I hope you enjoy looking round and would welcome any comments and further information you have.  This blog is to help you find your way around the gallery by telling you what's new and giving you tips on using the gallery.  I will continue to expand it and if there's any topic you think needs clarifying, please let me know.

National triptych

November 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Buses change appearance, livery and location frequently and it is quite possible to put together before-and-after comparisons.  However, a very unusual combination has occurred on this site recently as there are now three photographs of the same bus in three completely different liveries, but notably all in the same location.

The bus in question is a Leyland National that started out as 24 (RBO 24R) with Taff-Ely.  When they were taken over by National Welsh this bus remained initially in Taff-Ely blue working from National Welsh's depot in Bedwas and this is how it appears in the first photograph in Newport bus station.  In the second photograph it has been repainted in the bright red and yellow livery used for National Welsh's operations based around Caerphilly which used the fleet name Caerphilly Buslink.  In January 1991 it passed to Glyn Williams in Crosskeys who painted in their standard green and white livery.  Newport was a key destination for Glyn Williams's operations so it was inevitable that this bus would appear there, as seen in the final picture.

Thanks as always go to the photographers who have made this unusual combination of views possible.

125-3641125-3641Subject: National Welsh N655 (RBO 24R)
Chassis: Leyland National 11351A/1R
Body: Leyland National B49F
Location: Newport bus station
Date: 26-Oct-1988

This is the first (chronologically) of three shots of this bus in approximately the same location but carrying three very different liveries.

In this view the former Taff-Ely 24 has just started working for National Welsh but still carries full Taff-Ely livery. It appears to be on hire to National Welsh which fits with it not becoming part of the fleet until November despite a takeover date of 5th September. This bus would become N655 in the National Welsh fleet.

Photograph by courtesy of Andrew Mann
CBS16915CBS16915Subject: Glyn Williams 3 (RBO 24R)
Chassis: Leyland National 11351A/1R
Body: Leyland National B49F
Location: Newport bus station
Date: 6-Apr-1991

Former Taff-Ely 24 moved on again after a period as National Welsh N655. It passed to Bulwark Transport Engineering, based at the former Red & White workshops in Chepstow and was refurbished with the intention of becoming part of their hire fleet. However, it very quickly passed to Glyn Williams of Crosskeys, with whom it is here working the 151 service to Blackwood.

Photograph by courtesy of Carl Berry.

Buses in the Rhondda

March 22, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

There had been a very long gap with hardly any updates but as can now be seen, this doesn't mean nothing was happening.  The gallery on Rhondda's buses became a massive project and I would like to have done it in smaller chunks, but there wasn't a clear way of doing that and the final structure didn't become clear immediately.  The update has comprised (currently) 1,960 photos plus a lot of text and as always I wish to thank the many people who have generously made their photos available for the galleries.


The gallery covers all bus services operating in the Rhondda valleys until the Stagecoach takeover of Rhondda Buses in 1997, a date that is already much longer ago than it feels to be.  Rhondda Transport had a virtual monopoly of bus operation in the valleys and that tends to make determining the scope of the galleries a bit simpler.  Only one major service in the valleys remains to be fully covered, which is the 172 Aberdare to Porthcawl which was operated from the Red & White depot in Aberdare until 1992 - this will get covered before too long and the period from 1992 to 1997 is already covered.


The coverage also extends south to Cardiff, dealing with the joint Rhondda and Western Welsh services between Cardiff and Pontypridd.  To complete the geographical coverage this has also included the Cardiff to Creigiau/Church Village service of Western Welsh, but in any case this route became worked by Porth depot and Rhondda Buses in later years.  When the next major South Wales gallery is completed, which will cover Red & White services from Cardiff and Pontypridd to Aberdare, the gallery will achieve almost complete coverage of bus services in Pontypridd, at least in the twentieth century.


Rhondda Transport was very strongly associated with the AEC Regent and here is a typical example, although not quite so typical as it was one of five RT-type chassis which were never common new to operators other than London:


49774977Subject: Rhondda 218 (GNY 370)
Chassis: AEC Regent III O961
Body: Weymann H30/26R
Location: Cardiff, Scott Street
Date: early 1950s

218 is seen at the earlier terminus on Scott Street and is probably working a duplicate on the busy Treorchy service. The chassis front end can be compared with the standard provincial Regent III as seen on 260 behind.

At this stage the tax disc and other such discs were still external under the canopy as had been Rhondda custom.

