Old Bus Photos

L. P. T. B. – AEC Regent – DLU 92 – STL 2093

DLU 92

London Passenger Transport Board
1937
AEC Regent O661
London Transport Chiswick H30/26

The STL – the letters stand, rather confusingly, for ‘Short T Long’ – was introduced into London area service firstly by Thomas Tilling in October 1932 and then by the London General Omnibus Company in January 1933. The STL Regent then became the standard double decker for the new London Passenger Transport Board which came into being on 1 July 1933. The chassis was the latest version of the AEC Regent which took advantage of new regulations that allowed for the extension of the overall length from 25ft to 26ft on a wheelbase of 16ft 3ins, and an increase in the rear axle loading from 9½ to 10 tons. The LPTB STL class then reached a total of 2647 by the commencement of war in 1939, and a further 34 unfrozen chassis were added from the end of 1941. Twenty more buses complemented the STL class in 1946, but these were very different beasts from the LPTB specification, being standard post war AEC Regent II machines with provincial style Weymann bodywork. An example of which can be seen here
The STL class underwent several specification changes over its production run and subsequently in service – engine changes (petrol/indirect injection diesel/direct injection diesel) and many bodywork swaps, some arising from the attrition of wartime. STL 2093, DLU 92, seen above during the HCVC Brighton rally of May 1971, was a 1937 chassis powered by the AEC A171 indirect injection 7.58 litre diesel driving through the AEC D132 four speed spring operated preselector gearbox. It was initially bodied by Park Royal, but, being damaged in an air raid, it was sent to Birmingham City Transport for repair in 1944. By 1949 the body was deemed past further use and it was scrapped in February of that year. STL 2093 then received the Chiswick built body from 1939 vintage STL 2570, the chassis of which was then selected to join the expensive and ultimately fruitless SRT conversion programme, under which newer STL chassis were ‘upgraded’ to carry the heavier RT bodywork. Sadly, not only were the SRTs under powered but, more seriously, they couldn’t stop, and the whole wasteful exercise was abandoned ignominiously. This OBP entry contains comments on the SRT debacle. www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/
Meanwhile, now carrying its Chiswick body, STL 2093 soldiered on, even seeing a short spell during 1949 as a Green Line coach on route 703 at Swanley, until its withdrawal from passenger service in 1954 along with the rest of the pre-war/wartime STL class. It was then sold in 1955 to Reliance Services of Newbury who in turn passed it on to a private owner for preservation in May 1958. This was Dennis John Cowing, a chemistry master (and transport enthusiast) at Selhurst Grammar School in Croydon, a master contemporary with my own attendance in a less elevated capacity at that establishment. Mr Cowing rallied the bus for many years and he is driving it in the 1971 picture, but, by 1976, the structure of the vehicle had degenerated alarmingly and it passed into the ownership of Prince Marshall for full restoration. That has since proved to be a mammoth undertaking, currently in the hands of the former Cobham, now Brooklands Museum, where it has more recently been displayed as a bus victim of the blitz.
www.londonbusmuseum.com/

I have gleaned information from various sources for this note, but, as ever, Ian’s Bus Stop has been invaluable.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


26/03/20 – 06:43

One of my favourite buses, in roof-box form, along with the Bluebird LT’s. A shot which brings out the best of its design and in a condition which suggests it’s only been on the road for a few weeks after delivery to LT. Only the parked Ford 105E gives the game away! Yours, Roger? My last glimpse of a working STL was in June 1955. When waiting at traffic lights, one passed across me. It must have been a garage hack on one of its last journeys.

Chris Hebbron


29/04/20 – 06:19

This bit of Pathe newsreel, taken in 1946, includes shots of many LT types including STLs. I was surprised that so many horse drawn vehicles were still extant and also by the number of private vehicles on the road in addition to London taxis in a time of petrol rationing. Some of the pedestrian behaviour is decidedly death dicing. www.youtube.com/watch? 

