Old Bus Photos

Central SMT – Bristol Lodekka – FGM 297D – BL297

Central SMT - Bristol Lodekka - FGM 297D - BL297

Central SMT
Bristol Lodekka FLF6G
ECW H44/32F

This photo taken in Glasgow in the late sixties is not very good quality but the subject is quite unusual inasmuch as it was one of a batch of forty bought by Central SMT built to a length of 31ft 6in with a seating capacity of 76 arranged as H44/32F said at the time to be an attempt to match the Atlantean/Fleetline of that era.
The extra length was all behind the rear axle as can be seen by the longer rearmost side windows on both decks and the extra long rear overhang. I believe the only other company to take delivery of this extra length version of the Lodekka was Eastern National some of which may have been used on the Southend – London service, of course around this time the VR was making it’s early appearances and we all know what the Scottish Bus Group thought of that model after a very short experience.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

05/08/13 – 08:18

The extra length doesn’t harm the proportions of the classic ECW design at all. The Eastern National versions were equally good looking and were used extensively around south Essex but the Central SMT colours enhanced the design just that bit more.
Eastern national took the extra length FLFs in both coach and bus versions. There is an Eastern National Omnibus photo pool on Flickr which shows both versions.

Phil Blinkhorn

06/08/13 – 06:16

Initially ENOC used their 31′ FLF (F and G reg) semi-automatic buses on the 151/251/351 routes from Southend/Chelmsford to London (Wood Green), and of course from Canvey to London (WG) when the 151 was diverted there in April 1971.
A couple even featured in the series On The Buses.
The coach versions were used on the Southend to London (Kings Cross/Victoria) X10 service and of course this service’s variants.
In their later lives with ENOC the buses were used all over Essex.
Of this last sanction (236) the last chassis produced was 236.337 and still exists today in the form of AVX 975G (ENOC 2614). This coach was downgraded to bus status and re-numbered 2946. It has been preserved in its original state as 2614 and is still active today.

Andy Spiller

06/08/13 – 08:28

Here’s a photo of AVX 975G/ENOC 2614: SEE: www.flickr.com/photos/ 

Chris Hebbron

14/08/13 – 06:27

Although the rear overhang looks a little long, I do think that the longer rear-window on each deck gives the body a much better proportion than the "standard" FLF. 14-ply rather than 12-ply rear tyres were fitted to cope with additional rear weight – and didn’t the staircase ascend frontwards? From what I can gather, takers for the "extended" FLF were:
Central SMT: 18 78-seater (1965); 40 76-seater (1966); 25 78-seater (1968)
Eastern National: 33 70-seater (1967); 15 70-seater, 5 55-seater coaches (1968)
Fife: 18 76-seater (1966)
SOL: 25 76-seater (1966)
All were, I think, Gardner 6LX powered, with the ENOC vehicles having semi-automatic transmission. The reason for the variation between 78 and 76 seats on the SBG vehicles was to allow additional luggage space on the 76-seaters – but why were ENOC so conservative in specifying only 70-seats on their bus versions? . . . in fact why not just order "standard" FLFs??
And, and . . . I’ve only driven a Lodekka twice, but I just thought they were horrible. Why did Bristol adopt that raked steering-wheel, which made one feel one was sitting – uncomfortably – in, rather than "on top of" the vehicle. AEC managed a "flat" steering wheel on the Bridgemaster and Renown (Albion’s Lowlander doesn’t count as it just used the standard Leyland Titan front-end).

