CRG163

Croeso / Welcome

Er cof am / In memory of
Barry Thomas
(Seren Arian / Silver Star)


Mae’r byd yn colli un o’i orau.

Gyda thristwch llwyr cawsom wybod heddiw (14 Chwefror 2024) fod y byd wedi colli un o’i oreuon gyda marwolaeth sydyn Barry Thomas o Rosgadfan (cwmni Seren Arian gynt).

Bu Barry yn beiriannydd i gwmni Seren Arian yn bennaf am flynyddoedd lawer yn ogystal â gyrru bysus a choets y cwmni ar hyd a lled y wlad a thramor. Cyhyd ac Eric Thomas a fu farw yn 2009, roedd y ddau yn hoelion wyth y cwmni.

I’r rhai nad oedd mor ffodus i adnabod Barry, roedd o’n hynod o weithgar gyda gwen pob amser ar ei wyneb. Roedd o wrth ei fodd yn tynnu coes a doedd dim byd yn ormod iddo yn ei gymwynas, pob amser ar gael i helpu unrhyw un oedd angen help.

Roedd gan Barry y ddawn o gyffwrdd yn arbennig gyda phobl ar draws unrhyw genhedlaeth, o’r ifanc i’r hyn yn yr un ffordd gyda pharch a gwen.

Nodaf cyhyd a nifer fawr eraill wrth ddweud ei bod hi’n fraint o’r mwyaf cael adnabod Barry fel ffrind am flynyddoedd lawer, ers i mi fod yn blentyn i fod yn fanwl.

Ers i mi fod yn berchen ar CRG163 ers 2002, roedd Barry wedi helpu llawer tro i gefnogi'r gwaith parhaus o adfer a chadw'r cerbyd.

Yn anffodus daeth cwmni’r Seren Arian i ben ond yn fwy diweddar roedd Barry yn dreifio i gerbydau Caelloi ym Mhwllheli ar sawl bysus ysgol yr ardal. Unwaith eto roedd gwen mawr ar wyneb Barry pob tro wrth iddo godi llaw a chanu corn ar yr hogiau wrth iddo basio.

Ar ran yr ardal, y diwydiant bysiau a choets leol i Ogledd Cymru a ledled y DU, rydym yn anfon ein cydymdeimlad dwysaf oll i deulu a ffrindiau Barry yn eu colled drist iawn wrth i ni gofio am un o’r gorau.

Bydd colled mawr iawn ar dy ôl a diolch yn fawr iawn am bob dim dros nifer fawr o flynyddoedd - Rich. (Richard Lloyd Jones a’r teulu).



Dyma lun o Barry yn ddiweddar wrth iddo gefnogi gyda CRG163.

Mae’r dudalen hon nawr yn dudalen cyntaf/blaen newydd gwefan CRG163 er cof a pharch am ein ffrind annwyl Barry a’u deulu.

Mae'r lliwiau CENEDLAETHOL (Cwmni Bysiau Cenedlaethol) a ddefnyddir fel arfer ar draws y wefan hon wedi'u disodli dros dro er mwyn parch at Barry.

Er cof am Barry, a fu farw ar 13 Chwefror, 2024.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The World has lost one of its finest

It is with complete sadness we were informed today (14 February 2024) that the world has lost one of its best with the sudden passing of Barry Thomas from Rosgadfan (formerly of the Silver Star company).

Barry was mainly an engineer for the Silver Star company for many years as well as driving the company's buses and coaches all over the country and abroad. Along with Eric Thomas who died in 2009, both were stalwarts of the company.

For those who were not so fortunate to know Barry, he did not shy away to any work and with a smile always on his face. He loved to tease and nothing was too much for him in his support of others, always available to help anyone who needed help.

Barry had the gift of touching people across many generations, from the young to the older generation through his respect and smile.

I will confirm what many, many others will confirmand that is to say that it has been an absolute privilege to have known Barry as a friend for many years, since I was a child to be precise.

Since owning CRG163 since 2002, Barry has helped many times to support the ongoing restoration and preservation of the vehicle.

Unfortunately the Silver Star company came to an end but more recently Barry would be seen driving for Caelloi Coaches of Pwllheli on many of its school buses in the area. Once again there was a big smile on Barry's face every time as he raised his hand and honked his horn at my boys as he passed.

On behalf of the area, the local bus and coach industry for North Wales and throughout the UK, we send our deepest condolences to Barry's family and friends in their very sad loss as we remember one of the best.

You will be greatly missed and thank you very much for everything over many years - Rich. (Richard Lloyd Jones & Family).


A photograph of Barry on the way to France on a Silver Star coach trip.

This is now a new first page on CRG163’s website in memory and out of respect for our dear friend Barry and family.

The NATIONAL (National Bus Company) colours normally used across this website have been temporarily replaced out of respect for Barry.


In Memory of Barry, who sadly passed away on 13 February, 2024.


Follow up-to-date news about CRG163’s on-going journey here and those connected to the vehicle. Developments are listed in date order with the most recent news at the top of this page. You can also subscribe to direct e-mail updates through the subscription box at the foot of each page.

Charging issues sadly continue - a quick run around the block to keep the wheels turning

Charging issues sadly continue - a quick run around the block to keep the wheels turning

The modified regulator control board has now been fitted but sadly the charging issues continue. Further investigation is now required of the wiring.

Learn More
The world has lost one of its finest - Barry Thomas (Silver Star)

The world has lost one of its finest - Barry Thomas (Silver Star)

Mae'r byd wedi colli un o'i gorau, sef Barry Thomas (Seren Arian). The world has lost one of its finest, Barry Thomas (Silver Star). (14.02.24)

Learn More
Regulator board conversion

Regulator board conversion

Result! A worthwhile journey to Chester today. One CAV regulator board 460C successfully converted to a CAV460-1 for CRG163 and its regulator with my grateful thanks to my good friend Roger Downs, owner of preserved Crosville coach CRG111. My grateful thanks to Roger for your valued support. (03.02.24)

Learn More
New ‘Top 1’ headlamps

New ‘Top 1’ headlamps

Two new ‘Top 1’ headlamps delivered today for CRG163 with grateful thanks to Jonathan Radley, fellow preservationist and owner of the fantastic preserved Red & White Bristol RELH ECW coach OAX9F from 1968: https://www.redandwhitebus.com/

Learn More
Challenge 2024!  The countdown is on!

Challenge 2024! The countdown is on!

Our big challenge for 2024 is to get CRG163 ready to attend the Llandudno Transport Festival 2024. The countdown is on with a new special page on CRG163 with a countdown clock to the event. The challenge is on!

Learn More
Llandudno Festival of Transport 2024 - CRG163 is entered

Llandudno Festival of Transport 2024 - CRG163 is entered

CRG163 is not quite ready but tonight she has been entered into the Llandudno Transport Festival 2024 this year, taking place from Saturday the 4th to Monday the 6th of May. This will be a special one as it will be the first event for CRG163 to attend since 2009. Also the Llandudno Transport Festival was the first event for CRG163 to attend in preservation under my ownership, launched in 2004, 20 years ago this year! Let’s hope we can get her ready in time!

Learn More
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year

Blwyddyn newydd dda i chi gyd, a diolch am ddilyn CRG163 drwy 2023! 🥳 Happy new year to you all and my grateful thanks for following all things CRG163 during 2023! 🥳

Nadolig Llawen / Merry Christmas!

Nadolig Llawen / Merry Christmas!

Nadolig Llawen i chi gyd! 🎄☃️ Merry Christmas everyone! 🎄☃️

New ‘NATIONAL / NATIONAL EXPRESS’ vehicle front grill enamel badge

New ‘NATIONAL / NATIONAL EXPRESS’ vehicle front grill enamel badge

New and rare ‘NATIONAL / NATIONAL EXPRESS’ vehicle front grill enamel badge, purchased today for CRG163. Delivery awaited (09.12.23)

Learn More
A new timeline page is added to CRG163’s website

A new timeline page is added to CRG163’s website

A new timeline page is added tonight to CRG163’s website chartering key moments in the history of CRG163; Crosville Motor Services; Crosville Wales and Bristol RE.

Learn More
New ‘NATIONAL’ coach head rest covers purchased

New ‘NATIONAL’ coach head rest covers purchased

New ‘NATIONAL’ coach head rest covers have been purchased and picked up today for CRG163. (26.11.23)

Learn More
CAV 460C-5 regulator board acquired

CAV 460C-5 regulator board acquired

A CAV460C-5 regulator board is purchased from France. (24.11.23)

Learn More
A new photograph of CRG163 comes to light!

A new photograph of CRG163 comes to light!

When you think you’ve found every photograph of CRG163 from back in the day another one suddenly appears today (29.10.23).

Learn More
We mourn the passing of our dear friend David Wilder

We mourn the passing of our dear friend David Wilder

As an industry we mourn the loss of our dear friend Dave Wider. (27.09.23)

Learn More
Sunday morning road run

Sunday morning road run

Sunday morning road run. (16.04.23).

Learn More
New regulator arrives

New regulator arrives

The new regulator arrives from Gardner Spare Parts. (08.03.23).

Learn More
Alternator testing & regulator replacement

Alternator testing & regulator replacement

Alternator testing and regulator replacement ordered for delivery. (06.03.23).

Learn More
Battery charging issues

Battery charging issues

Battery charging issues so immobile once again unfortunately. (February 2023).

Learn More
CRG163 back on the road

CRG163 back on the road

After specific yard testing, a total external deep clean and then further road testing we’re back on the road again! (06.01.23).

Learn More
CRG163 - yard testing

CRG163 - yard testing

CRG163 being yard tested. (04.01.23).

Learn More
QR code added to CRG163’s website

QR code added to CRG163’s website

An easy way to find CRG163’s website is to scan this code on a smart mobile phone, tablet or other. Please share. (29.12.22).

Learn More
CRG163’s rebuilt radiator re-fitted

CRG163’s rebuilt radiator re-fitted

CRG163’s radiator is refitted following rebuild. 09.12.22.

Learn More
Collection of CRG163’s rebuilt radiator following refurbishment

Collection of CRG163’s rebuilt radiator following refurbishment

The collection of CRG163’s radiator following its full refurbishment - 11.11.22.

Learn More
Chwilio am le parcio addas newydd / Looking for new suitable parking

Chwilio am le parcio addas newydd / Looking for new suitable parking

Rydym yn edrych am le parcio addas newydd ar gyfer CRG163. / We are looking for new suitable parking for CRG163. (02/11/22).

Learn More
Wire brushing and painting

Wire brushing and painting

CRG163’s front cowl is removed so that wire brushing and hammerite treatment and painting can be undertaken in preparation for the return of the refurbished radiator. - 08.10.22.

Learn More
Radiator packed and delivered for refurbishment

Radiator packed and delivered for refurbishment

Radiator packaged and transported by car to Cropper & Jones, Ellesmere Port for full refurbishment - 07.10.22.

Learn More
We have a damaged radiator

We have a damaged radiator

From the leak found at the front of the vehicle recently, closer inspection has revealed a damaged radiator to be the issue - 02.10.22.

Learn More
We’re mobile but we have a water leak!

We’re mobile but we have a water leak!

At last we’re mobile but unfortunately we’ve got a leak - 19.08.22.

Learn More
New trafficators and emergency door lock fitted

New trafficators and emergency door lock fitted

New front trafficators (indicators fitted, near and offside - 16.07.22.

Learn More
Rebuilding and refitting of side lockers

Rebuilding and refitting of side lockers

Rebuilding vehicle side lockers, lower vehicle wooden framing that holds lockers in place and refitting of lockers on vehicle - 01.08.22 onwards

Learn More
CRG163 - 20 years of ownership

CRG163 - 20 years of ownership

CRG163 - 20 years of ownership: 09.06.02 - 09.06.22

Learn More
Rims and new tyres fitted

Rims and new tyres fitted

CRG163 with treated rims and new tyres fitted - 22.05.22.

Learn More
New batteries ordered and ready

New batteries ordered and ready

New batteries have been ordered and are ready to be fitted on CRG163 - 27.05.22.

Learn More
New tyres fitted on completed rims (wheels)

New tyres fitted on completed rims (wheels)

CRG163’s new tyres have now been fitted on completed rims (wheels) - 23.05.22.

Learn More
Rims (wheels) painted in National Bus Company grey

Rims (wheels) painted in National Bus Company grey

CRG163’s rims (wheels) have now been painted today in National Bus Company grey and drying. New tyres are ready and waiting to be fitted - 13.05.22.

Learn More
Completed rims (wheels) collected and transported

Completed rims (wheels) collected and transported

CRG163’s rims (wheels) have now been collected and transported locally in preparation for tyre fitment which will hopefully take place next week - 19.05.22.

Learn More
Rims (wheels) treatment for painting

Rims (wheels) treatment for painting

CRG163’s rims (wheels) have now been treated. Painting tomorrow, ready for Saturday - 12.05.22.

Learn More
Rims (wheels) sent for sandblasting

Rims (wheels) sent for sandblasting

CRG163’s rims (wheels) and old tyres are removed, with rims sent for sandblasting and treatment - 20.02.22

Learn More
We are now mobile!

We are now mobile!

Following the replacement of air pipes and batteries we are now mobile once again. CRG163 has now had a proper wash and the commencement of initial checks and assessment to see what now needs to be done. This includes side locker work, front indicator replacement and preparation for the removal of all wheels in order to sandblast all wheels before new tyres are eventually fitted - 22.09.21.

Learn More
Frankmann Trafficators & emergency door lock

Frankmann Trafficators & emergency door lock

Frankmann Trafficators and emergency door lock - 08.07.21.

Learn More
Nearside front fog lights x2

Nearside front fog lights x2

New Butler fog lamps arrive - 15.06.21.

Learn More
Cleaning commences

Cleaning commences

Cleaning has commenced. CRG163 is well into it's second restoration phase - 14.06.21.

Learn More
New Tyres - 9.00 x 20

New Tyres - 9.00 x 20

6 Dunlop tyres arrive. Special thanks to Dereks Tyre Services for finding them! 12.06.21.

Learn More
CRG163's new website launched

CRG163's new website launched

In June 2021, CRG163's new Website was launched with the intention to source parts to help restore CRG163 for the second time. The website quickly grew to include all things related to CRG163 including a bespoke web and email address - June 2021.

Learn More
CRG163's new home

CRG163's new home

In 2020, CRG163 was moved to a new home where she would have access to further facilities that would help on her second restoration phase - June 2020.

Learn More
Chrome headlamp surround bezels (ECW)

Chrome headlamp surround bezels (ECW)

Chrome headlamp surround bezels (ECW) were delivered on the 25th of January 2020. However shortly thereafter in March 2020 Covid 19 engulfed the world - January 2020.

Learn More
Introduction image

Croeso  / Welcome

Croeso i’n gwefan / Welcome to our website.

This website is dedicated to CRG163 and maps out her history with Crosville and then into preservation. It also pays tribute to the fantastic people that have been connected with the vehicle over the years and an insight into the human element that made the Crosville company what it was. Sadly some have passed away, but this website acts as a mark of respect as we remember them all. I‘ve always said without valuable, professional and dedicated staff an organisation is nothing.


