Old Bus Photos

Red & White – Albion Valkyrie CX13 – FWO 646 – S1447

Red & White - Albion CX13 - FWO 646 - S1447

Red & White Services 
Albion Valkyrie CX13
Bristol (Body Building Works -BBW) B35R

Living in Clevedon, Red and White territory was very close and could be seen easily but was not accessible except by paddle steamer, the mildly frightening Aust car ferry or a drive through Gloucester! This photo was taken on 24/03/1963, probably in Chepstow, on an expedition across the muddy waters. The fleet was very varied and strange to me, brought up on Tilling regularity, although it was rapidly changing as Tilling Group standard vehicles arrived en masse. This vehicle suddenly caught my attention as it looked like an ECW body to excite me in the gloom. I see from Richard Smith’s website that this 1947 chassis had a Pickering body when new. It was replaced in 1953 by a Bristol (Brislington Body Works) body. The BBW single deck design was very similar to ECW with the main identifier being that the side windows had square corners to the top sliding vents, but in this latter-day product, even that distinction had gone.
I was always bemused by the company’s fleet numbering system. It took me a few visits before I managed to fathom out how it worked! I assumed that it was designed by the secretarial / finance department so it could see how the company’s assets were depreciating! I can’t think that it held any advantages for operating or maintenance staff to know that this was the 14th single decker delivered (or was it ordered?) in 1947 (despite having a 1953 body!)
When I was on the Tilling Group graduate training scheme at Bristol, I went for an interview for a technical assistant post at Chepstow. I learned something there that I never forgot:
Q (from Doug Flooks, Chief Engineer): What fall does a water drain pipe need to ensure water will flow along it?
A (which I didn’t know): 1 in 40. A fact that I have actually used from time to time in various situations but still cannot convince domestic rainwater gutter installers!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin

30/08/20 – 08:26

Interesting view, and thanks for posting. When I was being retrained from Admin to technical I was told that (certainly for highway drainage purposes) a fall of 1 in 200 was adequate to move the water!

Pete Davies

31/08/20 – 06:29

Location appears to be Albion Square, Chepstow. There is a sign directing to the bus station on the wall, above the rear of the vehicle. The Chepstow-Coleford service operated via Tidenham – route number was 29, although not displayed on that vehicle.

Nigel Frampton

01/09/20 – 06:14

In January ’64 I saw several of these delightful Valkyries (not sure which batch) in Monmouth as I was hitch-hiking towards West Wales. I should have taken more notice of registrations and other details, but time was against me with the shortness of the days. Here my memory probably tricks me: I thought I saw at least one (engine side cover removed) with a Gardner 4LW engine, which I understand was an option for the Valkyrie CX9, but from what I’ve read in Richard Smith’s very informative R&W fleet history there would have been no 4LW Albions there at that time. Very grateful if someone can set me straight on this one!

Ian Thompson

01/09/20 – 10:45

I know this is straying from buses, but ref water flowing downhill.
The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal between Gloucester docks and the top lock at Sharpness is approx 25.25km and the surface elevation drops from 13m to 4m, a gradient of approx 1:2807.

John Lomas

03/09/20 – 06:25

Red & White had got rid of most of their Albions by 1960 and just a few hung on. By 1964 there were just a few surviving CX39 Valiant coaches (demoted to buses and all out of service in 1964) and fifteen of the BBW-rebodied Valkyries as seen above which lasted until 1965. All of these had Albion engines so it is most unlikely that Ian saw a 4LW-engined version. Such a small engine would not be any use to Red & White who had hilly operating terrain.
The 29 service to Coleford via Tidenham saw just four through journeys a day, with a fifth on Saturday evenings. The odd thing was that two of these departures were at the same time! They followed each other most of the way but had slightly different routes between St. Briavels and Coleford. There was another route, also the 29, that ran via Tintern. This was referred to in timetables in later years as the 29A but I’ve never seen a picture of a bus showing that route number. In any case it later fizzled down to one journey a day to and from Brockweir only.

David Beilby

04/09/20 – 06:44

A small book about the Ledgard fleet which I purchased many years ago comments about the five ex-Red & White Valkyries which were bought by Ledgards in 1959, registered FAX and EWO but otherwise broadly same as the one illustrated above.
The author writes: "Passengers were treated to a rattling good time, the sheer body noise emanating from these had to be heard to be believed! – At the same time, they were just about the fastest buses on the Bradford – Harrogate route, their hill climbing being nothing short of extraordinary when handled by a good driver".

