Accident and Fire Victims

Most of the vehicles featured on this page met an untimely end through either accidental or fire damage - some however were miraculously repaired and lived on to fight another day!

Last updated : September 1st 2017 (under construction)

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BNE765N with accident damage
FAH118C in 1980
BKH982T with roof damage
AFJ771T in 2007
PRC856X destroyed by fire
840SUO with accident damage
HUP761T
20AAX in 1967
UGR697R in 1987
DHN230H after spares use
DPX684W having crashed on ice
TRB576F in turnover accident
TUO503 in 2016
NVL990K in 1978
ECY990V in 2001
VWS975T in 2011
XHK222X in 2005
STW26W in August 2016
Colchester depot fire
BVL286C in 1978
XFE441 in 1976
EDV517D in 2017
XBD771J in 1983
RPU883K in 1984
EAP981V in 1989
UFG633S in 1995
TNJ997 in 1978
ELJ212V in 1996
URB163S destroyed by fire
FHE812L in 1979
RYG387R in 1984
YBF683S destroyed by fire
HRE528N destroyed by fire
LAX106E on the edge of a mountain
MCL939P in 1990
MCL943P in 1986
RAH127M destroyed by fire
SNG435M destroyed by fire
VPW85S in trouble
HPT85N in 1987
LHT727P in 2006
Durham in 1979
MOD568P in 1989
PUF589R in 1992
SHN77L in 1984
JHN559K with accident damage
NAG592G in 1978
POI2140 destroyed
SVF895G in 1981
YCH892M destroyed by fire
VPW713H in 1976
SKL680x after being deroofed
SKL685x after being deroofed
FPM73C in May 1989
YAH720J after being crushed by a container
MWW751K after running off the road
OWX158 with accident damage
LEU260P after hitting a JCB
LEU256P with accident damage
NFB120R with roof damage
RDV421H in 1977
KRE643P with roof ripped off
841SUO with North Cornwall Cars
PDL519 having been rear-ended in FranceCPU981G having been deroofed
 GHY133K meets a fiery end  RAH266W in a hole

 



BNE765N with accident damage
The LHs of the BNE76xN batch were oddities, ordered by Wigan Corporation and bodied by ECW with their by-then defunct flat-fronted bodywork, they never sat well in the G.M.P.T.E. fleet and were withdrawn after just a few years of service in 1982. They readily found buyers however and BNE765N (seen here in a photo by LesUpTheWall) lasted in passenger service first in Cornwall and subsequently in Wales until finally scrapped in 2000. The accident damage received here while working in Manchester was soon repaired and the bus returned to the road.

FAH118C in 1980
FAH115C in 1980
28th May 1980 saw a particularly nasty incidence of arson when four vehicles from the Eastern Counties fleet that were parked in a compound of Heigham Street in Norwich were set alight, almost certainly by children. Two of the casualties were LFS115 (FAH115C) and LFS118 (FAH118C) seen here during the aftermath.
RAH692F destroyed by fire
GVF887D destroyed by fire
Two further vehicles destroyed on 28th May 1980 in Norwich were LH6L RAH692F and National coach liveried RELH6G GVF887D. All photos in this feature were taken by Tim Moore.

BKH982T with roof damage
BKH982T was operating for Roselyn Coaches in Cornwall in the year 2000 when it suffered this fairly serious damage in a low bridge accident. It was never repaired and was photographed by Alistair Friar shortly before being sent for scrap the following year.

AFJ771T in 2007
By 2007 the kind of accidental damage that would have been repaired as a matter of course in earlier years could easily result in the withdrawal and scrapping of a whole vehicle. This was true of Truronian AFJ771T which received fairly light roof damage in December 2006 but was never repaired and was eventually scrapped in 2008. (Photo : Glyn Williams)

PRC856X destroyed by fire
Truronian's ex-Trent VR PRC856X was destroyed by fire at their depot on December 31st 2005. This poor image was taken from the BBC News website at the time but conveys the devastation at the scene. BKE857T was also destroyed in the incident.

