Old Bus Photos

R Preston of Ferryhill – Tilling Stevens Express – DPT 24

R. Preston of Ferryhill - Tilling Stevens - DPT 24
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

R Preston of Ferryhill (County Durham)
193?/4? – 1938
Tilling Stevens Express
Plaxton C32F

Here is a photo of what I think is a Tilling Stevens Express, the body seems to be a Plaxton D2 pattern job which would date it to the late 1930s early 40s. We did a partial reframe of one – ugh, never forgotten the back was rotten where the sunshine roof drains had long since perished. But if the chassis is an Express then this would surely be a rebody I think. At the time of the photograph this vehicle is being operated by R. Preston on, I suspect, miner’s contract work, the condition is about right for miner’s trucks. I don’t think for a second that the vehicle was new to R Preston but I have no history of its earlier life.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Dave Gladwin

09/11/12 – 07:52

The Durham registration DPT would date this bus to 1938.

Geoff Kerr

09/11/12 – 07:52

The radiator shape, slightly narrower and shorter than the post war variety (which was also slightly curved), suggests that this is probably a petrol engined H39A7 vehicle that was produced from about 1935 up to the cessation of wartime production. The body I cannot identify for certain, but it has definitely seen better days than the one on which the photo was taken.

Roger Cox

09/11/12 – 13:08

I’m pretty sure that this is a Plaxton D3 body. In the Venture Publishing book on Plaxton by Stewart J. Brown, there is a picture of an unidentified D3 on a Leyland Tiger chassis which has all the same features – including the distinctive, heavily arched cab and emergency door window tops, window layout, side flashes, and of course the characteristic shape of the destination boxes. It states that the design appeared towards the end of 1937.

John Stringer

27/02/13 – 06:06

TSM HA39A7, chassis number 8801, new in 5/38 to Coulson, Rushyford (part of the ABC consortium until 1946) with Plaxton C32F body. Passed to Preston, Ferryhill in 1948 and withdrawn 6/54. (Source: PSV Circle publication PA1: Durham District Services).



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Altonian Coaches – Tilling Stevens – GOU 732

GOU 732_lr
Copyright Roger Cox

Altonian Coaches
Tilling Stevens K6LA7
Scottish Aviation C33F

The Chiltern Queens gallery contributed from Ray Soper has recently included references to the former Altonian Tilling Stevens. GOU 732 is a Tilling Stevens K6LA7 with a Scottish Aviation C33F body that was delivered to Altonian Coaches in 1949. The engine is a Gardner 6LW. It is seen here in the summer of 1970 in the rather startling Altonian livery.

One wonders if this vehicle gave SELNEC PTE the "inspiration" (how the English language lends itself to irony) for its grotesque orange/white livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

20/10/11 – 06:50

Would you call it "Burnt Umber" and Cream?
SELNEC was just Orange and White!


20/10/11 – 06:51

Bizarre to see this posting. Altonian went under two or three years ago and the bones and entrails were divided between Wheelers of Southampton and Orange Coach Travel of Aldershot. By that time Altonian had an uninspired overall orange livery – identical with Orange C T – and the vehicles fitted in easily.
The legacy to Orange C T included two Neoplan Cityliners on Dennis Javelin GX chassis – perhaps the most unreliable vehicles operated by either operator.
[I am the occasional standby part-timer at Orange C T!]

David Oldfield

20/10/11 – 08:24

…and which is the door?! It looks as if it had a centre door, but this now has a sliding ventilator: in front of this it all looks very flush but there’s some gear at the bottom…


20/10/11 – 08:47

Maybe I’m just gaudy but I thought the Altonian colour scheme looked nice! That bright apricot and cream would have cheered up many a dull day…but the styling does seem to be a little bit of a mismash with those low set headlights and drooping windscreen making the bus look sad but friendly. I wonder how long it survived after the modifications to the entrance began to fail!

Richard Leaman

20/10/11 – 11:46

The good news is that GOU 732 survives in preservation. The last time I saw it (and rode on it!) was at a Heart of the Pennines running day quite a while ago and at that point it was painted in a fictional "Wulfrun Motor Services" livery of green and yellow. Does anybody know of any other preserved Tilling-Stevens PSVs from the post-war period? I seem to remember that there was a Plaxton bodied Express Mk II in preservation at one point. This was the mosel which received similar bodywork to Bedford SBs rather than a half-cab layout.

Neville Mercer

20/10/11 – 15:49

Yes, had a ride on this at the 2010 Kingsbridge 7 foot 6 inch running day, from Kingsbridge to Salcombe and back. It was in the fictitious Wulfrun livery. See the pictures below. As for this livery, it puts me in mind of the famous London Brighton and South Coast Railway loco livery, described (perhaps with tongue in cheek) as "Stroudley’s Improved Engine Green"!

