POSTWAR STL TURNS HEADS AT EPPING ONGAR

PRESERVATION UPDATE

STL2692 making one of its round trips to Nazeing.
ANDY IZATT
Similar STL2690 (HGC 223) after it became Dundee Corporation 174 in 1955. It was withdrawn there in 1964.
KEN CAMERON

Roger Wright’s London Bus Company provided some outdoor entertainment ahead of the main rally season with a Winter Country Buses Event at the Epping Ongar Railway when 14 preserved green London Transport or London Country vehicles operated six routes feeding into North Weald station on the heritage line.

The most notable of these, a recent addition to the London Bus Company fleet, was STL2692 (HGC 225), the sole survivor of 20 Weymann-bodied AEC Regent IIs allocated to London Transport in 1946 at the start of its postwar renewal programme and operated initially from Watford and Luton garages. They were the last additions to the STL class of Regents introduced from 1933, but while most of those had preselector gearboxes, these 20 —built to a standard provincial specification —had manual crash gearboxes.

With more RT-family double-deckers delivered than were required at the time, the 20 postwar STLs were withdrawn in 1955 and sold through the North’s dealership in Leeds to three municipal fleets. STL2692 was one of six purchased by Grimsby Corporation which merged its transport department with that of neighbouring Cleethorpes in January 1957 to form the Grimsby-Cleethorpes Joint Transport Committee. Dundee bought ten of them for tram replacement (along with 30 ex-London Transport Cravens-bodied RTs) and Widnes took the other four. Grimsby-Cleethorpes kept its vehicles the longest and STL2692, numbered 47 there, was the last in service when withdrawn in January 1968. It was sold for preservation the following month and restored to its original livery of green with off-white window surrounds and brown roof. London Bus Company acquired it early last year and has repainted it into the later Country Area livery of green with cream band that it wore from 1950.

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