840SUO with accident damage
Western National/Royal Blue RELH coach 2354 (840SUO) suffered a nasty accident on the A38 at Drumbridges near the Ilsington turn-off in the mid 1960s. As the driver, Harry Roberts, crested the hill he was blinded by the sun. Meantime a badly-parked earthmover was at the side of the road while the driver called for directions. Unfortunately the bucket cut through the side of the coach; fortunately there were no serious injuries, although a lady who had been in the nearside front seat had moved back at Exeter after complaining about a draught from the door! It was repaired and saw a full service life with the company. (Photo : Stuart Andrews)

HUP761T
United Auto 761 (HUP761T) came to grief in extremely strong winds on Redheugh Bridge which crosses the Tyne linking Gateshead with Newcastle. Local press reports suggested the fence construction was the only factor which prevented the bus from going over the edge. Certainly the wind was so strong that rescue attempts had to be abandoned until it died down. 761 was subsequently repaired and went on to have a further career as a sightseeing bus in New York.

20AAX in 1967
Red & White FL6G L2060 (20AAX) came to grief in the snow and ice of December 1967. Two policemen survey the scene but obviously a successful recovery was effected as the bus survives today in preservation (Photo : Clive Jones)

UGR697R in 1987
United Auto 697 (UGR697R) came to grief in July 1987 on Blue Bank at Sleights when it was hit by a runaway lorry trailer. Fortunately it was running empty as the damage to the rear of the bus severe as can be seen. The engine was turned through 30 degrees in the impact! Not surprisingly 697 was scrapped as a result (Photo : Brian Waller)
DHN230H after spares use
United Auto 630 (DHN230H) was extensively cannibalised in 1983 after withdrawal for parts to repair CPT738S which had been badly damaged by fire. 630 is seen here - the latter survived a further 18 years to be the last VR in service with Arriva North East and a further 8 years at Ripley's scrapyard.

DPX684W having crashed on ice
Southern Vectis
684 (DPX684W) was the last closed-top VR in service with the company, but it came to an ignominious end on ice at Bembridge in December 2000. The hill was described as "like glass" and 684 ended up wedged between a wall and a bush. The damage was not extensive but was deemed enough to see the bus withdrawn. (Photo : Isle of Wight County Press)
DPX684W being scrapped
684 lingered for quite some time at the back of Ryde depot before being finally scrapped on site in late 2003. In the meantime it yielded many useful spares, the upper deck and roof structure was donated to NDL490G which proved particularly useful as it was being converted back to a bu. The engine and gearbox went in open-topper UFX856S which kept it going until 2007. (Photo : Gav Rowney)

TRB576F in turnover accident
Midland General 309 (TRB576F) came to grief as seen here some time early in its life. The survival of some vehicles after such treatment might be in doubt, but the FLF was back on the road within days and today - 2017 - it still survives on the small island of Inisbofen off the coast of Ireland as a static cafe. (Photo : Derek Brown Collection)

TUO503 in 2016
TUO503 has been working for FEEL Events in Linz, Austria since 2011, but in 2016 it was rear-ended by another vehicle causing this extensive damage. By great luck a donor vehicle was already in town in the form of UOD487 which was being used as a grandstand for the local speedway club and the rear end from this was in the process of being grafted on in early 2017 (Photo : Wolfram Niedermayer).

NVL990K in 1978
Lincolnshire 1912 (NVL990K) had received minor accident damage when seen here at Road Car's Bracebridge Heath complex in March 1978. It was repaired and put back to service, but was damaged again in an accident with a milk float in January 1983 and was replaced by East Midland FRB212H which was bought from APT (the NBC dealer ironically located at this same Bracebridge Heath site) for considerably less than the cost to repair 1912. (Photo : David Russon)

ECY990V in 2001
In 2001 ECY990V was in preservation after a long career with South Wales Transport, finally passing into First ownership, receiving their latest livery in 1999. Sadly it was the victim of an arson attach which saw it scrapped before any restoration work could be effected (Photo : William Blower)
SVL174W in 2011
A depot fire at Wilby of Hibaldstow in September 2010 claimed two Bristol-built victims. Here are the remains of ex-Lincolnshire VR SVL174W.

VWS975T in 2011
The other vehicle destroyed was Plaxton-bodied LH VWS975T seen here. Both vehicles remained on site with at least the LH still there into 2017 (Photos : Alex K)

XHK222X in 2005
The day is July 21st 2005 and Abus XHK222X was trundling around the back lanes, driven by none other than Bristol Interest Circle chairman Allan Macfarlane when a 4x4 thundered around a bend, lost control and side-swiped the VR. The car can be seen in the background on its side where it finally ended up.
XHK222X in 2005
The damage to the front offside of the VR was extensive, but it is testament to the build quality of both chassis and body that Allan was able to walk away from the impact unscathed. The same cannot be said of XHK222X however - it was never to run again and was used for spare parts over a number of years (Photos : Gareth Crowther)

