Southend Corporation Bus Fleet
Ex-Royal Canadian Air Force Dodge single deckers, new in 1941.
Perhaps the most bizarre buses ever to run for Southend were four Dodges acquired in 1945 from the Royal Canadian Air Force, again via that well known Leeds dealer North's, at £400. In all, eight were purchased and Southend set about rebuilding their bodies for PSV use. The first, CJN 786, entered service in 1948; DHJ 378 and DHJ 514 followed in 1949 and GJN 214 rather later, in 1953. For some reason the conventional numbering series was ignored and they were allocated 1-4. As rebuilt they all had 26 seat front entrance bodies, increased to 28 seats in 1953. Not many photos exist of these mysterious vehicles; they were mainly used for school contracts and some peak hour reliefs. During the 1955 rail strike one was used for a Tilbury to St. Pancras service on hire to BR (Tillings Transport) - boat trains still ran to Tilbury Riverside in those days.
Numbers 2 - 4 were withdrawn in 1956 and sold for scrap the following year, while number 1 was converted to open top in 1956 for use that summer on local excursions from Pier Hill. It was sold in 1958 to the Airport Department and then scrapped in 1961. Of the remaining four Dodges, one was sold to Runwell Hospital (presumably for staff transport, registered CHJ 634); one was equipped as a sewer flusher for the Borough Engineers Department (FHJ 801); the seventh was converted and painted in bus livery but then scrapped without entering service and the eighth was scrapped without having had any work done on it!
Numbers 3, DHJ514, and 1, CJN786, are seen here in 1951.
Number 2 at Victoria Circus in Summer 1955
What would have been the fifth, virtually complete but never brought into service
Many thanks to Richard Delahoy for his kind permission to include extracts from his book in this page and to Brian Pask for some of the photos.