Stephen Ford

Kingsbridge 022

Kingsbridge 042

Kingsbridge 043

21/10/11 – 06:34

Have those with children/grandchildren noticed that’s its actually Bertie the Bus, Thomas the Tank Engine’s friend! Anyway- thanks for the picture of the well-fitting door!


21/10/11 – 06:36

Roger has certainly got the hump over the SELNEC orange and white livery. While I admit it didn’t sit too well on the older half cabs, particularly where there was an exposed radiator, I thought it suited the newer rear engined vehicles quite well. On the basis that some of the other newly formed PTE’s simply adopted a variation of the livery of the largest operator, at least we in SELNEC land were spared Manchester’s ‘paint it all red’ livery!

Philip Halstead

21/10/11 – 06:37

The colours used for the "Wulfrun" livery are the same shades as the former Wolverhampton Corporation livery hence the name!

Chris Hough

21/10/11 – 10:08

I always thought that SELNEC/GMT Orange and Cream was by far the best new PTE livery. [What about the horrendous South Yorkshire Coffee and cream?] Of course Stockport Red and Cream, Salford Green and Rochdale and Ashton Blue were preferable – but they would never have had a look anyway.

David Oldfield

21/10/11 – 10:10


Here is a photo of another Tilling Stevens coach, after disposal to a showman, but whether it is a K6LA7 (Gardner) or K6MA7 (Meadows) I know not, though the 6LW is more likely. The bodywork looks like a Strachans design, and the registration LHW 152 is a Bristol area plate. I took this picture on Mitcham Common in 1961. Can our experts come up with more information?

Roger Cox

21/10/11 – 14:47

LHW 152 was issued in October 1948 by Bristol CC so when Roger took that picture the coach was not that old but I will be interested to know whom the original operator might have been. No doubt it was lost many years ago as it does not appear on the DVLA records.

Richard Leaman

24/10/11 – 11:56

My contacts in Bristol tell me that LHW 152 was new to A H Fielding (Empress Coaches) of Bristol, 4/49. TSM K6LA7, body is Strachan C33F.
Withdrawn by them 2/60 and sold to a showman (Hill), Gloucester. I must have seen it in my school days!

Geoff Kerr

25/10/11 – 07:26

The Hill’s were big showground folk in the South West and Billy Butlin wed one of them before he launched his first holiday camp at Skegness.

Chris Hebbron

26/10/11 – 06:04

Geoff..thank you for the information. I recall Empress Coaches very well but not that particular coach. I also remember the Showman, Hills and am sure they used to hold circus shows around the Bristol area. The coach is most unlikely to have survived much into the 1970’s at best I suppose.

Richard Leaman

23/04/12 – 06:00

GOU was at the King Alfred Running Day in Winchester a few years ago. The owner was telling me the livery is that of Wolverhampton corporation, applied in the style he thought they would have used had they gone in for coaches.

Pete Davies

06/11/12 – 13:48

GOU 732_lr

I took this 20 odd years ago at the Outer Circle Rally (itself long defunct). I do not think it was very long after it was rebuilt and repainted from the old Altonian livery. It looked superb, but if it was like the other Scottish Aviation body that came to our body shop it must have been a real labour of love by Mr. Harris.

David Gladwin

06/11/12 – 15:29

David-do not wish your life away the Outer Circle photo was taken between 1998 and 2000. The fictional Wulfrun livery was applied in either 98 or 99.
The vehicle is to be used to celebrate 90th anniversary of Wolverhampton trolleybuses in 2013 as they had TS initially and a TS coach in corporation livery is the nearest anyone is going to get to re-enactment

Roger Burdett

15/11/12 – 16:42

First, what a super website, I only found this by accident. The TS, I believe, also spent some time with Classic Coaches of Wombourne, Staffs.
I remember seeing this some years back dropping school children off in Kingswinford! I very much doubt if they realised just what a classic coach they were travelling on.

William Parker

02/05/14 – 08:13

The vehicle broke down last year on the way to the Wolverhampton event – fuel starvation and problems with the auto vac. It happened again on the way back from Statfold Barn Railway in March. Since then Roger has been working hard to sort out this problem and hopefully it will now be present at Wythall running day on May 4th.

Ken Jones

02/05/14 – 10:22

To make this magnificent Tilling-Stevens even uniquer (that’ll get the language purists going!) it has a 6-speed David Brown gearbox, replacing the original 5-speeder. Unless it’s been changed back since.

Ian T

02/05/14 – 15:15

Ian it still has a 6 speed DB Box but a different one than previously as the old one wore out the gear collar in 5th

Roger Burdett

06/09/15 – 07:05

I remember this TS well as it was my daily transport to school in the late 1970’s into the early 80’s. Recalled from the withdrawn from service row of old coaches kept at the Altonian Coaches depot (Warrens Transport) renovated and put back into service, this was mostly driven by Guy Warren. There was another coach of similar style in the row but this disappeared along with the six wheeler Duple bodied. The TS always had a door at the front and as far as I recall, had green upholstery. Little known is its appearance in the St Trinians movie ‘The Belles of St Trinians’ (1955). It always wore the Altonian colours of orange/cream which looked the part in the 70’s !!