This is a graphic design created by my youngest son (12 years old at the time), representing CRG163’s original fleet plate but with the Crosville name added.  Diolch yn fawr / Thank you.
My journey with CRG163 started back in 2002 when purchased from Gordon Bate, who’d initially purchased the vehicle from Crosville in 1984. Following purchase I undertook a detailed and extensive restoration of the vehicle between 2002 and 2004, followed by attendance at various bus preservation shows and rallies across North Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside and Shropshire until around 2009.

Unfortunately due to the throws of life CRG163 was placed on the back burner in 2009, which was further compounded by parking, maintenance and accessibility issues for many subsequent years. Owning and maintaining a preserved vehicle is no easy task between the cost involved and securing ample parking space and maintenance facilities.

During February of 2020 CRG163 was moved to a new location closer to our home with access available at the time to engineering, electricity and water facilities for the next phase in CRG163’s continued restoration. Unfortunately due to Covid19 a world wide emergency emerged and subsequently any work on CRG163 was paused indefinitely.

Fast forwarding to June, 2021, when Covid restrictions eased and access was again possible to CRG163.

During CRG163’s first restoration under my ownership from 2002 I would like to thank my Father for his valued support; my Mother for her support (who sadly passed away unfortunately in 2006) and many other people including friends from across the bus industry and preservation movement at the time.

Now facing CRG163’s second restoration it is again very special to me as my family; my wife Nia, and our two wonderful young sons, Ioan and Gethin are also joining the journey in getting CRG163 back on the road in writing our next chapter with CRG163 for the next generation. This time around, nearly 20 years on from CRG163’s initial restoration under my ownership, tracking down parts from across the UK involving telephone calls and letters through the post has now become easier. We are now intertwining the old (CRG163 - not me!) with the new through modern technology such as this website, e-mails and social media platforms, aided again by my two fantastic sons who are also involved with this website and restoration.

I hope you enjoy this website as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. Additional pages will be added over the coming months. Please join us in CRG163’s on-going journey by following us on our website and subscribing to our updates.

Best wishes,

Richard Lloyd Jones and family



Preserved CRG163 at Birkenhead, Woodside Ferry terminal - October 2004.
Photos

  • CRG163 dates back to 2006 and was taken by Derek Thompson, a close friend
  • CRG163‘s new fleet plate following 2002 to 2004 restoration
  • CRG163 restored and preserved in her 1970’s ‘NATIONAL’ livery.





In Memory

The following photograph is in memory of my Mum. So very supportive of my endeavours with CRG163 and seen here cleaning the interior of restored and preserved CRG163 in 2004 in preparation for its official unveiling a few days later. Unfortunately my Mum passed away on the 3rd of October 2006 from Cancer.

Er cof / In memory.


In memory of my Mum, Marian who sadly passed away at the beginning of October 2006 from illness.  She encouraged and supported me with the initial restoration and preservation of CRG163.  Diolch Mam / Thank you Mum.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail us at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.


Please note

There are some photos on this website where copyright is unknown. If these photos are yours then please let me know by e-mailing post@crg163.com so that they can either be removed immediately or copyrighted to your name accordingly. Thank you.

All photographs have been watermarked on this website and should not be reproduced elsewhere without prior consent. Unfortunately some private photos previously shared on line have been copied without permission and have subsequently appeared for sale by third parties on e-bay.


Technical section relating to CRG163

This section is not available to the public. It is only accessible through the password provided.

For those with the password please click HERE and then enter the password to access.  If you have not been provided with a password you will not be able to access this section.


Subscription

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️


What is CRG163?

CRG163 is a preserved historic 47 seat coach, vehicle registration EFM 163H, which was originally registered on the 6th of March 1970 by the Crosville Motor Services Limited bus and coach company.

The Crosville Motor Services Limited bus company had It’s headquarters in Chester, operating bus services from it’s bus depots across Cheshire, Merseyside North and Mid Wales. Crosville operated local registered bus services, coach trips as well as long distance express coach services to London and other major UK destinations.

CRG163 consists of the superb Bristol RELH chassis and is fitted with a Series 2, Mark 1, Eastern Coach Works (ECW) coach body. RELH stands for R = Rear; E = Engine; L = Long; H - High.  The vehicle is fitted with the impressive Gardner 6HLX 10.45 litre engine.

Vehicles entering the Crosville fleet would be allocated an alpha numeric fleet number. For further details about Crosville’s fleet allocation system click on the following link which takes you to the appropriate page on this website: Crosville Fleet Numbering.

From Crosville’s fleet numbering system, vehicle EFM163H was allocated the alpha numeric fleet number CRG163, standing for C = Coach; R = Bristol RE; G = Gardner engine.  The 163 numeric element of the fleet number was from the vehicle’s actual registration number.  This wasn’t always the case with Crosville.

initially CRG163’s fleet number would be displayed on the vehicle by embossed metal plates situated on the vehicle’s front grill; above the front nearside wheel; under the driver’s cab window and on the boot. A smaller plaque would also be displayed on the vehicle’s internal destination door above the windscreen. All Crosville vehicles would be treated as such until metal plates were replaced in the late 1970’s by grey stickers. When restored between 2002 and 2004 new metal fleet plates were produced for CRG163 in order to restore her back to coach status as would have been the case back in the day with Crosville.


A scan of the cover of ’Crosville United’, no’ 57 from 1964 - cover and page 5.  Page 5 describes the introduction of such fine vehicles as the CRG’s in 1963 with a descriptive of their specification.  The image shows brand new CRG495 & CRG496 parked at Pier Head, Liverpool.  My grateful thanks to my good friends Elwyn and Elsbeth Thomas, once Crosville staff/summer employment for providing me with many Crosville United publications.

CRG163 history summary

In essence CRG163’s 50 year old existence can be summed up as follows:

  • 1970 - new to Crosville Motor Services Limited - registered 6th March 1970
  • 1970 to 1979 - operating main line coach work, vehicle fleet classification with Crosville as CRG163 based at the company’s Edge Lane, Liverpool depot
  • 1979 to 1984 - August 1979 the vehicle is downgraded to dual purpose status by Crosville and would then operate on local bus and coach work with the company.  The vehicle’s fleet number is designated to ERG163 with new fleet stickers applied. The alpha code being replaced from ‘C‘ to ‘E‘ to represent the vehicle‘s new dual purpose status.  It would then be based predominantly at the company’s Amlwch depot, Isle of Anglesey, North West Wales
  • 1984 - 13 April 1984 the vehicle is withdrawn from active service by Crosville
  • 1984 to 2002 - vehicle enters bus preservation with Gordon Bate
  • 2002 to present - vehicle purchased by Richard Lloyd Jones for further restoration and preservation


CRG163 history timeline with further details





50 year anniversary

On 06 March, 2020 CRG163 celebrated its 50 year anniversary since the date of its first registration of 06 March 1970. It was therefore a special year for CRG163 and very apt as we enter the next chapter. Unfortunately any restoration progress or celebrations were hindered by the pandemic emergency.






50 year anniversary

On 10 April 2022 the famous NBC logo celebrated 50 years since it’s first introduction on 10 April 1972.




CRG163 - next chapter

In 2020 CRG163 enters its next chapter of further restoratiin. New photos and more will appear on this website as it continues to grow in charting CRG163’s on-going journey.


Covid19 impact

Unfortunately in March 2020 a worldwide emergency emerged in the form of the Covid19 pandemic which impacted on everything. In order to reduce transmission rates various UK and Wales lockdowns and guidance were introduced from March 2020 onwards. This unfortunately halted any restoration progress on CRG163 until restrictions were lifted.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.


Please note 

There are some photos on this website where copyright is unknown.  If these photos are yours then please let me know by e-mailing post@crg163.com so that they can either be removed immediately or copyrighted to your name accordingly.  Thank you.

All photographs have been watermarked on this website and should not be reproduced elsewhere without prior consent. Unfortunately some private photos previously shared on line have been copied without permission and have subsequently appeared for sale by third parties on e-bay.



Photos

  • The black and white photo of CRG163 in her original cream and black livery is unknown unfortunately. If anyone knows rhw owner please provide so that credits can be provided.
  • The photo of ERG163 in it’s green and white dual purpose livery departing from Amlwch is being reproduced with thanks to the photographer, our good friend Don McKeown.
  • The third photo is of CRG163 in her first phase of preservation with Richard Jones as restored in her 1970’s NATIONAL livery.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️



CRG163 / ERG163 - In Service: 1970 - 1984

CRG163 was the fleet recognition reference given to ECW Bristol RELH6G coach, registration number EFM163H by its original owner Crosville Motor Services. Crosville had a large fleet of vehicles and needed quickly to identify a specific vehicle, hence their development of the alpha numeric fleet recognition system. More information about this is available on this website by clicking HERE.

CRG163 was first registered by Crosville on the 6th of March, 1970 and would be owned and operated by the company until its withdrawal in 1984.

During its operational life with Crosville the coach would be based from the company’s Edge Lane depot in Liverpool, Merseyside between 1970 and 1979, before moving to Amlwch on the Isle of Anglesey and Bangor between 1979 and 1984. At Liverpool Edge Lane depot it would operate long distance prestigious coach services to London across the UK, including those that once operated under the ‘NATIONAL’ coach brand of the time between 1973 and 1979.


The four liveries carried by CRG163 during its operational days between 1970 and 1984.

At Amlwch it would eventually be downgraded in 1979 to a semi coach for dual purpose use on local bus services and express coach services and repainted green and white. It would operate local bus services during the week and the longer distance X10 limited stop service under the company’s Town Lynx network brand on Saturdays between Cemaes Bay and Liverpool. By this time the vehicle’s fleet reference was reclassified to ERG163, reflecting it’s now dual purpose use.

CRG163 would be driven by a number of drivers during its operational life including Jack Cowap, George Warren, John Embleton, Richard Lewis, Dewi Roberts, Robert (Bob) ‘Moelfre’ Roberts to name only a few.

Richard Lewis recalls ERG163 to be a very nice vehicle to drive whilst based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot and warm due to its Webasto heating system. He also commented that everyone wanted to drive ERG163.

A more in-depth view of CRG163’s ‘in service’ history is available on this website by clicking HERE.


Preservation (Gordon Bate) : 1984 - 2002

Following ERG163’s withdrawal by Crosville in 1984 it was purchased by Gordon Bate who lived in the Manchester area with the view to preserve the vehicle.


Photographs of CRG163 in preservation with Gordon Bate between 1984 and 2002.
Gordon Bate also purchased other similar Crosville vehicles on their withdrawal by the company. By 2002 Gordon Bate had fallen on harder times and was unable to continue the preservation of CRG163 which had ended up neglected on a farm in the Manchester area.


Preservation (Richard Lloyd Jones) : 2002 to present

On the 9th of June 2002, CRG163 was purchased by Richard Lloyd Jones and moved to North West Wales for active restoration and further preservation.


CRG163 as found on the farm during 2002; Gordon Bate top right; our trip home to North West Wales bottom left and having arrived home bottom right.
It took two years to undertake the work required around the vehicle’s restoration which included sourcing new hubs (wheels) from the Scotch Corner; new tyres; new air ride suspension air bags; mechanical work throughout; all round new window and destination rubber gaskets; re-coating of steering wheel; rebuilt side lockers; internal repaint throughout; sanding down of body as preparation for painting; listing only some of the work undertaken.


The restoration work commences in 2002 including the rebuilding of lockers; interior painting; sourcing new hubs (wheels); new window rubbers, destination boxes and side fleet panels; rubbing down of exterior body; sourcing of new air bags and fitting.

The decision was taken to repaint CRG163 into its National white livery carried between 1972 and 1979. Whilst recognising very much the beauty of the cream and black coaching livery it was decided that CRG163 would represent another era of such majestic vehicles. Whilst the dual purpose green and white livery is something remembered this would only denote a downgraded CRG163 to ERG163. For all these reasons the National white livery was chosen.


In for re-painting which was done professionally.  New vinyls produced to specific graphic designs used in 1972 including new Crosville panels created.  New embossed metal fleet plates produced to original specification.  My late Mum can be seen bottom right.

On completion of the restoration work, CRG163 was first unveiled at the Llandudno Extravaganza in 2004 and became a star on the bus show preservation circuit across North Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside & Shropshire. In October of the same year CRG163 took part in the Wirral Bus & Tram Show which included an impromptu trip through the Mersey Tunnel to Liverpool Lime Steet. In itself this was returning CRG163 back to its initial home of Liverpool having operated there from Crosville’s Edge Lane depot between 1970 and 1979, and our way of paying respect to the Crosville staff of Liverpool depot.

CRG163 also took part in the Crosville 100 road run celebrations from Rhyl to Llandudno. A video of this event has been captured on You Tube. Please click HERE to see this.


 CRG163 is officially unveiled in the National livery and attends a number of events which included returning home to Liverpool. 
The vehicle also appeared on the front page of the Bus & Coach Preservation Magazine in July 2004 (Volume 7, Number 2) with a five page article within the magazine.


CRG163 hits the front cover of the Bus & Coach Preservation Magazine in July 2004 with a five page spread inside.

The vehicle was also subject to the first EFE 1:76 bus model of this vehicle type (Bristol RELH, ECW, MK1 coach) launched in September 2006. The model’s appearance was based as in preservation from 2004 onwards as the window rubber gaskets were black with X10 Bangor shown on the model’s destination boxes. When being restored between 2002 and 2004 original cream window rubber gaskets were not available hence black replacements ordered and installed.

More information about CRG163’s preservation beyond Crosville can be found on this website by clicking HERE.


EFE 32302 model launched in September 2006 based upon CRG163 in preservation from 2004 onwards.
More details about CRG163 in EFE model form can be found on this website by clicking HERE.


The most important aspect of all - the human connection

Striving for the history of CRG163 also involves striving for the human connection, i.e. people who were associated with CRG163 / ERG163 when in service with Crosville.

During 2004 CRG163 was reunited with Jack Cowap who was 91 years old by then, when CRG163 made a surprise appearance on a Crosville Enthusiasts Club 1967 outing to North Wales. Jack Cowap once drove CRG163 in the 1970’s on the prestigious Liverpool to London service. He is captured behind the wheel once again from the top left photograph below.

Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts was also reunited with CRG163 on the same day who came with me for a ride out to Conwy. Bob drove CRG163 as ERG163 from Amlwch depot. It is understood that ERG163 was Bob’s vehicle which he would drive on the X10 Cemaes Bay to Liverpool service on Saturdays. This service was also driven by Richard Lewis, Dewi Roberts and others. On this very day, Bob drove CRG163 once again, many years after retirement with total skill and care around the Cibyn Industrial Estate in Caernarfon. It was such a magic moment without doubt captured through the photograph bottom left.

On a more poignant moment, John (Llanrug) Wyn Griffiths (pictured below right) also had the opportunity to drive preserved CRG163 around the same Cibyn Industrial Estate in Caernarfon. We arranged a day out with John, family, close friends and CRG163 one Sunday in early January 2009 to recreate some of the Crosville routes operated from Caernarfon depot back in the day which John would have driven as a Crosville driver. John was a friend to so many and distinguished driver from Crosville’s Caernarfon depot having driven local and long distance National Express routes across the UK. Unfortunately by now John was unwell and our day out with CRG163 was an absolute tonic. Unfortunately John passed away two weeks later from when the photo of him was taken raising his thumb out of CRG163’s cab window. This photo was later printed and framed and given to John’s wife in his memory and a positive memory of our fantastic day together.


