Old Bus Photos

Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – VCG 596H -596

VCG 596H

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1970
AEC Reliance 6U3ZR
Duple C49F

Having vacillated for some time before settling upon an underfloor engined saloon chassis, even buying some full fronted Dennis Lancet III coaches in 1953, Aldershot & District finally chose the AEC Reliance as its standard single decker, and stayed with this model for its coach requirements right up to its subjugation to Thames Valley (mis)management from January 1972 under the new guise of Alder Valley. Seen here in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station is No.596, VCG 596H, the first of four 6U3ZR Reliances supplied in 1970 with Duple C49F coachwork sporting the (to my eye) hideous Detroit “inspired” front grille that spoilt many of the later Duple designs. Aldershot & District bought two more Reliances of the 6U3ZR specification in 1971, but these had the aesthetically more pleasing Plaxton C49F coachwork. VCG 596 passed to Alder Valley from 1 January 1972 as No. 49.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/12/18 – 06:37

I have to say that I like this coach! Functional, neat without meaningless frippery: where is the Detroit? Burlingham, Whitson, Yeates, other Duple perhaps…this is more Turin!

Joe


22/12/18 – 12:11

Joe – the "Detroit"-inspired part is the full-width chromed grille, which does look rather "overpowering" to my eyes. The chromed strip that runs the length of the body and at across the front at headlight level is also an excessive amount of polished metal.
In a monochrome photo, and wearing a livery with various colours, it doesn’t look so bad, but with a different "livery", and in colour, the effect is pretty dire:- https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php
I see from other photos that Southdown had the sense to specify their RUF-H batch of Leopards with the same body without the chromed strip on the sides, but they were stuck with the grille.
The polished metal soon went out of fashion, but the advent of the Dominant with curved side windows made the Commander look very old-fashioned in just a couple of years.

Nigel Frampton


26/01/19 – 06:48

The 36ft long AEC Reliance with the AH691 engine & the later AH760 power unit was a real drivers coach & the best premium weight coach on the market until the Volvo B58 surpassed it. With a Reliance the only thing to watch is they tended to run a bit hot on sustained motorway journeys. My boss instructed his drivers to keep an eye on the temperature gauge & if it starts to climb, drop a gear & keep it down to 55 to 60 MPH while it drops. Good advice, never had overheating on later Reliances.
Leyland Leopard, very good, but I think the chassis was more suited to a service bus body rather than a premium coach. As a coach, the gear ratios were all wrong on a semi auto Leopard, but in terms of reliability & strength of the chassis they were unsurpassed.

Andrew Spriggs


26/01/19 – 09:59

Not sure about the overheating: if you had a Sunbeam Imp with the usual gasket problem, going faster improved the air cooling effect!

Joe


06/03/19 – 07:17

I think the overheating problems associated with the Reliance were mainly confined to the wet lined AH470 engine, later replaced by the more successful, dry lined AH505.
The least said about the Hillman Imp, especially the very early examples, probably the better.

John B


26/09/19 – 05:53

I have always seen what you refer to as the Detroit-style grille (I have to agree with Joe that it is more Turin than Detroit) as a clean and elegant successor to the grimace-like grille applied to later Bella-series Duple bodies, itself a massively disappointing successor to the original Bella grille which to my mind was a natural update to the earlier butterfly design.

John Kemplen


 

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Leeds City Transport – AEC Reliance – KUA 46 – 46

Leeds City Transport - AEC Reliance - KUA 46 - 46

Leeds City Transport
1964
AEC Reliance 2MU2RA
Roe B41D

Seen in April 1970 is Leeds City Transport No. 46, 46 KUA, an AEC Reliance 2MU2RA with Roe B41D bodywork, one of four, Nos. 44 – 47, 44 – 47 KUA delivered in 1964. These followed an earlier order for six similar vehicles in 1962, Nos 39 – 43, 839 – 843 CUM. I understand that all these Reliances had quite a short life of around 8 years or so with Leeds.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


03/12/18 – 07:13

I can’t comment on the others, but 45 and 47 went to Aberdeen. I have a view of each from the late Arnold Richardson’s collection.

Pete Davies


04/12/18 – 06:33

All four were new in August 1964 and withdrawn in December 1970.
44 and 45 went to Aberdeen on 30th June 1971, being followed on 7th July by 46 and 47, retaining the same fleet numbers.

John Kaye


05/12/18 – 07:46

Oh dear, that destination box doesn’t look comfortable, balanced up there.

Petras409


11/12/18 – 07:43

These Reliance’s really came too late. They were in effect an update of the standee single deckers 29-38, to the same 30ft. length when 36 ft. had become available. Getting 41seats into the shorter length, with dual doors meant they had poor access/exit and tight seat spacing. As with many AECs of that design they were not comfortable, or liked by passengers or drivers. Just two years later, the first 36 ft. Swifts with wider doors, easier steps and 48 better spaced seats arrived. They may not have been great, but they were better. In a year or so there were 50 Swifts in operation and 39 to 46 were consigned to relief work and then sale.

Andy Buckland


13/12/18 – 05:53

Several of these also ended up in Scotland with Greyhound of Arbroath.

