Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Thornycroft J – BK 2986 – 10

Portsmouth Corporation - Thornycroft J - BK 2986 - 10

Portsmouth Corporation
Thornycroft J
Dodson O16/18RO

BK 2986 is a Thornycroft J, built in 1919 for Portsmouth Corporation. It originally had a Wadham O16/18RO seater body but was rebodied in 1926 with an ex London General AEC B 1920 Dodson O16/18RO body. Having been built in Basingstoke, it is fitting that she is seen in the Milestones museum there, one of three Portsmouth buses. Note the tram tracks – there’s a Portsmouth tram there as well. The photograph was take on 12th November 2013.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

07/07/14 – 15:54

Thanks for posting this elderly bus in it’s current position. We are fortunate that Portsmouth Corporation had what we would now call an enlightened view of bus preservation. Both this bus, from it’s first ever batch of buses, and a tram (No 84) were retained by the Corporation from the 1930’s onwards. They also saved the very first trolleybus (201) in 1958, which then went to Beaulieu in 1960. It has had a more chequered history since, but has also resided at Basingstoke for a few years. It is now safe with the CPPTD (the preservation group, not the Corporation!) in Hampshire. The Thornycroft in the picture was quite often brought out and driven around on special occasions for some years. At that time it was in the then-current red/white livery. I remember seeing it at the Brighton Coach Rally c.1962, with a bikini-clad young lady hanging on at the back, trying to smile, wave, and keep her balance! In 1976 (I think), it was used by representatives of the Portsmouth Council to open the new M275 motorway into Portsmouth. Fortunately there was no park and ride service then, otherwise there might have been some suggestions for use? – no, probably not. Both this Thornycroft and the tram seem to be well cared for now, and located in a sympathetic setting at Basingstoke.

Michael Hampton

07/07/14 – 16:39

Am I not right in thinking that this bus was originally No. 10, but renumbered 1 for most of its preserved life, more recently getting back its correct number? I used to see it a lot (with 201) at the late lamented Dave Chalker’s annual Southsea Spectacular on Southsea Common.
Does anyone have a photo of one of these vehicles with original Wadham body. I had one but can’t find it now – typical! Another survivor is what’s left of the 1931 diesel-engined Crossley Condor (RV720), after being cut down as a service vehicle. After being abandoned on the council tip, it was rescued and is a runner.

Chris Hebbron

08/07/14 – 07:18

When you see vehicles like this, you realise the great strides made in chassis and body design in the 13 years between 1919 and 1932.

Chris Hebbron

08/07/14 – 07:20

Yes, Chris, this bus was originally No. 10 in the fleet, out of the series 1-10 for the batch. I read somewhere in a fleet history that it had also been used as a petrol tanker by the Corporation for a while after withdrawal from passenger service. As the Karrier 6-wheel double-deckers bought in 1927/28 to replace these Thornycroft J’s were very thirsty buses , this probably explains the conversion. Another fleet history does state that the Karriers had to be refuelled during the day to keep them in service. Presumably, after the Karriers were withdrawn in 1935, No 10 was redundant as a tanker, and a Dodson body was re-united with it for preservation. It became No.1 in c.1942 – an odd year for such a decision to be made and carried out (don’t you know there’s a war on?). It remained as No.1 until virtually the end of CPPTD, and it’s correct original No.10 restored, I think in the early 1990’s, but I’m open to correction on that.

Michael Hampton

03/10/14 – 08:39

No 10
Copyright Unknown

I finally found the picture of No. 10 with its original body, on The Hard – I’ve only ever seen one other photo of these with Wadham bodies.

Chris Hebbron

05/10/14 – 07:26

There is another photograph of this bus with the original body in the PSV Fleet History PH14 Portsmouth Citybus Ltd.(and its predecessors) Pathfinder UK Ltd. Published February 1997

Andy Hemming

25/08/20 – 06:15

Chris Hebbron’s monochrome picture of this bus, also to be found on LTHL, is from a Pamlin print of which I have a postcard. This dates the image capture to 5 October 1925, though the shot seems to show decidedly bright and sunny weather for autumn.

