Old Bus Photos

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
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They were withdrawn between 1948 and 1951.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 Both were withdrawn in 1953.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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Sheffield Corporation – AEC Regent I – BWE 526 – 208

Sheffield Corporation - AEC Regent I - BWE 526 - 208
Copyright R H G Simpson

Sheffield Corporation
AEC Regent I
Weymann H56R

Another R H G Simpson photo which I think is worth sharing. Sheffield livery as you’ve never seen it before? Although many vehicles were taken into stock in 1935, this one was not part of a batch, and is possibly the only bus to appear this way in the fleet.
It would appear to be an attempt at streamlining, indeed the front seems to be raked back more than usual, that might just be an illusion caused by the livery application.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

05/04/13 – 05:59

A similar AEC Regent also with Weymann body albeit fully fronted was exhibited at the 1935 show in Leeds livery. This was later converted to half cab and was lent to London in the second world war.

Chris Hough

05/04/13 – 05:59

This was one of a pair – the other for Leeds – with this streamlined design which were, I believe, also show exhibits. This Sheffield example, at least, was originally full fronted but Sheffield had it converted to half-cab for the obvious and usual access reasons before it entered service.
Weymann’s first double decker in 1931 was a demonstrator which became Sheffield No66 in 1932. 85 Regent/Weymann deckers followed until 1940 (208 a one off, the rest related to and culminating in the well known classic style). Apart from penny numbers from Park Royal, 10 Cravens and 19 from the Corporation Tramways works at Queens Road, all AEC Regents pre-war came from Addlestone. 197 post war Regent III and V came from Addlestone – along with 102 PD2s.

David Oldfield

05/04/13 – 09:01

…and then we complain about modern liveries! I suppose it was a one-off, but it does suggest that the continuing Hull livery came from another era.


05/04/13 – 15:34

It certainly wasn’t a one-off. Manchester for a period went the same way, and the influence persisted in the standard liveries of Huddersfield Corporation and Rochdale.
In practice, we were very fond of swooshes back in the 1940s and 50s. Virtually every coach builder had their own pattern of shapes which allowed us to recognise whose body it was; of course in those days we simply called it ‘trim’. The ultimate development of livery application that bore no relationship to the lines of the body undoubtedly came from the Yeates works!
I think we can get too rose-tinted about the liveries of that era. Where I grew up as a child – north Somerset – buses all looked the same, and as we took early holidays down in Cornwall there was no difference there either. Nothing really to arouse the interest, so it wasn’t until many years later that I started to develop an interest. Even then – I had moved north by that time – there was Crosville on the doorstep . . .
I do feel that our affection for the old liveries is as much a longing for the variety of those years; the individual liveries were often themselves pretty boring – Liverpool, Manchester all red, London – but they did distinguish the operators from their neighbours. We used to admire those operators who took the trouble to continue to use a separate colour on the beading between the main colours, or apply the odd gold lining, but is this really any different from the way bits of colour are applied in today’s liveries?
A post elsewhere makes the point that today’s young people will doubtless grow up with the same attitude towards the style of today as we did 50 or so years ago.

Alan Murray-Rust

06/04/13 – 07:35

Perhaps "streamlining" was an attempt to bring the new science of lowered wind resistance from planes, cars and even trains…. to the appearance of buses. We even had streamlined buildings, looking like ships. The fifties brought a new functionalism, but this, as you say, was lost on some municipalities, so intent on making a swish transition from the front of the bus to the sides… but wavy lines? I suppose it’s all a bit dorsal fin: but in 1935 that was in the future with vinyl, half tones, ads covering up windows and route branding….. at least we don’t paint the doors in fluorescent colours (much- or only the drivers?) …yet: but wait till the helfansafety experts get there.


