Bristol L5G spotted in Australia

A Bristol L5G, in tip top condition and wearing ‘Bath Services’ livery, has been photographed recently in Melbourne, Australia. But, before you all reach for your phones to call the owner of the ‘Bristol L Survivors‘ website, I had better just say that the bus in questions is 1:43 scale and has just been delivered to its owner’s model railway layout!


A regular reader of this blog kindly sent me photos of this remarkably detailed vehicle and I have sought his permission to share them here. Ray Bounsall, originally from Bristol, has lived in Australia since the early ’80s but retains a keen interest in the local road and rail transport scene with which he grew up. His railway layout, 15 years in the making and still growing, is based on ‘Woodleigh sub Mendip’, a fictitious town in the Wells, Somerset levels area. It is populated by ex-GWR locos and stock, set in the post-nationalisation era.

Australian-L5G-2As you can see, Ray’s eye for detail is fantastic and he has gone to great lengths to ensure that his latest addition looks as authentic as possible. The single deck Bristol, hand built to museum standards by the St. Petersburg Tram Collection in Russia, took 14 months to create and deliver. The finishing touches were applied by Ray – fleetnames and destination blinds. He even asked for my help (I’m not an expert, I hasten to add) in selecting an appropriate registration number!

Australian-L5G-3Australian-L5GRay explained his choice of destination blind: “My layout is fictional but based on North Somerset. It will have a cider press when finished, owned by a Mr. A. Cutler. The story goes, that Mr. Cutler is due in on the 11.40 from Wells (Tucker Street) and will then take the bus as “He’s off to Barrow Gurney to see his brother Ernie…”. Those of a westcountry lineage and a of certain age may remember a song by Adge Cutler and The Wurzels, “Drink Up Thee Cider“, from which that line comes!

So, if anyone tries to tell you that no Bristol L ever made it to Australia, you can tell them they’re wrong!

9 comments on “Bristol L5G spotted in Australia

  1. Ray Bounsall says:

    You are definitely a wordsmith John, very well written.

  2. Just Brilliant. Cheers Richard

  3. Helen says:

    Thanks for showing these photos John. The model is amazing, until I read on, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t full size. What details he includes – even spotted gratings on the forecourt! Wish my Dad was here to show it to, he was a modeller, my brother has his beautiful scale model of the Bounty in his Maritime Museum here on the IOW. Dad even made the ropes to the correct scale.

  4. Stephen says:

    Wish I had that sort of skill and patience.

  5. Ken Jones says:

    you will find Bristol Ls, Ks and an SU on my N gauge layouts and I have all Adge Cutler’s LPs on vinvyl

  6. Don McKeown says:

    It is certainly a superb model. I hate to be picky, but didn’t Bath Services and other Bristol Omnibus Co. subsidiaries use a one piece destination display, rather than the standard Tilling Group display as on this model?

    • busmanjohn says:

      Don, as with full size privately owned vehicles, it’s up to the owner to display it just as he wishes! If it was on public display in a museum of course, you would be quite right to make the point. I think it looks just fine on Ray’s layout and I’m sure it brings back memories of the ‘old country’ for him!

  7. […] The detailed layout, along with its skilled owner, is located in far-away Melbourne, Australia and the bus crew is of course represented in miniature form! The layout is described in more detail in this post from March 2014. […]

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