BRITISH BUSES IN SPLIT, CROATIA


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Last updated 10 July 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, Northern General, Crosville and Bury, and even some pre-war Ribble Tiger TS8 coaches and thirteen Standerwick 1948 Leyland PS1 Tigers with Burlingham coach bodies which arrived around 1959.

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."

In May 2017 I was lucky enough to visit Split and see at first hand the exact locations where these historic photos were taken. So I have added my own images to accompany some of the originals, to show what the glorious city of Split (and Trogir) looks like today, some 60 years later.


This 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.
It's thought that three STDs came to Split in 1955, STD140 (HLW 69) becoming No.51, STD127 (HLW 56)
which became No.52, and one other which presumably became No.53. I suspect that this is No.51.

The same location today.


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.

The same location today.


This 1950s photo taken on Split's Riva promenade appears to show three identical AEC Regents.
These are probably 1946 ex-Northern General Regent II buses with Northern Coachbuilders bodies.

The Northern General batch of 10 buses was numbered 1167-1176 (ACN 167-176), of which six came to Split
around 1957 via a dealer. Historian John Bennett tells me that they were 1169, 1170, 1173, 1174, 1175 and 1176.


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 and wears the registration
ST.24.62 with a fleet number on the side ending with "2" - maybe No.42. The bus stop sign says that it will go to Omis.


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.)

The same location today. Even the palm tree looks to be the same!


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.

The same location today.


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. John Bennett tells me that Nos.87
(HF 9592), 92 (HF 9602), 93 (HF 9604), 98 (HF 9614) and 99 (HF 9616) were sold via a couple of dealers to Sarajevo
in 1960. Whether that had anything to do with this one (Promet No.89, ST-24-79) is not clear. 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."


This is the same bus as shown in the picture above, i.e. an ex-Wallasey Leyand PD1 Titan, Promet No.89 (ST-24-79).
The registration number dates the picture to 1961 or later. The double decker in the background may be
a 1948 ECW-bodied Leyland PD1A Titan, one of a pair of lowbridge buses acquired from Crosville in 1960.
They were Crosville No.M543 (HFM 65) which became Promet No.99 (ST-24-83), and another which became No.103?
(ST-25-??). 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.

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."

The same location today.


About ten ex London Transport / Green Line T-class AEC Regals (10T10) - including T459, 473, 481,
497, 532, 543, 545, 547 and 584 - were acquired by Promet in Split in 1953 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.
A couple of post-war Ts also joined the Promet fleet in 1955. Marin says that the author of this picture is
Marijan Žuvic and it was taken in 1957.

The same location today.


Here's another former Green Line T-class AEC Regal (10T10). This picture has been posted on the internet before from various sources. It is apparently taken at Sibenik, just up the coast from Split, but I can't quite work out the precise location.

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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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