Old Bus Photos

Bradford Corporation – AEC 661T – AAK 422 – 620

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - AAK 422 - 620
R F Mack

Bradford Corporation Transport
1935
AEC 661T
English Electric H32/26R

We all have our personal favourites as far as buses are concerned, and I have to confess that mine are, (or were), trolleybuses.
Amongst my earliest memories were the late war years in Bradford, where I so clearly recall the sight, and sound, of Bradford`s “Regen” trolleybuses.
These were AEC 661T types based at my home depot of Duckworth Lane, and were unlike any trolleybuses anywhere else, as they made a NOISE. Their mournful wail could be heard for miles about, especially when braking, and this was due to the double reduction rear axle and full regenerative control. How Bradfordians distinguished them from the Air Raid “all clear” signal I shall never know!
They were new in 2 batches, in 1934 (597-617  KY 8200-8220) and 1935 (618-632  AAK 420-434), and carried early examples of English Electric metal framed bodies, which recent research has discovered, were extremely troublesome right from the off. English Electric metal bodies at that time did not benefit from the expertise demonstrated in the products of Metro Cammel. Having said that, the situation was not helped by tight and hilly schedules, the aforesaid unusual double reduction rear axles, and the fully regenerative control, such that these bodies were virtually shaken to bits after a troublesome 10 year life on Bradford`s granite setts.
Failures were occurring at an alarming rate by the war years, and BCT received permission to rebody 9 of them with Brush utility bodies in 1944, during which process, the regenerative control was reduced. The remainder were rebodied by Northern Coachbuilders in 2 styles, between 1946 and 1949, the last of the English Electric all metal bodies being consigned to scrap in 1947, and these trolleybuses, with their composite bodies, then settled down to a “second life” which was to last into the 1960s.
They still made plenty of noise in their new guise and being a regular rider to school, each one developed its own character for me, and they became firm friends. Sad, I know!

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - KY 8209 - 606
I attach a poor quality Brownie Box photo of 606, one of the Brush rebodies, and always my favourites, taken on a quiet 1953 Sunday morning. This photograph is full of nostalgia for me, especially as it was one of the last to carry the older Tattam livery with cream bands and rear dome.
Happy Days! If only I could ride on one again at Sandtoft!

Photographs and Copy contributed by John Whitaker

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

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Not sad at all – some vehicles, just like people, have characters and the more eccentric ones get recalled the most! How amazing that permission was given to re-body vehicles while the war was on, something I’ve not previously heard of.
I always had a soft spot for the London United Tramways (later LT) A1 and A2 class ‘Diddler’ trolleybuses, unique and also frail bodywise!

Chris Hebbron

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Fear not John, as Chris H rightly says there’s nothing sad in being fortunate enough to be able to recognise the characteristics of vehicles. It is a fact that, even in large batches of brand new ones, individual machines very quickly display their own particular "natures." As a teenager on frequent visits to relations in South London I was also totally fascinated by the "Diddlers" on outings to Hampton Court and the area.

Chris Youhill

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Thanks Chris H and Chris Y for the reassuring remarks about my deceased friends!! Good to know that other enthusiasts are just as moved as myself when referring to man-made inanimate objects !!

Thanks for comments about London "Diddlers" from Chris Y and Chris H. I too was fascinated by them, but never saw them "in the flesh". I hold my very fleeting memories of Bradfords EEC 6 wheelers, and single deckers in the same light, as I can only just remember them. It would be great to hear about other trolleybus interests from fellow enthusiasts, as my enthusiasm is for anything old in the psv line, including trams!

But I wont go there!

