The GENERAL STLs

This page updated 9th August 2000

STL 1-50, (Total 50) 1STL1

Introduced: January 1933.

Chassis, 1STL: AEC Regent , 16ft 3in wheel-base, petrol, crash gearboxes
(except STL 50 : Daimler preselector gearbox)

Body, STL1: Chiswick: 60 seats (26 + 34).
drawing of STL, GIF 373 x 313
The body shows many features direct from the very good-looking Bluebird ST and LT designs. However, whereas in them the resulting design was elegant, in the STL they have resulted in a remarkably ugly bus. This was due to a desire to get in 60 passengers without exceeding the length and weight limits, so that the design was pushed to the last inch, giving a large overhang at the front and a very upright rear. The designers also eschewed the neat Bluebird blind display (a roofbox number, a via box panel, and a destination panel set in the rail above the cab), in favour of a piecemeal collection of three panels in a group, front and rear. This did not add to its charm.

General STL in pre-war livery.
When new this first batch went to Clay Hall garage for service on the 8 and 160, but were replaced there for some arcane reason when the first batch of STL2s became available in the autumn of 1933. The 1STL1s went to Willesden (AC) for route 8 and Elmers End (ED) for the 12 group.

During the war they received the usual amendments: restricted headlights, white spots on the back, anti-shatter mesh on the windows, restricted displays, and brown roofs. Several were destroyed by enemy action, especially in the bombing of Croydon garage in October 1941. Some surviving chassis were given "float bodies" and one was given a new chassis too, built from spares! A couple of bodies that were in the overhaul float also went onto new "unfrozen" chassis to create "new" buses. Some of the 1STL chassis also received later bodies during overhaul.

After the war some of them received the new overall red livery, relieved by two bands of cream at cant-rail and roofline, But most retained the wartime red and white with brown roof, and all retained the restricted blinds (unless you know otherwise). They were early candidates for withdrawal, as they had retained petrol engines and had the oldest STL bodies. They gravitated to the petrol-driven "islands" of Turnham Green (V) for the 65, Middle Row (X) for the 7/7A, and to Bromley (TB) for a variety of routes (47, 61, 94, 119, 126, 138). Some spent a little while as trainers, or in the Special Events fleet, until such time as the Vehicle Inspectorate caught up with them. So while many other STLs were polished up to survive through the Festival of Britain, the "General" STLs were early victims of the RT family before 1950.

But that was not quite the end for some of them. Some of them spent a little while sitting under RT bodies. No! not as SRTs, but just supporting the spare RT bodies built for the works float, until such time as they were needed.

Quite a few others were turned into service vehicles, usually with new cabs and bodywork by Kenex.

STL tower wagon

  • STL 9 : 733J Tower wagon
  • STL 12: 734J Trolley wire lubricator
  • STL 24: 735J Stores lorry
  • STL 38: 740J Battery lorry
  • STL 42: 741J Dropside bolster lorry
  • STL 43: 828J Towing lorry

bus histories photo references next numerically: the Tilling STLS

drawing of STL

STL 153-202 (Total 50) 2STL1,

Chassis: as STL 1-50 but with different exhaust layout and coil ignition.

Body: as STL 1-50 and interchangeable (STL1). 3 spares.

This batch was being delivered when the LPTB took over from LGOC in July 1933. Visually they looked just the same as the first STLs, but the chassis improvements kept them distinct in engineering terms.

General STL in post-war livery, with war-restricted blind display.
They appeared in 1930, twenty-five of them during the General era. These went into service at Hendon (AE), Middle Row (X) and Camberwell (Q) during the last ten days of June. The last fifteen went into service - for London Transport - at Elmers End garage (ED) at the start of August.

Their history parallelled that of the first batch. As garages became petrol or diesel-driven, so the batch wound up at the former: Croydon (TC), where so many were destroyed, Bromley (TB), Turnham Green (V) and Middle Row (X). Like the 1STL1s, they were early candidates for post-war withdrawal, and most disappeared during 1949.

Again, some reappeared with service vehicle bodies: 832J

  • STL 159: 833J Breakdown tender
  • STL 162: 832J Breakdown tender*
  • STL 169: 738J Breakdown tender*
  • STL 175: 739J Breakdown tender*
  • STL 184: 723J Tower wagon
  • STL 186: 725J Tower wagon
  • STL 190: 729J Tower wagon
  • STL 192: 744J Rail carrier
  • STL 193: 722J Tower wagon
  • STL 197: 737J Breakdown tender
  • STL 198: 732J Tower wagon
  • *=preserved
832J at Acton Underground Works Open Day 1983.
Photo by Paul Watson. Click for larger version

bus histories photo references

Ian's Bus Stop STL contents top of page Tilling STLs