Philip Rushworth

17/10/13 – 11:40

Yes, the "semis" did have the stairway reversed from the normal front-entrance Lodekkas – and it was cream and rather plasticky compared to their green. It also had an enlarged blunderbus compound. In my day, semis were number coded as "29xx", 70-seat Front Entrance were "27xx" and "28xx", 60-seat rear open backs were "24xx" and "25xx", and IIRC "Big Bertha", the only 70-seat open backer was "2601", operating from Brentwood depot. We also had one drop-floor 4-abreast still about, which was number coded "23xx".

ex-ENOC conductor


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United Welsh – Bristol Lodekka – SWN 159 – 323

United Welsh – Bristol Lodekka – SWN 159 – 323

United Welsh Services
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/27RD – O33/27R (1991)

This vehicle was built for United Welsh in 1959 with ECW body, and it worked on routes in Gower. In 1969 when United Welsh merged with SWT it became 916, and in 1974 it was converted to a tree lopping vehicle. In 1991 it was acquired by the 447 Group and restored as an open topper, and registered as ACY 178A, then ACY 307A its original number having been transferred to a National Express coach. The registration number was later transferred back to this vehicle which was then bought by the SWT Group in 2010. It is seen at the Barry Island event in June 2013 although it was not in service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

15/07/13 – 14:44


In response to the subject of open toppers, here’s a very extreme one. Poor old once-proud Lodekka, subjected to such ignominy. I don’t know any history of this vehicle. Perhaps somebody can tell us more. I don’t know who took the photo either, it’s just a print that has been in my spares box for many years.

David Rhodes

16/07/13 – 08:01

An open-staircase, frilly-hatted Lodekka toastrack! Looks as though the platform’s been shortened by a foot or so, too. Must have knocked a few hundredweight off the UW. In a way I agree with David R that this LD has suffered ignominious treatment, but it’s all done with such style that I can forgive them!

Ian Thompson

17/07/13 – 07:13

You get the impression that the toastrack is about to set out on a Kenyan safari. All very Colonial-looking!

Chris Hebbron


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Crosville – Bristol Lodekka – 4227 FM – DFG 157

Crosville - Bristol Lodekka - 4227 FM - DFG157

Crosville Motor Services
Bristol Lodekka FS6G
ECW H33/27RD

Here is a Bristol Lodekka FS6G with rear entrance ECW body and dates from 1964. Crosville bought both long and short F series Lodekkas. DFG157 is one of the short ones. It was withdrawn by Crosville in 1977 and is now preserved
Photographed 8/5/2011 whilst in service at The Wedgwood Potteries rally – Take me home country roads.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

21/05/13 – 15:47

I always thought the FS was a more subtle bus than the FLF with just the right amount of side profile curvature, I can never decide whether I prefer this destination indicator layout or the T type as used by West Yorkshire. The bus is a true post war classic especially when fitted with a Bristol engine, although others may differ.

Chris Hough

22/05/13 – 07:30

The Bristol BVW engine and the earlier AVW, like the Daimler CD6, were introduced in part to relax the constraints placed upon chassis production volumes by the limited supply of Gardner power plants. The AVW was a straightforward dry liner engine, and proved fairly trouble free, but the wet liner BVW, introduced in 1957, did give problems in service, and went through a series of modifications. In the 1970s, when the Stokes led Leyland empire dominated the industry, BVW production was halted and spares became very difficult to obtain. Several Tilling group companies re-engined some of their BVW powered Lodekkas with Gardner units in consequence.

Roger Cox

22/05/13 – 08:55

And it’s the "right" shade of green for a Bristol/ECW combination, not that dreadful NBC attempt . . .

Pete Davies

22/05/13 – 09:39

Roger, is of course, right in every respect. What he didn’t say was that there were continuing capacity problems at Gardner’s and British Leyland then offered the O.600 as an alternative to the withdrawn BVW option – which was taken up by Hants & Dorset and Wilts & Dorset.

David Oldfield

22/05/13 – 11:11

And once again Ken, a really superb photo of a preserved bus caught in a timeless landscape looking just as it would have in its heyday, rather than parked in a line up on some car park, all covered in rally stickers, and surrounded by stalls and people in high-vis. Keep up the good work !
I agree with you about the FS, it was a superbly proportioned design. Just ‘right’. Though the Gardner engined Lodekka almost by definition had to be the most reliable and efficient version, speaking purely from an enthusiast’s aesthetic point of view, they just had to have Bristol engines. Along with most AEC’s, the Bristol-engined Bristol was one of my favourite bus sounds ever.

