Old Bus Photos

East Kent – AEC Reliance – MJG 48

East Kent - AEC Reliance - MJG 48
Copyright Brendan Smith

East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Beadle C32C

When new, this handsome-looking vehicle would have worn East Kent’s traditional coach livery of maroon and cream. In the photo it is seen towards the end of its East Kent days, still on active coaching duties, but wearing a revised livery of grey and maroon. At some point in its career, MJG 48 has received extra aluminium trim strips along the body sides, with another strip discreetly added above the headlights. This subtle, well thought out modification has, in my view, allowed for the application of an updated livery, whilst maintaining an air of quality and dignity befitting an older vehicle. (The coach is actually sporting NBC white bus-style fleetnames and ‘Double N’ logos on the sides, but somehow they do not dominate). This fine coach and its siblings had long working lives with East Kent, and most were not withdrawn I believe until 1975.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brendan Smith

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.


24/09/12 – 10:33

Talking of subtle differences, this is essentially the Rochester body (for separate chassis) but the front end does not immediately give it away. The main part of the body is uncannily like the Weymann Fanfare – even more so on the Rochester itself. Fine vehicle, fine operator – fine memories.

David Oldfield


24/09/12 – 17:15

After looking at yesterdays posting of the East Kent Beadle bodied Reliance I remembered having a photo of another of the batch in the original livery which was taken in the mid sixties in Eastbourne where I think the passengers had taken a lunch break on their way to Swanage. The traditional East Kent colours look superb on this style of bodywork but then they suited just about any style available at the time, we were fortunate in the south east in having three companies namely Southdown, M&D and East Kent all with superbly elegant liveries plus Eastbourne Corporation with their deep blue and primrose colours all within a relatively small area.

MJG 44_lr

East Kent had three batches of Beadle bodied Reliances delivered in 1957 the 32 seat tour coaches with centre entrances in the photo No’s MJG 41-52 followed by No’s MJG 285-300 with 37 seat front entrance bodies which bore a resemblance to the Rochester integral design and lastly No’s NFN 327-349 with 41 seat bodies similar to 285 etc at least some of the later type even had a rear destination screens used when on express work, attached is a photo taken again in the mid sixties of NFN 341 on Margate sea front alas can’t see the rear panels.

NFN 341_lr
NFN 341

I think that these Reliances along with Southdowns Tiger Cubs were the only underfloor engined chassis bodied by Beadle if you discount the Commer powered integrals of which incidentally East Kent had three KFN 250-252 delivered in 1955 with 41 seat front entrance dual purpose bodies if I am wrong no doubt someone on the site will put me in the picture.

Diesel Dave


25/09/12 – 07:11

Beadle also bodied early Sentinel under floors – www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/ 

Peter Williamson


26/09/12 – 07:05

I knew that I had to have forgotten something namely the Sentinels, but an even greater omission considering that I lived nearby is of course the Maidstone & District’s batch of Reliances delivered in 1957 No’s SO 223-239 reg No’s YKR 223-239 with B42F bodies.
I am open to further correction.

Diesel Dave


06/01/13 – 07:04

The NFN is shown with the livery used when downgraded for bus work. Originally the livery was all-over red with an ivory waistband – which didn’t stop them being used on bus routes, of course.

Lew Finnis


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Black and White – AEC Reliance – 8222 AD – 222

Black and White - AEC Reliance - 8222 AD - 222
Copyright Bob Gell

Black and White Motorways
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Duple C37C

Seen at their base in Cheltenham Coach Station on Sunday 20 August 1967 on Associated Motorways services are two members of the Black and White Motorways fleet. 182 (PAD 182) is a Willowbrook bodied Guy Arab LUF, new in 1955 and 222 (8222 AD) is a Duple bodied AEC Reliance new in 1961. Both are 37 seaters, with a centre entrance, which was standard for Black and White at the time, apart from a batch of 5 Roe Dalesman bodied Reliances new in 1959, which had 41 seats and a front entrance. The somewhat flamboyant Duple body on 222 contrasts with the restrained, classic elegance of the ECW bodied Bristol MW in Royal Blue livery alongside, also on Associated Motorways work.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Bob Gell


05/09/12 – 08:45

Another gem! I never experienced Cheltenham Coach Station, but I had two years of coach travel between Birmingham and Lancaster in the 1966/68 era. A veritable rainbow on steroids.

