This page is intended to showcase old buses, from London and elsewhere, in most cases after after they have been sold by their original owners and go on to have afterlives performing non stage-carriage work. Several images previously posted to other pages are being drawn onto this new one
Many will recognise the location here as Reading in the trolleybus era. This passing ex-LT RT3 (RT1180?) was sold seemingly before 1960 and is here on staff bus duties for A.W.R.E. I recall that the livery was grey & blue. But who knows what A.W.R.E. stands for?
Answer: ATOMIC WEAPONS RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT!! There were sites connected with this then perhaps more important activity at Aldermaston and Harwell, both in the county of Berkshire. Interestingly the Oxford Bus Museum is now preserving a next generation AEC Regent V which was, I think, bought new. In its later use though it bore the letters A. E. R. E. the E now replacing the W for Weapons and standing for Energy.
Here, back in 1983 a redundant unidentified Leyland National serves out its time as a mobile branch of the former Midland Bank. Hands up anyone who does not immediately recognise its location!
It is of course Goathland which, for the long running classic TV series Heartbeat, doubles as Aidensfield. The row of shops (and the sheep!) often seen in the series can be recognised in the background and foreground. Bernie Scripps garage is somewhere off camera to the right.
..............and there's more!!
My thanks are due to Brendan Gash who has informed me by e-mail that this bus was in fact JHV611N and that it was delivered new to the Midland Bank as a mobile branch and based around Whitby. I always thought it odd that a National could have been disposed of so soon to be converted like this so that's a mystery cleared up. It really shouldn't be on this page now! It appears that it was one of a pair of such. The other was JVO751N which performed similar duties around Derbyshire. This one might have been a better candidate for this page, though the situation was reversed. Starting as a mobile bank it finished its life as a bus working in the nineties for, among others, Stagecoach Derbyshire and Birmingham Omnibus.
Another ex-Londoner . Former RTL1265, seen at Mill Hill in the early seventies was in use by Roydonian Coaches, probably on schools and contract work
........... and Margo's of Streatham had this former Bristol Tramways ECW bodied Leyland PD2. Margo's was well known in the sixties for operating a healthy number of ex LT RT3s. Another of this batch, possibly LAE 13 has been nicely preserved.
.......and these two old 1930s Huddersfield Karrier trolleybuses were seen ending their lives 'conveniently' at a sixties Biggin Hill Air Show. I think there were at one time actually six of them owned and operated by Epsom & Ewell Council. (always came in useful for the Derby no doubt) One, I'm not sure which, did get saved for preservation initially and was kept at Sandtoft for many years until quite recently. The site is quite exposed and sadly, during strong winds a while ago the ageing bodywork collapsed and could not be saved, so now only the chassis exists.
The 1960s was the golden era for seeking out and photographing buses discarded by the original owners and taken up to use for transporting muddy booted construction workers about to and from their sites. Here's a few such vehicles that my camera found. Nowadays they are far less common as most building tradesmen can afford their own cars! Perhaps I should turn my attention to the agricultural sector where large numbers of EC nationals work and are often transported in this way. That said though the producers probably don't own vehicles themselves which are modern and far less interesting.
Even by 1967 when it was perhaps just fifteen years or so old, this former United Bristol L was looking fit for nothing in the hands of a Civil Engineering concern named Howard (though,cleaned up I suppose it would not have looked at all bad). It was photographed in Glasgow.
GCD40, seen c. 1966 was formerly with Southdown Motor Services. It was a pre-war leyland TD that had been rebodied after the end of hostilities. Another of this type, GCD48 has fared much better in preservation having very recently undergone a major refurbishment
So dirty you can hardly read the registration number to identify it, however it was CJG972 and early post-war Leyland PD1 that formerly served the seaside resorts of the south-east with the East Kent Road Car Company
Eagre Construction Company ran this AEC Regal that was formerly in the ownership of City of Oxford Motor Services, and, at this time, substantially still in that operators attractive livery. Although my attempts to photograph them were unsuccessful I recall that the Eagre Company earlier (c.1962-3) ran some elderly looking Regals with KAL registrations which marked them out as being formerly with East Midland Motor Services
Not quite in focus this one but nevertheless worthy of inclusion. An ex Birkenhead Corporation Massey bodied Leyland PD1, apparently out of use at Banfields Coaches premises, the former Nunhead (AH) LT garage in South London
.....and here's a Londoner. Somewhat careworn RTL1279 was latterly with Ford Walton contractors. I cannot recall where or when I photographed this.
