Old Bus Photos

Southern Vectis – Bristol K5G – DDL 50 – 703

Southern Vectis - Bristol K5G - DDL 50 - 703

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
1940
Bristol K5G
ECW O30/26R

In 1937 Southern Vectis took two examples of the Bristol GO5G chassis, and then ordered two examples of the later K5G design. CDL 899, which arrived in July 1939 with fleet number 702, was followed in January 1940 by DDL 50, number 703 which, like its predecessors, had ECW H30/26R bodywork. These G and K buses had the high mounted version of the Bristol radiator, whilst all later Southern Vectis K types had the PV2 style. The next K chassis to enter the Southern Vectis fleet came in 1944/45, but these were four K6A machines which were very quickly converted to Gardner 5LW power, and all subsequent K/KS/KSW deliveries had 5LW engines from new. Nos. 702 and 703 were both converted to open toppers in 1959 for operation on the scenic coastal routes, where 702 is seen on 28 August 1967. Sitting “outside” as these veterans climbed up the stiff gradient out of Ventnor was a musical experience to savour. In 1969 703 was converted into a tree lopper, and finally sold off into preservation in 1979, but 702 continued in occasional and promotional service on the Isle of Wight. Happily, both CDL 899 and DDL 50 survive.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


28/05/18 – 06:45

Living In Portsmouth for twenty years from 1956, I experienced inside and outside rides on both these buses over the years. Outside was always pleasant, both from the weather and mechanical aspects, but inside was a cacophony that assaulted the eardrums. How the drivers ever put up with the noise is beyond me. I always assumed from the vibration that the engines were mounted directly on the chassis. And why did SV ever deign to eschew 6LW engines on such a hilly island, producing vehicles that were hard work for drivers and so sluggish, even these with their roofs cut off! I’m glad that they’ve survived, though!

Chris Hebbron


29/05/18 – 06:34

My G certainly is directly mounted and is extremely noisy but vibration in the saloon is low. Fitting a 6LW in a K was not straightforward and I have done it in a KSW which had a re-design to allow fitment but not straight forward.
Think on K it would have reqd body mods.

Roger Burdett


31/05/18 – 07:32

There were GO6Gs and K6Gs in South Wales where the hilly operating terrain really demanded them. Significantly none of them had ECW bodies which were fairly standardised. Pontypridd had batches of Beadle-bodied Ls and Ks with both 5LW and 6LW engines and the bodies were significantly different due to the extra length of the 6LW. Merthyr was another regular K6G buyer whilst Cardiff (not as hilly) bought a batch of unique KW6Gs with Bruce bodies.

David Beilby


31/05/18 – 07:35

Chris H raises a question which has interested me for a long time; why Tilling companies never had any K6Gs. I may be wrong but as far as I’m aware, until the advent of the KS series, Eastern Coach Works never produced any bodywork into which the 6LW engine would fit. If any companies in the group had a requirement for 6 cylinder power, then it had to be the 6A or the 6B, the Gardner 6LW was never an option. Of course there were Bristol K6Gs, popular with some South Wales municipals and independents such as Silcox but not in Tilling fleets. Similarly, when Hants & Dorset wanted L6Gs, they had to send them to Portsmouth Aviation to be bodied because ECW couldn’t fit the engine into their standard single deck body.
I imagine the Bristol radiator could have been moved forward in the style of the Guy Arab but was it the builders who were unwilling to alter their specifications or was it Tilling HQ who decreed that operators couldn’t have 6LWs in the 1930s and 40s?

Chris Barker


01/06/18 – 05:56

It is said that one of the design constraints of the Bristol AVW engine was that it should fit in the bonnet of the K type chassis, thereby limiting its capacity to 8.1 litres. Not until 1950, when the maximum length of double deckers was increased to 27ft 6ins, did Bristol/ECW offer 6LW powered versions of the K type, the KS and KSW. In these the bulkhead was moved back to accommodate the extra length of this engine. As other correspondents have stated, the K6G/KW6G buses built for municipalities and Silcox all had bodywork from builders other than ECW to incorporate a set back bulkhead. Taking up Chris Hebbron’s point about the challenging Isle of Wight topography for the 5LW, Southern Vectis continued to specify this small engine in the wider, longer and heavier KSW type of which it had 15 examples. Only when the Lodekka appeared on the scene did Southern Vectis finally accept the 6LW.

Roger Cox


04/06/18 – 16:37

CDL 899_2

CDL 899 was used for a while on the service to the Needles from Alum Bay and is seen nearing the end of its climb. I did wonder whether the noise could be heard across the Solent!

CDL 899_3
A second photo shows the addition of route branding.

