Old Bus Photos

Southdown – Bedford OB – JCD 371 – 71

1948 Southdown Bedford OB/Duple Coach 71 - JCD 371
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Southdown Motor Services
1948
Bedford OB
Duple C27F

Another example of the ubiquitous Bedford OB/Duple coach, but bought by an operator who eschewed non-standard, other than for specific purposes. For this purpose, a Leyland/Harrington vehicle would not do!
Hayling Island, to the East of Portsea Island (Portsmouth) led a very quiet existence until the mid ‘30’s, when the first stirrings emerged and it became popular as a seaside resort, with a holiday camp. However, it suffered from a weak road bridge (and rail bridge, too, but that’s another story!) and Southdown purchased two Dennis half-cab Falcons in 1939, running to and from the island from Havant on the mainland.
However, although they were light enough to traverse the bridge, they were only allowed to do so if the vehicle was empty, thus, all passengers had to alight and proceed across the bridge on foot, re-joining the bus the other side!
They performed this task alone, until the two Bedfords were bought in 1948 with standard 27-seat Duple coach bodies and numbered 70 and 71 (JCD 370 and 371). Like the Dennis Falcons, they were acquired for the Hayling Island services because they were lightweight vehicles. However, being coaches, unlike the Falcons, their duties also included regular runs to London.
All four vehicles were withdrawn when a replacement bridge to the Island was built in the mid 1950s. Both Falcons were withdrawn entirely, but one survives (see HERE)
The Bedford/Duples were then transferred to other duties away from the area (No.70 was used for a while on bus services out of East Grinstead) with both being disposed of by 1960.

"Note that the coach is absolutely impeccable – a trademark of Southdown, who, for a large company, took a pride in their vehicles. Their name was always in ‘real writing’ on their coaches (and open-top austerity Guy Arab II’s) but printed on their buses. The letters were always filled with gold leaf – no expense spared!
Also, note the driver in full Summer regalia, linen jacket, with cap! Those were the days."

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron (with vehicle history assistance from Dick Gilbert – Classic Buses Website).

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This photograph evokes fond memories of Southdown coaches regularly seen visiting Harrogate in the late sixties and early seventies. Their usual haunt was The Old Swan Hotel, an attractive and genteel establishment famous for being the one time hideaway of Agatha Christie, and very Southdown. The vehicles were usually Leyland Leopards with either Plaxton or Harrington coachwork, and Southdown used the hotel for overnight stays or as a base for excursions into the Yorkshire Dales and beyond, I seem to think. As with the Bedford Chris, the Leopards were always immaculately turned out. A coach in that rich green livery with gold script fleetname was simply a joy to behold and definitely a case of ‘less is more’ in terms of quality.
Hayling Island is also familiar, as in 1973 two West Yorkshire colleagues and I decided to spend a week at Warner’s Sunshine Holiday Centre – presumably that very same holiday camp mentioned in the text. We booked it as a bit of fun for the week, but also used it as a base to tour the area. I was therefore privileged to see many Southdown buses still in their original green and rich cream livery, with relatively few in the new NBC corporate leaf green and white. Again all were smartly presented. I can also vividly recall seeing the Tilling green buses of neighbouring Hants & Dorset running alongside some similar buses repainted in the new livery of NBC poppy RED – including an early LD Lodekka in Gosport still with its long radiator grille!
On the subject of fleetnames, like Southdown, United was another operator to use gold script on its coaches and block capitals on its buses, if memory serves correctly. In either operator’s case, the liveries were certainly much classier than some of the vinyl-clad ‘circus wagon’ offerings we have seen since from some quarters.

Brendan Smith

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The first dedicated vehicles bought by Southdown for the Hayling Island services were 6 TSM B39’s with lightweight Short bodies in 1933. These were followed by 6 Leyland Cub SKPZ2’s with Park Royal B26R bodies in 1936, and 11 Leyland Cheetah LZ3&4 Coaches in 1938/39. The TSMs were commandeered by the War Office 1940. After the war 10 Dennis Falcon P4’s with Dennis 30 seat bus bodies arrived in 1949, and the 2 Bedfords augmented the Cheetahs on the Express Service to London and local excursions.
The 2 prewar Falcons were purchased in 1939 for the Tramocar service on Worthing Sea Front, and moved to Hayling Island in 1950. In addition there was an open top service using Leyland TD1’s along the sea front in summer. Also there was the train from Havant using Stroudley A1x tank engines.
In the late 40s and early 50s it was a wonderful place for a young transport enthusiast.

Pat Jennings

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22/01/12 – 06:58

Not quite in the same vein, but when I was a child many many years ago I used to sit in a coach belonging to "Unique Coaches" on Brighton seafront waiting for the "Unique" day trip to commence, while numerous Southdown buses rolled past around the giant roundabout outside the Palace Pier, They had class and style, I remember them well. As a matter of interest does anyone else remember Unique Coaches.

Tony

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22/01/12 – 09:16

Hi, Tony. Maybe I’m dyslexic, (or more probably just going senile and getting mixed up), but although I don’t remember ‘Unique’ coaches on Brighton seafront, I have a recollection of ‘Ubique’ coaches. Could we be thinking of the same operator? As for the Southdown buses rolling around the Palace Pier roundabout, there was a wee scam on some local services that Inspectors on regulating duties at Pool Valley needed to look out for. A few crews, (not many), due to be relieved would occasionally try to make an extra, unscheduled trip around Old Steine, thus arriving ‘late’ and so getting covered for the first trip of the later part of their shift.

Roy Burke

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22/01/12 – 17:27

What a treat to see this lovely picture. My opinion of the beautiful little Bedford OB/Duple coaches was that they were classically handsome, had a welcoming and "friendly" expression, and could claim a very creditable, honest, and comfortable performance rarely matched by any other vehicle of similar general specification. What I’d give these days to hear that wonderful pure third gear wail diminishing magically into "trolleybus standard" quietness upon engaging top.

Chris Youhill

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23/01/12 – 07:29

Try this YouTube clip for size, Chris Y. Start from 3mins, or shut your eyes from the beginning to that point, or you’ll get a headache! It’s ears that matter here! http://www.youtube.com/

Chris Hebbron

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23/01/12 – 10:13

Thank you Chris for that – my word what wonderful condition for a "utility" – someone has put some professional work into keeping that little gem in such superb condition throughout. I particularly like the "service bus" white bell push midway along the nearside. I shall now enjoy my breakfast garnished with just the mildest whiff of lovely petrol vapour – if I’d known of this bus in 2007 I might have been tempted to travel to Wales for a ride !!

