Old Bus Photos

Bristol Omnibus – Bristol Lodekka – 961 EHW – GL8507

961 EHW

Bristol Omnibus
1959
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/27R

Here is Bristol Omnibus Bristol LD6G – 961 EHW – GL8507, new in July 1959, waiting in Gloucester King’s Square for a driver to take out the bus on the short 50B service to York Road (The Cathedrals). Note the Gloucester Coat of Arms and GLOUCESTER on side, applied to about 25 vehicles, part of the agreement when Gloucester City Council leased out its bus services to Bristol Omnibus in 1935 and which continued uninterrupted until Stagecoach took over the services from Western Travel, the privatised company created by NBC. Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester City Council operated these services, overseen by a joint committee. The bus itself was scrapped in Sept 1976.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


22/05/17 – 07:45

Interestingly Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester Corporation both held their own Road Service Licences for the city (joint) routes. Applications in N&P were listed separately.
In York and Bristol, where similar arrangements applied, Road Service Licences were in the joint names of the Corporation and company. N&P listings read "Bristol Omnibus Co. and Bristol Corporation" and "West Yorkshire Road Car Co. and York Corporation".
Incidentally the bus is working service 508, formerly 8.

Geoff Kerr


22/05/17 – 07:46

A very interesting post Chris. Major Chapple had just left West Yorkshire to take control of the Bristol enterprise, and his experience with the Keighley and York organisational set-up must have proved of great value. Was the Bath situation set up in a similar fashion, or was that a direct acquisition, with it being a company and not a municipality?
I am not aware of the BET organisations making similar agreements with municipal fleets, but perhaps someone will be able to tell us if that were the case?

John Whitaker


22/05/17 – 07:48

Scrapped after only 17 years…What a waste of a thoroughly sound, ideal-for-the-job bus.
Or did the Cave-Brown-Cave equipment hasten its demise?

Ian Thompson


23/05/17 – 05:13

My recollection, John W, is that Bristol Omnibus bought, outright, both Bath Electric Tramways Ltd and Bath Tramways Motor Co.. Whether these were municipal or private companies, I don’t know. Again, this was about 1935/36.

Southdown and Portsmouth Corporation entered into a fare-sharing operation after the war, having toyed with the idea pre-war.This agreement involved route-balancing at the end of each financial year, a fascinating sight to see for bus enthusiasts. Buses were swapped, but not drivers/conductors. Thus, Southdown buses, staffed by Corporation staff, appeared some years on Corporation routes and vice versa. PD2’s were common to both organisations for some years and usually swapped, but this was not always so, and I recall a Southdown Guy Arab II performing its task one year.

Chris Hebbron


23/05/17 – 05:14

The Cave-Brown-Cave heating system, which consisted of the relocation of the engine radiator in two sections to each side of the front of the upper deck, was fitted to quite a number of Lodekkas before the inadequacies of the system led to its abandonment by about 1966. Not only did the efficacy of engine cooling suffer, but the very concept of hot water continually sloshing around at the front of the upper saloon meant that the vehicle interior continued to heat up in the hottest of weather. The early Cave-Brown-Cave Lodekkas had a completely blank front panel with no conventional radiator grille, but these were soon fitted with a front radiator to ease some of the problems. I think that many had the C-B-C completely disconnected, but the equipment each side of the destination indicator remained in situ. I, too, am surprised that this bus should have gone to the scrappers so early, not least because it had a Gardner engine. The ‘in house’ Bristol BVW option was a pretty poor alternative that gave endless trouble from failure of its wet cylinder liners – AEC was not alone in suffering this problem, but Dennis used wet liners successfully from the 1930s, so it could be done.

Roger Cox


24/05/17 – 06:43

There was no municipal involvement at Bath (or Cheltenham). Bath Electric Tramways and Bath Tramways Motor Co. ceased trading at the end of 1969, their assets transferred to Bristol Omnibus Co., while Cheltenham District Traction was wound up in 1980, 30 years after passing to Bristol control.
When the EHW series of Lodekkas appeared in 1959, with CBC heating and hopper vents, there was a heatwave and reports of passengers passing out.

