Old Bus Photos

Sheffield Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – NWE 591 – 391

Sheffield Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - NWE 591 - 391
Copyright Ian Wild

Sheffield Corporation
Leyland Titan PD2/12
Roe H33/25R

The recent posting of a Sheffield Mann Egerton bodied PD2 fleet number 362 provided some interesting information on new bus orders about that time and here is one of the Roe bodied PD2/12 ordered at the same time as the Mann Egerton pair. These were very elegant looking vehicles with deep windows in both saloons and I think looked especially handsome in the C T Humpidge era livery with three blue bands. Interesting to note how Roe incorporated a variation of the standard Sheffield destination layout – probably necessary because of the reduced depth available because of the afore mentioned deep windows. I well recall these buses replacing the Fulwood via Hunters Bar trams as the first programmed tram replacement scheme in January 1952. The new 88 bus route ran between the City and Fulwood with the City terminus being uniquely located in Eyre Street outside the Motor Vehicle Licensing Office (near the Central Library). This continued I believe until March 1954 when the 88 became a cross City service between Fulwood and Malin Bridge at the same time as the 81/82 bus routes replaced trams between Ecclesall and Middlewood.
Here is 391 in later life about to turn into Herries Road Depot on a summer evening in July 1967. The batch of nine were withdrawn the following year and 391 ended up inevitably with a Barnsley breaker.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.

14/10/12 – 10:47

I am, of course, predisposed and prejudiced in this post. Magnificent body, excellent operator – and pretty good chassis!!! I never quite got to terms with the "heavy on blue" livery that all Roes were delivered in and generally preferred this scheme – which was always on repaint. Nevertheless, I also felt that these PD2s looked slightly bald in this scheme. Never actually rode on one and didn’t realise it was originally a City only service from Eyre Street. Only used the 60 to Crimicar Lane in my childhood – the 88 didn’t go up the hill!

David Oldfield

14/10/12 – 10:41

What I could never understand about the Sheffield fleet is this: all the views I have, bought ones or my own work relating to the bus fleet, show this style of livery. With the trams, however, and there are several preserved at Crich, if it was delivered in livery "A" it retained that livery throughout. If it was delivered in "B", it retained "B" throughout. Only the 1953 ‘Roberts’ trams had this style. Can anyone explain the apparent reluctance to modernise the livery on the trams, when it seems to have been done on the buses?

Pete Davies

15/10/12 – 07:32

Pete, you seem to have an inaccurate memory – or information – about Sheffield livery. This scheme was introduced in about 1936 for the Domed Standard (tram) Cars and extended to AEC Regent/Weymann buses. It was extended to all buses eventually, pre-war, including Craven and Leyland bodied TD5 Titans. The livery was perpetuated after the war on the Roberts trams – the only trams bought after the Domed Standards and, of course, the last "first generation" trams. It was also the standard bus livery except, for some inexplicable reason, all Roe deckers, Leyland Farington deckers and the final "not" Farington Leyland body (which were delivered in the short-lived and disastrous green experimental livery). The Roe and Leyland bodies had far more blue paint but most, if not all, Roes were painted in the scheme shown at first overhaul. Yet another superb colour shot by Ian.

David Oldfield

15/10/12 – 10:00

Thank you, David. The source of my information seems to be incorrect!

Pete Davies

15/10/12 – 17:22

The whole vehicle is pure and classic Roe, except for the front upper deck windows which look a little odd, the way that the top edge looks lower than the side windows. No doubt it’s just the evening sun shining on the white dome but it made me look twice, I thought some alteration had been done. Still a superb bus though!

Chris Barker

15/10/12 – 17:23

And don’t forget the variant of the grey roof, David, which buses tended to acquire on first repaint. I’ve heard it said that the grey was made up in Queens Road by mixing the dregs of the cream and blue paint tins, but I’m not sure how correct that is. I think the practice ended after Chaceley Humpidge became GM in 1961, as he wasn’t a fan of the grey roof. Personally, I think the ‘Farington’ PD2’s in their ‘Roe’ style livery looked better than ever with the roof painted grey.
Oddly enough, the domed roof trams that inaugurated the ‘new’ livery had a variation of the grey roof, or at least acquired one eventually; perhaps in wartime in an effort to make the cars less visible from the air? If the grey was in fact a combination of the blue and cream, perhaps it was a conscious effort on the part of the paint shop to not waste a drop!!

Dave Careless

16/10/12 – 05:29

Dave, you are absolutely correct about the grey paint – actually called "smudge". It gave a certain dignity to an already super livery. I do not know, and to my shame have not as yet bothered to find out, whether there was a policy about the smudge. My feeling is that it was applied before entry into service (whether or not by the coachbuilder or by STD) and lost on overhaul/repaint. I certainly feel that all the Weymanns (classic and Orion alike) on 26′ and 27′ chassis entered service with smudge roofs. The Domed cars probably likewise.

David Oldfield

16/10/12 – 11:45

I don’t know whether there was a wartime edict to paint bus roofs a less obtrusive colour . LPTB went from silver to grey to brown quickly. However, the dirt falling onto tram and trolleybus roofs from poles and wiring might well have been a consideration not to change back later.

Chris Hebbron

16/10/12 – 16:52

Grey roof painting was widely adopted on the outbreak of WW2. It was kept by many operations for a long time afterwards. For instance Manchester had its 1946 deliveries painted in this manner. When it converted its orders to 8′ wide vehicles they appeared with red roofs, the 7′ 6" vehicles retained the grey so the bus washers knew how to set washer width. Few 7’6" vehicles appeared in the "overall" red scheme but by that time the washers set themselves automatically.
Stockport cut back its grey from 1946 but retained the centre of the roof in grey for all deliveries up to and including the first batch of St Helen’s fronted PD2s in 1962. Frank Brimelow specified translucent roofs thereafter but all re-sprays of grey roofed vehicles received the grey until SELNEC took over.

Phil Blinkhorn

17/10/12 – 08:30

On the subject of grey or other colour for the roof, one of my former colleagues was a descendent of B C Baker of Birmingham City Transport. Birmingham had a sandy colour for their bus roofs, apparently as camouflage. My colleague suggested it was to confuse the Afrika Corps!

