Tynemouth and District – Daimler Fleetline – HFT 367 – 267

Tynemouth and District - Daimler Fleetline - HFT 367 - 267

Tynemouth and District
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
Weymann H44/33F

HFT 367, fleet number 267: A Weymann H44/33F bodied Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX. One of 35 delivered to Percy Main between 1963 & 68. The location is the Gibraltar Rock Public House ‘reflected in the windscreen’ this is at the end of Front Street Tynemouth, and was the terminus of the service 11 to Newcastle, a route shared with Newcastle Corporation. The first PDR1/1 Leyland Atlantean at Percy Main entered service in 1960, and by 1962, they had 22. The first nine, CFT 636/644, 236/244, had H44/34F Weymann bodies; the remainder were all H44/34F Roe bodies. DFT 245/249; 245/249 in 1960. FFT 756/761; 256/261 followed in 1962. 236-254 & 5 all carried the Wakefields name. Percy Main had some very punishing and demanding routes, and despite the best efforts of its maintenance staff, the reliability of the early Atlantean’s was always suspect. It’ s been mentioned before on this site, about the amount of freedom NGT allowed its subsidiaries with vehicle choice and specification. By 1963, Percy Main had lost patience with the PDR1/1, and the roomer mill has it that the first choice would have been front entrance Renown’s or PD3’s. Perhaps mindful of the onset of OPO, Northern thought this a step too far, and would not allow it, however, they did allow Percy Main to switch to the CRG6LX Daimler Fleetline. Nevertheless, it would be a further twelve years before the next new Leyland D/D’s arrived at Percy Main, and they were the 1974 Park Royal bodied Leyland AN68. By that time, it was NBC and you took what you were given with no say in the matter. Ironic really, post NBC six Renown’s were transferred to Percy Main from East Yorkshire. The first batch of Fleetlines arrived in 1963, they were HFT 366/375; 266/275, and had H44/33F Weymann bodies. Outwardly, apart from different wheel trims and the absence of badges, they were more or less identical in appearance to the first Atlantean’s. JFT 276/280; 276/280 arrived in 1964, they were H44/32F Weymann bodies, rather than a conventional staircase with two right angles; they had a full sweep descending forwards. I thought this potentially dangerous, and indeed there were several mishaps, especially if for whatever reason the brakes were applied rather harshly when someone was on the staircase. The remainder were Alexander bodied, AFT 783/789C; 283/289 in 1965: DFT 290/292E; 290/292 in 1967; all H44/32F bodies, and EFT 693/702F, 293/302 in 1968, they were H44/33F bodies. As far as I can remember, 283/289 had air operated doors and windscreen wipers, and the remainder were electric, but that apart they were all more or less the same. I left Percy Main in 1975 to join Armstrong Galley, so my experience of the AN68 is limited, and it would be inappropriate of me to comment on them. However, from my own point of view, the Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline was the best rear engine double deck bus I have ever driven, the Atlantean may have had a greater top speed, but what the Daimler lacked in speed, it more that made up for at the bottom end. They had power to spare, even with a full load; they were never pushed and could easily keep pace with the traffic we had to contend with. The earlier PD2&3 Leyland’s outlived the first Atlantean’s, as for breakdowns, I can count on one hand with figures to spare the amount of times I broke down with a Fleetline, I lost count with the Atlantean.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye


Greenslades Tours – AEC Reliance – FFJ 13D

Greenslades - AEC Reliance - FFJ 13D

Greenslades Tours 
AEC Reliance 2MU4RA
Harrington C40F

Sadly the very last Harrington body to be built, No 3218, was this Grenadier C40F example on an AEC Reliance 2MU4RA chassis for Greenslades Tours of Exeter registration No FFJ 13D. This photo was taken on the 24th April 1966 at the British Coach Rally on Madeira Drive Brighton whilst the Concours judges were making their inspection. The elegant lines of the body and the restrained but attractive livery are even 48 years later a lesson todays designers and colour stylists might well learn lessons from, but being a cynical 75 year old I doubt it will happen.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

15/09/14 – 07:02

Can’t better Dave’s comments – and nearby were the Devon General 2U3RAs as well. I’m all for Van Hool/DAFs, Setras and Scanias but oh for a world where there were up to date, quality AECs, Bristols, Leylands and Guys with Burlingham, Harrington, (real) Plaxton, Weymann and Roe bodies sitting on them. There is no excuse for selling the family silver – having things built on the continent or in the far east because wage rates are cheaper. What about a bit of pride in our own abilities. [The Germans and the French would not let it happen!]

David Oldfield

15/09/14 – 07:03

This was indeed a very attractive livery, featuring an unusual shade of green. The designation 2MU4RA denotes a "crash" gearbox, which seemed a backward step after most Reliances had synchromesh gearboxes.
The boot lid is interesting. I remember that Yelloway always specified two piece boot doors hinged from the sides to avoid people bumping their heads on the top hinged flaps more commonly used in the fifties and sixties. This design could be an attempt to avoid the problem.
The Grenadier body was a development of the better known "Cavalier" and to me was even more attractive. I agree, Dave, it is so sad that Harrington ceased production of coach bodies, at a time when their products seemed to be more popular than ever.

