Old Bus Photos

Demonstrator – Seddon Pennine IV – RBU 502F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Demonstrator - Seddon Pennine IV - RBU 902F

Seddon Pennine IV
Pennine B45F

Something to give Roger Cox the shudders ! In late 1968 Halifax Corporation borrowed the prototype Seddon Pennine IV demonstrator, though I wonder if the intention was simply to give the manufacturer some operational experience of their new model. Surely manager Geoff Hilditch could never have been serious about the department acquiring any. I believe this body design remained unique, as shortly afterwards the model was offered as a complete item with a more distinctive style. Hilditch later collaborated with Seddon in the introduction of the heavier duty rear-engined Pennine RU model, and the prototype of that soon appeared in Halifax on trial.

In the first photo it is seen passing along Waterhouse Street in the town centre. In the second, rather snatched and blurry shot, it is seen at speed on the A58 between Stump Cross and Hipperholme whilst operating the dreaded Meredith & Drew private hire return journey.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

25/08/13 – 11:32

Good to see this bus in reasonable condition. It later became Seddon’s own works bus, used to bring staff to the factory off Shaw Road in Oldham. In this role it replaced the earlier Seddon that ran as West Riding 738 (EHL 500). Both of these vehicles were clearly non-PSVs as shown by their deteriorating condition. RBU 502F I don’t believe ever got repainted and ended up with several plywood "windows". It was still there when I was in the late seventies.

David Beilby

25/08/13 – 14:53

How right you are, John. I consider the Pennine IV to have been the most horrible vehicle of my experience, though the Cummins engined Leyland Lynx runs very close in second place. It was basically a crude, fragile, lorry derived design with primitive suspension and decidedly wayward steering characteristics. The ear splitting din from the Perkins 6.354 engine mounted in the front overhang made the Regent V sound like a trolleybus by comparison. I cannot believe that, having inspected this Emett inspired aberration, Geoff Hilditch even remotely considered it suitable for the taxing topography of the Halifax bus network. Robert Seddon had been very supportive towards GGH at an early stage of his engineering career, and it is fully understandable that he, GGH, would have wished to assist in the development of Seddon’s more determined incursion into the main bus manufacturing market. Though the Pennine IV sold reasonably well as a lightweight, medium duty coach, those who acquired the thing as an inexpensive bus soon found that it was not up to the job. Seddon then went on, with GGH’s encouragement, to produce the RU, and this, also, ultimately proved to be something of a broken reed. Only the heavier weight Pennine VII produced for the Scottish Bus Group showed that the firm could make a fully robust psv. I recall that my very first experience of a Seddon coach was in 1958, when, as an ATC cadet on summer camp at RAF Colerne, near Bath, I went on a chartered trip with the rest of the squadron to Wookey Hole. The vehicle that took us was a Seddon, probably the R6 powered Mark 11, as it had the engine mounted under a rather high floor of a front entrance coach body. My main recollection of the ride is the seemingly continual gearchanging (it had a two speed axle into the bargain) required of the torqueless, screaming engine that kept the driver fully employed throughout. I did take a picture of this machine with my Brownie 127, but the negative fell somewhere by the wayside during parental home removals when I worked elsewhere in the land. I wonder if anyone now can identify this beast or the operator.

Roger Cox

25/08/13 – 19:52

RBU 902F_3

Here is a photo of RBU 502F, which I photographed in Fred Winters scrapyard at North Cave in East Yorkshire, taken in 1982, still carries Seddon names on the side, but none standard windows.

Mike Davies

26/08/13 – 17:12

It is interesting to note that the front wheels in particular are inboard of the body sides by quite a margin. With the weight of the engine in the front overhang, a relatively narrow track and presumably 8ft wide bodywork, does anyone know what it handled like?

Brendan Smith

27/08/13 – 05:39

Yes, Brendan. The Pennine IV handled like a pig. I drove one from Gomshall in Surrey to Loughborough, and the steering needed constant correction to keep the thing in a straight line, not helped by the bouncy suspension which could barely cope with the weight of the overhung engine. It had the worst road behaviour of any vehicle I have ever driven.

Roger Cox

27/08/13 – 05:40

Didn’t KMB take 100 Pennine IVs with pretty-much off-the-peg Pennine bodywork around 1970? I think the only concession to Hong Kong conditions were full-depth sliding windows, whilst drivers sweltered behind BET windscreens, and the Perkins (V6?) engines sweltered behind grilles designed for temperate climates . . . I think nearly all were rebuilt with in-house fronts incorporating flat/opening windscreens and larger radiator grilles within a few years.
Halifax JOC’s [sic] Pennine RUs had a high/flat floor (they were kitted-out as DPs): did they have a high chassis frame or did Plaxton support the body floor in some way? and did any other RU operator opt for this high floor line? They also had narrow two-piece glider doors – in short, non of the advantages offered by the RU, but all the engineering problems . . . surely, Halifax’s usual Leopard/Reliance chassis choice would have done the job better. What struck me when they were introduced – and I was 5/6 at the time, so memory might be fading a bit here – was the way the lower back panels stepped out and that they didn’t have "modern" rear lights but the "old" two-piece/oblong units sort-of set into the rear panel . . . is anybody getting the gist here? I’m wondering now, I think they’d be 10 metre, so the step-out couldn’t have compromised length, but was it necessary to inset the rear lights into the body to accommodate the length of the rear overhang? (presumably the RU, squeezing everything behind the rear axle, had a longish overhang?). I think they may also have had coach-glasses below the rear window containing the registration and, either side, the Halifax coat of arms . . . I’m sure that’s the case, because it stuck in my young mind as being "inappropriate" for a bus (as opposed to a coach).
I guess that if I could be bothered to trawl flickr etc then the answers might be there, but I can’t, and anyway its much more interesting to see what this site might come up with . . . or not!

