Classic Buses Profiles

AEC Regal 'T' - L.G.O.C. / LONDON TRANSPORT


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Last updated 1 January 2017

Another wistful look back at a wonderful class of vehicle from the past. This time it's another London bus, the 'T'. Environmentally-minded enthusiasts will notice that this page is very green!

Five T Class Regals

Seen at Cobham in 1990 were all five surviving Ts in the UK (at that time!), in date order. Left to right they are T792, T504, T448, T219 and T31. Photo: M.Fane.

The 'T'-type AEC Regal can claim to be the class of London vehicle that stayed in production or delivery - albeit intermittently - for the longest period (from 1929 to 1948), although the number of models and designs over those 20 years varied and developed considerably. Throughout that time, however, the different 'T' versions achieved a distinctive quality and most of the 801 examples would be instantly recogniseable as belonging to the breed, despite their many variations.

The classification 'T' was used for buses and coaches, with petrol or oil engines, vehicles built entirely to L.G.O.C. or London Transport specifications, 'off the shelf' examples straight from the manufacturer, and miscellaneous models of various shapes and sizes acquired from other operators either as purchases or as a result of takeovers. The only attributes that they all had in common were that they were all single-deck halfcabs, and had an AEC chassis and engine (usually the Regal 662 or, in the case of oil engines, the O662).

T class buses and coaches served greater London from 1929 to 1962, in a wide variety of forms and modifications. Before the war they were best known as saloon coaches, while after the war they were mostly to be found running rural bus services.

This page will not attempt to describe a complete history of the type, as this is well documented by authors far more qualified than myself. However, I am hoping that the list below can become a useful reference as it develops, thereby becoming not a potted history of the class, but a series of potted histories of each individual vehicle.

Of the 801 examples built, only 8 are believed to survive today. This is a surprisingly small proportion of the total production ( 1 in 100 ) in comparison with the Leyland-equivalent 'TD' buses (both types were finally retired in 1962), of which 4 survive out of 131 built ( 1 in 33 ). There are several probable reasons for this.

Firstly, the early Ts were built several years before the second world war, which meant that they were becoming well worn at the outbreak of hostilities. The chances of them surviving until the 1950s (when the first seeds of the preservation movement were sprouting) were therefore slim. Yet, the vehicle generally acknowledged as being the very first bus to be acquired privately for preservation was none other than T31 of 1929, now operated by the London Bus Preservation Trust.

T 31

T31 at Cobham 1998. Photo: Dick Gilbert.

T31 was acquired in 1956 by a group led by Ken Blacker (still associated with bus and trolleybus preservation at the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Colville), Prince Marshall (one-time editor of the famous ABC books, and now sadly no longer with us) and Michael Dryhurst (still writing for the enthusiast press and living in the USA), plus others. Incidentally, Michael Dryhurst was involved for many years in the film industry, and sharp-eyed 007 fans will spot his name as the credits roll after several James Bond movies. At the time of its retirement, T31 was the only remaining ex L.G.O.C. bus still in service with London Transport. This band of pioneers led the way with some successes and some failures, but they ( and T31) undoubtedly started the preservation movement that we have today.

A second probable reason for the TDs disproportionate survival rate was that some of the Ts suffered the ravages of war, a fate that the post-war TDs never had to endure. Thirdly, a large number of Ts were exported abroad on their retirement from London service. By the time the last TDs were withdrawn in the early 1960s, there was very little demand for such an aged design for 'downstream' bus operators locally or offshore, so they remained in the UK and those that escaped the scrapman's torch were more readily available for the growing preservation movement.

Since the following list is arranged in fleet number order, a few aberrations have occurred. For example the very first batch was of 50 vehicles (T 1-50), but included a significantly different model in the middle of the batch (T 38). Therefore, the list shows T 1-37, T 38, and T 39-50 in three separate sections, despite the fact that they were essentially one order. In each case where this occurs an attempt has been made to explain the situation, hopefully with some success. The quest for a logical listing sequence is not aided by LT's decision to use the same batch of numbers twice on one occasion in the 1930s!

