Bus Company Service Vehicles (Amberley)

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In Bus Company Service Vehicles, Malcolm Batten examines the workhorses of the bus industry. Before privatisation bus companies would often adapt old buses for use in a variety of situations, using the skills available in their workshops they could produce a variety of specialist-use vehicles. The majority were utilised as towing lorries or recovery vehicles, but others found new life as mobile canteens, tree loppers, stores vans, even a bank security van. Trolleybuses would often be converted to tower wagons to maintain the overhead wires. Rather than using old buses some bus operators preferred to convert ex-military trucks, such as the AEC Matador, into towing lorries. These came with somewhat austere cabs, but here again the body shop would often come up with a custom-built body using various bus parts. Buses would also be adapted to serve as information offices or publicity buses, promoting such things as holiday tours or special ticket offers.

Since privatisation, such practices have died out for a variety of reasons. Construction and Use Regulations have been tightened up, modern low-floor rear-engine buses are probably less suited to such conversions and due to the expense, in-house workshops have largely been closed. Companies nowadays use the services of specialist commercial bus and truck rescue services rather than retaining their own towing vehicles.

This book looks at a variety of service vehicles from around the country over the last fifty years, including examples that have survived into preservation.

186 colour and black & white photographs, mainly displayed in 2-per-page format with captions. 96 pages.

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