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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The readers letter section in the April Mgazine includes several letters on the topic of suitable buses or coaches for use on model railway layouts.

Whilst I have insufficient knowledge regarding local bus services in specific towns the following suggestions relate to operators in the area mentioned whose vehicles might/would be seen on a "layout".

Unfortunately whilst Alan Earnshaw's response to the Bash Street road vehicles is correct in stating that the Leyland Altantean went into production in 1959, however, as Bash Street is supposedly set in Sheepbridge (near Chesterfield) - Trent, one of the local (regional) bus operators who operated Atlanteans did not acquire any of the Highbridge (14' 6" high) type modelled by EFE until about 1960/1. Bash Street is unusual as purporting to represent a specific point in time.

Depending on which year it was built the Chesterfield PD2 (OOC) could be suitable, but the "Midland Red" enclosed radiator style was produced over a number of years and if EFE produce a RLH in Midland General livery this might fit the bill - even if it was on a Private Hire.

Roger Walsh's e-mail suggests his layout is based in Liverpool, depending on which part of the city his layout covers he has a much better range of models available. There are a number of Ribble and Crosville models which could fit the bill if he alters the destination displays on the original models. In fact he could have a Wigan Corporation Leyland PD2 operating on Service 320 Wigan - Liverpool which was a joint service operated by Ribble, St Helens Corporation, Lancashire United Transport (LUT) and Wigan Corporation. However, in order to "balance" mileage the operators concerned might not provide vehicles on a daily basis all the time.

At present Charles Williams is probably restricted to "Utility" model buses or the Leyland TD1 again depending on area.

Personally I do not feel that the Skale Autos buses are suitable for use with the high quality R-T-R locomotives and rolling currently being produced by Bachmann & Hornby. The products produced by Exclusive First Editions (EFE), OOC (Original Omnibus Company - Corgi) and Britbus are available at a similar cost (based on MRP) to the average railway carriage, although Britbus tend to be priced in the £ 30 - 35 bracket.

Modellers seeking further information might well find it useful to contacting a local branch of the Omnibus Society or the PSV Circle who could probably provide more detailed "local" information.

If there is sufficient interest I would be prepared to try and produce a "time chart" for the different PSV models pre 1968, however, it would be necessary for modellers to check locally for more detailed information in local newspaper archives etc.

Regards

Ian Breeden
 

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A quick rule of thumb to add to the above.

Generally speaking if it's a double decker with half cab and rear entry it was designed before 1960, coaches tend to be rather more complex.

Nothing compares to research, and most libraries will be able to source some books on the subject.

Regards
 

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QUOTE (BRITHO @ 14 Mar 2008, 16:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A quick rule of thumb to add to the above.

Generally speaking if it's a double decker with half cab and rear entry it was designed before 1960, coaches tend to be rather more complex.

Nothing compares to research, and most libraries will be able to source some books on the subject.

Also a number of operators preferred to stay with new purchases of front engined vehicles until the late 60s. Certainly a bit of research goes a long way - try googling the operator. One big mistake I have seen on Manchesters Dewsbury layout in its BR blue form is the use of a red West Yorkshire bus. Nothing wrong with that you might think, Dewsbury is in West Yorkshire. However West Yorkshire Road Car as distinct from West Yorkshire PTE (the green and cream ones) was based in Harrogate and Leeds and Bradford marked the southern limit of its operting area apart from an southerly incursion from Bradford to Huddersfield via Brighouse.
 

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unless it was on a hire /excursion..?

Although I was a bus driver from '72 through to '97, I cannot claim to be an enthusiast..in the accepted sense...although I appreciate that it will be MY face behind the wheel of many enthusiasts' photos....

The use of the Routemaster....even in the early 60's, a very modern and advanced 'back-ender' design....is in fact, sadly, used as a 'generic'rear entrance bus. ...........I MAY be wrong here, but when I drove them in anger, for London Transport [I was usually driving RT's]...I thought that they were only 'in service' with London Transport [and Country]....and in Glasgow??...this was '72 to '74.

beyond that date, they eventually got sold off to a multitude of private operators, or other companies...[such as EYMS]

so they ought not to be seen on a GWR station forecourt!

but...to give folk a general idea....I drove rear entrance deckers, around east, north, west yorkshire,and what is now Cleveland....up until at least 1978. However, I admit, these events became rare.......more usual were half-cab deckers with entrances just behind the engine......BristolFLF's, AEC Renowns, Bridgemasters, etc.....occasional PD2 and 3.etc...