Some would argue that the three experimental 'CB' class vehicles of 1931 should not be included, but they were numbered T1000-1002 and therefore, by my reckoning, are entitled to a mention. So there.

As with my other lists, this document is incomplete and is bound to contain mistakes. In order to make it as accurate a reference as possible, I would of course welcome any additions or corrections. Which is a good moment to thank Ian Smith for his super 4-view diagrams, and for all his help in closing up the gaps in the information.

For more London buses see the AEC Regal 'T' class the Leyland Tiger PSI 'TD' class, and the Trolleybus / Routemaster conversion programme.


FLEET LIST

===============

T 1-37 (Total 37) - Type '1T1'

Delivered late 1929 / early 1930 (part of a batch of fifty, T 1-50)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, A140 six cylinder OHC petrol engine, Type '1T1'. Chassis numbers 662028 to 662064. During 1949-50 eighteen were fitted with 7.7 litre 95 bhp oil engines from scrapped STL class buses, and Marshall rebuilt bodies.

Body: L.G.O.C. (Chiswick-built) rear open-platform entrance, 30 seat bodies. Most were rebuilt to front entrance configuration in 1934. Eighteen (of the entire batch of 50) had their bodies refurbished by Marshalls of Cambridge in 1949 (and received oil engines from withdrawn STLs).

Notes: By 1952, all survivors were working from Kingston or Norbiton garages. Last ones scrapped in 1953.


T 38 (Total 1)

Delivered late 1930 (part of a batch of fifty, T 1-50)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engine, chassis number 662065.

Body: LGOC rear entrance, 28 seat, saloon coach body for express work - effectively the first Green Line vehicle

Notes: Based at Watford operating to Golders Green, scrapped in 1939.


T 39 - 50 (Total 12) - Type '2/1T1/1'

Delivered end of 1929 / early 1930 (Part of a batch of fifty, T 1-50)

T46

T46 (UU 6661) was delivered in 1929, and is seen here working out of Kingston around 1950 after its body had been rebuilt by Marshalls. (Photo: unknown)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, A140 six cylinder OHC petrol engine, chassis numbers 662066 to 662077, Type '2/1T1/1'. During 1949-50 some were fitted with 7.7 litre 95 bhp oil engines from scrapped STL class buses, and Marshall rebuilt bodies.

Body: L.G.O.C. (Chiswick-built) rear entrance, 30 seat bodies. Most were rebuilt to front entrance configuration in 1934. Eighteen (of the entire batch of 50) had their bodies refurbished by Marshalls of Cambridge in 1949 (and received oil engines from withdrawn STLs).

Notes: By 1952, all survivors were working from Kingston or Norbiton garages. Last ones scrapped in 1953.


T 51 - 149 (Total 99) - Type '7T7'

T65 (GF 596) while still working for Autocar, Tunbridge Wells around 1930. Photo from the Alan Cross collection.

T75 (GF 561) after being re-registered as NEH 2 and rebodied in 1949 for T.Beckett of Bucknall, Staffordshire. Peter J Nixon very kindly supplied this photo (taken in late 1949 outside the Waggon and Horses in Old Hall Street, Hanley) and he added the following notes;

"To give you a complete picture, GF 561 was disposed to Arlington Motors sometime in 1939; it passed to the Ministry of Supply and then on to the R.A.F. where it was converted into a mobile film unit/darkroom. It was purchased by Beckett at auction in 1947 and stored at Ash Bank Garage. NEH 2 was built in 1949 and operated for about 18 months. It was a petrol-engined vehicle and the rising price of fuel in early 1950s along with the cost of installing an oil engine made it economically unviable, so it was scrapped. The old R.A.F. body went to the farm where Tom Beckett lived, as an animal food store." Many thanks to Peter for the information.

Delivered in 1930 (Part of a batch of one hundred and fifty, T 51-149, T 155, T 157-206)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662 petrol engine, chassis numbers 662353 to 662451 (Type 7T7).

Body: Recessed rear entrance coaches developed from the experimental T38, 27 seat, Green Line. High floor, 7 bays (front bay shorter, emergency door on offside). Some made by LGOC, some by Park Royal, and some by Short.

