Old Bus Photos

Reading Corporation – Bristol RE – KRD 258F – 258

Reading Corporation - Bristol RE - KRD 258F - 258

Reading Corporation
1967
Bristol RELL6G
Strachans B34D

KRD 258F, Reading 258, is another of the operator’s Bristol RELL6G fleet, with Strachans of Hamble B34D body (and the tribute to Burlingham’s "Seagull" motif). She’s seen at Wisley airfield, arriving for the open day there on 4 April 2004. Since the organisers’ move from Cobham to Brooklands, these events are now held at the latter site.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


07/11/13 – 07:27

When these were delivered they were likened to milk floats by some observers!

Chris Hough


07/11/13 – 09:39

As an ardent supporter of centre exit buses this seems a grand motor to me, but is it perhaps an optical illusion that it seems very short for a 36 foot vehicle ??

Chris Youhill


07/11/13 – 11:44

These are (Series 2) RELL-6 models, a special model, only produced in 1967/8. Reading had 28 with Pennine and 14 with Strachans bodies. The only others were 2 for Warrington with East Lancs bodies making a grand total of 44. The standard Series 2 model was the RELL-3 of which there were 2657 built. The RELL-3 had an 18’6" wheelbase for 36’0" x 8’2½" bodies. The RELL-6 had a 17’6" wheelbase for between 32’6" and 36’0" long bodies. Regrettably I do not know the exact length of the bodied RELL-6s, but I suspect Chris that you are correct – they are less than 36’0" long. [Any Reading or Bristol experts out there to fill us in?]

David Oldfield


08/11/13 – 06:46

I think it is quite a striking looking bus – enhanced by a good livery. Just wonder about reflections in the windscreens at night – they look very upright and flat in plan view.

Ian Wild


08/11/13 – 08:10

Apparently Reading were quite enamoured of their Burlingham Reliances and basically wanted the same again. Since Burlingham was no more it fell to Pennine and Strachans to put a modern twist on the original – and this is what they got, along with the "Burlingham" motif on the front.

David Oldfield


08/11/13 – 11:43

These were probably 32ft 6ins but, for some reason 32ft 9ins sticks in my mind!

Phil Blinkhorn


08/11/13 – 18:06

Can anyone supply a photo of the Pennine version? I assume that they too, were a good copy.

Chris Hebbron


09/11/13 – 06:13

Reading seems to have had a penchant for nonstandard versions of chassis and bodies. The Dennis Lolines were of an intermediate length also. A picture of a Pennine bodied Reading RE may be seen here:- www.sct61.org.uk/

Roger Cox


09/11/13 – 08:23

Just ferreted out of Simon Butler’s book on the RE that these were, indeed, 33’0" long.

David Oldfield


09/11/13 – 09:01

Thanks for clarifying the length David. As regards the Birmingham style motif, all Reading single deckers after the Burlingham batch had this or a variation. These were built by Duple Northern in Blackpool after Burlingham had been taken over, Neepsend, Strachans and Pennine. Of course Reading also adorned the front panels of its Trolleybuses with additional brightwork.

Phil Blinkhorn


09/11/13 – 12:09

I assume Birmingham is a typo rather than a Freudian slip Phil?

David Oldfield


09/11/13 – 12:44

It’s the *!"**!! predictive text on my tablet.

Phil Blinkhorn


09/11/13 – 17:50

Keep taking the tablets, Mr Blinkhorn!!!!

Pete Davies


10/11/13 – 07:53

Until I saw your typo, Phil, I’d not even considered how close Birmingham and Birlingham were!

David Oldfield


11/11/13 – 15:24

On their home turf we called them "cattle trucks". I though they were very good-looking vehicles, and certainly distinctive. The problem lay not in the buses themselves but in the politics and twisted economics that insulted passengers by forcing them to stand, when car-drivers were being cosseted and effectively subsidised.
Within 3 years of the opening of a huge competitor on a "retail park" our local pet-shop has just closed. Irrelevant? No: hypermarkets have it easy, basking in a favourable economic and planning climate that makes life very hard for small shops. By the way, I loathe the word "standee"…

Ian Thompson


12/11/13 – 06:04

Ian, I totally agree with your comments regarding the "twisted economics" of forcing passengers to stand while cars (aka the competition) were steadily becoming more comfortable and affordable (and they even had heaters that worked – wowee wow wow!). The term "cattle trucks" describes such buses well, and one dreads to think of the consequences should such a bus have been involved in a head-on collision whilst fully loaded. Your loathing of the word "standee" is interesting, and maybe I can help with an alternative. A few years ago, Burnley & Pendle introduced a fleet of Optare Versas to the townsfolk of Burnley. Instead of being in B&P’s very attractive red and cream however, they were delivered in a new livery of yellow and orange (more akin to mustard and terracotta). Added to this they were adorned with the fleetname ‘Starship’. I have been reliably informed that within a few days of the buses’ introduction, their drivers were becoming tired of passengers tendering their fares and saying "beam me up Scotty!". I did wonder at the time if any standing passengers should therefore be referred to as Klingons?

