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AECs in the UK
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Photos of Routemasters around Britain

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Bridgemaster and Renown

The Bridgemaster was AEC's answer to the Bristol Lodekka, but never shared the Bristol model's success.   Although developed as a joint AEC - Park Royal integral bus at the same time as the Routemaster, there was little in common between the two projects.   In fact some of the design work was undertaken by Crossley.  Apart from the integral construction and Routemaster type suspension it had more in common with a standard Regent V, even down to the style of the Park Royal bodywork which always looked top heavy in its low height form.  Only 179 were built between 1957 and 1962 before the model was replaced by the Renown.

The bus that replaced the Bridgemaster as AEC's low-floor, low-height offering was the Renown, reintroducing a name that had already been used for a 1925 single-deck model and a 1930s six-wheel double-decker that had been popular with London General.  Although visually similar the Renown differed from the Bridgemaster in having conventional body on chassis rather than integral construction.  It sold marginally more than the Bridgemaster but was killed off by the rear-engined Atlantean and Fleetline.

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Click for full size picture of 326 NJO
326 NJO

Staunch AEC customer City of Oxford needed low height double-deckers to clear the low station bridge, so the Bridgemaster was an obvious choice for them.  Here is number 326 at Oxford station in September 1971.  Photo by Gerry Cork.

Click for full size picture of FWL 368E
FWL 368E

Following the Bridgemasters, COMS took some Renowns for their low-height requirements.  This is number 368, one of the last batch of Renowns built in 1967, photographed outside Nuffield College in September 1971.  COMS then turned to the Daimler Fleetline for their double-deck requirements.   Photo by Gerry Cork.
Another user of AEC Bridgemasters was Leicester City Transport. Number 217 was seen in the city's Horsefair Street in 1970, with a Daimler CVG model in the background. Photo by Norman Metcalf, courtesy of Alan Pearson.
Like City of Oxford, Leiceister followed their Bridgemasters with Renowns. The type were regular performers on service 14 to New Parks, on which the Bridgemaster above is also pictured. Number 190 has passed into preservation and was seen back in Leicester in October 2000 at the Welford Road terminus of route 62, another regular Renown route. Photo by Russell Smith.
YJG 807 was one of three Bridgemasters purchased by East Kent in 1962. They were used in Dover where their low hieght enabled them to pass under bridges which were too low for the Regent V. After eventually passing to preservation this vehicle was purchased by East Kent Road Car Heritage Trust in the Winter of 2002 and was used for a while on Sunday service 104 Aylesham to Folkestone. Photo by Martin Fagg.

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