I suggest an 'easy' way out of the 'type' dilemma, is to use single deckers?

Although an enthusiast can spot detail differences, there waslittle to differentiate to a non-tutored eye, between a 60's flat-fronted 'stage-carriage' bodied Leyand Panther, Leopard,...or a Bristol,or an AEC Reliance....which were 'in use' right through to teh 80's and beyond. [I regulary drove an ex-Crossville, albion-engined Bristol saloon, around the Filey area....in late '74.]

Apart from the half-cab saloons.....with teh flat front vehicles, one could 'get away with' a lot more latitude,timewise.

a good bet, from the middle 60's onwards, right up until the turn ofthe century...is the Bristol VR decker.......early ones often had 'white' window rubbers......and some 'detail' differences,but from a distance, providing colour was right, one can hardly tell whether it is in 'period' or not.

better bet than a routemaster??

[Bristol VR's were in use in the late '90's, as 'substitute train services'.....I know,I drove them!]
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 16 Mar 2008, 01:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><snipped>

a good bet, from the middle 60's onwards, right up until the turn ofthe century...is the Bristol VR decker.......early ones often had 'white' window rubbers......and some 'detail' differences,but from a distance, providing colour was right, one can hardly tell whether it is in 'period' or not.

better bet than a routemaster??

[Bristol VR's were in use in the late '90's, as 'substitute train services'.....I know,I drove them!]

If it's any help here, the Bristol VR with ECW body (by far the most common combination) was modelled by EFE and is still available in several liveries. It was the NBC 'standard' for most of the '70s until the Leyland Olympian was released - Leyland subsumed Bristol anyway.

The earliest ECW VRs from the late 1960s had flat fronts and cream window rubbers. Curved fronted ECW bodies came in (I think) 1972 or thereabouts. There were minor differences between series 2 and series 3 VRs and also some different body heights but EFE have modelled the most common with both series 2 and series 3 grilles and rear ends.

Outside of London, Bristols were the Tilling group standard for the 1940s to late '60s when the National Bus Company was formed. NBC retained Bristol as the double decker standard but single deckers were more varied until the Leyland National appeared. Mix in different chassis builders and different body builders and the earlier scene was quite varied.

For Tilling fleets, typical RTR buses would be:

1940s - early '50s: Bristol L/ECW single deck (reasonable representation by OOC), Bristol K/ECW double deck (OOC).

Mid 1950s - mid '60s: Bristol LS/ECW single deck (EFE), Bristol MW/ECW single deck (not available - out of production Westward or Little Bus Company kits if you scrounge around!), Bristol LD 'Lodekka' (not available - ABS kit still available), Bristol FS/ECW (OOC) and FLF/ECW (EFE) double decks.

Mid 1960s to early '70s: Bristol RELL/ECW (EFE) single deck, Bristol VRT/ECW (EFE) double deck.

That's not too bad a coverage and the Tilling standard colours of Tilling green or Tilling red mean that if the fleet name you want is not available RTR then you can buy the correct colour bus and change the fleet names with transfers (Fox or Modelmaster come to mind) - acetone (nail varnish remover) will get the old fleet names off.

BET group and municipal operators had a much more varied buying policy so models available really depend on which fleet(s) you want to model.

London buses are, of course well covered, although there are still some gaps.
 

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I should add that the above only applied to buses. Coaches were a much more complex subject!

Here's a pic of some of my models of Bristol MWs with ECW bodies. They are (from left to right): a Little Bus Company (LBC) kit of a 1962 coach in Royal Blue livery; 1959 modified EFE coach, downgraded to bus, of Hants & Dorset; 1959 LBC kit of a Wilts & Dorset bus.



The green and the red here illustrate the Tilling standard colours. Hants & Dorset, Western National and Southern National were all Tilling green fleets and all contributed coaches to the Royal Blue service. Incidentally, Western and Southern Nationals have strong historical links to the GWR and SR, respectively.


Off topic slightly, this reminds me of the 1980s, where NBC Poppy red or Leaf green were the two standard colour schemes. I visited Barnstaple, where the local operator was an NBC subsidiary. Guess what: they were painted NBC Leaf Green with fleet names proudly proclaiming "Red Bus".
 

