Old Bus Photos

Crosville – Bristol RE – HFM 595D – ERG 595

Crosville - Bristol RE - HFM 595D - ERG 595

Crosville Motor Services
1966
Bristol RELL6G
ECW DP50F

Crosville had a very large operating area, and Aberaeron Depot was almost 100 miles from the Company’s headquarters at Chester Here we see three of the Company’s earlier RE’s lined up in the Depot yard.
ERG 595 registration HFM 595D was one of Crosville’s only three examples of the RELL6G in it’s earliest version, with manual gearbox and the first style of ECW bodywork. These three vehicles were the first dual-purpose RELL’s, previous dual purpose RE’s for other operators having been based on the RELH chassis. These three vehicles were new in the short lived dual-purpose livery of cream with a single green band. Although fitted for OMO from new, they were initially used with conductors on the Chester – Caernarfon "Cymru Coastliner" service. Eventually ERG 593 and 595 were eventually transferred to Aberaeron depot, where they were used on the lengthy services southwards from Aberystwyth. At the end of their lives they were fitted with bus seats to increase their capacity on school workings.
SRG 10 registration OFM 10E was a standard RELL6G bus, one of the earliest examples with semi-automatic gearboxes and the second body style. Although the long bus version was the most common variant of the RE model, only about a third of Crosville’s 317 RE’s were of this type.
CRG 496 registration 5458 FM was a 1963 RELH6G coach, one of Crosville’s first quartet of RE’s. Having been used on the Liverpool – London express services, it was now living a quieter life in rural Mid-Wales.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown


26/09/13 – 06:42

RE; my favourite rear engined bus; RELH; second only to the ZF Reliance in my coaching affections. Ironic that I’ve only just posted (with the King Alfred Bridgemaster) about the abortive attempts to put AH691s into REs. A very nice shot of a classic trio.

David Oldfield


26/09/13 – 18:04

I totally agree with you David. One man operating was more of a pleasure when driving an RE, and for me the longer the journey the better. I’d rather drive a country service any day than monotonous town services around Cambridge. We had two of the manual gearbox RE’s which were referred to by everyone as RS’s. They had a top speed of about 80+ which I discovered one day on the 428 service to Bedford. I hadn’t any passengers on at one stage of the journey, and kept my foot down on a long straight section to satisfy my curiosity. The later RE’s with semi-auto gear selection were my absolute favourites especially the coaches…. luxury for both passenger and driver.

Norman Long


27/09/13 – 07:01

Yes, Norman. I had a RELL6L on the M4 once which just flew. (I had to reign back because the unladen front was coming off the road surface.) …..and I fully agree about the RELH – true luxury for driver and passenger.

David Oldfield


27/09/13 – 10:56

One of the best coach journeys I ever made was aboard an ECW coach bodied RE. The seats were very comfortable the leg room adequate and the coach gave a wonderfully smooth ride. The coach was far from new but would still knock modern stuff into a cocked hat.

Chris Hough


28/09/13 – 07:21

For a while I lived in Chipping Sodbury and worked in Bristol, and my evening journey home was usually on a semi-automatic RELH6L coach cascaded to bus duties, which made for an extremely relaxing end to the working day. The only problem was that because 234&5 on the gear selector were in the same positions as 123&4 on the more familiar four-speed version, the drivers changed gear at the same speeds. So the engine never really got into its stride before changing up – most frustrating, and a good thing there were no serious hills on the journey!

Peter Williamson


29/09/13 – 10:45

A delightful trio. I concur with the praise of the RE coach. I was smitten from a young age by long Royal Blue journeys from Victoria Coach Station to Bridport and Perranporth. And those preserved today are still robust, strong and comfortable, with none of the rattles and harshness of modern coaches.
I believe that the manual gearbox version had the edge on top speed, although the semi auto might have been an easier driver’s coach.

