Old Bus Photos

Anderton – AEC Reliance – OWT 940

OWT 940
Copyright John C Gillham

Anderton (Keighley)
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Burlingham Seagull C41F

For me the classic Burlingham Seagull remains as stylish and attractive as it did when I saw my first Sheffield United Tours examples. This one, Reliance MU3RV294, Burlingham 5855, was new to Anderton of Keighley in January 1955 and was snapped by John C Gillham at the Clacton Coach Rally.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson

24/04/17 – 07:20

The design and appearance of the Seagull can, I think, be justifiably be described as immortal.

Chris Youhill

25/04/17 – 07:21

Shaped a bit like a teardrop… but more refined….


27/04/17 – 14:56

OWT 940 was sold to Victoria Coaches of Wakefield and was exported to Malta in 1970, probably as a chassis only.
It received a coach body built by Debono and was in the coach fleet as registration number 2573 by December 1970, later being re-registered to Y-0871.
By July 1987 it had been downgraded to bus work as Y-0767 as B45F, losing its glass rooflights and gaining green livery.
It later received yellow bus livery and was re-registered to FBY 767.
In this form it worked until 2011, when the interesting Malta Bus fleet was swept away in the name of progress.
Thus it worked hard until it was 56 years old, a tribute to AEC.

Dave Farrier

28/04/17 – 17:16

At one time the Maltese route bus vehicles only worked on alternate days, so perhaps this lovely old lady has a semi-retirement in the sun.

David Wragg

04/05/17 – 06:40

I was very interested to see the photo of the Anderton’s AEC. I grew up in Anderton’s home town (Keighley) and they were a well-known local coach business, always smartly turned out in pale blue and cream. I obviously wasn’t observant enough, because I don’t recall this vehicle. Anderton’s seemed to trade in at regular intervals, usually purchasing lighter modern coaches such as the Vega, etc. Sadly they sold out, I think in the early 80s, to Bowen’s and they were closed down.

David Rhodes


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Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – MOR 581 – 543

MOR 581

Aldershot & District Traction Co
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Metro-Cammell B40F

MOR 581 is an AEC Reliance MU3RV. The chassis of this Aldershot & District vehicle dates from 1954, but the body we see ("MCW" in the PSVC listings) was fitted in 1967. The seating is of the B40F layout, and we see it in the Alton Rally on 18 July 2010. One unfortunate feature of the Alton Rally and Fleetwood Tram Sunday is that they often clash and, even with what some of my former colleagues used to call an ‘optimistic’ style of driving, even I can’t manage both in the day!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

05/12/16 – 09:36

Beautiful! I used to travel on these, and their cousins with the older style of bodywork with an opening window for the driver. One A&D feature on OPO buses was to have just a single seat on the front nearside to allow more room for passengers paying the driver, but at the time I was a regular traveller, these buses were crew-operated. My memories are of the No.19 which turned up on time every weekday morning to take me to Haslemere Station and then onto a train to Waterloo. The railway part of my journey was much less reliable until the elderly pre-war 4-CORs were replaced by 4-CIGs.

David Wragg

06/12/16 – 14:03

Does anyone know if others of the batch were given new bodies, or why this one was treated? Crash damage springs to mind . . .

Pete Davies

06/12/16 – 15:43

I seem to recall that there were quite a number of them and one bus magazine, it may have been ‘Passenger Transport’ commented that it was surprising that such a dated style was being adopted. I take their point, but I actually liked this style.

David Wragg

07/12/16 – 06:32

Thank you for that, David.

Pete Davies

07/12/16 – 06:34

According to this 15 of them were re-bodied in ’67 http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad267a  
Here is another re-bodied one http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad273

