Old Bus Photos

East Midland – Bristol RE – PNN 516F – O516

East Midland - Bristol RE - PNN 516F - O516

East Midland Motor Services
Bristol RELL6G

East Midland was an early user of the Bristol RE/ECW combination once they became generally available. This example is seen in Bawtry on 13 July 1968 when it was about three months old.
The rich red livery really suits the vehicle whilst the vertically mounted twin headlamps give a touch of class. How could NBC impose the lacklustre poppy red and leaf green schemes? East Midland even had to change to being a green fleet post 1972. Note the lack of sliding or hopper windows, in common with other BET Companies at this time ventilation is provided by three lift up ventilators in the roof. The only discordant note is the early style shallow windscreens which must have been a real problem to taller drivers.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

26/12/13 – 12:19

These were among the first non-Tilling RE’s that I saw and I remember being very excited at the prospect of Bristols becoming more common, perhaps even in the Manchester area; this did indeed happen, and for a while I was able to travel to work on North Western RE’s.
I drove two or three of Crosville’s "shallow windscreen" RE’s, and beyond the excitement of driving an RE (we were the only Welsh Crosville Depot with no RE buses) I found that the low windscreen top added interest; the top of the windscreen was always in my peripheral vision, but not enough to cause a problem.

Don McKeown

26/12/13 – 14:27

Everyone praises REs. When I was in Widnes and working in a school garden. We had greenhouses about 50 yards from the road.
Every hour a Crossville RE would come past and the greenhouses didn’t half rattle from the exhaust noise of these buses!

Jim Hepburn

26/12/13 – 18:02

In my South Yorkshire/North Derbyshire youth EMMS was a local operator to me. They operated AECs and Leylands – which they then dropped for Bristols. Well I could forgive the Leylands, but not the AECs. Nevertheless, as a student on the X67, travelling from Chesterfield to Manchester (and back) I grew to appreciate the RE more and more and – along with WYRCC on the Yorkshire services to London – to rate it second only to the 6U3ZR Reliance as a premium coach. Many a happy mile was added on visits to Tilling lands across the country – including the X43 from Leeds to Scarborough. …..and then the epic journeys from Manchester to Glasgow or Edinburgh by Ribble and the one off Eastern Scottish ex London RE. I could go on and on – oh sorry, I am doing – but the great joy has been to drive REs late in service life and then in preservation. A real. and deserved, classic. So what did EMMS do? Replaced RELH coaches on the X67 with Nasties – Green Mk I Nationals with slippery bus seats. […..but I bet they wouldn’t have without the strong arm antics from corporate HQ!]

David Oldfield

27/12/13 – 09:46

And they wondered why passengers deserted public transport for cars, David! Nice town, Chesterfield.

Chris Hebbron

27/12/13 – 09:55

Yes, very nice town.

David Oldfield

28/12/13 – 08:03

When TBAT broke up in 1942, certain firms "switched" allegiance. [NBC and BLMC strong arm tactics were nothing new.] Cumberland, United and Lincolnshire were Leyland operators. North Western was a Bristol operator and went from Tilling to BET. It was natural for North Western to take to Bristols with alacrity when they became available in 1965. I do not know the provenance of East Midland, but pre-war they were a Bristol operator and so their renewed allegiance to Bristol should not have come as a surprise. [Their roots were in the local independent, Underwood.] The big surprise – to Leyland Motor Corporation as well – was how readily Ribble and Southdown both took to Bristols. In all the above cases, it was both the RELL and the RELH which were the major swing factors.

David Oldfield

28/12/13 – 10:57

Having re-read my last post, it occurred to me that the bulk of RE buses operated by North Western, Ribble and Southdown were actually RESL – both RESL6G and RESL6L.

David Oldfield

28/12/13 – 13:49

I agree with earlier comments regarding the tasteful shade of red used in this era of East Midland operation. I never did like the corporate NBC colours, especially that awful green, and can only guess how good these would have looked in the EM chocolate, cream and biscuit livery! I spent some time in the old county of Huntingdonshire and frequently travelled between Huntingdon and Saint Ives on United Counties. Often my carriage would be TBD 280G, a dual-purpose RELH6G, new in 1969. This was a most comfortable bus to ride and was in the much better reversed livery of cream and green. Happy days.

Les Dickinson

28/12/13 – 14:44

Here we go again on the subject of livery, who did have the best? Personal taste and where you grew up would have the most influence on your answer. United’s reverse DP livery looked good on most of the single deck fleet, but, although I cant remember any being done this way, I don’t think it would have transferred to double deckers. OK Motor services always looked smart, but probably too time consuming to be practical for a large fleet? For smart plain and simple, you would go a long way to find better examples than Sheffield or Darlington, Midland Red, on the other hand, was in most cases too plain and simple, but few would argue that the all one colour of Glenton was drab or ugly. Bright colours or subdued? The orange and yellow of Yelloway was bright and cheerful, but the black, white and grey of Woods of Blackpool ’Seagull Coaches’ or the olive green and cream coaches of United were to my mind a classic. Its a question without answer, but it produces some good comments.