The valuable human connection with CRG163.  Jack Cowap pictured top left; Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts and myself in front of preserved CRG163 at Bangor; Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts behind the wheel of CRG163 bottom left and John ‘Llanrug’ Wyn Griffiths bottom right only a few weeks before his sad passing.

Not only do we strive to restore and preserve CRG163, but equally we strive to find people who have been connected with the vehicle in some way over the years. This includes descendants of family members who have been connected with CRG163 but who are sadly no longer with us. We continue to strive to find such important connections to the vehicle. If you drove CRG/ERG163 back in the day or have had a family member who did then please do get in touch via e-mail to post@crg163.com.


Crosville Retired Salaried Staff Outing - 2007

In 2007 I had the privilege of providing and driving CRG163 on the Crosville Retired Salaried Staff (CRSSA) summer outing. The CRSSA came into existence following a suggestion at a Crosville staff meeting, held at Crane Wharf, Chester, the company’s head office on the 2nd of December 1965.

The CRSSA is a group that was formed back in 1964 (check) comprising of Crosville senior management. The group’s activities would comprise of a summer outing to a place of interest and Christmas dinner at Chester. The group would also meet at other times of the year to catch up and socialise.

Whilst recognising that the Crosville name has disappeared from our streets sadly for nearly 30 years by now, the group continue to meet in the same way. Generally group membership eligibility is based on having (1) worked for Crosville/Crosville Wales; and (2) having reached management status within the bus industry. I have been a member of the group since approximately 2005.

In 2007 the summer outing involved a trip on the Llangollen Canal and the Llangollen Heritage Railway. Pick ups were made from Llandudno Junction across the North Wales coast to Chester before a drive to Trevor where everyone joined the Llangollen Canal for a trip across the Poncysyllte Aqueduct by canal boat . Following a trip on the canal CRG163 transported all passengers to Carrog Railway Station for a trip on the railway to Llangollen with CRG163 returning by road. A meal then followed at the Pheasant Hotel before returning to North West Wales via Chester and the North Wales Coast.

On the day my passengers were top flight Crosville senior management from back in the day, including Clive Myers; Ron Holding (Crosville chief engineer); George Garston; Glyn Jones; Pat Reeson; Graham Turner; Mike Grant; Paul Hill, David Pool and many others. What was also really nice was the fact that Dianne Lavinder was also with us, who’s name is on CRG163’s original and official Crosville paperwork and subsequent movements within the company.

It was a privilege indeed to be amongst these people on the day and otherwise.


CRG163 used for the CRSSA summer outing in 2007, carrying highly respected top flight Crosville management from back in the day.  It was a privilege indeed to be involved.

Returning home to Amlwch - 2006

During 2006 CRG163 returned to its former home of Amlwch where it was based from 1979 to 1984 out of respect for the staff that once worked there. By now the former site of Amlwch depot was occupied by a supermarket which was so often the case of former Crosville depot sites when sold following deregulation of the bus industry outside London from 26 October 1986 and subsequent privatisation.

Nonetheless CRG163 had returned home and displayed ‘X10’ on its destination display out of respect for Crosville’s Amlwch depot and staff. CRG163 as ERG163 once operated the X10 service from Cemaes Bay to Liverpool on Saturdays in the early 1980’s when based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

Once again CRG163 can also be seen at Menai Bridge, a location it so often served as ERG163 when based at Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

The photographs below are dedicated out of respect for the staff of Crosville’s Amlwch depot which included Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts; Dewi Roberts; Richard Lewis and others; with the evening photos dedicated to our dear friend Dave Wilder.

Our intention is to return CRG163 again to Amlwch when our latest restoration has been completed out of respect for Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts; Richard Lewis; Dewi Roberts and all other staff that once worked at the depot.


Preserved CRG163 returning home to Amlwch, 22 years after it’s operational days at the town’s Crosville depot, now occupied by a supermarket.  CRG163 proudly displayed ‘X10’ on it’s destination out of respect for the staff at Amlwch depot.

Further restoration - 2020 onwards

However due to the throws of life the vehicle was mothballed from 2009 until 2019, compounded by parking and access issues (which can be problematic to such large preserved vehicles) until further restoration work could be undertaken.

Further work was planned to commence at the beginning of 2020 however Covid halted any possible progress.

Beyond Covid restoration work has again commenced but now involving two very special people to me, my two young sons who are 12 and 14 years of age (as at April 2023). CRG163 will be passed to them one day in the future.

To date new trafficators (side indicators); new front fog lights have been sourced with the trafficators fitted; all six wheels have been sandblasted, treated and painted; new tyres have been purchased and fitted all round; nearside lockers have been restored with new strengthened wooden frames to each locker and along the vehicle itself; replacement of some of the air pipes; removal and professional testing of the vehicle’s alternator; continued road testing; a new electrical regulator; and the radiator has been removed and rebuilt as new.


Further restoration of CRG163 commences with further significant investment.
To keep up with CRG163 news and developments you can click HERE.  This link will take you to our ‘News Page’ on this website,


A new website for CRG163

A new purpose built website for the vehicle was launched during 2021 which charts the vehicle’s 50 year odd history from operational to preservation as well as restoration developments, the website address being www.crg163.com. The website was initially commissioned and launched to source vehicle parts but has quickly grown.


CRG163’s purpose built website is launched linking the old with the new.
To go to our website ‘Home’ screen please click HERE.


Further continued restoration 

There are also a number of articles on the website that have been written by those that have either travelled on CRG163 during the vehicle's operational days or Crosville management involved in the vehicle’s operational allocation.


Further restoration continues again with significant investment.

Further restoration of the vehicle will include restoration of the offside lockers; fitting of the new front fog lights; internal painting; assessment of water and air pipes replacing those that will need replacing; general assessment and maintenance; and then exterior appearance -sanding and painting.


Recent photographs of CRG163 and our restoration journey from the beginning of April 2023 as the restoration continues.  Fleet plates are proudly carried.
To keep up with CRG163 news and developments you can click HERE.  This link will take you to our ‘News Page’ on this website.

To go to the Home page of CRG163;s website click HERE.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail us at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.


Please note

There are some photos on this website where copyright is unknown. If these photos are yours then please let me know by e-mailing post@crg163.com so that they can either be removed immediately or copyrighted to your name accordingly. Thank you.

All photographs have been watermarked on this website and should not be reproduced elsewhere without prior consent. Unfortunately some private photos previously shared on line have been copied without permission and have subsequently appeared for sale by third parties on e-bay.


You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️


CRG163 in service history with Crosville Motor Services

CRG163 was first registered on the 6th of March 1970 and was delivered to Crosville Motor Services in a batch of four coaches; EFM160H to EFM164H. CRG163 (EFM163H) is the last survivor from her batch.

Crosville’s headquarters was in Chester, operating bus services from it’s bus depots across Cheshire, Merseyside north and mid Wales. Crosville operated local registered bus services, coach trips as well as long distance express coach services to London and other major UK destinations.

Even before CRG163 and sister vehicles entered service with the company their entry into the fleet was being communicated to staff through their in-house comoany employee magazine titled ‘Crosville United’ as can be seen from the scans below.



Crosville United No.73 - January 1970, announcing ‘future’ deliveries including CRG160 - 164.
CRG163 and sister vehicles CRG160 to CRG164 announced as new additions to Crosville’s fleet within it’s internal publication to staff - ‘Crosville United’ - number 75, Spring 1970.

Crosville cream and black coaching livery

When CRG163 entered service with Crosville she commenced operation on the prestigious X61 coach service between Liverpool and London, based at the company’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot. The service reference was adopted as X61 as the route taken was along the M6 and M1 motorways. At this time CRG163 carried the cream and black coaching livery of the time with four side illuminated panels placed along both sides of the vehicle denoting ‘Crosville - Coach - Liverpool - London.


CRG163 - operating on the X1 service, London bound when new in the coaching cream and black livery.
These coaches were truly magnificent, luxury coaches of their day and were also used by Crosville on it’s front line coaching and private hire work.


A typical Crosville poster from the day advertising it’s luxurious coaches with it’s CRG class of vehicle used in the poster.

CRG163 also operated the London X1 service in a variant of the cream and black livery which consisted of a simpler livery with only one side pane on display above the front wheel either side displaying the lower case ‘Crosville’ fleet name.

Chris Palmer, former Crosville staff recalls according to the usual reference source of the Crosville Enthusiast Club (CEC) 1967, CRG163 was the first CRG to be given the treatment of removing the four side lighting panes each side of the vehicle to be replaced by one longer pane each side above the front wheel arches. This included the application of the simpler cream and black livery as shown in the image below. It was reported in the November 1971 bulletin of the CEC, so would have been modified around October or early November of that year. It was stated that all of the CRGs were to undergo the modifications in due course. The lower case fleetname style was applied to the Seddon buses from new, the first examples being delivered in May 1971.


CRG163 at Victoria Coach Station, London in the second variant of the cream & black livery circa 1971 - 1972.

One of Crosville’s many leaflets promoting the Liverpool to London motorway services

One of Crosville’s leaflets from 1969 - 1970.

01 October 1969 to 31 May 1970 timetable for services X1, X18 and X61.  As Mike Lambden comments: ‘The night services tended to be far busier than days.  The route was set by the traffic commissioners as coach services were not allowed then to compete directly with trains hence the stop for Birmingham in Erdington rather than the city centre.’

CRG163 in a variant of the coaching cream and black livery at Crewe Bus Station in 1971.  The photo has been kindly provided by Mr John Buchan with thanks.


Crosville United, No’ 82 - Autumn 1972 - CRG162.


‘NATIONAL’ coach services - the all white 1970’s livery

In 1972 CRG163 adopted the white livery of the National UK coach network with the brand image of N A T I O N A L displayed on both sides of the vehicle through a mix of red and blue lettering. During this period CRG163 continued to operate main line coach services across the UK.

The official ‘NATIONAL’ branding  used completed with the ‘double N’ logo as carried by CRG163 from 1972 to 1979.
Chris Palmer remembers the corporate livery being unveiled in July 1972 and the major focus was on getting all of the coaches used on National coach services into the white livery as quickly as possible. CRG163 may have been repainted in September of that year or even sooner because things were evolving fairly quickly at first.


Crosville United No’ 80, Spring 1972.


Photo provided kindly by Mr Mike Street - CRG163 is seen at Cardiff Bus Station about to depart on service X71 to Liverpool on the 29th of December, 1972 having been freshly painted in this livery in the same month.  In this image the short lived green fleet name appears above the front wheel arch.

Chris Palmer confirms from the 1973 CEC reviews that CRG163 is confirmed as being repainted into National white in December 1972, but receiving a 3” green Crosville fleet name above both front wheel arches. It appears that CRG161 and CRG164 were painted the same month but received the red Crosville fleet names. CRG494 was painted in January 1973 but also received the green fleet names. It appears that at the time consistency of fleey name colour application was not consistent. The small underlined fleet names were commonplace until towards the end of 1972 apparently.

Chris Palmer recalls that the first examples of National white coaches in 1972 had small grey lettering for the fleet name with a thick line underneath in the company's "house colour", i.e. green in the case of Crosville. In October of 1972 it was reported that the plan had changed and that 3" letters were to be used in the "house colour". Chris comments that the green fleet name certainly clashed with the red and blue of the National livery, so the idea was quickly dropped in favour of the more harmonious red. What is therefore seen here with CRG163 is a very rare and short-lived stage in the slightly chaotic but rapid evolution of the new white livery. The above and below image of CRG163 is proof that, for a while at least, that this was a serious consideration of the National Bus Company as it was intending to apply to their coaching fleet and that CRG163 was one of the few vehicles it was applied to!


CRG163 parked at the back of Crosville‘s Edge Lane depot, Liverpool circa 1972 with the short lived green company fleet name above the front wheel arch.  Many thanks to Duncan Roberts for supplying the image.




CRG163 at Gloucester Green, Oxford - April 1973.

CRG163 alongside sister vehicle CRG162 at Stratford-Upon-Avon in 1973 on service X1, London bound.  With many thanks to Mr John Buchan for the permission to share his photograph on our website.

CRG163 at Hyde Park Corner, London operating the X1 service from Liverpool, circa 1974.

Crosville fleet list dating from 1974.  Page includes CRG103 (preserved by Carl Berry); CRG106 (preserved by Steve Graham); CRG111 (preserved by Roger Downs) and CRG163,
Chris Palmer comments that CRG163 may have had a further repaint in November 1974, being noted at Crosville’s Sealand Road works (SRW) on the 3rd and 17th of that month. Chris recalls that two and a half years was probably about right for repainting a front line coach in white at that time with winter being ideal time to undertake. It appears that on the 26th of September it performed a H9 between Liverpool and Prescot. Also that day CRG526 was on H24 to Chester and 578 on H4 to Rainhill, evidently with some sort of vehicle shortage going on to have these coaches operating these services.


CRG163 parked at the rear parking area of Crosville’s Liverpool Love Lane depot on 16 March, 1975.

CRG163 at London Victoria Coach Station - 26 May 1975.

Photo of CRG163 courtesy of Geoff Smith

CRG163 at Crosville’s Edge Lane depot, April 1976.


CRG163 parked up at Crosville’s Edge Lane depot, Liverpool

CRG 163 in parked at Crosville’s Liverpool Edge Lane Depot.  The photo was taken and kindly supplied by Don McKeown.  Don comments: ‘obviously on the occasion of a CEC visit. The destination shows my local service (I lived in Norden) and was obviously specially posed!’.

Chris Palmer recalls that CRG163 had a repaint again in March 1977 in National white and so would have lost its fleet plates no later than that.

Geoff Smith, also former Crosville staff recalls that Crosville removed fleet plates from coaches around the time of their 2nd repaint into NBC white.

Chris Palmer recalls that there was a tweak to the corporate livery in 1976. DVL292 (Bristol VRT6L double decker) was fitted with fleet plates and had the NBC logo in red and blue on a white square. That batch was the first to carry the logo in that form. Then it was applied to repainted buses from September onwards of the same year, possibly starting some time in August. From the same time, vehicles being repainted in National white had their fleet plates removed and grey transfers applied. Buses were allowed to keep their plates as were coaches in DP (dual purpose) or bus livery but subsequently new buses had fleet number transfers.

it is not known if there was a programme to remove fleet plates from white coaches sooner than the repaint programme allowed.

The image below depicts CRG163 following repaint and devoid of company fleet plates, now substituted by grey transfer stickers.


CRG163 parked up whilst operating on service 955 to Liverpool.  This photo has been kindly provided by Graham Warren having found the photo within his late father’s collection.  Graham’s father - George Warren once worked at Crosville’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot and frequently drove CRG163 in service back in the day.  Graham comments on the many happy memories he has travelling with his father behind the wheel of CRG163.


Chris Palmer recalls that the CEC reports explain that because of an "866 changeover" CRG163 spent every Saturday at Liverpool during summer of 1979 and was used on the weekly Saturday service 955 to Nottingham.