Pete Davies

17/10/12 – 08:31

This bus and its windows is reminiscent of Roe’s 8ft Doncaster 121 and 122 which were sold to Blue Ensign after 4 years because either they didn’t fit the streets (official) or the washer (Tony Peart). Did they also have the cranked seats and "high level" rear platform? It seems that Roe had a sudden urge to innovate…?


17/10/12 – 11:24

No, Joe, that was a Doncaster thing. The vehicles you mention are closer to STD 18/19; 113-119 – the 1952 four bay bodied Regent IIIs (my equal favourite with 1325 – 1349). Incidentally, Charles Halls has these PD2s (386 – 394) as 1951 and 361/2 (the Mann Egertons) as 1952. I always took this to be correct and that the Roes were late ’51 and the Mann Egertons early ’52.

David Oldfield

17/10/12 – 18:04

One further thought with respect to Sheffield’s penchant for grey roofs, a style that became a thing of the past after C.T. Humpidge took over. It occurs to me that it must have seemed a bit like déjà vu to the new General Manager when he got settled into the chair at Sheffield in 1961.
Bradford’s fleet had grey roofs into the early 1950’s, when he took over the top job in that city, after which the roofs on the buses eventually became blue on his watch. When he took over the reins at Sheffield, and saw the tins of "smudge" on the shelves at Queens Road, he must have felt he was starting all over again!

Dave Careless

18/10/12 – 07:46

The Fulwood via Hunters Bar tram route that these buses took over from was converted to bus operation (service 88) on 5th January 1952 so this batch would almost certainly have been delivered in late 1951. I can only recall one Sheffield bus with cranked seats and this was all Leyland 651 of the 1949 batch (and then I think the lower deck only). Can the Sheffield people out there confirm this and what was the reason?

Ian Wild

18/10/12 – 10:44

Chieftain Buses of Hamilton acquired a second-hand ex-Sheffield TD5 Craven in the late 40s. BWB ###. The engine in this bus sounded different to any other TD5 I had come across. It surely could not have been a petrol engine? Any enlightenment?

Jim Hepburn

18/10/12 – 14:37

Leeds had one AEC Regent with staggered seats 700 NUM 700 a 1950 show exhibit which was LCTs second 8ft wide bus I have a vague feeling that these were removed and replaced with normal seating towards the end of its LCT life.

Chris Hough

19/10/12 – 06:32

The Sheffield livery variation on the Roe bodied vehicles has long been a talking point. The whole process was caused by the changes to the Leyland Farington PD2/1’s delivered in 1949. The mouldings below the lower deck windows were discontinued, along with upper beading. Leyland asked for a simplified livery in lieu of cream and three blue bands, for the high cost of lining out would be excessive.
AEC Regent Weymann FWJ 808 was used to trial a simpler paint style.
With a slight modification,this livery was adopted for the large intake of Farington PD2’s.
When the Roe order for PD2/12’s was placed, a similar situation resulted. The narrow lower deck waist rail would have unbalanced the lower deck blue band proportions, therefore a decision was made to adopt the Farington style. The new GM C.T.Humpidge took a dislike to the Roe livery in 1962 and repaints received the standard livery in due course. Remarkably, none of the Farington fleet were so changed in livery style.

Keith Beeden

24/11/12 – 06:50

Referring to Jim Hepburn’s post of 18th October, as the BWA to BWE range of registrations was limited to 1935, I would imagine that the vehicle he refers to would be a Leyland TD4C/Cravens which used the torque converter rather than a convention gearbox and was commonly known as ‘Gearless Bus’. The sound produced, as I remember, from like vehicles surviving into the 50’s resembled a long monotonous droning noise especially from a standing start.

Just to add to David Oldfield’s response to Pete Davies on the subject of liveries. For Pete to understand that trams delivered in Liveries A or B would retain that livery throughout is erroneous. Following the standardisation of Azure Blue and Cream circa 1936, numerous older trams previously wearing the Prussian Blue and Cream were repainted into the Azure Blue livery. In fact, one such tram, namely 150, delivered in Prussian Blue in 1930 was repainted into the ill-fated Green livery in 1952 and then Azure Blue shortly afterwards.

As regards the subject of the post, PD2 No. 391, my humble opinion is that it looks absolutely dreadful in the Humpidge interpretation of the standard livery. As Keith Beedon has explained, the Farrington style livery was applied to the Roe designs for good reason and looked nicely balanced on these elegant vehicles. The painting out of the dividing bar on the front destination box just added to the desecration but credit is due for restoring the cream roof. I would refer all to C.C.Hall’s ‘Sheffield Transport’ Page 263 to see just how superb 389 of the same batch looked when new. (I’m sure many of you will have this book but if not and you are ‘Up North’, there is a copy in the splendid ‘Search Engine’ Reference Library at the National Railway Museum at York)

John Darwent

18/12/12 – 17:37

Referring to Ian Wild’s post of 18-10-2012, Keith Beeden advises that Sheffield all Leyland 651 was fitted with cranked seats on both decks. These were supplied by Siddall and Hilton. Here is an extract from Commercial Motor of 8th December 1950- Article titled Innovation Components and Accessories
"More room with less seat" is the object of the new Sidhil-Morseat, manufactured by Siddall and Hilton, Ltd.. Sowerby Bridge, Yorks. Employing a cleverly cranked frame, this service-bus seat enables two passengers to sit comfortably side by side without encroaching on each other or on the gangway.
The outer half of the seat, apart from being set back, as in a normal cranked seat, is also turned slightly inward, so that the "gangway" passenger’s elbows are out of the way of the inside" passenger. A recess in the centre of the seat provides additional elbow-room, enabling both passengers to get at pockets for their fares without the usual difficulty.
Further, each person enjoys the full width of backrest and the "inner" passenger can more easily leave his seat without disturbing his neighbour. With this design, the conductor can move more easily about the bus, and is able, with less difficulty, to collect the fares from the window-side passenger.