Roger Cox


30/04/20 – 06:03

A wonderful piece of film there Roger with a fascinating array of buses but strangely, given the date of 1946, I spotted only one utility, GYE 51. Were utilities kept off central London routes to any extent?

Chris Barker


02/05/20 – 06:36

A real cornucopia of LTs (one open staircase, with half its windows still boarded up), STs, pre-war STDs, STLs all still with their white discs on the back, and, surprise, surprise, the lone surviving TF9, on a ‘SEEING LONDON TOUR’ and still in its pre-war livery.T wo ex-army lorries, one a 3 ton Bedford OY model, which I recall as being ubiquitous post-war.
Very pleasurable to watch – thanks Roger.

Chris Hebbron


03/05/20 – 06:21

Well spotted, Chris B. As Chris H can confirm, GYE 51 was Brush highbridge H30/26R bodied Daimler CWA6 D62, allocated to Merton garage. Pretty certainly it is seen here on route 88, Acton Green – Clapham Common – Mitcham which did run through central London via Marble Arch and Parliament Square. That route is reputed to have given rise in Victorian times to the term, "The Man on the Clapham Omnibus". The Daimlers were based at Merton and Sutton garages, apart from a brief period when a few were painted green and allocated to Romford for the reintroduced Green Line routes from Aldgate. The wartime London Bristol K types, the K5Gs were later converted with AEC engines to conform with the later K6A batch, were all allocated to Hanwell. The Guy Arabs operated mainly in eastern and northern sides of London, but Victoria garage had an allocation along with its Leyland TD7 unfrozen utilty bodied buses. The heavy 5LW powered Guys, with their ‘back to front’ crash gearboxes and rather ponderous clutches were not popular with London drivers, but the TD7s were truly detested at Victoria owing to their high gearing and the heavy engine flywheel designed to damp out rock from the flexible engine mountings. This resulted in a requirement to wait excessively for the revs to die for upward gear changes, and keeping time with the type was nigh impossible. In practice, those TD7 mountings were unreliably weak, and many other operators bolted them up solid. The whole exercise was a bit pointless anyway since the rigid mountings of the TD5 were entirely adequate for the smooth running 8.6 litre Leyland engine. Those TD7s were the first wartime buses to be sold off by London Transport, when they all went for scrap. The appearance of private hire TF9 in the film is remarkable as, by 1946, it was unique, its fellows having been destroyed in October 1940 by enemy action. The prototype TF1 did survive the war but was sold off early in 1946. The Green Line TF fleet was withdrawn and sold by 1953.

Roger Cox


03/05/20 – 06:22

Chris Barker – During my working time in London from 1951 to 1956, I worked in Shaftesbury Avenue and would often walk around the whole West End, especially Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square and although I never saw any Utility G’s (Guys), there were their cousins, the utility D’s (Daimlers) who went up these roads. They worked the 88 route, which went from Clapham Common (Old Town) to Shepherds Bush. These D’s worked out of Merton Garage. Other routes they operated on were the 77/77A, all going through Westminster, terminating at Kings Cross, plus the 137 going through Knightsbridge and Oxford Circus. I seem to recall that most of the G’s were garaged in East London, but I never recall seeing any around Holborn or the City. Others will probably help on that score. The following link maybe of interest London Transport – Daimler CWA6 – GXV 785 – D 54

Chris Hebbron


04/05/20 – 05:49

One wonders why the unfrozen STD TD7s were ever allocated to Central London. They’d have been more suited to Country Area, or at least to less challenging Central Area routes.

Chris Hebbron


31/07/20 – 09:36

GYE 51 would pass to Belfast Corporation in December 1953 becoming No.467. It would be rebodied with a new Harkness metal framed body in 1955 and would serve until 1970.

