Double Deckers 1951 – 1989

Double Deckers 1951 - 1989

PUF647 – Guy Arab IV – 1956 – Entry No. 217 Fleet No. 547

This vehicle was delivered in May 1956 with a Park Royal H33/26RD body and was one of the last batch of Guy’s ordered by the company. Withdrawn at the end of 1969 it was sold to the dealer F Cowley in January 1970 and then to Confidence of Leicester in May the same year. It was sold by them straight into preservation in May 1973.

RUF186 – Leyland Titan PD2/12 – 1956 – Entry No. 214 Fleet No. 786

This vehicle was delivered in December 1956 with a body produce by Beadle to a H33/26RD layout. These were the last double–deck Beadle bodies to be supplied to Southdown. Withdrawn in 1970 it was sold to F Cowley the dealer in Salford in January 1971. Somehow it found its way to France and in 1997 it was brought back for preservation in what was apparently quite a sorry state. It now looks magnificent and the upper deck interior is well illuminated by the transparent roof panel.

TCD374J – Daimler Fleetline – 1970 – Entry No. 209 Fleet No. 374

This Fleetline CRG6LX-30 was supplied in September 1970 with a Northern Counties H40/31F body. It was initially allocated to Worthing Depot and stayed there until it was sold along with the rest of the batch to Crossville Motor Services in October 1980. It was disposed of in May 1985 and was seen employed as a coffee bar H29/00F at a car auction site and then at a Rally School in Shropshire by May 1993. As yet I do not have information relating to its acquisition for preservation.

UUF110J – Bristol VRT - 1971 – Entry No. 213 Fleet No. 510

Delivered in April 1971 this vehicle was supplied with an ECW body to H39/31F layout. Initially allocated to Brighton, by February 1976 it had been transferred to Portsmouth and between April 1977 and February 1982 it carried a special livery extolling the virtues of the Portsmouth Area Travelcard. In June 1982 it was sent on loan to West Yorkshire Road Car Co. Ltd in Harrogate and upon return in January 1983 was immediately loaned to South Wales Transport Co. Ltd in Swansea until April that year.

By June 1984 it was allocated once again to Brighton and a year later to Hove. It was transferred to the newly separate Brighton Hove & District Co. in January 1986 and was repainted into that company’s livery in December that year. It was withdrawn in July 1987 being sold to a Norfolk independent (Emblings) in November. Purchased for preservation in October 1999 It has been with its current owner since June 2015.

UUF116J – Bristol VRT - 1971 – Entry No. 208 Fleet No. 516

Delivered in April 1971 this vehicle was fitted with the earlier style of ECW body with a H39/31F layout. It spent the first few years allocated to Portsmouth and had the white NBC fleet names applied in March 1973 – being repainted into NBC green in November 1974. In September 1981 it was sold to Crossville Motor Services and saw a seven years service with that operator. It was then sold to the Mersey Tunnel Authority and converted to be a mobile repair platform – the roof top was opened up but the sides remained in situ. It was with the MTA from January 1988 until 2000 but out of use by July 1995.

Initially acquired by the Merseyside Transport Trust for spares, it was realised that it was in too good a condition for this purpose and was sold into preservation in January 2002. By September 2008 the roof and the rest of the body was restored to as delivered condition.

SCD731N – Leyland Atlantean – 1974 – Entry No. 201 Fleet No. 731

This vehicle was one of 41 Park Royal H43/30F examples delivered to Southdown in 1974 and it arrived in September that year. Of course it was delivered in the standard NBC green bus livery with white band and NBC logos and was initially allocated to Worthing. It was moved to Brighton in November 1975 and repainted in June the following year. It was delicensed for a two month period in 1981 and repainted once again at the same time.

In December 1985 it was sold to London Country Bus Services Ltd. and renumbered AN298. A total of 8 of the class were moved on in this way. It moved again to The Beeline Buzz Co. Ltd., Stockport, in October 1989 becoming their No. 1669. In April 1994 it was acquired by North Western Road Car Co. Ltd., Liverpool and withdrawn in October 1995. After this it saw service with two further independent operators, finally being acquired for preservation in April 2000 and repainted in NBC green bus livery with original style of Coastliner route branding in July 2001 (something that it was not believed to carry whilst operating with Southdown).

