Old Bus Photos

St Helens Corporation – AEC Regent III RT – BDJ 67 – 67

St Helens Corporation - AEC Regent III RT - BDJ 67 - 67

St Helens Corporation
Park Royal H30/26R

BDJ 67 is one of the few Regent RT buses built for an operator other than London Transport. We see her here in full St Helens livery while taking part at the gathering at Brooklands on 13 April 2014. She has Park Royal H56R bodywork. St Helens had forty of these RTs taken in two batches, this actual vehicle and seventeen others were sold to Hull corporation in 1962. No, folks, it isn’t just a figment of Ken Dodd’s imagination – there really is a place called KNOTTY ASH!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

02/06/14 – 07:19

Not many of the RT’s who ‘escaped’ working for LTE had the traditional RT body. The St. Helen’s ones looked very smart in this livery, which was, of course, a much lighter colour on the top half.

Chris Hebbron

02/06/14 – 09:35

St Helens RTs even had a London Transport bullseye on the fuse box covers The eccentric way the blinds were used with a large number and squashed via points was interesting Incidentally St Helens also ran to Clock Face!

Chris Hough

02/06/14 – 10:45

The adjacent vehicle is NXP 997, RT4712, in Queen’s Golden Jubilee livery. She’s part of the LT collection and was on a day out from the Museum.

Pete Davies

03/06/14 – 07:43

This thread and Peter Williamson’s comments regarding Southport in the A Matter of Opinion thread have really stirred some memories. In 1954 my Dad bought a Standard 9 and on certain summer Sundays we would proceed in a stately fashion to either Southport or Blackpool. We would rarely make either as my mother preferred the "more refined" areas of Ainsdale and Lytham St Anne’s!
The St Helens RTs were a sight to behold as they crossed the East Lancs Rd or proceeded on the service to Southport. The colour scheme, like Southport’s (and for that matter Stockport’s) always was cleanly presented and looked a cut above most other towns and cities in the North West.
The large surround to the coat of arms was also "different" though why the Department used the blind layout it did is a mystery to me. It sort of spoiled the overall effect and, with a substantial fleet of these vehicles surely using the indicator spaces as intended would not have been a significant extra cost.
Cross referencing again to Peter on the other thread, I well remember the DUKWs -and the Bedfords that eventually ran on the sands. Southport probably had the smartest all Leyland PD2s of all and, operating alongside the St Helens RTs the enthusiast, myself included had the unique experience of seeing, in my opinion, THE pinnacle of UK bus design of the era running side by side every day.

Phil Blinkhorn

On the surface of it these were strange purchases for a Lancashire municipality. However it is easier to understand when one learns that the GM at St Helens at the time was R Edgeley Cox who had a hand in the design and development of the RT when he was in a previous post with LTE. Despite being ‘high quality’ vehicles they had relatively short lives at St Helens as they apparently fell foul of a subsequent GM’s views on operating costs after Mr Cox had moved on to Walsall. The preselector transmission gave lower MPG than manual gearbox buses and as a result the RT’s were sold on in the early 1960′s.

Philip Halstead

03/06/14 – 11:14

Thanks for your various comments, gents. The pinnacle of UK bus design, Mr Blinkhorn – the QL and the DUKW? You’re jesting, of course!

Pete Davies

One wonders if the purchase price was favourable, bearing in mind that they were purchased as part of a large on going LTE order. This might have helped to defray subsequent running costs somewhat.

Chris Hebbron

04/06/14 – 08:07

Pete, is anno domini getting to you? The PD2 and RT is what I said but, come to think of it, the DUKW and the QL could be the pinnacle of municipal transport oddity. Are there other contenders? Llandudno may be a good starting point.

