Old Bus Photos

York – West Yorkshire – Bristol K5G – OWT 201 – YDG 88

York - West Yorkshire - Bristol K5G - OWT 201 - YDG 88
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

York – West Yorkshire Road Car Company
1939
Bristol K5G
ECW H30/26 re-bodied H28/28R in 1955

This bus is not what it seems as it started life as a 1939 Bristol K5G with ECW H30/26 body, numbered Y 702 (YDG 72) and registered DWU 995. A previous posting shows one of these buses of this batch (Y 706) in original condition in York. Re-numbered as YDG 88, this bus is seen in “new” condition in York in 1955.
West Yorkshire decided on a major rebuild of the K5G chassis which included new side frames and re-registering for this last tranche of eleven buses that were re-bodied by the ECW. These buses were 26ft long so the ECW body which was of the style to fit the 27 ft Bristol KS chassis was shortened. This is evident by the reduced width of the front side cab window and also the upper saloon side front windows. I believe similar ECW bodies were supplied to Brighton, Hove and District for their re-bodied ex London Transport Bristol K6As in 1954/55.
The re-registering the chassis was not the usual practice by West Yorkshire as many of their single decker Bristol J chassis received new side frames in the period 1946/47 when their bodies were rebuilt but kept the same registrations as did all the earlier 1937/38 prewar re-bodied Bristol K5Gs. Maybe someone can explain the policy of when to re-register a chassis. I wonder whether the York residents thought YDG 88 was a new bus as I think the Gardner 5LW engine was still rigidly mounted so a loud noise and vibration would be evident for the passengers.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Richard Fieldhouse

A full list of Bristol codes can be seen here.

A full list of West Yorkshire codes can be seen here.

———

21/08/11 – 16:24

A most fascinating resume of this particular batch of rebuilds – I wonder if the method used to "get rid of" the extra 12 inches of the more modern bodywork caused any degree of cramping in the cab – I imagine it must have done. The destination blind brings back far more recent memories for me of my days helping out willingly at Selby Depot for Caldaire/British Bus/Cowie/Arriva. Our normal York services were to Leeds, Doncaster, Goole or Pontefract, but unexpectedly an evening service (409) was commenced from Piccadilly to Fulford Broadway – un-necessary, and competition gone mad !!

Chris Youhill

———

22/08/11 – 07:45

Chris, the KS had a longer bonnet with the front bulkhead set back a bit to accommodate the Gardner 6LW engine, hence the greater length of the cab. I imagine that the rebuilt body on the K5G and K6A would have retained the original cab dimensions of those models. A similar situation existed with the Guy Arab III, which had the extra length for a 6LW in the "snout", whereas the Arab IV had the bulkhead repositioned slightly further back to avoid feature of the projecting radiator.

Roger Cox

———

23/08/11 – 10:02

It’s been something of a puzzle to many why this particular batch of West Yorkshire K-type ‘rehabs’ was re-registered Richard. When their prewar chassis were overhauled at WY Central Works, they were rebuilt with new chassis side members, and all other major units and components were overhauled, and refitted to the chassis. New PV2 radiators were also fitted, to give a more modern appearance. As you say, earlier batches of WY K-types similarly treated were not re-registered. Whether the ‘Yorkies’ also had new cross-members and outriggers fitted to the chassis on overhaul I do not know, but it may be a possibility and thus the chassis could have been deemed to be ‘new’ and re-registered?
In John F Gill’s informative ‘History of York-West Yorkshire’ the author states that the JOC decided that YDG66-76 "should be rebuilt with new chassis utilising the original running units and fitted with new bodies at the approximate cost of £2500 per vehicle, and that if possible the vehicles should be re-registered". Later in the text John mentions that the old bodies had been removed and scrapped at Harrogate, new chassis parts fitted at WY’s Central Works costing £272, and the new ECW bodies cost £1077 each. Presumably labour and other costs would have then taken the figure nearer to the aforementioned £2500. All fascinating stuff, but which also begs the question – why was the batch also renumbered following rebuild to become YDG82-92? What handsome machines though, and very ‘York’. The lack of adverts on YDG88 also shows up the shine of the hand-painted coachwork a treat. Very nice!

Brendan Smith

———

23/08/11 – 14:13

Reregistration of rebuilds seems to be a complex subject. Yorkshire Traction, Yorkshire Woollen and County Motors all rebodied Leyland PS2s as double deckers, as they had a surplus of single deckers. While the YWD ones kept the registrations of the original chassis those in the YTC fleet were given marks contemporary with the new bodies. Presumably Dewsbury CBC was not willing to reregister these rebuilt vehicles but Barnsley was.
County tried to give theirs new registrations but Huddersfield CBC would not allow it so they were transferred to YTC and reregistered by Barnsley.
Bristol Tramways rebuilt some early 1930s B types with L type chassis in 1949 and the wartime bodies were lengthened. Later they were given 1949 bodies yet they always retained the 1930s registrations. This was to get round limits on the number of new chassis Bristol could build after nationalisation by classifying these as rebuilds, including retaining the B chassis number with an L suffix.

