Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Bedford OWB – CTP 200 – 170

Portsmouth Corporation - Bedford OWB - CTP 200 - 170
Copyright Chris Youhill

Portsmouth Corporation
Bedford OWB
Duple B32F

Perhaps this old snap may be of interest as we have had a previous posting of a sister vehicle whist in service with the above fine municipal operator. It was taken at Robin Hood on the A61 between Wakefield and Leeds in early 1968. At that time I was involved with a group who were initially preserving the vehicle and I did quite a bit of work on it many weekends, one difficult job in particular was to rebuild the rotting destination box assembly which can be clearly seen here. Sadly, due to domestic difficulties, I had to part company with the Group before the vehicle eventually took to the road in fine order and so I never actually rode on it and it was sold on shortly after that.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill

28/03/11 – 10:30

I recall you saying, Chris, that you’d put some hours in on this vehicle, and I also recalled I’d seen a photo of the finished article on the web somewhere. It’s here with the following caption:
“1944 Bedford OWB 170 (CTP 200), pictured in wartime grey livery. Sold in 1963, the remains of the original body were replaced in the early 1990s with a replica body partly built by Ulsterbus, who were restoring a similar vehicle. Photographed in Upper Drayton, Portsmouth April 1996. (Photo and text Malcolm Audsley)”
At least your efforts were to some avail in the end!
I was comparing my Mulliner-bodied example with your Duple example (and a few others). Superficially, both makes look the same, but the vents either side of the destination box are different, Mulliner having a cover over the apertures.
Thanks for posting it.
PS Is it you leaning nonchalantly on the front wing – what confidence that it would not collapse from rust corrosion!

Chris Hebbron

29/03/11 – 07:31

Yes Chris it is me leaning on the wing – my co- preservationist took the picture on my camera. You are right – it was indeed a risky pose to adopt, but I only weighed about "nine stone wet through" in those misguided heavy smoking days and so that no doubt saved me from an undignified descent into the mud !! We are amazed to hear of the subsequent rebuilding of the body and thanks very much for that additional information.

Chris Youhill

03/04/11 – 08:56

The bus itself, the mud, the dereliction in the background and the look of grim determination on Chris’s face all nicely sum up the early days of preservation, when finding covered accommodation was a nightmare and the transport "professionals" saw us as mad but harmless. Delighted that this project met with such success.

Ian Thompson

02/05/11 – 06:34

CTP 200 made the HCVS London to Brighton Run today Sunday 1st of May.
It is only the 2nd time out on a real run since we got it back on the road after a 10 year period of rest.
Apart from identifying a few little jobs to do she performed excellently.

Mike Elkin

02/05/11 – 12:53

Congratulations to Mike and friends on this achievement – my only surviving colleague from the original preservation group will be delighted to hear it. I’ve always been an ardent OWB/OB admirer, both in preservation and in full time public service, and the delightful lusty tones provided by these incredibly gutsy and totally honest little vehicles is music to the ear and comes into my mind very frequently.

Chris Youhill

02/05/11 – 12:56

Nice to hear from you Mike E and hear that she is in safe hands and putting in the occasional ‘public appearance’.
Perhaps you could fill in some of the gaps between Chris Y having to give up and near final completions, especially with regard to the Ulster part – how did this happen?

Chris Hebbron

04/05/11 – 06:56

Aside from the engine sounds, I always loved the sounds from Bedford gearboxes of that era – pure music!

Chris Hebbron

27/01/13 – 09:50

CTP 200_2

As I do from time to time I just randomly pick a page – often it helps me to at least try and understand what people are talking about. The posting of Portsmouth Corporation 170 registration CTP 200 has a mention of it attending the London to Brighton run in 2011. Above is picture taken by me as the vehicle passes Brighton pier.

Ken Jones

27/01/13 – 12:25

At the moment, she’s having some attention done to the engine and some repainting in the engine bay at the same time. Paintwork has been touched up, with some thought being given to something more extensive.

