FIRST ESSEX BUS PAINTED IN PRE-WAR 1930’S LIVERY IN TRIBUTE TO THE LONG-ESTABLISHED NOSTALGIC ‘WESTCLIFF ON SEA MOTOR SERVICES’
Picture by John Lidstone
Finally, after weeks of planning, dedication and scrutinising blueprints of bus liveries from 90 years ago, one of First Essex’s buses has been transformed with a nostalgic external livery dating back to the 1930s in tribute to Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services who operated bus services back in the day.
The bus was unveiled today (23rd June 2020) on the 26 service between Hadleigh and Southend, the same area that buses ran back in the 1930s depicting the original livery that can now be seen on bus 37985 running out of First Hadleigh bus depot.
Richard Gilmore, Fleet Engineer at First Essex said;” The task of planning and trying to apply a 1930s livery onto a modern bus was not easy, having to take into consideration larger windows, air vents and grills and streamline bodywork that was not in situ back in the day.
“However, with the help and knowledge provided by John Lidstone, who is a keen writer/photographer and volunteer to the project, working closely with the team at First Essex & Mardens, nostalgia has been transformed back to the streets of Southend. John first joined the bus industry in 1975 and brings a wealth of bus knowledge to projects such as this.”
“The ‘Flagship Bus’ will not only be seen in service but will attend local events and rally’s around the south east area of the country when we move out of lockdown and people can safely attend outdoor festivals and events in the future”
History - Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services
- Bus 37985 is now seen showing the pre-war livery of the long-established Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services
- Westcliff ran most of the bus services around Southend in the 1930’s (with a few other journeys operated by Southend Corporation Transport)
- Eastern National ran services out of town to the north areas of Essex, e.g. Colchester, Chelmsford
- Westcliff Motor Services was taken over by Eastern National in 1954
- Westcliff Motor Services ran out of the Hadleigh bus depot, where First Essex run out of today.
- Now, with buses 37985 and 33191, these are the first pair of active 'red Westcliff' buses seen since the mid-1950s
About the bus that has been transformed
- One of a small number of Volvo B9TL buses built to higher than standard spec for Green Line service to Windsor in 2011
- This and 37986 then had 2nd lives serving the First Essex X30 (Southend-Stansted Airport), the first double-deckers on the express route
- Fitted with high-backed leather seats, tables and were the first buses in the Essex fleet with device charging on board
- Now an ideal specification for a its new role as a garage 'flagship' and show-bus for events around the South East