John Darwent

19/12/12 – 07:29

Siddall & Hilton are still in business today in Halifax producing wire products, hospital beds and other ancillary equipment for the healthcare industry.

Eric Bawden

03/08/13 – 14:25

Long time since I visited this site , but thanks to John Darwent for info. on BWB Craven. By this time, it had a conventional gearbox but still sounded unusual.
Now another ex. Sheffield bus was WJ 9094. Any info.?

Jim Hepburn

04/08/13 – 10:40

WJ 9094 was a Leyland TD3c, fleet number 94, Cravens H31/24R. Arrived 1934, withdrawn 1941. Think chassis number was 3606.

Les Dickinson

06/08/13 – 06:05

Thanks Les about info. on TD3c WJ 9094. This bus was converted to a conventional gearbox and served with J. Laurie`s of Hamilton`s "Chieftain" buses plying between Hamilton and East Kilbride, and was not withdrawn till 1954.

Jim Hepburn

NWE 591_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

14/10/13 – 08:09



Referring to my post of 18-12-12 about the cranked seats in Sheffield PD2 No. 651, I have now had the opportunity to photograph probably the last pair of ‘Sidhil’ Morseats in captivity which are currently in Sheffield AEC/MCW ex 255, now preserved as ex-gritter G55 in the South Yorkshire Transport Museum at Aldwarke, Rotherham.These seats were the spare pair supplied with 651 and retained by Sheffield Transport Department after the bus was sold on.

John Darwent

15/10/13 – 07:08

Not quite the last set in captivity!. Doncaster 122, the beautiful AEC Regent 111/Roe restored by the late Tony Peart has these seats as well.

Andrew Charles

15/10/13 – 18:03

Splendid news Andrew, thank you for posting. Has 122 a full set, upstairs and downstairs, do you know? I wonder if any more are lurking in preservation.

John Darwent


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Southdown – Leyland Titan PD3 – HCD 369E – 369

Southdown - Leyland Titan PD3 - HCD 369E - 369
Copyright Diesel Dave

Southdown Motor Services Ltd
Leyland Titan PD3/4
Northern Counties FH39/30F

The posting a little while ago of the Bradford Daimler CVG6 was a reminder that although both they and Leyland were then manufacturing rear-engined double decker chassis in large numbers, not all operators were yet willing to make the change to them. Southdown’s later Queen Marys are examples of some of Leyland’s last traditional front-engined vehicles.
Judging by the number of them that have been preserved, (many of them went on to have second lives with independents, of course), and by comments I’ve read, Queen Marys have a great number of fans. Not everyone liked them, however, and I’ve also heard some unflattering remarks about their appearance. Prior experience makes me reluctant to express my own views just yet!
Queen Marys, which Southdown bought in very large numbers, were pretty well standard fare when I joined as Traffic Superintendent, Brighton, but I never really got to drive them. A Maidstone & District District Superintendent who I respected and admired made a point of becoming familiar with all vehicles allocated to him, which struck me as an eminently sensible idea. It was quickly made clear to me, however, that at Southdown such a practice was regarded as ‘inappropriate’, so a trip to Devil’s Dyke and back was all I ever managed at the wheel.
The photo is of the final ‘Panoramic’ version of the Northern Counties bodywork, in which the cream paint is taken straight across the front rather than curving round the windscreen as it did in the more numerous earlier Queen Marys. Three years later, Southdown followed their eastern neighbour by changing to Fleetlines.

Photograph by Diesel Dave Copy contributed by Roy Burke

A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.

12/10/12 – 08:31

I have never understood the Queen Mary name for these. Only Southdown versions seem to have been given this name, while the PD3/MCW combination with Ribble was given the name Tank. Even ex-Southdown drivers of my acquaintance don’t seem to know the reasoning. Is it just an enthusiast nickname, like certain railway locomotives have unofficial names (Class 40 Whistler, Class 50 Hoover, etc)?
Of the bodies, I liked the "Panoramic" style the least, whether it was the Northern Counties on a PD3 or an Alexander on an Atlantean. Some Ribble Atlanteans, of similar vintage to this, had Northern Counties bodies with the same front dome. To me, it just doesn’t look right. Put "Panoramic" windows on a coach, however, and it’s a different story!

Pete Davies

12/10/12 – 15:32

I tend to agree with you on that point, Pete, I like the original version of these, and whilst I would say that the Alexander ‘Y’s look far better as a Panoramic, the double decker’s with the same front as the MCW clone just looked wrong, however, I quite liked the later Alexander D/D’s with the larger windows.

Ronnie Hoye

12/10/12 – 18:06

At the risk of making myself unpopular with all of this website’s southern readers, I never understood the popularity of this design – or for that matter the popularity of Southdown’s (to me rather "yucky") livery. Ribble’s PD3/MCCW FH72Fs were clearly better looking and the colour scheme suited them down to the ground. And this comes from a man who can barely look at a standard MCW Orion body without shaking his head. I never felt a similar affection for the PD3/Burlingham variant with the full-front, much preferring the Burlingham design as a half cab with the BMMO front as supplied to Scout.
As for the later "panoramic" version of the Southdown PD3/NCME (as shown above), perhaps it should be transferred to the Ugly Bus page before it gives us all nightmares. Some very unfortunate designs came out of Northern Counties in the latter half of the 1960s, making one wonder if personnel from Massey Bros had taken over the design team after the take-over of that company by NCME. Massey were renowned for their aesthetically challenged body styling – their lowbridge vehicles had a (thankfully) unique "stepped on by a giant" look while their single-deckers were hideous without fail. I look forward to opposing viewpoints!

Neville Mercer

12/10/12 – 18:14

I much preferred the earlier versions with single headlamps and the ‘conventional’ upper deck front dome. I thought the opening vent in the nearside front windscreen spoiled the design which was otherwise very well balanced. And of course the livery helped. Simple but very classy and also timeless. It would still look good on many of today’s modern buses.

