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Metrocentre Rally, May 2001
AEC Regent III (1950)

This AEC (Associated Equipment Company) Regent III dates from 1950, and was new to Newcastle Corporation Transport. It carries a 56 seat Northern Coachbuilders body and sports the livery that was taken over from the trolley bus fleet. Until 1949 buses were dark blue; the yellow livery that cheered our streets was intended to express the bright new direction that the trolley buses represented in people transport.

Newcastle had the largest trolley bus system in Britain before Tory councillor later Tynemouth MP Neville Trotter, no doubt in league with the mighty oil companies, axed the system in the mid 1960s.

Another Regent III, this time new to York Pullman in 1954, always amazes visitors wherever it is shown with its immaculate body finish. It was a rather old fashioned bus for 1954, but built on a robust and dependable design. It has been involved in some nasty smashes in its life, and the wonderful body condition is in part due to recent rebuilds.

Today it showed its 6 cylinder 9.6 litre diesel power unit.

Regent III production finally ceased in 1957, although the Regent V appeared in 1954. (The Regal IV was a single deck variant of the Regent III, produced between 1950 and 1955. These are often called RF because of its London Transport designation)

AEC Regent III (1954)
Albion CX39N (1949)
AEC Routemaster (1962)
Bedford OLAZ (1952)

The Albion CX39N, built in 1949, has an unusual 33 seat ACB body. It ran for Economic of Sunderland for many years, as seen here, but finished its working life with Don Smith, a local coach operator.

To the left is an ex London Transport AEC Routemaster. This type was developed for LT and first appeared in 1957 as a variant and much improved version of the Regent V. This is an earlier model being only 27' 6" long. The 30' versions were made from 1962 and many older ones were later lengthened.

This example, RM 835, was built in 1960 and like the first batch of production buses from 1957 does not have opening front upper deck windows. It now lives at the Clydemaster Preservation Group, Brentwood, Essex.

Another Scottish connection is this Bedford OLAZ. It is a late example, being from 1952; the production ran from 1939 until 1953. It carries a Duple body, an illustration of the long association between Bedford and Duple.

This bus ran in the Western Isles and was operated by Caledonian Macbraynes, who also ran ferries and freight.

This model is very similar to the much more numerous Bedford OB produced at the same time. The main difference being in wheelbase: 14' 6" for the OB and 13' 1" for its shorter variant.

Bristol RELL (1967)

Now some Bristols. Above is one of eleven RESL buses with Eastern Counties bodies supplied new to South Shields Corporation in 1967. By some strange coincidence this bus appears to have been much photographed during its working life and this well preserved bus stands as a reminder of how standards of comfort took a dive with the introduction of engine vibration designed to loosen every joint, and a gear change to dislodge the spine.

The VR model to the right from 1978 was little better in this regard. It was a stiff and uncompromising design.

Bristol VR (1978)
Bristol RE (1972)
Dennis Loline (1958)

A more comfortable ride was offered by these RE models, intended for longer haul journeys. Responsive springs, cushioned engine mounts, and a well adjusted pneumo-cyclic gearbox was all it needed. This example is from 1972.

The Dennis Loline to the left was a variant of the Bristol Lodekka. This one was built in 1958 for Middlesborough Corporation.

Now some Leylands are on parade. Below is the 1939 Tiger TS8 with a 32 seat Roe body that was No. 159 in the Sunderland and District fleet

Below is a Leyland Tiger PS1 of 1947 that was No. 48 in the Chesterfield fleet with its Crossley body. Below that is a 1966 Leyland Panther, No. 53 in the Sunderland Corporation fleet. This has a 47 seat Strachan body and heralded the introduction of fast moving one person operation. Below that is the Leopard L1 of 1964, a bus version of a successful coach chassis, run by Eden Transport of Bishop Auckland and later by Stanhope Motor Services. Finally, a Scania low floor chassis with a Wright body sets the standard for today.

Leyland Tiger TS8 (1939)
Leyland Tiger PS1 (1947)
Leyland Panther (1967)
Leyland Leopard L1 (1965)
Scania Wright Lowfloor (2001)

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