The Restoration of AEC Reliance CDK172L
When we acquired CDK we were fortunate to be given a copy of a Yelloway document detailing the purchase costs and subsequent ‘book value’ depreciation during it’s life with the company It shows that the chassis (AEC Reliance 6UZR23654) was purchased from AEC in December 1972 for the price of £5042-95. It is probable that the chassis was first delivered to Weir St for inspection and fitting of some additional items (such as an exhaust brake) before being shipped off to Plaxton in Scarborough for fitting of the body. The 11 metre Panorama Elite III body cost £6005-88 and CDK 172L entered Yelloway service with the 5 other members of the batch during the spring of 1973. Fitted with 49 rigid seats (most other Yelloway coaches were fitted with Chapman reclining seats) 172 began it’s service life on long distance express work including the 77 route between Blackburn and Clacton-on-Sea. Soon after she became the dedicated vehicle for the daily Rochdale to Llandudno service, a duty she performed regularly for a number of years before being replaced with a newer vehicle and relegation to more humble local duties such as the Fylde coast services. Withdrawal from Yelloway came early in 1986 some six months after Hubert Allen sold the business to AT Lavin (ATL Holdings Ltd) – this new owner preferring to operate vehicles such as Neoplans which ushered in a new era for the company, seeing the withdrawal and disposal of the familiar AEC / Leyland / Plaxton vehicles so synonymous with Yelloway for so many years. Devoid of Yelloway branding but still in the familiar colour scheme, on 20 May 1986 CDK 172L was sold to a Mr Sheppard of Newhey and so began a new life for the coach. Passing to various owners including, for a short time, Courtesy Coaches (now the ‘new’ Yelloway operation) CDK would have still been a regular sight in the north west although when purchased by Rothwells Travel in 1992 she was repainted into their livery and would have been somewhat disguised as a former Yelloway vehicle although the characteristic split boot doors would have been an easily distinguishable feature. Indeed, Steve recalls once passing CDK on the M6 whilst on route to a football match and recognising the pedigree of the coach! At some point she was also used as a mobile restaurant and had the seating layout altered so that seats were arranged around tables – evidence of which is still visible by the screw holes in CDK’s floor! CDK’s use on the relatively low mileage Llandudno service for so long and the high standards of maintenance at Yelloway have without doubt contributed to her survival although it is highly likely that maintenance after sale from Yelloway declined significantly to the point that when we purchased her she was in need of substantial repair.
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