06/04/13 – 16:45

As well as the Weymann bodied "streamline" AEC Regent in Leeds colours with a livery application very like the Sheffield one but in dark blue and turquoise Leeds also had a Roe bodied "streamline" bus at the same show. This too was painted Blue and turquoise but looked very different to the Weymann example with an almost tear drop shape and very stylised appearance.
We forget today how big an impact the railways had on style at the time both LNER and LMS were starting to run streamlined locos like the Gresley Pacifics and such styling was common in both Europe and the USA.

Chris Hough

07/04/13 – 07:53

Like many of us, I also abhor the meaningless modern vinyl "imaging" on today’s buses and applaud the attempts by some 1930s operators and builders to try to make their buses look "modern". However, I can’t think of any instances where trams had these "go faster" liveries applied. Some, of course, didn’t need them as they were superbly designed to look modern (eg. Glasgow’s Coronations, Liverpool’s Green Goddesses, etc). The master of industrial design at this time was Raymond Loewy whose US company opened an office in London in the mid-30s. Did Weymann approach them I wonder?

Paul Haywood

07/04/13 – 07:55

Joe, OK they weren’t fluorescent but LT painted entrance doors on dual door buses yellow until late 80s(?), and in the run up to the formation of WYPTE Leeds painted Atlantean 447 and Swift 1065 in an experimental "Leeds District" livery incorporating yellow entrance doors and red exit doors.
The 30s streamlined liveries may not always have fitted the lives of the buses to which they were applied – but what I think makes them forgivable is that they were identifiably local/distinct, and they used strong/bold/deep colours unlike the flat and/or wishy-washy pastels used by two of the big groups today. But, picking-up on a point Alan made, I’ll stick my neck out and say that gold lining-out was just too fussy once rocker-panels had ceased to be a feature of bodywork.

Philip Rushworth

07/04/13 – 07:56

Joe Although not florescent London Transport painted entrance doors yellow for many years.

Chris Hough

07/04/13 – 09:52

Paul, I know I’m biased, but for me the mention of ‘modern-looking’ trams really has to start with the Sheffield Roberts ones.

Les Dickinson

07/04/13 – 16:54

Point taken, Les – yes, the Sheffield Roberts cars were smart indeed and I enjoyed riding on them in their final years, but for me, being four-wheelers, they lacked the majesty of the streamlined bogie cars. The whole 1930s period (before my time) fascinates me. For many, the sight of a streamlined tram or bus, or a visit to an art deco cinema, represented a vision of the future. We’ve all seen those early artists impressions of "How we will be living in twenty years" etc. where travel by monorail, gyrocopters and airships was assumed. When this bus was built, those visions would still be valid. The quest for increased speed on land, sea and air influenced designers throughout this period and this bus is a wonderful example.

Paul Haywood

07/04/13 – 16:54

I personally like the look of this bus. Did you notice the wind down windows. I only noticed these on a few Weymann AECs, (which also had a "booming" exhaust) on the 101 Arbourthorne route, climbing the very steep hill up East Bank Road, & some PD2s on the 69 route to Rotherham. The PD2s also had a complete destination & route number in the same big oblong route destination board. I have seen similar on other companies buses. They may be pre 1950s, with all Leyland bodies.

Andy Fisher

08/04/13 – 15:20

Andy, the PD2’s with the one destination box for route number and destination were the three so-called ‘stock sale’ PD2’s, that Leyland built on spec. for quick delivery to operators willing to forego their regular requirements such as standardized destination layouts in order to obtain buses quickly. The three that Sheffield managed to get, 601-3 (LWB 301-3), were put to work on the 69 service to Rotherham when it was decided not to relay the tramlines on the new road bridge at Tinsley, and thus abandoning for good the Sheffield-Rotherham tram service. The Sheffield trams ran no further than Vulcan Road after that, while the Rotherham single-enders ran only to Templeborough, and even they finished six months later, in November 1949.
City, Sheffield, Templeborough and Rotherham, with the applicable route numbers, were, I think, the only destinations that the trio had on their blinds, so they were more or less route-bound to the 69 or the 169 to Templeborough. A friend has told me that apparently one of them quite often showed up to run a ‘cinema-extra’ to Nether Edge late of an evening, when the picture houses were turning out (before the days of television!) before running into the garage after working on the 69 all day, but just what it showed on the blind I’m not certain. I’ve got a photo of one of them on a stand in Castlegate showing just ‘City’ in big letters, but I don’t know what route is would have been on.

