2012 – Issue 3 of 4

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NEWSLETTER 38 JULY 2012

Completed just in time for the Barry Festival of Transport, Caerphilly 32 carries its first

passengers for over ten years. A report of the event appears in this issue. Also inside is

the first part of a new series telling the story of the early days of the Merthyr to Cardiff

bus service.

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(Paul Hamley)


Barry Depot some 35 years ago under NBC control, with Leyland National KDW 335P.

Below, in June 2012, sporting the new “The Bus Depot” sign and NBC logo, under CTPG

management with EDV 505D the MW coach owned by Richard Johnson. It looks much

better doesn’t it!

(CTPG / P. Hamley)

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CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE;

This year the Barry weather forecast certainly made for a lack of sleep right up to the

Saturday afternoon before the Festival of Transport when the BBC decided that we

would be dry. The majority of visiting buses arrived along with most of the entered cars.

We had the crowds both public and enthusiast and luckily we made some money to put

into our funds. Well done everyone who helped but we really need some additional

volunteers. Included as part of the event was the launch of member Colin Scott’s long

awaited Western Welsh story “Red, Cream and a touch of Gray.” Get your copies

while you can, it comes well recommended.

The weeks prior to the rally were very busy with MOT’s and general cleaning and

tidying, again mainly the same people, plenty of servicing and checks were performed by

our Depot team. In reality this means that we have a running fleet of eight buses,

including newcomers Cardiff Ailsa 407 which seems quite unaffected by its time on Barry

Dock and Caerphilly 32 which has been our main restoration project since its purchase

on ebay 6 years ago. The amount of man hours alone would be huge besides the quantity

of paint and new metal used. Many people have helped with this project but Alan and

Derek have been there since the beginning. Our Swift is still toying with us, it was hoped

to MOT it in time for Barry but we gave up on this after placing it onto the pits after

which it stubbornly refused to start, maybe Merthyr! The National Welsh Olympian

returned from the docks before the rally and received a coat of Poppy Red on the front

which stands out in our line up.

I hope we can take Caerphilly 32 out in July and Mike Walker should be supplying a

vehicle for us to visit the Trolley Bus Group at Marshfield in August.

We have a few more run outs to Ebbw Vale, Pontypridd and the Caerphilly Big Cheese

before the Brislington Rally in August, let me know if you are interested in coming along.

The Jones Cub visited Abertillery at the end of June for their classic vehicle show, this

was the first time in a couple of years due to its engine rebuild, several old Jones’

employees came to see us and the Cub performed well. We are hopeful that a couple

more MOT’s may be completed prior to Merthyr, one of which will be another fresh

rebuild. Come along and see!

Those passing Barry Depot will have noticed the new signage on the depot (see photo

opposite). We are very pleased with the results achieved by the Barry firm Spectrum

Displays.

I am looking to save 1958 Western Welsh AEC Reliance with Harrington bodywork

OUH 107, if you can support us in saving this classic coach please let me know.

We will also run buses and have an open day during the Tall Ships event in Barry the

week before Merthyr.

VOLUNTEERS URGENTLY NEEDED TO HELP AT MERTHYR RALLY

Mike Tel: 07733 302242 Email : mikeystrad73@btinternet.com

Also keep up to date on our Facebook page

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MEMORIES OF BUS COMMUTING IN THE 1930s by Arthur Hughes

If Arthur Hughes is still alive today he would be a couple of years short of 100 years old. At the

age of 18 in 1933 he began commuting by bus from his home in Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff.

In his retirement in Dublin he put his recollection of his younger days down on paper (we should

all do that). He contacted our own Chris Taylor some 20 years ago for assistance with a view to

publishing a book of his transport recollections. Chris was able to help him, but sadly publishers

showed little interest at that time and then suddenly Chris lost contact with Mr Hughes. In

editing the 140 page draft, Mr Hughes’s text has been left mainly as it was written. I hope

readers enjoy these memories of the A470 corridor of 80 years ago. Ed.

THE MERTHYR TO CARDIFF BUS; It was in October of 1933 that I began to

commute between Merthyr and Cardiff, a process that would last for the next four and a

half years. I lived in Merthyr, having been brought up there in the decaying years of its

descent from being the greatest iron-making town to a sad scene of desolation and

unemployment. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have found work in the City of

Cardiff, where the gloom and depression of those days were less of a prominence than

in the mining valleys that lay behind it.

Consequently, like many others, I elected to commute between the two places rather

than face the dubious comforts of some stern-faced landlady’s accommodation. There

was however, a further attraction which prompted me to opt for a shuttlecock

existence, and it was this: you see in those far off days anyway, I was undoubtedly a very

rare breed - namely a bus enthusiast, something which was literally unheard of in those

days. Things have changed a lot since then but I still get asked the stupid question now

and then by some short-sighted person, “What do see interesting about a bus?”