Geoff Kerr

———

24/08/11 – 08:19

One aspect which has gone unnoticed/unmentioned is the the whole range of the DG index was a Gloucestershire registration mark!

Chris Hebbron

———

24/08/11 – 10:30

Chris H I spotted that but after reading the first posting again, I think that was a fleet number rather than the registration as it quote a different one..
Quote "This bus is not what it seems as it started life as a 1939 Bristol K5G with ECW H30/26 body, numbered Y 702 (YDG 72) and registered DWU 995. A previous posting shows one of these buses of this batch (Y 706) in original condition in York. Re-numbered as YDG 88, this bus is seen in “new” condition in York in 1955."
I was puzzled by the Gloucestershire link as well!

Richard Leaman

———

24/08/11 – 20:48

You’re right, Richard. For example, I was thinking the reference Y702 was the fleet number, followed by the reg’n mark, whereas it was the body, then fleet number. Silly me!

Chris Hebbron

———

24/08/11 – 20:50

YDG is the fleet number! Was I dreaming again? What this has to do with Gloucestershire registration marks I do not follow! YDG stands for York..double deck..Gardner.
This is a wonderfully evocative post, and a super photograph. What I would give to hear the wonderful sounds they made just once more!
I have been attempting to research which other Tilling fleets had this short style of KS body apart from York. Brighton H and D rebodied their ex London Bs to this style, and Hants and Dorset also rebodied some Ks to this style, some open top.
Something tells me there were others. Please can anyone advise?

John Whitaker

———

25/08/11 – 07:07

That is a very interesting question John W, something which has intrigued me, not so much who had them but how the final outcome was determined. It shows, in a way, that the Bristol K could have had a four bay body all along but of course they didn’t really come into vogue until the late 1940′s and ECW hadn’t designed such a thing until the advent of the KS. When other chassis makes arrived for rebodying, however, the five bay style was usually retained, I’m thinking of Guy Arabs and an AEC Regent for Midland General in 1955 and Guy Arabs, Leyland PD1′s and Albions for Scottish companies. Were former Tilling companies able to state any requirements or was it entirely down to the drawing office at Lowestoft, or were other factors involved?

Chris Barker

———

26/08/11 – 06:55

Very intriguing Chris, I agree. Perhaps the nationalised ownership had something to do with it in that Bristols, the "official" make, could be rebuilt with a "modern" look, whereas non Bristols did not matter in the same way, even if under BTC control as was Mansfield.
In the case of York-West Yorkshire, I strongly suspect that these vehicles were presented to the public as new, which, in a way, they were, but just re-using reconditioned running units. Bristol may have had a stock of obsolescent K chassis frames, with no sales potential due to the KS(W), and LD being the vogue. It would perhaps have been difficult also to fit KS frames, as other mitigating circumstances would apply, such as prop shaft lengths etc. I am pretty sure that the Brighton and Hants and Dorset rebodies retained original chassis frames, as they were not re registered , but I am open to correction as always!

John Whitaker

———

26/08/11 – 06:56

Chris, ECW did build a batch of twelve experimental 4-bay bodies on K-type chassis in 1948/49, and one actually went to York-West Yorkshire (YDB73). Brighton Hove & District and Bristol also received one each, with Eastern Counties taking the remaining nine. An ex-ECOC example was stored at West Yorkshire’s Grove Park depot in Harrogate for a while in the 1980′s. It looked in need of a lot of love and attention, and I don’t know who owned it or what happened to it, but hope such a rare vehicle survived into preservation. The body did look a bit ‘odd’ though, as it was of full four-bay construction rather than four-and-a-quarter. The overall outline was of a standard highbridge ECW body of the period, but with the main side windows ‘stretched’ lengthways. Front and rear upper deck side windows remained short in length however, as on a standard K-type body. This, and the lack of a quarter window or panel ahead of the rear platform looked decidedly strange, and the later 4-bay design used on the KS/KSW chassis looked to me, a more balanced and happier design.

