Silver Star Motor Services

Silver Star Motor Services

I have put together a collection of Silver Star old bus photographs. Most should be credited to Chris Usher, the rest to me although they are ancient photographs where I was not the photographer.

Alan Clark

Registration RAM 620 fleet number 33 a 1958 Leyland Tiger Cub PSUC1/2 with a Harrington DP41F body.

Registration AAM 756 fleet number 23 a 1936 Leyland Tiger TS7 originally a half-cab with a Burlingham body then rebodied by Heaver to full-front in 1952.
It was the only Silver Star vehicle to be returned after the war.

Registration EMW 703 fleet number 24 a 1947 Leyland Tiger PS1/1 with a Duple C33F body.
This vehicle was last one to be delivered polished but unpainted.

Registration NMW 340 fleet number 27 a 1955 Commer-Harrington TS3 with a Harrington C41C body.

Registration GKL 763 fleet number 17 a 1940 Leyland Titan TD7 with a Weymann H54R body.
Ex Maidstone & District in May 1956.

Registration EAM 776 fleet number 22 a 1947 Leyland Titan PD1 with a Leyland L53R body.

Registration KGU 263 fleet number 36 a 1949 Leyland Titan PD2/1 (7RT) with a Park Royal H56R body.
Ex London Transport RTL305 in 1959.

Two shots of GWV 360 fleet number 18 a 1950 Leyland Titan PD2/1 with a Leyland H56RD body.

Two shots of TMW 853 fleet number 35 a 1959 Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with a Weymann LD73F body.
According to 'BBF South Central' This was the first Atlantean to be bought by an independent and the thirteenth Atlantean built.

Registration XMW 706 fleet number 40 a 1961 Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with a Weymann CLD61F body.
This is a coach version of the Atlantean and was used on Silver Stars excursion routes.

Registration 1013 MW fleet number 42 a 1962 Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with a Weymann LD73F body.


05/07/13 - 10:08

The registration of GKL 763 dates it to 1940. 1936 is way too early for a TD7, I think the years of production were something like 1940-42.
A fondly-remembered operator, even after all these years. Silver Star seemed to be held in the same sort of regard that the likes of 'Delaine' would be nowadays.

David Call

05/07/13 - 10:11

A little research says you are correct David it was DH5 in the M&D fleet. I have altered the caption. Thanks for that.


05/07/13 - 15:58

The RTL KGU 263 also ran for the equally illustrious Ledgard company until they sold out in 1967.

Chris Hough

05/07/13 - 16:00

A lovely gallery of a fine operator, still fondly remembered today. I was able to ride on the preserved Atlantean at a Winchester New Years Day running day, and the livery exudes the class operation that Silver Star was. When I was much younger, I passed through the Salisbury area on day trips with my parents, and noting the numbers of the fleet in my notebook. On one occasion, we even made it up to the Porton Down depot - unfortunately, I took no photos that day. At the time (c.1960), I had a collection of Dinky buses and coaches, which all got repainted silver with a red stripe! Silver Star were certainly a trend setter in their time, but once National Service ended and the need for so many Forces services diminished, the writing was on the wall. Then the passing of one of the founders removed something of the heartbeat of the company. But this gallery serves to remind us of the company's hey-day.

Michael Hampton

05/07/13 - 16:01

What an excellent gallery! I'm sure that several of these images were used in the three-part "Buses Illustrated" feature on Silver Star, published in 1964-65.
I was never lucky enough to see any of Shergold & White's Atlanteans in service (although I rode in 1013 MW when Jim Berresford had it), so my memories of the company are confined to the coaches. At least one of them (usually a Tiger Cub, but on one memorable occasion the Leopard/Cavalier) used to spend the weekend with Pride of Sale. They could sometimes be seen in Lower Mosley Street operating "on hire twice over" for North Western - usually as duplicates on the Scarborough services.
They were, as Delaine still is, a classy act and our thanks must go out to the preservationists who have saved MMR 552/553 and 1013 MW. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Wilts & Dorset takeover - is there any chance that we might see all three of them back on Salisbury Plain?

Neville Mercer

I recall sitting in a Salisbury café, on the first floor, around 1948, where the view from the window showed a fascinating line up of several of what I now know to have been Leyland TD1 'deckers of Silver Star. As a seven year old I was even then a confirmed bus enthusiast, so I certainly qualify for inclusion in Ian Thompson's club for abnormal children (there was no known treatment for this condition back then, but, had there been, it would have failed utterly). A full history and fleet list for Silver Star may be found here:- Silver Star Fleet List

Roger Cox

06/07/13 - 06:29

What beautiful seats in the Tiger Cub, RAM 620! As a dual purpose vehicle, no doubt it was used on Silver Star's forces leave services and on local routes too. Such seats used to be commonplace in DP vehicles in the 1950's and 60's, what a pity no one produces seats like that today and that the dual purpose vehicle has passed into history!

Chris Barker

06/07/13 - 06:29

A rarely noticed feature of the ex London Transport RTL, KGU 263, is that the LT standard "tween decks" wing trafficators have been removed and replaced by fixed ones on the lower saloon panels.
Silver Star was indeed one of those fascinatingly individual operators who well deserved the loyal following that they had - sadly missed.

Chris Youhill

06/07/13 - 18:14

Surprising that they never aquired an RTL with roof number box where the star could have gone. Nevertheless, using the existing route number box was a sensible option.
It's a strange thing, but not one of the RAF stations I served on had bus services of the type which Silver Star and many others operated. RAF Calshot (end of Southampton Water) had flimsy boats which crossed from Cowes Fridays/Mondays for transporting RAF personnel. So small and flimsy did they appear and so rough the water at times, it always seemed a miracle that anyone survived for duty on a Monday! For me, it was an air-sea rescue launch across So'ton Water to Warsash,then the Southdown 45 to Hilsea, then a Portsmouth Corp'n trolleybus home to Eastney. On a Monday, it was trolleybus, then 45A to Fareham, then H&D (77?) to Warsash. In winter, you arrived at Calshot freezing, not helped by the 77 being out in the yard all night! Warsash was the most westerly place which Southdown penetrated, For H&D, Fareham was the most easterly.

