Old Bus Photos

Reading Corporation – AEC Reagent I – RD 7127 – 47

Reading Corporation - AEC Reagent I - RD 7127 - 47

Reading Corporation
AEC Regent I
Park Royal L26/26R

RD 7127 is an AEC Regent I with ‘oil’ engine, making her an O661. Those with petrol engines did not have the O prefix, and it dates from 1935. It has Park Royal bodywork, to the L52R layout, and we see it at Longcross, Chobham, on 1 April 2007.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

18/03/17 – 07:14

Sister vehicles 11 and 46 were withdrawn as early as 1950, but the Corporation gave 47 a body rebuild and she ran till the end of February ’56, to the delight of a small knot of enthusiasts, one of whom sat in the front nearside seat upstairs as she rumbled over a cobbled bridge, celebrating the fact that she was now in her 21st year of service.
Seven years later Reading Transport Society member John Whitehead announced that 47 was still active, ferrying mushroom farm employees at Thakeham, W Sussex, and that the owners, A G Linfield, were shortly to donate her to the Society. In October 1963 we went down to pick her up and, being the only one of us over 21, I had the honour of driving. No bus could have been kinder to the novice: ideal driving position, excellent visibility, positive controls with no slack anywhere, nice progressive clutch and brakes,
easy gearbox, reassuring stability…47 has it all. Mike Dare and I did all our pre-PSV-test driving practice on her before joining Smiths Coaches. Over the next few years we covered hundreds of miles in 47 to and from rallies, museums and—sadly—trolleybus system closures. Still in good mechanical shape, she awaits structural work on the body before being fit to carry a full load again.

Ian Thompson

18/03/17 – 16:12

Thanks for your thoughts, Ian. As previously, if you or any other members of the readership don’t have a copy of your own of this view, Peter has my permission to forward on your request.

Pete Davies

18/03/17 – 16:14

Memories of Doncaster’s Regent no 60 which apparently ran from 1942 to 1962 in a similar livery and Roe body, no doubt ferrying miners home from shift. It is no wonder that Donny seemed to like AEC’s: although nothing beats its all Leyland PD2’s with trolley rebodies which all did 25-26 years.


19/03/17 – 07:05

Provincial’s number 35 is a very similar vehicle except for being highbridge. That ran in service 1936-1966 with its original company before being sold to preservation. Its body is teak framed and aluminium panelled which accounted for longevity – does anyone know if this combination was used for other bodies by Park Royal and if they too lasted a long time.

David Chapman

21/03/17 – 15:57

Thanks for the kind offer of a copy, Pete. Superb photo!

Ian Thompson


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Reading Corporation – Sunbeam S7 – ERD 149 – 178

Reading Corporation - Sunbeam S7 - ERD 149 - 178

Reading Corporation
Sunbeam S7
Park Royal H38/30RD

This photo of Reading Corporation 178 a Sunbeam S7 with Park Royal H38/30RD bodywork, delivered in November 1950, was taken 18 years later on the last day of trolleybus operation Sunday 4th of November 1968 as I recall a very cold but bright day. Taken when 178 was negotiating the turning circle at Tilehurst opposite what was then the Three Tuns pub to pick up for the return trip to Wokingham Road, unlike some of the later Sunbeam F4A’s which went to Teesside these had come to the end of their lives although 181 was, if not, still is, in preservation.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

14/08/14 – 10:21

It looks sad, as do all vehicles on their way out.
Liked the "Baylis Supermarkets says Goodbye to Reading’s Trolleybuses" advert on the side, DD! Occasionally, I visited Reading and think they were at Caversham.
I really don’t recall the trolleybuses having platform doors (never travelled on one)- was this common?

Chris Hebbron

14/08/14 – 12:00

Diesel Dave and Chris H: The first Reading trolleys with platform doors were the 4-wheel BUTs of 1949. William John Evans liked spacious raised platforms with doors, generous staircases and—for the trolleybuses—deep windscreens, and whatever the stern WJE liked, he got. The same arrangement was found on the 6-wheel Sunbeams, as shown here, on the 1950 Crossley DD 42/8s and the 1956/7 AEC Regent IIIs.
Baylis certainly did have a Caversham branch, which outlived their main shop on the corner of Broad St and St Mary’s Butts, right in the town, which became the first self-service shop in Reading. It was an odd sensation picking what you needed off the shelves!
The Three Tuns is actually at the Wokingham Road end of the route.
Thanks for a nice nostalgic posting.

