Classic Trucks (Channel 4 documentary series, 1995)


Episode: Ticket to Ride

One in a series of half-hour programmes, in this case looking at buses; a lot of the filming was done at the Ipswich Transport Museum. "There were shots showing a Bristol Lodekka LD over our pits, from below, some of the Museum vehicles running through the local country side, and John Bedford's AEC Regent III, Ipswich 16, which is normally kept at Cobham, returned to Ipswich to recreate an old route, and interviews with some old passengers. There was other stuff in the program, although I can't now remember the full details." (thanks Nick Abbott at Ipswich Transport Museum)

Duncan Bingham adds that the show "was broadcast on 24 January 1995. There were a number of historic film views of Lincoln, Ipswich, a couple of early Atlanteans (Wallasey 1 (FHF451) and one from James, Ammanford, both Metro-Cammell bodied) and views of Barton vehicles. Preserved vehicles shown were Bedford OB/Duple PPC275, Lincolnshire Bristol Lodekka LD6B/Eastern Coachworks 2318 (LFW326), Ipswich AEC Regent III/Park Royal 16 (CDX516), Eastern Counties Bristol LSX4G/ECW MAH744 and Keighley West Yorkshire Bristol K/Roe CWX671."

Terry Jones also recalls an appearance by PPC275, a 1951 Bedford OB/Duple. Malcolm Rennie recalls "a lot of footage of Ipswich trolleybuses. Also there are excerpts from Barton Transport publicity films in colour. One shows half cab single deckers off to the coast and another shows a Leyland Royal Tiger with Burlingham Seagull body on a European Tour including it being crane loaded onto a ferry."


Allan Haynes worked on the show: "Part of the premise of the programme was to show how bus design had evolved, from front engine and "normal" transmission, to the offset rear axle and low floor (Lodekka), to the underfloor engine
(LS), and rear engine (Atlantean).

The exterior shots of the LD were of the Lincolnshire LD6B LFW326 but for the shots of the underneath done over the pits (beautiful white tiles) at the Ipswich Transport Museum they used ex-Eastern Counties LD5G OVF229 belonging to
the Eastern Transport Collection Society based near Norwich. As the honorary Filming Officer for the Society it fell to me to drive the LD from Norwich to Ipswich (normally we carry a second man with a shotgun when crossing the border into Suffolk), and to bring it back in one piece again a couple of days later. It was filthy underneath but we were able to cajole the engineers at First Eastern Counties Ipswich garage to steam clean it off for us.

This was the first time I had driven a Lodekka any distance and I was surprised how good the constant mesh gearbox was compared with the unpleasant sliding mesh box on the K and L. How did the old drivers ever manage with these things? They must have been a sterner breed than us war babies. Sorry, I'm digressing. The underfloor engine brigade was represented by the prototype LSX4G, Eastern Counties MAH744, leaving large puddles of oil as it went. (There were two prototypes, the other is Bristol NHU2.) Then and now MAH is still the property of First Eastern Counties but receiving free bed and board from the ever helpful and cooperative Ipswich Transport Museum staff."
   

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