Ronnie Hoye

29/12/13 – 14:54

Right now? I’d give anything to go back to the days of NBC/PTE corporate liveries – there was more variety about then than there is now . . . and at least tickets weren’t standardised under NBC. I’ve just finished under-coating the cloak-room wainscot/door, in preparation for a deep blue gloss, and I’ve been struck by the similarity in colour/finish between my undercoat and First’s new livery – OK, I’ll give First a couple of weeks before their colours dull to a matt-like finish. And we don’t even have "proper" local fleet-names anymore, and many of the local-authority operators have disappeared. Anyway, back to the picture . . . wasn’t EMMS red a shade called "BET red", and common with other companies(?) in the group?

Philip Rushworth

29/12/13 – 17:47

I don’t think that there was a ‘BET’ shade of red. East Midland used a deeper, more maroon shade than nearby Trent, PMT and North Western all of whom seemed to use a slightly different shade of brighter red.

Ian Wild

30/12/13 – 07:10

EMMS red was closer to Ribble than any other BET red. It was stated emphatically that neither was maroon. As Ian says, none of the other three were an identical shade of red. That was the beauty of BET liveries – and of course SUT was unique. In fact the whole set up was unique – and certainly pretty special – since SUT was equally owned by EMMS, Tracky and NWRCC but neither followed the vehicle purchasing nor the operating practises of any of its owners.

David Oldfield

30/12/13 – 11:50

W. T. Underwood was far from being a local independent operator. It was an offshoot of United Automobile Services of Lowestoft. The manager of U.A.S. Mr. E. B. Hutchinson sent one of his ‘bright young men’ W. T. Underwood to Clowne in North Derbyshire in 1920 to establish bus services in the area.
The vehicles were supplied from Lowestoft in the United livery of that time of chrome yellow and brown, later separated with a cream band. The United fleet name was covered over with a board bearing the name of Underwood in the same style.
In 1927 the company was re-named East Midland Motor Services Limited. At this time W. T. Underwood left the company to pursue other interests.
Although United A. S. changed their livery to red around 1930, East Midland retained the old yellow brown and cream livery until 1955. East Midland were under Tilling Group Control until 1942 when control passed to B. E. T.

John Bunting

02/01/14 – 17:29

I wasn’t surprised at BET companies buying Bristol REs as soon as they were available, simply because by that time all the alternative rear-engined single deckers already had questionable reputations, whereas the RE had been giving trouble-free service to Tilling Group operators since before any of them was invented. Unfortunately I wasn’t so keen on RE buses as many enthusiasts, as I’ve never thought much of the interior finish of ECW bus bodies, and I was never in the right place at the right time to sample anything else. Not having to operate or drive them, I much preferred the Leyland Panther.
Coaches of course were a different matter.

Peter Williamson

03/01/14 – 07:59

But Peter, you can’t blame Bristol for the ECW body! Even under common National ownership they were never the same company.

David Oldfield

06/01/14 – 07:57

Although having a big soft spot for the late lamented RE in general, my favourites to ride on were always the Series I, and early Series II models with the shallower windscreen. The RE was designed from the outset with air suspension, which gave a very smooth ride. However, the system did have a few problems relating to short airbag life, especially on stage carriage vehicles, and as a result many operators converted their airbags to coil springs. This fairly straightforward conversion still endowed the RE with a nice ride, but around 1969/70 Bristol’s new masters Leyland decided that the air/coil suspension system would become an optional extra, and that the standard RE would now have traditional leaf springs. Although it could be argued that this simplified the design from an engineering point of view, the result was a rougher-riding RE, which now rattled and banged over uneven road surfaces. This backward step was also said to be the cause of problems relating to increased vibration, movement and cracking around the drop-frame at the front of the chassis. On the ECW bus bodies this led to front domes cracking or working loose, and problems with the flooring and step at the front entrance. The newly introduced BET windscreens also seemed more prone to cracking – surely not a coincidence, as the BET Group had been using the screens successfully for years. Despite these shortcomings, the RE still remained a dependable ‘engineers bus’ to the end, with major units logically laid out for ease of maintenance, repair or removal. There were plans for a Series III RE, which would probably have had improved ‘second generation’ air suspension, and options of more powerful engines. However, as we all know, Leyland had other ideas, and scrapped the RE to give its new integral National a clear field.