Brendan Smith

———

26/08/11 – 14:35

I have always loved the ECW high-bridge special four and a quarter bay body built on the Bristol K chassis 1954 /55. I bought the photo of YDG 88 posted above on a West Yorkshire Information Service Tour in 1956 and now sharing it with others has brought a great deal of information about these lovely Bristol K5G buses. I believe there were only 27 of these special bodies built. Brighton had 6, Hants & Dorset had 10 and York West Yorkshire had 11 and all were re bodies. If anybody has further information of more than the 27 I have listed, please submit a comment.

Richard Fieldhouse

———

27/08/11 – 07:27

Quoting John above..
" Bristol may have had a stock of obsolescent K chassis frames, with no sales potential due to the KS(W), and LD being the vogue."
I used to live very near to the Bristol Commercial Vehicle works (Motor Constructional Works if preferred!) and when riding my three wheeler bike past the open yard, even then I saw that piles of brake drums, axle assemblies, chassis rails, steering components etc. etc, were left just lying outside on a patch of ground right next to the main Bath Road and completely unprotected except for the silver paint! No railings, no fence, no security and left there for years! Selecting parts for one off designs would have not been any problem!
Try doing that now and keeping them there overnight would be a challenge. Different days!

Richard Leaman

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30/08/11 – 08:01

That indeed would explain it Richard! Piles of chassis frames etc at the Bristol works when you passed on your bike. We used to make similar excursions on our bikes around various depots and scrap yards in the Bradford area. Times have changed as you say!
Perhaps new chassis sides were fitted to the H & D and B H & D rebodies, even if not re-registered.
There were no lowbridge equivalents as far as I can see, and it was about this time when H and D had some K chassis rebodied with lowbridge ECW bodies built to the original 5 bay style, some, I believe, as "8 footers"
All detailed in ECW Part 2, a book I have unfortunately mislaid!

John Whitaker


 

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Leon Motor Services – Leyland Lion – JP 42

Leon Motor Services - Leyland Lion - JP 42
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Leon Motor Service
193?
Leyland Lion LT5A
Northern Coachbuilders UH55C

Over the years there have been many fascinating vehicle rebuilds, many based on sound economics and engineering feasibility, but this one must surely be one of the most bizarre and ambitious. The chassis is a Leyland Lion LT5A, registration number JP 42, which had originally been a Santus bodied coach with Smith’s of Wigan – nothing particularly unusual in that. The Lion LT5A was, though, essentially a lightweight chassis fitted with either a 5.1 litre petrol engine or a 5.7 litre diesel unit – adequate for moderate single deck bus or coach work. Therefore to fit such a chassis with a double deck body seating 55 and, no doubt in WW2, frequent large numbers of standing passengers was, in my view, "pushing it." The photo shows that the small wheels of the light Lion have been retained – hopefully stronger springs were fitted – and the downward slope of the bonnet towards the rear raises the awful spectre of chassis distortion best not thought about. Personally I would have had great trepidation in driving or travelling on this unique vehicle, although normally I was always eager to sample anything new or out of the ordinary – and unique it is said to be as it is believed to be the only centre exit utility double decker ever made, by Northern Coachbuilders or anyone else. The source of the picture, sadly one of poor definition, is unknown to me – but as it was taken in August 1949 what must have been an unwieldy vehicle had at least managed to remain standing for a few years.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Youhill


15/08/11 – 07:45

Wonderful: I can hear it screaming off in first gear and spending the next quarter mile engaging second. Presumably desperate times brought desperate remedies and you don’t get much more desperate than this. Why centre entrance- because of the chassis? I can only imagine that Leon carried large numbers between Doncaster & the RAF stations at Finningley & possibly Lindholme. But why….?

Joe


15/08/11 – 07:49

I’m so pleased you posted this Chris because it truly is a fascinating vehicle. Like the saying goes, desperate situations require desperate remedies and they don’t come more desperate than this! I have a copy of the Prestige volume which contains a similar photo but this one was clearly taken on a different occasion. The view in the book shows it having a large headlamp on the offside and the very small one on the nearside but in this shot, it has lost the offside lamp and the hole has been patched over. In both, however, it has the same hardboard or cardboard repair to the upper deck front window so it would seem that it ran with that feature for some time! Would the centre entrance have been dictated by the fact that it was a single deck and therefore straight frame chassis? although this didn’t pose a problem for later large scale re-bodying of single deck chassis. Was it also the only double deck utility to have doors? These interest me because they appear to hinge inwards yet there is no sign of a handle on the one which is closed, it would have been more logical to have a porch type entrance with doors which pushed outwards but perhaps this was simpler and required less bodywork, also they seem to be quite deep with no recess to clear a step so presumably it must have had just one step with a large stepwell area inside the doors. What a wonderful creation!

