Old Bus Photos

Premier Travel – Guy Arab II – CDR 750 – 110

Premier Travel - Guy Arab II - CDR 750 - 110

Premier Travel (Cambridge)
Guy Arab II 5LW
Roe L27/28R

By 1957, Premier Travel of Cambridge was looking to replace the remainder of its rather tired ex LPTB STLs and the second hand utility CWA6s from Huddersfield, Glasgow and Mansfield. It turned to the rugged Gardner 5LW powered Guy Arab II, choosing seven ex Southdown highbridge examples with the well constructed Northern Counties UH30/26R bodywork, and these were supplemented by three lowbridge machines from Plymouth Corporation with rebuilt Roe UL27/28R bodies. Allocated the fleet numbers from 102 to 111 inclusive, these became the only Guy buses ever to enter the Premier fleet. The Guys proved to be very economical and reliable, but the Plymouth examples had severely governed engines that limited road performance, even in the relatively flat lands of their operating territory. Given its sparsely populated rural network, Premier ran very close to the breadline. Nonetheless, one wonders why the company did not simply get the fuel pumps recalibrated to the manufacturer’s standard setting, but this apparently never happened. The Guys lasted with Premier for some four to five years before being replaced by “White Lady” Leyland PD2s from Ribble. The picture shows the crew of No. 110, ex Plymouth Arab II CDR 750, taking a layover break in Cambridge Drummer Street Bus Station on 26 August 1959.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

31/05/16 – 09:35

The conductress appears to be taking the term "layover just a bit too literally!!

Chris Youhill

01/06/16 – 06:54

The Premier Travel company has a curious link with the present day state of the bus industry. In 1950, a certain John Alfred Blythe Hibbs, after working for the company in his second year as part of his degree studies at Birmingham (Woodbrooke) University, was appointed in 1950 as Personal Assistant to Arthur Lainson, the boss of Premier Travel. The precarious financial state of the company saw the departure of Hibbs in 1952, whereupon he became a ‘transport consultant’. In 1954 he completed a Masters degree thesis on the shortcomings (as he saw them) of the Road Service Licensing system. Then, in 1956, he and a partner bought Corona Coaches of Acton, near Sudbury, Suffolk, and then purchased the nearby business of A. J. Long of Glemsford in 1958. Almost exactly one year later, in August 1959, the entire business failed, and Hibbs once again became a consultant cum journalist until he found a job with British Railways in 1961 as Traffic Survey Officer, Eastern Region, at Liverpool Street. After several job reclassifications, he left BR in 1967 for the academic world where he thereafter remained, loudly proclaiming his views, until retirement. Thus, his entire practical knowledge of bus operation was gained with Premier Travel for two to three years, and then for a further three years with his disastrous Corona venture. This, then, was the "expert" whose "experience" saw him recruited by Ridley to give a cover of academic justification to the industry death knell called deregulation. You couldn’t make it up. Then, with the ‘success’ of deregulation behind him, Hibbs was then involved in the equally catastrophic privatisation of the railway system, yet another industry in which his experience was minimal. As George Bernard Shaw said, "Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach".

Roger Cox

01/06/16 – 09:13

Wonderful comments there Roger, and I fear that virtually everyone has now forgotten the scandalous Hereford and Worcester trial of 1985 – a handful of rural bus routes were allowed to be operated by "competent" small coach companies in order to prove that de-regulation would be in the interests of healthy competition and passenger benefit. Breaches of the embryo stern measures proposed were rife, but still the move went through and that’s where we are today !! A classic lesson in the need to stamp out a fresh virus before it it becomes a Nationwide uncontrollable epidemic.