STW26W in 2016
The conversion of STW26W into the Menehune Tiki Bus catering vehicle in Ohio, U.S.A. had only been completed in May 2016 when just three months later a deer jumped out in front of owner Danny Webb as he was driving it on the freeway. In swerving to avoid impact with the animal he lost control and ended up some 100 feet into a bean field as can be seen here.
STW26W in 2016
Danny grazed a telegraph pole but then hit a ditch which pitched the VR up in the air. The subsequent impact sadly damaged the frame and rendered it an insurance write-off. The bus has now been sold for scrapping and the Menehune gods have claimed another victim! (Photos : Danny Webb)

Colchester depot fire
On the night of December 24th 1994 a blaze started in one of the vehicles at the back of First's Colchester depot. As can be seen here the blaze took hold quickly and a number of vehicles were totally destroyed, including VRs UVX1S, KOO786V, ONH924V, STW35W, UAR585W, XHK219X and XHK233X. In addition STW22W and STW35W were badly damaged, but were later repaired and reinstated, while XHK232X was undamaged despite being surrounded by destroyed vehicles. A fireman can be seen in the cab of the nearest VR preparing to drive it away from the inferno - this brave act saved the unidentified VR from destruction. (Photo : Colchester Evening Gazette).
Remains of UVX1S
The following morning (Christmas Day 1994!) the aftermath of the fire was clearly visible. Seen here are the remains of UVX1S which had been reinstated earlier that summer to replace XHK216X which had itself been destroyed by fire at Marks Tey on August 5th (Photo : Ian Hardie).
BVL286C in 1978
Lincolnshire 2526 (BVL286C) had a nasty accident on ice at Long Bennington on February 13th 1978. Luckily there were no passengers on board and the vehicle was soon repaired and reinstated (Photo : Grantham Journal)

XFE441 in 1976
The driver of Lincolnshire Road Car 1283 (XFE441) had a lucky escape on January 2nd 1976. He had stopped to examine a fallen tree in the road ahead when another one came crashing down on his bus! Fortunately nobody was hurt, although it was the end of the line for this former coach. (Photo : Grantham Journal)

EDV517D in 2017
EDV517D in 2017
On January 4th 2017, EDV517D had a nasty accident near Bartleheim, Holland in which it ended up in a ditch along with a car. It is not yet known what the extent of the damage is, or whether it will be back on the road in future (Photo : RTL News)

RPU883K in September 1983
Eastern National RELL6G RPU883K was very badly damaged by fire in May 1983. Here it is seen in September 1983 in the background of the Anlaby Common works of East Yorkshire who had acquired it for spares (Photos : MT Davies)
RPU883K in January 1984
East Yorkshire later moved RPU883K to Beverley for storage prior to spares retrieval. Unfortunately the 100-year-old former North Eastern Railway depot blew over in high winds in January 1984 destroying the remains of the RELL before it could be put to any use. Not the most auspicious end for this particular vehicle!
XBD771J in 1983
United Counties 771 (XBD771J) was comprehensively destroyed in a fire at Arlesey in August 1983. The remains are seen here the following month prior to dispatch for scrap (Photo : Andy Warton)

EAP981V in 1989
The only remaining identifying mark on this badly burnt out VR is the stylised "S" logo in use by Southdown at the time. This is June 1989 and EAP981V was comprehensively written off in this incident (Photo : PD3)

UFG633S in 1995
Brighton & Hove 633 (UFG633S) met its end abruptly in August 1995 in a nasty head-on collision. The batch was already in the process of being withdrawn and 633 was swiftly despatched for scrap (Photo : Brighton & Hove website)

TNJ997S in 1978
A disastrous fire struck the Conway Street, Hove garage of Southdown on April 14th 1978. Seen here in the middle of this destroyed trio is 997 (TNJ997S) which was only eight months old at the time. Also destroyed was SCD502H, a flat-fronted Series 2 VR. (Photo : Dale Tringham)
ELJ212V in 1996
It was decided that the damage to ELJ212V was uneconomic to repair and it was stripped for spare parts on site at Winchester depot prior to disposal to Barnsley for scrap. Grateful thanks to Gareth Crowther for these photos.

ELJ212V in 1996
Stagecoach South (Hampshire Bus) 432 (ELJ212V) was damaged in an accident on June 3rd 1996 and is seen here dumped at the back of Winchester depot pending a decision on its future.

