1974 Vehicle Shortage

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Around the end of 1973, the Canberra bus service was faced with a deteriorating vehicle situation.

For example, on 7 January 1974 almost 70 vehicles of the fleet of 180 were not available for traffic. At the time, it was reported that the situation appeared to have arisen because of a number of factors, including a shortage of mechanics and the supply of spare parts [and new buses] being curtailed because of industrial disputes in Australia and overseas.

But the situation was about to get much worse, as free school travel was scheduled to be introduced on 1 February 1974.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and the following buses were sourced to supplement the fleet:

Ex-Sydney bus being used in Canberra

226 Ford R192
Number in class: 1
Chassis: Ford R192
Engine: Ford 300 I6
Gearbox: Five-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase: 16 ft 0 in
Bodies: Athol Hedges Pty Ltd, Northgate Qld
Seating: B45F
Length: 32 ft 0 in
General notes: Stock unit purchased from Athol Hedges Pty Ltd at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.

227 & 231 Bedford SB

Number in class: 2
Chassis: Bedford SB5 (227) Bedford SB3 (231)
Engine: Bedford 330 diesel (227) Bedford 300 petrol (231)
Gearbox: Five-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase: 18 ft 10 in (extended)
Bodies: Pressed Metal Corporation Ltd, Revesby NSW
Seating: B43F
Length: 31 ft 4 in
General notes: Stock units purchased from Sydney dealer Suttons Motors Pty Ltd at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.

227 was transferred to the Department of the Capital Territory Special Duty Fleet and used as spare bus (ZIE.404), while 231 was transferred to the Department of the Capital Territory Special Duty Fleet and hired to the Capital Territory Health Commission (ZID.612).

228 Bedford VAM

Number in class: 1
Chassis: Bedford VAM3
Engine: Bedford
Gearbox:
Wheelbase:
Bodies: Athol Hedges
Seating: B45F
Length:
General notes: Stock unit purchased at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.

Transferred to the Department of the Capital Territory Special Duty Fleet and hired to the Department of Police and Customs (ZIA.733)

230 Bedford VAM

Number in class: 1
Chassis: Bedford VAM70
Engine: Bedford 466 diesel
Gearbox: Five-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase: 19 ft 1 in (extended)
Bodies: Athol Hedges Pty Ltd, Northgate Qld
Seating: B45FR
Length: 34 ft 5 in
General notes: Purchased from Sydney dealer, Suttons Motors Pty Ltd, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.  The vehicle was constructed to the order of Western Road Transport, Parramatta, but the firm did not take delivery.

Transferred to the Department of the Capital Territory Special Duty Fleet and hired to ACT Police (ZID.554).

240 Thornycroft Trident
(Pictured)

Number in class: 1
Chassis: Thornycroft Trident PG/CR6/1
Engine: Thornycroft CR6/1
Gearbox: Five-speed ‘crash’
Wheelbase:
Bodies: Syd Wood
Seating: B47F
Length:
General notes: Acquired from J Bowden, Sydney, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.  240 (and also 241-249) became available when Bowden ceased operating Sydney route 79.  It was new to King, Kempsey, in 1962.


241 Bedford SB

Number in class: 1
Chassis: Bedford SB5
Engine: Bedford 330 diesel
Gearbox: Five-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase: 19 ft 2 in (extended)
Bodies: Motor Body Specialists Pty Ltd, Eagle Farm Qld
Seating: B43F
Length: 31 ft 8 in
General notes: Acquired from J Bowden, Sydney, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.   It was new in 1973.


242 BMC 3.45FG

Number in class: 1
Chassis: BMC 3.45FG YJBGR1R
Engine: BMC
Gearbox: Four-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase: 15 ft 2 in (extended)
Bodies: Motor Body Specialists Pty Ltd, Eagle Farm Qld
Seating: B31F
Length: 25 ft 4 in
General notes: Acquired from J Bowden, Sydney, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.  It was new in 1971.

243 – 245 Ford D400

Number in class: 3
Chassis: Ford D400
Engine: Ford 365
Gearbox: Four-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase:
Bodies: Motor Body Specialists
Seating: B35F
Length:
General notes: Acquired from J Bowden, Sydney, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.  They were new in 1972.


246 – 249 Ford Thames

Number in class: 4
Chassis: Ford Thames 570E
Engine: Thames
Gearbox: Five-speed synchromesh
Wheelbase:
Bodies: Duple ‘Yeoman’
Seating: B40F (246, 248) C36F (247, 249)
Length:
General notes: Acquired from J Bowden, Sydney, at time of 1974 vehicle shortage.  All four were new to Pykes Tours, Sydney: 246 in 1965, 247 in 1963, 248 in 1964 and 249 in 1966.


Leyland Tiger OPS2 / ComEng

Number in class: 12
Fleet numbers: 2564, 2596, 2600, 2606, 2609, 2631, 2632, 2633, 2637, 2656, 2658, 2659

Chassis: Leyland Tiger OPS2/1
Engine: Leyland
Gearbox:
Wheelbase: 17 ft 6 ins
Bodies: Commonwealth Engineering
Seating: FB31FR
Length:
General notes: These vehicles were hired from the Public Transport Commission of NSW at the time of the 1974 vehicle shortage.   During their stay in Canberra they carried NSW metropolitan series ‘MO’ plates which matched their PTC fleet numbers.  All 12 vehicles were new to the then NSW Department of Government Transport in 1952.