Old Bus Photos

Altonian Coaches – Tilling Stevens – GOU 732

GOU 732_lr
Copyright Roger Cox

Altonian Coaches
1949
Tilling Stevens K6LA7
Scottish Aviation C33F

The Chiltern Queens gallery contributed from Ray Soper has recently included references to the former Altonian Tilling Stevens. GOU 732 is a Tilling Stevens K6LA7 with a Scottish Aviation C33F body that was delivered to Altonian Coaches in 1949. The engine is a Gardner 6LW. It is seen here in the summer of 1970 in the rather startling Altonian livery.

One wonders if this vehicle gave SELNEC PTE the "inspiration" (how the English language lends itself to irony) for its grotesque orange/white livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


20/10/11 – 06:50

Would you call it "Burnt Umber" and Cream?
SELNEC was just Orange and White!

Joe


20/10/11 – 06:51

Bizarre to see this posting. Altonian went under two or three years ago and the bones and entrails were divided between Wheelers of Southampton and Orange Coach Travel of Aldershot. By that time Altonian had an uninspired overall orange livery – identical with Orange C T – and the vehicles fitted in easily.
The legacy to Orange C T included two Neoplan Cityliners on Dennis Javelin GX chassis – perhaps the most unreliable vehicles operated by either operator.
[I am the occasional standby part-timer at Orange C T!]

David Oldfield


20/10/11 – 08:24

…and which is the door?! It looks as if it had a centre door, but this now has a sliding ventilator: in front of this it all looks very flush but there’s some gear at the bottom…

Joe


20/10/11 – 08:47

Maybe I’m just gaudy but I thought the Altonian colour scheme looked nice! That bright apricot and cream would have cheered up many a dull day…but the styling does seem to be a little bit of a mismash with those low set headlights and drooping windscreen making the bus look sad but friendly. I wonder how long it survived after the modifications to the entrance began to fail!

Richard Leaman


20/10/11 – 11:46

The good news is that GOU 732 survives in preservation. The last time I saw it (and rode on it!) was at a Heart of the Pennines running day quite a while ago and at that point it was painted in a fictional "Wulfrun Motor Services" livery of green and yellow. Does anybody know of any other preserved Tilling-Stevens PSVs from the post-war period? I seem to remember that there was a Plaxton bodied Express Mk II in preservation at one point. This was the mosel which received similar bodywork to Bedford SBs rather than a half-cab layout.

Neville Mercer


20/10/11 – 15:49

Yes, had a ride on this at the 2010 Kingsbridge 7 foot 6 inch running day, from Kingsbridge to Salcombe and back. It was in the fictitious Wulfrun livery. See the pictures below. As for this livery, it puts me in mind of the famous London Brighton and South Coast Railway loco livery, described (perhaps with tongue in cheek) as "Stroudley’s Improved Engine Green"!

Stephen Ford

Kingsbridge 022

Kingsbridge 042

Kingsbridge 043


21/10/11 – 06:34

Have those with children/grandchildren noticed that’s its actually Bertie the Bus, Thomas the Tank Engine’s friend! Anyway- thanks for the picture of the well-fitting door!

Joe


21/10/11 – 06:36

Roger has certainly got the hump over the SELNEC orange and white livery. While I admit it didn’t sit too well on the older half cabs, particularly where there was an exposed radiator, I thought it suited the newer rear engined vehicles quite well. On the basis that some of the other newly formed PTE’s simply adopted a variation of the livery of the largest operator, at least we in SELNEC land were spared Manchester’s ‘paint it all red’ livery!

Philip Halstead


21/10/11 – 06:37

The colours used for the "Wulfrun" livery are the same shades as the former Wolverhampton Corporation livery hence the name!

Chris Hough


21/10/11 – 10:08

I always thought that SELNEC/GMT Orange and Cream was by far the best new PTE livery. [What about the horrendous South Yorkshire Coffee and cream?] Of course Stockport Red and Cream, Salford Green and Rochdale and Ashton Blue were preferable – but they would never have had a look anyway.

David Oldfield


21/10/11 – 10:10

Tilling_Stevens_coach_lr

Here is a photo of another Tilling Stevens coach, after disposal to a showman, but whether it is a K6LA7 (Gardner) or K6MA7 (Meadows) I know not, though the 6LW is more likely. The bodywork looks like a Strachans design, and the registration LHW 152 is a Bristol area plate. I took this picture on Mitcham Common in 1961. Can our experts come up with more information?