Roger Cox

26/08/20 – 05:21

A sunny Autumn? Well, that’s Sunny Southsea for you Roger! Thx for the extra information and date.

Chris Hebbron


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland TD1 – RV 715/6 – 7/8

Portsmouth Corporation - Leyland TD1 - RV 715/6 - 7/8

Portsmouth Corporation
Leyland Titan TD1
Park Royal H26/24R

After purchasing its double-deck Karrier WL6/2’s in 1927/28, Portsmouths next double-deck purchase was seven petrol-engined Leyland TD1’s numbered 4-10. Numbers 4-6 and 9-10 had Short Bros. bodies like that of the diesel AEC Regent posted elsewhere on this site. A diesel Crossley Condor also had a Short Bros. body. Numbers 7 and 8, however, had rather attractive 5-bay Park Royal bodies, never purchased before or afterwards. They had long lives, RV 716 being withdrawn in 1950 aged 19 years and RV 715 in 1952, aged 21 years.

Photograph copyright Park Royal and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

09/01/14 – 12:26

Yes Chris, this pair of Park Royal bodied TD1’s looked smart, even in later life, when the whole bonnet area was painted red, and the depth of the white waist rail reduced. However, I’m too young to remember seeing them, and can only rely on photos like these! Thank you. These were Portsmouth’s first Leylands (also a single-deck Lion, No 3). Portsmouth bought 8 bodies from Hall Lewis in 1929 (4 each Dennis EV and Thornycroft BC), and 5 bodies from Park Royal (the Lion mentioned here, the two TD1s as the subject of this posting, and 2 TSM B10A2s. Park Royal never again featured in CPPTD orders, and the main suppliers became English Electric then Cravens in the 1930’s, and Metro-Cammell and Weymann post-war. This official looking portrait also shows a neatly lined out lower deck panel, but no lining out on the ‘tween deck panels. The reason for this was queried on the earlier posting of the Portsmouth AEC Regent with Short Bros body, No. 35. This was also a pre-entry to service official picture. I believe that the reason for this was to allow advertisements to be placed on the bus before entry to service. Why paint ornate lines which were going to be covered over? The extent of the adverts can be seen on the posting for the Portsmouth Corporation TSM E60A6. The side adverts cover virtually the full length of the vehicle. Post-war, this changed, and buses had lining out on the sides in front of and behind the adverts, which only covered the centre bays, not full length.

Michael Hampton

10/01/14 – 09:47

I thought that Park Royal was formed out of Hall Lewis, so the batches of 8 buses and 5 were really from the same stable.


10/01/14 – 10:56

Yes, Petras409, Hall Lewis did become Park Royal. In a summary, Alan Townsin states that Hall, Lewis & Co Ltd was formed in 1924, and was based at Abbey Road, Park Royal, London. AAT states that the origins of this are complex and go back to 1889. Hall, Lewis was involved in other transport interests, not just a successful bus body building programme. In spite of some sizeable and successful contracts, the firm became bankrupt in early 1930. One of the creditors, a Mr Harry Yager, bought the business, and it was renamed Park Royal Coachworks, as from April 1930. Before the 1930 change, there was a link to Northern Counties of Wigan through the Lewis family, but the Lewis family retained their interests in NCME when Hall Lewis was bought by Yager and became Park Royal. This is a mere summary of Alan Townsin’s summary in Vol 2 of his book Park Royal Vehicles 1942-1980. Portsmouth Corporation, however, did not avail themselves of their products after this initial foray, leaving Provincial on the other side of Portsmouth Harbour to build up a fleet of Park Royal-bodied AEC Regents, and Southdown to run into Portsmouth using Leyland TD4 and TD5, some with Park Royal bodies.

Michael Hampton

Thank you, Petras409 and Michael H for respectively asking and answering a queaion that I was going to ask!

Chris Hebbron

11/01/14 – 15:20

A lovely photo Chris , from a super period in bus history!
It does show how dated the TD1 was in its chassis geometry though. The space between the front bulkhead and the wheel centre was greater than most of its contemporary competitors such as the more recent Regent, and Daimler designs, and it was not until the TD3 that this feature was brought into line with "fashion". There was the whole TD2 model to go through first!
By 1931, Rackham inspired bow fronted bodies were coming into fashion, as typically exemplified by Weymann, Brush etc, and this was a most fascinating chapter in the evolution of bus design.

