Old Bus Photos

Red & White – Albion Valkyrie CX13 – FWO 646 – S1447

Red & White - Albion CX13 - FWO 646 - S1447

Red & White Services 
Albion Valkyrie CX13
Bristol (Body Building Works -BBW) B35R

Living in Clevedon, Red and White territory was very close and could be seen easily but was not accessible except by paddle steamer, the mildly frightening Aust car ferry or a drive through Gloucester! This photo was taken on 24/03/1963, probably in Chepstow, on an expedition across the muddy waters. The fleet was very varied and strange to me, brought up on Tilling regularity, although it was rapidly changing as Tilling Group standard vehicles arrived en masse. This vehicle suddenly caught my attention as it looked like an ECW body to excite me in the gloom. I see from Richard Smith’s website that this 1947 chassis had a Pickering body when new. It was replaced in 1953 by a Bristol (Brislington Body Works) body. The BBW single deck design was very similar to ECW with the main identifier being that the side windows had square corners to the top sliding vents, but in this latter-day product, even that distinction had gone.
I was always bemused by the company’s fleet numbering system. It took me a few visits before I managed to fathom out how it worked! I assumed that it was designed by the secretarial / finance department so it could see how the company’s assets were depreciating! I can’t think that it held any advantages for operating or maintenance staff to know that this was the 14th single decker delivered (or was it ordered?) in 1947 (despite having a 1953 body!)
When I was on the Tilling Group graduate training scheme at Bristol, I went for an interview for a technical assistant post at Chepstow. I learned something there that I never forgot:
Q (from Doug Flooks, Chief Engineer): What fall does a water drain pipe need to ensure water will flow along it?
A (which I didn’t know): 1 in 40. A fact that I have actually used from time to time in various situations but still cannot convince domestic rainwater gutter installers!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin

30/08/20 – 08:26

Interesting view, and thanks for posting. When I was being retrained from Admin to technical I was told that (certainly for highway drainage purposes) a fall of 1 in 200 was adequate to move the water!

Pete Davies

31/08/20 – 06:29

Location appears to be Albion Square, Chepstow. There is a sign directing to the bus station on the wall, above the rear of the vehicle. The Chepstow-Coleford service operated via Tidenham – route number was 29, although not displayed on that vehicle.

Nigel Frampton

01/09/20 – 06:14

In January ’64 I saw several of these delightful Valkyries (not sure which batch) in Monmouth as I was hitch-hiking towards West Wales. I should have taken more notice of registrations and other details, but time was against me with the shortness of the days. Here my memory probably tricks me: I thought I saw at least one (engine side cover removed) with a Gardner 4LW engine, which I understand was an option for the Valkyrie CX9, but from what I’ve read in Richard Smith’s very informative R&W fleet history there would have been no 4LW Albions there at that time. Very grateful if someone can set me straight on this one!

Ian Thompson

01/09/20 – 10:45

I know this is straying from buses, but ref water flowing downhill.
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal between Gloucester docks and the top lock at Sharpness is approx 25.25km and the surface elevation drops from 13m to 4m, a gradient of approx 1:2807.

John Lomas

03/09/20 – 06:25

Red & White had got rid of most of their Albions by 1960 and just a few hung on. By 1964 there were just a few surviving CX39 Valiant coaches (demoted to buses and all out of service in 1964) and fifteen of the BBW-rebodied Valkyries as seen above which lasted until 1965. All of these had Albion engines so it is most unlikely that Ian saw a 4LW-engined version. Such a small engine would not be any use to Red & White who had hilly operating terrain.
The 29 service to Coleford via Tidenham saw just four through journeys a day, with a fifth on Saturday evenings. The odd thing was that two of these departures were at the same time! They followed each other most of the way but had slightly different routes between St. Briavels and Coleford. There was another route, also the 29, that ran via Tintern. This was referred to in timetables in later years as the 29A but I’ve never seen a picture of a bus showing that route number. In any case it later fizzled down to one journey a day to and from Brockweir only.