Phil Blinkhorn

04/06/14 – 08:07

The book ‘Local Transport in St Helens’ by Maund & Ashton states that the RT had a lower overall height than conventional highbridge buses and that this was another reason for their purchase as St Helens had some height restricted routes. I was never aware of this feature of the RT but would welcome any comments from those with greater London knowledge.
I agree with Phil that the rather obscure use of the standard London destination display did spoil the appearance and detract from the very attractive livery. When several of them were sold on to Hull they were fitted with that operator’s standard blind display and were given another very attractive livery, the streamlined blue and white/cream.

Philip Halstead

04/06/14 – 08:08

This is a far more interesting story than at first appears, probably because the name R Edgeley Cox comes into it. The appearance of these buses- emphasised by the livery- belies their date, even though other (relatives?) such as CH Roe were producing some smart looking bodies oop north by the early fifties. The odd thing is the destination boxes- you would think it would not be a big issue to alter them to suit the purchaser- or were they really an off the peg or cancelled-order deal? And if these buses were available to buy (unlike Bristol/ECW) why didn’t more municipalities buy them? This was surely the age of the preselector- and hundreds of Daimler CVD’s of that era survived a full innings. So what did St Helens buy instead after 10 years? Atlanteans?


04/06/14 – 09:13

Joe, St Helens never operated Atlanteans operating a mixed fleet of Regent Vs and PD2s.

Phil Blinkhorn

04/06/14 – 15:17

I knew exactly what you meant, Phil. I was just being suitably provocative to match my Welsh background!

Pete Davies

04/06/14 – 15:17

Malcolm Keeley’s Buses in Camera ‘Mercian and Welsh’ has a good colour shot showing two of the Bedford QL’S on Ainsdale beach.

Roger Broughton

04/06/14 – 18:15

Pete, I have a Welsh friend who lives just down the road. You have just explained a great deal!!

Phil Blinkhorn

05/06/14 – 07:32

Phil, I could tell you about the "Honorary Welshman" contests we had a College on St David’s Day, but it isn’t fit for ‘family viewing’!

Pete Davies

05/06/14 – 07:33

Phil- the Atlantean reference was a bit of irony… but can’t see the logic of presumably losing money on the early sale of these RT assets: perhaps Hull made them an offer they couldn’t refuse…


07/06/14 – 08:22

I believe the RT was only 14’3" high, although how that was achieved I have no idea. It makes sense for this to have been part of the attraction, because St Helens also had its own unique version of the Leyland PD2 – the PD2/9 – on which bodywork of reduced height could be built.
Regarding the early disposal, Joe may have hit on something. There was a lot of networking between municipal managers in those days. I can just imagine the St Helens guy grumbling about a daft legacy left by his predecessor, and I can imagine the Hull guy saying there had never been a better bus than the preselective Regent III, next best thing to a trolleybus, wish they were still available etc etc. Next thing you know, a deal is done and everyone’s happy.

Peter Williamson

08/06/14 – 07:20

BDJ 818

A more suitable destination indicator set on an ex-St Helens RT as produced in Hull. No. 135 was photographed by me on 11 April 1967.

Malcolm J Wells

08/06/14 – 07:21

The destination "Knotty Ash" on a St Helens Corporation blind threw me, as it seemed to be an unusual short working for a bus on the 317 to Liverpool.
So I read page 40 of "Local Transport In St Helens" (Venture Transport) and all became obvious.
Greyhound racing was a popular pastime in St Helens, and additional buses were put on to Knotty Ash Stadium on race nights.
Then in 1950, Liverpool Stanley RLFC relocated to Knotty Ash Stadium as Liverpool City RLFC.
I doubt that St Helens RLFC played many matches at Knotty Ash, due to the teams being in different divisions, but there is a photo in the book showing 10 St Helens RTs parked on East Prescot Road (opposite Dovecote Baths) for an event.
As an aside, my dad lived in Knotty Ash in the 1920s in 9th Avenue, on an estate of prefabricated "cabins" built as a rest camp for the U.S. Cavalry on their way to/from the Western Front.
This site was adjacent to Knotty Ash Station (well worth a read on the Disused Stations website) www.disused-stations.org.uk/k/knotty_ash/  as are all the stations of the Cheshire Lines Committee.

