The Little Bus Company the-bus.gif (21152 bytes) LITTLE BUS COMPANY

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Halifax, HX1 2NN.
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BMR1
AEC Bridgemaster (Open-Platform, 30')
BMR 1

The AEC Bridgemaster was developed, under AEC auspices, by Crossley Motors as AEC's low height alternative to the low floor Bristol Lodekka, which, at the time, was only available to Tilling Group operators. The Bridgemaster was conceived, from the outset, as an integrally constructed bus, with separate front and rear running units, in a similar way to the London Routemaster.

Five prototypes, with a stylish typically Park Royal body, were produced in 1956/1957 but a transfer to a steel framed body, much inspired by MCW's Orion, resulted in the box shaped body of the production Bridgemaster. Only 180 Bridgemasters were built, in long, short, rear entrance and front entrance versions, before AEC production changed to the Renown, which used a conventional separate chassis.

This model represents the 30 foot rear platform version, of which the prototype, 116 TMD, was built in 1958 as a demonstrator and was bought by Liverpool Corporation, becoming fleet number E3.

BMR 1 - Southend Corp Bridgemaster

The model is based on the four Chisnell, Winchester (King Alfred) vehicles. Models of other operators' vehicles may need modification to destination screens, beading, ventilators, trafficators, number plates etc. There were also some minor variations in seating arrangements and, in particular, single forward facing seats will need to be added over the transmission housings on the lower deck. The King Alfred buses did not have these seats.

An excellent reference for detail photographs is the booklet produced by the Oxford Bus Museum, from which the fleet details below have been extracted.

BMR 1

OPERATOR DATE FLEET NO REG NO COMMENTS
Liverpool Corporation 1958 E3 116 TMD Prototype
Sheffield Corporation 1958 A 519-A 524 2519-2524 WE  
Southend Corporation 1959 317/318 SJN 636/637  
Southend Corporation 1960 319-322 WHJ 430-433  
Leicester City Transport 1959 213/214 VJF 213/214  
  1961 215-219 215-219 AJF  
  1962 220-222 220-222 DRY  
Lincoln Corporation 1962 92-95 TFE 535-538  
South Wales Transport 1959 1199-1202 RCY 369-372  
  1959 1203-1207 UCY 837-841  
Osborne's of Tollesbury 1959   80 WMH Demonstrator
R Chisnell & Sons, King Alfred, Winchester 1959   WCG 106/107 To Hants & Dorset 1973
  1961   323/324 CAA To Hants & Dorset 1973

The following require the kit to be modified to include platform doors;

OPERATOR DATE FLEET NO REG NO COMMENTS
Red Rover, Aylesbury 1962 7 27 WKX  
East Yorkshire 1960 696-699 6696-6699 KH  

The following require a more substantial modification of the kit to incorporate inward sloping upper deck windows to Beverley Bar profile, also platform doors;

OPERATOR DATE FLEET NO REG NO COMMENTS
East Yorkshire 1961 700-715 4700-4715 AT  

Apart from the King Alfred vehicles, which went to Hants & Dorset upon purchase of the Chisnell business in 1973, most of these Bridgemasters went for scrap on retirement in the early 1970s and did not pass to other major fleets.

Liverpool E3 is preserved and a Leicester vehicle was acquired by FOKAB and is now with a Leicester Group for restoration.

Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW Australia, June 2004.

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