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AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal
(30ft Forward Entrance)

BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance)


BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance) 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.

The forward entrance Bridgemaster was introduced in 1960 and a demonstrator, 2211MK, was paraded in Birmingham livery before passing to Osbornes of Tollesbury.

The model is based on the three East Kent Road Car vehicles, which were used on Dover town service 129 to St Radigunds. To simplify conversion, the model does not include the offside illuminated advertisement panel, which was fitted to EKRC and COMS buses. Models of other operators' vehicles may need modifications to destination screens, beading, ventilators, trafficators, number plates etc. East Kent and South Wales buses will also need addition of wire handrails either side of the passenger entrance door.

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

BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance)

The following 30-foot forward entrance Bridgemasters were built:
Operator Year Registration Fleet No. Comments
Osbornes of Tollesbury 1960 2211MK Ex-demonstrator
South Wales Transport 1960 WVY888-892 1208-1212 Some SWT vehicles to
South Wales Transport 1960 XWN161 1214 Yorkshire Woollen
South Wales Transport 1961 YCY795-801 1215-1221 in 1969
Rotherham Corporation 1960 VET137-139 137-139
Rotherham Corporation 1961 YET940/941 140/141
Sheffield Corporation 1961 1925WA A525
City of Oxford MS 1961 306-315MFC 306-315
East Kent Road Car 1962 YJG807-809
Baxter of Airdrie 1961 78BVD 78
Red Rover, Aylesbury 1962 6116BH 3 Ex-Baxter order
Scottish Omnibuses 1962 9962SF BB962 Ex-Baxter order
Smith of Barrhead 1961 29-30EGD

The following require a substantial modification of the kit to incorporate inward-sloping upper deck windows to Beverley Bar profile and a rounded rear dome:
Operator Year Registration Fleet No. Comments
East Yorkshire 1962 9716-9730AT 716-730
East Yorkshire 1963 3742-3756RH 742-756

'Afterlife' disposals included South Wales vehicles to Yorkshire Woollen and the Baxter vehicle to Eastern Scottish. 78BVD and 9962SF later passed to Highland Omnibuses and adopted an attractive peacock blue and red livery. At least one of the Smiths vehicles passed to Whippet of Fenstanton.

(Additional photos of Kit BMR2 for comparison with Kit PRV30 - AEC Regent V with Park Royal Body. BMR2, which is the vehicle lowest in height, displays route 129 on the destination blind, in each case.)

BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance)
BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance) There were also 13 short 27' 8" forward entrance Bridgemasters, which were delivered to COMS in 1963. A saw job could produce these from the kit, 316-328NJO, fleet Nos.316-328. Most of these nefariously changed allegiance in the early '70s to the 'place the other side of Bletchley', to serve many more years with Premier Travel at Cambridge.
Examples from the Oxford, East Kent, East Yorkshire and Sheffield fleets have been preserved.

Credit is acknowledged to the Oxford Bus Museum and to the owner of East Kent YJG807, whose preserved vehicles assisted in the production of this model.

BMR2 AEC Bridgemaster / Park Royal (30ft Forward Entrance)

Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW, Australia, July 2005

Master for the model designed and built by Tony Swift for Little Bus Company


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