Philip Halstead

13/10/12 – 07:00

Neville, you’re not upsetting me! My ancestry is Lancastrian, and my schooldays were spent in Lancaster itself and British West Bradford, though I was born in London. I’ve lived in and around Southampton for over 40 years now, and many of the contributions I’m planning reflect this.
So far as the livery is concerned, I have encountered a number of operators with what might best be described as pseudo-Southdown arrangements, Southern National before they succumbed to the "Barbie Doll" being the biggest example. Perhaps a darker green might have helped (but not NBC "LEAF"!)

Pete Davies

13/10/12 – 07:01

Calm down, calm down, Neville, it’s only a bus! To condemn the above bus to the Ugly Bus page, is extreme. And I feel that ones taste in buses, like anything else is hardly a North-South Divide’ thing. I’ll stand with Philip on my view on this vehicle. I certainly don’t feel that the Ribble version looked better, the Orion body was, as many Orion bodies were; less attractive and the livery blander, but not deserving of being condemned to the Ugly Bus page! (Of course, am I toning my real thoughts down, in the interest of your blood pressure!). We do agree about Massey bodywork, however, especially those with outrageously curved upper deck fronts.

Chris Hebbron

13/10/12 – 07:01

A piece of local folklore? The Southdown terminus in Southsea was at South Parade Pier. Drivers and conductors would gather to chat and smoke prior to their next departure on the promenade. Looking out to sea, one observed the Queen Mary (the liner!) passing through the Solent one day. ‘My that’s a big ship — big just like our new buses — they must be the "Queen Mary"s of the bus world,’ — or something like that. PS: I don’t believe a word of it!! However, opinion amongst ex-staff here in Portsmouth as to whether or not the term originated with employees, or is pure enthusiast is divided — so take your pick!

Philip Lamb

13/10/12 – 07:02

I feel that I must take issue with some of your contributors. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but, to me, this is a pleasing design with a timeless, attractive livery.
I don’t think that the Queen Marys were universally popular with the staff. The drivers had a hot and noisy engine in the cab with them. The conductors had nowhere to stand, when passengers were boarding and alighting, as they funnelled past him (or her). Without a recess, he was simply ‘in their way’. And, I would have thought that the fitters would probably have preferred the easier access offered by an opening bonnet.
But for the passenger – heaven! Over the downs to Newhaven, Seaford, Beachy Head and Eastbourne. Those lovely big windows and sunny aspect through the Perspex roof panels.
Along the coast road to Worthing, Chichester and beyond. Looking out to sea from their own personal observatory. Or up through the Wealden countryside, over Crowborough Beacon to Royal Tunbridge Wells.
Bus travel at its best. Things were going to go downhill after this. Single deckers, then Leyland Nationals, harsh Bristol VRs with a thin skin and small windows. No thanks, a panoramic Queen Mary for me any day, thanks !

Peter Murnaghan

13/10/12 – 07:03

The problem with this design in my view (and I suspect in Southdown’s view at the time) is that it is a hybrid of two aesthetics. What they really wanted to do was to put a BET windscreen on it. They tried a couple of times, but it meant moving the radiator and that didn’t work too well. As long as the rad filler was in that position they had to use the throwback windscreens, which looked silly beneath the modern upper deck window. No doubt the change of livery was a failed attempt to disguise the fact.
As for Northern Counties post-Massey, there was definitely some Massey influence (and almost certainly some Massey parts) in certain designs, but not this one. Northern Counties’ idea of using the rear window of a BET single decker at the front of the upper deck was a straight copy of what Alexander had done using the Y type rear window. Unfortunately it didn’t fit so well, although it seemed to fit better on Southdown vehicles that anyone else’s – possibly because of deeper side windows.

Peter Williamson

13/10/12 – 10:38

OK. Gloves off. As Neville’s biggest fan: Don’t agree about Southdown livery but agree about Tanks. As a Roe man, I still think an Orion can look good in the appropriate livery, though. Suppose I do agree, as a Burlingham man, with the comments on full-frontal Ribbles. Have to defend Neville on the ugliness of Panoramic QMs – back to balance of design or lack of it – and certainly of Masseys. [See also Peter W’s comments.] …..but Peter M, you don’t need to take issue. As you say, beauty in the eye of the beholder. Friendly banter and tongue in cheek digs help liven us up here on OBP. Sometimes a knee jerk reaction needs further contemplation – even in a forum like this. So often we challenge comments and then on reflection see how true they are and that we probably actually agree with them.

David Oldfield

14/10/12 – 07:22

Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. I never liked the Queen Marys or the Ribble equivalents. Disguising what was a chassis designed for half cabs was never a good idea and the blame goes back pre WW2 to Blackpool and others. Even some of the full front front engined singles looked poor. An honest half cab can’t be beaten.
But what do I know – I liked the Park Royal Renown. Big, brutish without the vices of the Park Royal Bridgemaster it plainly stated I’m a BUS. It looked good in North Western and King Alfred colours and when Crosville inherited theirs, the large amounts of solid green set off with black wheels looked very smart – possibly the best scheme ever applied until some idiot applied NBC logos and horrible grey wheels. See www.sct61.org.uk/nw964

Phil Blinkhorn

14/10/12 – 08:02

Phil, I’m with you all the way – especially re Renown.

David Oldfield

14/10/12 – 08:03

I, too, found the appearance of the "panoramic" version of the Southdown Queen Mary PD3/4s to be a curious hotchpotch of clashing features. The earlier style of Northern Counties FH39/30F bodies on these buses possessed classic lines, which, in my view anyway, were more aesthetically appealing than their Ribble MCW equivalents, but then I have never been a fan of the Orion body and its derivatives. To me, the Burlingham bodied version of the Ribble PD3 was much superior in appearance. London Country obtained examples of both the Southdown and Ribble PD3/Burlingham for training purposes, but the Southdown Queen Marys were subsequently used in service from Godstone garage on the long 409 route between Croydon and Forest Row, and on the interworked 411 between Croydon and Reigate. These ex Southdown machines were of the semi automatic PD3/5 type, of which Southdown bought a batch of 40 in 1961/62. They were not very successful, having particularly poor hill climbing ability, and they were soon relegated to the flatter services. Unfortunately, though I rode very often as a passenger on the Southdown Queen Marys, I never got to sample the performance of the three LCBS examples. Though they must have struggled on the stiff gradients around the Caterham Valley, and Redstone Hill, Redhill, they gave a year of faithful service on those routes. After the unsuccessful flirtation with the semi automatic PD3, Southdown reverted to the PD3/4 with clutch and synchromesh gearbox, but the Northern Counties bodies took different forms. In addition to the initial classic style, some were built with convertible open tops, and then came the somewhat odd "panoramic" version. The variations did not end there, because one of the earlier examples was rebuilt with a repositioned radiator as part of a prototype saloon heating system. The absence of a front mounted radiator allowed the fitment of a panoramic style windscreen, which looked decidedly incongruous on the otherwise standard body. This bus, No. 257, can be seen here:- www.sct61.org.uk

Here are some more pictures of Queen Marys.

