Old Bus Photos

Bradford Corporation – AEC 661T – AAK 422 – 620

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - AAK 422 - 620
R F Mack

Bradford Corporation Transport
1935
AEC 661T
English Electric H32/26R

We all have our personal favourites as far as buses are concerned, and I have to confess that mine are, (or were), trolleybuses.
Amongst my earliest memories were the late war years in Bradford, where I so clearly recall the sight, and sound, of Bradford`s “Regen” trolleybuses.
These were AEC 661T types based at my home depot of Duckworth Lane, and were unlike any trolleybuses anywhere else, as they made a NOISE. Their mournful wail could be heard for miles about, especially when braking, and this was due to the double reduction rear axle and full regenerative control. How Bradfordians distinguished them from the Air Raid “all clear” signal I shall never know!
They were new in 2 batches, in 1934 (597-617  KY 8200-8220) and 1935 (618-632  AAK 420-434), and carried early examples of English Electric metal framed bodies, which recent research has discovered, were extremely troublesome right from the off. English Electric metal bodies at that time did not benefit from the expertise demonstrated in the products of Metro Cammel. Having said that, the situation was not helped by tight and hilly schedules, the aforesaid unusual double reduction rear axles, and the fully regenerative control, such that these bodies were virtually shaken to bits after a troublesome 10 year life on Bradford`s granite setts.
Failures were occurring at an alarming rate by the war years, and BCT received permission to rebody 9 of them with Brush utility bodies in 1944, during which process, the regenerative control was reduced. The remainder were rebodied by Northern Coachbuilders in 2 styles, between 1946 and 1949, the last of the English Electric all metal bodies being consigned to scrap in 1947, and these trolleybuses, with their composite bodies, then settled down to a “second life” which was to last into the 1960s.
They still made plenty of noise in their new guise and being a regular rider to school, each one developed its own character for me, and they became firm friends. Sad, I know!

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - KY 8209 - 606
I attach a poor quality Brownie Box photo of 606, one of the Brush rebodies, and always my favourites, taken on a quiet 1953 Sunday morning. This photograph is full of nostalgia for me, especially as it was one of the last to carry the older Tattam livery with cream bands and rear dome.
Happy Days! If only I could ride on one again at Sandtoft!

Photographs and Copy contributed by John Whitaker

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

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Not sad at all – some vehicles, just like people, have characters and the more eccentric ones get recalled the most! How amazing that permission was given to re-body vehicles while the war was on, something I’ve not previously heard of.
I always had a soft spot for the London United Tramways (later LT) A1 and A2 class ‘Diddler’ trolleybuses, unique and also frail bodywise!

Chris Hebbron

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Fear not John, as Chris H rightly says there’s nothing sad in being fortunate enough to be able to recognise the characteristics of vehicles. It is a fact that, even in large batches of brand new ones, individual machines very quickly display their own particular "natures." As a teenager on frequent visits to relations in South London I was also totally fascinated by the "Diddlers" on outings to Hampton Court and the area.

Chris Youhill

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Thanks Chris H and Chris Y for the reassuring remarks about my deceased friends!! Good to know that other enthusiasts are just as moved as myself when referring to man-made inanimate objects !!

Thanks for comments about London "Diddlers" from Chris Y and Chris H. I too was fascinated by them, but never saw them "in the flesh". I hold my very fleeting memories of Bradfords EEC 6 wheelers, and single deckers in the same light, as I can only just remember them. It would be great to hear about other trolleybus interests from fellow enthusiasts, as my enthusiasm is for anything old in the psv line, including trams!

But I wont go there!

