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
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)
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
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 : email@example.com
Also keep up to date on our Facebook page
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
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
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
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”.
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.
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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.
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;
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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)
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
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.
Mike Taylor, 10 Ger Nant Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed CF82 7FE
Phone: 07733 302242
Deputy Chairman Chris Taylor, 31 Heol Wen, Rhiwbina Cardiff CF14 6EG Phone:
Gayle Alder, 16 Carter Place, Fairwater, Cardiff CF5 3NP
Treasurer Paul Hamley email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Derek Perry, 11 Countess Place, Penarth CF64 3UJ
Other Non Committee Post Holders
Editor Viv Corbin email: email@example.com
Webmaster CTPG Mac Winfield email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publicity Officer Tudor Thomas email: email@example.com
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.
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)