The D route is an important one as it provides a service round a significant part of the central ring and also serves a lot of track exclusive to the route.
It is worked from the depots at Favoriten and Währinger Gürtel using B (and more recently B1) class ULF cars and E2 cars hauling c5 trailers. An odd exception can be seen in the collection.
This route was extended from 9th December 2012 as part of the redevelopment of the former Südbahnhof area which led to the route serving the new Hauptbahnhof and terminating at the new terminus at Alfred-Adler-Straße. In time it is due to be extended further as the area is redeveloped.
There were three main periods when Pontypridd/Taff-Ely had cause to take vehicles from other operators on loan.
The first was during World War II when demand for transport far outstripped the fleet’s resources, despite the large influx of ‘utility’ buses. As well as trolleybuses loaned from Hull and Portsmouth, Pontypridd also received eight London Transport ST vehicles which had been ST310/369/899/903/910/915/949/1006. The first arrived in July 1942 and the last departed in November 1945.
At the end of 1982 and into early 1983 the Department found itself short of vehicles and the fleet was supplemented with vehicles from Cardiff, Merthyr, Rhymney Valley and Nottingham. The ex-Bedwas PD3 featured in this gallery on the Caerphilly service was one of those making a brief appearance but both Rhymney Valley and Nottingham provided Leyland Leopards.
In the final days of Taff-Ely there were again pressures on the fleet and some Ford Transits from Charlie’s Cars in Bournemouth were brought in to keep services running. these were accompanied by vehicles from Merthyr Tydfil, Cynon Valley and Cardiff.
The fleet of AEC Regent Vs used for schools transport was becoming rather old and obsolete in terms of spares. Taff-Ely looked around for suitable replacements and settled on Leyland Atlanteans from Southampton and Newport. There could not have been a greater contrast in the status of the Atlantean in the source fleets. Those from Newport were the last Atlanteans in a fleet which had once totalled 43, whereas those from Southampton had been replaced in their home fleet by almost identical vehicles which were to be the last of 194 of the marque delivered to that fleet.
It is likely that Taff-Ely would have bought all nine of the Newport batch, but two had already been sold. The batch had been 10-18 (TDW 310-318J) in the Newport fleet and they were Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 chassis with Alexander H43/31F bodywork, new in 1971. Taff-Ely retained the relationships between fleet number and registration number and hence Newport 10, 13-18 became Taff-Ely 80, 83-88. Of these 80/84/86 were repainted by South Wales in Swansea before operating in Pontypridd but the last arrivals, 83/87/88, retained their Newport green and cream livery and 85 ran initially in green and cream, being repainted in October 1983.
The gap in fleet numbering was filled by the two from Southampton. 81/82 (TTR 161/163H) were Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 chassis with East Lancs H45/31F bodies and had been new in 1970 as Southampton 127 and 129 respectively. These were also repainted by South Wales in Swansea prior to working for Taff-Ely.
A feature of the secondhand Atlanteans was the use of the number blinds to show the fleet number, although in some cases the aperture was painted over and the fleet number placed there.
The Newport Atlanteans were withdrawn in 1986, although it appears that only 80 saw regular service after about 1984. The Southampton pair lasted a little later, being withdrawn in 1987.
To inaugurate trolleybus operation Pontypridd bought seven six-wheel single-deckers from English Electric. These had the SD6WTB chassis and English Electric’s own B32C bodies and all entered service on 18th September 1930 with the opening of the trolleybus system.
The trolleybuses were numbered in a separate series from the motorbuses and these vehicles were given fleet numbers 1 to 7. The registrations were slightly more complex, presumably because Glamorgan as issuing authority had a policy as in some other areas where odd and even registrations were issued to different classes of vehicle. Hence 1 to 7 were registered TG 379/81/83/85/87/89/91.
Rebuilding work resulted in a variety of changes, the most visible of which were the removal of the nearside cab door and the replacement of droplight ventilators with half-drop units.
The new fleet of Karrier Ws rendered these single-deckers obsolete and they were withdrawn in 1946 and 1947. Cardiff had an urgent need for single-deck trolleybuses and following inspection agreed to buy the whole batch, provided Pontypridd completed some outstanding modification works. Once Cardiff’s new single-deck trolleybuses arrived in 1949 these vehicles were no longer needed and the last was withdrawn by August 1950. All went for scrap.
Pontypridd bought eight new Bristol Ls after the war and they went on to give very good service. All had Beadle B32R bodies and they came in two batches with different styles of body.