Chris Hebbron

06/07/13 - 18:15

Excuse my ignorance but, never having ridden in one, I'm fascinated by the concept of a lowbridge Atlantean. Did the staircase rise in the usual way, finishing behind a front row bench seat leading into an offside gangway in the traditional manner? Were there any Fleetline versions?
I've mentioned my phobia on a previous posting about lowbridge coaches, but the concept of sitting in high-backed coach seats in a lowbridge configuration would give me claustrophobia unless I was sitting at the gangway end. However, at least the Silver Star version (fleet number 40) seemed to have a sunlight roof which would have lessened my tension.
Are there any lowbridge Atlantean coaches preserved?

Paul Haywood

08/07/13 - 16:19

What an interesting collection of views of this long-gone operator. The bus in the third view, EMW 703, has a car alongside, with the registration beginning FT 76??. Given Ronnie's liking of vehicles with that sort of marking, was he lurking nearby?

Pete Davies

09/07/13 - 07:37

Only by a margin, I accept, Chris, but Gosport is to the east of Fareham, and was certainly served by Hants and Dorset. As a child, I often used the service from there to Southampton.

Roger Cox

Paul, the upper deck on a lowbridge Atlantean was the normal centre gangway layout as on any highbridge bus.
Only the back two or three rows of seats were the traditional lowbridge layout with the "sunken" gangway on the nearside.
This layout was necessary because, although the chassis was of a lowheight design the lower deck had to be stepped up at the rear to clear the rear axle/diff. if you wanted an overall height of 13'6"
When Daimler introduced the Fleetline they employed a dropped centre diff on the back axle which allowed the lower deck floor to run level all the way to the rear of the bus, thus the top deck floorline followed suit, allowing for a 13'6" body with the floors level on both decks.
I believe it wasn't till Daimler became part of BL that Leyland had access to this drop centre diff design, thus allowing lowheight rather than lowbridge Atlanteans.
If you have the latest copy of 'Bus & Coach Prservation' magazine, by coincidence there is a photo of the preserved Silver Star lowbridge Atlantean showing the upper deck layout.
Hope this explains things, Paul

Eric Bawden

09/07/13 - 09:25

Eric. Not strictly true. Leyland used the drop centre axle of the Albion Lowlander for the PDR1/2 and PDR1/3 Atlanteans between 1964 and 1967(?). They were even less successful than the original early PDR1/1s but when Daimler joined the (British) Leyland empire in 1968 they acquired the "Gold Standard". From then on, customers for low-height bought Daimler (and later Leyland) Fleetlines; for full height, the Atlantean was standard. Fleetlines were also from that time offered with either the Gardner 6LX(B) or the Leyland 0.680.

David Oldfield

09/07/13 - 09:26

Eric, many thanks for this information. You have solved a long-held puzzle. I presume this was also the case on the lowbridge coaches which would have alleviated my pathetic claustrophobic worries. I must get a copy of the magazine to see an illustration of this layout.

Paul Haywood

09/07/13 - 11:42

Fair comment David, but it is more or less correct for pre 1964 Atlanteans. That would explain why the lowbridge Atlanteans I remember all seem to date from the early sixties.
When you consider how many operators, who went for Atlanteans in the early sixties reverted to front engine buses for subsequent orders, I presume this is what prompted Leyland to introduce the Lowlander to try and regain lost orders.

Eric Bawden

29/07/13 - 08:00

Interesting to see Silver Star NMW 340 the TS3 Harrington Contender in what I presume is a late paint scheme - one I have not seen before. These TS3s were famed for their speed and infamous for their inability to stop. I remember being at a rally and standing by preserved Tiger Cub MMR 553. A couple of ex squaddies nearby were comparing notes about travelling back to London on leave by Silver Star. Both discovered - to their obvious amusement - that they used to allow others embark and leave with the Tiger Cubs so that they could catch the Commer, which although it left later invariably arrived first.

Nick Webster

29/07/13 - 14:49

I had to smile at the reflection on the Commer brakes - all very well to arrive first in London, but was it able to stop there ??
A similar very reputable firm provided weekend troop transport when I was in the RAF at Yatesbury learning radar in 1955. The Company was R & W Febry of Chipping Sodbury - "Sodbury Queen" - who ran a fascinating fleet of modern high quality coaches. Most had the length of the cove panelling emblazoned with "Radio luxury coaches" and a picture of a globe - a somewhat optimistic description of the programmes available in those medium and long wave days !!

Chris Youhill

30/07/13 - 06:59

Just looked at the coach versions of the Atlantean and remember why they were built. Silver Star requested routes for the forces services. Standerwick had the Gay Hostess and yet the Traffic Commissioner decided not to allow them to be used. Unfair it was as the expense was not warranted just for local day trips. The power the TC had seemed in this case was to be misused.

David Wootton

30/07/13 - 12:47

I don't have the documentary evidence, but I'm sure that I remember the coach version of the Atlantean being authorised for Silver Star's London service, just not for the other routes as they had requested. I'm also fairly certain that the reason given for the refusals was that it would give Silver Star an unfair advantage to operate a larger capacity vehicle than their rivals in the Salisbury Plain business, thereby destabilising the situation - and if there was one thing the old Traffic Commissioners liked it was stability. Ask anyone who lived in a new housing estate in the 1960s and had to wait years for a bus route!

Neville Mercer



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