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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Leamington Spa Station: gwrpublicity3873

One of the 14 seater Dennis chassis with Swindon built bus bodies designed for the 1911 touring season

Following the success of bus tours in 1910, including the Shakespeare Country tours (see gwrpublicity3872), the Great Western Railway purchased ten new Dennis 20hp bus chassis for the 1911 touring season. These were fitted with Swindon built bus bodies designed to seat 14 passengers as shown in this photograph. In the Great Western Magazine they were described as; ’A new type, smaller than the existing standard design and more economical in working costs. They will be of higher speed and should prove eminently useful in many country districts where traffic is light.’

These vehicles were allocated to various Road Transport Depots across southern England and the Midlands, but it is not known which were specifically allocated to Leamington Spa for the Shakespeare Country tour. Excursion tours operated daily between July and October with the tour buses being reallocated during the other months (including Ascot Week every June), so individual vehicles may not have always returned to the same Summer allocation in the following year. The table below gives details of the ten Dennis vehicles:

Fleet No Registration No Date Registered Dennis Chassis No Known Allocations
153 AF 685 31st May 1911 3019  
154 AF 686 31st May 1911 3029  
155 AF 705 11th July 1911   Moretonhampstead
156 T 2100 6th July 1911   Helston
157 AF 714 25th July 1911 3055 Slough
158 AF 717 1st August 1911    
159 AF 718 3rd August 1911 3054  
160 AF 720 3rd August 1911   Redruth
161 AF 722 9th August 1911 3056  
162 AF 725 23rd August 1911 3057  

During 1913-14 the Great Western Railway purchased fifteen Maudslay chassis to update their touring and excursion bus fleet, allowing the Dennis vehicles to be withdrawn and converted into Parcel Vans. This coincided with the start of the First World War for the duration of which all tours and excursions were suspended. The Shakespeare Country tour restarted in 1924 – see 'gwrpublicity3875'

Robert Ferris