London Transport – AEC Regent III RT – JXC 194 – RT 1431

JXC 194

London Transport
1949
AEC Regent III RT
Craven H30/26R

After operational trials with the revolutionary new chassis during 1938, initially equipped with a 1932 vintage open staircase ST body, the RT prototype re-appeared in August 1939 with an advanced all metal body of very graceful appearance built by Chiswick. An order was placed for 150 of the modern double decker, which was almost immediately raised to 338, with production of 527 each year from 1940 onwards being intended, though the ultimate envisaged total is not recorded. Then came WW2 and the sudden curtailment of bus production, though the order for the first 150 was completed. These, however, had Chiswick built composite bodies, presumably to conserve metal consumption during the hostilities, and the the last example entered service in 1942. With the end of the war, the RT programme was reactivated by AEC in 1946, by which time the chassis design had undergone several improvements, notably in the engine which now had toroidal cavity pistons increasing the maximum output from 100 bhp to 125 bhp, though LT derated this to 115 bhp in the interests of economy and extended life. The jig built metal framed bodywork programme for the RT took a while to establish, and the first postwar RT chassis from 1946 went to provincial operators who equipped them with standard contemporary bodies from their own suppliers. The LT RTs began appearing from 1947 with bodywork by Park Royal and Weymann, but chassis deliveries began seriously to outpace those of the bodywork manufacturers. In 1948, anxious to update its tired pre war fleet, LT turned to other bodywork constructors, selecting Saunders-Roe and Craven to make up the deficit. The Saunders body was metal framed using the firm’s own cruciform pillar design, but the end result outwardly resembled the standard Park Royal/Weymann product very closely. Indeed, the Saunders body was held by LT engineers to be of superior constructional quality, and, although Saunders received a second order for 50, making 300 in total, the unforeseen sharp decline in bus travel from the early 1950s meant that no others were built. The 120 Craven bodies were very different, being simply that manufacturer’s standard design married up to the RT cab and bonnet. The bespoke mountings meant that these bodies were not interchangeable with other RT chassis and this entire batch had to be overhauled separately at Aldenham. They were delivered between September 1948 and April 1950, the first twenty seven being painted green for the Country Bus & Coach department, and allocated to Watford and Windsor depots. The rest were red for Central Bus operation, and their allocation was spread about in seemingly random fashion. Ironically, from 1949, the supply situation went into reverse. RT chassis production could not keep up with the increased bodywork deliveries, and London Transport embarked upon the futile and very costly course of modifying some late STL chassis to accept standard RT bodies. Thus was born the SRT class which proved to be pitifully under powered with the 7.7 engine and dangerously under braked. After a service life of about four years they were all withdrawn, the chassis being scrapped, and the bodies transferred to new RT chassis. As bus patronage declined during the 1950s LT found itself with a significant fleet surplus of vehicles, large numbers of brand new RT and RTL deliveries going straight into store. (This, however, did not deter LT from investing heavily in its new Routemaster for which, at the time, there was no operational necessity.) With large numbers of new RTs and RTLs waiting to take to the road, the non standard Craven RT fleet was earmarked for early withdrawal and most went into store during 1955/6, only for twenty red examples to be repainted green for Country Area service in March/April/May 1956. They did not last long, being withdrawn again between one and four months later, the expensive repainting exercise being yet another example of LT profligacy. At merely six to eight years old, the Craven RTs, became bargain purchases on the secondhand market, going on to serve their new owners for up to a further thirteen years, proof, indeed, that the Craven body design was entirely sound. RT 1431 was delivered to LT in May 1949 and sold out of stock on 30 April 1956 to the dealer, Bird’s of Stratford upon Avon, being very quickly bought by a member of the Ardrossan A1 Service, who ran it for ten years. Early in 1966 this bus was secured for preservation, and the picture shows it at Brighton during the 1970 HCVC Rally. The destination display has been reduced to represent the situation that prevailed in the early 1950s when linen for bus blinds was in short supply. Since 2004, RT 1431 has been a member of the Ensignbus fleet.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


06/07/21 – 05:59

I always found the flatter and less rounded sides of the Craven RTs front to be more attractive than the standard RT body, but the rear was pure Cravens, with its curved upper deck, lower window and number plate positions.
RT 1 was initially given the Christopher Dodson body of ex-City Leyland Titan TD111, dating from 1931. It then became ST1140; all very confusing!

