Old Bus Photos

Western SMT – Leyland Titan PD3 – RCS 382 – 1684

Western SMT - Leyland Titan PD3 - RCS 382 - 1684

Western Scottish Motor Traction Co. Limited
Leyland Titan PD3A/3
Alexander L35/32RD

RCS 382 is a Leyland Titan PD3A/3 with Alexander L67RD body, new to Western in 1961. It was still owned by Western when the 2012 PSVC list was prepared, but with the ‘Stagecoach’ fleet number of 19982 instead of her original. In this view, on Middle Walk, Blackpool, on 29 September 1985, It was taking part in the Tramway Centenary celebrations.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

02/01/17 – 07:45

Only my opinion, but I think they looked better when the wheels were red. That said, was there ever a better turned out large fleet than that of Western?

Ronnie Hoye


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Barton Transport – AEC Reliance – 839 EVO – 839

Barton Transport - AEC Reliance - 839 EVO - 839

Barton Transport
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Alexander C41F

The independent Barton company became very satisfied customers of the AEC Reliance, taking its first one early in 1955. In subsequent years many more entered service, Alexander and Plaxton bodywork being favoured. Here is one of a batch of five 2MU3RV coaches with Alexander C41F bodywork delivered in May/June 1960. 839 EVO is seen in the summer of 1961 in London on Elizabeth Bridge, which straddles the main Southern railway line just south of Victoria Station. The present day transformation of the somewhat neglected building immediately behind the coach, notwithstanding the fact that it sits directly alongside a cutting carrying trains into the second busiest railway terminal in Britain (Waterloo is No.1) is evidence of the ‘gentrification’ of much of our capital city – (Oh for the old days).

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

02/12/16 – 07:17

This type of Alexander body was widely used by Scottish companies, and were a common sight in the likes of Carlisle ‘Western’ and Newcastle ‘SMT’, but unlike the later ‘Y’ types, they weren’t embraced by many operators south of the border. That said, they weren’t a million miles away from the Park Royal bodies of the time. Was there a link?

Ronnie Hoye

02/12/16 – 16:03

Barton also had a number of Leyland Tiger Cubs with this style of body. I think they were designated dual-purpose, but it was rather stretching the meaning of the term. The seating standard was at the extreme "bus" end of DP. They were used quite a lot on the 15 Ilkeston – Long Eaton – Sawley route. The Reliances were very much more coach style. I remember seeing them on the Nottingham – Warsaw service that ran for a few years in the 1960s. Strangely (most of?) the Reliance "coaches" had route number/destination indicators above the rear windows, whereas none of the Tiger Cub "DP/buses" had them.

Stephen Ford

02/12/16 – 16:49

The PRV link with this body was indirect in that both this and the PRV ‘Royalist’ coach on Reliance were inspired by alloy-framed ECW and Scottish Aviation bodies of a couple years earlier. This style was first fitted to four pre-production Tiger Cub Coaches in late 1952. The first Royalist was on a Reliance for Birch Brothers in 1954. Also in 1954 SOL and ALexander took PRV bodied AEC Monocoaches and from 1955-57 had Monocoaches Reliances and Tiger Cubs with Alexander bodies to the same outline, after that they took a body with this frontal treatment but a straight waist. Meanwhile Barton and Western SMT took this style until 1960.
PRV and Alexander both moved from Aluminium to Steel frames for their bodies at the turn of the decade to get BET orders, both built 30ft bodies to BET outline, and Alexander also combined this front with 31ft bodies for the Alexander companies and North Western in 1961 and 36ft Leopards in 1962 for North Western.

Stephen Allcroft

03/12/16 – 07:01

I took a rear end photo of a 1961 Barton Plaxton Panorama coach at Chilwell in September that had a destination box like Stephen F mentions.

David Slater

11/05/17 – 06:42

Roger, do you know what would become of the five Alexander bodied Reliances? Were any of them ever sold to Ireland?

Bill Headley

11/05/17 – 19:15

I am sorry, Bill, but I have not been able to ascertain the later lives of these Alexander bodied Reliances, but OBP has some remarkably informed contributors, so hopefully some information will turn up.

Roger Cox

12/05/17 – 06:55

Stephen (Ford) – I’m intrigued to know more about the Nottingham to Warsaw service, which you say operated for a time in the 60’s! That, if true, might be more useful today!

David J Smith

12/05/17 – 10:41

Think you will find Midlands-Warsaw services are running regularly just operated by Polish operators.