Philip Rushworth

27/08/13 – 11:40

There is a photo of mine posted on ‘another website’ showing a rear view of one of the Halifax RU’s – complete with the stepped out panel. Here’s the link.

John Stringer

28/08/13 – 06:07

I didn’t move to Huddersfield until 1972 but I can’t recall the three Halifax Seddons having this unusual rear end arrangement at that time. At the time of the PTE takeover (yes, 1974 and outside the strict remit of this site), Huddersfield had two further Seddon RUs on order to be bodied by Pennine. We were instructed by Geoffrey Hilditch as PTE Engineering Director Designate to transfer the body order to Plaxtons who produced bodies similar to those recently delivered to Rotherham Corporation also on RU chassis. Whilst I can’t recall the floor layout, I am certain that those buses did not have the protruding rear panels as shown on Halifax 315. Could these have been to create a small luggage boot?? Engine access would have been restricted.

Ian Wild

28/08/13 – 06:09

Thanks for that, John – well, thanks for both sign-posting your photograph and for having the fore-sight to photograph the rear-end, anticipating my musings of 40+ years later. In my mind, the coach-glass just had the crests either side of the registration, but can I make out Halifax in Gothic script above the registration? (the glass is deeper than I remembered); neither do I remember the reversing lights, nor the removable centre panel, nor the squared-off-compared-to-BET-standard rear window – but I think my memories were pretty accurate . . . . now, if only my mother would have given-in to my entreaties to ‘ride on one of the "white buses" to Huddersfield’ I might be able to recall what the interiors were like. The final "Halifax Passenger Transport" timetable (pre-WYPTE) contained a "glossy" colour section illustrating/detailing Halifax buses over the years: one of the Seddons was illustrated, and the description included the phrase (or similar) " . . . the design is still regarded as experimental . . ." – sadly, by 1974, I think the experiment was largely over as regards the Pennine RU drive-train.

Provincial took quite a number of Pennine IVs to replace its re-built Guy Arabs. Anyway, when I was trawling on-line to satisfy my curiosity as to how many, I discovered that the model had been offered with 3 choices of engine: Perkins V8 (eg., KMB); Perkins in-line 6 (eg., Provincial); and Deutz 6-cylinder (a sop to win the Provincial order?) – were any Pennine IVs actually built with the Deutz option?

Philip Rushworth

28/08/13 – 15:07

The reign of the Deutz engine at the Gosport and Fareham (aka Provincial) company came to an end with the retirement of Mr H Orme White in 1967 at the age of 81. His successor, Mr Woolford, looked to get rid of the elderly AEC and Guy crew operated buses, several of which had been rebuilt with Deutz air cooled engines, and introduce a replacement fleet of one person operated single deckers. The Seddon Pennine IV/Perkins 6.354 was chosen, presumably because it was relatively cheap, and no doubt, it was felt that Seddon machinery would be more durable than the offerings from Bedford (history would prove otherwise). When these vehicles were delivered, the Deutz era at Hoeford was well past, so it is unlikely that a Deutz engined option for the Pennine IV would have enticed the then management of Gosport and Fareham. In the event, the G&F undertaking was swallowed up by the Wiles Group in 1969, and, thanks to Nigel Turner’s researches (see his comment on the ‘Gosport and Fareham (Provincial)’ gallery on this site) we now know that the Wiles (later the Swain) Group was one of the identities of the asset stripping Hanson Trust. Less than a year later, on 1st January 1970, G&F was sold to NBC. The possibility of a Pennine IV being offered with a Deutz air cooled engine utterly beggars belief. The racket given out by these engines became legendary. The Perkins engined version was deafening enough. A Deutz engined version would have required the entire passenger complement to wear industrial ear protection.

Roger Cox

29/08/13 – 06:36

Mention of the Deutz engine being fitted to Seddons rang a distant bell from the time years ago when I used to read the weekly ‘Motor Transport’ newspaper and took a bit more of an interest in trucks than I do these days. I recall a variant of the 13:4 truck chassis (to which the Pennine IV was probably related) which was sold under the Seddon-Deutz identity and was clearly aimed at wooing overseas customers, so it seems likely that it could have been offered in the Pennine IV also. I have found a link to a website showing an item of literature about the truck version (though unfortunately it reveals little else) here: http://www.commercialmotor.com/big-lorry-blog/that-maggie-was-a-seddonanothe