David Beilby

04/09/20 – 06:44

A small book about the Ledgard fleet which I purchased many years ago comments about the five ex-Red & White Valkyries which were bought by Ledgards in 1959, registered FAX and EWO but otherwise broadly same as the one illustrated above.
The author writes: "Passengers were treated to a rattling good time, the sheer body noise emanating from these had to be heard to be believed! – At the same time, they were just about the fastest buses on the Bradford – Harrogate route, their hill climbing being nothing short of extraordinary when handled by a good driver".

Chris Barker

06/09/20 – 06:14

David Beilby and Chris Barker: thanks for your comments, which jointly prove that the 4LW engine I thought I saw in a Red & White Valkyrie was just my imagination. Being CX13s they will have had Gardner 6LW engines—especially if the five inherited by Ledgard crested the West Riding hills with such ease. The only apart from those I saw in the yard at Monmouth the only Valkyrie I ever remember seeing in service was one of King Alfred’s, just north of Winchester. It was only 5 years old at the time (1955) but I assumed it was much older.

Ian Thompson

06/10/20 – 06:47

The CX13 Valkyrie had the Albion 6-cylinder 9-litre engine. The Gardner 6LW version was the CX11, but these were all prewar, not being reintroduced postwar. There was also a CX9 with a 4-cylinder Albion engine.

John Stringer

07/10/20 – 06:33

My understanding is that the 17ft 6ins wheelbase Albion Valkyrie CX, which was introduced at the 1937 Commercial Motor Show, was available in the following versions. All had a four speed constant mesh gearbox fitted in unit with the engine.
CX9 6.1 litre 85 bhp 4 cylinder petrol engine
CX11 Gardner 5LW
CX13 9.09 litre 120 bhp 6 cylinder petrol, or Gardner 6LW, this version having a longer engine bay
Production stopped at the outbreak of war and resumed in 1945.
CX9 6.6 litre 78 bhp four cylinder oil engine
CX13 9.09 litre EN242 105 bhp 6 cylinder oil – no Gardner options
The CX9 remained in the catalogue until 1950, but the CX13 was replaced in the home market in 1948 by the Valiant CX39 which had the 9.9 litre 120 bhp EN243B oil engine that was fitted also to the CX37 Venturer double decker. All production ended in 1950. Leyland took over the firm in 1951.
A list of Valkyrie production may be found on Bus Lists on the Web

Roger Cox

20/10/20 – 06:25

Geoff – that is a fine portrait of a R&W BBW-re-bodied Albion. May I point out, for the general benefit of all, the meaning of the term BBW – it actually stood for Body Building Works, plainly and simply, as it was a Bristol Tramways internal designation, to go along with the Motor Constructional Works (MCW) and Central Repair Works (CRW), having been introduced before WW1 while the company was building for its own or associated operations only. After 1920 and Bristol’s first appearance at the Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia, the plates attached to bodies completed at Brislington always carried the full BT&CC name and "Bristol" as the site and never Brislington. The body on the R&W Albion is an evolution of the post-WW2 Tilling Standard pattern, revised almost annually for the BT&CC fleets until the 1951 product was very similar indeed to the ECW body, then further developed, with a revised glazing style, for R&W’s 45 Albions. These were bodied from Autumn 1951 to late 1953 and were to BBW’s S23 pattern. BBW built over 2,300 bodies before closure in 1955 and full details are given in my 1999 book, "Coachwork by Bristol Tramways". Geoff, I, too, am from Clevedon. I was born there in 1945 and, after being weened on Js and Ls, or Ks on the Bristol service, moved in 1958 into Bristol. Are you related to Pullins the bakers, where we bought our bread?

Allan Macfarlane

21/10/20 – 06:39

Allan, yes, my father and his brother ran the company set up by their father at Yatton and then Clevedon. The company is still run by my cousin and his family. I got up at 4am in school holidays to help make hot cross buns, Christmas bread etc to earn some pocket money but it was not for me!! So got a couple of holiday jobs with BCV and BOC and ended up on Tilling senior trainee scheme (at BCV and BOC!) after graduating at Liverpool.
Thanks for the info on BBW – I knew it was an internal designation but not sure of its actual wording. At an early time at BCV, the Brislington BOC depot (on the corner of the A4) had a far corner in which I took to be BCV built the trailers to go with the HA tractor units for BRS.
I came across three letter codes like BBW, CRW etc again in my first job at ECOC. Every depot and post had a two or three letter code; DMS/YAR = Depot Mechanical Superintendent Yarmouth. I was DA/Eng = Deputy Assistant Engineer reporting to A/Eng and CE!