Mike Lambden (Crosville/National Express retired) comments that the old Crosville X6 used to do a changeover on a Friday evening at Bodelwyddan and again on a Sunday evening. That meant that a Liverpool coach was in Amlwch on Saturday and vice versa at Liverpool, with CRG163 forming a part of this operation. Mike continues that the Saturday Nottingham operation would probably have been a duplicate on the Liverpool to Clacton service.


A photo kindly supplied by Graham Warren of his late father George whilst working at Crosville’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot.  In memory of Mr George Warren.




CRG163 on service 853, returning home to Liverpool - photo courtesy of Geoff Smith

CRG163 parked at Llandudno Junction having operated the 865 from Liverpool.

CRG163 is seen here between Nant Peris and Llanberis, operating route N94.  Don McKewon comments that CRG163 had operated on this day from Liverpool to Caernarfon and during the vehicle’s down time at Crosville’s Caernarfon depot it was used to do a local service before returning to Liverpool.
CRG163 returning from Llanberis to Caernarfon before it’s further journey to Liverpool.




In April 1979, CRG163 was reallocated to Crosville’s Amlwch depot on the Isle of Anglesey, North West Wales as Chris Palmer recalls from collated information by the Crosville Enthusiasts Club 1967, but with cash trays removed between the 14th and 21 of July 1979. Chris Palmer commented that CRG163 was used on National Express service 866 during the summer of that year and worked a Nottingham service from Liverpool on some Saturdays as part of its weekly diagram. In October it was noted at Liverpool depot parked, suspected as laying over between North Wales express services.

From the company’s official fleet list of June 1979 (extract below) CRG160 and CRG161 had been downgraded to dual purpose status and reclassified as ERG’s, with CRG162, CRG163, and CRG164 retaining the coaching CRG status.

Ralph Rowlands, long time employee of Crosville and once Pwllheli Depot Superintendent (DS) recalls that depot allocation sheets were collated and printed each month by a Mr Charles Williams, within the company’s Engineering Records Department which was based at Crane Wharf.


Section of Crosville fleet list - June 1979.

Section of Crosville fleet list - June 1979.

CRG163 parked on the apron of Crosville’s then depot at Amlwch.  This photo was taken by Roger Downs, owner of preserved Crosville CRG111 (AFM111G).

CRG163 downgraded to ERG163

CRG163 had operated on long distance coach services for the Crosville company across the UK. Chris Palmer recalls that CRG163 was downgraded and reclassified to ERG163 and repainted in December 1979 into the company‘s dual purpose green and white livery. It appears to have been returned to Amlwch as ERG163 and briefly saw use out of Holyhead depot early in 1980 before settling down to a life on route N61 in 1980 from the company’s Amlwch depot.


CRG163 seen as ERG163 at Crosville’s Sealand Road Works on 22 December 1979 after being downgraded and painted in the company’s dual purpose livery of green and white.  Not that the Frankmann’s front indicators are still intact having not been replaced by the Lucas rounded replacement as would occur to other similar vehicles.

Crosville Edge Lane depot, Liverpool 1979 fleet list.  With thanks to Mr John Lee (Crosville manager) and Graham Warren also confirming the downgrading of CRG163 to ERG (dual purpose) status in  1979 to be reallocated to Anglesey (AN)

ERG163 peering out of Crosville’s Amlwch depot

The Crosville fleet name as it appeared on dual purpose vehicles as shown in the above photograph.

Based at Crosville’s Amlwch north west Wales depot on the Isle of Anglesey and reclassified as ERG163 (E = Dual purpose - coach/local bus services; R = Bristol RE; G = Gardner engine) ERG 163 would be driven by Bob Moelfre (as known locally); Dewi Roberts; Richard Lewis and others.



ERG163 passing Bangor Railway Station on local service N61 to Cemaes Bay - photo circa 1982.

ERG163 parked outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.  Photo again courtesy of Geoff Smith with thanks.
ERG110 and ERG163 parked outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.  Such a nice black and white atmospheric image of both vehicles, again courtesy of Geoff Smith.

Photo kindly provided by Graham Senior. The image is of ERG110 and ERG163 at Crosville’s Amlwch depot - 17 April 1982. It’s so interesting to capture the story behind the image. Graham comments:

This photo was taken on a glorious Saturday 17 April 1982, and the reason for the presence of ERG110 was that she had been hired by "The Crosville Enthusiasts' Club (1967)", for a depot trip (originating at Chester) encompassing Llanrwst, Bangor and the three Anglesey depots. As Max Boyce would have said, "I know, 'cos I was there!". Seeing the pictures on your splendid website brought back the happy memory, and I've dug out my (very similar) shot of the occasion, to that of Geoff Smith which was filed under ERG110.

By now the Crosville fleet panel above the front wheels would be painted green with the ‘Crosville’ fleet name applied by sticker on the roof line each side accompanied by the National Bus Company logo of the double ‘N’. Once again her fleet number was displayed in grey sticker form with a driver ticket machine and cash tray added. Standard vehicles operating local bus services would normally adopt an all over ‘leaf’ green livery with a white centre relief band, however as ERG had coach seats this classification was given.


ERG163 leaving Amlwch, Bangor bound on the N62 with Richard Lewis, Amlwch depot behind the wheel. Photo courtesy of Don McKeown.

ERG163 as now classified would continue to operate on a host of long and shorter distance services based at Crosville’s then Amlwch depot operating the Saturday X10 service between Cemaes Bay and Liverpool as well as more local services such as the N62 between Amlwch and Bangor.


ERG163 at Liverpool Edge Lane depot in September 1980.



Advertised services N61 & N62 as operated by ERG163 - summer 1981.

ERG163 at Menai Bridge on the N61 to Amlwch on a wet day in December 1982.

ERG 163 parked up inside Crosville’s Amlwch depot - August 1982 having returned home on the X10 from Liverpool.

ERG163 at Mynydd Mechell, Anglesey with John ‘Pensarn’ Williams from Crosville’s Amlwch depot at the wheel as confirmed by Richard Lewis and Glyn Jones.  Richard fondly commented how he remembers John driving in those days in his blue tie.  Sadly John passed away a few years ago.  This photograph is therefore dedicated to John Pensarn in his memory.

ERG163 at Mynydd Mechell, December 1983 with John ‘Pensarn’ Williams at the wheel from Amlwch depot.

ERG163 parked up at Liverpool Skelhorne Street, opposite Lime Street having operated the X10 from Cemaes Bay.


A black and white image of ERG163 parked at Liverpool Skelhorne Street opposite Lime Street, likely to have operated the X10 service from Cemaes Bay.  Photo courtesy of Geoff Smith


The X10 timetable as operated by ERG163 which commenced operation in 1982.




Here we see ERG163 Liverpool bound on the Saturday X10 service from Cemaes Bay as operated by staff from Crosville’s Amlwch depot, North Wales.  With grateful thanks to Keith Jones, who e-mailed and confirmed that the location is Hamilton St, Birkenhead with Hamilton Square Station seen to the left of the photo.

The X10 service would be driven by Bob Moelfre; Richard ‘Richie’ Lewis; Dewi Roberts and others based at the time at Crosville’s Amlwch depot.


ERG163 parked up at Skelhorne Street coach station having worked the X10 from Cemaes Bay, Anglesey - August 1983 (with grateful thanks to Mr Graham Senior for permission to reproduce his photo here and others elsewhere on this website)

ERG163 outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

ERG163 outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.

ERG163 outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.


Scan from Crosville’s official fleet list from 1 February 1981.  ERG163 is allocated to Amlwch depot

ERG161 at Menai Bridge, Bangor bound with ERG163 in the background.

Photo kindly provided by Mr Stephen Monaghan with grateful thanks.  As commented by Stephen: New and the old meet in Bangor in May 1983. DOG118 arriving Bangor Clock bus station passing ERG163 which has operated into Bangor on the N62 service.

ERG161 and ERG163 side by side outside Crosville’s Amlwch depot.  ERG163 can also be seen sporting the Town Lynx branding.  Photograph supplied by Keith Mason with grateful thanks.

ERG163 at Menai Bridge heading to Cemaes Bay on route N61


ERG163 at Menai Bridge heading to Cemaes Bay on route N61

ERG163 Crosville Withdrawal

Eventually ERG163 succumbed to withdrawal from service in 1984. It’s future was very much uncertain as it waited its fate on the Crosville disposal line at Chester. The following photographs are ERG163 reaching the end of the road …………. Or the end of the road with Crosville.


ERG163 parked up on Crosville’s vehicle disposal line - it’s future very much uncertain.
















My grateful thanks to everyone who have provided information about CRG/ERG163’s in service history with Crosville as detailed on this page of the website. Thank you.


Into preservation

Following CRG163’s withdrawal by Crosville in the 1984 it entered preservation initially with Gordon Bate and then from 2002 with Richard Jones. CRG163 undertook a rigorous restoration process with Richard between 2002 and 2004 with grateful support from his father, late mother and others before being unveiled in June 2004 in her restored NATIONAL white livery.

Preserved CRG163 heading towards Bangor having driven across the Menai Suspension Bridge from the Isle of Anglesey, as done so many times back in the day.
More information and photographs of CRG163 in preservation are available on the page ‘CRG163 INTO PRESERVATION’ on this website. You can also click HERE.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️





Initial preservation : 1984 - 2002 (Gordon Bate)

Following ERG163’s withdrawal by Crosville in 1984 it was saved from potential scrapping and an uncertain future by passing into the world of vehicle preservation through the new ownership of Gordon Bate. Gordon lived in the Manchester area and saved and preserved many other Crosville vehicles in his time including now preserved CRG106, CRG111 and CRG530, which would also eventually pass to other owners for further restoration, safekeeping and preservation. It is safe to say that Gordon played an instrumental interim role in saving and securing such vehicles from their ultimate demise.


ERG163 enters preservation and is repainted in CRG163‘s more simplistic cream and back livery under the ownership of Gordon Bate.  The vehicle’s fleet classification during its time with Crosville is applied in standard National Bus Company grey stickers.
ERG163 initially passed to Gordon in the dual purpose green and white livery as operated by Crosville. During his tenure of the vehicle he later adopted a derivative of the original cream and black livery but to a far simpler design, reapplying through sticker format the fleet designation of CRG163. Initially Gordon would attend many bus and coach rallies with the vehicle but over time began to withdraw. Over time the vehicle was withdrawn from any public appearance and mothballed, parked up at an unknown location for many years to come, rumoured to be on the outskirts of Manchester, somewhere.


A New Chapter - Preservation 2002 onwards (Richard Jones)

In the year 2000 I got to know Gordon Bate through the vehicle preservation movement and came across 163 as a part of this. I understand that many had attempted to purchase 163 from Gordon over the years through failed attempts either before or during any acquisition process. It is understood that Gordon would meet would be purchasers in the middle of nowhere but never actually taking anybody to the secret location of 163.

However in early 2001 everything changed. Gordon contacted me and offered the opportunity to purchase the vehicle. I remember accepting his offer to visit with excitement.


CRG 163 - Initial recovery and rescue

In June of the following year a date was set, that being the 9th of June, 2002 and I dully travelled with others to a location on the outskirts of Manchester to meet Gordon. Again as with others before I was to meet him at a location in the middle of nowhere. When we met we chatted for a short while before being invited to follow him for a number of miles along country lanes to the hidden location of 163. I remember entering a farm before suddenly seeing 163 appear silently from behind a barn.

Top left images is CRG163 parked on the farm before recovery.  Top right is Mr Gordon Bate inside CRG163.  Bottom left image is of recovered CRG163 on the way home to North West Wales.  Bottom right image is of CRG163 safely home in North West Wales.
Unfortunately by this time the vehicle had deteriorated as it had not moved for a number of years. The vehicle was thoroughly checked over by a mechanic friend for any issues such as air pipe or water issues as well as other roadworthiness checks. On receiving the green light from my mechanic friend the deal was done. Before we departed I remember Gordon affectionately placing his hand on the front of 163 and saying “look after yourself old girl”. Suddenly we were homeward bound returning 163 once again to North Wales.


Ex CRG163 heading westbound near Chester - homeward bound (photo courtesy of Ray Jones).
Her recovery did not pass without incident, but through engineering support from a friend and perseverance she travelled home from Manchester to North Wales.

At this time I must pay homage to Gordon Bate for saving so many Crosville vehicles including mine from a more unstable future. Sadly Gordon is no longer with us unfortunately, however 163 lives on as well as his initial efforts of preservation.


The restoration work begins...

CRG163 undertook a rigorous restoration process with Richard between 2002 and 2004 with grateful support from his father, late mother and others before being unveiled in June 2004 in her restored NATIONAL white livery.




A lot of travelling was undertaken across the country, tracking down and sourcing parts.

This included but not restricted to:

  • a complete mechanical overhaul including the fitting of new air and water pipes throughout and the repair of air bag levelling valves;  vehicle entrance door mechanisms and driver cab electrics;
  • securing a full set of six rims (wheels) from the Scotch Corner on realisation that six different sized incorrect rims were fitted by the previous owner
  • six new tyres;
  • recasting the steering wheel - north of Manchester;
  • repair to vehicle alternator - Liverpool
  • rebuilding the wooden frames of all side lockers - nearside and offside;
  • New window rubbers supplied from a specialist company - all round including destination displays and side panels above front wheels - nearside and offside to hold the ‘Crosville’ name once again
  • complete sanding down of the entire body work (with grateful support from my Father);
  • complete respray of the vehicle to NATIONAL white;
  • deteriorated water pipes replaced;
  • complete internal repaint;
  • Sourcing of original coloured green external beading all round on all bright work;
  • Sourcing of new metal grey and black fleet plates re-created exactly to the original design and specification of CRG163 down to the detail of the text font and dimensions used thus reinstating 163 to its original CRG fleet status.  This replaced the stickers used by the previous owner;
  • Sourcing the correct paint and colour match of grey for the vehicle rims (wheels);
  • Sourcing the design specifications for the ‘NATIONAL’ branding as well as all vehicle legal lettering to the original design including font.  This included the ‘Crosville’ fleet name on the reinstated panel above the front wheels.  163 was now repainted in the NATIONAL livery and included all correct styling of legal lettering.  I was extremely lucky as my friend Derek Thompson who once worked for Crosville at its Caernarfon depot had retained the original specifications who kindly shared this with me.  Sadly Derek is no longer with us.  Thank you Derek so much for your kindness and friendship.


Completion of restoration and unveiling

The new livery chosen for restored CRG163 was kept a secret from everyone and was unveiled at the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza Transport Festival in May 2004.




Llandudno Transport Festival

On 01 May 2004, CRG 163 is publicly unveiled for the first time following restoration at the Llandudno Transport Festival. By now CRG 163 has been restored and repainted into the National white livery the vehicle carried between 1972 and 1979. CRG 163 would also proudly carry new bespoke traditional metal fleet plates and as carried when new.

The initial four photographs below were taken early morning on Saturday the 01 May as final preparations were being made to publicly unveil restored CRG163 for the first time later in the morning. Final touches included final visual checks of everything and the application of the orange show sticker on CRG163’s nearside windscreen.
This was extremely exciting as two years of restoration work culminated to this very point where only a few hours later CRG163 would be unveiled to everyone. CRG163’s livery was kept as a secret and surprise to everyone. It must be remembered that twenty years ago we didn’t have such things as the internet and social media platforms as we have today.

