Old Bus Photos

Southern Vectis – Bristol K5G – DDL 50 – 703

Southern Vectis - Bristol K5G - DDL 50 - 703

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
1940
Bristol K5G
ECW O30/26R

In 1937 Southern Vectis took two examples of the Bristol GO5G chassis, and then ordered two examples of the later K5G design. CDL 899, which arrived in July 1939 with fleet number 702, was followed in January 1940 by DDL 50, number 703 which, like its predecessors, had ECW H30/26R bodywork. These G and K buses had the high mounted version of the Bristol radiator, whilst all later Southern Vectis K types had the PV2 style. The next K chassis to enter the Southern Vectis fleet came in 1944/45, but these were four K6A machines which were very quickly converted to Gardner 5LW power, and all subsequent K/KS/KSW deliveries had 5LW engines from new. Nos. 702 and 703 were both converted to open toppers in 1959 for operation on the scenic coastal routes, where 702 is seen on 28 August 1967. Sitting “outside” as these veterans climbed up the stiff gradient out of Ventnor was a musical experience to savour. In 1969 703 was converted into a tree lopper, and finally sold off into preservation in 1979, but 702 continued in occasional and promotional service on the Isle of Wight. Happily, both CDL 899 and DDL 50 survive.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


28/05/18 – 06:45

Living In Portsmouth for twenty years from 1956, I experienced inside and outside rides on both these buses over the years. Outside was always pleasant, both from the weather and mechanical aspects, but inside was a cacophony that assaulted the eardrums. How the drivers ever put up with the noise is beyond me. I always assumed from the vibration that the engines were mounted directly on the chassis. And why did SV ever deign to eschew 6LW engines on such a hilly island, producing vehicles that were hard work for drivers and so sluggish, even these with their roofs cut off! I’m glad that they’ve survived, though!

Chris Hebbron


29/05/18 – 06:34

My G certainly is directly mounted and is extremely noisy but vibration in the saloon is low. Fitting a 6LW in a K was not straightforward and I have done it in a KSW which had a re-design to allow fitment but not straight forward.
Think on K it would have reqd body mods.

Roger Burdett


31/05/18 – 07:32

There were GO6Gs and K6Gs in South Wales where the hilly operating terrain really demanded them. Significantly none of them had ECW bodies which were fairly standardised. Pontypridd had batches of Beadle-bodied Ls and Ks with both 5LW and 6LW engines and the bodies were significantly different due to the extra length of the 6LW. Merthyr was another regular K6G buyer whilst Cardiff (not as hilly) bought a batch of unique KW6Gs with Bruce bodies.

David Beilby


31/05/18 – 07:35

Chris H raises a question which has interested me for a long time; why Tilling companies never had any K6Gs. I may be wrong but as far as I’m aware, until the advent of the KS series, Eastern Coach Works never produced any bodywork into which the 6LW engine would fit. If any companies in the group had a requirement for 6 cylinder power, then it had to be the 6A or the 6B, the Gardner 6LW was never an option. Of course there were Bristol K6Gs, popular with some South Wales municipals and independents such as Silcox but not in Tilling fleets. Similarly, when Hants & Dorset wanted L6Gs, they had to send them to Portsmouth Aviation to be bodied because ECW couldn’t fit the engine into their standard single deck body.
I imagine the Bristol radiator could have been moved forward in the style of the Guy Arab but was it the builders who were unwilling to alter their specifications or was it Tilling HQ who decreed that operators couldn’t have 6LWs in the 1930s and 40s?

Chris Barker


01/06/18 – 05:56

It is said that one of the design constraints of the Bristol AVW engine was that it should fit in the bonnet of the K type chassis, thereby limiting its capacity to 8.1 litres. Not until 1950, when the maximum length of double deckers was increased to 27ft 6ins, did Bristol/ECW offer 6LW powered versions of the K type, the KS and KSW. In these the bulkhead was moved back to accommodate the extra length of this engine. As other correspondents have stated, the K6G/KW6G buses built for municipalities and Silcox all had bodywork from builders other than ECW to incorporate a set back bulkhead. Taking up Chris Hebbron’s point about the challenging Isle of Wight topography for the 5LW, Southern Vectis continued to specify this small engine in the wider, longer and heavier KSW type of which it had 15 examples. Only when the Lodekka appeared on the scene did Southern Vectis finally accept the 6LW.

Roger Cox


04/06/18 – 16:37

CDL 899_2

CDL 899 was used for a while on the service to the Needles from Alum Bay and is seen nearing the end of its climb. I did wonder whether the noise could be heard across the Solent!

CDL 899_3
A second photo shows the addition of route branding.

Keith Newton


07/06/18 – 05:31

Lovely photos, Keith, thx for posting them. can well understand the engine noise on this challenging route. The front design of the ECW bodywork, with its scrunched-up windscreen, has the effect of making the high radiator barely obvious. It certainly was when it was fitted with a wartime utility body!