John Stringer

22/05/13 – 17:51

You and me both, John – AEC & Bristol engines. But there were problems with wet-liners with both makes…..

David Oldfield

23/05/13 – 07:58

The whine of a Regent V box always made me think we`re going back to the days of the TD1 !

Jim Hepburn

23/05/13 – 07:58

Ken, thank you for posting a photograph that is beyond superb. This photograph manages to capture the very essence of Crosville, a Bristol Lodekka and a rural scene. I could look at this photograph for hours and never get tired.

Kevin Hey

23/05/13 – 07:59

May I suggest that the date was Sunday the 18th rather than the 8th? I was at the Rally and travelled on this Lodekka. It brought back fond memories of my daily travels from Gresford to grammar school in Wrexham on umpteen Crosville Ks and Lodekkas on the D1 service heading ultimately for Llangollen.
When I filmed the bus at the Rally mid-afternoon, it was displaying ‘Private’ and ‘D45′. Presumably, the destination had been changed to avoid misleading any intending passengers, though an ex-Devon General Atlantean proudly displayed ‘Dawlish’ all day.

AG 6470

This was the first time I’d attended the Potteries Rally and was amazed to see the line-up of elderly vehicles put on show by the Emerton Brothers as ‘Bounty Country Buses’. Seeing a Dennis Ace and two Crossley coaches, among other gems, was a truly heart-warming experience.

Berwyn Prys Jones

23/05/13 – 07:59

A lovely shot Ken, and good to see the bus in Tilling green as Pete says. Also good to see the Lodekka grille and surround as they should be, and not painted green as sadly Crosville appeared to do with so many of their Lodekkas on repaint. (Northern General treated their acquired examples similarly if memory serves correctly). Even if the buses were sprayed, rather than hand-painted, surely there was no excuse for such corner-cutting shodiness. Things didn’t improve with the advent of NBC’s corporate livery, as Crosville along with many other NBC subsidiaries, then painted the mudguards the same colour as the main bodywork as well. Some operators (West Yorkshire, Southern Vectis and Red & White spring to mind) at least attempted to keep some standards under NBC’s somewhat cheapened paint application, by retaining black mudguards front and rear. This did seem to lift the livery on half-cab vehicles, but sadly most NBC subsidiaries did not avail themselves of this.
While the BVW engine did have some problems with the wet liners, the bottom end was just about bomb-proof, and West Yorkshire’s examples achieved some amazing mileages between overhauls. Head gasket failures were not uncommon at one time, but much of the problem was felt to be due to the infamous CBC ‘heating’ system and its airlock-inducing pipework, rather than the engine itself. It is surely no coincidence that as WY steadily converted many of its later CBC Lodekka ‘steamers’ to conventional radiator and heater layout, the boiling and head gasket problems seemed to decrease.
As for Lodekka engine sounds – the induction roar of the AVW, the somewhat more powerful sound of the BVW, the ‘staccato’ bark of the 5-pot Gardner, the purposeful growl of the 6-cylinder Gardner (LW and LX) – I love ‘em all!

Brendan Smith

23/05/13 – 10:12

…..but the music of the "pre-war" whine is part of the attraction of the Regent V. [Posted by a professional musician!]

David Oldfield

23/05/13 – 10:13

I’m glad this picture is generating such positive responses especially as I took it on the move from another vehicle. It’s very pleasing when someone says they could look at it all day. You start to see buildings etc you hadn’t previously noted.
I don’t generally argue about comments as I know next to nothing about buses. I have to confirm the date as 8th May though – it’s on the picture generated by the camera and I attach a calendar for May 2011.
I’ve now been to four of these Potteries Rallies and two at Hanley all organised by POPS. I’ve just donated all the pictures I’ve taken from all these events to their group

Ken Jones

The 8th of May 2011 was a Sunday the 18th was a Wednesday.

23/05/13 – 16:12

David O, I respect your professional musical knowledge, but with regard to the Regent V, I confess that I always felt cheated. My first experience of the type was with the Nottingham variety that appeared about 1956, and although the sound was quite nice, it always seemed to me a cheap and jazzed up imitation of the real pre- and post-war sliding mesh gearbox Regent sound. I am afraid that familiarity bred contempt for the homely soothing pre-selector Regent, that seemed almost universal in NCT at that time.