FHE812L in 1979
Yorkshire Traction FHE812L was destroyed by fire at Yorkshire Traction's Upper Sheffield Road premises in Barnley in May 1979 along with at least one other vehicle in a suspected arson attack. It was despatched later that month to local dealer Askin for scrap (Photo : Henry W1)

RYG387R in 1984
West Riding 833 (RYG387R) was damaged as seen here in June 1984 when a fire was started (maliciously presumably) at the rear of the upper deck. The damage was so extensive that the bus was never repaired and was scrapped soon afterwards.

HRE528N destroyed by fire
HRE528N destroyed by fire
Potteries 628 (HRE528N) was destroyed by fire in 1982 and was subsequently withdrawn. I have no further information on this incident. (Photos : Cliff Beeton)

LAX106E in trouble
National Welsh RESL6L RS3467 (LAX106E) came to grief in fog on Maerdy mountain in 1980, driving through the crash barrier and ending up grounded on the precipice above a massive drop. Another five feet and this scary incident would have become a catastrophe. It was recovered the following day with just a broken skirt and fog lamp and was back on the road within two days!
LAX106E in trouble

YBF687S in 1987
P.M.T. 687 (YBF687S) came to grief in April 1987 - as can be seen here it even took the bus stop with it (Photo : Cliff Beeton)
MCL939P in 1990
Eastern Counties VR163 (MCL939P) was severely damaged by fire in September 1990 as seen here. It was stripped and scrapped a few months later. VR382 (OCK992K) was also damaged and subsequently written off in the same incident (Photo : Peter Horrex)
MCL943P in 1986
Eastern Counties MCL943P received this accident damage in a collision with VEX284X near Wisbech in June 1986. The latter was repaired and survived a further 16 years, but this damage was considered uneconomic to repair and the bus was stripped for spares and scrapped (Photo : Julian Patterson)


RAH127M destroyed by fire
Eastern Counties RAH127M was destroyed by an arsonist in Sudbury Town Centre on 12th March 1989. Its remains are seen here soon after and it was sold for scrap soon after (Photo : Salopbus)

SNG435M destroyed by fire
Eastern Counties SNG435M caught fire at Hargrave in September 1991 soon after dropping off the last of its student passengers. The inferno that followed  was so intense that the aluminium body melted and the remains had to be cut apart in situ to remove it from the tarmac. This photo is courtesy of Peter Horrex and came from a local newspaper cutting.

VPW85S in trouble
In 1986 British Gas was privatised and ran a campaign with the line "If you see Sid, tell him...". A variation of this was carried on the side of Eastern Counties VR190 (VPW85S) when it hit trouble on this icy country road - the advert read "Did Sid escape by bus?" and overnight someone climbed up the side of the VR and wrote underneath "not on this f**ker"!! Thanks to Julian Patterson for the photo and background story.
LHT727P in 2006
LHT727P spent 15 years as an exhibition unit for the Bath Chronicle newspaper, then moved on in 2004 to promote this adult entertainment company, based in Oldham. It was destroyed by arson in 2006 which was a great shame as it was one of the last operational VRs fitted with a Leyland 501 engine. It isn't known whether or not the attack was motivated by the controversial material being advertised (Photo : Robert Missen)

HPT85N in 1987
Badgerline's former United Auto 5607 (HPT85N) was destroyed by fire at Almondsbury, underneath the M5 flyover, on March  12th 1987 after the driver had been made aware of smoke coming from the rear end. Fortunately he had the presence of mind to evacuate it before fire broke out (Photo : Dr Mike Walker)

JHN344K in July 1979
In July 1979 a disastrous fire took place at the Durham depot of United Automobile Services. The building was gutted and no fewer than 13 REs were destroyed : 2821 (VHN21G), 4200 (WHN400G), 4203/5 (YHN803/5H), 4232 (BHN432H), 4244/6 (JHN344/6K), 4273/9 (PHN173/9L), 6018/9 (UHN782/3G), 6025 (BHN209H) and 6040 (EHN624J). All photos of the sad event are by Chris Dugdell.
UHN783G in 1979
6019 (UHN783G) doesn't appear to be too damaged here and even seems to be being driven out of the depot, but the scorching at the front and towards the rear tell a different story and it was never to re-enter service.
GUP914N in 1979
Two LHs were also badly damaged in the Durham fire, but 1614 (GUP898N) and 1630 (GUP914N - seen here) were later rebodied at Eastern Coach Works and both gave a further 15 years of sterling service to the company.