John Whitaker

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Chris Hebbron raises an interesting point re. re-bodying of vehicles during WW2. The MOWT (Ministry of War Transport) controlled all allocations of chassis and body manufacture, and supply to customers. I doubt whether operators had much say in most cases; Body builders were allocated orders in batches, and hence Pickering, for example, built small numbers of utility bodies in 1942/3 on unfrozen, and early Guy Arabs, (including a minority on Mk2 chassis), they disappeared again until late 1945, when they were allocated a contract for relaxed single deck utility bodies on Albion chassis, for Scottish operators.
East Lancs were used for re-bodying only, several fleets receiving all metal bodies on reconditioned chassis (mainly AEC) to almost peacetime standard. Brush were unusual, but not unique, in being used for new and reconditioned chassis, viz the Bradford trolleybuses and early AEC Regents for Birmingham. Bradford had 10 AEC Regents with all metal English Electric bodies which dated from 1935/6, and these were just as worn out as their trolleybus cousins by 1944, such that 7 were given new East Lancs bodies that year. I intend to look at the English Electric situation as far as metal framed bodies are concerned, as there were other disasters, notably with a batch of TD3/TD3c buses for Burnley Colne and Nelson JTC. I will submit a post on the subject if there is sufficient interest.

John Whitaker

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I was delighted to see the Bradford AEC 661T "Regens" 620 and 606 posted on this web site by my best friend John. These were my favourite group of trolleybuses as they made a loud noise and had regenerative braking. Over the last few years I have been doing research into the early years of these trolleybuses 597 to 632 built 1934/35. My findings have been published in the Journal of the Bradford Trolleybus Association "Trackless" 200 to 205 inc. and 211. I can confirm the double reduction differential rear axle drive and the fierce regenerative braking were the main contributory factors leading to the failure of their EEC metal-framed bodies. The noise and vibration made it impossible for passengers to have a conversation inside these trolleybuses when running at speed, such as from Springhead Road to Bell Dean Road on the Thornton route. This leads me to ponder why Bradford specified a double reduction differential drive when a single worm drive differential was working quietly and efficiently on a very similar AEC 661T/EEC in London, namely LTPB 63 delivered some months earlier.

Richard Fieldhouse

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This site has certainly brought back some memories.
I served an apprenticeship with the English Electric Co. at the Thornbury works in Bradford in the late 50’s. The Trolleybus motors kept the Traction Department busy for many years.
I recall working on the motors in both production and refurbishment and for it’s output it was very compact, good for it’s purpose, but a pain to work on. A common fault with motors returned for Overhaul was the "Square Commutator" Not really square but appearing so due to abnormal wear on opposite sides. Caused it turned out by slightly eccentric brake drums on some vehicles resulting in the motors always stopping and starting at the same point in it’s rotation.

Phil Johnson

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Amazing the sort of problems which crop up – I should think it required some thinking about to identify THAT problem!

Chris Hebbron

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I found Phils’ comments and experience at the English Electric Co at Thornbury most interesting and wonder which type of trolleybus traction motors were being overhauled and who were the regular customers. Can I assume Bradford City Transport was a regular as it was a loyal supporter of English Electric traction equipment?

Richard Fieldhouse

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19/04/11 – 19:20

In the comments on the page for Bradford Corporation AEC661T trolleybuses, some correspondents mention the LUT "Diddler" trolleybuses. In 1962 the last trolleybuses were withdrawn in London and living in a road near the last trolleybus route to close I took my 18 month old son to see the last trolleybus from Hammersmith to the depot at Fulwell. In the event the modern bus was preceded by a "Diddler" from the London Transport Museum decorated with bunting, etc. as for its opening day. Alas, my son does not recall the sight.
For those of you who are interested, if you log on to the "You Tube" website and type in the Search Box "Twickenham Trolleybuses" (without the quotes) there is a film of the first day of operation of the diddlers taken in 1932. It is in black and white and, originally, was silent but a sound track of 1930’s band music has been added.
If you look carefully you will notice that they do not have headlights but it was shortly afterwards at the insistence of the police that a single headlight was put in the centre of the panel replacing the radiator on a IC engined bus.