Petras409


30/09/13 – 15:41

In the early 1970’s, I and my young family were fairly frequent users of the overnight Scottish coach service from Edinburgh to London Victoria (then travelling on by coach to family in Clacton or Portsmouth). The coaches were the stylish Alexander M-type, supplied on a variety of chassis. At one point, SBG distributed a survey to all the passengers, and I remember completing one part of the comments section with my opinion of the ride the different makes offered! Who knows what the recipients thought of that. I don’t recall what comments I made about AEC (sorry, guys) or Seddon (not sure whether these had been introduced at the time). But I do know that I stated I found the Leyland Leopards hard or harsh on springing, and the Bristol REs a nice soft ride for a night-time sleep. (But, regrettably – and a pointer to the future – , I found that Volvos were the most comfortable on this journey). So I can largely concur with the comments here on the Bristol RE in it’s other forms as coach and bus – even though I am not a driver. (And, yes, some drivers on the SBG service really did make a change en-route on the motorway, with the vehicle in motion – I’m sure I wasn’t dreaming it!)

Michael Hampton


30/09/13 – 17:42

Well it was a party trick that H & S wouldn’t countenance now but lots of things happened when we were lads! As for Volvos, they were a later generation and cannot fairly or safely be compared.

David Oldfield


30/09/13 – 17:43

They were some long journeys, Michael, in time and distance. Your mention of moving driver-changing reminds me of one experience of this.
Around 1970, my wife and I, impoverished, decided to have a cheap holiday and booked a Cosmos 10-day one to Lido de Jesolo for £29 each! I think it was rail to Dover, then a Belgian Railways passenger ferry to Ostende. A driver with an Alfa Romeo coach met us and off we went. After about an hour, we stopped by the side of the motorway and picked up another driver who took over and the original driver went to the back of the coach to sleep. The driver could not seem to get the hang of the eight-speed gearbox and there was a smell of burning. The original driver took over the wheel (without stopping) and carried on until we had a late-meal stop at Aachen. We were halfway back in the coach and, throughout the night, kept hearing loud talk and loud bursts of laughter from the front. When we stopped around 5am for a ‘comfort break’ it transpired that the relief driver had disappeared at Aachen and the original driver had continued at the wheel, inevitably starting to fall asleep at the wheel periodically! Being British, those nearest the driver did not ask him to pull over and take a rest, rather they kept a close vigil and started the false loud chatter/laughter to wake him up whenever he drooped! We were glad to be well away from the drama at the front! Suffice to say we arrived safely and many more hilarious things, not bus-related, occurred during the holiday!

Chris Hebbron


01/10/13 – 06:30

About six years ago, I was involved in driving a summer time shuttle from Uxbridge to Les Deux Alps (in the south of France) taking students snow-boarding. To comply with hours, and also keep a tight schedule, we had four drivers – but we always stopped at proper halts by the road side. I had an interesting drive down the side of the mountain on a typical zig-zag road. Now changing on the move there would have been VERY interesting…..

David Oldfield


02/10/13 – 07:13

I never had the pleasure of driving an RELH6G, but I knew a couple of United’s drivers on the Newcastle/London route, and they spoke very highly of them. United always specified a lower seating capacity for the vehicles on this route, and the extra legroom made them very popular with passengers. They were worked hard, but well looked after. A six hundred mile round trip to London was nothing unusual for them, one crew took them down, then stay overnight or through the day, the vehicles went to London Transports Victoria depot, where they were cleaned out, refuelled and checked over before returning north with a different crew who had come south the previous night or day, then the same routine at the Newcastle end. On occasion, they were used on the Lowestoft or Glasgow runs, or on private hires and excursions. Some of them must have clocked up a phenomenal mileage during their lives.