Brendan Smith


12/11/13 – 12:07

Ian, I agree. Undoubtedly the ‘standees’ would have gazed enviously upon the ‘sitees’.

Roger Cox


15/11/13 – 17:55

Visions of Klingons and Sitees really made my day! Wonderful how the imagemongers and we-know-besters always unwittingly provide the pins with which to burst the bubble of their own pomposity. Recently a train company (whose fleeting name doesn’t even escape me, as it was totally unmemorable) announced that rather than providing more seats it was considering bumrests for non-sitees to lean against, presumably qualifying these unfortunate travellers as propees–or would that be better spelt proppees?
A search led me incidentally to one Tim Leunig, an economist who would love to see Margaret Thatcher’s Serpell Report revived with massive railway closures, and who actively encourages the standing-room-only approach.
Watch out for him: he’ll be at (but not ON) the buses next.

Ian Thompson


16/11/13 – 08:43

Sounds like South Eastern Trains – the white ones out to Kent.

David Oldfield


16/11/13 – 08:44

Interesting Ian – I confess I used to support the standing room only brigade – for the London commuter belt. It seemed a good way to encourage them to look for more congenial places to live and work! Unfortunately, with increasing train speeds, the London commuter belt includes Wiltshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire etc. now, so that previously comfortable trains are forced to become sardine tins. Travelling on a Worst Great Western HST in standard class is now like riding in a toastrack. Cross-Country is just as bad, and they don’t even have the excuse of "serving" London commuters! Sorry for rant -let’s get back on topic!

Stephen Ford


16/11/13 – 08:44

I returned to Burnley recently having lived there in the late 1960’s. I can remember when Burnley and Pendle was Burnley, Colne and Nelson Joint Transport Committee.My wife and I lived near Queensgate Depot and were often lulled to sleep by the last Tiger Cub running in from Reedley Halt. The strange livery mentioned above is still in use but I must say the revamped bus station is much better than the old one. Very civilised unlike Salisbury where I now live where the bus station has been sold by the asset strippers and the streets are clogged up by parked buses.

Paragon


28/07/17 – 06:45

I used to drive the Reading RE’s from 1973 to 1979,they were my favourite buses in the fleet at the time,the semi – auto gears were a pleasure to drive although the steering was heavy with a full load on.The heating was almost non existent so you froze to death in the winter months. The only visible difference between the Strachan bodied ones and the Pennine bodies. was a bit more silver beading o the sides and front of the Pennine ones.

Ray Hunt


 

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Yorkshire Traction – Leyland Titan PD2 – EHE 54 – 766

Yorkshire Traction - Leyland Titan PD2 - EHE 54 - 766

Yorkshire Traction Company Ltd
1952
Leyland Titan PD2/12
Leyland H58R

A friend of my then wife to be was married at Worsborough Church on a Saturday in July 1968. Whilst we were outside the church, this YTC decker appeared on the service from Barnsley to Worsborough Park. Although 16 years old by this time the Leyland bodywork still looked in good condition – something I regularly found with Leyland bodywork on Sheffield vehicles. A couple of months later I joined PMT at Stoke on Trent, a fellow BET Group Operator where 1952 deliveries had long disappeared out of the fleet.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


04/11/13 – 07:16

These are sisters to STD 656-667, my favourite Leyland bodied PD2s. I think most people are agreed on the excellence of post war Leyland bodywork, and indeed the immediate pre war examples as well. Like all good designs, they also had an understated dignity. Wasn’t Worsborough the home of Arthur Scargill?

David Oldfield


04/11/13 – 13:05

I think he lived at Worsbrough Dale – a different bus route!

Geoff Kerr


04/11/13 – 13:30

This rather pleasant countryside between Barnsley & Sheffield was certainly Arthur’s patch, although he mined at Woolley, north of Barnsley. Nice atmospheric picture with the Bus, Herald, Minivan, & Farina BMC saloon- all to be themselves part of an unhappy marriage. There’s a West Riding Police House behind, detached- so Sergeants and upwards for the use of. Typical Tracky bus with multiple dome dents & that cherry paint everywhere except the windows- although here we have that metallic looking maroon that popped up now and again on radiators etc- perhaps wheels- is that right? An old comment about Tracky governor twiddling may explain why they all seemed slow and wheezy- they were like a familiar but well worn jacket.