BUF 428C_lr

BUF 428C_2_lr

BUF 428C of 1965 is an example of the convertible open topper, distinguished by the slightly greater depth of panelling between decks – unlike its permanently roofed fellows, the front route number box is not located directly under the base of the windows. It is seen at Old Steine, Brighton, in winter garb, and again at Beachy Head in its summer form.

FCD 296D_lr

FCD 296D is a 1966 bus, and is seen in Haywards Heath.

HCD 362E_lr

HCD 362E, also at Old Steine, is one of the panoramic buses delivered in 1967.

Roger Cox

14/10/12 – 10:33

The panoramic windowed body on these Titans was in many ways a front engined version of the panoramic bodywork supplied on rear engined chassis to Yorkshire Traction among others an example of which appears in the YTC section on this web site The bus with the curved windscreen looks to me for all the world like a Southdown NCME Leopard with an upper deck dumped on top! When one of the Southdowns appeared at the 1966 Earls Court show the only other front engined bus was an AEC Regent V for South Wales with a very traditional Willowbrook body A design that to my mind that has not dated as much as the Southdown one
However as a totally biased member of the Roe fan club to me the acme of traditional bus design was the 30 foot AEC Regent Vs bought by my beloved Leeds City Transport from 1962 to 1966!

Chris Hough

14/10/12 – 10:34

Thank you, gentlemen, for your comments, which I’ve read with much pleasure. When I joined Southdown, which I did with immense enthusiasm, I was very keen to compare their modern ‘traditional’ Leyland fleet with M&D, whose PD2s were all at least 14 years old, and whose Atlanteans were very expensive to buy, run and maintain. I was also interested to see what improvements Leyland had made to their front-engined chassis.
However, since Southdown didn’t think it necessary to give the likes of me access to management accounts, (or to any management or operational information for that matter), I was never able to make an operational evaluation. My very short driving experience was rather disappointing. As Peter M points out, these PD3s were pretty noisy in the cab, the full front reduced nearside visibility slightly, and they were not noticeably improved from the PD2s I already knew. With your eyes closed, travelling in a Queen Mary was no different either, except that occasionally they could give out a kind of rattle or clatter inside at certain low engine speeds. Moreover, the Engineering Department’s control was such that the Traffic Department’s involvement with the fleet consisted solely of providing crews – full stop. Eventually, I simply lost interest in any of the fleet; at Southdown, unlike either M&D or West Yorkshire, people just did their own thing in isolation.
Pete D has reminded me that I never heard the term ‘Queen Mary’ while I was at Southdown, but I can see how their appearance could have been likened to an old ocean liner, as Philip L suggests. Livery is a very personal thing; for me, Southdown’s was O.K. although the capital letter version of the name was undeniably old-fashioned, which didn’t project a progressive image, and it made replacing damaged panels more expensive than it need have been. (None of my business!). I’m afraid I can’t agree with Neville, however, about Ribble’s full-fronted vehicles, which always seemed to me to look at best severe, and even drab when the paintwork aged.
As several correspondents have pointed out, the original full-fronted design hardly lent itself to attempts at modernisation, which left the ‘Panoramic’ looking awkward and ungainly. At that time, there was a fashion amongst some motor manufacturers to make alterations to their older models by adding an extra chrome strip here and there, or to enlarge the rear window – Rover’s P4s got that treatment – and the Panoramic seemed like the bus equivalent of the fashion.
One small thing about the full front that always irritated me slightly was that the nearside interior of the cab, which intending passengers could clearly see, often became dirty or stained, and sometimes littered with drivers’ detritus such as chocolate or crisp wrappers, and even, once, an empty cigarette packet. That, of course, was an Engineering Department responsibility: Traffic keep out of things that aren’t your concern!

Roy Burke

14/10/12 – 11:27

Lest anybody should think that I am prejudiced against Southdown in general, let me put the record straight. My comments on "yucky" livery didn’t apply to the coach version with two-tone green AND cream which I always thought was one of the more attractive liveries – particularly on the Weymann Fanfare and Harrington Cavalier designs. Once the cream was dropped they became rather drab and unimaginative – they might have benefited from a larger area of the darker green to counter-balance the relentless apple.
As regards SMS double-deckers I never had any problems with the livery on Arabs and PD2s, but somehow on the PD3s it became a different livery altogether. Perhaps those ridiculous "D-shaped" windows on the lower decks tipped the scales from my viewpoint. And again (personal opinion!) I thought that all panoramic windowed deckers were ugly, including rear engined examples. The feature gave them all something of a mutton dressed as lamb pretentiousness.
On the positive side I always found Southdown to be a well-run company and its route network was excellent – far better than that of my own beloved North Western which was painfully thin in rural areas (while resolutely blocking new entrants who could have improved things) and must have forced many rural commuters into car ownership as the only alternative. If you doubt my assertion of how pitiful NWRCC’s country network was I advise you to consult a timetable (say from the mid-60s), compare the population of the villages to the services on offer, and then conduct the same exercise with Southdown or another more imaginative operator. Not impressed with their livery (or their PD3s as icons) but very impressed with their levels of service!
One final point. My memory might be failing me but it seems to me that the cream (or buttermilk or whatever you want to call it) was several shades lighter than the colour used on OOC PD3 models. At least one of the preserved examples (based in West Yorkshire) seems to use the OOC shade rather than the one I remember. Photographs vary according to the lighting or the type of film used but most seem to agree with my memory rather than the OOC variant. Has anybody else noticed this discrepancy and which shade is correct?