Brendan Smith

09/11/14 – 17:01

During the 70s I drove for Royal Blue based at Victoria coach station London. I have fond memories of my time there and in particular driving Bristol REs ECW bodied. I preferred the manual gearbox which could be hard work at times especially on the long routes London to Plymouth or Penzance, the semi automatics did reduce the work load but I felt that I had more control with the manual. I dove most of the routes over the West country and into Dorset, I recall lining up for the tight turn into the down ramp which was Bournemouth coach station. In the later years Leyland joined the fleet with Plaxton bodies but I still preferred the REs in my opinion the finest coach ever to be built. I still think back and recall all my colleagues and I still have copies of the timetable and drivers handbook with route directions which I cherish with much love.

Ernest Goldie

12/01/15 – 07:05

EMMS red was ‘BET Dark Red’ and was the same shade as City of Oxford MS, Northern General and Yorkshire Woollen District. Due to differing paint suppliers the actual shade could vary slightly, even on buses within the same fleet.
Trent, Yorkshire Traction, North Western all used ‘BET Light Red’, again for the above reasons the actual shade could vary slightly.
Midland Red and Ribble both had individual colours not within the BET colour catalogue and referred to by the company name, ie, ‘Ribble Red’.

Rob F

PNN 516F Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

09/04/15 – 07:02

If you look at the livery style of East Midland Bristol VR’s that were delivered at the same time you will notice it looks more a Mansfield District style only in red. A company they were about to take over under NBC. Even after privatisation they stayed green.

John Allcock


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East Midland – AEC Regent III RT – KGK 750 – D47

East Midland - AEC Regent RT - KGK 750 - D47

East Midland Motor Services
Cravens H56R

You can almost smell the workshop in this view!
This ex-London Transport Regent RT came to East Midland with the take-over of Wass, Mansfield in April 1958. D47 was gone in 1960 – to A1 Service, Ardrossan.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

26/05/13 – 10:31

Nice view, Les, and thank you for posting. I note that East Midland acquired this vehicle as part of the deal in buying Wass, but what did London Transport deem to be so "non standard" about Cravens and Saro bodies that they were sold out of the fleet so quickly?

Pete Davies

27/05/13 – 07:00

Splendid picture, there’s something altogether fascinating about views of buses undergoing repair or maintenance. Makes me want to go and brew a pot of extra strength ‘busman’s’ tea!
What a pity KGK 750 didn’t make it into the East Midland fleet until after they’d switched over to the maroon livery, it would have looked a treat in the old biscuit, chocolate and cream scheme.

Dave Careless

27/05/13 – 07:01

The Cravens RTs were totally non standard with 5 bay construction. Not only were the body spares, particularly glass spares, non standard, the vehicles could not be processed through Aldenham works where body and chassis swaps were the rule, unless they were swapped with other Cravens bodied vehicles due to the way the bodies were mounted.
As this did not fit the, by mid 1950s, maintenance regime the Cravens vehicles were sold off. In any event they had been a stop gap to cover delivery delays at Park Royal and Weymann.
The SARO vehicles were much more standard but there were enough differences to make them cuckoos in what was very much a Park Royal/Weymann nest.

Phil Blinkhorn

27/05/13 – 07:02

The Cravens bodies were not to London Transport design but used the standard Cravens shell with London Transport features. Most noticeably they were of five-bay construction rather than four.
I wasn’t aware that the Saunders bodies were short-lived, and Ian’s Bus Stop site www.countrybus.org/RT/RT3s.htm  says they weren’t.

Peter Williamson

27/05/13 – 07:03

Five bay construction whilst all other RT family members were four bay, perhaps?

Tony Martin

27/05/13 – 07:04

Pete, the Craven-bodied RT’s were merely Craven’s standard fare modified to look something like standard RT bodies.
The fronts were flatter (I preferred them), they had five-bays and the back curved, hunch-backed, above the rear platform window, itself less wide and offset to the offside. The rear number plate was also further to the right. They were not jig-built and useless for standard Aldernham overhauls. I’m not so sure that the SaRo versions had shorter lives with LTE; they were entirely standard in all respects, to my knowledge.
Here’s a rear offside three-quarter view of a Craven’s RT. The five bay layout made the downstairs windows finish slightly further back than usual,although the side route number fitting was in the usual place. Therefore the gap between the two was less. To the average passenger, it is unlikely they’d notice the difference. Two survive, both with Ensign, one red and one green. www.flickr.com/photos/

Chris Hebbron

27/05/13 – 07:06

I’ve done a little more digging, Pete, about the SaRo bodies. They were strong and fully compatible with RT bodies from the usual suppliers, although they had slight weakness with the front bulkhead, corrected at first overhaul. The only reason they were withdrawn a little earlier than others was because they had front roofboxes. Nevertheless, some lasted a full 20 years,albeit as learner vehciles latterly.

Chris Hebbron

27/05/13 – 09:02

Chris, were the SARO bodies exchanged in the normal way in the Aldenham programme? As top box bodies were considered non standard from the mid 1950s I was under the impression that they weren’t after first overhaul, to avoid non standard bodies being mated with the newer chassis.