Ronnie Hoye


HFM 595D Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


02/12/13 – 11:22

Just came across this site whilst looking for a picture to show my kids of the type of buses I went to school on.
Amazed to find the actual buses! From 1975 to 1980 I went from NewQuay to school in Aberaearon, initially on older rounded front buses, possibly Bristol LS’, then from about 77 on these beauties. They were still in use when I finished school but were joined by a Leyland National, which for some reason we called ‘The Prison Bus’ can’t remember why, it may have had something to do with the plastic seats and lots of bars/grab rails. I think the white one on the right had big coach like opening roof vents that you could fit a school bag out of, don’t ask me how I know!

Richard Snelus


 

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King Alfred – AEC Bridgemaster – 324 CAA

King Alfred - AEC Bridgemaster - 324 CAA

King Alfred Motor Services
1961
AEC Bridgemaster B3RA
Park Royal H45/29R

This photo was taken at the Broadway Winchester where so many others were taken over the years by a great many other enthusiasts I believe that it was taken in the mid seventies.
This bus was one of King Alfred’s second pair of AEC B3RA Bridgemasters with H45/29R bodies delivered in September 1961 the first pair being delivered in October 1959 followed in June1964 by a pair of Renowns both of which are preserved by FoKAB.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

A full list of Bridgemaster codes can be seen here.


22/09/13 – 11:26

To the best of my knowledge, the AV590s in Sheffield’s Regent Vs and Bridgemasters didn’t pose too much of a problem – as was also the case with most RMs. [Was the problem with the AH590 (and AH470) the same as Leyland originally had with moving of sump and peripherals in order to put the engine on it’s side?] Yes Roger, why couldn’t they get it right? […..but neither did Bristol…..]
Whatever the reason, re-reading Alan Townsin’s Blue Triangle, it almost seemed as if there was a self-imposed death wish with strategic planning at Southall – which ran straight into the arms of the grim reapers of Leyland. Why didn’t they develop a Bridgemaster height version of the RM? Why did they cave in to BET with the redesign from a classic to a classically dreadful design? Like Alan Townsin I am a sometimes critical lover of the Southall thoroughbreds – but I hold my head in despair when I see highly respected modern manufacturers who seem to revisit the same sorts of crass stupidity 50 years on!

David Oldfield


23/09/13 – 06:13

May I be allowed to say, or venture, or whisper that in its time the Bridgemaster was a fashionable design. Domey curves were out and the cantilever-looking front end was cute. What will our successors say about those curvy black glass bits today and as for the back end of the Borisbus…. all it needs is a dorsal fin!

Joe


23/09/13 – 08:53

Nice view, Dave. The bus doesn’t appear to have any of the Hants & Dorset features which were applied almost immediately when H&D took over KAMS in 1973, so this photo would have been taken, at the latest, mid April of that year.
Thanks for posting.

Pete Davies


25/09/13 – 07:17

I have to agree with David about the Southall death-wish, but I take the opposite view of how it manifested itself. Mechanically there was a lot of Routemaster in the Bridgemaster, and that was what put some buyers off – particularly the integral construction, and even more particularly the lack of choice of bodywork that that entailed. The Routemaster could not be sold on the open market because it was too complicated and too expensive, so why build a lowheight version? As for styling, they had to capitulate to BET because BET was The Market. The number of municipalities needing lowheight double deckers was limited, so if they couldn’t sell the Bridgemaster to BET, it was hardly worth having developed it in the first place. What was really needed was a lowheight Regent V. That eventually happened in the form of the Renown, but as well as coming far too late, I have been told that even that was over-engineered.

Peter Williamson


25/09/13 – 18:26

All very true, Peter. Perhaps the Renown/Regent path should have explored from the start. Those who stuck with the old (Renown) rather than the new (Fleetline) were certainly loyal fans. Unfortunately, by that time (especially with deckers) AEC was a busted flush. Merged? I think not.
The 6U3ZR Reliance was a seriously good coach – but it was out on a limb on its own. There were serious plans to offer the AV691 in the Bristol VR and the Daimler/Leyland Fleetline and the AH691 in the Bristol RE. Ulsterbus was interested in the latter. The bean counters of British Leyland put an end to those plans, just as they had to the FRM. [Dream on.]