John Whitaker

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Chris Hebbron raises an interesting point re. re-bodying of vehicles during WW2. The MOWT (Ministry of War Transport) controlled all allocations of chassis and body manufacture, and supply to customers. I doubt whether operators had much say in most cases; Body builders were allocated orders in batches, and hence Pickering, for example, built small numbers of utility bodies in 1942/3 on unfrozen, and early Guy Arabs, (including a minority on Mk2 chassis), they disappeared again until late 1945, when they were allocated a contract for relaxed single deck utility bodies on Albion chassis, for Scottish operators.
East Lancs were used for re-bodying only, several fleets receiving all metal bodies on reconditioned chassis (mainly AEC) to almost peacetime standard. Brush were unusual, but not unique, in being used for new and reconditioned chassis, viz the Bradford trolleybuses and early AEC Regents for Birmingham. Bradford had 10 AEC Regents with all metal English Electric bodies which dated from 1935/6, and these were just as worn out as their trolleybus cousins by 1944, such that 7 were given new East Lancs bodies that year. I intend to look at the English Electric situation as far as metal framed bodies are concerned, as there were other disasters, notably with a batch of TD3/TD3c buses for Burnley Colne and Nelson JTC. I will submit a post on the subject if there is sufficient interest.

John Whitaker

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I was delighted to see the Bradford AEC 661T "Regens" 620 and 606 posted on this web site by my best friend John. These were my favourite group of trolleybuses as they made a loud noise and had regenerative braking. Over the last few years I have been doing research into the early years of these trolleybuses 597 to 632 built 1934/35. My findings have been published in the Journal of the Bradford Trolleybus Association "Trackless" 200 to 205 inc. and 211. I can confirm the double reduction differential rear axle drive and the fierce regenerative braking were the main contributory factors leading to the failure of their EEC metal-framed bodies. The noise and vibration made it impossible for passengers to have a conversation inside these trolleybuses when running at speed, such as from Springhead Road to Bell Dean Road on the Thornton route. This leads me to ponder why Bradford specified a double reduction differential drive when a single worm drive differential was working quietly and efficiently on a very similar AEC 661T/EEC in London, namely LTPB 63 delivered some months earlier.

Richard Fieldhouse

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This site has certainly brought back some memories.
I served an apprenticeship with the English Electric Co. at the Thornbury works in Bradford in the late 50’s. The Trolleybus motors kept the Traction Department busy for many years.
I recall working on the motors in both production and refurbishment and for it’s output it was very compact, good for it’s purpose, but a pain to work on. A common fault with motors returned for Overhaul was the "Square Commutator" Not really square but appearing so due to abnormal wear on opposite sides. Caused it turned out by slightly eccentric brake drums on some vehicles resulting in the motors always stopping and starting at the same point in it’s rotation.

Phil Johnson

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Amazing the sort of problems which crop up – I should think it required some thinking about to identify THAT problem!

Chris Hebbron

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I found Phils’ comments and experience at the English Electric Co at Thornbury most interesting and wonder which type of trolleybus traction motors were being overhauled and who were the regular customers. Can I assume Bradford City Transport was a regular as it was a loyal supporter of English Electric traction equipment?

Richard Fieldhouse

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19/04/11 – 19:20

In the comments on the page for Bradford Corporation AEC661T trolleybuses, some correspondents mention the LUT "Diddler" trolleybuses. In 1962 the last trolleybuses were withdrawn in London and living in a road near the last trolleybus route to close I took my 18 month old son to see the last trolleybus from Hammersmith to the depot at Fulwell. In the event the modern bus was preceded by a "Diddler" from the London Transport Museum decorated with bunting, etc. as for its opening day. Alas, my son does not recall the sight.
For those of you who are interested, if you log on to the "You Tube" website and type in the Search Box "Twickenham Trolleybuses" (without the quotes) there is a film of the first day of operation of the diddlers taken in 1932. It is in black and white and, originally, was silent but a sound track of 1930’s band music has been added.
If you look carefully you will notice that they do not have headlights but it was shortly afterwards at the insistence of the police that a single headlight was put in the centre of the panel replacing the radiator on a IC engined bus.

Phi Jones

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East Yorkshire – AEC Bridgemaster – 4700 AT – 700

4700 AT
Copyright Ian Wild.

East Yorkshire Motor Services
1961
AEC Bridgemaster B3RA 
Park Royal H45/28RD

One of East Yorkshire’s rear entrance AEC Bridgemasters. Just shows the Bridgemaster could look good given the right sort of livery, the Beverley Bar inward profile of the upper deck also helps. Photograph taken at Goole on 22nd February 1968.