MOD568P in 1989
In 1989 VRs were an endangered species in the Devon General fleet due to their wholesale replacement by minibuses, so when MOD568P received front end damage in a collision it was immediately withdrawn and robbed for spares.

PUF589R in 1992
In 1992, Thornton Dale Coaches of Pickering had unwisely taken on Scarborough & District (owned by East Yorkshire Motor Services) on route 128 (Scarborough - Pickering). It was a short-lived contest with TDC going bust and EYMS buying them out. Included in the deal was PUF589R which needed welding work to bring it up to scratch, and in the course of travelling over the Moors on the A171 between Whitby and Scarborough it blew over on its side in strong winds. It had been planned for it to join the Primrose Valley subsidiary but it was recovered to Hunmanby where John Darwent took these photos. It was considered beyond economic repair and scrapped without receiving an EYMS fleet number.
PUF589R in 1992
This rear view shows further the extent of the damage when PUF589R was blown off the A171. It would no doubt have yielded a good selection of spares for the still-massive EYMS fleet of VRs in 1992 (Photo : John Darwent)

JHN559K with accident damage
The front end of United Auto 2859 (JHN559K) was completely destroyed in March 1983 when it was hit by a tree (Photo : Mark Harrington)

SHN77L in 1984
Another United Auto RE which was withdrawn prematurely was SHN77L, seen here in January 1984 after a nasty front end shunt. Apparently it went into a narrow brick railway arch on a bend at the same time as a coal lorry coming in the opposite direction near East Hetton Colliery coming down the hill from Quarrington Hill. Fortunately the driver managed to jump out of the cab just prior to impact. Rumour has it he was suspended for leaving his ticket machine and change unattended LOL (thanks to Robert Facey and Stan Miller for the additional information about this incident)  (Photo : Mark Harrington)

POI2140 destroyed
POI2140 was one of the many RELL6Gs destroyed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, this one in 1986 (Photo : Allan McCullough)

NAG592G in 1978
Lincolnshire 1985 (NAG592G) seen here at Bracebridge Heath in March 1978 has received a nasty front-end shunt, but it was easily repaired and went on to see service with Road Car right through to 1989 (Photo : David Russon)

YCH892M destroyed by fire
A disastrous fire engulfed Trent's depot in Derby on 14th July 1976 destroying many vehicles which included RELH coach YCH892M and VRs ORC259N, MAL793P and MAL794P. The coach is seen to the far right of this scene (Photo : Steve Thorpe Collection)

SVF895G in 1981
Not an accident victim on this occasion, SVF895G had almost all of its original ECW body removed in 1981 in preparation for a new B51 body to be fitted and give the coach a new lease of life. However, Leyland had some brand new end-of-run Leopard chassis available and these received the bodywork instead - with disastrous consequences as the Leopard had no rear structure which led to the boots falling out of them (sometimes leaving all the luggage on the motorway) in very short order. Should have trusted in the REs after all! (Photo : Viv Carter)

VPW713H in 1976
Eastern Counties RL713 (VPW713H) came to grief during the summer of 1976 when it ran off the road and into a field as seen here. Although the front end took a heavy impact which spelled the end of the bus as it was considered uneconomic to repair, it is noticeable how only that section of the bodywork was distorted and the main part of the body retained its structural integrity.
VPW713H in 1976
The full force of the impact can be appreciated from this offside view of the aftermath of the accident.

URB163S destroyed by fire
East Midlands 163 (URB163S) was destroyed by fire in April 1979. It languished in Mansfield garage for a few months, where Berisford Jones was able to snap this photo, before being despatched for scrap.

SKL680X after being deroofed
Pike of Smannell operated a number of VRs in the Andover area, and the driver of SKL680X on 12th May 2009 had an unlucky break when a parent was taken ill on his morning school run. He helped the man by taking him to the local hospital but then totally forgot that the bridge on Charlton Road was too low for double deckers thus taking the roof off the VR on his way back. There is a contemporary newspaper article here. It was very soon dispatched to Doncaster for scrap (Photo : Shaun Courtnage)

SKL685X after being deroofed
By strange co-incidence sister ex-East Kent VR SKL685X was also deroofed under a Basingstoke bridge (this time in East Oakley) several years earlier in December 2001 when owned by fellow Stagecoach operator Hampshire Bus (Photo : Basingstoke Gazette)
SKL685X after being deroofed
The driver certainly did a comprehensive job on this one - the entire upper deck structure ended up on the road (no mean feat given the inherent strength of the ECW body) and the VR didn't stop until well past the bridge itself as can be seen in this photo taken very soon after the incident by David Farrow. Not surprisingly the remaining body was badly distorted and was soon sold for scrap.

