|Leeds City Council
took a number of AEC Swifts with locally built Roe bodies
which later passed to the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport
Executive. Near the end of its life, dual-doorway 1015 was
seen at Headingley in June 1983 on a service that also used
to be home to unusual single-deck Daimler Fleetlines with
almost identical bodywork.
|A later style of
Roe bodywork is seen on WYPTE 1064, busy at work on a Leeds
city circular service in May 1984.
to buy AEC Swifts as part of the trend toward rear-engined
single-deckers in the late '60s and early '70s was Rochdale.
TDK 547K, with Pennine bodywork usually associated with Seddons,
was one of the last batch ordered by Rochdale and delivered
to SELNEC PTE. It was seen at Caernarfon in June 1982
while in the ownership of Gwyneth area independent Silver
Star of Cesarea.
|Another of the
ex SELNEC Pennine bodied Swifts to find a new home was sister
TDK 546K, here seen at Longton in January 1984 with Staffordshire
independent Stoniers. Stoniers was an associate of well known
independent Berresfords of Cheddleton, and between them they
fielded a varied array of secondhand vehicles on local services
- providing variety against the NBC Potteries standardised
fleet of Bristols and Leylands.
bought 33ft. and 36ft. versions of the AEC Swift, with Park
Royal and Metro-Cammell bodywork. They were relatively unsuccessful,
with sometimes suspect reliability, while the longer ones
had difficulty manoevouring through the heavy traffic (the
latter lesson had to be relearnt in the 1990s with shortlived
Dennis Lances and Volvo B10Bs, although longer buses have
returned again in the form of MB Citaros and the controversial
SMS283 was one of a dwindling number on regular services when
seen at Aldgate bus station in January 1980.
decided to apply the Merlin name to their 36ft. models, and
this was reflected by the MB prefix to their fleetnumbers.
As part of the country fleet, MB94 passed to new NBC subsidiary
London Country in 1970. It was still running in original London
Country Lincoln green livery when seen at Guildford some nine
years later in April 1979.
SM499 was painted into the special livery adopted for the
high frequency "Superbus" services serving the burgeoning
estates in the new town of Stevenage. It was seen at the town's
bus station in April 1979. The pattern of service on many
Stevenage routes remains very similar today, although the
branding and operators have changed several times since. The
LT specified Metro-Cammell bodywork of this bus looks very
dated compared to the BET styled Swift below.
|South Wales never
really got on with their Swifts, which seemed to have trouble
coping with the hilly terrain. They quickly migrated to new
NBC subsidiary London Country which was suffering from fearful
reliability problems with its inherited LT fleet. Marshall
bodied SMW8 was seen at St. Albans bus station in April 1979,
having arrived on the service from Dunstable.
|East Kent changed
from Reliances to Swifts when they deemed the rear engine
layout to be more suitable for urban buses. Initially confined
to urban work, they started to appear alongside Leyland Nationals
on longer distance routes when the last Reliances were withdrawn.
One of the second batch of Marshall bodied Swifts, VJG 186J
was seen at Dover in August 1979 on the frequent main road
route to Folkestone.
|East Kent turned
to Alexander for their final batch of AEC Swifts. These were
confined mainly to Dover town services, but later in their
lives appeared on longer distance routes as AEC Reliances
were withdrawn. Unlike some Swifts elsewhere, the East Kent
ones with their AH691 engines lacked neither speed nor power
and were well suited to the hilly terrain around Dover and
the high speeds of some EK rural routes. 1582 was seen at
Ramsgate harbour in April 1981.
operated a batch of AEC Swifts with this unusual style of
Alexander body. 516 and 523 had migrated to nearby independent
Brewers of Caerau for school bus work when pictured in June
1982. The location is the company's former Maesteg depot,
adjacent to that of another well-known former South Wales
independent - Llynfi Motors. Brewers were bought by First
Group and merged with part of the former National Welsh operation
to create a bigger but rather different company based in Bridgend,
before just becoming part of First South Wales.
Meanwhile sister MBO 512F is now preserved by the Cardiff
Transport Preservation Group.
ran a number of East Lancs bodied Swifts. Number 50,
one of the last batch and amongst the last Swifts ever built,
was seen in Grimsby in March 1981.
|Former LT "Merlin"
MB569 moved to Derbyshire independent Woolliscroft who ran
it under the Silver Service name on services jointly with
Hulleys. It was seen at Woolliscroft's Darley Dale garage
in September 1982. Woolliscroft no longer operate but
Hulleys continue to run in the area under their own name.
|Another ex London
Transport Merlin that was put to work elsewhere was former
MB602, which was pictured in April 1980 working for the ferry
company Townsend Thoreson as a transfer vehicle between the
Dover Docks and Priory Station. East Kent operated a number
of dockside contracts for Seaspeed and Hoverspeed with secondhand
Daimler Fleetline single deckers and an AEC Swift as a backup
vehicle, but Townsend Thoreson preferred to run their own
|Here is the East
Kent Swift, one of their first batch of Marshall bodied vehicles,
converted to dual-doorway and painted in National white coach
livery for the purpose. It was photographed en route for Dover
Priory on the same day as the picture above. Nowadays the
few remaining boat ferries only take cars, so foot passengers
use the Eurostar/Euroshuttle and the Dover Boat Trains from
London are no more.
of Portsmouth operated commercial services in competition
with City of Portsmouth for a while after deregulation. It
may have been quite galling for the incumbent operator that
one of the vehicles used to compete against them, AEC Swift
NTP 181H, had in fact originated from its own fleet. It was
pictured in June 1987.
|Here is 181 at
Cosham in July 1981 while in the ownership of Portsmouth Corporation
|Kent County Council
supported service 150 between the Medway towns and Tunbridge
Wells had a succession of operators post-deregulation, with
Maidstone & District having to take over at short notice
from time to time. One such was Auto-Reps of Gravesend.
In this March 1990 view a sluggish ex Blackpool Swift has
arrived at Tunbridge Wells half an hour late, with an ex Manchester
Atlantean in attendance. The route is now run in two
sections with modern low-floor buses, with Arriva running
service 77 between Tunbridge Wells and West Malling and Nu-Venture
the 151 route between Chatham and West Malling.