Bill Headley


01/08/20 – 06:27

The earliest of the Highbridge Daimlers were delivered to LPTB in August 1944, the era of V1 and V2 bombings, but not one of them suffered from this German onslaught. Ironically, a few of these went to Belfast, and a couple of them were destroyed in the early days of the ‘Troubles’. Fortunately, this was from the mid-1960s, near the end of their service lives.

Chris Hebbron


 

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London Transport – Leyland REC – FXT 122 – CR16

London Transport - Leyland REC - FXT 122 - CR16

London Transport
1939
Leyland REC
London Transport B20F

FXT 122 is a Leyland REC with LPTB B20F bodywork. She dates from 1939 and is seen at Longcross, Chobham, on one of those occasions that “Wisley” wasn’t at Wisley. In the Jenkinson listing of 1978, the REC is translated as Rear Engined Cub, which may or may not be correct. According to Ian Smiths London Transport website the CR in the fleet number stood for Cub Rear

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


31/12/15 – 13:00

I believe the vehicle is rear engined and was the first rear engine PCV class.
I thought they were AEC rather than Leyland but would not wager any money on it.
The styling is Q related I think and was the Q single decker the first inclined mid-engined PCV?

Having looked on the internet it seems I would have lost my money as all references seem to be Leyland

Roger Burdett


31/12/15 – 13:02

FXT 110

I’ve been waiting for one of these to come up, here is a shot for the other side.

Mr Anon


01/01/16 – 07:04

Sorry, Roger. Definitely a Leyland. Perhaps even AEC weren’t brave enough!

Pete Davies


01/01/16 – 07:05

What was the gear selection system on these vehicles. Were they manual or semi-automatic. Also, were they one-man operated or crew. Two very interesting photos.

Norman Long


01/01/16 – 10:56

I cadged a brief ride that day at Longcross and I’m sure that the gearbox was a conventional 4-speed. The engine (indirect injection) sounded remarkably like a Perkins P4, with that characteristic combustion tinkle, and it has the same bore and stroke. The rear hubs fooled me: I guessed they must be double-reduction, but apparently they house universal joints at the outer end of each cardan shaft, as the axle is arranged on the de Dion principle, which doesn’t give independent suspension but does cut down unsprung weight by mounting the differential either on the chassis or in unit with the gearbox.
In the late forties on a visit to my aunt and uncle’s at Ealing, Mx, somewhere near Brentford(?) from the window of another bus I saw one of these vehicles, which looked very strange—even slightly creepy—to my 8-or-9-year old eyes.
Fine restoration job, and thanks to the owners for saving another rare bus, full of innovation and individuality.

Ian Thompson


02/01/16 – 06:45

Ian is correct in his description of the CR, which was built at Leyland’s Kingston factory (actually in Ham) which had once produced Sopwith aircraft. The six cylinder indirect injection engine, which had been developed for the later production Cub KPO3, had a capacity of 4.7 litres developing 65 bhp, and it was mounted longitudinally at the rear of the chassis frame. The radiator was also located at the rear. The engine cover inside the vehicle was equipped as a luggage rack. The gearbox was the standard Leyland four speed “silent third” – sliding mesh 1st and 2nd, helical 3rd. Given the limitations conferred upon the passenger capacity of this small vehicle by the engine layout, it was particularly galling for the LPTB to have to adopt a space wasteful front end design similar to that of the contemporary underfloor engined TF (Tiger Flat) Green Line coach model. Had the doorway been located in the logical position ahead of the front axle (as was the 5Q5 version of the AEC Q) then the Metropolitan Police would have insisted upon an open, doorless entrance. It is often stated that the production of the CR was curtailed by the outbreak of war, but this is not the case. Always prone to over ordering, the LPTB originally decided that it required 73 examples in addition to the prototype. Having redone the sums, this was cut to 58, and then to 48. All, except the 1937 prototype, were delivered after the start of the war, the last arriving in December 1939. Many of them saw service in the first year or so of the war, but then went into storage in 1942. Several went into storage in 1939 from new. They began to reappear in 1946 when their original function had largely been usurped by larger buses. Instead they were employed on Central Area routes with conductors to meet the pressures of post war demand, and proved woefully unequal to the task. Breakdowns were frequent and spares in short supply. By the early 1950s they had all gone.

