Old Bus Photos

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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Barton Transport – Dennis Loline – 861 HAL – 861

Barton Transport - Dennis Loline - 861 HAL - 861

Barton Transport
Dennis Loline II
Northern Counties FL37/31F

861 HAL is the famous ‘limbo dancing’ Dennis Loline II from the Barton fleet. It has an ultra lowbridge Northern Counties FL68F body and we see it at the Netley rally on 13 July 1986. How low can you go? Well, King Alfred’s WCG 104, Tiger Cub, is alongside – compare heights!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

17/11/16 – 07:08

Where does this Loline live now? A long-standing ambition is just to see it: riding on it would be the cherry on top.

Ian Thompson

17/11/16 – 07:09

So much has been written about 861 that I apologise if I’m repeating what’s gone before but for those who may not know, this ultra low Loline was purchased specially by Bartons to pass under an ultra low railway bridge at Sawley Junction station (now renamed Long Eaton) This it did, just, but Bartons proved it could be done. However, the Traffic Commissioners were having none of it and refused to licence the intended route for double deck operation. This left the company with a one-off vehicle with no real purpose but all was not lost for 861 because it became regularly employed on the X42 Nottingham – Derby express service where it put in some astonishing performances, up to 70 mph on the A52 road between the two cities. For most of it’s life it had a Leyland O.600 engine and also a regular driver too, a chap who was always immaculate in Barton’s brown uniform complete with striped shirt and bow tie, I never knew his name but he was known to everyone as ‘Flash Harry’ and a very competent driver he was. The X42 was jointly operated with Trent but those who knew and wanted an exhilarating ride chose Barton!

Chris Barker

17/11/16 – 10:36

Thanks, Chris and Ian. The PSVC listing for 2015 says 861 is part of the Barton collection, but I don’t know the location. A Wiki search gives me all sorts of museums, rare breeds farms and so on, but not what I’m actually seeking!

Pete Davies

17/11/16 – 10:37

This vehicle has become legendary, but I have never actually seen it. I don’t know if those alleged speeds are verifiable – the bus must have been very highly geared to get to 70 mph (I’ve got quite near to that in a 6LXCT powered Olympian). Nevertheless, I can vouch for the supreme stability of the Loline at high speeds, so 861 would have been entirely safe when motoring fast, especially so with such a low built body.

Roger Cox

17/11/16 – 10:56

861 currently resides in its old depot at Chilwell, along with the other members of the Barton Collection. The premises are usually open to the public during the Heritage Weekend in September each year. Well worth a visit.

Bob Gell

17/11/16 – 12:31

It appeared as part of the Barton display at Showbus this year. I believe the Chilwell site has approval for redevelopment, but don’t know how that will affect the Barton collection.

Ian Comley

17/11/16 – 14:40

861 HAL_2

As presented in the Barton line-up at Showbus 2016.

Les Dickinson

18/11/16 – 07:12

Given that the Loline was offered with a variety of engines, in this case the Leyland 0.600 being fitted, I’ve often wondered how 861 achieved such a low windscreen line together with what appears to be minimal engine intrusion beside the driver. It would seem to be much lower than, say, a Lowlander bonnet line or any other Lolines for that matter. For the technically minded, would the engine have been modified at all, or perhaps a shallower radiator fitted?

Chris Barker

18/11/16 – 07:17

Here is a link to my Flickr site where I have a set of 20 photos of  Barton vehicles at Showbus 2016. Barton at Showbus 2016

Les Dickinson

19/11/16 – 13:38

Thanks for the info, gentlemen. I hadn’t realised that 861 was on the road, so I particularly regret not going to September’s Showbus—especially with all the other fascinating Barton vehicles there. To complement the ingenuity of the mechanical design and seating layout, everything about 861 looks well integrated: the very opposite of the afterthought-plastered-onto-afterthought appearance of some 1960s deckers.

