Old Bus Photos

Brutonian – Bristol RE – STC 928G – 28

Brutonian - Bristol RE - STC 928G - 28

Brutonian Bus Company
Bristol RESL6G
East Lancs B47F

Bruton is a settlement on the River Brue. It is in Somerset, between Frome and Yeovil. STC 928G is a Bristol RESL6G, new to Accrington Corporation Transport in 1969. It has East Lancs B47F body and passed to Brutonian in 1982. The fleet number and Accrington livery were so near Brutonian’s requirements that neither was changed. The operator became part of the Cawlett Group and is now part of First. We see the bus parked in New Canal, Salisbury, on 17 April 1984, having come in on a market service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

19/02/17 – 16:22

STC 928G

4 vehicles were acquired by Brutonian in 1982 from Hyndburn as successor to Accrington CTD. The vehicles were reliable and popular and the livery was retained and looked attractive as can be seen from Pete’s photo in Salisbury. None were ever repainted and by 1987 the livery had deteriorated as can be seen from the attached taken in Dorchester.

Keith Newton

19/02/17 – 16:23

It wasn’t in such good condition three years later see link www.sct61.org.uk/ac28a

Keith Clark

20/02/17 – 07:09

Keith and Keith, Your photos suggest that this vehicle was on its way to a breaker, rather than in service. Given what became of Brutonian, one might wonder if it’s a ‘practice’ for the Barbie livery!

Pete Davies

20/02/17 – 13:26

Perhaps we should have a section for the worst presented buses- "battered buses"? Even on the original photo, you can see the untreated deterioration around the "peak" and front wheel arch. The grille was starting to go on the first pic, and then… Brutal!


21/02/17 – 07:06

How could a vehicle so neglected be allowed to operate? What about the vehicle examiners and the traffic commissioners? I don’t think I have ever seen a bus operating in such a sad state, and the final shot was hopefully before scrapping – it would have been a mercy killing.
Brutonian, with the emphasis on the ‘brute’.
Thank goodness for operators like Safeguard at Guildford.

David Wragg

21/02/17 – 16:15

David, I agree with what you say about the appearance, but the condition of the paintwork is not a criteria for a vehicle test. However, the body is, so presumably it must have been up to standard or it would not have been granted a C.O.F. There is of course the reverse of the coin that a coat of paint hides a multitude of sins

Ronnie Hoye

21/02/17 – 16:16

To be fair – maybe – things were different then in particular the powers that be were more concerned with de-regulation and local authorities had to ensure non-commercial services would continue. The owner of Brutonian had agreed to sell to a local businessman whose interests included a travel agency and the transfer was delayed until de-reg ie end of October 1986. As well as existing routes and new commercial ones , the new company had gained additional tenders – not least the trunk route 6 between Sherborne and Dorchester. Despite the poor external appearances , the REs were apparently mechanically sound and reliable and the additional work probably extended their lives. Unfortunately the 6 passed County Hall and comments were apparently made therein !! No 28 was withdrawn soon after the photo was taken and continued concern saw the tender itself subsequently transferred the following year to another local operator.

STC 928G _2

Attached is another photo taken in May 1985 in Castle Cary on the Saturday evening Bingo service and is probably how these fine vehicles should be remembered.
A new book on Brutonian concentrating on the routes and operations is to be published soon through the Omnibus Society.

Keith Newton

22/02/17 – 07:11

I think ‘the ugly face of de-regulation’ is a term that sums up this situation. A similar thing happened in the North West where the once proud Yelloway having been asset stripped by new owners secured a tendered service into Manchester formerly run by the PTE. They used very unsavoury looking cast-off Bristol VRT/ECW vehicles in worn out ex NBC liveries with no fleetnames and paper stickers in the windscreens as a destination display. It was a disgrace. Fortunately the powers that be stepped in fairly quickly and terminated the arrangement with the service being re-tendered. Not the British bus industry’s finest hour.

Philip Halstead

22/02/17 – 07:12

I have read that Brutonian only repainted vehicles when they were in for other maintenance, resulting in the most unreliable ones being repainted first and vice versa. So looking at the state of this one, Keith’s comment about its mechanical soundness rings true!

