The Railbus Story
There was one further amendment to the Regional allocation. The LMR, when deciding what
lines to use the vehicles on, opted for three lines:
Bedford - Hitchin
Bedford - Northampton
Northampton - Blisworth
Up until October 1957 the delivery date for the Park Royal vehicles had been Dec. 57, yet that date started slipping. At the start of May 1958, with the vehicles then expected the next month, the closure of Blisworth, Weedon and Welton stations was under consideration, so the Region's Diesel Trains Committee decided they would not to introduce the railbus to the Northampton - Blisworth line. This cut the Region's railbus requirement from four to three. The ScR stated that they could find work for it, the BTC authorising the revision.
Much of the delays in delivery to the railbuses had been due to the rush to get the vehicles ordered, then revising requirements as building progressed meaning further work, or work having to be redone. The final total paid to the five builders was £324,560, some £44,180 higher than originally planned. The biggest increase was for the A.C. Cars vehicles - the firm that had originally quote the lowest price - costing over 40% more than budgeted, yet still cheaper than the German vehicles, which had been hit by an increase in customs duty.
The first of the railbus types to be delivered was from A.C. Cars, and as was the case with new types or traction a formal inspection was organised at Marylebone (convenient for the BRB offices at 222 Marylebone Rd), for railway officials and for the press, as well as demonstration runs. A meeting was held on the 21st January '58 to plan this and the associated publicity plans, attended by A.C.Cars and relevant WR / LMR / BTC staff. The event was planned for Thursday 13th February 1958, and the minutes from the meeting can be found here.
A press release was done for the launch, which gave brief details of the overall railbus scheme, and detailed information about the A.C. Cars vehicles - it can be found here, and a letter requesting arrangements for the demonstration runs to be made can be found here.