Old Bus Photos

Wakefields Motors – AEC Regal – FT 7278 – 178

Wakefields Motors - AEC Regal - FT 7278 - 178

Wakefields Motors
AEC Regal 1
Beadle FC35F

These Beadle bodies were popular with many BET group companies, most were built on refurbished pre war chassis, usually AEC or Leyland, and that was certainly the case with ten of Northern General Transport. However, from as early as 1923, NGT had a number of vehicles built on their own chassis. The post war chassis list were classified as NGT/AEC and numbered 132/174, I’m not sure if NGT built the chassis from scratch or if they were refurbished, but they all had AEC running gear and A173 engines. Between 1951/3, 43 were built, 37 bodied by Picktree to NGT designs, the service vehicles were affectionately know as ‘Kipper boxes’

Northern General Transport post war chassis list




Fleet Number

1951 132 BCN 888 1388
1952 134/42 CCN 368/76 1368/76
1952 149 CCN 404 1404
All FC35F Picktree A
1952 150/9 CCN 677/86 1457/66
1953 172/4 DCN 93/5 1493/5
All FC35F Picktree B
1951 133 CCN 402 1402
1953 160/71 DCN 67/78 1467/78
All B43F Picktree/NGT

However, six chassis 143-48 were bodied elsewhere; the 1952 Percy Main intake included six coaches with Beadle FC35F bodies, FT 7275/80 – 175/80. Two more arrived in 1953, FT 7791/2 – 191/2, but I cant find a chassis listing for them, so it’s possible they may have been re-bodies. The second two were FC39F and classed as D/P’s, and had a different treatment to the fronts with less bright trim and a number section on the destination layout. At the time the first six were delivered the predominant colour for the coach fleet was red, but the livery later reverted to the more familiar cream.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

19/09/13 – 18:12

The style of body is very similar to those which Beadle applied to various rebuilds for Southdown (MUF 488 is preserved) and East Kent (FFN 446 is preserved) of the same era, so Ronnie’s suggestion that the lack of chassis details may indicate rebody (or rebuild) is quite plausible. Nice view, Ronnie. Thanks for posting!

Pete Davies

20/09/13 – 12:42

Pete, on the subject of preserved Beadles, some while ago, the N.E.B.P.T. Ltd found one of Northern’s 1953 Beadles ‘DCN 83’ in a scrap yard. Apparently, it was in a dreadful state, and some debate ensued as to whether or not it was beyond redemption. However, a deal was struck and it was transported home to the North East where it is currently being restored. The trust is nothing if not thorough, so don’t expect miracles time wise, but I’m certain that the finished article will be done to their usual very high standards.

Ronnie Hoye

20/09/13 – 18:13

Thanks for that, Ronnie. Good news indeed! Are members of the group now looking for a suitable chassis, or do they have one that was waiting for a body?

Pete Davies

21/09/13 – 08:27

Pete, if you type DCN 83 into your search engine, it should take you to an article on the trusts web site. It only gives a brief outline, but there’s quite a bit of background information about the vehicle. As you will see, there are several differences to the one in the posting. It has a different front and destination layout, and for some reason it has a large front near side cab window and doesn’t have a cab door, having said that, some of them didn’t have a bulkhead behind the driver, so that would render a N/S cab door surplus to requirements.

Ronnie Hoye

22/09/13 – 07:45

Thanks, Ronnie!

Pete Davies


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Trent – AEC Regal I – RC 9668/74 – 303/768

Trent - AEC Regal I - RC 9668/74 - 303/768
Copyright Bob Gell

Trent Motor Traction 303                            Trent Motor Traction 768
1947                                                            1947
AEC Regal I                                                  AEC Regal I
Willowbrook FDP39F                                  Willowbrook B35F

A company not yet represented on this site is Trent Motor Traction, so this photo is to rectify that omission. In the early postwar years, Trent took delivery of a large number of AEC Regals with Willowbrook bus bodies. In 1958, some 20 of the Regals were modernised by Willowbrook, who fitted a full front, extended the chassis and lengthened the body to 30 feet, increasing the capacity from 35 to 39.
The rebuilt vehicles were treated as dual purpose, which meant they saw use on local services (the only time I rode on one was on the Derby ‘town service’ 27 from Scarborough Rise to the bus station), and also express services, often to the East Coast on summer Saturdays.
I’m not sure how much of a success they were, as they were withdrawn in 1962/3, only 2/3 years after the last of the unrebuilt examples.
My photograph shows rebuilt 303 (RC 9668) and unrebuilt 768 (RC 9674), both from the 1947 batch, at Derby Bus Station in 1960.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Bob Gell

16/12/12 – 11:03

Extending the chassis and fitting a new body? Sounds rather like the Tilling fleets with the Bristol L to LL conversion. Who’s idea was it?

Pete Davies

16/12/12 – 12:20

Were not some of these Regals lengthened by Trent themselves but remained half cabs?

