Old Bus Photos

Western National – Bristol MW – EDV 502D – 1420

EDV 502D

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Bristol MW6G

I’m sending you this picture of Bristol MW EDV 502D and EDV 505D because they entered service with Western National in May 1966 – 50 years ago this month. 502D was built in the Jan and 505D in the April. They are Bristol MW6G with ECW C39F body. Unusual in being in Royal Blue colours but with Western National branding in red. They were the third and final design of Bristol MW and some of their detail you can see in the Bristol RE Coaches. They look just as elegant and modern 50 years on. They came together for a special photo shoot at the Taunton running day on May 8th 2016. EDV 502D had been in service during the event running trips to Wellington. EDV 505D had been on static display. The owners drove them round to be photographed in Taunton bus station. They are next scheduled to be together during the Royal Blue Run in June. There already previous pictures of Royal Blue runs on your site. These two vehicles came out of Western National service in 1978

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

19/05/16 – 06:24

Nice, Ken! Thanks for posting. It’s very rare to see sisters posed like this . . .

Pete Davies

25/05/16 – 17:59

Of course Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust look after ex Western SMT MSD 407-8 and the vehicle history suggests they’ve been together in service and preservation ever since they were bodied at Stirling. http://gvvt.org/stock-list

Stephen Allcroft


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Western National – Bedford VAM 5 – KDV 140F – 710

Western National - Bedford VAM5 - KDV 140F - 710

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Bedford VAM 5

The last Bristol MW’s entered service in May 1967, and the first LH’s in June 1968. In the interim, Western National placed in service a batch of twelve Bedford VAM 5 with Eastern Coachworks bus bodywork. These were numbered 701-712 (KDV 131 -142F). The body design was clearly based on the standard design which had been produced in large numbers for the Bristol MW model, but with a more modern front end grafted onto it. The VAM 5 model had the small Bedford 330 cu in engine and a four speed gearbox. The batch led a full service life of at least twelve years; Latterly the last six of the batch were allocated to Newquay Depot, and could regularly be found working the scenic and hilly route 573 from Newquay to St. Columb Minor, which followed the coast for a few miles before turning inland. Here we see one of the batch negotiating a hairpin bend just west of Watergate bay.
West Yorkshire also had four Bedford VAM with this style of ECW body, but the West Yorkshire examples were type VAM 14, with the Leyland 400 engine and a five speed gearbox. The West Yorkshire batch had a very short operational life. I believe that Eastern Counties also had some of these interesting vehicles.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

22/10/14 – 18:20

Eastern Counties did have some of these ECW bodied Bedfords one was sold to Primrose Valley of Hunmanby. I rode on it from Filey to Reighton Gap and I have to say never had I been on a more vibration prone vehicle. Although having now had a ride on a preserved Bristol SC!

Chris Hough

23/10/14 – 07:04

I always considered these to be fascinating and businesslike vehicles, combining the classic "no nonsense" ECW lines with a most worthy lightweight chassis. I’ve always had a very soft spot for Bedford "no nonsense" honest and well performing vehicles, and if any vibration was felt look on the bright side Chris – therapeutic vibro massage included free !!

Chris Youhill

24/10/14 – 07:28

I remember encountering these beasts at Dartmouth in the early ’70s. With the benefit of hindsight (as well as driving later examples) I would hazard the opinion that the zenith of Bedford’s existence was with their petrol models. With due deference to Chris, I would say that Bedford diesels were a poor substitute and my operator friend concurs that the VAM5s he operated with Eastern Scottish were a nightmare and grossly underpowered. Likewise, Ribble got rid of its small number of VAM5s after an indecently short time. While the 466 and 500 diesels were a great improvement, there is a general consensus that the VAL14 and VAM14 (Leyland O400) were far better than the VAL70 and VAM70 (Bedford 466). Which makes the short operational lives of West Yorkshire’s VAM14s all the more strange.

David Oldfield

24/10/14 – 18:23

I don’t remember these when growing up in Taunton but I’ve asked for more information from Colin Billington who says "The early ones (700-703) were allocated to Plymouth often passing through Kingsbridge on the 93 route. Don has the numbering wrong, They were 700-711 (KDV 130-141F) not 701-12. 712 was a LH.
Noisy things with the engine next to the driver"

Ken Jones

04/03/16 – 06:45

NAH 663F

Don is correct. ECOC had four VAMs with ECW bodies: 2 X Bedford engines and 2 X Leyland engines! SB663 (NAH 663F), with Leyland engine, is seen leaving Norwich Thorpe Railway Station on Sunday May 12, 1968 when it was one of at least 10 new shiny ECOC vehicles (not one displaying any side adverts) taking passengers from the Flying Scotsman excursion on a variety of tours. As delivered, the driver access to the cab was by squeezing between the partial screen behind the driver’s seat and the offside body side. I had them rebuilt so you walked over a more substantial engine cover incorporating the ticket machine mounting. The point to comparing the two engines was a bit academic as NBC bought no more bus versions!

Geoff Pullin

18/10/16 – 07:53

NAH 661/2F had Bedford 330 engines and were VAM5.
NAH 663/4F had Leyland 400 engines and were VAM14.

Steve Paine


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Western National – Bristol K6B – KUO 972 – 959

Western National - Bristol K6B - KUO 972 - 959

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Bristol K6B
ECW L27/28R

KUO 972 is former Western National 959 dating from 1950. It is a K6B with ECW L27/28R body that has undergone full restoration. It was withdrawn in 1970 after spending all it’s working life for Western National in Cornwall. It is seen in service at Brislington on 10th August 2014 during the Bristol Vintage Bus Group running day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

26/08/14 – 10:49

Couldn’t get to Brislington this year so thanks, Ken, for a nice atmospheric b&w picture of a fine bus. Forget all those Routemasters and Atlanteans—the K(SW)6B is a TRUE classic.

Ian T

26/08/14 – 15:34

For others who may not have been able to get to Brislington some more of my pictures can be found at www.flickr.com/photos/  – set includes a Routemaster! I was meant to travel down on OTT 43 but we only got as far as Strensham services before having to turn back with problems with the exhaust manifold. So I then drove by car to Brislington arriving much later than I had planned. Fortunately the weather improved as the day went on. This vehicle is scheduled to be at Kingsbridge running day in September

Ken Jones


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 29th February 2020