Chris Barker

06/09/20 – 06:14

David Beilby and Chris Barker: thanks for your comments, which jointly prove that the 4LW engine I thought I saw in a Red & White Valkyrie was just my imagination. Being CX13s they will have had Gardner 6LW engines—especially if the five inherited by Ledgard crested the West Riding hills with such ease. The only apart from those I saw in the yard at Monmouth the only Valkyrie I ever remember seeing in service was one of King Alfred’s, just north of Winchester. It was only 5 years old at the time (1955) but I assumed it was much older.

Ian Thompson

06/10/20 – 06:47

The CX13 Valkyrie had the Albion 6-cylinder 9-litre engine. The Gardner 6LW version was the CX11, but these were all prewar, not being reintroduced postwar. There was also a CX9 with a 4-cylinder Albion engine.

John Stringer

07/10/20 – 06:33

My understanding is that the 17ft 6ins wheelbase Albion Valkyrie CX, which was introduced at the 1937 Commercial Motor Show, was available in the following versions. All had a four speed constant mesh gearbox fitted in unit with the engine.
CX9 6.1 litre 85 bhp 4 cylinder petrol engine
CX11 Gardner 5LW
CX13 9.09 litre 120 bhp 6 cylinder petrol, or Gardner 6LW, this version having a longer engine bay
Production stopped at the outbreak of war and resumed in 1945.
CX9 6.6 litre 78 bhp four cylinder oil engine
CX13 9.09 litre EN242 105 bhp 6 cylinder oil – no Gardner options
The CX9 remained in the catalogue until 1950, but the CX13 was replaced in the home market in 1948 by the Valiant CX39 which had the 9.9 litre 120 bhp EN243B oil engine that was fitted also to the CX37 Venturer double decker. All production ended in 1950. Leyland took over the firm in 1951.
A list of Valkyrie production may be found on Bus Lists on the Web

Roger Cox

20/10/20 – 06:25

Geoff – that is a fine portrait of a R&W BBW-re-bodied Albion. May I point out, for the general benefit of all, the meaning of the term BBW – it actually stood for Body Building Works, plainly and simply, as it was a Bristol Tramways internal designation, to go along with the Motor Constructional Works (MCW) and Central Repair Works (CRW), having been introduced before WW1 while the company was building for its own or associated operations only. After 1920 and Bristol’s first appearance at the Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia, the plates attached to bodies completed at Brislington always carried the full BT&CC name and "Bristol" as the site and never Brislington. The body on the R&W Albion is an evolution of the post-WW2 Tilling Standard pattern, revised almost annually for the BT&CC fleets until the 1951 product was very similar indeed to the ECW body, then further developed, with a revised glazing style, for R&W’s 45 Albions. These were bodied from Autumn 1951 to late 1953 and were to BBW’s S23 pattern. BBW built over 2,300 bodies before closure in 1955 and full details are given in my 1999 book, "Coachwork by Bristol Tramways". Geoff, I, too, am from Clevedon. I was born there in 1945 and, after being weened on Js and Ls, or Ks on the Bristol service, moved in 1958 into Bristol. Are you related to Pullins the bakers, where we bought our bread?

Allan Macfarlane

21/10/20 – 06:39

Allan, yes, my father and his brother ran the company set up by their father at Yatton and then Clevedon. The company is still run by my cousin and his family. I got up at 4am in school holidays to help make hot cross buns, Christmas bread etc to earn some pocket money but it was not for me!! So got a couple of holiday jobs with BCV and BOC and ended up on Tilling senior trainee scheme (at BCV and BOC!) after graduating at Liverpool.
Thanks for the info on BBW – I knew it was an internal designation but not sure of its actual wording. At an early time at BCV, the Brislington BOC depot (on the corner of the A4) had a far corner in which I took to be BCV built the trailers to go with the HA tractor units for BRS.
I came across three letter codes like BBW, CRW etc again in my first job at ECOC. Every depot and post had a two or three letter code; DMS/YAR = Depot Mechanical Superintendent Yarmouth. I was DA/Eng = Deputy Assistant Engineer reporting to A/Eng and CE!

Geoff Pullin

21/10/21 – 05:40

Living in Lydbrook I travelled on Red & White buses to either Coleford or Cinderford and travelled on Albion Valkyrie BBW B35R buses also travelled on some which had a Lydney B35F body.