Keith Newton


07/06/18 – 05:31

Lovely photos, Keith, thx for posting them. can well understand the engine noise on this challenging route. The front design of the ECW bodywork, with its scrunched-up windscreen, has the effect of making the high radiator barely obvious. It certainly was when it was fitted with a wartime utility body!

Chris Hebbron


07/06/18 – 05:32

The exchanges over this bus are quite revealing. I have never been closely involved in the bus industry and others may be better qualified to comment. Whereas in pre nationalisation days- the aftermath of the last war- you could obtain (probably beg) a Bristol with AEC engine and Roe body, as nationalisation progressed you could have a K chassis as long as it had a Bristol or 5cyl Gardner engine, an ECW body and any colour as long as it was green, red and/or cream. Choice was restricted and was down purely to chassis length. Later on, the Lodekka even eliminated height as an option: was this, much later and from comments here, the terminal Leyland disease? Certainly the command economy may have been dismantled in the 50’s but lived on for years on the Bristol-Lowestoft axis.
Back to the bus and what a lovely example- the odd feature to me is the absence of elfansafety railings on the upper deck- just the side panels raised above the seat backs. If the bus were to topple, that was you done, or overhanging trees, crane jibs or whatever. Tiny mirrors, but then the conductor would watch behind. Happy days!

Joe


10/06/18 – 08:32

Joe, I don’t think that the product policies of Bristol CV and ECW in the 1950’s and ’60’s were similar to those of Leyland in the 1970’s. First of all, one must remember that the restrictions were placed on BCV and ECW, who were only allowed to sell to the state-owned operators; while those operators could continue to select whichever supplier they wanted – and, indeed, they did so, particularly the Scottish Bus Group, but the THC also bought Bedford coaches, and sometimes lightweight buses.
It is also generally known that BCV and ECW maintained close contact with their customers during that era, and some specialist models were also produced, in numbers that were probably not really economic – I’m thinking of the SC and SU small single deck chassis. The Lodekka was of course a solution that provided the comfort of an highbridge layout within the overall height of a lowbridge bus – with a stepless lower deck floor to boot with the F series models.
It is also worth remembering that BCV and ECW were relatively low-volume producers, and their customers did have more choice. As such, significantly wider choices of engines, etc, would probably not have been viable.
By the 1970’s Leyland had a virtual monopoly of the heavy duty bus and coach market in the UK – and, judging from contemporary reports, seemed to believe that they knew what their customers wanted. I guess that the subsequent history tells us whether that was correct – or not!

Nigel Frampton


 

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Bristol Omnibus – Bristol K5G – FAE 51 – W85

FAE 51

Bristol Omnibus
1939
Bristol K5G
ECW H30/26R

I can’t recall seeing the rounded lines of the pre-war ECW highbridge double decker in OBP, so thought you might like to see FAE 51 in July 1961. The vehicle was new (blue livery?) to Bristol Tramways & Carriage Co Ltd in 1939 as C3132, survived the war and by this time had been moved to the driver training fleet as W85. It is resting in what I recall as the small coach depot in a street (probably demolished years ago) east of the main road up Old Market and near Lawrence Hill. It never seemed to be manned and occasionally had several coaches parked up.
The ECW body looked rather nicer than the BBW (Brislington Body Works) version which looked a bit sterner! See the vehicle on the left at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin


19/06/17 – 07:21

The depot near Old Market Geoff refers to was called West Street. Although I grew up in Bristol and was at school there in 1961, unfortunately I’ve no recollection of it! I visited all the other depots in the city but this one escaped my notice.
I was told that West Street was a former Greyhound coach depot, actually in Trinity Street. Coaches moved from there to Lawrence Hill in the 1950s, after which it was used for coach parking during the winter season, but I don’t know when it closed completely.
A nice reminder of the pre-war ECW bodied K5Gs, the last of which survived in passenger service in Bristol until 1959.

Geoff Kerr


20/06/17 – 07:25

In 1935, a batch of nine Leyland TD5, with almost identical bodies were delivered to Tyneside. They were JR 8618/8626, and numbered TT18/22.
However, some controversy exist as to who actually built them. The design is unquestionably ECW, but some accounts have them being built ‘presumably subcontract or under licence’ by Charles H Roe.