Joe


04/11/13 – 16:58

…..but was that a governor on the engine – or the one in the big chair in the office…..?

David Oldfield


05/11/13 – 10:37

David O, here follows Pete’s "First Rule Of Office Life".
When the boss is away from the office – holiday, sick, meeting, or whatever – nobody notices. When the junior is away from the office – holiday, sick, College, whatever – the place falls apart.
Joe’s reference to governor must, therefore have been the one in the office!

Pete Davies


05/11/13 – 15:08

These Tracky PD2’s might be considered sisters to those Sheffield Titans 656-667, David, but would it be fair to perhaps go one step further and say they were estranged sisters?! Agreed they’re nice looking buses, those Leyland bodies were nothing if not elegant, but compared to those Sheffield PD2/10’s, there’s definitely something lacking here. Maybe it was the fact that the Sheffield ones had push-out vents in the front windows of both saloons, or could it have been the chromium wheel nut rings that they usually wore, at least until the latter part of their careers, making them appear just that bit smarter than your average PD2. Granted the Sheffield livery helped too, especially the variation that they were painted in, with the dark blue window surrounds, and when they had the grey roof applied as well, they were absolutely the bee’s knees.
Quite ironic really, that such classic machines spent most of their lives shuttling back and forth to Rotherham on the 69, passing miles and miles of smoke belching steelworks!

Dave Careless


05/11/13 – 15:52

Dave- the thing that people liked – I think- about the Sheffield cream livery was that it was an act of defiance against the tyranny or acceptance of muck! Does anyone remember "there will one day be salmon again in Salmon Pastures!" Are there now?

Joe


06/11/13 – 07:30

If there are, Joe, it would definitely be a case of "catch and release"! Given the state of the River Don, you certainly wouldn’t catch me eating one!

Dave Careless


06/11/13 – 07:32

Joe, you’re probably right, and one can admire Sheffield for daring to stand out against the acceptance of grime. But you know the old saying "Where there’s muck, there’s brass!" Sheffield and many other cities have lost an awful lot of the industry that produced the muck, and the jobs that went with it. A colleague of mine used to say the country is just being turned into a giant theme park. That view is certainly supported by the Noddy playbus "liveries" that we have today.

Stephen Ford


06/11/13 – 07:32

I agree, Dave, that "ours" were a cut above the rest – but I always thought that the old STD was a cut above the rest anyway.

David Oldfield


06/11/13 – 07:34

I hadn’t thought of it as a sister bus to Sheffield’s most elegant 656-667. Two immediate differences – Sheffield’s were on the 7’6" wide PD2/10 chassis (vs the Traction PD2/12 8’0" wide) and the Sheffield buses were the first in the fleet which had the then new smaller slightly more inset headlamps. These differences plus the upper deck front push open ventilators set 656 etc apart from other contemporary Sheffield deliveries. I remember the name Salmon Pastures but I can’t recall now just where it was on the River Don.

Ian Wild


07/11/13 – 15:27

Salmon Pastures was/is between Norfolk Bridge and Staniforth Road, Ian, that area around there, just before you get into Attercliffe. My auntie lived in T.W. Ward’s office building as a child (my grandparents were caretakers there, and had a live-in flat) just along Savile Street from the Wicker Arches, and she went to school at Salmon Pastures.

Dave Careless


 

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East Kent – Dennis Lancet UF – HJG 3

East Kent - Dennis Lancet UF - HJG 3

East Kent Road Car Co Ltd
1954
Dennis Lancet UF
Duple C41C

This photo taken on Margate seafront in about 1966 shows HJG 3 numerically the first of a batch of 30 Dennis Lancet UF’s fitted with Duple Ambassador C41C bodies delivered to East Kent in 1954 these made up the largest fleet of Lancet UF’s in the country. Looking at this photo again recently I thought how the elegant simplicity of both the coachwork and the superb East Kent livery set one another off beautifully, on the Lancet the windscreens were set lower than on the contemporary Royal Tiger’s and Regal IV’s due to the Lancet’s lower driving position which also made the skylights above the screens more upright also the cab windows and the pillar behind the cab was a different shape.
I feel that the Lancet UF deserved more success than it achieved but obviously it did not appeal to those then all powerful figures the Fleet Engineers who didn’t like some aspects of the specification.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave


31/10/13 – 07:31

Rather like Leyland in the dark, dark days of British Leyland you feel in your guts that you ought to, that you want to like/support Dennis. Many the reputable operator ran Lances, Lancet(tte)s and, of course, Lolines. Glenton ran the last "batch" of Lancet UFs with Plaxton Panorama bodywork – another class act. Often, specifications were good – just quirky and unproven (not necessarily bad and unreliable). Fodens had this problem. I’m no great lover of the Javelin – I prefer heavyweights – but it was a solid workhorse in the style of Bedford and Ford. I did, however, take a Dennis R420 to the South of France one summer. With its ZF AStronic gearbox (and a bit of imagination!) you could call it a cheap GB Setra. Being very much a Setra man, I can say that the R420 was one of the best/nicest coaches I have ever driven. It never took off because it didn’t have Volvo Assist to back it up if it broke down. [My experience of Volvo Assist is that it wasn’t missing much.] So I can support Roger to the hilt. The R series should have been a success, it wasn’t Dennis’s fault it wasn’t – and I’m sure the same was true of the Lancet UF.

David Oldfield


31/10/13 – 15:52

Newport Corporation ran some Lancet UFs but most were bodied as coaches, weren’t they?

Geoff Kerr


01/11/13 – 08:18

Newport Corporation took 12 Lancet UF in two batches. In his book "Dennis Buses in Camera" Robin Hannay says that the first 4 had bus bodies but makes no comment about the second batch although in the picture it appears that they have bus seating. All bodies were built by D J Davies a local coach operator and Dennis agent.

Paragon


01/11/13 – 08:20

I have always admired these East Kent Lancet UF coaches. East Kent took a total of thirty of these machines, the biggest single order that Dennis received for the Lancet UF. Registered HGF 2 to 32, they all had the stylish Duple Ambassador IV bodywork, the first six being C32C and the remainder C41C. The low driving position of the Lancet UF was incorporated very successfully into the design, and the result was a classic to my eye. East Kent were dedicated Dennis users in the pre and early post WW2 period, and my very first experience as a small boy of the Guildford marque came about in 1947-49 with rides on the Lancet II buses, with their distinctive O4 engines, between Faversham and Herne Bay. Until the advent of the Dart and its derivatives, the vertical engined Lancet was Dennis’s most successful passenger type, and the firm must have hoped that the underfloor engined model would have captured at least some of the market. In fact, the total production of the Lancet UF came to 71, the last being delivered to Glenton Tours in 1961. Several reasons may be offered for this, but reliability was certainly not a factor. East Kent, for example, kept their Lancet UFs for around 17 years. Some of the problems lay with the Dennis design which included features that some bus company engineers viewed with caution. These included the low driving position (the ultimate industry acceptance of which Dennis anticipated by about twenty years) and the high pressure hydraulic braking system that, London Transport’s Routemaster excepted, never became popular. The Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox was an idiosyncratic affair that had sliding mesh (i.e true crash rather than constant mesh) engagement of the four lower gears, fourth being direct drive. To add to the fun, the gearstick operated the "wrong way round", upwards from right to left. Fifth gear was an overdrive with preselective engagement/disengagement using Maybach design principles. To engage fifth, the gear lever was pushed at any time from fourth position to the left and forward, but nothing happened until the accelerator and clutch were released to allow the revs to die. Then, releasing the clutch and applying the throttle would find the overdrive engaged. To disengage fifth, the stick would be moved back into fourth position at any time, and to actuate the system, the clutch had to be dipped and the engine blipped to raise the revs. Releasing the clutch pedal again would find fourth gear engaged. In the front engined Lancet, the proximity of the engine and gearbox to the driver allowed clean gear changes to be made by ear. In the UF, the remote location of the gearbox halfway down the chassis made this rather more difficult. Later models of the Lancet UF had the 8 litre rather than the 7.58 litre version of the O6 engine and a Meadows gearbox. When UF production finally finished, so did the manufacture of the O6, the last engine in the Dennis range to be offered. Thereafter, the firm used proprietary units. In the mid 1950s the BET group concentrated its purchasing upon AEC and Leyland products, and most other manufacturers of entirely acceptable machinery, including Dennis, were excluded from the ‘approved list’. Dennis tried again to enter the underfloor bus/coach market with the Pelican in 1956, which had the Dennis 92 bhp 5.5 litre engine and a conventional Meadows five speed constant mesh gearbox. The prototype made many demonstration tours, but the supremacy of AEC and Leyland in declining market conditions deterred the Guildford company from putting the Pelican into production. Yet again, however, the reliability of this unique machine was unquestionable. It ran for many years, first with Yellow Bus of Guildford, and finally with Chiltern Queens of Woodcote. More about the characteristics of the Lancet UF may be found on this site:- www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/lancetuf.html

Roger Cox


01/11/13 – 14:02

Paragon – thanks, I meant to say "most others", i.e. other than Newport’s. I know there’s a preserved Brutonian vehicle and Aldershot & District had at least one with a bus body.