Eric Bawden

16/12/12 – 14:47

I found this site by accident (What a fascinating place the internet can be) and have been delighted with the photographs and comments. I was with Trent from 1965 to 1967 prior to emigrating to Western Australia. I worked at the Hucknall depot in Nottinghamshire where we drove mainly Leyland PD2’s and 3’s plus Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines. I never gave a thought, sadly, to taking photographs but I have found a few examples of vehicles similar to those that I drove. If anyone has examples of Trent buses I would love to see them.

Malcolm Holmes

17/12/12 – 08:14

When I was a nipper we took holidays at Skegness and we stayed at digs near the coach park! I seem to recall one of the full front vehicle was used as some kind of booking office. Have I got this right? My father who had the same initials RC often commented the number plate would be just right for his own car this being before the craze was the general norm.

Philip Carlton

18/12/12 – 08:00

To answer a couple of points, the rebuilt vehicles didn’t have new bodies. As Bob rightly states, the original bodies simply had the rearmost bay extended to achieve 30ft length and provide four extra seats. In halfcab form they had been used on long distance express services but attracted complaints from passengers because the original bus seats were very low backed. The rebuilt vehicles were given dual purpose seats although these were still rather spartan. The rebuilds gave between four and five years service, the last being sixteen years old when withdrawn, I suppose that was quite creditable for Trent who usually worked to a twelve year maximum fleet life.
I’ve never known if the AEC radiator was retained behind the full fronts but the rebuilt vehicles had a reputation for getting extremely hot in the cabs and were known as ‘sweat boxes’ None of them were extended and retained half cabs. Quite a few rebuilds saw further service after leaving Trent. The mobile booking office at Skegness was a much earlier vehicle, a pre-war SOS.

Chris Barker

19/12/12 – 07:22

Chris – Thanks for the additional information.
The pre war SOS mobile booking office (RC 2721) was saved for preservation, and is currently being restored by LVVS at Lincoln.

Bob Gell

13/06/13 – 11:34

As a fitter and a manager working at Trent for 30 years 1962 to 1992 I can confirm that the lengthened AEC Regals were indeed "sweatboxes" working on the engine in the cab in thick overalls on a hot day had to be believed! they did not retain the original AEC radiator but a flat metal affair, where they came from I am not sure. The conversions were all carried out at Willowbrook but for me they did not look right. As a matter of interest my boss at Trent for 25 years Malcolm Hitchen MBE is currently writing about his 50 years with Trent engineering hopefully to be published to coincide with Trent 100 years in October 2013

Alan Hiley

RC 9668-74_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

24/08/13 – 15:27

RC 2721

There is mention on this Trent page of a mobile booking office used at Skegness. This was RC 2721 a 1935 BMMO DON converted to the booking office in May 1953, acquired by the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society in April 1965. Still with them in 2013 and being put back to its original condition.

Alan Hiley

03/09/13 – 06:00

RC 2721_2

Alan Hiley in his contribution of 24/08/2013 makes mention of Trent Motor Traction Co., 1935 BMMO DON – RC 2721 being with the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society, in preservation.
I thought you would like to see it in their ownership.

Stephen Howarth


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Bickers of Coddenham – AEC Regal 1 – GK 3172

GK 3172_1_lr

GK 3172_2_lr
Copyright Victor Brumby

Bickers of Coddenham
AEC Regal I
Duple C32F

Here is a pair of poor photos taken in Great Yarmouth in August 1958. As a London Transport spotter predominantly, I was excited to note the registration GK 3172 on a cream and green AEC coach under the Bickers title – it had to be an ex-London bus! I guessed it could be an ST, STL or T. Inspecting the dumb-irons was the easy way for those in the know, and there was indeed the brass plate on the right hand iron but the left hand one which would have given me the fleet number had been removed.
Later I found that it was formerly T 300 which had been delivered in 1931 and withdrawn in 1938, bought by Arlington Motors, Vauxhall Bridge Road, The driver told me his boss had picked the vehicle up from a scrapyard, with that non-London Transport body already fitted – he thought, perhaps, off a Leyland.
A letter to London Transport gave me the stock number and some of these details. How kind companies used to be to little perishers who pestered them with daft enquiries!

Sometimes I gathered redundant discs from such ‘finds’ and nowadays some folk collect them – so below are those from T300, in case any of you chaps are interested.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Victor Brumby

Tax Discs_lr
    Copyright Victor Brumby

24/11/11 – 06:46

Gut instinct. Shape of destination indicators and circular insert. Looks a bit Plaxton to me. Would have been an early one – even off a Leyland. Would also have been rare to see a Plaxton in or from the London area.

David Oldfield

24/11/11 – 06:47

How useful those little brass plates on the dumb-irons could be – I found them indispensable when finding old LT buses as showmen’s vehicles at funfairs!
Looking at the indicator area above the cab, the body looks as if it could well be a Duple.

