The Little Bus Company the-bus.gif (21152 bytes) LITTLE BUS COMPANY

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Halifax, HX1 2NN.
Tel: 01422 301600



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Kit ULB 1-4 Brush Bodied Lowbridge Utility
Double Decker


Faced with a requirement to provide buses for essential transport and to replace war damaged vehicles, the Ministry of War Transport authorised the recommencement of bus production in late 1941. The specification was for a very basic timber framed body, steel panelled, with a minimum of panel beaten curved surfaces. The initial specification provided for only one opening window per side, per deck, and a steel panelled emergency "window" at the back. From mid 1943 wood slatted seats were specified although, at about the same time, a glazed rear window was allowed, to permit passengers to see where they were or where they had been. With the end of the war in sight, relaxations in late 1944 allowed aluminium panelling, panel beaten roof domes, more opening windows and a reversion to upholstered seats. However these relaxations did not generally come into effect until mid 1945.

The MoWT specification for lowbridge bodies provided for 28 passengers on the lower deck and 27 passengers on the upper deck, the lower deck being provided with six pairs of transverse two-seaters and longitudinal two-seaters over the wheel arch, although some bodies, typically early Strachan versions, had five pairs of transverse seats and four-seaters over the wheel arch.

This model is of the version built by Brush Coachworks Ltd of Loughborough, who built about 12 lowbridge bodies on unfrozen AEC Regent and Leyland TD7 chassis in 1942, followed by 56 on Guy Arab Mk I in 1942/43 and 40 on Daimler CWG5 in 1943. Brush thereafter concentrated on highbridge bodies for new chassis, apart from some lowbridge bodies on Daimler CWA6 in 1944. Brush did not body Mk II Guy Arabs and because lowbridge body production ceased in 1944, there was no "relaxed" version of this body. I should add that Brush also rebodied old or war damaged buses. Rebodies included at least one lowbridge body in 1944 on Wilts and Dorset (ex Southdown) Leyland TD1 UF 7396.

 ulb3        ulb3

A kit example built up as a ULB 3 for Southend Corporation - see notes below....


The model is based on and inspired by two Brush bodied Guy Arab I's operated by Robert Chisnell & Sons (King Alfred), which were the first utilities with which I can identify from my childhood in Winchester. Alternative bonnet/front mudguard castings are provided for other chassis variants and the major detail changes are covered by the following notes.
The ULB 4 Leyland TD 7 is not being issued as a kit but the bonnet has been produced and can be swapped with any other Brush utility kit bonnet if required.

ULB 1 Guy Arab 1 (5LW) – 56 built 1942-1943 (total including 6LW)
Model as kit ULB1. Large headlamps as built. Upholstered seats and steel emergency "window".

ULB 2 Guy Arab 1 (6LW) – small numbers of Arab 1 built with 6LW engine
Model as ULB1 but with long ULB2 bonnet. Body may need trimming at front offside corner to fit mudguards.

ULB 3 Daimler CWG5 – 40 built 1943
Model as kit ULB3. Fuel filler should preferably be remounted 1 mm further forward or be relocated to nearside on Ribble vehicles. The small lubricator access flaps in front of the rear wheels need to be removed. Use LBC Daimler bonnet unit with slatted COG5 radiator grille and "one hole" bonnet side. For the CWG5 only, the front mudguards should be shortened at the front, level with the bottom of the dash. Upholstered seats and steel emergency "window". Small headlamps as built.

ULB 3 – variant as Daimler CWA6 – 1944 – numbers not confirmed.
Model as kit ULB3. Changes as CWG5. Small headlamps as built. As delivered had wooden slatted seats and glazed emergency window with single glazed panel. Slope of valance over bonnet and rear platform needs to be altered to curved profile. Rain shield required above front upper deck windows (15 x 30 thou styrene strip, chamfered) and ventilators (strips of 5 thou styrene) added above windows on nearside between decks panel. Use LBC Daimler bonnet unit with "wire mesh" CWA6 radiator grille and "two hole" bonnet side.

ULB 4 "Unfrozen" chassis, 10 Leyland TD7 1942
Body skirts need to be shortened by two millimetres within the wheelbase and two bar dograils need to be added, similar to early Leyland TD1s. The small lubricator access flaps in front of the rear wheels and the nearside battery flap mouldings need to be removed. Roof ventilators need to be relocated higher up the roof. Upholstered seats and steel emergency "window". Large headlamps as built.

Subsequent detail changes
The lowbridge bodies were built with one half drop window per side, per deck, in the second nearside and fourth off side bay, and with "push out" ventilators in the front upper deck windows. Post war changes included provision of more half drop windows, or top sliding ventilators and in some cases the rain strips were removed from some or all windows. The kit includes a slight rebate on the inside of the side windows to enable this to be done. The solid rear emergency "window" was replaced by one with two glazed panels and the front upper deck windows were often reglazed without the "push out" ventilators. More substantial modifications included curved rear domes, reglazing in rubber mountings etc. In many cases (e.g. the Wilts and Dorset Daimlers) their Brush origin became almost unrecognisable.

As built, the headlamps had blackout masks, a louvred circular mask on the large headlamps and a semi-cylindrical hood on the small lamps. These were removed once blackout restrictions were lifted. In some instances (e.g. United GD01) the large headlamps were replaced during wartime by small hooded ones.

Photographs also suggest variation in the depth of the rear mudguards, protruding about 3 inches (1 mm) below the body side, as on the kit, or level with the bottom of the body, which will require trimming. I do not know whether this was original or a subsequent modification.

