The LONDON TRANSPORT G class

This page created 1st May 1999, by Ian Smith

The Guy Arab Mark II

From G72 onwards there was an obvious change in the Guys. The bonnet protruded another five inches. Normally this would have made the vehicles illegal, as they were now longer than the Regulations permitted, but these were waived in this case! The reason for the change was a longer chassis, to provide a single platform for fitting either the Gardner 5LW or 6LW engine. Even though most utility Guys had the shorter engine (including ALL the London Guys), the economies of scale must have made the change worthwhile. So all the London Mark II Guys (as they became called) carried around 5 inches of air under the bonnet. The new buses also sported new front bumpers, that stylishly curled up at the front to come the the front of the bonnet. Less obviously they incorporated the lessons learned with the shorter Guys (now called Mark Is), producing a robust and reliable bus.

The first arrived at Chiswick in June 1943, bodied by Park Royal.These were the last of London Transport's Guys in 1943.

The situation for London Transport was even tighter in 1944, with only two Guys authorised - and only one of those actually delivered during the year. These were the two experimental all-metal Weymanns.

By 1945 the end of the war was in sight, and instead of the clamour for any bus that would move there was a deathly hush from the bus operators around the country, who preferred to wait for a renewed choice of Leylands or AECs rather than take more austerity offerings. The Ministry suddenly had an over-supply of Guys ordered for manufacture. They took their revenge on London for its perceived "over-ordering" in previous years, and twisted the Board's collective arms (politically) to make London Transport take much of the overflow of utility bus production. Whereas Guy body production for LT had until now been from southern manufacturers, the new buses had bodies from such northern strangers as Massey and Northern Counties, as well as more from Park Royal and Weymann. Some of the Park Royal bodies were sub-contracted to Northern Coachbuilders in Northumberland. This all added variety of style - and of colour too, as the wartime shortages of red paint continued throughout 1945 and into 1946. The new buses appeared in a variety of chocolate colours, either plain brown or relieved with cream or yellow ochre!

3G5: Park Royal, G72-136 (Total 65)

3G5 The 1943 Guy Arab IIs followed on quickly from the shorter buses, arriving at Chiswick to have side destination blinds fitted, sidelights repositioned and painting from June 1943 onwards. Like the earlier buses they had rudimentary rear lighting, with a numberplate on the platform, later replaced with a proper illuminated plate and light cluster on the rear.

But the feature that excited public comment was the seating: they had wooden slatted seats. Letters to the Times!

Many also received the new smaller headlights designed to work better with the blackout masks.

Initially they went into service at Alperton for route 18 to Aldenham - then producing war-planes. Alperton later gave its inmates electrical heating coils to aid starting.

Then in May 1944 Barking (BK) was a recipient of the new buses for the long 23 route through the City and East End. In order to get enough buses for a conversion the latest deliveries, still without side destination panels or top-coat paint, were pressed directly into service. Those in grey primer were painted in the autumn, but they never did receive the side destination panels.

Garage Route No. Route
ON (Alperton) 18 Wembley (Empire Pool) - Edgware - Aldenham
ON Alperton 83 Golders Green - Hayes Stn
BK Barking 23 Marylebone-Becontree Heath

Later some of this sub-class went to Upton Park (U), and later still to Seven Kings (AP). Tottenham (AR) saw them occasionally, but seldom for long, and Enfield (E)had some late in the day to replace others.

They received overhauls in 1947, when the seats were upholstered using RT-type moquette, and some were further overhauled in 1950, receiving red livery with cream band. But not all received this overhaul: some were found to be so rotten that they were condemned instead! All were withdrawn by July 1952, most going to second homes, often with replacement bodywork.

3G6, 3G6/1: Weymann metal-framed, G137-138 (Total 2)

3G5 These two Guys were the only two authorised to LT in 1943, a year in which it received very few buses at all, despite a request for about 400. They came in response to a request from Weymann to experiment with a semi-integral body. This had a metal frame and box structure so that it could be attached to the chassis only at the bulkheads, thereby relieving the body of stresses due to chassis flexing. The saloon floor was attached to the chassis rather than the body.

