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More Falcons
at Aldershot & District
by Eric Nixon

In 1954 a further batch of 15 Dennis Falcon OMO vehicles were put into service by A&D, with registrations LOU 63 – 77. There were two versions of the Falcon available, forward control and normal control, A&D chose the latter P5 type. The new chassis had the bonnet with built up side mudguards to form a modern look. A pressed steel chromium plated radiator shell and chrome bumper completed the front assembly. The chassis was fitted with a Gardner 4LK 4 cylinder diesel engine and five speed gear box. An unusual feature was that the chassis was fitted with single rear wheels with rear shock absorbers. Strachans were once again chosen to build the bodies which were of the light aluminium frame type. They were a scaled down version of the Everest body built for the earlier MOR coaches. The body had sliding vent windows, a centre cream waistband, flanked by polished aluminium mouldings. There was a shaped cream moulding over the windows, a standard front destination display was fitted. There was a centre emergency door fitted in the rear panel with windows each side. A route number box was fitted into the rear emergency door. The registration plate was in an illuminated box set in the centre panel.

A power operated door led into the saloon, where forward facing pairs of seats for 30 persons were fitted. The seats were to the standard A & D specification. A further batch of 8 Falcons POR 421 – 428 were delivered in 1956. There were some small differences in the batch, the previous batch had two windows on the off side directly behind the windscreen: a small window and a larger driver’s signalling window. On later batches the two windows had become one, probably cutting out a blank spot. The LOU type had two rear lights incorporated into the registration box unit, whereas the lights on the POR series were fitted separately either side of the registration box. The vehicles were spread over all the Company’s depots including outstations. Withdrawal was started in 1965, the last going by 1967. Quite a number of the LOU batch were to see further service with Vaggs Coaches Ltd of Knockin Heath. The POR batch,with the exception of 421, were sold to the Isle of Man Road Services, Douglas, where they worked for a number of years. While there, some, if not all, were re-trimmed in red moquette with red leather facings. The first one, POR 421, had a new body built by A&D for tree cutting. It was painted in dark green livery. The POR batch were the last single deck chassis supplied by Dennis and the bodies were also the last delivered by Strachan, breaking a long tradition of vehicles supplied from the two companies.

We are fortunate that POR 428, numerically the last vehicle to be supplied to A&D, has been secured for preservation by a dedicated band of preservationists. By the time you read this the vehicle could hopefully be fully restored and ready for the public to see.

Dennis Falcon 249 (LOU 77)
Photographed at Petersfield Station between duties is 249 (LOU 77).
(Photo P J Holmes Collection)
 
Dennis Falcon 281 (POR 427)
One of the second batch, 281 (POR 427), seen on service 50, bound for Horsham. Note the revised driver’s windows.
(Photo Peter Trevaskis)
 
Also see
Early Falcons by Eric Nixon


From the Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group's Newsletter, Issue No. 48
March 2006

Aldershot & District Bus Interest Group Website


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