Old Bus Photos

Maidstone & District – AEC Reliance – FKL 135D – C72

Maidstone & District - AEC Reliance - FKL 135D - C72

Maidstone & District Motor Services Ltd
AEC Reliance 2U3RA
Harrington Grenadier C47F

Comparing the various body styles available in the sixties amongst my photos I decided that my all time favourite had to be the Harrington Grenadier.
This Maidstone & District example with it’s superb livery which complemented the sleek elegant lines of the bodywork was as near perfection as was possible, this particular vehicle was numerically M&D’s last Grenadier and also their last AEC Reliance and was still numbered C72 under the old alpha/numeric system when I took the photo in the late sixties.
They were good to look at, good to ride on and an absolute delight to drive what more could you ask.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

07/06/13 – 05:54

Following on from the Sheffield Regent III/Weymann, another form of bliss and perfection. Apart from the beauty and elegance of the coachwork and the thoroughbred 2U3RA chassis we have M & D. Apart from the superb livery itself, why did M & D vehicles always gleam – and other operators could make their vehicles look shabby at an early age. Care and pride certainly – but that cannot be all.

David Oldfield

07/06/13 – 07:59

Used to regularly see these vehicles up close at Victoria Coach Station and DD and DO are totally correct in what they say – these and other M&D vehicles stood out amongst the multitude of operators and liveries.
The rear wheel trims used widely in the fleet and the proportions and shades of the colours used always seemed to fit their vehicles well and, yes, they were always clean.
Under NBC standards slipped and by the time I went to live in Crowborough in the mid 1980s the fleet was nothing to write home about, especially during the invasion of the Mercedes bread vans.
The final M&D colour scheme prior to the privatised company losing its identity was a return to the standards of the 1960s but that soon went under the bland uniformity of Arriva.

Phil Blinkhorn

07/06/13 – 11:34

As a number of you know already, my ‘formative years’ were spent in the Lancaster area. Ribble had Harringtons – Cavaliers – of both 30 and 36 foot lengths. I’m not sure why, but I always had the idea that the 36 group looked too long. Looking at this beauty, I think I know why. The Ribble ones had the red stripe under the windows. Here, the relevant area is cream, and it looks a lot better! Thanks for posting, Dave.

Pete Davies

08/06/13 – 08:03

Taking up David’s point about gleaming vehicles. Before pride became a dirty word, NGT group vehicles were all hand painted, and finished off with a coat of clear varnish. I cant speak for other depots, but coaches at Percy Main were never subjected to the rigors of the mechanical wash, so they were always immaculately turned out, perhaps M&D did the same

Ronnie Hoye

08/06/13 – 08:04

I can’t help but agree with the previous comments regarding the Harrington Cavalier and Grenadier coach bodies. They were indeed graceful-looking beasts and must surely rank as one of the great British design classics. They suited the elegant spa town of Harrogate very well, when either gracing the front of The Old Swan Hotel on Swan Road (Southdown Leyland), or on occasions the Hotel St George on Ripon Road (Greenslades AEC). If luck was in, smart Northern General (AEC) and East Yorkshire (Leyland) examples could also be seen travelling through the town. The Maidstone & District livery suited them admirably, and the backdrop in your photo Diesel Dave, looks ‘just right’ as well, and thank you for posting it.

Brendan Smith

08/06/13 – 08:04

36-foot Cavaliers looked over-long because they had too many small windows, which is precisely why the Grenadier was introduced. Plaxton similarly built multi-windowed 36-foot Embassies for only one season (mainly for Wallace Arnold) before doubling the window size.
I may have said this here before, but it is worth noting that the Harrington Grenadier was the final flourish of the British curvy-coach tradition that began in the mid-1930s. After that, everything was straight-waisted.

Peter Williamson

08/06/13 – 17:51

Hopefully before anyone else spots my mistake I must point out that C72 was probably not M&D’s last Reliance although definitely their last Reliance coach, it was delivered in November ’66 as was a batch of Marshall D/P bodied Reliances No’s SC 73-82 all of which had higher chassis numbers.

Diesel Dave

03/05/14 – 08:51

25 TKR

Looking splendid in their original green and cream livery these two 30′ M & D Harrington Cavaliers were on display at Detling Showground April 2014. They are the two survivors from the batch delivered in 1962, 25 & 28 TKR on an AEC Reliance chassis.