Neville Mercer

14/10/12 – 14:29

Neville the D shaped rear lower deck window was not confined to Southdown, Wigan Corporation PD3s from the same company also had the feature while similar bodied PD3s with Yorkshire Traction did not. So who specified it is difficult to say however the Wigan PD3s given a reasonable impression of what a half cab Southdown may have looked like shots of them are on www.sct61.org.uk 

Chris Hough

14/10/12 – 14:31

Sorry to disagree with you again, Neville. I know nothing about North Western Road Car’s operations, although I met the General Manager, (Mr W. Leese, I think), once or twice, and so can’t comment on them. However, in my view Southdown was inefficient in a number of respects compared with the two other companies I knew reasonably well.
Just two examples: as someone else has remarked elsewhere in these pages, the dominance of the Engineering Department could result in unnecessary delays in replacing vehicle failures; secondly, their staff rotas, (well, certainly those in Brighton in my time), were sloppy and, frankly, unprofessional – they’d never have been approved in Harrogate. There were quite a few aspects of Southdown, in fact, that would make me disagree with the idea of describing them as ‘a well-run company’.

Roy Burke

14/10/12 – 16:14

I have to point out that car No 257 mentioned by Roger Cox was most definitely not converted in any way but was built from new with the BET screen and the radiator under the stairs as part of what I think was a Clayton Dewandre "Compass" heating system, It spent most if not all of it’s life at Worthing depot on mainly flat terrain where it was still prone to overheating. A second similar system appeared on car No 315 at the 1966 Earls Court show but this one had a Panoramic style body with BET screens on both decks that is rear screen on the top deck and front on the lower. This spent some time at Brighton depot and made occasional journeys on the 12 route to Eastbourne where I drove it on one occasion on an early morning duty in late 1969, I found the visibility from the cab was much better than the standard version which had some very awkward blind spots to anyone above average height, the high noise level was I remember much the same. It would appear that this bus was not so prone to overheating as 257 judging from it’s appearances on the very hilly 12 road. Remarks about the Queen Marys not being universally popular among drivers due to high noise levels and the aforementioned blind spots are quite correct, thier propensity to brake fade in hot and hilly conditions when well loaded didn’t win them any friends either dropping down the hill into Eastbourne in the summer with a load on was a nervous expierience even in low gear you always hoped traffic lights would be green. To my prejudiced eye the livery looked good on just about any body style but I have to agree it did look uncomfortable on the Panoramics, regarding those D shaped windows at the rear on some models they were fitted with a hinged fan light as seen on cars of around that time, you know the ones car drivers flicked their fag ash out of.

Diesel Dave

15/10/12 – 07:30

Am I allowed to say I like the appearance of the Queen Mary’s?

Ken Jones

15/10/12 – 09:48

Ken…I’ll be brave and agree. Maybe we are not experts! Based purely upon looking at them as a design, I think the large panoramic windows upstairs are an inspired idea and reflect a time when people were trying to make things "futuristic" in appearance. It must have given a wonderful view when on the sea front etc. I doubt it was a very practical design though and fitters probably hated lugging such large glass panes into place. For me the worst bit is the front with that far too steeply dropped windscreen, those unmatched windows, the awkward beading and that it looks "wrong" however you paint the bands…straight across looks strange and following the curve makes it look miserable. However…think back to the day they were new and imagine being that young bus spotter on the pavement and I think they would have been thought wonderful! That glass, the full front, the colours and I know I and my old friend Clive would have loved them at the time.

Richard Leaman

15/10/12 – 17:00

Dave, thanks for that information about the panoramic windscreen versions of the Queen Marys. I always thought that they were operator modifications. Yet again the comments on this site expand our knowledge considerably. The PD3 would never have won any prizes in the brakes department, irrespective of the body fitted. In Halifax it was mandatory (i.e. a disciplinary matter if caught out) to descend hills in the same gear required to go up, and nobody in his/her right mind would have disregarded this rule in a PD3. Even then it paid to keep a prayer mat handy.
I always liked the Southdown livery, which, until the advent of NBC, seemed to be quite well maintained. Traditionally in the bus industry, there was always mutual suspicion between Traffic and Engineering. The curious arrangement in some BET companies (Aldershot and District was another) under which conductors reported to the Traffic Manager, but drivers came under the Chief Engineer, seemed to be based upon the view that drivers were machine operatives, whereas conductors were revenue collection personnel. Did any BTC companies follow this pattern? This simplistic attitude evaporated with the extension and ultimate complete adoption of one person operation.
All my Southdown experiences were gained as a frequent passenger, but it did appear that the company’s engineering department had some curious ideas. On a several occasions it was apparent that the engine fuel pumps had been "recalibrated" to improve economy. This was painfully evident enough on Leylands, but the effect upon the Gardner 6LWs in the Arab IVs was extreme. I recall a trip on one of these very fine buses on the 23 route from Crawley to Brighton, where the engine governor had been reset to cut out at around 1500 rpm. The bus wouldn’t exceed a level road speed of about 25 mph. making the steep ascents en route exceedingly slow, and the entire journey absurdly protracted.

Roger Cox

17/10/12 – 08:25

Interesting comment from Roger about which gear should be used on hills! When I was first learning to drive, my instructor gave me the same advice: "You’ll fail your test if you don’t, lad!"

Pete Davies

17/10/12 – 17:50

Like Pete, I thought that every vehicle has three types of brake, hand brake, foot brake and the gearbox. When I did my HGV instructors course, I was told to instruct pupils to engage the correct gear for leaving a roundabout etc, but not to use the gearbox as a brake. Obviously whoever thought up that pearl of wisdom had never driven a PD3 or a vehicle with an air over hydraulic system.