Dave Farrier

08/06/14 – 09:51

Reading further in the Maund and Ashton book, the reason why the RT was not more popular with provincial operators may have been its cost – almost £500 per bus, compared to a standard Regent III, a considerable amount at that time. Also, I don’t think it was just the PD2/9s which were of reduced height – further on in the chapter it is mentioned that all the 1956/1957 deliveries had the "now standard configuration…of reduced height", and I think this can be discerned looking at photos of St. Helens DDs. And regarding the short life of the RTs, at the time St Helens did keep their vehicles for a relatively short time compared to other north-west municipals; in 1967, whilst still buying new rear-entrance DDs, they were already selling the 1956/57 PD2s which would have probably been considered profligate at Stockport, for instance!

Michael Keeley

11/06/14 – 08:12

BDJ 807

Some of the St Helens RTs were bought by Harper Brothers of Heath Hayes, neighbours to Walsall Corporation and R. Edgeley Cox. Both operators shared a 14’3" bridge in Cannock.
Walsall also had 5 ex LT RTLs, but they were limited to the routes they could be used on because of their height.

Tony Martin

11/06/14 – 11:28

Didn’t I also read that the suspension and profile of the tyres on RTs contributed to their "low height" characteristics?

David Oldfield


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Southampton Corporation – AEC Regent V – 373 FCR – 353

Southampton Corporation - AEC Regent V - 373 FCR - 353

Southampton Corporation
AEC Regent V 2D3RA
East Lancs H37/29R

373 FCR is a Regent V, 2D3RA, from the Southampton City Transport fleet. Unlike some, which had Neepsend bodywork, she is listed as having East Lancs bodywork, of the H66R configuration. She was new in 1963. She’s seen in Winchester, during a King Alfred Running Day on 1 January 2009, on the roundabout at the eastern end of The Broadway…

373 FCR_2

…and, yes, she is heeling over somewhat!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

26/05/14 – 09:40

Even allowing for some over enthusiastic cornering, it looks as if some of the leaves in the rear spring have failed, a matter that should receive urgent attention.

Roger Cox

26/05/14 – 11:28

373 FCR_3

This really is an action photo! The upstairs passengers might well have wondered if she’d ever recover!

Chris Hebbron


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Leicester City Transport – AEC Bridgemaster – 217 AJF – 217

217 AJF

Leicester City Transport
AEC Bridgemaster B3RA
Park Royal H45/31R

217 AJF Leicester City 217 was one of the first vehicles to be delivered in the new cream livery with three maroon bands. It was withdrawn from service in 1971, worked for other companies until 1998 when it was bought for preservation and is now owned by individual members of the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust. It originally had only 72 seats but an additional row was inserted in the upper deck in 1963. It has been fully operational since 2011. More information can be found at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

08/05/14 – 07:53

It just shows how even an ugly duckling like the Bridgemaster can be enhanced by a quality livery. Good to see it preserved and in running order.

Ian Wild

08/05/14 – 07:54

Isn’t this livery just much more dignified than the red/grey/white Leicester City Council corporate livery that came after? – we’ll paint our buses the same colour as our "bin waggons" because, presumably, we think our passengers are rubbish. When I first visited Leicester in 1984 the LCT operation had echoes of various conflicting past ages: Ultimate and Solomatic ticket machines; and, yes, conductor operation; but two-door buses abounded; and on some one man buses change was delivered down a chute from a change-giver situated by the driver’s left shoulder (Roger Cox – or indeed anybody living in Halifax late 60′s/early 70′s . . . or in fact in Leicester late 70′s-late 80′s! – will get the picture). LCT was the first time I saw drivers/conductors wearing flat-caps as a matter of course – now, around in First Leeds country, if I ever spot a driver wearing a cap, then the odds are in favour it being a non-uniform baseball cap.
In how many respects was the Bridgemaster a low-height-cut-price-Routemaster-for-the-provinces?
And what a bloody indulgence of LCT to buy a small number of buses they subsequently decided were non-standard (didn’t see that coming then!) and so dispose of prematurely . . . all on the backs of their rate-payers presumably.