Photographed a long time ago c.1961/2 this former Southdown coach looked all too modern to be relegated to contractor work. I think it was a Leyland Olympic of the early 1950s. Note that at this time it was (I believe) still a legal requirement for parked vehicles to show some light at nights. This has been overcome here by the use of contractors red oil lamps on the road at the front though I feel sure the rule was for clear rather than red. I well remember, a few years before this, my dad using a paraffin hurricane lamp chained to the spoked front wheel of our pre-war Morris 10/4 parked outside the house. 1950s layabout vandals (yes, they did have them then!) put the boot into I more than once I recall.
RC9685 was an AEC Regal that had been rebodied in full-front style in the ownership of Trent Motor Traction. It's not around anymore, then neither is the famous name store behind in this Manchester 1964 view
This Glasgow Corporation Engineering Department vehicle caught on camera in 1967 must surely have been a bus. It has an appropriate registration BUS 179 suggesting it was probably of pre-war origin
It is well known that a number of ex-London buses found their way to the European mainland in the aftermath of WWII. Most were probably scrapped quite quickly but STL1692, above was a late LT withdrawal and could not have got to Europe before late 1954. It was seen a decade later in a yard adjacent to major rebuilding of the main line railway station in Brussels. It was a mess room only and had no engine or radiator.
I'm not at present sure exactly where I snapped these two Bedfords working for Ford Weston which I am presuming was a building industry contractor. LRC423 has a distinctly wartime look about it (was it a WTB, or perhaps more likely an OWB?) and with that particular number plate was obviously re-registered at some time - perhaps it was ex armed forces. JXX 475 might be an OB - it has a London registration of circa 1948-49 though I cannot identify the bodywork.
......and this similar Bedford (WTB?) was spotted in Oxford early in 1965
No! not cakes of mud, but something much nicer. BAL 610 was a pre-war Leyland TS with what looked like a later (or somewhat modified) body when photographed around 1972. Possibly formerly with East Midland Motor Services it was then in preservation with the Colin Shears collection in Devon though I don't think it survives today.
I photographed these in around 1964, I think it was either at Eastbourne or Worthing. Two fine Leyland PS1's of Southdown, by then reduced to a role as Left Luggage offices. I may be wrong but I think one of these was later acquired for preservation.
Also with Colin Shears at this time was this pre-war looking AEC Regal that had ignominiously ended its operational days cut down to a breakdown tender. Cannot make out a registration number so I'm not aware of its identity or its subsequent fate.
Similarly this looks very much to have been a Leyland PS2 coach before settling down to mundane breakdown tender duties. As can be seen it was at Waterloo. What the coach it was rescuing may have been a Timpsons coach, but I'm not sure and don't know who owned the tender. Looks to be registered HRK805.
In the days long before the motorways were crowded hectic places we see former LT GS6 at the M2 service area at Farthing Corner where it had been reduced to shuttling to and fro for employees of the then area contractor, Top Rank. The car park could hardly have been any emptier!
By the early 1980s when I snapped ETF485F in the eastern district of Northampton I was not following things very much and did not acquire the later editions of ABC's or Buses magazine so could not initially identify this one. It was a Leyland PD2 ex Darwen Corporation (ironically this was a municipality I never did photograph in the sixties) The name 'Tynwald' ( Isle of Man parliament???) has appeared to the right of the front doorway. Don't know why it came to be where it was and although I lived but a mile away I never saw it again.
This pre-war Leyland Titan seen at a Yorkshire scrapyard in the early 1970s was formerly a Southport Corporation double-decker
RLJ 510 was a former Hants & Dorset standard Bristol FS which I snapped at the British Timken Show in Northampton, I think in 1979. Anyway, its ownership is quite evident here though I have to say that I never saw it again in the locality or the wider district so how long it lasted I do not know. With all blacked out windows it may have been a sleeper bus.