Ronnie Hoye

17/10/12 – 17:51

Having read Roy Burke’s comments on the demarcation that existed between the traffic and engineering departments which was not always obvious to the road staff. Clearly he had to deal with on a daily basis, no doubt frustrating at times, maybe his way would have had benefits all round but we’ll never know. I wonder if maybe the engineering side felt that they dealt with the real world on the ground and traffic dealt in paper and figures, just a thought.
If however his office was in Southdown House he no doubt would have used the subsidised canteen there which he may or may not have been aware was barred to all road staff with very few exceptions even when they had reason to be in the Freshfield Road garage in the basement, another form of demarcation, then again Portslade Works was not much better but we were tolerated although looked upon with suspicion as someone who was likely to ruin their good work but despite all my moans I am still proud to say I worked for Southdown and enjoyed it especially before NBC exerted it’s stranglehold.

Diesel Dave

18/10/12 – 07:42

Yes, Ronnie. Both when I took my Advanced Test (IAM) and my PSV, I was told brakes to stop and gears to go.

David Oldfield

19/10/12 – 06:27

Except, of course, that every time you remove your foot from the accelerator pedal, the engine is acting as a brake, unless you knock the transmission into neutral.

Roger Cox

21/10/12 – 11:30

Thank you, Dave for your response, (as well as for providing the photo for the posting) – after all, you have far more experience of these vehicles than any of us.
My office was in Steine Street. After induction, I never once went to Freshfield House and so didn’t use the canteen there. That its use was arbitrarily restricted, however, doesn’t surprise me at all. You’re absolutely entitled, Dave, to feel proud to have worked for Southdown; my grumbles don’t extend to the platform staff in any way, and I was lucky, (and grateful), enough to have the support of a really good Chief Inspector who helped me in many ways. I felt sympathy for him having traffic problems that wouldn’t have existed in the other operators I’d known, and for which now and again I had to write apology letters to passengers.

Roy Burke

30/10/2012 15:15:10

In my childhood I was a latch key kid but had the privilege of being brought up by Bob Mustchin who was the foreman at Bognor Garage in the late 50’s/60’s. I would hang around the bus station and curiosity got the better of me venturing into the garage which had recently been swopped with Hall & Co who preferred Southdowns original garage opposite the Goods Yard for oblivious reasons as there base was there. Bob finally succumbed to my intrusion into his work place and strictly told me not to stray from his side which opened up an exciting world of bus engineering and operation. In later years this relationship proved invaluable when I approached him as District Engineer to buy one of the post war PS1’s which had found a new lease of life at Bognor as a left luggage facility. In early years both vehicles would be utilised to go to the store at the old garage at Eastergate but they finally became static moving only at the beginning and end of the summer season. When the purchase had been completed Bob arranged for the AEC Matador based then at Chichester to tow HCD 449 (1249) latterly 689 to Dorking where I stored it at my work place at the back of Dorking Town Station. This started a career in bus preservation focusing on ex Southdown vehicles and adventures more apt in a book than on this comment. A later acquisition brought an ex Southdown breakdown tender 0181 (ex EUF 181) originally a TD1 Double Decker that later was rebuilt onto 181’s chassis and based at Edward Street garage in Brighton. My first tow was an ex Blackpool TS7 coach converted to a de-icing vehicle, accompanied by the famous DUF 179 (1179) an iconic example of Harrington/Leyland TS7 coach. It was Blackpool to storage in Kent an epic journey at 28 mph!! Later tows included recovering 0182 (ex EUF 182 from Brighton seafront after cylinder failure on the HCVS London to Brighton run. A range of ex Southdown vehicles passed through my hands to name a few Fleet Nos 649, 196 and a PD12 from a Shoreham Company which retired from staff transport. A working relationship grew with Tony Hepworth the manager of Portslade works who would go to great lengths to help restore an ex Southdown vehicle known to me. The highlight was a phone call I received one day during a meeting at work saying the last roll of Holdsworth moquette had been laid in the canteen as carpet!! I went immediately down to Portslade and struck a deal with Tony to take up the valuable material and replace it with commercial carpet which I paid for. This concludes an interaction with a company that I had grown to admire and was aware of their quality and service to the public. My story finally ends with a PD3 (Queen Mary) 422 on a reg AOR 137B) that was the beginning of my own bus company Leisurelink which is the subject of another story. This was the result of extensive cooperation with Richard Alexander, Chief Engineer at the Southdown management buyout days and survived into the Stagecoach era with basing the Leisurelink open toppers at Worthing depot. My happiest memories are of getting out of the office in Newhaven and driving 422 on a shift beginning with a run into Brighton on the 12 route with a standing load created as a school contract to run in service especially at the right turn at the Clock Tower traffic lights when any oncoming buses gave way to an old lady who was about to succumb to another snatch change from the standing position!!
The nickname comes from the first PD3’s of the Queen Mary type were allocated to Hilsea depot who thought they were bigger than anything at the time. It was thought they were akin to a ship and of course HMS Queen Mary was at Southampton hence the nickname as a reflection of their size.

Clifford Jones

HCD 369E_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

26/01/13 – 16:58

I’m a former Hilsea driver who cut his teeth driving PD3s and I can categorically state that they were NEVER referred to by Hilsea staff as ‘Queen Marys’. I honestly believe this was an anorak invention much towards the end of their lives. Julian Osbourne insists they had always been known thus. Rubbish!

Mark Southgate

18/04/13 – 07:20

Arriving at Conway Street Garage, Hove, in 1976 as an escapee from Southern Vectis my first encounter of the Queen Marys was with training bus 2880 CD and Inspector Les Dawson, who required me to parallel park the thing between two cars. Having been used to the Isle of Wight’s Bristol Lodekkas with loads of Gardner torque, I was a bit disappointed to find that I had to start in first gear even on the level with those Leylands – on the Lodekkas it was very rare indeed to have to use first to pull away even on hills. Inspector Dawson had to demonstrate to me how to do a snatch change on a hill!
But during the time I was at Conway Street I grew to love those Marys and often wish I could have another go!

Patrick Hall

18/04/13 – 16:35

Hi, they have Queen Marys at the Goodwood Revival in September. They also have 4 coaches to take the Marshalls onto the track then pick them up after. I will take pictures of these this year.