Chris Youhill

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24/01/12 – 05:44

Please allow me to thank you too Chris for the YouTube OWB!!
I love to listen to good music, especially a good New Orleans Jazz Band, but this has to be the Number 1 of the Top Twenty Hit Parade of all time!.
What a superbly evocative sound! It brings it all back, and the last 60 years just slip away!
I’m back in Bridlington in 1948, aboard a White Bus Service OWB.
Absolutely wonderful. Any ideas about re-experiencing other such music, say a 5LW in a Bristol "J", or anything else of equal concert variety?
Thanks again

John Whitaker

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24/01/12 – 08:17

Daimler CVD6 with fluid flywheel waiting at a stop….? Anywhere?

Joe

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24/01/12 – 08:17

I’m with you there in Queen Street waiting to depart for Flamborough John – Bridlington was my second home from infancy to mid thirties, and White Bus, Williamsons and EYMS were fascinating beyond description. Did you notice the incredible coincidence in the numbers of the two White Bus OWBs ?? – ASD 149 and EWW 149 !!

Chris Youhill

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24/01/12 – 09:26

Thank you Chris H for such a super link which I have listened to with rapture. The Bedford OWB "music" is one you never forget. Many of my postings include a reference to sound so I wonder whether Peter might consider a new section on this site?

Richard Fieldhouse

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24/01/12 – 09:27

We have a common heritage Chris! I just loved WBS, but honestly had not noticed the reg. coincidence. Lighthouse, north Landing, Thornwick Bay. What wonderful destination names they had.
I can still see a Halifax Regent at the Lighthouse turn, where some friends from Bradford had a PLSC holiday bungalow, just under the old tower!
Our bungalow was a Bradford tram, on the other side of Brid, at Skipsea, where my love of EYMS originated, with childhood memories of oval rear windows, and 3 window upper deck fronts!
Them wer`t days!

John Whitaker

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24/01/12 – 10:37

John…I’ve just loaded my film of Bristol L KLJ 749 ex Hants & Dorset 779 which you might like. I’m sorry the passengers are nattering away with excitement but the bus is still doing a fine job on the way out along the A37 from Whitchurch near Bristol towards Pensford. You can view it at this link.http://www.youtube.com/

Richard Leaman

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24/01/12 – 10:38

…..but the musical sounds of these veteran and vintage gearboxes is a big part of what it is about for us oldies. They give character to the vehicles which is singularly lacking in the hoards of modern, soul-less sewing machines – no matter how good they may be in a definitive sense. AEC Regents (I – V), Guy Arabs and petrol Bedfords step up to plate (in particular) for post war honours.

David Oldfield

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24/01/12 – 15:42

Here is the second video that you may wish to watch and listen to.
This is Bristol L C2736 on Bristol Bus Running Day with some superb gear changing! http://www.youtube.com/

Richard Leaman

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25/01/12 – 05:08

There was a small independent in Derbyshire who ran two services from his home village, Crich (home of the National Tramway Museum) to Derby, shopping service on Fridays and to Ripley on Saturdays. The rest of the week he was a coal merchant! His fleet was just two Bedford OB’s both bought new and I spent many happy hours as a youth travelling on them. One thing I’ve often wondered is, given that some operators re-bodied OWB’s in the late 40’s with Duple Vista bodies, what exactly was the difference between the two chassis?

Chris Barker

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25/01/12 – 06:45

I stand to be corrected but I don’t think there was much, if any, difference. W was the "war" designation – just as the difference between Daimler’s COG/CWG/CVG. There may have been the use of war-time materials – Guy Arabs were heavier as a result.

David Oldfield

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25/01/12 – 13:12

Hi Richard, and thanks for the wonderful "Bristolian" sound tracks. A whole new sphere of interest could open up here!
Regarding wartime Bedfords, and other makes for that matter, many alloys, and aluminium were unavailable, and had to be replaced by ferrous metals. or other materials with better availability. This tended to increase overall weight, but otherwise, I am led to believe that, design wise, there was very little difference between, say COG5 and CWG5 Daimlers, and OB and OWB Bedfords.

John Whitaker

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26/01/12 – 05:50

On the subject of gearbox music, I must put in a word for the Crossley. Whatever else may have been wrong with them, there was never a sweeter transmission sound than that.

Peter Williamson

I am at the moment working on a new page for the site titled ‘Old Bus Sounds’ which will be a bus sound reference library. Should go live this weekend hopefully.

Peter

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26/01/12 – 10:48

I don’t recall any noticeable transmission delights with Portsmouth’s DD42’s, but they had Brockhouse Turbo Converters, presumably with different transmission.
However, when most of them were converted to house Leyland TD engines, the TD gearboxes were fitted with the engines. That gave them a new sound dimension as well as fooling some folk!
Their sole 1931 Crossley (later converted into a breakdown tender, now preserved) has a wealth of interesting noises – http://www.youtube.com/

Chris Hebbron

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27/01/12 – 06:16

Aluminium was in short supply in the automotive field during World War II, as John points out, due to its increased use in helping the war effort, and as a result many vehicle components had to be made of other materials. Gardner, for example used cast iron for its LW crankcases, endplates, sumps, water pump and fuel injection pump bodies etc, for the duration. From their point of view, as they already offered this option on their marine range of engines this would not have been too much of a problem – provided they could get the cast iron! From an operating point of view the extra weight must have had a somewhat detrimental effect on fuel economy and performance though. For a few years in the 1980’s a cast iron 5LW languished in the bike shed at West Yorkshire Road Car’s Central Repair Works. Where it came from and where it went to remain two of life’s little mysteries unfortunately. (I was informed by a knowledgeable United CRW fitter some years ago that the cast iron wartime Gardners had one piece cylinder blocks fitted instead of the usual pairs).
Thanks to Chris and Richard for passing on the delightful Bedford and Bristol sound effects and film clips. Wonderful stuff. Just as Chris Y was transported back to ‘Brid’ with the Bedford, I was instantly transported back to the 1960’s, riding on a West Yorkshire Bristol L on service 58 between Bradford and Shipley – only this time I didn’t need to pay! I wish you well with the ‘Old Bus Sounds’ Peter. It should prove very popular, and what a brilliant idea. Can’t wait for the first ‘instalment’!

Brendan Smith

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27/01/12 – 06:33

Many thanks, Chris H, for the wonderful Condor link: I’d never seen or heard that running before but the video is as good as being there on the spot. Thanks too to Richard L for the Bristol L link: I’m afraid the bloke with the cap and rucksack, blocking the forward view, is me!
The idea of an Old Bus Sounds page is brilliant. Long live the straight-cut geartooth!

Ian Thompson

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27/01/12 – 08:40

Gentlemen, thank you for the very kind comments and Ian, you were enhancing the view, not blocking it! In case anyone was wondering, the route on C2736 was from Bristol Temple Meads along the A4 Bath Road, past the former Colthurst and Harding paint works, Arnos Vale Cemetery gates, the imposing stone building with the tall archway is Brislington Tram Depot (still in fine order and use by Bristol Council, then up the hill to finish just as we arrive at the remains of the entrance to the Bristol Commercial Vehicles Ltd.