Roger Cox


02/01/16 – 08:50

Another bus spotters’ delight…….and operators’ nightmare! Thx for your usual detailed information, Roger, especially the gearbox information which I’ve always wondered about and which even the London Bus Museum website doesn’t explain. Although Merton Garage had the odd one allocated to it (Sutton didn’t, to my knowledge), I never saw one around my area at all.
The Town & Country Act of 1947 rather ‘did’ for expansion of London (and other cities), where unbridled ‘ribbon’ development stopped, handicapped, in any case, by a lack of building materials. The ‘Northern Heights’ extension of the Tube’s Northern Line, plus some other Tube bits and pieces, were never completed and the CR’s intended feeder services never expanded.

Chris Hebbron


02/01/16 – 17:51

According to the Ian’s Bus Stop website, Merton (AL) did get at least 4 CRs in 1946/7 – including one in green livery – mainly for route 88, and Sutton (A) at least two for the 213 and latterly 93.
The 1 1/2 deck Leyland Cubs designed for the ‘inter station’ route and a number of single deck buses (including some pre-war Green Line coaches) also saw central bus service (on routes with a double deck allocation) around this time.
All were crew operated – the OMO agreement for central buses had by then lapsed, and the practical (and industrial relations) complications of having one or two OMO buses on a crew route would have been a bit too much to handle.
Operationally, I understand that the single deckers only ran on ‘spreadover’ workings (i.e. peak hours only) and I would have thought that if any garage had more buses than crews on any day, the single deckers would have been left in the garage.
Hired in coaches followed in 1947, and new Bristol Ks diverted from ‘Tillings’ companies followed in 1948.

Jon


03/01/16 – 06:11

Correction to my earlier comment! What I glimpsed at Brentford (?) all those years ago was probably not a CR but a TF, whose existence I’d forgotten all about until reading Roger’s reference to it. I recall the mystery bus as being of normal length. As I know practically nothing of what LPTB buses ran on which routes, perhaps someone—Chris H, perhaps—could say whether TFs did or didn’t go through Brentford. The combination of 8.6-litre Leyland engine and epicyclic gearbox in the TF must have made for a very tuneful ride.

Ian Thompson


03/01/16 – 10:43

CR’s and TF’s did have a generic likeness, Ian, and green CR’s did run in Central services and vice versa at times, adding to the confusion. The TF’s ran the Green Line services and you will be interested in that the 701 ran from Gravesend to Ascot, passing through Brentford, from 1946 to 1975, as did the 702 from Gravesend to Sunningdale from 1946 to 1973. I did travel on a few TF’s and they did exude an aura of understated luxury.

Chris Hebbron


06/01/16 – 16:37

Thanks, Chris H, for confirmation that TF passed through Brentford. The vehicle through whose window I snatched that one childhood sighting will have been a trolleybus on the 655 route. Incidentally, my only LT ride (on the long back seat for 5 upstairs where you can look down onto the staircase) was with the same Ealing aunt, and I’m sure the bus said “Hammersmith” on the destination box. Chiming gearbox and snuffly petrol engine that seemed to backfire occasionally; six wheels; straight staircase; what more could any bus-mad kid wish for? Up to what date could that have been? Thanks in advance for any info.

Ian Thompson


07/01/16 – 06:08

Probably 1949.
According to Ken Glazier’s book ‘Routes to Recovery’ (about London Transport in the immediate post war years) the last double deck LTs were withdrawn in January 1950, the last examples running from Upton Park garage on route 40 (which didn’t go anywhere near Hammersmith)
Apart from the last scheduled allocations, a number were spread around garages to supplement the scheduled allocation until late 1949.
From Ian Armstrong’s ‘London Bus Routes’ website –
Hammersmith (Riverside) garage had a fairly substantial allocation of LTs on routes 11 and 17 (London Bridge – Shepherds Bush – no relation to the later north London incarnations of the route number) and 73 until 1949.
Mortlake’s routes 9 and 73 had LTs until 1948 and 1949 respectively (some at Mortlake were initially replaced by green RTs as deliveries had got out of step with needs).