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QUOTE (Ian 47 @ 14 Mar 2008, 16:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The readers letter section in the April Mgazine includes several letters on the topic of suitable buses or coaches for use on model railway layouts.

Whilst I have insufficient knowledge regarding local bus services in specific towns the following suggestions relate to operators in the area mentioned whose vehicles might/would be seen on a "layout".

Unfortunately whilst Alan Earnshaw's response to the Bash Street road vehicles is correct in stating that the Leyland Altantean went into production in 1959, however, as Bash Street is supposedly set in Sheepbridge (near Chesterfield) - Trent, one of the local (regional) bus operators who operated Atlanteans did not acquire any of the Highbridge (14' 6" high) type modelled by EFE until about 1960/1. Bash Street is unusual as purporting to represent a specific point in time.

Depending on which year it was built the Chesterfield PD2 (OOC) could be suitable, but the "Midland Red" enclosed radiator style was produced over a number of years and if EFE produce a RLH in Midland General livery this might fit the bill - even if it was on a Private Hire.

Roger Walsh's e-mail suggests his layout is based in Liverpool, depending on which part of the city his layout covers he has a much better range of models available. There are a number of Ribble and Crosville models which could fit the bill if he alters the destination displays on the original models. In fact he could have a Wigan Corporation Leyland PD2 operating on Service 320 Wigan - Liverpool which was a joint service operated by Ribble, St Helens Corporation, Lancashire United Transport (LUT) and Wigan Corporation. However, in order to "balance" mileage the operators concerned might not provide vehicles on a daily basis all the time.

At present Charles Williams is probably restricted to "Utility" model buses or the Leyland TD1 again depending on area.

Personally I do not feel that the Skale Autos buses are suitable for use with the high quality R-T-R locomotives and rolling currently being produced by Bachmann & Hornby. The products produced by Exclusive First Editions (EFE), OOC (Original Omnibus Company - Corgi) and Britbus are available at a similar cost (based on MRP) to the average railway carriage, although Britbus tend to be priced in the £ 30 - 35 bracket.

Modellers seeking further information might well find it useful to contacting a local branch of the Omnibus Society or the PSV Circle who could probably provide more detailed "local" information.

If there is sufficient interest I would be prepared to try and produce a "time chart" for the different PSV models pre 1968, however, it would be necessary for modellers to check locally for more detailed information in local newspaper archives etc.

Regards

Ian Breeden

I think your time chart could be a useful guide to when bus types were first manafactured. While 6the last date of manafacture is a guide many would be in service for several years after this date

In east anglia were i live we have a large number of small independent operators who would buy up secondhand buses/coaches and keep them operating for many years after the major operators.

Regards

tds
 

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for a timeline...remember that [british] buses, up until the likes of the Olympian 2's...and their volvo replacements.....[as a rough guide] all had a projected service life of 30 years!!!

Hence I drove LT's AEC RT deckers in '72 to '74.....even in '72 there existed ...I believe still 'in service ' [Harrow??]...the 3 axle, 6 wheeler single deck ''scooter''....I saw it!

the RT was first built in the late 1940's! [they had lost their rear wheel hubcaps when I drove them]

I drove Bristol FLF's in first line service..ie not as a substitute.....up until '76...[United Auto, Scarborough]

and AEC Renowns, Bridgey's, for EYMS right up until '79!

OK,so they were all NBC...but EYMS stillhad many in their ugly dark blue /primrose colour scheme....and both had the odd shaped upper deck, for Beverley Bar....which I HAVE driven through, in service.......on the odd, one occasion.

So I would say it is safe to have half-cab deckers in 'service' right into the BR blue era!

[I went for a job ....feeler really....with western National at Plymouth in....'73?...actually just called in and asked....already working as I did for LT...fancied a change of scene........was taken out 'on assessment' in a lodekka Bristol, nice crash gearbox, galloped all over Dartmoor....was offered a job...''on the spot''...sadly declined after due consideration.]
 

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I am loosing the will to live.

No seriously though. i think this thread has been a great help.

One small thing i would add though. (I am trying to think of a way of putting this diplomatically) The scale auto's dont fare very well when compared to other very similar models. the line between the die castings for the top floor and the bottom half is very noticible. they really arnt in the same league as an EFE or similar.