A full list of Bridgemaster codes can be seen here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

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You are quite right. Why didn’t Park Royal think of it? The Beverley profile would have improved many of their 1960s offerings – not just the Bridgemaster.
But where are the number blinds? A strange omission for a normally very fastidious operator.

David Oldfield

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I believe that East Yorkshire buses did not start showing route numbers until around 1963, although they were used internally and in the timetables. This was the reason that Hull Corporation had to renumber some of it’s routes in the 1 to 12 series in September, 1963.

Keith Easton

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Yet another most nostalgic picture for me, as a lifelong admirer of EYMS, but from a different angle. Right up to my retirement in May 2001 I often worked this route from Arriva’s Selby Depot, and also from Pontefract. Despite quite an infrequent train service the confounded level crossing gates at Goole always seemed to be closed for an age, just so that the trains could enter and leave the adjacent station at walking pace !!

Chris Youhill

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So was this a joint service between Arriva (presumably, formerly West Riding) and EYMS, or was it taken over from EYMS later? I don’t think EYMS operate to Selby today, do they?

Chris Barker

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To be honest Chris B I’m not too sure about that as I only worked for Pontefract SYRT and the West Riding Depots from November 1987. Certainly though there was no sign of EYMS in Selby or Goole by then so presumably the 1986 De-regulation had caused that change. The intermediate destination blind on the Bridgemaster shows "Hemingbrough/Osgodby" and there was no EYMS presence on that road in my time, so this is an interesting query isn’t it ?

Chris Youhill

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It was originally an EYMS service, but passed to West Riding, I believe in NBC rationalisation

Keith Easton

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Thank you most sincerely for that explanation Keith – I’m somewhat embarrassed at not thinking of it as the NBC rationalisation scheme had some quite interesting effects here in West Yorkshire and nationally too. Its just another indication of how easily such dramatic changes can fade from the memory in the vast range of topics that are covered by we serious enthusiasts.

Chris Youhill

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Yes, thanks for that. I’ve long thought that EYMS oozes interest, not only for its fleet but its history, operations, area of operation and not least the fact that it is still very much in business (independent business!) Long may it continue!

Chris Barker

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The Hull to Selby route was numbered 4 by EYMS and was on licence BE3/15, so it must have been in operation prior to the 1930 Road Traffic Act, as it is in the original batch of licences granted to the company.

Keith Easton

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28/06/11 – 06:29

Interesting comment on EYMS buses. I have just bought an EYMS bus a Yellow Peril MKH 84 for preservation need some work but will be worth it in the end.

Martin Chaplin

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28/06/11 – 09:12

What a very enviable purchase Martin, and all the very best to you in your preservation work. My main memories of these magnificent vehicles is of travelling from Leeds to Bridlington in them when they were new and could be found on that route – with their fifty seats and enormous accommodation for holiday luggage. Later, when I was in the RAF at Patrington (Spurn Point) and occasionally "detached" to Bempton, one of these fine vehicles would appear on the last short journey from Bridlington to Bempton and, if memory serves, this journey operated at a different time almost every night of the week. What glorious days these were !!

Chris Youhill

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29/06/11 – 07:00

Hi Martin, it will be great to see a "yellow peril" on the road again, the last time I saw one was in the late ‘seventies. I think that photos of the progress in the preservation would be most interesting and informative.

Keith Easton

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13/02/12 – 07:29

I am also looking forward to seeing one of East Yorkshires most iconic vehicles in the shape of a "Yellow Peril " back on the road. Hull born in 1952, I had the pleasure of growing up with the Titans, Regents, Bridgemasters and Renowns – travelled many times on the Yellow Perils particularly when they were used as our school buses from Hessle to Beverley Grammar School in the early 60’s. A pictorial diary of the restoration progress would be excellent. I wish Martin good luck with his project, and hope to see MKH 84 in all its glory in the near future, maybe then we can persuade OOC or EFE to produce its first Beverley Bar model.