Chris Youhill

01/06/16 – 17:24

My views on Ridiculous Nicolas have been aired here and elsewhere before. The man had one of the brownest noses of any of Thatcher’s sycophants and Roger’s comments come as no surprise. Having spent many years organising and operating conferences around the world for many disciplines in both academia and industry and having seen how the two interface, whenever an academic "expert" is asked to spout on television or in the press on how industry or the economy should deal with a problem, or should be run, unless I know they have years of practical experience alongside, or before, their being closeted in some think tank or hall of academe, I mentally switch off. Time after time these experts have been relied on to give their dubious weight to politicians’ hairbrained schemes, not just in the UK. The "reasoning" seems to be that the brightest brains are academics. That’s as maybe but translating theories into practice in established and sometimes in need of help industries needs real time, hands on, knowledge as well as hours sitting thinking and theorising.

Phil Blinkhorn

01/06/16 – 17:26

And back to the bus CDR 750 ended up next on a farm in Essex as a lorry and there was a article in a old Buses Annual and is now rebuilt back to a utility bus at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.

Ken Wragg

12/06/16 – 06:48

Something has been sticking in my mind…the company replaced its "preowned" utility Daimlers with some dependable and snouty Guys: and what did we get? proudly named "Premier", a presumably solvent and possibly affordable local bus service on a shoestring, as were a number of municipalities: no leased leviathans then with their dodgem transmissions and (often) miserable drivers… right, back to reality….


12/06/16 – 09:11

Blame ‘Economics’, Joe, manifest in the form of One Person Operation. Back then, a driver was just that, able to concentrate on the job, and a conductor spent the whole time with passengers. Realistically, in modern road conditions, something like the sedate 5LW Arab would struggle to keep time, though some of the present day bus timings are absurdly fast. Even so, the operating costs of modern buses are much higher than those of the Arabs, PD2s et al of the past, yet the reliability is far lower. Years ago, a bus ride was a pleasant experience. I don’t find that to be true today.

Roger Cox


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London Transport – Guy Arab II – HGC 130 – G351

London Transport - Guy Arab II - HGC 130 - G351

London Transport
Guy Arab II 5LW
Park Royal H30/26R

Here we have a Guy Arab II with a Park Royal H56R body, new to London Transport. This vehicle is part of the London Bus Preservation Trust collection, formerly at Cobham but now at Brooklands. Once more, we have a difference of information between Jenkinson and PSVC2012. Jenkinson says it has a UH56R body and dates from 1945, while the PSVC does not mention the utility element and says it dates from 1946. I’m sure that they cannot both be right, unless it was built in 1945 but did not enter service until 1946. Someone out there will know no doubt!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

03/03/16 – 15:02

It looks like a utility to me,although possibly one of the ‘relaxed’ utility batch judging by the number of opening windows.

David Wragg

03/03/16 – 15:04

According to Ken Glazier’s London Bus File, G351 was taken into stock on 5 January 1946. Bodies constructed in 1945 were to relaxed Austerity specification with rounded front and rear domes.

John Gibson

03/03/16 – 15:05

Pete, according to the excellent Ian’s Bus Stop website, many of these Park Royal/NCB Utility-specification buses (G319-G357) didn’t enter service until January/February/March 1946. G351 is documented as entering service in February 1946. There can be little doubt that they were in fact built in late 1945 to wartime specifications, but it depends on which date we prefer to use.

Paul Haywood

03/03/16 – 15:06

I seem to have omitted the location and date when I submitted this to Peter for consideration: Wisley Airfield, on 5 April 2009.