Chris Barker


15/08/11 – 13:00

LT5A’s seem to date from 1934, so it was far from new when re-bodied. Is it an austerity body – it seems to have signs, but were any centre-entrance/staircase austerity bodies built in the war?
I wince to see this poor chassis putting up with the burden imposed on it: it’s well-laden here. How it kept going until at least 1949 is a miracle. And no body sag; more than can be said for the chassis, as Chris Y points out!
Is the area it operated in hilly?
Incidentally, I notice that there is still a Leon Motor Services in Doncaster, presumably the same company.

Chris Hebbron


15/08/11 – 13:09

It may be just the camera angle but it looks to have quite a long wheelbase and shortish overhang beyond the back axle, thus not leaving much room for a rear platform and staircase. As the LT5A was usually bodied as a coach to, presumably 27ft a double deck body would be no more than 26ft at this period so this may have something to do with body being centre entrance. However, the door arrangement does seem to be rather unusual. It would certainly have been quite handy had the bus gone on to become a caravan/holiday home!

Eric


15/08/11 – 15:34

Yes Chris H, Leon are still running.

Roger Broughton


15/08/11 – 21:57

The topography is dead flat: if you saw the "preservation" Vulcan bomber on BBC tv on 14/8, that was Finningley (now Robin Hood) Airbase/port.

Joe


15/08/11 – 21:59

Sadly Leon were taken over by MASS in 2004 and the depot at Finningley was closed in 2007 when the bus routes were given to First. The company itself was dissolved on May 26th 2009

Nigel Turrner


15/08/11 – 21:59

My understanding is that Leon sold out to MASS of North Anston some years ago who operated the services for a couple of years and then sold them on to First Group. Has the Leon name been resurrected in some way? I haven’t seen any sign of it on recent visits to Doncaster.

Chris Barker


16/08/11 – 09:03

My mistake, they are still listed on some internet sites but one phone no is now a private house and the other has been cut off.

Roger Broughton


17/08/11 – 07:15

I notice that nobody has picked up on the rather unusual registration number JP 42 because nowadays it would be pounced upon by number plate dealers! In fact it is a correct plate issued by Wigan CC in May 1934 which is quite late for a "two letter" series to start reaching JP 8432 by 1950. What it does do is reveal the original date of the coach which later became saddled with this somewhat ambitious body!
I don’t suppose anybody has a picture of the original vehicle when owned by Smith’s of Wigan..it would be a most interesting comparison!

Richard Leaman


17/08/11 – 07:16

Chris, you ask who might have taken this picture? I thought it looked familiar, it’s featured in ‘Buses Illustrated’ issue no. 84 for March ’62 (orange cover, with a Salford Daimler saloon!) It was used to help illustrate an article entitled "Doncaster Re-Visited", and is credited to none other than the late John C. Gillham. In his wonderfully eloquent style of writing, another one of my schoolboy heroes, Tony Peart, describes it thus in the accompanying article ….. " More interesting still was a double deck Leyland Lion! This had a central entrance utility body by N.C.B., with a regrettable propensity towards catching fire and had run for a long time with a sheet of cardboard in one of the front windows."
Doubtless your instincts were right and you would have done well to steer clear of riding on it had the opportunity ever arisen, but presumably the flames never made it quite as far as the cardboard window!

Dave Careless


17/08/11 – 19:29

"Regrettable propensity towards catching fire" – what a gem of a phrase and with typical British understatement! In its early days, this would have made it a toss-up whether the vehicle succumbed to enemy action before a conflagration! At least the cardboard front window gave an emergency exit front AND back of the upper deck!
As for two-letter registrations, I was in the RAF in mid-1958, in Wigtownshire, Scotland, when they changed from OS9999 to AOS1. I would hardly think they got out of AOS before the whole shebang changed to suffixes in 1963! In London, where I lived then,I’d say they ran out in the 1930′s!

Incidentally, what is known of Santus, who built the original coach body for the vehicle? I’ve never heard of them.

Chris Hebbron


18/08/11 – 08:08

William Santus was a Wigan market trader who also had a coach-building business. This business was dead certainly by the end of WW 2. I seem to remember, from the Venture book, that one of the founders of East Lancs did an apprenticeship with Santus whose assets I believe ended up with one of the more famous Wigan pair (Massey and Northern Counties).

David Oldfield


18/08/11 – 10:04

Santus was fairly common amongst Lancashire Independents. They actually built some service bus bodies for Wigan Corporation on 3 or 4 batches of Leyland Tigers in the 1932-7 period, I think to Leyland design. Anybody know of any more?
I think the Leon Lion is one of the most iconic of all buses for the post war enthusiast, as I remember it well in various publications, notably "Buses Illustrated". Alan Townsin quotes it as the only double deck centre entrance utility body built, and NCB were, of course, designated "rebodying" contractors. There were single deck utility centre entrance bodies in the form of Brush/W4 wartime utility trolleybuses in Darlington and Mexborough.

