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SNAPSHOT 115: 1929 AEC Reliance Bus


Motor buses (as opposed to trolleybuses) operated by Stockport Corporation came into service in 1919 (these being two AEC YC chassis with British Commercial bodywork).

Jumping ahead to 1929, Stockport Corporation introduced a fleet of 12 AEC Reliance single-decker buses, of which Chassis number 660276 with registration number JA 377 and fleet number 135 is featured here.  It was the first of 12 supplied in 1929.  It had double doors and seating for 32, and was powered by a 6.1-litre six-cylinder petrol engine.

AEC (Associated Equipment Company Limited) was a British company that made buses, coaches and lorries from 1912 until 1979. The company is most famous for its AEC Routemaster buses used in London. AEC was an offshoot of the takeover of the London General Omnibus Company by the Underground Group and was set up to focus on the manufacture of buses.

During the First World War AEC’s production-line capability allowed it to produce large numbers of its 3-ton Y-type lorry. In 1926 a short-lived venture with Daimler created the Associated Daimler Company (ADC) but this only lasted two years before being wound up. During this time manufacturing was moved from Walthamstow to a new plant in Southall in Middlesex.

From 1929 new models were introduced, with bus models having names beginning with “R” and lorries with “M”. It is here that the Reliance model emerges.

The Cravens body was built by the Cravens Railway Carriage and Wagon Company of Sheffield.  It was founded in 1867 as Craven Brothers and Co, and remained a family business until 1919 when John Brown and Company took a controlling interest. In 1926 the company completed a special sleeping car railway carriage for the use of the King of Siam on the Royal State Railways of that country.

In 1966 the business became part of Metropolitan-Cammell and in 1967 the business moved over into the manufacture of shipping containers under the name of Cravens Homalloy.

We are very grateful to Dickie Grenfell for the picture and technical information.

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