Pete Davies

04/03/16 – 05:53

The unimpeachable authority on this subject is Ken Blacker’s book ‘London’s Utility Buses’. The final LT consignment of Park Royal H30/26R bodies on Guy Arab II chassis was delivered in two batches. G319 to 357 arrived at Chiswick between 17 November 1945 and 3 March 1946. G351 itself was accepted into stock on 3 January 1946, which certainly means that it was constructed in the last weeks of 1945. G431 to 435, the final batch of these buses and London Transport’s very last utility Guys, were accepted between 18 and 30 March 1946, and probably were built earlier in that year. G319 to 339 retained the old sliding mesh gearbox with ‘back to front’ gear lever positions and the two plate clutch inherited from the pre war Arab model. Those from G340 onwards had the new constant mesh gearbox with conventional selector positions coupled with a single plate clutch, a specification that was carried forward into the postwar Arab III. The Park Royal bodies on these last LPTB Guys made no concessions in appearance whatsoever towards the relaxed utility specifications by then prevailing. Even the stark upper deck front ventilators were retained after Weymann and Northern Counties had abandoned this feature. In fact the only ‘relaxations’ incorporated were tubular framed (cushioned) seats and winding windows. The complete vehicle with its composite construction bodywork weighed 7 tons 5 cwts, compared with 7 tons 6 cwts for the last Weymann bodied London Guy utilities and 7 tons 13 cwts for the excellent metal framed Northern Counties Arabs. All the London Transport Arabs had been withdrawn by December 1952, the newest then being just over six years old, though the indifferent quality of construction materials was evident in bodywork deterioration. Upon its sale by LT, HGC 130, the former G351, went in 1953 to the very satisfied Guy Arab operator, Burton-on-Trent Corporation who had the bodywork refurbished by Roe. Burton then ran it until withdrawal in 1967, after which it thankfully found its way into preservation.

HGC 130_2

HGC 130_3

Here are some pictures of this bus taken during the HCVC Brighton runs between 1969 and 1972 by which time some sag in the body waistrail was beginning to become evident.

Roger Cox

04/03/16 – 06:44

Thank you, gents, for your thoughts on the true date of this bus.

Pete Davies

07/03/16 – 06:23

Age apart, it is one of the most attractive utilities I have seen, only those from Southdown come anywhere near. It just shows that a good livery can lift even a mundane design.

David Wragg

27/08/17 – 09:08

I was the very lucky person who purchased G351, or Burton 70 as it was then, in 1967. I met Reg Stack a former Park Royal employee and he stated that the body was built in October 1945 and it was delivered to London Transport in November 1945, thus to my mind it is a 1945 vehicle but of course some of the ‘anoraks’ would insist that it was a 1946 vehicle. I presently own two Guy Arabs that were first licensed on the 1st January 1956 and again the ‘anoraks’ insist that they are 1956 vehicles. All I can say is that Guy Motors and Park Royal were very clever in constructing two chassis and bodies in one day and delivering to their operator!!!

John Lines


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Edinburgh Corporation – Guy Arab II – JWS 594 – 314

Edinburgh Corporation - Guy Arab II - JWS 594 - 314

Edinburgh Corporation
Guy Arab II
Duple/Nudd H31/24R

This unusual but nonetheless attractive-looking Guy Arab II was new in 1943 to London Transport as its G77 (GLL 577), and was originally fitted with utility bodywork by Park Royal. A Gardner 5LW engine provided the power. It was withdrawn from London service in 1952 and sold to Edinburgh C.T, who had the chassis rebodied by Duple/Nudd in 1953. As can be seen, it was given a full front and concealed radiator by the bodybuilder. However, the front nearside ‘windscreen’ and side window next to the bonnet were not glazed, probably as an aid to maintenance as regards access to the engine. Interestingly it was re-registered by ECT on rebodying. Could this indicate that the chassis was fully overhauled by ECT prior to the new body being fitted? The photo shows the vehicle in preservation, and isn’t that livery just beautiful?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brendan Smith

29/12/13 – 10:00

Thanks for posting, Brendan. I’ve not yet seen this vehicle "in the flesh" since I started photographing buses, but I do recall seeing other Edinburgh vehicles with the strange feature you mention. I think the others were Leyland Titans.

Pete Davies

29/12/13 – 14:57

My knowledge of Nudd Bros as a bodybuilder is practically zero but the one useless piece of information that I do recall is that Mrs. Nudd was formerly a Miss. Mabel Barton whose father was not exactly unknown in the bus world.

Nigel Turner

30/12/13 – 07:18

In an era when there was still a shortage of buses, London Transport were forbidden from selling surplus buses to BET competitors, a ridiculous restriction. So, apart from many going abroad, the largest single other purchases were 100 Daimler CWA6’s to Belfast Corporation and 60 LT austerity Guy Arabs were bought by Edinburgh Corporation buses, I think, for tram replacement. They were given fleet numbers 301 to 360 (JWS 581 to 640). Leyland-style glass-fibre fronts replaced the originals when they were overhauled in 1959. Most of them lasted until the late 1960’s. I wonder if the registrations were changed just for the sake of having Scottish ones.