John Whitaker


18/08/11 – 11:57

Santus were active long after the end of World War Two, surviving to provide bodywork for at least one Royal Tiger in circa 1951. In the late 1940s their half-cab coach design was fitted to most types and was widely seen throughout the Northwest and Midlands (and more rarely further afield).
The firm probably ceased trading because many of its post-war bodies were built with poorly seasoned or otherwise inferior quality timber. Few survived much beyond 1960 although there are a couple of examples which made it into preservation including the well-known Seddon Mk 4 DPR 518.

Neville Mercer


19/08/11 – 06:49

Thx, David/John/Neville (and Richard Leaman who popped up coincidentally with Sanctus information on the Vics Tours (Isles of Scilly) Bedford OB thread!.

Chris Hebbron


20/08/11 – 07:11

On the registration JP42, I believe that JP was the last pair of letters authorised for use based on the original 1904 scheme. By that date, Staffordshire had already started using the three-letter/three-number combinations with ARE/ARF in 1932. I wonder why JP wasn’t issued to them instead? Wigan had previously been allocated EK. Although the history of registration allocations may be different for N Ireland and what later became Eire, JP completed the England Wales and Scotland scheme until c.1960. At that point, the more controversial OO, BF and WC marks were authorised, and quickly used in both forward and reversed formats, with two plus four and three plus three letters / numbers. This was no more than a "quick fix" for Essex and Staffordshire, as between 1963 and 1965, all issuing authorities were required to start using the year suffix (later, prefix) system. Northern Ireland continues to this day to use it’s own interpretation, and the Irish Republic uses an altogether different system since having joined the EU. There was something special though, about looking down a line of, say, standard almost identical PD2′s with Leyland bodies, and identify their area or original owner just by looking at the key letters of the registration plate. Very satisfying.

Michael Hampton


20/08/11 – 14:00

Michael, I agree wholeheartedly about being able to recognise area of origin from the old letters. There is, however, method in the new post 2001 scheme.
AA is Anglia (as in East Anglia)
GA Garden of England (Kent and Sussex)
LA London
RA Reading
SA Scotland
YA Yorkshire
These are just examples. There is a similar (sometimes slightly warped) logic to all the other marks.

David Oldfield


21/08/11 – 16:19

……..or grandiloquent ones, David, like:
F for Forest & Fens (East Midlands)
G for Garden of England (Kent & Sussex)
or my own local one V for SeVern Valley (South West England)
Reminds me of the old ‘Director’ phone system (in big cities)which relied on you dialling the first three letters. In London, it started logically: ABBey (Westminster), WHItehall & CLErkenwell, but, after running out of meaningful ones, used, for example, ARNold (Wembley) and the very Scottish RAGlan for a very unScottish Leytonstone! I would love to have been on XYLophone, but there were no X,s Y’s or Z’s used! But I digress!

Chris Hebbron


24/08/11 – 08:23

Yes, David and Chris, there are some obvious designations for the current registration system, and some intriguing ones, too. My comment about identifying identical PD2s, could similarly be said about modern Volvos or Scanias, etc, as the large groups transfer them around the country.
In the old (1903) system, there were only a few letter sets that could be linked to the place of issue, although whether this was by accident or design I know not. Examples are DV (Devon), DT (Doncaster)and KH (Kingston-u-Hull). KV for Coventry must have brought a wry smile or two, and I once read that VT for Stoke on Trent was an oblique reference to Arnold Bennett’s "Five Towns" (using the Roman V for 5). Was that a purposeful allocation, or just accidental? Many L series went to London, and many M series went to Middlesex. But other big series like O for Birmingham bore no relationship at all. BG for Birkenhead was a near miss – should have been BK or BH or BD!
Also of interest is the use some municipal operators made of their local series. In the 1950′s, Portsmouth booked each batch to end in 999 (GTP, LRV, ORV, STP and TTP). In Salford, the new manager just post-war decided he would only book RJ series and not use the BA series at all. Birmingham used a large quantity (all?) of JOJ. Glasgow booked the whole of both FYS and SGD, using some for service vehicles but the bulk for PSVs. The SGD use was curtailed by the introduction of the year suffix system. In pre-war days, some Glasgow buses were registered with the most appropriate BUS series, but the Corporation did not book the whole 999, and I don’t think the registration numbers matched the fleet numbers. In London, the first Routemasters used the appropriate "LT" series for significant quantities (SLT, VLT, WLT and reversed CLT). It was rather sad that the link between fleet numbers and registrations was lost at the introduction of the present system, with it’s use of letters instead of numbers for the sequential element.

