Leeds City Transport – AEC Swift – MUB 193F – 93

MUB 193F

Leeds City Transport
1968
AEC Swift MP2R
MCW B48D

Pictured in Leeds in April 1970 is Leeds City Transport No.93, MUB 193F, an AEC Swift MP2R bought in May 1968 with MCW B48D bodywork that emulated the forward sloping side pillars of contemporary Alexander designs. A curious feature was the narrow width of the centre exit door. I believe that here was a total of thirty such buses, which were intermixed with deliveries of Swifts with Roe bodywork, also of B48D pattern, some of which arrived in 1967. Swifts continued to feature in the Leeds purchasing programme until 1971. The Swift MP2R was powered by the AH505 8.2 litre engine, and the first Leeds batches, of which No.93 is an example, had the semi automatic Monocontrol transmission. Later examples were fitted with fully auto gearboxes. I am sure that other correspondents with much a greater knowledge than mine of the Leeds system can give details of these buses in service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

 

Highland Omnibuses – Guy Arab – HGC 147 – E8

Highland Omnibuses - Guy Arab - HGC 147 - E8

Highland Omnibuses Ltd
1945
Guy Arab II
Alexander L27/26RD (1952)

In July 1965 I did a tour of Scotland on a railrover – I think one week though it may have been two – the object of which was to cover as much of the existing passenger rail network as possible, many of the lines being threatened with closure at that time. There was little time to do any bus photography, as arrival in a town at the end of daylight with no booked accommodation meant that finding this was first priority. Then it would be up in the morning for the earliest appropriate departure.
One of the very few occasions where leisure was enforced was near the beginning of the adventure, on my arrival in the far north of Scotland. The railway timetable simply didn’t allow the Thurso and Wick branches to be covered exclusively by rail without an inordinate waste of time. Having arrived at Thurso around 4 pm, it was then a matter of finding a bus to take me to Wick, from where I would catch the early train back to Inverness.
Highland was very much the ‘Second-hand Rose’ of the Scottish Bus Group, particularly as far as double-deck buses were concerned. As far as I can make out, none were bought new between a Guy Arab IV in 1950 and a batch of Fleetlines in 1978.
Having observed (and photographed) a ‘new’ (1963) Lowlander – recently transferred from Central – on the Scrabster service, and a venerable former Scottish Omnibuses Arab II – still with utility body – on the town service to Mount Vernon, I was quite happy to see E8 as seen above turn into the High Street with its destination showing Wick.
HGC 147 began life as London Transport G368, a Guy Arab II with Massey H30/26R utility bodywork. LT’s Guys were always odd-men-out, so had a short life, being withdrawn with the expectation of sale for further use in the early 1950s. The Scottish Bus Group took a number of them, and 19 found their way to Western SMT who in 1952 replaced the utility bodies with smart new Alexander low-bridge bodies in their domed style. HGC 147 took WSMT fleet number 1005. 13 years later, the chassis now fully 20 years old, E8 was still looking smart.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Alan Murray-Rust


20/05/19 – 07:24

These Massey G’s were delivered in the second half of 1945 and probably had the weakest, certainly the most ugly, utility bodies of all LT’s vehicles of this type. ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ website states that she was acquired for use on Dounray work. She certainly looks smart here and was finally retired in May 1967.

Chris Hebbron


23/05/19 – 06:57

As an afterthought, Alan, I’d hazard a guess that the drivers (and probably conductors) of these venerable vehicles, with austerity bodies or not, would have rued the day that they were ousted by the truly awful Albion Lowlander.

