Old Bus Photos

Bristol Omnibus – Bristol Lodekka – 961 EHW – GL8507

961 EHW

Bristol Omnibus
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/27R

Here is Bristol Omnibus Bristol LD6G – 961 EHW – GL8507, new in July 1959, waiting in Gloucester King’s Square for a driver to take out the bus on the short 50B service to York Road (The Cathedrals). Note the Gloucester Coat of Arms and GLOUCESTER on side, applied to about 25 vehicles, part of the agreement when Gloucester City Council leased out its bus services to Bristol Omnibus in 1935 and which continued uninterrupted until Stagecoach took over the services from Western Travel, the privatised company created by NBC. Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester City Council operated these services, overseen by a joint committee. The bus itself was scrapped in Sept 1976.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

22/05/17 – 07:45

Interestingly Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester Corporation both held their own Road Service Licences for the city (joint) routes. Applications in N&P were listed separately.
In York and Bristol, where similar arrangements applied, Road Service Licences were in the joint names of the Corporation and company. N&P listings read "Bristol Omnibus Co. and Bristol Corporation" and "West Yorkshire Road Car Co. and York Corporation".
Incidentally the bus is working service 508, formerly 8.

Geoff Kerr

22/05/17 – 07:46

A very interesting post Chris. Major Chapple had just left West Yorkshire to take control of the Bristol enterprise, and his experience with the Keighley and York organisational set-up must have proved of great value. Was the Bath situation set up in a similar fashion, or was that a direct acquisition, with it being a company and not a municipality?
I am not aware of the BET organisations making similar agreements with municipal fleets, but perhaps someone will be able to tell us if that were the case?

John Whitaker

22/05/17 – 07:48

Scrapped after only 17 years…What a waste of a thoroughly sound, ideal-for-the-job bus.
Or did the Cave-Brown-Cave equipment hasten its demise?

Ian Thompson

23/05/17 – 05:13

My recollection, John W, is that Bristol Omnibus bought, outright, both Bath Electric Tramways Ltd and Bath Tramways Motor Co.. Whether these were municipal or private companies, I don’t know. Again, this was about 1935/36.

Southdown and Portsmouth Corporation entered into a fare-sharing operation after the war, having toyed with the idea pre-war.This agreement involved route-balancing at the end of each financial year, a fascinating sight to see for bus enthusiasts. Buses were swapped, but not drivers/conductors. Thus, Southdown buses, staffed by Corporation staff, appeared some years on Corporation routes and vice versa. PD2’s were common to both organisations for some years and usually swapped, but this was not always so, and I recall a Southdown Guy Arab II performing its task one year.

Chris Hebbron

23/05/17 – 05:14

The Cave-Brown-Cave heating system, which consisted of the relocation of the engine radiator in two sections to each side of the front of the upper deck, was fitted to quite a number of Lodekkas before the inadequacies of the system led to its abandonment by about 1966. Not only did the efficacy of engine cooling suffer, but the very concept of hot water continually sloshing around at the front of the upper saloon meant that the vehicle interior continued to heat up in the hottest of weather. The early Cave-Brown-Cave Lodekkas had a completely blank front panel with no conventional radiator grille, but these were soon fitted with a front radiator to ease some of the problems. I think that many had the C-B-C completely disconnected, but the equipment each side of the destination indicator remained in situ. I, too, am surprised that this bus should have gone to the scrappers so early, not least because it had a Gardner engine. The ‘in house’ Bristol BVW option was a pretty poor alternative that gave endless trouble from failure of its wet cylinder liners – AEC was not alone in suffering this problem, but Dennis used wet liners successfully from the 1930s, so it could be done.

Roger Cox

24/05/17 – 06:43

There was no municipal involvement at Bath (or Cheltenham). Bath Electric Tramways and Bath Tramways Motor Co. ceased trading at the end of 1969, their assets transferred to Bristol Omnibus Co., while Cheltenham District Traction was wound up in 1980, 30 years after passing to Bristol control.
When the EHW series of Lodekkas appeared in 1959, with CBC heating and hopper vents, there was a heatwave and reports of passengers passing out.

Geoff Kerr

24/05/17 – 06:44

Bath Electric Tramways and its motor bus associate business, Bath Tramways Motor Company, were BET companies dating from 1904 that were sold to the Bristol Omnibus Company in 1936.