Chris Hebbron

30/12/13 – 07:18

There were sixty of these buses, purchased to enable the Edinburgh tramway system to be abandoned within very tight budgetary constraints. London Transport wanted to get rid of all its utilities as soon as possible. The Guy Arabs, many of which had crash gearboxes with the “wrong way round” (upwards from right to left) gear selection, were the least popular of the four utility types in the fleet. The unfrozen TD7 STDs were pretty unpopular with drivers too, but there were only eleven of these buses compared with 435 of the Guys. Understandably, LT wanted to get the best price possible for these quite young machines of relatively low mileage, but the British Transport Commission, to which LT had to accede, stipulated that no BTC vehicle disposals were to be sold outside the group, unless for export or non psv use. This was a time of an ascendant public transport industry, and the BTC’s paranoia in respect of independent and even municipal operators surely cried out for some Freudian counselling. The LT Bristol Ks were passed on painlessly to Crosville, Lincolnshire and Brighton, Hove & District, and the Daimler D fleet, with preselective gearboxes and, for the most part, AEC 7.7 engines, could be kept a bit longer, but the Guys posed a problem. The Scottish Bus Group would certainly take some, but no other market within BTC existed. Several did go for export, but many ended up languishing in Cohen’s scrapyard at Feltham. Determined to get a better price for its Guys, LT turned to W. North of Leeds, who became the main purchaser of ex London buses for several years. Under pressure from all sides both within and without the bus industry, the BTC finally relaxed its embargo on sales outside the group in December 1952. However, before this, in November 1951, Edinburgh Corporation approached Guy Motors with a proposal to purchase 60 ex LT wartime Arab chassis that Guy would renovate and update for rebodying. Entirely happy to comply, LT found itself up against the BTC rule, but, not wishing to lose such a satisfactory unit price for these Guys, LT approached James Amos of SBG to intercede on its behalf. Despite being in different ownership camps, the SBG and Edinburgh Corporation had a harmonious relationship, particularly as Scottish Omnibuses stood to take over the Musselburgh tram route when it was abandoned. The ploy succeeded, though the buses were sold direct to Edinburgh, not via Guy Motors, on the strict understanding that they were to be scrapped when Edinburgh had finally finished with them. Edinburgh’s engineers were permitted to pick their own vehicles from the withdrawn fleet, and collected their chosen sixty from Edgware garage in April and May 1952. The bodies were removed and scrapped, and the chassis were overhauled and updated to such an extent that they were given new chassis numbers, and hence new registrations. The Gardner 5LW powerplant was retained, though 314 received a 6LW in 1963. New Duple H31/25R bodywork of lightweight construction was ordered, though the major part of the work was undertaken at Nudd Bros and Lockyer in Kegworth, Leicestershire, later to be renamed Duple Midland. These bodies were of a truly spartan specification, to be emulated later by the early examples of the MCW group Orion. The complete vehicle weighed only 6tons 14cwt 1qtr. No opening windows were originally provided, and the apparent full front lacked glazing round the bonnet, possibly to improve engine access, but equally probably to save weight. Originally, the front panels had a set of horizontal polished strips, but in 1958/9 a glass fibre front panel visually similar to the standard Leyland tin front was fitted. Opening windows to the saloons were provided at the same time. To be pedantic, the solitary preserved Arab above – Edinburgh kept its promise to scrap these buses upon their withdrawal between 1967 and 1969, and only No. 314 survives – has the original form of shiny stripwork applied over the later extended Leyland clone bonnet for its 6LW, and is thus not entirely accurate, but this is a minor point. It is good to see this preserved example of a truly remarkable fleet of buses. I must acknowledge that the bulk of this detail has been gleaned from Ken Blacker’s excellent comprehensive book “London’s Utility Buses” (published by Capital Transport).