Here are two photos of ST1140, which are quite rare

ST1140_1

ST1140_2

Chris Hebbron


07/07/21 – 05:58

I just like them as buses – but equally like the “standard” RT design. The Cravens were my favourites of the 100 9612Es delivered to Sheffield Transport between 1947 and 1950. They were among the last in 1949/50. Good looking buses with a long life. Excellent though they were, the Weymanns had a permanent scowl which detracted from their appearance. Strangely enough, the lowbridge version (eg RLHs) had a more balanced and appealing appearance – not a thing said very often of lowbridge buses.

David Paul Oldfield

 

Manchester Corporation – Daimler CVG6 – NNB 222 – 4412

Manchester Corporation - Daimler CVG6 - NNB 222 - 4412

Manchester Corporation
1953
Daimler CVG6
Metro Cammell H32/28R

During the 1950s, Manchester Corporation mainly sourced its double deck fleet from Leyland, the shorter PD2 chassis being preferred, and from Daimler, mostly the CVG6 version, but some CVG5s were also taken. The picture, taken in June 1970 after the formation of the SELNEC PTE in November 1969, shows Daimler CVG6 No. 4412, NNB 222 with Metro Cammell H32/28R body carrying Manchester’s version of the tin front. Some sources refer to these buses as CVG6K, in recognition of the fitment of the upgraded Gardner LW ‘K’ type engine that emerged from 1950, but I am not sure that this was an official Daimler designation.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


31/05/21 – 09:07

Did the addition of a ‘K’ suffix to the designation of a Daimler CV series not indicate use of a Kirkstall rear axle?

David Call


02/06/21 – 08:38

Yes, David, you are absolutely correct. An absurd error on my part. Daimler began using Kirkstall rear axles on resumption of production in 1942. Daimler axles reappeared as an option at the end of the war, when the suffix became ‘D’.

Roger Cox


04/06/21 – 06:11

The bodywork on this bus is perhaps the most un-Metro Cammell looking product I’ve ever seen. Was this particular design unique to Manchester Corporation?

Chris Barker


04/06/21 – 06:11

I began my student days in Manchester in September 1971 and these were my regular steeds down the A34 Wilmslow Road and Palatine Road to my "Manchester home" in the Withington/West Didsbury area. They were a little tired and slow but, as South Manchester is basically on the flat Cheshire plain, they were still remarkably up to the job. Twenty years – not at all a bad innings.

David Oldfield


05/06/21 – 05:31

Chris is correct in suggesting that this body design was unique to Manchester – in fact it was unique to this batch of 80 buses, all later Met-Cams being Orions.
Just to clarify Roger’s description, these were all delivered with standard Birmingham-style tin fronts. The home-grown style shown was only fitted to some vehicles as a replacement when the original was damaged.

Peter Williamson


06/06/21 – 06:28

They were a Manchester special – with flush windows for machine washing – but I believe that they are a development of the Phoenix style which preceded them. Rather like the spray painted "all red" livery which ruined Manchester’s discreetly distinguished earlier livery, this was a watered down version the classic Phoenix. Sadly, standards slipped until the "Mancunian" era.

David Oldfield


07/06/21 – 06:23

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Evidently so is ‘tired and slow’-ness. Like David Oldfield I came to Manchester University (in 1970 rather than 1971) my previous experience of bus travel having been L5G (to 1965) and MW5G types on some very winding city streets where 20 mph was the usual maximum. I thought these Daimlers had very good acceleration helped I think I’m right in saying from memory by a preselect gearbox and also good top speed.

Peter Cook


08/06/21 – 05:57

In his comment about the Dennis Loline I back in 2013, Ian Thompson said that the genuine 112 bhp of the Gardner 6LW was worth 125 bhp of anyone else’s. Remember that this figure was generated at 1700 rpm, at which speed the bigger AEC and Leyland units would have putting out around 118 bhp, not a lot more. Indeed, if Gardner had increased the revs of the 6LW to 1850 as it did with the 6LXB, the output would have been around 120 bhp. The Gardner had a very flat torque curve right across the rev range, and the correct way to drive one was to change up early and let the torque accelerate the bus, rather than scream the engine up to maximum revs. In addition to later vehicles, I’ve driven Leyland PD2 and 3, AEC Regent III and V, and Daimler CVG6 (plus the Halifax CVL6) and in my book the Gardner handsomely beats Preston and (sorry David) Southall.