Routemasters can of course nowadays be found all over the world, but are unlikely now to be on stage carriage service. Sightseeing is a popular use however and this one, actually an ex-Northern General one, was one of a pair working in Helsinki, Finland in 2010.
..........and here's another, this time on home ground serving the tourist trade in and around Portsmouth a few years ago. I noted the number at the time which was displayed on the bonnet but have lost my record. Call me what you will, but I hate these re-registered Routemasters. To me, having lost this vital part of their identity and authenticity they have no place in preservation (I'm also not at all keen on the re-engined and modernised ones either) though I suppose it matters not a jot for this kind of work!
Not many ex-London RTLs could claim to fly, which is what former RTL1217 was said to do at the Midland Festival of Steam c.1968. With its wings temporarily detached it waits its turn, however I recall that it did not actually perform.
WFW11J was a re-registered Leyland PD2 being used c1971 as a transport around Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom. I wonder if the zebras actually thought it was one of them! It has been suggested that it was
ex-Jersey Motor Transport, which would account for its re-registration.
There were not many successful open-top conversions of ex-London RT's however this one, ex-RT2457 looked the part in the ownership of London's Capital Radio station.
RT2960 ending its days ignominiously somewhere as a burger bar.
This RT was espied on the outskirts of Lille France in 1983. I think it was RT4712 which, if I'm not mistaken, has ended up in the LT Museum collection after being painted gold in 2002 to celebrate the 50 years reign of our Queen.
...and this was standing next to it (with identical European registration!) Thanks are due to Andrew Colebourne for advising that this was former Eastbourne Corporation JJK262 which was apparently rallied in the UK like this in the 1970s.
Ex-LT RTL1115 ended its days as a mobile showroom for Sperry & Hutchinson, owners of the S&H Pink Stamps Trading Stamps concern, a somewhat less widespread rival to Green Shield in the 1960s.
i have no information about the identity of this RT/RTL and I have no recollection as to when or where it was photographed, or its then purpose. Who or what was ZERO 6???
Trying out an old and past its best roll-film camera I grabbed this rather poor
mid-eighties shot of what looked like a late Leyland PD3. The Routemaster behind on route 29 gives the game away as to the location - near the National Portrait Gallery just North of Trafalgar Square. Noting that the Driving School owner is Birmingham based begs the question as to whether the learner driver had got lost! If I noted the former ownership of the vehicle at the time I have long since forgotten it - any ideas anyone?
Back in 1961 Southend Airport was not the important hub that it is today, although hardy souls braved DC3's and HP Hermes & Hastings or Vickers Vikings to get them to Jersey or France as can be seen by the boarding queues in the background. For non-flyers there was a chance to have an airport tour in this retired corporation Massey bodied Daimler
Can't exactly remember where I snapped this but think it was Doncaster in 1964. MPU 33, an ex Eastern National Bristol L, in fact one of the coach versions, is seen with its complement of contract workers on board. The number
EIBB0302E (sounds more like an inventory number!) is rather odd - anyone know who owned this bus??
Thanks to a recent correspondent who has advised that this bus was owned at this time by British Railways - only they could invent a fleet number like that!
Former London Transport Country Services GS47 was converted to a mobile first aid post for the St Johns Ambulance London Transport Corps.
Wasn't that pretty? - I bet that signwriting cost a small fortune!. This RT was privately converted as a mobile restaurant to combine the pleasure of eating with a London sightseeing tour. Not sure now whether it was 1979 or 1983 but it was present at Battersea Park during one of the London Transport anniversary celebrations. Sadly, as far as I can recall the venture didn't last long.
London's love/hate relationship with the awful AEC Merlin/Swift began early in 1966 with the introduction of this version onto the new concept 'Red Arrow' express service between Marble Arch and Victoria Station. The somewhat unusual choice of Strachan as the bodybuilder of these was not a good experience as the structures had many problems. With the arrival of the not in the end much better MCW and Park Royal fleet standard examples they were soon demoted to bus work and, here by the mid-1970s, some pensioned off as Airside transports at Gatwick Airport.