Phil Blinkhorn

27/05/13 – 09:03

Thanks for your responses, gents. I knew someone would be able to clarify!

Pete Davies

27/05/13 – 09:03

Although I’ve always been a fervent admirer of the wonderful standard RT (and RTL/RTW), both as a passenger and as a driver, I have equal enthusiasm for the fascinating Cravens version also. The five bay appearance fits in very well with the general handsome RT profile, and the various other smaller differences add to the individual appeal of "The Cravens." As far as I’m aware the only difference from standard in the appearance of the Saro bodies was the position of the offside route stencil frame – oh and, once in a lifetime, the need to reduce the tyre pressures/height in order to "escape" from Anglesey under the portals of the Menai Straits bridge.

Chris Youhill

27/05/13 – 16:38

Since no-one has yet mentioned London Transport’s perennial disposal of perfectly good buses at a ridiculously young age (Cravens RTs, RWs, DMSs etc), perhaps I should be the one to set the cat amid the pigeons! The usual excuses given for these premature disposals (standardisation, inability to cope with the London environment, and so on) are transparently so much guff when one considers the loss of barely depreciated assets. In every case it would have been cheaper to hang on to these perfectly good vehicles and send LT engineers out into the real world to learn how to maintain them. I await the barrage of counter-arguments from LT apologists (or, as I like to think of them, fetishists…)

Neville Mercer

27/05/13 – 16:38

It would be interesting to know which depot this was, I would say either Mansfield or Worksop. Wass Brothers operated a busy service from Mansfield to Clipstone, Edwinstowe and Ollerton, they bought three of these Craven RT’s in 1957, the others were JXC 219 and KGK 739, their livery was half maroon and half dark red and it’s difficult to tell from the picture if East Midland repainted them when Wass had only painted them a year earlier, or if they simply added a cream band. The destination box was certainly altered by East Midland, Wass had retained the LT style boxes and had painted their name in the bottom aperture. It seems a shame that these fine vehicles were disposed of by East Midland after just two years when only eleven years old but by 1960 they were taking large numbers of Atlanteans.

Chris Barker

28/05/13 – 07:41

This photo was taken in the old fitting shops at Worksop depot. The three of these ended their lives on Worksop town services. This was due to them being high bridge.

Ian Bennett

28/05/13 – 07:42

Bradford City Transport had 2 Saunders RTs in the batch of 25 bought from Birds dealer in 1958 Numbered 411 and 421 they lasted until 1968 with the odd spell stored in the TIN SHED at Thornbury.

Geoff S

28/05/13 – 07:43

I concur completely with your view of London Transport extravagance, Neville, and have made similar comments on this forum in the past. I joined LT(CB&C) at Reigate in a clerical capacity from school after ‘A’ Levels in August 1960, and was astounded at the curious attitude that prevailed throughout the organisation at every level. It was like being on a different planet, totally insulated from all outside influences. It was incapable of learning from others in the bus industry since it believed that London operating conditions were unique – its own experience therefore existed on a far higher plane than that of "provincial" people. Thus it made expensive mistakes that could have been mitigated by contacts outside its own closed mentality. The engineering system was typical of its centralised attitudes and slavish devotion to standardisation. The RT family (once those nasty, interloping Cravens and Saunders machines were removed), the RFs and the RMs were all designed, like Meccano, to be taken to pieces. Defective pieces could then be removed at garages and sent to Chiswick or Aldenham, and reconditioned parts installed in replacement. No proper analytical engineering expertise was required at garage level. The front line mechanical operation was maintained by fitters, not by engineers. Whatever the fault, major or minor, a replacement part was almost always seen as the solution. Another LT vehicle class that epitomised the cavalier approach to costs was the RC and the allied EC of BEA that LT ‘looked after’. Yes, the wet liner engines of the Reliance did give trouble, but swathes of British bus operators ran them successfully for years. The LT/BEA fleets spent much of their time in store and were disposed of after very short lives. Remarkably, the insular attitude of London’s public transport "experts" remains today, as may be seen in Boris Johnson’s preposterous, extravagant, ego inflating "Routemaster". After their inevitably limited life in London, I don’t see many takers for those things on the secondhand market unless they are extremely cheap.

Roger Cox

28/05/13 – 07:44

The destination looks like Langold, which I think was a mining village near Worksop.