I thought that it may be of interest to show the two buses in the clips and also a set of Bedford OB/OWB pictures which I took at the Kemble Steam Fair in August 2008. For those of us delighted by the OB gearbox, on that occasion, it was possible to hear eighteen of them all at once as they did a "convoy" lap! They can be seen at this link.

Richard Leaman

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27/01/12 – 08:42

Your comment, Brendan, brought back some very evocative memories of East Parade. Jack Lawrence was a most impressive person. I can’t claim to have known a great many Traffic Managers, but of the ones I ever met, he was in a class apart. He was authoritative and clearly had his fingers firmly, (and intelligently), on the pulse of every aspect of the company’s operations. Gordon Dingle – a lovely man, and I was sad to learn that he has passed on – was at that time in charge of the Charting Department which controlled the loadings for the whole Yorkshire Pool and also the hiring of dozens of independent coaches for WY’s summer Saturday coastal stage carriage operations. Efficient, effective and profitable.
Maidstone & District, (and I repeat my great regard for that company), applied a diametrically opposed policy on their London express services, although in practice they were very similar. Sadly, that policy was dreadfully inefficient in its use of vehicles and was expensive in wages. It was actually difficult even to work out the true operating cost of any of those important services, a situation I couldn’t conceive at WY.
It would be diplomatic to avoid another reference to Southdown here, Brendan. I’m glad you still have a soft spot for them.

Roy Burke

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27/01/12 – 14:24

Here are some more Bedford OB sounds – Wonderful ! http://www.youtube.com

John Stringer

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28/01/12 – 09:08

That’s a brilliant clip, John. I’m just old enough to recall the petrol-engine’d London Transport LT’s with open staircases, which sounded much like these vehicles.
Grossly overloaded in the late-forties, they would pull away with juddery clutch biting and more than the shaky wow-wow sound at low revs. I also drove a petrol-engine’d Austin K6 across Scotland once, which was full of character, but the gearbox was quieter than the Bedford’s, though far from quiet! All that double de-clutching was fun!

Chris Hebbron

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28/01/12 – 11:07

I had no idea that wartime Gardner engines were themselves subject to wartime material alteration , so thanks Brendan, for that interesting fact.
Its good to hear also that my external feel for the efficiency of WYRC is borne out in fact by those "in the know"!
I am with you Brendan on that L5g between Bradford and Shipley.

John Whitaker

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28/01/12 – 16:23

Hello Roy you are quite right about the name Unique Coaches of Brighton and their stand on Marine Drive, they were painted in a very attractive dark green livery. If my aged memory is right I think their garage was close to Brighton station just down the hill leading down to Old Steine it may have been Trafalgar Street but I am far from certain of that. My recollections date back to the late 50’s early 60’s the fleet at that time included at least one Harrington bodied Bedford SB.

Diesel Dave

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10/07/12 – 18:31

Found a shot of Unique Harrington bodied SB3 1800CD on Flickr. Just Google Unique Coaches Brighton and click on Images. Southdown had 2 batches of Commers with similar Harrington bodies (Not one of their better efforts!)
Their depot was in Trafalgar St., and the livery was two shades of green. I believe they later sold out to another local operator ‘Campings’

Roy Nicholson

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JCD 371_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

14/09/12 – 07:28

Just read some of the stories above, Southdown always had a good looking fleet with good maintenance. As a 15/16 year old I worked at the Royal Parade depot in Eastbourne until I came to Australia. I remember Arthur Martin and all the other guys saying then that Southdown had some of the best buses/coaches in the country, nice to see it, 50 years in writing

Deryn Cox


 

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PMT – AEC Reliance – 693 AEH – SN7693

PMT - AEC Reliance - 693 AEH - SN7693
Copyright Ian Wild

Potteries Motor Traction
1957
AEC Reliance 470
Weymann B44F

This is one of many AEC Reliance 470 with standard BET style Weymann bodies (B44F) operated by PMT. This particular example dates from 1957 denoted by the 7 prefix to the fleet number. Allocated to Milton Depot at the time, it has come to grief sliding into a ditch adjacent to some road works whilst on an inward journey on the 43 from the village of Stanley to Hanley – which is the main town of the Stoke on Trent conurbation. Milton Depot had an allocation of about 20 buses, mainly single decks for services such as the one shown plus three lowbridge Atlanteans and I think three MCW highbridge Leyland PD3/4 for the Hanley to Abbey Hulton services. Inside the depot was a survivor – engineless AEC Regal ex fleet number S315 KEH 608 which was in use as the staff canteen. It later went to Hollis of Queensferry for preservation – wonder what happened to it? Going back to SN7693, I remember a call we took concerning a bus on fire somewhere out in the Staffordshire countryside. It turned out to be SN7680 of the same batch but by the time we reached it in a narrow country lane all that remained was a chassis – and some burnt grass banks either side of the road.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


These were the last batch of this type of body they had stick operated doors, Newcastle garage finished up with SN7688 which I would drive often as I thought it was a much better bus than the new Reliances we had with Alexander bodies, it had a good exhaust on it too.

Michael Crofts


Strange you should mention stick operated doors because Trent’s Tiger Cubs of the 1950’s had them. I remember thinking they had two gear sticks! The one to the right of the driver was forward when the doors were closed and then pulled back (a good pull was required!) and this pulled a flexible wire through a tube to open the doors, which were a mixture of jack-knife and two-piece. I often wondered if many fleets specified this apparatus. It fell out of favour by the end of the 50’s when something more sophisticated was felt necessary!

Chris Barker


Sheffield Transport amassed quite a fleet of Leyland Leopard Coaches between 1959 and 1961 with Weymann Fanfare, ECW and Burlingham bodywork. I did not have much cause to travel on them but I do remember that some, at least, (including the Weymann?) had this stick operation to their doors. These were full coaches with proper, heavy, coach doors – in the days when no coach had air assisted doors.

David Oldfield


My recollection is that earlier PMT Weymann bodied Reliances SN5573-5612 had electrically operated doors. I think lever operated doors commenced with SN6627-6646 and continued right through single deck deliveries including the 34 Albion Aberdonians until the ‘Jubilee’ batch SL801-810 when power operation recommenced. We avoided OMO conversions on lever door vehicles for as long as possible and of course the Aberdonians were never modified for OMO.
David mentions the lever operated doors on the Sheffield Leopards and I can recall a trip out to Bakewell on one of the B fleet Weymann Fanfare vehicles when fairly new (probably early 1960) where a friend and I sat on the front nearside seat and assisted with operating the door by hand as the driver was having difficulty with the lever operation from the cab!! The Fanfare vehicles were never modified to power operation whereas the Burlingham and ECW batches were later converted for OMO which included power operated doors.

Ian Wild


All the AEH reg batch AECs had the stick doors along with all the Albions.

Michael Crofts


With the delivery of 25 Alexander bodied Reliances in 1961, this brought a total to 150 of the 30 foot Reliances at PMT, most having Weymann bodies apart from another 10 Willowbrook bodied ones.

