Old Bus Photos

North Western – Bristol RE – KJA 282F – 282

North Western - Bristol RE - KJA 282F - 282

North Western Road Car 
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
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:- //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

01/11/19 – 13:46

Much has been said (including by me!) of the sturdiness of Bristol/ECW products, but I recall a story I heard about the earliest batch of RELH6G’s delivered to United Counties (250 et seq.). It is alleged that one of them was reversing out of the strange outdoor layover bay next to the entrance to Northampton’s Derngate bus station when a mini ran into the rear overhang doing considerable structural damage! This would have been about 1970 and I recall seeing the early examples running around after that with a heavily plated repair along the waistrail behind the rear wheel. Can anyone shed any light on this? I have Duncan Roberts’ ‘Bristol RE 40 Years of Service’ but I don’t think this episode gets a mention in his excellent tome.

Phil Roderick


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