Geoff Kerr

28/05/13 – 07:45

As for your comment, Neville, about LTE’s disposal policy, I’m the first one to wonder why! Firstly, this policy did not extend across the whole of LTE. Non-standard trolleybuses, and there were several of them, led almost full lives alongside their compatratriots and I recall, when living in London, several Tube and sub- surface stock ‘non-standard’ carriages also with their ‘standard’ compatriots. The bus division certainly disliked non-standard vehicles and I even recall a very-sloping front-ended STL which, late in life, was rebuilt, all for the sake of four seats! A whole lot of already non-standard lowbridge green ST’s were tweaked such that not one of them looked the same in the end. TF1, with non-standard body, was altered to look marginally like its compatriots, then disposed of in 1946, along with various other non-standard types, like the double-deck Q’s at the very time when it was obvious they were needed! However, with the RT family of buses, peak passenger numbers were in 1949, although the dwindling numbers were slow to start with. Typically, LTE definitely over-ordered them to the point where the last 400 went into store for about four years and many of them had ex-SRT bodies draped on them until they eventually went into service. LPTB/LTE achieved some remarkable things in its short life, especially pre-war, but it was quite barmy in some ways and you won’t find me an apologist for it! And Chris Y, I never realised they had to lower the RT’s tyre pressures to get them off Anglesey, presumably after that first accident!

I can’t answer your query about the transfer of SaRo bodies at Aldenham, Phil, save to say that their incompatibility with RTL chassis meant, unlike regular RT bodies, they were not put onto RTL chassis because they, too, were non-standard and disposed of earlier. Incidentally, there was nothing odder than seeing a roofbox-bodied RTL – //tinyurl.com/p5dgkls

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 – 08:53

Chris H – some most interesting insights into LPTB/LTE policy and practice. I hope I wasn’t imagining the necessity to lower the Saro RTs for their journey from the factory, but I’m sure that I read it somewhere reliable. I’d never considered the feature of roof route number boxes on RTLs but having looked at these pictures I’ve quickly decided that I liked them, and on the RTs too. I think they gave just a little "look of determination" to the otherwise curvaceous and attractive fronts. On a practical level too I’m sure that the all important route number was more easily seen by intending passengers in heavy traffic – perhaps though there were risks of damage and leakage from incidents in mechanical washing machines, although none seems evident in photographs.

Chris Youhill

28/05/13 – 08:59

Well, Chris, Neville, Roger and Chris. Been away and just read your theses on London Transport. Can add little other than whole hearted agreement. Look no further than the premature withdrawals all having longer (happy) lives with a second (major) operator than with LT – including the not particularly happy Swift/Merlin fleet in Malta. As a Sheffielder, I will always have a soft spot for the Cravens.

David Oldfield

28/05/13 – 11:13

Chris H, my first visit to London from up North was as an 8 year old in 1955. The roof box fascinated me and, over the years and on many visits into the 1960s, I managed a few rides on roof box RTLs.

Chris Y, you aren’t suffering from excess imagination as the reduction in tyre pressures has been documented in a few publications over many years. Given the longevity of the tale and the fact |I’ve never seen it contradicted, it may well be true.

Phil Blinkhorn

28/05/13 – 11:14

Just to finish our deviation, there were a few body oddities with LPTB I never mentioned. Several ‘pre-war’ RT’s were fitted, post-war, with quarter opening front windows, for an experiment, I assume. One of them had its front roofbox altered for them by an errant tree, the former never being replaced. This reminds me that LPTB, in 1942, were authorised to build some semi-austerity bodies to STL style, to be fitted to unfrozen Regent I chassis. In the event, only three were so fitted, the rest going onto used chassis. The highbridge versions all had the roofbox fronts, but minus the roofboxes. The rest of the highbridges had a mix of ‘float’ boxes some back to 1932. They all had crash boxes and sensibly went to hilly parts of Country Area. These highly non-standard, semi-austerity vehicles lasted until the very end of STL operation, me catching my only ever glimpse of one (re-painted green by then) as a garage ‘hack’, in mid-1955, within days of withdrawal. So, sometimes, non-standard was valued!

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 – 17:03

An interesting aside to Les’s posting is that Wass Brothers were an apparently well respected independent and although it is now fifty five years since they sold out to East Midland, their garage and premises on Westfield Lane, Mansfield survive to this day in their entirety and are now used by another well known independent, Johnson Bros/Redfern Travel.

Chris Barker

29/05/13 – 06:57

Just wondered if anyone has any details of the years of Wass ownership re the Ex Lincoln Corporation Leyland Titan TD4. Did they have two? Presumably the RTs replaced them, Any info will be most welcome.