Peter
 

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QUOTE (Mike Parkes @ 14 Mar 2008, 18:26) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also a number of operators preferred to stay with new purchases of front engined vehicles until the late 60s.

East Kent is a prime example. They bought their first full cab front entry AEC Regent V with Park Roal body in 1958, and their last half cab AEV Regent V with Park Royal body in 1968. They then bought Daimler fleetlines. (no prizes for the bodybuilder)

QUOTE (GWR Steam MAN @ 16 Mar 2008, 11:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>In east anglia were i live we have a large number of small independent operators who would buy up secondhand buses/coaches and keep them operating for many years after the major operators.

The same thing happens down here as well

QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 17 Mar 2008, 06:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>One small thing i would add though. (I am trying to think of a way of putting this diplomatically) The scale auto's dont fare very well when compared to other very similar models. the line between the die castings for the top floor and the bottom half is very noticible. they really arnt in the same league as an EFE or similar.

Peter - just look at the price difference! I have got one of the Oxford Routemasters - I got it from the Hornby chaps last year.

Regards
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In one respect using coaches rather than buses has some advantages as theses could be on Long Distance Coach Services and Extended Tours.
The Burlingham Seagull type coach appeared in 1953 with operators such as Wallace Arnold & Ribble operating them on tours they could virtually be seen anywhere on the UK mainland - pre 1960 (i.e. in n pre motorway NETWORK days) these could reasonably be seen on A roads passing through towns or cities and in "scenic" locations such as Devon/Cornwall, Lake District, Peak District, Scottish Highlands etc.
From 1961 onwards the same applies to the Harrington Cavalier (non Route Box) models also used as Tour Coaches by Ribble & Southdown [Hovever most tour spec vehicles had 32 rather than 41 seats].

From the early 1930's there was an extensive coach interchange based on Cheltenham (Associated Motorways - yes pre-dating the roads by almost 30 years) this was a consortium which included Black & White, Royal Blue, Red & White among others, with "block" departure times of 1100 hrs, 1430 hrs, 1630 hrs and 1830 hrs - The main departures were at 1430 & 1630 with most services originating from locations "above" Cheltenham (inc South Wales) fed into services operating to the "south, south west & south east. At 1630 the majority of the traffic was in the opposite direction heading for Lancashire, North Wales, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire etc.
It was possible to leave Glasgow or Edinburgh on Friday evening, travel overnight to Liverpool, thence on via Cheltenham to Torquay - a journey lasting about 22 hours.
This network along with other long distance coach serevices many of which pre-dated the 1930 Road Traffic Act formed the basis what became National Express.

Regards

Ian Breeden
 

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I well remember passing Southdown coaches ... in Cornwall!

One of my reference books (by David Kaye) has photos showing:
- two Midland Red coaches (as modelled by OOC) standing in a garage belonging to Southdown at Worthing (they were on jointly operated services and gave me the excuse to buy one of these models!).
- A Southdown coach standing at Blackpool with a Crosville bus.

These serve to illustrate the point Ian made above regarding touring coaches. One could come across operators from totally foreign parts to where they were seen.
 

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QUOTE (SRman @ 19 Mar 2008, 06:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I well remember passing Southdown coaches ... in Cornwall!

How about an East Kent in Basle?

Additionally somewhere I have a photo of a Yorkshire Traction alongside a Black and White taken in Broadstairs!

Regards
 

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Hi folks

I am new here and just restarting my railway modelling after a lapse of about 25 years and of course one of the 1st magazines I purchased was the Hornby Magazine.

I have been following this subject in the magazine and as a bus and motor vehicle enthusiast I would like to add my three pennorth.

I worked for a Passenger Transport Executive in the north east from 1977 until in 1996 we were taken over by one of the large bus groups and in 1999 I transferred to the U.K. Bus Operating headquarters and was made redundant in 2000 so I think I can answer some of the queries regarding buses.

With regard to the lifespan of a bus this changed radically in October 1986 with deregulation. After that date operators would keep vehicles in service as long as repairs were viable, prior to this the following tended to apply.

