Here we have Crosville CSG623 seen outside the small depot in Llanwrst, Conwy, Wales in September 1967. This is one of 24 Bristol SC4LK with Eastern Coachworks DP33F body supplied to Crosville but by the time of this photo it had acquired bus livery and was ending its days as an omo vehicle on rural services. This model in coach form was supplied mainly to Crosville and Lincolnshire Road Car. Unless they had significantly better sound insulation than the bus version, they must have been pretty dreadful vehicles in which to travel any distance.
The other vehicle parked in the depot doorway is another Bristol SC4LK registration 802 FFM fleet number CSG622.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild
04/05/11 – 11:47
I used hate driving the type back in the 60′s and early 70′s at Pwllheli’s Crosville depot. Gutless wonders and noisy too boot. Having said that in crawler gear they would easily ,though very slowly, ascend the steepest of hills, reckon one would shin up a telegraph pole too. It was virtually impossible to run early with the type. They were handy when delivering parcels as there was ample stowage room alongside the port side of the 4 cylinder Gardner "power plant" in the cab for bulky items , apart from exhaust pipes from Groom’s Porthmadog. Fare collection was not all that easy either as passengers entered the vehicle behind the driver rather than alongside. Gear changing was fun as they were not selected in the normal H pattern. A case of all over the place and hit and miss operation in the 5 forward box. Now I would give my eye teeth, allbethem false, to have a day behind an SC4 wheel. Never satisfied and ready to grumble, always the driver’s way! Wonder if that’s really true in my case as I passed my PSV back in 1960 and am still engaged driving coaches on a part time basis. If the lottery comes up I’ll buy one. Well we can take that as a never then cant we!
07/05/11 – 06:12
Thanks for sharing the experience of driving the SC4LK Evan. My experience of the type is limited to a journey from Llanwrst to Betws y Coed (pretty flat) in genuine SC days and then a trip from Beaumaris to Bangor when Crosville Wales tried them as a bit of a novelty in the 1990s. The route turned right away from the estuary up a fearsome hill, the noise level and vibration in the saloon whilst climbing was excruciating! But the old SC just took it in its stride.
03/06/11 – 07:27
I remember the service from Beaumris To Penrhyn Castle using SLC12/13 I travelled to the old MOLD depot to pick up one them and then I drove one all day every SATURDAY what fun. I’m Retired now but still watch the Modern Buses go by and I often wonder what these Young drivers that drive along the flat roads of the Fens where I now live would do with the old SLC on a good Welsh Hill
03/06/11 – 17:07
Ieuan, you should meet a friend of mine who is still a driver for First Leeds – he has a wicked mischievous sense of humour !! A few years ago he was involved in the preservation of a Leeds City Transport AEC Regent 1 of 1934, and parked it briefly at a City Centre bus stop. A newly qualified young lady driver was among a few waiting to take buses over, and my mate said to her "Are you waiting for running number **** love ??" "Yes I am" she replied.
"Oh good, this is yours then" said he, and walked away nonchalantly. They reckoned her face was a picture !!
08/06/11 – 09:55
Back in the mid 60s as a kid we had family at Llanbedrog who we’d stay with, I’d get out on the local Crosville routes. The R17 Sarn Bach-Abersoch-Pwllheli seemed always to be an SC bus, as were the short workings on the R26 from Pwllheli to Porthmadog.
The SCs seemed to go everywhere. By about 1965 it seemed Pwllheli depot had gone fully OMO with some new MWs for the R26/R27, and now had just 1 seasonal Lodekka on shorts to Butlins.
This was a shame as I was still to experience a ride on a Lodekka. My first ever sight of one, an LD at the tollgate at Boston Lodge had me in awe, it was an R26 heading to Blaenau Ffestiniog, fully blinded with Criccieth, Portmadoc (I think it was referred to at the time) and Maentwrog in the intermediate blind.
I had a few trips on the MWs too, often back to Abersoch as an R19 or R20, with a consequent long walk back along the Warren Beach to Llanbedrog over the cliff.
My last service ride on a Crosville SC was from Wrexham in about 1975, on a short working of the D1 to Acrefair.
I don’t remember much about the noise, but when you put your cash in the tray for the driver it would jingle up and down with the engine vibration. I also remember the occasional crunching gear changes.
