Old Bus Photos

Southern Vectis – Bristol KS5G – HDL 264 – 750

Southern Vectis - Bristol KS5G - HDL 264 - 750

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
1951
Bristol KS5G
ECW L27/28R

New to Southern Vectis in 1951 with an Isle of Wight registration a Bristol KS5G with an ECW lowbridge body and was withdrawn by them in 1967. Sold on to dealer W Norths (PV) Limited, Sherburn-in-Elmet in May 1967 it then went to Jameson of Sunderland the following month. It was later purchased by Carneys Coaches of Sunderland in October 1967 and was used on shipyard contracts transporting workers between Wearside and Teeside, it was also used to take local Scout groups on holidays. It remained in its original Southern Vectis livery a dark shade of Green with a white band all through its working life. In November 1968 Carneys disposed of it to a dealer, unfortunately from that point on I have no further history.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Coulson


 

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Western National – Bristol KS5G – LTA 813 – W994

Western National - Bristol KS5G - LTA 813 - W994
Copyright Ken Jones

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
1950
Bristol KS5G
ECW L27/28R

In 2009 preserved Western National LTA 813 visited the Plymouth Rally travelling under it’s own power there and back from it’s base in Coventry. One of the people travelling back with it was Ken Jones originally from Taunton in Somerset. He managed a photographic stop in the rain at The Parade in Taunton recreating a scene for the 274 service to Roman Road which he used to catch in his youth.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

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07/02/12 – 06:51

A superb photograph of what a good British bus should look like! Having said that being brought up in Municipal Lancashire, BTC group buses and Bristol/ECW products were a bit of an alien concept to me as a youngster. They were only seen when holiday trips were made to far flung places like North Wales (Crosville) and Whitby (United) for example. Looking back now however I realise what fine vehicles the BTC had and what classy liveries they used, even if they were standardised on two colours (with odd exceptions). I think of the two standard colours I preferred the red.
In the 1950’s they also sported very clear and practical destination displays. It’s a great pity they were not always used correctly and as time progressed were reduced by painting out or taping over.
Speaking of destination displays, many of the BTC companies showed the fleetname in the destination display. On an outing by coach to Chester Zoo as a boy, I remember seeing lots of vehicles showing ‘Crosville’ on the front and rear destination display. In my innocence I thought this was a place and with the number of buses going there, a pretty big place as well. I never did find it on any map!

Philip Halstead

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07/02/12 – 10:58

I think that destination blinds could easily warrant a subject of their own! Two from opposite ends of the country were ‘WORLD’S END’ on Southdown buses around Petersfield. and Glasgow trams sporting the mysterious ‘NORMAL SCHOOL’, the answer to which has always eluded me!

Chris Hebbron

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07/02/12 – 15:11

Not to mention Booth and Fisher going "Halfway" (current terminus of the Supertram) or Sheffield Corporation Trams "Intake" – not a suspicious breathing activity!

David Oldfield

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07/02/12 – 15:12

Destinations:- a few others that come to mind. "LOOSE" in Maidstone, "BEEHIVE" in Halifax and, uniquely in my experience, "NR. WILLESDEN JUNCTION" on the 630 trolleybus in London. I have never since seen a bus destination blind displaying a point other than the true terminus, but I am sure that our experts will come up with another.

Roger Cox

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07/02/12 – 16:34

…and of course there’s the Tracky bus to (or via) JUMP!

Joe

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08/02/12 – 06:10

Philip conveys my feelings exactly about what a bus should look like. I became aware of the new Bristol KS6Bs 810 to 813 delivered to West Yorkshire in 1950 when only 9 years old. This was the time when my interest in buses developed and when I see a lovely photo of a Bristol KS, I get flashbacks to my first sighting of a West Yorkshire one in Bradford. The Bristol KS/ECW was a classical design of bus and hopefully I can find one in my photo collection for a future posting.

