Old Bus Photos

North Downs – Albion Nimbus – WKG 48 – 19

WKG 48

WKG 37

North Downs Rural Transport
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann DP30F

John Wylde’s initial involvement with bus operation occurred with the Orpington Rural Transport Association which operated a service between Biggin Hill and Orpington from 1963. Wylde departed Association shortly afterwards and began running services as North Downs Rural Transport between Orpington and Croydon, with journeys later serving the then new development at Forestdale, Addington. In 1969 North Downs acquired the Mitchell’s coaching business that ran rural services from Warnham into Horsham. Then, In October 1970, A.T. Brady of Forest Green retired and his routes between Horsham, Forest Green and Guildford were taken over by North Downs and the Brady livery of brown and cream was adopted for ‘new’ arrivals in the fleet. To complement the assorted acquired vehicles Wylde bought a trio of ex Western Welsh Albion Nimbus saloons, WKG 34/37/48, and numbered these 17/18/19. The first and last received the brown livery, but WKG 37 remained in Western Welsh red to the end of operations which occurred very suddenly on 17 April 1972. The pictures show WKG 48 in Horsham Carfax in October 1971. Behind it , operating the Horsham – Ewhurst – Forest Green route, is Tillingbourne Guy GS MXX 382, which had been hired in to cover mechanical problems at Forest Green, a portent of what was to come. The unrepainted Nimbus WKG 37 is seen at Rusper on the poorly patronised meandering rural service between Horsham and Crawley, a route that was withdrawn some months before the collapse of the business.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


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Berresfords – Albion Nimbus – NSG 869 – 25

Berresfords - Albion Nimbus - NSG 869 - 25

Berresfords Motors Limited
Albion Nimbus MR9
Scottish Omnibuses B32F

NSG 869 is an Albion Nimbus, with MR9 designation. This vehicle has a Scottish Omnibuses B32F body, and in its early days was a demonstrator for the chassis builder Albion. It passed to that well-known Staffordshire independent, Berresfords Motors Limited of Cheddleton, in whose markings we see it at Duxford on 28 September 2003.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

05/05/16 – 06:58

The MR9 was the first version of the Nimbus, itself derived from the Claymore goods model, and it was available in two lengths as the MR9N (23ft 3ins by 8ft) and MR9L (24ft by 8ft). The chassis had Albion axles, the rear being driven by overhead worm, and the wheelbase was 11ft 10ins. The four cylinder 3.83 litre EN219 engine was basically two thirds of the Leyland O350, and it developed 60 bhp at 2200rpm. A four speed Albion gearbox was fitted. Certain features of the design were suspect, notably the poorly designed engine by-pass valve method of providing vacuum assistance for the braking system, and the type soon acquired a reputation for frailty, notably in the engine, engine mountings and gearbox departments. A total of 124 of the MR9 type was produced before Leyland in house cost cutting measures led to the appearance of the NS3 model, which had "bought in" standard BMC 5 ton truck range axles that limited the overall width of the vehicle to 7ft 6ins. The NS3 and later NS3AN proved to be just as unreliable as the MR9.

Roger Cox

05/05/16 – 10:57

Thank you, Roger. I have read somewhere that the amount of exhaust smoke these things produced meant they should have been named ‘Cumulo Nimbus’.

Pete Davies

06/05/16 – 06:50

…and this from the maker who used ‘Sure as the Sunrise’ as their slogan!

Stephen Allcroft

06/05/16 – 08:29

Delightful comment, Stephen!!!

Pete Davies

07/05/16 – 06:55

It’s strange how the heavyweight British bus manufacturers struggled to produce a successful small bus in the post-war era. The lightweight manufacturers seemed able to produce successful designs albeit mainly used for coach duties but the big boys never seemed to be able to scale down the likes of the Reliance and Tiger Cub to produce what we would now call a ‘midi-bus’ with any degrees of success. Probably Bristol were the most successful with the SU and then the LH. However I always find it difficult to judge the success or otherwise of Bristol products based on volume of sales as throughout the 1950’s and most of the 1960’s they had a captive market with the BTC/THC companies.

