CRG163

Croeso

Welcome

 

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.

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 to the vehicle, 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, Covid restrictions are now easing and access is 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 moved on and is intertwining the old (CRG163 - not me!) with the new through modern technology such as this website 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 subscribe to keep up to date with CRG163‘s continued journey.

Best wishes,

Richard 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 fleet plate following 2002 to 2004 restoration
  • CRG163 restored and preserved in her 1970’s ‘NATIONAL’ livery.

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 box below on the right and click the subscribe button.



What is CRG163?

CRG163 is the original fleet number (C = Coach; R = Bristol RE; G = Gardner engine) that was once allocated to a Bristol RELH Series 2, Mark 1, Eastern Coach Works (ECW) bodied coach (body number 18140), vehicle registration EFM 163H when owned and operated by Crosville Motor Services Limited.

The vehicle is fitted with a Gardner 6HLX 10.45 litre engine with 47 forward facing coach passenger seats (C47F).


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 was first registered on the 6th of March 1970 by the original Crosville Motor Services Limited bus company. It’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.

CRG163 operated on long distance coach services for the company across the UK before being downgraded in 1979 to a dual purpose vehicle, based in Amlwch north Wales, reclassified as ERG163 (E = Dual purpose - coach/local bus services; R = Bristol RE; G = Gardner engine). At this depot on the Isle of Anglesey ERG 163 would be driven by Bob Moelfre (as known locally); Dewi Roberts; Richard Lewis and others.

ERG163 passing Bangor railway station around 1982 on its way to Cemaes Bay on route N61.

Following CRG163’s withdrawal by Crosville on the 13th of April, 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



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 or events have been hindered by the pandemic emergency.



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 has unfortunately halted any further restoration work to CRG163. It is hoped however that progress can recommence as we emerge from Covid19.


CRG163 - next chapter

CRG163 is now entering the next chapter. New photos and more will appear on this website as it grows around all things CRG163.


CRG163 timeline summary



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.

In March 2020 the Coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world creating a major emergency. National lockdowns and government guidance were quickly implemented in reducing the spread of the virus which restricted movement. The intended onwards restoration of the vehicle was therefore quickly shelved until the situation around Covid improved. Developments in CRG163’s continued restoration are listed below in date order - most recent at the top. 

New tyres fitted on completed rims (wheels) (23.05.22)

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

Learn More

Completed rims (wheels) collected and transported (19.05.22)

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

Learn More

Rims (wheels) painted in National Bus Company grey (13.05.22)

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.

Learn More

Rims (wheels) treatment for painting (12.05.22)

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

Learn More

Rims (wheels) sent for sandblasting - 20 January 2022

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

Learn More

We are now mobile! - 22 September 2021

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.

Learn More

Frankmann Trafficators & emergency door lock - 08 July 2021

Frankmann Trafficators and emergency door lock

Learn More

Nearside front fog lights x2 - 15 June 2021

New Butler fog lamps arrive

Learn More

Cleaning - 14 June 2021

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

Learn More

Tyres - 9.00 x 20 - 12 June 2021

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

Learn More

CRG163's new Website - June 2021

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.

Learn More

CRG163's new home - June 2020

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.

Learn More

Chrome headlamp surround bezels (ECW) - January 2020

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

Learn More


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 known 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.


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.
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 panel on display above the front wheel either side displaying the lower case ‘Crosville’ fleet name.

These coaches were truly magnificent, luxury coaches of their day and were also used by Crosville on it’s coaching and private hire services.

One of the many posters created by Crosville to promote it’s luxury coaches

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

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

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.’
Back in the day, CRG163 would operate the above services with sister coaches.



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.  Sister vehicle 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 and moved eventually to her new home of Crosville’s Amlwch depot on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales.


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.



The official ‘NATIONAL’ branding  used completed with the ‘double N’ logo as carried by CRG163 from circa 1973 to 1979

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,


CRG163 at Oxford early/mid 1970’s
CRG163 at London Victoria Coach Station mid 1970’s.
CRG163 parked at the back of Crosville‘s Edge Lane depot, Liverpool in the mid 1970’s.  Many thanks to Duncan Roberts for supplying the image.
Photo of CRG163 courtesy of Geoff Smith
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.
By this time CRG 163’s proud grey and black embossed metal fleet plates had been removed and replaced by standard grey fleet stickers placed under the front windscreen.