Merthyr was among the last town of any consequence in that part of the Principality to

be connected to Cardiff by a through bus service. The probable reason for this was the

stance of Merthyr Council towards the other bus operators. True enough, in the latter

half of the 1920s it was possible to travel between Merthyr and Cardiff by bus, provided

that the traveller had the strength and determination. To do so involved journeys on

three local services, namely Merthyr Corporation’s service to Treharris, then Jones’s

Commercial Motor Services, W.E. Evans of Treharris or Imperial Motor Services of

Abercynon to Pontypridd then with Rhondda, White’s Motors or Western Welsh to

Cardiff. The Western Welsh licences were ex. Cridland and Tresillian Motors in

November 1929. The entire journey took over two hours to complete in either

direction compared to most train transit times of about 75 minutes.

The end the 1920s was the time of the municipal bus expansion in South Wales, and

came parallel with the rise of socialism. Councils were quite willing to grant each other

licences whilst refusing them to companies or small operators using the lame excuse of

traffic congestion. The only way of getting justice was to appeal to the Ministry of

Transport, who would then set up an enquiry after which they would make a judgement.

Even after this judgement, Merthyr Council would not permit Imperial Motor Services

proper access until they were forced to carry out the Inspector’s ruling. Imperial applied

for and against stiff opposition from Merthyr Council, obtained a licence to operate from

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Merthyr via Treharris and Nelson to Abercynon, connecting into and out of their

Aberdare to Cardiff service at a bleak and inhospitable location just outside of

Abercynon and known, rather appropriately as the Traveller’s Rest (after a nearby and

completely forlorn looking pub of that name). There was only one operated journey per

day, namely the 7.35am from Merthyr with a return journey leaving Cardiff at 5.15pm.

On 8th September 1930, came the introduction of an express service directly linking

Merthyr and Cardiff, omitting the diversion via Nelson and without any change of bus on

route. This was a joint venture between (after being forced upon them) Merthyr

Corporation, Cardiff Corporation Tramways & Motors and Rhondda Tramways (which

became Rhondda Transport in 1934). Imperial Motor Services also gained licences, but

their service required a change of vehicle at Traveller’s Rest.

Mr. Hughes Monthly ticket dated October 1933.

THIS IS WHAT STARTED IT; It was in one of Rhondda buses I found myself

sitting at 8.00am on that fateful morning in October 1933, all set to begin my

introduction to daily travel on this route. An hourly service operated throughout the day

leaving Merthyr on the hour and Cardiff at half past the hour. The only odd timings were

the first bus out of Merthyr which rubbed the sleep out of its eyes at 7.10am and the last

bus out of Cardiff which bade farewell to the city lights at 10.40pm instead of 10.30. The

last bus from Merthyr was 11.00pm was in the hands of a Rhondda vehicle that went no

further than Pontypridd, from whence it made its weary way up the Rhondda valley to

the Porth depot. Similarly this bus entered service by leaving Porth at 6.55am and

proceeded down to Pontypridd from where it operated in service up to Merthyr ready

for the 8.00am departure to Cardiff.

The official running time was 80 minutes, but any driver who took much over 65 minutes

was regarded with disfavour by all regular travellers, particularly in the evenings when

the lights of home and all its comforts beckoned. The original frequency was found to be

too frequent and was later reduced. (By 2012, the Stagecoach X4 journey took just 55

minutes.)

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A feature of the operations was the nightly exchange of vehicles between Merthyr and

Cardiff Transport Departments on three nights a week. Every Monday, Wednesday and

Friday the 10.00pm ex. Merthyr and the 10.40pm ex Cardiff ended their journey in

foreign territory and spent the night among strange bedfellows. To accommodate this

bus-like version of musical chairs, the crews exchanged vehicles at Nantgarw. The other

days saw a return of these buses to their rightful garages to spend the night happily

among friends. The Rhondda bus was not affected by this rigmarole.

Sunday working ran from 1.00pm to 9.00pm from Merthyr and 1.30pm to 9.30pm from

Cardiff. All three operators retrieved their own vehicles at the end of the day’s running.

Christmas Day produced the spectacle of only the Merthyr bus venturing forth as per

Sunday timetable, but the other two operators preferred that their crews sat around

Christmas trees and pulled crackers, which left the service reduced to a three hourly

headway and the passenger intake was virtually nil. To be fair the railway operated a

Sunday service on this day. Neither Merthyr nor Rhondda systems used service

numbers but Cardiff allocated the number 41 to be carried on their bus this being their

highest route number at this time. As has already been mentioned this was officially

referred to as an “Express” service, which in practice it more or less was, but no doubt

due to some red tape, the licence as issued by the Traffic Commissioners left a small

section in the middle of the route that was nothing more than a plain and simple stage

carriage service.

It came about this way. On the down journey, picking up was restricted to that section

of route between Merthyr and the Cilfynydd tram terminus, about 13 miles away on the

outskirts of Pontypridd, after which point setting down only was permitted for the

remainder of the journey to Cardiff.

The first setting down point after leaving Merthyr was the “New Concrete Bridge” at

Quakers Yard some 9 miles down the valley. On the return run picking up was allowed

all the way to Quakers yard, after which point it was setting down only, but no passenger

was to be set down before reaching the Cylfynydd tram terminus. These zones were

protection for the Merthyr local services, the Pontypridd trams (trolleybuses from Sept.

