Pontypridd’s first motorbuses were of the Bristol B type, also known as the Superbus. Introduced in 1926 it was powered by a Bristol 6.01 litre petrol engine. The design was in production until 1934, which in itself says something about the quality as designs in that era tended to develop very quickly. 778 were built with a large proportion going to Bristol Tramways and other associated fleets.
It provided a very good choice for Pontypridd as these buses went on to give sterling service for many years and may well have been the last of the type in use when withdrawn. The vehicles fall into four groups.
The first batch were Pontypridd’s first motorbuses and were new in 1930. They had bodies by BBW (Brislington Body Works) which featured centre entrances like the contemporary trolleybuses. They were numbered 1-4 and registered TX 9539/41/43/45. Three vehicles were withdrawn in 1950 leaving 3 (TX 9543), which was withdrawn in 1951. However, it survived another five years as a driver training vehicle. It is a pity it didn’t survive a little longer into the preservation era as it would have had historic merit both as a representative of this successful chassis type and also one of Pontypridd’s first batch of buses.
Three more arrived in 1931. These were built as dual door one-man buses, with a driver-controlled front door. However, a change in legislation in 1930 prohibited buses with more than twenty seats being one-man-operated so they were not allowed to be used as such and were soon converted to rear-entrance. The bodies on this batch were by Eastwood and Kenning and the vehicles were numbered 6-8 (TG 1146/48/50). 8 was withdrawn as early as 1942, however 6 lasted until 1952 and 7 went on to the be the last of the type in passenger service, being withdrawn as late as 1954.
A second batch also arrived in 1931. These also featured Eastwood and Kenning bodies with the distinctive oval rear window but this time built new as rear-entrance buses. 9-15 (TG 1951-57) were withdrawn between 1948 and 1952. 12 had been converted to producer gas operation in August 1940, which resulted in a reduction of seating capacity to 29. However, it was delicensed from December 1941 until February 1947 when its original seating arrangement was restored.
The final batch of B types arrived in 1937. These were from Bristol Tramways and had originally been hired pending the arrival of new vehicles, but ended up being purchased. All had BBW bodies, that on 5 (HW 6292) being front-entrance whilst 26 (HW 6293), 25 (HW 6300) and 27 (HW 6634) were rear-entrance. 25-27 were sold in 1943, probably under Ministry direction following delivery of some of Pontypridd’s allocation of utility double-deckers - they were sold to Morlais at Merthyr and presumably continued on transport essential to the war effort. 5 lasted much longer, being finally withdrawn in 1952, ironically replaced by another secondhand bus from Bristol Tramways.
© David Beilby