Geoff Kerr


01/11/13 – 17:57

As has been stated elsewhere on this site, Dennis Lancet UF KOT 600 was never owned by Aldershot and District. The confusion arises because the vehicle was painted in A&D livery and given the fleet number 187, but it remained the property of the manufacturer. It was operated on hire from Dennis from 1st February to 30 November 1953, after which it was returned to the Guildford factory. It subsequently went to Simmonds of Great Gonerby, near Grantham, and then to Cullings of Norwich who eventually passed it on to Blue Bus of Slough. At some stage in its life its Strachans B41R body was rebuilt with a front entrance. Aldershot and District went over to the AEC Reliance for its single deck requirements.

Roger Cox


03/11/13 – 09:02

"Somerset’s Buses" by Laurie James (Tempus 2004) is the source of much useful information concerning the Lancet UFs belonging to Hutchings and Cornelius of which the Brutonian example mentioned above is one. H&C were Dennis users for many years and in 1957 took 3 UFs YYB 117/8/9.117 was DP40F and the other 2 were B42F. All had full service lives. 118 ended up with Brutonian but the interesting thing is that 119 is shown as passing to a Preservation Group in Guildford in September 1973. Where is it now?

Paragon


10/11/13 – 17:17

I had a close relationship with the East Kent UFs when they were used on contract services at Dover Eastern Docks providing a road link from ships and hovercraft to Dover Priory railway station in the 1969 -1971 period. I can vouch for what Roger Cox says about the potential difficulties posed by the remote gearbox, the long linkages and the unconventional gate. I can remember even experienced drivers stirring the long gear lever to find what they were looking for. In spite of being in their late teens at the end at the time they presented a modern image alongside the new hovercraft, and dare I say it they were more reliable than an SRN4! Just worth noting that the East Kent fleet was HJG 3 – HJG 32, slightly different from the numbers in Roger’s comment.

Mike Harvey


11/11/13 – 15:14

Roger – When I was young, about four times a year, I’d get an A&D Lance from Woking to St. Peter’s Hospital, near Chertsey and would try and sit in the nearside/offside downstairs front seat and observe the driver. It was quite some time before I worked out how that Dennis ‘O’ gearbox worked and the strange ‘U’ movement by the driver, with no change in engine note at that moment. I was quite used to preselective methods with the LTE Daimlers around Morden, but a crash gearbox with pre-selective overdrive; egad; that was quite another thing! That whole area was also interesting in that you would have London Country and A&D buses popping in and out of turnings all over. Interesting times.

Chris Hebbron


14/11/13 – 06:00

Paragon enquires what became of YYB 119 once listed as preserved? A previous owner of now preserved YYB 118 told me that circa 1984 he had located 119 laid up behind a pub in the Guildford area. Photographs show that it was in fairly poor order, blocked up with a missing front wheel and a large pile of scaffolding stacked against one side. Despite enquiries no one could be found who knew anything about it and when he returned at a later date it had gone. And as far as I am aware, it has never been seen since. Attemps to trace members of "The Guildford LU2 Group" have been equally negative.

Nick Webster


HJG 3 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


15/11/13 – 06:25

Chris, the Lance K3 was a remarkable machine, with its free running 7.58 litre 24 valve O6 engine, giving (unlike the optimistic claims of contemporary Crossley and Daimler engines, both of which had a litre greater capacity) a genuine 100 bhp, and this was coupled to the ‘O’ type gearbox with its preselective overdrive fifth gear. It was probably the fastest double decker of its time. In an age when the legal maximum speed for a psv was 30 mph, it always amused me to read the plate on the internal cab bonnet side of the Aldershot and District Lances and Lancets – "Do not engage fifth gear below 30 mph". In my own experience, sadly only as a passenger, the drivers certainly complied, and these machines spent much of their time in overdrive. To the best of my knowledge, the A&D timetables of the 1960s did not differ greatly in terms of running time from those of the late 1950s. One had to drive a Loline pretty hard to get to Petersfield on time from Guildford or Aldershot, so the old 30mph limit must have been regularly observed in the breach.

Roger Cox


16/11/13 – 11:30

About,1963 I took a return journey from Portsmouth to Milford, swapping from Southdown to A&D at Petersfield.
The Southdown, from memory, was one of the East Lancs PD2/12 registration RUF ###’s, but the A&D was a Loline; interesting, but not a Lance, to my eternal regret Roger, on that challenging route.

Chris Hebbron


 

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