Don McKeown

15/09/14 – 12:00

The parallel lift boot door was a Harrington patent device, more usually used for side lockers because of often restricted space in coach stations.
It was obviously optional, as witness the side lockers on this example, and presumably cost more.
I wonder why Plaxtons didn’t take over this patent?

Andrew Goodwin

15/09/14 – 12:00

The last sentence of Diesel Dave’s caption mirrors my thoughts precisely, and I am three years even further down "Cynical Avenue" and proud of it !!

Chris Youhill

16/09/14 – 07:57

Sadly, Chris, I am but a babe in arms – but a cynical nearly 62 year old!

David Oldfield

16/09/14 – 07:58

The Harrington Grenadier was the last coach body with a curved window line, a peculiarly British trend which began in the 1930s. There were plans for it to be replaced by a development of the Legionnaire if Harrington had stayed in business.

Peter Williamson

16/09/14 – 07:58

As Andrew says the parallel lift mechanism was indeed a Harrington patent and some coaches I drove had a plate stating that fact. Regarding the side locker doors in a larger photo they are of the parallel lift type, I think they look as if they are hinged is because they were in the locked position which was achieved by lifting as normal and then pulling the top of the panel outward presumably to prevent accidents to fitters working underneath. Similar mechanisms can be seen on modern, but foreign, coaches although electrically powered.

Diesel Dave


Blackburn Corporation – Leyland Titan – PCB 25 – 25

Blackburn Corporation - Leyland Titan - PCB 25 - 25

Blackburn Corporation – Blackburn Borough Transport
Leyland Titan PD2A/24
East Lancs H35/28R

The local government reorganisation of 1974 resulted in the merger of the municipal fleets of Blackburn and Darwen. The initial livery was a compromise, using Darwen’s red and Blackburn’s green, although the shades of these colours were rather brighter than those previously used. The combined undertaking was titled "Blackburn Borough Transport", the word "Corporation" ceased to be used at this time (at least for bus fleets) except in Douglas The main subject of this picture is 25 (PCB 25) a Leyland Titan PD2A/24 with East Lancs H35/28R bodywork, one of twelve delivered to Blackburn Corporation in 1962; a further twelve identical vehicles followed in 1964. These followed batches of Guy Arab IV’s, and I’m sure the drivers will have appreciated the semi-automatic gearboxes on these Titans. Other vehicles of both Blackburn and Ribble can be seen, including the rear of an Atlantean in the previous Blackburn livery. After a few years a version of the latter livery was applied to the whole fleet.

The photograph was taken at The Boulevard bus terminus, which was right outside Blackburn Railway Station. This terminus served the town well until recently, but at the time of writing this area is a building site, with temporary traffic lights causing delays to buses entering or leaving the town from the south. A new bus station is under construction near to the market hall, and a temporary bus station has been built nearby. Nowadays the former municipal services are operated by Transdev Lancashire United, which revives a once proud name, although not in it’s original operating area.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

11/09/14 – 077:00

Don, there was another exception – Barrow-in-Furness Corporation Transport. Buses proudly carried the fleet name ‘Barrow Corporation’ well into the 1980s. They retained their smart cream and dark blue livery and a coat of arms too. Nice picture with plenty of background interest which captures the era well.

Mike Morton

13/09/14 – 06:35

The semi-automatic PD2 (as opposed to PD3) was a pretty rare vehicle really. And I don’t recall the centrifugal clutches rattling on these PD2s the way they did on Ribble, Wigan, Preston etc PD3s when idling.

Michael Keeley

14/09/14 – 07:26

There were indeed more semi-automatic PD3s built for UK operators than semi-automatic PD2s, but not all that many more.
I can think of 391 PD2s, whereas the total for PD3s was, I think, about 580. The main customer for two-pedal PD2s was Glasgow Corporation Transport, which took 325. Others operators which spring to mind are Blackburn (24), Leeds (20), Huddersfield (6), Manchester (6), Swindon (5), King Alfred (2), Ramsbottom (1), Walsall (1), Demonstrator (1).
Taking Glasgow out of the equation gives 66 PD2s and about 440 PD3s, so, outside Glasgow, two-pedal PD2s were indeed relatively rare. There’s no way a centrifugal clutch couldn’t rattle, so if the Blackburn PD2A/24s didn’t rattle then there’s no way they could have been centrifugal clutch, they must have been fluid flywheel, which is what I would have said they were anyway.
Of the Ribble two-pedal PD3s, only 1706-1800 were centrifugal clutch, the final batch (1815-50) being fluid flywheel.
All two-pedal Preston PD3s were centrifugal clutch, but they only took the one batch (of seven), choosing manual transmissions for all subsequent PD3s.
I never seriously encountered the Wigan PD3s, sorry.

David Call

16/09/14 – 07:52

Never realised Glasgow had so many, their half-cabs were long gone by the first time I visited that city. Come to think of it, it was only the Ribble 1700s that rattled. The Wigans rattled with a vengeance as evidenced by the video of HEK 705 on Youtube. Some early Atlanteans had centrifugal clutches I believe, but had them quickly replaced by fluid flywheels, what did they sound like I wonder.

Michael Keeley


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 18th September 2014