1930) and the Pontypridd to Cardiff service. This then left a portion of the route some

3 miles long that was free of all restrictions, but most passengers used the local services

anyway. As might be expected with a joint operation of this nature, quite a variety of

buses materialised from time to time over the 4½ years which I spent on it.

When the service first commenced in September 1930, Merthyr used a Leyland Lion

PLSC or Bristol “B” until their 4 Lion LT2s were delivered in 1931. Merthyr had a

choice of Bristol “B” but usually fielded their rear entrance version that at least had no

front door to freeze our trotters off and were quite comfortable with soft sprung blue

leather covered seats. Cardiff fielded a Dennis “E” in 1930, but due to poor

performance it was soon replaced by a 6 cylinder Thornycroft “BC” with 32 seat rear

entrance body by NCME until the 5 new Leyland Tiger TS4’s were delivered in 1932.

The “BC” was smooth running with 6 cylinder side vale petrol engine but point it at a hill

and it would boil over, earning the nickname of “Teakettle”.

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A 1930 Advertisement showing a Merthyr Tydfil Corporation Bristol “B” Superbus with 32 seat

BBW bodywork. New with petrol engines these four were numbered 22-25 in the fleet.

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The first Rhondda buses on the route varied between the 1928 Bristol “B” type or the

1930 Albion PMA/PMB28 saloons. The Bristol “D” type was also used in 1931 but they

all used too much petrol for what was, for Rhondda, not a very lucrative route. So when

the five Lancets arrived the following year, one was assigned to this route. Very rarely

would we see one of the Rhondda AEC Regals as, although they could tackle the hills

well, it was the petrol consumption that kept them off our route.

When I commenced my journeying in October 1933 the regularly assigned vehicles were

as follows. For Merthyr Corporation it was a Leyland Lion, while Cardiff put its faith in

the Leyland Tiger and Rhondda trusted in the Dennis Lancet, and in almost every

respect, each was as different as chalk is from cheese.

HB 3278. Merthyr Corporation’s all Leyland Lion PLSC new in 1928.

MERTHYR’S BUS; The Merthyr Lion LT2 was an all Leyland effort with very basic 32

seat dual entrance bodies acquired in 1931. Originally they had petrol engines but in

1934 they were given Gardner or Beardmore 6 cylinder oil substitutes, the latter giving

much trouble later on. The unyielding seats were covered with a plain, drab light

brownish red cloth which always looked if it could do with thorough cleaning. The

provision of front and rear doors might have looked nice on a plan back up in Lancashire

but all it ever succeeded in doing was firstly to reduce the available legroom to an

uncomfortable degree and secondly introduce a forerunner to the present day air

conditioning systems at a fraction of the cost. Once in motion an icy blast of air swept

through the bus, entering through the badly fitting front door and exiting via the equally

loose fitting rear door.

In line with the popular choice of many municipal operators at that time, Merthyr’s livery

was the inevitable maroon below the waist with cream above, including the roof. In this

instance the maroon was light and included more brown than red, while the cream area

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was more of a buttery yellow. Due to the poor state of the roads in Merthyr at that time

the four Lions suffered cracked chassis that were replaced after a few years at the

expense of Messrs Leyland.

CARDIFF’S BUS; Cardiff Corporation, as already noted, relied on one of their

Leyland TS4 with 32 seat rear entrance NCME bodies. These were 1932 vintage, of

which they had five. Thankfully with only rear doors the icy blasts never troubled us.

These buses also came with petrol engines that were replaced by Leyland 6 cylinder oil

engines after a couple of years. This was a heart-breaking change for me as prior to this

they were an enthusiast’s dream in which to ride. The petrol engines oozed with silent

power and gave out a magic whine that was music to the ears. In the hands of a capable

driver they more than lived up to their reputation as the “Rolls Royce of Commercial

Vehicles.” These buses have left me with pleasurable memories that will live as long as I

do. After conversion they were fitted with governors which limited their top speed to

slightly less than 32 mph bringing them into line with the Merthyr Lions.

KG 1143. Cardiff No. 78, one of five NCME bodied Leyland Tiger TS4’s supplied in 1932.

Internally the seating was of the half bucket type set at a slight backward rake, covered in

a dark red leather cloth. This provided the most comfortable seating which hugged the

body of the occupant. Legroom was also ample even for the long legged. Mottled

leather cloth rose from the floor to window level matching the seating in colour and a

touch of elegance was afforded by chrome plated grab handles, shaped like a large golf

ball and attached to the rear of the seats lining the gangway. Another interesting feature

of the buses was the revolving roof ventilators which did a reasonable job of keeping the

air at a breathable level, even when loaded with a couple of pipe smokers thrown in for

good measure. The effect of these revolving ventilators was most unusual to see as they

drove past.

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Cardiff’s livery also followed the maroon and cream tradition with the former up to the

window level and the cream above it, however the shade of maroon was much deeper

and richer than that of the Merthyr vehicle and the cream came in a lighter shade of the

bovine product. The bodies were re-built before the war and again in the post-war era

and most of the batch were still in service 20 year after they were built.