Roger Cox

24/05/17 – 06:46

I’m a bit puzzled by the comments expressing surprise that this bus only lasted 17 years.
I would have thought 17 years was a reasonable innings for a bus of this period.
No doubt its 6LW engine would go on to give many more years service ploughing across the South China Sea!

Eric Bawden

25/05/17 – 10:57

Taking up Roger’s comments on the shortcomings of the Bristol engines I have always wondered if these engines were foisted on the Tilling companies who would have logically chosen the reliable and fuel efficient Gardener given a free hand. Was it that Gardner could not keep up with demands or was it a face saver for Bristol to have at least some Lodekkas with their own engines?

Philip Halstead

26/05/17 – 06:47

The AVW had an equivalent power output to the Gardner 6LW but dimensionally was roughly the same size as a 5LW and an AEC 7.7L. From that you can immediately think that given 40s/50s materials something had to give ie AVW longevity given the close positioning of the 6 bores and higher temperatures.
When running well the AVW was a good engine but unlike Gardners which just go on and on even with reduced performance AVW bottom ends tended to go bang with no warning.
The BVW coming out at a time of heavier vehicles was never up to the job.

Roger Burdett


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Bristol Omnibus – Bristol Lodekka – YHT 962 – L8450

Bristol Omnibus - Bristol Lodekka - YHT 962 - L8450

Bristol Omnibus
Bristol Lodekka LDL6G
ECW H37/33RD

Among the 250 LD chassis built in 1957 as the 134th sanction were scattered six chassis to the new legal length on two axles of 30ft. They are generally referred to as type LDL, but I have seen LLD used in some factory documents. Bristol Omnibus L8450 is numerically the last and seen here looking miserable in late 1962 at the Holly Lane, Clevedon terminus of service 25.
I seem to remember that as well as being the first 30ft long Bristol double deckers, instead of the then standard vacuum assisted hydraulic system, they had compressed air servo hydraulic brakes, as later adopted for the Flat Floor (F) series chassis. Whether the LDL had air suspension, I can’t recall. Perhaps the last eight vehicles of the 138th sanction, designated LDS that went to Brighton, were used for air suspension trials, which also became a very successful standard on the F series (and eventually the RE!).
As a graduate trainee at BOC, I remember being allocated this vehicle for an evening overtime duty. As a novice driver, with a full load at Bristol Bus Station, to my embarrassment, I was unable to release the handbrake! A helpful inspector recommended depressing the footbrake at the same time and hey presto all was well!
The Lodekka front cowl hitherto had a single foot hold each side of the central number plate, but these six and subsequent flat floor models had a step to accommodate two feet to the nearside.
The ECW body is distinguished by having an extra short bay upstairs, otherwise you may miss the longer last bay downstairs. There was also an extra emergency exit – the saloon window behind the cab would open. It retained the original rear door window layout with the larger radius top corners towards the centreline, rather than the arrangement on the F series where the larger radius top corners were outboard.
The six vehicles must have been very successful prototypes as they stayed in service in one form or another for a good lifetime.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin

31/03/16 – 06:50

Comparing this photo with photos of a ‘conventional’ 27ft LD it seems the extra length for the 30 foot LDL was all accommodated in the rear overhang. In other words the wheelbase seems to be the same for both models. Have I got this right or is it a trick of camera angle on the photos? If this is the case it must have pushed the Construction and Use Regulations to the limit!

Philip Halstead

31/03/16 – 06:51

Another great view from your collection, Geoff! I have a view of one of the VDV series in my pile of forthcoming submissions to Peter.

Pete Davies

01/04/16 – 07:01

Philip, I don’t think that is quite right. The LDL body had the same window spacing as the FL, and F-series window bays were slightly longer than those on an LD. The wheelbase of the LDL would therefore have been slightly longer than for an LD.
The FL had its rear axle further back still, so that it straddles the last long bay and the short bay. Possibly experience with the LDLs led to this change.
It’s also noteworthy that the driver’s cab offside windows in the LDL are of the pattern used for the F-series, i.e. with a straight lower edge.