Chris Hebbron


07/06/18 – 05:32

The exchanges over this bus are quite revealing. I have never been closely involved in the bus industry and others may be better qualified to comment. Whereas in pre nationalisation days- the aftermath of the last war- you could obtain (probably beg) a Bristol with AEC engine and Roe body, as nationalisation progressed you could have a K chassis as long as it had a Bristol or 5cyl Gardner engine, an ECW body and any colour as long as it was green, red and/or cream. Choice was restricted and was down purely to chassis length. Later on, the Lodekka even eliminated height as an option: was this, much later and from comments here, the terminal Leyland disease? Certainly the command economy may have been dismantled in the 50’s but lived on for years on the Bristol-Lowestoft axis.
Back to the bus and what a lovely example- the odd feature to me is the absence of elfansafety railings on the upper deck- just the side panels raised above the seat backs. If the bus were to topple, that was you done, or overhanging trees, crane jibs or whatever. Tiny mirrors, but then the conductor would watch behind. Happy days!

Joe


10/06/18 – 08:32

Joe, I don’t think that the product policies of Bristol CV and ECW in the 1950’s and ’60’s were similar to those of Leyland in the 1970’s. First of all, one must remember that the restrictions were placed on BCV and ECW, who were only allowed to sell to the state-owned operators; while those operators could continue to select whichever supplier they wanted – and, indeed, they did so, particularly the Scottish Bus Group, but the THC also bought Bedford coaches, and sometimes lightweight buses.
It is also generally known that BCV and ECW maintained close contact with their customers during that era, and some specialist models were also produced, in numbers that were probably not really economic – I’m thinking of the SC and SU small single deck chassis. The Lodekka was of course a solution that provided the comfort of an highbridge layout within the overall height of a lowbridge bus – with a stepless lower deck floor to boot with the F series models.
It is also worth remembering that BCV and ECW were relatively low-volume producers, and their customers did have more choice. As such, significantly wider choices of engines, etc, would probably not have been viable.
By the 1970’s Leyland had a virtual monopoly of the heavy duty bus and coach market in the UK – and, judging from contemporary reports, seemed to believe that they knew what their customers wanted. I guess that the subsequent history tells us whether that was correct – or not!

Nigel Frampton


 

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Southern Vectis – Bristol LH – NDL 769G – 833

Southern Vectis - Bristol LH - NDL 769G - 833

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
1969
Bristol LHS6L
Marshall B35F

Seen here in the summer of 1969 when almost new, NDL 769G was one of four Bristol LHS6L buses delivered to Southern Vectis with 7ft 6ins wide Marshall B35F bodies of curiously old fashioned appearance. The flat glass windscreen with angled corner glasses was reproduced at the rear. To my eye the utilitarian result had something of the air of a welfare vehicle or a mobile library. Only nineteen examples of this design were constructed. Twelve similar bodies with 33 seats on LHS6L chassis were supplied to Western National in 1972. Gash of Newark took two, one in 1973 and the other in 1975, but these were 8ft wide. Harvey of Mousehole took a single narrow example in 1977. In all cases the chassis was the LH6L with the 6.54 litre Leyland 400 engine, or, from 1971, the more powerful 401, which was coupled with a Turner five speed synchromesh gearbox. The bus shown above was bought by United in 1977 and is currently in preservation, though the livery it now wears is, in my opinion, an offence to the eye – see what you think at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


25/01/16 – 06:33

Interesting view, Roger, Where was the photo taken, please? I’m guessing Newport. The best that can be said of the "United" livery is that it is at least in what might be described as in patriotic colours although the style of application won’t be very high on most folks’ idea of ‘good taste’. Talking of "United" the captcha for this response is 58HN, a Darlington registration

Pete Davies


25/01/16 – 06:34

I agree entirely, Roger. The current livery is simly awful.

David Wragg


25/01/16 – 09:17

Yes, Pete, the location is Newport. The church in the background is Newport Minster. Please forgive the omission. This style of body has always puzzled me. Marshall constructed a large number of single deck bodies of (what one might call) basically BET appearance with curved glass windscreens, and I supposed that the reason for the flat screens lay in the narrow 7ft 6ins width of the vehicles. However, Gash took two with the same front and rear end design, and these were 8ft wide. The narrow Bristol BN and BS classes of London Country and London Transport respectively had curved front windscreens and flat glass at the rear, though these vehicles were delivered from 1973 onwards. Surely this curved screen was available in 1969. I doubt that the relative costs would have been a factor. The complicated rear screen on the Marshall would have negated any (debatable) cost saving when replacing the various flat glasses at the front. I imagine, also, that this Marshall feature was structurally weaker.

Roger Cox


25/01/16 – 10:50

Marshall also produced a "coach" version mainly for WNOC in particular that had curved glass in the windscreen.

Chris Hough


25/01/16 – 14:00

David W – I couldn’t agree more, Except that I would not use the word "livery" – rather a freelance graffiti exercise, and a bitter disappointment compared with even the NBC version of United’s livery.