Michael Crofts


10/12/11 – 14:58

There were also a few Albion versions with this body operating Chell to Longton at this time. All three, Leyland, AEC and Albion had their own distinctive engine sound.
Anyone know who made the engines for the Albion?

Mr Anon


11/12/11 – 06:57

The Albions would have been Aberdonians – light-weight Leyland Tiger Cubs. The lightweight was in axle and chassis construction. They both shared the same Leyland Comet engine (0.350 version). Albions always had Albion gearboxes. [At different times, the Tiger Cub could have either a Leyland or an Albion box.]

David Oldfield


11/12/11 – 06:59

The Albion Aberdonian was a lighter weight version of the already lightweight Leyland Tiger Cub. It was powered by the Leyland O.350 engine of 5.76 litres giving 94 bhp, and was coupled to the Albion five speed constant mesh gearbox. It proved to be something of a frail beast, and most of the operators that tried it didn’t come back for more. Production ceased around 1960.

Roger Cox


11/12/11 – 11:20

The Albion Aberdonian had the same Leyland engine as the Leyland Tiger Cub, but strangely no Tiger Cub growl.

Peter Williamson


11/12/11 – 16:11

I always preferred the Aberdonian to the Tiger Cub, partly because I was brought with them. North Western’s batch of six spent most of their lives at Oldham depot and were the mainstay of the Saddleworth local services, running past my front door every half hour. I always thought they were quieter than the Tiger Cub and in retrospect I put that down to the Tiger Cub’s fan, although I don’t know if I’m correct in this.
The Albions had, shall we say, a distinctive vibration when idling. The only Aberdonian in preservation to my knowledge is the East Yorkshire one and that made the same sounds despite having a different body. It’s a bus I haven’t heard of for many years – does anyone know of its current status?
There are a few pictures of North Western’s Albions in my Saddleworth Buses gallery at: http://davidbeilby.zenfolio.com/ where they will be found in the 156, 157 and 158 collections. (This gallery is still developing but the collections relevant to these buses have been done.)

David Beilby


13/12/11 – 08:58

I too had a soft spot for the Aberdonian, despite my only first-hand experience of them being the Manchester ones with Seddon bodies of almost third-world standard. I always feel that the model had a rough deal being marketed as an alternative to the Tiger Cub, as an urban bus or express coach, when it would have been much happier doing the sort of jobs that Bedfords did – pottering around villages on market days or providing day trips to the seaside – but giving the passengers a more refined experience than a Bedford could.
As far as I know, Plaxton-bodied Aberdonian coach XUP 692 is still with us, but it now very audibly boasts a Leyland 401 engine, and by all accounts goes like a rocket. I wish one of the Charlie’s Cars Harringtons had survived.

Peter Williamson


13/12/11 – 11:21

There’s an idea for another thread on the web-site – re-engining with similar, but different and larger, engines. I am already aware of AV760 powered RTs and RMs!

David Oldfield


15/12/11 – 06:52

When I drove for Stanley Gath of Dewsbury he had an ex O.K Motor Services Roe bodied AEC Reliance RUP 768 that had a rod operated entrance door. The bus was always called Rupert for obvious reasons.

Philip Carlton


26/04/14 – 07:24

I used to go to work on the Albions from Chell to Hanley and the gearbox seemed to be arranged from right to left, very different from the Leyland and AEC.
Can anyone verify this?

Clive Reynolds


27/04/14 – 08:06

Clive, the gear selector gate on the PMT Albions was exactly the same as any other bus in the fleet. They had a five speed Albion constant mesh unit fitted. The linkage was very sloppy giving the effect to the driver of stirring a very thick pudding when trying to locate each gear!
The Tiger Cubs that were acquired from Stratford Blue in 1971 had exactly the same gearbox but with a Leyland designed selector arrangement. The gear change on these was much more positive (and heavy!) but once you acquired the knack, I always thought a pleasant bus to drive. Mind you, I didn’t have to operate them in service on one man services.

Ian Wild


 

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Bristol Omnibus – Leyland PD1/A – LAE 13 – C4044

Bristol Omnibus - Leyland PD1 - LAE 13 - C4044

Bristol Omnibus
1947
Leyland PD1/A
ECW H30/26R

Chris Youhill has mentioned that Samuel Ledgard bought and ran a few of these vehicles in the early 1960’s, which prompted me to rummage around and find this photo, which I took at the Bristol Bus Rally in 1977. I don’t believe that LAE 13 was a Ledgard vehicle, although LAE 12 was.
This unusual chassis/body combination arose because of Bristol Tramways Motor Constructional Works’ inability to meet the urgent post-war demands for Bristol chassis. So, fifty Leyland chassis were bought to fill the gap and keep the ECW production line going. Their contemporary high-bridge body was fitted. They did look very high!
One other member (C4019) of the 50 has survived, just, and is slowly being restored.

A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

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You couldn’t get any nearer than this to turning the clock back could you ?? Below is another picture of LAE 13 and yours truly, taken on October 14th 2007 on the occasion of the Running Day to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the demise of the Samuel Ledgard undertaking. The very appropriate location is at Otley Bus Station and LAE 12 which Chris H mentions was stationed at Otley depot throughout its Ledgard career. It was also the bus which I had for my very first duty as a driver – a wickedly busy late turn starting in the peak period on a Friday – and although I was naturally suffering from "stage fright" the wonderful vehicle behaved like a dream, "pulled like a trooper", and kept any of my errors in engine revs and road speed completely quiet and not even a click was heard by the passengers. Here also is a picture of "the real LAE 12" in Leeds. I was already a dedicated Leyland PD1 fan and that Friday was one of the happiest days of my life. The Running Day was also exactly fifty years after I started as a young conductor and so to be able to stand with a vehicle as near as is possible to its memorable twin meant everything to me.

Chris Youhill

Bristol Omnibus - Leyland PD1 - LAE 13 - C4044_ at Otley

S Ledgards - Leyland PD1 - LAE 12

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Delighted to see the Bristol/Sammy Ledgard PD1, which reminds me of early post war Tilling Group policy.
I believe 100 PD1s were purchased, and spread out among several fleets, including some others with highbridge bodies at Eastern Counties (?).
Tilling also embarked upon a rebodying exercise, including many quite venerable chassis, which placed further demands on ECW, and I wonder if this was why some of the Bristol examples were bodied by BBW (Brislington Bodybuilding Works!). Perhaps someone will have more explanatory detail, but the whole early post war Tilling programme was absolutely fascinating….stick a new body on it, and fit a recond. 5LW, and you had a standard Tilling bus whatever the chassis origin, although the PD1 was not in this category.
I just wish that West Yorkshire had been a bit more involved in these fascinating exercises.

