridgford and South Notts continued to use Wilford Lane.
By 1964/5, I think the lowbridge Regents tended to be used on works extras, and service 2, between Goldsmith Street and Valley Road.
The first of the batch were withdrawn in early 1967, when 199-202 were taken out of service and sold. 199 stayed locally, becoming Barton 1087 until 1972, when it was withdrawn and exported to America.
However, in September 1968, NCT took over the West Bridgford fleet and inherited their Clifton services with its lowbridge requirement.
At this point, the remaining SAU Regents, 203-8, came into their own again, reappearing on the Wilford Lane services to Clifton, quickly replacing the non standard pair of ex WBUDC Willowbrook bodied Regent IIIs, ORR 139/40, which were 6812A chassis, with the 7.7 engine and crash gearbox, rather than the 9.6 engine and synchromesh gearbox of the SAUs.
These buses were delivered in the traditional NCT livery of green with three cream bands, but all were repainted in the brighter livery adopted in the early 1960s.
203 was photographed in August 1969, at the Clifton terminus of service 67.
203-8 were withdrawn in 1970/1, along with the ex WBUDC Reading bodied Regent Vs, and were replaced by Atlanteans 395-400 (VAU 395-400J), which were a special lowheight version of the then standard Nottingham design on PDR1/3 chassis.
As a postscript, history repeated itself a few years later when the Atlanteans were themselves rendered surplus to requirements as lowheight vehicles early in their life, with the removal of the low railway bridge on Wilford Lane in autumn 1974. They remained in the fleet until withdrawn in 1981, when five of the six were exported to Hong Kong, via Paul Sykes, but that’s another story!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Bob Gell

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

———

19/01/12 – 05:42

OK, I’ll be the smart alec that reckons this must have been a Saturday morning (assuming the timetable was still the same as two years later). The clock shows 11.43. On Mondays – Fridays, the 67 only ran via Trent Bridge hourly, and its departure time from Langstrath Road was 41 past. Sundays it was hourly at 56 past. But on Saturdays it was every 24 minutes, and on the odd hours this was 00, 24 and 48 past. The journey to Broad Marsh took 22 minutes – it was only 19 via Clifton Bridge. For many years the numbers were the same by either route.

Stephen Ford

———

19/01/12 – 12:32

Stephen – Spot on! August 2nd, to be precise.
Thanks for the additional information.

Bob Gell

———

19/01/12 – 12:32

Timetables on the buses on Clifton ?!?! We never needed to bother. All the services from Nottingham to Clifton entered Clifton at the same road and then spread out to different terminus points within the Estate. We lived in a house located before the buses spread out, so we could use any of the route numbers from Nottingham. And on the return journey out of Clifton we were at the point where all the services converged, so all the different routes went past our bus stop. Never had to wait more than a few minutes for anything

KC

———

19/01/12 – 17:58

Timetabling to serve three different termini, each by two different routes, with different end to end journey times, and joint working with South Notts on the Trent Bridge services, was quite complex – especially when you remember that the actual buses were not interchangeable between the Clifton Bridge and Trent Bridge variants! The main routes were 61A, 67 and 68, each running either via Clifton Bridge or Trent Bridge. The 61 and 66 were by this time rush hour short workings. Monday-Friday daytime had a combined 10 minute interval service via Clifton Bridge (half-hourly to each terminus). There was a 20 minute interval service via Trent Bridge (hourly to each terminus). Overall, buses left Broad Marsh in a repeating sequence of 10,5,5,10,5,5 minutes. On Saturdays, all six services (three by each bridge) ran on a 24 minute headway. You might expect this to level out to an overall 4 minute interval service (every 8 minutes via each bridge). Such was not the case, however, no doubt for good logistical reasons. Instead the Saturday departures from Broad March were in the repeating sequence of 6,4,2,6,4,2 minutes, and the interval over each of the bridges was 6,10,8,6,10,8 etc. I wonder who worked that lot out!

Stephen Ford

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20/01/12 – 07:39

I note the photo was taken in 1969. So I’m sure one of the experts can answer the question "When did Nottingham City Transport finally stop using open rear platform buses?". My memory (unreliable) tells me that there weren’t any beyond the early 1970s. They seemed to disappear relatively early compared to other operators.

KC

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20/01/12 – 07:40

Of course it’s obvious now but something which hadn’t really occurred to me before is that South Notts had a strong presence at both Huntingdon Street and Broad Marsh. Was there ever anyone on hand to supervise the departures or were they left to their own devices? I’m not suggesting for a moment that they (or the others) would have been anything less than professional but as Stephen says, it was a complex operation. I wonder if South Notts rosters contained any inter-working with the Loughborough service or if Clifton services were kept totally separate?

Chris Barker

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20/01/12 – 12:32

They had exposed radiator AEC Regent Vs running in 1971 The last open platform deckers bought dated from 1959 so withdrawal in the seventies would be reasonable.

Chris Hough

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20/01/12 – 12:33

KC NCT’s last open platform buses were withdrawn in 1976. (11 Regent Vs from 1956, and 6 PD2s from 1959). The final ex WB Regent Vs had been withdrawn in 1974.
The last half cabs in the fleet, the 1965 Renowns, were withdrawn in 1976/7.

Bob Gell

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22/01/12 – 06:50

Unlike many, I quite like the enclosed Regent V front, but – like the PD2s and PD3s – I do prefer the exposed radiators. There is a dignity in style which is missing on so many "tin fronts".