John Lomas

07/12/16 – 06:36

MOR 594

In its search for a suitable vehicle of the then new underfloor engined format, Aldershot & District initially bought a Dennis Dominant in 1951. Only three Dominant chassis were ever made, of which two were bodied, the third chassis being dis-assembled after exhibition at the 1950 Earls Court Show. Although Dennis abandoned plans for volume production of the model, there was very little wrong with the Dominant apart from its excessive weight (a characteristic shared by the the contemporary Regal IV and Royal Tiger), and Aldershot & District kept HOU 900 in front line service for fourteen years. In 1953 the company bought a solitary example of the Guy Arab LUF, which it retained in service until 1965, but purchased no more. Then, after sampling a number of different underfloor types, Aldershot & District finally took the plunge in 1954 with the AEC Reliance, twenty five being delivered with rather gawky, high floor and waistline, Strachans Everest C41C bodywork. These were registered MOR 581 to 605, numbered 250 to 274, and were used on the Farnham – London express route, and on excursions and private hire until displaced by the 1963 Park Royal bodied Reliances. These Strachans MU3RV coaches were powered by the small AH 410 engine of 6.754 litres, a direct (though updated) descendant of the A172 “bootlace” wet liner engine of the 1935 Regal II. The "bootlace" engine design became the basis for all the AEC wet liner engines from the 1950s, and therein lay the root of subsequent trouble, for the original “bootlace” became notorious for cylinder liner seal and gasket failures. No. 263, MOR 594 is shown in 1968 on route 3D (Aldershot – Cove, Minley Estate) passing the RAE in Farnborough Road. The inadequate destination blind display seen here was most unusual on A&D in those days, and indicates a degree of crew laziness in the early NBC era that would not have been tolerated in BET times. These machines were quite pleasant to drive, though given to a somewhat wallowy standard of ride, but the performance with the small AH410 engine was less than sparkling. In 1965, fifteen of these coaches were selected for rebodying with the then A&D standard Weymann saloon design, but the Weymann factory was closing down, and the order was undertaken by Metro-Cammell. The engineering standards on Aldershot & District were extremely high, and no doubt all of the initial 25 Reliances could have been so rebodied if required. Indeed, the remaining Strachans vehicles, of which No. 263 shown was one, continued in service for several more years.

390 AOU

After experience with the initial Strachans bodied coaches, from 1957 Aldershot & District adopted the AH 470 engined Reliance as its standard saloon type with Weymann B41F (OMO) or B43F bodies. The initial buses had opening windscreens for the driver, but the 1960 and subsequent batches incorporated fixed windscreens which had just become legal. No.390, 390 AOU was a 2MU3RV vehicle of 1961, and representative of the final style of the Weymann A&D saloon. It is seen in Queens Avenue, the technically military road that links Farnborough North Camp with Aldershot, and is wearing the revised saloon livery of 1967 with the darker green on the lower panels. It is also carrying the retrograde ‘simplified’ fleetname style that appeared in that same year. The Metro-Cammell bodies on MOR 581 above and some new 1966/67 Reliances differed from the Weymann version in several respects – the offside emergency exit was placed at the rear instead of the centre, the front screens lacked the metal surround, and the lower front panel incorporated a small grille.

Roger Cox

07/12/16 – 06:37

This was from a batch of twenty-five 250-274, MOR 581-605 new in 1954/5 with Strachans C41C bodies.
In 1965 250/2/4-7/9-62/4/9/70/2/3 were delicensed and the bodies removed. The chassis were rebuilt and were rebodied with MCW B40F bodies, renumbered 543-557 respectively, and entered service in 1967. They were to the same design as 283-312, RCG 601-630, which had been new in 1957.
Prior to 1966 bodies were built by Weymann at Addlestone and by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham but after the Weymann works closed at the end of 1965 all subsequent bodies were built by Metro-Cammell-Weymann.

John Kaye

07/12/16 – 13:33

Many thanks for your further thoughts on the history of this vehicle and her sisters.

Pete Davies

07/12/16 – 16:34

I can remember seeing the AEC Reliance chassis parked in the Guildford garage all painted in bright silver paint, I assume they were waiting to be sent for rebodying. I was a passenger on an A & D Loline 111 service 20 travelling from Aldershot to Woodbridge road Guildford to attend technical college.

John Shrubb

10/12/16 – 17:28

I’ve been thinking (I do occasionally!) and I suspect that the fifteen Strachans Reliances selected for rebodying might well have been chosen on the basis of body condition, the better ones being retained as they were. Certainly those that kept their Strachans C41C bodies continued in service for several years after 1965.

Roger Cox


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Barton Transport – AEC Reliance – 839 EVO – 839

Barton Transport - AEC Reliance - 839 EVO - 839

Barton Transport
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Alexander C41F

The independent Barton company became very satisfied customers of the AEC Reliance, taking its first one early in 1955. In subsequent years many more entered service, Alexander and Plaxton bodywork being favoured. Here is one of a batch of five 2MU3RV coaches with Alexander C41F bodywork delivered in May/June 1960. 839 EVO is seen in the summer of 1961 in London on Elizabeth Bridge, which straddles the main Southern railway line just south of Victoria Station. The present day transformation of the somewhat neglected building immediately behind the coach, notwithstanding the fact that it sits directly alongside a cutting carrying trains into the second busiest railway terminal in Britain (Waterloo is No.1) is evidence of the ‘gentrification’ of much of our capital city – (Oh for the old days).