John Stringer

29/08/13 – 06:37

Roger, I just want to be clear about this – you don’t think that a Deutz-engined Pennine IV would have been the most refined vehicle on the market? In one of the wonderful ways of this site, I hadn’t realised that the Wiles Group was the acorn from which Hanson Trust grew. At its peak Hanson Trust included Courage Brewery, Golden Wonder snacks, hotels, and much more, on both sides of the Atlantic – but they over-reached themselves with a bid for ICI in which some shady business practices were exposed, and I now understand that they’ve contracted to be a largely UK-based supplier of brick/concrete/aggregate to the construction industry.
The Hanson family’s bus/coach operations, petrol stations, car/PSV driving school, travel agencies, and road haulage operations (principally based around Huddersfield) all remained family-owned businesses outwith the Hanson Trust. JET petroleum, one of the first discounted petrol retailers, was started by a consortium including the Hanson family but was disposed of when it had grown to a size where substantial investment in refining capability would have been required.
Anyway, back to the Pennine RU (if not the Pennine IV): according to Vol2 of Duncan Roberts’s history of Crosville (TPC/NBC) problems with the short drive shaft inherent in the RU’s design led to Crosville’s specimens being modified by having the engine set back by 8-10in to accommodate a slightly longer drive-shaft, which resulted in a slight bustle effect in the bodywork . . . could this have been a late modification to Halifax’s RU’s pre-delivery? something that was incorporated into the overall body-work design/dimensions in the later vehicles to which Ian refers?

Philip Rushworth

29/08/13 – 19:15

Crosville had the largest fleet of Pennine RUs at 100 some of which were dual purpose Crosville did not go back and quickly disposed of the ones they owned The next largest fleet was the 49 owned by Lancs United These had Plaxton bodywork with a very old fashioned front with a two piece separate wind screen Prior to this LUT had bought both REs and LHs so the choice was somewhat surprising At the time the RU was seen as a version of the RE which would replace the expected model cull by Leyland to make room for the National which was just off the drawing board

Chris Hough

29/08/13 – 19:16

Philip, I suspect that any operator that bought a Deutz engined Pennine IV would have gone bankrupt within a week; nobody would have ventured to take a second trip on such a raucous machine. Seddon did offer a version of the Pennine IV with the engine, a turbocharged Perkins 6.354, set lower at the front beneath a high floor level, and called it the Pennine 6 (reverting to Arabic numerals), but I believe that few were sold in the UK. A picture of a Willowbrook bodied example may be seen here:- www.flickr.com/
It is noteworthy that a more substantial/wider track front axle seems to have been fitted to this model. The Wikipedia entry for the RU confirms that the Crosville examples were modified as you describe. I think that they just about managed to get a ten year life out of them. It is surprising that, given Seddon’s decidedly chequered history as psv manufacturers, the Scottish Bus Group entrusted the firm with the design and manufacture of a Gardner engined "Leopard clone". In the event, the Pennine 7 proved to be a robust and reliable model. Turning to the subject of Hanson, my initial encounter with this name came when, as a Traffic Clerk at Halifax in the mid ‘sixties, I came across it as a bus operator and haulage contractor in Huddersfield. Much later, in 1984, Hanson bought out the old London Brick Company, famous for its fleet of red AEC lorries, for a song when the share value fell below its asset value (notably the land). Now the vast acreage of former brick clay workings between Yaxley and Peterborough is the location of a horrible, high density, new town development named ‘Hampton’ (whoever dreamed up that name should get out a bit more.) Brick making remains only on a very reduced scale at Kings Dyke near Whittlesey.

Roger Cox

01/09/13 – 14:08

Roger, giving some thought to things, just how much of a Seddon product was the Pennine VII? When did the first Pennine VIIs enter service – 1973/4? Seddon had acquired Atkinson in 1970 . . . and presumably the designs to the Atkinson Alpha. SBG wanted an underfloor saloon with manual gearbox following withdrawal of the Leopard PSU3/3R in 1970/71 – Seddon wouldn’t have been required to design de novo, just polish-up (eg. get rid of the vacuum brakes) the old Alpha design (last built 1962/3 for Sunderland). Does anybody out there know just how much – if anything, I stand to be corrected – the Seddon Pennine VII owes to the Atkinson Alpha? Did any of this factor in SBG’s thinking? . . .
Again an aside, generated by trawls initiated by this site: I hadn’t known that, until Atkinson’s takeover by Seddon in 1970, Leyland had held 15% of the shares – presumably since the time of Atkinson’s reconstitution in 1933.

Philip Rushworth

02/09/13 – 08:00

Philip, thanks for that idea about the Atkinson pedigree of the Pennine 7. I am sure that you are correct, though the thought had not struck me before. Seddon had never built a traditional heavy duty psv chassis, nor one with a horizontal underfloor engine, yet the Pennine 7 went into service quickly, had no teething troubles of significance, and gave years of reliable service, a situation utterly at variance with the history of unpredictable psvs of genuine Oldham origin. The service record of the Pennine 7 has more in keeping with the Atkinson legacy of rugged dependability than the Seddon saga of underwhelming engineering design. Certainly, the Atkinson board fought strongly against the hostile takeover bid by Seddon in 1970, sadly to no avail. Earlier attempts to take over Atkinson by ERF and Foden were successfully resisted. Some sources quote the Leyland shareholding figure in Atkinson as 20%, and it was Leyland’s acceptance of the Seddon offer that allowed the splendid Preston firm to fall into the dubiously capable clutches of the Oldham upstart. This page makes interesting reading:- web.warwick.ac.uk/services/ The malign influence of the Stokes era at Leyland spread far and wide. Perhaps Leyland detected the underlying weaknesses at Seddon, took the money, and anticipated an early demise of its enlarged, over ambitious, Oldham competitor. As it turned out, the independent Seddon-Atkinson company lasted only a further four years before selling out to International Harvester of the USA in 1974.