John Whitaker

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Glad you liked the picture, John, of what is to me a very special vehicle as you can imagine. We had a total of six former Bristol Leyland PD1s, three each by ECW and BBW.
ECW : KHW 631 KHY 395 LAE 12
BBW : KHW 243 KHW 622 LAE 2
The first five were at Otley Depot while LAE 2 served at Armley where it was eventually prohibited from going on the Leeds to Bradford route due to its habit, when bouncing, of clattering the underside of the railway bridge in Whitehall Road !! Just one of those fascinating little oddities – why wasn’t it based at Otley where its anti railway nature would have been contained ?? We shall never know now.

Chris Youhill

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The other major participant in the 100 PD1/As order was Crosville. Crosville also had some Regals which were shared with either Bristol or Western National. I believe they had Beadle Bodies to standard post-war ECW design. Another Crosville strand was the PS1s(?) with Weymann body delivered direct but redirected from a Balfour Beatty/Midland General order. [This is also interesting as BF/MG normally had AEC/Weymann combinations - Leylands occasionally, but rarely, appearing on the list.]

David Oldfield

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Interesting comments David re. Crosville, which perhaps was the most un-Tilling of the Tilling companies! Probably because they were part of the BET group prior to the 1942 TBAT switch round, with North Western going the other way, and they therefore did not have any pre -war Bristols apart from a few odds.
I never drove a bus, so Chris`s comments re the Ledgard PD1s were intriguing too. I always picked up vibes about the PD1 being rough and slow. Certainly my recollections in Lytham and with EYMS are not so, but perhaps the different engine mounting on the PD1A had some effect. Did the PD1s of Ledgard from other sources behave as well as the Bristol ones Chris?

John Whitaker

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The Crosville AEC Regals had Strachan bodies. JFM 575 is preserved.

Peter Williamson

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Peter W, thanks for the correction.
John, I believe you could be correct about PD1A being smoother with their modifications. I do drive buses – but as more of a hobby than our resident professionals like Chris Youhill. I have only driven PD3s and only experienced PD2s and PD3s with STD as a boy.
My only experience of PS1/PD1 is on the preserved rally circuit. They do have a reputation of being rough – but I think this is merely comparing the 7.4 and the 9.8 engines. Personally, I have found them different, rather than rough, and Granville Smith’s PS1/Plaxton running around Helmsley I found to be one of the best and sweetest vehicles that I have ridden on. Could be the driver is a critical factor. [...and coming from an AEC man that is praise indeed!!!!!]

David Oldfield

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It is most reassuring from the observations of John and David that the allegations of "roughness" are not borne out by present day experience. I think, though, that I may be able to identify the origin of the theory as I remember clearly in 1946 when I was ten years old that my first impression of Samuel Ledgard’s newly delivered half dozen PD1s was of very harsh knocking from the engines. This comparison was, of course, against all the Company’s many TSs/TDs virtually all of which were still in full day service and on top line coaching duties at the time. I do believe that the early "noisiness" of the 7.4 litre engine most probably arose from poor quality diesel in the aftermath of The War, and from the fact that operators’ fitters and engineers were entirely unfamiliar with the tuning required on what was, after all, an entirely new engine in the civilian area. Once the necessary practical experience was in place the engines began to perform in a very potent and civilised manner.
I agree wholeheartedly with David’s praise of Granville Smith’s glorious PS1/Plaxton which for several summers has operated magnificent but tortuous services on the North Yorkshire Moors. Not many sixty year old vehicles can claim to ascend the long and notorious Sutton Bank’s 1 in 4 gradients without a whimper !!
I can promise John that all the Ledgard PS1s/PD1s performed magnificently and smoothly. We had the following, from a quick mental resume :-
NEW 6 PD1s 8 PS1s
Ex BRISTOL 6 PD1s
Ex RIBBLE 4 PD1s (plus 2 "converts" to PD2)
Ex PRESTON 7 PD1s
S/H COACHES 2 PS1s
My personal experience was that the apparent large difference in capacity compared to the 9.8 litre engine was of little consequence, and the delightfully precise behaviour at all times of the PS1/PD1 clutches and gearboxes made them a delight to drive and, acoustically, a real treat in which to travel – or for that matter to issue tickets !!

Chris Youhill

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What cruel fate that such Leylands (and their fellow AECs) are reduced to just happy memories! As a postscript, I have read – and heard recounted – that people who worked with and drove these "100" far preferred them to contemporary Bristol K5Gs.

David Oldfield

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Would the ‘roughness’ actual/imaginary stem from the fact that pre-war Leylands had indirect oil engines (which were very quiet and smooth) and postwar ones direct injection?
Was it my imagination that a characteristic of post-war Leyland engines was to ‘hunt’ on tickover (run through all cylinders in one go, then pause before repeating the cycle) rather than just have a conventional, even, tickover? Maybe it was another make of engine, or the engine was out of adjustment in some way.

Chris Hebbron

———

I think you’re right on both counts, Chris H

David Oldfield

———

I’m afraid Chris H that I haven’t the technical knowledge to express a qualified opinion on "indirect v direct" injection, but I’m sure that your suggestion may indeed be the reason for the difference in noise characteristics between the prewar 8.6 litre engines and their 7.4 litre. successors.
As far as "hunting" goes you are absolutely right, and both the 7.4 and the 9.8 invariably had this habit. At the risk of being ticked off by devotees of the 9.8 I have to say that I always found these to hunt unpredictably and fussily as if they weren’t sure what to do next. On the other hand the 7.4 hunted with metronome accuracy comparable with the movement of a high quality Swiss watch, and in between each six injections would whisper a couple of delightful little refined whistles. If I’m thought there to be a little "over the top" well I’m "guilty as charged yer’ honour" and I admired and enjoyed the PS1s and the PD1s beyond measure.

Chris Youhill

———

I suppose that the best way to describe direct versus indirect injection sound characteristics would be to say that the latter type ‘knocks’ and the former don’t! In fact, simplistically, it is hard to tell a pre-war Leyland 8.6 diesel engine from a petrol engine.
LAE12 looks much better in Ledgard livery than in the Bristol one, primarily because the all-white upper deck gives the vehicle a much ‘lighter and lower’ look.
PD1’s must have been a small part of virtually every fleet in post-war Britain, either new or second-hand. Even London Transport had 65 of them, with Leyland bodies. When I worked in London in the mid-50’s, they would trundle past my office on their well-worn path on route 38A between Victoria and Loughton (Essex). I would catch one from time to time and enjoy the experience. They were all withdrawn in the mid 50’s and exported to Jugoslavia, and a hard life, to judge from the odd photo I’ve seen taken from there.
Anyway, enough of this rambling – glad I was able to turn the clock back for a short while, Chris Y!