FPM73C in May 1989
FPM73C came to an abrupt end in May 1989 when its Western Scottish driver under tuition managed to drop it off a bridge and into the River Cart. A close look reveals some considerable damage to the chassis.
FPM73C in May 1989
On turning back onto its wheels the extent of the damage to the body can easily be seen, confirming that the vehicle was a total write-off. It was scapped later in 1989 (Photos : David Devoy)

YAH720J after being crushed by a container
Tim Major has sent this photo from 1981 showing Eastern Counties RL720 (YAH720J) after it had been crushed by a container which fell off a lorry. The RE was scrapped later that year.

OWX158 in the canal
West Yorkshire DX14 (OWX158) had a nasty accident on 20th January 1956 when on the way to Harrogate it fell into a canal and had to be rescued by a crane.
OWX158 with accident damage
The resulting extensive damage can be seen here. It was returned to ECW where it was rebuilt and had a full service life before being sold for scrap in 1971 (Photo : Alex Lawson)

LEU260P after hitting a JCB
LEU260P met a premature end with Circle Line in Gloucester after having its nearside windows and pillars ripped out in collision with a JCB. It was not easily accessible to photograph, but this view shows clearly the damage to the rear dome. It was eventually scrapped in this position (Photo : Rob Sly)

MWW751K after running off the road
In February 1980 West Yorkshire Road Car 1358 (MWW751K) ran off the road with this result. It was not badly damaged and after being repaired saw many years of further service with WYRC and subsequent operators.

NFB120R with roof damage
Stephen Dowle has the most fantastic Flickr photostream (under the name Fray Bentos) in which he captions many interesting photos with even more informative stories. This photo of Bristol Omnibus 5084 (NFB120R) shows the vehicle after it was driven the wrong way out of Avonmouth depot one morning in October 1979. The driver decided to swing round in the forecourt of a disused garage and forgot about the height of the canopy with this result. The bus was rebuilt and led a full life hard at work in the city until 1993.

LEU256P with accident damage
Not perhaps the most severe damage imaginable, but this was enough to condemn LEU256P when it was operating open-top services in West Cornwall for First Devon & Cornwall in 2006 (Photo : Shaun Courtnage)

RDV421H in 1977
RDV421H was severely damaged when fire broke out in the workshops at Plymouth depot in 1977. It is seen here parked outside the depot works later that year (Photo : Richard Bache)
RDV421H in 1977
The body was considered beyond economic repair and was removed from the chassis which was subsequently used to store the roofs from Western National's convertible open-top VRs (Photo : Alwyn Ladell)

841SUO with North Cornwall Cars
841SUO was withdrawn and subsequently scrapped following accident damage when in service with North Cornwall Cars and is seen here in June 1981 alongside former Alder Valley CBL355B and a Ford R226 of the same operator.

KRE643P with roof ripped off
KRE643P obviously hit a low bridge at some considerable speed to cause this sort of damage. Unlike the modern construction of double deckers where the whole roof structure will come off in one piece, the ECW body was incredibly sturdy and fitted in ribbed sections, so a lot of energy is required to do this much damage. Regardless 643 was repaired and went on to receive P.M.T.'s post-deregulation livery and was finally withdrawn and scrapped in 1991 (Photo : Stokie14)

GHY133K meets a fiery end
GHY133K was one of a number of former Badgerline REs which went on to see further service with Phil Anslow Travel of Garndiffaith. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1994 in a depot fire; a sad end to a fine vehicle.
PDL519
Top Deck Travel are always good for a shunt picture and this one doesn't disappoint! The amazing thing is that if you look at the rear destination it reads "Tadpoles" (aka PDL519) which any fan of the company will know is the one that still remains with them and ran a final overland tour to Kathmandu in 2011. This accident happened when Tadpoles was running on only four cylinders and limping back to the UK when it was rammed from behind by a lorry in France. No doubt this damage was nothing to the resourceful TDT engineers and the bus went on to make many further trips over the following 17 years!