RHONDDA’S BUS; The Rhondda Dennis Lancet was by contrast something of a

mixed blessing. Acquired in 1932, it was a combination of a chassis with a 4 cylinder oil

engine, of Lanova design, surmounted by a superb Weymann rear entrance 30 seat body

which was a pleasure in which to travel. This comfort was marred by the weakness of

the engine, which especially on the up journey from Cardiff was no match for the spirited

Tigers and Lions whose transit time was at least eight to ten minutes shorter that the

Dennis could do.

It was a wonderment to me that so many of these models turned up on the roads of

South Wales where hills abound and level roads are the exception. The reason

obviously was that they were cheap to buy, costing only about 2/3 rd the price of a Regal

or Tiger. Their saving grace however, was the fact that they were not fitted with a

governor and that on the down journeys could be wound up to around 45 to 50 mph

when the road was clear.

TG 2788. A Weymann bodied Dennis Lancet new to Rhondda in 1932.

Of all the coachbuilders in the 1930s the Weymann products stood out for their

excellence in both construction and finish. They had soft, well sprung and comfortable

seats covered with cherry red leather cloth, a mottled variation of which lined the walls

of the bus up to window level. A similar material shading from rose red at the sides to a

light pink in the centre covered the ceiling while polished hardwood, mahogany in

appearance, was applied around the windows and just about everywhere it was possible

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to incorporate it. It was a standard that Rhondda set during all the years I travelled on

their buses. Rhondda’s livery was an overall maroon, relieved with a chocolate band

with gold lining just below the window level. The mudguards were black and the fleetname

was carried in gold letters not only on the side of the bus but also on the rear. In

this case the maroon was more a true representation of this colour and was similar to

that used by the LMS Railway Co.

Jack-knife doors were fitted to all three types of bus and their operation was quite a

chore for the conductor, though this varied from the Merthyr’s Leyland with its loose

fitting doors which were almost as difficult to keep shut as they were to open, to the

Rhondda’s tight fitting variety which kept out the dust, but require brute force to open

and shut with liberal applications of oil from the dipstick when no-one was looking.

So much for the buses I travelled on: Next time we shall look at the route and the other

buses I found on my journeys. (Photos from the Chris Taylor Collection)

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BARRY DOUBLE DECK CENTENARY;

In July 1912 this type of bus was the first double deck to run on the streets of Barry.

Thomas White of the Barry Motor Bus Co. purchased three Saurer 24/28 hp chassis

with 34 seat open top

bodywork by Brown & Hughes

from Hull Corporation.

These buses were from a batch

of 6 new in 1905 to the Mersey

Railway Co.

Mr. White tested these buses

at Hull and bought them for

£400 with spares and arranged

for them to be transported to

Barry by rail. It was said that

two were kept in the Kendrick

Road garage and one in the

garden of his home at 105

Broad Street, Barry. (opposite

Barry Depot, next to the tyre

sales (the words “Barry Garage” can still be seen on the wall in College Road).

At least one bus was later converted into a charabanc and it was said that the two

double decks were still in store at the Kendrick Road Garage in 1924.

------------------------------------

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APRIL MEETING;

The attendance was down a little for our meeting at Penarth Conservative Club on 18 th

April. Our member Robert Edworthy travelled down from Rogiet, near the Severn

Bridge, to give us an evening slide show (from a C.D. actually!).

Firstly we saw a selection of 400 views of Western Welsh, Red & White and National

Welsh buses and after the break there were views of the vehicles of South Wales

Transport, United Welsh and Thomas Bros.

Thanks, Robert for entertaining us once again.

-----------------------------------------

MAY ROAD RUN;

Our first road run of the year followed the well-trodden route down the Vale towards

Llantwit Major on one of the few sunny spring evening of this year. Our transport was

the double deck known as “Ponty No.8” ably driven by Paul Burgess.

Along the Cowbridge by-pass the bus pulled well up the hill but when Bonvilston was

reached it seemed to automatically come to a halt outside the “Red Lion” which was

fortuitous as most had by then worked up quite a thirst.

Let’s hope we have a few more passengers on our subsequent road runs, after all it’s still

a cheap evening out.

-------------------------------------------

FAREWELL TO CHELTENHAM;

This event held on 27 th May is likely to be the last in a series of rallies celebrating the

importance of the former Black & White Motorways coach interchange at St Margaret’s

Road in Cheltenham. Cheltenham lost interchange status on 22 Jan 1984. On the 28

April 1985 Black and White Motorways was absorbed by Cheltenham and Gloucester

Bus Co. (later Stagecoach West). The site was closed late 1980's and the buildings were

demolished in 1990, when the site became an open air car park. It is understood that

redevelopment of the site is set to commence later this year, so sadly that may be the

end of what’s left of the famous coach interchange site.

Paul Hamley describes the day ---

An early start was made from Barry Depot on Sun 27 th may at 8.0am with a small group

of members, and Alan Jones in the cab in charge of the Beast (Tiger). HWO 323 has the

benefit of wind-down windows which was a real bonus with the hot weather. There

followed a nice gentle run up the M4/M5 with the Tiger "purring" along nicely, although

we did get overtaken on the M5 by North Somerset Coaches newly purchased 1961

Tiger Cub/ Alexander (ex Fife), which was already parked up when we arrived.