Ronnie Hoye


20/06/17 – 07:26

Geoff
Thanks for that further information, which allowed me to find this link: https://books.google.co.uk/books

Geoff Pullin


20/06/17 – 07:29

I have some copies of PSV Circle BOC allocations of 1958 (either side of the big City services reorganisation) which record the depot as Trinity Street rather than West Street. The date of closure is given as 24 October 1958. Prior to the reorganisation it is noted as an overnight garage for coaches and store for delicensed vehicles. It does not appear to have had its own allocation at that point in time. Subsequent to the change PSVC records that all Bristol based coaches were allocated to Lawrence Hill. At that time coach fleet numbers were mixed in with the single deck fleet number series so without going through the allocation vehicle by vehicle it is not easy to see if any were allocated anywhere else prior to the change.

Peter Cook


21/06/17 – 07:22

According to Mike Walker and the late Geoff Bruce, in "Greyhound Motors" published by the Bristol Vintage Bus Group, "the Trinity Road" coach garage was sold to the British Railways Board in 1961 for use as a road vehicle workshop, and were still standing in the early 21st century, still in use, as a car repair and exhaust centre in 2003. 96 West Street was the office address in the early years, but those premises were sold in the early 1930s. The Trinity Street premises virtually backed onto the West Street site – and from a 2014 Google image look to be in use as a carpet warehouse.

Peter Delaney


 

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Yorkshire Woollen District – Bristol K5G – OWT 204 – 154

Yorkshire Woollen District - Bristol K5G - OWT 204 - 154

Yorkshire Woollen District
1939
Bristol K5G
ECW H28/28R (1955)

Aliens Land In Dewsbury.

Yorkshire Woollen District experienced a severe shortage of vehicles during 1969 and consequently was obliged to acquire some most untypical vehicle types which no doubt caused much displeasure to both engineering and road staff. Seen here at Savile Town depot, Dewsbury in 1970 are a selection.

From the left.

WCY 892 (160) was one of seven AEC/PRV Bridgemasters (H43/29F) that had come from South Wales Transport, this one being new in 1961.

UHN 642 (166) and WHN 54 (169) were two of six Bristol KSW6B’s with ECW H32/28R bodies, that had been new to United Automobile in 1954/55.

6162 WJ (141) was one of seven Leyland PD2/30’s with Roe H33/26RD bodies that had been new to the Sheffield ‘C’ (British Railways owned) fleet in 1960. From the same source had also come two PD2/20’s with ECW bodies, three Atlanteans and two Burlingham-bodied Leopards.

OWT 204 (154) was one of four Bristol K5G’s with ECW highbridge bodies that had been new to York West Yorkshire in 1939, then rebuilt with new chassis frames and rebodied in 1955. There was also a pair of lowbridge K6B’s from Keighley West Yorkshire.

All those in the photo were withdrawn in 1970 (6162 WJ in 1972) and sold to North’s, the dealer, at Sherburn-in-Elmet only the Bridgemaster seeing further use, being exported to Canada for use initially by a restaurant in Toronto, then by Gray Tours of Winnipeg.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


06/01/17 – 06:24

Hmm . . . varying shades of red! I’, assuming that Ks were placed in service in Tilling red, the Bridgemaster in SWT red, but the PD2 repainted into YWD red. I’ve seen a paint listing somewhere which refers to "BET red" and "BET crimson" as standard colours shared by BET companies: I’m sure YD used one of the two, and Hebble the other (and one of two was the same as Western Welsh) – I’ll have made a note somewhere, I’ll track it down.
It strikes me as odd that YWD went to the trouble of making "coach glasses" for the Bridgemaster and PD2, but not the UA Ks.

Philip Rushworth


06/01/17 – 10:51

Sorry to reveal my ignorance but what do you mean by "coach glasses"?

David Rawsthorn


06/01/17 – 10:52

I knew of the vehicle shortage at YWD but I’m surprised to find that such a variety of interesting vehicles were brought in to help. While I can understand the general displeasure among the work force, as an enthusiast driver I would have been over the moon at getting to know such vehicles.

Chris Youhill


06/01/17 – 10:53

Great photo John. Takes me back to when I started at YWD Head office at Savile Town Dewsbury in 1970. These buses made a welcome change to the MCW Regent Vs which seemed to be everywhere around Dewsbury. The Bridgemasters were christened Welsh Corgis.

J D Blackburn


07/01/17 – 06:44

David
Those glass panels with the operators names on below the rear windows of coaches, I couldn’t think of a better name for the glasses with "Yorkshire" in lieu of destination screens.

Philip Rushworth


08/01/17 – 06:21

Thanks.

David Rawsthorn


08/01/17 – 06:22

I guess the Ks, being considerably older, were considered to be "not long for this world"! I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but for me the ECW body for the K (especially the high bridge KSW version) was the nicest and best balanced half-cab double decker of all time. By contrast, I always thought the Bridgemaster was the ugliest (with apologies to those who love them!)

