Sunday, January 11, 2015

Thames (NZ): Steam Buses from Thames

Well it wasn't just trains that were made in Thames at A & G Price. Reports in the newspapers of Steam buses being made in the town.

The description for the photo on the right reads:
LATEST ADDITION TO THE AUCKLAND TRANSPORT BOARD'S SUBURBAN FLEET. The new steam bus built at Thames for the Auckland Transport Board as an experiment. The vehicle will be placed on the Buckland Road route shortly.
Source: New Zealand Herald, 11 April 1931, Page 6

When the bus was trialled in Auckland in February 1931, it was described as 'Auckland's rocket.' It made no noise on starting up and went 50mph out to Point Chevalier, and 20mph up Parnell Rise.

In July 1931, there is a full report on the steam bus in New Zealand. A & G Price had made the first bus in the Dominion. Full details of the workings are provided by New Zealand Herald (9 July 1931), the company had patented the Doble Steam system and hoped that it would lead to on-going production. Then in July 1932, it was noted that the bus had now done 20,000 miles.

In 1932, the paper again reports a steam bus undergoing road trials for White & Sons of Thames - destined to be for the Thames to Auckland Passenger route. New Zealand Herald, 23 July 1932, Page 10

Following these reports, there is no further news on the Steam bus manufacture at Thames, and one can but conclude the scheme did not continue and sadly the orders did not flood in as was expected.

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Further information located, posted 13/01/2015
First two items from "Men of Steel" by C W Vennell


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