Probably the only tram that will get onto this paragraph. Looks as if it was subsequently used for some purpose on a farm. The location was near to Dublin in 1966 and it was formerly one of that city's trams (body ony). I suppose then it was considered beyond redemption though I'm sure today it would be very quickly rescued.
A few years ago there was a television programme hosted by presenter Philip Schofield about peoples memories etc and someone asked Where is the 'Summer Holiday' bus?. I contacted the programme the next day to tell them that it was long since scrapped and agreed to send them a copy of this photo which I did but they never used it or returned to the subject. It was former RT2305 which is seen c.1969 in the yard of H&C Coaches of Garston Watford where it spent its last days languishing as a mess room for drivers and staff. For the film it bore the strange registratioin WLB991 which I actually saw a couple of years later on a Ford Consul in the Kensal Rise area - how I wished I had got my camera at the time! I actually was allowed inside and shared a brew with some of the staff. I went upstairs and saw where Cliff 'slept' - the crude partitioning was all still in place.
Actually about three buses were used in the filming but RT2305 was the mainstay. If you doubt that this was the actual bus, observe the white filler patch on the door pillar. Watch the film and see what happens to Melvyn Hayes as he hastily boards the moving bus to get away from angry peasants.
Probably ten or so years ago now RML 2300 was acting as a hospitality bus at a Northamptonshire Steam Rally. I seem to recall that it had a Scania engine then so it did not interest me further and I don't know it's fate. It seems it had acquired the name 'Chudbus' ??
More recently, at Showbus 2015 RML2672 is the modern equivalent of RT2960 seen further up the page. I suppose some day it will outlive its usefulness in this respect and be snapped up for preservation by someone, even though it'll be one of more than a dozen that are just the same. Still, it does retain its original registration which cannot be said for many of the others, so it is perhaps a better bet in that respect. Not sure about its powerplant and transmission though. My views on buses where this is not of the original type have been stated elsewhere.
Also at Showbus was VDV135S, A Bristol VRT which, I'm guessing at present, was ex-Western or Southern National. It is performing a useful role as a mobile bar. It looks to have been professionally converted to open top and maybe was thus used by its holiday area operator before sale There's more than enough of these around too so I hope nobody has preservation ideas for it!
Seen at Covent Garden a few years ago,this is probably a Regent V (or maybe a Renown?) I feel sure it's been re-registered with 822 XUX so for me it is not possible to identify. Can anyone comment? Looks like bog-standard MCW 'Orion' bodywork.
Much more about this vehicle is said in the PRESERVATION SCENE page. Suffice it to say that this is another view on the day of collection just before we drove it away from the Sutton Coldfield AEC Service Depot in October 1966. Note the huge 11.00x20 tyres fitted which made for unbearably heavy steering. The correct size, which was by then already obsolete, was 10.50x20. The tyres themselves were in good order and for financial reasons we were forced to retain them for many years but Bill Cottrell later fitted some 9.50 or 10.00x20 on which it operates today perfectly well.
A FEW LONDON
SERVICE VEHICLES THAT WERE ONCE BUSES
Here's a trio of former buses/coaches that survived to re-emerge in new non-passenger roles until the early or mid 1960s
AXM 618 was double-decker STL 372 until 1950 when it was re-built as a stores lorry
445W was most often seen on trade plates but its true identity was former AEC Regal Greenline Coach T163 (GH 614). Again a stores lorry, it is seen braving the weather on Tuesday 2nd January 1962 at Stonebridge SE which was living out its last day as a trolleybus depot. It no doubt was delivering stores and equipment needed to get ready for its role as a bus garage from the next day.
Quite often to be seen laying over here, come rain or shine at Baker Street Station, and difficult to photograph satisfactorily in the latter conditions was 443W,converted as a Railway Breakdown Tender in 1940 from former Green Line coach T206.
830J is on trade plates here but was AXM649, ex-LGOC STL43 of 1932. It was converted to this Breakdown Tender configuration along with a number of others by Chalmers of Redhill in about 1950.
Here attending and sorting the same incident as 830J at Rayners Lane is 750P. The 'Afterlife' for this is with London Transport for it was one of four 1949 AEC Matador Auxilliary Breakdown Tenders with 5-ton cranes that were acquired from the RAF.