Andy Fisher


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Preston Corporation – Leyland Titan PD – BCK 367C – 61

Preston Corporation - Leyland Titan PD - BCK 367C - 61
Copyright Pete Davies

Preston Corporation
Leyland Titan PD2/10 – PD3
Leyland – Preston Corporation H38/32F

BCK 367C started life as FRN 740 a 1954 PD2/10 with a Leyland H32/29R body which has been rebuilt to a PD3 format. She now resides in the North West Museum of Road Transport in St Helens, but was in need of some attention when I saw her during the summer. She has retained the Leyland outline to her bodywork, though some of the panels may have been relocated in the conversion and others have been added in order to lengthen her. Some visitors to the site may be thinking, "This isn’t in Preston!" Correct. She’s a long way from home, on Itchen Bridge in Southampton. The occasion was a rally to celebrate Southampton Corporation Transport Centenary, and the date was 6 May 1979. The ‘Union Flag on wheels’ following her is an Ipswich Fleetline in overall advertising livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

09/10/12 – 18:02

There were three distinctive types of conversions carried out by Preston between 1959 and 1967.
Eight 7’6" PD2/10s were converted and all bore the Preston devised chassis designation of PD3/6 – a designation that Leyland Motors accepted. All eight vehicles received new PD3 chassis frames, Forward entrances replaced rear platforms and much of the original outline and coachwork was retained.
Between 1959 and 1963 four lowbridge bodies were converted. "The Leyland Bus" suggests that they were converted to highbridge layout at the same time as the road under the railway bridge that had necessitated their purchase had been lowered.
In 1963 two highbridge vehicles were converted followed by two more, one in 1965 as illustrated above and a final conversion in 1967. The last two were widened to 8′.
The classic Colin Bailey body outline is unmistakable – the only jarring note being the insertion of the short bay immediately behind the first window on the top deck rather than amidships. The original bodies had the more attractive version of Leyland’s final double deck design with recessed window pans and radiused corners top and bottom which were retained and which make the bus look as modern as anything else produced in the 1960s.
Preston thus ended up with the only 7’6" PD3s, the only forward entrance Leyland double deck bodies and the only 30′ Leyland double deck bodies.

Phil Blinkhorn

09/10/12 – 18:05

I submitted a view of DRN 308 in "more or less" original form, as a companion to this, seen while on training duties in Fleetwood in 1975. Unfortunately, Peter found it too dark to be used.

Pete Davies

10/10/12 – 09:40

I believe that Dreadnought Coaches of Alnwick has one. I once saw it in the dark returning from Wedding duties.

Philip Carlton

10/10/12 – 09:41

I wonder what one of the 7’6" PD3s would have looked like with a St. Helens style PD3A front on as these were 7’6" wide and most body builders had to taper the front of their 8ft wide bodies to accommodate them.

Eric Bawden

10/10/12 – 12:08

An interesting prospect, Eric, which would have qualified this class for an additional "unique" feature over those Phil B mentions above!

Pete Davies

10/10/12 – 12:09

Eric, A quick look through "The Leyland Bus" photos of St Helens front vehicles shows that some, rather than most, bodybuilders tapered their front to fit.
The more traditional builders (such as Massey) only offered a taper but with other builders the width was at the discretion of the operator.

Phil Blinkhorn

11/10/12 – 07:31

I remember the Southampton Centenary Weekend in May 1979 very well.
I was working at Derby City Transport at the time and myself and the late Gerald Truran, the Chief Engineer, (and Author of ‘Brown Bombers’ the History of Neath and Cardiff Luxury Coaches) entered Derby’s Foden Double Decker Fleet No. 101 in the event. Sorry but the Foden does not qualify for this site.
The drive down was slow but uneventful until just before Winchester when she started giving cause for concern. Don’t ask me what, it is a long time ago and I am no mechanic.
So a detour was made off the A34 in to Sutton Scotney where a visit was made to the long gone Taylor’s Coaches premises. The staff and management were most accommodating as is usually the case when Bus men need help from other Bus men, and a repair was made (NO charge) and we were soon on our way.
One thing I remember about the visit was an old Bedford lurking in one of the many buildings.
I made inquiries and was told it was a Bedford with a Plaxton Consort body and had come from Comfy Coaches of Farnham.
Unfortunately, and much to my regret, I never took a photograph but I have found an image of it at this link. By the way, we did not win anything at the Rally but it was a great weekend, and the trip back was uneventful.

Stephen Howarth

11/10/12 – 08:58

With regard to Stephen’s visit to Sutton Scotney, Taylor’s had their Bedford OB HAA 874 in this same rally. It must have been a rare outing for her, as she was using the company’s trade plate.

Pete Davies

14/10/12 – 08:00

PRN 761_lr

This is the ex Preston 2 (PRN 761) rebuild currently with Dreadnaught Coaches of Alnwick, referred to by Philip Carlton.
It is seen at their depot in June of this year, on a typical (!) summer’s day.

Bob Gell

21/05/14 – 12:29

SRN 376

The PD2 version of No.61 was H30/28R when new. It was reseated to H32/29R in 11/1958 as part of a rolling programme to increase the seating capacity on all the PD2/10s. All four highbridge conversions were done to the same width of 8ft. There were no 7ft 6ins wide conversions. The four lowbridge buses were increased in height fom 13ft 6ins to 14ft 2ins. As previously said they were used alongside the lowbridge PD1s on the Ashton A service which passed under the height/width restricted railway bridge on Fylde Road. The road surface was lowered in 1957 thereafter permitting highbridge buses to pass underneath in the centre of the road.

Mike Rhodes

BCK 367C_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

05/09/14 – 07:30

I was the owner and driver of 61 on the Southampton Centenary event, having driven it down from Somerset through Dorset and via zig-zag hill ! Lovely to see this picture, and it shows what good condition the bus was in at that time. Unfortunately it now languishes in the N W Transport Museum in St’Helens, looking rather unloved – no-one seems interested in it anymore, despite my offers to help fund its restoration.
Any other Preston fans out there who would be keen to see it restored ? If so, leave a name and e-mail address, please.

Nick Sommer

Your email address will not be posted on site to avoid spammers, but I will pass it on to Nick.


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