Rotherham Corporation – AEC Reliance – RET 162 – 162

Rotherham Corporation  - AEC Reliance – RET 162  -  162

Rotherham Corporation
AEC Reliance MU3RA
Weymann B45F

It looks like it could well be market day in this busy scene in Upper Millgate, Rotherham, looking into All Saint’s Square, in July, 1962. It’s quite likely that 162 is performing as a duplicate on the 37 service to Richmond Park, as this route was normally double-deck operated, in fact a rebodied Bristol L6B on the 37 is already waiting behind the Reliance, ready to pull on to the stand and load. Behind that is a 1954 Weymann bodied Daimler CVG6 on the Whiston service, and behind him yet again is another Daimler, a Roe bodied lowbridge example dating from 1957, on the Canklow route.
A 1949 East Lancs (Bridlington) bodied Bristol K is on the left of the picture, having discharged its passengers at the ‘Final Alighting Point’ and about to turn left into Bridgegate to make yet another journey to Chapeltown or Holmes, and further across the Square is one of its sisters on the East Herringthorpe stand, while peeping out from the offside of the Reliance is an earlier example soon to depart for Sunnyside on the 21 service.
The trolley wires emerging from Bridgegate were only used in an emergency, and joined the straight through wires from the Square, which was the layover point for trolleybuses on the short working 5 service to the Pumping Station. Just slightly over three years from when this picture was taken, the trolleybuses would be abandoned, the wires cut down and the green painted traction poles dug up and taken away. Nowadays this is all a pedestrian precinct, and with many of the shops relocated to suburban shopping centres and retail worlds, the town centre is rarely ever this busy any more.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Dave Careless

01/05/16 – 17:22

You may very well be right about market day, Dave, but town centres were always much busier fifty odd years ago, before out of town shopping centres, high parking charges for those who had cars, and so on. Oh, yes, and most folk would have used the bus. Great view – is the driver aiming to hit the lady crossing in front of him, or to avoid her? One would hope it’s the latter!

Pete Davies

03/05/16 – 07:12

Thanks Pete. My father took the picture with his then new Taron Eye 35mm camera of which he was very proud. Those six Reliances, of which 162 was one, were the first underfloor engined single-deckers in the Rotherham fleet, 160-165, with matching RET registrations, so I was quite keen for him to get a photo of one for me!
There was no central bus station in Rotherham in those days, and the buses left from stands dotted around the various streets in the town centre, and with all the shops, the steady stream of buses and trolleybuses, and the shoppers and the bus queues, it was a vibrant place. I just read the other day in the local paper online from Canada that WH Smith’s are closing their Rotherham branch next month, so although it wasn’t a large outlet, there will no longer be a book shop in the town centre. That would have been hard to imagine back in 1962.

Dave Careless


Southdown – Leyland Tiger – HCD 449 – 1249

HCD 449

Southdown Motor Services Ltd
Leyland Tiger PS1/1

HCD 449 is a Leyland Tiger PS1/1 with an ECW C31R bodywork (with door!) and dates from 1947, when it joined Southdown. We see it at an open day at the Brijan Tours depot in Curdridge – just outside Botley – on 22 April 2012. These open days were always well-attended, collecting money for local charities, normally the Hampshire & Isle Of Wight Air Ambulance. Sadly, Brijan closed down in 2015.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

29/04/16 – 06:15

Superb in every way.

Ian Thompson

29/04/16 – 07:56

Is this another post which will spark off the old debate about DP v Coach specification? Southdown classed them as coaches but the body shell is unmistakeably bus with just a little additional brightwork embellishment. That apart it is a superb looking vehicle especially with the chromed radiator surround nicely polished.

Philip Halstead

29/04/16 – 14:29

Thanks for your comment, Ian!

Pete Davies

29/04/16 – 14:29

This particular combination of already handsome ECW body with Leyland PS1 chassis has always been particularly pleasing to me as an ardent admirer of both components.
If ever there was a vehicle where everything looks "just right" this is one. Many operators had examples of these but as far as I know only the Southdown ones had half drop windows (and very tidy louvres??)

Chris Youhill

30/04/16 – 06:28

A very interesting thought, Chris Y. I’ve just had a trawl through the contributions in respect of ECW bodies. Among them, there are plenty of single deckers, but none have the half-drop windows. Is one of the Southdown aficionados able to tell us if that operator was indeed the only one to have this combination?

Pete Davies

30/04/16 – 12:16

I am sure that I have travelled on an ECW-bodied Hants & Dorset Bristol LS B35R with half-drops in the late 1950s.

David Wragg

01/05/16 – 05:55

My favourite Southdown vehicles. As a small child in the late 50’s, I used to travel into Storrington on the service 71 which was usually operated by the 15xx East Lancs bodied Royal Tigers. Occasionally, one of these magnificent machines would turn up much to my delight. (They were downgraded from express duties to bus work after 1955).
Some were fitted with bus seats and full size destination boxes front and rear. Others remained as built. Regarding the half drop windows, there is a story that they were delivered with sliders, but altered at Portslade works before entering service. Not sure if this is truth or folklore, but Southdown had a thing about half drop windows, and all pre 1956 vehicles had them.

