BRITISH BUSES IN SPLIT, CROATIA


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Last updated 20 March 2017

This Leyland PD1 Titan had formerly been London Transport STD 127 (HLW 56) new in 1946. It is shown here as No.52 (ST-25-19) operating
on the five mile route 22 between Split and Stobrec sometime after 1961.
Marin Pažanin says "The image was almost certainly taken in Split, on the Riva. The hill seen in the background is almost certainly Marjan,
which is in Split. Also, I believe this photo was taken on or around 27 May 1963 by John Meredith. It was mentioned in a Classic Bus article
about 20 years ago that he was in Dubrovnic the day after that. The picture is certainly of British origin, so he is the best bet for its author."

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In July 2016 Norman (who is lucky enough to live in Hvar, Croatia) kindly sent me some photographs of buses drawn from a huge collection of railway images belonging to his friend and fellow train enthusiast Željko Halambek. These former British buses are seen in use by local company Promet operating from Split, Croatia (part of the former Yugoslavia).

Norman says "Željko does not think that any still exist. At that time Yugoslavia was under Communist rule, so things like conservation movements did not really exist. But at least there are some photos. He did tell me that they were popular in a number of Balkan cities - Zagreb, Pula, Sarajevo, Mostar and others all bought ex British double decker (and presumably single decker) buses. Apparently they loaded and unloaded from the middle of the road - people queued there. There was much less traffic in those days."

Norman and Željko are quite right. Several hundred British buses were exported to Yugoslavia in the 1950s, of which probably the largest individual batch was all 65 of the 1946 London Transport STD class Leyland PD1 Titans (STD 112-176, registered HGF 990-999 and HLW 51-105). These went in 1955 to various Yugoslavian cities, including some to Split where they were used by Promet.

They were joined by a selection of other British buses and coaches including some pre-war London T-class AEC Regals, double deckers from Wallasey, and even thirteen Standerwick 1948 Leyland PS1 Tigers with Burlingham coach bodies which arrived in 1958.

These pictures record some of the vehicles serving in and around Split. By the way, registration numbers in Croatia (and Dalmatia, the coastal region of Croatia) began with the letter "H" in the 1950s, but this changed to "ST" for Split in 1961.

Here are the pictures. My information is sketchy, so I would welcome any additional details that you can supply. Please email me here.

UPDATE; In November 2016 I received an email from Marin Pažanin in Split who kindly sent me a great deal of useful new information. For one thing he pointed out that all the images on this page can be found on the autobusi.org website, of which he is a moderator and which is mentioned again below. Marin's notes have now been added to the captions of the pictures, and I'm very grateful for his additions.

Marin says "This is the link to a forum topic where I've compiled info about every fleet number Promet used which are known to us. The British buses are in the third post, whose title translates to "Buses of the first numeration" as Promet restarted its numbering after 1990. The British buses are at the beginning as they were bought during Promet's first 15 years (of course, some Yugoslav buses are mixed in there as they were also present in the 1950s). Every info, photo, etc. I get is available on the forum."


This unidentified former-London Transport STD is parked on Split seafront promenade (known as the Riva)
overlooking the bay. It is working for local bus company Promet on their 5-mile route north east to Solin.
Marin Pažanin says that the picture was taken not later than October 1959.


Another unidentified ex-London Transport Leyland STD at the western end of Split promenade.
The buildings in the background are virtually unchanged today - the one on the left is now the Hotel Bellevue.
This picture was taken in 1962 according to a book from Split automotive history enthusiasts.


This 1950s photo taken on Split's Riva promenade appears to show three identical AEC Regents.
These may be from a batch of 1946 ex-Northern General Regent II buses with Northern Coachbuilders
bodies (Nos.1167-1176, ACN 167-176), some of which apparently later came to Split. The one in the
foreground is Promet fleet number 64.

Marin comments "I'm not sure that the bus on the photo showing three identical AEC Regents is fleet
number 64 as it is listed by the PSV Circle that fleet number 64 carried H-11691 as its plates. The
one in the picture seems to end with 60."


Looking west along the sea front at Split, this is a pair of ex London Transport STD Leyland PD1
Titans. The one in the foreground has had new doors fitted by Promet behind the driver's cab.


