Fylde Borough Seddon RU 47 STJ847L

Seddon 47 awaiting restoration
The Seddon RU was a short lived model of which 274 were built between 1969 and 1974. Early examples suffered from design flaws - mainly a short prop shaft - but by the time Lytham St. Annes purchased its six in 1972 most of these had been resolved. Despite this only 18 more were built. Crosville was the main operator with 100 foist on it by NBC with bodywork from Seddon's in house subsidiary Pennine Coachcraft. Lancashire United Transport had 50 with Plaxton bodywork. 

Lytham's six (45-50 STJ845-850L) were bought to convert routes 1 (Lytham to St. Annes viaAnsdell) and 3 (Lytham to Spring Gardens via Fairhaven and St. Annes) to OMO operation in 1972. They also ran on existing OMO routes 2 (St. Annes to Smithy Lane) and 4 (St. Annes to Lytham Green Drive) and later on the trunk 11/11A (Blackpool to Lytham) routes too. At seven years old they required an overhaul and 46 was the first treated, in early 1979. 49 missed out due to serious accident damage sustained in 1978. 46 received single door conversion from B47D to B51F arrangement. 45, 47, 48 and 50 followed suit with the last not completed until early 1981. These four received a stylish variation of blue white and yellow livery adopted once Lytham St. Annes Corporation had grown into Fylde Borough Council in 1974.
Seddon 47 at Green Drive terminus - in 1982, in the condition to which it will be restored (Brian Turner)
The Seddons saw quite sparse use - Fylde had far too many vehicles for the work required, having built up a coach fleet using bus grant. This required the vehicles to spend six months of the year on bus work so in the winter Leopard coaches stood in for single deck buses and the Panthers, Seddons and REs didn't get much of a look in! That said it was something of a shock to hear that the Panthers and Seddons were to be withdrawn in spring 1982 to cut costs and reduce the losses being sustained. The five Seddon survivors came off in June and were parked up in the yard. Unlike most other Seddons an eager buyer was found for four - 45-47 and 50 headed south to Clydach near Swansea. 48 went to Crosville for spares, 49 was scrapped.

East End Garage of Clydach had acquired several of Burnley's Seddons and snapped up the fourFylde ones plus the operator's stock of spares. In 1991 it bought six of Darlington's eight, replacing several of the Burnley ones. By 1997 two of the four Fylde ones had been scrapped but 47 and 50 were still in use alongside Darlington 62, 63 and 68 (plus spares donors 66 and 67). The last Burnley example RHG314K was tucked away withdrawn.
The interior of 47 at East End Coaches, Clydach in August 1997 (Paul Turner)
Following discussions with the general manager 47 was earmarked for preservation and fortunately survived a depot fire in 1999. This destroyed Darlington 63, 66 and 67 and badly damaged Fylde 50 - but 47 and the other two Darlington's survived. By the end of 2000 47 was the only one in use and its MOT expired in January 2001 bringing over 28 years service (albeit quite easy service with 10 years at Fylde and 18 on school runs in South Wales!). True to his word, 47 was kept intact by the manager and was duly bought for preservation joining the LTT in 2001, returning to the Fylde in 2003. In February 2014 it joined the Fylde Bus Collection under new ownership.