One of the buses that represent the Pontypridd fleet best is the utility double-decker and there are two main reasons for this. The first is the sheer quantity of them. The fleet at the beginning of the war numbered thirty motorbuses, neatly numbered 1 to 30. To this were added no less than twenty-one utility vehicles new from 1942 to 1945 which thenceforth constituted a major part of the fleet, a situation that wasn’t to change until withdrawals started in the 1960s. The second reason was the distinctive rebuilds carried out by Pontypridd on many of the utility vehicles which resulted in a unique and distinctive appearance, especially when the front ventilators were panelled over giving a frowning look.
Three makes of double-deck chassis were available in this period, allocated by the Ministry of Supply on what sometimes appeared to be a completely random basis. Pontypridd ended up with all three but this included just a solitary Daimler. In terms of bodywork Pontypridd seemed to have been fortunate in only having three different bodybuilders. Duple was the normal bodybuilder for some time on the Daimler chassis and Pontypridd’s was no exception - this was the only Duple body. Otherwise the early and late utility buses had Northern Counties bodies whilst deliveries in between were bodied by Park Royal.
This relative standardisation no doubt facilitated the rebuilding programme that continued through the ‘fifties and into the sixties. The first few rebuilds incorporated new radiussed corner window pans but soon extensive use was made of windows mounted in Claytonrite rubber. Some vehicles had only very limited attention but others were completely rebuilt and didn’t look like the standard utility bus any more.
Pontypridd’s utility fleet was also long-lasting, with the first withdrawal being of the single Daimler in 1958 with the rest being over a period from 1961 with the final survivors not being withdrawn until 1967. Due to the large number and relative variety I will list by type rather than in true chronological order:
Guy Arab Is 19 and 20 were new in 1942 and 1943 respectively and registered FNY 49 and FNY 200. Both had Northern Counties UL27/28R bodies and were withdrawn in 1961. All other utilities were highbridge.
25 (FNY 499) was a Daimler CWG5 with Duple UH30/26R body new in 1943 and withdrawn in 1958.
Ten Guy Arab IIs were delivered with Park Royal UH30/26R bodies in 1943 and 1944. In the former year came 26/27/31-33 (FNY 401/422/537/536 and 572) whilst new in 1944 were 34-38 (FNY 578, FNY 661-4). The withdrawal of these was spread from 1961 to 1967.
1945 saw the arrival of four Guy Arab IIs with Northern Counties UH30/26R bodies. These were 43-46 (FTG 16/17/30/31), withdrawn between 1965 and 1967.
Four Bristol K6As were also received, all of which had Park Royal UH30/26R bodies. In 1944 came 39 and 40 (FNY 932/3) and the following year 41 and 42 with what would now be valuable registrations FTG 1 and FTG 2. These were also withdrawn between 1965 and 1967.
© David Beilby