Old Bus Photos

West Riding – Bristol Lodekka – HHY 183D – 452

West Riding - Bristol Lodekka - HHY 183D - 452

West Riding Automobile
1966
Bristol Lodekka FLF6G
ECW H38/32F

Proceeding on a very wet day into Leeds city centre is West Riding No. 452, Bristol FLF6G HHY 183D with ECW H38/32F bodywork, originally delivered to Bristol Omnibus as C7280 in October 1966. When, in 1967, West Riding sold out to the Transport Holding Company, which became the National Bus Company in 1969, steps were taken to withdraw the very troublesome Guy Wulfrunian fleet, and to secure this end as quickly as possible, buses were transferred from various parts of the NBC empire. This FLF6G was sent from Bristol Omnibus to West Riding in February 1970, so it had not been there very long when I took this picture in April of that year. In November 1971 it was renumbered 544 and stayed with West Riding until 1980, during which period it acquired the abysmal NBC poppy red livery. It was then sold to Top Deck Travel of Horsell Common with whom it spent several years in the USA up to 1986 before finally being consigned to the scrapyard in 1989.
I acknowledge this very informative website as the source of much of the foregoing information:– http://bcv.robsly.com/lodekka.html

A complete West Riding fleet list may be found at this link

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


01/10/20 – 06:33

If it’s not my imagination, this bus appears to have hub caps on the rear wheels. If this is the case, was this a West Riding feature carried forward to this hotchpotch of foreign incomers!

Chris Hebbron


02/10/20 – 06:41

This is a good point, Chris. I have blown up the picture on my computer screen, and you are right. I hadn’t noticed the rear wheel trims, rather similar to those on London Transport RT/RTL/RM/RF types. I have looked at my own pictures of other West Riding buses – Guy Arabs and Wulfrunians, Daimler Fleetlines, AEC Reliances, and other’ imports’ brought in to ease the Wulfrunian crisis, and none have these wheel trims. Perhaps an OBP expert can enlighten us.

Roger Cox


02/10/20 – 06:42

The black fibreglass rear wheel trims were introduced as standard NBC spec. mid 1960s to all Bristol chassis. Somebody must have thought it looked smart and perhaps would aid mechanical vehicle washing without asking the operating engineers. The need to remove the covers for every tyre pressure check and wheel nut tightening led to depots under pressure (pun not intended!) leaving them off and then taking off the fixing brackets which incorporated a spring loaded catch and became a bit of a danger as they stuck out, being bolted to the axle shaft hub. Few Chief Engineers insisted on re-instatement because the newer vehicles then looked the same as the earlier deliveries and weren’t noticed! No doubt there were enthusiast depot engineers (usually at smaller and remote locations) around the country who took pride in retaining the wheel covers in good condition.

Geoff Pullin


02/10/20 – 06:44

I wonder (suppose, really) that I’m the only person who thinks the ECW Lodekkas are amongst the best looking double deckers ever to enter service.
Angular, functional, almost minimalist design which was of its age, no doubt, but which still looks perfect for the job it was designed to do.
Or is it my age and I haven’t moved on – old buses are as much a part of me in the same way I still look at TV actresses from that era and think that Jan Francis, Paula Wilcox, Felicity Kendall etc, etc haven’t really been improved upon 50 years later??

Stuart C


03/10/20 – 06:33

No Stuart C, you’re not the only one who considers the Lodekka to have been among the best looking double deckers. I must admit to a slight preference for the rear entrance variety, with their more raked fronts. Having been a conductor for a brief period, I also appreciated the extra space on the platform – on an FLF, I always seemed to be in the way!

Nigel Frampton


03/10/20 – 06:34

It’s nice that these vehicles arrived in time to wear the traditional West Riding livery and fleetname, if only for a couple of years. As Roger says, the adoption of NBC poppy red was regrettable and something of a mystery when every other NBC fleet for miles around was also red, the nearest fleet to opt for green was perhaps East Midland, a considerable distance away.
It’s also good to see that WR went to the trouble of having non-standard destination blinds made to fit the aperture which was nothing like their own standard display. Dare I say, some may have been content to simply show the word ‘Service’.