Chris Hebbron

———

Thanks again Chris H for that clarification. Just a small detail of information about the Ledgard livery – the top deck and lower saloon windows of LAE 12 do indeed look white in the picture, but the colour was actually a very very light grey, the manufacturer’s title being "duck egg blue." I am fascinated by your memories of London Transport STD 112 – 176 as I was in great admiration of them also as a frequent visitor to London in those days. When travelling from Victoria to the West End I would wait as long as necessary to board one on the 38A and needless to say loved the journey. I’m not sure how many were allocated to Victoria Gillingham Street Depot (GM) but certainly when they were new they often appeared on the tortuous 137 route from Highgate in the north to Crystal Palace in the south – a very long run with some nasty hills here and there. I bet the drivers used to preselector STLs would curse anyone who halted an STD midway up Central Hill at Norwood !! There, I’m rambling now – I do apologise.

Chris Youhill

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Chris Y’s description of the E181 (Leyland 7.4) "hunt" is not OTT at all – it is spot on. But oddly, it isn’t universal, at least not in the preservation world. Some hunt more than others, and the one in Philip Thornes’ ex M&D Beadle-Leyland doesn’t hunt at all. I wonder if this may have something to do with the fact that it wasn’t built for civilian use. Apparently it came, unused, straight out of a War Department box.

Peter Williamson

———

Peter that’s most interesting – I’ve ridden many times on the beautiful vehicle mentioned, and know Philip well, but I never realised from whence the engine came. Also when travelling I’m so in awe with happy memories from the period ambience that the lack of "hunting" has never registered with me !! Thanks though for confirming my general observation about these engines – much appreciated.

Chris Youhill

———

A very interesting thread, though have to say am not as enthusiastic about the PD1 as others here. Oldham rather than waiting for the PD2 which followed almost immediately in 1947, forged ahead and took 14 PD1s and 50 of the 8ft PD1/3s. They were sluggish and underpowered especially on the unforgiving gradients around that town.
That they were used as driver trainers is no coincidence with their painfully slow gear changes where the revs having died away completely would need pumping up again. It was said by drivers that they could roll a fag between changes.
The observation on Lythams PD1s is however totally correct, quite apart from the flat terrain they worked, they were much livelier with quicker gear changes, and this was all down to the fact that the flywheels had been bored out. This is a mod that other operators may have also adopted hence the differing characteristics between vehicles and operators?
Certainly the sweet natured vehicles encountered nowadays may have much to do with the degree of tlc lavished upon them as opposed to when in service?
Eastern Counties 20 PD1As which were all Gardner 5LW engined served from 1947-64, so a creditable record.
The uneven tickover of the 7.4 E181 engine probably has more to do with the pneumatic governors with which they were fitted than anything else, and the related whistle on idling. Postwar Crossleys had similar idling characteristics for the same reason.

Keith Jackson

———

I have found the comment I made about Yorkshire Traction PD1’s – on the Smiths Luxury Coaches – Leyland Titan PD1 posting. I was reminded of it by your comment about the revs dropping, Keith – spot on. Compared with Doncaster Corporation Transport buses, they were painfully slow.

Joe

———

The distinctive ‘hunting’ on idle would more than likely be attributable to the vehicles concerned being fitted with pneumatic governors rather than the more usual mechanical type. In the post-war years CAV and Simms both produced fuel injection pumps which had pneumatic governors as an option, and several manufacturers specified these on some of their diesel engines, including Leyland. Albion was another and used them on its EN250 engine as fitted to their Claymore truck, and Nimbus small single-deck chassis for example. This engine was also fitted to the Bristol SU chassis. Ford Thames Traders fitted with Ford’s own 4-cylinder ‘Cost Cutter’ diesel also sported pneumatic governors, and likewise had that distinctive ‘rise and fall’ tickover. In fact many a Trader front bumper could be heard rattling in perfect harmony with its idling engine!
I can vividly recall as a schoolboy, being fascinated by the tickover of Bradford C T’s EKY- and GKU- registered batches of Leyland Titan PD2s. They had that reassuring ‘hunting’ characteristic, which to my young ears sounded not so much of an affliction, but more a rather contented gentle mechanical "purring". In later years I would again be treated to "that" tickover when occasionally travelling on one of West Yorkshire’s little Bristol SUL4As – although I couldn’t help thinking in this case that the little 4-cylinder engine was somewhat reminiscent of a coal wagon when idling! They had a tendency to lose dipsticks when new, as the horizontal EN250 engine had a dipstick tube with a quite shallow curve in order to fit neatly under the floor. Apparently the flexible dipsticks had a habit of ‘creeping’ up the tubes due to the vibrations set up on tickover, and over time they would simply pop out of the end!

Brendan Smith

———

These are all absolutely fascinating observations and opinions from different angles and I am really enjoying reading and learning from them. One thing though does surprise me a little on the aspect of painfully slow gear changes on the PS1s/PD1s and this is that no-one has mentioned an ingenious device called a "clutch stop." I’m not an engineer so I can’t fully understand how this works, although I believe something akin to brake linings is involved, but on all the Samuel Ledgard examples it was extremely effective – although requiring a degree of confidence, I’ll explain. The system was to declutch once, placing the lever in neutral, and then to very positively and quickly fully depress the clutch whereupon the next gear could be selected silently before the engine revs dropped fully. This was most useful on hills when heavily loaded although there was no need to employ it on the level. When I say confidence was needed this is because any "half hearted" attempt at the procedure would result in a screaming protest like a sawmill, audible for miles around, from the gearbox and those of us with pride in the job soon learnt to do it properly or not at all. To a layman like me it seems obvious that a degree of "design mechanical cheating" must have been involved to enable the gear to be engaged at the wrong engine revs but the clutch stop was an official device which had to be kept, so the fitters explained, finely tuned – or else !!

Chris Youhill

———

I remember so well the Bradford PD2/3 s as described above!. I could never understand the random gurgle of the tickover which never seemed to reimpose itself on a regular rhythm pattern. Now I know why! This wonderful sound was vividly brought back to my notice last year when I sampled the Wallasey PD2 at Birkenhead. Bradford never had PD1s, but many fleets, it seems to me, were only too keen to get rid. Leicester comes to mind, whereas their PD2s did the best part of a 20 year stint. Were the East Yorkshire PD1s modified in any way, as I remember these as quite nippy on the rural routes from Bridlington to Hornsea.?

John Whitaker

———

Chris Y- are we talking crash gearboxes here? This sounds like the old technique of double declutching- pedal down, move into neutral: raise revs in neutral, pedal down, engage next gear as revs fall. Not as easy as that sounds. That is why drivers would labour the engine on a hill until stalling loomed.