I was in Bournemouth on the morning of July 25th 1976 and well remember as an 8-year-old being told that the Bus Station had burned down that night. In fact the building still stood, but was gutted on the lower floor (used by coaches) and unsafe on the upper deck (where the buses departed). Heroic efforts saved many of the buses, but little could be done for those caught in the inferno downstairs and three RELH coaches were completely destroyed - Hants & Dorset's pair AEL6B and AEL7B and Royal Blue OTA641G and BDV401L. In addition PDV407M was smoke-damaged but was repaired and enjoyed a full career, while OTA645G was badly damaged but was rebuilt with non-standard "Bristol dome" destination equipment which almost certainly ensured its long-term survival due to its suitability for stage-carriage services. It is now owned by Preservabus in Nuneaton where it is used on occasional driving experience days repainted in Midland Red coach livery.
 
In March 1988 Eastern Counties VR266 (RAH266W) fell into an old chalk mine with these startling results. Of course the bulk of the weight of the chassis is at the back of the VR with the engine, gearbox and transmission all sited behind the (equally heavy) rear axle, so it is no surprise that it assumed this position! The bus is seen being recovered and was quickly repaired for a return to service. It went on to live a very full life and saw eventual withdrawal in 2000 and was scrapped some time later. A full report of the events of that day is presented here.


On 25th March 2007 former Eastern Counties FS5G LFS68 (68DNG) was driven off the road and into a dyke whilst running for Party on Wheels, Ulvenhout, Holland. Sadly the vehicle has never run again and now sits forlornly with the leasehold company after having been rescued from the muddy waters. (Photo : Peter Bakker)
 

This rear view of the incident shows how scary this accident must have been from the driver's seat. Let's hope the bus gets back on the road again one day. (Photo : Peter Bakker)


Potteries 216 (PVT216L) was extensively damaged in June 1984 after a collision with a cement mixer when on a colliery service. The damage was serious enough for the RE to be withdrawn and subsequently sold for scrap. (Photo : Cliff Beeton)

This photo shows the immediate aftermath of the accident with the lorry embedded in the front of the bus. (Photo : Paul Leonard)


Here we see Potteries 648 (PEH648R) having come off the road at Mow Cop. As is often the case in these pictures, the underlying strength of the ECW body is indicated by the lack of distortion in the structure. Sure enough, 648 was soon repaired and back on the road. Photo : Martyn Hearson


Like many double deckers before it, KRU237F ended its days losing its roof under a low bridge. However this one had already led a productive second life as fleet number 005 in the Boston Double Deckers fleet and the accident didn't happen until 1988. It is seen here a year later in a yard used by British Promotions who will certainly have used every last piece of salvage in their many other Lodekka projects.
 


This cutting from a local paper shows the aftermath of a tragic accident involving Eastern National 3002 (CPU981G). The newspaper report is shown opposite

CPU981G
CPU981G was clearly not a lucky bus as it was also deroofed in 1974 - it is seen here later on in the depot with all the bits gathered up and being surveyed by the engineers - I can't imagine too much of it was reusable! Opposite is the contemporary newspaper report of this incident.
CPU981G


This scene of devastation is the aftermath of a collision in Yugoslavia between Top Deck's aptly named "Crunch", aka LDL735 and two lorries in March 1985.

This side view shows just how violent the impact between the bus and the lorry was. It appears that the Top Deck driver ran the bus off the road in an attempt to avoid the accident but there was simply nowhere to go. It is notable how the bays of the ECW body not involved in the impact are barely damaged and many of the windows remain intact. It is this build quality which has meant that many hundreds of ECW vehicles remain in existence today. Sadly "Crunch" is not amongst them as it was recovered to the UK and scrapped at Top Deck's amazing Horsell Common farm "depot".

Dave Mant has kindly supplied several photos of the Lodekkas acquired secondhand by Hants & Dorset from Eastern National including this view of 434FEV which was destroyed by a fire at Basingstoke depot in September 1974.
 

This newspaper cutting shows the result when Top Deck Travel's YHT932 was driven under a low bridge in Guildford when running empty to the Horsell Common farm which they used as their base in the early 1980s. The bus was repaired using the roof from another LD, ran for many more years for Top Deck, and still exists today as an exhibition unit in Holland.


AEV812F was one of Eastern National's 31' long FLFs and was among those Lodekkas which found their way to Stagecoach for operation in Perth in the early 1980s. Sadly it was destroyed by fire as seen here after only a few months in service with them, in November 1983. This photo was courtesy of Paul Harrison's collection.