Roger Cox

02/09/13 – 08:00

Your thoughts regarding Atkinson’s possible input into the Seddon Pennine VII design are fascinating Philip, and maybe the Atkinson Alpha just could have been updated by Seddon-Atkinson, you never know. After all, Leyland Leopard and AEC Reliance chassis evolved steadily throughout their long production lives, with various modifications to engines, brakes, gearboxes, axles etc, as vehicle lengths (and weights) increased over time. Your aside re Leyland’s 15% shareholding in Atkinson reminded me that Gardner had a small shareholding in ERF for many years. Also, following the Foden brothers split in the early ‘thirties, Gardner supported Edwin Richard Foden when he founded ERF in 1933, by supplying engines to him on credit terms. This was not offered to other Gardner customers at the time, but Gardner presumably realised the potential of ERF’s strong commitment to the development of Diesel-engined lorries. The link up was to prove beneficial to both parties for many years.

Brendan Smith

03/09/13 – 09:00

I believe that the Pennine 7 was purely a Seddon product. I worked there at the later stages of its production and they were all built at Oldham, whereas the Gardner-engined 400-series lorries were always built at Preston (then, at least). I even designed a spring packer for the Pennine 7 to help balance one batch which were proving troublesome – I can’t remember with certainty which but it may have been the Plaxton-bodied version.
Apart from the fact that they were underfloor-engined chassis with a Gardner engine, there was little in common between the Alpha and the Pennine 7. The frame was completely different on the Pennine as it was cranked to accommodate the wide 6HLXB engine. Alphas had either Atkinson’s own gearbox, a weird and wonderful contraption but very compact, or a David Brown box. The Pennine 7 had a ZF box. Late versions of both had semi-automatic boxes which I think were self-changing gears.
I think, but can’t confirm, that the front axle was a Seddon-designed one on the Pennine, with an Eaton rear axle. The Alpha had Kirkstall axles.

David Beilby

03/09/13 – 16:30

David, thanks for that detailed response – my curiosity is satisfied!

Philip Rushworth

02/07/14 – 06:33

While it may at first seem strange that the SBG ‘entrusted’ Seddon with the task of producing an underfloor engined single decker to their requirements, one has to remember that they probably didn’t have a lot of choice at that time. Leyland clearly weren’t interested, while the other established British manufacturers didn’t have a ready made heavy duty UFE chassis – I’m thinking Bedford and Ford there, neither of whom (I guess) would have wanted to build something with a Gardner engine. Other than that, they would have had to go to a foreign, or foreign-owned, manufacturer – or there was Seddon. I don’t think there would have been anyone else at that time. I suppose one other possibility might have been ERF, who did build buses, but not for the British market.
The SBG had already become involved with one foreign-owned manufacturer in such a project (the Ailsa), and probably didn’t want to be seen buying too much foreign produce at that time – SBG was, after all, a state-owned body. Volvo wouldn’t have built a version of the B58 with a Gardner, or Leyland, engine, although that chassis might, at first sight, seem to have met SBG’s requirements. A few years later, Dennis were actively looking for opportunities in the UK bus market, but there didn’t seem to be any sign of that in the early 1970s.

Nigel Frampton

RBU 902F_2 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

31/10/16 – 08:21

Several Seddon buses went to Central America in the late 60’s. Places like San Salvador, Nicaragua. They went up to 8,000 feet on journeys.
My boyfriend/husband was the engineer at the time and went with them, We have the photos.

Janet Wood

31/10/16 – 15:10

I’m sure we’d like to see a couple, Janet, if you feel like posting them.

Chris Hebbron


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Birmingham City – Daimler Fleetline – BON 541C – 3541

Birmingham City - Daimler Fleetline - BON 541C - 3541

Birmingham City Transport
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
MCCW H39/33F

BON 541C is a Daimler Fleetline CRG6 with Metropolitan Cammell body, new to Birmingham City Transport in 1965, with fleet number 3541. On the formation of West Midlands PTE, all she had was a change of lettering in what some of the neighbouring authorities considered to be a take-over by Birmingham. We see her at Elmdon Airport on 23 July 1977, ready to return to High Street on the 58. I liked the use of the third blind, showing TO CITY or FROM CITY, but I know not everyone did.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

22/08/13 – 17:44

Needs a picture like this to remind me I came to Birmingham in 1970 to Aston University and travelled on buses like this every day from my digs in the suburbs. I also like the to/from city when used, it helped give directions to fellow students. Forty years this year since I graduated and that’s 4 years before this picture was taken – thanks for bringing back my unversity memories. In 1977 I would be involved in the Queen’s Jubilee – more memories.

Ken Jones

23/08/13 – 06:20

Thanks for the comment, Ken. I was a student at Saltley mid to late 60’s. This view was captured during a lunch stop on my way up to the Lake District.

