Leo Pratt shares a nostalgic selection of photographs of breaker’s yard buses that had come to the end of their lives during the 1970s.
Breaker’s yard buses: This ex-Alexander ‘Northern’ Burlingham full-fronted ‘Sun Saloon’-bodied Leyland PS1, CWG 334, new in 1950, had latterly been in use with a religious group, ‘spreading the word’, but is seen here waiting its fate in the Barnsley bus grave yards in February 1974.
Back in the 1970s, almost all the double-deckers coming into breakers’ yards were half-cab rear-loaders – some in very clean and tidy condition – as the trend was moving towards front-entrance, rear-engined, one-person-operated vehicles, so the old-style ‘crewed’ half-cabs had to go, resulting in some very busy times in the yards.
In addition, many vehicles had seen further service with other operators, with some converted to mobile homes, or shops, car transporters, playbuses and so on, which all added to the interest.
Lots of their engines went for export: as with time-expired lorries, Gardners were the most sought-after type, with AEC and Leyland the best of the rest.
As far as the writer is aware, all the vehicles depicted here were broken up – unless, of course, anyone knows otherwise…?
Many ex-London Transport ‘RT’s had further lives with other operators, and this much-travelled example, OLD 518, RT4732, was no exception. However, with work already started on dismantling, its days now seemed numbered. It was photographed during 1978, again in the Barnsley bus graveyards.
Pictured in a North Yorkshire breaker’s yard in September 1974, this Trojan 13-seater coach from around 1960 had already yielded its Perkins P3/144 diesel engine, and also its wheels. There would be little call for other spares from this rare motor, prior to it being broken up.
Although included in this selection of bus and coach breakers’ yards views, apparently these two vehicles were never passenger vehicles. Although on AEC Regent chassis, they were new to London Transport as service vehicles, CGJ 159, Fleet no 111J, FXT 98, fleet no 418J, both underground railway master breakdown tenders, dating from 1935 and 1939, still retaining their petrol engines to the end. They were two of a trio being broken up in a dismantler’s yard near Doncaster in 1970.
Always popular with breakers were Bristol buses and coaches, as they were usually Gardner-powered, these engines having a good resale value. Here we see ex-Eastern Counties 1949 ECW lowbridge-bodied K5G, KNG 375, about to meet its doom at Featherstone, Yorkshire on 23rd July 1970.
The lowheight Albion Lowlander was predominantly taken by Scottish Bus Group companies, and were mainly bodied by Alexander, like 1963-built VCS 409, Western SMT’s fleet no KN1855. It had reached the end of its days and was seen being dismantled in a Paisley yard during July 1978.
This ex-Yorkshire Woollen Leyland Tiger PS1, HD 7848 (Dewsbury, 1948) started life as a Brush-bodied saloon but, as was common practice in years gone by, some buses would be converted for further use, in this case, as a dropside stores lorry. The vehicle was seen about to meet its doom, alongside a Foden dumper, near Doncaster on 28th March 1974.
A trip north to an Ashington breaker’s yard during April 1975 revealed this half-dismantled Eastern Coachworks-bodied Leyland Royal Tiger coach, one of a batch delivered new to ‘United’ and latterly in use with Service Coaches of Bebside. RHN 772 dated from 1952.
Back in the busy Barnsley bus breakers’ yards, a large batch of ex-Coventry Daimler half-cab double-deckers was being broken up. This shot taken on 20th March 1972 includes five of them. Unfortunately, the registrations and fleet numbers were not recorded.
Another interesting vehicle at the Doncaster area breaker’s was this Bristol K5G, ex-Hants & Dorset. FRU 308 was new during 1942 and converted to open-top in the early 1950s, still looking presentable after many years service in March 1974.
Close-up of the ‘bones’ of a traditional composite-bodied single-decker. With the panels removed, the construction of its Roe body can clearly be seen. This ex-West Riding 1952 Leyland PS2/12A, EHL 345 was seen at Dunscroft in May 1974.
East Kent favoured local manufacturer Dennis, and operated numerous Lancet saloons in its fleet. A trio of these are seen prior to breaking, again in the Barnsley yards, during February 1970. EFN 588 carried an extra headlight on its canopy, which we understood had been fitted for snowplough duties!
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