The first postwar specification buses for the fleet were six Bristol Ls new in 1947. These were 47-52 (GNY 911-916), of which 47-50 had the L5G chassis whereas 51/2 had the Gardner 6LW engine which was more powerful but also longer. This caused some detail differences in the body design which are described in the caption to the photo of 52. 52 was withdrawn in 1959 after an accident but the others went on to lead long lives with Pontypridd, not least 51 which survived as a minor celebrity into the Taff-Ely era and still exists today, in semi-retirement, in Belgium.
Two further Bristol L5Gs were new in 1950 with a different style of Beadle body. 61/2 (JTX 522/3) were not finally withdrawn until 1969.
All these Bristol Ls had their bodies rebuilt to varying degrees, most visibly using rubber mounted windows and the removal of the original large destination box. The captions describe this in more detail.
A last attempt was made to make Taff-Ely Transport Ltd viable with the introduction of these eight minibuses which presented a better image than that given by the competition. Based on the Volkswagen LT55 and with an Optare DP25F body they were smart vehicles.
40-46 (E40-46 RDW) were new in 1987 and were joined later that year by 47 (E750 VWT) which had been a demonstrator. The latter vehicle arrived in a silver and blue livery which it retained.
All passed to National Welsh at the takeover but 40-45 were almost immediately exchanged for a batch of Cambus Ford Transits to try to reduce the diversity of the National Welsh fleet. 46/47 were briefly renumbered 246/247 in the National Welsh fleet before following their sisters to Cambridge.
The demands on Pontypridd’s trolleybus fleet were as great during the war as on the motorbus fleet and Pontypridd applied to the Ministry of War Transport for authority to buy new trolleybuses. This was granted (in pairs) and all were on the Karrier W chassis. In order of arrival they were:
10/11 (FNY 983/4) Karrier W with Weymann UH30/26R body new 1945
12/13 (FTG 234/5) Karrier W with Park Royal UH30/26R body new 1945
14/15 (FTG 697/8) Karrier W with Roe UH30/26R body new 1946
8/9 (GNY 301/2) Karrier W with Park Royal UH30/26R body new 1946
All had BTH electrical equipment except 10/11 which were English Electric.
As with the earlier trolleybuses, these were numbered in a separate series with 8 and 9 re-using the numbers originally carried by the pre-war double-deckers which had just been withdrawn.
The first to go were the Roe-bodied pair 14/15 as a result of an approach from Walsall. These were withdrawn in December and overhauled for use as Walsall 301/3 respectively where they lasted relatively unchanged until last use in 1961 and 1962 respectively. Officially withdrawn some time after last use, both went for scrap.
The remaining trolleybuses were withdrawn on closure of the system on 31st January 1957.
10 and 11 were sold to Doncaster where they were rebodied with new Roe H34/28R bodies, entering service on 1st October 1957. Both were withdrawn in 1962, the relatively new bodies being fitted to new Daimler CVG6 chassis and numbered 170/1 (170/1 GDT). As such they lasted until 1972 (170) and 1974, 171 just surviving long enough to be withdrawn by South Yorkshire PTE.
8, 9 12 and 13 were all sold to South Shields were they underwent a certain amount of rebuilding before entering service as 235-238 respectively. All were withdrawn in 1963 and sold for scrap.
When considering which was the last AEC Regent V, there are several contenders and not a ‘right’ answer. What does appear certain, though, is that this pair for Pontypridd were the last to enter service, on 1st March 1969. They were the penultimate pair of MD-series Regents (the final one going to Garelochhead Motor Services), a chassis which had latterly been produced mainly for operators in South Wales. After 1961 96 were built and apart from 29 for Devon General just 11 others went outside the area. They were a familiar sight in Pontypridd as the Council had 13, Rhondda had 31 and Western Welsh 10.
These two vehicles became 7/8 (UTG 312/313G) and had Willowbrook H34/26F bodies. They were to have been bodied by Metro-Cammell but they were not able to carry out the work which was then transferred to Willowbrook, who also built the bodies on the last AEC Regent chassis, two 3D3RA models for Douglas.
In recognition of its historic status, 8 was restored to original Prussian Blue livery in 1983. Whilst 7 was withdrawn the following year, 8 remained in the fleet to become the only AEC Regent owned by Taff-Ely Transport Ltd. in 1986, being finally withdrawn the following year.