Nigel Frampton

01/04/16 – 07:02

Philip, it does appear at first glance that the LDL Lodekka’s extra length was achieved simply by lengthening the rear overhang. However, the LDL had a longer wheelbase than the LD (18ft-6ins as opposed to 16ft-8.5ins) allowing the chassis outriggers and corresponding body pillars to be spaced further apart. You would never guess this initially from the photo though would you? Personally I prefer Bristol-ECW’s positioning of the short extra bay towards the rear on the LDL, rather than amidships as on AEC-Park Royal’s 30ft version of the Routemaster. Bristol-ECW’s treatment looks neater somehow. (Dons tin hat and waits to be hit over head with tin tray).
Geoff, I believe that whereas Bristol designated the long wheelbase model LDL, for some reason ECW referred to the design as LLD, the ‘alternative’ designation you mention in your text. Also, from memory the fitting of an emergency exit on the offside towards the front was a legal requirement on double deckers of this length, regardless of whether or not platform doors were fitted.
Your embarrassing moment with the handbrake reminded me of a somewhat similar embarrassment I had as a West Yorkshire Central Works apprentice, serving a three-month stint at Harrogate’s Grove Park depot. I had been asked by my fitter Johnny Berry to bring a dual-purpose MW up from the bottom end of the depot and park it up at the top end. All went well until it came to stopping the engine. Could I find a push or pull type stop button or a stop switch? I left the bus defiantly ticking over with the handbrake on, and asked Johnny – an easy going fitter who also had a love of buses and coaches – how to stop the little blighter. He just said, tongue-in-cheek, that it was up to me to find out! Not to be thwarted, I double-checked the handbrake was fully on, stepped on the footbrake, put the MW into gear and let the clutch pedal up and the bus gave up without a struggle. Johnny said he was impressed, but said if I had simply pulled the accelerator pedal fully up it would have stopped the engine! I would have known this if I’d been brought up on older Bristols, he mentioned with a wry smile. Lovely man. Happy days.

Brendan Smith

01/04/16 – 12:11

Brendan, I don’t know when a lower deck emergency door at the front became a legal requirement. This is a 1957 vehicle, and yet the NGT Group and NCT 30ft PD3’s of 1958, didn’t have one.

Ronnie Hoye

01/04/16 – 15:14

I wonder whether the lower deck emergency door requirement depended on seating capacity? In July 1959 Portsmouth Corporation took delivery of five Leyland PD3/6 with Orion bodywork. The layout was H36/28R, so just 64 seats in a 30-footer. There was no off-side lower-deck emergency door on these as delivered. However, between Nov 1961 and Nov 1962, they were all up-seated to H38/32R. Now seating 70 (still with an open rear entrance), they were all fitted with an off-side emergency door, in the front bay behind the driver’s cab. This modification was carried out when each was re-seated. The local enthusiast understanding at the time (of the school-boy variety) was that the seating increase was the cause of the emergency door fitment. However such hear-say does not necessarily have a basis in fact.

Michael Hampton

02/04/16 – 06:27

Michael, it may be that by 61/62, the regulations had changed, and in order for the Portsmouth vehicles to be up-seated they needed to comply with the regulations at that time. The NCT PD3’s were H41/32R Orion bodies. The NGT group were 13 Burlingham H41/32RD for SDO, the remainder were Orion H41/32R, but as mentioned before, none had a front emergency exit

Ronnie Hoye

02/04/16 – 06:28

Intriguing information indeed Ronnie and Michael, which has caused some head scratching at this end, leading to a splinter in me finger. I do remember Leeds CT’s 30ft rear entrance Roe-bodied CVG6LX/30s and Regent Vs (MCW and Roe-bodied examples) having emergency exit windows in the first offside bay. I also thought that LCT’s 30ft Roe-bodied Titan PD3s of 1958 had them, but have now seen photographic evidence that proves otherwise! Could it be that the Construction & Use regulations were changed at some point along the lines of "vehicles built after a certain date must have…."? The plot thickens as they say.

Brendan Smith

02/04/16 – 07:17

Sheffield had 71 rear entrance Regent Vs in 1960 – delivered between January and April. The 25 Roes had platform doors and a rear emergency door – but none behind the driver. The 26 Weymanns had no emergency exit behind the driver. The last to arrive were the 20 Alexanders which DID have the emergency exit behind the driver. One can only surmise that regulations changed during the build &/or delivery of these vehicles.