Chris Hebbron

30/05/13 – 06:00

CTP 200 is to shortly have some remedial work done to the front grille, front wings and bumper. A new rear registration plate is to be made up, the offside half-drop window replaced and the opening windscreen reinstated. Then she will be going away to be painted in the Portsmouth red and white livery, with grey roof.

Clive Wilkin

30/05/13 – 11:34

She’s also had to have the engine professionally rebuilt recently, essentially because of a badly scored cylinder bore. The engine bay has, concurrently, had a thorough clean and repaint and the body some touchups.
She should be really smart when repainted in maroon, white and grey roof, just as most folk would recall here in service.

Incidentally, nice seafront photo of her, Ken J.

Chris Hebbron

16/06/15 – 08:22

CTP 200

CTP 200_inner

As indicated earlier this restored little bus is now back in it’s true colours of Portsmouth red and white, with a grey roof. It appeared at the Southdown 100 centenary event at Southsea Common on June 7th. It looked very smart, and drew many admiring looks from both enthusiasts and general public. It’s good to compare this with the original picture on this posting, when it’s restoration was at an early stage. Many man-hours (ladies too?) have passed since then to bring it to it’s smart looks today. Well done to everyone.

Michael Hampton

16/08/15 – 08:47

CTP 200_03
Copyright Kevin Warrington

CTP 200_04
Copyright Kevin Warrington

To complete an all-round view, here are an offside and rear view of CTP 200 (170), taken on its first outing after a recent renovation. The photos were taken by Kevin Warrington, an active participant in CPPTD, who preserve Portsmouth Corporation vehicles. He allowed these photos to be posted here."

Chris Hebbron

CTP 200 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

26/10/15 – 06:53

CTP 200
Copyright Unknown

Voila! Another pre-restoration photo of CTP200 when first in the hands of CTTPD (City of Portsmouth Preserve Transport Depot): (renovation of the adjacent PD1 is well underway).

Chris Hebbron

27/10/15 – 06:41

Thank you Chris. I do remember seeing these two together somewhere near Waltham Chase in the early 1980’s, when taking my sons to band practice. There was never any opportunity to find out more. Now 170 is complete, and it’s good to know that the PD1 is also progressing.

Michael Hampton

28/10/15 – 06:58

What a tonic to see these two veterans side by side, and grand to know that the Bedford is already "better than new." I’m sure that the gorgeous PD1 will be equally appealing in its own class when completed, and this picture of them standing side by side "in recovery" is delightful.

Chris Youhill


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Hastings Tramways – Guy BTX – DY 4965 – 3 – ‘Happy Harold’

Hastings Tramways – Guy BTX – DY 4965 – 3 – ‘Happy Harold’
Copyright Keith Harwood

Hastings Tramways
Dodson O30/27R

Recent correspondence about Dodson bodies and John Whitaker’s comment that Hastings Tramways were users of them brought this picture to mind. It is a 1928 Guy BT with 56-seat Dodson body. Thanks to Keith Harwood for his kind permission to use it, and to Chris Youhill for the information that the bus was known as ‘Happy Harold’ and for reminding me that it was fitted in 1960 with a Commer TS3 diesel engine.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roy Burke


15/02/11 – 15:19

These Guy trolleys were the only open top trolleybuses as opposed to later conversions built. They were part of Hastings initial fleet which contained both double and single deck trolleys You Tube has a clip from a Guy Motors film about the opening of the Hastings system available to watch.

Chris Hough


16/02/11 – 06:11

Must be (have been?) fun up there when it dewired….?



05/04/11 – 05:32

Yes, I agree about de-wiring. I have been upstairs on that vehicle and all the mechanism is within easy reach. It looks very easy to bang your head on when it’s not in use. I tried to imagine being an upstairs passenger during any operation. Also, sitting upstairs on Hastings seafront must have been bracing. Not only that, by the sides upstairs are very low and I think having small children up there could be interesting!!