Richard Fieldhouse

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08/02/12 – 06:12

Other destinations that spring to mind are Spittal Tongs and Two Ball Lonan both Newcastle, Clock Face in ST Helens, Bleachworks in Wigan, Load a Mischief in Accrington, Boggart Hill Drive in Leeds who also went to Intake as did Doncaster. Bristol went to Fishponds and Hotwells While Manchester ran to Southern Cemetery.
North of the Border Edinburgh ran to Joppa while Glasgow served Nitshill.
West Riding used to serve Bottomboat while Pennine still serve Giggleswick

Chris Hough

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08/02/12 – 09:08

Interesting comments about both odd destinations and the attractiveness of the Bristol Ks with ECW bodies. Can’t add to the destination discussion, (Loose was served by Maidsone Corporation and not M&D, so we confined our amusement to corny remarks about the Loose Womens’ Institute), and I do remember a lad at M&D causing an upset by producing a load of traffic notices referring to ‘Five Aok Green’.
Richard and Phillip are absolutely correct, in my view, in their opinion of what a fine example the Bristol K/ECW combination was of excellent design that proved itself so well in service. I had exactly the same reaction as Richard when York-West Yorkshire took delivery of their first K6Bs, (highbridge, of course). Tilling/Bristol/ECW give the lie to the currently fashionable nonsense that state-owned commercial concerns can’t ever be successful or compete effectively with private enterprise.

Roy Burke

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08/02/12 – 11:30

I preferred the KSW6B with highbridge body (United) or similarly clad KSW6G (Lincolnshire and Midland General group). …..an elegant and balanced design.

David Oldfield

PS: How many of you thought LMS was a railway station in Manchester?

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08/02/12 – 13:42

I always thought the lowbridge KSW was the least attractive of the K/ECW combinations (though by no means ugly). As David says, the additional height on the highbridge version gave it balance. Personally I thought the narrower KS (and K) looked well in lowbridge format. In always associate them with Summer holidays in Devon and West Cornwall, where narrow roads made their 7 foot 6 width useful well into the Lodekka era. LMS? Nice one David. The giveaway was that all four (five if you include Mayfield) mainline railway stations in Manchester were LMS (though LNER managed to have a bit of London Road)!

Stephen Ford

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08/02/12 – 13:43

Speaking of destinations, from Newcastle you can go by bus to New York – Washington – Quebec – Toronto and Philadelphia

Ronnie Hoye

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08/02/12 – 16:30

Roger mentioned Halifax buses going to ‘Beehive’. They also went to ‘Cunning Corner’, whilst Wigan’s ran to ‘Dangerous Corner’. Bradford served ‘Idle’, and Huddersfield’s ran to a ‘Hard End’. No further comment on that one.

John Stringer

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Careful everybody, the better half is a ‘Cunning Corner’ lass.

I’m surprised ‘Wetwang’ as not been mentioned yet.

Peter

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08/02/12 – 16:37

I have to agree that this is a superb bus picture, and it brings back to me those happy days of working for Eastern Counties at Hills Road Depot in Cambridge, when I first started bus driving in 1970. At that time they had several ageing K5G’s with Gardiner engines–so easy to drive. The gears would fall in once you’d got the hang of it. I don’t give all these modern buses a second look, as they seem to be without any character. I progressed to London Transport at New Cross Gge onto RT’s which took more skill, especially changing down for sharp corners.
What a brilliant website this is…it makes me wish I could do it all again.

Norman Long…Retired

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08/02/12 – 17:36

Lincolnshire Road Car also did New York, as well as Jerusalem, and the quaintly named Drinsey Nook.

Stephen Ford

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08/02/12 – 17:38

Is that Norman Long (retired) or Norman (long retired)?
Peter, you’ve just mentioned Wetwang – actually a very nice village in the Wolds. …..but what about the late Mayor of Wetwang?
As Stephen says, the lowbridge were not ugly – I can never remember ECW doing ugly.
…..and can anyone tell why I can visit Washington and Ashington in West Sussex?