Notes: Originally with L.G.O.C. / Autocar / East Surrey, then to the new Green Line in July 1930. Built for express services. Withdrawn as coaches in 1938, and all but 20 disposed of by 1940. The rest had all gone by 1952.


T 150-154 (Total 5)

Built in 1930

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engine.

Body: Dual entrance private hire coaches, 32 seat, Hoyal body with sliding canvas roof.

Notes: All five sold in 1937/38. (Fleet / registration number relationship was changed in 1933. Original arrangement shown below)


T 155 (Total 1) - (Part of a batch of one hundred and fifty, T 51-149, T 155, T 157-206)

Built in 1930

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engine, chassis number 662299.

Body: LGOC rear entrance coach, 27 seat, Green Line

Notes: Originally with L.G.O.C. / Autocar / East Surrey, then to the new Green Line in July 1930.


T 156 (Total 1)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engine.

Body: Bus body with rear entrance and platform doors.

Notes: Replacement for T 38, the vehicle essentially 'missing' from the first batch of fifty (T 1-50). Allocated to Nunhead garage during 1930s for route 621.


T 157-206 (Total 50) - (Part of a batch of one hundred and fifty, T 51-149, T 155, T 157-206)

Built in 1930.

T206 as a service vehicle

T206 was converted to a breakdown tender (443W) in 1940, and it is seen here at Baker Street LT station on 8 Sept 1961. Many thanks to Nigel Lemon for the photo.

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engine., '7T7' type, chassis numbers in the range 662503 to 662552.

Body: Hall Lewis, Park Royal or Short C27R rear entrance coaches for Green Line.

Notes: Originally with East Surrey / Autocar / L.G.O.C., then to the new Green Line in July 1930. Withdrawn as coaches 1938 and transferred to bus work. Seventeen converted to lorries around 1940.


T 207-306 (Total 100)

Built in 1930-31

T283

1931 Regal T283 in the late 1940s on Route 361 (Chorleywood - Rickmansworth). The second-hand Weymann body fitted in 1938 gives it a chunky, purposeful appearance, and makes it indistinguishable from T361 on the left which, although having a very different history (ex Amersham & District), received an identical body, which came from earlier 'R' class AEC Reliances. (Photo: unknown)

Geoffrey Leake kindly sent me some additional information about this picture;

"For 5 1/2 years, I travelled to school on one of these or T362, the third of the trio at Watford Leavesden Road Garage (WT) or, towards the end, one of the Mann Egerton Ts which replaced them. I must have made getting on for 2000 trips on these vehicles, averaging ten minutes each. I had to do some memory jogging to work out just when it was possible for two of them to be in Rickmansworth car park at the same time and, gradually, it came together. I knew the 361 timetable by heart at one time and it came back, little by little. The picture must have been taken at ten minutes to four one summer afternoon, most probably in 1946 or 1947."

"T283 is about to leave at 3.51 as T361 has arrived at 3.48. Normally a half-hourly service, this is when the drivers had their tea break. For most of the day turn-round time was only three minutes in Rickmansworth. The buses would usually park next to the kerb, where T361 is standing, but when one was out of service for half an hour it would often be left further over as in the picture. To-day, the car park still exists (or it did a few years ago), as is the Rickmansworth By-pass in the background, but the buses are long gone, as is the road layout nearby."

"One further point about the 361. None of these three buses was ever based in Uxbridge. I have reason to believe that the 20-seater C class Cubs, which they replaced quite early in the war, came from Amersham, but the three Ts were at Leavesden Road from that date until they were scrapped. Uxbridge was a central area garage; all its routes ran towards London. Its buses were red and it was on only the rarest of occasions that a red bus turned up in Rickmansworth. There may have been one or two red Converted Ts at Uxbridge - I certainly saw them there a few times and I have their numbers."

T251 (GH 3889) in a poor state, probably in the late 1950s, but providing some idea of the original shape of these coaches. Photo: unknown.

