Old Bus Photos

Crosville – Bristol RESL6G – OFM 2E – ERG 2

Crosville - Bristol RESL6G - OFM 2E - ERG 2

Crosville Motor Services Ltd
1967
Bristol RESL6G
ECW DP42F

Crosville was the first to operate the then latest version of the Bristol RESL with shortened wheelbase and extended front overhang giving a wider entrance door arrangement. These were also the first with this design of ECW body characterised by the shallow flat windscreens.
Crosville put this batch of six into service in July 1967 on the long Rail Replacement service D94 between Wrexham and Barmouth. This served a sparsely populated area with Llangollen, Corwen, Bala and Dolgellau as the intermediate towns of any size. These six were synonymous with this route for many years but here in 1977 is ERG 2 in NBC days crossing the Cambrian Coast Railway line at Fairbourne on the S28 Tywyn to Dolgellau route. The NBC ‘Local Coach’ version of the leaf green livery with white upperworks looks pretty smart.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


10/07/20 – 06:14

I think these were the only dual purpose RESLs in the THC group of companies, although Midland General famously had two RESHs. Some of these vehicles were used elsewhere when brand new; ERG 2 was new to Llandudno Junction, and ERG 3 and 4 were at Caernarfon, although they soon migrated to the D94. Around 1974, A longer example, ERG 272 was transferred to Dolgellau Depot for use on the D94, and ERG2 was then used on other services from Dolgellau as shown here.
When new, these vehicles were painted cream with a green waistband, and they looked superb in that livery. ERG 3 is magnificently preserved in that livery.

Don McKeown


10/07/20 – 06:16

As far as the shorter length RE was concerned, the RESL seems to have been the almost universal choice for bus work but I wonder about it’s merits for dual purpose use, particularly if some of the front seats faced sideways. However, Crosville seemed to like them and as Ian says, used them on some long services although I’m not too sure about the prospect of sitting rather low down or sideways at the front for perhaps a couple of hours or so.
Midland General had a couple of short REs with this type of body but on the RESH chassis, with 43 dual purpose seats, all facing forward. Surprisingly, I believe they were the only ones bodied by ECW.

Chris Barker


16/07/20 – 10:16

United used the long version of the dual purpose RE on the five and a half hour 505 Newcastle to Edinburgh via Berwick service – not to my mind the most suitable of vehicles, and the seats were not especially comfortable. The route was jointly operated by Eastern Scottish who used Leyland Leopards and AEC Reliances with Alexander Y Type coach bodies. These were much more comfortable to ride on and seemed better suited to the route, although with the disadvantage of high entrance steps. The RELLs would be replaced after a few years by dual purpose RELHs with all forward facing seats and they in turn were replaced by downgraded RELH coaches, originally used on the Newcastle to London service. They would I suppose have been about ten years old then, but were still superb vehicle to travel on, however by that time, the service was being operated in two parts with passengers required to change vehicles at Berwick.

John Gibson


 

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United Automobile – Bristol RELH6G – NHN 143E – 4343

United Automobile - Bristol RELH6G - NHN 143E - 4343

United Automobile Services
1967
Bristol RELH6G
ECW C43F

United had a small Garage at Pickering where the forecourt doubled up as a Bus Station.
Here 4343 (originally RE43) is loading for a trip along the A170 seventeen miles to Scarborough.
I expect this vehicle retained its manual gearbox which I would think could be tricky on a Stage Service. It is a good looking bus/coach – shame about the livery!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


12/05/20 – 06:48

Are you sure it had the manual gearbox? Crosville’s E registered RELH6Gs had semi automatic boxes. Even in bus livery, these coaches looked beautiful!

Don McKeown


13/05/20 – 07:03

Probably was semi automatic. West Yorkshire’s E registered RELH were as well. As regards manual boxes I remember some West Yorkshire drivers struggling with earlier B, C, and D registered RELL buses.

Stephen Clough


14/05/20 – 06:52

According to United Automobile Services Part Two by messrs. Townsin, Groves and Banks (Venture Publications), this batch RE41-65 were the first coaches to be delivered with semi-automatic gearboxes.

John Gibson


16/05/20 – 06:33

It might be 17 miles from Pickering to Scarborough, but three times a day (twice on Sundays) the route began in Ripon, via Thirsk, Ampleforth and Helmsley to Pickering and Scarborough, distance of some 60+ miles, some of it on minor roads. In 1976 this took around three and a half hour end to end. The route number groups with other Ripon services, but how it was crewed is a mystery to me. I guess Ripon crews were relieved for a break at Pickering, as two of the through journeys had only five minutes turn round at Scarborough. I would be very interested to know more about the operation of the 128.