Roger Cox


21/10/11 – 14:47

LHW 152 was issued in October 1948 by Bristol CC so when Roger took that picture the coach was not that old but I will be interested to know whom the original operator might have been. No doubt it was lost many years ago as it does not appear on the DVLA records.

Richard Leaman


24/10/11 – 11:56

My contacts in Bristol tell me that LHW 152 was new to A H Fielding (Empress Coaches) of Bristol, 4/49. TSM K6LA7, body is Strachan C33F.
Withdrawn by them 2/60 and sold to a showman (Hill), Gloucester. I must have seen it in my school days!

Geoff Kerr


25/10/11 – 07:26

The Hill’s were big showground folk in the South West and Billy Butlin wed one of them before he launched his first holiday camp at Skegness.

Chris Hebbron


26/10/11 – 06:04

Geoff..thank you for the information. I recall Empress Coaches very well but not that particular coach. I also remember the Showman, Hills and am sure they used to hold circus shows around the Bristol area. The coach is most unlikely to have survived much into the 1970′s at best I suppose.

Richard Leaman


23/04/12 – 06:00

GOU was at the King Alfred Running Day in Winchester a few years ago. The owner was telling me the livery is that of Wolverhampton corporation, applied in the style he thought they would have used had they gone in for coaches.

Pete Davies


06/11/12 – 13:48

GOU 732_lr

I took this 20 odd years ago at the Outer Circle Rally (itself long defunct). I do not think it was very long after it was rebuilt and repainted from the old Altonian livery. It looked superb, but if it was like the other Scottish Aviation body that came to our body shop it must have been a real labour of love by Mr. Harris.

David Gladwin


06/11/12 – 15:29

David-do not wish your life away the Outer Circle photo was taken between 1998 and 2000. The fictional Wulfrun livery was applied in either 98 or 99.
The vehicle is to be used to celebrate 90th anniversary of Wolverhampton trolleybuses in 2013 as they had TS initially and a TS coach in corporation livery is the nearest anyone is going to get to re-enactment

Roger Burdett


15/11/12 – 16:42

First, what a super website, I only found this by accident. The TS, I believe, also spent some time with Classic Coaches of Wombourne, Staffs.
I remember seeing this some years back dropping school children off in Kingswinford! I very much doubt if they realised just what a classic coach they were travelling on.

William Parker


GOU 732_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


02/05/14 – 08:13

The vehicle broke down last year on the way to the Wolverhampton event – fuel starvation and problems with the auto vac. It happened again on the way back from Statfold Barn Railway in March. Since then Roger has been working hard to sort out this problem and hopefully it will now be present at Wythall running day on May 4th.

Ken Jones


02/05/14 – 10:22

To make this magnificent Tilling-Stevens even uniquer (that’ll get the language purists going!) it has a 6-speed David Brown gearbox, replacing the original 5-speeder. Unless it’s been changed back since.

Ian T


02/05/14 – 15:15

Ian it still has a 6 speed DB Box but a different one than previously as the old one wore out the gear collar in 5th

Roger Burdett


 

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Newcastle Corporation – AEC Regent III – NVK 341 – 341

NVK 341_lr                Copyright Ronnie Hoye

Newcastle Corporation
1950
AEC Regent III 9612A
Northern Coachbuilders H30/26R

Not a very good picture I’m afraid. I got my PSV licence in 1967 with Tynemouth & Wakefields (Northern General). By the time of the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977 I was with Armstrong Galley, the coaching division of Tyne & Wear PTE. The PTE decided to commemorate the Jubilee by using two buses that were in service at the time of the Coronation in 1953. This 1950 Northern Coachbuilders bodied AEC was one of them, the other was a 1948 Leyland Titan. The Leyland was in its original livery of blue and cream, and I think it was part of the last batch to be delivered before the colour’s were changed to livery seen here in the picture. The route ran between Newcastle City Centre and Gosforth, however, by 1977 the PTE had a shortage of drivers with an any type licence, so on occasion drivers from the coaching division were drafted in to fill in gaps. I don’t know who the vehicles belonged to at the time, but they’re still around and belong to a member or members of the North East Bus Preservation Trust Ltd.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

A full list of Regent III codes can be seen here.