John Whitaker

11/01/14 – 17:55

In other TD1 photos I’ve seen, John, the rear of nearside wings all curve rearwards to avoid a total gap, even slightly earlier Hall, Lewis ones. The original photo of this vehicle is not clear enough to work out the actual situation, but it is strange that the safety rail projects forward of the front bulkhead, so maybe the wing just follows the tyre shape and leaves a gap. I think the bodywork style gives the bus the impression of being slightly later than 1931, partly because the stubby radiator in not obvious.

Chris Hebbron

12/01/14 – 07:44

It’s all subjective, I know, but I find this double-decker about as good-looking as a bus can get. That nice forward-set front axle was part of the appeal of the Reading TD1s, along with the subdued engine note and howling gearbox. They had Leyland bodies but–as John W points out–it was the chassis that dictated the overall look. Lucky old Portsmouth always got handsome buses especially with that wonderful livery.

Ian Thompson

14/01/14 – 14:49

I agree, Ian, that it has that certain elegant simplicity about it. Of course, it looks very tidy around the windows, presumably because it has one-piece three-quarter wind-down opening ones, so beloved at this time, but not for much longer. This aids the impression of a light, airy appearance inside.

Chris Hebbron

05/02/14 – 06:08

This picture appears in the October 1964 issue of buses illustrated as part of the Portsmouth edition and is part of a contributor’s personal favourites.
According to the article, this is number 8- RV 716.

Dave French

05/02/14 – 09:25

Thx, Dave F, for clarifying which of the two it was. I agree that, for its time, it’s quite handsome.

Chris Hebbron


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation
Leyland Titan TD4
English Electric O26/24R

Here are two of the Portsmouth Corporation venerable TD4 open top buses. When delivered in 1935, this batch had English Electric bodies of H26/24 configuration, but four of these were rebuilt as O26/24R in 1953. No.5, RV 6358, formerly No.115, and No.7, RV 6367, previously No.124, are seen on 26th June 1967 at Southsea seafront. These sturdy performers were ultimately withdrawn in 1971 and 1972 respectively.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

23/07/13 – 06:44

Nearly all of Portsmouth’s 46 TD4s were quite long-lasting vehicles, many going on for 18-20 years. The four with EEC bodies converted to open-top were even more long-lived, going on to 1971/72 – a massive 35 years! I believe all four are still extant in preservation. This includes one which has had a top cover to more or less the original design fitted, although the upward sweep of the open top front has been retained. These four conversions replaced Leyland Cheetah single deckers on this route – a photo of one at the end of it’s life is also on this site. The Southdown Enthusiasts’ Club recently produced an excellent booklet on the history of Portsmouth’s sea front services, and the vehicles used. In 1956, a batch of MCCW Orion bodied PD2s replaced the remaining covered top versions of the EEC bodied TD4s. Poetically, six of these PD2/Orions were converted to open top to replace the EEC TD4s shown here! Thanks for also showing them in the traditional red (crimson) and white livery. I was never a fan of their final style of nearly all-over white with a red band or two. Interestingly, the PD2 conversions were painted white with red stripes immediately on conversion. Those preserved have been re-painted in traditional crimson and white – not strictly authentic, but their owners must agree that it’s much better-looking! Others on this site may like their Gardner and AEC engine sounds, but for me a Leyland TD4 or a PD2 is the best score in the memories of youth.

Michael Hampton

24/07/13 – 11:00

A couple of very evocative photos, with the added fact that little has changed in the second location (Clarence Pier, Southsea)and a lot in the first (by Southsea Castle). It was a pleasure to travel on these venerable public servants and it’s good to know that they’ve all survived. I also loved the roar of these indirect injection diesel engines (sounding at their most bizarre when fitted to the Crossley DD42/7’s). My wife and I would often pick up one of these by the seafront at the Marine barracks and go the Hayling Ferry and watch the activity there for an hour or so. I don’t believe there’s a seafront service any more. although I believe that a company tried one last year, obviously without success.