Geoff Pullin

21/10/21 – 05:40

Living in Lydbrook I travelled on Red & White buses to either Coleford or Cinderford and travelled on Albion Valkyrie BBW B35R buses also travelled on some which had a Lydney B35F body.

Michael Stephens


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Red & White – Bristol MW – SWO 986 – UC758

Red & White - Bristol MW - SWO 986 - UC758

Red & White Services
Bristol MW6G

Here are two more views indicating what a difference a coat of paint makes, especially if it’s the same colours applied in a different style on the same vehicle. SWO 986 was new to Red & White in 1958. It is a Bristol MW6G with ECW C39F bodywork and – in the first view above – the fleet number is UC758. We see it in the Weymouth rally on 1 July 1979.

Red & White - Bristol MW - SWO 986 - DS758

In this second view it is in what many of us would consider to be more of a coach livery, but with fleet number DS758. It is seen here leaving Winchester Bus Station on 1 January 2009.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


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Red & White – Gloster-Gardner – WO 7518

Red & White - Gloster-Gardner - WO 7518
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Red & White Services 
Gloster-Gardner 6LW
Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd C30R

Photographed when new, here’s a rare Gloster-Gardner coach, in Red & White Services livery, the company which collaborated with the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Works in the production of these vehicles. The robust chassis were fitted with overdrive and could achieve 53mph and 20mpg. The robust chassis were designed to take the Gardner diesel engine from the outset.
In 1932/33, Red & White Services, of Chepstow, took delivery of six Gloster-Gardner 6LWs with GRC&W C30R bodies. Numbered 223-228, they were registered in the WO XXXX (Monmouthshire) series. It is said that the unusual seven-bay bodies were not the most robust products and, in 1938, at least 223 was re-bodied by Duple as C32F as can be seen in the photo below.
They were withdrawn between 1948 and 1951. Another user was Neath & Cardiff Luxury Coaches, who took two in 1934, one of which was fitted with a replacement second-hand body in 1946. Both were withdrawn in 1953.

Red & White - Gloster-Gardner - WO 7518
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

The range of chassis numbers between these two vehicles was 563, but such is the arcane nature of chassis numbering, that I remain unconvinced that that was the number of chassis built. The production period was between 1932 and 1934, after which the company was busy with rail orders and this remained the only bus chassis the company ever built, although they built a complete trolleybus in 1933. Interestingly, Gloucester Corporation did not support their local bus maker, although their Vulcan Duchesses and Thornycroft BC’s did carry GRC&W bodies.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

08/04/13 – 09:28

What a very fine and purposeful looking vehicle! The radiator was particularly impressive and seemed to anticipate Leyland’s later style. It certainly compared very well with the SOS offerings of 1932!

Chris Barker

09/04/13 – 06:43

Chris B puts it perfectly! I imagine the gearbox was David Brown and the axles Kirkstall. Are technical details recorded anywhere? However troublesome the original bodies were, the Duple replacements were nothing like as good-looking–at least to judge by the lower picture–with that awkwardly-handled break in waistline and hackneyed swoop.
Seeing "20 mpg" I assumed the Gardner was a 5LW, but on reading more carefully I was amazed to see such economy from a 6LW. How sad that the project was so short-lived and that there are no survivors. The nearest parallel I suppose is the Irish GNR-Gardner, of which I believe five survive.
Thanks, Chris H, for a very inspiring posting.

Ian Thompson

09/04/13 – 13:50

I’m glad I’m not the only one whose first impression of this vehicle was that it was a Leyland radiator! I’m inclined to agree with Ian that the Duple body doesn’t look quite right. The post war ones – as seen elsewhere on these pages – is clearly a "tidied up" version.

Pete Davies

10/04/13 – 06:38

A couple of further thoughts on this, I think I’m right in saying that the Gardner 5LW and 6LW engines were first trialled in 1931 so in these vehicles must have been some of the very first production examples of the famous Gardner LW range.
Secondly, I’m particularly impressed by the style of the front wings. They give an astonishingly modern look to a 1932 vehicle and again they anticipated post war practice by a good fifteen years!