Geoff Kerr


24/05/17 – 06:44

Bath Electric Tramways and its motor bus associate business, Bath Tramways Motor Company, were BET companies dating from 1904 that were sold to the Bristol Omnibus Company in 1936.

Roger Cox


24/05/17 – 06:46

I’m a bit puzzled by the comments expressing surprise that this bus only lasted 17 years.
I would have thought 17 years was a reasonable innings for a bus of this period.
No doubt its 6LW engine would go on to give many more years service ploughing across the South China Sea!

Eric Bawden


25/05/17 – 10:57

Taking up Roger’s comments on the shortcomings of the Bristol engines I have always wondered if these engines were foisted on the Tilling companies who would have logically chosen the reliable and fuel efficient Gardener given a free hand. Was it that Gardner could not keep up with demands or was it a face saver for Bristol to have at least some Lodekkas with their own engines?

Philip Halstead


26/05/17 – 06:47

The AVW had an equivalent power output to the Gardner 6LW but dimensionally was roughly the same size as a 5LW and an AEC 7.7L. From that you can immediately think that given 40s/50s materials something had to give ie AVW longevity given the close positioning of the 6 bores and higher temperatures.
When running well the AVW was a good engine but unlike Gardners which just go on and on even with reduced performance AVW bottom ends tended to go bang with no warning.
The BVW coming out at a time of heavier vehicles was never up to the job.

Roger Burdett


28/05/17 – 08:09

I always thought of BT&CC/BOC as a ‘wealthy’ operator. The policy was that most vehicles were replaced at between 12 and 17 years. This compared with the ‘poor’ companies in the same group such as Western National and Thames Valley who kept buses for a lot longer. Remember who was operating the last K & L types in service. I think the reason was competition. Bristol had no competition whatever on urban services in Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham or Weston. The ‘poorer’ companies had less urban routes, large areas of rural routes and faced a certain amount of competition in places.

Peter Cook


 

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Western National – Bristol L – JUO 943 – 1211

Western National - Bristol L - JUO 943 - 1211

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
1948
Bristol L6B
Beadle C31F – ECW FB39F (1958)

A 1948 Bristol L6B, when it was delivered to Western National it had a Beadle C31F body. Ten years later it was lengthened to a LL standard and rebodied by Eastern Coachworks to this FB39F style, I presume both happened at the same time.
We see it in the Weymouth rally on 1 July 1979,

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


15/05/17 – 07:44

The very fact that this is a Bristol L6B with an ECW body makes this a thoroughly good bus, but what a pity that ECW fell into the trap of the then-current "mouth-organ" fad! I wouldn’t insist that they had gone for a proper Bristol radiator, which would have been the best-looking option, but at least they could have tacked on an enlarged version of the shapely little grille fitted to the SC4LK. Just one of my fantasies…

Ian Thompson


17/05/17 – 07:51

I have a "bought" slide of a Lincolnshire SC in DP guise, with the same style of front end as this. You are right, Ian. The usual SC arrangement is FAR better!

Pete Davies


17/05/17 – 07:52

The "mouth organ" wasn’t designed specially for rebodied Ls. The entire dash panel, complete with grille, was the one used on the coach version of the SC4LK.

Peter Williamson


18/05/17 – 07:52

Peter is right, and OBP has a page showing this type of SC4LK body at :- this OBP link  
Ian is right also, though. The grille is pretty horrible, though nowhere near as bad as some of the Detriot "inspired" excrescences that were to emerge from Duple in the years that followed.

Roger Cox


18/05/17 – 11:02

The front is virtually identical to the SC coaches but on the one CMS ECW re-bodied PS1 (JAO 837), the bulge is greater, as it seems to be on the L6B above.
JAO 837 also had a slightly bottom curved windscreen and the side window framing is also different from the above L6B

Stuart Emmett


 

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Red & White – Bristol MW – SWO 986 – UC758

Red & White - Bristol MW - SWO 986 - UC758

Red & White Services
1958
Bristol MW6G
ECW C39F

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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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 28th May 2017