Dave Careless

09/04/13 – 06:41

And while we’re on the theme of streamlining in the 1930’s, let’s not forget those Flying Bananas on the Great Western Railway. For a railway that remained strongly wedded to steam traction, this batch of AEC (and later BUT) engined diesel railbuses had a charm and character all of their own.
I know this is a bus blog, but I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself from eulogising about these splendid rail buses !


14/05/13 – 07:57

Andy. Only the first post war Regent III/Weymanns (527 – 536) had half drop windows. The others (1947/8) had sliders.
Petras409. Strictly speaking, DMUs had underframes built by BUT with engines supplied by either AEC or Leyland – and in a minority of cases Rolls Royce.

David Oldfield

14/05/13 – 17:22

BUT (British United Traction) was a joint sales organisation set up by AEC and Leyland for the purpose of supplying railway and trolleybus equipment, in order to give the companies a more realistic presence in what were quite limited markets. It was a similar arrangement to that of MCW, formed by the one-time totally independent companies of Metro-Cammell and Weymann.
As far as railway equipment goes, the BUT contribution was almost invariably engines and transmissions – but these were always proprietary (or suitably modified proprietary) items, BUT never having had any manufacturing plants. The engines supplied (for use in DMUs and railbuses) were manufactured by AEC, Leyland, or (in at least one instance) Albion – itself owned by Leyland at the time.
The exception to the above appears to concern early DMUs 79740-50, given as of BUT manufacture. If this is correct, the underframes and bodies must have been built somewhere (there were several likely locations within the Leyland or ACV – parent of AEC – groups). Oddly, Park Royal (itself part of ACV) supplied the bodies for some DMUs and railbuses, apparently independently of BUT.
As for Rolls-Royce engined DMUs, it may be that BUT was given the task of supplying the entire driveline and itself sourced the engines from Rolls-Royce – this is the impression given by the wording of current internet descriptions of the various DMU classes.
The supply of trolleybus chassis by BUT effectively continued the erstwhile AEC range, and trolleybus chassis building at Leyland was dropped.
As BUT was created in 1946, and the last GWR railbuses were constructed in 1942, it could not be said that there was any BUT input to the latter. The original engines were definitely of AEC manufacture, but replacement engines fitted later may well have been considered to be BUT, rather than AEC, products, of course.

David Call

19/05/13 – 15:28

Thanks for the update on the windows & route box. I am just an observer, not really knowledgeable. Now I have taken much more interest in researching Sheffield buses, I do appreciate your knowledge on these matters. You may find some of my comments a bit silly, but it is my lack of knowledge. I also do not come online that often, so you may not get an immediate thanks from me.

Andy Fisher

21/05/13 – 15:01

Following on from your information, I had a look in my tram book. The last tram from Sheffield to Rotherham was in 1948 , so presumably, these PD2s must have been of 1948 vintage. There was another PD2 all Leyland in the book, on another route. It had normal layout destination board, but with opening front upstairs windows. Can any of you people identify it for me please? I must confess to being an AEC fan, Leylands were not local untill the 1960 tram replacement tin fronts. That is unless we visited my auntie at Southy Green. The 97 & 98. They were also all Leylands. One had rounded ended opening lights, with interior lights covered in round, fluted lightshades, really smart. The other route was standard PD2s all Leyland design. They must have been 1940s buses, as it never was a tram route, so must have always been serviced by buses. I think the estate was built just after the war. Any help in identifying these busses would be appreciated.