Phi Jones

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Westminster Omnibus – Sunbeam Sikh – JJ 9215

1933 Sunbeam Sikh with 64-seat Christopher Dodson bodywork, owned by Westminster Omnibus Co.
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Westminster Omnibus Co
1933
Sunbeam Sikh
Christopher Dodson (H36/28R)

In 1928, Sunbeam designed two prototype passenger chassis, a three-axle sixty-seven seat double-decker bus and a two-axle single-decker bus or coach. Two model names, ‘Sikh’ and ‘Pathan’, were adopted for them. They both had Sunbeam engines, but, despite their quality and reliability, very few were produced.
Here is a rare example of a Sikh, however, dating to 1933. It had a very handsome 64-seat body by that doomed London bodybuilder, Christopher Dodson, doomed because it concentrated business almost solely on London independents, due to disappear from 1933, when London Transport took them all over. You will notice the bizarre open cab with storm apron and protective cowling, insisted upon by Westminster’s managing director, who felt that enclosed cabs were unhealthy! The Westminster Omnibus Co. was taken over by LPTB in 1934, but the bus was barely operated by LPTB, as SM1, before being withdrawn from Sunbeam Rad Badge 2service.
In 1931, a Sikh chassis was modified as a trolleybus, which was an immediate success, creating a whole new passenger market which the bus chassis never penetrated.
To the right is the cheery radiator badge which Sunbeam used on their vehicles, which would have looked nice on the Sikh’s chrome one.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron


Fascinating stuff!!
Dodson did, though build for operators outside London, albeit in small numbers.
Wolverhampton`s Guys come to mind.
Thanks.

Me again. I really enjoyed this post about Sunbeam. Was the open cab not something to do with London Police regulations at the time, where glass screens were deemed dangerous? Not sure, just asking!

John Whitaker


The LGOC had fought and won the windscreen battle in about 1931. It produced its prototype, it with a windscreen, but with an outside staircase, and ran it about a bit with a windscreen, the first. There was not fuss;maybe the notoriously conservative Metropolitan Police Commissioners didn’t notice! It then produced the first 49 production ones and the MPC DID notice, banning further production with windscreens, but not insisting that those already produced be converted. After about 12-18 months, the MPC, presumably being convinced that they weren’t a safety hazard, relented and windscreens were fitted retrospectively to later ones, which, after the first 150, then sported inside staircases, but were not objected to! Even in the mid-30’s the MPC stopped a production run of Central Area (red) single-deck Q’s with open front entrances in front of the front wheels, after an initial run of them was on the road! There was worry about passengers falling out and going under the wheels. I’m not sure that this was ever a problem, although it was resolved years later with knifejack doors.

Chris Hebbron


You are right, John, that Dodson did work other than for London ‘Independents’ (I actually feel that that were more against ‘The Combine’ the LGOC/Underground Group and therefore supported the ‘little feller’!). You mention work they did for Wolverhampton Corporation Guys, but, by coincidence, only today did I discover that Dodson bodied some thirty-odd AEC Regents delivered to Brighton, Hove & District in 1935. They were part of Thos. Tilling group, which, with its London roots, would have been well aware of Dodson’s existence. I’d love to see a photo of these buses to see the design of bodywork. Must start ferreting!

Chris Hebbron


Apropos the MPC and their regulations I was always under the impression that STL/STDs had no cab door was due these being declared verboten by the MPC. However the Sunbeam clearly has a door to its cab

Chris Hough


London Transport inherited quite a few buses with cab (half) doors and left them in situ, Chris.
I think the lack of doors in their own designs was more a case of being able to store buses in their garages closer to each other without doors. When RT1 came along, they’d got around the problem by having a sliding door inside of the bodywork line. With it, deservedly, came more comfort for drivers. STL’s did have concertina-type blinds to fill the entry gap, but they could only be used to protect the empty cab from the worst elements; you couldn’t drive with one down as it impaired vision. You’d have needed to be observant, and lucky, to ever see one down, though!

Chris Hebbron


Chris. It would be great to see a picture of the Brighton Tilling Regents with Dodson body. Dodson built some of the ST bodies for Tilling to Tilling design, I believe, but not the STL batch as far as I know. Dodson would make an interesting article in its own right if it could be researched. Small numbers of bodies were built for several municipalities as well as Wolverhampton, including Derby, Leeds. Another article would be the Pirates in London, with complete fleet lists. Dodson were by no means the only builders here, as Birch, Strachan and Brown etc. were also involved. Must get down to some homework!