GOU 732_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

07/10/15 – 06:25

It still has green upholstery.
Looking at David Gladwin comment the body is aluminium framed and has required minimal work to keep it functional.
Issue has been a sticking autovac despite being renewed which means you sometimes have to clump it to keep fuel flowing.
The vehicle is next scheduled to be at Rallies in 2017

Roger Burdett


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Chiltern Queens – Tilling-Stevens K6LA7 – DBW 66

Chiltern Queens - Tilling-Stevens K6LA7 - DBW 66
Copyright Ray Soper

Chiltern Queens of Woodcote
Tilling-Stevens K6LA7
Vincent C33F

This shot is from the Ray Soper gallery contribution titled "Chiltern Queens of Woodcote" click on the title if you would like to view his Gallery and comments.
The shot is shown here for indexing purposes but please feel free to make any comment regarding this vehicle either here or on the gallery.

Hi, I have always lived in Eltham, SE London and clearly remember in 1959/60 travelling on a Tilling Stevens coach then operated by Cliffs Coaches of Eltham. I remember being so impressed with the unusual ‘whistling’ noise on the overrun that I was determined to find out what make it was. I was 10 or 11 at the time and already a London bus and trolleybus fanatic. The coach was full-fronted, but had a full width bulkhead and I later surmised it had been ‘modernised’ with the full front. It had a Tilling Stevens badge however. I never recorded the reg. number I’m afraid, but is there anyone else who remembers this vehicle ?

Ernie Jupp

17/01/13 – 15:25

With reference to the identity of the TSM owned by Cliff’s of Eltham, there were in fact two:
MXU 387 TSM L4MA8 (9820) bodied by Gurney Nutting FC37F new to Cliff’s in 1952 and sold to Valedene Coaches, Sutton Valence, Kent in December 1961
NXL 15 TSM L4MA8 (9838) bodied by Duple (Vega style) FC37F new to Cliff’s in 1953 and sold to Callaghan, London N1 by September 1962.
I went to school in Sidcup from 1958 to 1964 and remember being mightily impressed by a ride to and from the London Motor Cycle show on one of Cliff’s first two Thames Trader/Duple Yeoman C41F reg. 559 and 560 RPC.

Chris Ellis

18/01/13 – 06:08

This 1948 coach was acquired with the Kemp’s business in 1955. It is a Tilling-Stevens K6LA7 with Vincent of Reading C33F Coachwork. It was withdrawn in 1963.

Philip Lamb

15/05/13 – 07:31

I was interested in the comment about Cliff’s of Eltham having a full-front Tilling-Stevens L6MA7 with Meadows engine.
I recall a trip from Sevenoaks to Margate by Davis of Sevenoaks in 1955 or 1956. The refreshment stop on the way home was at Molash.
I recall seeing a passing full-front coach sounding quite unlike anything I had heard before and saw the Tilling-Stevens badge as it went by. Could that have been the one from Cliff’s (presumably the Gurney-Nutting one as I think I would have noticed the Duple variety)?

John Humphrey

15/05/13 – 15:23

This might qualify as nitpicking, but technically the bodywork on Tilling Stevens Express Mk 2s (the model with chassis codes beginning with "L") should be described as "C37F" etc rather than "FC37F". The model was designed from the outset as a fully fronted vehicle in the same way as the Bedford SB, Commer Avenger, Guy Otter, or Seddon Mk 4/6. Does anybody know how many Express Mk 2s were built? They were pretty rare.

Neville Mercer

16/05/13 – 06:34

I don’t know how the total of Express Mk II’s built after the war, Neville, but their largest order was for 158 chassis, built in 1947/1948 for export to Hong Kong (China Motor Bus (108) & Kowloon Motor Bus (50))

Chris Hebbron

16/05/13 – 13:58

Further to Neville’s comments, I have a picture of a L4MA8 (4DC engine) which was owned by Trumans of Shirebrook. The body was C37F and it was virtually same as the Bedford SB style except for a different grille and higher build. It too was described incorrectly by the PSV Circle as FC37F. It was registered UNO 880 and was new to Edwards of Rainham. It was operated briefly by East Midland when they took over Trumans.

Chris Barker

20/05/13 – 07:15

I’m extremely grateful to Chris Ellis and the other correspondents for the info. on the Cliff’s Tilling Stevens coaches. I can safely say that ‘my’ ride would have been on the earlier Gurney Nutting bodied coach as I was quite familiar with the more common Duple bodied coaches. Was the whistling on over-run typical ?
The trip described was a school trip to the wonderful Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch, and I indulged myself spotting trolleybuses passing on the 543/643, 647 and 649 services. There seemed to be at least one per minute in each direction – heaven !

Ernie Jupp


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