Roger Burdett

13/05/17 – 07:16

Actually Roger my sense of humour was asserting itself there and I was being flippant. I think Stephen’s spellchecker had run ahead of him, as they do, way when possibly he meant the Nottingham to WORKSOP service, unless it was really true in the 1960’s, can’t see why though………!

David J Smith

13/05/17 – 07:17

I think that Polish-operated services run in and out of many UK towns and cities nowadays. There is a weekly one to/from Gloucester to Warsaw and I’ve come across several Brits who’ve used the service for a break there. These services seem to be run by the large Polish coach company, Sindbad

Chris Hebbron

13/05/17 – 07:36

Hello David, I found this snippet from "Commercial Motor" dates 12 April 1963 : "Nottingham-Warsaw Bus Service Ends An express bus service from Nottingham to Warsaw has been discontinued because so few Poles can afford the £28 return fare to their homeland. The single-decker bus made the 2,000 mile round trip for the first time last August.
The journey took two days—from Nottingham to Harwich, through Holland and Germany to Warsaw. But now Barton Transport Ltd., Chilwell, Notts, says the demand for the tickets is not sufficient to make the service Pay. Mr. Carl Barton, a director and traffic manager, said: "The Polish people showed great interest—Until it came to booking seats".

Stephen Ford

13/05/17 – 09:53

Stephen, Re the Nottingham to Warsaw service of 1963. That’s brilliant of you to reply and come up with the goods.
There’s nothing new under the sun is there? Who would have thought 50 years ago that services from many UK cities to Poland would be a commonplace thing in the Noughties!

David J Smith

13/05/17 – 16:00

There was a fair concentration of Poles in and around Nottingham (including at least one who was a conductor and, I believe, later an inspector with Bartons.) Many were former airmen who came over during the war to continue the fight. I suspect that the difficulty was not so much the £28 return fare as all the other add-ons and hassle. A return transit visa for East Germany was around another £5, and I’m not sure how welcome "pre-war Poles" were by the authorities in post-war Communist Poland.
And no, I’m pretty sure Barton didn’t have Worksop on their destination blinds. Nottingham – Worksop was a long-standing Trent (80)/East Midland (37) joint route, and any such ideas from Barton would have been taken to a Traffic Commissioners’ hearing and strangled at birth!

Stephen Ford

14/05/17 – 07:30

The Alexander body single deckers and others of the 1960s at Bartons were often fitted with secondhand recovered high back coach seats when the bus was new then changed to second hand but recovered service bus seats after about 2 years, Later this was stopped,,the Alexander bodys were very sound and did not look dated ,,
I started in 1961 and worked there until the awfull trent takeover of 89,most of my time there was running repairs and breakdowns/recovery and sometimes emergency PSV driving and also overtime private hire and service bus driving ,,trent engeneering director seen me with my drivers uniform on and said you won’t be driving under trent,I said I know thankfully you made me redundant,

Mr Anon

14/05/17 – 07:30

According to Alan Oxley’s history of Barton (part 3), the first (and only) round trip of service X60 (Nottingham – Warsaw) left Nottingham on Sunday 5 August 1962, at 1pm, taking as Stephen says, two days to reach Warsaw. It returned the following Saturday, arriving back in Nottingham on the Monday.I understand prolonged delays at Eastern Bloc countries were a significant factor in the service not running again, it was the time of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis after all. Two newly delivered Yeates bodied Reliances were used,49 seater 949 (949 MRR) from Nottingham to Harwich, and 945(945 MRR) from the Hook of Holland to Warsaw. 945 had been reduced to a 36 seater fitted with reclining seats, a toilet compartment and electric razor sockets (!). I can confirm 949 was used on the English leg, as I was at Huntingdon St to see it off – somewhere I have a photo of it prior to departure. Shortly after the round trip, 945 was reseated and the toilet removed. Every time I see a Sinbad coach in Nottingham, it reminds me of this Barton innovation.

In reply to Bill Headley’s query above, according to the Circle fleet histories of Barton, none of this batch went to Ireland; however, there was a similar batch which entered service in 1959, 808-13(808-13CAL).Of these, 809 is given to Dodd, (dealer) Dromara 5/72, later to Lafferty, Glengad 4/73 and to unidentified farmer, Togher by 5/79.
811 is given to Dodds (dealer) Dromara 5/72, nothing further recorded.