Michael Stephens


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Western National – Bristol H5G – FJ 8967 – 137

Western National - Bristol H5G - FJ 8967 - 137
Copyright Ken Jones

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Bristol H5G
Bristol B35R

Here is a sepia tone picture of Colin Billington’s restored Bristol H vehicle taken in the South Hams district of South Devon on the 19th September 2009 seen heading towards Kingsbridge, with Colin at the wheel.
Originally FJ 8967 was a Bristol H4B with a Brush B32R body. It was converted to H5G in 1939 and rebodied with a Bristol body in 1942.
It entered service in 1933 as Western National 137 and spent all its service life in South Devon when it was withdrawn from service in 1957 it became a showman’s vehicle. Purchased by Colin in 1996 who fully restored it in WWII livery, such as the white on the front of the mudguards. The shot could have quite easily been taken in the early forties don’t you think?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones


23/11/12 – 08:22

A delightful shot of an old vehicle happily plodding away in it’s home environment Ken. As you say, it could quite easily have been taken in the early forties – in fact I thought that it had! No cars in the frame to give the game away, and the bridge looks like its been there donkey’s years. Thank you for posting it.

Brendan Smith


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Bristol Tramways – Bristol J – AHU 803 – J134-759-2355

AHU 803_lr
Copyright Ken Jones

Bristol Tramways & Carriage Company Limited
Bristol J
Bristol B35RD

AHU 803 (2355) was built as Bristol J134 in 1934 by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company as a private hire coach. It is one of only three preserved Bristol ‘J’ types, and the only one that has been preserved of those that operated with Bristol Tramways.
The vehicle history AHU 803 started life as private hire coach fleet number J134 and apart from a fleet number change in 1937 to 759 remained unchanged until the Second World War. In July 1941 its seating was rearranged to seat 34 while it was used as a bus, and between May 1942 and September 1944 it ran with a gas producer trailer.
After the war a Gardner 5LW diesel engine was fitted replacing the original Bristol 6-cylinder petrol engine and was renumbered 2355 at the same time. Later in 1947 it was rebodied with a new bus body at the operator’s coachworks at Brislington, Bristol. The new body seated 35, and the bus re-entered service in June 1947. In 1958 it was used during the construction of Bristol bus station for carrying large signs with the centre of the roof and rear of the body removed.
It was later sold to Nailsworth Boys’ Club, when a boat rack was carried on the roof, bunk beds and a kitchen were fitted and it was painted in a light blue livery. The vehicle was bought from Nailsworth Boys’ Club in June 1978 and stored for many years in a underground factory. It was then moved to Saltford before moving  to Yate goods shed in September 1981 where restoration started. It was moved from Yate to Brislington in February 1993 and restoration was completed during 1999.

Copy by Ken Jones compiled from the Bristol Vintage Bus Group website

13/06/12 – 09:54

Lovely specimen! Thanks for sharing, Ken. Here’s a question. Did this arrangement have a door for the passenger compartment, making it a B..RD or was it just B..R ?

Pete Davies

13/06/12 – 09:54

The history of this bus might suggest that it is a bit or a reconstruction after so many changes but having seen and photographed it on many occasions, it is a superb bus in beautiful condition looking just as it would the day it was new as far as condition goes. Delightful and still in perfect order.

Richard Leaman

13/06/12 – 12:00

What an absolute delight!
I can just hear this bus growling away and would love to hear it in action. It is also quite unusual in having the BBW version of the standard Tilling post war body, which was, I believe, more common in double deck form.
This is quite an early example, before the standardised fitment of the Gardner 5LW, and must have been a JNW (?)
I remember a preserved United Counties J, still with "shield" radiator, but ECW post war body, but where is the other preserved example?
Thanks for a super post!

John Whitaker

13/06/12 – 17:12

May I point you to Gerry Tormey’s website which has details on specifications and survivors of Bristol J vehicles at www.bristolsu.co.uk/  The United Counties vehicle is VV 5696 and the third vehicle is Western National ATT 922. ADV 128 is under restoration.

Ken Jones

13/06/12 – 17:14

In answer to the various questions: yes, the body has a door, so it’s a B35RD. And both comments are right – this isn’t the original body, it’s a replacement dating from 1947; and the original engine was a Bristol JJW petrol engine.
If you’d like to hear it in action (and have a ride on it), then please come along to our rally at Brislington, Bristol on Sunday 12th August 2012, when it will definitely be in action. If you can’t make that, then you should find it at a couple of other events during the year, and either way, more details about events and the bus itself are available on our website, www.bvbg.org.uk  
Hope to see you in August!