Mr Anon

02/04/16 – 09:08

This interesting aspect concerning additional emergency exits confirms my present day terror about riding on most modern double deckers carrying around ninety persons. As if the lack of a central normal exit isn’t bad enough – causing havoc to punctual running but that’s another topic – there is only the tiniest slender emergency door at the rear offside of the lower saloons. In many cases this "arrow slit" is further reduced at its lower end by a rigid armrest for the long seat for five. I just cringe at the thought of an engine fire, or of the front door being disabled in an accident as there could only by mass panic in the manner of recent tragic football ground carnages. The often found alternative "in emergency break glass" is a farce too – so if you survive the emergency incident per se you risk being cut to ribbons by the alternative. I freely admit to avoiding travelling on any bus where there are huge numbers of standing passengers in addition to to oversized buggies and "staircase gangway blockers – I’m only going a couple of stops." Melodramatic I may admittedly sound, but I’m sorry to say that today’s double deckers in particular are a disaster waiting to happen – and we won’t stray here onto today’s criminally overcrowded trains.

Chris Youhill

02/04/16 – 09:55

The Aldershot & District Loline I buses of 1958 had rear entrance bodies with doors but no offside emergency exit. The front entrance Loline IIIs of 1961 onwards had emergency exits on the offside rear. However, the batch of City of Oxford front entrance Dennis Loline IIs also of 1961, albeit of 27ft 6ins length, had no offside emergency door. The Halifax Front entrance PD3s of 1959 did have a rear offside emergency exit. Operator discretion seems to have applied up to about 1960, but somewhere about then the rules must have changed. I’ve tried to find the regulations on the internet, but historic data seems to be rather elusive.

Roger Cox

02/04/16 – 10:25

Further thoughts – the possible provision of a centre rear emergency exit may explain the absence of an offside door on the Oxford Lolines. My high mileage memory can’t now recall if they were so fitted.

Roger Cox

02/04/16 – 16:09

I think you may be onto something with your centre rear emergency exit theory Roger. ECW did not fit offside emergency exits on the Lodekka FSF/FLF bodies, and Northern Counties halfcab front entrance ‘decker bodies do not appear to have had them either. Both designs did however have their emergency exit door mounted centrally within the lower deck rear bulkhead. Going back to rear entrance double-deckers, LT’s first 30ft long Routemasters, delivered in 1961, had emergency exit windows on the offside. In Ken Blacker’s excellent book ‘Routemaster’ he describes the main features of the initial batch of RMLs, and then goes on to state: "Also new was the provision of a quick release emergency window in the second offside bay of the lower saloon to provide the secondary means of escape required by law for vehicles of this length". Unfortunately we’re still no nearer knowing when such legislation was introduced. As you say, related information on the internet does indeed seem to be rather elusive.

Brendan Smith

03/04/16 – 07:37

I think I’ve got it. It seems to be about lower deck seating capacity and the positions of other exits, and it dates from 1958.
Here is an extract from Regulation 26 of the Public Service Vehicle (Conditions of Fitness) Regulation 1958, which came into effect on 11th April of that year:
(a) A half-decked vehicle, a single-decked vehicle with permanent top and the lower deck of a double-decked vehicle shall be provided with not less than two exits (one of which may be an emergency exit) which shall not both be situated on the same side of the vehicle.
(b) Where, in the case of a single-decked vehicle and the lower deck of a double-decked vehicle, the seating capacity, in either case, exceeds 30 passengers, and the exits provided in accordance with condition (a) of this paragraph are so placed that the distance between lines drawn at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and passing through the centres of such exits at gangway level is less than 10 feet, an additional exit shall be provided at a distance of not less than 10 feet

Peter Williamson

03/04/16 – 07:38

According to Commercial Motor, November 13th 1953, the Construction and Use regulations were to be changed as "The Ministry says that the dangers of having both exits at one end of the vehicle have been increased by the use of large underfloor-engined single deckers, and particularly crush-loaders. Consequently, it is proposed that in a single-decker or on the lower deck of a double-decker, each seating more than 28 people, one exit shall be at least 10 ft. forward of the other, taking the measurement opposite the centre of each exit at gangway level."
Hence why the FLF Lodekkas had the emergency door at the back, whereas the LDL had the additional door at the front.

