The history of AFM 103 G - Part 2 : The National Express years (1973-1981)

  AFM103G was then repainted into NBC Express livery, probably in 1973, whilst still allocated to Heswall. There is a record of it being in works on 13th May 1973 and this may have been so that it could be repainted.

A pictues exists on the KDH Archive of it in Llandudno looking very shiny on 16th June 1973Thanks to Richard Diment for this picture of it in Llandudno in 1974 working the, Summer only, service 892 from Wallasey.


Photo copyright: Richard Diment
  
Crosville National Express Services Booklet 1973
   From the winter of 1973, most of Crosville's express coach services became part of the National Express network, consisting of:
     
   850Liverpool - Birkenhead - Chester - M6 - M1 - London
   851Liverpool - Runcorn - M6 - M1 - London
   853Liverpool - Chester - Birmingham - Stratford upon Avon - Oxford - London
   854Liverpool - Chester - Birmingham - Stratford upon Avon - Oxford - London
   857Liverpool - Birkenhead - Chester - Wrexham - Caernarfon
   861Liverpool - Chester - Newtown - Llandrindod Wells - Brecon - Merthyr Tydfil -Cardiff
   863Liverpool - Birkenhead - Rhyl - Llandudno
   864Liverpool - Birkenhead - St Asaph - Caernarfon
   866Liverpool - Birkenhead - St Asaph - Cemaes Bay
     
   Crosville also retained some services within it's own 'X' network such as:
 X10 Liverpool-Birkenhead-Chester-Wrexham-Oswestry-Machynlleth-Aberystwyth
 X68 Pwllheli-Blaenau Ffestiniog-Denbigh-Mold-Birkenhead-Liverpool
 X69 Pwllheli-Blaenau Ffestiniog-Denbigh-Mold-Chester-Manchester
 X74 Llanidloes-Abermule-Oswestry-Chester-Birkenhead-Liverpool
 X75 Llanidloes-Abermule-Oswestry-Chester-Manchester
   The X10 service from Liverpool shown above formed part of a 'Welsh Cheltenham' where numerous services interchanged at Aberystwyth on Saturdays in the Summer. Other Crosville examples being:
 X32 Llandudno-Dolgellau-Aberystwyth
 X60 Caernarvon-Aberystwyth
 X62 Pwllheli-Aberystwyth
 X70 Birmingham-Aberystwyth

I have to thank Graham Senior for this picture of AFM in Chirk on a school trip in July 1975.

Photo copyright: Graham Senior
  In early 1976, after seven years service, AFM103G was taken for overhaul. It received a reconditioned engine on 10th Jan 1976 and the overhaul was completed in Feb 1976.
This photo, again from Richard Diment, shows it in Rhyl on a private hire working in 1976.


Photo copyright: Richard Diment
  Crosville tended to allocate vehicles to divisions (groups of depots) rather than specific ones and by October 1976 it was allocated to the more general 'Merseyside division', however it is likely that it still operated from Heswall.
The third of Richard's photos show it near London Victoria working service 850 in July 1976. The destination (Woodside, the bus/coach/ferry interchange in Birkenhead) would be known to locals returning home but would cause some confusion for travellers in London looking for the coach to Birkenhead!.


Photo copyright: Richard Diment
 
 
  
Photo copyright: Graham Senior
Another photo from Graham Senior shows it at Thurstaston in March 1979. In August 1979 it was modified to allow one-man operation by adding fittings to hold a ticket machine. This would allow it's use on bus services, however it retained National Express livery. By March 1980 it was officially at Heswall again, and in April 1980 it was transferred to Crewe depot from which it was withdrawn in April 1981.

However, in July 1981 it was reinstated to Rock Ferry depot to cover for the loss of sister vehicle CRG107 in an accident. It remained here until final withdrawal in November 1981. In was quickly sent to Sealand Road works in Chester where it was seen on 21st November.