Peter Williamson

27/02/17 – 07:49

Chris Knubley the owner of Brutonian never really had much money. There was an injection of money into the business in 79 when he bought his first RE (GAX 5C – a great bus!) and CYA 181J (survices) along with WYD 928H from H&C, the latter was never painted. Generally the most reliable buses were painted 217 UYC and 497 ALH for example, while others ran in a range of former operators colours 8087 TE and TET 166, for example. Not creating consistency was something he had done from 1972! There was clearly something wrong with the last paint job done by Hyndburn on MTJ 926/927G and STC 928/928G. Alternatively the guy who replaced me washing them down from Sep 82 was using the pressure washer incorrectly, or it had been inadvertently fitted with the sandblasting nozzle! 27 became the donor to the others although lasted until a few years ago along with 26 and 29 in Shobdon before final scrapping. 28, in the picture, I understand was in fact the most reliable and went onto be repainted and see further service with Metrowest (the only one of the four). It was indeed different times…I now own the only bus to carry the Brutonian colours which is OVL494, an identical bus to Brutonian’s OVL 495, which was scrapped after an attempt to convert it to a half cab. All other survivors are in original operator colours or in CYA 181J’s case, awaiting restoration.

Paul Welling

08/10/17 – 08:04

Yes deregulation did the bus industry no favours and we are still seeing the repercussions over 30 years later. Fishwick’s and Pennine spring to mind.

Mr Anon

24/11/17 – 07:34

Much information about Brutonian may be found here:- http://www.countrybus.com/Brutonian/BrutonianPart1.htm  Scroll to the bottom for links to further pages.

Roger Cox


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Greyhound Motors Ltd – Bristol RE – NHW 313F – 2156

Greyhound Motors Ltd - Bristol RE - NHW 313F - 2156

Greyhound Motors Ltd
Bristol RELH6L

On 10th February 1925 The Greyhound Motors Ltd introduced an express stage service between Bristol and London. It was apparently an immediate success despite the GWR railway between the two cities. In 1928 the company was acquired by the Bristol Tramways and Carriage Company later renamed the Bristol Omnibus Company but the Greyhound name remained in use until 1973 when it was replaced by the NBC corporate National image. A 1970 timetable recorded a total journey time of 4 and 3/4 hours for most services via Bath Chippenham Newbury and Reading which included a 15 minute comfort stop in Marlborough. The photo taken in 1972 in Marlborough shows one of the 1968 Bristol RELH6L coaches which were originally delivered in the red and cream livery and briefly repainted into white and magenta with a revised Greyhound motif.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Keith Newton

10/09/15 – 07:24

Nice view, Keith. Thank you for posting. Did any of the ‘captive’ Bristol/ECW fleets have any coaches with toilets, as Standerwick and Midland Red did?
The CAPTCHA code for this comment may well set hearts afluttering in Southdown territory: 5UUF.

Pete Davies

11/09/15 – 05:37

The T-style destination on Bristol Omnibus Company’s RE coaches gave a very distinctive touch to a classic body design. The greyhound motif on the number box on this example is a nice touch.

Don McKeown

11/09/15 – 05:39

Marlborough, was also an interchange point, between Associated Motorways Services and Royal Blue with Greyhound, they had a large shop with a cafe, waiting room, and booking office in the main square. It did not appear in the time table as such, but if you phoned ahead they would hold connecting service until you arrived, passengers would be informed this would be an extra [with 10 bob being spilt between drivers, by regular passengers who knew this to be so] cheaper than a taxi. Toilets on Greyhound coaches, no, only those stationed at St Marks, which sums them up, end of life, one season at St Marks then the scrapper, if they where ok they would have been converted into DPs for Bristol and Bath.


12/09/15 – 14:34

Thank you, Mike, for your comment about toilets on these vehicles. Any thoughts, please, from anyone about the facility on coaches in other "Tilling" fleets?

Pete Davies

13/09/15 – 05:51

Pete, I’m going to stick my neck out and say "no" . . . in so far as "proper" Tilling fleets were concerned. But, THC-wise, I’m sure SOL had some Bristol RELL/Alexander Y-types (which pre-dated the M-types) fitted with toilets for its Edinburgh-London overnight services. Hang-on! didn’t Western SMT fit toilets to some of its coaches (Alexander/Guy LUFs?) to counter Northern Roadways toilet-equipped coaches on the Glasgow-London route? Where’s my Northern Roadways book . .

Philip Rushworth

13/09/15 – 05:52

Bristol Greyhound RELH6/ECW coaches to the best of my knowledge never had the luxury of toilet facilities, relying on numerous breaks at the many stop-overs on the way. On checking most other Tilling fleets with long distance coaches, even United Autos did not have them on their long distance Newcastle-London service. In fact the only ECW bodied vehicles I know of that did would be the 30 Bristol VRL/LH6L megadeckers with Standerwick used on the non-stop routes from the North West to London. The Bristol RELH6Gs used on the Edinburgh and Glasgow routes all had toilet facilities but they had Alexander M series bodies.

