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Website launched in August 1996, and this page was last updated on 25 February 2017.

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'Tis the season of goodwill again, and this time we have a great wintery view of some Ipswich buses of the past from the lens of Stuart Ray. In the winter of 1983/84 Stuart recorded ex Leicester Bristol RELL No.122 (TRY 122H) and Atlantean No.22 (SDX 22R) taking a breather in the bus station at Electric House, Ipswich. The RELL has been preserved.

This atmospheric image gives me the opportunity to wish all my readers and contributors
Best wishes to everyone and many thanks to Stuart for letting me use the photo.

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Here's a new Mystery Picture for Christmas sent in by Roy Parrish. I'm sure most of you are very familiar with London Transport bus tickets, but usually the big number in the middle is a price. What does it mean when you find a big "M" on your ticket? Military? Monthly Season Ticket? Mickey Mouse?

We have agreed between us that the colour of the ticket (however it may appear on your screen) can best be described as "salmon pink". The back of the ticket, by the way, is the same as a million others. No surprises there.

Does anyone know what this is all about? As always, email me here if you can offer some answers.

Well, Bob Wingrove seems to have the solution. Apparently inflation was so high in the 1970s that bus fares kept rising constantly and it was hard to keep the ticket fare denominations up to date. Sometimes you had to issue two tickets to add up to the new high fare. So London Transport (who were using Gibson ticket machines at the time - you know, the white paper tickets rolled out with a handle) started using letters for each fare, known as "alpha fare codes". A chart displayed in the bus explained what each letter represented in cash terms - for example maybe "D" = 20p. If the fare went up, LT just changed the chart, but the 'alpha code' ticket for a particular journey stayed the same.

As a backup in case the Gibson machine broke down, conductors had an emergency supply of the old Bell Punch tickets with letters printed on them instead of numbers. Roy's "M" ticket is one of those. Thanks for explaining it Bob, I knew nothing about all that. I suppose that Roy's ticket is still a bit unusual - certainly I'd never seen one before.

Bob adds "We can also date the ticket in a way; the printing press that produced them stopped being used in 1989 ..... I now own that too!"

Dave Drury confirmed the same explanation, and Sean Williams went one further. He said "In 2016 I travelled in RML2515 of Routemaster Buses Ltd in Crewe, and I photographed the old adverts including this one for the pricing of tickets." Thanks Sean. Who would have guessed that this query could be answered in rhyme?


The best suggestion for Philip Slynn's picture of a caravan conversion near Hull was that it might be a Roe-bodied Leyland Lion. We never really got a definitive answer.


On 10-12 March 2017 London's iconic Victoria Coach Station will be celebrating its 85th birthday with a three-day Coach Festival featuring vehicles from every decade since the grand opening on 10th March 1932. The Festival will showcase coaches, artefacts and presentations on the history of coach travel in Britain. There will be stalls from current operators, as well as a number of competitions raising money for Transport for London's chosen charity - The Transport Benevolent Fund. The most modern coaches will be on display and available for inspection and boarding, alongside preserved vehicles dating from the late 1920s to the 1990s.

Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust is assisting TfL in organising the event by encouraging the owners of preserved coaches to bring their vehicles to this iconic and nostalgic setting to celebrate its 85th Anniversary. Vehicles on display will be parked in Lanes 1-4 at the eastern end of the coach departure area and nearest to the main passenger entrance and facilities. The display area will be cordoned off from the operational area to allow free circulation of the public around the preserved coaches.

If you have a coach that was originally operated by one of the principal express coach companies or might possibly have been 'on-hire' to one of these companies at peak holiday weekends, please bring your vehicle to the gathering. You can find an entry form on the TV&GWOT website here or you can email Colin Billington for more information.

Welcome to the home of classic buses and coaches on the net - I'm Dick Gilbert. This site is all about nostalgia for British passenger transport vehicles from the 1920s to the 1960s, with an unashamed bias towards 'halfcabs'.

Each page has a different colour scheme which is supposed to be reminiscent of some bus or coach company from the era, and this one is meant to represent Western / Southern National. As a result of this arrangement, some of the pages are hard to read, and some will scramble your brain. I'm sure you'll manage.

My interest in British buses began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the buses and coaches that were around then are all 'classics' now. It was an interesting period, when there were still pre-war and wartime 'utility' machines about (although mostly on the point of retirement), and a large number of halfcab vehicles that had been built immediately after the war. At the same time, new products like the Leyland Atlantean, AEC Regent V, and a host of 'modern' coach designs (Plaxton Panorama, Harrington Cavalier, Weymann Fanfare etc.) were appearing. It was a transitional period when vehicles from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s could all be seen in use at the same time.

Having been born in south London, London Transport was the first operator that I lived with, then we moved to Sussex and I grew up with Southdown, Maidstone & District, East Kent, and the municipal fleets of Eastbourne and Brighton, as well as the large number of excursion coaches that used to visit the south coast every summer.

In the early 1960s I used to make trips to London to visit Victoria Coach Station, or see the last of the London Transport trolleybuses, or the last halfcab single deckers (TDs). Unfortunately, although I saw what I went to see, most of the photographs I took are not particularly brilliant, or have been lost. However I do have some black & white pictures taken at Victoria Coach Station, London, and in Sussex between 1960 and 1962 which are barely reasonable, and some of them appear around this site. Here's one;

Lincolnshire Leyland Cub

This was taken at 'The Crumbles', Eastbourne, in the summer of 1962, where Claude Lane was running the narrow gauge Eastbourne Tramway (now moved to Seaton, Devon). He had used this ex Lincolnshire Road Car Leyland KPZ01 Cub as a lorry in the past, and it was left to rot outside his depot. New in May 1937 it was FW 8855, originally fleet number LC502, one of thirty delivered that year with Brush B20F bodies. I guess someone might rescue it these days.

I attend a few rallies around the country, and like to see the old machines that people have restored. Reviews and/or pictures of some of the shows I attend appear on the pages here, although it can take a while before I get round to it. The whole idea of the site is to entertain the sad souls (like me !) who have a soft spot for old PSVs, and also be a sorting office for information on the subject.

It's all for fun, so relax and have a wistful rummage through the scrapbook. If you weren't around in the 1960s (and they say that, if you were, you won't remember it) then these pages might provide an insight into the variety of glamorous machines that could be seen on British streets at the time.

Incidentally, this site has no connection whatsoever with Classic Bus magazine, but I thoroughly, absolutely, unreservedly and totally recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject. It is published 6 times a year, and regular readers all wish it was 12 times a year. Folk in the UK should be able to order it through their newsagents. Those offshore should contact Classic Bus Publishing Ltd., 18 Brunstane Road, Edinburgh, EH15 2QJ, Scotland. When it falls on your doorstep it's like when the delivery guy has brought you a really good pizza.

Please keep in touch, as changes are taking place here all the time, and let me know if you spot a mistake somewhere - I do try to keep things pretty accurate. I know that there are some real boffins out there, and I need you to tell me when something is inaccurate. So welcome to the site, browse around and make yourself at home.





SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Email   Links   THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU   Events Diary   Halfcab list   Small-Ads   Classic Irish Buses