Richard J. Porter


21/04/11 – 06:13

The Commer TS3 engine is a story in itself. Although it might be assumed that the TS stood for two-stroke, which the engine undoubtedly was, it actually stood for Tilling-Stevens. It was an opposed-piston engine. The bore ran right through the engine and the pistons heads met in the centre, with a crankshaft at each side, which joined at one end to form a single drive shaft. Its post-war development was hindered through lack of finance and, towards the end, most of the parts were being made by hand by TS engineers. I believe it had three cylinders, the rough equivalent of a six cylinder four-stroke engine. At Rootes Group takeover, the engine obviously showed enough promise for development to continue, with the engines eventually being used widely in Commer and Karrier commercial vehicles right through to the 1960’s. The sporty roar from these vehicles was always very distinctive. How sporty the performance actually was, I am unaware, the same with the fuel consumption. I assume the vehicles measured up to rivals well enough, as did the engine, or it would not have continued in production.

Chris Hebbron


21/04/11 – 11:55

Is it my imagination from the mists of time or was it actually the case that the Commer two stroke engine could, on occasion, start up and run backwards ?? I seem to remember that this could occur if the engine had previously stopped at a certain point in the combustion process. This seems a far fetched theory but I seem to recall that it was in fact true.

Chris Youhill


28/04/11 – 06:38

The Commer two stroke was (in) famous for decoking itself when working hard uphill, sending large showers of sparks out of the exhaust. I remember several drivers of Commer two-stroke wagons telling me tales of car drivers flagging them down, when night trunking, to tell them their wagon was ‘on fire’ when it was actually decoking itself. The Perkins R6 engine as fitted to some 1950’s Dodge wagons (of Hell Drivers film fame) were renowned for running backwards and when this happened the rack fell off the governor and the engine raced away and couldn’t be stopped! This engine was not as successful as the P6 version which was a popular choice to convert many petrol engined coaches and lorries of the ’40s and ’50s before chassis manufacturers offered diesel options in their lighter chassis.
Perhaps Chris is thinking about the R6 in his posting above.



06/05/11 – 07:11

Interesting comments from Chris and Eric about engines running backwards. When I worked for West Yorkshire Road Car, Johnnie Berry, a fitter with more than a passing interest in buses, told of a similar experience. He had taken a spare bus up to Harrogate bus station from the depot, as a driver had reported his bus (a Bristol K5G) would not restart at the terminus, due to a flat battery. The driver had however, managed to bump start the bus in order to get back to the bus station. As the affected vehicle pulled in to the ‘layover’ area at the top of the bus station, Johnnie was waiting to take it back for attention. However, the driver – probably out of habit – then proceeded stop the engine. Johnnie shouted at him to leave it running, and the engine, just on the point of stopping, fortunately fired back into life. It was only when Johnnie came to move off that he noticed something was amiss, as the bus attempted to go backwards! Undaunted he tried again with the same result. Putting it in reverse allowed the gentle beast to move forwards, and then Johnnie realised that the Gardner 5LW was running backwards! He said the driver must just have caught the engine ‘on the rock’ as it was about to stop. Johnnie felt that the well-balanced nature of Gardner engines may have ‘helped’ with the ‘rock’ encountered, and was no doubt relieved that his strange experience wasn’t the result of someone putting something in his tea!

Brendan Smith


13/05/11 – 06:40

Eric, comments of the Perkins R6 running backwards reminded me. my Father had dodge trucks in the 1960!s which would run backwards you had to be quick to stop it, one way that did work for him was to put a load of rag up the exhaust pipe to starve it of air. I am now a retired auto engineer. Just looked at my niece’s Renault 1.9 turbo diesel wrecked engine, speed went to max no way could it be stopped. Mechanic said the turbo goes and it runs off the oil in the sump. I can understand that they say it is a common fault. I just wonder if like the Perkins the engines happen to run backwards. Mechanics may not now remember Perkins engines. Just a thought.