John Whitaker


Yes, John, please do!
Meanwhile, I will do some digging to see if I can trace photos of any of the BH&D Dodson-bodies AEC Regents.

Chris Hebbron


Chris. The complete registration for Westminster Sunbeam Sikh (H36/28R) in photo (taken at Edmonton) is JJ 9215. It was licensed to run on London Routes 76 & 73, entering service FEB 1933 as the largest running London bus at the time. It was the last bus design by Dodson Ltd. before exiting the business in April, 1933. The Dodson family originally made horse buses from the mid 1800’s until motorized buses came about after 1900. I’m related to the family and researching the business so I really enjoy finding posts and photographs like this!

Phil Dodson


I’m sure it’s true what they say – history begins on your birthday.
I’m a child of the fifties and although I stretch it to post-war forties, it really all starts for me in 1952 with two of my favourite batches of buses, the STD PD2s and Regent IIIs, delivered in 1952.
I then began to back track – through the excellent British Buses since 1900 and John Aldridge. Sunbeam attracted my attention because they were MOTORbuses and John Aldridge implies that the quality of build was so high that they were too good and therefore too expensive for the general market. Likewise with Dodson bodies. No PSV historian is ignorant of the name, but few of us will have had first hand experience of their products.
When some of us are in our wheelchairs going misty eyed about AEC, Leyland, Roe, Weymann – or whoever – what will that mean to our grandsons and granddaughters? Food for thought – or is just too depressing?

David Oldfield


How wonderful that a modern Dodson is researching the business!. I do hope the findings become available, as I have recently come across several instances of Dodson bodywork outside London.
Cedes Stoll tracklesses.
Peterborough and District Leylands.
Derby Guy Invincibles?
Some of the ancestor fleets of EYMS in Hull
Wolverhampton Corpn. (plenty there)
Many more mid 1920s on Dennis 4 ton and Leyland G series type vehicles. Leeds Corporation.
There must be many more out there…feel like searching and telling everyone?

John Whitaker


I’d say, Phil, that we are as delighted to find a member of the Dodson family as you are to find the posting. Maybe you could post a potted history of this well-regarded company, with a couple of photos, for us all to enjoy. If the above photo was the last Dodson design, the company went out on a real high – it is very attractive. Did the company come to a complete halt in 1933, or did it have other irons in the fire which kept it going?
[Thx for the full registration - now updated].

Chris Hebbron


Just thought of 2 more Dodson customers.
Hastings Tramways
West Bridgford UDC (1914 Dennis)
There has to be many more.

John Whitaker


On the Dodson theme, Portsmouth Corporation started it’s motorbus fleet with 10 Thornycroft J’s in 1919, which had locally built Wadham bodies. But in 1926/27, these were rebodied by the Corporation, using ex-LGOC B-type bodies, built by Dodson. They also bought a complete B-type, with a Dodson body (this did not last long).
On withdrawal by c.1929/30, one of the Thornycrofts (No.10, BK 2977) with it’s Dodson body was preserved, and is fortunately still with us. It is located at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, and looks extremely attractive in a contemporary setting of a street scene with other Thornycroft commercial vehicles of that era.

Michael Hampton


Re the Dodson theme, the preserved Portsmouth Thronycroft J at Basingstoke is registered BK 2986 (not BK 2977). Apologies for error in my memory of the batch, which was 1-10 (BK 2977-BK 2986).