Joe

———

Something that hasn’t been mentioned in connection with PD1 performance is overall gearing. I don’t know about the Tilling PD1As, but I do know that Manchester and Oldham’s PD1s both used the highest gearing available, which gave a high top speed but very poor performance on hills, whereas Wigan’s were much lower geared, giving better hill-climbing at the expense of a lower top speed.
The approach to the clutch-stop was very variable throughout the industry. Tilling fleets were often clutch-stop strongholds, with the clutch-stops on Ks and Ls being every bit as effective as on the PD1 when kept in tune. The transmission on the Guy Arab III-V and Daimler CCG also had a clutch-stop, but it was much slower-acting, giving the driver a bit more breathing apace, but still faster than a double declutch.
Returning to that tickover, I wonder if this will bring back some memories:
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)

Peter Williamson

———

Yes Joe, we are talking about crash gearboxes, but the "clutch stop" procedure is a completely different method to the normal double declutching. I didn’t stress that use of the "clutch stop" was only necessary on upward gear changes to cheat the normal rate of rev loss when taking the foot off the accelerator.

Thank you Peter – I recognised the melody straight away from your description and it will always be one of the top tunes in the automobile acoustic hit parade for me – a brilliant picture in words.

Chris Youhill

———

Shut me up if I’ve mentioned this before, but Smith’s Luxury Coaches of Reading had LAE 16 roofless as a tree-lopper. Being that much lighter it flew along and I even had the impression that the axle was higher geared than that of the Leeds JUG PD1s.
Tree-lopping in the quiet lanes west of Reading was very enjoyable, the none-too-laborious task being further lightened by the old hands’ anecdotes of the romantic encounters they had witnessed over the years in the fields below as they gazed down from the lopping deck. I spare you the details… I do agree with what Chris, Peter and others have said about the PD1 clutch-stop: that very heavy flywheel made it essential for up-changes, but the PD1 clutch-stop seemed much less predictable than its AEC, Crossley or Bristol counterpart. Chris Youhill’s "screaming protest like a sawmill" beautifully sums up the price you pay for holding the clutch down for the minutes fraction of a second too long.
One day when I hadn’t much to do I fiddled with the pneumatic governor of JUG 630 and I reckon I got the tickover down to a stable 150rpm, but I put it back before going out again. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any of our 7.4 engines hunting particularly, but they all sounded and "felt" different.

Ian Thompson

———

Keith Jackson mentions that the Eastern Counties PD1As had Gardner 5LW engines. I never knew this, and am surprised that Leyland would succumb to this deviation! Were they supplied new like this, or converted later by ECOC, and did other Tilling fleets have the 5LW fitted?

John Whitaker

———

Leyland would never have supplied any bus, at that time, with other than Leyland power. If they were 5LW powered, they had been retro-fitted. As I said above, Leylands were preferred to Bristol K5Gs. It could only have been an expedient.

David Oldfield

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08/08/11 – 07:01

Just to correct two misapprehensions. All twenty of the Eastern Counties PD1As had lowbridge 53 seat ECW bodies, and all but one had Leyland six cylinder engines. The first, GPW 346 had a Gardner 5 cylinder engine. There were rumours of ECOC modifications to improve economy with a consequent reduction in performance, and Leyland Motors were not happy!

Nigel Richards

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09/08/11 – 18:02

As a recent arrival on the internet and this site had me reminiscing? I was a driver for Bristol Omnibus Co. 1959/1965, and I was based at Eastville Depot where the whole batch of PD1s (less 3 at Lawrence Hill)were allocated, ah yes, I remember them well, getting a little tired though some of them, I loved ‘em, they were certainly oddities amongst a great fleet of Bristol/ECW vehicles. The comments about hunting brought back vivid memories as did the talk of clutch stops, I particularly liked the way you could place your right boot "into" the throttle pedal, your heel nestling against the raised lip at the rear of the pedal. I have encountered a couple of them over the years at rallies and running days, and as a plus to all that after transferring to the country services at Marlborough St. Bus Stn in Jan. 1962 in the middle of the Great Snow/whiteout, I think that was the year Wilts and Dorset took over Silver Star of Porton Down, and lo and behold we had 3 Atlanteans on the fleet, initially based at W.S.M. "WESTON", but then sent to Bristol for use on the Portishead 85 route, it was not my regular rota, I was an O.M.O. driver, but often drove them on overtime duties, my how they could power up the viciously steep Rownham Hill, uncanny how quiet they were with the big 680 engines in the rear ‘bustle’, of course they were not standard, and that being the watchword of the Tilling Group they were not around for long, oh how we missed that power. The reference to Gardner 5s, reminds of an occasion when I was climbing Tog Hill on the A420 one early morning with a Bristol LS, empty, and I was overtaken by an 8 wheeled AEC Regent belonging to Dobsons of Edinburgh I believe, fully loaded with aviation spirit for RAF Lyneham, a master class show of a large under stressed engine walking away with its load no problem. Of course, not many years later we were seeing Daimler Fleetlines zooming about the UK powered by HUGE Gardner 6LXBs, but that’s another story. Years later I was driving a DAF truck, which as we know came about with the collapse of Leyland Bus and Truck, and the emergence big time of Volvo and DAF etc. Thanks for the opportunity to roll back the years

Dave Knapp

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02/10/11 – 07:03

Re Chris Hebron’s initial photo and comments about the ex Bristol PD1As, there were initially 150 engine and chassis delivered to the Tilling Group in 1947/8, and 100 of them were equipped with lowbridge ECW bodywork, and sent to 7 different Tilling Group Company’s the other 50 went to Bristol Omnibus where I was a driver at Eastville Depot, there were 25 fitted with ECW highbridge bodies and 25 with BBW highbridge bodies, they were all allocated to my depot apart from 3 or 4, I am not sure which, that were allocated to Lawrence Hill. As I have said on other occasions they were getting a bit tired come the 1960s, but generally speaking they would give a driver a satisfying return for being patient with grasping their "ALIEN" ways, I was quite fond of them, the Leyland sound of the 0600 engine was very welcoming to the ears, it certainly made a change to the usual Bristol/Gardner melodies which abounded in the Bristol streets. I moved to the country services in 1962 and that was my last contact with them, I did spot two of them some years later, they were internal transport at the Filton plant of British Aircraft Corp. where the prototype Concord was being built. The one in the photo, LAE 13/4044, I saw it at a rally at Wroughton nr Swindon, about 10 yrs ago, looked well spruced up and well ready to do "3 times up Oldbury Court" on the 11 service!! The chap that owned it said they were having a spot of trouble with the power steering and the air/con, oh, how we all laughed? I do believe I would enjoy an hour or two on a private road getting reacquainted with a well fettled Leyland Titan PD1A, that would certainly roll back the years!

