Photo © West Yorkshire Road Car Co Ltd/West Yorkshire Information Service Collection. Please do not re-post without permission.
BWT760 was West Yorkshire 965, a 1937 Bristol JO5G rebuilt by the company in 1952 to 30ft long with a front entrance.
Much comment has recently been passed about this vehicle recently on various DBW 31 threads and it might be of interest to give 965 its own entry and to share these rare official views of the bus immediately after its rebuilding.
The West Yorkshire Information Bulletin of the time gives details of the work that was carried out and this will help to answer various (though not all) queries about it.
"This vehicle, which was delicensed on 29/2/52, entered Works a few months ago for experimental purposes. Since that time its appearance has been completely changed from a rather out-of-date bus of 1936 vintage to a modern full-fronted machine of 1952 design. It now contains parts of the chassis of 934 and the rebuilt body of 965.
A brief description of the main changes which have taken place is:-
Chassis extended to 30' in length; front entrance moved to a position forward of the front wheels and power operated doors, controlled by the driver, fitted. Head on view made full-fronted in appearance and large deep windows with twin windscreen wipers fitted. Radiator replaced by a fancy grille above which a 'W.Y.' monogram has beed added. Separate route number and destination indicators provided; no provision has been made for an intermediate blind as this will be combined with the destination one. New seats have been fitted and the number of double seats increased from 16 to 20. In addition a seat for three facing backward on the off side, and a single seat facing forward on the near side were installed. The seating capacity was now 44 as against 32 prior to re-construction. The luggage rack on the near side was extended to the same length as that on the off. In view of the fact that, like the passengers, the engine was now 'inside the saloon', two additional roof ventilators making five in all, were fitted to dispose of any excess heat. The colour is red, with cream flashing all round the vehicle beneath the windows. 965 lacks the clarity of the normal arrangements made for numbering the vehicles of the Company. It carries no fleet number on the front or at the rear; the only indication that it is 965, is a marking on the near side of the bus near the fuel tank. It is at present operating from Leeds depot on Service 42 (Boston Spa), but it is understood that this is only for experimental purposes."
Once the vehicle was used in service it became apparent that circulation space around the entrance was insufficient. The interior view of the entrance area shows it as rebuilt, as a 44 seater. Subsequently one seat was removed to make it FB43F, then finally another to make it FB42F. I have no knowledge of which went first, but I would hazard a guess that the single forward facing seat went first, since that was easy to remove, and when that didn't work it was followed by the rear facing seat being reduced from three to two, which needed more work in that the seat had to be altered.
The reference to the nearside luggage rack relates to the one above the windows, which originally would be shorter due to the front entrance that these buses had from new, situated in the first bay behind the front wheel. The off side rack was full length as the emergency door was in the centre at the rear. The general interior view shows that much of the saloon remained unchanged and still retained the original ECW style lights on the window pillars as well as the "jelly mould" roof lights.
The use on Leeds-Boston Spa was indeed short lived; relicensed to Leeds on 1st August 1952, it stayed there for less than two months before it was transferred to Harrogate on 22 September 1952, where it was to spend the rest of its days, often on the Harrogate - Scriven (near Knaresborough) service 8. For an experimental, unique, vehicle, it managed a respectable extended lifespan of over five years, outlasting all the other JO5Gs and most of the pre-War L5Gs, not being withdrawn until 31 October 1957. Even then, it continued to serve the company and was used regularly as a temporary waiting room at the Saturday overflow coach departure point of Saville Street, Leeds during the Summer months. This meant that it was not finally disposed of for over three years, in December 1960, when it went to Fleet Car (Sales) of Dunchurch, Rugby, who scrapped it in June the following year.
Photo taken by West Yorkshire Road Car Co Ltd, July 1952, Christ Church, High Harrogate Stray
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