Ian Thompson

20/11/16 – 05:49

Chris, like you, I am convinced that the radiator must have been repositioned or modified to achieve that low windscreen level, and the same is surely true also in respect of the similar bodies on the Barton Regent Vs of the type shown in this link:- www.oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk/

Roger Cox

20/11/16 – 08:20

I take it, Roger, that the Regents weren’t ‘limbo dancers’ in the same was as the Loline – just broadly similar at first glance.

Pete Davies

21/11/16 – 07:50

If you compare the photos of other Loline 2s on this site, you can see that the radiator grille on 861 HAL is much lower, relative to the front wheels, than on other examples of the model.

Nigel Frampton

21/11/16 – 07:51

The clear recognition point between the Loline and the similar-looking Regents is the distance between the top of the wheelarch and the base of the windscreen and side window line.
But both are classic versions of a pleasing design that hasn’t been bettered by the more recent use of economical flat glass for windscreens. The wrap-around look gave a real sense of style, in my opinion. And, of course, much better visibility than certain modern buses with heavy non-glazed corner panels.

Peter Murnaghan

21/11/16 – 10:33

When 861 and Regents 850-4 were delivered they were fitted with the Cave Brown Cave heating system, so presumably they didn’t have a radiator in the conventional position. After only a few years, the CBC grilles disappeared, but it begs the question as to where the radiator is now. I remember one journey on 861 on the X42 with a new driver; I think he must have been used to the Regent Vs (four speed gearbox) as he never found fifth gear on the Loline for the whole journey!

Bob Gell

22/11/16 – 12:27

Fifth gear on the Loline I and II was engaged by pushing the stick forward from fourth into neutral, and then over to the right and back again in a ‘U’ movement. If the driver hadn’t been shown, he would probably never have found it. Changing back down from overdrive to fourth needed practice, too, to avoid engaging second gear by mistake. The trick was to move the stick forward into neutral and let it go, so that the detent spring could centre it properly, and then just pull it straight back into fourth.

Roger Cox

22/11/16 – 13:45

The curved front windows look natural on this bus and not out of place as they definitely do on the later Southdown Queen Mary Titans.

David Wragg

22/11/16 – 16:14

This would seem to be the same procedure as I used to observe drivers doing in the Dennis Lances, Roger, if I’m not mistaken, as I travelled from/to Woking Station and St. Peter’s Hospital, Ottershaw.

Chris Hebbron

22/11/16 – 16:15

Roger Thanks for the explanation of finding fifth gear (and getting out of it again!); is this similar to the 5 speed gearbox fitted to Bristol MWs?

Bob Gell

23/11/16 – 07:28

Whilst 850-4 and 861 had Cave-Browne-Cave equipment when new 957-62 did not and the radiators of tin-front buses were generally a lot smaller than the 1940s -style exposed items. I recall that unlike some Northern Counties full front bodies the regents did not use the manufacturer’s bonnet pressings. Perhaps the owner of one of the preserved examples could comment further.

Stephen Allcroft

23/11/16 – 07:29

In answer to Chris H, the Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox fitted to the Lancet, Lance and Lancet UF (though the few LU4 late examples had the Meadows gearbox) worked the ‘wrong way round’ from right to left, and was essentially a four speed sliding mesh (i.e. true ‘crash’) unit with a preselective overdrive on the end of it. To engage fifth the gear stick had to be pushed from the fourth position over to the left and forward. Unlike me, OBP contributor Ian Thompson has driven Dennis machines with this unique box, so he is our ‘in house’ expert here. The Bristol box, Bob, as fitted to the LS and MW, was a synchromesh unit working conventionally upwards from left to right, and I do have experience of it. Fifth gear was engaged from the fourth position by moving it to the right and forward. It was thus impossible to engage/disengage fifth except though fourth, which meant much labouring of the stick to get going again if one was baulked in overdrive. The Lodekka had the same gear positions, but in that case the gearbox was a constant mesh affair, making the extrication process from overdrive rather more difficult. Generally speaking, Lodekka drivers seemed very reluctant to use fifth in service unless a clear stretch of open road beckoned. By contrast, all versions of the Loline (the Loline III had a gear selector layout similar to the Reliance) allowed immediate access to neutral and the other gears from the fifth gear slot, and fifth was treated as the normal top gear. This feature alone meant that the Loline was a more sprightly machine on the road than the Lodekka.

