AJN-825 - A bus for VE-day
A Brief History of AJN-825
AJN 825 was delivered new to Westcliff-on-Sea Motor Services at Southend on 31st March, 1939 and entered into service on 1st April, 1939. The chassis is a Bristol K type fitted with a Gardner 7 litre engine and a body built by Eastern Coach Works at Lowestoft built to carry 53 passengers being of the Lowbridge type at 13ft 6in high hence the long seats on the upper deck and sunken gangway.
It was fitted with a canvas sliding roof the runners and box which it slid back into are still there This was not a great success and the centre of the roof was panneled in in 1947.
During WW2 AJN was loaned to Bristol Tramways from 3rd March 1941 until 22nd November 1944, but returned to Southend for the last months of the war.
Please see YouTube channel for the copyright holder.
In 1955 Westcliff was absorbed into the Eastern National Omnibus Company and AJN painted green and cream.
AJN was withdrawn from service in 1960 and sent to the British Museum of Transport at Clapham London until the collection was disbanded and AJN was returned to Eastern National and was stored at Canvey Depot by 1969.
In 1971 a group of Eastern National staff restored AJN and formed the Eastern National Preservation Group which then became part of the Castle Point Transport Museum AJN 825 was on loan to the Museum until 1988 when it returned to Eastern National and again
looked after by members of Eastern National staff.
On December 14th 1996 AJN was badly damaged by fire whilst in winter storage at Walton Depot. Restoration work began in late 1996 again by Eastern National staff work not finishing until 2002 By 2005 the upper deck gangway was found to be rotten and the electrics were in need of replacement by this time AJN was part of First Essex heritage fleet but the company decided they could not spend any money on AJN so in February 2007 they sold it to the 825 Preservation Group who have spent the years since purchase on the continued restoration of AJN.
Many thanks to Martin Farmer for sharing the history of the wonderful bus with us all.