At the time of writing both 7 and 8 still survive, with 8 being fully restored.
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.
Pontypridd’s first two AEC Regent Vs entered service on 1st June 1965 and had Weymann bodies. The Regent V 2MD3RA was the chassis for all subsequent double-deckers bought new by Pontypridd (and even Taff-Ely). The Weymann bodies remained unique to this pair and although they were to the same basic design as the subsequent Metro-Cammell-bodied Regents, there were quite a few differences.
Some of the detailed ones are mentioned in the captions, but the most obvious differences were the nearside fuel tanks (which required them to reverse into the fuel bay) and hopper ventilators. These latter had been a characteristic of Pontypridd’s buses for a few years and the Council pre-empted their more general adoption, but oddly the other Regents weren’t so fitted.
Unusually, the two buses of this batch didn’t have consecutive registrations with 91 being registered ETG 373C and 92 being ETG 388C. The Weymann bodies were of H34/26F layout, to be standard on all the Regent Vs.
Both buses were withdrawn as part of the cull of the Regent V fleet in 1983, by which time they’d run for eighteen years.
Pontypridd started their short relationship with Longwell Green in 1963 just as that company was ceasing to pick up orders for bus bodies. These two AEC Reliances were 89 and 90 (997/998 TTX) and coincided with the last bodies built for any other operator, although not for Pontypridd as two AEC Regent Vs were to follow in 1966.
The Pontypridd examples were well turned-out and featured a skirt-level aluminium trim which was not a feature of the contemporary Gelligaer vehicles. The bodies were of B45F layout, Longwell Green squeezing in one more seat than Roe had. They were on 2MU3RV chassis and the last vacuum-braked vehicles for Pontypridd. They had synchromesh gearboxes but all subsequent Reliances were to feature a constant-mesh gearbox - this required a more precise technique from the driver but may have proved more reliable on the short, sharp hills which were a feature of Pontypridd’s single-deck routes.
Both these vehicles lasted well. 90 was the first to go in 1979, with 89 lasting until the following year.
The Leyland National was a joint venture between Leyland and the National Bus Company to build a more advanced vehicle using production line methods to reduce cost. The whole concept was on a large scale involving a new factory near Workington. The complete story is too complex to explain here and is in any case well documented elsewhere.
Pontypridd was the only Urban District Council to buy the Leyland National, the first arriving in 1973. This was 14 (NTX 326L) which was a 10.3m long version with B43F bodywork and unusual in featuring ZF automatic transmission. The fleet gradually increased by the purchase on an almost annual basis of small batches:
1974 - 16/17 (RUH 816/817M) 10.3m long with B41F body
1975 - 18-20 (HUH 407-409N) 10.3m long with B41F body
1976 - 21-23 (MBO 21-23P) 11.3m long with B49F body
1977 - 24-26 (RBO 24-26R) 11.3m long with B49F body
1979 - 27-29 (CBO 27-29V) 11.3m long with B49F body
The maximum fleet of Leyland Nationals (excluding the later Leyland National 2s, q.v.) was therefore fifteen, although this total soon reduced as 27 had a very short life, being destroyed by fire in 1981. The remainder survived after deregulation and the establishment of Taff-Ely Transport Ltd, but 14/16-23 were withdrawn in 1987, leaving just 24-26/28/29 to be taken over by National Welsh.
As can be seen in the gallery, many of the Nationals saw further service with other operators around the United Kingdom.
By the time these buses were bought, most AEC Reliance production was for coach chassis but there were several loyal customers and notably most of them preferred the constant-mesh gearbox chosen by Pontypridd.
There were three of these vehicles numbered 9-11 (GTG 91-93L) which had AEC Reliance 6MU4R chassis with Willowbrook B45F bodies, but these featured wrap-round windscreens and longer windows and looked much more modern than Pontypridd’s earlier Reliances. They had air brakes, however the A letter at the end of the chassis designation had been dropped by AEC as they had stopped offering vacumm-braked chassis some years earlier.
In 1981 10 and 11 were reseated to DP43F, but this only lasted until 1983 when they were restored to their original layout. Withdrawal came in 1984 for 10 and 11, with 9 hanging on until the end of 1985.
After the Guy Arab LUFs the next single-deckers were AEC Reliances, which became the standard chassis for single-deckers until near the end of Pontypridd UDC’s existence in 1974. The first four Reliances all had Roe bodies to that builders clean and pleasant design.
