Portsmouth’s red and white buses which are still going strong

DTP 823 on a 1948 Leyland chassis and currently being restored. It was rescued in 1982 when it was being used to train people to rescue victims trapped in simulated accidents.
DTP 823 on a 1948 Leyland chassis and currently being restored. It was rescued in 1982 when it was being used to train people to rescue victims trapped in simulated accidents.
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The dark red and white colours of Portsmouth’s buses were a familiar sight all over the city until the late 1980s and many of the vehicles still survive today thanks to a local preservation group.

That organisation retained the same initials as the former operator – CPPTD – which was the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department and is now the City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport Depot.

CTP 200, a 1944 Bedford, which has a replica body but the original chassis and wheels. It was painted  in Second World War grey livery for many years, but last winter was painted into normal colours. It's powered by a six-cylinder petrol engine and turned many heads which it passed through Drayton earlier this year.

CTP 200, a 1944 Bedford, which has a replica body but the original chassis and wheels. It was painted in Second World War grey livery for many years, but last winter was painted into normal colours. It's powered by a six-cylinder petrol engine and turned many heads which it passed through Drayton earlier this year.

Between 1992 and 2003 the preservation group had a temporary home in Broad Street, Old Portsmouth when as many as 20,000 people a year sampled monthly free rides around the city.

Many of the vehicles still survive thanks to the preservation group with some on display at the Milestones Museum near Basingstoke. These include a late 1920s’ Thornycroft as well as Portsmouth’s sole remaining tramcar, No84.

Other vehicles, owned by the City Museum and looked after by the volunteers at their Portchester depot include a Crossley Condor converted from a breakdown vehicle about 1949; RV 720 which dates from 1931 and RV 3411 which dates from 1932.

‘The latter,’ says bus enthusiast John Kinchen, from Drayton, ‘was one of a pair converted for use as a Tower wagon for servicing the trolleybus overhead wires until they finished running on July 27, 1963 – a sad day for many people, the end of the silent service and fume-free transport.’

LRV 996 came to Portsmouth in 1956 and converted to open-top about 1970. It was the one used by Harry Redknapp and the triumphant Pompey team when they returned to Portsmouth with the FA Cup in 2008. In November 2004 it was used as a float in the Lord Mayor's Show in London.

LRV 996 came to Portsmouth in 1956 and converted to open-top about 1970. It was the one used by Harry Redknapp and the triumphant Pompey team when they returned to Portsmouth with the FA Cup in 2008. In November 2004 it was used as a float in the Lord Mayor's Show in London.

John has provided today’s pictures.

ORV 989 was part of a batch of 15 buses delivered to Portsmouth in 1958/59. This one ended its life as a driver-trainer until it was damaged in a rear end shunt. It has been restored and repainted by the CPPTD volunteers.

ORV 989 was part of a batch of 15 buses delivered to Portsmouth in 1958/59. This one ended its life as a driver-trainer until it was damaged in a rear end shunt. It has been restored and repainted by the CPPTD volunteers.