GNJ583N – Bristol VRT3 – 1975 – Entry No. 210 Fleet No. 583

This Bristol VRT3/SL6LX with standard ECW H41/31F bodywork was new in May 1975. By January 1980 it was allocated Brighton Whitehawk garage and was still there in June 1985. From June 1984 it was wearing and overall advert for Brolac Paints.

In January 1986 it was passed to the Brighton Hove & District fleet being painted into their livery in June 1986. It was withdrawn and sold in January 1990 and after two years with an independent spent until 2005 as the Wirral Council’s Mobile Road Safety Unit. It entered preservation in late 2005 and is now part of the Seaford & District fleet.

PUF586R - Bristol VRT3 – 1977 – Entry No. 205 Fleet No. 586

Delivered in January 1977, this ECW (H43/31F) bodied vehicle was lucky to remain in Southdown ownership. Five of the ten vehicles delivered in this batch were diverted to United Automobile Services Ltd who were apparently in great need of new vehicles. In January 1980 the vehicle was allocated to Brighton (Conway Street) and was still there in June 1985. From September 1983 it carried advertisements for ‘Uncle Sam’s Beefburgers’ (as seen in the images above). In January 1986 it was transferred to Brighton, Hove & District and saw further service with that concern until June 1990.

It then moved through a succession of independent operators before entering preservation in March 2009. Regrettably since appearing at the rally it has been sold to a school furniture manufacturer and converted for use as a school classroom.

TPN103S – Bristol VRT3 – 1977 – Entry No. 216 Fleet No. 603

Delivered in September 1977 with an ECW body to CO43/27D layout the vehicle spent all of its Southdown life in the Brighton area. Transferred to BH&D in January 1986 and by July of that year it had been repainted into the new livery. It spent two months on loan to City of Oxford in September 1995 and was sold straight into preservation in January 1996.

UWV623S – Bristol VRT3 – 1978 Entry No. 204 Fleet No. 623

In order to maintain an ‘open-top’ capability for the seaside routes a batch of ‘convertible top’ VRs were ordered to replace the aging Queen Mary’s. Supplied with a CO43/31F ECW body this vehicle was numerically and physically the last to be delivered. They were outwardly standard when viewed from the outside save for a thicker moulding beneath the upper-deck windows and some lifting eyes attached to the roof. In January 1980 it was allocated to Worthing and remained there a year later. Between November 1983 and January 1985 it carried an overall advert for the Brighton Evening Argus newspaper. Still allocated to Worthing in June 1984, a year later it was at Eastbourne.

It too survived through the Management Buyout and into Stagecoach ownership (including a spell as a ‘Guide Friday’ branded vehicle on the ‘1066 Tour’ in Hastings), finally being sold to a dealer in October 1999. It moved on to operate the Whitby Town Tour between May 2000 and May 2011 and has been with its current owners in preservation since May 2011. It was repainted into the NBC green & white livery in July the same year.

XAP638S – Bristol VRT3 – 1978 – Entry No. 219 Fleet No. 638

This vehicle was yet another ECW H43/31F bodied unit delivered in July 1978. It was allocated for all of its Southdown life to the Brighton area and was one of the vehicles transferred to Brighton Hove & District in January 1986. Photographed in July 1979 at Chichester bus garage, it is seen with the service 700 Coastliner branding. In 1984 it was painted in a new allover advert for National Holidays.

In May 1986 it was repainted with the first BH&D livery and again with the modernised one in January 1998. Withdrawn in July 1999, it was sold to a local dealer in Horsham and then on to Sussex Coaches in August the same year. In June 2012 it was purchased by the Dark Star Brewery, Amberley for preservation and is often seen providing transport around the museum site.

XAP642S - Bristol VRT3 – 1978- Entry No. 202 Fleet No. 642

Delivered in July 1978 this VRT/SL3/6LXB was supplied with the standard ECW H43/31F body. It is noted as being allocated to Worthing garage in January 1980, January 1981 and June 1984. In Septmeber 1981 it was repainted in an overall advert scheme promoting the Sealink Newhaven to Dieppe ferry service – painted back into NBC green in April 1983. It had moved to Conway Street by June 1985 and was part of the mass transfer of vehicles to the separate Brighton, Hove & District Co. on 1st January 1986.

It was repainted into the first version of the BH&D livery in October 1986 and the version it carries here in May 1998. It was withdrawn and sold in May 1999. I am unsure as to when it reached a state of preservation.