The first pair arrived in 1961 as 83/84 (976/977 HTX). These had Roe B44F bodies on a 2MU3RA chassis, which had synchromesh gearbox and air brakes. The following year two almost-identical vehicles entered service. 85/86 were this time on 2MU3RV chassis with the same body. This chassis had vacuum brakes instead of air, which was an unusual step as the industry trend was very much towards air brakes. Even Pontypridd themselves were only to buy two further vehicles with vacuum brakes (Reliances 89/90). One can only presume that these first air-braked vehicles were found difficult to drive smoothly.
All these Reliances were withdrawn in 1977 apart from 86, which survived another two years as the solitary remainder of the fleet of Roe-bodied buses bought by Pontypridd
Towards the end of Pontypridd Urban District Council’s existence they looked forward to their future vehicle policy and one of the results of this was a trio of Metro-Scania saloons.
These vehicles were the fruits of a collaboration between Scania and Metro-Cammell and the result was a semi-integral vehicle featuring Scania running units. The powerful engine, torque converter drive and air suspension made for a bus that was very different from those in the Pontypridd fleet, or for that matter, most other fleets at the time.
12/13 (NTX 324/325L) arrived in June 1973 and were Metro-Scania BR111MH models with B44F bodies. The following December saw the arrival of 15 (PKG 869M), a similar vehicle but apparently fitted with the ‘quiet pack’ to reduce noise emissions. This last vehicle is believed to have been the last Metro-Scania saloon built and carried a “Metropolitan” badge at the front which was actually the name given to the double-decker that was a later result of the same collaborative venture.
The ride quality and performance of these vehicles would certainly have been a revelation. So, unfortunately, was the fuel consumption and corrosion gradually became a problem. As a consequence they had short lives with 12 being withdrawn in 1979 and the other two only lasting until 1981.
In 1932 Pontypridd bought two small single-deckers. These were 16/17 (TG 3805/6), Morris RP chassis with Petty B20F bodies. They were not deemed a success and were withdrawn in 1938. They have in the past been reported as being purchased for the Caerphilly service but this does not seem to be backed up by Council records.
Petty B20F coachwork was chosen again for three more small buses bought in 1934. 18-20 (TG 8789-91) were Thornycroft EE4/JUR chassis fitted with Dorman 4JUR oil engines. These were also short-lived, 18 being withdrawn in 1938 and the other two in 1941.
The last single-decker in this group was not technically pre-war as it wasn’t new until 1940, but was of pre-war style, not utility. This was 16 (ETX 322) which was a Bristol L5G with BBW B36R body, later re-seated to B35R. Despite being a one-off it was clearly a useful bus and operated in service until 1956. It was then converted for use as a training and towing vehicle and lasted as such until 1962.
At the same time as the Guy Arab LUFs arrived Pontypridd also took delivery of what was to become their standard double-decker for six years and a double-deck equivalent in the form of the Guy Arab IV. These all had Roe bodies and the Gardner 6LW engine and were probably the closest design on the market to the Bristol K so long favoured by Pontypridd.
The first to arrive were 69/70 (STX 105/6) in 1956 and 1955 respectively. These had Roe H33/25R bodies which featured the Roe staircase window and the safety staircase, the design of which meant that bottom edge was further away from the platform. It also incorporated two landings and the combination improved safety without impacting on seating capacity like a simple straight staircase, employed elsewhere for the same reason. 70 was withdrawn in 1973 but 69 lasted until 1976.
1957 saw the trolleybuses replaced and for this purpose six Guy Arabs arrived. 71-74 (UTX 492-5) and 75/6 (VNY 653/4) arrived that year and were identical to 69/70. The first to be withdrawn was 74 in 1973, 72 in 1974, 71/3 in 1975 and finally 75/6 in 1976.
Three more arrived in 1959. 80-2 (501-3 ATX) were similar but the bodies were H33/26R as they did not have the original design of staircase and this allowed an additional seat downstairs. They didn’t feature the staircase window and also incorporated another new feature - hopper ventilators on 81 and 82, oddly 80 was fitted with sliding ventilators. Although hoppers are virtually standard nowadays they were quite unusual at the time and remained so for while. 80-2 lasted until 1976.
The final Guy Arabs arrived in 1962. 87/8 (872/3 MTG) were nominally the same as 80-2 but were fitted with a different style of bonnet, referred to as the Johannesburg front, which was favoured by Guy for just a short period. They were also Pontypridd’s first eight foot wide double-deckers, all previous ones being 7’-6” wide. These two were also withdrawn in 1976, 87 being among the last four of the type in service.
