Vienna's 18 route generally follows the Gürtel (or Ring) around the city. It was probably the most important route not worked by ULF cars until B class ULF vehicles were introduced on 3rd July 2010. In addition it is worked by E1 and E2 cars hauling c3, c4 and c5 trailers. At the time most of the photos in this collection were taken, it was predominantly operated by E2 cars and c5 trailers. Trams are provided by Favoriten and Rudolfsheim depots.
For a week in April 2009 and then from July to September 2009 the stretch of tram subway from Sudbahnhof to Matzleinsdorfer Platz was closed (due to major works at Südtiroler Platz in connection with Vienna's new central railway station). Trams on the 18 followed the O and 6 routes to avoid the closed section and many of the photographs show trams either on the diversion or with a notice in the windscreen reminding passengers. Works at the new station continued to disrupt the service and a subsequent visit in 2011 found the service truncated to work from Burggasse-Stadthalle to Reumannplatz, whilst the junction at Südbahnhof was remodelled.
The demise of these traditional ring services (after the last operation on 25th October 2008) saw many guide books to Vienna being hastily rewritten, as these circular services were an excellent introduction to some of the highlights of the city.
They disappeared at the same time as the J and N services and were replaced by new services 1 and 2 - see the separate galleries.
The VRT Ring Tram serves a similar function as the old 1 and 2 but at premium fares. It is more akin to the bus tours found in many cities.
The 1 had originally started at Stadlauer Brücke and run as a clockwise circle before returning to Stadlauer Brücke. This arrangement lasted from 1981 to 1985 when it became solely a ring service as described above.
The O route is one of the two surviving lettered routes in Vienna and runs from Praterstern at the east of the city round to the south serving both Wien Mitte and Wien Hauptbahnhof (on the site of the former Südbahnhof) stations.
It is worked by Favoriten depot with a combination of A class ULF cars and E1s (which run with c3 trailers except at weekends and holidays). E1s now normally only run on Mondays to Fridays.
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.
The 9 route runs roughly north to south on the west side of Vienna. It is worked by Rudolfsheim and Hernals depots using A and A1 class ULF cars and E1 cars, which do not operate with trailers on this route.
Like the 10, the ULF cars are quite a recent arrival, only operating the route from 28th March 2009. E1 operation is now not very common, although that is not reflected in the gallery.
Vienna's 6 route is an important orbital route which shares a lot of track with the 18 but runs further out of the city. The 6 had served three stops at the massive Zentralfriedhof (Cemetery) in the daytime, terminating at Zentralfriedhof 3 Tor, but early morning and evening journeys terminated at Simmering depot (displayed as Fickeysstraße). From 9th December 2012 the service was extended to Kaiserebersdorf during all operating hours, serving all four stops at the Zentralfriedhof.
It is worked by the three principal types of tram, namely the E1, E2 and ULF cars (of the B and B1 classes). These are provided by Favoriten and Simmering depots.
In addition to the extension to Zentralfriedhof 3 Tor during the day the 6 also had journeys that extended beyond to the Hauptwerkstätte, the main workshops of Wiener Linien. These took staff to work early in the morning with a further two trips in the afternoon to suit the 1500hrs finishing time. These workings made a complete circuit of the workshops. Since the extension of the 6 to Kaiserebersdorf, these journeys are now on the 71 service.
The present 2 route was formed from 26th October 2008 by joining together parts of the erstwhile J and N routes with a link round the Ring following part of the previous 2 route. It was worked initially by the depots at Brigittenau and Ottakring using A class ULF cars and E1 cars hauling trailers of types c3 and c4. The A types were rapidly replaced by B type ULFs to provide sufficient capacity, the Bs being more recently supplemented by B1 cars. Towards the end of 2014 E2 and c5 combinations started to be used and they have now largely displaced E1 trams from this service.
The service can be affected by events taking place on the Ring, particularly at weekends, and as a consequence often has to be worked as two parts.
The present 1 route was formed on 26th October 2008 from the part of the former N route and the whole of the 65 route, together with the link around the ring which had been the older 1 route.
It was worked by the depots at Währinger Gürtel and Favoriten using the shorter A class ULF cars, together with E1 trams hauling c3 or c4 trailers. Following problems with capacity of the A cars which are small for what is a very busy route, they have been replaced by B class ULF cars and also the more recent B1 class. At the end of 2012 E2 trams with c5 trailers were introduced and have replaced the E1 trams.
The service can be affected by events taking place on the Ring, particularly at weekends, and as a consequence often has to be worked as two parts.
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.