--------------------------------

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, six-cylinder OHC petrol engine (but three had oil engines, T216 , 274 and 305), chassis numbers 662703 to 662802 (in order, although 662716 was replaced by 662803 for T 220).

Body: Green Line coaches, '1/7T7/1' class, 30 seat, front entrance, built by three manufacturers, Weymann, Duple and Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies. Twenty six received replacement Weymann metal bodies from the AEC Reliance 'R' class in 1938, along with 7.7 litre oil engines, and were re-classified as '11T11'.

Notes: Nine converted to gas operation during WW2 (including GN 5145). Last ones withdrawn from Central Area in 1952.


T 307-318 (Total 12) (These numbers were used twice - see Notes below)

T308 at Kingston Station on route 218 from Kingston to Staines. If you think the body appears to be sagging in the middle, I can assure you that it looks that way on the original photo, and some sort of collapse is definitely starting to take place! (Photo courtesy of G.A.Rixon)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines (3T3 and 4T3).

Body: 7-bay, 26 feet long, doorless front entrance. Seated 28 (later became 30 seats)

Notes: Previously operated by the Thomas Tilling group, all initially based at Bromley for use on route 109 which required special vehicles for coping with the narrow Chislehurst water-tower arch and local steep and winding conditions. Originally they had Daimler D128 preselective gearboxes, but these were replaced with standard crash gearboxes in 1934. All had non-standard vacuum-hydraulic brakes. Later all moved to Kingston, eventually to be dispersed around other garages. (Numbers also initially allocated to East Surrey vehicles acquired or hired by Green Line. In 1935 these were renumbered T 391-402 - see below.)


T 319-324 (Total 6)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines.

Body: Park Royal 29 seat all-weather touring coach body. Front swing door, sliding roof and roof rack. (Type 8T8/1)

Notes: From East Surrey in 1933. Part of batch of 10 (the others became T 399-402).


T 325-345 (Total 21) Built in 1930-31

Chassis: AEC Regal 662 Petrol engines.

Body: L.G.O.C. style by Hall Lewis C29D or Park Royal C29F. Some rebodied by Harrington in 1946.

Notes: Ex Autocar, Tunbridge Wells. did not operate for LT but were transferred directly to Maidstone & District in 1933.


T 346-351 (Total 6)

Built in 1930

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines.

Body: London Lorries 26ft C30D? coach bodies with rear swing door. Rebodied (5T4) by Weymann in 1935 to 29 seat bus bodies (numbers between 15121 and 15132). Downgraded to buses at the end of 1936, and seating increased to 30 in 1939.

Notes: New to Blue Belle Motors, London SW2. To LPTB in 1933.


T 352-357 (Total 6)

Built in 1931, acquired in 1933

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines. Chassis numbers various between 662601 and 662630

Body: London Lorries 26ft C32R coach bodies with rear sliding door. Rebodied by Weymann (5T4) in 1935 for LT country work, with 29 seats (body numbers between 15121 and 15132). Downgraded to buses at the end of 1936, seating increased to B30F in 1939.

Notes: All ex Queen Line (1931). Converted to producer gas in 1943, but reconverted to petrol.


T 358-371 (Total 14)

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines.

Body: Strachan and Harrington bus bodies

Notes: Various buses (including some from Amersham & District, East Surrey and Lewis Omnibus, Watford Omnibus) absorbed by LT during 1933-1934.


T 372-390 (Total 19)

T389 (PG 7505) while still working for LGOC ("General") around 1932 on Route 36 to Guildford. Photo: unknown.

Acquired in 1933-34

Chassis: AEC Regal 662, petrol engines.

Body: Mostly rear entrance.

Notes: Various buses (mainly ex East Surrey) absorbed by LT during 1933-1934.


T 391-402 (Total 12)

Acquired in 1930-32

T396

T396 (PG 7839) had been new in 1931 to East Surrey. It is probably seen here at St.Albans depot in 1938, having been withdrawn from Green Line service, and prior to having its body changed to a Weymann metal replacement from an R-class Reliance. (Photo; possibly D.Jones, in which case many thanks !)

Chassis: AEC 662 Petrol engines.

Body: By Hall Lewis, 29 seat.

