Unique bus and building projects progress at Beamish

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The superb Leyland Cub rebuild looks totally authentic but hides a secret. NICK LARKIN











Nick Larkin reports on a project to make a classic bus accessible for the 21st century

Beamish, the expanding ‘Living Museum of the North,’ is celebrating the launch of its new 1950s terrace, which will open with a week of activities in late February, and now has a 1933 former Crosville Leyland Cub bus rebuilt to accommodate wheelchairs in regular use.

Seb Marshall, whose Surrey based Historic Vehicle Restorations carried out much of the work, described the project as ‘a ground-breaking first in the history of bus preservation.’

Beamish, already had a 2007 Iveco with replica vintage body capable of taking wheelchairs, but another vehicle was needed. Contact was made with Seb, and the decision taken to use an original vehicle rather than a replica. Leyland Cub FM 7443 was sourced by Seb, having run for Crosville until around 1950 before being converted for use as a mobile enquiry office. In 1960 it was sold to a builder and used as a reception area cum office.

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The dilapidated Cub before work began. BEAMISH COLLECTION












Finally the bus was sold to preservationist Tom Hollis, and then Crosville collector Dave Moores, who agreed to sell the vehicle to Beamish in 2014. It was delivered to Historic Vehicle Restorations as a complete wreck. “This really was a strip down to the chassis components rebuild,” said Seb.

Almost all the framing had to be replaced, and was sourced from a wide area. The original engine was rebuilt. A funding blip meant the neatly finished bus had to transported to Beamish. Finally the Cub could be sent to Gardiners Coach Repairs for finishing, including the fitting of a wheelchair lift. Phil Anderson painted the bus and created the superb decals.

Finally the Cub. which has 16 seats and space for two wheelchairs, was finished and is now in regular use carrying visitors around the vast Beamish site alongside tramcars and other buses in the museum’s fleet. These include recently acquired Daimler double-deckers 1954 Rotherham CVG6 with East Lancs bodywork KET 220 and 1964 former Darlington Roe-bodied Daimler CCG5, 304 VHN. The project was so successful that another Leyland Cub had been acquired, a 1939 Roe-bodied example new to West Riding, which will also be fitted with a wheelchair lift.

Driver Terry Pinnigar demonstrates the wheelchair lift. NICK LARKIN





















The replica Northern General depot opened in 2019 and is home to the museum’s bus fleet. NICK LARKIN











The Beamish fleet also includes this 1954 Rotherham Daimler CVG6 with East Lancs bodywork KET 220 and 1964 former Darlington Roe-bodied Daimler CCG5, 304 VHN. BEAMISH