Chris Hebbron

24/11/11 – 06:48

Bearing in mind cheap labour in those far-off days, organisations as big as London Transport might well have employed a special "Clerical Officer, D.E.L.P." (Daft Enquiries from Little Perishers) to answer such esoteric questions!

Stephen Ford

24/11/11 – 06:49

Most fascinating to notice from the two PSV licences that this fine vehicle had been demoted in April 1955 from "Express" to "Stage" – so often the fate of luxury coaches whose charms had begun to wane, but to the advantage of the service bus passengers who benefitted !!

Chris Youhill

24/11/11 – 07:46

As an addendum, the excellent website, Ian’s Bus Stop, shows that the vehicle was sold to Arlington Motors in August 1938, then bought by Osborne of Tollesbury, who had it re-bodied it by Duple as C32F. It was in service with Bickers in 1954 and withdrawn in March 1959. T300’s body was transferred to T369, which suggests that only the chassis was sold by LPTB.

Chris Hebbron

25/11/11 – 06:46

Well, it was a pleasant surprise to find this operator appearing on the web site as I am sending this note from a computer less than four miles from the Suffolk village of Coddenham. Indeed a work colleague was brought up in Coddenham and knows various members of the Bickers family. She has recalled that in her childhood Bickers vehicles always seemed to be older (i.e. more interesting to us) than those of other operators.
Alfred C. Bickers (father of the Geoffrey Charles Bickers shown on the licence) had begun running into Ipswich from Coddenham by 1925. In April 1927 he bought a new 14 seat Ford Model T bus RT 2975 which no doubt became obsolete by the 1930s and was discarded. Many and various buses, (nearly always second hand) were bought until 1988 when that part of the business was divided between Eastern Counties and Ipswich Buses. Imagine everybodys surprise when about ten years ago there appeared on the Ipswich – Felixstowe Vintage Vehicle Run a Ford Model T RT 2975 bus complete with original log book, entered and restored by David A. Bickers of Coddenham, grandson of the original owner. In the 1960s Dave Bickers was a well known motor cycle scramble rider and later he and his son Paul started to do stunt engineering work for films including a number of James Bond movies, see www.bickers.co.uk Clearly the restoration of a bus would have posed little problem to such a family of engineers.
The PSV Circle states that GK 3172 was scrapped after withdrawal by Bickers but then that was what they said about RT 2975!

Nigel Turner

30/11/11 – 15:04

AEC RT2634 0905 JoBurg 3_resize

AEC RT2634 0905 JoBurg r_resize

Chris Hebbron alludes to the brass dumb-iron plates to be found on all the period London buses. Above is the plate of the RT which languishes in the Johannesburg Museum of Transport, which I was amused to photograph on 2005.

Victor Brumby

16/08/13 – 12:14

Chris Youhill comments (above) about the apparent demotion of this vehicle from Express duties to Stage.
My own memory is becoming a little hazy now, but my recollection is that, when it came to vehicles’ PSV licences, ‘Stage’ was a higher category than ‘Express’, i.e. with a vehicle licensed as a ‘Stage Carriage’ you could do everything you could have done with one licensed as an ‘Express Carriage’ – and more. The requirements for a ‘Stage’ licence were stricter – e.g. a passenger/driver communication system (i.e. bell or buzzer) had to be provided. Most vehicles were licensed as ‘Stage’, irrespective of the sort of work they were likely to be called upon to do.
Am I remembering correctly?

David Call

18/06/15 – 10:43

I missed David Call’s comment of a couple of years ago. The classifications ‘Stage’ and ‘Express’ Carriage referred to Road Service Licences, the licences granted to operators by the Traffic Commissioners to run passenger services between specified points to a published timetable via a detailed route stopping at particular points at stated fares. The maximum size of machine for each route was also dictated. The vehicles were all licensed as psvs, and had to pass Certificate of Fitness tests at fixed intervals according to age. Thus coaches could be used legally on bus services and buses on coach services (the latter sometimes to the discomfort of passenger posteriors, no doubt). All this has changed, of course. Buses and coaches, like all vehicles of three years of age or more, now have to pass an annual MoT test, and the number of vehicles that a commercial operator can run is limited by the Operator’s Licence. The actual passenger services/routes are no longer licensed at all outside London. Bus companies today can run what they like when they like, and charge what they like for the (often dubious) privilege, subject to 42 days notice being given to the local Traffic Commissioner for applications for new or changed services.

Roger Cox

GK 3172_1_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

04/06/16 – 06:39

This is a late comment but the difference between stage and express was merely that of the minimum fare charged.Express services had a minimum fare of one shilling and "excursions and tours" was merely a special variety of express carriage.
I think that vehicles used purely for private hire were licensed as "contract Carriage" but I am not sure about that – it is a long time since I did my Institute of Transport course and by the time I got my CPC (Operators licence) it was all irrelevant anyway.

Malcolm Hirst


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