109 DRM – Bristol Lodekka with ECW H33/27RD Body
Fleet number 550 was new to Cumberland Motor Services in April 1961 as one of the first batch of FS’s. It spent a lot of its time on country routes running out of Whitehaven, remaining on full passenger carrying duties until June 1977 when, along with 554, it became a driver trainer.
By 1983 it was the oldest vehicle in the fleet. It was decided to use 550 for publicity purposes and it was repainted into 1930’s style livery. Despite this, driver training was always its primary purpose especially after the demise of TV1 (ex 554) due to a cracked chassis frame. In 1990 its registration was transferred to another Cumberland vehicle, 550 becoming AAO 547A. It was finally replaced as a trainer in 1991.
Purchased in September 1991 by the 550 Group it has since then been a regular attendee at rallies in the North of England. It was repainted back into Tilling red and cream, with the kind assistance of the Leyland factory at Lillyhall. In 2001, 550 was once again reunited with its original registration.
AAO 34B – Bristol MW6G with ECW B45F body
This is the only one of 25 MWs operated by Cumberland Motor Services to survive. 231 first entered service in 1964 at Keswick depot where it was to spend its entire working life and was to be frequently to be found on service 79 to Seatoller. It was one of the last MWs in service with CMS lasting until 1980. Upon withdrawal it drew a certain amount of media attention as it was purchased for preservation by a 17 year old school boy and was seen at rallies around the north of England in the early to mid 1980’s. A long period of outdoor storage followed which took its toll upon the bus
No 231 was acquired, in near derelict condition, by the Cumbria Omnibus Group in 1996 and what was to turn out to be an 8 year restoration followed with 231 finally returning to the road in 2004. The restoration process involved removing the engine and stripping the vehicle to a bare shell. New springs, brakes shoes and tyres had to be fitted as well as overhauling the entire brake system but he chassis itself was remarkably sound and only required extensive cleaning. The engine was a different matter as it had suffered frost damage during its period of storage and had to be rebuilt.
On the bodywork side of things the wood framed front end had rotted beyond saving and so had to be reframed but the rest of the body was in good condition as was the floor. Refurbishment of the interior was a very time consuming process but was carried out to a very high standard including a complete reupholstering.
No 231 continues to be the Cumbria Omnibus Group’s main vehicle attending several rallies each year.
HHH 272N – Bristol VR with ECW Open-top body
HHH 272N Bristol VRT/SL2/991 with ECW O43/34F body 21215 built 1975 – ex CMS 401
Delivered to Cumberland Motor Services in 1975 this was the first VR to enter service with them. It remained in service until 1990 when it passed to Eagre coaches in Lincolnshire. It served them for 10 years before passing to the Wensleydale railway where it was converted to a partial open topper. A season was spent on hire to Conwy Borough council working in Llandudno before 2001 saw it return to Wensleydale.
Towards the end of 2001 it suffered engine failure and whilst it was re-engined it then saw a period out of use. Several years later it was acquired for preservation and passed to Cumbria Omnibus Group in May 2006. Initial efforts were focused on trying to get it through an MoT but both saloon floors were badly rotted so the decision was taken to refloor the whole vehicle and carry out a more thorough restoration. With the floors out the opportunity was taken to carry out some chassis work and also overhaul the fuel tanks. Most of the interior surfaces had received a coat of bright yellow paint in HHH 272N’s later service life and this has been painstakingly removed to reveal the original Formica.
Some body panels have been replaced and items such as the battery isolator switch mountings have had to be fabricated as the originals were badly corroded. The reinstatement of the seats will see the completion of this deck. The lower salon is still in the process of having its floor repaired and the rear brakes are receiving attention however the cab is now refurbished. Externally No 401 has been returned to National bus Company red livery. The eventual aim is to reinstate the upper saloon roof thus returning 401 to its original condition and parts have already been acquired to enable this to happen at some stage in the future.
RAO 733 – Bristol Lodekka LD6G with ECW body
RAO 733 entered service in 1956 as fleet number 369 although later gained a prefix of “C” which indicated that it was for Country services. This meant that it had a 5 speed gearbox and doors on the rear platform unlike those vehicles intended for town services. C369 became 416 in the 1961 renumbering programme and carried this to the end of its service life.
It was unique in the Cumberland Bristol LD fleet in that it was the only one fitted with Cave-Brown-Cave heating.
416 was withdrawn in 1971 and then became a mobile caravan for a while before becoming a mobile fish and chip shop. It was last reported performing this role in the Stockport area in 1981 and after that seemed to disappear. It reappeared in the summer of 1999 when it was purchased by Mac Tours of Edinburgh, initially as a source of spares. It was then planned to convert it to open top but this was not proceeded with and negotiations were entered into which resulted in 416 being secured for preservation.
416 has had some work done to its chassis and rear end but is currently awaiting completion of HHH 272N.
DAO 295K – Bristol RELL6L with ECW BF body
295 was delivered to Cumberland as part of an order for 14 vehicles on 7/12/71, carrying Tilling Red and Cream livery with underlined Cumberland fleet names. It entered service in 1972 at Workington. Its early years were spent on Workington Town Services until displaced by the new Leyland National 1s. It graduated to service 30 from Whitehaven to Carlisle by 1975. In August 83, 295 was delicensed for disposal, before being sold on to Bristol Omnibus Company. However it moved on to a number of other operators and dealers before being preserved.
Sadly, it had a serious accident on its last day in service with Peakbus in Chesterfield which left it with substantial front end damage. It was towed from Chesterfield to Silloth in November 1996. Brian & John set about stripping down and rebuilding the front end with parts supplied by Peakbus plus some new. This was no mean feat and required brand new hardwood pillars on both front corners.
231 was moved to Lakes Road in Workington in July 2004. It started on the button and, after due preparation, was driven outside for its first foray into sunlight since 2000.
DAO 295K is now being worked on regularly. Some electrical faults associated with old wiring still need attention. A number of body panels have been replaced to allow straightening of metal frame members. New panels and the aluminium strip right around the bus at skirt height have been fitted, and painting has started.