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Bristol Commercial Vehicles / Eastern Coach Works Railbus


During the tendering process five firms submitted proposed specs and prices. Notes made on the initial BCV application were as follows (some details changed on the vehicles actually built):

Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd.

The design of the lightweight body of this vehicle incorporates the principles of Bristol/E.C.W. omnibus design. Arranged for left hand driving control at each end, the vehicle has a seating capacity for 54 passengers, with an arrangement of outward facing seats and 20 standing passengers. Central sliding doors are provided on each side with a central area for luggage. Heating is provided by an oil combustion type heater.

Metalastik type rubber shear-compression units are utilised for the suspension of the frame. Each axle is mounted on a separate sub-frame, sprung from the main frame, and anchored by a radius arm. The attachment of the subframe to the axle anchor bracket also incorporates a Metalastik rubber spring unit.

The power unit employs a Gardner type horizontal engine of 112 m.p.h. giving a maximum speed of 55 m.p.h. A spring type of wheel embodying a pneumatic cushioned tubeless arrangement encased in a standard section steel tyre but a normal steel disc wheel can be fitted as an alternative.

Air assisted hydraulically operated disc brakes are fitted on all wheels.

Light type drawgear and buffers are also fitted at each end of the vehicle.

The price quoted was £11,000 each (and would drop to £10,500 each if 20 were ordered) and the firm also required an additional £10,000 to develop a prototype. Delivery (at Oct. '56) for the prototype would be late '57 / early '58, with further deliveries of 2 (or more) cars per month completing an order by the end of '58. Of the five firms tendering this was the slowest delivery times due to the development work they required, and it would mean that they would receive the smallest order as cars were wanted in traffic as soon as possible.

Initially British Railways approached the BTC to purchase two BCV vehicles (one each for the LMR and WR), along with 7 from AC Cars, 5 from Waggon and Maschinenbeu, 6 from Wickhams, and none from BUT / Park Royal. The BTC didn't accept these figures and authorised 5 from each builder except BCV, and asked British Railway to resubmit a separate request for the BCV vehicles which was approved on the Works & Equipment Committee meeting on the 12th December 1956 (minute 803 item 43) and by the BTC on 20/12/56 (minute 9/634) at a cost of £32,000 (£11,000 each and £10,000 for prototype development).

At a further British Railways meeting to discuss the revised number of railbuses, the two BCV vehicles would now be allocated to the ScR.

The final cost would increase by £1,209 to £33,209, the variation claimed for items such as administration, material inspections and free issue materials.

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