The two buses were distinctly different. Between the building of the first and second the austerity specifications were relaxed, so while G137 had the minimal number of opening windows and wooden seating, G138 had a full complement of openers and upholstered seats, plus safety glass all round. Both had the new smaller headlights, now mounted low down next to the protruding radiator. They also featured curves around the cab: at the foot of the drivers offside window, and at the top of the door.

Both went to Alperton, G137 in January 1945 and G138 in May. G137 stayed there until withdrawal in July 1952. G138 was moved to Upton Park in February 1946, lasting there to November 1951. Both were overhauled twice, G137 losing its wooden seats in December 1947 and both receiving red livery with cream bands in 1950.

At withdrawal both bodies were still sound, and both were retained in their new employ, G137 in Ceylon and G138 with the Ministry of Supply.

1/3G8: Park Royal / Northern Coachbuilders,
G139-149, G151-153, 194-218 (Total 39)

3G5 As described above, the 1944 drought in bus supplies to LT broke with a deluge in 1945. Park Royal was allocated forty initially, and obtained permission to build one with an experimental metal frame. This turned out to be G150. The others were a slightly relaxed utility version of the previous design. Relaxations included a rounded rear dome, a full complement of opening windows, a ventilator in place of the saloon hopper, and deeper side panels that eliminated the need for a join and moulding on the bodysides. They did still retain the hopper ventilators at the front upstairs, so retained the essence of the utility look.

What distinguished many of them at the beginning was their place of construction. Park Royal sub - contracted the assembly of the first to Northern Coachbuilders of Cramlington, Northumberland, who built G139-149, 151-153 and 194-5 to Park Royal's design. Buses were now being painted before delivery, but red and cream paint was not available on Tyneside. So they arrived in London ready-painted in chocolate brown and yellow ochre, the brightest of the livery variations.

Another ten, G196-205, followed from Cramlington, but with these the effect was moderated by the use of pale cream in place of the virulent yellow. This second batch also had deeper front destination boxes (20" deep instead of 15"), and the provision of side boxes, unlike the earlier batch.
The remainder, G206-218, followed from Park Royal, incorporating the changes, but dressed in LT red and white.

The first, G139, arrived for inspection in May 1945, and entered service at Barking in June. The others followed on, and went mainly to Alperton, ousting its resident STLs. A few went to Victoria (GM) for the 52 and 77A (with appearances elsewhere), but did not stay long there, being transferred en masse to Enfield (E) in October. Others went to Hornchurch (RD) for the 123, 247, 86, 103, 175 and 66. Tottenham, Upton Park and Barking saw some occasionally.

Garage Route No. Route
GM (Victoria) 52 Victoria - Mill Hill - Borehamwood
GM 77A Kings Cross - Raynes Park
RD (Hornchurch) 123 South Hornchurch - Ongar
RD 247 Collier Row - Harold Wood
RD 86 Chadwell Heath - Brentwood
RD 103 Eastern Avenue - Rainham
RD 175 Chase Cross - Poplar; Stapleford Abbotts - Dagenham
RD 66 Leytonstone - Hornchurch
E (Enfield) 102 Golders Green - Chingford: Edmonton - Chingford Hatch
E 107 Borehamwood - Ponders End (SuX)
E 107A Borehamwood (SuO) - Enfield Chase - Enfield Lock
E 121 Ponders End - Chingford (SuX)
E 135 Forty Hill - Brimsdown


1/3G8 The yellow and brown lasted to first overhaul in 1947 and 1948, when it was replaced by red and white. This was in turn replaced by red with cream band for about half the group at their second overhaul in 1951.

Again very many escaped the cutter's torch when withdrawn by London in 1951 and 1952, when withdrawal was impelled by staff relations and the availability of RTs rather than by decrepitude. Most of the Northumberland-built buses went on to serve other owners with their original bodies, while the Park royal-built buses were mainly rebodied by second owners.

1/3G12: Park Royal metal-framed, G150 (Total 1)

3G5 G150 was a one-off. Park Royal had used metal framing before, on the ill-fated batch of STLs for London Transport before the war. They were rapidly falling to bits now, causing great concern, not least to Park Royal. It had been suggested that it was an interaction between the glues used and the metal that caused the corrosion problems, and Park Royal sought permission to try a different method on G150.