Michael Hampton


24/08/11 – 11:38

Apologies for going off at a tangent on this thread…..but on the subject of registrations, in the 1960s nearly all the fire engines in Nottingham had a registration where the numbers were 999

KC


24/08/11 – 12:00

One I always recall is BMMO (Midland Red) which had registrations with HA in them, originally Smethwick, later Dudley.

Chris Hebbron


24/08/11 – 16:07

Most Fire Brigades ran 999 on there appliances

Roger Broughton


27/08/11 – 07:41

Thanks, Chris Y, for this extraordinary photo, which raises so many questions. I too had assumed that the Lion was of lighter build than the Tiger—somewhere between the Tiger and the Cheetah—but the attached pictures suggest that, apart from engine and cab length, there was little difference between the two chassis, at least by Feb 1938. Perhaps the 1934 LT5A was a bit less sturdy.
I grew up imagining that the Ministry of Supply had an absolute stranglehold over body design, and this Lion double-decker is the best and quirkiest counter-example of all.
By the way, I’ve always had a soft spot for NCB bodies: everything—particularly the front dome and upper front pillar area—strikes me as just right.

Ian Thompson


Forgot to say that my praise of Northern Coachbuilders’ design refers to postwar bodywork, which is not to belittle the angular charm of the centre-entrance d-d Lion!

Ian


11/09/11 – 08:43

This maybe of interest.

Ian Thompson

leyland lion and tiger 002


16/10/11 – 17:24

Michael Hampton said,
"I believe that JP was the last pair of letters authorised for use based on the original 1904 scheme. By that date, Staffordshire had already started using the three-letter/three-number combinations with ARE/ARF in 1932. I wonder why JP wasn’t issued to them instead?"
Staffordshire started the three-letter marks in July ’32 with ARF 1, and my guess is that Wigan booked JP just before then.
Similarly, Dorset started issuing JT registrations in November ’33 – so they, too, could have booked that code just before the three-letter marks were introduced.
Chris Hebbron wrote,
"As for two-letter registrations, I was in the RAF in mid-1958, in Wigtownshire, Scotland, when they changed from OS 9999 to AOS 1. I would hardly think they got out of AOS before the whole shebang changed to suffixes in 1963!"
Well, Chris, Wigtownshire actually got as far as HOS before becoming one of the last areas to adopt the year suffix system, in September 1964.

Des Elmes


17/10/11 – 07:47

Thx, Des, for the interesting Wigtownshire information. In crude terms, 800 registrations in 6 years averages 133 new vehicles registered per year. Sounds very quaint in this day and age!
Just to add to this scenario, I took my test in Stranraer whilst up there. Such was the demand, that the driving instructor only brought his Morris Minor down from Ayr every Wednesday afternoon to teach the locals. There was no instructor in Stranraer itself!

Chris Hebbron


17/10/11 – 07:48

Des..Just a very slight clarification wearing my number plate anorak. The suffix system did not become compulsory until 1st September 1964 although introduced originally just 12 months earlier. So the "A" suffix ran only from 1/9/63 until 31/12/63 and "B" started on 1st January 1964 but most authorities continued the 123 ABC format until they ran out at YYY 999 for example.
Then, confusion occurs because vehicles that had old "collectable" numbers that were sold on, were allocated previously unissued "A"’s similar to ( here in Bristol) BHU123A. Again, this did not last long because then the DVLA started to use "SV/SU/FF" etc. in a three letter, three number style to give the age related numbers seen everywhere such as MSU 123. So..it’s not impossible to have a 1964 vehicle displaying an "age related" AAA 123A ‘plate and also..yes…built up Kit cars were often given "A"’s rather than "Q" plates and they can be of any age!
NO!!!…enough men! I’ll go away and shut up now!

Richard Leaman


24/10/11 – 07:50

Richard Leaman said, "The suffix system did not become compulsory until 1st September 1964 although introduced originally just 12 months earlier. So the "A" suffix ran only from 1/9/63 until 31/12/63"
I thought "A" suffixes began in February of 1963, when Middlesex issued AHX 1A?
And, for that matter, the new Kirkcaldy authority issued AXA 1A etc from April ’63 (XA having been previously allocated to London), and Staffordshire issued ARE 1A etc from July.
Also, the year suffix system became compulsory when "C" suffixes began on 1 January 1965 – though September ’64 is very likely to have been the time when this was decided upon, as all remaining areas still using the old schemes (notably Leeds, Hampshire and Bedfordshire) continued to do so for the final four months of that year.

