In 1965 Eastern National decided to convert 10 of a
batch of Lowbridge KSW`s into open toppers to replace their ageing fleet of Leyland PD1`s
on sea front services in Southend and Clacton.
The Leylands originated from
the City Coach Company fleet and had Beadle, Roberts and Alexander bodies.
The two Alexander bodies were
the most famous being built to the Leyland design with Highbridge bodies. They were
registered LEV 917/8 and a diecast model of one has been produced by EFE in the City brown
and white livery.
Prior to being converted to
open toppers they were painted red and operated in the Westcliff on Sea fleet on Canvey
Island. LEV 917 has been preserved.
The Bristol conversions were
carried out in two batches, five at the central works in Chelmsford and the other five at
Prittlewell Garage. Prittlewell won on the quality of coach trim used but Chelmsford won
on good looks with a superbly styled windscreen in keeping with the classic Eastern
Coachworks lines. As they were lowbridge bodies, the head banging sunken gangways were
removed and the top deck seats converted to normal (the seats from the PD`s were actually
The new open toppers were
attractive and well liked and quickly proved themselves useful at the usual special events
such as the HCVC rally from London to Brighton, Derby Day at Epsom and winning football
First to be sold were 2384/5
in 1968 to Eastern Counties and were the only two never to work in Southend. In 1974 2384
was sold to South Wales Transport and repainted in standard NBC red and white livery
renumbered 500. It carried a silver and white livery for the Silver Jubilee in1977. Of the
10 converted 7 still survive.
Four of the batch which kept
their roofs were withdrawn in 1971, however, one WNO 476 was transferred to Luxton &
District painted in all over red but soon had an untimely ending when it was hit broad
side by an ex United Counties KSW.
Most of the above was
extracted from a detailed article in Buses Yearbook 1994 entitled `The Survivors` by John
The kit comprises
- One piece resin body
- One Baseplate
- One Radiator
- One Platform Pole
- One Set of Wheels
The kit is based on the
Chelmsford version which were;
Fleet No: 2379 Reg No: WNO 475
Fleet No: 2383 Reg No: WNO 479
Fleet No: 2384 Reg No: WNO 480
Fleet No: 2385 Reg No: WNO 481
Fleet No: 2386 Reg No: WNO 484