Old Bus Photos

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


 

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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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Brutonian – Bristol RE – STC 928G – 28

Brutonian - Bristol RE - STC 928G - 28

Brutonian Bus Company
1969
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!

Joe


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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