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NBC rolling stock budget up by Om

31st July 1970, Page 21
31st July 1970
Page 21
Page 27
Page 21, 31st July 1970 — NBC rolling stock budget up by Om
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

by Derek Moses

• Although the National Bus Company is spending an extra £5m for its 1971 rolling stock replacement programme, announced today, the 50 per cent increase over the 1970 figure of £9.62m represents an actual increase of about 34 per cent in the intake of new vehicles compared with the 1970 programme (CM August 8 1969).

The orders call for a total of 1895 vehicles, worth nearly Min, of which 471 are double-decker buses; 21 are double-deck coaches and the majority are single-deckers divided into three categories—stage buses, express vehicles and coaches. The proportion of double-deckers is up from 16 to 26 per cent, but the trend for the standard buses to the medium (10m) or long (11m) single-deckers continues.

Once again the ex-Tilling companies have remained faithful to the NBC subsidiary produced Bristol chassis—with one notable exception—while the number of former BET companies taking Bristols has increased, with VRT double-deckers ordered for the first time by Devon General, East Midlands, Ribble and Southdown. The latter undertaking, of course, now takes in ex-Tilling operator Brighton and Hove which pioneered the short version of the Bristol VRT double-decker and also now operates Daimler Fleetlines originally intended for Southdown!

The single-deck Bristol is no newcomer to many ex-BET fleets, although the widespread adoption of Eastern Coachworks bodies for many of the 1971 models is new. It is interesting to reflect that both former Tilling and BET undertakings are introducing ECW single-deckers with BET

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Notable exception to the ex-Tilling ompanies not taking Bristols is Crosville, vhose entire intake will be 100 Seddon RU ear-underfroor-engined single-deckers all vith Seddon bodies. Most of the chassis not wing supplied by Bristol are coming from kitish Leyland chassis plants, though mother significant order for non-BLMC iuses is that for 100 Ford R192 chassis vith Plaxton bodies for Midland Red.

Another interesting development which ffects Midland Red, among others, is the ump in the total of Leyland Atlantean louble-deckers being purchased (221 :ompared with a mere 24 for 1970). This nay be an example of the new British ,eyland sales technique of spreading the vork load evenly. Daimler Fleetline louble-deckers on order are, at 121, only

two down on 1970, although no Fleetline single deckers appear in the new list.

The switch to Atlanteans may partly be due to full order books at Coventry, where large orders are being handled for such undertakings as London Transport, West Midlands PTE, SELNEC PTE—not forgetting export orders, particularly for Kowloon. However, a rumoured shortage of Gardner engines might be partly the reason for companies such as Midland Red switching to Atlanteans and London Country plumping for Atlanteans.

British Leyland's vision of making Bristol the main producer of double-deckers is still some way off however, as only 147 of the total of 919 Bristol chassis on order are double-deckers. As 1971 will probably be the last year before the Leyland National single-decker goes into production—none are on order for 1971—Bristol's share of double-deckers may increase in the future. A surprising feature is the lack of any Duple or Willowbrook bodies ordered for 1971. No fewer than 92 chassis have not yet been allocated bodies—these are mostly coaches or express vehicles—so the Duple group may receive an allocation later.

The adoption of the Bristol VRT by Devon General fits in with Western National rationalization. Six Bristol LHS chassis for this company and six for Western National will, I understand, be fitted with ift 6in.-wide bodies to fit in to some of the Devonshire lanes.

Chassis allocation can be summarized as follows: 919 Bristol, 458 Leyland, 121 Daimler, 173 AEC (including Swifts again for East Kent and South Wales), 102 Ford, 100 Seddon, and 22 Bedford. Body allocation is: 827 ECW, 180 Park Royal, 185 Alexander, 134 Marshall, 254 Plaxton, 100 Seddon, 65 Northern Counties and 50 MC W.


People: Derek Moses
Locations: Crosville, Coventry, Bristol

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