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  WEB NEWS 44  

In this issue of WHOTT Web News we take a brief at a Old Lady Back Home and Preserved RELL POD829H.

  Old Lady Back Home - On Tuesday 22nd November former Exeter Corporation Maudslay, FJ6154, was repatriated to Devon after being away from the westcountry since 1965. The illustrations accompanying this article show examples of Exeter Corporation’s earliest Maudslay buses and life of FJ6154 in particular. To introduce them the reader may wish to know some of the history that led to the decision in 1929 to supplement trams with buses, a situation that would two years later totally eclipse the mode of transport within the city. During the early part of 1928 the Exeter tramways appeared to be about to enter a period of rapid development. The track reconstruction in Sidwell Street was undertaken and completed, the much-reduced lengths of non-double line reducing delays as was anticipated. The Exeter Corporation Bill, which officially had public approval, provided for the development of the tramways generally, and the extension of the Pinhoe Road route to Whipton in particular, and for the running of omnibuses by the Corporation. This Bill became the Exeter Corporation Act of 1928. About the time the Bill was before parliament, Councillor Miss Splatt, who had for some time past been developing a destructive critic of the tramways, brought forward a motion to the effect that the Council should abandon any extension schemes. The debate which followed was of the ‘Tram versus Bus’ character. The result, namely the defeat of the motion, was perhaps due more to the fact that had they done otherwise at the time, members of the Council would have laid themselves open to the charge of not knowing their own minds than to practical advantages of tramways advanced by the Committee or other tramway supporters. As a result of their newly acquired powers the Council authorised the Committee to obtain seven omnibuses and to build a garage on the unoccupied space by the tram depot. They also authorised the purchase of four new trams and to lay track for them in the new garage. The Committee then recommended that the necessary preliminaries for carrying out the authorised extension should be put in hand. It was then that the Council began to question the wisdom of the Committee, the latter being instructed to obtain the opinion of a traffic expert on the proposed extension. Mr Fearnley, General Manager of Sheffield Corporation tramways was appointed to the task and amongst the elements he had to consider was the newly developing housing estates being laid out on the fringe of the city. One of the largest of these was the Burnthouse Lane development, planned to rehouse the densely populated areas of Paul Street and West Quarter to the south of the city. The four new trams arrived early in 1929 and were placed in service soon after. They proved to be a great advance on previous designs and were appreciated by passengers, although favourable comment in the Council and the press was conspicuous by its absence in the case of the former and a lack of enthusiasm in the latter. Indeed, Miss Splatt complained that the new cars were “stuffy” and said (quite wrongly) that there was no ventilation except by the door.

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Preserved Bristol RELL3/813, ECW B53F now lives on the Isle of Wight - Owner, Nigel Harris, tells its story - Service History

POD829H was new in September 1969 and was one of a batch of nine Bristol RELL/ECW buses delivered to The Southern National & Western National Omnibus Companies, both of which were part of the Tilling group. They were given fleet numbers 2724 – 2732, the last four of which were allocated to The Southern National Omnibus Company. All were delivered in Tilling Green and Cream with Black lining; the four SNOC examples had the traditional style of fleet name, positioned in the centre of the side panels. When new 2730 was allocated to Weymouth depot. Photographs show that it often worked the long service 432 between Weymouth – Dorchester – Bridport – Lyme Regis and Axminster as well as the shorter routes such as the 417 Weymouth – Bowleaze Cove. As a result of the Transport Act 1968 which incorporated the NBC, the decision was made to fully integrate the assets of the Southern National Omnibus Company and the Western National Omnibus Company, SNOC assets including 2729 - 2732 were transferred to WNOC in January 1970. Indeed the four SNOC RELL’s only ever ran in service using WNOC route numbers, as the merged service timetable had already been implemented on the 8th June 1969. In 1977, POD829H was sent to Western National’s Laira workshops at Plymouth for overhaul and turned out in NBC Leaf Green and White. Reports suggest it was transferred to Taunton, including periods at Chard, Yeovil and Minehead. January 1983 saw further dividing of the NBC, 2730 being transferred to Devon General where it retained its NBC Green livery until withdrawn and stored at Sidmouth.

If you want to read the full story, and see all the pictures, then become a member and  receive the quarterly newsletter.

POD829H c1983 at Exeter Paris Street Bus Station whilst with Devon General.


Archive Update

Restoration update

Next Time You Fill Up - Spare A Thought...

Points of View

Weston Super Mare objections

All change at Bude




MRL865 Rowe’s Austin with ‘Loadstar’ front end. This spent many years on the Isles of Scilly before entering preservation like the Trust’s EFJ92.


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Web News 43

Web News Index

Web News 45


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