Ron Mesure

14/09/15 – 06:15

Toilets. Northern Roadways Burlingham coaches had toilets and refreshments on board but the 50% relief coaches did not, the hostess with big teapots would transfer over to dispense drinks and snacks often done in laybys on the A1. Passengers would have to wait until coaches pulled into top up fuel tanks for toilets, other operators had toilets but not refreshments.


15/09/15 – 06:39

Thanks for your thoughts about toilets on the "Tilling Fleets" vehicles. Much as I thought.

Pete Davies

15/09/15 – 12:29

Couple small points, pre war SMT and Western operating Anglo Scottish services had fitted toilet compartments to their Gilford AEC and Leyland Coaches; as Did Scout and Standerwick on London- Blackpool.
Northern Roadways’ plans to introduce toilet accomodation on its Seagulls led to SMT and Western reintroducing the feature, initially on Alexander bodied Regal IVs, SMT then used small engined Reliances, the later ones 36ft and Western sucessively Guy Arab UF (end an eight-cylinder Albion Prototype) Guy Arab LUF, Leyland Leopard L1 and PSU3 Leopard. Then came the RELHs (not RELLs) an the the initial M Types on REMH.
No Tilling fleet had a toilet fitted coach from 1945-69 but its interesting to note that United’s RELHs only sat 43, compared to the standard 47 and 51 in the Midland General semi-coaches. United were of course the only other customer than Western and Eastern for the REMH6G, taking batches between 1971 and 1973 with C49F Plaxton bodies. In NBC days Tilling had some RELH Plaxtons with toilets.

Stephen Allcroft


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Southern Vectis – Bristol RE – KDL 885F – 301

Southern Vectis - Bristol RE - KDL 885F - 301

Southern Vectis Omnibus Company
Bristol RESH6G
Duple Northern C45F

KDL 885F is a Bristol RESH6G with Duple Northern C45F body. Fleet number 301 in the Southern Vectis fleet, she is seen at the King Alfred Running Day in Winchester on 1 January 2010. Please note that the 2015 event has moved away from New Year’s Day and will be held on Sunday evening 3rd May and Bank holiday Monday 4th May instead – and in the hope of better weather!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

23/02/15 – 07:50

Very clean, crisp lines and a sympathetic application of livery. Altogether a pleasing coach – and an unusual body choice for a Tilling company, although Southern Vectis always seemed to display a certain disregard for centralised purchasing policy. Perhaps it’s to do with being an off shore island!


23/02/15 – 08:50

Thank you, Petras. Sadly, the Isle of Wight isn’t far enough "off shore" to qualify as a tax haven, although I think my neighbour’s children have the right idea. They went to Cowes a couple of years ago and, when they were in the queue for coming back to Southampton, the elder one said to his brother "We’re waiting for the ferry back to England."

Pete Davies

23/02/15 – 14:34

In the mid-1970’s, I managed the telephone billing section of Portsmouth Telephone Area, based in Southsea, which covered the Isle of Wight. On one occasion, I dealt with an irate customer living on the IoW, who said she wasn’t satisfied with my reply on the telephone and was ‘coming over from the mainland’ to see me in person. I think that local authority re-org in 1973, which took the IoW out of Hampshire and gave it its own council, gave them a sense of inflated importance!

Chris Hebbron

23/02/15 – 14:34

There were nine coaches built with this body/chassis combination, four for Hants and Dorset, four for Eastern National and this one. The only other two RESH chassis had ECW bus bodies fitted out for DP, delivered to Midland General. There were also a few RELH with Duple Commander bodies, with Hants and Dorset and Eastern National again amongst the operators.

Gary T

23/02/15 – 15:50

I’ve found a photo of one of the Hants and Dorset quartet and although only a few months older it is an earlier version of the Commander and has unusual upper windows. www.flickr.com/photos/  
The Eastern National examples were similar to the Southern Vectis one.

Gary T

24/02/15 – 06:17

Sorry, Chris, but the Isle of Wight was never part of Hampshire, but people got this idea because at one time education, police, fire and ambulance services were shared. At one time, the island even had a governor, but now it has a lord lieutenant just like any other county. Check on the island websites if you want to know more.