Chris Barker


03/10/20 – 10:26

This photo also illustrates how the cream glazing strip that ECW used for a few years made the destination aperture look smaller. In this case it looks as if the already small lettering is too big, yet with black glazing strip it would look fine!
If I remember rightly, the cream rubber coincided with complaints that the older green leathercloth interior side panels and green criss-cross Formica on seat backs looked a bit dull. It always looked to me that the response was that of an engineer looking through the pattern books (and certainly not an interior designer) – and choosing golden leaves cream Formica instead.
The radiator cap also looks to be painted red. That was most probably part of the necessary operation in those days of using antifreeze only during the winter and the cap would have been painted red (or a different colour each year) for drivers to know that it needed topping up with antifreeze mix and not water. Happy days!
Did anyone else feel vulnerable sitting at the back downstairs of an FLF? I always avoided those seats!

Geoff Pullin


08/10/20 – 06:50

Chris. This isn’t the "traditional" West Riding livery – it is Tilling green which West Riding adopted after it sold out to the THC, the traditional West Riding green was a shade lighter/brighter. I understand that the decision of West Riding to adopt NBC poppy red was driven by the Regional Director who wanted an "all red" Region; I suspect that the West Riding Group GM, Fred Dark, who had come from Yorkshire, didn’t put up too much resistance given that if West Riding had adopted leaf green then Yorkshire would probably have had to do the same under NBC’s rationalist policies.

Philip Rushworth


09/10/20 – 16:13

Presumably this bus, being quite new on its transfer to West Riding, simply retained its Bristol Omnibus Tilling Green.

Roger Cox


10/10/20 – 06:56

As I understand it, West Riding adopted NBC red because the regional management wanted an "all-red" area as Philip says, but that wasn’t universal across all areas of NBC. In the south, Western National used green, but Devon General (which was by then under common management with WN) used red. A similar situation applied to Provincial (green) which was managed by Hants & Dorset (red); and Cheltenham (red) was a subsidiary of Bristol OC (green).

Nigel Frampton


21/10/20 – 06:46

West Riding were a partially red fleet for many years as the former tram routes were run with red vehicles West Riding had actually begun to change from their traditional green to Tilling green before the Lodekkas began to arrive.
On the subject of the use of NBC red there is an apocryphal story that Yorkshire Woollen and West Riding tossed a coin and West Riding lost!

Chris Hough


14/11/20 – 07:38

I am coming to this a bit late, but I have been very interested to read all the comments in the string above. I have not worked on buses, as Nigel Frampton has, but purely from a user point of view, I loved the Bristol Lodekkas. When I was a boy in York I would try to get my mother to take us home from Exhibition Square, where the routes 2, 8 and 12 home were all Lodekkas, rather than from Stonebow (mostly VRs – which I also am now very fond of).
I read a very good book about the Routemaster, in which the author referred to the Lodekka as a Behemoth. I think that was unfair! When I moved down to London in 1989 I enjoyed being able to step back in time to use the Routemasters, but they did seem very narrow and rickety compared with the Lodekkas.

Henry Arthurs


 

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Crosville – Bristol RESL6G – OFM 2E – ERG 2

Crosville - Bristol RESL6G - OFM 2E - ERG 2

Crosville Motor Services Ltd
1967
Bristol RESL6G
ECW DP42F

Crosville was the first to operate the then latest version of the Bristol RESL with shortened wheelbase and extended front overhang giving a wider entrance door arrangement. These were also the first with this design of ECW body characterised by the shallow flat windscreens.
Crosville put this batch of six into service in July 1967 on the long Rail Replacement service D94 between Wrexham and Barmouth. This served a sparsely populated area with Llangollen, Corwen, Bala and Dolgellau as the intermediate towns of any size. These six were synonymous with this route for many years but here in 1977 is ERG 2 in NBC days crossing the Cambrian Coast Railway line at Fairbourne on the S28 Tywyn to Dolgellau route. The NBC ‘Local Coach’ version of the leaf green livery with white upperworks looks pretty smart.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


10/07/20 – 06:14

I think these were the only dual purpose RESLs in the THC group of companies, although Midland General famously had two RESHs. Some of these vehicles were used elsewhere when brand new; ERG 2 was new to Llandudno Junction, and ERG 3 and 4 were at Caernarfon, although they soon migrated to the D94. Around 1974, A longer example, ERG 272 was transferred to Dolgellau Depot for use on the D94, and ERG2 was then used on other services from Dolgellau as shown here.
When new, these vehicles were painted cream with a green waistband, and they looked superb in that livery. ERG 3 is magnificently preserved in that livery.