Roger Cox


10/06/21 – 07:07

As we’re on a Manchester thread, it should be mentioned that Manchester’s PD2s and CVG6s were both de-rated to 100bhp at 1650rpm. By common consent the Leylands were livelier, and for that reason worked on the northern side of the city where the hills were.

Peter Williamson


17/06/21 – 06:48

I’m not sure whether Northenden or Parrs Wood was the most southerly depot, but Parrs Wood was predominantly if not totally Leyland. The Burlingham bodied PD2s were lively performers particularly the final few ‘non-standards. From the mid-fifties the 92 Manchester-Hazel Grove was generally a Daimler either as above or newer. Stockport shared this service using 1949 or 1951 all Leyland PD2/1s. There was no comparison in performance, the Leylands were fast and lively, the Daimlers were very sluggish which shows the effect of down rating. Our local route was usually a 1949 PD2. Crossleys could not keep time, the only other vehicles that could keep time were the prewar TD4s.

Andrew Gosling


17/06/21 – 15:25

Yes, I had forgotten about Parrs Wood. Manchester had two northern depots, one eastern and four southern, so keeping all the Leylands in the north and east would not have been possible. But the point is that the CVGs did not work in the north, with the notable exception of the Phoenixes on cross-city services, until about 1966. After that it seemed anything could be cascaded anywhere.

Peter Williamson

 

Hants & Dorset – Bristol LL5G – KRU 993 – 787

Hants & Dorset - Bristol LL5G - KRU 993 - 787

Hants & Dorset Motor Services
1952
Bristol LL5G
ECW FC37F

KRU 993 came to Hants & Dorset in February 1952 as a standard half cab LL6B with an ECW B39R body, one of a batch of seven similar vehicles, KRU 988-994, fleet nos. 782-788, delivered between September 1951 and February 1952. In June 1955 the Bristol AVW engine in KRU 993 was replaced by a Gardner 5LW, making the vehicle an LL5G, a conversion that had happened surprisingly earlier in October 1952 to KRU 990, and to KRU 991 in February 1953. It would seem that the other four retained their Bristol engines. Between September 1959 and July 1960 six of these buses were rebuilt by the operator to full fronted FB39F configuration for OPO operation, with KRU 992 being the last to be so treated in January 1962, but this had the lesser capacity of FB37F. All the others had their seating reduced to 37 in the years 1961 to 1966. The frontal treatment of the conversions ranged considerably from the plain appearance illustrated by KRU 993 through a variety of front panel designs, some bearing the more flamboyant ECW ‘coach’ style radiator grille. KRU 993 is pictured in Southampton in 1962 when it was still a 39 seater, the reduction by two seats occurring in November 1964. 787 was was the first of the batch to be withdrawn in January 1967 when it passed to a dealer. The rest were sold out of service in the following year. I acknowledge the http://www.bristolsu.co.uk and the Local Transport History Library websites as sources for much of this history.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


03/05/21 – 07:11

I assume the motive behind these engine swaps was to obtain 6-cylinder units for use in 5LW-engined K-types. The problem which BT&CC and presumably H&D found with the arrival of the KSWs with their higher power was that where older lower powered vehicles were mixed in with them they had difficulty keeping to time – hence taking 6-cylinder engines out of single deckers to use in the double deckers.
Various other interesting features on H&D 787; the kerb view window similar to the SC type, the usual H&D sun-visor. This would also have had the pedestal type drivers seat with a catch released by a foot pedal allowing the seat to rotate so the driver could face the passengers to issue tickets. I always wondered about the safety aspects of these; what was to stop the seat going walkabout while on the move if it failed to catch when returned to the driving position?

Peter Cook


29/05/21 – 07:39

Far better looking than the leering toothy-grin radiator grille that marred so many other L rebuilds.

Ian Thompson

 

All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 24th July 2021