Walter Alexander Coachbuilders
|Fate||Merged into TransBus International
(now Alexander Dennis)
|Defunct||1 January 2001|
|Products||Bus and coach bodywork|
Walter Alexander & Co (Coachbuilders) Ltd was a Scottish builder of bus and coach bodywork based in Falkirk. The company was formed in 1947 to continue the coachbuilding activities of W. Alexander & Sons when their bus service operation was nationalised. After several mergers and changes of ownership it now forms part of Alexander Dennis.
In 1913 Walter Alexander founded Alexander's Motor Service to expand upon the Falkirk and District Tramways Company's route into previously unserved Grangemouth.
In 1924, believing in the future of the "omnibus", Alexander decided to form a company, W. Alexander & Sons Limited, to run and manufacture them. In 1928, several of the major British railway companies bought into the Scottish Motor Traction Company Limited (SMT). Walter Alexander decided to sell his business to the SMT group in 1929, and through this action, received access to a vast supply of resources and services.
In 1947, in anticipation of the newly elected Labour Government's nationalisation of the SMT group's bus services, a new company, Walter Alexander & Co (Coachbuilders) Limited was formed in order to keep the coachbuilding in private hands.
The coachbuilding business continued to flourish and expansion was rapid. In 1969 the company bought out Potters, a bodybuilder in Northern Ireland, and set up a subsidiary Walter Alexander & Co (Belfast) Limited, and within 6 years started selling buses to the Far East. In 1981 the company was awarded the Queen's Award for Export. By 1983 the company was the largest supplier of double-deck bus bodies in the world, and a year later it won a British Rail contract to construct 25 diesel multiple unit trains. In 1987 Walter Alexander became a publicly listed company, having previously been a private firm run by the Alexander family.
The ownership of the company subsequently changed several times: In 1990 the family sold the company to Spotlaunch plc but within two years a management buyout occurred and it became a standalone company until 1995, when it was bought by the Mayflower Corporation plc. In 2001, it was incorporated into TransBus International. It is now part of Alexander Dennis.
Walter Alexander built many different types of bodywork over 50 years, with the most famous being the Y-Type single decker.
- British Rail Class 143 - on underframes by Andrew Barclay
- British Rail Class 144 - on underframes by BREL
- A type and J type - double-deck body (for Atlantean/Fleetline) to 1972
- C type -lowheight double-deck body for Albion Lowlander 1961-65.
- D type, K type and AD type (A for alloy) - lowheight double-deck body (mainly on Fleetline chassis)
- L type and AL type - double-deck body (for Atlantean/Fleetline/VR) from 1972
- AV type - double-deck body for Volvo Ailsa B55
- R type - including RH, RL, RV, RLC, RVC, RHS and Royale - post 1981 double deck body
- ALX series - including ALX400 & ALX500 - low-floor bodies
- CB type - for China Motor Bus
- KB type - for Kowloon Motor Bus
- LB type - for New Lantao Bus
- MB type - for Manila Bus
- SB type - for Singapore Bus Service
A Mercedes-Benz O305 double decker bus in HK with Walter Alexander R body.
A Royale-bodied Volvo owned by Ensignbus.
Single-deck buses and coaches
- Y type - including AY and AYS types (A for alloy)
- W type
- M type - Motorway coach for Scottish Bus Group Anglo-Scottish services
- T type - including AT, TS, TC, TE (A for alloy, S for stage, C for coach, E for express)
- P type
- PS type - development of P type, popular with Stagecoach and SBS Transit
- AF type (Strider) - for full-size rear-engined chassis
- AM type
- Ultra - Alexander (Belfast) version of Swedish Säffle body for the Volvo B10L
- ALX series
Alexander (Belfast) buses
- X type - for Leyland Leopard and Bristol RE
- N type - for Leyland Tiger, Lynx, and B21
- Q type - for Leyland Tiger and Volvo B10M
- D type - for Leyland Olympian and Volvo Olympian
Alexander (Belfast) D type-bodied (Alexander RH design) Leyland Olympian.
- "Walter Alexander". The Falkirk Wheel. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- "Queen's Awards list" (Official Appointments and Notices). The Times (London). Tuesday, 21 April 1981. (60907), col E, p. 17.
- Bateman, Derek (17 August 1983). "Bus firm wins £6m Far East contract". Glasgow Evening Times.
- "Rail work will help save jobs says bus boss". Glasgow Evening Times. 1 June 1984.
- "Walter Alexander sees dramatic turnround as bus orders boom". The Herald. 27 October 1992.
- "Mayflower Buys U.K. Bus Builder". Fleet Owner (Primedia) 90: 265. 1995. Retrieved 7 February 2012. "...the leading maker of bus bodies in the United Kingdom has been purchased for $44.5-million by the Mayflower Corp...."
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