Chris Hebbron

24/07/13 – 14:42

Chris, the 8.6 litre Leyland oil engine was a very smooth running direct injection design, giving 94 bhp at 1900 rpm, making it the fastest revving direct injection unit then available. On my last visit to the Portsmouth/Gosport area about five years ago, I was pleased to see the seafront gardens much as I remembered them from childhood, a time when Portsmouth City still showed the terrible scars of wartime bombing. I am sorry to learn that no seafront service now operates. It was always a magical experience as a child to hear the glorious sound of these buses when pulling away, though back then (1949 to 1952) they still had covered top decks.

Roger Cox

26/07/13 – 06:48

That was a slip of the pen, Roger, but thanks for correcting me.
Not long after going out to work in London, I had a sole experience of a return ride on one of LT’s pre-war STD’s. Leyland TD4’s, with crash gearboxes, they were, nevertheless, good performers, even into Central London. Bodily, they were clever copies of roofbox STL’s to the layman, but to the bus enthusiast, not quite right, internally and externally, producing a surreal ride. Shame one never survived, although there were a couple of failed attempts.

Chris Hebbron

30/07/13 – 12:29

Some engines grunt like an O600, some thud like a 5LW or rumble like a 6LW, some thrash and some clatter, but nothing hums like a Leyland 8.6! For sound, bodywork and livery I’d have one of these Portsmouth TD4s among my Desert Island Dozen. Pity that considerations of fuel economy, clean running and power output have conspired to make the toroidal piston cavity almost universal, because it seems that the smoothness Roger describes results from the flowerpot cavity of the 8.6. For three years after the introduction of this legendary engine AEC continued to struggle with Ricardo-head indirect injection with its cold-starting difficulties.
Does anyone recall the sound of London Transport AEC 8.8-litre engines? I don’t, as I wasn’t there, but Graham Green tells me that they too had flowerpot-cavity pistons, so I imagine they must have hummed like the Leyland 8.6.

Ian Thompson

01/08/13 – 06:34

Something I forgot to ask:
Seaside open-toppers often survived way beyond the average vehicle’s service life. Is that because they were cherished by the operator and given whatever overhauls were necessary for a new CoF even when an accountant would raise an eyebrow, or were the fitness conditions less stringent for buses plying a flat seafront route at 20mph? But a counterexample was prewar Southern Vectis CDL 899, which at over 60 years of age ground doggedly up to the Needles Battery, at about 450ft, several times a day.
Enlightenment welcome!

Ian Thompson

01/08/13 – 11:20

One aspect was that they probably only worked for 4 months a year, so had less hard lives on an annualised basis. I also wonder if there was some affection for these pre-war buses, retained long after the war before conversion, and, in effect, museum pieces. I’m not so sure that post-war open-toppers, in general, have fared so well.

Chris Hebbron

02/08/13 – 10:40

You are of course right Chris, they were only used for 4 months of the year and were stored under dust sheets in the side garage at North End through the Winter. In addition they were not sent out in the rain – as the timetable of the time stated – this service will be augmented or withdrawn depending on demand and the weather.