Michael Hampton


Chris. Christopher Dodson retired and closed up the business in 1933 due to LPTB Act which took away his "Independent" bus operator customers. The LGOC had hindered bus competition and his business for years which is why he was so devoted to supporting the needs of independent operators and against "The Combine" group as you mentioned.
Dodson Ltd. also built trolleybus bodies from 1912-1933, mainly for Keighley, Wolverhampton and Derby. Christopher’s brothers also started a bus service on the Isle of Wight in 1921, Dodson & Campbell Ltd, which became Dodson Bros Ltd/Vectis Bus Co. in 1923. Christopher was also a director in that company which merged with Southern Railway in 1929 to become Southern Vectis. All their buses had Dodson built bodies of course up until 1932 when they retired and sold their interest in the company.

John interestingly mentioned that Hastings Tramways was a Dodson customer. Dodson built 8 trolleybuses for Hastings in 1928, one of which,(DY 4965), still survives today. Restored and known as "Happy Harold" it has been fitted with a diesel engine to run as a bus. There is a short 1928 film clip of when the 8 Hastings trolleybuses were put into service that can be watched at this You Tube link.
"Happy Harold" is the trolleybus observed on right side from :18 to :43 seconds into the film clip.

Phil Dodson


Thanks Phil for the Utube film!!! How about that!!!
Please inform us all when you have completed your investigations. I would love to know of all the Dodson bodies, wherever they went. They had a very distinctive air about them, and the Sikh was by no means the only modernity item produced. Wolverhampton,s 1929 batch of Guy BTX had a much more modern body style, as did some other London Pirates. There was a Maudslay 4 wheel double decker with one of them if I remember, dated 1932/3

John Whitaker


29/08/12 – 10:33

Fascinating thread. I wonder if anyone has information regarding the Westminster livery carried on the Sunbeam Sikh? Was it red/cream?

Colin James


29/08/12 – 12:15

Maybe, if Phil Dodson sees this, he could tell us. Looking at this vehicle again, it’s got to be one of my favourite buses ever. What a shame that Dodson packed up and never built any more of them.
Could someone with DVLA access give the subsequent history of the vehicle?

Chris Hebbron


29/08/12 – 14:54

Didn’t it pass to Derby Corporation for a short time, or was that another one?

John Whitaker


30/08/12 – 07:03

The PSVC lists JJ 9215 as withdrawn by London Transport in 1934; to G J Dawson, SW9 (dealer) 5/35; Wigan & District Subsistence Production Society, Wigan, 1/37; G Pudifer, Liverpool, 9/39; J Routledge, Seaforth, Liverpool (dealer) 11/39, and scrapped.
According to Blacker, Lunn, & Westgate (London’s Buses Volume One – The Independent Era 1922-1934) Westminster’s livery was red and cream. The absence of a windscreen was apparently a peculiarity of one of the managing director, Mr Rich, who thought that windscreens were unsafe and that the draughts they created were bad for drivers’ health. JJ 9215 was reported to be a smooth runner but had a tendency to boil quickly.
There was a second Sikh built in 1931 with an older style of Dodson body for the Sphere Omnibus Co, but it did not enter service with them, although it was successfully submitted to the Police for testing. It became UK 7456 and was demonstrated by Sunbeam to Mansfield District, Midland General, and Derby, Birmingham, and Northampton Corporations, and was scrapped in 1940. Presumably this is the vehicle to which John refers.

Michael Wadman


31/08/12 – 07:35

Thanks muchly, Michael, for answering the queries Colin, John and I raised and even more!

Chris Hebbron


31/08/12 – 09:37

So sad, the number of manufacturers (vis Gilford and Dodson) who failed through no fault of their own, but rather because their customer base simple dried up or disappeared. What price a Euro 5 Gilford with Dodson body?

David Oldfield


31/08/12 – 09:38

Yes Michael, many thanks for the info on the 2 Sikhs.
There is something truly magnificent about the "big buses" of this era, and I am reminded of that marvellous machine introduced by Wolverhampton Corporation in (1929?). Again, with a Dodson body, but a 6 wheeled petrol electric Tilling Stevens. I only have a photo in a book; otherwise I would post it !