Chris Hough


07/01/19 – 07:12

I’ve sometimes wondered what was so wrong with the AEC Swift and the Leyland Panther that caused many operators to not get on with them, prematurely retire them (especially London’s AECs) and overall have bad experiences, while the conceptually similar Bristol RE seems to have commonly led a full life with its original operators.
It’s not as if they did not incorporate standard components in use elsewhere.

Bill


12/01/19 – 08:23

In the absence of a more comprehensive reply from someone who knows more, I will say that one of the differences between Bristol’s approach and the Panther/Swift approach was the position of the driveline and its effect on weight distribution. In the Panther and Swift the engine and gearbox were at the extreme rear of the overhang, whereas the RE had the engine further forward, with the gearbox in front of the rear axle.

Peter Williamson


16/01/19 – 07:27

The Panther also had a much weaker frame causing bending and breaking. Even in preservation I can think of a couple where following you can see the curve.

Roger Burdett


17/01/19 – 07:09

The radiator for the Swift was not at the front, as in the Panther or the RE, but tucked away behind a panel in the bodywork behind the offside back wheels.
Although this arrangement probably insured against air locks in the cooling system, it restricted the flow of cooling air over the surface of the radiator and could result in the engine overheating.

John B


18/01/19 – 06:30

My Foden which has the Rad in the same position still airlocks so concur John B comment.

Roger Burdett


18/01/19 – 06:32

In the Bristol RE the drive went forward from the engine to the gearbox located in front of the rear axle, and then back again to the differential. This gave a prop shaft of decent length to accommodate the suspension travel of the rear axle, something that competitive designs (the worst being the Seddon RU) lacked. Contrary to popular belief, the RE did not pioneer this layout. The Rutland Clipper of 1954 used a similar arrangement.

Roger Cox


 

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Leeds City Transport – AEC Regent V – XUM 888 – 888

Leeds City Transport - AEC Regent V - XUM 888 - 888

Leeds City Transport
1957
AEC Regent V MD2RA
Roe H33/27R

Leeds was one of several operators initially not persuaded by the AEC “new look” front end (a preference with which I entirely concur), and its first Regent V deliveries retained the classic radiator design and hence the outward general appearance of the Regent III. These buses were of the MD2RA air braked specification of which Leeds became the largest customer, being powered by the AV470 7.7 litre engine driving into the four speed Monocontrol transmission. They were delivered in two batches, all with handsome, traditional Roe H33/27R bodywork. WUA 760 to 839 (with corresponding fleet numbers) came into service from January to November 1956, and XUM 840 to 894 arrived between March and October 1957. In the photo above, XUM 888 is seen in April 1970, four years before Barbara Castle created the heavy and inefficient hand of the West Yorkshire PTE that was to fall upon the municipalities of Bradford, Calderdale, Huddersfield and Leeds. I understand that these buses did not long survive in PTE ownership. Geoffrey Hilditch paints a revealing picture of the dire financial performance of the PTE in his “Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres, Volume 3”. Later still, of course, another dogma driven politician of the opposite persuasion, a certain N. Ridley was to wreak even greater devastation upon the entire bus operating industry outside London, a saga that has previously been discussed at length on this forum.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/05/18 – 06:39

These buses were all withdrawn before PTE days.
The last of the WUA batch had gone by April 1973.
The XUM batch had perished earlier, all bar one (accident damaged) in 1971.

Dave Towers


23/05/18 – 06:44

These small AECs flattered to deceive they had an attractive body but were of light weight construction and when idling in later years the rattles were almost syncopated In addition because Leeds were frugal with fuel a fully laden example could really struggle on the most gentle of inclines For some reason they always seemed to really lean into corners perhaps due to their lightweight construction I well remember one occasion when one really heeled over at the bottom of New York Street in the city centre so far over did it go that the platform was causing sparks to fly from the road surface and was leaving gouges in the roadway!

Chris Hough


24/05/18 – 07:34

Chris, I recall that our highly respected and informed contributor, Chris Youhill, once commented on this forum about the distressing propensity of Leeds City Transport to cut down the engine fuel pump settings on this fleet of Regent Vs. These buses, with their modest AV 470 power units, must have been truly pathetic performers after the fuel pumps had been reset to "economy" levels. Yes, for years, a great many Bristol double deckers got along (albeit steadily) with the 94 bhp 5LW, but, in my experience, AEC motors were never remotely in the same low speed torque league as the Gardner.

Roger Cox


24/05/18 – 07:36

A feature of Leeds buses of yesteryear which always mystified me on visits to the city as a young lad was the unpainted bonnet cover on PDs & Regents of LCT. Nobody has ever given me a proper explanation as to the reason for this, somebody said it was so the fitters did not scuff the paintwork if the bonnet had been painted when working on the engine, but I do not know how true this is.

Andrew Spriggs


28/05/18 – 06:42

This was always given as the reason It survived three managers so was certainly a proper policy rather than a managerial whim and was in use in prewar days. Even the last batches of enclosed radiator AEC Regents with enclosed radiators had the feature The nineteen fifties and afterwards Daimler’s and the PD3As had green bonnets oddly the Crossleys also had painted bonnets.

Chris Hough


 

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