David Wragg

25/02/15 – 06:07

When I used to work in Hampshire, I had a good relationship with my opposite number, who worked in Newport IoW. I always smiled, when he referred to us as his colleagues on the North Island.


27/02/15 – 07:05

Wasn’t this coach 6HLW-engined at first, and a 39-seater? I believe that after a "poor-showing" on an extended tour it was re-engined with a 6HLX, either the following year, or pretty soon after. Was it up-seated at the same time?

Philip Rushworth

27/02/15 – 09:13

Thx for correcting my misapprehension, David. I recall its DL vehicle registration mark and wondered if it was subsumed into Hampshire’s in 1973. Maybe not, then.
Loved the ‘North Island’ remark, Petras409.
I’ve just remembered that I looked at a wall map of Southampton/Portsmouth/IoW area when aboard the Cherbourg-Southampton ferry in its last season. The map showed ‘White Isle’ in the centre. It was a brave, but misguided attempt at using ‘possession’, but the spelling????

Chris Hebbron

27/02/15 – 13:28

The Isle of Wight was part of Hampshire until 1890. Censuses that come up in family history searches say, for example "Carisbrooke, Hampshire" and "Whippingham, Hampshire."
One of my farmer cousins at the western point of the Island admits that visiting overners are good for the economy, but reckons that there ought to be a drawbridge to keep them where they belong once they’ve gone back to the mainland.
Some time ago I asked whether anyone else could recall a single-decker with an oval back window that ran from Freshwater to Alum Bay, and I think I’ve found the answer: a Reo (not part of the Southern Vectis fleet) which ran right up till 1949. Another oval-windowed single-decker pictured on p 57 of Richard Newman’s "Southern Vectis–the first 60 years" was a Guy Chaser, DL 5277, but that was sold in 1935.
It’s gone midday: time for my nammut.

Ian T

27/02/15 – 15:49

Apparently the Wight name of the island has nothing to do with colour, but it apparently means a separate place or a separated place. Rather apt, really. How they loved their "DL" registration code, managing to keep it during the 1974 changes and after. They lost it in the major 2001 change, but still have a unique identifier as "HW". Sorry, a bit off piste as a comment, but the above contributions reminded me of this.

Michael Hampton

27/02/15 – 16:51

Michael, the ‘Oxford Names Companion’ states "Wight, Isle of (the county). Vectis c.150, Wit c.1086 (Domesday Book). A Celtic name possibly meaning ‘place of the division’, referring to its situation between the two arms of the Solent". This ties in nicely with your "separated place" explanation. I like your comment "How they loved their "DL" registration code", but as a young enthusiast I did too, even though I lived ‘up North’. Those lovely IoW registrations, the ‘Cuddles’, ‘Diddles’, ‘Fiddles’, Middles, ‘Piddles’, ‘Tiddles’ and Widdles’ – wonderful one and all.

Brendan Smith

28/02/15 – 05:54

I see that Brendan and I seem to share Benny Hill’s "lavatorial" sense of humour!

Pete Davies

28/02/15 – 05:55

On a recent holiday coach tour from East Yorkshire we had a very able driver who lived on the IoW on the round the island tour he never stopped talking on driving off the ferry at Southampton he welcomed us back to the North Island.

Ken Wragg

28/02/15 – 05:57

Philip, this coach was indeed originally fitted with the smaller Gardner 6HLW engine when new. As you comment, it was soon re-engined with the larger 6HLX unit. Apparently this followed an embarrassing incident whereby passengers on a coach tour had to disembark, in order for 301 to reach the top of a hill. As a young enthusiast, I was very fortunate in seeing this beautiful coach in Harrogate when quite new, and still have a not very good black and white photograph of it, parked on Esplanade, at the bottom of Cold Bath Road. Whether it had the more powerful 6HLX engine by then I do not know, but given the steepness of some of the hills around the area, I sincerely hope that it had!

Brendan Smith

28/02/15 – 09:48

Is that tale of the 6HLW engine being defeated by a hill verifiable? 6LW engines powered 30ft long double deckers in pretty hilly territory all over the land without trouble. I can accept that the performance of the RE with the 112 bhp 6HLW might not have been sparkling, and some gradients may have required bottom gear, but I remain a trifle suspicious of the story.

