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The LGOC B-type is a model of double-decker bus that was introduced in London on 1910. It was both built and operated by the London General Omnibus Company (LGOC).

History

B-type buses were built in Walthamstow and replaced the X-type bus. It had a 34 seat capacity and is often considered to be the first mass-produced bus. The first bus began carrying passengers in 1911. By 1913 around 2500 had entered service.

The B-type was designed by Frank Searle, who was chief engineer of the LGOC. It had a wooden frame, steel wheels, a worm drive and chain gearbox. Its top speed was 16 miles per hour (26 km/h), which was above the legal speed limit at that time of 12 miles per hour (19 km/h). However the vehicle could reach 30–35 miles per hour (48–56 km/h) under the right conditions.

B-types carried 16 passengers inside and had seats for 18 on the uncovered top deck. These outside seats were fitted with wet-weather canvas covers. Electric lighting was introduced from 1912, and headlights in 1913. Before this, it was thought that interior lighting would render the bus sufficiently visible at night.

World War I service

A total of 900 of the buses were used to move troops behind the lines during World War I. After initially serving without any modifications and in their red-and-white livery, they were painted khaki, and had their windows removed and the openings covered with 2-inch-thick planks to provide some limited protection. The B-Type could carry 24 fully equipped infantrymen and their kit. Some were converted into mobile pigeon lofts to house the pigeons used for communication along the front. They served until the end of the war when they were used to bring troops home. The Imperial War Museum preserves one of these buses, B43, known as Ole Bill after the contemporary cartoon character.