Stephen Ford


08/01/17 – 06:23

OWT 204 was actually the fifth ex York-West Yorkshire K5G that Yorkshire used. They started with OWT 196/7/201/5 from 1 May 1969 and numbered these 155/4/2/3 respectively. However, OWT 197 was returned to West Yorkshire (for disposal) at the end of May and replaced by OWT 204, the subject of the photo, which took on OWT 197’s fleet number of 154.
At this stage all six West Yorkshire vehicles (4 x K5Gs and 2 x K6Bs) were only on hire and carried a "West Yorkshire Road Car" legal ownership panel and an "On Hire to Yorkshire Woollen District" sticker. They also had "West Yorkshire" fleetnames (i.e. without Keighley- or York- prefixes) and full Tilling red and cream livery with black wings and wheels. This hire situation continued until 18 August 1969, when all six vehicles were sold to Yorkshire Woollen District.
In January 1970, OWT 196/201/4 had their wings and wheels painted red (ex black) and gained Yorkshire fleetnames, but remained in Tilling red and cream.
They were used mainly on YWD routes A1/2/3/4 (Thornhill-Dewsbury-Birstall), for which special short destination blinds were made for the front only; they carried no rear destination or route number blinds. They worked mainly at peak hours, but we were told at the time that they "…are extremely popular with the Yorkshire drivers, who appreciate their reliability and sturdiness. Indeed, they are practically the only double deckers at Dewsbury that do not have to be "booked off" for one fault or another!"

Trevor Leach


08/01/17 – 06:24

I have read before about the "severe vehicle shortage" in 1969 which may have been shared with others. Why was this? Do I remember that they had problems with inspections? In days of uniform fleets it is strange to read that these five "begged" buses had four different makes of engine- a Youhill delight- what was the rest of the fleet then? Leyland? At least I think West Riding- around then- replaced Wulfrunians with buses with various Gardner engines.

Joe


10/01/17 – 06:17

From memory, local newspapers referred to a shortage of spare parts.
In 1969 Yorkshire Woollen’s fleet included:
6 x circa 1950 Leyland PS2s rebodied as double-deckers by Roe in 1962-63
44 x AEC Regent Vs dating from 1958-61
9 x Leyland PD3A built 1962
14 x Albion Lowlander built 1964
22 x Daimler Fleetline built 1965-67
12 x Leyland Atlantean built 1967
Between 1959-62 Yorkshire Woollen purchased 43 AEC Reliance single-deckers, but many of these had been withdrawn by 1969.
YWD purchased 50 bus-bodied Leyland Leopards between 1962-65.
I well remember wishing to travel to school and finding that what had previously been a 70-seat Regent V-operated service was frequently a coach-seated AEC Reliance, either with 39-seat Weymann Fanfare bodywork, or ex-Maidstone & District examples with centre-entrance 37-seat Harrington coachwork.
I regret to say that things got so bad with being unable to even board a vehicle – and consequently being late for school – I finally gave up on YWD and started walking to school.

Paul H


10/01/17 – 16:49

I was aware that Hebble was experiencing severe problems with its fleet around this time (1970) but did not realise YWD shared the same problems.
The former Sheffield buses came to YWD as a result of NBC taking over the former railway-owned C fleet and distributing them to its subsidiaries, but no doubt they helped with the vehicle shortage.

Geoff Kerr


03/03/17 – 10:23

I left Dewsbury in 1968, but I don’t think that the situation was much better for 2 or 3 years before this. I well remember 41 seater Reliance/Harringtons being used on the A group of services to Thornhill where the allocation was a 70 seat Regent V every 5 minutes, with queues from the Market stop almost to the end of the road, and no chance of boarding the bus opposite the Bus Station. I am not sure that the cause was the same as 1969 but the effect certainly was. As an 18 year old I had a Saturday afternoon job with a Market Trader (I had to go to school Saturday morning), and I always walked to the Bus Station and caught one of the other services (Whitley, Grange Moor or Thornhill Edge) which took me close to home – and they were always full with frustrated A service passengers.

Malcolm Hirst


22/11/18 – 07:02

So bad was the state of the fleet in the late sixties that the road staff struck over the state of the vehicles one spokesman for the staff cited the PS rebuilds as the worst offenders Despite this they lasted well into the NBC era.

Chris Hough


24/11/18 – 06:15

The rebuilt PS2s also caused a lightening strike during the seventies. This was due to heaters not working. Sounds quite radical but it was probably the accumulation of vehicles constantly being "logged off" for this problem. I was working at Dewsbury head office at the time and remember having to walk home cursing everything.

John Blackburn


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 15th December 2018