Roger Cox

28/02/15 – 12:05

Yes I know what you mean Roger, but the story is told in Duncan Roberts’ ‘Bristol RE – 40 years of service’ book, which is a well-researched publication. West Yorkshire’s Bristol MW coaches (with 6HLW engines) seemed to manage trips around the Dales without too much drama, but then they had ECW aluminium-framed bodywork. I have a suspicion that Duple like Plaxton at the time, were still using composite bodies, which were quite a bit heavier. It is interesting to note that West Yorkshire’s ECW-bodied RELH6G coaches performed well on the Yorkshire-London services, with fully rated (150bhp) Gardner 6HLX engines. However, when WY’s first Plaxton-bodied RELH6G coaches arrived, within a short space of time they were deemed to be ‘sluggish’, and were re-engined with Leyland O.680 units rated at 168bhp, to improve performance. Maybe the same fate had befallen 301 – that of heavier coachwork?

Brendan Smith

01/03/15 – 06:56

Brendan, that is quite correct about the Duple bodies being composite steel/wood construction, and therefore relatively heavy. The caption to the photo in Duncan Roberts’ book, in which he related the proverbial story about the passengers having to get out and walk up an hill in Scotland, also mentions the construction of the Duple bodies. As I understand it, Duple didn’t adopt all metal frames until the advent of the Dominant.
In practice, even the ECW-bodied RESLs with 6HLW engines were considered to be sluggish. Southern Vectis had a number of those, and they apparently gained a reputation for causing people to miss ferries!

Nigel Frampton

02/03/15 – 07:30

Thanks for the information on Duple bodies Nigel, and also that on Southern Vectis’ sluggish RESL6Gs. I’ve since reflected on Roger’s quite justifiable suspicion relating to the tale, and the comments on 301 in Duncan Roberts’ book. It is quite possible that the coach did struggle on the hill, and the driver did what he thought best under the circumstances. Conversely, the coach did actually manage the climb fully laden with passengers and their luggage, albeit very slowly in first gear, with the driver later commenting on its performance to colleagues on his return. No doubt it would not have taken long for the tale to "develop" as a consequence. Hmmm! We need Miss Marple on the case.

Brendan Smith

02/03/15 – 17:50

In the postwar years up to the end of the 1950s, the eight legger lorries of Atkinson, ERF, Foden and Guy, and the classic Scammell artics were all powered by the 112 bhp Gardner 6LW. Torque is the prime factor in a commercial vehicle engine, which is where the Gardner range excelled. It is worth remembering that the vaunted 125 bhp engines of AEC and Leyland developed around 118 bhp at the 1700 rpm governed speed of the 6LW, an advantage of just 6 bhp. As Ian T says in his comment on John Stringer’s post of the United Services Dennis Loline I on this site, "112 ghp (Gardner horsepower) was worth 125 of anyone else’s". I think that the story of the 6HLW powered RE coach being totally flummoxed by a hill, like much folklore, is probably apocryphal. Turning to the matter of Duple bodywork, I personally felt that, after the neat styling of the 1950s, the Duple designs of the 1960s – the Vegas, Vistas, Viceroys et al – were uninspired in the extreme, except in respect of frontal treatment which was garishly appalling, reminiscent of the worst aesthetic abominations emanating from the car factories of Detroit. The mass of frontal metalwork alone must have added considerably to the unladen weight. Duple only partially redeemed itself with the Plaxton clones of the 1970s; the true Plaxtons still looked better.
Donning my hard hat, I now await the impending onslaught from Duple aficionados.

Roger Cox

16/03/15 – 06:46

Roger, were you still in Halifax at the time the M62 was being constructed over Rishworth Moor/Moss Moor? For those not familiar with the area, between J23 and J22 the motorway passes under the B6114 in a deep cutting (the spoil from which was used to crate the embankment of Scammonden Reservoir, across which the motorway runs in a westbound direction immediately prior to the cutting). Creation of the cutting severed the B6114 and so, prior to the construction of the current over-bridge, a temporary road descending down the cutting, across the bed of the motorway, and up the other side was created (travelling westbound the tracks of the temporary road can still be seen clearly). The gradient of the temporary road was 1:5. Stay with me. In July 1968 Huddersfield JOC introduced its first two Countryside Tours: Tour B was designed to show the construction of the M62/Scammonden Reservoir/the B6114 over-bridge, and entailed buses climbing the temporary road. According to Cardno and Harling’s "Huddersfield – The Corporation Motor Bus Story", on the first trip "Five of the seven fully-loaded single deckers failed to negotiate ‘the big dipper’ . . . the problem was caused by the flagman at the bottom of the incline whose job it was to control the traffic to ensure that heavy motorway machinery could cross the road unimpeded. he stopped the buses too close to the bottom of the incline . . .". I remember reading, many years ago, in Julian Osborne’s "The Southdown Queen Marys", that the pneumocyclic Queen Marys could fail to start on some of Brighton’s steeper hills, and were soon transferred away to flatter territory. Now my question is this: would the fact that the RESL had a semi-automatic gearbox have affected hill-climbing ability in comparison with Rogers 6LW-engined double-deckers? I’m assuming here that Roger’s 6LW-powered double-deckers were manual, and that the Huddersfield single-deckers concerned were (semi-automatic) Swifts/RUs/Fleetlines.