David Oldfield

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08/02/12 – 17:39

How wonderfully correct are Richard and Roy when remembering the introduction of the KS series. I share that memory, and can still feel the excitement they caused, as they were so modern looking with their well radiused windows, and "unfussy" squarish outline….so unlike any other marque.
Ours (WY) were KS6Bs of course, and I well remember the whole West Yorkshire Information Service fraternity being equally impressed, and coining the phrase "window specials".
It all goes to show what a quality outfit was the whole BTC enterprise. Unlike other nationalised organisations, it seemed to embody total efficiency, which must have been a carry over from its original Tilling parentage.
These preserved ECW buses, and I have seen many over recent years, still exude that feeling of solid quality which they had when new!

John Whitaker

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09/02/12 – 05:49

Morecambe and Heysham went to Battery, Bury went to Jericho, Manchester went to Exchange (sometimes via FOG!)

Peter Williamson

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09/02/12 – 05:50

…..but there’s one I don’t recollect ever seeing on a bus destination display – Normandy. [In Surrey, between Guildford and Aldershot.]

David Oldfield

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09/02/12 – 05:52

ECW quality – as a little lad I always had to sit down hard about three times before I was satisfied that I had got my money’s worth out of the satisfying "wheesh" that you got from standard ECW seats with the standard green and red criss-cross pattern moquette.

Stephen Ford

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09/02/12 – 05:53

To my mind just about everything ECW produced looked just right – until the ‘sliced-off-to-length-on-a-conveyor-belt’ RE bus, and the early LH spoilt their reputation somewhat. They always managed to achieve the perfect balance of understated elegance and practicality.
I also particularly liked the appearance of the lowbridge KS (in spite of its awkwardness from a passenger’s and conductor’s point of view), but it would have to have a Bristol engine for me. I know what Stephen means though about the lowbridge KSW – its extra width emphasised its squatness. Not bad though.
One of my ECW favourites was always the LS coach. Just look at old photos depicting these on coach parks in their dignified, well maintained BTC liveries, parked alongside all the other 1950’s monstrosities and ‘chromeblazers’. (I speak purely from a design point of view, not their driveability, which may well have been a little different).

John Stringer

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09/02/12 – 14:09

Couldn’t agree more about the Bristol engine, John, but even the RE bus body could look good in the right livery. [I’m thinking of the East Midland DP versions in pre NBC cream with maroon stripes.]
I have nothing but respect for (especially the 6 cylinder) Gardner engines – in just about all applications; but I still prefer the Bristol powered (and indeed the Leyland powered) Bristols on offer at different times in the company’s history.

David Oldfield

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09/02/12 – 14:10

You raise a very interesting point, John S, when you say ‘it would have to have a Bristol engine for me’. My own experience of Bristols is really limited to the comparison between the Bristol engine and the 5LW, and I’m sure everyone would agree with your conclusion in that comparison. On the other hand, I later developed a great admiration for the 6LW in Guy chassis, (and the 6LX too, but that really post dated the K series Bristols). I’d be grateful for the views of other correspondents with experience of both the Bristol engine and the 6LW in Bristol Ks.

Roy Burke

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11/02/12 – 07:28

I agree with John Stringer about ECW LS coaches looking dignified. I think my top three coaches for being eye catching without being flash would be, ECW LS in United green and cream, the centre entrance Burlingham Seagull in Yelloway livery, and the Weymann Fanfare in a photo finish between BET cream and maroon and Southdown green

Ronnie Hoye

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11/02/12 – 07:28

On the subject of destination blinds, Bradford C T ran buses to Tong Cemetery and also to Shelf. (Their operating territory also included Idle, famed for its Idle Working Men’s Club). Sandy Lane could also be seen on the front of a BCT bus – not sure who she was, but may have been related to Lucy Hall seen on some of West Yorkshire’s Bradford-based vehicles. Her distant cousin Hazel Grove, could be seen over in Stockport. (West Yorkshire and BCT could also take you to Dick Hudson’s if you so wished). East Yorkshire had the quaintly-named North Cave, and West Riding had buses stating "Hall Green", which pre-NBC, most of them were, give or take the cream band…..