Don McKeown


10/07/20 – 06:16

As far as the shorter length RE was concerned, the RESL seems to have been the almost universal choice for bus work but I wonder about it’s merits for dual purpose use, particularly if some of the front seats faced sideways. However, Crosville seemed to like them and as Ian says, used them on some long services although I’m not too sure about the prospect of sitting rather low down or sideways at the front for perhaps a couple of hours or so.
Midland General had a couple of short REs with this type of body but on the RESH chassis, with 43 dual purpose seats, all facing forward. Surprisingly, I believe they were the only ones bodied by ECW.

Chris Barker


16/07/20 – 10:16

United used the long version of the dual purpose RE on the five and a half hour 505 Newcastle to Edinburgh via Berwick service – not to my mind the most suitable of vehicles, and the seats were not especially comfortable. The route was jointly operated by Eastern Scottish who used Leyland Leopards and AEC Reliances with Alexander Y Type coach bodies. These were much more comfortable to ride on and seemed better suited to the route, although with the disadvantage of high entrance steps. The RELLs would be replaced after a few years by dual purpose RELHs with all forward facing seats and they in turn were replaced by downgraded RELH coaches, originally used on the Newcastle to London service. They would I suppose have been about ten years old then, but were still superb vehicle to travel on, however by that time, the service was being operated in two parts with passengers required to change vehicles at Berwick.

John Gibson


 

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Eastern National – Bristol MW6G – OO 9548 – PL9360

Eastern National - Bristol MW6G - OO 9548 - PL9360

Eastern National Omnibus Co Ltd
1962
Bristol MW6G
ECW C34F

Whilst on holiday in mid Wales in 1971 this coach parked opposite us whilst its passengers enjoyed an ice cream from the conveniently sited van. The location is the Elan Valley from where the large reservoirs fed water to the Birmingham conurbation.
The Eastern National coach was  along way from home on an extended tour of Devon and the Wye Valley. The 34 seats would have given plenty of legroom.
BLOTW gives the original fleet number as 562 but it shows PL9360 here. Is PL a depot code?
At nine years old the coach looks in good fettle. This style of ECW coach body caused quite a stir when introduced – very different from previous ECW designs- but quite pleasing in retrospect.
And what about the registration number – would be worth a lot of money now!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


01/06/20 – 07:35

The code PL refers to Prittlewell Depot which was located in Southend and was an ex Westcliff-On-Sea garage, there was also another ex Westcliff-On-Sea garage in Southend which used the code SD.

Ian Mason


01/06/20 – 07:36

Contrary to appearances, this was actually Tillings Travel PL9360 when the photo was taken. It started life as Eastern National 562 in May 1962 becoming 360 in the August 1964 renumbering. It passed to Tillings Travel as 9360 in January 1971. PL indicates that it was allocated to the Prittlewell (near Southend) garage of Eastern National which maintained the Tillings coach fleet. 9360 passed to Silcox of Pembroke Dock in late 1973 where it served until 1982.
The saga of vehicle interchanges between Tillings Travel and Eastern National has already been covered on this website but I can’t work out how to link to the appropriate page.

Nigel Turner


01/06/20 – 07:37

Apparently this vehicle was renumbered 360 in Aug 1964 then transferred to Tillings as 9360 in Jan 1971. http://www.bristolsu.co.uk/mw/ However the picture clearly shows Eastern National as fleetname.
PL was the garage code for Prittlewell (a former Westcliffe depot) http://www.sct61.org.uk/ 

Stephen Clough


01/06/20 – 07:38

The original fleet number, 562, was changed to 360 in 1964, and the 9 was added when it became part of Tilling Travel (NBC) in 1971. PL will be Prittlewell – depot at Southend. Tillings Travel (THC) Ltd had had some similar MWs from new, also with 34 seats. I have an ECW drawing which shows that those had additional interior luggage shelving at the rear of the coach – in the equivalent space to the 5 person back seat as I recall.

Peter Delaney


01/06/20 – 07:39

PL is the garage code of Prittlewell, and the 9xxx denotes this was a Tilling allocated vehicle.
New 5/62 562 (ironic), became 360 in the 1964 fleet renumbering scheme, then transferred to Tillings Travel in January 1971. The two fleets were closely associated until National Travel (South East) Ltd took control of the coaching unit in 1974.

Ron Mesure


03/06/20 – 06:23

Here is a link to a photo whilst in service with Silcox:- https://www.flickr.com/

Keith Hanbury-Chatten


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 27th November 2020