In the early 70s the route network around Pwllheli seemed to get cut back and frequencies reduced. I seem to remember there were some of the early Perkins engined Bristol LHs (SLPs) in use there by then? I didn’t ride on them at the time as I had little interest in them, but now wish that I had done!
It was great to read Evan’s first hand experiences of the type, especially so in the context of Pwllheli.
14/09/11 – 07:53
Evan you would like to drive an SC again, where abouts in the country do you live?
In the following post to yours Ian discusses his memories of the SC and the trips from Penrhyn to Beaumaris Castles with SC 12 & 13.
SC 13 has been off the road all of this year with engine problems but I have just managed to re-build the engine and it went back on the road last Friday when it journeyed to Lincoln to have it’s MOT.
Hopefully it will be at Meadowhall this weekend.
16/09/11 – 09:31
Hi Gordon. Still live in former SC territory, Pistyll close to Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula. Been doing a bit of casual driving for Clynnog and Trefor Motor Co Ltd. Usually NX dupes and privates using B12M’s. Ugh didgie tachos.
18/09/11 – 06:14
Nice to hear that you still live in a lovely part of the world.
I will try and get SC13 over to Llandudno next year so perhaps you might manage to meet up if I do.
Will keep you informed.
25/09/11 – 20:40
Glad to hear that SC13 is back on the road Gordon. My memories are of SSG677 and CSG637 at Holyhead around 1970-71. They were the only buses from the Holyhead depot that could be used on the N1 service to Amlwch because of the narrow lanes around Llanfairynghornwy.
I’m now re-living my Bristol SC days as I have a Gardner 4LK in our narrow boat!
20/11/11 – 13:41
Not a bus enthusiast as such, but missed seeing the lovely green buses on a nostalgic return to Abersoch. The green livery fits well with the scenery. Websites like this help to relive happy memories of trips around the Lyn peninsula (we didn’t have a car back then).
Thank you for the photos.
26/04/12 – 12:13
It’s so good to read about the old buses but what about the drivers who drove them, is there any left out there from the North Wales depots i.e Caernarfon, Bangor and The Isle of Anglesey please let us know.
28/04/12 – 08:02
Just found your site as I recall we used to have a couple of these in Oswestry when I was younger. I was really trying to find out what happened to a bus I use to travel on a great deal, Bristol RE fleet number SRG 208. As for the buses in the photo I think ours in Oswestry had very slow sliding door, but I may have that wrong as it is a good few years ago.
27/08/12 – 11:17
Kevin, I have photos of former Oswestry RE SRG208 which may be of interest to you. They illustrate where she went after disposal by Crosville Wales and how she met her unfortunate end…
I hope they are not too distressing for you!
02/10/12 – 14:59
Why did the David Brown gearbox on the SC4LK have a strange gear pattern from third to fourth coupled with a large difference in gear ratios? I believe high revs were needed in third before engaging fourth.
Was this box primarily designed for use in other applications?
18/04/13 – 07:15
The Bristol SUL4A’s operated by Southern Vectis had the same David Brown box with similarly queer gears, I never did quite get the hang of them, but the men who drove them regularly got used to it and could make those buses fly on the level!
14/08/13 – 06:22
I was the last manager at Llanrwst before it was made into an outstation of Llandudno at the end of summer 1969. Mind you I was only 19 at the time and a trainee as they did not want to appoint another permanent manager.
These buses used to go on all the routes and had great fuel consumption in the hands of some drivers. Over 20 mpg I recall.
There was one journey which was very busy during the summer and that was the 15:00hrs to Betws and Cwm Penmachno. There would sometimes be people hanging out of the door leaving Llanrwst.
Some of them later made their way to Liverpool and the drivers used to refer to them having Welsh gearboxes.
15/08/13 – 07:00
Re Patrick Hall’s comment (Hi! Pat haven’t spoken for a while) Many years ago I was totally confused by one driver at Minehead, Western National, who referred to the climbing abilities of the ‘David Browns’ they had – and there are some real hills around here!! To me a David Brown was a tractor and it took me some while to fathom out that he was talking about the SU’s, being a clever clogs teenager it was beneath me to ask – oh how I wish I had asked more questions of the old drivers.
15/08/13 – 11:56
On the subject of David Brown gearboxes, the six speed type used on lorries caught out many a driver until they got used to them. It was a normal left to right ‘H’ layout 1/4, but 5/6 were the other way round, so you went round the gate from 4 to 5, then forward for 6
1 3 6
R 2 4 5