Early morning images of CRG163 before setting off to the Crosville vehicle gathering at the Llandudno Transport Extravaganza - 2004. This was our first public outing following the completion of two years of restoration.

Following an early start of excitement , CRG163 arrives at the Llandudno Transport Festival.
Following the static show of vehicles at the Llandudno Festival of Transport a road run took place of most of the vehicle through Llandudno and around the Great Orme.  CRG163 is seen here driving through Llandudno as a part of the road run.  Following the road run CRG163 parks alongside fellow preserved Crosville vehicles for an impromptu early evening photo shoot.


Returning home to Liverpool








Preserved CRG163 returning to Liverpool Lime Street Station on the 3rd of October, 2004.  CRG163 was originally based at Crosville’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot back in 1970.

CRG163 in preservation circa 2004 - taken by Derek Thompson.
By then CRG163 had become a celebrity in the bus preservation movement.


Preserved CRG163 at Glynllifon Estate circa 2005.

Bus & Coach Preservation Magazine - June 2004

Bus & Coach Preservation magazine front page - July 2004.
The cover photo was taken of preserved CRG163 passing through one of the famous arches of the Menai Suspension Bridge linking the Isle of Anglesey and the main land.

In June 2004 CRG163 during its preservation become the star on the cover and within a five page internal article of the Bus & Coach Preservation Magazine.


Bob Moelfre, once of Crosville’s depot at Amlwch.  Now retired but once again driving CRG163 but this time in preservation many years later.  In memory of Bob.










Crosville 100 celebrations, 2006 at Rhyl with me behind the wheel and my late Mother sitting behind.  Photo courtesy of Martin Pinnington with thanks.

Pictured again at the Crosville 100 celebrations, 2006 in Rhyl.  Photo courtesy of Martin Pinnington with thanks.

Preserved CRG163 returning home to Amlwch during 2006.  The Crosville depot is sadly demolished, making way for yet another supermarket which became buyers of Crosville sites when vacated and sold.  CRG163 returned to Amlwch displaying route number X10 (the route once operated by CRG163 when ERG163 back in the day between Cemaes Bay and Liverpool) on its destination blind, paying homage and respect for the old depot and staff.
An evening shot of preserved CRG163, parked at the bus interchange at Menai Bridge, Anglesey on its return from Amlwch.

TV Appearance

The EFE model of preserved CRG163 on BBC iplayer
The EFE model of preserved CRG163 has also appeared on BBC iplayer in the programme: Timeshift: Series 10, 7 - The Modern Age of the Coach. The programme is also available on You Tube via the following web link: https://youtu.be/WQMDp2tVV-k 


CRG163 preservation - 2020 onwards

For details of our recent restoration and preservation endeavours please click HERE or our News Page for details.



Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️



CAV cab/door control unit

CAV cab/door control unit

This part is presently being sought. If anyone has any details or leads please do get in touch.

Learn More
Roof ventilation boxes

Roof ventilation boxes

This part is presently being sought. If anyone has any details or leads please do get in touch.

Learn More
Green brightwork plastic beading

Green brightwork plastic beading

This part is presently being sought. If anyone has any details or leads please do get in touch.

Learn More
Front cowl screws

Front cowl screws

Two front cowl screws are required as per the attached image, circled in red.

Learn More
10R 22.5 tubeless 10 stud spare wheel for Royal Blue 1457

10R 22.5 tubeless 10 stud spare wheel for Royal Blue 1457

Keith Dickerson is looking for a 10R 22.5 tubeless 10 stud spare wheel for his beautiful Royal Blue RELH 1457 (LDV 467F). If you have any available please e-mail Keith at the following e-mail address: keithdickerson@hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

Learn More
Front trafficators

Front trafficators

Keith Dickerson is looking for front trafficators for his beautiful Royal Blue RELH 1457 (LDV 467F). If you have any available please e-mail Keith at the following e-mail address: keithdickerson@hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

Learn More

This is a countdown clock to CRG163’s first show in 2024 and the first since 2009. The Llandudno Transport Festival 2024 commencing on Saturday, 4th of May 2024. CRG163 was first launched in preservation under my ownership in 2004, 20 years ago and that at the Llandudno Transport Festival! This will be a special one! Let's hope we can get CRG163 ready in time!!

Combined key facts for Crosville Motor Services / Crosville Wales / CRG163 / Bristol RE from 1906 onwards. Liverpool and Amlwch depots have been included in relation to their connection with CRG163.

 

1906

The Crosville Motor Company is formed by George Crosland Taylor and his French business associate George de Ville in order to assemble and sell French designed cars and marine engines with company premises at Crane Wharf, Chester.

27/10/1906
 

1908

Car making activities however cease in 1908, with the company focussing its activities on agency work and repairs.

01/01/1908
 

1910

Due to its increasing fleet size, Crosville adopts a new fleet numbering system which involves naming buses with such names as ‘The Alma’ and ‘Busy Bee’. In all the company would develop four methods of fleet vehicle recognition over the years.

01/01/1910
 

1911

On the 2nd of February, 1911 the company starts its first bus service, operating between Ellesmere Port and Chester having been advised to diversify its business into passenger transport. Once established a few years later the bus service was extended to New Ferry with a second new bus service introduced between Chester and Kelsall.

02/02/1911
 

1913

Crosville begins to expand its operations into mid Cheshire, predominantly around Crewe in December 1913 when the council at Crewe approved licences for services in the area. This included acquiring the established business of Ward Brothers in the area. The company’s fleet livery at this time was grey. Wartime restricted expansion until 1919 when Crosville introduced a Chester circular service as well as from New Ferry to Meols, with other destinations also established from Chester.

01/12/1913
 

1915

Around 1915 Crosville introduces its second fleet recognition method which simply involves numbering vehicles such as ‘1’; ’2’ and so fourth between 1 and 1000. Crosville being superstitious never used the number ‘13’ but used ‘AC’ instead. This method of recognition continues until 1934.

01/01/1915
 

1922

In the early years of the company it had always been an ambition to access the lucrative bus market of Liverpool. Indeed the company was looking for ways to enter the city. Identification had been made by the Crosland Taylors that Warrington and Widness would be possible access points to the city. In June 1922 the company commenced the operation of three new routes from Widnes that would serve Speke, Garston and Warrington with an outstation at Widnes. This was subsequently closed when the new depot at Warrington (Chester New Road) was opened in 1923.

01/06/1924
 

1924

Crosville continued to expand into the Wirral and into north Wales with the introduction of a circular service including Mold and Flint, again acquiring existing bus operators. The company continued to expand across north Wales with further acquisitions taking place of local bus operators such as Owens of Caernarfon and Cynfi Motors of Deiniolen with new depots being opened in Dolgellau and Blaenau Ffestiniog in 1924. Services were rapidly extended to the Llyn Peninsula as well as Aberystwyth and Aberaeron establishing new depots along the way.

01/01/1924
 

1927

In 1927 the company purchased land in Liverpool at the junction of Church Road and Edge Lane measuring 3,350 sq. yd. Here what became to be known as the company’s Edge Lane depot would be built and brought into use in June 1928. The depot was extended with additional adjoining land purchased in 1937 with maintenance facilities being extended in 1942.

01/01/1927
 

1928

Popularity for excursions and long distance travel by charabanc or coach had also attracted the attention of Crosville, experimenting with a few weekend excursions to London in 1928.

01/01/1928
 

1929

The weekend excursions to London established In 1928 proved popular. As a result in 1929 Crosville introduced it’s first regular daily service between Liverpool and London, the four Leyland Tiger buses, registration FM5222- FM52225, fleet numbers 175 - 178; each with 25 coach seats fitted. Routes to Chester and North Wales were introduced from Liverpool in the 1930s.

01/01/1929
 

1929

In February 1929 company ownership changes when the London, Midland and Scottish Railways Company (LMS) purchases Crosville Motor Company Limited due to it losing passengers to road traffic. The company was purchased outright for £398,750.00.

01/02/1929
 

1929

The Crosville Motor Company is placed into voluntary liquidation in November 1929 and a new company trading as LMS (Crosville) was introduced. Claude Crosland Taylor becomes the manager of the new business who was the son of the original company founder.

01/11/1929
 

1930

In 1930 further company changes take place from an agreement made between the railway companies and the Tilling and British Automobile Traction (T&BAT) Group . It was to acquire 50% of the shareholdings of each company under the group’s control. In return the railway companies sold 50% of their shareholdings in acquired businesses to the T&BAT. In some cases new companies were formed, however in relation to LMS (Crosville), Crosville Motor Services Ltd., emerged on the 15th of May, 1930, with LMS having only owned Crosville outright for just nine months. Claude Crosland Taylor was retained as the new company’s General Manager, retaining the family - company connection.

15/05/1930
 

1930

By 1930 Crosville had consolidated it’s operations in north and mid Wales as well as on the Wirral and Cheshire.

01/06/1930
 

1931

In 1931 Crosville establishes services between Merseyside and north Wales through an arrangement with Maxways and the Wirral Transport Company, succumbing to Crosville in 1934.

01/02/1931
 

1934

Around 1934 Crosville introduces its third method of fleet recognition through an alpha-digit numeric system. Simply a letter was assigned to the type of vehicle such as ‘C’ for a Leyland Lion LT1. Some vehicles used two characters as the fleet grew followed by the assigned number. The number did not correspond to the registration of the vehicle. This method continues until 1958.

01/01/1934
 

1935

Crosville open their new depot at Amlwch on the Isle of Anglesey in 1935.

01/01/1935
 

1936

As new depots were built by the company so too were new friendships and communities which would become known as the Crosville family. Staff who worked for the company were extremely proud to do so which is evident from photos of the time. Example photos are within of the Crosville family from the Caernarfon and Blaenau Ffestiniog depots. The Caernarfon photo was taken in 1936. All staff can be seen proudly and professionally wearing their uniforms with depot management and office staff also appropriately attired.

01/01/1936
 

1939

Expansion of the company was hindered in 1939 due to World War Two, forcing cuts to services and dropping completely non-essential work. However there was growth in some services where additional buses were needed to support industries and demand including a shift towards double deckers. This trend continued in peacetime.

01/09/1939
 

1942

On the 3rd of December 1942, Crosville Motor Services became a subsidiary of the Tilling Group having previously been a part of the British Electrical Traction (BET). By 1945 Tilling green had replaced the maroon livery previously adopted by LMS on all company vehicles. Bristol vehicles as owned by Tilling became the favoured order of the day through the company‘s vehicle purchasing policy.

03/12/1942
 

1945

As the company continued to expand, management changes also took place. On the 31st of March 1945 Claude Crosland Taylor died at the young age of 45. He was the son of the late George Crosland Taylor and company founder and had headed the company since 1923 following the death of his father whilst company ownership was with the railways. Following Claude’s death his brother James was appointed the company‘s general manager, continuing the family connection with the company.

31/03/1945
 

1945

By the end of World War Two, Crosville found itself in a very health position. Over 50% additional passengers were now being carried with revenue almost 90% in excess of that of pre-war. As a result the company was able to reinvest in property which would rise in value. Post war service provision grew once more as additional resources became available such as driving staff and vehicles.

02/09/1948
 

1948

On the 1st of January 1948 the Transport Act 1947 came into effect. Simply under the terms of the Act, the railway network, long-distance road haulage and various other types of transport were nationalised and came under the administration of the British Transport Commission (BTC) which acquired the Tilling Group shareholding. At the same time the Railway Executive took control of the four mainline railway companies with their shareholding in Crosville passing over to BTC.

01/01/1948
 

1950

Staff recruitment became difficult in the 1950’s for Crosville and other companies which led to staff shortage as bus work at the time was relatively low paid. One man operation was however introduced during the following decade which would reduce labour costs away from the traditional driver and conductor model.

01/01/1950
 

1958

Crosville introduces its fourth and final fleet recognition through an alpha-numeric system comprising of three letters denoting the vehicle type then between one and three numbers replicating the vehicle registration number. The numbers used were not always replicated.

01/01/1958
 

1960

During the 1960’s Crosville adopted a contraction policy that involved withdrawing from unprofitable routes whilst the company was able to expand in other areas when markets supported this.

01/01/1960
 

1962

Bristol Commercial Vehicle commences the production of the Bristol RE in 1962.

Learn More01/01/1962
 

1963

REX.002 followed in April 1963 and would be the RELH, C47F seat high floor coach chassis. This vehicle would be registered 521 ABL, delivered to Thames Valley Traction’s South Midland in the maroon and cream livery between Oxford and London. It would have the stepped wait rail (bright work) a feature carried from the Bristol MW. A second pre production model/prototype of the Bristol RE RELH was given the number REX.003 built in July 1963. This would be a coach body built by ECW and used as a test bed by Bristol Commercial Vehicle (BCV) until February 1967 when brought up to service standard, fitted with a Gardner engine.

01/04/1963
 

1963

Fifteen years later under the Transport Act 1962, the government dissolved the British Transport Commission and created the British Railway Board to take over railway duties from 1 January 1963 and the Transport Holding Company (THC) to take over bus operations from the same date.

01/01/1963
 

1965

The Cymru Coastliner limited stop service was introduced by the company in 1965 and operated hourly between Caernarfon and Chester. The service commenced its operation with Bristol RE’s, Bristol FLF double deck buses with luxury seating. In the early days of the Coastliner, vehicles such as CRG163 would also be used with route branding provided through specially designed radiator grill plates that would fit onto the front grille of the vehicle through special fittings. The below plate is an exmaple of such branding plates used.

01/01/1965
 

1967

In November 1967 British Electric Traction (BET) unexpectedly offered to sell its bus operations to the government. BET, who had been the only major private bus operating group, received £35 million for its 25 provincial bus companies and 11,300 vehicles.

01/11/1967
 

1969

From the 1st of January 1969 a significant change took place to the UK bus industry with the introduction of the National Bus Company (NBC). This involved the merger of the Transport Holdings Company (THC) and the British Transport Commission (BET) organisations into a single National Bus Company (NBC) following the White Paper recommendations forming a part of the Transport Act 1968.

01/01/1969
 

1970

On 06 March 1970, CRG163 is first registered by Crosville Motor Services in the smart and beautiful cream & black coaching livery with four illuminated side panels each side of the vehicle. CRG163 would be based at the company’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot, allocated to the company’s prestigious Liverpool - London services.

Learn More06/03/1970
 

1971

In October/November 1971, CRG163 would be repainted into the 2nd more simpler cream & black coaching livery. The four side illuminated side panels would be removed and replaced by one longer pane above the front wheel arch on both sides of the vehicle.

01/10/1971
 

1971

The Runcorn Busway was introduced in February 1971 and was the world’s first rapid transport system, being conceived in the Runcorn New Town Masterplan in 1966. The busway is a totally separate road network available for bus use only unlike bus priority lanes or guided busways. By 1980 all 14 miles (22 kilometres) of the busway was operational, designed in such a way that the majority of residents were no more than a five minute walk from a bus stop. Dedicated raised busways provide access to services at the busways main station situated at Runcorn Shopping Centre.

01/02/1971
 

1972

From 1972, the sales of Bristol RE’s to the National Bus Company (NBC), which had taken over both THC and BET began to dry up. This was due to the introduction of the Leyland National. The Bristol RE remained in production from 1976, but only for the Northern Irish state owned bus companies Ulsterbus and Citybus and for the Christchurch Transport Board, New Zealand which continued until 1983.

