Old Bus Photos

Western National – Tilling Stevens – JY 124 – 3379

JY 124

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Beadle B35R

JY 124 is a Bristol L, dating from . . . NO!

Despite the Bristol radiator, this is actually a Tilling-Stevens, new to Western National (fleet number 3379) in 1932, and given a new Beadle body in 1947. After some years in use with a fairground operator, it was rescued for preservation, and we see it during the open day at Winkleigh on 3 October 1999. Jenkinson (1978) lists it as a B49A7 while the PSVC 2012 listing notes it as a B39A7. Is there a typing error here, or did the specification change at some point in its history?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

18/12/16 – 13:30

I’d like to warn the readership that this is another in a series of "Not quite what they seem" views. The Darwen Regent V (434 BTE) published a few days ago was in this category, and there are several others in the pipeline subject, of course, to their passing our Editor’s filters.

Pete Davies

18/12/16 – 13:31

From August 1930 Tilling-Stevens (there should be a hyphen between the two words) adopted the abbreviated branding of T.S.M. to allay the perception that the company still had links with the Tilling Group. JY 124 is, or was originally, a B39A7 of May 1932, when it was fitted with a Beadle B32R body. This model was an undated version of the very successful B10 type that first appeared in 1928, that was itself a development of the 1926 B9. From 1931 T.S.M. adopted an alphabetical sequence for its mechanically geared ranges, and, as the letter ‘B’ had already been adopted for the B9/B10, the next model used the letter ‘C’, and so on. The designation B39A7 means:
B – model type
39 – the engine is the four cylinder 5.12 litre Ricardo designed side valve petrol unit that ultimately developed about 75 bhp
A – forward control
7 – the wheelbase is around 17ft 6ins (UK single deck length)
The B49A7 was a much rarer variant using the four cylinder 106 bhp four cylinder 6.97 litre petrol engine used in the TS15A and TS17A petrol electrics. By 1947 the body of JY 124 had been updated to B35R, and the chassis had acquired a Gardner 4LW engine, thus making the chassis technically B4LA7, the ‘4L’ indicating the 4 cylinder Gardner.
In 1937 T.S.M. abandoned the abbreviated badging and reverted to the Tilling-Stevens name.

Roger Cox

19/12/16 – 08:54

Thank you, Roger!

Pete Davies

01/08/17 – 07:34

I think it is strictly incorrect to refer to the radiator on JY 124 as a Bristol radiator. The radiator was manufactured by Coventry Radiators, and is of the same pattern as they supplied to Bristol for use on its buses but I believe they were acquired by WNOC/SNOC direct from Covrad. Similar radiators were available on general sale. I have seen one attached to a generator unit.
As regards the chassis designation, I have been told in the past that it was suffixed with the word ‘Express’.

Peter Cook

02/08/17 – 06:57

Tilling-Stevens adopted the name "Express" – optimistically for a bus with a four cylinder 64 bhp 5.12 litre petrol engine – for the B9 of 1926 and the B10 of 1928, the latter becoming the most successful T-S type in terms of sales in the company’s existence. The B10 was updated over subsequent years through the B39 and (larger engined) B49 models, almost invariably of A7 wheelbase, finally becoming the HA39 and HA49 by 1935. The name was revived in 1950 for the very basic flat framed 30ft by 8ft Meadows 4DC330 80 bhp engined L4MA8 model which was hopefully christened "Express MkII". It was Tilling-Stevens’ swansong and did not sell very well. At the end of 1950, by which time the Bedford SB had arrived on the scene, the Maidstone company sold out to the Rootes group.

Roger Cox

03/08/17 – 06:50

I meant to add that the radiator badge on the WNOC TSM’s was ‘Western National’ rather than the Bristol scroll. Took me a long time with a hand lens peering at Alan Cross’s pictures of the bus in Tavistock and Okehampton to figure out what it said.

Peter Cook


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