Old Bus Photos

Tynemouth and District – AEC Regent II – FT 6152 – 152

Tynemouth and District - AEC Regent II - FT 6152 - 152

Tynemouth and District
AEC Regent II
Weymann H30/26R

After the Intake of early 1940, no more vehicles arrived at Percy Main until 1946, in the meantime, seven vehicles were transferred to other Northern General Transport depots, eight more were requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport. A total of 15 from a fleet of around 110 was a sizable chunk. For a while, spares availability became a problem, so it was not uncommon for vehicles awaiting parts to be cannibalised to keep others going. The first post war intake arrived in 1946 in the form of five H30/26R Northern Counties bodied 5GLW Guy Arab III’s. However, as has been mentioned before, Northern General Transport allowed its subsidiaries a degree of independence with vehicle choice and spec, so it was not long before Percy Main reverted to AEC.
Between 1947/8 they took delivery of 29, H30/26R Weymann bodied Regent II’s, which at that time amounted to roughly a quarter of the fleet. The first batch delivered in 1947 were FT 5698 to 5712 and numbered 128 to 142, the 1948 intake were FT 6143 to 6156, numbered 143 to 156. 141-142 & 156 carried the Wakefields name but were otherwise identical. The Regent II chassis had a 7.7 Litre diesel engine, four- speed sliding mesh gearbox and friction clutch, buying wasn’t complicated, it was bog standard with no other options available, so it came down to a straightforward decision of take it or leave it. Like most vehicles of the period, by today’s standards they were unrefined, but they were well built rugged and reliable, and demanded a degree of respect, anyone foolish enough to try to abuse them would generally find that the Regent was made of stern stuff. They also had one essential ingredient that modern vehicles don’t have, a conductor! As anyone who has ever worked a dual crew bus will tell you, conductors will be the first to complain if the ride is anything less than acceptable. The choice of body was a different matter with umpteen options on offer, Percy Main opted for Weymann, the build quality was top notch, and arguably one of the best looking bodies of the period. they were no strangers to it having bought similar vehicles in 1940: 152, was from the 1948 intake and is seen here in its original livery. By the time of its first repaint ‘about 1951’, the black lineout had been dropped and the fleet name was much smaller, but the gold coach lines were still in vogue. Note the flip down metal DUPLICATE plate under the overhang, apart from the later Routemasters; this was a standard fitting on all Northern General Transport group half cabs

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

28/07/14 – 07:57

It’s surprising how many Percy Main depot buses have appeared in model form. AEC Regent 135 (similar to the above photo) was issued by Corgi many years ago. They also issued Leyland Olympian 3593 from a later era. Britbus weighed in with Coastline Atlantean 3458. E.F.E. have been the most prolific with Leyland PD2 / Orion 230, AEC Renown as Tynemouth 333 and yellow Northern 3743, Atlantean / MCW yellow Northern 3194 as well as yellow Northern National 4444 and Coastline Wright Low Floor 4769. Quite an impressive representation really for one depot.

Keith Bruce


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OK Motor Services – AEC Reliance – 129 DPT

OK Motor Services - AEC Reliance - 129 DPT

OK Motor Services
AEC Reliance 2MU3RA
Plaxton C41F

129 DPT is an AEC Reliance, 2MU3RA variety, with Plaxton C41F body. She was new to OK Motor Services in 1959 and is seen in the Alton Bus Rally on 18 July 2010. This event is organised as part of the Mid Hants Railway (Watercress Line) programme and, weather permitting – it has been known to be washed out! – is on the third Sunday in July.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

15/06/14 – 17:54

OK had a very interesting fleet of new, and what are now called ‘Pre owned’ vehicles. They had several routes, mainly in the Bishop Auckland area, and one into Newcastle, but none of them were numbered. The original livery of two shades of red plus cream, all outlined, black wings and gold lettering, must have taken an age to apply, but the result was stunning. Rather than a bog standard one-size fits all approach, the livery was modified from one vehicle type to another, as a result it looked good on most vehicles. It always suited the ex London RTL’s and the Southdown Queen Mary’s. After deregulation, OK set out on an expansion programme, they opened a depot in Peterlee, and the Newcastle depot, which up to then had been purely coach/contract and private hire, also took on some service routes. Presumably, to save time and money, as the fleet grew the livery was simplified and went through several changes. Eventually the company were bought out by the Go Ahead Group ‘Northern General as was’ and the name has gone into suspended animation.

Ronnie Hoye

16/06/14 – 06:35

Thanks for your observations, Ronnie. At least, Go Ahead do allow their local managers some leeway in terms of activity and livery, not like certain other groups most of us would prefer not to mention!