Bob Gell

04/10/17 – 07:13

Thanks for this information Bob. I suspect the vehicle was destroyed in the summer of 1972 in the Derrybeg Estate, Newry – which is not very far away from Dromara. It was possibly owned by the local GAA and 811 CAL would seem to fit the frame as being the vehicle shown.

Bill Headley

09/09/18 – 06:15

The driver on Loline 861 (X42) was Harry Bell his wife was a conductor operating from Chilwell garage.
I drove the last Switzerland tour I think it was in 1978
But not sure ?

Paul Annison

12/09/18 – 05:38

As well as the airmen there were a large number of ex-miners from Poland from all 3 armed services who settled in the UK, many employed in the mines here.
As an ex-paperboy I remember delivering several copies of the "Polish Daily ( including Soldiers Daily)" on my paper round and one of my friends was the son of a Polish soldier, who was married to a Russian lady who at one time was in Ravensbruck concentration camp. I thought it all very exotic ( especially his rather delightful elder sister whom I worshipped from afar…..).
I think the main problem visiting was not financial. The ex-military types were very unwelcome, and I think the authorities were somewhat afraid of contamination, particularly in the aftermath of the Hungarian uprising. There might have been some reluctance too in view of a fear of retaliation for being resident on the wrong side of the iron curtain.

Malcolm Hirst


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Highland Omnibuses – AEC Reliance – EWS 115D – BA26

EWS 115D

Highland Omnibuses
AEC Reliance 590 2U3RA
Alexander DP49F

Highland Omnibuses BA26 (EWS 115D) was a AEC Reliance with an Alexander Y-type body. It was new to Eastern Scottish, being transferred to Highland in mid-life. I have always thought that there is a fine line between coach and dual-purpose versions of the Y-type. This example was classed as a coach by Eastern Scottish, but was definitely dual-purpose by the time this photo was taken. It is seen approaching Upper Achintore (with Loch Linnhe in the background) on a Fort William local service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

29/11/15 – 09:59

Don, I’ve always understood that the way to tell the difference between a Y bus and a Y coach was the number of side widows. The bus had more, smaller, windows while the coach, as illustrated here, had fewer and bigger ones.    . . . and as for the DP designation. I’ve always understood it was a bus body with coach seats, or fewer seats so as to make the longer journey more comfortable. Of course, going the other way, and downgrading a coach, you might cut down the seat backs, and put another row of seats in!

Pete Davies

29/11/15 – 14:45

I thought it was ‘coach’ seats but with ticket equipment fittings and power doors. Allowing the vehicle to be used on bus or coach services as required.

Ian Comley

30/11/15 – 06:47

Northern Scottish reseated some 53 bus seated Leopards to 49 dual purpose seats. The body had small windows!

Stephen Bloomfield

30/11/15 – 12:25

I was amused to see the three comments on the ‘DP question’ raised above because, on another forum site I visit, there has been a debate on this same subject in the past year that reached what must be a record number of postings! www.sct61.org.uk/zzvmp10ga

David Slater

01/12/15 – 06:07

The SCT61 site does indeed have a good number of comments, as David says, and almost as many points of view. The PSV used to be classed as HACKNEY on the tax disc, then it was BUS – I’m sure Mr & Mrs Smith would have been horrified to read that on their extended tour coach they were actually going by bus!
Some years ago, Southampton Citybus had a pair of what in a single decker might be regarded as DPs, but these were double deck buses, available for private hire. (Nigel Frampton may remember the E…HRV vehicles) On one occasion, I overheard comments about what a pity it was that, going along the M1, we couldn’t match the speed of "all these other coaches". Of course not, we were on a bus, then limited to 50mph while a coach was allowed 60. One morning, one of my travelling companions commented "Oh, good! A comfy bus this morning!" as one of these approached.

Pete Davies

01/12/15 – 09:58

Pete, there are no speed limit distinctions between ‘buses’ and ‘coaches’. Both were passenger service vehicles, now called passenger carrying vehicles. Buses intended for normal stop/start duties would have been geared accordingly, and this would have been reflected in the top speed. Some manufacturers, notably Dennis and Bristol, were early users of five speed gearboxes which gave their products a livelier performance on the road.

Roger Cox

01/12/15 – 11:41

Thank you for that nugget, Roger. I thought I had read somewhere that there WAS (even if there isn’t now) a distinction on speed limits. Perhaps it’s another example of the fugiting Mr Tempus!