Peter Delaney

04/04/16 – 06:36

Peter and Peter, thank you very much indeed for solving the emergency exit window mystery for us. In only a matter of days, the ‘OBP Supersleuths’ have won through yet again.

Brendan Smith

04/04/16 – 11:05

Thanks seconded! I’ve been wondering for some time whether Construction and Use regulations still exist, perhaps under another name. Googling has thrown up quite a lot on accessibility for the disabled, but nothing on other aspects of design and build. Could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks.

Ian Thompson

04/04/16 – 11:06

So the school-boy enthusiasts in Portsmouth weren’t wrong! But I doubt if any of them had read the C&U regulations – I certainly hadn’t. But thank you to both Peters for tracking down the detail, so that we are all now wiser, as well as just older.

Michael Hampton

04/04/16 – 17:04

The main C&U regs seem to date from 1986, with some amendments in 1988, but a new set came out last year. I’ve not had a chance to look at them – out on the road!: SEE: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/

Christopher Hebbron

30/04/16 – 12:14

With the exception of the Eastern National example 236 LNO which had the same 19ft 2in wheelbase as the FL, the other LDLs had an 18ft 8in wheelbase. There was also the 1966 LDL, a paper exercise for what I’ve read described as a Bristol Arab V, that would have had an 18ft 6in wheelbase.

Stephen Allcroft

29/08/16 – 06:32

I was a conductor at H & D Poole in the late 1970’s and we had a couple of these lengthened versions. The one thing I do remember is that they rode much more smoothly than the normal versions, even the rougher drivers couldn’t send you down the bus. Unfortunately although I passed my test in early 1979 I never got to drive one.

Joe C


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Bristol Omnibus – Bristol LS – UHT 494 – 2884

UHT 494

Bristol Omnibus
Bristol LSA

Here we have one of the two Bristol LS that operated with other than a Gardner engine. Bristol Omnibus Bristol LSA registration UHT 494 fleet number 2884 seen on October 6, 1962 lasted in service until 1968 with an AEC horizontal engine. Much of its in-service time was marked by the engine stalling as drivers who were used to Gardner power were caught unaware of the lower low speed torque!
The other non-Gardner was registration UHT 493  fleet number 2883 a Bristol LSTS3 which had a Rootes TS3 diesel which was not particularly reliable and was soon back to a Gardner 5HLW as was the removal of its rear two doors.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin

08/02/16 – 10:58

These two LS were in effect test beds for the engine manufacturers. No. 2884 is seen here on the last day of Clevedon town service 25D, which was then incorporated into the main Bristol – Clevedon 25/25A service. It carries the BRISTOL block lettering introduced in the early 1960s.

Geoff Kerr

09/02/16 – 08:30

My word, we learn something new every day on this wonderful Forum. I had no idea till now that any Bristol LSs had ever been powered by such unfamiliar units, even experimentally!!

Chris Youhill

09/02/16 – 09:42

This is a surprise to me, too, Chris. Were these engines seriously considered as options for production machines, I wonder? Certainly, the limited output of Gardner units set against the high demand placed constraints upon the sales of several psv and lorry manufacturers. Bristol brought out its own engines to ease the situation, though the BVW doesn’t seem to have been produced in horizontal form. I can see that the AEC unit might have been a realistic option – when running properly it was a good performer – but the wet liner problems might have militated against its adoption in the LS. What engine was it – an AH410 or a 470? I think that Leyland was very reluctant to let anyone else have its engines at that time. I doubt that the TS3 two stroke would have been entirely suitable for the stop/start nature of bus work. Quite apart from the noise, the revs had to be kept high for it to work properly.

Roger Cox

09/02/16 – 15:16

Most LSs had either a Gardner 5HLW (saloons) or Gardner 6HLW (coaches), or the Bristol 6 cylinder horizontal version of the AVW engine. According to Alan Townsin, the non-standard AEC engine was a 410, as used in some Reliances of the period, and one of the prototypes had a Gardner 4LW, as well as the TS3 engined example.
There was a horizontal version of the BVW engine – the BHW. And it was an example – first fitted in an MW used by the BCV works, it was later put into one of the RELH prototypes. The MW later had a Gardner 6HLW engine fitted before delivery to Red and White as a saloon, the RELH gained a Gardner 6HLX before entering service with West Yorkshire Road Car.