Pete Davies


05/09/12 – 08:46

What a great pic. Things aint what they used to be. Thanks for sharing that.

Les Dickinson


06/09/12 – 06:53

As an AEC (and Bristol) man, it’s amazing how many Guy Arab UF/LUF coaches have pitched up on this forum in recent months. I never came across one personally, but it is significant how many of you hold them in high regard and great affection.

David Oldfield


07/09/12 – 07:17

On that subject, David, in 1955 Northern General took delivery of 16 Weymann Fanfare’s, 6 on AEC chassis went to Wakefield’s, the other 10 for Northern were on Guy Arab UF/LUF and had the almost indestructible Gardner 6HLW. They had quite long lives for coaches, they were re-trimmed an re-seated by Plaxton’s in 1964 and were still around in 1968. Sadly I don’t think any survived into preservation, but to my mind the Fanfare was timeless classic that wouldn’t look out of place now

Ronnie Hoye


07/09/12 – 07:19

I worked in and out of Cheltenham from Eastbourne in the summer during the early 70’s when working for Southdown arriving to connect with the 16:00 hrs mass departure and leaving the next day with the 14:00 hrs departure these mass departures were a sight to behold looking chaotic but in reality very well organised any late arrivals contacting the control office to advise of any onward connections so that only those services needing to be held back were.
I remember the Reliance/Duple coaches by that time relegated to mainly duplicate journeys and were not very popular and known to all Black & White drivers as "Bubblecars" usually given to first season drivers who were then told to follow the service car he then found the service driver with the well known request "don’t lose me as I’ve never done this run before". I never lost one and always felt sorry for them as I felt it was not a good way to learn any route especially one like ours which took around 7 hours. One of the station inspectors told me they could get around 140 coaches in the yard, to me it seemed they proved it on many summer Saturdays and as this was in the very early days of National white livery with many vehicles still in company colours it was a truly magnificent sight also of course there were many private company vehicles on relief journeys which added to the spectacle. Oh happy days.

Diesel Dave


08/09/12 – 07:31

I agree about the Weymann Fanfare, Ronnie.

David Oldfield


10/09/12 – 07:30

Ronnie and David, the Northern General Guy Arab LUFs with Weymann Fanfare bodies were my favourite coaches of all time – see half way down this page http://sct61.org.uk

Peter Williamson


11/09/12 – 06:39

As you say on the other site, Peter, the Guy Weymann’s were extensively used on the Newcastle – Liverpool service and that was pre motorway era, so regardless of the route you took it involved a lot of up’s and downs on single carriageway roads, but it says a lot about the vehicles that they lasted as long as they did, reliability was never an issue but at times seating capacity was

Ronnie Hoye

27/05/14 – 14:00

I Remember it well driving my new 53 seater Ford with Plaxton body on dupe from Leicester to Cheltenham and ending up in Devon on service, Anyone out there remember the old Caff in Bridgewater open all night.

I Williams
Ex N & S Travel


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Maidstone & District – AEC Reliance – TKM 329 – C329

