Trident in Trouble

It’s not often that you see a modern bus on my blog but I had to chuckle when a Stagecoach bus broke down on the hill right outside my office in Teignmouth.


Alexander bodied Dennis Trident 19106 (MX07HMF) expired yesterday on the main road into Teignmouth from Newton Abbot. I’m not sure what service it had been on because the display had already changed to ‘Sorry! I’m not in service’ by the time I saw it from the office window. The breakdown truck had just arrived. This picture shows the Trident jacked up on blocks in preparation for a suspended tow back to base.

Modern buses are very comfortable, safe and economical but at the same time, hugely complicated. I don’t know the reason for the breakdown but it may have been something like an engine management fault. Bristol half-cabs have engine management, did you know that? It’s called an accelerator pedal.

Apart from a worn out clutch last year, which very nearly brought out the breakdown truck, I haven’t been let down by a heritage bus at all. I love the basic mechanics of the old Bristol buses, they are so reliable. With workshop staff who are on top of their jobs and conversant with 1950s engineering, I feel well supported too.

I’m out and about this Saturday with a refurbished Bristol FLF so I hope that my only problem will be coping with the cold weather. The wedding duty will take me to Cheltenham and thence into the wild flatlands of Oxfordshire.

1956 Bristol Lodekka for sale

Edit: this bus has now been sold.

For sale at the moment on Ebay is this 1956 Bristol Lodekka. See this link for the listing, which ends on April 14th.


It’s had a long and varied career, ending up as an early member of the heritage fleet at Crosville Motor Services in Weston-super-Mare in 2010.

Starting life as an LD6B (Bristol engine) with Hants & Dorset, SRU981 operated in regular service until the mid-1970s. Its Bristol engine was exchanged, in common with many others at the time, for a Gardner 6LW taken from a withdrawn Bristol L6G. It spent most of the rest of its post-H&D life as a hospitality vehicle for a number of commercial enterprises, acquiring a large awning fixed to the nearside.

When it joined Crosville it was quite ‘tired’ and lacked any seating in the lower saloon. It was sent off for a thorough restoration and repaint with the intention that it would join the growing heritage fleet at Weston for further service as a fully licenced PCV.

As is usual in these cases, much more work was required than originally thought and in the end the entire rear platform area was rebuilt, most of the timber framing was replaced and nearly all the panelling below the roof was renewed.

SRU891 nearside work

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Sorry mate, we’re full up!

I just had to post this photo of an elephant trying to board the No 31 to Earls Court Station. You may have seen it before: it appears on popular greetings cards and was scanned from one that my wife received last year.


According to lists on the web, AEC Routemaster 227CLT (RM1227) was scrapped in 1983 after being withdrawn from London Transport’s Aldenham depot. Sister vehicle 214CLT (RM1214) is preserved. I can’t helping wondering if, had RM1227 survived, it’s current custodians might have had to carry out major structural repairs to the rear platform.