John Eggleton


 

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Cheltenham District – AEC Regent I – DG 9819 – 2

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Colin Martin

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Davis Simpson Collection

Cheltenham District
1934
AEC Regent I
Weymann H30/24R

When my photos of the Cheltenham & District Albion Venturer
CX19 No. 72, were published they attracted a comment from Ian Thompson which read as follows-
"Three of the civilised and handsome Weymann-bodied 56-seat AEC Regents, mentioned by Chris, went in 1947 to fellow Red & White company Venture of Basingstoke, passing in 1951 to Wilts & Dorset. They were DG 9819 (No. 2) and DG 9820 (No. 3) of 1934, and BAD 30 (No. 10) of 1936. I remember seeing them (and secretly clambering aboard them in the AWRE Aldermaston bus park in 1955-56)."

Above are two photos of No.2, firstly looking immaculate with Cheltenham & District on 23rd May 1939 and then, about 1952, as ex-Venture 91, looking a little careworn on a filthy day, after Wilts & Dorset had taken over Venture.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

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This later-life picture of DG 9818 brings back not only happy memories of AWRE Aldermaston bus park in the 50s, but also a question that has niggled me for years.
I was never content with bus-spotting from outside and was always curious about staircases and upstairs seating layout. I very distinctly recall a decker whose staircase started in the usual way–three or four steps rising towards the offside rear corner–but then instead of turning to rise forward, it made a 180-degree turn to debouch upstairs facing the nearside. The two forward-facing seats opposite the top step were only singles. I don’t remember any incursion downstairs: the whole staircase fitted into the platform-well. My admittedly fallible memory recalls this bus as one of the Cheltenham trio, but when I asked a retired Cheltenham driver about it sixteen years ago he could recall no such layout; nor could Colin Martin, author of Cheltenham’s Trams and Early Buses (Tempus 2001) and other authoritative bus books.
I’ve studied hard the photos of the DGs and BADs in Colin’s books and in Venture Limited by Birmingham and Pearce (1995) and in Wilts and Dorset, by Colin Morris and Andrew Waller (Hobnob 2006) and can see nothing that suggests what I recall. The DGs had only 24 seats downstairs and the BADs 26, but they all seated 30 upstairs, so there again there’s nothing to back me up. I begin to wonder whether the bus that I recall so clearly wasn’t an ex-Cheltenham after all, but then whose was it? All the E. Yorkshire Beverley Bar buses I’ve clambered around on seem to have had conventional stairs but with Roe-type square top steps. Can anyone disentangle me? Thanks!
And thanks, Chris H, for the pictures.

Ian Thompson

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10/02/11 – 10:16

These three AECs which went to Venture as nos 85, 88 and 91 all had Gardner engines on arrival at Venture. The front bulkhead downstairs had a large rectangular panel (with round corners) protruding into the lower saloon above the flywheel cover – presumably because the Gardner 6LW took up more room than the standard AEC. They sounded rather like tractors compared with the usual Venture AECs. The staircases did indeed turn through 180 degrees and the top step protruded into the lower saloon above the off-side sideways seat next to the staircase: it was rather oval-shaped and a good example of the metalworker’s art as despite the many footsteps no dents or bumps were visible. It was just large enough for a footstep. There was no danger of a passenger bumping a head as upon standing up the body was clear of the intrusion.

Michael Peacock

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24/03/12 – 09:25

As a kid I remember traveling to school on these old AEC Regents. One of the features of the Weymann coachwork was access to the destination blinds on the top deck by undoing two latches thus enabling one to alter the route number. As some of the stops were shared by more than one route such action caused some concern to passengers and did not last very long as astute conductors would remove us guilty or otherwise.

Deryck

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06/12/12 – 16:54

Somehow I managed to miss Michael Peacock and Deryck’s comments on the Cheltenham Regents that ended their careers with Wilts and Dorset, and have only just read them! It’s a relief to know that my recollection of the odd staircase wasn’t mistaken after all. I think this arrangement must have been a Balfour Beatty speciality, as it’s shared by the 1949 Notts and Derby BUT/Weymann H32/26R trolleybus at the West of England collection at Winkleigh, Devon, which I saw only two months ago. Given the above-average upper deck seating capacity, the nearly-180-degree staircase was obviously space-thrifty. Belated thanks to Michael and Deryck for shedding more light on these fascinating vehicles.

Ian Thompson


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 7th July 2015