Brendan Smith

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11/02/12 – 09:23

Ronnie, I would tend to agree with you on all three counts – but what about Sheffield’s cream and blue Fanfares?

David Oldfield

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11/02/12 – 11:47

To add to Roys’ comments, I would like to contribute my own experience of the Bristol KS. I have always regarded the KSW6G as the "cream" of the marque. The Gardner 6LW was slightly larger in engine capacity at 8.4 litres compared to the Bristol AVW engine at 8.1 litres so consequently was more responsive and in my view gave a better ride. I would like to know what drivers liked with the Bristol KSW.
I was fortunate enough to ride on both West Yorkshire KSW6Gs and KSW6Bs on a regular basis as these were rostered as School Specials each weekday morning. These were halcyon days in 1954 which I treasure and I was always thrilled when KSW6G 855 or 856 appeared. However KSW6Bs 853 and 854 were also good, as all the LWR registered buses (845 to 864) had rear platform doors, so I felt superior on my school special to other Bristol KSW6Bs on normal services with open platforms.
Perhaps this was a case of bus snobbery but perhaps excused when you are young.

Richard Fieldhouse

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11/02/12 – 15:12

David, you’re right about Sheffields livery being smart, but I think the destination blinds on the Fanfares made then look too much like a bus and just took the edge off them. As to the debate about Bristol engines, I can’t comment on that as Northern Group being a BET company we didn’t have any, however, we did have quite a lot of Guy’s with the Gardner 5LW, and later we had Daimler Fleetlines with the 6LX, and both were virtually indestructible. As a foot note, we had both, and for my money the Fleetline was a far superior vehicle to the Atlantean, one bad thing with the Gardner, or to be more accurate, the garage staff, was that they would check the oil level when the bus came back to the garage at the end of it’s shift and the engine was still hot, the less intelligent ones would then put about a gallon of oil in and complain about the amount of oil that Gardners used, the more experienced garage hands would check the level when the engine was cold and the oil had had time to settle

Ronnie Hoye

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11/02/12 – 15:12

As one who has driven a preserved KSW5G (with platform doors) for nearly thirty years I would say that the 5LW is not really powerful enough for the vehicle. Although it will climb a mountain it just takes so long to do it. The problem is made worse by the maximum revs being governed so tightly. This means that on ascending a hill you cannot change from fourth to third until the speed drops to 20mph by which time too much momentum has been lost. The other aspect of this is that I’m never sure what to do at a roundabout, do I chug round at 21mph in fourth or use maximum revs in third at 22mph ? I suppose that there weren’t many roundabouts in existence when it was designed.
One very positive thing about the KSW is the lack of corrosion on the chassis or the alloy frame of the ECW body after almost 59 years on the road. Having seen the amount of rebuilding that some enthusiasts have had to do on their vehicles, we are very grateful for that.

Nigel Turner

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11/02/12 – 16:05

Point taken, Ronnie, and I would agree the Fleetline was superior to the PDR1 Atlantean – but the AN68 was a different story.

David Oldfield

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11/02/12 – 17:17

Todmorden buses ran (and still run) to Portsmouth, a 15 minute journey, although not many terminate there now.
I’ve read about Manchester buses showing "fog on route" and wondered what it was for – was it to warn drivers going the other way?

Geoff Kerr

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12/02/12 – 07:13

I worked as a Schedules Clerk for SELNEC Central at Frederick Road for an all too brief spell in the early 1970’s. I seem to recall being told that fog around the docks area could be really severe and wreak havoc with timekeeping, and that ‘FOG’ (on the via blinds of ex-Manchester buses) was just to indicate to would be passengers the reason for late running.