Pete Davies

03/12/15 – 10:59

Speaking, buses and coaches were classified as PSV – public service vehicles, not passenger service vehicles. I know – I used to handle the PSV licensing in London. It was a strange description, more suited to dustbin lorries.

David Wragg

03/12/15 – 10:59

I understand that a bus or coach under 12 metres long, capable of travelling at more than 60 mph and built before 1988 does not require to be fitted with a speed limiter and thus, if capable, can travel at more than 60 mph on a motorway.

Stephen Bloomfield

03/12/15 – 11:00

Pete – I certainly do remember the Southampton Olympian DPs. I think the E-HRVs stayed at Southampton for a full working life, and I believe that one (at least) still exists. There were a couple of earlier ones as well, but they were sold to Bullock of Cheadle after only a few years, along with 4 Dominator buses (the C-BBP registered vehicles).
Although I contributed to that discussion on SCT’61 about the DP classification, I’m not sure I would recommend it to anyone as light reading! I think the point to remember is that the DP classification is a convenience for the benefit of enthusiasts, and dates from an era when documentation was virtually all on printed paper and photos were much less widely available. It was intended to distinguish vehicles which had physical features of both buses and coaches, rather than those which were purely buses or purely coaches. For example, bus shell bodies with coach seats, or coaches with bus seats. It has nothing to do with the actual use to which the vehicle is put; it needs to be capable of being determined based on simple observation; and it needs to be consistent for all vehicles regardless of operator. Operators tend to have their own codes, which suit their purposes, but differ, such that largely identical vehicles are classified differently by different operators.
Of course, once you have a reasonably clear photograph of the vehicle (or you can see it in the metal), then the code becomes academic – you can see what shape of bodywork it has, and generally get a good idea of the type of seats. Given the almost infinite variety of combinations that have been built over the years, it is inevitable that there will be one or two anomalies when using a simple coding system of that nature, but that does not invalidate the code itself.

Nigel Frampton

03/12/15 – 11:01

Enthusiasts generally use the PSV Circle definition of DP, which is a bus shell with coach seats, or, very occasionally, a coach shell with bus seats. Operators often had their own definitions, which sometimes had more to do with what they wanted to do with the vehicle than its physical properties. It isn’t unusual to find a vehicle where the PSV Circle code is different from the operator’s.
I’m surprised that Don says Eastern Scottish classed this vehicle as a coach, because it was new as ZB115, and in the SCT61 discussion it was stated that Z meant dual-purpose.

Peter Williamson

04/12/15 – 06:06

In Eastern Scottish fleet numbers shown on single deck vehicles were prefixed by a letter or letters. A vehicle with only one letter before the fleet number denoted the vehicle type and also that is classified it as a bus. However the additional letters were as follows:
C Citylink coach
X Toilet fitted coach.Used on vehicles that operated on the services between Edinburgh and London.
Y non toilet fitted coach, often without any bulkhead behind the driver. Also not capable of being OPO operated. In many instances had the same type of seat fitted as those vehicles classed as a coach.
Z Dual purpose vehicle.
In other SBG companies a 49 seat Y type with high backed seats would be classed as a coach.

Stephen Bloomfield

04/12/15 – 06:07

Yes, David, you’re right. Public Service Vehicles. A slip of the mind and fingers. I acted as advocate for LCBS in the Traffic Courts for more than ten years, so senility is clearly upon me.

Roger Cox

04/12/15 – 06:08

Thank you, gents, for your further thoughts on what is or is not a DP . . .

Pete Davies

11/12/15 – 06:57

Highland tended to put all the OPO-capable coaches it got second-hand (like this one) into the Poppy Red and Peacock Blue bus livery; even toilet-fitted Bristol RELHs.

Stephen Allcroft

04/06/16 – 06:36

It might be correct that a coach earlier than a certain date, and with certain specification may not need to be fitted with a speed limiter but it is certainly not correct that it can travel at more than 60 mph. The legislation regarding speed limits and speed limiters is completely separate although the latter may have been introduced to facilitate the former. The 60mph rule was introduced before speed limiters became necessary.

Malcolm Hirst

05/06/16 – 07:14

A bus or coach under 12m long is theoretically allowed 70mph on motorways (but only 60 on dual carriageways and 50 on single carriageways) irrespective of when it was built. The government web-page does point out that the (compulsory) speed limiter may prevent a vehicle from reaching the permissible speed limit. See https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits

Stephen Ford


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