Steve Milner

29/05/13 – 10:03

Wass Bros Mansfield. Regarding the depot comment by Chris Barker. I wonder Chris, perhaps you are mixing up the locations here? I live in the district and I’m frustrated at how little history from the 20’s to the 70’s was recorded.
As such I’m not saying you’re mistaken but my understanding is that the Wass Bros depot was about half a mile further up Westfield Lane, at the junction with Redgate Street. They (WB) did have an ‘office/house/HQ’ on Welbeck Street in Mansfield but I’ve no evidence that they occupied the Lindley Street Garage used by Redferns for some 30 odd years.
Research suggests that The Lindley Street depot was a late 20’s extension to the original Neville & Sons Motor Garage on Westfield Lane. George Neville was a pre WWI Mail Carrier and operated the first omnibuses in Mansfield, his business expanded into wagon building and adaptations and moved to a larger site just before WWII. The body building company still exists in the town today, although owned by some foreign multi-national.
The Westfield Lane/Lindley St site then seems to have passed to existing Lindley Street haulier Tom Eason, who must have been attracted to the bigger garage just down his street! He rapidly developed his business into specialist carrier, Westfield Transport Ltd. They moved to a purpose built site in 1958 before being taken over by Pickfords in 1964.
The Garages were then occupied by another haulier, W.T.Kemp, by the 70’s his sons were operating the site as a Saab and DAF cars dealership. Redferns moved into the Lindley Street Garage in 1975.
It was 5 years before the Wass Bros depot site was re-developed with the building of a pub known the The Redgates.
I’ve never seen any picture taken in or around the depot so if anyone would care to share? I do however have a picture of JXC 219, still in Wass 2 tone red but with East Midland decals. It is photographed with serious front dome damage, seemingly having tried to pass under a bridge some 3 or 4 inches too low. Amazingly none of the glass in the upper deck looks to have failed, well built those Cravens bodies?
There does seem to have been 2 ex-Lincoln TD4’s in the fleet, VL 8847-8. Listed with Wass from June 1952 till April 1956.

Berisford Jones

29/05/13 – 18:13

Berisford, I’m sure you’re correct in what you say. I do have one or two pictures of Wass vehicles which I took with me to Mansfield a few years ago to try and identify the site, which I thought I had but unfortunately I didn’t know about the premises further up Westfield lane. Oh well, at least some of the other operators sites, Trumans, Ebor, Red Bus and Naylors are still recognisable!
With regard to the ex-Lincoln TD4’s, there was also an ex-Chesterfield TD5, HNU 818 and it made me wonder if the three RT’s replaced the three Titans but the RT’s didn’t arrive until 1957 so were there any more second hand double deckers?

Chris Barker

29/05/13 – 18:14

Thanks for that Berisford – most welcome ta

Steve Milner

30/05/13 – 06:00

I have the first 2 RT’s listed as arriving in May 56 as the 2 TD4’s leave and the 3rd RT looks to have entered service with Wass in November 56 as the Chesterfield HNU818 departs?

Berisford Jones

30/05/13 – 06:00

That’s interesting, Chris, regarding ex-Chesterfield Titan HNU 818. Sisters HNU 817/9/20 went to Rotherham Corporation in 1956, as a stop gap measure until three lowbridge Daimlers that the corporation had ordered could be delivered the following year. I was only young, but I recall riding on one of them one evening, on its way into town from Dinnington, and it left a lasting impression, as it was such a raucous machine.

Dave Careless

30/05/13 – 06:00

Oh dear, I feel the imminent onset of the famous "egg on the face." I’ve just looked in Ken Blacker’s splendid book about the RTs and there is a photo of a long line of the Saunders buses on the Menai Straits bridge – a portal is visible and there appears to be plenty of headroom, so I don’t know what to make of the tale about reducing tyre pressures – perhaps someone once made a "tongue in cheek remark" ??

Chris Youhill

30/05/13 – 08:31

Chris, don’t be embarrassed. As I said before, that tale about tyre pressures has been around a long time. I remember having first read it whilst still at school, and I left school in 1965.

Phil Blinkhorn

30/05/13 – 12:26

Wass’s service was a busy one which needed quite a bit of duplication and it would seem that there were six double deckers in the fleet at any one time, three bought new, a PD1/Burlingham, a Crossley/Willowbrook and an all Leyland PD2. The second hand ones as detailed, three pre-war Titans replaced by the three RT’s. The ones purchased new were all lowbridge and yet the service didn’t appear to require lowbridge buses. There was also a nice Willowbrook bodied PS1 saloon.

Chris Barker

31/05/13 – 06:23

Beresford the comments on Wass Bros depot on Newgate Lane. I have seen photos of No 12 (D48) in the yard this was a single deck building at the side, The photo is one of R H G Simpson collection. Don’t know if they are still available. The other gent on about tyre. London fitted 36×8 tyres and wheels to gain bridge clearance, I Know We fitted a High bridge bus and found it suitable. The out come was it Took a Long time for Sheffield to catch on.

Ian Bennett

31/05/13 – 06:24

Just wondered also which dealer supplied the Wass Cravens RTs ? I thought these were withdrawn by LT in 1954 or am I wrong ?

Steve Milner

31/05/13 – 17:47

Steve, according to the PSV Circle fleet history of East Midland, the RT’s were acquired by Wass via Bird’s of Stratford-on-Avon in 1957.

