The Bus Up the Dale


Sunter Bros, Ltd, Boroughbridge Rd, Northallerton
T/A Broadway Coaches
Fleet List 1949-1960

The following List has been compiled from a variety of sources and with the kind assistance of many individuals. We started with a photographic archive kindly assembled for us by the redoubtable Philip Battersby of the United Enthusiasts’ Club.  John Bennett and colleagues of his in the Omnibus Society came up with both photographs and vehicle histories from their files, as did David Hayward, Deputy Editor of Vintage Roadscene magazine. Bob Kell of the North-East Bus Preservation Trust is another transport aficionado who has given us a lot of help in this regard. Photographs from the Sunter family’s own collections helped to fill in a few gaps. All the details were then carefully scrutinized by Tom “Fire” Sunter’s nephew, George Sunter Percival (1934-2008), who worked for Sunter Bros from 1952 to 1973 and was well acquainted with many of these coaches. Incidentally, George’s father was a Wensleydale Percival, rather than a Swaledale Percival: if you go back far enough, the two families are indeed connected, but some histories misleadingly state that the Percivals of Gunnerside were related to the “Fire” Sunters (also of Gunnerside), which is not really the case. George’s surname is thus a Red Herring for the purposes of this project!

There was previously no definitive Sunter’s Fleet List, and it may well be that the following List contains errors and omissions (they mostly do). We have checked and verified details wherever we could. This is easier with coaches registered in the immediate area (North Riding or Darlington) as we can readily get at the details in the local Record Offices. The forthcoming book, The Bus Up the Dale, will include detailed Fleet Lists—probably in an Appendix, so as not to overwhelm the non-bus-enthusiast reader—which will be as full and accurate as we can make them: meanwhile we aim here to furnish simply make and model and registration number.

We intend including as many photographs as possible (at least one picture of every bus of which any image exists) in the book. Of the 37 or 38 buses known to have been run by Sunter’s between 1949 and 1960, thanks to the enthusiast community and the Sunter family we have photographs of 23 or 24 altogether. Where a photograph of a particular vehicle happens to be commercially available, or is known to be circulating among transport enthusiasts, we have indicated who the current Copyright-holder or distributor is believed to be, where possible. If you are a collector of bus photographs you will know that Copyright on such images is often jealously guarded, which is one reason why this web site is not full of bus pictures.  Another reason is—we want you to buy the book when it comes out, rather than just ogling photographs on the Internet!

So—the Fleet List, as it currently stands:–

JR 9802
Thornycroft Beauty-Ride, 1939 model
Beadle 26-seat bus body
An early acquisition, not retained for long.

TY 9490, second-hand 1949, off the road by the end of 1950
Gilford, 1932 model
Wycombe 31-seat coach

EVN 685, registered February 1949, last licensed in the name of Jopling Bros, Durham Rd, Birtley, 17. i. 62
Crossley SD42
Burlingham 33-seat coach
Bought new.

EVN 686, registered February 1949, last licensed 31. xii. 56 in the name of Sunter Bros
Crossley SD42
Burlingham 33-seat coach
Bought new. Photographed by Roy Marshall.

FPY 67, acquired second-hand but unused 1949/1950, kept until finish, last licensed 28. ii. 63
Foden PVSC6
Plaxton 33-seat coach
Previously registered LVK 373 in May 1948.

FPY 542, first registered 17. viii. 49, last licensed 3. xii. 59
Guy Arab 6LW
Burlingham 33-seat coach
Bought new.

FVN 738, first registered March 1950
A.E.C. Regal III Diesel
Burlingham 33-seat coach
Bought new, sold on before finish.
Photographed by Roy Marshall—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 49.

FVN 739, first registered March 1950, last licensed 8. xii. 60
A.E.C. Regal III Diesel
Burlingham 33-seat coach
Bought new.
Photographed by Roy Marshall on Darlington Market Place—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 49.

RJ 8714, second-hand 1950, noted by R. L. Kell with contractors Thomas Mouget & Co., 1959
A.E.C. Regal
English Electric 30-seat bus body

GPY 17, registered 2. viii. 50, last licensed 31. xii. 58
Leyland Tiger PS2 Diesel
Believed to have been bought new.
Photographed by Roy Marshall in Northallerton—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 49. Also standing nearest camera in a Catterick Camp photograph in the Stilltime collection—ref. AAT 641.

GVN 581, registered 1. iv. 51, kept until 1960, last licensed 31. v. 65
Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1
Burlingham “Seagull” 37-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 51.