Roger Cox

30/12/13 – 07:19

Got a bit complicated – but when was it ever any different? Nudd Bros was renamed Duple (Midland) and produced metal framed (mostly) buses. Willowbrook was then purchased, but strictly speaking remained separate. Eventually Yeates was taken on board. All three were Loughborough based and became the Duple (Midland) operation – Duple (Northern) being the former Burlingham. Nudd Bros, Burlingham and Yeates were dropped as marques but Willowbrook became the "face" of Duple (Midland). During this time, it built many double deck buses – mostly Regent Vs and Atlanteans. When Duple began to feel the pinch, Willowbrook was sold off as a going concern. [It produced it’s own designs from then on but increasingly it depended on work from NBC – often by under-cutting Duple and Plaxton on tenders. The quality was, by now, very suspect.]

David Oldfield

30/12/13 – 09:27

Nudd Brothers and Lockyer, were originally based at a small workshop in Chilwell, Nottinghamshire which was opposite the R.E.M.E 38 Central Workshop.

Roger Broughton

30/12/13 – 10:08

Thx, Roger, for fleshing out my more meagre story of LT’s dilemma in selling perfectly good buses (well chassis at least), but many had had their bodies ovehauled or had sound NCB-bodied Guys. I do recall that 314 was due to be converted to a tree-lopper and skulled around for some time waiting for it to be done. In the end, it never happened and the vehicle went for preservation, happily, for the story of these buses, especially 314’s, is really unusual and interesting.

Chris Hebbron

30/12/13 – 11:12

For anyone with an interest in Londons utility buses, I really must recommend the Capital Transport publication by Ken Blacker. "Londons Utility Buses". It is an absolute gem, full of detail, superb photographs, and disposal references, and is a must for all who loved the "utilities" in any fleet!
Alan Townsin’s TP book, "The Utilities", is, of course, the complete reference work.

John Whitaker

30/12/13 – 14:46

I have been searching, but to no avail, for details of Edinburgh’s other utility rebuilds, with Alexander bodies. I believe these were all Daimlers, some of the CWG5 variety, but seem to remember reading that some were CWA6, and that they were "Gardnerised" upon rebuilding. This was, if correct, a most rare occurrence!
Can any of you experts throw any light on this happening, or is my memory finally collapsing?!

John Whitaker

31/12/13 – 07:16

Am I correct in thinking that some of these were sold to the SBG and were lengthened and given saloon bodies or did I dream it?

Chris Hough

31/12/13 – 12:07

S.M.T did indeed rebuild utility Guys ex London Transport into 30ft single deckers.

Stephen Bloomfield

01/01/14 – 09:07

re my last comment:
S.O.L. dismantled 23 ex London Transport Guy utilities. Each chassis was lengthened to 30ft and rebodied, 17 with S.O.L. B39F bodies and 6 with S.O.L. C35F bodies. As with the Edinburgh vehicles they were re-registered JWS 122 TO 131, KSC 918/919 and LSC 91 TO 101. 5 bus bodied vehicles went to S.O.L and the remainder to Highland Omnibuses.
Also the first two vehicles rebuilt for Edinburgh received Duple bodies.
Western S.M.T also rebodied a number of ex London Transport Utilities. As with the Edinburgh and S.O.L. vehicles they were reregistered.
This information came from my own records and also from a recent publication by the PSV Circle about Guy Heavy Chassis.

Stephen Bloomfield

01/01/14 – 09:08

Stephen, I wasn`t aware SMT had body building facilities.
Are you sure this work wasn`t done by Alexanders?

Jim Hepburn

01/01/14 – 12:38

S.O.L constructed the bodies at their Marine Works using Alexander frames. Marine Works subsequently became part of Scottish Bus Group Engineering in 1985.
Marine Works also constructed 32 Duple Vista style bodies on to Bedford OB chassis. 20 of these vehicles were subsequently rebodied by Burlingham.
The same works also constructed 60 Bedford OWBs to a design very similar to Duple.
In 1955 S.O.L also bodied a single decker using Albion Claymore parts. Fleet number S1 LWS 926.