Maidstone & District - AEC Reliance - TKM 329 - C329
Copyright Chris Hough

Maidstone & District Motor Services Ltd
AEC Reliance  MU3RV
Harrington C37C

A recent posting led to a discussion about the relative importance in a PSV of economy, reliability and good looks, and I picked this vehicle as an example that in my opinion embraces all three qualities. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and my personal preferences may not be shared by others, but the lines of these coaches always seemed to me to be well-balanced and elegant in an understated way, if, perhaps, a trifle old-fashioned. The styling of the roofline around the destination indicator was a treatment popular with many coach builders and operators for front-engined vehicles, but by the mid-1950s, the effect had become a bit dated. Very appealing, nevertheless, and the epitome of high quality and pedigree.
Sadly, C329 doesn’t look its best in the photo – absolutely no criticism of Chris’s camera work, but following withdrawal it’s become scruffy and the sun’s angle casts a shadow that exaggerates the front windscreen divisions. Also, the ‘moustache’ beading may seem fussy, but it was almost an M&D trademark. I’d be grateful for other correspondents’ views on C329’s attractiveness or otherwise.
[This link will show C328, in rather smarter condition.]
M&D were substantial Harrington customers for many years and they had almost 50 vehicles of this design in their extensive, (I’d say excessive), coach fleet. By the time I joined, they had been withdrawn from front line express duties, however, and were kept mainly to provide summer capacity. Like every underfloor-engined AEC I ever drove, their road manners were impeccable. Even the prospect of a spell at the wheel was a pleasure to look forward to. They were also both economical and very reliable.
Inside, these coaches were not, perhaps, as light and airy as some of their contemporaries, but there was no sense of claustrophobia. On the contrary, they conveyed an atmosphere of relaxation, reinforced by the wonderfully comfortable seats and by their extraordinary quietness. Their main drawback, (only drawback as far as I’m concerned), was the centre entrance, which made it uneconomic to convert them to other uses.

Photo by Chris Hough. Many thanks for his kind permission to use it.

Copy contributed by Roy Burke

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.

17/08/12 – 07:22

6 of this batch were acquired by Yorkshire Woollen where they were nicknamed Gunboats by the crews.TKM 304/26/347/348/9/5O were numbered 435-440. They were purchased to replace a similar number of Commer/Beadles. Another member of the batch was purchased by Hebble Motor Services at Halifax to replace an ex Red Line Reliance that was a fire victim. After YWD they went on to an operator called Davies of Ferryhill County Durham except for 436 that was broken up by YWD after a bad accident.

Philip Carlton

17/08/12 – 07:23

As a northern boy I didn’t get to see the inside. My personal view of the outside is of a fine looking coach. Perhaps one-too-many windows/panels. One less, but slightly longer would have enhanced the appearance, and the roofline over the front is not enhanced by the application of the livery. In my opinion the cream area should have followed the outline of the roof – then- almost perfection. No doubt others will say tosh, but that’s my thought.

Les Dickinson

17/08/12 – 10:26

The box for the fleetname over the destination and service number boxes doesn’t help the outline. Either omit the fleetname or omit the service number box and have the destination and fleetname side by side. Then use another BET operator’s style of livery (Ribble or Southdown) and it would make quite a lot of difference. As we are, it seems a feeble attempt at imitating the Silver Star front dome.

Pete Davies

17/08/12 – 12:32

As a Kentishman I have to say I can’t see anything wrong with the livery or layout of the destination!
Shame to see this looking so scruffy though – I remember these coaches featuring on the cover of M&D’s tours brochures which were captioned "Over the hills and far away".
The Silver Star "headboard" was an abomination on this design and ruined an otherwise graceful look.
All these things are of course subjective…

Andrew Goodwin

17/08/12 – 12:33

Roy is right about the state of the coach and very kind about my photograph! The coach was parked in a back street in Preston and was certainly not in the M&D fleet! Like a number of fifties coaches these seem to be built like the proverbial brick Outhouse!

Chris Hough

17/08/12 – 16:29

I have to disagree with Andrew on this one – I thought that the Silver Star Wayfarer Mark 2s were vastly improved by their headboards, unlike that operator’s all-Leyland Royal Tigers and Burlingham Seagull which really did look atrocious. Preservationists seem to agree with me as both MMR 552 and 553 are still with us, and the owner of "553" once told me that there was a waiting list of people who wanted to buy the coach from him at any reasonable price. If I ever win the jackpot in the lottery I will outbid them all!

Neville Mercer

There is a posting of them both together coming shortly. Watch this space as they say.