Pete Davies

23/08/13 – 15:36

Peter’s shot also reminded me of my days in Brum. In a previous life I worked (28 years) for Woolworth. From 1970 – 1972 I was Deputy Manager of the New Street branch. As I lived near Hagley Road I would use the 6 (Sandon Road), 7 (Portland Road) or 9 (Quinton). Whilst these were often served by the old Birmingham standards, evenings and weekends would be rear-engined buses. These were more comfortable than the 7’6" standards but lacked the character. Thanks for posting this shot Peter.

Les Dickinson

23/08/13 – 15:37

Interesting comment about the West Midlands PTE being a virtual Birmingham take-over particularly in terms of the livery. This applied to some extent with all the first four PTE’s with the exception of SELNEC. Liverpool green in various hues dominated on Merseyside after initially allowing Birkenhead’s blue to continue on the Wirral for a while and South Shields disappeared in a sea of Yellow on Tyneside. The livery here was virtually Newcastle Corporation with a new logo. Only in the north west did something completely different come out of the hat with SELNEC’s dazzling Sunglow Orange and White. You either loved it or hated it but you definitely could not ignore it.

Philip Halstead

23/08/13 – 17:48

Thanks for your comments, Les and Philip. One of my friends hails from Wolverhampton and becomes very cross when people comment on his "Brummy" accent. The polite bit of his reply – very apt for this site – includes "I’m not a Brummy. I’m a Wulfrunian!"

Pete Davies

23/08/13 – 17:49

To be fair to the MPTE the Liverpool livery only survived on that side of the Mersey while the Wirral had a composite of Birkenhead and Wallasey colours.
When a standard MPTE livery was finally imposed the Verona Green was a very different shade of green applied far more sparingly than the overall LCPTD green livery.

Rob McCaffery

23/08/13 – 19:11

The ‘To/From City’ display was because BCT did not change blinds at the outer terminus, so a bus on the 9 would still be showing Quinton, even when heading into the City! This was partly mitigated by each bus stop flag displaying To or From City as appropriate. The To/From blind was thus some sort of progress.

Tony Martin

24/08/13 – 11:51

The Birmingham policy on not changing destination blinds at outer termini is a strange one. How did it work on cross-city routes? Destination blinds can throw up some strange and interesting quirks. Hull for example for many years did not show an end destination at all, only a ‘via’ blind was shown under the route number for the main road served. Salford didn’t have the word ‘Salford’ on its blinds at all as all the inner city termini were either over the Irwell in Manchester or branded as ‘Victoria’ for their bus station by the old Manchester Exchange station. I once heard that a publicity photo was being taken for a new delivery of Salford buses and to show the city’s name in the destination space required the word to be pasted onto the negative by artwork. (Obviously it was well before the age of digital trickery!).

Philip Halstead

24/08/13 – 15:20

On BCT’s cross city routes, buses always showed the ultimate destination. The to/from city on bus stop flags was considered enough.

Tony Martin

25/08/13 – 06:35

Tony, am I right in thinking that at least some of the Cross City services had – for example – 15 Handsworth in one direction and 16 Selly Oak in the other?
What many folk must have found utterly confusing was the idea of setting the blind at SERVICE EXTRA but not showing a number. It seems to have died out – fortunately – when the last buses with service number and destination on one roll were withdrawn!

Pete Davies

25/08/13 – 08:50

‘Victoria’ was used on Salford’s blinds for intra urban routes. Longer distance routes from Bolton, Warrington etc showed ‘Manchester’ as the destination though they terminated in Salford albeit often at the dingy Greengate tunnel adjacent to Victoria bus station. I believe that ‘Salford’ only appeared in the destination boxes on the covers of such publications as timetables.
Manchester buses never showed ‘Manchester’ in the final destination box save for service 6 from Glossop which detailed ‘Manchester’ and in very small print, Lower Mosley Street (the only MCTD route to terminate there).

Orla Nutting

25/08/13 – 08:50

Many Tilling and BET companies had the policy of using a combination of the route number and "duplicate" with no destination shown. Useful no doubt for any inspector along the route but pointless for the intending passenger, especially in seaside and other holiday areas where heavy loadings in summer saw the practice in wide use.

Phil Blinkhorn

25/08/13 – 11:29

Orla, whilst you are 100% correct regarding the Salford blinds, Manchester Chorlton St appeared on the blinds of the half decker airport buses when the city terminus was moved there from Royal Exchange and a regular headway was introduced rather than the flight specific service that had operated previously. The destination was an addition to the existing blind. When in later years the service was numbered 200 and operated by Bedford VALs the same destination appeared . All airport services were operated by Parrs Wood depot.
All service buses running into Chorlton St showed "Manchester Chorlton St". The routes involved during the 1960s were 19 from Hattersley (Hyde Rd depot), 20/20X from Woodford/Poynton (Birchfields depot), 31 from Bramhall (Parrs Wood depot), 33 from Greave, 33X from Stockport Andrew Sq, 34 from Romiley (all Hyde Rd depot), 59 from Shaw (Queens Rd/Rochdale Rd depots), 74 from Stockport Vernon Park (Parrs Wood depot), 121 Langley (Queens Rd/Rochdale Rd), 124 from Haughton Green, 125 from Old Glossop, 126 Haughton Green (all Hyde Rd), 148X from Wythenshawe Civic Centre (Northenden depot), 152 from Sales Woodheys (Princess Rd depot), 160 from Denton Moorfield Estate (Hyde Rd depot), 207/208/209 all from Hattersley (Hyde Rd depot), 500 from Alderley, 503 from Adswood Greyhound (both Parrs Wood).
Admittedly photos showing blinds set to the destination are uncommon due in part to the restricted use of the facility before it was then encased by a multi-storey car park which almost precluded photography due to the stygian gloom. "The Manchester Bus" has a Burlingham bodied Tiger Cub half decker displaying the blind on page 232 and an Aberdonian on page 357. The Colours of Greater Manchester has a blue Tiger Cub showing the destination on page 18.