Peter Jewell

06/02/15 – 06:24

I worked for the Maidstone & District motor services during the early 1960`s from Tunbridge Wells depot, primarily as an OMB where we had to operate the entrance doors. Occasionally we got hold of a "main key" shift which entailed driving a double decker on the longer routes to Brighton, Hastings, Ashford or Gravesend. All of the vehicles concerned IE Leyland PD2s, AEC Regents were fitted with rear doors operated from the drivers cab and the rear platform with the driver primarily responsible. The only complaints from the conductor were if the driver forgot to close the doors when pulling away from a stop.

Reg Stubbs

13/02/15 – 06:15

I was for a few years a conductor and then a driver working For M & D at Gravesend depot from 1969. I am amazed that three vehicles associated with this depot from my time have survived into preservation, including 4025 or C25 in its original guise. This was a superb vehicle to drive and many a happy time was had going to Brighton or Ramsgate in this vehicle. The coach that tended to be allocated to me at Gravesend was a Grenadier and one of the six longer (37.5ft) coaches; and the only one allocated to Gravesend. I can agree they were superb looking vehicles and a treat to drive

Frank Weston


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PMT – AEC Reliance – KVT 192E – 1092

PMT - AEC Reliance - KVT 192E - 1092

Potteries Motor Traction
AEC Reliance 8U2R
Alexander C49F

A firm favourite of mine was the A.E.C. Alexander Y type, what a difference these buses made to our Excursion and Express allocation. I worked at this time on the P.M.T. based at Newcastle Under Lyme depot none of these vehicles were based there at this time they were mostly at Hanley depot (Clough Street) there was a total of about 24 delivered between 1967/1971 the 1967 ones had low back seats and the later ones had high back seats though the low back seats were very comfortable. They were all good for 70MPH and were very comfortable to drive with a five speed semi auto box, some drivers complained about the bouncy ride (coil springs) but in my book they were superb. As far as I can recall they were fitted with the 691 Engine and the company prefix was S.L (semi luxury) as they got older they were dispersed among all the depots and we at Newcastle acquired 103/1092. Happy days.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Michael Crofts

28/05/13 – 17:12

Never knew these 8U2Rs (coil sprung 6U2Rs) despite living on the Peak District/Sheffield border. I preferred the ZF version proliferating at SUT, but it would have been a (good) experience to sample one of these. [They would have been AH691s between 1968 and 1971, they might possibly have still been AH590s in 1967.]

David Oldfield

29/05/13 – 07:04

Yes David they were a mixture, the early ones had the 590 engine and the later ones had 691 engine. When you revved the coil spring buses stationary you could get them to rock, good engine torque. The later deliveries had leaf springs.

Michael Crofts

31/05/13 – 06:27

This has produced a mental block in the little grey cells! In 1967 my job took me from my home town of Sheffield to work in Newcastle-under-Lyme. I didn’t have a car then and used to make visits home, as I recall, on PMT from N-u-L to Buxton where I would change to a Sheffield JOC service 84 which would usually be either a Fanfare, Burlingham or ECW Leopard. My mental block is around the PMT vehicles completing this scenic marathon. I think it was sometimes an Alexander Y type but think that there was sometimes a Daimler. Perhaps a Potteries watcher can remember more?

Les Dickinson

04/06/13 – 06:52

All the PMT AEC /Alexander Y types had AH691 engines. The first two batches (1092-1096 and 1103-1109) were on 8U2R coil spring chassis. Of the final batch of 12, (161-173), the first three were 8U2R whilst the balance from 164 upwards were on conventional 6U2R leaf spring chassis. I am not aware whether any other Companies bought 8U2R, would seem a major design change for small orders from PMT. Maybe AEC had hopes of bigger sales? Maybe by 1971 they had deleted the 8U2R model from their lists? However by 1971, experience with the earlier 8U2Rs suggested that the savings in replacing leaf springs was more than outweighed by problems with panhard rod mountings (not dissimilar in this respect to the problems experienced with the Metalastik rubber sprung Roadliners.) PMT also had two small batches of AEC 8U2R/Duple Commander 1V coaches, 11-13 and 14/15. In response to Les, in 1967 the 49 Hanley to Buxton service would probably be operated then with almost new Daimler Roadliners.