Chris Hebbron


09/06/19 – 10:51

The Guy Arab in its well known guise evolved entirely from the advent of the Second World War, and had it not done so, then, as respected author Robin Hannay confirms, the Guy company would probably have disappeared entirely by 1950. The original Arab FD model (the code stood for forward control type ‘D’, as the previous Guy buses had carried the letter ‘˜C’ – the ‘D’ did not, as often stated, stand for ‘diesel’) came on the market in 1933, carrying forward much of the design philosophy from the FC Invincible that preceded it, and, indeed, an FC demonstrator was rebuilt by Guy as an Arab. This early Arab design was conceived within the Leyland TD1 school of thought, with the engine, driving position and front bulkhead set back from the front axle; this enabled the accommodation of the Gardner 6LW engine, though the 5LW was the usual power unit. The neater front end structure of the AEC Regent had already arrived in 1929 and, strangely, the contemporary Guy trolleybuses did have a tidy frontal design. 1933 also heralded the appearance of the Leyland TD3 with a compact front end but the somewhat autocratic Sidney Guy maintained his own strong beliefs on the subject of bus design. The production run run of the original double deck Arab lasted until 1936, during which period about 50 were made, though Burton on Trent Corporation Transport, a confirmed user of the 4LW powered Arab in its single deck guise, took six more in 1940 and a further six in 1941. Between 1936 and the early years of the war Guy produced vehicles for the military, but even this activity trailed off when the orders for searchlight vehicles were cancelled as radar played a greater role in detecting enemy aircraft. With the outbreak of war all new bus production was halted, being slightly relaxed subsequently to permit the assembly of ‘unfrozen’ chassis. It soon became clear that something had to be done to meet the urgent need for new buses, and, in 1941, officialdom turned first to Leyland, but also (to general astonishment, since it had not been a significant double deck manufacturer for five years) to Guy. When Leyland withdrew due to the pressures of other wartime work, operator astonishment turned to apprehension that the industry’s needs were to be met solely by the Guy company. The original Arab design was clearly outdated and Major Chapple of Bristol offered Sidney Guy the drawings for the K5G, but Mr Guy was having none of it. His new bus would be a Guy, but the shape of the redesigned chassis showed very close similarities with that of that of the Leyland TD7 (a wartime version of which was originally expected to be supplied also), though established Guy transmission units were incorporated. The subsequent history of the Arab Utility is well documented, and its rugged dependability became legendary, even though the ‘˜back to front’ selector positions of the original crash gearbox was not a universally popular feature. However, London Transport drivers did not like the Arab, and the members of the G class were disposed of as soon as the new London Transport Executive could get rid of them, even though they were mechanically sound with years of life potentially ahead. In the booming post war public transport period there was a somewhat paranoid attitude by the Labour government about the disposal of nationalised undertakings’ assets to companies within the UK but outside the state fold, and very many of these Arabs were sold abroad instead. Even Edinburgh Corporation had a mighty struggle to get sixty surplus Arabs from LT. However, the Scottish Motor Traction group was nationalised in 1949 and thus became an acceptable recipient for former London machinery which, like HGC 147, then went on to give sterling service for very many years.

Roger Cox


10/06/19 – 07:41

I believe all London Transport’s Guy Utilities had the 5LW engine and this one, despite having the protruding radiator, appears to have had it’s upturned front wings cut back. It also retains the Arab II high bonnet line although I understand a conversion kit was available to achieve the lower bonnet line of the Arab III, perhaps Western thought the extra expense was unjustified – a shame really because it would have made a nice looking bus even better.

Chris Barker

 