From a negative in the David Beilby collection from the RHG Simpson archive


After being absorbed by Western Welsh the operations at Porth then became National Welsh and following the Market Analysis Project there were extensive service revisions in 1981 which led to the New Rhondda local identity on the standard NBC poppy red livery:


JLJ26070JLJ26070Subject: National Welsh U1282 (BTX 334J)
Chassis: Leyland Leopard PSU4A/2R
Body: Willowbrook B45F
Location: Gilfach Goch, High Street
Date: 10-Sep-1983

Carrying its final number U1282, the last of the batch is doing an anti-clockwise circuit passing through Gilfach Goch first then Evanstown. On the left is the end of Blandy Terrace, the name of the nearest stop. The original houses would have been demolished just before this photograph was taken - a new development has since taken place with the appropriate name of New Blandy Terrace.

On the right was the site of Noddfa Baptist Chapel which had also just been redeveloped.

Rhondda's short-lived trolleybus terminated a short distance beyond this point, on Nicholl's Terrace which was just behind John when he took this. It is now plain High Street.

Photograph by courtesy of John Jones

Then in 1992 after National Welsh collapsed Rhondda Buses Limited was established and the valleys had their own local operator again.  A new image, based on the final National Welsh livery, was adopted and the quality of presentation improved markedly.  A lot of new buses arrived, mainly Dennis Darts, and they could look very smart in the sun:


JLJ51444JLJ51444Subject: Rhondda Buses 87 (L87 CWO)
Chassis: Dennis Dart 9SDL3024
Body: Wright Handy-bus B35F
Location: Pontypridd bus station
Date: 14–Jul-1994

A nice study of 87 parked in Pontypridd bus station.

Photograph by courtesy of John Jones

The coverage also extends to routes jointly operated by Rhondda Transport.  The service from Cardiff to Merthyr Tydfil was joint with the municipal operators of the two towns (or city as Cardiff later became) but latterly was worked exclusively by Merthyr Tydfil.  As a result their fleet is quite well covered as most of the vehicles found in the fleet worked the service at one time or another.  The Leyland Leopard was a favoured chassis in Merthyr Tydfil for some years and is probably the most typical vehicle:


1750217502Subject: Merthyr Tydfil C. T. 177 (GHB 177J)
Chassis: Leyland Leopard PSU3A/2R
Body: East Lancs B51F
Location: Cathays, Park Place
Date: 16-Feb-1974

The 1971 batch of Leopards seem to have been particularly active on the Cardiff service. 174 was the first of the batch and is still in the original livery although the first bus was painted in the orange livery the same months as the photograph.

For many years the buses from Merthyr Tydfil used Colum Road, Park Place and Queen Street to enter Cardiff, leaving via Kingsway and North Road. The routing probably changed with the pedestrianisation of Queen Street from 3-Nov-1975, with inbound services then also using North Road.

The building behind was originally designed, apparently, in 1890 by the Bute Estate architect and surveyor Edwin Corbett whose name is commemorated by Corbett Road which crosses Park Place a little further north. Latterly used as offices by the University it was demolished in 2018.

From an original slide in the David Beilby collection, photographer unknown

The most unusual joint operation covered the brief participation by Rhondda Buses in the TrawsCambria service and as a consequence I have covered the earlier history of that service which brings some unexpected vehicles and locations such as this Crosville Cymru Leyland Leopard leaving Caernarfon:


JLJ41336JLJ41336Subject: Crosville Cymru CLL531 (SND 281X)
Chassis: Leyland Leopard PSU5E/4R
Body: Duple Dominant IV C50F
Location: Caernarfon, Pwllheli Road
Date: 4-Aug-1989

Seen leaving Caernarfon with a long way still to go, CLL531 carries the National Express livery it first wore with Crosville Wales. There was just one advertised stop between Caernarfon and Porthmadog at Penygroes.

Photograph by courtesy of John Jones


I hope you like this taster of the latest additions and go on to explore them in detail.  I always welcome any contributions, both photographs and also historical information, you can either comment directly on the photo or get in touch using the contact page.

A long journey

February 28, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

I have just added a small gallery covering the marathon journey made by the New South Wales Government Railways Class 46 electric locomotives, all of which were built in Stockton-on-Tees, taken by road over the Pennines to Liverpool and shipped from there to Sydney.  The story covers the first locomotive 4601 and has been done to support those looking after the locomotive today in preservation.  This journey took the locomotive through Saddleworth and Oldham and a few photographs have already appeared in the gallery as a consequence.  This one has not, though:

SP6336 NSWGR 4601 Bleak Hey Nook Huddersfield RoadSP6336 NSWGR 4601 Bleak Hey Nook Huddersfield RoadSubject: Wynn’s 161 (EDW 96) hauling NSWGR 4601
Location: Bleak Hey Nook, Huddersfield Road
Date: c.1956

The photographer has moved a short distance down the road to record 4601 passing the A62 junction with the A670. To the right is the Horse and Jockey, now just a ruined shell.

