Isle of Man Road Services 1930 - 1976

Page last updated on 13th November 2017


Introduction   Douglas Corporation   D C T photos   I o M R S   I O M R S photos   I o M Transport 1976 - 1986   I o M Transport 1988 - 2016   I o M Coach operators   Tours, Douglas   1996 Manx visit    Links    Email


Classic Irish Buses    AEC Routemasters    Henry's Coastal Tours     Classic Buses Website     Morris Oxford car site


Public transport in the Isle of Man commenced in 1873 with the opening of the narrow gauge Isle of Man Railway with routes from Douglas to Port Erin and Peel. Three years later; an urban tramway opened for business in Douglas, and control of this passed to Douglas Corporation in 1902, following the liquidation of the operating company. The first buses on the island were a pair of Argus charabancs introduced in 1907 by the Manx Electric Railway, and these linked Bungalow (on the Snaefell Mountain Railway) with the company's hotel and tea-rooms at Tholt-y-Will, followed by the first Douglas Corporation buses from 1914.

No stage services were to appear outside of Douglas until 1927, when a director of Cumberland Motor Services imported twelve buses to operate as Manxland Bus Services. Within a month, three other companies had also been registered and began competing with Manxland. These were Manx Motors Ltd., Farghers Omnibuses Ltd. and P. Richmond Ltd. Farghers was taken over by the Isle of Man Railway in 1928, and soon the fleetname "Isle of Man Road Services" began to appear on vehicles. In January 1929; the Railway bought out Manx Motors, followed by Manxland a month later. P. Richmond Ltd. also ceased trading around this time, this leaving most of the bus route network outside Douglas in the hands of the Railway, and Isle of Man Road Services Ltd. was set up in 1930.

Until 1939, buses used outside Douglas were restricted to 28 seats, this being revised to 34 in that year. In 1946 however, IoMRS purchased a Leyland Titan which was initially operated with most of the top deck seats roped off. Eventually sense prevailed, the restriction was removed, and a further 42 Titans were added to the fleet up till 1964. Small numbers of single deckers were also bought, including Leyland Tigers, Tiger Cubs, Royal Tigers, Leopards, and Bristol REs, and finally some Leyland Nationals.The 1964 Titans were the last new buses purchased under the leadership of A M Sheard, who had been in the role since the start of the company. Following his death in 1965, his successor was W T Lambden, who managed the business until the last day in 1976. In 1967, for the first time ever, second-hand buses were added, in the form of ex Aldershot and District Dennis Falcons, these replacing the last utility bodied Bedford OWBs, and were the only Dennis buses on the island for many years.

1967 also saw the company introducing a coach fleet in a grey and red livery, eventually totalling 16 vehicles, for use on tours and excursions. By 1971 this had been abandoned, and the operations and some vehicles passed to Tours (Isle of Man) Ltd. Several buses were renumbered in 1968, and the fleet name was also changed around this time, from "Isle of Man Road Services" to "Road Services". From photographs it seems that the renumbered buses had the fleetname with the fleet number placed below it, whereas the un-renumbered buses had the opposite arrangement. The early 1970s brought the realisation that the ageing PD2 Titans of the late 1940s and early 1950s were needing replacement. The first aspect of this was the purchase of fifteen forward entrance PD3s from Midland Red in 1971 and 1972, followed by ten similarly equipped buses from Bournemouth in 1974. Although double deck fleet replacement favoured used PD3s, new rear engined single deckers were bought too. The first four were Bristol REMH coaches in 1970 and 1971, with a Leyland National arriving in 1974. Six more of these came in 1975, and a final batch of seven entered service in 1976.

These were to prove to be the final new Isle of Man Road Services buses, as on October 1st 1976 the fleet was merged with the yellow Corporation buses to become Isle of Man National Transport. This move, first suggested in 1966, brought an end to 46 years of IoMRS bus operation. The new company soon made changes to the fleet, livery, and vehicle replacement. One pleasing aspect of more recent years was the restoration of several former fleet members from both sources, and so the old liveries and fleetnames can still be seen.

The mileage charts shown below are taken from a fleet review dated June 30th 1965, compiled by William Lambden at the time and kindly made available courtesy of Mike Lambden and Richard Davis.



Manxland Bus Services fleetlist

1927


1928



Manx Motors fleetlist

1927


1928



Isle of Man Railway fleetlist

1928


1929



Isle of Man Road Services

Opening fleet, July 1930


1934


1935


1936


1937


1938


1945


1946

 
Fleet number Mileage
3 591,693.0


1947

Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
4 552,741.5 6 529,852.5 7 582,442.5 8 571,361.0 10 562,162.5
11 575,413.5 15 553,462.0 16 559,741.0 23 547,174.0 24 496,400.0 


1948

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
34 438,523.0 52 430,178.0 57 490,893.0 58 426,337.0


1949

Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
1 480,113.5 2 474,183.5 5 502,085.0 9 481,319.5 63 508,245.0 64 493,108.5
65 473,491.0 70 490,992.0 71 492,785.0 72 486,865.5 75 488,419.0 76 493,480.0
77 467,733.5 78 484,658.5 79 484,636.5 80 491,874.0 81 504,039.5 82 486,973.5 


1950

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
13 391,362.0 14 375,830.5 17 292,744.0 18 318,970.5 48 229,533.0 49 302,391.5


1951

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
53 297,384.0 62 328,266.5 66 337,635.5 83 296,689.0 84 299,954.0 85 305,403.0


1952

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
88 76,409.0 89 77,634.5 90 33,888.0 91 33,893.0


1956

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
93 309,304.5 94 288,507.5 95 281,564.0


1957

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
19 6,507.5 20 12,390.0 21 13,676.5 22 12,240.5


1958

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
31 218,380.0 32 220,565.5 33 217,339.5


1961

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
54 14,898.5 55 13,973.0 56 13,460.5


1964

 
Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage Fleet number Mileage
59 21.037.0 60 17,476.0 61 19,162.0


1967


1968


1970


1971


1972


1974


1975


1976

Total fleet = 232 with 22 SURVIVORS


Introduction   Douglas Corporation   D C T photos   I o M R S   I O M R S photos   I o M Transport 1976 - 1986   I o M Transport 1988 - 2016   I o M Coach operators   Tours, Douglas   1996 Manx visit    Links    Email