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Nick Agnew
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1468W MLL735

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Details: Quite possibly the oddest looking vehicle yet to grace this site, AEC Regal IV 'one and a half-deck' bus MLL735 had clearly seen better days when it was caught on film on Epping High Street in April 2005. New in 1952 for the LT/BEA service between Heathrow and Central London, this was one of four converted to Uniform Issue Units in 1967. As such it was numbered 1468W, given a grey livery with black waistband, and lasted until 1977. Since then it appears to have been used by travellers.

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Phil Southwold l once owned this bus - l`m not the driver in the photo though - l sold this bus on ebay for £3450 Dec 2006 and MLL 735 is now in the hands of Ensign Bus Museum who plan to restore it for their museum collection - Out of the 65 BEA RFs which were given the London Transport designed Park Royal bodies - MLL 735 was `the` bus that spent the `longest time in active service` - a total of 24 & 1/2 years - ln 1977 it went into storage for a further 22 yrs - There is up until recently a `well kept dark secret` with regards this bus, At some time between 1977 & 1999 MLL 735 was taken out of `preservation storage` and `donated` as a form of `compensation` to the owner of `another` bus which it is alledged was actively `stolen` by London Transport - lf you research lans Bus Stop pages with regards the BEA RFs - in `HISTORIES` at the bottom of the page you will see that in June 1977 ownership changed hands to S Baldwin, Highgate London, N22, then a short time soon after onto a Collins, Beckenham Kent and at some point during 1979 bought by J Mitchell Bethersden Kent (During these 2 years 1977 - 1979 MLL 735 actually changed ownership 3 times with no dates specified) the next recording is November 2006 `in store` in Leeds Yorkshire (me) again Nov 2006 for sale on ebay (again me) then Dec 2006 bought by Ensign Bus Museum for the museum collection. lt also seems strange that the bus history between 1999 to November 2006 has not been recorded ? - Back in 1977 when MLL 735 came out of active service, the bus `was infact put into preservation storage by London Transport for future restoration` as detailed in the general history of the fleet, MLL 735 `was` taken out of that preservation storage and donated as a form of compensation with regards the `stolen` bus which MLL 735 then replaced !!! it is for partly this reason as to `WHY ?` MLL 735 became part of the New Age Travellers scene, for the next 7 yrs the bus travelled all over the UK attending many New Age Travellers sites, and Free Festival Gatherings including Stonehenge Monument and Pilton village. Quite a famous bus really ! Although the bus does actually look quite awful in the above photograph, the New Age Travellers actually kept the bus in fairly `good condition` - Watch out for this bus in the coming years - l know that a web site including over 100 photos of its time spent with the New Age Travellers will be posted in the future - l received an email from Steve Newman a couple of weeks back, he tells me he has managed to find the correct seats and some internal fittings - so it looks like Ensign Bus Museum are to restore MLL 735 back to a passenger carrying vehicle rather than the `Uniform Issue Unit` it was when last used in active service - l wish them well with the project - Phil Southwold
Note: Edited by Phil Southwold, 29/02/08, 06:19.
Fri 29/02/2008, 04:57