Roger Cox

24/11/16 – 09:45

For those who would like more information on ‘Dennis ‘O’ Type 5 Speed Gearbox’ see this site:- //www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/ogearbox.html

Roger Cox

25/11/16 – 07:24

Thx, Roger, for explaining much more about these gearboxes and that the ‘O’ was different from the Loline. You can quite see that drivers put on these vehicles without any advice, would have difficulty finding overdrive, or, if inexperienced, preferred the simplicity of avoiding it!

Chris Hebbron

25/11/16 – 10:37

One endearing thing about Dennis is that they don’t sheepishly follow the crowd. As Roger’s link to Ted Gamblin’s piece makes clear, changing into and out of the Maybach-designed overdrive on the Dennis "O"-type box is simplicity itself, whereas the other gears need rather precise timing. With the strange two-shaft box of the Loline I and II, on the other hand, you can hardly go wrong with any upward or downward changes, EXCEPT for the change down from fifth into fourth, which needs care not only in locating fourth properly in the gate, as Roger points out, but also in engine-speed matching. Having to go through first to engage and disengage reverse can also take you by surprise!
I may be over-generalising here, since the only Loline I I’ve ever driven is ex-A&D 357, currently out of action with gearbox problems.
It’s interesting that despite (or thanks to?) Dennis’s history of experimental and sometimes eccentric design, and their near-disappearance from the PSV market on several occasions, the company in its present form continues to thrive. Good that they escaped Leyland’s clutches!

Ian Thompson

29/01/17 – 08:43

With BartoN Transport Ltd family and employees we had somewhat different names for the vehicles than what the spotters and enthusiasts call them nowadays. For example the full fronted AEC regents were known as Derby Deckers nothing else, all the ex Londons were London Deckers the 30 foot AEC 470 saloon were known as Reliance (which they were) but the 590s were known as 36 footers. Any thing with a PD1 or PD2 engine was known as just that, we never used Tiger or Titan, or what the chassis originally was. A Vuemaster was that and only that regardless of what it was made from, body names like Vista and Vega were never used. The moggy pickup trucks were vans, the AECs with 3 seats one side and two the other were Jumbos.

Bill Redfern

25/02/17 – 16:30

The driver of 861 on the x42 Derby/Nottm express was Harry Bell or ding dong as we used to call him. His opposite was Ken Gardener also very smart with a dicky bow. I recall this very well as I used to drive 861 on a Saturday which was their day off.

Chris Coleman

05/12/17 – 14:25

I drove 861 the Loline on Saturdays overtime I was out the garage, worked on it a lot and went out to it on breakdowns, not everyone’s cup of tea. On Saturdays Red Michael the Russian conductor would sit at the back looking for police cars and I could do 70mph if not more he managed to get a drink each end Notts and Derby it was on the non stop Derby express, we were never late.

Bill Redfern

06/12/17 – 08:03

If 861 did 70mph then fully laden it must have been very sluggish as the gearing must have been high.

Roger Burdett

06/12/17 – 09:20

Quite so Roger, the engine would be seriously over revving to do 70mph, so if Bill saw this speed on the clock either it was over reading or it was in kilometres per hour (44 mph).

John Wakefield

07/12/17 – 08:48

Why would Dennis calibrate speeds in kph? I think Bill would know his 44’s from his 70’s! Some Barton buses used to make a lovely chuffing noise when "cruising" which I always used to think was their valves happily bouncing?


26/10/18 – 16:09

Having ridden in 861 during the 90’s. including a London to Brighton trip, out of Chilwell depot. It was a fast motor. The only problem was the steering judder. It meant we had to change drivers ever hour My dad Bill Mann was one of the team that saved it and helped bring it back to life. I think Bill Redfern might have been driving the bull that winched us up the pit at the depot.

