Thursday, 14 November 2013

AEC Swift Speed Limits

The concerns raised regarding speed limits for tyres in the old Great Yarmouth AEC Swifts brought a further response from regular contributor Syd Eade

The speed limit signs were also in every Eastern Counties( ECOC) bus cab, but they didn't specifically refer to the tyres. However the ECOC cabs did have a sign that said 'TYRE DAMAGE Do Not Curb' which always fascinated me due to the spelling of kerb.

The reason for it was the tyres for service buses were designed for use up to a constant 50mph. Coaches had higher rated ones so could cruise at 70mph, if the roads were suitable, and so any damage/injury caused by a blow out above 50mph would invalidate the bus insurance. It doesn't mean they were dangerous at 52mph, but if you drove a bus down to London on a dual carriageway at a higher cruising speed the tyres would heat up beyond the design capabilities. To prevent this happening ECOC used to limit ALL their buses to 50mph on the governors, which I can assure you was a real pain on long journeys like the Lowestoft to Glasgow. Ambling up the A1 at night with all the other coaches flying past for hours on end could be frustrating!

Swift PEX170K in Whapload Road, Lowestoft in August 1985 Copyright SYD EADE
Swifts tended to not have such attentions at Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth Corporations and many would happily reach 60mph or more without any sign of stress. Of course as the public rarely travelled outside the 30mph zones on them they were not aware of this feature.

One regular exception to this was the when the Birds Eye factory in Great Yarmouth closed and many staff were re-located to work at Lowestoft instead. A contract to ferry workers was won by Great Yarmouth Transport and for some years the Swifts became a regular sight in the Suffolk town at shift change times. I have a photo of Willowbrook no 70 PEX170K returning home with the 6am-2pm shift in August 1985'

Thank you Syd for your contribution

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