Old Bus Photos

East Kent – AEC Reliance – MJG 42

East Kent - AEC Reliance - MJG 42

East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Beadle C32C

It’s a fine warm day on 12th July 1969 as this East Kent coach stands outside Lichfield cathedral on a private hire (assumed as it is unlikely at 12 years old to be on an extended tour). The entrance door and forward emergency exit are both open allowing a cooling breeze to pass through the coach. It looks very smart for its age with a livery and fleetname which exudes pride and quality. The dead hand of NBC corporatism had much to answer for in years to come.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

20/02/14 – 06:49

A superb photo of a superb coach. Thanks, again, Ian. It could almost be a publicity shot or the cover of a holiday brochure. As a mere Northerner, can any of our Southern experts help me out? In terms of outright quality and reputation, where did Beadle rank compared with Burlingham and Harrington, let alone Duple or Plaxton?

David Oldfield

20/02/14 – 06:50

I could be miles off the mark ‘as usual’ I know it’s centre entrance, but to me it has more than a hint of the Weymann Fanfare about it, especially around the windows. It’s certainly a handsome beast that would look good in almost any livery, even the ‘Corporate Image Brigade’ would have a job to make it look bad, but I’d bet it wouldn’t be for the want of trying.

Ronnie Hoye

20/02/14 – 09:13

Jack Davies was forced to leave Weymann under "shady circumstances" and ended up at Beadle. Shortly after, the Rochester was put on the market – a Fanfare clone.

David Oldfield

22/02/14 – 08:00

AFN 497B

The recent posting of an East Kent Reliance reminded me of this photo taken on the A259 road across Romney Marsh in the mid sixties. It shows AFN 497B a Reliance 2MU4RA with a Duple Commander I C34F body one of a batch of ten delivered in May and June 1964 these took over the touring duties of the Reliance/Beadles. Photos of this batch of coaches seem few and far between as my admittedly limited searches have so far drawn a blank.
I think that the Duple Commander body evolved with a minor hiccup in the Mk 2 with it’s overly heavy grille through the very stylish Mk 3 into the superbly elegant Commander IV of the early seventies one of the classics of the period, we all know what followed in the Dominant not bad but a definite backward step and the build quality was very suspect.
The comments regarding the rich colours of the superb East Kent livery apply equally to these and all their other vehicles until that awful paintbrush wielding dead hand of the NBC corporate colour scheme struck like a plague of mediocrity.

Diesel Dave

22/02/14 – 09:24

Your critique of NBC paintwork and Duple coachwork is both poetic and true, Dave.

David Oldfield

23/02/14 – 06:47

These two coaches are a perfect example of the post war pre NBC differences between Tilling and BET Group coach fleets. Apart from vehicles acquired through takeovers, Tilling group companies had their hands tied, and other than cosmetic differences down to livery and trim, all their coach fleets were just variations on the same ECW box. Not that there was anything wrong with them, and I suspect that many BET Group companies would from time to time have opted for ECW bodies given the opportunity. However. looking at BET, the variety they had was endless, over the years BMMO and NGT had a couple of in house designs, and throughout the group virtually every coachbuilder was represented at some time or other, some even dipped a toe into the water with Bedford SB’s, Ford and Commer, but for the main part they stayed with the mid to heavyweight end of the market. Days that have sadly gone, but nostalgia is not what it used to be.

Ronnie Hoye


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Sheffield United Tours – AEC Reliance – SWJ 395F – 395

Sheffield United Tours – AEC Reliance – SWJ 395F – 395

Sheffield United Tours
AEC Reliance 6U3ZR
Plaxton C45F

Definitely not taken on a tour, this is PMT Stoke No1 Garage underneath the Essex bus washing machine on 19th April 1970. PMT was going through a reliability crisis and amongst other vehicles (see Birmingham 2252 elsewhere on this site) hired in some coaches from Sheffield United Tours in their very elegant red/grey livery which well suited the lines of the Panorama body.
The ex Forces Humber 4×4 recovery truck known to everyone as ‘Daffodil’ is just visible on the left of the picture. This was a bit light for towing buses and tended to be pushed around when doing so.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

19/01/14 – 08:25

A number of minor firsts here for SUT. First 6U3ZRs (AH691) as opposed to 2U3RAs (AH590). First illuminated name panels – which arguably cheapened the image. Change from blue interior (which was only for a year anyway) to autumn gold.
Superb coaches, and the last in the line of Panoramas before the era of the Panorama Elite. The new era would also herald the arrival of 12m coaches but also the reappearance of medium weight 6MU3R (AH505)coaches for duties where a 40’00" long heavyweight would be just too much.