Ian T

14/08/14 – 17:39

Thx, Ian T, for the extra info.
The first supermarket I ever used was, bizarrely, a MacFisheries in Fareham. which accepted credit cards. The next one was a Victor Value, in Portsmouth itself, a group eventually swallowed up by Tesco. It was strange to pick stuff off the shelves yourself.

Chris Hebbron

17/07/16 – 05:55

Is this the Trolleybus that Matchbox modelled their #56A on?

Geoff Saunders

18/07/16 – 06:51

Geoff, the Matchbox 56 trolleybus was based on a London Transport Q1 class trolleybus, complete with a route no 667. For its size and era it was quite a good model, even though intended merely as a toy. (I had 18 of them in my "fleet"!).

Michael Hampton

04/06/17 – 07:44

Reading trolleybus 181 IS still in preservation. It is privately owned but is based at the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft (near Doncaster). The museum has overhead wiring to enable some of the 50, or so trolleybuses, based there to run on regular open days. There is going to a big Reading event next year, so you should be able to see 181 run. I have been three times and it is a great day out, but I should think it will run before then. Perhaps a phone call to them will give you more information.

Chris Baldwin


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Reading Corporation – Bristol RE – KRD 258F – 258

Reading Corporation - Bristol RE - KRD 258F - 258

Reading Corporation
Bristol RELL6G
Strachans B34D

KRD 258F, Reading 258, is another of the operator’s Bristol RELL6G fleet, with Strachans of Hamble B34D body (and the tribute to Burlingham’s "Seagull" motif). She’s seen at Wisley airfield, arriving for the open day there on 4 April 2004. Since the organisers’ move from Cobham to Brooklands, these events are now held at the latter site.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

07/11/13 – 07:27

When these were delivered they were likened to milk floats by some observers!

Chris Hough

07/11/13 – 09:39

As an ardent supporter of centre exit buses this seems a grand motor to me, but is it perhaps an optical illusion that it seems very short for a 36 foot vehicle ??

Chris Youhill

07/11/13 – 11:44

These are (Series 2) RELL-6 models, a special model, only produced in 1967/8. Reading had 28 with Pennine and 14 with Strachans bodies. The only others were 2 for Warrington with East Lancs bodies making a grand total of 44. The standard Series 2 model was the RELL-3 of which there were 2657 built. The RELL-3 had an 18’6" wheelbase for 36’0" x 8’2½" bodies. The RELL-6 had a 17’6" wheelbase for between 32’6" and 36’0" long bodies. Regrettably I do not know the exact length of the bodied RELL-6s, but I suspect Chris that you are correct – they are less than 36’0" long. [Any Reading or Bristol experts out there to fill us in?]

David Oldfield

08/11/13 – 06:46

I think it is quite a striking looking bus – enhanced by a good livery. Just wonder about reflections in the windscreens at night – they look very upright and flat in plan view.

Ian Wild

08/11/13 – 08:10

Apparently Reading were quite enamoured of their Burlingham Reliances and basically wanted the same again. Since Burlingham was no more it fell to Pennine and Strachans to put a modern twist on the original – and this is what they got, along with the "Burlingham" motif on the front.

David Oldfield

08/11/13 – 11:43

These were probably 32ft 6ins but, for some reason 32ft 9ins sticks in my mind!

Phil Blinkhorn

08/11/13 – 18:06

Can anyone supply a photo of the Pennine version? I assume that they too, were a good copy.

Chris Hebbron

09/11/13 – 06:13

Reading seems to have had a penchant for nonstandard versions of chassis and bodies. The Dennis Lolines were of an intermediate length also. A picture of a Pennine bodied Reading RE may be seen here:- www.sct61.org.uk/

Roger Cox

09/11/13 – 08:23

Just ferreted out of Simon Butler’s book on the RE that these were, indeed, 33’0" long.

David Oldfield

09/11/13 – 09:01

Thanks for clarifying the length David. As regards the Birmingham style motif, all Reading single deckers after the Burlingham batch had this or a variation. These were built by Duple Northern in Blackpool after Burlingham had been taken over, Neepsend, Strachans and Pennine. Of course Reading also adorned the front panels of its Trolleybuses with additional brightwork.

Phil Blinkhorn

09/11/13 – 12:09

I assume Birmingham is a typo rather than a Freudian slip Phil?