Alistair Mann

02/12/20 – 06:37

In the Auto Review book 165 Bus & Coach Album 1 there’s a picture of 861 and it’s definitely 861 with a Regent V grille, not the Loline grille shown on the pictures above. It’s a shot of it in preservation. When was the grille changed and why?

Glenn Jones

03/12/20 – 06:36

Glenn, Bartons had a very competent fibreglass shop in their Chilwell works and they produced fibreglass replicas of the Regent V style grille, these were fitted when the originals had been accident damaged and not only to AECs, at least one of their full front PS1/B rebuilds had a pseudo AEC grille fitted and in the triangle where AEC would have been, they had carefully applied the name LEYLAND across the centre.
Such attention to minor details like that were typical and always pleasing to see.

Chris Barker


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Barton Transport – Leyland Tiger – WAL 782 – 782

Barton Transport - Leyland Tiger - WAL 782 - 782

Barton Transport
Leyland Tiger PS1/B
Willowbrook L61RD

This evocative shot was taken at the 2011 Heart of the Pennines event, and shows the splendid Willowbrook-bodied Tiger rebuild of 1957 arriving at The Piece Hall in Halifax. Not only did it look great, it sounded great too. Barton’s wonderful fleet had many of these rebuilds.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

31/05/13 – 06:40

And luckily Les, we have the sound of one of them right here on this site. Time for another listen on the ‘Old Bus Sounds’ page!

Chris Barker

31/05/13 – 07:00

Yes, the Barton rebuilds, the Willowbrook batch were modern-looking with clean lines, but then, see how the rear wheels were set well in, betraying their 7`6 heritage. Looking around inside, they were obviously an economy product – very basic lightweight construction and lots of brown paint, but surely that was their specification and in that respect they delivered. I first encountered this one parked outside Loughborough Central station years ago, and was amazed to realise it had survived, a Barton rebuild!!
Never thought I would see one again.

WAL 782_2

Later, I encountered it again, and I attach one of my pics, here at the LVVS open day in November 2010, where it was a regular performer on trips into Lincoln City Centre but here parked among representatives of many past decades. Needless to say, I contrived to be aboard for some of these journeys, and the sound effects revived old memories. On the straight sections, it managed to trigger off the 30mph warning signs.

Rob Hancock

31/05/13 – 17:58

Was the need for the extra short top deck bay structural as it spoils an otherwise well balanced design?

Phil Blinkhorn

31/05/13 – 17:59

I recall about 1964 one of these was hired for an evening educational visit from Long Eaton Grammar School to Breedon on the Hill, out beyond Castle Donington on the old A453. It was a novel experience, as the arched 13ft 9in headroom railway bridge at Sawley Junction (now Long Eaton) station precluded the use of double deckers on the service buses (3, 3C, 10 and 11) that went in that direction. [Most of you will know that the experimental lowbridge layout Dennis Loline 861HAL was a bid to overcome this obstacle, but as even 861 had to take the centre of the road to clear the bridge, its use in service was not permitted – otherwise, who knows, there might have been a fleet of them.] Anyway, back to the Tiger rebuild, our trip left Long Eaton by Derby Road to Breaston, where it turned sharp left over the Old Sawley level crossing, to reach the A453 after a detour of 2 or 3 miles.

Stephen Ford

01/06/13 – 06:23

Phil, I tend to agree with you about the extra short bay spoiling the balance of the design. These vehicles were built to PS1 length and no doubt Willowbrook used their standard length window bays and needed to stick in an extra bit to make up the greater length. The following batch however were bodied by Northern Counties to a nice four bay design and looked much neater. I liked them both though and I had some memorable journeys on them in the early 1970’s on the X42 Derby – Nottingham express via the A52 by-pass!

Chris Barker

24/08/13 – 06:17

WAL 782_2

I was looking through Eddie Collings collection of photos for something and came across the above shot. It is WAL 782 not in Barton livery, it is in preservation and looking at other shots it is at a rally, more than likely down south with the Hastings trolleybus behind it. Was it in service with another operator between Barton and preservation this may explain the different livery.