Pat Jennings

04/08/13 – 06:44

How I agree with Ian on the subject of the pot cavity Leyland oil engine in TS and TD chassis. Originally of 8.1 litres capacity, the engine was derived from Leyland’s contemporary petrol unit and inherited its overhead camshaft design concept. This contributed to the smooth running characteristics, albeit at a slight penalty in longer overhaul procedures. In fact, when later bored out to the familiar size of 8.6 litres, the E102 unit proved to be very reliable, and this apparent maintenance complexity was unimportant in practice. Coupled with the "silent third" gearbox, which had sliding mesh engagement for first and second, but helical constant mesh for third, the TS and TD buses thus equipped were, to my mind, the most musical psvs of all time. The song of one of these pulling away from a stop was a delight upon the ear. My experience of the AEC pot cavity 8.8 litre engines was limited to a very few rides upon the 10T10 Regals from Selsdon when Green Line routes 706 and 707 were introduced on the 26 June 1946. I was then four years old, so such memories are justifiably hazy, and one month later I went to live in the very rural Kent village of Doddington, which, to my joy, was served by Maidstone and District Leyland TS Tigers. Route 28 ran along the valley to Faversham with utility rebodied petrol TS2 buses, and these hissed along almost silently. Route 58 ran to Sittingbourne with TS7 (or possibly TS8) Tigers, and the glorious sound of these wonderful machines ascending Chequers Hill remains in my memory to this day. Perhaps our professional musician contributor, David Oldfield, might wish to offer a view on this subject. Much of our pleasure in old buses derives from their distinctive sounds, a quality that utterly eludes the present day crop of routine rattle boxes. To me, it’s like comparing Monteverdi with Heavy Metal. An interesting additional point arises from this discussion. So effective was the prewar Leyland 8.6 litre oil engine, that, when Crossley and Daimler designed their post war diesels, they copied exactly the 4½ ins bore and 5½ ins stroke of the Leyland, though not the pot piston cavity. Neither engine remotely emulated the success of the Leyland. When I first encountered the new post war PD1/PS1 Leylands, I was sadly disappointed with the sound of the E181 engine. The old Stradivarius sounds had been replaced by the rattle of a Gatling gun.

Roger Cox

04/08/13 – 10:38

Roger. Thanks for the recognition. I regret to say that I was (just) a little young and was badly placed as a kiddie to comment on TD and TS Leylands. Born in 1952 and only let loose on my own about ten years later, my early experience was Sheffield native vehicles. These were all high quality Leylands and AECs – but essentially post-war. Your description of the music of a Leyland 8.6 is only a thing I can imagine and, at the same time, be jealous of. It is certainly true that, although the engine has a big part to play, the gearbox is the critical part of the anatomy for producing the musical sounds of any motor vehicle. For this reason, I found PD2s rather characterless but when my favourite all Leyland PD2/10s (656-667) were on tick-over, they were almost silent – with just a little whistle and chuff. Whether Pre-select or synchromesh, there was far more character from the gearbox of a Regent III/V. Why, though, did the pre-select, the monocontrol and the BR/BUT (DMU) gearbox have delightful music to it which was missing on the Atlantean? Hardened gearwheels enhanced the music of certain manual AECs as did the (standard?) fair of Guy Arabs ( I – IV?). I also remember, as a student, being delighted to ride on a Manchester CCG6 – loved by enthusiasts and loathed by drivers! I’m not sure whether these were the thoughts that Roger was expecting or hoping for. All I can say is that my description of modern buses is "a load of characterless sewing machines". [The nearest thing to character I ever found on anything modern was the Voith boxes on the South Yorkshire AN68s of 1980/81 – but that was over thirty years ago!]

David Oldfield

04/08/13 – 14:46

I’m surprised no-one seems to have mentioned the reassuring clatter of an exhaust brake: perhaps they are post 1970: in which case I’ll still settle for the melodious sound of a CVD6, hunting and then tunefully gurgling away.


05/08/13 – 08:00

I too discovered the music of prewar (and postwar) Leylands at the age of four, in my case from Manchester TD5s and PD1s respectively. As Roger says, the sound of a TD pulling away from a stop is something very special, and I was so taken with it that (not knowing what they were really called) at that age I gave them a name based on the sound they made. Part of the magic came from clutch judder transmitted into the gearbox. In my experience the rapidity of clutch judder depends on gearing, and the TD must have had a very low second gear to sound the way it did. Manchester, however, did not have the "silent third" gearbox, but specified a special version with cellos and trombones in third gear as well as second (first was never used).

Peter Williamson

RV 6358 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

05/08/13 – 08:01

Not 100% sure, but I suspect the sound Roger Cox refers to may be like that of the Lincoln TD7 which is to be found on the Old Bus Sounds page. I remember it on many of Barton’s rebuilds around the time of our move to Long Eaton in 1954 – not to mention their ex-Leeds Regents and TDs.

Stephen Ford

06/08/13 – 06:13

The Lincoln TD7 is indeed capable of making all the right noises – I had a nostalgic ride on it last November. I don’t think there’s a second-gear start with clutch judder on this recording though. However, there is a nice burst of second gear from 6:36.

Peter Williamson


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 28th October 2021