Philip Rushworth

18/03/15 – 07:09

Philip, you have raised a significant point about the hill climbing capabilities inherent in different transmission types. A friction clutch allows the driver to speed the engine a bit when pulling away on a gradient, whereas a fluid flywheel/epicyclic gearbox coupling limits the ability of the engine to rev beyond a certain level. As you say, the Southdown Leyland PD3/5s with Pneumocyclic gearboxes (dare we now call any of these full fronted Southdown PD3s “Queen Marys”?) became notorious for experiencing difficulty in pulling away from rest on steep gradients. They were relegated to flatter services and Southdown reverted to the manual transmission PD3/4 for later deliveries. However, if a fluid drive bus could get a run at a hill, allowing the engine to reach a reasonable speed before attacking the gradient, then it would go up satisfactorily. During the days of the lowest ebb of the British Leyland saga, when spare parts and new buses acquired the rarity value of hens teeth, London Country got hold of some of the ex Southdown PD3/5 machines and used them on the 409 route between Croydon and East Grinstead/Forest Row. This had some stiff gradients around the Caterham Valley, particularly Church Hill in Caterham, which has a gradient of 16%, about 1 in 6, but the approach from the bottom allowed a measure of speed to be gained before the steep ascent. These PD3/5s coped without trouble. The O600 did seem to deliver poorer torque at the bottom end of the rev range than the directly comparable AEC 9.6 litre A204/A218 and AV590 engines. The London Transport RTL was distinctly inferior on hills to the directly comparable RT. Attempts were made in 1952 and again in 1959 to allocate RTLs to the Country Bus & Coach department, but the insipid gradient performance of these machines soon led to their replacement by RTs. The Gardner 6LW was the supreme engine for low speed torque until the arrival of the 6LX, and the tale of the RE failing to tackle a hill, if true, must be put down to badly chosen gearing/rear axle ratios. In Halifax, the heavy (over 8 tons unladen) Roe bodied Daimlers of 1954 had their 6LW engines replaced by Leyland O600s, but the story is rather more complicated than one of ‘inadequate Gardner power’. At that time, as an economy measure, Halifax indulged in the practice of adding one part Coalene to two parts derv to propel its bus fleet. The 112 bhp K type Gardner delivered 10 bhp more at 1700 rpm than its predecessor, but it was very particular about fuel quality, and Coalene was never part of its designed diet. To add to the problem, this batch of Daimlers had 5.4:1 rear axles, rather high for the local Alpine operating territory. HPTD’s Leyland besotted new GM, Richard Le Fevre, replaced the Gardners with Leyland engines, and, under the new Asst. Engineer, a certain G.G. Hilditch, the back axles were changed to 6.2:1. The Orion bodied Daimlers kept their Patricroft power plants throughout their lives, as did the later and lighter, very fine, Roe bodied batch of 1956 (my favourite Halifax buses). The problem had not lain with the engines. Mercifully, the dubious indulgence of adding Coalene to the fuel died out in the early 1960s. I’ve driven 6LW powered Daimlers up the Halifax hills without difficulty, so the RE problem certainly lay beyond the engine, though I accept that such a coach would have been underpowered. Modern automatic bus transmissions employ a series of torque converters enabling the engine to rev freely in the starting ratio.

Roger Cox

19/03/15 – 07:14

Coalene was a product of the Coalite company, a smelly plant I recall passing near Chesterfield whenever we visited this fine town to see friends. I have a feeling that Sheffield Corporation also used it in their buses for a while. On the whole, it was only sold ‘locally’. For cars, I always fuelled up my car in Chesterfield with ICI petrol, which I never saw elsewhere, but regretted this as it was much cheaper that other brands. I assume it was a by-product of their chemical activities.

Chris Hebbron

20/03/15 – 07:24

Chris H, quite correct, the Coalite plant was at Wingerworth near Chesterfield. It covered a vast area and closed down many years ago but work still goes on there to this day, detoxifying the land.

Chris Barker


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