GVN 983, registered May 1951, kept until 1960
Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1
Burlingham “Seagull” 35-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall.

HAJ 300, registered June 1951, sold on late 1959
Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1
Burlingham “Seagull” 39-seat coach

HPY 459, registered February 1952, kept until 1960
A.E.C. Regal IV
Burlingham “Seagull” 41-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 50.

HPY 460, registered 24. ii. 52, last licensed in the name of Frank Handley, Dringhouses, 30. iv. 61
A.E.C. Regal IV
Burlingham “Seagull” 41-seat coach
Appears in several photographs in the Stilltime collection, taken at Catterick Camp: image ref. AAT 639 affords the best view, but image ref. AAT 632 gives a rear view, while HPY 460 is also visible in image ref. AAT 634.

HAJ 536, second-hand late 1952, last licensed 31. xii. 59
A.E.C. Regal III Diesel
Gurney Nutting 37-seat coach
Appears in at least two Stilltime collection photographs at Catterick Camp: front view, ref. AAT 634, and rear view, ref. AAT 632.

GBU 96, second-hand May 1953
A.E.C. Regal III Diesel
Duple 33-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall: this photograph is in the Omnibus Society collection.

AGV 696, second-hand September 1953, sold on July 1955
Leyland Tiger PS1
Strachans 32-seat coach

FFY 260, second-hand September 1953
Leyland Tiger PS1
Santus 33-seat coach

KHN 572, second-hand September 1953 (new 1. iii. 48), noted with a contractor in 1957
Maudslay Marathon III
Santus 33-seat coach

AWG 589, second-hand July 1954, kept until finish
Foden PVS6C
Burlingham 33-seat coach

FRX 428, acquired second-hand, scrapped 1959
T.S.M. (Tilling-Stevens)
Dutfield 33-seat coach

MUG 874, acquired second-hand, sold on
Bedford OB
A.C.B. 29-seat coach

MAJ 285, registered March 1955, kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach

MAJ 429, registered March 1955, kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall on Darlington Market Place, also by Peter Yeoman (picture in the Omnibus Society collection) on Castle Square, Caernarvon, with a subsequent owner.

NVN 885, registered April 1956, kept until finish
Commer Avenger 2-stroke
Plaxton “Venturer” 41-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall—as seen in Vintage Roadscene no. 131 (October 2010), p. 50.

UHN 890, second-hand 1958 (new to Scott’s Greys 3. vi. 54), kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Burlingham “Seagull” 41-seat coach

VHN 190, second-hand 1958 (new to Scott’s Greys 9. vii. 54), kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Burlingham “Seagull” 41-seat coach

RPY 934, second-hand April 1959 (new to Wesley Harker 29. i. 58), kept until finish
Austin LD
14-seater minibus
Known to Sunter’s men as “Leaping Lena”.

TPY 85, registered December 1958, kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach
Photograph available from Photobus (with later operator).

TPY 920, registered February 1959, retained by Tom Fire’s nephew George for Private Hire work until 1965
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach
Photograph available from P.M. Photography (with later operator). Photographed by Roy Marshall alongside TVN 66 (with Sunter’s).

TVN 66, registered February 1959, kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach
Photographed by Roy Marshall alongside TPY 920.

VAJ 61, registered October 1959, passed to Percival’s November 1960
Bedford SB1
Duple “Super Vega” 41-seat coach
Photographs available (with third owner) from P.M. Photography and in the Omnibus Society collection.

VAJ 62, registered October 1959, kept until finish
Bedford SB1
Duple “Super Vega” 41-seat coach
Not taken on by Percival’s in November 1960, as the engine was making a sinister noise...

VAJ 63, registered October 1959, passed to Percival’s November 1960
Bedford SB1
Duple “Super Vega” 41-seat coach

VVN 760, registered February 1960, kept until finish
A.E.C. Reliance
Duple “Britannia” 41-seat coach

WVN 487, registered June 1960, kept until finish
Bedford SB1
Duple “Super Vega” 41-seat coach

To be placed:-
GDM 682
Thornycroft
Photographed by Roy Marshall “On Hire” to Sunter Bros but with no legal lettering on the side panel: this, as you may know, is an old trick for operators who have just bought a bus and are in a hurry to put it on the road. It seems more than possible that this was a Sunter’s saloon: we eagerly await further information from anyone who may possess it.

Sunter’s ceased coaching in November 1960, whereafter they concentrated on the heavy haulage for which they were always better known.

Return to Home Page