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.
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.
The single-deckers bought by Pontypridd in the mid-fifties were unusual in several ways and as a consequence were of interest to enthusiasts and have been well photographed. The Guy Arab LUF chassis that was chosen was not a common one but seems to have suited Pontypridd well. The Roe bodies had the distinctive front end with downswept corners to the windscreens, reminiscent of the post-war Manchester standard body. They also featured rear entrances. This layout was never common on underfloor-engined chassis and these were almost the last built (just West Bromwich buying this configuration later) and seem to have been the last in service by some margin. All these buses had the Gardner 6HLW engine.
The first to arrive in 1956 was 68 (STX 104). One of three buses bought that year which were the first new buses for six years, it was a Guy Arab LUF with a Roe B41R body. It was withdrawn in 1968 but survived for several years, being used as a source of spares for the later vehicles.
In 1957 a further three virtually-identical vehicles arrived as 77-79 (VNY 655-657). These lasted longer, with 78 and 79 being withdrawn in 1973 and 77 lasting until 1974, lasting just long enough to run in Taff-Ely ownership. 77 went on to see further use with a local children’s jazz band before sadly going for scrap.
Having received a large influx of double-deckers during the war, Pontypridd’s needs were quite small in the immediate post-war period and only ten double-deckers motorbuses were bought between the end of the war and 1956 when the first Guy Arab IVs arrived.
These ten buses were all Bristol Ks bodied by Beadle, as were the contemporary Bristol Ls. They gave the fleet a distinctive look as this style of body was not very common on new chassis and in truth looked a bit archaic with its six-bay construction.
The first batch comprised six K5Gs. 53-58 (HTX 608-613) were new in 1948/9 and had H30/26R bodies. All lasted until 1968 and were sold for scrap.
In 1950 four K6Gs arrived. 59/60 (JTX 520/1) had H30/26R bodies and 63/4 (JTX 524/5) had L26/26R bodies. They were bought principally for the Blackwood service which had a low bridge at Maes-y-cymmer. As noted in the captions, the longer 6LW engine meant the front bulkhead had to be set further back, which affected the window sizes on these vehicles, with the first bay being notably shorter than the others. 63 was withdrawn in 1967, 64 in 1968 and 59/60 in 1969 - all for scrap. Notably 63, the first to be withdrawn, was the last to be scrapped in the mid-seventies.
The bodies on these vehicles were rebuilt with rubber-mounted windows to a lesser or greater degree as best seen by looking through the gallery.
These two rather uninspiring vehicles joined the fleet in 1987, displacing the Ford Transits. They were Dodge S56 chassis with East Lancs DP24F bodies and numbered 38/39 (D38/39 NDW).
They survived (one year!) to be taken over by National Welsh in 1988 and were retained by that operator for a short while before going on to a succession of new owners.
Dennis introduced the underfloor-engined Lancet chassis in 1981 with rather limited success, many examples being used as welfare vehicles or mobile libraries. With the exception of a later demonstration vehicle the last service buses on this chassis were these three supplied to Taff-Ely.
35-37 (A35-37 XBO) were on the Dennis Lancet SD515 chassis and had East Lancs B47F bodies, although 35 was reseated to DP43F in December 1985. They introduced a brighter livery featuring more cream. All three passed to National Welsh after the 1988 takeover and moved on to subsequent owners.
This batch of Regent Vs is probably the type of vehicle most people think of when considering this fleet, partly because they were very late survivors of the famous Regent marque and as a consequence something people would travel to see. They also formed one of the largest single batches of vehicles bought by Pontypridd. There were seven in total and back in 1930/31 Pontypridd had bought a batch of seven trolleybuses, followed the next year by a batch of seven Bristol Bs. No other batches were as large and although Park Royal-bodied Guy Arab IIs and Leyland Nationals were in the fleet in greater numbers, they were not in a single batch.
These Regents were 99 and 1-6 (NNY 757-763E), the odd sequence resulting from a decision to revert the numbering sequence to 1 (it probably saved a significant amount on fleet number transfers!). Like all Pontypridd Regents they were on 2MD3RA chassis, which had the AV470 engine, synchromesh gears and air brakes. The Metro-Cammell bodies were H34/26F. They all entered service on 1st July 1967 apart from 6, which was five days later.
