Old Bus Photos

Bristol Omnibus – Bristol Lodekka – 961 EHW – GL8507

961 EHW

Bristol Omnibus
1959
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/27R

Here is Bristol Omnibus Bristol LD6G – 961 EHW – GL8507, new in July 1959, waiting in Gloucester King’s Square for a driver to take out the bus on the short 50B service to York Road (The Cathedrals). Note the Gloucester Coat of Arms and GLOUCESTER on side, applied to about 25 vehicles, part of the agreement when Gloucester City Council leased out its bus services to Bristol Omnibus in 1935 and which continued uninterrupted until Stagecoach took over the services from Western Travel, the privatised company created by NBC. Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester City Council operated these services, overseen by a joint committee. The bus itself was scrapped in Sept 1976.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


22/05/17 – 07:45

Interestingly Bristol Omnibus and Gloucester Corporation both held their own Road Service Licences for the city (joint) routes. Applications in N&P were listed separately.
In York and Bristol, where similar arrangements applied, Road Service Licences were in the joint names of the Corporation and company. N&P listings read "Bristol Omnibus Co. and Bristol Corporation" and "West Yorkshire Road Car Co. and York Corporation".
Incidentally the bus is working service 508, formerly 8.

Geoff Kerr


22/05/17 – 07:46

A very interesting post Chris. Major Chapple had just left West Yorkshire to take control of the Bristol enterprise, and his experience with the Keighley and York organisational set-up must have proved of great value. Was the Bath situation set up in a similar fashion, or was that a direct acquisition, with it being a company and not a municipality?
I am not aware of the BET organisations making similar agreements with municipal fleets, but perhaps someone will be able to tell us if that were the case?

John Whitaker


22/05/17 – 07:48

Scrapped after only 17 years…What a waste of a thoroughly sound, ideal-for-the-job bus.
Or did the Cave-Brown-Cave equipment hasten its demise?

Ian Thompson


23/05/17 – 05:13

My recollection, John W, is that Bristol Omnibus bought, outright, both Bath Electric Tramways Ltd and Bath Tramways Motor Co.. Whether these were municipal or private companies, I don’t know. Again, this was about 1935/36.

Southdown and Portsmouth Corporation entered into a fare-sharing operation after the war, having toyed with the idea pre-war.This agreement involved route-balancing at the end of each financial year, a fascinating sight to see for bus enthusiasts. Buses were swapped, but not drivers/conductors. Thus, Southdown buses, staffed by Corporation staff, appeared some years on Corporation routes and vice versa. PD2’s were common to both organisations for some years and usually swapped, but this was not always so, and I recall a Southdown Guy Arab II performing its task one year.

Chris Hebbron


23/05/17 – 05:14

The Cave-Brown-Cave heating system, which consisted of the relocation of the engine radiator in two sections to each side of the front of the upper deck, was fitted to quite a number of Lodekkas before the inadequacies of the system led to its abandonment by about 1966. Not only did the efficacy of engine cooling suffer, but the very concept of hot water continually sloshing around at the front of the upper saloon meant that the vehicle interior continued to heat up in the hottest of weather. The early Cave-Brown-Cave Lodekkas had a completely blank front panel with no conventional radiator grille, but these were soon fitted with a front radiator to ease some of the problems. I think that many had the C-B-C completely disconnected, but the equipment each side of the destination indicator remained in situ. I, too, am surprised that this bus should have gone to the scrappers so early, not least because it had a Gardner engine. The ‘in house’ Bristol BVW option was a pretty poor alternative that gave endless trouble from failure of its wet cylinder liners – AEC was not alone in suffering this problem, but Dennis used wet liners successfully from the 1930s, so it could be done.

Roger Cox


24/05/17 – 06:43

There was no municipal involvement at Bath (or Cheltenham). Bath Electric Tramways and Bath Tramways Motor Co. ceased trading at the end of 1969, their assets transferred to Bristol Omnibus Co., while Cheltenham District Traction was wound up in 1980, 30 years after passing to Bristol control.
When the EHW series of Lodekkas appeared in 1959, with CBC heating and hopper vents, there was a heatwave and reports of passengers passing out.

Geoff Kerr


24/05/17 – 06:44

Bath Electric Tramways and its motor bus associate business, Bath Tramways Motor Company, were BET companies dating from 1904 that were sold to the Bristol Omnibus Company in 1936.

Roger Cox


24/05/17 – 06:46

I’m a bit puzzled by the comments expressing surprise that this bus only lasted 17 years.
I would have thought 17 years was a reasonable innings for a bus of this period.
No doubt its 6LW engine would go on to give many more years service ploughing across the South China Sea!

Eric Bawden


25/05/17 – 10:57

Taking up Roger’s comments on the shortcomings of the Bristol engines I have always wondered if these engines were foisted on the Tilling companies who would have logically chosen the reliable and fuel efficient Gardener given a free hand. Was it that Gardner could not keep up with demands or was it a face saver for Bristol to have at least some Lodekkas with their own engines?