Chris Knight

14/06/12 – 09:13

Chris-delighted to hear that this Bristol JO5G will be running on the 12 August event. I do hope somebody will do a video clip of a ride of this bus and post it on this web site. I can still recall the sounds of my last service ride on a West Yorkshire Bristol JO5G 979 from Otley to Fewston in the summer of 1954. The combination of a Bristol J with a Gardner 5LW engine and mid-ship mounted gearbox produces a most evocative sound.

Richard Fieldhouse

15/06/12 – 05:42

Chris K… Thank you for answering the question. It looks as if there should be a door – that’s why I asked.

Pete Davies

15/06/12 – 05:43

Richard F… I shall be there on the 12th and will certainly try to get that ride and will indeed make the video film for the Bus Sounds section. Let’s hope it’s a nice sunny day!

Richard Leaman

04/08/12 – 07:53

Can I be difficult and disagree with some of the foregoing.
1. "It is one of only three preserved Bristol J Types" – must be more than that. Tony Brown at Chelvesdon has one, I’ve got two plus there is the one in the picture. Also an H is only a J with a different engine so I think Colin Billinton’s WNOC H ought to be included in the total on the basis that there is no more difference between an H and a J than there is between a JJW and a JO6A for example.
2. "and the only one that has been preserved of those which operated with Bristol Tramways." Don’t think so. One of mine was operated by Tramways.
3. According to my understanding of the standard bodywork nomenclature, the ‘D’ suffix for doors is only normally applied to rear platform double deckers. Looking back at my PSV Circle sheets from those long gone days, Bristol L types, which, so far as I know always sported a sliding platform door always seem to be described as B35R.

Peter Cook

24/09/12 – 17:25

The other Bristol Tramways preserved J is BHW 432, fleet no.2199, which has a 1949 ECW body on a 1935 chassis. I last saw it at Telford, restored as fairground vehicle "Alice".
Western National’s ADV 128 was one of those taken over by Bristol in the 1950 exchange of territory, as no. 2497. I believe this is at Winkleigh.

Geoff Kerr

29/10/14 – 07:05

This was in service last Sunday at BVBG Autumn running day – difficult to imagine it is 80 years old.

Ken Jones

03/02/15 – 05:48

Great to see these buses still in existence. I drove one of these in the sixties for about a year. It was being used to transport workmen to a road construction works in Northern Ireland. It had what I believed to be a 150 Gardner. It also had six volt lights and very slow wipers, a nightmare on wet winter nights. Still I look back on it with fond memories.

Paul Stuart

26/03/16 – 16:51

In 1967 I worked for Dowsett Engineering and we had two Bristols both Coaches I think. One had a beast of an engine in it, a Bristol and the other had a Gardner 6LW and both built like tanks. Lovely coaches, and I’m a Leyland man!


27/03/16 – 07:28

Chris K and Peter C: as far as I’m aware, it’s always been PSVC policy to not distinguish between rear-entrance single-deckers with doors, and those without, presumably because, with single-deckers, for many decades doors have been the rule and no doors very much the exception. Looking back now this perhaps seems an omission, but PSVC codes have never catered for all layouts.
As to why doors should be the norm on single-deckers but not double-deckers, I can only think it was because single-deckers were more likely to be used on longer-distance and/or higher speed services.

David Call

12/01/17 – 09:10

Responding to David Call’s comment, firstly, there is of course a third type of entrance for single deckers which seems to have been prevalent prior to approx. 1935 which is a hinged door at the top of the entrance steps which is what AHT pictured above has. I had a sort of feeling these are referred to as vestibuled but I may have dreamed that.
I think the answer to the query about doors being normal on single deckers is that, on the standard ECW bodied L for example, there is a seat right across the back of the bus behind the entrance. If there were no door, the occupant of that seat would get soaked when the bus moved if the rain were coming in the right direction. Notably, single deckers which have no door (for example Exeter 66 (EFJ 666)) have no rear seat.

Peter Cook

13/01/17 – 06:37

Edinburgh single deckers with open backs had a seat for three at the rear.

Stephen Allcroft

14/01/17 – 07:07

I knew there would turn out to be an exception – to prove the rule of course. Scots must be hardy types. … or maybe being canny Scots the operator didn’t want to lose the fares on 3 seats just because the passengers would get cold and wet.

Peter Cook


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