Southend Corporation Bus Fleet
AEC Regent III with Massey L27/26R body, built 1950
In 1950 AEC were back in favour for the last time, as except for the six Bridgemasters of 1959/60 they were not to receive further orders from Southend, and supplied six Regent Ill's of the 6811 A model. They were to a somewhat out dated specification with the small 7.7 engine, crash gearboxes and vacuum brakes, but this was probably considered adequate for the short and relatively flat routes operated prior to co-ordination (in fact before 1955 Southend buses never normally strayed more than 4 miles as the crow flies from their depot!).
261 in original condition
258 had the claim to fame that it was the first Corporation bus to operate when the co-ordination scheme came into effect on 2nd January 1955. There are no prizes for guessing that the body had come from the Pemberton works of Massey Brothers, but note the subtle changes to the sliding windows and the top deck front windows when compared to earlier bodies such as that fitted to 253
delivered one year before. The opening Windows and the lower deck side windows were shortly to change styles again, such as on 230
rebodied in 1952.
These Regents were to be surprisingly long lived, lasting until 1965-7. 257/9 were the first to go in 1965 after the delivery of PD3s 333-344, 260 followed in 1966 and the other three were finally withdrawn in 1967. Although disliked by some drivers because of their crash gearboxes, others mourned the passing of the AECs - a special farewell run was arranged one evening on route 6 with Derek Giles, the Traffic Superintendent, at the wheel and with other staff on-board complete with tape recorders.
Many thanks to Richard Delahoy for his kind permission to include extracts from his book in this page and also to Paul Harrison, Ian Banks, Peter Green and Brian Pask for supplying some of the pictures.