Jon


07/01/16 – 06:10

Many LT’s were based at Leyton, Loughton and Potters Bar Garages, on your side of London, Ian. LT’s mainly left those garages around 1947/48, but were still to be found in decreasing numbers ALL around London until the final deathnell came in February 1950. Even two of the first 150 open-staircase ones survived to the end by then some 20 years old. These were due to replaced in 1942, had the war not intervened. I had a lucky escape from an open-staircase one as a baby. An aunt of mine was climbing the stairs with me in her arms, when she slipped and lost hold of me. A passer-by at the rear of the bus, by chance, caught me in the nick of time. Of all the LT’s, my favourite was the last ones made, in 1931, called Bluebirds. See here: http://tinyurl.com/zllt7hk

Chris Hebbron


13/01/16 – 06:02

Thanks, Jon and Chris H, for the information on LT routes and dates.
Very nearly having my school cap blown off on the stairs of open-staircase Titan Reading 36 (RD 777) seemed exciting at the time, but that hardly compares with Chris’s extraordinary rescue!
Thanks also for the Bluebird link. LT741 is a very rationally-designed and handsome vehicle, and the superb interior shots answered all sorts of questions. Pity that no Bluebirds survived, but we can say that of a host of fascinating vehicles that live on only in tantalising photographs.

Ian Thompson


12/04/16 – 06:11

FXT 120

Here is a picture of CR 14, FXT 120, taken at South Croydon during the HCVC rally in May 1972. This bus was delivered in 1939 and went into service in Country Area Green livery at Windsor garage before being withdrawn into store along with the rest of the class by 1942. In 1947 it was overhauled and repainted into Central Area red livery, though the purpose of this expensive exercise appears somewhat elusive as it was only used by Chiswick as a training vehicle during 1948. Just one year later, in 1949, with characteristic profligacy, London Transport then repainted the bus back into Country green for service on rural route 494 between East Grinstead and Oxted via Tandridge, Lingfield and Felcourt, a route that then became a Guy GS operation after the the surviving members of the CR class were withdrawn entirely in 1953. CR14 was selected as an exhibit for the LT Clapham Museum, but, in 1967, it was sold off into private preservation. Although in the photo the vehicle is shown with route 12 destination blinds, the probability of a CR being used on that very busy route must have been remote in the extreme. However, it does seem that some examples of the class may have been used occasionally in the Croydon area for Relief duties on route 68 (South Croydon – Chalk Farm).

Roger Cox


30/08/16 – 06:46

I can confirm that red CR buses were indeed used on the 68 route. I used to often see “two of them” (numbers unknown) parked at Beulah Hill, junction with Spa Hill (Norwood) on my way to secondary school. I’ve no idea why there was need for two of them. My intelligent guess is that this would have been in the late 40s or very early 50s.

Derek


FXT 122 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


20/09/16 – 07:06

Among the first rear engined buses were the SOS REC type built by The Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company, better known as Midland Red in 1935. The company didn’t find them successful and rebuilt them with underfloor engines.

Mr Anon


21/09/16 – 05:49

Since the CR vehicles were based on the Leyland REC chassis, Ian, was there any connexion between the SOS REC’s and Leyland’s, or was it merely a coincidence of titling?
Could someone come up with more information on BMMO’s SOS REC’s?

Chris Hebbron


22/09/16 – 07:12

Chris, there are some details of the SOS RECs on
http://MidlandRed.net
There were four of them fitted with transverse mounted petrol engines so I think only the name was the same.

