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During the Second World War, British bus chassis manufacturers were directed to instead assist the war effort and could not produce buses. The DRTT's last five bus chassis, all AEC Regents, were bodied by Waddingtons of Granville to a revised design that was able to be built on both double decker (rear platform) and single decker bus chassis.
These had two entrances in the same location as the single decker 'halfcabs' of the day. These entrances were fitted with canvas concertina doors. The stairs were also moved forward to be ahead of the rear axle, and the design seated 30 passengers upstairs and 27 downstairs. This design was not highly regarded by bus crews - the front door was considered difficult to supervise, and the narrow entrances caused delays whilst loading and unloading.
1694 was the second of the five bodied with the revised design (1693 - 1697). The order was placed with Waddingtons in late 1940, with the buses entering service early in 1941. All 5 were allocated to Randwick depot and remained there until withdrawal.
Between 1942 and 1945, around half the DRTT's fleet was painted in the camoflague colour scheme as demonstrated by 1694. Buses so painted could be called upon in the movement of troops if required, and some buses operating along in coastal areas had windows replaced with sheet steel to reduce the possibility of injury from shattered glass. Headlights were fitted with brownout masks and were very dimly lit so as not to attract the attention of enemy aircraft, shipping and submarines. Submarines did enter Sydney Harbour and cause havoc, and the Bondi Beach area was shelled.
1694 was withdrawn from service in 1956 having travelled some 431,058 miles in service. It was sold to Linsley Bros of Wallsend, registered MO 201 and used on school and BHP steelwork worker runs.
In 1974 a Museum member, realising the significance of this bus, approached Linsley Bros with a view to acquring 1694 for preservation. Linsley's agreed, provided a swap was made, and the member purchased withdrawn Leyland OPD2-1 2484 from Chullora Workshops which was exchanged for 1694. The swap took place on 21 December 1974.
1694 and the Ford Austerity bus, 1756, represents a difficult era for the DRTT - with petrol rationing in place, services were beyond overcrowded, and spare parts and new buses became impossible to obtain from Britain. Both the Department and its staff were pressed to their limits but yet continued in the vital role of providing transport in Sydney.
The bus is currently not used in service, requiring some brake and body work.
8.8 litre 6-cylinder O.H.V. AEC diesel, bore 4.5", stroke 5.5625" developing 130 B.H.P. at 1700 RPM.
Four speed constant mesh 'crash' gearbox to a worm drive differential.
Vacuum assisted Lockheed hydraulic footbrake to all wheels and a mechanical park brake to the rear wheels only.