Des Elmes


24/10/11 – 16:17

Hello Des! Thank you for the details re the 6/7 digit registration changes. I went from memory rather than looking anything up but had always understood that Middlesex was the first 7 digit series and had started in the September so I’m sorry to have got that incorrect. As regards the September 1964 date, it may well have been technically compulsory from 1/1/65 but I have never seen any registrations after Sept ’64 with less than 7 digits so have understood that to be the changeover date.
Thank you for the clarifications though!

Richard Leaman


03/05/12 – 14:01

Nine Scottish County Councils never reached 9999 with two letters, before starting the "year-letter" series in 1964 or 5. Bringing up the rear was Bute, which reached SJ 2860, an average of less than one vehicle a week!

Geoff Kerr


04/05/12 – 08:46

HD the mark for Dewsbury took from the start of its introduction until 1955 To change to AHD.

Philip Carlton


14/06/12 – 07:30

Further to Philip’s comment: Bootle is a bigger town than Dewsbury, and yet took longer to reach three-letter marks – AEM 1 not being issued until April 1960. Hmm…
And further to Geoff’s comment, the other eight Scottish counties that never reached 9999 with two letters were Clackmannanshire (SL), Kinross-shire (SV), Nairnshire (AS), Orkney (BS), Peeblesshire (DS), Selkirkshire (LS), Sutherland (NS) and Shetland (PS).
Caithness, meanwhile, reached SK 9999 in August 1963. By then, of course, Middlesex, Kirkcaldy and Staffordshire were all issuing suffixed registrations, with Lancashire soon to follow. I wonder if Caithness considered joining them then, instead of waiting another year and issuing ASK 1 etc in the meantime? Got to admit, it’s fun talking about registrations…

Des Elmes


15/11/12 – 06:27

This may be the Santus-bodied Royal Tiger to which Neville was making reference (18/08/11) www.sct61.org.uk/  On the same site can be found photos of Royal Tigers with bodywork by Thurgood, Churchill, Bankfield, and Auto-Cellulose – as well as by the more well-known builders, of course.

David Call


15/11/12 – 15:42

Santus bodied nine Royal Tigers in total:- MTJ 774, NTD 447 both Fairclough, Lostock; NTJ 707 Victoria, Horwich; JP 9379 Taylor Bros, Standish; JP 9634 Eaves, Ashton-in-Makerfield; OTB 400 Walls, Wigan; LWX 446 Anderton, Keighley; FBN 902 Miners Convalescent Home; MWT 476 Forder, Bingley.

Regarding the original owner of JP 42, PSV Circle British Journal gives the original owner as H Stringfellow, Wigan, noting that reference to Smiths is probably wrong.

David Williamson


15/11/12 – 17:00

A quick Google of all the above registration numbers has produced a pic of MT J774 with Fairclough’s – not surprisingly, the body looks just like that on LWX 446. There is also a photo of 504 WLG, implied to be a rebuild of JP 9379, extended to 36′ and rebodied by Plaxton. The registration did ring a bell, and bearing in mind its place of origin I would say that the rebuild was effected at the behest of the Les Gleave group.
This is getting a bit away from the original topic of JP 42 (heard that one before?), but I wonder if anyone could tell me anything about Bankfield coach bodies, as mentioned above. There have been occasions in the past when I have been accused of having had an encyclopaedic knowledge of buses & coaches, but I have to say that Bankfield is a new one on me.

David Call


15/11/12 – 17:43

Bankfield Engineering was based at Crossens, Southport. They bodied two Royal Tigers, NVM 832 new to North Road Engineering, Oldham in 1953, and OXJ 481 new to Mason, Manchester in 1954. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen photos of them. However, I have childhood memories of them, and I thought they both ran for Mason’s, who used a red and cream livery. I have a vague recollection that they produced at least one other body, but cannot remember any details.

David Williamson


16/11/12 – 07:34

Very welcome information, thanks. The Southport connection didn’t come as a surprise since I had already picked up mention on the net of an ex-Hanson Leyland TS6 later running for a couple of Southport-area operators and at some stage receiving a Bankfield body.
Issue 18 (Winter 2002) of the ‘Leyland Torque’ magazine refers to NVM 832 as ‘Mason’s Tours Royal Tiger’, so, yes, it would seem that both OXJ481 and NVM 832 operated for Mason’s. Perhaps they were trying to get the ‘set’.
There is a photo of OXJ 481 here www.sct61.org.uk  
There is mention on the net of Bankfield having rebuilt fourteen Bolton Corporation TD5/Massey, two St Helens (ex-Wigan) TD1/NCME, and one Crosville (ex-York-West-Yorkshire) LT2/Roe.
Further to the above, I wonder if you could tell me the source of information – was it a PSVC chassis list? I’m a little suspicious that NVM 832 should have had a Manchester, rather than an Oldham, registration. Could ‘North Road Engineering’ have been a ‘subsidiary’ of Mason’s?