Brush utility bodies were normally delivered in a fairly dark shade of grey although some operators repainted them immediately into their fleet livery.

Oh – and by the way – if you are still looking for the rear number plate, the registration number was painted in "square" format in the top right hand corner of the lower deck rear window. Post war some buses were modified to have a recessed illuminated number plate in the bottom right hand corner of the lower rear panel.


Principal references for the kit and these notes were:

  • The Best of British Buses, No 8, The Utilities – Alan Townsin, TPC, 1983
  • The Best of British Buses, No 11, Post-war Daimlers, Alan Townsin, TPC, 1986
  • The Leyland Bus, Doug Jack, TPC, second edition 1992
  • London’s Utility Buses, Ken Blacker, Capital Transport, 1997.

Other details and fleet notes have been researched from personal memories, fleet histories, Classis Bus, the Prestige Series books and numerous other sources. I have received excellent advice in respect of individual buses from John Card, who guided me to Peter Gould’s website of British local bus services. My twin brother, Peter, from Spondon, filled me in with regard to his local operators, Trent and Barton.

ulb 3 's           ulb3
ULB 3's in Ribble and Southend Liveries

Some Examples

The following list is not exhaustive and is based on research of photographs and fleet histories. Fleet numbers, where carried, are in italic script.

AEC Regent (at least 2)

Scottish Motor Traction (2) DSG 167 (BB1) and one other

Leyland TD7 (10)

Crosville (3) FFM 177-179 (M127-M129)
King Alfred, Winchester (1) ECG 639
Middlesbrough Corporation (2) XG 7842/7843 (97/98)
West Riding (1) HL 9954 (569)

Guy Arab 1 (5LW short bonnet) (56 including 6LW)

Barton, Nottingham (3) GAL 136, FVO 324, GAL 224 (425-427)
Crosville (3) FFM 221-223 (M144-M146)
Eastern National (10) JTW 146-148 (3875-3877) & JTW 233-239 (3878-3884)
East Midland (2) GAL 231/232 (D31/D32)
Hants and Dorset (1) DCR 865 (CD 954)
King Alfred, Winchester (2) EHO 130/131
Luton Corporation (4) DTM 476-479 (76-79)
Moore, Kelvedon, Essex (1) JTW 447
Thames Valley (4) includes CJB 141 (422) & CMO 653 (423)
United Automobile (1) GHN 331 (GD01)
United Counties (2) BRP 787/788 (617/618)
West Riding (3) HL 9956/7 (571/2) HL 9994 (576)

Guy Arab 1 (6LW long bonnet)

Coventry Corporation (1) EKV 930 (330) originally allocated to Middlesbrough
Cumberland (5) ERM 672-676 (181-185)

Daimler CWG5 (40)

Bullock, Featherstone, S Yorks (2) AHL 10/11 to West Riding in 1950 (259/60)
Cumberland (3) ERM 677-679 (186-188)
Haslingden Corporation (1) FTD 195, 1952 to Premier Travel, Cambridge (84)
Lancashire United (4) FTD 181-183 (278,277,279) FTD 188 (286)
Luton Corporation (4) DTM 480-483 (80-83)
Maidstone & District (1) GKN 300 (DL 1)
North Western Road Car (3) BJA 86-88 (7-9) (all to Potteries Motor Traction in 1947)
Red and White (8) includes EWO 471 & EWO 486
Red Rover (Aylesbury) (1) GPP 784 (1)
Ribble (5) includes ACK 726 (2393), ACK 727 (2394)
Wilts and Dorset (4) CWV 778-781 (260-263)

Daimler CWA6

Walter Alexander & Sons ( ) includes fleet no RO471
Bullock, Featherstone, S Yorks (2 ) AHL 34/35 (265/6)
Burwell & District, Cambridge (1) EER 102
Derby Corporation (2) RC 8426/8427 (6/7)
Ebor, Mansfield (2) GAL 668/998 (15/16) 1951 to Mansfield & District (83/84)
Gelligaer UDC, South Wales (2) FNY 703 (14) and FNY 704 (7)
Huddersfield Corporation (7) CCX 660-663, 698-700 (204-210)
                      Huddersfield 206 to Premier Travel, Cambridge (98), in 1955
Ribble (5) includes ACK 777 (2423), ACK 778 (2424)
Southend Corporation (6) BHJ 773-778 (224-229)
South Yorkshire, Pontefract ( ) includes EWT 956 (53) & EWU 772 (55)
Stockton Corporation ( ) includes FPT 468 (91), FPT 690 (97)
Teesside Rail-less Traction Board (2) CAJ 804-805 (28-29)
Trent (3) RC 8391-8393 (1303-1305)
Viking, Preston ( ) includes ACK 837

Noteworthy is the loan of Eastern National’s ten Arab 1's to London Transport for three months in 1951, following the transfer to London Transport of Grays area services. These remained in Tilling Green but carried London Transport fleetnames on a Lincoln Green background and carried red "GY" garage and "route" number stencils – refer to London’s Utility Buses, Chapter 14.

Also noteworthy is the number of allocations of pre-selector Daimlers, essentially an urban bus, to rural operators. Such were the vagaries of the Ministry of War Transport. Wilts and Dorset’s four CWG5s spent their first ten years at Blandford, operating the lengthy trunk rural Route 20 across Cranbourne Chase between Salisbury and Weymouth.

Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW, Australia, June 2007


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