01/01/1972
 

1972

Following the appointment of Frederick Wood as chairman in 1972, NBC introduced a corporate identity. This was launched on the 10th of April 1972. This included the famous double ‘N’ symbol devised by Norman Wilson who was a leading Manchester graphic designer of the 1970s.

10/04/1972
 

1972

In December 1972, CRG163 is repainted into the National white livery. For a short period CRG163 would carry the short lived 3” green fleet name within the illuminated panel each side before being replaced with the more familiar red upper case Crosville fleet name.

01/12/1972
 

1973

In 1973 Crosville’s half cab open top double decker DLG811 (vehicle registration XFM223) was used in the film titled ‘Holiday on the Buses’ which was filmed at Pontins Prestatyn and other location including Rhyl.

01/02/1973
 

1974

In November 1974, CRG163 receives its second repaint into National white livery.

01/11/1974
 

1976

By this time the X1, X2, X18 and X61 services have been renumbered 850, 851, 853, 854 and 855 and absorbed into the wide National Express coach network and numbering system.

26/09/1976
 

1977

In March 1977, CRG163 receives its third and final repaint into National white livery. At the same time CRG163’s traditional metal fleet plates are removed and replaced by the standard National Bus Company (NBC) corporate grey fleet stickers.

01/03/1977
 

1979

In April 1979, CRG163 is reallocated to Crosville’s Amlwch depot on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. By August of the same year CRG163 is repainted into NBC dual purpose livery of green and white and reclassified as ERG163. As ERG163 the vehicle would operate on a range of services from local bus to longer distance services such as the Saturday X10 service between Cemaes Bay and Liverpool.

01/04/1979
 

1979

On the 1st of June 1979, service 700 was introduced between Bangor and Cardiff via Brecon, Machynlleth, Dolgellau, Porthmadog and Caernarfon branded as TrawsCambria, operated jointly with Western Welsh.

01/06/1979
 

1979

Crosville also developed it’s own express network of coach services branded as ‘Town Lynx’ introduced on the 3rd of December, 1979.

03/12/1979
 

1980

The Map Analysis Project is commissioned by the National Bus Company. This was an exercise that would look in detail at existing bus networks through data gathering undertaken by surveys of existing passengers, performance of services and costs being incurred.

06/10/1980
 

1980

On the 6th of October the Transport Act 1980 was introduced ending the licensing regulation imposed on express coach routes and tours over 30 miles.

06/10/1980
 

1982

Production of the Bristol RE comes to an end.

01/01/1982
 

1983

The Eurolynx International concept was the development by Crosville of European continental weekend coach trips beyond the UK to Amsterdam and Paris.

01/01/1983
 

1984

On 13 April 1984, ERG163 is withdrawn from active service by Crosville for disposal with ERG163’s future looking very uncertain. However the vehicle is sold to a Mr Gordon Bate from the Manchester area for preservation. Mr Bate would also save other Crosville vehicles in the same way. Mr Bate repaints ERG163 into the vehicle’s second cream & black coaching livery variant from 1971 and applies new NBC style fleet number stickers, reclassifying ERG163 as CRG163 once more.

13/04/1984
 

1985

In the 1980’s Crosville’s engineers led the way in converting the Leyland National’s power unit from it‘s standard Leyland 510 engine to the Gardner 6HLXB in a drive to improve economies on fuel consumption. Whilst the Leyland’s fuel consumption rate per gallon was approximately 6 miles, the Gardner would afford closer to 10 miles, dependant on the way the vehicle was driven; route terrain and other factors such as rural and urban operation around congestion and stop and starts. The conversion was covered in the COMMERCIAL MOTOR publication, w/e March 30, 1985.

30/03/1986
 

1985

On the 3rd of August 1985, Crosville’s Edge Lane depot is closed with the company‘s entire operation relocated to Love Lane depot from Sunday the 4th of August. The site was once occupied by Tate and Lyle and was situated at the end of Love Lane.

03/08/1985
 

1985

Crosville’s new Liverpool depot opens at Love Lane.

04/08/1985
 

1986

On the 13th of February 1986, the then Secretary of State for Transport, Nicholas Ridley demanded that the four largest NBC companies be further split in the spirit of competition as they provided too great a competitive threat on deregulation to other operators. This has a major impact on Crosville as it is forced to be split.

13/02/1986
 

1986

Ahead of deregulation the new Crosville Wales Ltd., is created from the renaming of ‘The Devon General Omnibus And Touring Company on the 20th of May 1986, with the new company becoming fully operational from the 10th of August 1986.

10/08/1986
 

1986

Bws Gwynedd was the brand name given by Gwynedd County Council to the emerging deregulated bus network in the county of Gwynedd in 1986 with its famous red front and yellow line which segregated the red from the colours of the operating bus company.

01/04/1986
 

1986

Launch of the new Crosville Wales identity at Penrhyn Castle on 4 September 1986.

04/09/1986
 

1986

One of the biggest upheavals to impact the bus industry in the UK in modern times was the introduction of the Transport Act 1985 on the 26th of October 1986.

26/10/1986
 

1986

The mini bus revolution comes following deregulation. The age of the mini bus was based upon replacing existing big bus operation as well as introducing new services to housing estates and places not previously served.

26/10/1986
 

1987

Crosville closes its Love Lane depot in Liverpool following a difficult period of labour relations. 270 job losses take place, 230 of which were drivers. This sadly ended Crosville’s 60 year presence in Liverpool.

31/01/1987
 

1987

Crosville Wales Ltd., is purchased through a management buy-out from the National Bus Company.

22/12/1987
 

1988

Crosville Motor Services is sold to ATL (Western) Ltd. of Rotherham with 1,169 staff and 470 vehicles. Coincidentally 470 vehicles were also allocated to the new Crosville Wales company on the split, which was sold three months earlier. Crosville’s new owner was ATL (Western) Ltd. of Rotherham and parent company of Carlton PSV (Sales) Ltd. It had also purchased National Travel (East) Ltd as well as Yelloway of Rochdale. ATL soon ran into difficulties from the inexperience of running bus companies, in particularly around maintenance. Yelloway’s operating licence was subsequently cancelled with Crosville taking over it’s operations from a depot in Rochdale.

25/03/1988
 

1988

In October 1988 Crosville Wales’ management sells to National Express.

01/10/1988
 

1989

Less than a year later Crosville Motor Services was sold again, this time to the Drawlane Group on the 18th of February, 1989. It was announced that Crosville would return again to it’s previous flagship status, however sadly this never happened. Heswall depot was closed on the 4th of September, 1988 with vehicle fleet being reallocated to Rock Ferry depot. West Kirby bus station also succumbed to closure on the 10th of April, 1989 as well as the depot itself not long afterwards. Drawlane also owned North Western and Midland Red North and as such saw an opportunity in September 1989 to rationalise operations between it’s neighbouring subsidiaries. Crosville had already been weakened under ATL ownership, and was to be further weakened through the upcoming rationalisation. This resulted in Crosville depots and staff being split and transferred to other companies as follows: - The Crewe operation transferred to Midland Red North - Manchester and Rochdale operations went to Bee-Line - East Cheshire operations went to C-Line - Runcorn and Warrington depots were transferred to North Western with Northwich following in January 1990.

18/02/1989
 

1989

In June 1989 National Express Holdings acquire Amberline Ltd. This was the renamed Amberline of Speake which was formed in the mid 1970’s. At the time Amberline had 120 odd staff with a fleet size of 55 vehicles. The fleet was made up of mini buses; double deckers; coaches and a number of double deck Metroliners. The company was already operating services on behalf of National Express through contract; private hire and local bus services. Subsequently Crosville Wales vehicles were drafted into Merseyside to bolster the ailing company with Crosville Wales’ new dragon logo replaced with a similar Liver bird design. Vehicles used by Amberline on local bus services would adopt the Crosville Wales green and white. Losses also took place in local authority contracts as well as a decision by Amberline to terminate some contracts. As a result of Crosville Wales becoming responsible for Amberline this placed further financial pressure on the former, itself a fledgling company struggling to survive in the brave new world of bus deregulation and privatisation.

01/06/1989
 

1990

Crosville’s remaining depots at Chester, Ellesmere Port and Rock Ferry were subsequently sold to PMT Ltd., of Stoke-on-Trent on the 2nd of February 1990. PMT also purchased the rights to use the Crosville name. PMT Ltd. (company number 02291753) was created on 12 December 1986 when it was purchased by its management and employees through a buyout from the National Bus Company. This is not to me confused with the original Potteries Motor Traction company (company number 00057968) incorporated on 28 June, 1898.

02/02/1990
 

1990

The original Crosville company was left with only six vehicles for disposal. As the rights to use the Crosville name had been sold to PMT the original Crosville Motor Services Ltd., was renamed North British Bus Ltd., from 30 March 1990.

30/03/1990
 

1990

PMT (Stoke) Limited, (company number 00057968) the original Potteries Motor Traction company incorporated on 28 June 1898, a dormant company by now, is re-registered as Crosville Limited on 15 August 1990, to protect the Crosville name, having purchased the rights to use the name on the 2nd of February 1990. Crosville Limited still exists today, albeit as a dormant, non trading company within the First Bus Group.

15/08/1990
 

1990

In October 1990 Crosville Wales’ Amlwch depot closes for the very last time to make way for a new Kwik Save store that opened on the site in 1992. Crosville Wales as it was by then continued its presence in Amlwch but operating from a vehicle parking area situated on the nearby industrial estate. This was unfortunately the fate of other depots in the region during this period including Caernarfon in 1991 followed by Pwllheli in 1992.

01/10/1990
 

1991

In June 1991 the National Express Group sells to the Drawlane Transport Group for £10.25m. The deal includes subsidiaries Crosville Wales, Eurolines (UK), Amberline, Tayside Travel Services, Roadmaster Travel Services, Carlton PSV and the trading units of Crusader Group Travel, Travellers World and National Express Holidays.

01/06/1991
 

1992

British Bus is founded in November 1992 when the Drawlane Transport Group decides to split its bus interests from its National Express ownership in the lead up to the stock market listing of National Express. British Bus would own 21 bus companies, including Crosville Wales.

01/11/1992
 

1992

National Express is floated on the London Stock Exchange on the 1st of December 1992 for a price of 165p per share.

01/12/1992
 

1993

The assets of the Drawlane Transport Group plc is taken over by British Bus plc in early 1993 following the floatation of National Express in 1992.

01/01/1993
 

1995

The final throws of the Cymru Coastliner service saw the service operated by Leyland Tiger/ Plaxton coaches in the standard Crosville Cymru bus livery but with special vinyls applied. Sadly the Cymru Coastliner was withdrawn completely in 1995 due to reduced farebox revenue and service rationalisation just before it reached its 30 years in operation.

01/06/1995
 

1995

In June 1995 PMT Ltd., is sold to Badgerline which in turn would be merged with the GRT Group, forming First Bus. This is then further reorganised to First Staffordshire & South Cheshire (covering the original Potteries Motor Traction operations) and First Chester & The Wirral (covering north Cheshire and Wirral operations) but remaining a part of First Potteries until 2010. On 12 November 2012 First Chester & The Wirral was sold to Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire which had also purchased Ribble Motor Services in 1988. First Potteries Limited (company number 02291753) is still active within the First Bus Group and is actually the re-registered PMT Limited, which took place on 09 August 2001 with Companies House.

01/06/1995
 

1996

In August 1996 Cowie purchases British Bus. It had been proposed to float British Bus on the stock exchange but this was cancelled with the business sold to the Cowie Group. Crosville Wales is also sold as a part of British Bus.

01/08/1996
 

1997

In 1997 Cowie adopts a policy that would introduce a corporate identity for all companies owned. The name would be Arriva. The first vehicle at Crosville Wales to appear in the new Arriva branding and livery would be Mercedes Benz MMM240, in December of the same year.

01/01/1997
 

1998

Crosville Wales Ltd., is officially renamed Arriva Cymru Ltd., on the 2nd of April, 1998 with Companies House brining the beginning of the end of the Crosville name in Wales. Full fleet branding into the corporate identity would be accelerated.

02/08/1998
 

2001

Possibly the last recorded vehicle to carry the Crosville Wales fleet brand and livery in live service in Wales was EOG212, seen by Andy Hamer at Caego depot on 25 July 2001. Andy commented that EOG212 clung on in very faded Crosville Wales livery, still carrying the livery and fleet names with a small white Arriva logo/name on the first nearside window.

25/07/2001
 

2002

On 09 June 2002, CRG163 is sold to Richard Lloyd Jones for further preservation following numerous phone calls and meetings. By now CRG163 was down at heel, requiring further restoration and significant investment.

Learn More09/06/2003
 

2002

From the 10th of June 2002 onwards active restoration of CRG163 begins taking two years to complete. Hundreds of miles are travelled across the UK in the search for parts. The furthest location being the Scotch Corner in sourcing six hubs (wheels).

Learn More10/06/2003
 

2002

On 08 November 2002, registered company Frontline Enterprises Limited (company number 2718097) is re-registered Crosville Bus Limited. On the actual written resolution accompanying the certification of registration of name change it states for and on behalf of Stevensons of Uttoxeter Limited. Crosville Bus Limited, a dormant company is however dissolved on 13 April 2013. Stevensons of Uttoxeter was purchased in June 1994 by British Bus and operated it in conjunction with Midland Red North, which by today is part of Arriva Midlands.

Learn More08/11/2003
 

2004

On 01 May 2004, CRG163 is publicly unveiled for the first time following restoration at the Llandudno Transport Festival. By now CRG163 has been restored and repainted into the National white livery the vehicle carried between 1972 and 1979. CRG163 would also proudly carry new bespoke traditional metal fleet plates and as carried when new.

Learn More01/05/2004
 

2004

CRG163 attends an event at Parc Glynllifon which includes preserved, historic vehicles.

Learn More09/05/2004
 

2004

CRG163 attends the Henblas Vintage Rally on the Isle of Anglesey.

Learn More16/05/2004
 

2004

CRG163 surprises the Crosville Enthusiasts Club 1967 North Wales tour by appearing at Conwy through a surprise arrangement with the late Gwyn Taylor-Williams, conveying members to Bangor. It was an absolutely amazing day as Mr Jack Cowap was on board, 88 years old and former driver of CRG163 when based at Crosville’s Edge Lane depot operating the Liverpool - London service. Also on the same journey was another valuable passenger in the form of Bob Moelfre (Robert Roberts). Bob once worked at Crosville’s Amlwch depot and drive many miles with CRG163 when as ERG163 on the X10 from Cemaes Bay to Liverpool. Bob even drove restored CRG163 around the Cibyn Industrial Estate on the same afternoon. What an absolute magic moment!

Learn More12/06/2004
 

2004

CRG163 attends the Oswestry Show stopping in Bala on the way home for an evening meal at ‘Y Badell Aur’ Chip Shop.