David Call


16/11/12 – 11:18

I have an old copy of Leyland Journal (the original version) from the early 50′s which shows a new Bankfield-bodied Royal Tiger.

John Stringer


16/11/12 – 11:18

The PSVC records NVM 832 as new in May 1953 to North Road Engineers, Oldham, “carrying Mason Tours fleetname”. Make of that what you can! It was withdrawn in June 1960 and exported to Australia where it ran for Stewart & Sons, Bundaberg, Queensland, rebodied by Stewarts with their own B57D body. It remained in service until some time in the 1990s, when it was bought by one of Stewarts’ drivers and converted to a mobile caravan.

Michael Wadman


16/11/12 – 15:39

My info came from the PSVC Royal Tiger chassis list. On the SCT61 website, under a posting about Maudslay HNF 803, there is reference to ‘the Wolfenden group’, operators and coachbuilders (Junction). One of the group’s companies was Mason, whose address was North Road (Manchester, though, not Oldham).

David Williamson


JP 42_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


10/11/13 – 17:21

Leon’s Lion Utility double decker was in a small club of unusual Leyland Utility double deck rebodies. In 1942 East Kent had two of its ten 1928-1930 TS1 Tigers fitted with lowbridge Park Royal bodies UL27/26R with an overall length of 27ft 4in. The chassis had originally been bodied as double deckers, Short O30/26RO to an overall length of 27ft 6in. The two buses concerned were FN 9094 and JG 652 and merit attention for having the only lowbridge Park Royal Utility bodies (that I know of), and for retaining their original TS1 frames and acquiring long bodies as a result. They were quite camera shy with their new bodies but from the pictures I have seen there is no doubt that they were indeed rebodied on the original TS1 frames rather than receiving some sort of "TD1" substitute. The Park Royal bodies conformed to the National Federation of Vehicle Trades lowbridge utility outline (except on length and seating capacity) especially with regard to the proportions of the upper deck where the panels below the upper deck windows were much deeper than Brush, Duple and Weymann lowbridge bodies, to name just a few, and the roof had a pronounced dome.

Mike Harvey


 

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Sheffield Corporation – Leyland Leopard – 1882 WA – 3082

Sheffield Corporation - Leyland Leopard - 1882 WA - 3082
Copyright Ian Wild

Sheffield Corporation
1961
Leyland Leopard L1
ECW C41F

This was one of the final batch of Leopards for the Sheffield C fleet with Eastern Coachworks body of the same style as contemporary Bristol MW vehicles being delivered to Tilling Companies.
Delivered as fleet number 1882, it was became 3082 in the 1967 renumbering scheme. The bus originally had a hinged coach door but had been modified with folding doors and hence suitable for one man operation by the time of this photograph. Note Burlingham bodied 1008 alongside still has its original coach door.
3082 was withdrawn when the Joint Omnibus Committee was wound up in 1970 and passed to Todmorden Joint Omnibus Committee as their fleet number 13. When the Todmorden undertaking was merged with that of Halifax in August 1971 the bus became Halifax fleet number 323.
This was in the future when the photograph was taken on a snowy 9th February 1969 on the parking area at Sheffield Central Bus Station prior to operating the 1620 service 44 to Bakewell via the roundabout route taking in Ladybower and Bamford.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

———

08/08/11 – 07:22

These were always handsome beasts, in their original form. I never remember them with their folding doors. It made them far easier to use as "OMO" buses and, although it did spoil their looks, it didn’t do as much damage as a similar exercise did to SUT’s ground breaking first Panorama bodied Reliances.

David Oldfield

———

26/08/11 – 07:16

Calderdale JOC inherited three of these from Todmorden JOC – 1880/1/2 WA, and numbered them 321-323. A short while after the merger/takeover, 323 was transferred to Halifax (Elmwood) Garage where it remained until withdrawal. Its most regular haunt seemed to be on ex-YWD OMO route 2 to Keighley, though it could turn up anywhere.
I was a crew driver only (i.e. not OMO) at the time so did not drive it regularly, but I recall having it a couple of times for afternoon school services when the Garage Foreman was struggling for buses for the PM output. It seemed to be higher geared than the indigenous Halifax Leopards and was hard work to get going on local, hilly stop-start work like this, but loped along in fine style once it got into its stride on the open road, for which it was more suited.
The Halifax Weymann Leopards had quite basic bodies and were extremely noisy inside, but these ECW ones were well finished and very much quieter and more refined.

John Stringer


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 25th July 2014