Old Bus Photos

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


 

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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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North Western – Bristol RE – KJA 282F – 282

North Western - Bristol RE - KJA 282F - 282

North Western Road Car 
1968
Bristol RESL6G
Marshall B45F

In its final years, North Western chose the Bristol RE as its standard single deck bus chassis, initially selecting the shorter RESL6G version in 1968 before turning to the longer RELL6G variety from 1969 onwards. The RESL6G saloons numbered forty in total and all came with Marshall bodywork, the first fifteen, Nos 270-284, KJA 270-284F, arriving in January 1968 as B45F. However, Nos 285-309, KJA 285-289F, KJA 290- 309G delivered from July 1968 onwards, had the reduced capacity of B43F. On 1st January 1969 SELNEC PTE was formed, and much of the North Western stage carriage network lay within the designated SELNEC area. After lengthy negotiations, the National Bus Company conceded, and the hatchet finally fell upon North Western in January 1972 when its bus fleet was dismembered, leaving NWRCC as simply a coach operator. Most of the RESL/Marshall buses, including No 282 shown above, passed to SELNEC, but Nos 302 -309 were transferred to Crosville. I am sure that our Lancastrian contributors will be able to tell me the Manchester location of the photograph which was taken in June 1970. One final question – did these buses have Gardner LW or LX engines?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


18/11/18 – 10:41

This is unmistakably in St. Peter’s Square in Manchester and would have to be a tram to make such a manoeuvre now!
282 was one of the batch allocated to Oldham depot and was new in a livery that also had cream window surrounds and, distinctively, cream inside the peaks of the domes as can be seen on sister 281 here: https://davidbeilby
Although 281 survived long enough to get the SELNEC Cheshire fleetname as seen in the linked photo, 282 was repainted earlier as I have a picture of it in October 1970 in the above colour scheme. In your photo it seems to be newly-painted.
As it’s showing "PRIVATE" it doesn’t give much clue as to why it would be there and it may well be working from Manchester to Oldham depots after having been borrowed. It is also just possible, if it is a morning photograph, that it is returning from working the solitary morning peak journey from Mottram to Manchester Lower Mosley Street that was worked by Oldham – it worked out of service from Manchester back to Oldham depot.

David Beilby


20/11/18 – 09:11

It’s not early morning, David. At that point in my life I lived in Farnborough, Hampshire. I would catch an early train from London to undertake my Manchester transport jaunts, so it would be around midday or early afternoon.

Roger Cox


24/11/18 – 06:21

Well, at long last the NWRCC finally got its Bristols once again after more than 20 years.
The Central Library in the background of the photo looks far more impressive nowadays now it has been cleaned of all the grime that had accumulated prior to the Clean Air Act. I still have fond memories of the Library: there were many Saturday afternoons I would spend valuable learning time reading Buses Illustrated and Modern Tramway.

David Revis


24/11/18 – 09:56

North Western received its last Bristols, ordered prior to the effect of the nationalisation of Bristol, in late 1950 these being L5Gs 311-32 EDB 311-320 with Weymann B35R bodies. The RESL6Gs were delivered from January 1968, thus the wait for new Bristols was just 17 years, not over 20. Central Library was cleaned in 1971.

Phil Blinkhorn


25/11/18 – 06:51

The photo was taken in June 1970 and the bus looks freshly repainted. Could that explain why it is where it is? Would it have been repainted in Manchester?

Peter Williamson


15/04/19 – 07:13

To answer the question on engines, they had Gardner 6HLX engines. I have close personal experience of this, being the owner of the surviving member of the batch 299!
For obvious reasons I’ve collected a lot of photos of this batch, and I’ve found that quite a few were repainted from the ‘more cream’ style to the one we see here when quite young. My speculation (no more than that) is that the Marshall paint job wasn’t especially good, these bodies being built down to a price, and North Western gave them a repaint in the by-then current style when only about three years old.
To answer Peter Williamson’s question, it’s almost certain that it would have been repainted at the company’ Works at Charles Street in Stockport and could – conceivably – have been photographed on its way back to Oldham from the repaint.

Paul Williams


16/04/19 – 09:00

Travelling from Charles St to Oldham via St Peter’s Sq is a long way round. In 1970 the shortest route would have been Charles St-Bredbury-Denton-Ashton-Oldham.
Roger says the photo was taken mid day or early afternoon. There are a number of possibilities. David Beilby’s first suggestion; as we can’t determine the driver, some sort of engineer’s run though why go into Manchester?; if this was a Saturday (the lights are on in the library, so not a Sunday), returning from a private hire where the vehicle is not required for a return run, such as taking people from the Oldham area to an event at the close by Free Trade Hall that runs until late evening or returning from delivering people who have been visiting the Oldham area to wherever. Again, it could have run into Manchester as a duplicate on a trans Pennine service and was not required beyond Lower Mosley St or on the return. We’ll never know

Phil Blinkhorn


26/04/19 – 09:44

My own theory on why the bus is in Manchester is that having come out of the paintshop the driver may have been asked to deliver some urgent mail to Lower Mosley Street. It was common practice to send mail on service buses between depots. Oldham Depot only had two AM journeys that returned private back to Oldham. The first was a mentioned by David Beilby. The number 6 duplicate from Mottram. The other journey worked the service 503 from Adswood into the City. Prior to this journey it worked a journey from Ashton-under-Lyne to Hazel Grove (Mirrlees Works). Just a thought.

Keith Hampton


27/04/19 – 13:24

My father was one of the 116 workers entitled to use this service from the newly closed Ashton National Works to Mirrlees. At least in the early days this must have required 2 buses, perhaps one for works and a later one for offices. I presume the service ended at some point after most of the entitled moved or bought cars. Do you know how the return journey late afternoon was organised?

Tony Johnson


28/04/19 – 08:06

Thanks for explaining the origins of this Mirrlees works service. It’s pretty obvious now you mention it but not something I had thought about too much before.
There were two morning journeys from the information I have (which I think is the same that Keith Hampton has). It seems logical that there was an afternoon return service but this does not appear in the Oldham depot schedules, so one concludes it was worked by someone else. Either another North Western depot or another operator (jointly).

David Beilby


03/05/19 – 07:11

Tony Johnson mentions that at least 2 vehicles must have been required for this service.
I can confirm that this was the case, and both journeys were worked by Oldham Garage.
According to my list of Oldham duties:-
One Double Decker (Crew duty 23) departed Ashton Bus Station at 07:05, and a Single Decker (OMO duty 29) at 07:50.
On arrival at Mirrlees both buses then operated from Adswood to Chorlton Street.
Would it have been the case, do you think, that these 2 Adswood journeys would have operated to Lower Mosley Street before the closure of LMS? If that was the case then 282 was possibly heading back to Oldham after completing it work. There is no mention of PM journeys from Mirrlees in the Oldham duties.

Stephen Howarth


04/05/19 – 06:31

Stephen, the use of LMS is a distinct possibility.

Phil Blinkhorn


04/05/19 – 06:32

Unfortunately, Stephen, Roger has already pointed out that he would not have been in Manchester early enough for that to be the case.
I think that there were afternoon journeys but not worked by Oldham. I have a photograph of 932 on this service in April 1972 and that wasn’t an Oldham car at the time, but I don’t know to which depot it was allocated. It’s more likely to be an afternoon shot but I don’t actually know.

David Beilby


 

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