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GWR Route: Banbury to Wolverhampton

Leamington Spa Station: gwrpublicity3876

One of the fifteen Great Western Railway Maudlay vehicles fitted with a observation car body

In the Summer of 1924 the Great Western Railway reinstated their successful Shakespeare Country tours, which had been halted in 1914 due to the First World War (see 'gwrpublicity3873'). It was one of two Day Tours available from London every Sumer weekday.

Day Tour No2 commenced with a rail journey from Paddington to Leamington Spa, from where a circular tour by motor coach visited; Kenilworth castle, Guys Cliffe, Warwick plus various locations in Shakespeare country including Stratford-on-Avon, before returning to Leamington Spa for the rail journey back to Paddington. The photograph shows a Maudslay 35hp charabanc (GWR Fleet No 206) on this Day Tour leaving Warwick Castle.

In March 1913 the Great Western Railway had ordered three Maudslay chassis fitted with observation car bodies as a trial. These proved to be very successful and a further twelve were ordered in the following year; two with observation car bodies and the remainder with 'torpedo type' high class charabanc bodies with cape-cart hoods. The Maudslay vehicles had a four cylinder overhead camshaft engine which proved to be very reliable. Details of these fifteen Maudslay vehicles are given in the table beLow:

GWR Fleet No Reg No Registration Date
201 (178) T 3592 19th November 1913
202 (179) T 3594 19th November 1913
203 (180) DE 605 5th December 1913
204 AF 1366 17th June 1914
205 BH 041 1st July 1914
206 AF 1362 12th June 1914
208 T 4384 21st July 1914
209 T 4350 10th July 1914
210 T 4420 29th July 1914
211 T 4422 29th July 1914
213 AB 4033 20th November 1914
214 T 4444 10th August 1914

After the war the Great Western Railway purchased a large number of surplus War Department AEC chassis. These and the Maudslay vehicles became the mainstay of the GWR passenger road fleet until changes in road legislation raised the maximum speed for pneumatic tyred vehicles (of 14 seats or less) from 12mph to 20mph. The older Maudslay vehicles were soon after either sold or scrapped, while the AEC vehicles were gradually withdrawn from passenger duties after 1926, with most being converted into lorries for the cartage service. The replacements were Guy FBB and Thornycroft vehicles (see 'gwrpublicity3874').

Robert Ferris