Chris Barker

01/06/13 – 06:18

Thank you Chris ! Appreciate this.

Steve Milner

01/06/13 – 06:19

The wholesale withdrawal by London Transport of the Craven RTs occurred between the summer of 1955 and the early part of 1956. Yet another indicator of LT profligacy was the repainting in 1956 of no less than 21 of these buses from Central red into green Country livery, only for them to be finally withdrawn into store after only one to six months of subsequent operation. The full story can be found here on Ian’s Bus Stop website

Roger Cox

KGK 750 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

01/06/13 – 15:27

Chris Barker, I wonder, have you got an erroneous/alternative copy of the East Midland PSV fleet list? My edition of PE13 and ‘Ians Bus Stop’ site clearly show the RT’s as acquired in 1956, with the PE13 even showing, with the help of local authority licence date, the May & November 1956 dates for the Wass Bros double decker in-out/swap overs!

Berisford Jones

02/06/13 – 06:34

Ian’s Bus Stop shows KGK 750, RT 1491, being acquired by Wass in November 1956. RT 1456, JXC 219, and RT 1480, KGK 739, are also listed as arriving with Wass in 1956, but the actual month in both cases is uncertain.

Roger Cox

02/06/13 – 06:34

Berisford, my copy of the East Midland fleet history is undated but bears the number PB1, current until 1963 with addenda for 1966 and 1968 so perhaps it is a little erroneous! I have had a look on the ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ site which I didn’t know about and I agree with you that the dates are obviously correct and account for the withdrawal of the Titans.

Chris Barker


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East Midland – Guy Arab – GNN 136/437 – D36/7

East Midland - Guy Arab - GNN 136/437 - D36/7
Copyright R H G Simpson

East Midland Motor Services
Guy Arab
Roe L27/28

At first glance, this pair are identical, but not so. See the differing sizes, and positioning, of the headlamps, and also the deeper edge of the canopy on D37 (far Vehicle).
These were delivered in 1945, then rebodied by Roe in 1954. I cannot be certain, but think that the seating capacity was L27/28R, both before and after. See also the paper stickers inside the lower saloon, perhaps telling of timetable changes, or advertising EMMS’ other services, sometimes advertising for drivers/conductors.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

14/04/13 – 08:23

Incredible, Les. Never seen these in original guise but have seen the rebodies. As usual, the new bodies were beautiful and beautifully made – but interestingly, they were quoted as being 26′ 9" long. [Was this done simply by building the body longer, or was the chassis extended?] Roe rebuilt literally hundreds of war-time Guys and Daimlers but the sad thing is that few, if any, lasted more than ten years with their new bodies. East Midland, Tracky, County and Woolen spring readily to mind as do the, penny numbers of AECs and Daimlers for Sheffield A fleet.

David Oldfield

14/04/13 – 18:39

and of course, Sheffield Guy 45 David, rebuilt by Roe for the B fleet.

John Darwent

14/04/13 – 18:39

During the war official dispensation was given for the current 26ft. length limit for two-axle double deckers to be increased to 26ft. 9in. in the case of Guy Arabs, in order for the optional long Gardner 6LW engine to be fitted, by allowing it to project forwards in a ‘snout’ rather than have to move the front bulkhead back.
As it happened, the majority of Arab II’s continued to be fitted with the shorter 5LW, but the elongated bonnet was used irrespective of which engine was fitted. All East Midland’s Arabs had the 5LW, so there would probably have been a lot of spare space behind those radiators.

John Stringer

14/04/13 – 18:41

They would be Arab I’s, but were they 5LW’s or 6LW’s? And Roe’s part in building austerity bus bodies was something I’d only recently discovered. Few of them ever seem to have made their way south of the Midlands. I certainly never saw one and it’s very much a recent discovery that they built any. Duple, Brush and Massey seemed the dominant builders and their quality was in that order, too, I’d hazard.

Chris Hebbron

15/04/13 – 07:44

East Midland took only twelve utilities during the war. The first, in 1941, was a Bristol K5G which went to North Western in 1946 in exchange for an Arab I/Roe. Next came two Arab I’s with Brush bodies, the remainder were all Arab II’s with Roe bodies. Interestingly, East Midland managed to obtain consecutive last numbers for the registrations throughout the war. Five of the Arab II’s received new Roe lowbridge bodies in 1954. There was a further Arab II which was taken over from Baker Brothers of Warsop in 1953 and also rebodied by Roe. All of them went in 1960 and six years does seem a sadly short life for a vehicle with a new body but of course the Atlantean was no doubt responsible for that.
The question of the wartime length dispensation for the Guy Arab is an interesting one, production continued after the war with the Arab II, then the Arab III, all built to the extended length before the maximum dimension was increased to 27ft. So if it was an emergency wartime measure, how come the dispensation was never rescinded after the war, was it quietly forgotten about? It’s surprising someone didn’t ask, if Bristol and Daimler can accommodate the Gardner 6LW, why can’t Guy!