Peter Delaney

10/02/16 – 06:20

Don’t forget that there were several Bristol Ks and Ls with AEC engines, so it would not have been unreasonable to offer that manufacturer’s engines in the successor models.

Nigel Frampton

10/02/16 – 06:21

Well, this is even more interesting than many others which have delighted us on this forum! Thanks for submitting this, Geoff.
I was aware of some Bristol buses with upright engines having AEC products where one might normally expect a Bristol or Gardner power unit, but horizontal ones? And a COMMER?
You’ll have to excuse me – I must find a darkened room!

Pete Davies

10/02/16 – 06:21

Eastern Counties received the second prototype LS, MAH 744, which was powered by a 4HLW engine. Ever economically motivated, ECOC had taken a number of L4G saloons from the late 1930s, and in December 1952, took a couple of production dual purpose LS saloons with the 4HLW engine. These were use initially on express and excursion duties, though the performance must surely have been less than sparkling. Three more appeared in the fleet in May 1953, after which the 5HLW became the chosen Gardner powerplant for subsequent LS deliveries. The LS4G was not delivered to any other Tilling Group company. A number of BET companies specified the AH 410 engine for early AEC Reliance deliveries. The first Reliances bought by Aldershot & District, including the Strachans Everest bodied coaches, were all powered by the AH 410. Despite its modest capacity of 6.754 litres inherited from the 1935 "6.6" A172 (indirect injection) engine from which it was developed, the 98 bhp AH 410 would deliver a creditable road performance. It is extraordinary that AEC, with its significant resources, could never cure the wet liner problems with its 410, 470 and 590 engines. The much smaller Dennis company offered wet liner engines in petrol and diesel form from the mid 1930s, and these were trouble free. I have occasionally wondered how a Dennis O6 powered LS would have performed – the East Kent Lancet UF coaches were fliers and thoroughly reliable, but the idiosyncratic ‘O’ type gearbox was far from easy to use. Perhaps an arrangement between the two might then have permitted Dennis to use the Bristol five speed synchromesh gearbox in the Lancet. End of daydream!

Roger Cox

10/02/16 – 06:22

The early years of the Bristol LS were certainly interesting. The first two prototypes had aluminium alloy underframes, although production versions were of steel construction. The first prototype (LSX001) entered service with Bristol T&CC, and had a B42D body, and a horizontal version of the Bristol AVW engine. Designated the XWA, the horizontal Bristol engine became the LSW on LS production models. The second (LSX002) was powered by a Gardner 4HLW engine, and perhaps not too surprisingly was supplied to Eastern Counties. Bristol T&CC 2883 mentioned by Geoff was built in 1953 with an unfinished bodyshell, painted grey and used by Bristol for development work. It received a Commer TS3 two-stroke Diesel engine and was given the chassis designation LSTS3. It eventually entered service in the Bristol T&CC fleet as 2883(UHT493) in 1955 to B43D specification, but was fitted with a Gardner 5HLW engine in 1956. The LS6A (2884) shown in Geoff’s photo was also built in 1953, and similarly sported a grey-painted unfinished bodyshell, again used for development work. The engine chosen was AEC’s 6.75 litre AH410 unit (as offered in AEC’s Reliance and Monocaoch models), together with an AEC 5-speed gearbox. Like 2883, 2884 entered Bristol T&CC service in 1955, in this case to B45F configuration.
Roger, I cannot think why Bristol chose the TS3 engine (aka ‘The Knocker’) as an experiment, as it was not really that popular in the wider bus world, although it did sound gorgeous, if a bit raucous, in Commer lorries. Maybe they saw potential for it powering lightweight buses such as the LS, due to the engine’s good power to weight ratio. The early TS3s developed 105bhp @ 2400rpm from only 3.26 litres, which was amazing at the time. The choice of an AEC engine and gearbox though could perhaps have been an attempt to woo London Transport. LTE had tried an early Bristol LS5G bus (Bristol T&CC 2828:PHW918 painted in Green Line livery), which must have been something of a culture shock to LT drivers used to buses with 6-cylinder engines, fluid flywheels and pre-selector gearboxes! It is perhaps not surprising that the LS5G was not popular with LT, so Bristol then fitted it with a Hobbs semi-automatic transmission. The LS5G returned to LT for around six months, but no orders followed, and on returning to Bristol 2828 was fitted with a standard Bristol gearbox. All fascinating stuff. It’s just a shame that most of us never had the opportunity of hearing the wonderous sound effects of an AH410 or TS3-engined LS, or for that matter, a semi-auto LS5G.

