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The Railbus Story

Part Three

With these amendments to purchase higher priced vehicles, the total cost would now be £249,380, and required Central Staff to approach the W&E Committee to seek permission for the change in funding. The memo can be found here which includes statements on their choices and a summary of the vehicle types desired.

Yet the BTC didn't agree with them, the W&E Committee meeting on 7/11/56 decided that Park Royal should be given an order. Sticking to the 20 vehicles already authorised they wanted five vehicles each to be ordered from W&M, Wickhams, AC Cars and Park Royal, totalling £248,380, and asked Central Staff to resubmit for approval for the two BCV buses. The minute can be found here.

In a time when every penny was being squeezed from operating costs is does seem rather frivolous spending, when everyone involved had doubts over the scheme yet they seemed happy to be spending to purchase every type of vehicle no matter what the cost, rather them just opting for the best price.

Central Staff submitted it's amended request for the additional £8,380 for the 20 authorised vehicles, and £32,000 for the two BCV cars on the 6th December 1956, the memo can be found here. Discussed at the W&E Committee meeting on the 12th December, it was recommended for approval (Minute 803) which the BTC did at it's 20th December meeting (Minute 9/634).

With the vehicle numbers having changed since the last British Railways meeting, another was held on 13/2/57 to discuss the revised allocation, the proposal now being:

    E.   Sc.   L.M.   W.   Total
W.M.D.   5   -   -   -   5
Wickhams Ltd.   -   5   -   -   5
A.C. Cars Ltd.   -   1   -   4   5
B.U.T.   -   1   4   -   5
B.C.V.   -   2   -   -   2
    5   9   4   4   22

The ScR were desperate to obtain the vehicles asap, and the meeting agreed that while the table shows the ultimate allocation, the first five cars available, irrespective of manufacturer, would be forwarded to the ScR then returned to the owning Regions when the Wickham cars were delivered. The full minutes can be read here.

At a press conference held on 6th March '57 to review the progress to date of the Modernisation Plan, Sir Brian Robertson announced details of the railbus scheme to the media. Orders were finally placed with the five manufacturers in May '57.

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