RLH Bus Information Centre

the Midland General ONU "RLHs"

In 1950, Midland General was owned by the British Transport Commission. An order for 30 lowbridge AEC/Weymann double deckers was outstanding but only 10 of these were required and delivered (the remaining 20 were offered to London Transport, thus forming the first batch of RLHs). These became UK Registration Numbers ONU 630-639, delivered in 1950.

It is known that these lowbridge buses ran on at least the following routes:

The buses also ran on other routes, but these were also served by highbridge vehicles.

The ONUs were generally garaged at Mansfield (Sutton Road), which was extended in 1952. On occasion, they visited Langley Mill garage (Station Road) for repairs. However, it is thought that 421 to 426 were the only vehicles allocated to Mansfield initially, with the remaining vehicles 427 to 430 coming later.

The bridge that necessitated use of lowbridge vehicles was just south of Bestwood village. It carried a railway branch line, from Nottingham (Midland) to Mansfield and Worksop line, into Bestwood colliery (grid reference SK549472).

The ONUs were withdrawn in 1968, probably being replaced by Bristol Lodekkas.

Photo Unidentified ONU in service with Midland General on route B8 (Mansfield to Nottingham)

Differences to RLHs:

From recollections, interior differences of the 'ONU's compared to the first batch RLHs were:

.. and from photographs and recollections, exterior differences were:

The following exterior changes were made after a few years service to some (if not all) vehicles:

Fleet History and Current Status List

Fleet Identification List:

UK Registration
Number
Midland General
Fleet Number
Weymann
Body Number
AEC
Chassis Number
ONU 630 421 M4341 9612E4721
ONU 631 422 M4346 9612E4722
ONU 632 423 M4342 9612E4723
ONU 633 424 M4340 9612E4724
ONU 634 425 M4338 9612E4725
ONU 635 426 M4347 9612E4726
ONU 636 427 M4343 9612E4727
ONU 637 428 M4344 9612E4728
ONU 638 429 M4339 9612E4729
ONU 639 430 M4345 9612E4730

Other Weymann bodied Regents supplied new to the Midland General group:

These were both highbridge and lowbridge types. There were various other Regents acquired from independent companies, but they did not have Weymann bodies.

AEC Chassis No. UK Reg No. Seating config Operator and fleet no New
9612E3705-24 JVO 931-50 H30/26R Mansfield & District 135-154
9612E3725-39 MRB 29-43 H30/26R Midland General 27,28,86-91,108,109,116-120 1948
9612E3747-48 JVO 951-52 H30/26R Mansfield & District 155/56

A 1946/7 Regent II 0661 type, was also fitted with Weymann bodies as follows:

AEC Chassis No. UK Reg No. Seating config Operator and fleet no New
0661.7451-60 GRR 337-46 H30/26R Mansfield & District 115-24
0661.7593-607 GRR 347-61 H30/26R Mansfield & District 61-75
0661.7733-40 KNU 602/1/5/8/6/5/7/3 H30/26R Midland General 63/0, 70/7/5/1/6, 64 1946
0661.7994-8008 HVO 931-45 H30/26R Mansfield & District 120-34
0661.8009-13 KRB 81-5 L27/26R Midland General 416-20 Lowbridge (smaller cab window than RLH) 1947
0661.8014-23 KRB 71-80 H30/26R Midland General 121-25, 157/9, 160/2/8 1947

History of the Midland General Group:

The Midland General Omnibus Company (MGOC) was formed in 1920 as a subsidiary of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Tramway Co., and began operating bus services two years later. It operated in an area within and surrounding Derbyshire. Within 7 years, it had become the largest operator within the Midland General Group, after which it continued to expand.

The Midland General Group was owned by the Balfour Beatty group (an important member of the electricity supply industry). The Group composed of three operators:

MGOC and N&D buses were liveried in blue and cream whilst M&D buses wore green and white.

When the electricity industry was mostly nationalised in 1948, Balfour Beatty sold the Midland General Group also, to the British Transport Commission. The ONU buses were in fact the last buses ordered by Balfour Beatty, although they were not delivered until 1950 when the BTC was in charge. The three operators then became known as part of the Tilling group. There were no more new buses delivered to MGOC or N&D until 1953.

After the formation of the National Bus Company the Group was split up between Trent Motor Services (taking N&D) and East Midland Motor Services (taking M&D) at the start of 1969. However, the Midland General fleet were allowed to continue to run in their blue colour scheme, which was unusual as most NBC companies took the corporate livery.

Soon afterwards, at the end of 1971, MGOC was also absorbed: this time into Trent Motor Services.

The trading name Midland General lives on today still.

Web Links:

Books:

Book cover the Prestige Series No. 21: Midland General
by John Banks
1st Edition - June 2003
Publisher: Venture Publications Ltd
ISBN 1 898 432 899
17cm x 24cm, softback, 64 pages, 80 B&W illustrations
Book cover Midland General: with Notts & Derby
by Alan Oxley
1st Edition - December 1999
Publisher: Robin Hood Publishing
ISBN 0 948854 12 X
26cm x 22cm, hardback, 138 pages, B&W illustrations

Acknowledgements:

Many thanks to the following for their contributions towards this page:
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