Bristol K5G – 908 (YWG 109)

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owned by  –  The Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum (click title to read more…)

Bristol K5G no 908 (FLJ538) is seen at Yarmouth swing bridge on 28 August 1972 © Peter Relf
Bristol K5G no 908 (FLJ538) is seen at Yarmouth swing bridge on 28 August 1972 © Peter Relf

Similar to Southern Vectis, Hants & Dorset, also part of the Tilling group, purchased Bristol K type double deckers. Included in a large batch of 80 K5G types, delivered over a two-year period was FLJ 538, which became fleet no. TD 761 in the Hants & Dorset fleet. The bus was originally fitted with a ECW 53-seat body and entered service in June 1940 at Bournemouth, where it was used predominantly on the Salisbury service. It became No. 1086 after the company’s post-war renumbering and was later allocated to Winchester for a short period.

No 908 (FLJ538) at Shanklin Bus Station on 30 July 1973 © Peter Relf
No 908 (FLJ538) at Shanklin Bus Station on 30 July 1973 © Peter Relf

The war years took a hard toll on the buses, so like several other Tilling companies, Hants & Dorset started a rebodying  programme in 1949. In May 1954, No. 1086 was one of six buses selected to be rebodied by ECW; these were unusual, at this time, in being constructed as being capable of conversion to open-top format. Upon return, No. 1086 was allocated to Fareham for use on the Lee-on-the-Solent route, carrying a predominantly cream livery. In July 1960 it sustained a lowbridge ‘strike’ while on an off-service journey back to Fareham and the detachable roof was destroyed. Thereafter it ran as an open-top, initially at Poole on the Rockley Sands route, and then from Southampton on Docks Tours.

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Withdrawn at the end of the 1964 season, No. 1086 was sold to Southern Vectis (as No. 908) in November and introduced open-top operation to the Yarmouth – Alum Bay (42) route from June 1965, remaining the regular vehicle allocated to this service until September 1972. The final two seasons were spent at Shanklin before it was sold to dealer North of Sherburn-in-Elmet in 1974 and exported to Holland. It spent many years stored out of use until a Museum member generously financed the purchase of No. 908 for the Museum and the tow back to the Island in July 2009. The Netherlands registration carried was 26-81-HB, allocated in January 1978.

Restoration work has been undertaken at the isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum and has included replacement of the engine, renewal of much steelwork and timber flooring and frame renewal in the vicinity of the cab. A repaint in cream with Tilling Green highlights completed the six-year programme in 2016.

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Vehicle Details/Specification:

  • Bristol K5G, Chassis No. 55043
  • Body: (original) ECW No. 6777, rebodied by ECW No 7590

Key dates:

  • New, Hants & Dorset – May 1940
  • Into Service  – June 1940
  • renumbered 1086 – January 1950
  • Rebodied to convertible open top by ECW – May 1954
  • Involved in a bridge strike, roof destroyed  – July 1960
  • withdrawn by Hants & Dorset and sold to Southern Vectis as 908 – November 1964
  • Fitted with flashing indicators – circa 1970/1
  • Withdrawn by Southern Vectis – 30 September 1974
  • Sold to North (Dealer) – 21 June 1975
  • Sold to Beyer, Holland, reregistered 26-81-HB – July 1975
  • Sold to  Prinz Classic Transport of Opijnen, Holland – November 1999
  • Owned by Gebr De Greed, Holland – by September 2005
  • Purchased and donated to the Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum – July 2009
  • Re registered YWG 109 in May 2016 ( the original number was not available)

Current Status:

  • Operational