Roy Nicholson

01/05/16 – 17:20

Roy, according to MG Doggett & AA Townsin’s lovely book ‘ECW 1946-1965’, it would appear that Southdown had accepted most features of ECW’s ‘express’ design on its batch of Tigers, including the trim along the waistline. Interestingly though the authors go on to state: "However, there seems to have been some unease about the opening windows from early on. Some, at least, entered service with the then new ECW standard sliding vents (there being photographic evidence of body 1644 at Victoria thus), but body 1638 had much deeper sliding vents while 1640 (Southdown 1246) had full-depth sliding windows as built". An accompanying three-quarter rear view of 1246(GUF746) clearly shows the full-depth sliders, which gave the vehicle something of an ‘export model’ look. The text continues: "All of these options were considered unsatisfactory, and special half-drop windows conforming to ECW outline were fitted within a few months". The view of 1246 with full-depth sliders shows it without the louvres above the windows, so were these fitted as vehicles received their half-drop windows? Whatever the case, there is no doubt that they were handsome machines, enhanced by the application of Southdown’s distinctive livery. Beautiful.

Brendan Smith

02/05/16 – 06:44

Brendan, thanks for the information confirming the story about the half drop windows. I will keep my eyes open for a copy of said book.

Roy Nicholson

02/05/16 – 06:44

Many thanks for your further comments, folks.

Pete Davies

03/05/16 – 07:09

A real favourite of mine, especially since I once travelled on one, with my mum, back from Southsea to Kingston, in 1953. I never thought of it other than a coach, especially so as it bore the ‘coach’ script on the side. The odd ones were always the utility open-topped Guy Arab II’s who also bore ‘coach’ script, not really deserving it, although I was fond of them!

Chris Hebbron

04/05/16 – 06:21

Chris, your comment confirms my recollection that these ECW bodied PS1s were the ones used on the London – Gosport coach service that I travelled on several times as a kid between 1949 and 1952. I recall the first time I saw one before getting on it in Gosport, and marvelling at its smart appearance. Having been a great fan of the Maidstone and District pre-war Tigers when previously living in Kent, I looked forward to being treated to the glorious musical sounds that the word ‘Leyland’ had come to mean to me. Oh, how the PS1 disappointed – like hearing Stockhausen after Sibelius. The E181 engine had a very harsh rattle, even if it propelled the coach along adequately. Back in the early days of Buses Illustrated, there used to be a regular column called ‘From The Driver’s Seat’ by a certain T.A. Dalton, who, I think, worked for United Automobile. He was consistently disparaging about the E181 engine, but our own OBP expert, Chris Youhill, takes a completely opposite view, and none of us, I’m sure, would challenge Chris’s unparalleled practical knowledge on the subject. Like the Crossley and Daimler engines of the early post war period, the E181 was probably best suited to single deck applications, and the PS1 continued to be the standard Leyland saloon bus offering after the PS2 had appeared.

Roger Cox


Lancaster Corporation – Leyland Panther – LTC 109F – 109

Lancaster Corporation - Leyland Panther - LTC 109F - 109

Lancaster Corporation
Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R
East Lancs B53F

LTC 109F fleet number 109 is a Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R with East Lancs B53F body, new to Lancaster in 1968. The batch was in maroon and cream livery then, but we see it in ‘post merger’ livery of blue and white, on the sunny evening of 20 May 1975. The scene is Lancaster’s Damside Street Bus Station. 389 JTD a 1959 Tiger Cub is behind, still in the old livery but with the Tilling style of fleetname adopted as an interim measure for Lancaster and Morecambe & Heysham vehicles, together with what looks like another Panther on the extreme left of the view.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

24/04/16 – 09:09

In late 1979 LTC 109F came to Derbyshire when, in company with Morecambe and Heysham AEC Swift UTJ 908H, it joined Woolliscroft Silver Service fleet at Darley Dale. Initially they were on loan from Lancaster City but were purchased outright soon after arrival. The Panther bore a strong family resemblance to a batch of Neepsend bodied Panthers at nearby Chesterfield, these Neepsend bodies being built under license from East Lancs. LTC 109F lasted a couple of years but was eventually stripped for spares and the remains had been scrapped by 1982. The Swift lasted a little longer going to North at Sherburn in 1983.

David Hargraves

24/04/16 – 10:43

My original slide includes the Ribble PD3 with Metropolitan Cammell body which some members may have spotted on the extreme right It is from the PCK series. Lancaster had six of these Panthers, in two trios: GTC 104-106F from 1967 and 107-109F from 1968.
David comments on a number of supposed ‘East Lancs’ products being bodied by Neepsend. Some of Southampton’s later Regent V fleet were products of this arrangement and I think I’ve read somewhere that many think Neepsend was a subsidiary of East Lancs, but they were in fact part of the same group. Wrong again, Davies?

Pete Davies

24/04/16 – 12:42

Just a clarification re. Pete’s comment, the registrations of the second batch of three Panthers were LTC-F.
Lancaster reverted to Leopards for its next deliveries.

Dave Towers

24/04/16 – 18:33

Thanks, Dave. I must fire my proof reader!

Pete Davies

26/04/16 – 14:57

East Lancs were owned at the time by John Brown engineering who were based originally in Sheffield They re activated bus building in Sheffield at a factory on Neepsend Lane using East Lancs designs.
So really Neepsend were never an East Lancs subsidiary but both were part of the John Brown empire.
Sheffield took some rear engine chassis from them in 1964/65 The firm (I think) built one more body on a Bedford VAS chassis for Sheffield but by this time it was called Cravens Homalloy.

Chris Hough

27/04/16 – 05:54

Thanks, Chris. I’m glad that the old grey cells have not failed me this time.

Pete Davies


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