The mainstay of the Bristol Omnibus single deck fleet during the 1940s and 1950s was the Bristol L. It was an example of a “half-cab”, so called because the driver occupied half of the front with the engine to his left. This arrangement meant that the vehicle seating capacity was restricted to no more than 35 and required a conductor to take fares.Over the years, Stroud operated 46 Bristol Ls with either five-cylinder Gardner or six-cylinder Bristol engines, including LHT 911, dating from 1948. It is a superb example of a Bristol L, with Bristol Bus Works B35R bodywork. It was withdrawn from Stroud in 1961.Service 400 as shown on the blind was one of Bristol Omnibus’ long-distance country routes for which it was famous. The 400 followed the 1950 reorganisation. The route survived until the early 1980s as the two hour ramble between Stroud, Nailsworth, Horsley, Wotton-under-Edge, Charfield, Yate and Bristol.
It was even possible to commute to Bristol from Stroud each weekday, bus leaving Stroud Bus Station at 0640, arriving Bristol (subject to traffic!) at 0840. Of course, this was not for the faint hearted.There was even a reverse flow leaving Bristol at 0640, which travelled largely empty until it picked up its first scholars at Horsley and then fare payers between Nailsworth and Stroud, over the last 20 minutes of its two hour journey!
The above picture of ex-Western National K and Bristol Omnibus Company L side-by-side and the ex-Western National Bristol L below are reminders of the post British Transport Commission rationalisation in Stroud in 1950/51. At that time, Bristol Omnibus exchanged its Forest of Dean operations with Red & White's Stroud routes and the Western National operations in Stroud passed to BOC.