New To: Barton Transport
Chassis: Bedford VAL14 1115
Body: Yeates Europa 0013 C50D
Delivered in July 1963 to Barton Transport as part of a batch of 7 similar vehicles, 966 is fitted with a Yeates coach body, seating a total of 50 passengers. The bus is the last surviving Barton Bedford VAL. Barton’s operated around 30 Bedford VALs, with some entering the fleet as late as the 1960s. These VALs were all secondhand and became part of the fleet when Barton bought Hall Brothers.
Although this vehicle is a Bedford VAL, it is actually powered by a Leyland 400 engine that is situated at the front of the vehicle. It has relatively small wheels, this gives the perception of the vehicle being very long but surprisingly it is actually only 10.6m long.
This particular vehicle is interesting because as it has two doors, not the first around with this feature, but it was still pretty revolutionary in 1963. 966 was designed with work services in mind, the dual door layout allowing workers to entering and exiting at the same time.
966 was based out of Ilkeston Garage for most of its life, it could be seen regularly at weekends either on excursions to Skegness or on the X9 express service. It is a nice relatively flat route for the VALs because they only have moderately small engines.
966 has recently moved home, after the owner was given notice to move the vehicle out of another local preservation group. A few days later we welcomed the vehicle and its owner with open arms. It is now stored alongside the rest of the collection.
Relevance To The Collection
966 is the last surviving Barton VAL and is also the oldest VAL on the rally circuit.