———

17/10/11 – 07:34

Thx, Ronnie, for the nice photo. The body is very nicely proportioned, although it does give the air of being a lowbridge vehicle for some reason.
Newcastle corporation’s livery was very attractive. I refreshed my memory only a couple of weeks ago when I visited the East Anglia Museum and 501 (LTN 501), on loan from Beamish, was doing the rounds.

Chris Hebbron

———

17/10/11 – 07:35

The post war NCB bodies were, like many others, notoriously badly built (structurally) and this was partly the reason for their folding up in 1950/51. At the last gasp, someone from ECW came along to try and resurrect the fortunes – hence the looks of these, NCB’s last, bodies. Alas to no avail.
After NCB closed, Roe bought machinery and timber from the receivers. They did not buy the company itself which disappeared.

David Oldfield


 

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Halifax Corporation – Albion Nimbus NS3AN – RJX 251 – 251

 Halifax Corporation - Albion Nimbus NS3AN - RJX 251 - 251
Copyright Roger Cox

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
1963
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann B31F

Here is a shot of Halifax Nimbus No. 251 in Elmwood Garage repainted for service with a new owner – I cannot now remember who that was. Despite its frailty and engine unreliability, I quite liked the little Nimbus.When I went to Halifax in 1964 I had only a motorcycle driving licence, and I learned to to drive on four (should that be six?) wheels during my lunch breaks. Initially I went out with the wonderful HPTD instructor, Arthur Brearley, in the old 1947 PD2 training bus, which, by then, had worn off most of its gearbox synchromesh, and I found this extremely heavy to drive. When this was not available one day, we had a Nimbus, and I took to this instantly. The six speed gearbox, apparently detested by most Halifax drivers, was easy to use with a light touch, which was essential if the middle gate was not to be missed. After passing my test, one of the routes I used to cover as a driver in the evenings was the 46 to Heptonstall, which, because of the unbelievably tight reversing point at the village – a narrow slot between two houses off an equally narrow road; even the mirrors had to be flattened against the bus to get in – a conductor was carried on the 31 seat Nimbus. The little Albion was certainly not up to the rigorous task of Yorkshire Pennine bus work, but it was a nice little thing to drive, and I renewed my acquaintance with the type some years later when I did a bit of moonlighting for North Downs Rural Transport.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/10/11 – 06:08

I know very little I’m afraid about the technicalities and operating realities of the Albion Nimbus – but I must say that this immaculate repaint to the order of a new owner says volumes about an operator who knows what a dignified livery is all about – its quite simply beautiful. If I didn’t know otherwise I’d say that it was heading for "The Garden of England" and the East Kent company in the good old days.

Chris Youhill


13/10/11 – 10:20

This vehicle was sold to Booth and Fisher, keen Albion Nimbus users. It survived to be taken over with that fleet by South Yorkshire PTE in 1976 and was even given PTE fleet number 1059.
253 of the batch was sold to Baddeley Brothers of Holmfirth and was still in the fleet when they were taken over by West Yorkshire PTE (as of course Halifax had been), although I don’t believe it was still in service.
258 was sold from a Joint Omnibus Committee to a municipality (Warrington), then to an Urban District Council (Ramsbottom) who in turn were absorbed into SELNEC PTE.
250 is still with us today, having spent many years working for Harvey’s at Mousehole. It survived long enough to be taken over by the post-deregulation Western National.
A batch of vehicles with a truly fascinating history!

David Beilby


13/10/11 – 11:39

256 also went to Baddeley Bros. Three others went to Wiles of (I think) Port Seton in E. Lothian but not sure which ones.

Eric


13/10/11 – 11:40

Another of the batch was sold to Wiles of Port Seaton near Edinburgh,I cannot remember what its number was.