Philip Halstead


26/05/17 – 06:47

The AVW had an equivalent power output to the Gardner 6LW but dimensionally was roughly the same size as a 5LW and an AEC 7.7L. From that you can immediately think that given 40s/50s materials something had to give ie AVW longevity given the close positioning of the 6 bores and higher temperatures.
When running well the AVW was a good engine but unlike Gardners which just go on and on even with reduced performance AVW bottom ends tended to go bang with no warning.
The BVW coming out at a time of heavier vehicles was never up to the job.

Roger Burdett


28/05/17 – 08:09

I always thought of BT&CC/BOC as a ‘wealthy’ operator. The policy was that most vehicles were replaced at between 12 and 17 years. This compared with the ‘poor’ companies in the same group such as Western National and Thames Valley who kept buses for a lot longer. Remember who was operating the last K & L types in service. I think the reason was competition. Bristol had no competition whatever on urban services in Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Cheltenham or Weston. The ‘poorer’ companies had less urban routes, large areas of rural routes and faced a certain amount of competition in places.

Peter Cook


 

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Wilts & Dorset – Bristol Lodekka – OHR 919 – 628

Wilts & Dorset - Bristol Lodekka - OHR 919 - 628

Wilts & Dorset Motor Services
1956
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/27R

OHR 919 is a Bristol LD6G with ECW H60RD body, new to Wilts & Dorset in 1956. In October 1972, under NBC direction, Wilts & Dorset was absorbed into the neighbouring Hants & Dorset, with both fleets adopting the (poppy) red livery. After withdrawal from normal service, it was converted for use as a driver training vehicle, in yellow livery.

Wilts & Dorset - Bristol Lodekka - OHR 919 - 628

There is, however, such a thing as life after the ancillary fleet, and we see it, and the original style of fleetname in the Netley rally on 8 June 2008.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


08/12/16 – 06:03

A lovely example of an LD Lodekka looking its best and unsullied by CBC between decks radiators. This was my favourite style of ECW body on the LD, having the sloping edge to the canopy (mirrored on the offside by the lower edge of the cream band above the cab), push out vents to the front upper deck windows, upper deck cream band carried around the front, horizontal bottom edge to the cab door window, and the ‘whiskers’ above the radiator grille. Just wonderful. Wilts & Dorset 628 reminds me very much of West Yorkshire’s DX44-58 (RWY822-836) delivered in 1956/57. The sound effects were different to 628’s however, as they were LD6Bs with Bristol AVW engines, apart from DX48 (RWY826) which was fitted with a Gardner 6LX engine by West Yorkshire in 1958.
A minor point of interest is that 628 appears to have acquired an early F-Series Lodekka cowl at some point. The giveaway is the registration plate, which is offset to the offside in order to accommodate the elongated hole for the revised step for crews to access the destination winding handles. The LD cowls had a centrally-mounted registration plate with a smaller hole and step either side of it. This minor detail does not detract from the appearance of this beautiful vehicle whatsoever. It’s a credit to its owner.

Brendan Smith


08/12/16 – 06:04

Lovely photo, Pete.
How nice to see a Lodekka in a rich red colour, rather than the green that pervaded most of these vehicles.

Chris Hebbron


08/12/16 – 08:37

Thank you, Brendan & Chris.
I suppose the red, being the standard Tilling, was the same shade as Brighton Hove & District, Cumberland, United, West Yorkshire and one or two more. Certainly more "distinguished" than what followed in NBC days!

Pete Davies


08/12/16 – 09:28

I’m sure that the Wilts & Dorset Tilling red was the same as applied to Cumberland, United, West Yorkshire, as mentioned above by Pete. I’m not so sure that the Brighton Hove & District red was the same. Although it was a Tilling company, the livery was the same as that applied to Brighton Corporation. The different application of the amount of cream (that DOES look a different shade to the others) for that fleet makes the red look a different shade – but this may be a deception. Perhaps someone has a factual knowledge.

Michael Hampton


10/12/16 – 06:37

If United buses weren’t this shade of red, they were only a kick in the proverbial off it.
I don’t know about Wilts and Dorset, but round about the mid 60’s, United changed the wheel colour to red. Only a handful of VR’s were ever in the traditional United livery, but the upper cream band had disappeared.

Ronnie Hoye


10/12/16 – 10:17

Thank you, Michael & Ronnie.