AAP651T – Bristol VRT3 – 1978 – Entry No. 207 Fleet No. 651

Another example of the then standard NBC double decker with ECW H43/31F bodywork. Delivered in December 1978 it appears to have had a fairly quite life with the company until transferred to the newly separated BH&D fleet in January 1986. It was repainted into the new owners livery in November of that year and sold in October 1995 to City of Oxford Motor Services – it was sold a year later. It then passed through the hands of a number of independents (including Fishwick of Leyland) before being acquired for preservation in March 2009. In March 2013 it was fully repainted into NBC livery and had route branding added for the Regency Route 729 that operated from Brighton to Royal Tunbridge Wells.

JWV251W – Bristol VRT3 – 1980 – Entry No. 203 Fleet No. 251

Once again supplied with the now standardised NBC bodywork from ECW (H43/31F) this vehicle was delivered in September 1980. It was initially allocated to the Portsmouth area and was still there in June 1985. Life with the company appears to have been uneventful until November 1986 when it was reseated to CH43/31F (coach seats). It served through the Management Buyout period through to Stagecoach and was reseated again (back to H43/31F) in July 1992. Renumbered 351 in November 1993, it was loaned to East Kent for a week in July 1994. The final renumbering was as 7351 in November 1995.

Shortly after this time is was transferred to Hampshire bus and in May 1996 suffered a low bridge accident and was withdrawn. A decision was made to convert the vehicle to a tree lopper with roof and upper deck windows removed along with the creation of a nearside centre doorway and fitting of orange flashing lights. It entered service in this guise in July 1996. It was renumbered 15751 in the Stagecoach national scheme in December 2002 and saw use across the Hampshire and Sussex Stagecoach operating areas. For additional views of the vehicle see the Sold On page.

It was purchased by a preservationist for spare parts in November 2015 but found to be in a condition that warranted further preservation and sold on for this purpose.

JWV266W – Bristol VRT3 – 1981 – Entry No. 218 Fleet No. 266

A further example of the standard NBC double-deck vehicle with the ECW H43/31F body. Delivered in March 1981 it was initially allocated to the Portsmouth area and survived into the Stagecoach era being sold to reallocated to Hampshire bus in July 1993. It remained with that operator until September 1997 when it was sold on to an independent operator in Andover. They reregistered the vehicle IUI5036 and continued to operate it until 2010 when it was sold to a Hull based preservation group for spares. In early 2011 it entered preservation in its own right and has been with the current owner since November 2014, being painted in the Southdown green/cream livery in May 2015.

JWV275W – Bristol VRT3 – 1981 – Entry No. 220 Fleet No. 275

Delivered in April 1981, this is another example of the standard NBC double-deck vehicle with ECW H41/31F bodywork. It was allocated to Chichester for the earlier part of its life with Southdown and survived into Stagecoach ownership. In November 1993 it was renumbered 375 and withdrawn two years later. After the fitting of a replacement engine in April 1997 it was reinstated until sold to an independent in Colchester in January 1998. Entering preservation in April 1999, it passed through several owners including an operator in Basingstoke who used it for private hire work in full NBC green livery. It has been with the current owner since October 2012.

JWV976W – Bristol VRT3 – 1981 – Entry No. 212 Fleet No. 276

This was one of the very last Bristol VRTs to be delivered to Southdown and arrived in April 1981 with the standard ECW H41/31F body. The company did not purchase any new double deck vehicles until 1989. In 1984 and 85 it was allocated to Chichester garage. In 1990 it was repainted into traditional Southdown livery (complete with the ‘coaching advertisement’ on the stairwell window) and adorned with the 75th Anniversary lettering 1915 – 1990. It also appeared in model form in this guise.

Apart from a 2 month loan period to Hampshire Bus in 1994 it stayed with Southdown through Stagecoach and was sold into preservation in February 1998.

F308MYJ – Volvo Citybus B10M -1989 – Entry No. 221 Fleet No. 308

This vehicle was delivered with a Northern Counties DPFH43/33+15F body and was one of a batch of 12 such units which amounted to the only batch of double-deck vehicles ordered by the privatised Southdown Company. They were to be the last vehicles delivered in the traditional livery of apple green and primrose before the sale to Stagecoach. Stagecoach moved the vehicle around a little and there are images of it operating in Hastings and also in Exeter in 2006. This dual purpose vehicle was operating with a Norfolk independent as a school bus by September 2009