When a new vehicle was completed by the bodybuilder and ready for delivery to the operator it would be inspected by a vehicle examiner from the Ministry of Transport. If the examiner was satisfied he would issue a 7 year Certificate of Initial Fitness (CoIF) thereby allowing the operator to use the vehicle for up to 7 years provided that it passed its annual PSV32 examination by the vehicle examiner from the Ministry of Transport.
Before the 7 years was up the operator had to make a decision, to withdraw the vehicle from service or attempt to get a Certificate of Fitness to allow the vehicle to be run for a further period.
Most, if not all, operators opted for the latter and prepared the vehicles to virtually "as new" standard and presented them for inspection by the Ministry of Transport. If the vehicle examiner was satisfied he would normally issue a certificate enabling the vehicle to be run for 5 years provided that it passed its annual PSV32 examination.
From this it can be seen that most vehicles would be expected to have about a 12 year life with their original operators (London Transport was always different to this due to its overhaul programme and size of the fleet).

The PTE that I worked for encountered some problems with this in about 1975/6 when one area started to suffer vehicle shortages due in the main to replacement of its trolleybus fleet in the early 1960's and insufficient new vehicles being available in the mid 1970's to replace the first generation of Leyland Atalanteans AND the vehicles that had replaced the trolleybuses therefore vehicles from other operators were hired in and some vehicles that still had time on their COF's were aquired from other operators until new vehicle became available.

In the early 1980's the inspection regome was changed so that the CoIF would last the life of the vehicle and the vehicle would be issued with an annual test certificate each year it was in service after its first year.

With regard to rear entrance half cab vehicles the last of this type of vehicle was delivered in 1969 to Stockport Corporation as part of an order for 12 Leyland PD3 vehicles with East Lancs bodywork, 6 had fron entrances with doors while 6 had open rear entrances.

I hope that this has not gone on too long and that readers find it informative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I also worked in the industry from 1965 onwards - predating NBC and the PTE's and felt one positive aspect of deregulation was the breakup of NBC and the "resurgence" of traditional company names and a variety of liveries.
Unfortunately these soon disappeared as they were swallowed up into large groups which seem obsessed with the idea of corporate identity (although British Bus tended to keep "traditional names"). Prior to 1968 neither the Transport Holding Company (THC) Group and British Electric Traction (BET) had this obsession, indeed I suspect that most members of the public were blissfully unaware that Southdown and Midland Red were part of the same group, and probably had no idea of the holding companies' existence.
Fortunately when NBC was set up someone (realised) had the intelligence NOT to name it the National Bus Group "NBG" - unlike the "genius" who came up with the idea of renaming the Cowie Group "Arriva" which according to literature issued at the time was "alphabetically advantaged". I find it amazing that at the time no one in the organisation realised (or even) cared that such a name is a stand up comic's "bread and butter" - It would love to know how many passengers wrote in asking (complaining) "Why does my bus never Arriva on time".

During the 50's & 60's there were a variety of bus chassis suppliers such as a A.E.C., Albion, Crossley, Daimler, Dennis, Foden, Guy, Leyland, Midland Red with bodies supplied by Alexander, Burlingham, Crossley, Eastern Coach Works (E.C.W.), East Lancs., Leyland, Metro- Cammell, Park Royal, A. V. Roe, Weymann, along with Duple, Harrington, Plaxton, for coaches providing a great deal of variety. Midland Red also built bodies for their own design buses and coaches and until the mid 50's both Crossley and Leyland could provide both chassis and body.

Alas long gone along with the rest of the motor industry.

Ian
For a period after
 

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hello,

nice to meet u guys,
i am a collector from HK,
pics below are some of the HK buses in the 1970s, the company was called China Motor Bus which runs on the HK island










mini-bus


mini-bus



 

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Hi Clouseau. Some rather nice models there.
I note the ex-London Transport XA Atlantean in the pics - China Motor Bus got al 50 of those off London Transport and London Country. Very nice scenic settings too - part of a larger layout or a diorama??

I have a small collection of Hong Kong buses, usually one of each casting but one or two duplications.
 

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Hi Clouseau,

That's an impressive fleet there - and a well made diorama.

Regards
 

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QUOTE (Clouseau @ 3 Apr 2008, 17:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>there were also other second-hand buses in the 1970s
Titan PD3 from Southdown

Guy ArabIV from Southdown

It's amazing where ex UK buses ended up - I know some East Kent coaches were exported to Jamaica in the 70's, I haven't managed to source any photos yet though.

Regards
 
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