29/04/14 – 08:20

These PD1s were always second rate vehicles, still at school l travelled on one on its maiden voyage, school run, later l worked for Barton Transport Ltd and sad to say 6 weeks redundancy under Trent, urrgh, l was in the engine shop, l was for along time oil engineer (oil changes) l got top money for an unskilled job, but l could do breakdowns recovery the best later on nights running repairs emergency PSV driving, recovery and breakdowns, local and distance, l done the very last run to Skegness with a decker 823, a PD2, l hate the day Trent took us over the family and staff did not want it, have many things to remember it by and my full uniform still fits,

Bill Redfern

29/04/14 – 16:45

A (very) belated reply to Peter’s query on intermediate owners of WAL 782.
According to the PSVC fleet history, 782 was sold to Ensign in 1974; then to Williams, Llangollen, Hollis Queensferry and Cross Roads Travel, Warrington in fairly quick time, before passing to preservationists in Kent in 1978, moving within preservation by 1996 in the Medway area. In recent years it was owned by Quantock MS; I believe it is currently owned by the Barton family, as part of their collection.

Bob Gell

30/04/14 – 07:22

It looks as if it could have been in poppy red and white. Heaven forbid!

Chris Barker

25/05/14 – 14:41

WAL 782

I’ve been going through the "Past Comments" and found this entry which I seem to have missed previously. I note comments about her history. Above is a view of her with Durrant, Sidcup, whilst in the Southsea Spectacular on 8 June 1980. Relax, folks, not poppy red as Chris feared! I believe she was actually new to Bolton Corporation, before her time with Barton.

Pete Davies

25/05/14 – 17:41

The only information I have managed to unearth on the net says that the chassis of WAL 782 was new in 1948 to Knowles & Son of Bolton, registered CWH 262, carrying a Santus C33F coach body. One of the sources is the Classic Bus Website, which is reasonably trustworthy.
The chassis is given as PS1/1 – does PS1/B (top of this page) indicate a Barton rebuild? If so, whose designation is it? I haven’t come across any suggestion that Barton used the vehicle in its coach form, but someone with a Barton fleet history should be able to say one way or the other.

David Call

30/05/14 – 13:04

The Circle fleet history of Barton confirms David’s information above – new in 1/48 as CWH 262 to Knowles of Bolton, with a Santus C33F body; to Enterprise Motors (Blackpool) Ltd in 5/53; then to Goulding and Smyth, Hooton, Cheshire and to Millburn Motors, Preston (dealer), who sold it to Barton. I doubt if it ran for Barton as acquired – more likely it was simply a source of a chassis for rebodying.
According to Alan Oxley’s book on Barton, relaxation of the double deck length to 30 feet allowed PS1 chassis from 27’6” to be rebuilt as double deckers and comply with regulations. He also states 782 and others, were standard Leyland PS1 products, which Barton coded for their own reference as PS1/B. The Circle fleet history records the chassis number as the original Leyland number with a B prefix.

Bob Gell

30/05/14 – 14:43

What do we know about Santus? I’ve never heard of them.

Chris Hebbron

30/05/14 – 15:05

Santus was a Wigan-based coach builder based in Wigan, along with Northern Counties and Massey. At one time there was a preserved Wigan Corporation Leyland Tiger (TS4?) with a Santus body. There was an article in Classic Bus magazine a few years ago about the firm. Apparently there is no connection between the Santus body builder and another firm of the same name also in Wigan which made toffees! Unfortunately I cannot now recall the fate of the Santus body-building company, only that they built saloons and coaches in pre-war days, and possibly early post-war. Can’t access the magazine article at present – Sorry.

Michael Hampton

30/05/14 – 18:13

There is a bit more about Santus on this site- a Bedford OB, it is thought (!) on the Isles of Scilly.


30/05/14 – 18:14

So, once again, my sources of information are found wanting (NOT Bolton CT!)

