Vaggs Motors of Knockin Heath

Vaggs Motors of Knockin Heath

The County of Shropshire was traditionally served by Midland Red in the south and Crosville in the north. The area in between was home to a number of interesting independent operators. One of the largest was Vaggs Motors of Knockin Heath.

The first photo shows a typical line up at the depot. Seen in 1972 are four of the ex-Eastern National Bristol SC4LK's which were once a common sight on the company's stage services. Nearest the camera is 603 JPU. Also prominent is an SC4LK coach, TVF 869, which was new to Eastern Counties, fleet number LSC 869. The Harrington Cavalier is one of two ex-Yelloway AEC Reliance 590's, and the withdrawn Bedford Bus is believed to be MAW 742.

The next photo shows 725 APU, a Bristol SCX4LK which was new to Eastern National as one of a pair of prototypes for the SC model. It is seen reversing at Llanymynech before returning to Shrewsbury. This vehicle had folding platform doors, but was otherwise very similar to the production models.

The third photograph shows CSX 229, a 1958 Bedford SB1 with Duple Midland B40F body, which was new to Scottish Oils, Glasgow. It is seen on a typical section of single-track road near Rednal, on the route to Houghton. The sharp eyed amongst you will notice the destination as Llanarmon, but the driver was notorious for not changing the destination blinds!

Next we see another Bedford bus. UNM 606 was a 1958 SB8 (Leyland engine) again with Duple Midland B40F bodywork. When new it was a Bedford demonstrator, which may account for the large destination display. It is seen at one of the most strangely names villages in England - Ruyton Of The XI Towns.

Photo five shows Bedford SB5 YAW 330, which had a Duple Super Vega C41F body, and was bought new by Vaggs in 1962.

Next we return to the depot to see a portrait of 2921 DK, an ex-Yelloway AEC Reliance 590 2U3RA with Harrington Cavalier C45F luxury body.

Three withdrawn vehicles are seen at the depot, partly cannibalised. In the centre is 394 DKK, an AEC Reliance 2MU3RV which was new in 1958 to Maidstone and District, with a Harrington Wayfarer C41F body. It was rebuilt by M&D with a standard BET group design bus front end. To the right is an unidentified Leyland Tiger Cub - Yeats, and to the left is Bedford SB bus MAW 742.

Finally a "classic" Bedford OB - Duple Vista, possibly ex-Crosville KFM 429, quietly disintegrating among the weeds.

 

Don McKeown
01/2015


25/01/15 - 16:24

I think the unidentified Yeates bodied Leyland Tiger Cub might be MTL 750 which had been new to The Delaine. For comparison purposes I have attached a photo I took of it in Shrewsbury in April 1972.
Lovely memories!

Phil Walters


26/01/15 - 06:30

This is the first time I've seen pictures of Vagg's vehicles, although I've often heard of them over the years in news of "comings and goings." Without doubt a striking but dignified livery which is pleasing to see. I've just used a couple of Kleenex though at the sight of the OB in such undignified retirement - none of those "little giants" deserved such an end, but on second thoughts there's a kind of rural peace and tranquility there, and in a way I suppose its actually an appreciative gesture to allow it to fade away thus in preference to being hacked to pieces amidst heaps of similarly unlucky veterans as the majority suffer.

Chris Youhill


26/01/15 - 10:28

What a fine selection of photographs! Vagg were an excellent company, providing a first class service to the communities between Oswestry and Shrewsbury, but (given the low population density) this was only possible if the vehicles used were as cheap as chips. Thus the ex A&D bonneted Falcons and the profusion of Bristol SC4LKs. The unidentified vehicle is definitely MTL 750 - this was the only Tiger Cub to receive a Yeates Europa body. I believe that it's preserved in Leicestershire in its original Delaine livery. Any up dates on that?

Neville Mercer


26/01/15 - 13:20

There were a few photos of Vagg's fleet included in my Gallery 'A Tour of Shropshire and North East Wales', posted a year or two back on this site.

John Stringer


26/01/15 - 13:22

I thoroughly enjoyed this selection of photos, Don. It typifies the numerous bus operators who did something better than scratch a modest living serving Rural England (and other parts, too)!
I understand your viewpoint about the Bedford OB, Chris Y. It's possible to be selective, though. I used to pass two cars mouldering in grass some years ago. The Morris Minor tugged at my heartstrings, the Austin Montego didn't!
As for MTL 750, here it is, Neville, looking a treat! www.flickr.com/photos

Chris Hebbron


27/01/15 - 06:52

A rummage through my old photos has turned up another Vaggs gem in Shrewsbury, this time a little Bedford C4Z1 with Duple bodywork. No doubt this was ideal for small loadings on country lanes which may well explain its longevity. It was photographed in 1975 which means it would have been 17yrs old. My visits to Shrewsbury were rare but as others have said you could always rely on Vaggs to provide something of interest.

Philip Walters


07/02/15 - 12:30

My travels on Vaggs were mostly in the early 1970s.The Dennis Falcons had all gone likewise the Bedford OBs although KFM 429 could still be seen in the undergrowth at the depot. A pair of vintage AEC Regent IIIs worked the main road service between Oswestry and Shrewsbury. Some journeys connected at Nescliffe with a service to Ruyton XI Towns which looped back to Oswestry via Eardiston. Another service linked Ruyton with Shrewsbury via Baschurch. A separate village route between Oswestry and Shrewsbury served Kinnerley and Knockin and passed the depot. A motley selection of vehicles could be seen on the village service including MTL 750 the Yeates bodied Tiger Cub and WLW 42 a Park Royal bodied Reliance. However the obvious attraction of such vehicles was marred by the use of a conductor who would stand on the front steps blocking forward vision.
Bristol SC4LK buses could often be found on the other two Shrewsbury services to Llanymynech and to Valeswood. The latter turned at a non-place called Lower Hopton seemingly in the middle of nowhere although in practise a short walk to the depot. The photo of YAW 330 was taken at Lower Hopton.
The Vaggs service north of Oswestry was in complete contrast to the rest of the network. A nice scenic run to Glynceiriog via Brontygarth was followed by a climb into the mountains to Llanarmon. On Wednesdays two journeys continued to the end of the lane at Pentre although this had gone before my visits. On Saturdays the Llanarmon service was interworked with a short and pointless route to Haughton which turned at a road junction at Henbanes. The photo of CSX 229 was actually taken near Rednal on the Haughton route and is a useful reminder that a destination blind cannot always be trusted to be accurate.

Vaggs were still using two early Bedford SB coaches on services in the early 70s viz GVA 462 and LTG 852. These did not have the front seat next to the driver as found on the OB and later SB/VAS types. However both were lovely to ride on.

Incidentally another early SB still in service as late as 1974 was KWX 413 with Williamsons which was regularly used on their Shrewsbury to Wentnor route via Pulverbatch.
I have forgotten the Wednesday Melverley circular into Oswestry which followed a complex routing around the lanes. Indeed after Crosville had taken over the route I helped the driver with route navigation and managed to get us completely lost.

Keith Newton


22/03/19 - 06:44

My father, brother and I operated a scrap metal business in Middlewich, Cheshire. We regularly collected small amounts of scrap from Vaggs Motors. Sometime in the late '60s we cleared several old buses from the back of the depot, all of them in worse condition than the Bedford OB in your photograph. Most of the bodywork was aluminium sheets which we stripped off and folded up to fit in our van. The steel chassis we cut up with oxy-acetylene torches and loaded onto a lorry. It was a sad job in a way because we all thought the old buses (old vehicles in general, really) had more character than the more modern ones. Hope I don't make anyone cry with this post!

Peter Houston

 


 

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