In 1952, Homeland Tours (the owners of “coachholidays.com“) purchased a Crellin-Duplex Patented half decker coach. Only 20 of these vehicles were ever built and it appears that the one operated by Homeland Tours, JVB 908, is the last remaining example of this unusual design.
It was described as a half decker by the Ministry of Transport as it was neither a single decker nor double decker vehicle. The attraction for coach operators was that you could provide 50 seats in comfort against the maximum of 41 in a conventional coach. As it was not so high as a double decker it did not have the problems with low bridges that were still common at that time.
From the central gangway you stepped either up or down into one of the compartments for 4 people.
In 1956 Homeland Tours sold their day excursion and private hire business together with their 10 coaches and concentrated on the sales and administration of the Wallace Arnold Tours programme from London and the South East.
JVB 908 was sold to Venture Transport of Hendon. In 1966 it was purchased from a coach company, Peggs of Caston, Norfolk by Mr R A Jenkinson who put it into storage with the eventual intention of restoring it to its former glory. This has been an expensive and time consuming task but he hopes it will be ready for the London-Brighton Preserved Commercial Vehicle run in May 2012.
This is a fabulous piece of history which we were so pleased to find, especially as it’s a part of our company’s past in the golden age of coach travel.
Photo’s copyrighted – Mal Jones