Phil Blinkhorn

As a rider to my previous post, all the routes for which the Manchester Chorlton St destination was shown, with the exception of the 148X, originated outside the city boundaries and this may have been the reason -though routes from outside to Piccadilly, Cannon St, Stevensons Sq, Albert Sq or Exchange never had the need to show Manchester.

Phil Blinkhorn

25/08/13 – 16:08

Manchester did eventually make good on the services to Saddleworth at least as I have pictures of PD2s showing Manchester Stevenson Square, but these are in late SELNEC and GMT days. There had no doubt been a need for new blinds to cover new destinations and these would be the same as fitted to the rest of the fleet. They were certainly more modern blinds.
Having thus made good the Manchester-centred approach reared its head again in the eighties, when buses terminating at the Manchester Arndale Centre showed "Arndale" as the destination. This despite the fact that there at least two other Arndales in the Manchester area to my knowledge at Middleton and Stretford.

David Beilby

25/08/13 – 18:02

Yes, BCT cross city routes used different numbers according to direction. But still confusing for strangers!

Tony Martin

26/08/13 – 14:24

Amiss of me not to mention that the situation on the Manchester blinds was only prior to the opening of Chorlton Street bus station. Thanks for the correction.

Orla Nutting

26/08/13 – 17:06

I spent many hours travelling the 28 in Birmingham and that never changed numbers and often was a open platform bus. I did it as it was one of the longest routes across the city, and conductors told me no-one does the whole route [well except students with nothing better to do] so passengers don’t need to know if it’s going to the city or not as there are quicker services. Passengers used it mainly to get from one suburb to another. Then we had the 28E which only went part of the route and we still have the famous 11A, 11C and 11E.

SOE 913H
Back to the picture and here’s 3913 built in 1969, it was one of the final batch of buses ordered by Birmingham Corporation but delivered to WMPTE immediately after its formation and now preserved at Wythall Transport Museum it is a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX with a Park Royal H47/33D body.

Ken Jones

BON 541C Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

28/08/13 – 05:45

I seem to remember Leicester was another city that specialised in cross city routes, that were numbered differently in opposite directions according to ultimate destination. I never knew the network well, but seem to remember that Eyres Monsell in one direction, became Stocking Farm in the other, with completely different (and non-sequential) numbers.

Stephen Ford

02/09/13 – 05:54

Stephen, towards Eyres Monsell 88, towards Stocking Farm 54 BUT only if crossing the City Centre – journeys terminating in the City Centre showed the outward number. The City Centre – Eyres Monsell section (88) was joint with BMMO, but operated entirely by LCT . . . as indeed were all other "joint services", operated solely by one or the other partner. Returning to Birmingham, am I right in thinking that on the joint Dudley Road services BMMO had special "lazy displays" which showed eg. "Birmingham & Dudley"? What was BCTs practice on its share – did it persist with just showing the outward destination?

Philip Rushworth

09/10/14 – 10:02

I don’t remember this not changing destinations at all.
Perhaps it’s because I used the circular routes often instead of crossing the city and on those routes the terminus markers were much more important if one wanted to get all the way to one’s destination?
I have no idea how many routes Birmingham had back then and I was very young in 1965. My memories would be mostly of a handful of routes I used travelling cross-city to and from school in the 70s but I don’t remember ever being confused about a route or destination.
I could well imagine, however, drivers pressed for time running late, just not bothering to change the destination at the terminus.

Adrienne O’Toole

09/10/14 – 17:26

From 1956, Newcastle Transport had a trolleybus service that may have been unique in the wonderment of its route and the numbering changes along it. In one direction it was a 43 changing to 36 part way through the journey and in the other direction 44 changing to 33… It ran from Osborne Road to the Central (railway) Station and on its way passed through the city centre TWICE. The overall journey time was 53 minutes, service frequency being every ten minutes, seven days a week. Well, it was a long time ago!
Imagine a lower case letter ‘d’. Osborne Road terminus is at the top of the stem of the letter and the city centre is the lower half of the stem. Just before reaching the tail at the bottom of the stem (where the Central Station was situated) the service ran off in a long clockwise circle through the western suburbs of Elswick, Benwell, Denton and Fenham, returning to the city centre, running down the stem for the second time then terminating at the Central. The service was bidirectional and its numbering was: 43 Osborne Road to Denton Road, 36 Denton Road to Central Station in one direction and 44 Central Station to Fenham, 33 Fenham to Osborne Road in the other. The change of service number en route in each direction avoided confusion for passengers waiting in that part of Grainger Street along which each vehicle passed twice. Oddly this change of number occurred at different locations in the two directions, just over a mile apart, but it was common practice for crews to change the blinds well before these official locations, putting the separation out to nearer two miles! All this came about when the new Slatyford Lane Depot was opened and the associated new wiring along Silver Lonnen was utilised to link two existing services (the 33 and 36) into something much bigger.