Learn More20/06/2004
 

2004

Newly restored CRG163 becomes a bit of a celebrity by being featured on the front page of the Bus & Coach Preservation magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2 with a five page internal spread. This included a full photo shoot of the vehicle between Bangor and Menai Bridge with the main cover photo taken of CRG163 driving through the famous arches of the Menai Suspension Bridge displaying X10 Bangor on the destination screen. Coincidentally the X10 never operated to Bangor but operated from Cemaes Bay to Liverpool and vice versa. Bangor was added as the destination for the photo shoot as on the day the final destination was Bangor. X10 was added on the destination screen out of respect for Crosville’s Amlwch staff. This destination of X10 Bangor would be used for the EFE model launched in September 2006.

Learn More01/07/2004
 

2004

CRG163 attends the Malpas Yesteryear Vintage Rally near Wrecsam.

Learn More12/09/2004
 

2004

On 03 October 2004, restored CRG163 returns home to Merseyside by attending the Wirral Bus & Tram Show in Birkenhead. Following the show CRG163 visits the Woodside Ferry Terminal, followed by an impromptu trip across to Liverpool Lime Street Station where CRG163 and as ERG163 would operate in active service with Crosville. On the way home to North Wales CRG163 stops outside Crosville’s former Rock Ferry depot in Birkenhead.

Learn More03/10/2004
 

2005

CRG163 operates a free shuttle bus service from the Porthmadog Park bus station to the Leisure Centre car park in the same time town in support of a model railway exhibition taking place at the Glaslyn Leisure Centre.

Learn More16/07/2005
 

2005

CRG163 has a road run from Porthmadog to Pwllheli.

Learn More30/07/2005
 

2005

CRG163 takes part again in the Wirral Bus & Tram Show before stopping once again at the location once used for long distance coach services at Woodside, Birkenhead.

Learn More01/10/2005
 

2006

CRG163 takes part in the Crosville 100 event to commemorate 100 since Crosville began back in 1906. The event consisted of all vehicles parked at the Rhyl Arena forming a static exhibition before a road run of all vehicles present from Rhyl to the Llandudno Transport Festival following the former 409 bus route operated by Crosville.

Learn More30/04/2006
 

2006

EFE launches its first 1:76 scale model of the ECW bodied Bristol RELH Series 2 Mark 1 coach with CRG 163 being used for this purpose. The model is unveiled and represents CRG 163 in preservation with X10 Bangor on the model’s destination screen. The model number is 32202.

Learn More01/09/2006
 

2007

Restored CRG163 returns to its former home of Amlwch and pays homage to Crosville’s former depot in the town and all it’s staff. Again it proudly displays ‘X10’ on it’s destination out of respect which was the express service once operated from the depot back in the day from Cemaes Bay to Liverpool on Saturdays

Learn More12/06/2020
 

2008

This was an emotional day without doubt as John ‘Llanrug’ Griffith, family and friends had a ride out with CRG 163 on former Crosville routes in the Caernarfon area. John was a former driver of Crosville’s Caernarfon depot who sadly passed away from illness a few weeks later. However we all had a fantastic day with CRG 163 including John’s drive around the Caernarfon Cibyn Industrial Estate. Subsequently following John’s passing the photo of him peering out of CRG 163’s cab window was framed and presented to John’s wife as a memento of the day.

Learn More07/12/2008
 

2009

CRG163 attends her final show and this at the Llandudno Transport Festival where it all began five years earlier in 2004, before bowing out of the bus preservation scene for quite some time due to changes in life circumstances and priorities around family and work. Parking and engineering support has also become an issue. CRG 163 is moved for storage.

Learn More03/05/2009
 

2009

CRG163 would attend numerous bus shows and events between 2004 and 2009 not captured as yet on this page of the website.

Learn More01/11/2010
 

2010

CRG163 is forced to move from its current location as parking is no longer available.

Learn More06/11/2010
 

2013

North British Bus Ltd., is dissolved on the 8th of April, 2013 having been incorporated on the 30th of May 1930 having previously operated as the original Crosville Motor Services Limited between the 30th of May 1930 and the 30th of March 1990.

08/04/2013
 

2014

CRG163 is moved again with mechanical work undertaken in preparation for MOT. Work is however stopped as well as access to the vehicle sadly becoming impossible.

01/03/2014
 

2018

CRG163 finally becomes accessible and is moved again to new storage. Access remains very limited.

02/09/2018
 

2020

A new private Facebook group is launched on all things CRG163 for family and friends.

11/01/2020
 

2020

CRG 163 is moved again in order to access engineering support and facilitate further restoration.

12/01/2020
 

2020

The world is engulfed by a world wide emergency in the form of the Covid19 pandemic. National UK lockdowns come into force in an attempt to curb the pandemic. No further work on CRG163 takes place.

01/04/2020
 

2021

The world begins to emerge from the Covid19 pandemic and so does the continuation of the further restoration of CRG163. New parts for CRG 163 are quickly ordered which includes replacement fog lights and trafficators (front side indicators) following unknown damage.

12/06/2020
 

2021

A new bespoke website on all things CRG163 is launched. This website will grow considerably over time and will chart CRG163’s developments going forward.

30/06/2020
 

2022

CRG 163’s second restoration gathers pace and includes sandblasting, treatment and painting of all hubs; new tyres all round; new woodwork for the vehicle’s nearside lockers and vehicle frame; rebuilt radiator and other work.

22/01/2022
 

2022

CRG163 is included in official publicity photographs by National Express as it celebrates 50 years in operation.

29/03/2022
 

2022

A new book is published titled ‘National Express - The Journey of an Iconic Brand’, featuring an image of CRG163 in preservation taken by the owner at the beginning of October, 2005 at Woodside, Birkenhead.

Learn More10/05/2022
 

2022

CRG163’s EFE 1:76 scale model appears in the Bus & Coach Preservation magazine.

Learn More07/12/2022
 

2023

CRG 163 is moved again to a new location and presently awaits inspection and preparation for its voluntary MOT.

16/04/2023


CRG163 into EFE - 1:76 scale

In September 2006 CRG163 was released in EFE 1:76 model form.

CRG163 was the first mould to be released based on the Series 2, Mark 1, Bristol RELH6G ECW coach.

The model is based upon CRG163 in preservation as depicted in the July 2004 Bus & Coach Preservation magazine with X10 Bangor on the front with black window rubbers.

Service X10 never operated to Bangor but operated to Cemaes Bay on the Isle of Anglesey or Liverpool.

CRG163’s EFE model number is 32202.










TV Appearance

The EFE model of preserved CRG163 on BBC iplayer
The EFE model of preserved CRG163 has also appeared on BBC iplayer in the programme: Timeshift: Series 10, 7 - The Modern Age of the Coach. The programme is also available on You Tube via the following web link: https://youtu.be/WQMDp2tVV-k 


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️

Why is Bristol RELH, registration EFM163H referred to as CRG163 and ERG163?

This is all down to the vehicle recognition system that Crosville devised and introduced that would allow employees within the company to recognise a vehicle quickly by simply its allocated fleet number.

A summary of the company’s fleet recognitions systems over the years is described below.


A summary of Crosville’s fleet numbering system

Crosville had adopted four methods of vehicle recognition through fleet numbering over the years.


1910 - 1915

Method one around 1910 involved naming buses with such names as ’The Alma’ and ‘Busy Bee’.

Pictured outside the works of Henry Eaton (of Manchester) presumably when new, is Crosville No. 2 (FM387), a 1911 Dennis named ‘The Alma’. It was later numbered 4 and withdrawn in 1913. (LTHL collection).


1915 - 1934

Around 1915 method two was introduced and simply involved numbering vehicles such as ‘1’; ’2’ and so fourth between 1 and 1000. Crosville being superstitious never used the number ‘13’ but used ‘AC’ instead.


1934 - 1958

Around 1934 an alpha-digit numeric system was introduced. Simply a letter was assigned to the type of vehicle such as ‘C’ for a Leyland Lion LT1. Some vehicles used two characters as the fleet grew followed by the assigned number. The number did not correspond to the registration of the vehicle.


1958 onwards

The fourth and final method the company adopted was the alpha-numeric system comprising of three letters denoting the vehicle type then between one and three numbers replicating the vehicle registration number. The numbers used were not always replicated.

In terms of CRG163 this was the fleet numbering system used.

Crosville had a significantly sized fleet of varying vehicle types in specification from engine type, make, model. They tended to be delivered new to the company in batches of the same type. The company adopted an unique alpha-neumeric fleet recognition system that would allow all company vehicles to be easily and quickly identified for the purpose of internal processes through its unique fleet number. No two vehicles would hold the same fleet number at any one time. This was especially useful for the Engineering and Traffic divisions of the company when dealing with internal maintenance regimes and traffic operational allocations.

Basically the principles of allocating an alpha-numeric system to new vehicles entering the Crosville fleet involved three letters (unless classed as auxiliary/supportive vehicles such as cars or engineering vehicles denoted by ‘A’) followed by the majority of times the corresponding numbers displayed on the vehicle’s registration number plate. Not always though did the same registration number correspond especially if another vehicle in the fleet was allocated these numbers.

The three letters applied was specific and based upon vehicle characteristics on the following principles:

  • First assigned letter denoted the body type e.g.

  • C = Coach;
  • D = Double Decker (low height);
  • E = dual purpose/Express vehicle that would normally be fitted by semi coach seats but also fitted with a driver cab door and ticket machine and could also be used on local bus services as well as coach work;
  • H = Double Decker (high bridge);
  • M = Mini bus;
  • O = Open Top;
  • S = Single Decker;

  • Second assigned letter denoted the vehicle chassis type e.g.

  • L = Leyland Leopard / Bristol LH
  • N = Leyland National;
  • O = Leyland Olympian
  • R = Bristol RE;
  • V = Bristol VRT

  • Third assigned letter denoted the engine type e.g.

  • G = Gardner;
  • L = Leyland;
  • M = Mercedes

  • The numeric element of the fleet number would generally correspond with the  numbers displayed on the vehicle registration, but not always the case as explained above.

The following are examples of how the company applied the alpha-numeric fleet numbering system to actual vehicles in the Crosville fleet:



Dual purpose = multi use on local bus and express longer distance services.  In respect of EFM 163H, the allocated fleet number was CRG163, simply equating to C = Coach; R = Bristol RE (rear engine); G = Gardner engine; followed by 163 from its registration of EFM163H



At that time all Crosville vehicles proudly carried metal fleet plates which were placed on the vehicle’s front panel, normally on the grill if available as well as under the driver’s offside cab window and below the nearside front passenger window externally as well as on the boot in some cases. Vehicles would also have a much smaller fleet plate inside the driver’s cab area, normally above the driver’s offside window.



In relation to CRG163 this was the vehicle‘s first fleet designation in recognition of coaching duties. However in 1979 the vehicle was downgraded to dual purpose use, i.e. the vehicle would be used on any service which would include local bus service operation as well.

The ‘E’ letter would replace the ‘C’ letter in the vehicle’s classification. Fleet numbers would be applied with stickers to National Bus Company specification of font and size and shade of grey.

Reclassification from CRG to ERG would also involve the fitment of a ticket machine and fixed holder as well as a change in livery to white (roof to below the passenger window line) and leaf green below this. This livery of white and green would always be associated with a dual purpose vehicle in Crosville’s fleet.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com . Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️.



On this page of the website we have cherished memories from former Crosville staff, their families and friends. These memories gravitate around Crosville Motor Services and the un-sung heroes that made the company what it was, as we pay our respects to them. We also include memories of CRG/ERG163 in this context. My grateful and sincere thanks to all that have collaborated with me and contributed to this page so far. More articles will be published over time.

Richard Lloyd Jones

Richard Lloyd Jones

Richard sets the scene for this page of the website. Its aim is to remember the Crosville company and staff as well as CRG163 and other vehicles from this fleet class. It pays homage and respect to valued staff behind the company which include the late Bob ‘Moelfre’ Roberts, Jack Cowap, John ‘Llanrug’ Wyn Griffiths and many more across the company’s operating territory. My grateful and sincere thanks to everyone who’s collaborated with me and contributed to this wonderful page down memory lane. It has been a personal privilege. Sadly our dear friend Dave Wilder passed away on 27 September 2023. We therefore remember Dave as a friend and for his valuable contribution below. (Amended 06.01.24).

Learn More
John Young

John Young

John Young shares his memories of ERG163 in service in and around Anglesey (04.02.22).

Learn More
Mike Lambden

Mike Lambden

Mike Lambden remembers CRG163 and other CRG’s of the time (05.02.22).

Learn More
Dewi Roberts

Dewi Roberts

Dewi Roberts remembers driving ERG163 at Crosville’s Amlwch depot (10.02.22).

Learn More
Don McKeown

Don McKeown

Don McKeown remembers CRG163 coming to Crosville’s Caernarfon depot (10.02.22).

Learn More
Graham Warren

Graham Warren

Graham Warren remembers heading to North Wales with his Dad George Warren at the wheel of CRG163 (12.02.22).

Learn More
David Wilder

David Wilder

David Wilder remembers CRG163 and other CRG’s on the Liverpool to London services including memories of Crosville (05.03.22).

Learn More
Mike Lambden

Mike Lambden

Mike Lambden remembers working in the UK Express Coach Sector (19.03.22).

Learn More
Ralph Rowlands

Ralph Rowlands

Ralph Rowlands - memories of the ‘Crosville Family’ (26.03.22).

Learn More
Mike Grant

Mike Grant

Mike Grant - A Day Out for BICC Employees (22.04.22).

Learn More
Technical section relating to CRG163

This section is not available to the public. It is only accessible through the password provided.

For those with the password please click HERE or the image below and then enter the password to access. If you have not been provided with a password you will not be able to access this section.




Contact details

CRG163’s contact e-mail address post@crg163.com .

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️

This page of the website contains images of Crosville leaflets and timetables over the years including those that CRG/ERG163 would have operated including the X1.X10, X18, X61 and the 853 to name a few.

Liverpool - London route leaflet - 1950’s

Liverpool - London route leaflet - 1950’s

Attached are scans of the leaflet for the service route between Liverpool and London in the 1950’s, kindly provided by Carl Berry with thanks.

Learn More
Liverpool - London timetables from 1957

Liverpool - London timetables from 1957

Attached are scans of the leaflet for the service route between Liverpool and London in the 1957, kindly provided by Carl Berry with thanks.

Learn More
Service X69 Pwllheli - Manchester - 1965

Service X69 Pwllheli - Manchester - 1965

Attached are photographs of the leaflet produced back in 1965, which commenced on 13 April of the same year. From my own collection.

Learn More
Service X68 Pwllheli - Liverpool 1965

Service X68 Pwllheli - Liverpool 1965

Attached are photographs of the leaflet produced back in 1965, which commenced on 15 April of the same year. From my own collection.

Learn More
Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool London timetables - Winter 1969/1970

Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool London timetables - Winter 1969/1970

Attached are scans of the 1969 leaflet for these services commencing on 01 October 1969 to 21 May 1970.

Learn More
Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool - London timetables - 1970

Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool - London timetables - 1970

Attached are scans of the 1970 leaflet for these services, between 01 June to 30 September of the same year. Kindly provided by Carl Berry with thanks.

Learn More
Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool - London timetables - Winter 1972/1973

Services X1/X18/X61 Liverpool - London timetables - Winter 1972/1973

Attached are scans of the winter 1972/1973 leaflet for these services kindly provided by Carl Berry with thanks.

