Restored S-Type Single Decker
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Notes About This Vehicle

The S-type was in January 1921 the second new bus design to enter service with the London General Omnibus Company [LGOC] after the end of the Great War. Being hand-built, as with other LGOC motor buses of the time, several body variations occurred within both the double- and single-deck ranges. AEC [Associated Equipment Company] also made the chassis available to other operators and these varied too.

Its predecessor, the K-type, had entered service in September 1919 at a time when the gross weight limit was seven tons. Continued development led to the appearance of the S-type the following year. It had to be tested secretly as it exceeded the maximum weight but the tests were satisfactory and the limit was increased to eight-and-a- half tons. This permitted an increase in overall length to 25 feet, allowing a narrow additional window to be inserted along the side of the bus body, though not always in the same position (and presaging the RML by some forty years). The body was otherwise similar to the K-type, thus, as the K-type had done before it relative to the earlier B-type, the S-type allowed a further increase in seating capacity. The first S-types were double deckers, and as on its predecessors, solid tyres were fitted.

From April 1922, after trials with S265 as a 32-seater single-decker, those that followed had a revised chassis and sat thirty. Single- and double-deck bodies were introduced, though nothing like with sequential fleet numbers. Eventually, sixty-four single-deck S-types were built and subsequent overhauls further mixed up body styles.

Despite the newer and more powerful NS-type entering service in May 1923, almost 900 S-types were in service by September of that year, though not all with the LGOC. Further S-types continued to be built as late as 1927, with the NS largely displacing the lower-powered S to the suburbs.

The 1924 Traffic Act introduced a complex system of route number suffixes for various short workings and this saw the end of the illuminated side route number stencils. Pneumatic tyres were fitted in 1928, a benefit of which was a reduction in road tax from £72 to £57 12 shillings.

Despite the somewhat ponderous S-type performance, about 700 of the LGOC’s double-deckers were still in service in 1930. Withdrawals started in January 1931, double-deckers being replaced by newer LT and ST vehicles.

The single-deckers soldiered on under the threat from the new LTL (Renown) and T (Regal) classes arriving in 1931, though some were de-licensed and put into store. As the capital was still growing, some S-types were later re-licensed and given windscreens in 1932, as seen here.

On its formation in July 1933, the London Passenger Transport Board [LPTB] inherited forty-five single-deck S-types from the LGOC, some surviving until 1935/36.

Only three S-types survive in preservation and of these S433, depicted here, is the only single-deck version. It has been immaculately restored and is shown in these drawings in its final [LPTB] condition with the correct Metropolitan Carriage licence number 8199 issued to it on 10th July 1934. For obvious reasons, not all of these vehicles made it to re-paint in LPTB days and some still ran with their ‘General’ fleet names – S433 was one of them.

Some restoration modifications to make it road legal have been omitted from these drawings to try and depict the bus as it would have been in its latter days in service.

The tilt apparent in the drawing is not an illusion, but explained by the rear wheel and tyre combination being of a smaller overall diameter than those on the front; this occurred when the pneumatic ones were fitted. Passengers were probably not aware they were walking gently up hill on entering, with the front of the bus being about two inches (50mm) higher off the road over the wheels than the back.

Notes About This Drawing

This drawing is based on hundreds of photographs and extensive measurements of S433 in its state of private restoration.

It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see all parts of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.

drawing copyright Douglas Rose February 2022
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