Tony Fox


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Samuel Ledgard – Guy Arab LUF – DCN 834

Samuel Ledgard - Guy Arab LUF - DCN 834
Copyright Unknown

Samuel Ledgard
Guy Arab LUF
Picktree C35F

DCN 834 was a Guy Arab LUF (chassis number 72143) with a Gardner 6HLW engine, bodied with a Picktree Continental C35F body.
Picktree were based at Bensham in Gateshead, near the Northern General headquarters, who had a financial stake in Picktree, these coaches being the last PSVs built by this concern before they turned over to the construction of commercial vehicles.
834 was part of a batch of 13 new to the Northern General Transport Company on 1st June 1954, and had fleet number 1534.
These vehicles had bold styling and had all the refinements required to undertake their principle duties of carrying 35 passengers in comfort on Continental Tours.
During their final days with Northern they undertook local tours to seaside resorts and on local Church and Club Private Hires, before being withdrawn in September 1962 and sold to W. North of Sherburn, who took all 13.
A total of 8* were bought by Ledgards, and taken in to stock in January 1963, these being DCN 831/ 834 – 840.
North’s put them through the MoT Certificate of Fitness test, before delivery to Ledgards, and obtained ‘tickets’ for 5 years for them.
They were painted by Ledgards at Armley Depot and all had entered service from there by April 1963.
The coach livery at that time consisted of black roof, cream window surrounds, black wings, and blue panel work, with cream wheels.
The final coach livery introduced by February 1964, was sky blue for the wings and window surrounds, with ivory panels, 834, along with 839 were the first to be released in these new colours, as shown in the picture.
The picture is taken on the roof of the Armley garage, where so many of Ledgard’s vehicles ended their lives.
Does anybody know the name of the Driver?
834 was withdrawn in April 1968 and went back to W. North (Dealer) at Sherburn, from where it was sold, along with 835/6/7 to Minster Homes (Contractor) in May 1968 for use as site offices.
*DCN 832 was additionally bought for spares from North’s (via Woods Coaches of Pollington, near Goole), in March 1966, and was dismantled on Armley garage roof, the remains going to Jackson (Bradford) for scrap in August 1967.
A picture of Northern General 1532 can be seen at this link.
For anybody interested in wanting to find out more about the History and Fleet of Samuel Ledgard they should read the book Samuel Ledgard Beer and Blue Buses by Don Bate. ISBN 095288499.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth

18/08/13 – 06:40

Is the driver really Chris Youhill?


18/08/13 – 12:08

No Joe – that’s not me. We only had DCN 831 at Otley depot. However, now you mention my good friend Don’s book, there is a picture of me as a young conductor at the bottom of the front cover – this was as a token of appreciation for my assistance with photo captions and information on aspects of the operations side of the Company.

Chris Youhill

20/08/13 – 18:57

In the 50’s and 60’s, Northern General had a booking Office in Pilgrim Street Newcastle, which was just around the corner from Worswick Street Bus Station. Anyway, I remember that in the window of the shop they had a model of one of these in a glass case. I don’t know what the scale was, but to a young boy of about eight or nine it looked enormous. From other makers models I’ve seen, I would guess it would have probably been an inch to the foot, so about 30ins long. I wonder what happened to it?

Ronnie Hoye

10/11/14 – 06:48

There are some pictures of Ledgard buses, including one of these Guys, on the following site of Marc Parry (with whom I once worked at LCBS); scroll down a little from the top of the first page:- www.flickr.com/photos/

Roger Cox

12/02/15 – 06:35

The driver of DCN 834 is me John Jackson, taken in August 1967.

John Jackson

12/02/15 – 12:15

Nice to see you "in print" JJ – if only the good old firm was still around – the happiest days of my PSV career without a doubt !!

Chris Youhill

13/02/15 – 06:18

Chris, what made Ledgard’s such a good place to work? Were the T&Cs better than WYRCC? – I know from my time in Cambridge that Premier apparently had better terms and conditions than ECOC. Geography may have played a part, but surely Armley-based drivers could have found better terms with LCT up the road at Bramley or in the City Centre at Sovereign Street? But then again why drive for Ribble out of Bolton or Hebble, full-stop, when corporation operations in the same town(s) offered better salaries . . .? Did variety of work, or the opportunity of "top-link" work (and associated tips) play a part?