David Oldfield

09/11/13 – 12:44

It’s the *!"**!! predictive text on my tablet.

Phil Blinkhorn

09/11/13 – 17:50

Keep taking the tablets, Mr Blinkhorn!!!!

Pete Davies

10/11/13 – 07:53

Until I saw your typo, Phil, I’d not even considered how close Birmingham and Birlingham were!

David Oldfield

11/11/13 – 15:24

On their home turf we called them "cattle trucks". I though they were very good-looking vehicles, and certainly distinctive. The problem lay not in the buses themselves but in the politics and twisted economics that insulted passengers by forcing them to stand, when car-drivers were being cosseted and effectively subsidised.
Within 3 years of the opening of a huge competitor on a "retail park" our local pet-shop has just closed. Irrelevant? No: hypermarkets have it easy, basking in a favourable economic and planning climate that makes life very hard for small shops. By the way, I loathe the word "standee"…

Ian Thompson

12/11/13 – 06:04

Ian, I totally agree with your comments regarding the "twisted economics" of forcing passengers to stand while cars (aka the competition) were steadily becoming more comfortable and affordable (and they even had heaters that worked – wowee wow wow!). The term "cattle trucks" describes such buses well, and one dreads to think of the consequences should such a bus have been involved in a head-on collision whilst fully loaded. Your loathing of the word "standee" is interesting, and maybe I can help with an alternative. A few years ago, Burnley & Pendle introduced a fleet of Optare Versas to the townsfolk of Burnley. Instead of being in B&P’s very attractive red and cream however, they were delivered in a new livery of yellow and orange (more akin to mustard and terracotta). Added to this they were adorned with the fleetname ‘Starship’. I have been reliably informed that within a few days of the buses’ introduction, their drivers were becoming tired of passengers tendering their fares and saying "beam me up Scotty!". I did wonder at the time if any standing passengers should therefore be referred to as Klingons?

Brendan Smith

12/11/13 – 12:07

Ian, I agree. Undoubtedly the ‘standees’ would have gazed enviously upon the ‘sitees’.

Roger Cox

15/11/13 – 17:55

Visions of Klingons and Sitees really made my day! Wonderful how the imagemongers and we-know-besters always unwittingly provide the pins with which to burst the bubble of their own pomposity. Recently a train company (whose fleeting name doesn’t even escape me, as it was totally unmemorable) announced that rather than providing more seats it was considering bumrests for non-sitees to lean against, presumably qualifying these unfortunate travellers as propees–or would that be better spelt proppees?
A search led me incidentally to one Tim Leunig, an economist who would love to see Margaret Thatcher’s Serpell Report revived with massive railway closures, and who actively encourages the standing-room-only approach.
Watch out for him: he’ll be at (but not ON) the buses next.

Ian Thompson

16/11/13 – 08:43

Sounds like South Eastern Trains – the white ones out to Kent.

David Oldfield

16/11/13 – 08:44

Interesting Ian – I confess I used to support the standing room only brigade – for the London commuter belt. It seemed a good way to encourage them to look for more congenial places to live and work! Unfortunately, with increasing train speeds, the London commuter belt includes Wiltshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire etc. now, so that previously comfortable trains are forced to become sardine tins. Travelling on a Worst Great Western HST in standard class is now like riding in a toastrack. Cross-Country is just as bad, and they don’t even have the excuse of "serving" London commuters! Sorry for rant -let’s get back on topic!

Stephen Ford

16/11/13 – 08:44

I returned to Burnley recently having lived there in the late 1960’s. I can remember when Burnley and Pendle was Burnley, Colne and Nelson Joint Transport Committee.My wife and I lived near Queensgate Depot and were often lulled to sleep by the last Tiger Cub running in from Reedley Halt. The strange livery mentioned above is still in use but I must say the revamped bus station is much better than the old one. Very civilised unlike Salisbury where I now live where the bus station has been sold by the asset strippers and the streets are clogged up by parked buses.


28/07/17 – 06:45

I used to drive the Reading RE’s from 1973 to 1979,they were my favourite buses in the fleet at the time,the semi – auto gears were a pleasure to drive although the steering was heavy with a full load on.The heating was almost non existent so you froze to death in the winter months. The only visible difference between the Strachan bodied ones and the Pennine bodies. was a bit more silver beading o the sides and front of the Pennine ones.

Ray Hunt


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