Clifford Warren (bunny)


14/05/11 – 07:32

Can be a couple of reasons why engines of the era of Happy Harold’s run away or run backwards.
Firstly most engines of that era had oil bath air cleaners, if that was overfilled with oil the engine could draw the oil in with it’s charge of air and burn it as fuel. Or you cleaned the wire gauze in the filter with paraffin or petrol and forgot to substitute oil before you fired up the engine.
I believe that the fuel pumps fitted to very early TS3’s had an inline fuel pump that had symmetrical lobes on its camshaft, the cam profile meant that the injector timing was the same in both directions so if the engine got to the point of stall it was feasible to ‘catch’ and run the other way. It is to be hope your inlet manifold melted with the exhaust gases before you reversed your tipper truck over the quarry edge isn’t it!.



18/05/11 – 06:38

I remember riding on the top deck of "Happy Harold" when it was running off the overhead as a child in the late fifties and feeling somewhat nervous about the close proximity of everything above. It was nevertheless a memorable experience, and I also rode on it when in summer service soon after the TS2 engine was fitted, chosen because of its relatively quiet performance I recall so as not to detract too much from the experience of riding on a trolleybus. Although I felt a little safer upstairs with the poles no longer doing the job for which they were intended and the rasp of that engine made it clear it was no longer a trolleybus. However, it is still a joy to see it from time to time, and those who work on it to keep it operational are to be congratulated on their efforts. Interestingly I believe the vehicle is owned by Hastings Council which virtually takes its ownership status back to its pre M&D days.



18/05/11 – 10:17

Its most interesting to hear, Doug, that Happy Harold is owned by the Municipal Authority. It takes me back to my childhood and teenage holiday years, when there was a magical anomaly to the sleek and luxuriously appointed modern trolleybuses having the fleetname "Hastings Tramways Company." Another delightful feature of the system was the modest humble description, on the destination blinds, of the majestic promenade of Hastings and St.Leonards as "FRONT."

Chris Youhill


18/05/11 – 11:12

Indeed Chris. I was trying to think of some witty comment regarding the destination "Front" carried on the "front" of the bus. The only one I could come up with was Mitchell’s of Stornoway, some of whose dark blue Bedford SBs would show the destination "Back" (on the front!) – Back being a fairly large village, and terminus for one or two short workings on the route to North Tolsta.

Stephen Ford


08/06/11 – 09:45

I had experience of riding on vehicles with the Two Stroke engines both buses in the form of Maidstone and District’s ‘Contenders’ which were Harrington integral vehicles with Commer two stroke engines and on Northfleet U.D.C. Karrier refuse vehicles (of which two had such engines).
The notable thing about the buses apart from the screaming noise already mentioned, was the vibration of the engine on tick over. Every seat in the Contenders used to vibrate when the vehicle was standing still with the engine running (incidentally Paragon Kits of Northampton do a nice 1/76 Resin kit of an M. & D. Contender.
Despite the sounds and the vibration, the engines were very powerful and the Contenders had a good acceleration and hill climbing ability (from my recollection superior to the AEC Reliances which they worked alongside on M. & D. routes). The same was true of the refuse vehicles whose performance was far superior to the newer and smaller Perkins engined model.

Gordon Mackley


30/09/11 – 18:37

Stephen, reference your comments about destinations, the trolleybuses of Maidstone showed "LOOSE", for such a wire bound vehicle it was indeed not the case! I credit the recollection of this to a book I cannot accurately recall, perhaps Trolleybus Trails by J. Joyce. Incidentally Happy Harold is still going strong thanks to the efforts of a small group and attends regularly events around the Hastings area.

Paul Baker


01/10/11 – 06:41

Referring to the Commer two stroke engine problems reminds me that in May 1963, our local coalman took deliver of a brand new Commer lorry (66 SHY) fitted with a TS2 engine. It was his first new purchase having relied on pre War Ford V8 petrol engined lorries which were by then falling apart with rust. The Commer looked splendid in bright red, black and gold but, misery began from almost the first day as it proved a real misery to start in the morning. Every day he ran the battery flat before resorting to the trusty old Ford being brought out to tow the Commer up and down the road until it eventually fired up after which in frustration he revved the poor thing to death!
He sold it after only a year for a Thames Trader which ran "like a watch"!