This 1963 FLF6G came to a fiery end in North Carolina, U.S.A. in 2004. It is former Eastern National 934LWC and was captured by Bob Martin on one of his "Busman's Holidays".


This Crosville school bus got just a little bit too cosy with the gymnasium at Kings School, Chester. After disgorging the pupils DFG66 (876VFM) mounted the kerb and caused quite substantial damage in the process. The Headmaster looks on almost in disbelief but I bet the kids loved it!


There are plenty of photos of REs having been destroyed during The Troubles in Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s but very few show the perpetrators in action, so this view represents an interesting piece of social history regardless of your opinion as to the rights and wrongs. The poor victim on this occasion is Ulsterbus 1062 (9062UZ), one of the initial batch of 20 delivered in 1969 of which only one survived to normal withdrawal and thereon to preservation (9058UZ).

Later that same day a father and his sons walk nonchalently past the burning wreck of 1062 with barely a glance, as if it is a daily event - which at the time it almost was. Ulsterbus replaced these native RELLs with REs from the mainland which themselves became targets and were destroyed in huge numbers. These photos are copyright Peter Marlow/Magnum Photos.


Several London Transport LHs came to a sticky end over the years. Here we see BL6 (KJD406P) after suffering severe front-end accident damage taken by the camera of SMS88AEC.


Another one from SMS88AEC is BL41 (OJD41R) which was a late survivor with London Buses in its Metroline subsidiary until this engine fire saw it off in January 1990.


Busways built up a large fleet of REs in the early 1990s including many which were acquired purely for reclamation of spare parts. A huge fire at Byker depot in March 1995 destroyed a good number of these spares donors, including AAH736J seen here before finally being towed away for scrap.


Another victim of the Byker fire was former Southern Vectis TDL568K.


Yet another victim of the Byker fire was a particularly sad loss - the last surviving ex-Black & White Plaxton/RELH ADG335K. To the right of the picture is the only LH lost in the fire, ex-London Country TPJ60S.
 


John Allcock has turned up some photos of some of the most extensive damage I have ever seen an accident cause to an ECW body. This is Mansfield District 358 (377RNN) which was in collision with a slurry lorry in January 1977. The accident was caused when 358 veered across the carriageway into the path of the lorry. The impact brought the bus to a sudden halt which then caused it to be hit by the following bus which was 352 (248MNN). Sadly the lorry driver was killed, but utterly amazing was that none of the 141 bus passengers or either bus driver was killed, although 70 were hospitalised (many of them schoolchildren). 358 was comprehensively written off. 352 was badly damaged too, but it was repaired and survived to see further service with Peter Sheffield of Cleethorpes and then on to be exported to Italy in 1988. 358's driver was found guilty of driving without due care and attention and was fined 100 with 12 costs. Many thanks to Berisford Jones for providing the details of this very unfortunate event.

BNU681G, new to Midland General, was rebuilt to left-hand drive in 1984 as a pilot to test the market for such conversions in North America. It was not followed by further conversions so presumably was not deemed a commercial success, but it did run for Rochester City Lines in Minnesota for several years before passing to Miami Double Deck Tours where it became fleet number 24. Sadly it came to grief by June 2000 receiving the accident damage shown above. It was still there in the same condition in February 2004 after which there have been no further reports. (Photo : Alex Hall)

Here is another view of BNU681G stored in Miami in February 2004 with the front upper-deck corner missing from the accident. Note also the viewing windows cut into the upper-deck ceiling for sightseeing purposes.


The accident which caused this damage and the withdrawal from service of East Kent 7656 (XJJ656V) also - unusually - ensured its long-term survival! The driver hit an unlit skip at speed when running dead on return from Sandwich one evening in October 1992. It is seen here on MoD land at Manston later that year. (Photo : David Moth)


 The damage was panelled over, along with most of the lower deck, and the bus was used by the MoD for evacuation training. Some 21 years later, in June 2013, the remains were acquired by local preservationist Jake Bamford for spares recovery and even further use as a storeshed, so although 7656 never ran under its own power again the accident did see its survival for many years longer.

Bristol Omnibus 5507 (KOU793P) was previously an overall advert for the Great American Disaster fast-food restaurant, but in July 1983 it became a disaster itself when it caught fire overheating up Shockerwick Hill near Bath. Seen here having been recovered to Bath depot it was broken for whatever spares could be re-used and the remains were soon scrapped.
 

If you claim copyright on any of the photos on this page please drop me a line and I will be happy to put this right

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