Chris Barker

15/04/13 – 07:44

Chris H: Jasper Pettie’s "Guy Buses in Camera" states the following:
"[the first] 500 were known as the Arab MkI. Thereafter the Arab MkII was introduced, and all had the longer bonnet and outswept front mudguards which had featured only on the 6LW-engined MkI examples".
On that basis, if they are definitely MkI chassis, they must have had 6LW engines. If as John Stringer states all the East Midland Arabs had 5LW, then these are MkIIs.
Caerphilly had at least one Roe utility ArabII, which survived as training bus until at least 1966. It has curved valances to the canopy and platform rather than the straight ones on the EM view, but this could have been a subsequent modification. BBF records it as rebuilt 1957, but the only obvious difference is that the front top deck windows are rubber-mounted, and there are two sliding windows per side on the lower and three on the upper deck.

Alan Murray-Rust

15/04/13 – 07:45

Chris… If you check Peter Gould’s lists, it was Doncaster’s wartime Roe bodied Regents that seemed to survive longest- Does anyone know why?


16/04/13 – 07:29

Joe At least three of the Doncaster Regents were to full peacetime standards being delivered in 1941 all of the Roe bus output for that year were to the same pre war spec. It is possible that the 1942 Doncaster Regent was also built to this standard using sored parts. Certainly Roe produced a full utility body by January 1942 albeit on so called unfrozen chassis for Yorkshire Woollen and Yorkshire Traction.
As well as building utility bodies on Guy and Daimler chassis they also built a number of trolleybuses building 63 of the 438 buses produced.

Chris Hough

16/04/13 – 10:50

Thanks Chris. I recall that the survivors mostly had proper domes and smelt rather funny. The lists suggest that Doncaster took very few buses during the war and got rid of the Guys fairly quickly: anything with an AEC engine (Bristol, Daimler, AEC) hung on, and were usually Roe bodied. The trolley story is even thinner: a very few utilities, rebodied by Roe after the war (presumably the same bodies that found their way on to the post war Titans.)


19/10/13 – 18:00

East Midland Motor Services took over Baker Brothers in Warsop who run the Mansfield to Church Warsop service I am not sure if it went to Shirebrooke the garage was at the side of the Hare & Hounds pub, the relief road in Warsop as gone through the garage. They took over Trumans at Shirebrooke and built a larger garage which is now a furniture shop.

Arthur Williams

16/05/16 – 17:53

East Midland Motor Services had 6 depots in North Derbys and North Notts, Chesterfield, Shirebrook, Clowne,Worksop, Retford and a shared garage at Mansfield with Trent, they covered quite a large area going as far as Doncaster, in the 70s they changed colour from red to lime green, the Chesterfield depot is now a car sales, the Shirebrook depot is a furniture w/house Clowne is a car repair place, Worksop still survives. Mansfields is a car repair and petrol station, Retford I am not sure,

Mr Anon

19/05/16 – 06:22

New Street, Chesterfield, is car body repairs rather than car sales, although Stagecoach East Midlands retained offices there for quite a while after the buses had moved out.

Peter Williamson

19/08/16 – 14:12

I have seen photos of East Midland’s Albion Lowlanders in two liveries, red with a cream waistband and red with cream lower deck window surrounds. Can someone enlighten me on when these versions were in use?


20/08/16 – 05:52

Tim asked about the colour schemes of EM’s Lowlanders. I am not able to recall the timescales but can tell him that they were delivered in the maroon colour with a broad white band above the lower-deck windows.The fronts as I recall were unrelieved maroon. They also went through a period wearing what I think was the NBC leaf-green and white as well as the two red/cream options as described by Tim.

Les Dickinson

20/08/16 – 05:52

After Tim’s question about East Midland’s Lowlanders appeared under this heading I checked my picture collection but sadly do not have any of this subject, however Classic Bus No63 carried a four-page article all about them and in which there is a section headed ‘Transformations’ of which the following is an extract "Over the years, East Midland’s Lowlanders were subject to several transformations of their appearance. They entered service in the company’s dark red with single cream band…" and goes on to say that changes were made to include cream window surrounds and later still their appearance in NBC green was in 1973. The article contains five pictures though none showing the period with the greater use of cream relief. Despite the piece saying they entered service with a bold cream band, my own memory is of a white, not cream band. It could be my old grey cells playing tricks but I frequently travelled on these on East Midland’s route 3.

Les Dickinson

25/08/16 – 15:23

Thanks, Les. Most helpful and interesting. Tim.


16/02/22 – 07:04

Re. Mr Anon’s post; there was also an EMMS garage at Warsop. My dad was Driver in Charge at Worksop garage for a number of years in the 1960s.

Notts Lad


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