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 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!’.

CRG163 on service 853, returning home to Liverpool - photo courtesy of Geoff Smith
CRG163 parked on the apron of Crosville’s then depot at Amlwch.

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

CRG163 operated on long distance coach services for the company across the UK before being downgraded in 1979 to a dual purpose vehicle.


CRG163 downgraded to ERG163

In 1979 CRG163 was downgraded by the company to a dual purpose vehicle to be used on coach and local bus services alike adopting the dual purpose fleet classification number of ERG163 and the standard company dual purpose livery of white and green.


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

ERG163 peering out of Crosville’s Amlwch depot

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.

ERG 163 heading for Liverpool on the X10 service from Cemaes Bay, Anglesey
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 Amlwch depot



ERG163 pulling out of the parking area next to the old 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.


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.

ERG163 parked up on Crosville’s vehicle disposal line - it’s future very much uncertain.
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 me, Richard Jones at post@crg163.com .  Many thanks in advance.


Initial preservation : 1984 - 2002 (Gordon Bate)

Following ERG163’s withdrawal by Crosville in the 1984 it was saved from potential scrapping and an uncertain future by passing into the world of vehicle preservationist under the 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 having been repainted in CRG163‘s more simplistic cream and back livery under the ownership of Gordon Bate.  Sticker fleet numbers have been applied.
CRG163 returning to her old Crosville home at Amlwch depot, Isle of Anglesey, in the late 1980’s with Gordon Bate.
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.

First meeting with ex CRG163 under the ownership of Gordon Bate.
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.

Ex CRG163 arrives home, back again in 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 only photo available of Gordon Bate from the front of ex CRG163

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.

Richard Jones and his father tackling the reconstruction of one of the side lockers.
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;
  • 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.

My late mother, Marian Lloyd Jones helping out in preparing for CRG163’s first outing - June, 2004
Much excitement and anticipation was felt on the morning as the two year restoration of CRG163 culminated on this date.

An early morning image 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.
CRG163 - early evening of her public debut into preservation alongside other Crosville vehicles in preservation - Llandudno 2004
From 2004 to 2009 CRG163 attended many bus and coach rallies and events including taking part in celebrating Crosville’s centenary gathering at Rhyl Promenade followed by a historic road run of many Crosville preserved vehicles between Rhyl and Llandudno following the old 409 route.


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 


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.
Why is Bristol RELH, registration EFM163H referred to as CRG163 or 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 on 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.


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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On this page of the website we have cherished memories from staff from Crosville and friends with an interest in the company. Such memories include those about CRG/ERG163; other CRG’s and of Crosville itself. So often publications write about the company, depots and buses. Here we remember a representation of the un-sung heroes behind the company and those that remember it. My grateful thanks to all that have contributed to this page. More articles will be published over time.

Richard Jones

Richard sets the scene for this page of the website, its aim is to remember stories around CRG163, CRG’s in general and Crosville. It pays homage and respect to valued staff behind the company including Bob Moelfre, Jack Cowap, John Llanrug and many more across the company’s operating territory. My grateful thanks to everyone who’s contributed to this wonderful page down memory lane.

Learn More

John Young

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

Learn More

Mike Lambden

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

Learn More

Dewi Roberts

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

Learn More

Don McKeown

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

Learn More

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

Learn More

Ralph Rowlands

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

Learn More

Mike Grant

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

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

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 by 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.

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

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


Pre production model

The first pre production model/prototype of the Bristol RE 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.







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.

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

02/01/2022

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

Read More

Bristol RELH / ECW

02/01/2022

A detailed website containing details about the original Eastern Coachworks (ECW) coach body on Bristol’s RELH chassis.

Read More

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

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

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

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)

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

23/01/2022

A website depicting the history of Crosville.

Read More

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)

17/04/2022

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

Read More

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

23/05/2022

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

Read More

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

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
  • Derek Thompson
  • Dewi Roberts
  • Don McKewon
  • Duncan Roberts
  • E. A. Allison, Crosville Motor Services Ltd
  • Geoff Smith
  • Gordon Bate
  • Graham Senior
  • Graham Warren
  • Grahame Wareham
  • John F Baker
  • John Buchan
  • John Lee
  • Malcolm Cowtan
  • Martin Pinnington
  • Mike Street
  • Neil Halliday
  • Robert Brian Humphreys
  • 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 friend 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.