Philip Rushworth

08/05/14 – 10:58

The Bridgemaster was an AEC/Park Royal integral model, but there the resemblance to the Routemaster stopped. Among the most obvious differences the Bridgemaster was only available with a manual gearbox, it did not have power steering, was a lowheight design and completely different in appearance!

Don McKeown

08/05/14 – 10:59

Phil They also bought AEC Renowns which also left early along with the non standard Daimler CSG6/30s bought in the early sixties.
Many years ago Leeds bin wagons were a very similar shade to the buses while the lighting dept used blueand the direct works dept used grey The in the late sixties early seventies everything apart from the buses went bright red In Lancaster the bus shelters and the dust carts are still using Trafalgar blue the colour used fro the buses from 1974 to their demise Perhaps they overstocked!

Chris Hough

08/05/14 – 10:59

It is said that following the loan of a Sheffield Transport bus, the general manager of Leicester was so impressed with the blue and cream livery that he decided to adorn his buses with a virtually identical scheme in maroon and cream. Details of the Sheffield bus escape me at present, but what excellent taste that man had!

John Darwent

08/05/14 – 11:45

DBC 189C

Variations on a theme. DBC 189C was a H44/31F East Lancs bodied AEC Renown, new to Leicester City Transport in 1965. Around the mid to late 70′s. it was sold to Hunter of Seaton Delaval, and is pictured in service with them on the road between Earsdon and Seaton Delaval. Did it too start life in the rather smart version of the Leicester livery?

Ronnie Hoye

09/05/14 – 08:56

Ronnie. Yes. John. Could it have been one of Sheffield’s 519-524 batch of similar Bridgemasters? Sheffield never had any particular problems with either Regent Vs or Bridgemasters in their mountainous operating area – and all achieved a full working life (12/13 for Bridgemaster and 13-17 for Regent V).

David Oldfield

09/05/14 – 08:56

The previous Leicester livery was not unlike the Hunters livery with the window surrounds in cream and the rest in maroon.

Chris Hough

09/05/14 – 09:58

2523 WE
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

David – May well have been a Sheffield Bridgemaster on loan.  Pretty similar apart from opening top deck front windows. Go compare.

John Darwent

09/05/14 – 12:46

…..and as Ian said, at the top, what a difference a livery can make – just like on the Orion. Even 525, of the ugliest of PRV designs, looks good in STD livery – as it still does in preservation.

Question for all our experts out there. Recent reading has brought up an number of "forgotten" facts. One is the legislation requiring a downstairs emergency exit on 30′ long deckers. The Leicester Bridgemaster has one behind the driver’s cab, the "normal" position. Apart from those with platform doors – where the emergency exit was a door at the rear of the platform – only the Alexander Regent Vs of Sheffield had the additional emergency exit behind the driver. Why? Did the legislation come in during the course of 1960? STD’s Roe and Weymann Regent Vs arrived between January and April 1960. The Alexanders were the last to arrive, again in April.

David Oldfield

10/05/14 – 08:59

Leeds later 30 foot vehicles had an emergency window in the first bay on the offside rather like an upper deck emergency window

Chris Hough

10/05/14 – 08:59

Dont know for certain, David. By 1960 the NGT Group had entered the world of the Atlantean. The lower deck emergency exit was on the O/S between the rear axle and the engine. The only half cabs required to have an emergency exit on the lower deck were the SDO R/D Burlingham bodied PD3′s. They had a door on the back at the foot of the stairs, the Routemasters (O/S rear behind the axle, and the Ex East Yorkshire Renowns (centre rear). The Orion bodied PD3′s had the standard cut away section of the open platform which extended round the back, and allowed an escape route should the vehicle end up on its side.

