VHF 57V represents the thousands of coaches that operated for the many small
coach companies that existed on Merseyside in the days before mass car ownership.
Whilst most of these coaches would have been purchased ‘second-hand’ some of the
more established independent coach companies would regularly buy coaches
Delivered new to Topping Super Coaches Ltd of Liverpool in May 1980, VHF is a
Bedford YMT fitted with Plaxton Supreme fifty-three seat coach body that followed on
from an almost identical coach (TLV 769V) that had been delivered six months earlier.
A final pair of Bedford YMTs, (YEM 42/3W) followed the next year with Van Hool
McArdle bodies that were completed in Lancashire following the closure of Van Hool’s
Prior to VHF’s arrival, the long established Topping Super Coaches had taken over fellow Liverpool independent coach companies Crown Coaches and Home James, the later having a Cherry Lane address.
Toppings was to become one of the first of the independent bus companies to register services after the de-regulation of the bus industry in October 1986 with the introduction of limited stop commuter coach services between Southport and Liverpool (X2), and Rainhill Stoops and Liverpool (X10) which were normally operated by the pair of Leyland Tigers that Toppings owned at the time, although VHF 57V frequently deputised.
As other commercial and subsidised bus services followed, operations were concentrated on the growth of the bus operation side of the business and the coaches only saw limited use although it was not unknown for them to be operated on bus services when buses were unavailable.
In 1995 Mr. Topping took the decision to retire from the industry and all of the subsidised bus routes were handed back to Merseytravel, the commercially operated 16/17 Woodchurch Circulars along with the four Leyland Lynxes that had been bought new by Toppings passing to PMT. The majority of the remaining buses were sold for scrap.
The coach fleet, however was sold by auction at the Cherry Lane Garage with a very low mileage and very tidy VHF 57V going to Advent Travel of Skelmersdale which used it on a regular schools contract. In 2001 it was sold to Specialised Transport Training of Liverpool for driver training but saw very limited use before passing on long term loan to the Merseyside Transport Trust .
VHF 57V is currently in storage awaiting the time and resources to become available for its restoration. Mechanically and body-wise the coach is in reasonable condition although it would benefit from a replacement set of seats.