A Holiday in Caernarvonshire 1967

A Holiday in Caernarvonshire 1967

Here is a selection of photos of independent operators' vehicles, taken on a family holiday to Caernarvonshire, North Wales in 1967. All but the last three were taken in or around Caernarvon's Square.

A tasty line-up parked below the castle walls, beside the river.
From left to right:
RC 9680 of Express Motors - an ex-Trent AEC Regal I with Willowbrook FDP39F body which had originally been a conventional halfcab as Trent's 774. In 1957 they had it lengthened and rebuilt by Willowbrook to this tidy full fronted style, and renumbered it 308. Express Motors aquired it in 1963.
JTJ 96 also of Express Motors - an ex-L.U.T. Leyland Tiger PS1 with Roe B32F body of 1948. Purchased by Express in 1960, there were at least three of this batch of nine in service with local independents.
DFF 966 - an AEC Reliance with Duple Brittania body - owner not recorded.
?FF 750 - a Bedford SB with ugly Burlingham Seagull body - owner not recorded.
HHE 186 of Clynnog & Trevor Motors - an ex-Yorkshire Traction Leyland Tiger Cub with Willowbrook body.
And an unidentified Plaxton Panorama-bodied coach.

FFM 524 of Express Motors - an ex-Crosville Bristol L6A with E.C.W. body. New to Crosville as B35R, they had it rebuilt to B35F for one man operation in 1957. It was surprising that Crosville had allowed it to pass into their hands, since they appear to have had quite an aggressive and intolerant attitude to independents in the past.

HG 9649 of Express Motors - an ex-Burnley, Cone & Nelson Leyland Tiger PS1 with Brush body. Like the L6A in the previous photo, it had been rebuilt by BC&N to forward entrance for o-m-o. PS1's were favourites of the local Caernarvon independents, and were probably the ideal bus for them at the time - rugged, reliable, fairly economical - and quite nifty performers once they got going.

610 JPU of Silver Star - an ex-Eastern National Bristol SC4LK with the usual E.C.W. B35F body. This had been new to ENOC in 1958, but the type had not found favour with them, and the batch was disposed of when relatively new - surprisingly there were no takers within the BTC group and it found its way to Silver Star in the early 1960's.

From Right to left:
JTJ 98 of Silver Star - another ex L.U.T. PS1 / Roe.
782 EFM of Crosville - an 1958 SC4LK built at the same time as the Silver Star bus.
JTJ 97 of Whiteways (see next photo)

JTJ 97 of Whiteways (O. R. Williams) of Waunfawr - yet another of the ex-L.U.T. PS1 / Roe's. The livery was somewhat insipid - almost ghostly - but I suppose it did make them easily visible at night.

SFC 435 of Clynnog & Trevor Motors - an ex-City of Oxford AEC Regent III 9613S with Park Royal lowbridge body. A most splendid bus, with delectable sound effects. C&T also had an equally wonderful Weymann lowbridge-bodied Regent III ex-COMS - PWL 413 - which had a long life with them before thankfully being acquired by the Oxford Bus Museum, and which is now magnificently restored.

RC 9699 of Clynnog & Trevor Motors - another ex-Trent AEC Regal / Willowbrook rebuild like the Express Motors example. Seen at The Maes Bus Station in Pwllheli.

AHE 784 of Mrs. E. Williams of Llithfaen - an ex-Yorkshire Traction Leyland Tiger PS1 with Roe B32F body, caught near Efailnewydd en-route from Llithfaen to Pwllheli. I recall this bus been driven with great vigour and gusto along the narrow winding country lanes of the Lleyn peninsula, and it took several exciting attempts by my father to get past it and sufficiently far in front to capture it on film. Another of the same ex-Y.T.C. batch was parked out of service beside the Festiniog Railway Station in Portmadoc, apparently a former builder's staff transport bus, but I had been unable to get close enough for a photo.

CJC 925 of Whiteways of Waunfawr - a 1955 or '56 Bedford SB with Duple Super Vega body, seen by the seafront carpark in Criccieth. Period cars include a Triumph Herald, a VW Camper Van and on the right can just be seen the tail end of my father's MG Magnette Mk. IV.


John Stringer

28/04/12 - 09:09

What a colourfull selection of vehicles, glad to see the weather eventually picked up for your holiday.

Mr Anon

28/04/12 - 14:49

Amazing! I knew that Morris Minors went to Cornwall to die, but this really was the old buses' retirement home. The gem has to be "Mrs E Williams'" bus service. Did she drive it herself? I never knew Tracky buses had a life after Barnsley- I thought they drove them to the last rivet.