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

02/12/16 – 07:17

This type of Alexander body was widely used by Scottish companies, and were a common sight in the likes of Carlisle ‘Western’ and Newcastle ‘SMT’, but unlike the later ‘Y’ types, they weren’t embraced by many operators south of the border. That said, they weren’t a million miles away from the Park Royal bodies of the time. Was there a link?

Ronnie Hoye

02/12/16 – 16:03

Barton also had a number of Leyland Tiger Cubs with this style of body. I think they were designated dual-purpose, but it was rather stretching the meaning of the term. The seating standard was at the extreme "bus" end of DP. They were used quite a lot on the 15 Ilkeston – Long Eaton – Sawley route. The Reliances were very much more coach style. I remember seeing them on the Nottingham – Warsaw service that ran for a few years in the 1960s. Strangely (most of?) the Reliance "coaches" had route number/destination indicators above the rear windows, whereas none of the Tiger Cub "DP/buses" had them.

Stephen Ford

02/12/16 – 16:49

The PRV link with this body was indirect in that both this and the PRV ‘Royalist’ coach on Reliance were inspired by alloy-framed ECW and Scottish Aviation bodies of a couple years earlier. This style was first fitted to four pre-production Tiger Cub Coaches in late 1952. The first Royalist was on a Reliance for Birch Brothers in 1954. Also in 1954 SOL and ALexander took PRV bodied AEC Monocoaches and from 1955-57 had Monocoaches Reliances and Tiger Cubs with Alexander bodies to the same outline, after that they took a body with this frontal treatment but a straight waist. Meanwhile Barton and Western SMT took this style until 1960.
PRV and Alexander both moved from Aluminium to Steel frames for their bodies at the turn of the decade to get BET orders, both built 30ft bodies to BET outline, and Alexander also combined this front with 31ft bodies for the Alexander companies and North Western in 1961 and 36ft Leopards in 1962 for North Western.

Stephen Allcroft

03/12/16 – 07:01

I took a rear end photo of a 1961 Barton Plaxton Panorama coach at Chilwell in September that had a destination box like Stephen F mentions.

David Slater

11/05/17 – 06:42

Roger, do you know what would become of the five Alexander bodied Reliances? Were any of them ever sold to Ireland?

Bill Headley

11/05/17 – 19:15

I am sorry, Bill, but I have not been able to ascertain the later lives of these Alexander bodied Reliances, but OBP has some remarkably informed contributors, so hopefully some information will turn up.

Roger Cox

12/05/17 – 06:55

Stephen (Ford) – I’m intrigued to know more about the Nottingham to Warsaw service, which you say operated for a time in the 60’s! That, if true, might be more useful today!

David J Smith

12/05/17 – 10:41

Think you will find Midlands-Warsaw services are running regularly just operated by Polish operators.

Roger Burdett

13/05/17 – 07:16

Actually Roger my sense of humour was asserting itself there and I was being flippant. I think Stephen’s spellchecker had run ahead of him, as they do, way when possibly he meant the Nottingham to WORKSOP service, unless it was really true in the 1960’s, can’t see why though………!

David J Smith

13/05/17 – 07:17

I think that Polish-operated services run in and out of many UK towns and cities nowadays. There is a weekly one to/from Gloucester to Warsaw and I’ve come across several Brits who’ve used the service for a break there. These services seem to be run by the large Polish coach company, Sindbad

Chris Hebbron

13/05/17 – 07:36

Hello David, I found this snippet from "Commercial Motor" dates 12 April 1963 : "Nottingham-Warsaw Bus Service Ends An express bus service from Nottingham to Warsaw has been discontinued because so few Poles can afford the £28 return fare to their homeland. The single-decker bus made the 2,000 mile round trip for the first time last August.
The journey took two days—from Nottingham to Harwich, through Holland and Germany to Warsaw. But now Barton Transport Ltd., Chilwell, Notts, says the demand for the tickets is not sufficient to make the service Pay. Mr. Carl Barton, a director and traffic manager, said: "The Polish people showed great interest—Until it came to booking seats".