Ian Wild

As a ps, what a dismal colour scheme that 1092 is in the photo. These looked so smart as delivered in the PMT dual purpose livery. Brings back memories of the dire days of NBC (and for that matter PTEs).

09/06/13 – 06:26

In answer to my own question, looking through Bus Lists on the Web, only 30 Reliance chassis are shown as 8Uxx (should actually be 33 as they list PMT 161-163 as 6U2R models which they certainly were not). PMT had 19, Barton are shown with 10 whilst South Wales Transport had two batches of 2 each. So, the coil sprung version accounted for only a tiny minority of the large number of Reliance chassis built.

Ian Wild

KVT 192E Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

18/06/13 – 09:08

KVT 192E_2

Here is a picture of AEC Alexander Y Type KVT 192E when brand new showing it in its original livery. It would be good to see both pictures together.

Michael Crofts

19/06/13 – 07:45

That’s much better and how I remember them. Fortunately I had moved on from PMT before the dreadful NBC Corporate livery was imposed. The last vehicles delivered in my time in the ‘real’ PMT livery were the three Bristol RE DPs 210-212. Do you have a photo of them? I never took one but I remember them being elegant looking buses.

Ian Wild

20/06/13 – 13:35

Sheffield had some of these. I think they were Alexander bodies. They had coach seats with large windows, & bus seats with more, smaller windows. Living on Scott Road, (De La Sall stories lads?) but working from Broomhill, I used to catch the 7.25 from Burngreave Cemetry to work, 1967 or later on the 8 & 9 Inner Circler route. Going up the steep hill of Crookesmoor Road (another) was the most remarkable sound. How it did not break windows I do not know (or probably it did). I think they had gear sticks similar to the Atlanteans (semi automatic)? They took over from the AEC Regent III Roes, & tinfront Roes. These took over from the Crossley (double deckers) which has just been posted on the home page. After that were the AEC Marshalls H reg 1970. I am sure these were still running into the early 80s when I lost touch with the area.

Andy Fisher

20/06/13 – 16:47

The Sheffield coaches were 1968 Leyland Leopard PSU3A/4R (not AEC) 3001 – 3004 (WWB101-104G) and followed by similar (1970) 55 – 60 (FWJ355-369J). The 1970 AECs were Swift 5P2R 50 -54 (DWB50-54H) with Park Royal bodies – which followed on from similar 1968 vehicles. The 1970 Swifts had rear axles and 5 speed gearboxes for interurban and rural working, the 1968 deliveries were 2P2R (4 speeders) split between single and dual door types. The former were 1019 – 1029 (TWE119-129F), the latter were 15 – 36 (TWE15-36F).

David Oldfield


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Reading Corporation – AEC Reliance – CRD 152C – 52

Reading Corporation - AEC Reliance - CRD 152C - 52
Copyright Pete Davies

Reading Corporation
AEC Reliance 2MU3RA
Neepsend B34D

In my comments on the Royal Tiger coach GWM 981, which John Stringer posted, I noted that there were no views of the vehicles of Reading Corporation in the column on the left. The Gallery section does have some views from Roger Cox, however. Even into the RE era and with bodies of different manufacture, Reading continued the use of that "seagull" motif on the front. Here is a view of CRD 152C, the first of my submissions relating to this operator. CRD 152C is an AEC Reliance of the 2MU3RA format with Neepsend B34D bodywork (and the seagull). She was photographed in Winchester on 1 January 1992 during a visit to the annual King Alfred Running Day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.

04/04/13 – 16:02

Well it could have been a genuine Burlingham saloon – had it not been five years after Burlingham were subsumed in Duple.

David Oldfield

05/04/13 – 05:39

Thank you, David. Wait until you see the RE adorned in the same way! I’ll be submitting a couple of view to Peter in the near future.

Pete Davies

05/04/13 – 05:39

One of the things that fascinates me about our hobby is how operators, even relatively small ones, could obtain special designs from fairly large scale builders of bus bodywork. This basically Burlingham design was unlike anything else East Lancs/Neepsend produced in their normal range but they did so for Reading. I wonder what the price penalty was for such ‘specials’ and how transport managers justified it to their committees.

Philip Halstead

05/04/13 – 08:05

One thing East Lancs were known for was supplying operators with what they wanted – ie they built to "any design" required if it was in their power to do so.

David Oldfield


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 6th May 2016