Pete Davies

16/06/14 – 06:36

As most people know, the Panorama was developed at the behest of Sheffield United Tours. There were only six of the original style, based on the Venturer, and delivered to SUT. This is, strictly speaking, the first production model but what is strange is the side embellishment. The ribbed side and the wings were specifically SUT things which have ventured onto the standard model for everyone.

David Oldfield

17/06/14 – 13:42

David, I think that you meant to say that the original Panorama was based on the Consort, not the Venturer, which had already been discontinued two years before the first Panoramas for SUT. Incidentally, the Panorama body went through at least four distinct variations before the so-called (Ogle designed) "Panorama I" as modelled by OOC in 1/76 scale. There was the original Consort-based version, followed by the variant shown in this photograph (with the rather odd little radius in the side window line at the rear end) produced in 1959-60. Then came the 1961-62 model with improved frontal and side treatment but still with that dreadful rear window arrangement (the later 36ft versions of this variant also had a drooping waist-rail at the rear end which didn’t improve things), and then the 1963-64 variant which kept the good bits but eliminated the "droop" and the nasty rear window. Having come up with a truly classic design by a series of evolutionary improvements, Plaxton then decided to throw it away and start again with the Panorama I (and its lightweight chassis equivalent with less brightwork, the "Panorama II". They were very much an acquired taste.Have professional designers ever done a better job at anything than those who really understand the bus industry? I can’t think of a single example!
I see that Oxford Diecast is planning to produce a 1/76 scale model of something it describes as a "Panorama I". The teaser drawing that they are using on their website suggests that it will in fact be of the 1963-64 version. Despite their mistake in naming the model I await it with bated breath. My fear is that they might spoil it by using the wrong colours in the liveries. I waited for years for a model of a Ribble all-Leyland Royal Tiger coach, but when Oxford finally came up with one the colours (particularly the red) were completely wrong. I am now waiting for a National Lottery win so that I can have somebody repaint one for me. If I win the Jackpot I’ll have somebody build a replica of the real thing, but I digress….

Neville Mercer

18/06/14 – 10:59

Correct, as ever, Neville. A senior moment and fixation on the verb to venture. They were, of course, based on the Consort.

To be fair, the Panorama II was a logical development of the 1963/4 version and not a bad design – simple and restrained. I did not object to the Panorama I but see what all its critics mean. Plaxton did not get it back until the Elite II and Elite III – only to throw it all away with the Paramounts. [.....and as for what came next .....]

David Oldfield

19/06/14 – 07:53

Sheffield United – so that’s where I’d seen this detailing before! Thanks for reminding me!

Pete Davies

21/06/14 – 06:27

In the past I have found to my cost that the owner of this particular vehicle objects to the idea that the Panorama was "based on" anything. Leaving aside questions of chickens and eggs, SUT’s original pre-production Panoramas had the same front and rear ends as the Consort II with a completely different body shell in between. Similarly this version has the same front and rear as the Consort IV with a different shell in between. It’s the difference in height between the Panorama’s waistrail and the bottom of the Consort IV rear window that necessitated the "kick-up" at the rear. (The SUT-derived side detailing was an optional extra.) However, the 1961-2 version really did share a body shell with its poor relation, the Embassy, which is why the kick-up was no longer necessary.
The Ogle version which we think of as Panorama I was simply called Panorama for the first two years of its life, while the future Panorama II was styled as either Embassy IV, Val or Vam depending on chassis type. I never really liked the Panorama I except on the Bedford VAL chassis, where the extra bling under the first side window lined up perfectly with the twin steering axles. To me the most pleasing Plaxton body of that generation was the 32-foot Vam/Panorama II.

Peter Williamson

21/06/14 – 08:53

No, Peter, the body is exactly the same – it is only the size and pitch of the windows in between that differs, along with the provision of forced air ventilation. I would tend to agree with you about the 32′ Vam/Panorama II.

David Oldfield

129 DPT Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

15/08/14 – 09:23

As the owner of 129 DPT may I add some thoughts to the thread? Peter Williamson and I certainly exchanged some views several years ago on whether the vehicle was properly a Panorama (or just a reworked Consort) and I pointed out that Plaxton obviously thought it was a Panorama because they invited it to their centenary celebration as the oldest surviving example. I’m unclear what Peter ‘found to his cost’. We just saw things differently and there is nothing wrong in that – anyway it was a long time ago now. So far as lineage goes it is true that the prototype was little more than a Consort with long windows but by the time production had started the design had evolved considerably. The Consorts of the late 50s/early 60s adopted many of the design features introduced on the early Panoramas including wraparound windscreens and dished grills so were they really Panoramas with short windows? To pick up on other comments, the original SUT six were really pre-production models, being built individually rather than on a production line. Correspondence I have from Plaxton at the time of their centenary makes this clear. The SUT side mouldings were offered as an option on all orders and even appeared on later Consort-bodied SBs.