Stephen Ford

13/05/17 – 09:53

Stephen, Re the Nottingham to Warsaw service of 1963. That’s brilliant of you to reply and come up with the goods.
There’s nothing new under the sun is there? Who would have thought 50 years ago that services from many UK cities to Poland would be a commonplace thing in the Noughties!

David J Smith

13/05/17 – 16:00

There was a fair concentration of Poles in and around Nottingham (including at least one who was a conductor and, I believe, later an inspector with Bartons.) Many were former airmen who came over during the war to continue the fight. I suspect that the difficulty was not so much the £28 return fare as all the other add-ons and hassle. A return transit visa for East Germany was around another £5, and I’m not sure how welcome "pre-war Poles" were by the authorities in post-war Communist Poland.
And no, I’m pretty sure Barton didn’t have Worksop on their destination blinds. Nottingham – Worksop was a long-standing Trent (80)/East Midland (37) joint route, and any such ideas from Barton would have been taken to a Traffic Commissioners’ hearing and strangled at birth!

Stephen Ford

14/05/17 – 07:30

The Alexander body single deckers and others of the 1960s at Bartons were often fitted with secondhand recovered high back coach seats when the bus was new then changed to second hand but recovered service bus seats after about 2 years, Later this was stopped,,the Alexander bodys were very sound and did not look dated ,,
I started in 1961 and worked there until the awfull trent takeover of 89,most of my time there was running repairs and breakdowns/recovery and sometimes emergency PSV driving and also overtime private hire and service bus driving ,,trent engeneering director seen me with my drivers uniform on and said you won’t be driving under trent,I said I know thankfully you made me redundant,

Mr Anon

14/05/17 – 07:30

According to Alan Oxley’s history of Barton (part 3), the first (and only) round trip of service X60 (Nottingham – Warsaw) left Nottingham on Sunday 5 August 1962, at 1pm, taking as Stephen says, two days to reach Warsaw. It returned the following Saturday, arriving back in Nottingham on the Monday.I understand prolonged delays at Eastern Bloc countries were a significant factor in the service not running again, it was the time of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis after all. Two newly delivered Yeates bodied Reliances were used,49 seater 949 (949 MRR) from Nottingham to Harwich, and 945(945 MRR) from the Hook of Holland to Warsaw. 945 had been reduced to a 36 seater fitted with reclining seats, a toilet compartment and electric razor sockets (!). I can confirm 949 was used on the English leg, as I was at Huntingdon St to see it off – somewhere I have a photo of it prior to departure. Shortly after the round trip, 945 was reseated and the toilet removed. Every time I see a Sinbad coach in Nottingham, it reminds me of this Barton innovation.

In reply to Bill Headley’s query above, according to the Circle fleet histories of Barton, none of this batch went to Ireland; however, there was a similar batch which entered service in 1959, 808-13(808-13CAL).Of these, 809 is given to Dodd, (dealer) Dromara 5/72, later to Lafferty, Glengad 4/73 and to unidentified farmer, Togher by 5/79.
811 is given to Dodds (dealer) Dromara 5/72, nothing further recorded.

Bob Gell

04/10/17 – 07:13

Thanks for this information Bob. I suspect the vehicle was destroyed in the summer of 1972 in the Derrybeg Estate, Newry – which is not very far away from Dromara. It was possibly owned by the local GAA and 811 CAL would seem to fit the frame as being the vehicle shown.

Bill Headley

09/09/18 – 06:15

The driver on Loline 861 (X42) was Harry Bell his wife was a conductor operating from Chilwell garage.
I drove the last Switzerland tour I think it was in 1978
But not sure ?

Paul Annison

12/09/18 – 05:38

As well as the airmen there were a large number of ex-miners from Poland from all 3 armed services who settled in the UK, many employed in the mines here.
As an ex-paperboy I remember delivering several copies of the "Polish Daily ( including Soldiers Daily)" on my paper round and one of my friends was the son of a Polish soldier, who was married to a Russian lady who at one time was in Ravensbruck concentration camp. I thought it all very exotic ( especially his rather delightful elder sister whom I worshipped from afar…..).
I think the main problem visiting was not financial. The ex-military types were very unwelcome, and I think the authorities were somewhat afraid of contamination, particularly in the aftermath of the Hungarian uprising. There might have been some reluctance too in view of a fear of retaliation for being resident on the wrong side of the iron curtain.

Malcolm Hirst


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