Philip Carlton


13/10/11 – 11:42

Nimbus RJX 251 was sold to Booth & Fisher of Halfway near Sheffield. I believe it’s true to say that all or most of the Nimbuses were repainted by HPT for their new owners. For the record, they were disposed of as follows:
250: Harvey’s, Mousehole, Cornwall (now preserved).
251: Booth & Fisher, Halfway.
252: Wooliscroft (Silver Service), Darley Dale.
253/256: Baddeley Bros., Holmfirth.
254/257/259: Wiles, Port Seton.
255: Halifax Corporation Welfare Department (fitted with nearside wheelchair lift).
258: Warrington Corporation (later to Ramsbottom U.D.C, and then SELNEC)

I was still at junior school when these were delivered in 1963, and I well remember coming out of school after a school prize giving concert, and one turning up at the stop on the route 2 Northowram service. Not yet having discovered ‘Buses Illustrated’ I had no knowledge about what was happening in the bus world until I actually saw it, and the appearance of new buses was always unexpected and exciting.
I noted immediately the Albion badges, and the ultra modern curved windscreen – the first in the fleet and in total contrast to the earlier flat fronted Leopards and Worldmasters. Inside they were very tidy and bright, with flush light cream formica from floor to ceiling, instead of the usual MCW utilitarian painted metal.
As I took my seat, another Nimbus passed in the opposite direction, and as I got up to alight at Stump Cross another was turning into Kell Lane on the 33 to Shibden. They were everywhere !
Despite apparently having a four-cylinder version of the Tiger Cub engine, the sound effects were pure vintage Albion, sounding to me more like coal wagons. They had a characteristic nose down, tail up appearance, which seemed to increase with time.
Drivers always seemed to be struggling with them – especially the gearbox. They were hopelessly underpowered for the local mountainous terrain, though were capable of eventually getting up to a fair old speed on more level stretches. It was when they were at speed, especially coming down the hills and well loaded that the trouble really started. The brakes were apparently hopelessly inadequate and temperamental, and there were many heart stopping moments.
Although originally intended to provide feeder services from the various hilltop villages to the main road double deck routes, it just never really happened. They spent so much time in the workshops during the day being repaired and adjusted, that when they were released as available for service, usually during the afternoon peak, they just went out on to the next available duty, which would most likely have required something a bit more substantial. Consequently they were overloaded and thrashed unmercifully by drivers who hated them, and suffered as a result.
They were all sold off after three or four years and replaced by seven shortened, narrow Reliances with Pennine bodies.
I am surprised at Roger’s comments about enjoying driving Nimbuses, as all the older drivers I ever spoke to – without exception – detested them with a passion !
I also recall going on a transport society visit to Crich on a new Halifax Loline in 1967. We had arranged to call on Mr. Woolliscoft at Darley Dale to inspect his wonderful Silver Service fleet – including the withdrawn AEC Q-type. He had just acquired Nimbus 252 and it was parked in the back of his depot, nosed in towards the wall. We asked if it would be possible to bring it out to be photographed next to the Loline, and he agreed willingly. He climbed into its cab, started it up, and then attempted to select reverse. The bus lunged forwards towards the wall, and he hit the brakes – which fortunately worked on this occasion. He stirred the lever around and tried again – same result. And again, and again ! Finally, with the front panels almost touching the wall, and its owner red faced and cursing, it was decided that the only way would be for us all to push it out of the depot and across the road, and I think we then pushed it back !
I always found it difficult to believe that they had Weymann bodies. The were totally unlike anything the MCW companies had ever built, and one might have expected a sort of short, narrow version of the familiar ‘Hermes’ body similar to the Leopards and Worldmasters. Instead they were almost copies of the ones built by Harrington for Western Welsh. They were very neat looking vehicles.
I liked them though nonetheless, but then this was a few years before I became a driver, so I only experienced them as a enthusiastic passenger.

John Stringer


13/10/11 – 11:43

Albions – much neglected due to their early demise after their take over by Leyland in 1951. They should be remembered more fondly than perhaps they are, being side-lined into niches by Leyland. [The Aberdonian was a cheap light-weight version of a cheap light-weight version!!! ie of the Tiger Cub and was reviled as such.]
The Albion Victor VT21L was a Bedford SB13 clone with the Leyland 370 and a six speed gearbox. Generally regarded as much the superior beast, it was too expensive and too late to knock Bedford or Ford off their pedestals – and there were still Commer Avengers around. After this it was down hill all the way, although like the Leyland Panther, they still had success overseas where the home market didn’t work.
Booth and Fisher. A superb independent which ran by the end of my road on the Sheffield/Derbyshire border when I was a boy.

