Old Bus Photos

Solent Strutters – Bedford SB – 539 XTF

Solent Strutters - Bedford SB - 539 XTF

Solent Strutters Majorettes
Bedford SB5
Duple C41F

539 XTF wass a Bedford SB5 with Duple C41F body, and it has been relegated to duty for the Solent Strutters Majorettes group. The registration indicates it was new to an operator in Lancashire in the period 1961 to 1963, depending on the gap between order and delivery (Look, for example, at Lancaster’s 201-203 YTE). We see it in the rally at Netley on 13 July 1986: soon after this it sank to even greater depths with travellers and has since been scrapped. So much is fact, but now we have a question: who was its first operator?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

17/07/16 – 08:12

New to Barnes, Rawtenstall, Lancashire in March 1962, along with with 540 XTF.

David Hick

18/07/16 – 08:41

Thank you, David. I did wonder if the first operator might have been Battersby/Silver Grey of Morecambe. They had several of this combination (well, SB if not this model).

Pete Davies


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Lancaster City Transport – Leyland Titan – LHG 537

Lancaster City Transport - Leyland Titan - LHG 537

Lancaster City Transport
Leyland Titan PD3/6
East Lancs H41/32F

At Local Government Reorganisation in 1974, Lancaster merged with Morecambe & Heysham to form a ‘new’ Lancaster City Transport. The operator found itself short of modern, serviceable, vehicles and some were acquired from Maidstone Borough, some from what had become Burnley & Pendle, one from Merthyr Tydfil, and there was even a Seddon (ex Demonstrator) which has appeared on these pages already. LHG 537 is one of the Burnley contingent, a Titan PD3/6 with East Lancs H73F body, dating from 1961. In this view, she is climbing the hill of Great John Street, towards Lancaster Town Hall, on the 2 to Hala. It is 20 May 1975 and she is still in the Burnley arrangement of maroon and cream – not a great deal different from the Lancaster arrangement – with fleetname in Tilling style.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

16/07/16 – 05:30

Lancaster also bought a lowbridge Atlantean from Trent and a number of ex Salford ones from GMTPTE In addition an ex Wallace Arnold Leyland Leopard was bought from Fishwick.

Chris Hough

16/07/16 – 17:16

Pete is quite correct when he says that the enlarged Lancaster undertaking was short of modern vehicles, much of the fleet comprising ageing AEC Regents at Morecambe. What is quite amusing though is that the "modern" fleet additions he mentions comprised of a variety of buses built between 1957 and 1961, so on arriving around 1974 were somewhat long in the tooth themselves!
The one depicted – and its sisters – were never used as OPO buses in Lancaster and nor were they in Burnley. However, the window to the left and behind the driver appears to have been modified, presumably for the purpose of OPO – and I note the unusual position of the mirror underneath the second ‘A’ of the destination, presumably to give the driver a view of the lower saloon/platform area with a view to being used single-manned.

Dave Towers

18/07/16 – 06:56

This batch of PD3’s had the front bulkhead window arrangement from new. It was a common arrangement on early forward entrance double deckers to allow drivers to see the platform and communicate with the conductor but OPO of double deckers was at that time a long way off becoming legal. The arrangement was tidied up on later designs with the whole front window being angled to avoid the two-piece window. After this it became less noticeable.

Philip Halstead


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Charlie’s Cars – Albion Valiant – LJ 9501 – 57

Charlie's Cars - Albion Valiant - LJ 9501 - 57

Charlie’s Cars (Bournemouth)
Albion Valiant
Harrington C32F

In my early days of working in Southampton, I worked with a fellow whose Secondary School days had been spent in Christchurch, then in Hampshire. He commented several times about the firm ‘Charlie’s Cars’, saying that one of his teachers was something of a snob who refused to use the registered name. He always called it ‘Charles’s Cars’. LJ 9501 is an Albion Valiant PV70 (Jenkinson, 1978) or SpPV70 (PSVC 2012), new in 1934, but given this Harrington C32F body in 1947. She spent several years under restoration at Cobham, but we see her taking part in the Harrington Gathering at Amberley on 3 June 2012.

LJ 9501_2

This second view shows the bodymaker’s plate.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

12/07/16 – 07:38

I have fond memories of Charlie’s Cars from my youth, growing up in Bournemouth, although I expect this fine example was already withdrawn or close to it, by the time I was born!
Their garage was along the South side of Alma Road near Winton Banks. it had a large wooden sign across the entrance, at high level, with ‘Charlie’s Cars’ written on it in the house colours. The ‘sunshine’ radiator is a nice touch; was this a common feature of the period?

Grahame Arnold

12/07/16 – 12:00

I don’t know if it was a common feature on the radiator, but it was certainly on the badge. It’s the Albion logo ‘Sure as the sunrise’

Ronnie Hoye

12/07/16 – 18:00

Hebble had three Valiant coaches (two with English Electric bodies and one with Northern Counties). Whilst going through the Halifax Motor Taxation Records in about 1970 tracing local vehicles I found that one of the English Electric-bodied ones had passed just after the war to a private owner in Stainland, just outside Halifax, who was the last recorded owner, the licence having been surrended almost immediately.
Later in the 1970’s when I was involved with a bus preservation group, one of the group learned purely by chance from someone he’d met of an ‘old bus’ that a man from Halifax had kept on a farm near Allerston, on the Scarborough to Pickering road, for use as a holiday caravan. On further investigation it turned out to be this very same man from Stainland and the ‘bus’ was that Hebble Valiant – JX 507. How exciting – what a rare survivor, and when could we go and have a look with a view to acquiring it. Then it turned out that it had been dragged out of its spot only a couple of weeks beforehand and totally destroyed. It had survived all that time, and we’d missed it by two weeks. Isn’t that always the way ?

John Stringer

12/07/16 – 18:00

Thanks, Grahame and Ronnie. Whilst the feature is an element of the Albion badge, as Ronnie says, I’ve never seen it on another Albion radiator. Perhaps that’s because this is a preserved vehicle, and kept cleaner than many would be whilst ‘working’. Any offers on that?

Pete Davies


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 24th July 2016