In later years the use of double-deckers for normal services declined and these spent most of their time on school services, which however took them around the area quite a lot as the photographs show. For many years Pontypridd buses could be found in Barry or Porthcawl in summer weekends. For this work capacity was important and therefore these Regent Vs were often used.
2 and 3 survived until 1984, but the remainder had been replaced the previous year by the Atlanteans from Newport and Southampton and withdrawn.
As part of the takeover agreement in 1988 National Welsh agreed to operate five buses in a blue “Taff-Ely” livery. These were Freight Rover Sherpas 215-219 (F215-9 AKG) which had Carlyle B20F bodies.
All were new in October 1988 and withdrawn in February 1992. All were sold for further service with the most interesting disposal being of 216 bought by a company Offerdemo which provided vehicles for the rapid and short-lived expansion of Cynon Valley Transport service. It received the fleet number 44 in the Cynon Valley series, previously carried by a Bristol RE that had only been withdrawn in 1989.
The Leyland National design evolved and the Leyland National 2 was introduced in 1979. The notable differences from the earlier Nationals were the use of the O.680 engine instead of the fixed-head 510 engine which had not been universally popular and a front-mounted radiator which led to a more bulbous body front.
Taff-Ely bought three of these in 1980; 32-34 (FUH 32-34V) were 11.6m long variants with B49F bodies. They were sold in May 1988 to Burnley & Pendle (who had also bought National Welsh’s only National 2s). They initially ran there in Taff-Ely livery but were quickly repainted.
Longwell Green hadn’t built any buses for over two years when these two Regent Vs appeared, to the surprise of many. More remarkable was that they were of a completely different design to anything they’d built before, as all double-deckers they’d previously constructed with a rear-entrance layout. Nonetheless, they were of an appealing design.
93/94 (GTX 936/937D) entered service in the first few days of 1966 and had AEC Regent V 2MD3RA chassis and Longwell Green H34/26F bodies. They went on to lead unremarkable lives, passing to Taff-Ely in 1974 following local government reorganisation. Like the rest of the Regent V fleet, by the late seventies they spent most of their time on schools services.
They were withdrawn in 1982 (94) and 1983 (93), replaced by the influx of secondhand Atlanteans. Sadly, neither of this unique pair survived into preservation.
This vehicle has the dubious distinction of being the last new vehicle to enter the Taff-Ely fleet, managing to operate for the last few months of the existence of Taff-Ely Transport Limited.
60 (E961 PME) was a Leyland Swift LBM6T with Wadham Stringer B37F bodywork. The reason for the fleet number isn’t clear as it wasn’t in sequence with previous deliveries, nor did it match the registration.
It passed to National Welsh but wasn’t used and worked for succession of operators including more than one in the Channel Islands.
8 (UK 8948) was a Guy BTX60 with a Guy body alternatively quoted as H31/28R and H30/29R. It started life as a Guy demonstrator new in January 1930 and came to Pontypridd in January 1931. After a short period on hire it was purchased by the Council. It provided valuable additional capacity and was in use until most of the wartime Karriers had arrived. It was withdrawn in 1946 and sold for use as a static caravan at Porthcawl.
The early gestation of 9 is more complex, as it started as one of a pair of experimental six-wheel motorbus chassis, an attempt by Bristol to get into the market for large-capacity vehicles, one that proved small and quite transient.
Doncaster persuaded Bristol to convert one of these vehicles to a trolleybus and following that the second chassis was converted and bodied by Beadle. It returned to Bristol and was tested within Brislington depot yard and also at night on the tram network using a skate for electrical return. It went to Pontypridd in March 1931 and after some delays entered service in June 1931. It was an immediate success and was bought by the Council, after protracted negotiation, in March 1932.
As Pontypridd 9 (HY 2391) it had a Bristol E chassis with Beadle H33/27R body. The Bristol registration was a consequence of its trial running in Brislington. It was withdrawn in 1946 and was sold as a caravan, it is believed on Anglesey.
Two Ford Transit minibuses were bought in 1979, anticipating the trend for such vehicles which was to peak in the late ‘eighties. They were bought for the new local services in Taff’s Well and also the service to Graig-yr-Helfa.
30/31 (CBO 30/31V) were Ford Transits with Dormobile B16F bodies and entered service in September 1979 (30) or November 1979 (31). They lasted until just before de-regulation, being withdrawn in June 1986 and passing to the new company formed at de-regulation as withdrawn vehicles.