David Oldfield


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PMT – AEC Reliance – WJO 744 – S5626

PMT - AEC Reliance - WJO 744 - S5626

Potteries Motor Traction
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Willowbrook B45F

Nine of these AEC Reliance MU3RV’s with Willowbrook B45F bodies had been ordered by City of Oxford Motor Services for delivery in 1955. Registered in Oxford as WJO 736-744, the last three were instead diverted to PMT which numbered them S5624-5626 and placed them in their Wells Motor Services Ltd. subsidiary fleet, painted in Wells’ green and cream livery. The Biddulph-based 20 vehicle Wells business had been acquired in 1953, and was absorbed into the main fleet in 1959, whereupon the trio of Reliances received standard PMT red and cream fleet livery. It is pictured here outside Biddulph depot on a dismal day in late 1971, probably not long before withdrawal.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.

19/11/13 – 05:45

Ah, memories, memories. ‘PMT – NorWestern, Biddulph Depot’. Foreman Tommy Chell complaining regularly about the rubbish that Paddy Grimes, his opposite number at NWRCC Macclesfield Depot sent him! (Not that it prevented Tommy from having a drink with Paddy most Friday nights!) For NWRCC, Biddulph was an outstation of Macclesfield, PMT carried out the necessary maintenance on the North Western contingent. As for S5626, well very much a Biddulph machine. The trio had a sad appearance, rather high front waist with consequent shallow windscreens. One thing is certain, it wouldn’t be long before it suffered a head gasket failure!!!5626 was the last of the three to be withdrawn, in 1972 passing to Martin, (Weaverham), Dealer in December that year.

WJO 744_2

Here is a photo of S5626 in service in Biddulph on 8th March 1971, looking rather neglected. Note that the standard PMT blind display is too deep for the aperture.

Ian Wild

19/11/13 – 15:22

It seems to me to be unusual for vehicles intended for one operator to be diverted to another before entering service, and then keep their allotted registrations. My experience – admittedly limited – is generally that the booked registrations become void and are superseded by ones relevant to the new "home" territory.
It is of course an entirely different story if a vehicle is passed from one operator to another after service, such as a Ribble PS2 going to Southport for further service.
How wrong am I???

Pete Davies

22/11/13 – 08:01

In 1965 Bristol Omnibus received four MWs originally built for Eastern National. These were delivered to Bristol in ENOC livery with Essex registrations in the JHK-C series, before being reregistered in Bristol with BHW-C marks.

Geoff Kerr

22/11/13 – 10:02

Thanks, Geoff

Pete Davies

22/11/13 – 10:03

The vast geographical area covered by the United Automobile Services Empire contained literally dozens of registration options, but they had a policy that vehicles new to them were all registered in Darlington, and so had an HN index. On the other hand, Northern General vehicles usually had the mark of the area to which the vehicle was first allocated, so they could be either a County or local authority registration.

Ronnie Hoye

09/03/16 – 06:55

North Western’s Biddulph depot was a depot in its own right and was so from July 1936 until March 1972 when the Biddulph depot work, together with Macclesfield and Northwich depots passed to Crosville.
North Western outstations were at Castleton (Derbyshire) and Warrington plus for a very short time Congleton.

John Dixon

10/03/16 – 05:02

With reference to the comments above regarding new vehicles diverted to different operators, I think it depends when the vehicle is first registered/taxed. In 1977, Trent exchanged VRs for Nationals with Northern General – the VRs had already been registered by Trent (UTO 830-7S) but had not entered service when they went to Northern General; the Nationals had not been registered by Northern General, so they were registered by Trent as VCH 473-80S. Another example is the G regd Willowbrook Atlanteans intended for Devon General – some at least were photographed at Willowbrook with Devon General fleet names,fleet numbers and Devon registration numbers in the OTT-G series; at the last minute they were diverted to Yorkshire Traction, who put them into service in Devon General livery, but with local Barnsley registrations in the RHE-G series.

Bob Gell


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 2nd December 2016