As a metal-framed bus it naturally had pan-mounted windows, that gave it a very different appearance. This was exagerated by the use of sliding ventilators instead of half-drop windows. Park Royal also used the new dispensation to give a smooth dome at front and back, plus rexine-finshed upholstered seats inside.

G150 was delivered to Chiswick in September 1945, three months after the Northern Coachbuilders buses ordered at the same time. It went to Alperton garage, where it stayed in service until July 1952. It seems that Park Royal had beaten their corrosion problems with this one, as G150 did fifteen years service in all. After London it went to a Potteries independent, and finshed up in the fleet of Potteries Motor Traction.

1/3G9: Massey, G174-193, G258-268, G312-318, G358-368 (Total 49)

3G5 In parallel with the Park Royal order, London Transport started to receive Guys from Massey of Wigan. Known before the war for their shapely, well-rounded buses, the utilities were a sharp contrast. The Massey design, whilst following the basic design brief, emphasised the angularity of the design. The most obvious difference was the deep roof, meeting in a sharp line at the front corners and still lobster-backed at the rear. The large upstairs windows were set low down above reduced-height side-panels. The front was raked in quite sharply, except below the cab window-line, where it was full width, producing a window ledge beside the cab. Detail too was angular: cab door and window tops were raked up towards the front; the valances were a succession of angles rather than curved.

To compound the difference in appearance, the buses were finished in a milk-chocolate brown - except for the specified red-oxide roof.

Only 49 buses in total, they came in small batches. The first batch had no side destination display, but this was provided in the others, together with a taller cut-out above the doorway. The last batch came with cream relief around the windows.
3G5

They went to work mainly in east London. Apart from G174, which went to Alperton, the rest of the first batch went to Barking. The second lot, plus part of the third went initially to Victoria, but went to Enfield in the mass transfer of October. All the others went to Hornchurch.

Garage Route No. Route
BK (Barking) 23B Barking - Becontree (peaks)
BK 23C Barking - Creekmouth
BK 62 Little Heath - Chadwell Heath
BK 145 Chingford - Dagenham - (Ford Works / Docks)
BK 175 Chase Cross - Poplar; Stapleford Abbotts - Dagenham
BK 295 Charing Cross - Becontree Heath (nights)
BK 87 Gidea Park - Rainham (Sundays, mainly)

They were repainted into red and white in 1947 and 1948, sometimes only weeks before their first overhaul. The second overhaul, in 1950, was aborted after only four had been done. It transpired that the timber supplied to Massey had been particularly poor, and the second overhauls were just too expensive. So many became trainers, and they were early candidates for withdrawal. All had passed on by February 1952. Relatively few went to new owners, and most of those were promptly rebodied and/or rebuilt to single-deckers.

1/3G10: Northern Counties, G154-173, G219-257, G269-311 (Total 102)

3G5 Also in mid-1945 there arrived the best of the Guy sub-classes: the stylish utilities from Northern Counties. This was the opposite design approach from Massey's. advantage was taken of the relaxed specification for the bus exteriors: windows were pan-mounted; the front destination display was deeper; domes at front and rear were rounded and the roof had its frame inside rather than out, producing a modern-looking bus. Outside. Inside they were dark and sombre. The windows were slightly smaller, the single skinning was more apparent with the inside framing of the roof and the seats were covered in dark brown leathercloth (after the first batch, which had wooden seats).
3G5
Various changes occured during production: upholstered seats from G219; plain upstairs front windows from G222 and side destination displays from G239 onwards. Less obviously G269 saw the start of modified bulkeads (1/3G10/1), and the last batch had a constant mesh gearbox and single plate clutch (2/3G10/1).

Livery at first was brown, with a broad cream relief band. From G240 onwards they mostly arrived the cream extended to the window surrounds. A handful were delivered in London Transport red and white, some with the rear dome in red-oxide and some with it LT red.

They were delivered steadily from May 1945 through to December, then the last few in February and March 1946. Three ended up at Alperton, two at Hanwell, and some at Victoria (before transfer to Enfield). Most went to Barking, Hornchurch, and to Upton Park for the 101.
3G5 They were repainted into red and white during 1947 and 1948, mostly before overhaul. Some received the early style of red and white, with the roof brown covering the rear dome, but later repaints carried the white up to the roof-line. Emergency exit windows were picked out in white.