Andy Fisher

22/05/13 – 07:21

The PD2s with opening windows would have been 656 – 667 – 1952 all Leyland PD2/10s. The three odd PD2s were indeed 1948 and doubly strange for being standard Leyland bodies in among Faringtons.

David Oldfield

24/05/13 – 14:04

light fittings_2

Andy Fisher – regarding the smart interior lights with round fluted covers, I assume you mean like this – in this instance fitted in the preserved Crosville AEC Regal with Strachans body (seen here at the 2010 Kingsbridge running day). This sort of light fitting was also virtually universal on Trent’s many Willowbrook bodied double deckers.

Stephen Ford

25/05/13 – 08:26

In the main the engines supplied by BUT to power BR’s DMUs were horizontal versions of the AEC A221 of 11.3 litres or the Leyland 0680 of 11.1 litres. The transmission consisted of a fluid flywheel and a four speed Wilson epicyclic gearbox. These were very much ‘bus engineering’.
It’s not true to say that the formation of BUT as a marketing organisation for trolleybuses saw the end of Leyland based trolleybuses. Whilst the majority of home market trolleybuses were based on AEC designs that were closely allied to the contemporary Regent bus chassis (the six wheel BUT used the front end of the Regent Three in conjunction with an updated version of rear end of the pre-war 664T), Glasgow did receive single deck trolleybuses based on, I believe, the Royal Tiger chassis or its Worldmaster equivalent.

Michael Elliott

25/05/13 – 17:15

Thanks for the info guys. Yes Stephen those lightshades were indeed the ones I remember.

Andrew Fisher

BWE 526 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

13/10/15 – 06:11

With regard to the Petre Street routes 34 and 35, these originally were Nos. 17 and 10 just post war. Incidentally, Petre Street was/is pronounced ‘Peter’ by locals ! ‘Hunsley Street’was also featured on the destinations. The terminus at the Wesleyan Chapel was of interest due to the alleyway by the side of the stop having an ancient water pump on it, painted green if memory serves me right. The tramway these routes replaced terminated at Petre St./Carwood Road, around half a mile or so before the Wesleyan Chapel bus terminus. There was a fatal accident outside the Ellesmere Road school in the 50’s when a man threw himself under a city bound Regent III (I seem to remember that it was 567 ?)

Mike C


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Reading Corporation – AEC Reliance – CRD 152C – 52

Reading Corporation - AEC Reliance - CRD 152C - 52
Copyright Pete Davies

Reading Corporation
AEC Reliance 2MU3RA
Neepsend B34D

In my comments on the Royal Tiger coach GWM 981, which John Stringer posted, I noted that there were no views of the vehicles of Reading Corporation in the column on the left. The Gallery section does have some views from Roger Cox, however. Even into the RE era and with bodies of different manufacture, Reading continued the use of that "seagull" motif on the front. Here is a view of CRD 152C, the first of my submissions relating to this operator. CRD 152C is an AEC Reliance of the 2MU3RA format with Neepsend B34D bodywork (and the seagull). She was photographed in Winchester on 1 January 1992 during a visit to the annual King Alfred Running Day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.

04/04/13 – 16:02

Well it could have been a genuine Burlingham saloon – had it not been five years after Burlingham were subsumed in Duple.

David Oldfield

05/04/13 – 05:39

Thank you, David. Wait until you see the RE adorned in the same way! I’ll be submitting a couple of view to Peter in the near future.

Pete Davies

05/04/13 – 05:39

One of the things that fascinates me about our hobby is how operators, even relatively small ones, could obtain special designs from fairly large scale builders of bus bodywork. This basically Burlingham design was unlike anything else East Lancs/Neepsend produced in their normal range but they did so for Reading. I wonder what the price penalty was for such ‘specials’ and how transport managers justified it to their committees.

Philip Halstead

05/04/13 – 08:05

One thing East Lancs were known for was supplying operators with what they wanted – ie they built to "any design" required if it was in their power to do so.

David Oldfield


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