Chris Youhill


26/01/16 – 06:52

I have seen a Leyland National with a ‘paint job’ similar to the United one, but I’ll not send you running for a darkened room by offering it for publication.
[Unless someone’s mother in law is threatening a visit, and the reader is suitably desperate!]

Pete Davies


26/01/16 – 06:53

The "current" livery was chosen by United as this bus was used on a "town" service in Newton Aycliffe, which was very successful It was discontinued after a few years…
No doubt someone will come up with more information.
Just for the record I drove for United out of Darlington for 10 years and would possibly had stayed a bit longer but had to leave to care for my wife after she suffered a life changing event….some good memories and some not so good

John Wake


26/01/16 – 06:54

VOD 88K

Photo; VOD 88K Bristol LHS/Marshall of Devon General O&TC.
It is so good to see the oddities and rarities of vehicle styles from the past, as a contrast to the Southern Vectis LHS/Marshall, I offer this Devon General preserved in the pre-National Bus Company red version of the British Transport Commission livery. This view was taken at Yeovil Junction railway station on the border of Somerset and Dorset during July 2010. These narrow Marshall bodied vehicles were ideal for rural routes but were never taken in great numbers by the main transport groups of the time.

Ron Mesure


27/01/16 – 06:20

Devon General only became a Transport Holding Company subsidiary in 1967 on the occasion of British Electric Traction selling its bus interests to the Ministry of Transport. By the time this bus was delivered the company was a subsidiary of the National Bus Company. Prior to late 1972 the NBC had operated without corporate liveries.

Stephen Allcroft


27/01/16 – 06:22

I think we can be reasonably sure that the body order for these LHSs went to Marshall because of the narrow width requirement. ECW were building bodies for LHS around the same time (for Lincolnshire and Luton Corporation), but these were 7′ 10" wide, as were the contemporary bodies on the longer LH chassis at that time.
I am not sure if the narrow version of the BET windscreen was available at that time, but I believe the principal problem was the height, rather than the width. The basic structure of the body looks to be similar to the Marshall Cambrette bodies built on Bedford VAS chassis for Coventry and East Kent a few years earlier. The radiator of the Bristol LH range was set relatively high, so that Marshall would not have had very much scope to extend the aperture for the windscreen downwards, while an enlargement upwards would have intruded into the destination display area. The only other option would have been to use the shallower rear screens of the BET curved variety, but I am reasonably sure they were even shallower, and the aesthetics of the vehicle would have suffered, not to mention the driver’s field of vision! The multi-pane version adopted was already being used for export vehicles, so I suspect the adaptation for these LHSs was a simple and effective solution.
The 10 Bristol LH coaches that Marshall bodied for WN (with mixed BDV-L and NTT-M registrations) had a different body structure with a shallow roof and deeper side windows, which meant that the BET screens could be accommodated. I would hazard a guess that the structure of these was derived from those that Marshall built for the MoD, usually on Bedford SB chassis, though I believe that some later vehicles were built on underfloor-engined chassis.

Nigel Frampton


06/09/17 – 06:52

United acquired both 832/3 NDL768/769G from SVOC and numbered them 1451/2 for demand variable services from Ripon depot in 1977 where they were sparingly used. They were then sent to Darlington depot where they were to be used for a new service serving Newton Aycliffe.
1451 was replaced by a newer ex Trent LHS/ECW also in the distinctive Newtonian colours (as befits a new town) but 1452 survived. NDL769G eventually passed into preservation replaced by, ironically, another ex SV LHS in 838 HDL415N.
The ECW LHS’s continued on the Newtonian until deregulation when Merc minis brought a larger network of services though still with Newtonian fleetnames. Three LHS’s (now joined by HDL414N) were sent to Ripon (again coming full circle) where the livery was amended to Ripon City Bus. The LHS’s were then swapped with Western National though the livery was then applied to some standard LH’s (1705/6) at Ripon depot.
There was ANOTHER similar patriotic livery applied to three vehicles (one was the National) but thankfully not perpetuated!

BW


 

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Southern Vectis – Bristol KS5G – HDL 264 – 750

Southern Vectis - Bristol KS5G - HDL 264 - 750

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
1951
Bristol KS5G
ECW L27/28R

New to Southern Vectis in 1951 with an Isle of Wight registration a Bristol KS5G with an ECW lowbridge body and was withdrawn by them in 1967. Sold on to dealer W Norths (PV) Limited, Sherburn-in-Elmet in May 1967 it then went to Jameson of Sunderland the following month. It was later purchased by Carneys Coaches of Sunderland in October 1967 and was used on shipyard contracts transporting workers between Wearside and Teeside, it was also used to take local Scout groups on holidays. It remained in its original Southern Vectis livery a dark shade of Green with a white band all through its working life. In November 1968 Carneys disposed of it to a dealer, unfortunately from that point on I have no further history.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Coulson


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 21st August 2018