Andy Buckland


17/05/20 – 06:37

Andy’s comment reminded me that in the James Herriot book "Vets might fly" James bunked off from his RAF training in Scarborough one Sunday afternoon and travelled by bus to "Darrowby" (which we now know to be Thirsk) to see his pregnant wife, Helen. He had less than an hour before he had to catch the return bus – and as I recall it, his absence without leave was never detected! I assume that this escapade, like many others, was founded in real life.

Stephen Ford


18/05/20 – 06:34

Stephen, by 1976, the date of my timetable, this would not be possible on a Sunday, with just two through journeys each way. You had to leave Scarborough at 10:45 to reach Thirsk by 13:35, returning at 18:10. Now, if in earlier years there had been a third return, as during the week, then 12:45 from Scarborough, arrive Thirsk 15:40, return at 18:27 was possible. Add a bit of poetic licence and we perhaps have the basis for the story.

Andy Buckland


20/05/20 – 07:18

I have been looking at the summer timetable for 1957, and it shows that from 7th July to 14th September, there were three journeys each way between Scarborough and Ripon on Sundays. If he left Scarborough at 10.45, he would reach Thirsk at 1.40 p.m. He could then leave Thirsk at 3.50 p.m. arriving back at Scarborough at 6.40 p.m. So yes, this journey would have been feasible as long as it was made at the height of the summer.

John Gibson


20/05/20 – 07:19

I travelled on service 128 from Helmsley to Ripon in 1976 (MWs all the way from Middlesbrough to Harrogate!!). If memory isn’t playing tricks, we had to change buses at Sproxton, west of Helmsley, and the respective buses then returned home. I can’t remember if the change was advertised in the timetable. A trip form Ross-on-Wye to Abergavenny by Red and White in 1970 (MWs again) certainly involved a change at Broad Oak even though the timetable showed the buses working through.

Phil Drake


21/05/20 – 06:56

And there we have the answer, Phil!
Certainly there is no reference to a change of vehicle at Sproxton, indeed it does not even merit entry in the timetable, but if you look at the times for Helmsley and Ampleforth, then buses would cross roughly where Sproxton is. What makes it strange is that Sproxton is only a few minutes west of Helmsley, where some journeys stood time and interchange facilities are much better. Was there perhaps some unwritten rule that Helmsley to Scarborough was dedicated to Pickering/Scarborough drivers and Ripon was “another company”

Andy Buckland


21/05/20 – 06:56

Definitely semi-auto, we had 4344 at Darlington for a while, not the fastest, comfortable for both driver and passengers it did what it was supposed to do. I used to call it the old mans bus.

John Wake


31/08/20 – 06:27

Regarding the operation of the Ripon to Scarborough service, I lived in Ripon in the late 1960s, and at that time the buses definitely worked through on the whole route, but the drivers did not. When opposing vehicles met, usually in the middle of nowhere, they stopped and the drivers changed over, returning whence they had come from. I presume that with three services each way on weekdays, a Scarborough based vehicle would spend alternate nights at Ripon garage, and vice versa. Obvious the drivers would get back home at the end of their shifts.

Chris Appleby


03/09/20 – 06:18

Where the garage was may be seen here: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/
It would appear that the property was modified to become the carpet showroom it is in the photograph.
I have a snapshot photograph I took on Sunday 23 July 1972 which has four single deckers parked within. http://www.ipernity.com/

David Slater


 

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Eastern Counties – Bristol RESL – KVF 660E – RS660

Eastern Counties - Bristol RESL - KVF 660E - RS660

Eastern Counties Omnibus Co Ltd
1967
Bristol RESL 6HLX
ECW B46F

There are several non-ECW bodied RE buses featured on this site but few if any of the first Tilling Group RESL standard bus. This is RS660 (KVF 660E), the last of a batch of 14, which I believe was supplied to meet an outstanding order for MWs. The fact that they had 46 seats, compared to the maximum of 45 to date, didn’t prevent them being accepted immediately for one man operation, several based at the many outstations for which the company was famous. Alongside are FLF359 (ONG 359F) and SB664 (NAH 664F). A large number of recent deliveries, which the advert fixers had yet to purloin, were assembled in the forecourt of Thorpe Station, Norwich on Sunday, May 12, 1968 to meet an excursion train hauled by the Flying Scotsman. There were several tour options for passengers around the city and county before the return journey.

