Bedford VAM JLJ53E and MRU71F at Bournemouth bus station
Bournemouth Bus Station - 2 of the 1967/8 Bedford VAMs are seen here at Bournemouth bus station. The somewhat battered JLJ53E on the left has Strachans bodywork, while MRU71F has a Willowbrook body.
Bristol FL 4388LJ at Southampton depot
Bristol FL 4390LJ at Southampton depot
Bristol FL 7682LJ at Southampton bus station
Bristol FL 7684LJ at Southampton depot
Bristol FL 7684LJ at Southampton depot
Bristol FLF at Southampton bus station in 1970
Bristol FLF6B LEL655F at Southampton depot (1)
Allocated to Fareham depot.
Bristol FLF6B LEL655F at Southampton depot (2)
Allocated to Fareham depot.
Bristol FLF6L LEL657F at Southampton depot
Bristol FS 4379LJ at Villiers Road Southampton
Bristol FS 4691RU at Southampton depot
Bristol FS 5670EL at Southampton depot
5670EL - Southampton, Grosvenor Square - An early Bristol FS, green but with NBC style fleetnames, at Southampton depot. While the colours of the two spots above the fleetnumber are not clear, the vehicle was clearly a 'foreigner' from another depot, as Southampton vehicles had only one (yellow) spot.
Bristol FS at Southampton bus station in 1970
Bristol FS at Southampton bus station in 1970 (2)
Bristol FS BRU139B at Southampton depot
Bristol KSW KRU956 at Southampton depot.
Bristol LD SRU996 at Southampton depot
Bristol LH B39D at Southampton
Bristol LH NLJ817G at Southampton depot - original condition with shallow windscreen.
Bristol LH RLJ789H at Southampton
The final batch of dual door LHs for H&D were wider than the earlier vehicles - 8' 2.5" - and the first one is seen here basking in the sun at Grosvenor Square depot in Southampton. H&D had purchased LSs with dual doors in the 1950's, but on those vehicles the doorways were narrower, and the second door was at the extreme rear. By the next decade, the need to make doors wider had been identified and acted upon, so that the extra doors really do appear to be too much for such a small vehicle.
Bristol LH RLJ790H at Southampton depot
Bristol LH RLJ794H at Southampton depot
Bristol LH TRU221J at Southampton Depot
Bristol LH TRU221J at Southampton depot
Bristol LH TRU223J at Southampton Bus Station
Bristol LH TRU223J at Southampton Bus Station (2)
Bristol LH TRU224J - Southampton depot after accident
Bristol LH TRU224J at Southampton bus station
Bristol LH XEL834K at Southampton depot (1)
A personal opinion, admittedly, but for me the LH was the only ECW body style whose looks were actually improved by the change to the BET windscreen. Here, newly delivered XEL834K waits to enter service at Southampton depot.
Bristol LH XEL834K at Southampton depot (2)
Parking area, Southampton depot Grosvenor Square.
Bristol LH XEL834K at Southampton depot (3)
On the parking area at H&D depot, Grosvenor Square, Southampton.
Bristol LS UEL730 at Southampton depot
Bristol LS UEL735 at Villiers Road Southampton
Bristol MW 1471LJ at Southampton depot
One of the converted MW coaches is seen on the parking area at Southampton depot, on a rather misty day.
Bristol MW 2692RU at Southampton depot
Bristol MW 2717EL at Southampton depot
One of H&D's second batch of MW buses awaits its next duty on the forecourt at
Grosvenor Square depot, in Southampton.
Bristol MW 2718EL at Southampton depot
This somewhat tired-looking MW bus was still in green livery, but with cream NBC style fleetnames, when photographed on the open parking area at Southampton Grosvenor Square depot.
Bristol MW 6226EL at Southampton depot
Bristol MW 7122LJ at Southampton Rail Station
Southampton Central Station (Down Side) - This 1962 Bristol MW coach has been reseated and converted for bus work, and was painted in a special blue based livery for the service linking the Central (rail) Station and the terminal for the hovercraft service to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Seen at the rail station, both the bus and the hovercraft service are long since history.
Bristol MW ex-coach 1962 batch at Southampton depot
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - The conversions of the MW coaches for bus work varied - some examples received bus seats (and bus livery) while others, such as this example at Grosvenor Square depot in Southampton, retained their coach seats, and gained dual purpose livery.