John Whitaker


31/08/12 – 16:02

The Westminster Omnibus Co. Sunbeam Sikh SM1 was withdrawn by the LPTB on 10 July 1934. This site gives a wealth of detail about the bus models of the Sunbeam company:- www.historywebsite.co.uk/Museum  In all its product ranges, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and buses, the Sunbeam company was synonymous with exceptionally high quality in keeping with the principles of the founder, John Marston, and almost all components were produced in house. This was reflected in the retail prices, and, in the depressed markets of the inter war years, sales were limited. The various parts of the Sunbeam group fell into different hands, though the name lived on for some models of motorcycle, motor scooter, car, and, of course, trolleybus. At least the trolley manufacture, ultimately part of Guy, remained in Wolverhampton to the end.

Roger Cox


J 9215_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


16/12/13 – 07:23

Re John W/Michael W’s post on 29/8/12, I’ve found other, slightly conflicting info on the Derby Corporation Sikh. No. 44 was an ex-Sunbeam demonstrator, registration UK 7456 (chassis K10123) which dated from 1929. Its Dodson body seating was a smaller H35/32R, presumably to an earlier style, since the Westminster one was larger and the 1933 style. It went into service with Derby in 1933 and was also withdrawn in 1939.

Chris Hebbron


16/12/13 – 09:25

Thanks Chris for the TSM and Sunbeam detail which I have noted. You are correct in saying the Derby Sunbeam was of the earlier Dodson body style. I have seen a photo but cannot remember where it was. In "Looking at Buses" by G. Hilditch (I Think!)
Loads of Senior Moments!
I am now following Thornycroft. Have you seen the magnificent 6 wheeler photo on the Thornycroft site, with a camel roof body, which is a bit "Hall Lewis" looking. Also, trying to unearth photos of the 4 wheel BC Boadicea model as supplied to Southampton etc. This explosion of competition from 1929 to 1932 provides enough material for someone to write a book.
It would need someone a lot more technical than me though, a mere ageing enthusiast!

John Whitaker


17/12/13 – 06:51

The engine of the Sikh was an advanced and powerful overhead valve unit of 7.98 litres, developing 142 bhp at 2,400 rpm., which drove via a friction clutch into a four speed gearbox. The same engine was fitted to the more successful Pathan single deck model. Such a powerful engine must have given the Sikh and the Pathan remarkable road performances by any standard, certainly well above the norm for the early 1930s, though probably at a cost in fuel consumption. The Westminster Sikh weighed 7 tons 5cwt 3qtr, which seems remarkably light, and entered service in London in the week commencing 20th February 1933; the absence of a windscreen was entirely due to the rigid opinions of the Westminster company’s managing director, as the Met Police had capitulated on cab windscreens by this time. Only three Sikhs were made, the Westminster one being the second in production. In view of the imminent introduction of the London Passenger Transport Act on 1st July 1933, it is surprising that Westminster should have purchased such an expensive piece of capital equipment at so late a date. Almost inevitably, the solitary Sikh SM 1 did not survive long in the standardised world of the LPTB, being withdrawn in 1934 and disposed of on 16 May 1935. Its subsequent fate is unclear. As Michael Wadman and Chris Hebbron state above, the very first Sikh was cleared by the Met Police for use by the Sphere Omnibus Company on routes 73 and 76, but it never entered service, becoming instead a Sunbeam demonstrator and vanishing in the early years of WW2. The third Sikh was converted to a trolleybus, and opened up a much more successful market, though the original Sunbeam Company was not to see much of the benefit. In 1934, STD (for Sunbeam Talbot Darracq as then was) went into receivership, and the Rootes group picked up most of the assets.

Roger Cox


18/12/13 – 06:21

John, the best source of information on Thornycroft is the volume published in 2001 in the Ian Allen Transport Library (ISBN 0 7110 28141) written by the ever dependable Alan Townsin, who once worked for the firm himself. Details and photos of the bus models are there aplenty. Unfortunately, the book has no photos of a Southampton BC Forward, but there is a picture of Southampton’s rare HC six wheeler and another of a Daring. A picture of a United BC Forward may be found on this site under ‘Best Bits – A United Line Up’.