Chris Barker

10/04/13 – 17:19

I, too, admire the very advanced concept and styling of these Gloster Gardner vehicles. I have come across some references to these machines elsewhere in the past, but very little detail about the specification seems to be available. It does show that the Gardner LW oil engine, introduced in 1931, had established its credentials very quickly indeed. Ian is probably correct in his ideas of the proprietary components employed. Back in 1932, five speed transmissions were not that common – as far as I know, only Albion, Bristol and Dennis were offering these in the early 1930s, though I fully expect to be corrected by a better informed OBP stalwart. 20 mpg does strike me as being a bit optimistic for an overall performance figure, though I have no doubt that this was achievable on a long, steady journey.(Aldershot and District could almost get 16 mpg out of a 6LW Loline III on long runs.) The entire vehicle certainly exudes confidence and competence in ample measure, and the fact that they all had lives of around sixteen to nineteen years shows that such qualities were borne out in practice. It is strange that some of the other mainstream manufacturers did not learn from these remarkable vehicles. Several of the contemporary offerings were decidedly archaic by comparison.

Roger Cox

10/04/13 – 17:20

They are certainly original vehicles ahead of their time in may respects. I agree it is sad that the effort resulted in so few vehicles, none of which survived.
Can anyone shed light on who Marston Coaches were and when WO 7518 was finally put to rest?
I am intrigued enough with these coaches to go down to the local county archives to see if any newspaper items or GRC&W records survive, to get more information. I’ll keep you posted.

Chris Hebbron

28/10/15 – 07:17

The Gloster had a two pronged purpose, firstly Red & White group was private at the time and wanted to take over the City of Gloucester Tramways and replace with buses, eventually this operator fell to Bristol Omnibus port of the Tilling Group, R&W hoped that the Glos connection and a promise of orders would assist the cause.
The second reason was that R&W bought Albions and very good they were but as a very cost aware operator they wanted to switch to diesel engines and Gardners at that and Albion who were working on their own units were reluctant to house the Gardner, with the advent of the Gloster all that changed and Albion quickly came to heel and fitted various LW units for this good customer.
Then 1934 happened and for the first and only time R&W went into a loss and that clearly caused a great deal of activity. The R&W Glosters had been sent to Liverpool where they worked on the McShayne service to London and I think this was given up, Black and White at Cheltenham was set up as a consortium, own services consolidated into the grouping and other changes made all of which brought the company into the black.
In so far as I am aware there were 11 GG chassis, 7 to Red and White, 2 to Neath and Cardiff and 1 for Richmond of Neath all part of Red and White, possibly one not bodied and a Trolleybus using Compton equipment which went to Southend Corporation.
Shame it was a great product with tremendous possibilities but one assumes quite expensive at the time.


30/10/15 – 06:23

Thx, Christopher, for the additional background information surrounding these interesting and unique vehicles.
As for the sole Gloster trolleybus, it became 122 in Southend Corporation’s fleet, with a long life, for a unique vehicle, 1934 to 1950. Here are a couple of views:

Chris Hebbron

10/02/16 – 07:05

WO 7597

The other Red & White Gloster-Gardner that was rebodied was WO 7597 Fleet No.226, later S833. Here is a photo of the rebodied vehicle. Can anyone identify the body or when the rebodying took place. Neither appear to have been recorded. (Photo from Thomas Knowles Collection attached with his permission)

Richard Smith

11/02/16 – 06:21

I would feel pretty confident in saying that was an ex-North Western body and would not be the only one Red and White had. 671 (EU 8526) was a Griffin PS1 (originally 104) which carried such a body until a Duple coach body was later fitted. I also have a photograph showing another similar body (only) carrying the fleet number 310.

David Beilby

11/02/16 – 16:37

David, I have EU 8526 (and 3 other Griffin PS1s) having been built with a Leyland B35R body. It was later fitted with a second hand Duple coach body from a withdrawn vehicle. I have a D S Giles offside view of it with original Leyland body which does not look like the body above. However I do have Red & White 310 as a 1936 Albion fitted in 1953 with a 1930s ECW B35R body from a North Western vehicle. Can you post your photo of 310 please.

Richard Smith


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