David Oldfield


29/12/13 – 12:17

An unashamed plug, I know, but if you’re within striking distance of Winchester on New Year’s Day the biggest-ever King Alfred Running Day features among other delights the 1935 Albion Victor 20-seat coach AAA 756, whose return to Winchester was celebrated in April.
Another reason to come: 2014 is to be the last Winchester New Year’s RD; it will be replaced by a smaller-scale event each April.
Happy New Year to All.

Ian Thompson


 

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Wakefields Motors – AEC Regal – FT 7278 – 178

Wakefields Motors - AEC Regal - FT 7278 - 178

Wakefields Motors
1952
AEC Regal 1
Beadle FC35F

These Beadle bodies were popular with many BET group companies, most were built on refurbished pre war chassis, usually AEC or Leyland, and that was certainly the case with ten of Northern General Transport. However, from as early as 1923, NGT had a number of vehicles built on their own chassis. The post war chassis list were classified as NGT/AEC and numbered 132/174, I’m not sure if NGT built the chassis from scratch or if they were refurbished, but they all had AEC running gear and A173 engines. Between 1951/3, 43 were built, 37 bodied by Picktree to NGT designs, the service vehicles were affectionately know as ‘Kipper boxes’

Northern General Transport post war chassis list

Year

Chassis

Registration

Fleet Number

1951 132 BCN 888 1388
1952 134/42 CCN 368/76 1368/76
1952 149 CCN 404 1404
All FC35F Picktree A
1952 150/9 CCN 677/86 1457/66
1953 172/4 DCN 93/5 1493/5
All FC35F Picktree B
1951 133 CCN 402 1402
1953 160/71 DCN 67/78 1467/78
All B43F Picktree/NGT

However, six chassis 143-48 were bodied elsewhere; the 1952 Percy Main intake included six coaches with Beadle FC35F bodies, FT 7275/80 – 175/80. Two more arrived in 1953, FT 7791/2 – 191/2, but I cant find a chassis listing for them, so it’s possible they may have been re-bodies. The second two were FC39F and classed as D/P’s, and had a different treatment to the fronts with less bright trim and a number section on the destination layout. At the time the first six were delivered the predominant colour for the coach fleet was red, but the livery later reverted to the more familiar cream.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye


19/09/13 – 18:12

The style of body is very similar to those which Beadle applied to various rebuilds for Southdown (MUF 488 is preserved) and East Kent (FFN 446 is preserved) of the same era, so Ronnie’s suggestion that the lack of chassis details may indicate rebody (or rebuild) is quite plausible. Nice view, Ronnie. Thanks for posting!

Pete Davies


20/09/13 – 12:42

Pete, on the subject of preserved Beadles, some while ago, the N.E.B.P.T. Ltd found one of Northern’s 1953 Beadles ‘DCN 83’ in a scrap yard. Apparently, it was in a dreadful state, and some debate ensued as to whether or not it was beyond redemption. However, a deal was struck and it was transported home to the North East where it is currently being restored. The trust is nothing if not thorough, so don’t expect miracles time wise, but I’m certain that the finished article will be done to their usual very high standards.

Ronnie Hoye


20/09/13 – 18:13

Thanks for that, Ronnie. Good news indeed! Are members of the group now looking for a suitable chassis, or do they have one that was waiting for a body?

Pete Davies


21/09/13 – 08:27

Pete, if you type DCN 83 into your search engine, it should take you to an article on the trusts web site. It only gives a brief outline, but there’s quite a bit of background information about the vehicle. As you will see, there are several differences to the one in the posting. It has a different front and destination layout, and for some reason it has a large front near side cab window and doesn’t have a cab door, having said that, some of them didn’t have a bulkhead behind the driver, so that would render a N/S cab door surplus to requirements.

Ronnie Hoye


22/09/13 – 07:45

Thanks, Ronnie!

Pete Davies


 

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