With thanks to Paul Harrison
I will never forget the day I told my parents I had bought a double-decker bus. I chose to tell my father first, while we were driving somewhere together. I enlisted his support to tell my mother because I didn't have the nerve, and when asked what sort of bus it was, I remember saying "Its identical to the one Reg Varney used to drive in ON THE BUSES.
For me ON THE BUSES was about buses, and I was intensely disappointed if an episode went by without any shots of one of Luxton and Distruct handsome green double-deckers. The reason I was transfixed every week was simple- I travelled on those same buses to school almost every day. For most young boys, the dream of becoming an airline pilot or train driver was the norm. But I was weir- I wanted to drive a bus, just like Stan, and despite the fact I chose a career in Public Relations, I did fulfill my dream, one day in 1968.
Eastern and National.
It is a well known fact that On The Buses was filmed at London Wood Green, depot of the Eastern National Omnibus Company. From this depot, every day, the 251 service to Southend would operate, via the town of Rayleigh and right past my door.
These buses were Bristol FLF-type Lodekkas fitted with 70-seat bodies built by Eastern Coachworks of Lowestoft. Those used in OTB were delivered to ENOC in 1967/68 and fitted with semi-automatic transmission and Gardner 6LX 10,225cc diesel engine. The Lodekka revolutionized bus design in the late 1950's by offering center aisles upstairs and down, but with an overall height of just 13ft 6ins, hence the name Lodekka. Many automatics were produced between 1954 and 1968, the ultimate being the semi-auto FLF, or flat floor, long wheel base Front entrance version.
I remember travelling on vehicles used in the series during the run. For example, AEV 811F (fleet number 2917) was a real favorite, and frequent runner on the 251. One week AEV was missing for two days, it was being used for filming "ON THE BUSES".
The other regular was AVF 399F (fleet number 2930) AVW is the bus that features in the infamous "Radio Control" episode.
In Inspectors Pet we see WWC 743 (fleet number 2913)
In Vacancy for Inspector WWC 741F (fleet number 2911) can be seen
In Lost Proprty the bus is AEV 811F and AVW 399F.
All ENOC buses also carried home identification plates above the fleet number plate on the front raditor cowl. Look carefully at the episodes and you will see BD (Brentwood depot) WG (Wood Green) BN (Basildon) or SD for (Southend)