Bristol MW

We continue our look at the vehicles that will assemble for the 29 June 2008 Stroud Running Day.

In one sense, the 43-45 seat Bristol MW bus was the bedrock of Stroud’s more rural services. It’s seating capacity was well suited to the number of peak time passengers carried throughout the 1960s. It came with the added bonus that all but the earliest deliveries were to a one man operation specification just at the time when Stroud, as elsewhere in the shire counties, operators needed to make necessary economies. Like the LS before it, that it could carry some 10 extra people tan the last of the Bristol Ls it replaced gave far more flexibility. Indeed, the MW saw off a number of crew-operated double decks.

MW Interior

The MW came with one distinct disadvantage. Many of Stroud’s buses (as opposed to downgraded coaches) came with a Gardner five cylinder engine. MWs may therefore be described as ‘steady’ at best and ‘sluggish’ at worst, on the more demanding of Stroud’s bus routes. And they were relatively ‘heavy’ to drive, too. Drivers didn’t particularly like then but, till the arrival of the RE many, this was the only single deck they tended to drive. The long climbs up Brimscombe Hill and Butterow, each towards Minchinhampton, tested the MW’s stamina to the limit. Yet, these routes were or a time almost exclusively MW operated. All these attributes gave the MW its character.

Three MWs are promised in service at Stroud on 29 June, with one static, giving nostalgia-seekers amble opportunity to witness at first hand what it was like travelling on full MWs up the steep Cotswold scarp. It remains quite a challenge for driver an bus.

More on the Bristol MW


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