Stephen Bloomfield

01/01/14 – 13:20

Didn’t SMT also build utility bodies on Bedford OWB chassis during WW2? I think they were undistinguishable from the Duple and Mulliner versions.

Michael Hampton

02/01/14 – 08:27

David, Alan Townsin’s book on Duple doesn’t quite agree with your history of Duple Midland. Nudd Bros & Lockyer were the original Duple Midland, but they were at Kegworth, not Loughborough. New premises in Loughborough were obtained by Duple, and the operation was in the process of gradually moving there when Willowbrook were acquired, making three Midland factories in all. Rationalisation (largely glossed over) eventually resulted in only the Willowbrook factory remaining open, using Duple (Midland) as a badge name for some products. There is no mention of Yeates at all, and I have no reason to believe they were ever involved with Duple; as I recall it they simply stopped building bodies and remained as a dealer.

Peter Williamson

02/01/14 – 09:29

As I’ve said before, Peter, when you provide a thumbnail you provide the opportunity for mis-reading or mis-interpretation. Your accurate reading of Alan Townsin’s book doesn’t substantially disagree with my thumbnail. As for Yeates. I only recently discovered that myself – but cannot for the life of me find the source. They "closed" in 1964 and it could be a case of the "NCBs". The Yeates company didn’t fold, they just closed the coachworks. When NCB did fold, the machinery and an amount of timber were sold to C H Roe. Possibly the same happened with Yeates – selling machinery and parts to Duple (Midland)/Willowbrook.

David Oldfield

03/01/14 – 12:51

Re David Oldfields comments about Yeates. The link below may shed more light on the closure of the coachbuilding section of Yeates :- http://archive.commercialmotor.com/

Stephen Bloomfield

04/01/14 – 07:55

Thanks for this, Stephen. The link goes to the archive home page, but the issue in question is 4th October 1963.
Duple took over Yeates body works (next door to Willowbrook) but not the staff, and agreed to complete outstanding work and continue to service and repair Yeates coachwork.
I’m surprised the Duple book doesn’t mention this.

Peter Williamson

My fault that. Link fixed.

JWS 594 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

05/01/14 – 16:46

Roger, I had no idea of the spartan and lightweight nature of the Duple/Nudd-bodied Guys. The fully-fronted styling and ornamentation around the grille give the impression of something ‘a cut above’, whereas in reality it sounds like, as my late Grandma would have said, a case of "all outward show". Sadly, as you mention, ECT persisted with this back to basics policy and followed on with the infamous Orion-bodied Titans. At least the beautiful livery was retained as a saving grace. David O, thanks for clarifying the situation re Duple, Nudd, Willowbrook, Yeates and Burlingham. As you say, it did get a bit complicated. Willowbrook’s quality certainly was suspect, following its sell- off. West Yorkshire were to have taken delivery of fifteen Willowbrook coach-bodied Leyland Leopards in 1981, but in the end only received six (2594-99). They were not well received, and passengers complained that the seats were very uncomfortable, especially on long-distance journeys. The overall finish appeared cheap and cheerful when compared to Plaxton’s products, and the Willowbrooks were soon down graded to dual-purpose vehicles. The remaining nine Leopard chassis were temporarily stored for some months at WY’s Harrogate depot, as Willowbrook were experiencing a backlog of work and hadn’t room to store them. The chassis were later despatched to Duple for bodying, becoming WY’s 2600-08. What a sad end for Willowbrook, and who would have guessed that Duple would eventually close its doors some years later?

Brendan Smith

06/01/14 – 07:59

Duple was a national giant when Plaxton was still a local upstart in the early fifties. At the same time Silver Service Darley Dale were receiving Regal IVs with Willowbrook coach bodies and a little later Black & White Motorways received slightly more modern versions of the same body on Reliances. These were full blown coaches – as were the later Viscount and Viceroys – and ranked among close seconds to Burlingham’s Seagull for style. [These were also Willowbrook names before Duple hi-jacked them.] Yes Brendan, with Duple and Willowbrook both, how are the mighty fallen.

David Oldfield


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