We got to the rally site in central Cheltenham at1030 and the weather was sweltering,

with a little patchy cloud arriving by about 3 p.m. There was a nice selection of mostly

coaches (all regulars), and we were parked next to one of only 5 double deckers there,

our coaches favourite friend, the ex R&W Guy Arab HWO342. The other 4 double

decks were the FLF open top in BH&D livery, an ex-Oxford dual purpose VR mark 2

looking immaculate, another VR a mark 3 ex Badgerline, and of course a ubiquitous RM.

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Richard Johnson arrived a little after us with the Royal Blue MW, and parked opposite.

He had left on Saturday, and overnighted in Stroud. The group stall was then set up as it

had been on his coach.

There were regular trips from the site, mostly to the racecourse, and the open top FLF

was in action all day full to the brim on every trip. We left in the Tiger just after the

mass departure at 4 pm and after an uneventful journey arrived back at the depot about

6.30. Coming back down the M5 we even managed to overtake one of the other

vehicles from the rally, the Bristol groups’ ex-East Kent Regent V breakdown tender,

although this did seem to be having a few problems.

---------------------------------------

BARRY AT WAR;

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The CTPG played role in

the Barry at War Weekend

which was held a week after

our Festival. Organised to

recall the 70 th anniversary of

the U.S. Troops arriving the

town, the event was well

attended.

In conjuction with the Barry

Tourist Railway we provided

an hourly bus service from

the Hood Road site to the

exhibition at Barry Island

Priority movement! US troops make a dash while PAX Station calling at our depot

loads up with passengers from the station. . which was open to visitors.

A British Reconnaissance Officer on leave rides home on PAX.

Note the wartime poster inside our bus. A nice touch! (photos Tudor Thomas)

The vehicle used was PAX

466F the ex. Bedwas &

Machen Leyland PD3. This

was fully loaded on the

Sunday when the weather

improved.

Among the miltary vehicles

at Hood Road were several

Ford GPW & Willys MB

Jeeps, GMC 6x6 trucks, a

Diamond T 969 wrecker and

surprisingly a life size replica

Supermarine Spitfire.


2012 BARRY FESTIVAL OF TRANSPORT;

Sunday 10th June dawned with the weather looking indecisive (pretty much like our

Swift). I arrived at the site at about 8.30, with a smattering of vehicles already there

(mostly our own), but the classic cars soon started arriving in their droves, group by

group or individually, and by 10 o' clock there were practically 150 on site all neatly

parked up on the grass. The amount of MGs has to be seen to be believed. Some car

owners decided to brave it out, and brought out the deck chairs and picnic hampers!

This all kept the Barry Sea Cadets on the gate busy.

The buses were also arriving with most of the regulars in attendance, and by 1030 there

was a large queue waiting for the bus trips to start. First off the blocks was the debut

bus, Caerphilly 32 and this performed faultlessly for most of the day, creating much

interest among the public. It also performed the last trip of the day to the Island (the

first trip I managed to ride on all day). Cardiff Ailsa 407 was also performing public

duties for the first time in over 4 years, and this was well patronised, especially when it

did the Sully service in tandem with an immaculately restored sister Ailsa JOV 739P from

WMPTE.

The Barry Tourist railway also provided an intensive service using its class 101 unit.

At about 11.00 we were visited by VIPs in the form of the Assembly Member for the

Vale, Jane Hutt and Lis Burnett, the Vale Council Cabinet member for Regeneration,

Innovation, Planning & Transportation who along with bus loving radio personality Roy

Noble and our Chairman Mike Taylor, all rode on the AEC Renown "Megan" up to the

depot.

Once at the depot the stage was set for the launch of Colin Scott’s new book on the

Western Welsh Omnibus Company named “Red, cream & a touch of Gray.” Roy Noble

amused the crowd with his reminiscences of his youth journeying on the “Western

Welsh.”

There were several transport related sales stalls inside the depot and most seemed to

do good business. Our refreshment room (aka Fitter’s Mess) was well frequented as

was our museum room. The CTPG has received many more donations of bus artefacts

and this year has installed four extra glass cabinets in the Brinkworth Room to display

some of these items.

Back at the Hood Road rally site the crowds settled down for the day, and the Hot Food

stall had a long queue all day long. Unfortunately this year, there wasn’t an Ice Cream

van on site as by mid-day it was very hot and muggy, with hazy sunshine (at least it

wasn’t raining like last year).

However, it was too good to last, and by about 3.0'clock it started to rain. Not too

heavily, but enough to get people to pack up, and by 4 o'clock most of the cars had left

and the buses from further away were also going. The free trips were still being well

patronised (including the two open-toppers which got a little damp).

All in all it was a great improvement on last year.

(Paul Hamley)

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On its debut show with CTPG, the former Cardiff Bus Ailsa NDW 407X carries its first

passengers for over four years, while below passengers alight from our Guy open-topper

and others board former Pontypridd No.8 at the Hood Road rally site. (Paul Hamley)

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LEYLAND’S OLYMPIC HOPE;

Over the next few weeks the 2012 London Olympic Games will

be in full swing. Let me take you back to 1948, the last time that

the Olympics Games were held in London.