On the left is an AEC Mammoth Major PWY 806 which was number 108 in the fleet of Smith and Robinson, Rothwell. It is painted in the livery of Thomas Hedley and Co. Ltd, for whom it was working under contract.
Whilst it may not appear that there is much progress on the gallery, in fact there is a lot of work taking place on a major new gallery of well over 1000 photos.  I am expecting this will become live in the next couple of months.  It will be followed by updates to some of the existing galleries.

Austrian trams galore!

September 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Today sees the completion of both updates and additions to the tram galleries, all of Austrian systems.  Whilst mainly my own material I must thank Phil Sposito and an old university friend Keith Halton for contributing some excellent vintage photos.

The Vienna gallery sees a significant update which has covered many parts of the system but particularly more recent extensions such as the new line to Hausfeldstraße on the north side of the Danube.  It will also probably be my last chance to add photos of the venerable c3 trailers, there are just four survivors built in 1960/1 and they are unlikely to be there when I next return, in fact it transpires they were making their last run almost as I wrote the blog, on commemorative trips relating to major service changes on 2nd September 2017.

One of the added photos is this unusual view of the very busy terminus at Schottentor which has two services terminating on the upper level and no less than five below:

43001_3208043001_32080A double-decker B1 at Schottentor! 736 is on the 43 at the upper level whilst 747 working on the 40 is on the lower level in what looks just like a model railway with hidden storage tracks underneath the baseboard. In front of 747 a solo E1 is ready to depart on the 37 to Höhe Warte.

I have also added coverage of the very special system at Gmunden.  Up to now the shortest tram system in the world (I believe) with a fleet of three service vehicles (the newest dating from 1961) plus a couple of vintage trams, the staff of six provide an excellent service.  It is also notable for having a significant length of track with a 10% gradient. It is owned by the famous Austrian operator Stern und Hafferl and current plans will see it linked to the line to Vorchdorf and operated by modern Vossloh articulated trams.  However, in the gallery at the moment the old order reigns supreme:

G070_30898G070_308985 tackles the ascent of Alois-Kantenbruner-Straße on one of the fortnightly vintage tram operation days that take place during July and August. Unsurprisingly patronage was not high on this rather unpleasant day.

Finally, the trams of the city of Innsbruck get a gallery.  This is a modern and expanding system but one with a lot of history.  It also features a couple of spectacular routes in the line to Igls and the Stubaitalbahn to Fulpmes.  Hopefully the photo below says it all:

STB131_33174STB131_33174352 has wound its way round the hill in the background climbing all the way. It will shortly arrive at Burgstall.


Pontypridd major update

February 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Although it might have appeared that little was going on in the gallery for some time, in fact a major update has been in progress on the Pontypridd gallery.  Whilst things like this are never complete, there are no further planned updates to this gallery although if suitable new material becomes available it will be added.

This new update comprises approximately 450 new images covering all aspects of Pontypridd UDC and Taff-Ely BC operation.  The trolleybus fleet is now included and the coverage of the route network has been improved, both in geographical coverage and in outlining the evolution of the network.

I should like to thank again the many photographers who have supported the gallery with some truly excellent images, it has been a delight to work with much of the material made available.

After many months of working on this I have lost the ability to read through the captions critically and so there are bound to be errors and omissions.  Please feel free to point them out as I want the gallery to be as accurate as possible.

Work will now proceed on updating several other galleries and moving on to other aspects of bus operation in South Wales, with the emphasis being on operation in the Valleys.  The next new gallery will be on Rhondda Transport but I'm not making any promises when!

93949394Subject: Pontypridd UDC 12 (TG 1954)
Chassis: Bristol B
Body: Eastwood and Kenning B32R
Location: Pontypridd, Taff Street
Date: c.1948

Bristol B 12 is poised to operate Pontypridd’s hilliest route to Penycoedcae. It is carrying the pre-war lined-out livery, probably a legacy of its rather inactive war period. It was converted to producer gas in August 1940 and reduced to B29R. It was then laid up from December 1941 to February 1947. It was withdrawn in 1949, not long after this photograph.

The billboards behind display a range of once-famous names including Claude Rains, Betty Grable and David Niven. “Bonnie Prince Charlie” was in Technicolour but that seems to be its one redeeming feature. “Mother Wore Tights” was better-received, winning an Oscar for the score and being nominated for two others.

From an original negative in the David Beilby collection, photographer unknown.

January February March April May June July August (2) September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January (1) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August (2) September October November (1) December
January February March (1) April May (1) June July August September October November December
January February (1) March April May June July August September (1) October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February (1) March April May June July August September October November December
January February March (1) April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November (1) December
January February March April May June July August September October November December