18/08/12 – 07:40

In my opinion, which doesn’t count for much…I think that destination information on the front of bus/coaches should always be upright so that reflections are reduced and they become easier for those of us whose sight is not 20/20 to read at a glance. Obviously that would not tie in very well with the design of this coach, but I must admit that the picture of it in the link is very smart and clean…

Norman Long

20/08/12 – 08:05

Funny: until this very moment I’ve looked at photographs of these vehicles and thought "M&D coach, nice": but all of a sudden the affinity with some nasty little Gurney-Nutting(?) bodied Commers(?) has struck me, and now I just find them hideous. Why? The "pinched-in front", the way the front dome just seems to push the already squeezed-in front down, giving a sort of hump-backed appearance to the whole thing – and there are too many windows, which (on their own) I could live with. Ugh. In full M&D rig and in the context of when they were built it might have been a different story . . .

Philip Rushworth

20/08/12 – 09:08

Philip, nice to see there are people who can call "the Emperor’s new clothes" in the face of popular opinion.
M & D vehicles were just magnificently turned out, but I never rated these Harringtons. They got it very right with the Cavalier/Grenadier but the Bedford/Ford versions were hideous and the Legionnaire not much better. Balanced design again – you either have or you don’t.

David Oldfield

20/08/12 – 14:02

I’ve held back until now on commenting about these Harrington bodies, but seeing that Philip Rushworth and David Oldfield have entered less than rhapsodic views about them, I will say that I always thought them to be incredibly ugly vehicles. Just compare the styling with other contemporary designs using curved corner glasses at the front – the classic ECW LS coach, for example. Harrington did very much better with the Cavalier.

Roger Cox

24/08/12 – 08:36

Who’d build coach bodies – it’s a fickle market isn’t it? driven by fashion, rather than by loyalty. Burlingham got it right with the "original" Seagull then missed the "zeitgeist" with subsequent offerings; as did Harrington with the Cavalier/Grenadier; Duple seemed to judge the market right for many years until gradually loosing the plot and fading away in the 80s(?); and Plaxton seems have picked up from the mid-1960s with the introduction of the Panorama. However, history seems to suggest the Plaxton’s days are numbered, and that they are due to misjudge the market and enter decline (look what happened to Leyland et. al.) . . . but there aren’t any more British coach builders to take their place!

Philip Rushworth

24/08/12 – 12:24

You’re so right Philip. Duple lost the plot and went bust at the end of the ’80s – when Plaxton bought their intellectual rights. Duple’s is a very sad story inexorably linked with a certain Mr Ford who had previously fallen out with Plaxton and moved over to Duple – hence the vague similarity between the Panorama Elite and the Dominant.

David Oldfield

24/08/12 – 12:25

Seems I’m in a small minority in liking this design. At the risk of losing whatever tiny credibility I might ever have had in these pages, however, I remain unrepentant.

Roy Burke

24/08/12 – 15:43

You’re still welcome and entirely entitled to your own opinions, Roy. There are times when – in my professional, musical life – I differ from my colleagues. Grown ups accept each other, regardless (and I think most of us are grown up on this forum).

David Oldfield

11/02/13 – 13:27

You’re not alone Roy, I like the Wayfarer 2 style as well. I don’t think it was as nice as the later Wayfarer 4 but for an early 1950s body, I think it was quite stylish. It did make an attempt to get away from just being a box, which is so easy on an underfloor flat front single decker. I think Harrington bodies were all of real quality and generally well styled (with as always the obligatory exception). They were certainly better looking than many of the competitors’ efforts.

Gordon Mackley

14/06/13 – 07:31

The Reliance Harrington C37C don’t remember them even though grew up with M & D but can say I was on one just last week don’t remember batch but sure worked all over the M & D patch ended its days think in Bexhill can say a very impressive coach so as they say watch this space soon be out of hiding.


TKM 329_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

08/06/15 – 16:08

Maidstone and District’s Wayfarer 2 bodies came on three different types of chassis and they were each very different. The most numerous (in terms of both vehicles and photos) were the AEC Reliances. The Leyland Royal Tiger versions had central entrances like the AECs and might have been expected to be the same but in fact had vertical rather than sloping window pillars. The Commer Contender versions were of a completely different configuration, having front entrances. Interestingly the centre entrance coaches had front offside emergency exits and the front entrance Contenders centre ones!

Gordon Mackley


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