Pontypridd’s first double-deck buses were former London general K-type AECs which ran briefly from 1930 to 1931. Records indicate that there were four of these but only one has been identified which became 5 (XC 8232), having been originally London General K563.
The first new double-deck motorbus came in 1934 and, like all buses covered in this part of the gallery, had both chassis and body built by Bristol. It was 21 (TG 8256) and was the first of five Bristol GO6Gs built, also having the distinction of being the first Bristol to be fitted with the legendary Gardner 6LW engine. This vehicle was withdrawn in 1948.
Two years later the last of those five Bristol GO6Gs was supplied to the Pontypridd fleet and appears to have been almost identical to 21 apart from having two more seats on each deck. 22 (BTX 88) lasted until 1954.
By the late thirties there had been considerable industrial expansion, notably at Treforest Trading Estate and the little Bristol Bs just didn’t have the capacity needed and therefore the rate of acquisition of double-deckers increased. In 1938 Pontypridd bought two of the relatively new Bristol K5G model, these having BBW H28/26R bodies with a pronounced front rake. These were 23/4 (DNY 684/5) and had five-bay bodywork. 23 was withdrawn quite early, in 1949, but sister vehicle 24 ran another seven years until 1956.
A trio of Bristol K5Gs arrived in 1939. These were 28-30 (ETG 138-40), which were nominally identical to the 1938 pair but had six-bay H30/26R bodies. All ran in Pontypridd for a similar duration, 30 being the first withdrawal in 1956 and the other two going the following year.
The final vehicles in this section were early wartime vehicles. The Ministry of Supply very quickly took control of production nationally, directing it where it was considered to best assist the war effort. Bus production virtually stopped but it became clear that there were significant numbers of chassis and major components in a production system that had been frozen. This material was unfrozen to produce addition much-needed vehicles and Pontypridd received two unfrozen Bristol K5Gs in 1942. Again these had BBW bodies but these were built to the utility specification that had been developed to conserve scarce materials and simplify manufacture. Utility vehicles were destined to play a major part in Pontypridd’s fleet but that follows in later collections.
The bodies on 17/8 were completely different from the pre-war deliveries but retained one feature of the 1939 batch, six-bay construction. With just a handful of exceptions, these unfrozen BBW bodies were the only six-bay utility bodies built. They may have been utility bodies, but they lasted without any significant rebuilding until 1958.
© David Beilby