London Transport – AEC Merlin – SMM 15F – XMB 15

SMM 15F

London Transport Board
1966
AEC Merlin P2R
Strachans B46D

In the mid 1960s London Transport began moving away from its ageing bespoke designs – RT family/ RF/ RM family – and belatedly began investigating the standard offerings of the bus manufacturing industry. The ensuing saga became a sad, expensive story of incompetence, profligacy and waste, from the RC Reliances, XA Atlanteans and MB/SM Merlins/Swifts of the 1960s, and onward through the 1970s and beyond with the Daimler Fleetlines and Metro Scanias. The first London Transport Merlins (Chiswick clung to this appendage even when Southall changed the name of the AH691 engined 36 ft long version to Swift 691) had Strachans dual doorway bodies seating 25 at the rear and accommodating (exceedingly closely – I speak from personal experience) 48 standing passengers in the lower front section. These early examples of the Merlin had a low driving position that was raised on later production models. Classified XMS, fourteen of them equipped with coin operated turnstiles went into service in central London on Red Arrow service 500 in 1966 and performed that duty well. At the same time, the Country Area was pursuing a policy of adopting the Merlin for conventional one man operation as the XMB type, and had nine Strachan B45D bodied examples ready for service in the early months of 1966, but the T&GWU refused to accept them. All except XMB 1 were then repainted red, de-seated to the 25 plus 48 standing format, and used on Red Arrow services. The solitary Country Area survivor, XMB 1, which had 46 seats and then carried the registration JLA 57D, went into store, during which time it was first reclassified as XMB 15 in November 1966, and then re-registered in January 1967 as NHX 15E. In August 1967 its registration was changed yet again to SMM 15F, and it continued to spend time in store with occasional forays out and about for route surveying and training purposes. Finally, in January 1969, nearly three years after delivery, it was transferred to Tring garage where, in the following month, it carried its first fare paying passengers on the single bus allocation route 387 between Tring and Aldbury village. In 1970 it became a member of the London Country fleet, but its identity crisis was still set to continue. In mid 1971 it was reclassified MBS 15 in accordance with the rest of Merlin fleet, but in November 1973 it was sent to the by now GLC controlled London Transport who repainted it red and promptly put it into store. MBS 4, formerly XMB 4 was sent from LT to LCBS in exchange. MBS 15 saw very little, if, indeed any service use with LT thereafter, before being dumped at the old Handley Page airfield at Radlett in 1975 along with very many other unwanted LT Merlins. The following web page illustrates the chequered career of this bus:-
https://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/

In the picture above, taken early in London Country days in 1970 at Tring garage, XMB 15 has lost its London Transport roundel on the front panel, but has yet to receive its LCBS “Flying Wheel” symbol. The Strachans bodies on the early Merlins proved to be of sounder construction than the Metro-Cammell examples on the later deliveries, which quickly showed evidence of structural failure in the roof section above the central doorway.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


10/05/19 – 06:58

Thank you Roger,
Little known about vehicle article and photograph, I just thought these were rather mundane vehicles but did travel on the Red Arrow when they were new. So which one was the model done of ?, possibly a Dinky Supertoy or a Corgi, I did have one, but in my younger days it was repainted to look like an LUT Seddon, that will start the comments flowing, methinks.

Mike Norris


10/05/19 – 07:00

Didn’t quite a lot of these end up being sold to Belfast after being stored at Radlett?

David Pomfret


11/05/19 – 07:00

Several of the Strachan bodied versions along with the regular ones ended up at Gatwick Airport. Gatwick Handling had both types but Bcal and Airtours only had the latter ones. Nearly all replaced by Leyland Nationals.

Keith Hanbury-Chatten


17/05/19 – 06:50

In fairness to LT they were far from alone in having to withdraw MCW Scanias early as they suffered badly from corrosion. The one bought by WYPTE were all withdrawn early for this reason.

Chris Hough


17/05/19 – 10:32

All MetroScanias suffered this fate but, eventually, the Metropolitan had feet of clay. It did not fail as quickly as the MetroScania but in later life there were serious corrosion problems at the back end which some operators addressed by rebuilding them. The reasons for the LT failure with "off the shelf" designs is well documented (here, as elsewhere) – a sad indictment …..

David Oldfield


18/06/19 – 07:49

Surprisingly, when the Docklands Light Railway had a strike last year, 40-year old Metropolitan MD60 turned up on the replacement service. No corrosion apparent. So there’s a bit of life left in the design in London yet.

Bill


19/06/19 – 05:38

Bill, There are very few Metropolitans on the road now, because of the dreaded ‘metal moth’. MD60 is only in circulation thanks to a very lengthy (and no doubt costly) rebuild by the guys at Bus Works Blackpool and owners EnsignBus. See reference to it here: http://ensignvintagebuses.blogspot.com

Petras409

 

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