Notes: Various coaches acquired or hired by Green Line (previously numbered T 307-318, renumbered in 1935), mostly ex East Surrey.


T 403-452 (Total 50)

Built in 1936

Chassis: AEC 0662 7.7 litre 95 bhp A171 oil engines and pre-selective gearboxes, type '9T9', Chassis numbers O6621952 to O6622001

Body: Green Line Weymann 30 seat country dual-purpose (later bus) bodies with streamlined styling.

Notes: Intended to replace the non-standard Regals that had been acquired from other operators in previous years. Many used on bus routes and in the Central area later in their lives. Last ones withdrawn in 1951, but some not sold until 1952.


T 453-718 (Total 266)

Delivered 1938-39

T504 at Cobham 1995 (photo Dick Gilbert)

T499, repatriated from Australia by Ensignbus and restored temporarily to an American Red Cross "Clubmobile". Photo at Lakeside shopping centre on 7 December 2013 by kind permission of Peter Johnson.

Chassis: AEC 0662 8.8 litre 104 bhp oil engines (A165Z engines up to T 458, thereafter A180A engines) and preselective gearboxes, type '10T10'. Chassis numbers O6622600 to O6622865

Body: Green Line, LPTB-designed, Chiswick-built 30 seat coach (first 150, Type T10) or 34 seat bus bodies (remainder, Type T10/1) with streamlined styling. Body numbers were 18096 to 18365, excluding 18246 (a double deck body fitted to RT1) and including three spares, a total of 119.

Notes: Intended to replace early Regals and those imported from other operators. Some were used by the American Red Cross during World War II. All were withdrawn from Green Line service 1951-52, and forty were painted red, had their doors locked open and heaters and luggage racks removed, and were used as buses in the Central Area. Replaced by the RF class in the 1950s.


T 719-768 (Total 50)

Built in 1946

Chassis: AEC Regal 1 with 0662 7.7 litre 95 bhp oil engine and crash gearbox, '14T12' type, Chassis numbers O6624307 to O6624356.

Body: Weymann 33-seat (originally 35-seat) bus bodies with front entrance (twenty six were reduced to 32-seat in 1954 to give the conductor more room).

Notes: All were red, and based at Muswell Hill, Kingston, Norbiton and Uxbridge. (Keith Williams pointed out that some were also based at Southall (HW) for Route 211 - a route that he travelled on almost daily as a child.) Withdrawn at the end of 1958.


T 769-798 (Total 30)

Built in 1948

T787, the last in service

T787 (HLX 457) had the honour of being the very last T in service. This fine photo by Nigel Lemon shows the vehicle at its last posting, Crawley L.T. Garage in August 1961, a year before its final retirement. It then became the LT staff bus at Abbey Wood for a year before being sold to serve its final years as a contractor's bus - a fate from which few vehicles survived. (Photo: Nigel Lemon)

Chassis: AEC Regal III 9621E, with 9.6 litre 125 bhp oil engines, Type '15T13', Chassis numbers O9621E154 to O962163, and 9621E164 to 9621E183

Body: Mann Egerton country bus 31-seat bodies with front entrance and sliding doors.

Notes: All green. T787 from this batch was to be the very last T class vehicle in LT passenger service, when it was withdrawn from Crawley garage on 13 August 1962.


T 1000-1002 (Total 3)

Delivered in 1931

Chassis: Experimental buses (Classified as 'CB' type, but numbered 'T') with Meadows petrol engines, then fitted with AEC petrol engines in 1933.

Body: L.G.O.C. 29-seat body and 3-speed gearbox.

Notes: Single deck version of the experimental CC double deck class. All worked only between Kingston and Woking, and were sold in 1940 (to Valliant Direct Coaches, Ealing ?).


TOTAL 801 ( with 8 Survivors, T31, 219, 252, 357, 448, 499, 504, 792 )

===================================================================================

For more London buses on this site see the LT class AEC Renowns, the TD class Leyland Tigers and the Trolleybus / Routemaster conversion programme.

For many other buses, have a look at all the other profiles on the Classic Buses menu page.


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