John Stringer

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12/02/12 – 07:22

Gentlemen..having lived in Bristol and for many years close to the Bristol works, I grew up thinking all buses were as good as "ours" and the ECW bodies were normal. In those days my travels to other areas were mainly, Dawlish and Devon General, South Wales and so Rhondda, Newport, Red & White and up to London for the joys of London Transport. Whilst I loved seeing something different, even then I appreciated the outstanding construction of the KSW and later LD/Lodekka plus all the other different Bristol variants. I clearly remember the joy of finding out when a brand new bus was due out and recall riding on KSW’s fresh from the works.
Now, some 54 years later, on Bristol Bus Running Day held each August, I can actually stand at the same bus stop (now 100 yards further up the road due to "improvements") and catch one of the batch of KSW’s that I caught each night to come home from school. Whether any of the preserved vehicles are one of those I caught on the No.1 Cribbs Causeway route I do not know but they are identical and so I can recreate that exact journey on a KSW/ECW that looks, feels and sounds just like those years ago.

Richard Leaman

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12/02/12 – 11:00

Thank you, gentlemen – especially Richard F, Ronnie and Nigel – for your illuminating comments. Fascinating. West Yorkshire didn’t have many 6LW-engined Bristol Ks, (ten, I think?), and I never really came across them in York. I totally understand Nigel’s opinion of the 5LW; great engine, quite indestructible, utterly dependable, but, by the 1950’s its limitations in powering heavier vehicles – not just Bristols, of course – was making it a retrograde choice, even though a few BET companies persisted with it.
Ronnie’s and David’s comments comparing the Fleetline with early Atlanteans struck a note with me, too. My views exactly! In his posting of a PMT PDR1, Michael Crofts makes the point that the Atlantean easily out-performed the Fleetline. True, but from a management point of view, early Atlanteans could have worryingly high running costs. Nigel’s ‘dilemma’ about gear choice for roundabouts in the KSW5G reminded me of one particular instance of that at Chatham. In a Guy Arab, you knew that you had to slow to 20 mph at the top of Chatham Hill in order to be able to select 3rd gear; bad drivers could, however, abuse the Atlantean pneumo-cyclic gearbox by changing at higher speeds part way down. I have seen a hole in a cylinder block that I could put my fist in, caused by this practice.
Then there was the issue of centrifugal clutches requiring conversion, fuel and oil consumption, and maintenance costs generally. No wonder to me that M&D changed to Fleetlines.

Roy Burke

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13/02/12 – 07:36

For more on Manchester fog, see my article at this link.

Peter Williamson

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13/02/12 – 15:48

May I venture another view on Bristol/ECW? In my youth, I was not a regular user of ex Tilling companies like West Yorkshire. When I did have contact with them, they seemed to be another version of British Railways: boring conformity in liveries and bus styles- red or green with no attempt at modern graphics in fleet names. The Lodekka seemed to be an old rather quirky design, again with a depressing uniformity wherever you went: drivers looked uncomfortable in that "half-decker" cab and they could sound like tractors (when we did live on a WY bus route eventually, the electrics played havoc with our TV/Radio reception). Compare this with Sheffield- say- dirt-defying livery, modern fleet name, early introduction of "new generation" buses & variety- even a few Bristols. Give me a Roe-bodied Daimler CVG6 anytime!

Joe

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14/02/12 – 07:36

I think you’re being a bit harsh, Joe, but surely you mean a Roe bodied AEC – especially in Sheffield!!!???

David Oldfield

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18/02/12 – 07:08

Bristols are definitely the best buses – but I’m glad my first contribution has generated so much discussion on so many points.

Ken Jones

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LTA 813_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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23/02/12 – 07:16

To add to the destination screen saga Southdown showed High and Over on the 126 Eastbourne to Seaford route. My abiding memory of ECW bodies is of M&D’s Bristol L6A’s they seemed to have such deep plush upholstery, extremely comfortable. I made frequent journeys on the 35 route which ran from Ore (another odd destination) to Cooden Beach which had two low bridges. The LS coach was an elegant design especially those with curved glass in the front corners, the bus bodies were also attractive much more so in both cases than the later MW’s. Unfortunately my driving experience was limited to the later and lesser types VR, RE, LH the RE being the best of those. Being born and bred in Sussex guess whose colours I prefer on the Weymann Fanfare.

Diesel Dave


 

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