ONO 59 - 1949 Bristol K5G
Eastern Coach Works L27/28R body
Eastern National No. 4038 / 1327 / 2255
Built in 1949, this bus has a 'Lowbridge' version of the Tilling Group's standard Eastern Coach Works body, originally to 55 seat, L27/28R form.
New to Eastern National as fleet number 4038, later renumbered 1327 and further re-numbered 2255, this bus covered approximately 550,000 miles in service in Essex and the Eastern fringes of London. The original livery was 'Tillings green' and cream, the same livery as Lincolnshire Road Car. Depot allocations with Eastern National included Chelmsford (CF) in its early years, and later Basildon (BN) and Clacton (CN). The Clacton allocation may have been (in common with many EN vehicles in their later years) for the Summer season service enhancements.
|As Eastern National No.
1327 at Clacton Bus Station on service 115 to Clacton Wargrave Road. Date
uncertain, but prior to the 1964 renumbering scheme.
(c) Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group
On reaching 'retirement' age, this bus was selected in winter 1966 / 67 by a group of students from South Essex from a batch of buses that had recently been withdrawn from service. They converted the bus to a mobile caravan, complete with bunk beds, cooker and kitchen sink, and a driver / top deck communication device (made from a hoover tube). Platform doors were also fitted - ONO 59 had been an open platform bus in service.
From January to August 1967, the bus covered 120,000 miles through 20 countries around the world, setting off via France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan to India, narrowly avoiding armed conflict in the middle east at the time. From India, the bus travelled to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, by this time each side of the bus was adorned with a large 'Union Jack' based livery, and advertising claiming it to be a 'London double deck bus'. The next stage of the journey was to the USA via Central America. Finally, the bus returned to the UK via Belgium.
|'ONO' on tour, in Perth, Western Australia, 1967. Photos - John Ward collection|
Having completed this adventure without any serious mechanical difficulty, the students were reluctant to see the bus go for scrap and wanted it to go to a good home. The bus was presented to the LVVS by Mr S Twell of Ingham, a dealer, who was then the Vice-President of the Society.
"Ono" was then used for many years as the Society's Tender Vehicle and mobile accommodation, but has now been off the road for some years.
We are also seeking Eastern National destination blinds for this bus and any further information about what ENOC garages it was allocated to in service.
Also, ONO 59 lost its cast front registration plate before it left on its world tour. Does anyone have this in their collection? It would be good to re-unite it with the bus!
Click here for a photograph of ONO 59 ready to depart on its tour
Click here for an article in the 'Southend Echo' marking 40 years since the journey
|ONO 59 at the LVVS shortly after arrival||ONO 59 in the early 70's. crossing London's Chelsea Bridge - probably on the way home from the London - Brighton Rally.|
|ONO 59 in 1971
(courtesy Tom Deakin collection)
|ONO 59 in 1986 - opposite the (now demolished) Lincolnshire Road Car garage at St Marks, about to set off to the London - Brighton Rally|
A thorough restoration is now taking place, with assistance from PRISM grant
More about progress prior to 2016 can be seen on this page.
Summer 2016 Progress -
It has been a busy time in the workshop so far this summer. The major focus of attention is ONO 59, which is having a lot of attention to its woodwork. Both saloons have had the coving plates replaced along with work on the lower deck floor and front bulkhead and platform area.
The front destination box is being rebuilt, lino has been ordered for fitting later in the summer, and some seats are now complete and are being trial fitted.
| above -
Front framework being replaced - 4 June 2016
below - upper deck coving plates replaced, 8 June 2016
| above -
Lower deck 'bench seats' under construction - 4 June 2016
below - rear framework being replaced,10 June 2016
| above -
Upper deck seat frames ready for seat cushions - 4 June 2016
below - two Eastern National Clacton depot allocation plates, recently donated to us for the restoration by Mr Brian Young
| above -
Upper deck seats ready for trial fit - June 2016
below - view through rear destination blind windows (awaiting re-fitting of destination blind box) - July 2016
| above -
framework between decks, rear offside - 22 June 2016
below - wiring for nearside indicator receiving attention - 10 July 2016
| above - new
cover for front destination box - July 2016
below - old and new - when the seats were removed for conversion to a caravan, the mounting bolts were cut through. A new set has been made.
|above - a week in July - new framework in place, painted with primer, and panelling going on.|
More and larger resolution photos can be seen on this album on our Facebook page
|above - New
and repaired framework - 29 July 2016
below - electrical work in progress - 6 August 2016
| above -
Front dome under repair - 2 August 2016
below - upper deck interior panelling - 10 August 2016
| above -
Off-side panelling - 3 August 2016
below - lower deck - 10 August 2016
|above - Staircase - 11 August 2016||above - trial fit of Clacton depot allocation plate - 10 August 2016||above - rear dome under repair - 13 August 2016|
|ONO 59 - September 2016
above - upper deck floor showing new gangway coving panels, lower deck floor showing new lino, and re-fitted offside window pans
left - offside panels and window pans
right - rear framework and panelling.
|Bristol K5G ONO 59. Above - lower
deck window pans primed, and lower deck interior panels painted, 25 September
Below - front offside, 19 October 2016, and new reproduction front number plate and Eastern National fleet number plates - these have been made by Tippers of St Austell, generously sponsored by Brian Young.
December 2016 - Bristol K5G / ECW, ONO 59 - Paul's
work on the timberwork is nearing completion, and preparation on the paintwork
is continuing ready for the painting season.
Jan 2017 - Tillings Green paint has started to be applied (undercoat at this stage) to ONO 59 (pictures taken 11.12.16)
April / May 2017 - Recent progress includes new woodwork at top of the staircase, lower deck saloon paintwork, new upper deck interior panelling receiving coat of primer, and new front end woodwork including destination box frame. Externallly, it has now received body-side straps / beading and is having repairs to the staircase. Various small parts including the bonnet side cover and destination box are being painted.
September 2017 - Paintwork continues, and lower deck seats have been trial-fitted.
December 2017 - Painting is well in hand, seats are being fitted and most of the windows re-installed.
A destination blind has been donated by one of our members after it surfaced in Essex
|ONO 59 platform, 10 October 2017||above Clacton depot
right - more filling - 13 November 2017
|ONO 59 - undercoat on upper deck floor, 18 November 2017||ONO 59 - upper deck floor
20 November 2017
|ONO 59 - upper deck seats
25 November 2017
|left - ONO 59 - upper
deck seats being 'test driven' - 25 November 2017
right - ONO 59 - upper deck seats in place - 7 December 2017
April 2018 - Lots of smaller jobs have been progressed during the winter. Panelling is now complete, with beading being finished off. The platform handrail and used ticket box have been fitted and the seats are all in. If it had been warm enough we could have painted it!
above - beading being fitted
right - platform handrail in place
|May 2018 - ONO 59 has now had its first top coat
(photos 17 May 2018)
page updated 20.5.18