Stephen Ford

24/05/13 – 15:14

David, I must point out I had high regard for TD1s. Our local company at the time, Chieftain Buses of Hamilton had several second-hand examples in my schooldays.
One of them, which would have qualified for the Ugly Bus page, with a UF registration, so presumably came from Brighton, had the smoothest ride of any bus I have ever ridden on – including modern coaches.

Jim Hepburn

26/05/13 – 07:47

4227 FM_2

This year I had the opportunity to photograph the vehicle to the rear. It’s heading for the Potteries Rally and I took this shot from JFJ 873.

Ken Jones

27/05/13 – 06:55

On the subject of bus music, I am suffering from Regent V deficiency at the moment. I expect I’ve got a recording of one somewhere, but I don’t think my wife would have appreciated that with her lunch, so I had to make do with Sibelius 5 (the last movement has a certain similarity!).
I must confess, though, that I prefer the sound of a Gardner engine, and it is a source of frustration that, during the brief period when AEC offered them, there never were any D3RV6Gs to go with Glasgow’s D2RV6Gs and the D2RA6Gs at Rochdale and Aberdeen. Not only has this deprived me of what would have been an interesting array of sound effects, but it also deprived the world of a double decker with a Gardner engine and a synchromesh gearbox that worked properly – something which I would have thought highly desirable.

Peter Williamson

27/05/13 – 09:01

On the subject of musical parallels with the bus world, I suppose the nearest equivalent to a trolleybus would be John Cage’s ’4 mins 33 secs’. I yearn for the day when Radio Three’s ‘Building a Library’ undertakes a comparative evaluation of this piece.

Roger Cox

28/05/13 – 07:38

I recall going to a concert in Bristol many years ago when this piece was played. It was a very ragged performance, I assume because the orchestra was under-rehearsed!

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 – 11:01

You’ve just given me an idea, Roger. I will do an arrangement of the Cage for organ and include it in my next recital.
The music of the pre-selector is a distinctly different, and none the worse, experience from the syncro "whine" – both are equally valid. I would point out the gear-box rather than the engine is the most critical instrument (just as the building is rather the THE instrument in the Cage).
Ken. You’ve just proved how attractive the back end of a bus can be.

David Oldfield

28/05/13 – 17:00

That reminds me of a Sketch from the radio comedy programme "Take It From Here" many years ago about Cleopatra:-
….And truly men call her Desire.
Because she is so beautiful? No. from the back she looks like a street-car!

Jim Hepburn

04/06/13 – 06:57

A belated apology to Ken Jones! I was talking about the 2013 rally date rather than 2011 and should have read Ken’s text more carefully. The Lodekka attended both rallies.
The photo I sent in of the three buses owned by the Emerton Brothers was taken at this year’s rally.

Berwyn Prys Jones

05/07/13 – 06:07

For those of you who like timeless views of Crosville vehicles in preservtion may I suggest you pay my flickr pages a visit? You may have to soft-focus on a few modern vehicles and signs on some of them but there should be enough "uncontaminated" views there to make it worth your while.
Five photo excursions rounded up here:
LH visiting Wrexham-Ruthin-Denbigh-Llanrwst
Busway RE revisits old haunts
Dual door RE in Gwynedd
D94 revisited with DP RE
LH in Snowdonia


4227 FM Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

19/07/13 – 08:52

Growing up in 1960s Bournemouth the sight and sound of a Hants&Dorset Lodekka ascending Commercial Road has stayed with me over the years. The FS6G type (as pictured here) seemed a very business-like no-nonsense bus, perfect for the country roads which made up a lot of their routes. I did many trips to Fordingbridge on those as a passenger, and appreciated their rugged if somewhat spartan accommodation. Their appearance was perfectly balanced and probably the finest of all the Bristol buses IMHO.
In comparison, the local BCT buses seemed rather lady-like!

Grahame Arnold


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