WEB 410T Vehicle History
From the mid 1970’s Premier Travel implemented an annual fleet renewal programme with the purchase of several new vehicles each year allowing the retirement of older members of the fleet. The order for 1978 comprised 6 AEC Reliance chassis to be bodied by Plaxton, which had become their preferred body supplier, with coach bodies fitted with express doors. These vehicles were delivered in the summer / autumn with the ‘Supreme III’ body style however, the 1979 order (delivered in February 1979) had received the updated ‘Supreme IV’ body giving the vehicles a slightly more modern look. These were the last AEC chassis to be taken by Premier as production of this mark was to cease and subsequent deliveries were (initially) to be on the Leyland Leopard chassis, modified slightly to Premier’s own specification.
WEB 410T began operating for Premier Travel Ltd in February 1979 as their fleet number 280 (Chassis - AEC Re 6U3ZR37602, Body - Pn 7911AXM521) it’s livery being the two-tone blue version adopted in 1973. It was initially to be seen operating on express and longer stage carried routes but soon settled down to being a general purpose vehicle working private hire and contract services too. Premier had for many years allocated vehicles to individual drivers and 410 was to come under the care of Cyril Sadler a long serving Premier driver who worked for the company from 1960 to 1986.
So the next 9 years saw 410 earning it’s keep across the Premier Travel network but 1988 was to see a change for the company. With retirement in mind, the company directors decided to split the operation into two - the coaching arm and the travel agency business - and sell each part. Initially the coaching arm was to have been bought by the newly established Cambus Holdings Ltd (which had come into existence following the break up of the National Bus group) but a last minute bid was submitted by a group of employees backed by the AJS group. They were successful and from 30 June 1988 Premier Travel Services took over the coach operation with WEB 410T transferring to them retaining it’s original 2 tone blue livery although at some stage losing it’s double arrow symbols as this logo was now the property of the separate Premier Travel Agency.
In 1990 the Premier Travel Services business was itself split into two – part of the operation went on to become Cambridge Coach Services, the other part was sold to Cambus Holdings Ltd (CHL) who inherited the majority of the fleet including WEB 410T.
The new operation continued operations under the Premier Travel Services name, adopting a new livery based on that of the Viscount (of Peterborough) operation also owned by CHL. Most of the older vehicles which transferred to CHL ownership were quickly withdrawn and sold off however, the 1978/9 ‘T’ plate AEC’s (excluding WEB 409T which went to CCS) were retained. All eventually lost their blue or silver liveries but it wasn’t until after the purchase of the Miller Bus operation in February 1992 that both 410 & 411 received a repaint into a white livery with blue/red stripes and ‘Millers of Cambridge’ lettering.
Subsequently the Cambus operation was sold to Stagecoach in early 1996 and WEB 410T was soon withdrawn and made available for sale.
WEB 410T was duly purchased and was initially leased to the Knotty Bus & Coach operation in Staffordshire (owned by the well known preservationist and restoration expert Martyn Hearson aka ‘Renown’ now of the Reliance Busworks business) and operated local stage and school services. It was later purchased by Knotty along with sisters 407, 408 & 411. Upon the cessation of the Knotty business 410 passed briefly to DA Travel, then in August 2000 WEB 410T was sold again (although had by then been re-registered as IUI 6410 in June 1998), this time being operated by Bowkers Coaches of Alsager until final withdrawal in 2003 thus completing it’s service life of 24 years.
410 sat in various compounds for the next 3 years gradually deteriorating before we went along to inspect her with a view to restoration. Although complete and drivable it is going to take a large amount of work both mechanically and structurally to bring this vehicle back to pristine condition again.
© The Premier WEB 410T Project 2017