Bristol MW FEL751D at Southampton depot
Bristol MW FEL752D at Southampton depot (1)
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - The 1966 MWs were the last H&D coaches with ECW bodies. H&D's coaching work was almost entirely private hire and touring, and the ECW styles were considered insufficiently attractive to passengers - hence the switch to Duple for the REs bought from 1967.
Bristol MW FEL752D at Southampton depot (2)
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - A rear view, showing the application of the cream version of the NBC symbol to the slightly paler cream of the boot lid. Polar bears in snowstorms come to mind!
Bristol MW FRU873D at Southampton depot
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - Another of the 1966 MW coaches in the parking area at Southampton depot. NBC-style fleetnames have been applied to the green waistband by this stage.
Bristol MW HEL390D at Southampton depot
Bristol MW YEL226 at Southampton depot
Bristol RELH AEL6B at Montacute House
Montacute House, near Yeovil, Somerset - Bristol RELH/ECW coach AEL6B seen here at Montacute House, near Yeovil, on a rather dull day in 1970. Well, the day was certainly brightened up for me with the opportunity to travel from Southampton to Montacute and back in such a fine machine! Don't remember much about the house though!
Bristol RELL at Southampton bus station in 1970
Bristol RELL NLJ820G at Southampton depot
Bristol RELL NLJ821G at Southampton depot
NLJ821G was allocated to Eastleigh, so would not normally have worked on service 37.
Bristol RELL NLJ826G at Southampton bus station
Bristol RELL NLJ826G at Southampton bus station (2)
Bristol RELL NLJ826G at Southampton bus station (3)
Bristol RELL NLJ827G at Southampton depot
Bristol RELL NLJ828G at Southampton bus station
Bristol RELL PLJ742G at Southampton bus station (2)
PLJ742G was a particular favourite of mine, as I think ECW had got the flat windscreen variant of the RE body just right with this deeper screen. When new, it was allocated to Southampton depot. By the time this photo was taken, it had been re-allocated to Fareham, but is seen back in the bus station in its old home city.
Bristol RELL PLJ742G at Southampton depot (1)
This rather grainy shot taken with an Instamatic camera (and the most basic model at that!) shows PLJ742G on the open parking area at Southampton depot. This was the first of H and D's second batch of RELLs, delivered in 1969, and still has its original fleet number (3011) in this photo. PLJ742G had quite a long 'second life' and ended its days in Bexhill, circa 1993.
Bristol RELL RLJ344H at Southampton bus station
Most of the 1969 RELLs were registered in the RLJ-H series, and several were allocated to Fareham depot. They were more often seen in Southampton after the 70 service from there to Gosport was made limited stop and converted to one-person-operation. RLJ344H, seen here in Southampton Bus Station, was, if I recall correctly, the first with 4 leaf doors in the centre - the earlier ones in the batch had narrower 2 leaf doors - although the 1968 batch had the 4 leaf type. All rather curious, and I doubt anyone knows the reason why!
Bristol RELL RLJ345H at Southampton bus station
Another rather grainy Instamatic shot shows RLJ345H in Southampton Bus Station, in original condition except for the damage to the valance panel at the front! This vehicle spent its early days at Southampton depot, but the 27 service to Bournemouth was usually operated by one of the dual purpose REs.
Bristol RELL RLJ348H at Southampton bus station (1)
The X70 service from Southampton to Gosport would normally have been operated by one of the dual purpose RELLs from Fareham depot, but such plans never work perfectly, especially when there were only 2 DPs available.
Bristol RELL RLJ348H at Villiers Road Southampton (2)
RLJ348H was one of the Fareham-allocated RELLs, seen here outside the mechanical repair shops in Shirley, Southampton.
Bristol RELL SRU831H at Southampton depot
Bristol RELL TRU216J at Southampton Bus Station
Bristol RELL TRU219J at Southampton bus station
Bristol RELL TRU219J at Southampton bus station (2)
Bristol RELL UEL562J at Southampton bus station (1)
UEL562J spent much of its working life at Southampton depot, but was initially allocated to Bournemouth. However, even then it was a regular visitor to Southampton, as seen here - in almost original condition, although after the September 1971 renumbering. This vehicle had a long working life, serving for several years with Independent Coachways, before being puchased for preservation in 1996. Modesty prevents me from giving the name of the purchaser, but she (the vehicle, not the purchaser!) is currently awaiting restoration.