EK 8867 
The Santus-bodied Tiger is indeed a TS4, and I attach a view of her at the WETC open day on 7 October 2012

Pete Davies

30/05/14 – 18:17

Chris, our very well informed fellow contributor to this site, Neville Mercer, has given some information about Santus under the OBP entry for Vics Tours (Isles of Scilly) – Bedford OB.

Roger Cox

31/05/14 – 08:06

Well, once again my knowledge of something somewhat obscure has been satisfied by some knowledgeable folk. Thank you all. Remarkable that Wigan had at least three bus bodybuilders. Did Wigan Corporation show local loyalty by buying examples from all three companies?

Chris Hebbron

01/06/14 – 09:33

Yes Chris, Wigan did support all three Wigan coach builders in pre-war days. I’ve checked my Leyland Society book on the Leylands of Wigan Corporation. This shows Leyland TD1′s purchased and bodied by Leyland itself, plus the three Wigan builders in 1931. Santus also figures as the builder of single-deckers on TS4 and TS7 chassis, like the one shown earlier, now preserved. I think it owes it’s survival to being used as a library for several years. However after 1936, the Corporation used only NCME and Massey, and Leyland itself for its contracts. One batch was bodied by English Electric in 1939. Post-war, the body builder spread continued to be Leyland, NCME and Massey, but not Santus. The book I referred to doesn’t mention any reason for the Corporation excluding Santus from the order book in the later 1930′s. Apparently those supplied were to and “old fashioned” appearance, but this seems to have been a Wigan requirement, and also applied to those buses supplied by the other manufacturers. This still applied to the 1937 TD4s, whose bodied closely followed the 1929 Leyland TD1 design (piano front, etc)!

Michael Hampton

Chris, Wigan Corporation did indeed show loyalty to local manufacturers, as I believe that from 1929 onwards (apart possibly from wartime allocations) it sourced chassis solely from Leyland, and bodywork from either Northern Counties or Massey Brothers, although I’m not sure how many Santus-bodied buses it operated. However, it was no doubt prudent of the Corporation to help the local economy in this way, as many of the bodybuilders’ employees were likely to use the Corporation’s buses to get to and from work etc, thus helping swell the council’s coffers.

Brendan Smith

01/06/14 – 09:35

Certainly not post-war Chris H because Santus didn’t build double deckers. You really should have a look at their coaches though because they were quite unlike any others, I’ve always had a fascination for them and it’s a pity that there are no survivors but build quality put paid to that. They did body just about every chassis going though even if few of them had long lives, I suppose this Barton PS1 was typical, lasting less than ten years with it’s coach body.
It was actually revealed after the article in Classic Bus that the coach building and the confectionery business were in fact related so even though there are no remaining coaches, at least you can treat yourself to a bag of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls!

Chris Barker

02/06/14 – 07:24

Perhaps the excessive amount of sugar in the mint balls help to speed the decay of the vehicle body. Oh, we’re wandering off topic again!

Pete Davies

WAL 782 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

02/06/14 – 07:26

There is an example of postwar Santus coachwork in preservation, an unusual Seddon Mk IV registered DPR 518. It’s not been active for some time and I only discovered recently that it’s owned by someone I know (albeit not too well). I understand work is progressing on it very well.
With 74 PD1s and 42 PD2s with Leyland bodies and the first postwar Northern Counties and Massey double-deckers not delivered until 1956/7 I wouldn’t actually describe Wigan as loyal to the coachbuilders of the town. They bought just a handful of single-deckers prior to 1956, all with Northern Counties bodies. They clearly liked the Leyland body.

David Beilby

03/06/14 – 07:40

Well David that will ‘learn me’ to read my books more thoroughly, and also to clean my glasses more frequently. When I fished out my book on Northern Counties again, regarding Wigan Corporation it states that from 1930 onwards "bodywork was always built in the County Of Lancashire, and more often than not, supplied by either Northern Counties or Massey Brothers of Wigan". It was the "more often than not" that failed to register I’m afraid. I should have remembered the Leyland-bodied Leyland Titan PDs, which might have prompted me to think more broadly with ‘local’ meaning Lancashire rather than solely Wigan!

Brendan Smith


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