Philip Rushworth

22/02/15 – 16:26

Well Philip, any answer to your question is bound to be complex and to vary between individual employees of every grade. So perhaps its best put as a "list."
T & Cs – very favourable indeed, and the wage rates were good and generous. When I started there were no sick pay or pension schemes but many other advantages.
Duties – comprehensive and interesting with none of the soul destroying "one road and the same mate for ever" system of many of the municipalise and group concerns.
We had five depots, each with its own rota and ro9ute systems derived from its origin – built by SL or acquired. Well to be exact four depots, as Ilkley was a "running shed" administered totally from the larger Otley one – a seven week rota of local folks from nearby, while Otley had a twenty week rota – with a little twist !! All twenty drivers moved forward week by week while seventeen of the conductors moved "up the sheet" – the other three conductors were to all intents and purposes always on the Otley local cross town service from Bradford Road (Golf House) to Newall Estate – they all liked it and it suited them with their Ultimate ticket machines !!
Variety of work – plenty as most duties involved working on more than one route daily – not all, but most – and the mix of routes was considerable, varying widely between very very busy town services and almost always hectic longer interurban ones. Running times were generally pretty tight, especially with traditional live transmission vehicles and much hilly terrain with frequent stops and, despite the oft heard modern saying "Ah but there wasn’t the traffic around then" there was more than enough to contend with.
Rolling stock – now here was the real appeal, especially to anyone with even a trace of interest and enthusiasm. The mix was incredible, with representatives new and previously owned, of a wide array of chassis and body makes, ages and origins – and mainly distributed seemingly "willy nilly" around the depots. Larger concerns might view this as unsatisfactory and often had rigid allocation policies – fair enough if it suited them. Despite this way of working at Ledgard’s maintenance by skilled and dedicated staff was extremely good indeed – most of the heavy work being carried out at Otley and the huge Armley Leeds premises – resulting in the virtually 100% reliable service at all times and in all conditions which the Public have never enjoyed since and a "straw poll" on the streets would certainly confirm this. The local press after the October 1967 SL demise was full of justifiable venom against the new regime(s).
Its often forgotten, or perhaps not even known by younger people, that until Samuel himself died in April 1952 all vehicle purchases since 1912 had been brand new, other than those acquired with taken over Firms. When the necessity then arose for multiple reasons, Death duties chiefly, to buy second hand the Executors chose carefully and wisely and only rarely bought a lame duck or, as is the amusing term oft used in the motor trade, a "dog."

Chris Youhill

23/02/15 – 07:30

Chris, thanks for that reply. So was Yeadon a "full" depot then? I’d always assumed it was an Otley dormy shed, like Ilkley.
Samuel Ledgard is always presented as the archetypical shrewd Yorkshire businessman . . . but he wasn’t so shrewd as to take the necessary steps to protect his main business interests in the event of his death. That being said he did die at a relatively young age and might not have thought it necessary at that time – and I suppose there are disadvantages in forming limited liability companies.

Philip Rushworth

23/02/15 – 07:31

Chris Y – You certainly have a nice and relaxed writing style, which is easy to read, informative, and easy to understand.
I must admit (and I am sure others will agree) that I read every one of your contributions to this site because they are so full of knowledge and interest, not just on Samuel Ledgard, as above, but on all aspects of PSV (none of that PCV stuff on here) operations, and history.
Long may you continue to contribute and keep me, at least, educated and informed with your wealth of knowledge.
For those on here who want to know more about the History of Samuel Ledgard then I would recommend the book, BEER AND BLUE BUSES – by DON BATE (ISBN: 9780952388494), if you are able to find one for sale. Mr Y has contributed, and, (not for the faint hearted) there is even a picture of him on the front cover.

Stephen Howarth

23/02/15 – 08:45

Indeed Philip, Yeadon was to all intents and purposes a full independent depot, and was referred to right up to the end in 1967 as "The Moorfield" – officially and among the staff and passengers. The name was of course that of the Moorfield Bus Company taken over by SL in 1934. All essential maintenance and quite heavy intermediate work was carried out there, but major overhauls and recertification were done at Otley. or Armley. The crews at Yeadon, about fourteen if I recall correctly, were a lively set of loveable individual characters – no one more so than "the Reverend Candler" who very sadly passed away en route for a late turn aged only in his early forties. Only very occasionally did Yeadon have to exchange staff with Otley in extreme circumstances – like my Siberian Monday rest day on a split turn with the aforementioned Reverend. Otherwise on Summer Sundays it was routine for Moorfield staff and buses, if available, to be sent on standby to Otley, where literally huge crowds of Leeds (mainly) and Bradford city dwellers needed taking home after a nice day out – sometimes the queues were still large at nine and ten on Sunday evenings, and all were cleared without fail – such was the reliable SL service.

Stephen – thank you indeed for your kind remarks which leave me blushing here. I do find it easy to write about the subject, and I enjoy keeping the fading history of the old Firm, and the earlier industry in general, alive where I can. I had to chuckle at your warning to the unwary that my picture (late 1957) on the cover of Don’s book is not for the fainthearted – I’m afraid that a current view if published would have the A & E Departments on overtime !! Don was only saying last evening that its around ten years since the book was published – time flies.

Chris Youhill

23/02/15 – 14:28

There are currently 3 copies available on ABE Books website (other book searches are available) they range between £30 and £40 +p&p

John Lomas

24/02/15 – 06:14

I’m surprised no one has picked up on Philip Rushworth’s comment that Samuel Ledgard died relatively young.
Born in 1874 and dying in 1952 that made him 78 years of age.
I would have thought that a "good innings" for that era.

Eric Bawden

24/02/15 – 06:15

Six in total John, from the three outlets

Chris Youhill

27/02/15 – 06:59

Eric, you are right: I didn’t check my facts – in my defence, my books are currently packed away – and I’d confused the date at which he became licensee of The Nelson . . . which would have made him about ?14 when he put his first char-a-banc on the road! But, it just serves to underline my point: he’d have been 72 when Clement Atlee’s Labour government took power – over the next few years he’d have had plenty time to see which way the wind was blowing on Capital Transfer Tax . . . and yet he did nothing to protect his businesses, despite his age.

Philip Rushworth


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