28/04/12 - 14:51

This selection of photo's has left me delighted and annoyed at the same time! Delighted to see such a wonderful collection of views of buses I remember so well, and annoyed that I didn't make contact with the photographer before completing my book on North Wales independents. I would have loved to use many of these views in the book's colour section but it's too late now it's due for publication during May. Oh well, at least I've had the pleasure of them now.
In the first photograph the Reliance/Duple Britannia, DFF 966, was owned (from new) by Merionethshire operator Parry of Blaenau Ffestiniog, trading as Regina Coaches. The firm had no stage carriage services so it was presumably on a private-hire or excursion. The Bedford SB1/Burlingham abomination (this design was only produced in 1959 and was known to Burlingham employees as "The Pig") was CFF 750, new to DE Davies Ltd of Dolgellau in Merionethshire and still operated by them in 1967. Davies was also purely a PH/E&T operator.
Incidentally my book theoretically covers all of the independent stage carriage operators in the five traditional counties of North Wales (Flint/Denbigh/Caernarvon/Anglesey/Merioneth) in the post World War Two era up to deregulation, but Merionethshire lost its last "native" independent bus operator in 1949 and was (as far as I can tell) the only county in England & Wales to be completely devoid of such operators in the 1950s/60s. Nit-pickers might point to a couple of operators which operated seasonal tourist-oriented services in the later 1960s, but these were subsidised by local authorities and usually short-lived. Some never operated at all despite licences having been granted.
Thanks for the memories, John, and if you have any colour shots of independents in North West England (including Cumberland & Westmorland) I'd be happy to include them in my 2013 book!

Neville Mercer

29/04/12 - 08:12

An excellent set of photos. It's worth mentioning that the Clynnog & Trevor Motor Company Limited was incorporated on April 26th 1912 so it has just clocked up 100 years of service.

Nigel Turner

07/04/13 - 09:58

What a wonderful set of photographs; thank you! My friend owns the preserved DCC 125 (sister of Whiteway CJC 925 shown in your photographs). I believe the bodies where the Duple Vega, not the Duple Super Vega?

Garem Jackson

16/04/13 - 11:49

No, these are Super Vegas the name was introduced in 1953 to cover the longer variant of the design seating 36-41 passengers and had a longer rear overhang than the original 33 seat Vega. Despite what you may read from people who should know better ALL Duple coach bodies on Bedford SB chassis from late 1953 until the end of 1962 were Super Vegas although the designation applied to four different designs:- 1) The "Fishmouth" model of 1953-56; 2) The "Butterfly Front" model of 1956-58; 3) The original "Fat Super Vega" design of 1959-60, and 4) "The Revised Fat Super Vega" of 1961-62. As far as I'm aware the only other Duple design built on early model SBs was the "Coronation Vega" of 1953, described (wrongly!) in some Duple marketing material as the Coronation Ambassador which was correctly applied to underfloor engined vehicles only. In 1963 the Super Vega was replaced by the Bella Vega.
Going off at a slight tangent, there are also many repeated mistakes in enthusiast literature concerning "Super Vega Lookalike" bodies offered as replacement units on the likes of PS Tigers and Regal IIIs. As far as Duple was concerned these bodies were nameless despite the obvious resemblance to the Super Vega design. Similarly the later (1959-60) Duple bodies built on Ford Thames Trader and Commer Avenger IV chassis are frequently referred to as "Yeoman" (on Fords) or "Corinthian" (on Commers). This is incorrect as both the Yeoman and Corinthian names were first introduced in 1961. Duple bodies on the two chassis types before 1961 were nameless. The version of the Bella Vega body used on Ford chassis was known as the Trooper, while the new design was no longer offered on the Commer as it had already been announced that production of the Avenger IV was about to end.

Neville Mercer

16/04/13 - 17:58

Thanks to Neville Mercer for reminding us of these frequently perpetuated misunderstandings regarding Duple model names.
However I would just question one thing. Surely the so called 'Fishmouth' model with the rather plain oval grille (Duple series 1050) was introduced in 1953 and just lasted for the 1954 season only.
For the 1955 season the version depicted in the Whiteways photo (Duple series 1055) was introduced, using basically the 1050 shaped body with the slight step down in the waistrail towards the front, but with the first version of the butterfly grille. This was smaller and simpler than the later version, having a smaller mesh and with the winged motif positioned above and separate from it.
This was superceded by the more well known Second Butterfly version introduced for the 1956 season, which had a larger, flashier grille with larger more open mesh, and the winged motif incorporated into it. The step in the waist was also eliminated to give a smoother line - surely the classic Super Vega. This continued for three seasons - 1956 (1060 series), 1957(1074 series) and 1958(1090 series).

John Stringer

17/04/13 - 10:17

You're quite right, John, I stand corrected!

Neville Mercer

28/08/15 - 08:29

Two years on, but worth a mention...
My friend, John (owner of the immaculately preserved DCC 125 - sister of Whiteway CJC 925 as shown in the final photograph) and I have today completed a series of nostalgic re-creations of Whiteway tours and excursions from the 50s. We visited Cricieth, and have re-created the iconic image of CJC 925 in 1967, but with DCC 125 in (more or less) the same location in 2015! Anyone who would like a copy is welcome to contact me.

Garem Jackson



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