Brendan Smith

10/02/16 – 06:23

I am surprised to see that this bus has a "normal" destination display; Bristol Omnibus LSs (and other types) normally had a single blind showing destination, number and via points. The fairly common T-style display was adopted with the later MWs and F-series Lodekkas, although even then the display was non-standard because there were four service number tracks.

Don McKeown

10/02/16 – 09:20

The recent book by Martin Curtis and Mike Walker on BOC – The Green Years – includes details of the two LS buses 2883 and 2884 which had been used by ECW for body development and passed to the company in 1955. The former previously used as an unfinished shell had the standard company destination display fitted with the Commer engine soon replaced by a Gardner 5HLW.The latter retained its AEC engine throughout its life and was unique with the company for its "side by side" destination favoured by other NBC companies such as the adjoining Wilts and Dorset – apparently the body had been used by ECW in connection with the development of the Bristol SC which had of course a similar destination display. In 1967 it was also fitted with an MW-style grill – and lasted until 1968. There is a black and white photo of 2884 in the book seen leaving Marlborough St bus station on the 25B to Nailsea. A second depot photo by Peter Davey shows the grill fitted – most odd -by which time the destination blind had been reduced to a single line by masking tape. This is the first time I have seen a colour picture of 2884. Thanks.

Keith Newton

11/02/16 – 06:27


There is a dedicated posting for the two LS prototypes elsewhere on OBP (see link below), but I’m sure no one will mind me adding a picture here of NHU 2 taken at Duxford a few years ago.
Bristol Tramways – Bristol LS – NHU 2 – 2800 

Roger Cox

13/02/16 – 05:26

I would imagine that the attraction of the Commer TS3 would be its legendary fuel economy. If they’d put it into a coach instead of a bus, it might even have worked!

Peter Williamson

14/02/16 – 05:51

The TS3 two stroke was used in coaches – Beadle and Harrington both offered coach models with this engine.

Roger Cox

19/02/16 – 05:46

There was a second LS which ran with a Rootes TS3. Eastern National
476 BEV was delivered new in 1955 as an LS5G but was soon converted by ENOC to the above, presumably as a comparative trial.
It was converted back to LS5G in 1960 and spent another six years with the company before being sold to Hedingham & District where it saw out its last few years.

Nigel Utting

03/03/16 – 15:48

So far as I was aware this chassis was coded LS6A, perhaps my original text was faulty!
What a fascinating lot more information this has stirred up. I mentioned the horizontal BVW in my article on the Bristol RE. I was unaware that it had been used in an MW before that – but I bet it wasn’t turbo-charged at that time!


This photo probably shows the test bed, a rather bedraggled looking ‘experimental’ MW taken at BCV on March 3, 1963.

The 2884 destination layout looks much nicer to me than the other standards used by BTCC & BOC: the 18 in. high single aperture and the destination above route number display. There was a nice batch of vehicles with the intermediate 12 in. high single aperture display that looked just as pleasant to me as 2884. Thanks for further information about BOC displays on my 1963 MW5G submission, but I’m sure I saw W in use when the suffix letters were first introduced!

Geoff Pullin

12/01/17 – 09:10

There is (was?) a full page explanation of the short workings in the front of the Bristol Joint Services timetable for 1965. The introduction states that ‘The number of buses which carry destination equipment capable of showing numbers and letters together is being gradually increased’ – in other words, the replacement of single piece blinds by 4-track ‘T’ indicators. Exactly why a single piece display cannot show (e.g.) 9A instead of 9 for the Ashton Gate short working passes me by I’m afraid. Surely you just print the blind with 9A on it.
The 4-tracks were a bit of overkill in some ways when you consider that the entire city fleet was being fitted with these displays when there were few workings which required them – 145A Henleaze Lake short working, the 236A extension to Brislington Trading Estate and journeys on 142,236 or 282 extended to Rodney Works, Patchway Bus Park or Shadow Factory were the only ones which actually needed all 4 tracks.

Peter Cook


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 27th May 2017