Roger Cox


18/12/13 – 14:14

Thanks Roger. Will look up the Thornycroft book, especially with the HC 6 wheeler being there! I remember them having English Electric bodies very similar to the Pompey Karriers.
Fascinating era to study!

John Whitaker


 

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PMT – Daimler Roadliner – 6000 EH – SN1000

PMT - Daimler Roadliner - 6000 EH - SN1000
Copyright Ian Wild

Potteries Motor Traction
1964
Daimler Roadliner SRC6
Marshall B50F

This is one of the prototype Daimler Roadliners which originally had the Clayton COMPAS heating and ventilation system fitted. There were two radiators, one each side of the bus just in front of the rear wheels which had the twin function of engine cooling and saloon heating. Sounds good in concept but like a lot of things at that time didn’t work reliably in practice. In January 1969 it reappeared with a front mounted radiator and conventional heating, the only PMT Roadliner so fitted. The radiator is hidden behind the front grille, which may look familiar to some as it was the grill fitted to the contemporary Ford Transit van. I cannot remember now why PMT fitted a front radiator to SN1000 and not a rear mounted one in the engine bay like the rest of the fleet. Incidentally the last 6 of the Marshall bodied Roadliners fleet numbers S1086-S1091 also had the COMPAS system – and they were no more reliable than SN1000!!
This was the only PMT Roadliner with air suspension, all the others had Metalastik toggle link suspension. The photo was taken on a test run near Clayton Schools on 20th January 1969.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

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I have driven these buses and they were a total disaster, PMT only kept them for about 7 years.

Michael Crofts

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I remember the PMT Roadliners. Some of them had home made looking slits in the panels behind the back wheels to improve engine cooling. They were very noisy.

JT

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Yes very noisy but sounding totally unlike a bus. It was a sort of deep "Ewwww" muffled roar. When North Western Fleetline 189 was fitted with the same Cummins V6 you could hear it descending Rassbottom St in Stalybridge (On the joint route 90 to Marple) long before it turned into the bus station.
I now regret that I never did take a ride on a Roadliner when I had the chance. A Potteries mate says they were just as deafening from the inside, and that the later Perkins engined ones whilst marginally more reliable, used to waggle their tails dramatically when driven at high revs.
Darlington and Chesterfield Corporations got long service lives out of theirs, whether that suggests they overcame many of the problems, or that the local councillors refused to give up on them for the costs and red faces involved in replacing them early?

Keith Jackson

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When I was a boy the PMT Roadliners operated on route 13 to Bentilee. Apart from the noise the bodywork rattled fit to disintegrate! There was an emergency exit window half way along the off side the locking mechanism for which used to jiggle about when the bus was stationary. A big disappointment after the AEC Reliance 590s.

John Tinsley

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Our problem at PMT was that we just had too many of the things!! The largest fleet of Roadliners anywhere in the world. The Plaxton bodied ones (timber framed bodies)could possibly have gone on to nearer normal service lives if re engined with Perkins V8s – but at what cost? The Marshall bodied ones (steel framed bodies)were disastrous and although we rebuilt a few at enormous cost in man hours they weren’t a right lot better. By 1972 failures of the Metalastik toggle link suspension units were becoming prevalent. These were expensive to buy and a nightmare to replace. Panhard rod bushes were a recurrent failure – again taking much longer to replace than a leaf spring on a conventional vehicle. We used saloon seats from withdrawn Marshall vehicles to replace the worn out high backed seats in some of Reliances SN801-810 making them more suitable for urban work and less susceptible to vandalism. Happy days!!

Ian Wild

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Just a bit of clarification about the ‘home made looking slits’ (ref JT). They were fibreglass corner panels made in house in the fibreglass shop at Stoke and as JT says, the idea was to provide additional engine bay cooling. To the best of my recollection, they were fitted to the 47 Cummins engined Plaxton and Marshall bodied buses. I don’t think they were fitted to the later batch of 10 Plaxtons with Perkins V8 engines.

Ian Wild


 

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