Dave Knapp

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02/10/11 – 10:34

The pre-war (i.e.1939-45) Leyland 8.6 litre oil engine was always a direct injection unit. It had an overhead camshaft and pot cavity pistons, and was governed to the then high speed (for direct injection) of 1900 rpm. It ultimately developed 98 bhp, compared with the 102 bhp at 1700 rpm of the contemporary Gardner 6LW, but it gained a reputation for smoothness and reliability at a time when certain other makes of oil engine were proving to have neither of these qualities. AEC obtained permission to use the pot cavity piston design for their engines, resulting in the direct injection versions of the 8.8 and 7.7 power units.
I always understood that the only difference between the PD1 and the PD1A was the use of Metalastik spring shackles in the latter. The types were otherwise identical in specification. The 100 bhp 7.4 litre E181 was a toroidal cavity engine, and it was certainly rougher and noisier than its predecessor, and, having experienced problems with the flexible engine mounting on the TD7, Leyland reverted to rigid mountings for the PD1. However, the point made by Chris Y about the poor quality post war diesel fuel is surely true. Similarly, modern oil technology is so far advanced compared with those far off times that engine performance today, even for old motors, is very much smoother. The high revving, turbocharged screech boxes of modern times would never have survived more than five minutes on the fuels and oils of 1947.

Roger Cox

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20/10/11 – 06:43

Re my comment above dated 09/08/11 – 18:02, I think I am a bit out on the date of the Great Snow, (I am a Vicar of Dibley fan), Jan 1962 should have read Jan 1963, some of the outlying villages, Doynton/Littleton-on Severn/and quite a lot more did not have a bus for weeks, and in spite of this the usual greeting from passengers after a big trek up to the main road to get on the bus was generally cheery and sympathetic to our travails trying to maintain schedules/timetables in such appalling conditions. I still think back to the, joys’ of a 4/5hr stint in the cab of an old Bristol L5G, the raked back side window of the cab to cope with O.M.O. duties, freezing cold, no mod cons, we used to call them "conker boxes", rackety old crates as they were, I must confess they were in a minority, we mostly had LSs and MWs, which, though not state of the art were a big improvement.

Dave Knapp

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28/11/11 – 09:21

Fascinating stuff! I rode many of Manchesters PD1 fleet, numbered 3000 to 3049 or 3050, as they were used on the 50X limited stop schools service from Sale to Manchester Grammar school. The hunting, whenever heard, still brings back memories, and that slow change especially from 3rd to Top gear!–wonderful.
That part of the World being fairly flat, none of the buses I regularly used ever needed to use first gear, which in those circumstances could be regarded as an emergency ratio.
The Gardner 5 cylinder Daimlers, numbered 4000 to 4500 were interesting. Clearly underpowered, but the odd one would seem to go like hell, I wonder if some were retro fitted with a bigger engine?
Finally for now, in peak times in the 1951/2 years Manchester brought out some old Crossleys, one of which was so gutless that it would only just manage to get into top gear and hold about 18/20 mph on a dead level road. But it sounded normal! Happy days–

Mike Plant

———

03/01/12 – 17:11

It has been really interesting reading all the comments about the PD1. I am lucky enough to own the Warrington PD1 registered EED 5 which I have enjoyed driving and pampering for the last 30+ years. True to form, the E181 engine of EED 5 has that delightfully slow tickover (and so it should) that makes gear selection much easier, and a slow gear change that allows you to roll a cigarette between gears!
Gear changing in hilly areas can be a bit of a challenge and the clutch stop does come in handy for a quick 1st to 2nd change and maybe even a 2nd to 3rd, but you have to be quick and ensure the pedal goes right to the floor. I have ridden on Philip Thornes really nice Beadle/Leyland coach and am really impressed with the attention to detail and excellent turn-out; I did notice that the Beadles engine is set to tick over a lot faster than on mine and wonder if this is simply how they prefer it? Whatever the reason, it has a lovely pedigree and its so nice to see it in service.

Phill Clark

———

06/02/12 – 07:43

I gained my PSV drivers license on a PD1 with Eastbourne Corporation in 1962 and afterwards drove them in open top form on the seafront service The performance was best described as adequate but I don’t recall them being noticeably rough, fitted with a pneumatic governor which gently whistled I realised after a while that when it reached a certain pitch the gears would engage very easily and silently without using the clutch making for a less tiring day but the change was always very slow, some drivers said they could roll a cigarette while waiting for the revs to die down (metaphorically speaking of course) ah happy days.

Diesel Dave

———

06/02/12 – 09:28

Phill, thank you greatly for your fastidious preservation OF EED 5 – a vehicle which I’ve long admired when I’ve seen it. I’m in no way a traitor to my native county of Yorkshire but, similarly, I’ve never been a party to the rivalry between the "red and white roses" and have always found all aspects of public transport west of the Pennines to be utterly absorbing. If I see EED 5 anywhere this season I shall make myself known if I may.

Chris Youhill

———

06/02/12 – 09:29

I’ve driven PD2’s & 3’s but never a PD1, but it sounds as if the gear change technique is much the same as the first vehicles I ever drove, they were Guy Arabs with the slow revving Gardner 5LW, very slow change up and loads of revs and quick change down, and the whole world heard about it if you got it wrong.

Ronnie Hoye

———

06/02/12 – 13:47

I drove PD2’s and PD3’s at Halifax from 1973 until the last was withdrawn in the early 80’s, and then as an Instructor I still regularly drove the two PD2 trainers until they went in 1990. Most operators had withdrawn their PD1’s by then (Halifax never had any anyway) but during my involvement in bus preservation in the 1970’s I drove both a PD1 and a PS1 on several occasions. Having heard all the adverse comments about them over the years, especially no less than Geoffrey Hilditch’s recollections of how difficult he found them to drive in Manchester, I had approached them with apprehension, but was surprised to find how pleasant and satisfying these two actually were.
As Diesel Dave says, the trick with up changes was to listen to the wheezing sound of the pneumatic governor dying down, then as it just started to whistle, quickly snick it in – with or without clutch. These constant-mesh boxes had less movement in the gate, and required little physical effort, unlike the heavy synchromesh PD2’s and PD3’s. In hilly areas they needed a few more revs when moving off up a gradient compared to what I was used to, but once on the go they were surprisingly nifty performers – especially the PS1. I liked them a lot – full of character.
One unusual bus we had in our group was a PD2/1 which was fitted with the PD1 type gearbox. The original synchromesh boxes had begun to fail dramatically in many fleets after only a short time in service, and for a while until the problem could be sorted out, Leyland began to fit the constant mesh unit in some PD2’s. There was no change in model designation, and little publicity was given to the matter – so not many enthusiasts knew about it until comparatively recent years. Those in the know about our preserved example used to rather naughtily not mention the fact when allowing someone else to drive it, then watch the hapless driver struggle whilst they fell about laughing ! Very silly, really (I wasn’t one of them I hasten to add). It was also a nice bus to drive though, with obviously more ‘go’ than a PD1, the only drawback being a severe transmission judder on moving off – something that many early PD2’s suffered from.

John Stringer

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LAE 13_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

———

28/07/12 – 08:49

I agree with Phill Clark, who’s PD1 was the first I ever rode on as a youngster way back in the ’80s from Brighton back to Battersea if memory serves.
Many years later I am the delighted owner of Plymouth PD1 DDR 414.
After many years of driving various different PD2s & 3s I have to say I find the Driver Fatigue Factor of a PD1 is much less…

Bob A


 

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