This period saw Eastern Counties explode from its long 4 and 5 cylinder era into that of the 6LX and 6HLX! The FLF found its way to Western SMT a couple of years later in the great FLF for VRT swop between National Bus Company and the Scottish Bus Group. The Bedford with ECW bus body was one of a batch of four, two with Bedford engines and this and SB663 (already shown on the same day in a Bedford VAM string in OBP) had Leyland engines.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Geoff Pullin


23/12/19 – 06:45

I believe that Eastern Counties’ next batch of RE buses were RELLs, and these were supplied with 6HLW engines, which were quickly swapped with the 6HLX engines from the RESLs.

Nigel Frampton


23/12/19 – 06:47

We had two Bristol RS’s at Cambridge. One of them was almost permanently on route 428 Cambridge station to Bedford. It was a long duty….two journeys….and was the only week on the rota that had two rest days for that reason. I worked it for a week when the regular driver was on holiday and enjoyed it immensely. The RS’s were super to drive…fast and powerful, and although they were rear engined, they had a very precise manual gear change, and a long gear lever. I also recall that they had a high pitched whine at speed from the transmission.
The other RS was usually on the 113 Cambridge to Haverhill and Kedington services, so they could inter change for maintenance and repairs. The RS’s were a vast improvement on the ordinary Bristol MW’s.

Norman Long


24/12/19 – 07:37

Nigel, I don’t think this is true. The first RELLs were in service in June 1968 (the month after the above photo) and I’m sure they had 6HLX engines as well. Although the company was adept at physically changing types of engine after years of downsizing double decks to 5 cylinders and much later installing a Gardner into a Leyland National, the change to 6HLX from 5HLW for buses was the policy introduced by the new General Manager who had arrived from Eastern National. In the 1960s, it was company policy to ‘fairly’ share new vehicles across the whole vast area, so, unlike today, sadly the advantages of better vehicles and performance didn’t reflect into timetables!

Geoff Pullin


24/12/19 – 10:05

The FLF would have had a 6LX engine also, although retaining a manual gearbox. All EC’s previous batches of FLFs having 6LWs.The former BCV test vehicle which they acquired in 1967 may have had a Bristol BVW initially.

Brian Crowther


25/12/19 – 05:52

Geoff, I must admit that I cannot remember exactly where I read about the engine swap – I think that it was in "Buses" magazine. However, the page on Rob Sly’s website for KVF 658E (the preserved survivor from this batch of RESLs) says that the engine was swapped during 1969.
http://bcv.robsly.com/kvf658e.html
Other online sources say that it now has a 6HLX, so presumably it was changed again (or never changed at all!)

Nigel Frampton


25/12/19 – 05:53

Think the RESL at Carlton Colville has a 6HLW.

Roger Burdett


26/12/19 – 06:15

Nigel is correct, the 14 RESL’s 647 to 660 were delivered with 6HLX engines which were later replaced with 6HLW’s from RELL’s but without checking back I can’t confirm which RELL’s were delivered with 6HLW’s. I thought they may have been replaced with a later batch but as the first 14 RELL’s RL665 to 678 all had PPW registrations it’s possible that they were the donors.

Mark Ellis


28/12/19 – 06:18

Is the Bedford missing it’s front grille? It seems we are looking directly at the radiator without anything covering it.

Chris Barker


28/12/19 – 09:20

Looking at various photos of the four Bedfords in the batch SB661-664 (NAH 661-664F), the grille format appears the same on them all even after sale to other operators.
As Chris B says it does look very much like the grille is missing. Looking at photographs of the examples operated by West Yorkshire (4) and Western National (12), also new in 1967, all those seem to have more obvious grilles.

David Slater


28/12/19 – 15:10

NAH 663F

This photo, taken on the same occasion, shows SB663 is fitted with a manually adjusted radiator blind in the traditional Bristol on-radiator fashion.

NAH 663F_2

I don’t remember if this was ECW standard or an ECOC special.

Geoff Pullin


22/01/20 – 06:45

Not ECW norm-see www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?p=30561

Stuart Emmett


23/01/20 – 08:56

In the close-up shot it would appear that the grille on the VAM has been set back from the front panel to allow for the fitting of a radiator blind. Whether this was fitted ‘in build’ by ECW at Lowestoft, or done by Eastern Counties themselves I’ll leave it to the ECOC experts.

Brendan Smith


18/02/20 – 07:30

The RELLs with 6HLW units were RL703-7 and 710-8 from the 1969 order, the engines being exchanged at ECOC before the chassis headed to ECW for bodying. KVF 658E regained a 6HLX after entering preservation.
To tidy up, test rig FLF LAH 448E was ECOC’s only Bristol-engined example and was converted to 6LW in 1971. I’ve long wondered why the six FLs delivered in 1962/63 had BVWs while the double-deck fleet was entirely Gardner by then. Apart from one which was withdrawn early in 1976, the others again all received 6LWs.

Nigel Utting


 

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