This section covers a quartet of AEC Reliances new in 1966 and 1967. They all carried Willowbrook bodies of a rather boxy style which had largely been superseded by this time in favour of a style with wrap-round windscreens. The more traditional style carried on a bit longer with the Welsh valley municipal operators, though, with Gelligaer and West Mon also buying this style of body.
Oddly enough, the first pair had consecutive body numbers with a batch for Aberdare who had also previously favoured this style, but their batch was to enter service a few months later and be of a more modern style. The first batch were 2MU4RA chassis with B45F bodies and were 95/96 (JNY 366/367D). The chassis featured the AH470 engine and a constant-mesh gearbox. Their bodies had just a single destination aperture at the front.
A further pair was delivered the following year. 97/98 (NNY 510/511E) were this time on 6MU4R chassis, the change in designation reflecting the fitment of the more powerful AH505 engine as well as the fact that air brakes were now the only option available, obviating the need for the A-suffix. The bodies were B45F again but differed from 95/96 in having space for a route number display, although it was never used. The positions of the number and destination blinds were reversed later on to facilitate one-man operation.
97 was involved in a serious accident when fairly new, overturning near Axbridge in Somerset in July 1968. It was returned to Willowbrook for repair which was considered sufficiently major to cause it to be allocated a different body number and returned to service in 1969.
The first withdrawal was of 98 in 1980 and the remainder were withdrawn the following year.
© David Beilby