Learn More
Services 850/851/853/854 Liverpool - London timetables - Winter 1973/1974

Services 850/851/853/854 Liverpool - London timetables - Winter 1973/1974

Attached are scans of the winter 1973/1974 leaflet for these services commencing on 08 October 1973, kindly provided by Carl Berry with thanks.

Learn More
Services 850/851/853/854/855 Merseyside - London timetables - 1976

Services 850/851/853/854/855 Merseyside - London timetables - 1976

Attached are photographs of the leaflet produced back in 1976, which commenced on 26 September the same year. The photographs have been kindly provided by Graham Warren with thanks.

Learn More

CRG163 is a Bristol RELH6G.  What does this mean?

CRG163 is a rear engined vehicle with a Bristol Commercial Vehicle chassis to the long, coach high configuration.

Simply RELH6G means a Bristol RE to the Long, High chassis configuration with a 6 cylinder Gardner engine - Bristol RELH6G.




Bristol Commercial Vehicles

The Bristol RE was a rear engined single deck bus or coach built by Bristol Commercial Vehicle between 1962 and 1982.

The Bristol RE is considered to be one of the most successful rear engined vehicles and has a huge following to today, and includes many examples preserved such as CRG163.

Bristol was wholly owned by the nationalised Transport Holding Company (THC) with the Bristol RE only supplied initially to subsidiaries of the the THC. Leyland purchased 25% of Bristol in 1965 which led to the Bristol product being made available to non state owned bus and coach operators. Municipal bus operators including the British Electric Traction Group (BET) were also customers.



Sales to the National Bus Company (NBC) however began to dry up from 1972 as the Leyland National product was also available. The NBC had taken over the operations of the THC and BET.

Unfortunately the Bristol RE was only available for export to Christchurch, New Zeland as well as Ulsterbus and Citybus in Ireland from 1976.



Sale statistics

The sale statistics for the Bristol RE was as follows:

  • 4,629 Bristol RE’s were built
  • 3,242 of which were sold to NBC Subsidiaries
  • Bristol Omnibus Company was the biggest single customer at 439 orders
  • Crosville Motor Services at 288
  • Ulsterbus & Citybus in Ireland combined at 620
  • United Automobile Services at 470
  • West Yorkeshire Road Car Company at 259
  • 148 were sold to members of the Scottish Bus Group
  • 405 to British municipalities and PTE’s
  • 834 to other operators


Vehicle Body - Eastern Coach Works

The most common fitted body to any Bristol RE was Eastern Coach Works (ECW) of Lowestoft. Other manufacturers also built on the chassis such as Alexander; Duple; Plaxton.

Interestingly the Bristol RE was available in five variants from vehicle length to height (bus/coach).

ECW’s logo as shown on vehicles

Chassis variants

The variants available were as follows:

  • RELL - long vehicle length at 36 foot, low frame bus body fitted
  • RESL - short vehicle length, low frame bus body fitted
  • RELH - long vehicle length at 36 foot, high frame (coach or dual purpose body normally fitted). CRG163 would be the coach variant.
  • RESH - short vehicle length, high frame (coach or dual purpose body normally fitted)
  • REMH - long vehicle length at 12m, high frame coach body fitted



Engines

The Bristol RE would normally be fitted with a Gardner 6 cylinder engine or a six cylinder Leyland diesel engine, either a 0.600 or 0.680. As such the variant codes above would be suffixed by a code indicating the engine fitted such as RELH6G in the case of CRG163. The codes would be:

6G would refer to the Gardner 6 cylinder engine, for example the 6HLX in the case of CRG163. The engine would be a Gardner 6LX vertical engine, however in the Bristol RE the engine would be fitted horizontally denoted with a ‘H’ in 6HLX.

The Gardner 6HLX engine in CRG163 is 150 hp @ 1700 RPM and a Natural 6-cylinder diesel. It’s cylinder capacity is 10,450 cc

6L would refer to the Leyland 6 cylinder engine, normally the 0.600 or 0.680.





L. Gardner and Sons Ltd was a British company specialising in the building of diesel engines. founded in Manchester in 1868. It started building engines around 1895 and used in many forms from stationary, marine, road in lorries and buses and rail. The firm ceased engine production in the mid 1990’s.







The Gardner 6LX vertical engine, referred to as 6HLX in CRG163 for its horizontal position


The following images are from the Gardner service manual and provides images of the 6LX as it would appear in its horizontal (HLX) form in CRG163.








Bristol RE - Pre production models

Bristol Commercial Vehicles produced three prototype RE chassis in late 1962 and early 1963.

The three prototypes were based upon an RELL bus chassis; and two based upon the RELH chassis.

The RELL prototype was a 54 seater bus delivered to United in December 1962 in its Tilling red and cream livery. The chassis reference for this vehicle would be REX.001, vehicle registration 7431 HN.

REX.002 followed in April 1963 and would be the RELH, C47F seat high floor coach chassis. This vehicle would be registered 521 ABL, delivered to Thames Valley Traction’s South Midland in the maroon and cream livery between Oxford and London. It would have the stepped wait rail (bright work) a feature carried from the Bristol MW.

A second pre production model/prototype of the Bristol RE RELH was given the number REX.003 built in July 1963. This would be a coach body built by ECW and used as a test bed by Bristol Commercial Vehicle (BCV) until February 1967 when brought up to service standard, fitted with a Gardner engine.


West Yorkshire 1014.  Photographer unknown - but reproduced here through kind permission of Neil Halliday from his own collection.
This laterally became West Yorkshire CRG1 and then 1014, registration OWT241E, entering service from Harrogate depot on 01/03/66, withdrawn on 30/09/78.


Most popular models

The most popular models sold were as follows:

  • RELL - 2,839
  • RELH - 976 with CRG163 being one of them
  • RESL - 698
  • REMH - 105
  • RESH - 11

The REML, a sixth model variant was advertised in 1968 but none were built. This would have been a 20 foot wheelbase of the REMH but with a low frame for a bus body.





From 1972, the sales of Bristol RE’s to the National Bus Company (NBC), which had taken over both THC and BET began to dry up. This was due to the introduction of the Leyland National. The Bristol RE remained in production from 1976, but only for the Northern Irish state owned bus companies Ulsterbus and Citybus and for the Christchurch Transport Board, New Zealand which continued until 1983.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️



The below web links will take you to on-line documentaries about the UK bus and coach industry over the years; all things CRG163; Crosville; CEC; Ruby and companies that have supplied/aided in CRG163’s further restoration.

The Modern Age of Coach - BBC Timeshift documentary - Series 10, episode 7

The Modern Age of Coach - BBC Timeshift documentary - Series 10, episode 7

02/01/2022

An interesting documentary on the history of the modern age of coach travel featuring the EFE model of CRG163.

Read More
The Golden Age of Coach Travel - BBC Timeshift Documentary - Series 10, episode 6

The Golden Age of Coach Travel - BBC Timeshift Documentary - Series 10, episode 6

02/01/2022

An interesting documentary on the history of the modern age of coach travel featuring the EFE model of CRG163.

Read More
Eastern Coach Works (ECW) Remembered

Eastern Coach Works (ECW) Remembered

03/01/2022

An interesting short documentary remembering Eastern Coach Works (ECW) and staff.

Read More
Crosville 100 Centenary - Rhyl 2006

Crosville 100 Centenary - Rhyl 2006

03/01/2022

An You Tube video of the Crosville 100 gathering celebrating 100 years since the commencement of Crosville.

Read More
Crosville 100 Centenary Road Run from Rhyl to Llandudno - 2006

Crosville 100 Centenary Road Run from Rhyl to Llandudno - 2006

03/01/2022

An You Tube video of the Crosville 100 centenary road run from Rhyl to Llandudno in 2006 following Crosville’s old 409 route via Colwyn Bay.

Read More
Robert J Montgomery Transport Archive

Robert J Montgomery Transport Archive

29/05/2023

A fantastic pictorial tribute to Crosville and buses by Robert J Montgomery capturing not only the vehicles but also some of the staff including those from the company’s Liverpool Edge Lane depot. The website is managed by Graham Warren.

Read More
Crosville Edge Lane depot model - Graham Warren

Crosville Edge Lane depot model - Graham Warren

21/08/2023

A model of Crosville’s Edge Lane depot, Liverpool with wonderfully angled images representing the depot’s operational period with the company by Graham Warren, son of the late George Warren who worked for Crosville.

Read More
The rise of the white coach

The rise of the white coach

20/01/2022

Vision, compromise and change all played a part in the roll-out of the National white coach, reflected in the 1972 first edition of the Corporate Identity Manual.

Read More
Crosville Enthusiasts’ Club (1967)

Crosville Enthusiasts’ Club (1967)

23/01/2022

As the name suggests the current club was founded during 1967 to cater for those interested in the operations and vehicles of Crosville Motor Services Limited. When it was formed the membership was mostly based in the operating area of Crosville, however this has expanded over the years and we now have members from all over the United Kingdom.

Read More
Ronsbusesandcoaches - Crosville

Ronsbusesandcoaches - Crosville

23/01/2022

A website depicting the history of Crosville.

Read More
Illustrated History for EFM163H - Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

Illustrated History for EFM163H - Bristol Commercial Vehicles Enthusiasts

12/02/2022

This website is for anyone interested in the products of Bristol Commercial Vehicles which includes CRG163 (EFM163H).

Read More
Huntley Film Archives (archive film 62650)

Huntley Film Archives (archive film 62650)

17/04/2022

This short video via You Tube provides a glimpse of NATIONAL services in the mid 1970’s.

Read More
The Coach Travellers in 1965 - Nostalgic colour film

The Coach Travellers in 1965 - Nostalgic colour film

19/09/2022

The joy of coach travel in 1965.

Read More
Fifties Coach Travel

Fifties Coach Travel

19/09/2022

An insight into coach travel in the 1950’s.

Read More
Red & White - RC9868 (OAX 9F) ‘Ruby’

Red & White - RC9868 (OAX 9F) ‘Ruby’

08/01/2024

This is a superb website of a superbly restored Bristol RELH, owned by Jonathan Radley.

Read More
Derek’s Tyre Services

Derek’s Tyre Services

23/05/2022

A web link to Derek’s Tyre Services that have sourced and fitted CRG163’s new tyres.

Read More
Sandblasting and Spraying

Sandblasting and Spraying

23/05/2022

A web link to ‘Sandblasting and Spraying’ - the company that sandblasted and treated CRG163’s rims.

Read More
Sion Lloyd - Saer Coed / Carpenter

Sion Lloyd - Saer Coed / Carpenter

08/08/2022

A web link to Sion Lloyd’s website, the carpenter and friend who has been tackling CRG163’s woodwork and lockers.

Read More
Clwyd Auto Electricals

Clwyd Auto Electricals

06/03/2023

A web link to ‘Clwyd Auto Electricals’ - the company that tested CRG163’s alternator.

Read More

Please get in touch if you have any photos or history of CRG163 or aware of any of the parts being sought. It would be gratefully appreciated, thank you.

Acknowledgements image
Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following people for allowing the use of their photographs on this website. Without the time and trouble taken by the following people we would not have such valued photographs depicting the history of CRG/ERG163 as well as Crosville and the wider bus industry. Our grateful thanks to you for documenting the history of transport and that of CRG163 in context of our website. Thank you.

  • Andrew Hamer
  • Andrew Marks
  • Arwyn Herald
  • Clive A. Brown
  • Dave Cousins
  • Derek Thompson
  • Dewi Roberts
  • Dominic Eaton
  • Don McKewon
  • Duncan Roberts
  • E. A. Allison, Crosville Motor Services Ltd
  • Geoff Smith
  • Gethin Jones
  • Gordon Bate
  • Graham Senior
  • Graham Warren
  • Grahame Wareham
  • John Carter
  • John F Baker
  • John Buchan
  • John Lee
  • Malcolm Cowtan
  • Martin Pinnington
  • Mike Street
  • Neil Halliday
  • Robert Brian Humphreys
  • Robert J Montgomery
  • Stephen Monaghan

The origins of some of the photographs are unknown and have been depicted as such. However please do get in touch through e-mail if you have any details such as location, dates or if you are the photographer so that the correct acknowledgements can be added or the photos removed if preferred by the owner.

Thank you.

Richard


In memory of the late and great Derek Thompson from Crosville’s Caernarfon depot, sitting behind the wheel of preserved CRG163.  It was Derek that supplied me with the ’NATIONAL‘ corporate design specifications for me to use with CRG163.  A life long dear friend to so many of us from the Crosville family.


Contact details

If you have any photos or related information about CRG163 or any information on the parts presently required then please e-mail me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.

You can also subscribe to this website by entering your e-mail address into the white box below, bottom right and click the subscription button ⬇️

In Memory of David Wilder


It is with great sadness that we were all informed today, Wednesday 27 September 2023 that our very dear friend David Wilder had sadly passed away.

Dave was an absolute gentleman and highly respected by everyone from across our bus & coach industry and everyone that was fortunate to have known him.

My connection with Dave was that of CRG163 and Crosville, as he was the Assistant District Traffic Superintendent at Crosville’s Edge Lane depot in Liverpool in the early 1970’s.

Dave moved on from Crosville to other great things in his career in the industry but remained very much an important part of our Crosville family throughout.

Only last year I had the absolute privilege of collaborating for a number of months with Dave in producing an on-line article of his wonderful memories of Crosville which is available on this website. Dave had a wonderful ability to describe and convey his recollections in his writing which was a truly fantastic gift.  You can read Dave's wonderful recollections and beautifully written account by clicking HERE.

Dave of course had written his own book with Barrie Hedges titled ‘Reliance Motor Services: The Story of a Family-Owned Independent Bus Company’, published in 2020.



On behalf of our Crosville family and wider bus & coach industry we send our deepest condolences to Dave’s family and friends in their very sad loss.

On a personal note my grateful thanks to you Dave for your valued friendship and for sharing your precious and wonderful memories of Crosville with me to be able to be shared with the wider world through the on-line article. I feel extremely honoured and privileged. My grateful thanks also for your valued support and encouragement as I now embark on writing a book myself on the history of Crosville in Liverpool. I will try my best to make you proud.

It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have known you and count you as a friend as echoed by so many others from across our proud industry.

You will be deeply missed by so many.


In Memory of David Wilder who sadly passed away on 27 September, 2023.






This is a new first/front page that has been added to this website in memory and out of respect for our dear friend Dave and family.

The NATIONAL (National Bus Company) colours normally used across this website have been temporarily replaced out of respect for Dave.




Click on the individual pages below for further details.

C.A.V Type 440C 24V regulator

C.A.V Type 440C 24V regulator

C.A.V Type 440C 24V regulator, Des no’ 1697 C533.

Learn More
Genuine Western National (NBC) information board

Genuine Western National (NBC) information board

This is a genuine Western National information board as used by the company during it’s National Bus Company period of operation.

Learn More
Genuine Eastern Coach Works (ECW) coach seat ash trays

Genuine Eastern Coach Works (ECW) coach seat ash trays

Genuine Eastern Coach Works (ECW) coach seat ash trays

Learn More
Bristol FLF / ECW front cowl

Bristol FLF / ECW front cowl

Bristol FLF / ECW double deck front cowl.

Learn More