John Boston


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Southampton Corporation – AEC Swift – MTR 420F – 2

Southampton Corporation - AEC Swift - MTR420F - 2

Southampton Corporation
AEC Swift MP2R
Strachan B47D

I thought a southern flavour was in order with another Southampton photo this one in service in early 1968 when the bus was quite new I am not sure of the exact location in the city.
No 2 MTR 420F was an AEC Swift MP2R with a Strachans B47D body delivered in February 1968 one of a batch of five which were some 9-10 months after No 1 JOW 499E with an identical body, the ways to tell them apart was that No 1 had a red roof and a cream skirt rather than that shown on No 2 it also had a route number box above the first near/side window. These were followed by four more Swifts in 1970 this time with East Lancs who by this time were confirmed as Southampton’s body builder of choice.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

05/06/14 – 07:38

It’s on the junction of Portsmouth Road and Victoria Road in Woolston, Dave. She’s come from Weston Estate and is going to City Centre via Bitterne and Northam.
The 8 and the 16 ran in opposite directions and the bus is turning right here because ahead of her is the bridge carrying the Southampton to Portsmouth railway line. Occasionally, drivers tried taking double deckers under the bridge, and failed to do anything other than cause the vehicle’s immediate withdrawal, hence the introduction of the compulsory right turn here. The road was lowered when the Itchen Bridge was built to replace the Floating Bridge in 1977.
Several "Corporation" services ended at either side of the Itchen, and Hants & Dorset had a couple which terminated in Woolston, along with a small depot.

Pete Davies

05/06/14 – 07:39

By the time I saw this bus it was in a rather sorry state – parked at the back of the Blackpool Corporation depot in April 1980 being used as a source of spares for their own fleet of Swifts.

Mike Morton

05/06/14 – 17:41

It’s nice to see this style of bodywork in a decent colour scheme. London Transport and Wolverhampton’s versions were both dreadful!

Neville Mercer

05/06/14 – 17:41

I recall seeing these vehicles on my occasional forays from Portsmouth to So’ton. They had attractive bodies, in my opinion, aided by the livery. I moved from the area in 1976, the same year that saw the demise of Strachan. Your comment, Mike, confirms my thoughts that they did not have long lives, like many Swifts. No idea of bodywork quality: do you DD?

Chris Hebbron

06/06/14 – 07:39

The six Strachans bodied Swifts lasted a maximum of eleven years in Southampton, but a couple of them went after a mere six years. The subsequent four Swifts with East Lancs bodies also stayed in the fleet for just eleven years, so I suspect that the modest lives of these buses was due more to the shortcomings of the Swift chassis than to inadequacies with the bodywork. In fact, the Strachans body on rear engined two door single deck chassis gained quite a reasonable reputation owing to the employment of underframing that reduced the flexing movement. The Strachans examples were rather less prone to roof structure failure in the region of the centre doorway than the efforts of some other manufacturers, as London Transport, for example, discovered to its cost.

Roger Cox

06/06/14 – 08:46

One peculiarity of the Swifts in Southampton – it may have applied to the Arab UF and Nimbus fleet as well but I never got to travel on any of them, and I suspect not – was a red stripe across the roof, to match the location of the step behind the centre door. Smoking downstairs had been prohibited for several years, but was still allowed upstairs. On the Swifts, the step and stripe designated where the ‘upstairs’ was!

Pete Davies

07/06/14 – 08:17

Roof? No, sorry! I meant ceiling!

Pete Davies

07/06/14 – 08:17

I had always wondered how cigarette smoke determined where to stop blowing. It was commonplace for Smokers to be requested to occupy the rear of the vehicle on single deck buses. But how to keep the smoke from wafting into the forward section?
Southampton clearly had the answer – paint a read line across the ceiling, the smoke won’t dare go beyond there. Obvious, or what !!


07/06/14 – 08:18

Thx, Roger, your thoughts about the chassis rather than the body being the problem matches mine.

Chris Hebbron

07/06/14 – 10:00

Slightly off topic but there used to be an airline that had smokers on one side of the aircraft, non smokers on the other and this was on narrow bodied aircraft. The joke was that this must be Aer Lingus. The truth was it was Lufthansa. Just how German efficiency prevented the smoke crossing the aisle on a B737 for instance has never been revealed.

Phil Blinkhorn


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 30th October 2014