Richard Leaman


26/02/12 – 16:02

It is not commonly known that the Rootes Group were developing a 4-cylinder version of the TS3, the TS4. It was scrapped when Chrysler took over, because it conflicted with a prior agreement with Cummins/Perkins. The TS4 engine, it is said, was far superior in most respects. A few examples survive, despite attempts to have them all destroyed, along with all other evidence. This story is to be found at this link: //www.commer.org.nz/ Another sad story, with an ending similar to that of the BAC’s TSR2 plane.

Chris Hebbron


27/02/12 – 13:47

If, like me, you are fascinated by Dodson bodies of this period, have a look at the same era for Wolverhampton Corporation. I only have books, so cannot submit photos, but they had variants of the Hastings open top Guys, with top covers, and with/without open/enclosed stairs, and also Guy CX motorbus versions with normal bonnets.
An absolutely fascinating array of vintage shapes and sizes which were a "bit different", even at the time!

John Whitaker


01/03/12 – 07:51

I remember Southdown’s Commer Avengers in the late 60’s and early 70’s I drove one of the Harrington bodied examples on a Sunday evening relief to London from Eastbourne in really heavy traffic a journey that took almost 4 hours to cover the 60 odd miles. After suitable refreshment the return journey, running empty at about 22.30, took about 1 3/4 hours with the engine thoroughly decoking itself at full throttle on the Caterham by-pass with what looked like a blowlamp for an exhaust with an impressive soundtrack.

Diesel Dave


01/03/12 – 09:17

I’ve never seen W’hampton Dodson’s, John and there are no photos of them on the web, but it is useful to know that they were somewhat similar to ‘Happy Harold’. The later Brighton ones were similar to the Tilling ST’s in London. Their finest hour was still the one produced for the Sunbeam Sikh and I know that you’re aware of that post. I wonder how Phil Dodson got on with his investigations? He’s not been back yet.

Another evocative, post, Dave, which brings to mind the expression, ‘Went like a rocket! Clearly the local constabulary wouldn’t have stood a chance of catching you up! Two-strokes usually had the repuation of being all noise and no go, but these wonderful engines were not in that league. I had one ride in a Commer lorry when hitch-hiking when in the RAF and was impressed.

Chris Hebbron


01/03/12 – 15:29

Chris, if you type "Guy Motors" into Google, a site comes up with the company history, and there are 2 or 3 photos of the 6 wheel era in Wolverhampton.

John Whitaker


09/04/12 – 06:56

Reverting to the stories of engines running backwards above, it is certainly not unknown for Gardners to do this. During my time at Crosville I recall we had a Scottish Bus Group coach which managed to do this on the quayside at Holyhead. As the governor doesn’t work in reverse, and apparently nobody could figure how to turn the fuel off in time, it literally "ran away" until it blew itself to bits -very expensive!

David Jones


DY 4965_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


02/01/13 – 15:41



Here are two views of Happy Harold operating on Hastings seafront in October 2012 during ‘Hastings Week’, an event to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings with many events taking place.

Terry Blackman


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ex Guernseybus – Leyland RTL – KYY 647

Preserved - ex Guernseybus - Leyland RTL - KYY 647

 Preserved - ex Guernseybus - Leyland RTL - KYY 647-2
Copyright both shots Bob Gell