Another unidentified former London Transport STD at the east end of Split harbour promenade (the Riva) in front of a tower forming one corner of Diocletian's Palace.
Can someone translate the inscription lower right? (Allan Haynes says he thinks it says "This was released from London" in Serbo-Croat. Thanks Allan.)


London Transport Leyland STD140 (HLW 69) was acquired by Promet, Split in 1955 and became No.51 (H 5999). It is seen here working
the 17 mile route from Split to Trogir, along the coast to the west, and is pictured in front of what is now a cocktail bar alongside the
North Town Gate in Trogir. I believe that this photo was taken by D W K Jones in August 1959. If that's correct, my thanks to Mr Jones.


Apologies for the reflections on this picture (it may have been behind glass) but the content is interesting. I'm pretty sure that this is
one of 24 Leyland PD1 Titans supplied to Wallasey Corporation in 1946. They were numbered 78 to 101 (HF 9574-9620), had
MCCW bodies and were withdrawn from 1957 onwards. I guess that the bus is parked on the Obala Kneza Domagoja alongside
Split's main commercial docks.
Norman tells me that the inscription on the left at the bottom of the photo says "Promet driver Mimica Vicko around 1959". In fact
the format of the licence plate suggests 1961 or later. About half way down this Autobusi.org page you can see two more pictures
of driver Mimica Vicko - one with a single decker and one with an ex-London STL.
Meanwhile Allan Haynes says he thinks the inscription at lower right says "This was released from London" in Serbo-Croat.
In fact the bus didn't come from London, but I guess nobody would have known the difference.

Marin says "Allan is close, but not exactly right. "Ca je pusta Londra kontra Splitu gradu" is a very old saying which says something
along the line of "What do you need London for when you have everything in Split?" or more closely, "What does London have better
than Split?". It is, according to legend, a response to George Bernard Shaw's claim that he lives in a replica of Split's palace in London.
As a sidenote, these buses are collectively referred to as "Londonci" here, meaning Londoners. Nobody here really did know the difference,
and the distinctions have long been lost to history."
Marin adds "The bus with registration plates ST-24-79 is the same bus as the one on the photo below it. This escaped my attention as well
at first. The first one was taken behind glass and unfortunately I can't get in contact with the person who uploaded it to the forum. Also the
driver's name was in fact Vicko Mimica - it is written in the reverse order on the pic."


I believe the bus in the foreground to be another 1946 Leyland PD1 Titan from Wallasey. The licence plate
ST-24-79 is visible (which dates the picture to 1961 or later) and the Promet fleet number is 89. The double
decker in the background is another matter and may be an ECW-bodied Leyland Titan from Crosville.
The location is on the Poljana Kneza Trpimira in central Split, looking north up Zagrebacka Ul. taken from an
upper window in the headquarters of the Split-Makarska Nadbisupija Roman Catholic Archdiocese.


This looks like hard work. You would have thought that the passengers would at least have the decency to get off the bus.
In the background is the Church of St Francis at the west end of the Riva promenade in Split. But what is the bus?
I believe it is a Leyland Titan PD1 and the Promet fleet number on the side is 90. Could it be ex Crosville?

David Beilby kindly emailed in October 2016 to throw more light on it. He said "This will be one of three new
to Bury Corporation as their 110/111/116 (EN 8544/45/50). They were 1946 PD1s with Roe H31/25R bodies,
withdrawn by Bury in 1959 and sold through North's in Leeds to Split, the last three of the batch to stay in service
with Bury, the rest of the batch having being sold the previous year."


A few ex London Transport / Green Line T-class AEC Regals (10T10) were working for Promet in Split by the mid 1950s and this may
be one of them. It has obviously had a new 'offside' door added by Promet in the past and looks pretty battle-scarred, so I guess this
picture was taken in the early 1960s. In the background is the pier of Split's 'Gat Svetog Duje' where international ferries now depart.
Marin says that the author of this picture is Marijan Žuvic.

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Thanks very much to Norman and Željko for giving me access to this interesting collection of images, and to Marin for all his help too.

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