Bristol RELL UEL562J at Southsea (2)
A few years ago, but still the current condition. Quite a lot to do!
Bristol RELL XLJ72?K at Southampton bus station
The 1971 batch of dual purpose RELLs were the last buses to enter service in the traditional green and cream livery. XLJ722-4K were allocated to Bournemouth depot, and became the regular vehicles on the limited stop services to Southampton. This rather grainy shot doesn't permit a precise identification, but one of the three is seen here at Southampton Bus Station.
Bristol RELL XLJ723K at Southampton bus station
This photograph does permit precise identification of the vehicle. Service X17 was, at the time, a recent introduction, replacing the stopping services 13 and 13A, with a rather more circuitous route than the longer established X27.
Bristol RELL XLJ726K (2) at Southampton Bus Station
The last green RE is seen here in Windsor Terrace, Southampton picking up passengers for the journey to Gosport.
Bristol RELL XLJ726K at Southampton depot
The last two vehicles of the XLJ-K batch were delivered to Southampton, but were allocated to Fareham depot for use on service X70. Again, a grainy Instamatic shot doesn't really permit precise identification, but the two vehicles (XLJ725/6K) were parked adjacent to each other on the open parking area at Southampton depot. If 725 was parked in front of 726, then this is 726. Happily, this vehicle survives in preservation today.
Daimler Fleetline VRU129J at Southampton depot
The 6 Daimler Fleetlines, diverted from Provincial in exchange for RELLs, were Hants and Dorset's first one-person-operation suitable new double deckers. 2 were allocated to Southampton for use on the 54 service, joint with the local municipal operator. Another grainy Instamatic shot shows one enjoying the sunshine at the depot in Grosvenor Square.
Leyland Leopard WEL464J at Southampton depot
Leyland Panther DKE264C at Southampton depot
Leyland Panther in M&D livery at Southampton depot
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - Here is one of the Panthers shortly after arrival from Kent, complete with fleetname and adverts from its old home.
Leyland Panther JKK181E at Southampton depot
Leyland Panther JKK185E at Southampton depot
Southampton, Grosvenor Square - This Panther was one that had been placed in service still in Maidstone & District dark green. Service 50 was a long route to Petersfield, so somebody must have taken a risk sending such an unreliable type so far from home.
Leyland Panther JKK189E at Southampton depot
JKK189E was another Panther to enter service in M&D dark green. Southampton (Grosvenor Square) depot, 1972.
Leyland Panther JKK191E at Southampton depot
JKK191E was treated to a full repaint to Tilling (H&D) green. Southampton depot, 1971. Service 37 linked Southampton and Salisbury, a distance of some 24 miles - so quite a courageous decision to allocate a Panther to such a long route. I must confess that I did on one occasion travel on a Panther on that service to Salisbury, without a breakdown. Don't know if it got back, though.
Leyland Panther JKK192E at Southampton depot
As this is the steam cleaning bay, one must assume that this Panther had managed to do a few miles!
These photographs were taken during the early 1970’s, an interesting, but not entirely happy, period for Hants & Dorset.
During the late 1950’s and early ’60’s, Hants & Dorset had purchased principally Lodekkas and coaches, with very few new single deck buses in this period. By 1970, the company (including Wilts & Dorset) needed to increase the proportion of services that were one-person-operated, but lacked sufficient suitable vehicles, and the transfer of a large number of vehicles (Leyland Panthers and Atlanteans) from Maidstone & District was seen as a way of alleviating that shortage. The 33 Panthers were only around 4 or 5 years old, and it does not take a genius to realise that the Kent company had reasons for ‘letting go’ such a large number of modern vehicles, while retaining older, less passenger-friendly, underfloor-engined single deckers. Unsurprisingly, the Panthers soon proved themselves to be unreliable, with reputedly at least 10 off the road at any time – thereby limiting their value as a tool to increase one-person-operation. Some of the Panthers entered service in M&D dark green (including some Wilts & Dorset allocated vehicles), albeit with the cream area on the roof sides repainted green, while others were treated to a full repaint into H&D’s version of Tilling Green (or red for the W&D vehicles).
New purchases at this time were Bristol RE and LH single deckers, many with dual doors, but from 1973, Leyland Nationals and Bristol VR double deckers began to appear in large numbers, along with more LHs. Unfortunately, by 1973 the NBC standard poppy red livery had been introduced – just at the time when I started taking more colour photos!