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Photographer / Copyright
Alan B Cross
Images should not be reused without permission.

View vehicle details
917B JXN453

Location Link
Bowles Road PW Depot

Date added to site
26/01/2015

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Details: I'll end today with a dip into the archives for a photo that enables me to discuss two recent topics. Alan's excellent photo of Bedford OSBT tipper 917B parked outside Bowles Road Permanent Way depot on 10th February 1952 was included in the SUP15B publication. Note the bar across the lower part of the side window. This also features on preserved Bedford mobile canteen 702B and I was recently asked if I knew it's purpose. It seemed to me it was probably an arm-rest for use by the driver (or passenger for the one on the nearside), especially since turn indicating had to be done manually on these vehicles. However, it was suggested that the use of a half-round section - with the 'sharp' edges facing upwards and downwards - made this unlikely. Clive did some digging and found that the bars appeared on many (but not all) LT Bedfords from September 1949 onwards. He put forward the notion that it was to protect the top edge of the window glass, since Bedfords did not have the metal protective strip found on Leylands and other types. The use of half-round section may have just been to simplify the mounting of the bar at each end. Does anyone have any further ideas? While on the subject of window bars, I noticed that our picture of 895B has them, but also an additional bar further up. Another mystery!

The second topic is vehicle histories. A few years ago I discovered London Transport's 'Variations in Rolling Stock' documents. These were day-to-day records of all changes (transfers, deliveries, disposals etc) affecting the road vehicle fleet. It seemed that I would be able to build up a complete allocation history for each vehicle operated during the period that these documents covered (broadly 1939 to about 1985). However, after doing an awful lot of data entry it has become clear that the variation sheets are not 100% comprehensive. Taking 917B as an example, its delivery and entry to service at Lillie Bridge in 1949 is shown. But the next entry shows it transferred from Chiswick to Rye Lane in 1950. Then the next says it was withdrawn at Bowles Road in 1952. It soon returned to use at Bowles Road but the next entry after that says it was transferred from Charlton to Chiswick and delicensed in 1956. The remaining entries between then and 917B's disposal in 1958 appear to be complete, and they do include a spell at Charlton. However, it is clear that some of the information is either missing or incorrect. As such I have put the addition of more history records on hold whilst I ponder a solution.

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