Pete Davies


14/12/16 – 15:40

Lodekkas by Colour
Dear Chris,
I wondered at your statement that green Lodekkas were in the majority, so I looked through the production table in Martin Curtis’ excellent book.
Of the 25 fleets in BTC”Tilling Group”/|THC ownership that took new Lodekkas, 13 were green; if by the time of the delivery of Westcliff on Sea’s six they wore the same livery as their parent company Eastern National. Thus 11 of the BET/ THC fleets were not green. Two (Midland General/ Notts & Derby) being blue and the others red or (Cheltenham District) maroon.
Within the Scottish Omnibuses group only one fleet took green Lodekkas new, with two using blue and the rest varied shades of red and maroon.
That equates to fourteen green fleets and seventeen not green.
Note this is based on data as new, with one FLF going to Bristol Commercial Vehicles experimental Department, and this was also red.
However, when the figures are totalled for “green” Lodekkas, you are vindicated in that “green” fleets took 2945 and not-green fleets took 2271 (plus one new as a manufacturer’s test bed, giving 2272).
That is 56 per cent to forty four. My perception was skewed by living in the East Midlands when Lodekkas were in service and holidaying with either mother’s family in Norfolk or father’s in Northumberland…
Of the fleets taking the most Lodekkas, first was Crosville with 539, then Bristol OC (including Gloucester, Bath Services and Bath Tramways) with 539. Of course some of Crosville’s were new in cream with black relief, but less than fifty if my guess is right. (I could re- read the whole book now but that seems excessive when I promised Wikipedia a Guy Arab article around a year ago and it just needs citations to finish.)
Eastern National was third with 381, with if memory serves 25 new in mainly cream, so even if we had a recount on that basis it would still be a Brexit sort of majority, rather less than the Scottish Indyref style one the raw figures give. Of course my electoral college would give the result to not-green.
Fourth was Central SMT who took 355, initially LD6Gs then FSF6Gs, FLF6Gs FS6Gs and from 1965-67 FLF6LX’s; of the three Lodekkas at Glasgow Vintage Vehicle Trust’s Bridgeton Bus Garage, two are ex-Central a 1957 LD6G and a 1968 FLF6LX.
Now of the shades of red used for new deliveries, Central it seems had the darkest, but it may have been the same as Cheltenham District and almost certainly David Lawson. Western, Alexander (Perth City and Kirkcaldy Town services) and Highland (second-hand) had Scottish Bus red which was darker than Tilling red. It may be the greater areas of cream but I think Brighton Hove and District did use a brighter shade of red than ‘Tilling’ red; maybe perversely, this was actually the same red used by Thomas Tilling in Brighton and (pre-LPTB) London. The brightest red on new Lodekkas was that used by Alexander (Fife) after the split of Alexander into three in 1961. The shade was Ayres red, the same as British Road Services used. (In a former home I was able to sell Fife FRD 187 (BXA 452B) from its non-PSV use to preservationists who have restored it.) I do not think that Thames Valley had any of their Lodekkas delivered in the maroon and cream coach livery although some were repainted thus.
Now the English blue fleets were maybe slightly darker than the Scottish but both shades were described as Azure blue. Lothian Green, used by Scottish Omnibuses from 1965 was probably a little darker than Tilling green but under some lighting conditions prints of Eastern Scottish Fleetlines made me think of Mansfield District VRTs. Prior to 1965 a light green and cream was used with dark green mudguards and lining out.
Out of the Alexander Companies post-split, Northern received no Lodekkas, which had been ordered for the Fife and south regions (including Lawson) and only had two forward-entrance half cabs until 1978 when a half-dozen former Eastern National FLFs were transferred to them.
Northern General group were as far as I can recall the only former BET affiliate to get cascaded Lodekkas and it happened twice; both times before the corporate livery era, some were green and some red.
More power to OBP!

Stephen Allcroft


 

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Hants & Dorset – Bristol Lodekka – SRU 981 – 1368

Hants & Dorset - Bristol Lodekka - SRU 981 - 1368

Hants & Dorset Motor Services
1956
Bristol Lodekka LD6
ECW H33/27R

SRU 981 was new to Hants & Dorset in 1956 as their 1368. It is a Bristol LD6 with ECW body H60R seating  when new. The Bristol engine was replaced by a Gardner in 1961, making it a Bristol LD6G and doors were fitted in that year. In the first view, on Southampton Common on 6 May 1979, it has been sold to the Cotswold Hotel as a mobile dining facility. The occasion is the Southampton City Transport Centenary rally.

Hants & Dorset - Bristol Lodekka - SRU 981 - 1368

In this second view, taken on 2 April 1995, it is in the Southampton Citybus yard in Portswood, in the livery of Hants & Dorset Trim. It was with the ‘new’ Crosville, in Weston Super Mare when the 2012 PSVC list was compiled.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


11/08/16 – 06:30

Would I be right in thinking that SRU981 would have been one of the first Lodekkas with the squarer front grille as opposed to the deeper front panel on earlier models? Also I notice in the lower picture that Lucas combination tail lights have been fitted. Originally I think that model had a stop/tail bulb on the inside of the body behind the reflectors. This meant that the stop lights were virtually impossible to see in sunny weather, and after a short while when the bulbs & inside of the reflectors got dusty, making them impossible to see in just about any conditions. I think originally indicators were fitted on the sides at the front only (like Southampton Corporation for a while) but later round Lucas indicators were fitted above the reflectors. Saved a lot of money in rear corner panel repairs by doing that!

David Field


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 28th May 2017