Leyland Motors planned to announce their new under floor

engine bus at the London Commercial Motor Show that year,

hence the model name ‘Olympic.’

Due to production problems the announcement was delayed

until the following year when four pre-production examples

were assembled at the MCCW factory in Birmingham, though

production models would be produced by Weymann at

Addlestone. Designated HR40 for 40 passengers the Olympics

were 27’ 6’’ long 7’ 6’’and featured integral construction with a

horizontal version of the proven 0600 engine.

Sales were not great. London Transport were loaned an early demonstrator for their

Green Line services, but no orders followed.

In South Wales, Red & White Services received the first two HR40 production models in

May 1950 that remarkably had 3 fleet no’s in the first 18 months, (on paper anyway)

79/80, S8-9/50, & U8-9/50. United Welsh took Olympic No.3, which 14 years later was

transferred to the R&W fleet. James of Ammanford also bought an example. In later

years, Llynfi Motors of Maesteg would become the home to two of the four

demonstrators KOC 241-2.

Within months of its first

appearance the maximum

permissible length for single

decks was increased to 30 feet

and subsequently a 44 seat

version (HR44) appeared at

the 1950 show. The Olympic

was well-built with strong

mechanicals but many UK

operators of that time viewed

integrals with distrust. The

Olympic was quite heavy and

R&W HWO 379 was the first production HR 40 model. showed little advantage as an

integral. The same components

were fitted to a separate chassis version with the same 15’ 7’’ wheelbase and announced

in 1950 as the ‘Royal Tiger’. The Royal Tiger immediately became popular with UK

operators. This trend continued in 1951, as Western Welsh took delivery of only ten 44

seat Olympics but 25 Royal Tigers, all with Weymann bodywork.

The first series Olympic gained only 90 sales in the UK, but subsequent models became

more popular in overseas markets.

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BUS STAFF PHOTO;

Can any reader please identify the occasion or the location? The bus in the background

appears to be DWN 2, a Daimler COG5 that was new to Swan Motor Co., Swansea in

1940. By 1947 it had been taken into the fleet of Red & White Services, then from 1951

it spent 3 years with United Welsh Services.

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WWW? By Berwyn Prys Jones.

It was supposed to be an ‘url’ weekend a weekend of the three ‘w’s, Weston, Wells

and Wythall . but the heavy rain on the Easter Monday meant that it didn’t quite work

out like that.

Question: where, within 15 miles, of Cardiff can you now travel on a Lodekka in regular

service? There’s a trick of course: it has to be 15 miles as the crow flies, across the

Bristol Channel in Weston-super-Mare.

And it was around the sixty or so miles of that estuary, spurred on by an advert for the

Weston-super-Mare Transport Pageant in Bus and Coach Preservation magazine, that I

went on Easter Saturday to get to Weston, a place I’d never visited in all the forty years

I’ve lived in Cardiff.

Having arrived at First-dominated Weston fairly early and noticing its preponderance of

S-registered double-deckers, I was on the point of finding a place to park when I looked

in the mirror to see behind me the reverse ‘Crosville’ fleet-name adorning the front of a

Dennis Dart in traditional livery. Thoughts of the recent Crosville-liveried Darts in

Colwyn Bay and Aberystwyth crossed my mind but this was rather far from the those

oh-so-civilised parts ...

The Dart quickly turned off and disappeared. I found a place to park and walked back to

the promenade where the Transport Pageant was slowly getting its act together. One

old car stood out for me a Morris Imperial, one of only a few built and described on

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its ‘blurb’ as the product of a hopelessly uneconomic enterprise. The only bus of any

variety was a Mercedes-Benz First-liveried minibus. So far, so disappointing!

Things improved rather unexpectedly when one of the the Pageant’s stands turned to be

that of Avon Owls. No, not a North Somerset imitation of all-night TfL services, but

real owls from various parts of the world, rescued and looked after by a preservationist

who sounded as enthusiastic and committed, in his own way, as a couple of well-known

characters down at Barry depot.

The owls ranged from a fair-sized beast to a tiny little one, though all shared that

fearsome look of the born predator. For a pound you could get to hold one on your arm

on a leather ‘saddle’, of course but I left that to a load of delighted kids.

Still no buses, so a walk along the prom ensued to see the pier and the donkeys. I hadn’t

seen the latter since a Sunday School trip by coach to Rhyl as a teenager nearly half a

century before. Back at the Pageant, a few more interesting cars had arrived but nothing

remotely omnibological.

It was 11.30 and with no promising indications, I decided reluctantly to go home. Driving

the car back down towards the Prom, though, another vision in Crosville-like cream and

cream appeared, but this time on a Lodekka with ‘Southern Vectis’ on its side. I managed

to catch up with it no easy feat on a prom as busy as Weston’s. I also managed to pull

in behind and was told by the driver that it would be leaving for Burnham-on-Sea in 20

minutes. The ‘old bus’ ran, apparently, at 12 and 2. Ten minutes and a reserved parking

space later, I was on the point of getting on the Lodekka (YDL 318) when I was asked by

a welcoming couple whether I’d also be coming to Wells the following day!