ex Guernseybus
Leyland RTL
Park Royal H29/23F

A couple of weeks back we had a question on the ‘Q&As’ page regarding front entrance ex London Transport Leyland RTLs. In response Bob Gell contributed the above shots which were taken at the North Weald Rally, 6 July 2008 and the following information of an ex Guernseybus converted RTL.
As can be seen it is now preserved and back to carrying its original London Transport fleet number of RTL 1004 but not quite the original livery. Bob is lead to believe that KYY 647 was converted by Guernseybus in their own workshops, for use as back up on inclement days to their open top RTs one of which was was RT 2494 registration KXW 123 with a Weymann body; it carried Guernsey registration number 54636.Preserved - ex Guernseybus - Leyland RTL - KYY 647 Guernseybus may have moved the entrance to the front, which I will come back to later, but as can be seen from the insert shot the staircase was only moved towards the centre of the bus and the stairs went rearwards.
The subject of the original query, JXN 366, the former RTL 43, new to London Transport in 1949 joined the A1 Services fleet in February 1958, owned by T & E Docherty of Irvine. A photo of that vehicle can be seen here. It is thought to have been converted ‘in house’ in this case, the staircase was moved to the front as per normal front entrance vehicles. In 1971, it passed to Duff, a fellow member of A1 Services, who operated it until December 1973. It is now in preservation.
Two questions arise out of this posting there is always at least one, firstly, KYY 647 carried two registrations 47312 and 995 during its time on Guernsey does anyone know why. Secondly whilst researching into these conversions other sites and documentation described the conversion of them to forward entrance not front entrance, Bob thinks that could spark a whole debate on its own, I think he could be right.

Photographs and Information contributed by Bob Gell

By common consent, Front entrance means just that – at the front, by the driver. Forward entrance means as far forward as possible – ie just behind the front axle (and engine) of a standard half-cab (or full-fronted) vehicle.

David Oldfield

I am guilty of using ‘front’ entrance for such vehicles but reading supports the use of ‘forward’ entrance. It seems that front entrance should be used for more modern vehicles, such as the Atlantean, Fleetline, etc. I think some confusion arises where fleet lists show anything not centre or rear entrance as a code ‘F’.

Scott Anderson

Not one, but two forward-entrance RTL’s from different sources. These were complete news to me. Thanks for the interesting post.

Chris Hebbron

The first picture gives the impression that the main object of the modification may have been one man operation – i.e. angled window on left hand side of cab, as was done to various half-cab single deckers by sundry operators.

Stephen Ford

I had quite a few enquirers regarding what the conversion of the rear entrance looked like, well, Bob obliged with the following shot.


KYY 647_rear_lr

Wow – art deco rounded glass at the rear – very expensive, I’d have thought. Better to see an off-centre rear view than full rear one, because the large rear pane of glass downstairs would be off-centre and the overall look quite asymmetric. Also the offside window ahead of the rounded one seems higher than its counterpart this side and the other side windows. In general, though, a neat job.

Chris Hebbron

Hi Chris I think the higher window you refer to is the new Emergency Door see the little shot inserted in the text.


Ah Yes, Spencer, I missed the little photo: the door isn’t so clear on the upper photos. Thanks for clarifying.

Chris Hebbron

06/07/11 – 07:21

The team of inhouse coachbuilders at the then operating Guernseybus were tasked with relocating the rear entrance forward in order to allow the company to continue to operate its entire fleet with just a driver onboard – which was standard practice on the island.
As for the registration number changes, between 47312 and 995, it’s mainly to do with a relatively lucrative market for cherished number plates in Guernsey, which has numeric only registrations. The number 995 may well have been sold (or indeed bought as an investment) by Guernseybus during the double deckers tenure in the island. 47312 would, as a registration number have very little value.

Neil (Guernsey)

31/03/13 – 07:52

You have a photo of my guernsey bus I restored this bus in 1984 the reg on it was JPA 81V as this was the year it came over from the island it was sold for £65 and then it cost £110 pounds on the fery. I got Swansea to give me a reg for it’s year 1958 it was then LSV 748. Hope you find this of use.

John Sergeant

14/09/14 – 07:21

RTL 1004 was the Lambeth Safety Bus in the 1970.
The Abbots Langley Transport Circle bought it from a scape yard in Essex near Ongar. We had the bus for a number of years. We had to sell the bus on when we lost our parking space, and was unable to find another close to our base in Abbots Langley Herts’.

Stephen Norman

23/01/17 – 07:30

I use to own this bus wondered where it ended up and what is it doing now.

Alan Ullmer


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