The bodies, metal-framed, turned out to be very strong, and this sub-class tended to be retained while others were withdrawn. second overhauls came in 1951, when some became red with cream bands. London Transport considered keeping these buses for rather longer, but after one or two early sales the word went round and customers asked preferentially for Northern Counties examples. As London crews were getting resentful at having to drive the Guys while RTs were becoming plentiful, LT dropped the idea, and the perfectly good buses were withdrawn for sale during 1952. Almost all were bought for further service, the Ministry of Supply, Edinburgh Corporation, Western SMT and Alexanders all being large buyers. A few went to Jugoslavia, and some to independents.

1/3G8/2, 2/3G8/2: Park Royal, G319-357, G431-435 (Total 44)

3G5 The last order for Park-Royal bodied Guys produced a disappointment in many ways. They were visually little different from the previous batch, and distinctly 'older' than the Park Royal bodies for Daimlers that followed them. Perhaps Park Royal did not want to change things at this late stage of production, sensing that there was no future in Guys.
Park Royal delivered them all in LT red and white. Later buses had the constant mesh gearbox and single-plate clutch (2/3G8/2).

They arrived between November 1945 and March 1946. All except three went to Upton Park, the exceptions going to Barking.

G351 at Cobham, Sunday 29th October 2006 G351 at Cobham, Sunday 29th October 2006 G351 at Cobham, Sunday 29th October 2006

Magnificently restored G351 at Cobham Museum in October 2006

Garage Route No. Route
U (Upton Park) 86 Chadwell Heath - Brentwood
U 145 Chingford - Dagenham - (Ford Works / Docks)
U 175 Chase Cross - Poplar; Stapleford Abbotts - Dagenham
U 101 Wanstead - North Woolwich
U 66 Leytonstone - Hornchurch
U 86A Limehouse - Upminster Stn(Sun)

G351 at Stratford, 1970 Their second overhaul in 1951 saw some of the class repainted in red with cream bands, but the decision to sell the class cut their London lives short. They were sold during 1951 and 1952, quite a few being exported to Jugoslavia or Southern Africa. Others went to Scotland for rebodying and further service, while some went to English independents or Corporations.

It was one of the last, G351, which went to Burton-on-Trent, that survives with its original body. Burton refurbished it before service, and when they finished with it G351 was acquired for preservation by John Lines. It has undergone extensive work at Cobham Bus Museum, and in April 2005 the rebuilt bus emerged into public again in as-new (or better) condition.

Preserved G351 at Stratford Rally, June 1970

1/3G11: Weymann, G369-430 (Total 62)

3G5 The 1945 Weymann-built Guys were also just a slightly rounded version of the previous Weymann offerings, with larger front display as well as side display. They reverted to wooden framing, constructed of rather indifferent material, so their lives were short. The seats were upholstered. They were delivered in either red and white or brown and white, according to paint availability.

The batch of 62 came on stream in August 1945, with deliveries stretching through to December 1945. Others from the same production line went to Edinburgh, East Kent and Southdown. Three went to Alperton, one to Hanwell. The rest were spread between Barking, Enfield, Upton Park and later Seven Kings (AP). This last garage had previously been unable to take the Guys because it was too low, although Guy-operated services passed the garage. The doorway was raised, allowing the operation of Guys from December 1949, much to the drivers' disgust, and the remaining resident LTs gave way to Guys on the 86, 86A and Sunday afternoon 25.


Garage Route No. Route
AP (Seven Kings) 86 Chadwell Heath - Brentwood
AP (Seven Kings) 86A Limehouse - Upminster Stn (Not Sundays)
AP (Seven Kings) 25 Stratford Broadway - Little Heath (Sundays)

They were not strong buses, and most were retired in 1950 and 1951. Quite a few went to Scotland, mainly to Alexanders and Western SMT, with a few to Edinburgh. Others were scattered round the globe, to Jugoslavia, Kenya, Southern Rhodesia and Ceylon.

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