We left the prom at 12 and traversed an intricate route through Weston. It seemed to

involve the twistiest and roughest piece of road in the whole town, making life more

than a little difficult for the poor conductor, a youngish man who enjoyed some spirited

and such-enjoyed repartee with his passengers.

We eventually turned and twisted our way out of Weston with the Lodekka showing a

nifty turn of speed. Past the Weston General Hospital and on to a short climb and we

were away on the gentle downward-sloping A370 to Bridgwater as far as the turning to

Burnham-on-Sea. There was the occasional sighting of further Crosville-liveried Darts

combined with crossing the Great Western main line a couple of times. A glimpse of the

M5 across a field or two made a pleasant sight and we were soon in Burnham. I’d hoped

for a photo-stop there, but it was not to be. We dropped some passengers off and

started on our return journey.

I’d expected us to go back the way we’d come but no, we went along the seafront past

Pontin’s holiday camp and took the road to Lympsham. On flatlands, you expect the

roads to be straight and trouble-free but, just like the road over the Wentloog levels,

this one was twisty, occasionally narrow and fairly well-trafficked. I lost count of the

number of ninety-degree bends. The poor driver’s elbows and knees must have come in

for some pretty dire punishment. Then there was a rather narrow hump-backed at one

point with, just beyond it, a handily-placed gate entrance just large enough to park a car

in ... We eventually re-joined the A370 and returned to Weston promenade along a

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less punishing route than on the outward leg to end one hundred minutes of pretty

continuous Lodekka travel.

Though tempted to join the two o’clock service, I decided to ‘chase’ the Lodekka and

film it climbing out of Weston and later on its return over said hump-backed bridge.

The first sequence was a 180-degree shot that almost wound my legs into an inextricable

tangle while the second, by the bridge, gave me a view of the Lodekka coming some

distance away and enabled me to set up the camcorder and take a couple of still shots as

well. Some shortcut chicanery meant that I was able to film another sequence as the

Lodekka sped along the A370 back to Weston.

Impressions? Compared to the Cumbrian Classic Coaches trip on their ex-Crosville

Lodekka or ex-Bamber Bridge Titan, it doesn’t have the wild scenery of the pass from

Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale and the traffic in Weston tends to be heavy but if you,

like me, are a Bristol fan, it’s well worth driving/swimming/paragliding over the Severn

Sea (as we call it in Welsh) to sample its delights.

The following morning saw me head for Wells, not the easiest place to get to from

Cardiff, especially when there’s a three-way set of traffic lights hence long queues at

Cheddar. The weather wasn't as good as on the previous day either, so I wasn’t too

surprised to see that not too many enthusiasts had turned up at Wells to sample the

running day. As I arrived, though, a fairly well-loaded LH departed the left half of the bus

station that had been allocated to the rally for the day.

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There were eight or nine preserved buses there, all from the Bristol collections and

ranging from a 1949 L to a couple of fairly ‘modern coaches’, a Leyland/Plaxton one and a

Van Hool-bodied Volvo.

A trip on the Bristol K (OHY 938) took us to the nearby village of Wookey where some

difficulty was encountered in trying to get a rather large bus along the narrow road

through a small village fairly well lined with cars. We eventually got to the car park of

Wookey Hole where we were able to turn and then return to Wells with far less

difficulty. A ride to Glastonbury on Lodekka 969 EHW followed and then another ride

on the K out to Green Ore. Sitting in the front seat downstairs, I watched the driver

an old hand by all accounts experiencing some difficulty in getting the K into gear at

one point. Tricky things, these sixty year old buses! Fortunately, there was no traffic

around and all was well until we returned along the narrow road in Wells where a male

driver obstinately refused to follow the pattern set by other, mostly female, drivers and

mount the pavement to let our K pass ...

I’d hoped to get a ride on both the L (LHY 976) and NHU 2 (the prototype LS) but

neither seemed to want to come out to play. Bristol LH DHW293K seemed keener to

leave Wells and having seen that it had once belonged to Thomas of Llangadog (whose

buses had, for a year, taken me to secondary school) I was suddenly keen to join it for a

ride to Shepton Mallet via Dinder.

What two girls in an otherwise deserted Shepton Mallet bus station made of the unlikely

appearance of an LH with serious-looking gentlemen on board I’ll never know.

Back to Wells again and time to leave. Luckily for me, the L had now sprung to life and

left a side road ahead of me. It headed north-east on the A39 and soon started to climb

a long, long hill. Its steady but slow climb led its very sensible driver to pull in here and

there to allow cars to pass. I was very grateful as it meant that I could pass the L, stop at

a couple of handily-placed locations and film it as it went by. There could hardly have

been a better end, for me, to the inaugural Wells Running Day.

The following day, being a bank holiday, it rained, so my third destination of Wythall had

to be left till some later date in the year. Still, as the song says, ‘two out of three ain’t

bad’.