Ronnie Hoye

10/05/14 – 08:59

The requirement for an additional emergency exit must have come in around 1959. The Leeds PD3s with Roe bodies didn’t have it but the tram replacement Daimlers in the reversed UA series did.

David Beilby

10/05/14 – 12:36

Thanks chaps. I was aware of the Leeds vehicles, Chris and David. Still anecdotal though. We’ve not pinned down a date, just more or less confirmed it by detection.

David Oldfield

11/05/14 – 08:21

There’s a small booklet that was produced by the Leicester Transport Heritage Trust in 2011 called "Maroon to Cream", The Story of Leicester City Transport’s Livery Change, by Mike Greenwood, which details the revision to the Leicester livery and highlights the Sheffield connection; it’s a fascinating little booklet that is well worth a read.

Dave Careless

11/05/14 – 08:22

Off-subject though this may be, I query the random positioning of front number plates on buses, and whether they were perhaps not subject to he Construction and use Regulations by which cars and motorcycles were bound.
Above we see Leicester Corp. Bridgemasters cast their plate high above the cab, under the destination indicator, BTC oft used a square plate slung the left under the cab, where the standard spot was at the base of the radiator – sometimes actually attached to the grille.
The only two ‘lets’ which I know to have been permitted in commercials, have been the rear plate of pantechnicons mounted atop the roof at right, and London Transport bypassing the white and yellow plates prescribed for all other vehicles in GB, by continuing with white on black. These allowances must have been arranged by the most complex legal wrangling and alteration of otherwise immutable law.
Thanks to all correspondents.who make this such a lively forum, with remarkable knowledge of the minutiae of omnibology and simply wonderful archive photographs, now saved for posterity by their exposure in OBP.

Victor Brumby

11/05/14 – 17:38

Leeds buses had a square registration plate affixed under the cab windscreen. However All the exposed radiator MCW Orion stock had a straight plate under the windscreen. The 60 all Leyland Titans had a transfer straight number plate under the cab window. The concealed radiator Daimler had a plate at the bottom of the tin front later Daimlers with Manchester style cowls reverted to the square cast plate. Later concealed Titans and Regents had their plates at the bottom of their tin fronts. All rear entrance buses had a square plate in the offside rear corner. These were usually painted. The last rear entrance Leeds buses 1966 AEC Regent had an illuminated plate over the rear platform window. All rear engined types had a plate at the bottom of the front dash positioned between the tow points. All rear engined deckers had a rear plate over the back window.

Chris Hough

12/05/14 – 08:34

Lincoln Corporation`s four Bridgemasters followed on from Leicester`s final batch by chassis nos. Does anyone know if they were cancelled by Leicester?
Lincoln were wedded to Leyland/Roe products and went back to them for several years. I have always wondered if they bought them at a bargain price, particularly as they were in the same traffic area and maybe the general managers were good pals?

Steve Milner

12/05/14 – 08:40

Manchester had square plates under the cab window as radiators were exchanged from time to time. There is a photo in The Manchester Bus of a vehicle carrying two different registrations after Burlingham delivered the first batch of the 1958 PD2s with plates on the bottom of the radiator and a swap was done later with a radiator for a 1959 Orion bodied PD2 and the mechanic failed to remove the plate from the original vehicle which would , along with its new radiator, have received the standard square plate. This left the newer vehicle with a correct UNB registration and an incorrect TNA one. The second batch of 1958 PD2s received square plates prior to delivery after Burlingham were reminded of Manchester’s requirements.
I don’t know of any hard and fast rules prior to the introduction of reflective plates, by which time, of course, front engined buses were being phased out by the manufacturers.

Phil Blinkhorn


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 23rd August 2014