David Oldfield

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23/01/12 – 07:48

I think the reason for the emergence of the tin front was the revolution in the appearance of single deckers. Half-cab single deckers became obsolete almost overnight in 1951, making double deckers look dreadfully old-fashioned by comparison with the new underfloors.
I must say that as a bus-mad child in the 1950s I was completely sold on the idea. I thought the tin-front Leylands of Oldham and Southport looked far better than Manchester’s archaic exposed radiators. It was only when the tin fronts themselves started to look dated that the traditional purity of the exposed radiator won out over the (by then) out dated attempt to disguise it.
The enclosed Regent V front looked like a reshaped radiator rather than a disguised one. Car manufacturers had already started doing the same thing, retaining the distinctive features of their traditional radiators in their new grilles but in a lower, wider shape (the most obvious comparison is Rover), and by common consent AEC’s approach was more successful and stylistically durable than the others.

Peter Williamson

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27/01/12 – 06:37

Am I right in thinking that in my time at Nottingham (66-69) one make (AEC or Leyland) was in the majority on Derby Road north of the university campus, and the other make in the majority on University Boulevard south of the campus? or does my memory play tricks? Atlanteans were in evidence from City centre to Trent Bridge for the football, but I only recall open platform designs serving the University. I do remember once travelling in a lowbridge side gangway vehicle from University boulevard to Beeston. I also remember a late night city centre start with a full bus and flat battery, the bus was facing uphill so reverse was engaged and the engine started with no problem.

Nigel Richards

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27/01/12 – 11:14

Nigel, the 5 (Beeston via Derby Road) and 5A (via Castle Boulevard) were certainly operated by the same buses. They ran as a circular route – outward as a 5, inward as a 5A and vice versa. This avoided the need to reverse in the congested centre of Beeston before the bus station was built. However it may well be that the other north side services (19 and 63) used a separate group of vehicles from the other south side services (4 and 4A). Both the 4 and 5 displayed "Beeston via Derby Road" but they were completely different routes. The 4 turned off Derby Road at Gregory Street, Old Lenton, joining the 4A route along the southern perimeter of the campus (University Boulevard). The 4 and 4A avoided the reversal problem by continuing beyond Beeston Square along Chilwell Road, and round the block Collin Street, Gladstone Street to terminate at Imperial Road.

Stephen Ford

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28/01/12 – 06:42

Nigel, Stephen
I seem to remember that in 67/8, 4,4A, 5,5A were a 50/50 split between AEC Regent Vs and Leyland PD2s. Don’t know about 19 and 63 though.

Bob Gell

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28/01/12 – 14:35

Hi Bob, yes, you are probably right. My point really was that there couldn’t have been an operational segregation between the "south side" and "north side" services, since the 5 and 5A at least were the same vehicles running out by one route and in by the other. I think by this time the Regent Vs and PD2s were the only back-loading half-cabs left (and no doubt many of these had also been withdrawn). I can’t remember whether the Renowns ever got onto these routes. Incidentally, in checking with the 1971 timetable, I discovered that the 63 was routinely scheduled a 15 minute layover at the outer terminus (Wollaton Vale) – 20 minutes journey and 15 minutes layover. Nice work if you can get it!

Stephen Ford

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SAU 203_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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03/05/12 – 08:56

Bob – I think the SAU Regents became an embarrassment to NCT after the diversion of their Clifton services via Clifton Bridge. Here was a batch of ten buses no more than four years old and with three years of the initial certificates of fitness still to run with no real work to do. As you say they found employment on works services. The only requirement for lowbridge buses was the once or twice a week service to the White City dog track on Trent Lane from Clinton Street. I recall seeing an SAU regularly on a service 4 going into Nottingham when on my way home from work during 1967.
Stephen – in 1969 there was still a 30 minute service on Sundays via both bridges.
In the days of NCT/WBUDC and South Notts sharing the service the number of buses required was:-
NCT (via Clifton Bridge)
Sunday – 5 buses
Monday to Friday peaks – 11 buses
Monday to Friday inter peak – 5 buses
Monday to Friday evenings – 5 buses
Saturday daytime – 6 buses
Saturday evening – 5 buses

South Notts/WBUDC (via Trent Bridge)
Sunday – SN – 3 buses; WB 2 buses
Monday to Friday am peak – SN 7 buses; WB 5 buses
Monday to Friday morning interpeak – SN 2 buses; WB 1 bus
Monday to Friday afternoon interpeak – SN 1 bus; WB 2 buses
Monday to Friday pm peak SN 6 Buses; WB 6 buses
Monday to Friday evenings – SN 2 buses; WB 1 bus
Saturday daytime SN 4 buses; WB 3 buses
Saturday evening SB 3 buses; WB 2 buses.
NCT was the major operator with 55% of the mileage operated. South Notts had 25% and West Bridgford 20%.
Chris – South Notts Clifton workings were kept separate from its ‘main line’ services. There were some early morning journeys from Gotham garage running out to take up service at Clifton advertised and passengers using these journeys had to pay the relevant fare from Clifton as well as a fare from Gotham to Clifton.
On the question of supervision, although South Notts had two Inspectors I cannot remember seeing them at Broad Marsh during the period I was using Clifton services. I did however see NCT Inspectors at Broad Marsh – mainly during the teatime peak – observing departures of NCT buses. West Bridgford also had Inspectors but I don’t remember seeing them at Broad Marsh.

Michael Elliott

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23/05/12 – 09:12

Thanks for all the insight into early Clifton Estate runnings, I must admit it has always confused me how the percentages were worked out. Certainly a lot more interesting than todays services on the Estate!

Gareth Perkins


 

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