Gary Thomas


 

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London Transport – AEC Regent I – AXM 693 – STL441

London Transport - AEC Regent I - AXM 693 - STL441

London Transport
1934
AEC Regent I
London Transport H26/30R

AXM 693 is an AEC Regent (Regent I in some listings but not in all of them) from 1934, new to London Transport with fleet number STL441. Her LPTB body has H56R seating layout and she now resides at Brooklands, following the relocation of the collection from Cobham. We see her during the gathering at Wisley Airfield on 11 April 2010.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


10/07/15 – 06:56

Originally this bus would have been marketed simply as the AEC Regent – no one would have bothered to state ‘Regent I’ until after the improved Regent II had appeared. The same thing happens with monarchs – Charles I was never known as Charles I in his lifetime.

David Wragg


10/07/15 – 06:57

This batch of early STLs had Daimler preselective gearboxes from new, but their petrol engines were replaced with 7.7 diesels just before the outbreak of WW2. I lived in the Croydon area up to the age of four in 1946 (and then again from 1952, though by then the STL was a rarer beast). I remember travelling around south London on buses of this type, and didn’t much like them because of the high level of the lower saloon windows that seriously impeded the outward view of a small boy. In my firmly held opinion of that time, the Chiswick designers had got their priorities all wrong, though I conceded that my services wouldn’t have been available as a consultant when they were built in 1934.

Roger Cox


11/07/15 – 07:23

Thank you for your thoughts about the "order of succession" David. I had guessed that to be the case here, and – one has to suppose – with that wonderful range of products from the Dennis Brothers.

Pete Davies


11/07/15 – 07:24

Morden, then in Surrey, was my stomping ground in the 40’s and 50’s, full of utility ‘D’s and pre-war RT’s. STL’s only appeared on the 118 from Clapham (then) to Raynes Park. I did have two aunts who lived in Norbury and my mum and I would trundle round there, which made a pleasant change from the usual bus types. I agree about the lower deck windows, but usually persuaded my mum to go upstairs, despite the ‘fug’!
Many of these early ‘non-rounded front’ STL’s were overhauled and put back into service with full blinds, briefly, when the last tram conversion was brought forward and merged with the penultimate conversion stage, in 1952. And very smart they looked, too! They were the only STL’s to acquire full blinds post-war. I think it was done to provide passengers with the fullest information on the tram-replacement routes, which didn’t usually coincide exactly with the tram ones and had different route numbers, too.

Chris Hebbron


11/07/15 – 07:24

The excellent ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ website states that STL441 formed one of fifty ‘leaning back’ STL’s which were delivered in 6/34 without engines, then fitted with ‘hand-me-down’ petrol ones from the LT class vehicles, which were being converted to diesel power. AEC’s diesels were, at that time, too big to fit into the STL’s, hence the swap-over. It had a Wilson pre-selector gearbox and was either fitted with a fluid flywheel at that time, or retro-fitted with one in the October. It eventually got its 7.7litre diesel engine in 5/39. Mann Egerton rebuilt its body in 12/47 and it was withdrawn in 9/52. It was sold, in 2/53, for preservation in Holland. It was repatriated from the preservers in 1975 by LBPG and stored at Cobham, being fully restored in 2007. It still bears the wartime ‘scar’ of a two-piece platform rear window, which most LT buses bore, to make the glass, in time of shortage, go further. All-in-all, an interesting life.

Chris Hebbron


11/07/15 – 14:05

I am also a Dennis fan, Pete. A company that deserved greater success but which could also be slow to innovate, which is why it lost the single deck market once underfloor engines became the standard. The Loline was a terrific bus, especially in Aldershot & District livery and specification.
Returning to the point and looking again at the STL, this particular vehicle almost had a provincial (with a small ‘p’) outline.

David Wragg


11/04/19 – 06:13

This bus featured in an episode of Goodnight Sweetheart. which is what led to me googling it which brought me to this site.

David Moth


 

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