--------------------------------

JUNE ROAD RUN:

On the rainy evening of 20 th June our group travelled to Cardiff to follow the old 36

service route from Cardiff to Caerphilly. Our steed was former Rhymney Valley 16, the

1979 Leyland Leopard YBO 16T with an East Lancs B51F body. Withdrawn in 1989 it

continued in service with several Midland operators and was expertly restored last year

by our member Martyn Evans. He took a back seat to let Paul Burgess drive on this

occasion. During the break at Caerphilly most of our group walked over to the new

Wetherspoons that also has a tenuous transport link. The pub is named the “Malcolm

Uphill” after a local motorcyclist who was the first to lap the TT course at over 100

mph. On our return home we stopped briefly at the site of the old Caerphilly UDC

depot in Mill Road which is now covered with private housing.

22


The above was published in a 1960 Western Welsh Bulletin. What a relief that this

scheme was amended before it came into force in the Cardiff area in February 1964 with

ABO 1B (Cardiff) and ANY 1B (Glamorgan). It would have been even worse than the

present silly system.

-----------------------------------------

LET’S PUT THE BOOT IN!

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DATES FOR YOU DIARY;

Evening Meetings are held at 7.30pm at Penarth Conservative Club and

Summer road runs will depart from Barry Depot at 7.00pm.

Please check our website for updates. www.ctpg.co.uk

Wed. 18 July

Sat. 21 July

Sun. 22 July

Sat. 28 July

Sat. 11 Aug.

Sun. 12 Aug.

Wed. 15 Aug.

Sat/Sun. 1/2 Sept.

Sun. 9 Sept.

Wed. 19 Sept.

Wed. 17 Oct.

Sat/Sun. 20/21 Oct.

Wed. 21 Nov.

Wed 19 Dec.

Evening Road Run from Barry Depot 7.00pm.

Ebbw Vale Classic Bus Show & Family Fun Day.

Celebrate15 years of “Bus & Coach Preservation” Magazine

at Newbury Showground.

Caerphilly “Big Cheese” Festival at the castle.

Pontypridd Vintage Transport Day, Ynysangharad Park.

Bristol Group & Avon Valley Running Day at Brislington.

Road Run to C&SWTP Trolleybus Group at Marshfield

Tall Ships Event at Barry Waterfront. Supported by CTPG

Open day at the depot on both days.

Bus & Coach Wales 2012, again at Rhyd y car Leisure Centre,

Merthyr Tydfil. URGENT; Volunteers required as Marshals.

Talk by Stephen Wren of Stagecoach in South Wales arranged

by the CTPG and the Omnibus Society.

A Western Welsh Evening with author Colin Scott.

Cardiff Model Railway Show at Glantaff School, Bridge Road,

Llandaff. CTPG will provide a bus service on Saturday only.

Slide Show TBA.

Quiz Night hosted by Chris Taylor.

EDITOR’S NOTES;

The only member to email me the correct answer to the

mystery bus in the last issue was John Shearman of

Tunbridge Wells. John identified it as a Fordson Thames 7V

with Thurgood bodywork, registered early in 1949 by

Oxford CBC. Well done John!

Now try the one below! During World War 2 it ran in the

Bristol area issued with the registration HHY 181.

(G. Bruce Collection)

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About the CTPG

The CTPG lease the former Western Welsh Depot on Broad Street, Barry from the Vale of

Glamorgan Council. The CTPG organises two vehicle rallies each year and holds a monthly meeting on

the third Wednesday of each month at the Penarth Conservative Club. Members receive a quarterly

newsletter and if they wish they can help to restore the Group’s buses, ride on them and travel to

rallies.

The Group aims to preserve representative samples of the buses that ran in South East Wales and the

Valleys, as well as memorabilia and records of the operating companies.

Annual membership of the Group is £20, which runs from the date of joining. Joint membership is also

available for £25.

CTPG Committee

Chairman

Mike Taylor, 10 Ger Nant Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed CF82 7FE

Phone: 07733 302242

email: mikeystrad73@btinternet.com

Deputy Chairman Chris Taylor, 31 Heol Wen, Rhiwbina Cardiff CF14 6EG Phone:

02920 693734

Secretary

Gayle Alder, 16 Carter Place, Fairwater, Cardiff CF5 3NP

Treasurer Paul Hamley email: squash33@btinternet.com

Membership Secretary

Derek Perry, 11 Countess Place, Penarth CF64 3UJ

Other Non Committee Post Holders

Editor Viv Corbin email: viv.corbin@ntlworld.com

Webmaster CTPG Mac Winfield email: postmaster@ctpg.co.uk

Publicity Officer Tudor Thomas email: tudoralt@cf14.freeserve.co.uk

www.ctpg.co.uk

Published by the Cardiff Transport Preservation Group

(Registered as a Charity No. 1063157)

The opinions and views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Group, its

Committee or the Editor. Every effort is made to give due credit for all photographs and material used

in this newsletter. Should there be any unintended breach of copyright; the Editor must be informed to

enable a correcting acknowledgement to be made.

26


A row of Bedford coaches at the 2012Barry Festival. SB, WPT 738 and OB’s KEL94 & KYE

905. Colin Scott & Roy Noble display the new book on Western Welsh, while Renown driver

Tony Jenkins and his conductor John James look on.

(V. Corbin / T. Thomas)

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