Philip Halstead

12/05/16 – 17:04

Of course pre-war Leyland (Cub) Albion (Victor) and various marques from Dennis Guy and Thornycroft all competed against the Bedford and came off worst, even Ford stopped competing for a while (c1932-57). Just pre-war there were Kew Dodge and Opel Blitz competitors, but they were selling on keen prices and immediate delivery, like Commer and Austin post-war.
The Nimbus itself was inspired by Scottish Omnibuses building a Claymore-based 32 seat integral bus. Most of SBGs single decks were then 35-seat half cabs and all were crew operated. This was at the same time Bristol and ECW were making the SC.
As for the SU it was only introduced after Western and Southern National refused SC’s wanting something comparable to Devon General’s Nimbii.
Why was the SU better than the Nimbus? I think it might have had better engine mounting and it certainly benefitted from Bristol chassis well integrated with its ECW body. Secondly nobody in the THC command economy would dare put an SU on a full-size route without good reason. Finally they were confined to Western & Southern National with only a handful elsewhere and so never got a hard life.
What we now call a midi-bus (e.g. the ADL E200) is rather bigger than a pre-1962 Reliance or a Tiger Cub, although its seated passenger capacity may be less than an OB.
The SC sat 35 in what were pre-1950 maximum box dimensions of 27’6" by 7’6" and it was miraculously fuel efficient at the expense of levels of noise vibration and harshness that would be unacceptable today providing marginal power that would be a hazard in modern dense traffic. but again Crosville Lincolnshire and Eastern Counties mainly used them to move fresh air along empty roads.

Stephen Allcroft


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Maidstone & District – Albion Nimbus – 310 LKK – S310

310 LKK

Maidstone & District Motor Services Ltd
Albion Nimbus NS3N
Harrington B30F

One of Maidstone and Districts batch of Albion Nimbus/Harrington single deckers resting at the rear of the now demolished Tonbridge Depot. Its normal duties would have been the local town service route 77 which ran a twenty minute headway. The route always had Albions which I think may have been due to narrow roads at the town end of the route.
Tunbridge Wells also had an allocation of Albions for town service, these periodically ventured out into the countryside on route 110 to Mayfield which featured climbing the one in ten hill into Mayfield high street, and the route 107 out to the village of Chiddingstone which again featured hilly terrain.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Patrick Armstrong

10/06/15 – 09:07

What many operators would have taken as a utilitarian vehicle has been turned from a Plain Jane into a Glamour Bus by the wheel trims, the shaped destination box and M&D’s treatment of the front under the windscreen.
A shining example of how to improve the visual environment.

Phil Blinkhorn

11/06/15 – 10:23

I have often thought that, the frontal treatment excepted, these Harrington bodies very closely resembled the Weymann bodies fitted to the Western Welsh and Halifax machines. Did they share the same framing design, perhaps?

Roger Cox

25/07/15 – 06:09

Western Welsh 1-24 had Harrington bodies, the M&D batch followed on from them. Western Welsh obviously had Weymann build 25-48 to the same outline; they also used a version of the outline for Halifax’s infamous batch.

Stephen Allcroft

17/07/16 – 05:50

I joined the M&D in 1961 fresh out of college. Having passed my PSV test on I think DH156 (It had a sliding window behind the driver) I set out to discover Kent and Sussex. This was the time when we had full buses and a variety of vehicles, Leyland, AEC, Guy, Daimler, Bristol, Commer and old SARO, RKE R4O which must have been the slowest most awkward vehicle to drive!!! Most times I was out in rural Kent with the occasional sortie onto the main key where shift times allowed. It was also profitable the most hours that I got paid for in one week was 108 comprising normal shift pay plus some double and treble hours, marvellous. I still at the advanced age of 79 remember those days with nostalgia and have my original badges, drivers KK37733 and conductor KK41873.

Reg Stubbs


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 11th December 2023