David Oldfield


13/10/11 – 17:05

When the Nimbuses were in service at Halifax, the bulk of the fleet consisted of Leylands, and changing gear with a PD2, even more so with a PD3, and exceedingly more so with the early Leopards, required the application of a certain degree of brute force. Also, it was not possible to miss the desired gate on the Leyland four speed synchromesh box. The six speed constant mesh Nimbus gearbox was the extreme opposite, and gear changing, which required double declutching, could be undertaken with the light pressure of a couple of fingers on the lever, and this was essential if the centre gate was to be detected. The gearstick did have rather long travel, and I have heard the characteristics of the Albion box described by unsympathetic persons as "stirring porridge with a knitting needle". The unpopularity of the Nimbuses was largely due to the total contrast of its light touch constant mesh gearbox with the heavier synchromesh boxes of the Leylands and AECs, or the even easier to drive AEC and Daimler preselectors.

Roger Cox


14/10/11 – 11:34

Was two of the batch painted in reverse livery and more comfortable seats for private hires.?

Philip Carlton


14/10/11 – 14:50

All the Nimbuses were delivered in conventional bus livery. The following year two Willowbrook-bodied Leopard DP’s arrived (269/270) which had the cream and orange areas reversed. Shortly after this Nimbuses 250 & 251 had their seats retrimmed with the same moquette as the Leopards and had headrests fitted. They were then repainted into the new DP livery. However, whereas the Leopards and later Reliance DP’s had polished metal trim above and below the central orange band, the Nimbuses had to have black lining painted on, as on the normal bus livery. On their withdrawal, some seats from both 250 & 251 were removed and fitted to new short Reliance replacement 252, though it was in bus livery. (The Nimbuses seated 31, but the Reliances seated 39). What was then used to reseat the Nimbuses for sale I do not know.

John Stringer


RJX 251_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


23/01/13 – 14:34

RJX 258_2

Sorry about the very late entry to this discussion about the Halifax Nimbi, but attached is a shot of 258 when it operated for Ramsbottam U.D.C.
I thought I had a shot of one of the other Halifax ones at Booth & Fisher, but it was one of the ex-Western Welsh ones.
Here in Australia the Nimbus was as successful as in UK, Rockhampton City Council in Central Queensland had six, 3 with Athol Hedges bodies and 3 bodied by Stewart & Sons of Bundaberg. They lasted into the mid-1970′s and a few saw further service with schools.
I’ll post a photo of the Ramsbottam one at the Stubbins Lane depot in 1969.

Ian Lynas


23/01/13 – 15:35

To see how unreliable these were just read the books by Geoffrey Hilditch who was responsible for them at Halifax. Aldershot and District borrowed one from Devon General and used it on their route 66 shadowed by one of their Falcons. They didn’t buy any!

Paragon


25/01/13 – 06:43

"PAYE" signs . . . you don’t see those anymore, do you? Halifax’s must have been amongst the more elaborate: an internally-illuminated glass covered by a drop-down flap – or as here, a slide down insert. At the time I thought YWD buses were very inferior with their black-on-yellow perspex flip-up/down boards behind the nearside windscreen – I think the KHD-series Leopards might have also had an illuminated PAYE sign to the rear of the entrance. The first time I saw a Leyland National (I) it had both its PAYE displays – to the left of the destination, and to the rear of the door – lit: wow! such modernity . . . and that I think was the last time I ever saw them in use. So: were these things ever a legal requirement, or just a passing fad? and if they weren’t a legal requirement why did operators spend so much cash specifying illuminated signs that were never used?

Philip Rushworth


25/01/13 – 12:33

Well, I guess at a time when PAYE was not universal (in fact quite unusual in urban areas) operators thought that signs (elaborate or not)might speed up the process if intending passengers were alerted to have their (hopefully correct) money ready as they got on. As we all know, that was a lost cause. Many city operators went over to "no change given" to save the time spent faffing about with change. And we are all familiar with the tedious process as a row of people board, each in turn putting his/her shopping, buggy and parcels down and then ferreting in the wallet, purse or handbag for cash, collecting the ticket, putting the wallet, purse or handbag away again and then collecting their worldly possessions together so that the pantomime could start all over again with the next "customer". (The essential of a passenger is that he travels. The essential of a customer is that he pays.) Of course twerly passes have speeded things up a bit – but not much.

Stephen Ford


26/01/13 – 06:28

See the posting of PMT 130 here  PMT 130 for that Operator’s early design of Pay as you Enter sign on the front panel.

Ian Wild


 

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