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Centenary of West Bromwich Buses

west bromwich bus

24 September 2014

As part of the 100 year anniversary of the West Bromwich Bus Corporation, our restored buses headed out once again to journey on Black Country roads.

The two 1952 Daimler buses left BCLM to drive around the streets of Wednesbury before returning to Dudley. Both buses have been lovingly restored by volunteers over many years and has cost thousands of pounds to get them back into working condition.

The double decker bus GEA 174, has been restored thanks to a 20 year restoration project. Used on the Dudley – West Bromwich – Birmingham route, the bus was withdrawn in 1969 after West Bromwich Transport became West Midlands PTE. 

It was then donated to Dudley Libraries and stored in the former Midland Red garage in Wolverhampton. In the early years of our Museum, the bus was used to collect items – including Emile Doo’s chemist from Netherton which now stands proudly on the Museum’s Canal Street. 

By 1980 bus GEA 174 had moved permanently to BCLM but as a kit of parts after a series of unsuccessful restoration attempts.

By late 2013, with funds raised by the Black Country Museum Transport Group and particularly a bequest from Arthur Whitehouse, and a team led by Gordon Ibbotson, the bus was finally restored to its former glory, including an engine refurbishment, an overhaul of the brakes, new side panels, new flooring and new window glass.  The radiator, which had several holes in it, has been repaired and re-chromed and the exhaust has been replaced.  Finally, the bus was brush painted and transfers made and applied in-house. 

All in all, the restoration project cost circa £40,000, all paid for by funds raised by the group and with the support of local companies offering discounts or not charging for small fixings.

On Sat 13 Sep, the buses retraced some of their former routes, exactly 100 years to the day that the service began.

 

 

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