Old Bus Photos

London Transport – AEC Routemaster – ALD 924B – RM 1924

London Transport - AEC Routmaster - ALD 924B - RM 1924
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

London Transport
1964
AEC-Park Royal Routemaster
Park Royal H28/36R

Here is a nice action shot of a standard Routemaster, and it’s probable out accelerating the mini next to it. This particular vehicle had the Leyland O600 9.8 litre diesel engine and it would of had a throatier sound than the AEC engine. This was due to the fact that London Transport did not use air filters for some reason and it was the air entering the Leyland engine rather than the exhaust that produced the throaty sound. If memory serves me correct I think the London Transport practice of not fitting air filters meant that the RT had that lower bonnet line than the Provincial Regent.
The main reason for posting this shot is I visited Southport recently and found an excellent second hand bookshop that had a good selection of bus books and was lucky enough to get a copy of ‘Blue Triangle’ by Alan Townsin. One thing I noticed in the chapter for the Routemaster was that the prototypes had the radiator and fan positioned under the floor behind the engine bay. This explains how the first RM prototype achieved engine cooling when having no radiator just a solid panel with a London underground type logo on it, I have searched high and low for a shot on the internet to no avail I’m afraid. But fortunately by the time the first production model RM 8 appeared in 1958 the radiator and fan had been moved back to the normal position in front of the engine. This meant that the bonnet length had to be increased by 4 inch though to accommodate them and the good looking Routemaster that we all know came to be.

A full list of Routemaster codes can be seen here.

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

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London Transport RM1 STL 56
Photograph taken by Colin Tait in 1955                                          

Here is a photo of RM1 SLT 56 with the solid front plate and bullseye motif, it’s worth observing that this prototype had no opening windows in the upstairs front.
Photograph courtesy of the London Transport Museum.

Chris Hebbron

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The final design was far more balanced, and arguably more attractive, than the original.
There was an interim design of grille which had the LT bulls-eye on the round protuberance (just visible above the grille in the first photograph) and no "AEC" triangle at the top of the grille divider.
The final version (shown) had the LT bulls-eye but not the letters "AEC" on a triangle in the usual place.
There were, over a period of time, variations in the depth of the ventilation grille beneath the destination/route number indicators. (RM 1 is shown with standard route indicators – which it did not carry originally).

David Oldfield

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Your comment about the throaty sound of the Leyland-engined RMs brought back fond memories of riding on one or two of them while I was on a week-long course at CAV in Acton in the early 80′s. The induction roar was absolutely gorgeous, and all the more audible as you say, due to the lack of an air filter. West Yorkshire Road Car had some Bristol RELH coaches (ECW and Plaxton bodies) fitted with 0.680 Leyland engines, which always sounded grand on the road. However, they had a similar induction roar when being tested on WY’s dynamometers at Central Works, as they were tested without air filters. I used to love running such engines in, and then fully bench-testing them on the dynamometers after overhaul. It was lovely (and quite addictive) to hear that roar – even with ear protectors on! The Routemasters had a lovely ‘song’ whether AEC or Leyland powered, as the accompanying melody from the transmission was so gentle and tuneful. Sadly, the tune went off somewhat when they were re-engined and re-gearboxed later in life, but at least it kept them running. P.S. Does anyone else think that someone has lost the plot somewhere with the ‘Borismaster’?

Brendan Smith

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Simple answer – "Yes"
I drove for Reading Mainline on a casual basis.
Everyone knows I’m an A(mbassador) for E(xcellent) C(oaches) – and buses – but our two "Leyland" Routemasters were great fun and didn’t half shift (especially up – and down – Norcot Hill).

David Oldfield

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22/04/12 – 07:34

Brendan, I’m so glad someone else is clearly so addicted to the Routemaster "melody". I fell in love with the Routemaster sound as a young lad and, some 40 years later, I am still totally absorbed by the unique harmonies of the engine (has to be AEC or Leyland) and the various parts of the transmission.

Mike Wakeford

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22/04/12 – 16:10

What engines were used to re-engine the RM’s? I understood at one time that they were Italian, but would like to know if this was so.

Chris Hebbron

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23/04/12 – 05:44

Chris, some of the power units used to re-engine the Routemasters were indeed Italian, these being of Iveco manufacture. Iveco is owned by FIAT, but I seem to recall it collaborated with Magirus and Ford to produce a range of commercial vehicles in the 1980s/90s. (The Ford/Iveco EuroCargo truck springs to mind). Other engines were also fitted to the Routemasters in later life, notably by Cummins and Scania. It was rumoured that Ken Livingston had planned to have the original Routemaster engines replaced with Gardner units at one point, as they had an excellent reliability record, were very economical, and were of British manufacture. The cost of the programme was said to have been too great however, given the perceived extended lifespan of the RMs/RMLs at the time, and so mass-produced engines were used instead. One also wonders if Gardner would have been able to fulfil an order for over 500 engines in time. Their engines were all hand-built from start to finish, and as well as building bespoke engines for the automotive industry, Gardner also built engines (plus gearboxes and pumps) for marine use. Therefore it would probably have been difficult to increase production simply by speeding up the various processes, or transferring production from marine to automotive. Such a shame though that we were cheated out of hearing the sounds of a ‘Gardner Routemaster’. I’m sure Mike and I would have found such a gentle beast just as delightful to the ear as the original AEC and Leyland-powered ones had been.

Brendan Smith

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23/04/12 – 05:45

Chris. Three different engines were originally tried out and used to re-engine RMs. Cummins C (ie 8.3 Dennis Javelin), Scania DS 9 and IVECO 7.7. There was at least one DAF tried as well. The majority were Cummins, minority Scania, IVECO somewhere in the middle. IVECO is Italian (FIAT), but most of their PSV output is made in Spain. Later re-engines (like the "Heritage" RMs in Central London) have the Cummins B (5.9) as in the Dennis Dart and are know – less than affectionately – as Dartmasters.
The well preserved RML that I drive regularly has the IVECO engine – not a patch on the AEC or Leyland originals.

David Oldfield

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23/04/12 – 05:46

I heard they (or some of them) were "Fix It Again Tomorrow’s."

Stephen Ford


 

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York Pullman – AEC Regent III – JDN 669 – 65

York Pullman - AEC Regent III - JDN 669 - 65

York Pullman Bus Company Ltd
1954
AEC Regent III 6812A 
Roe H33/25RD

The last in my collection of York Pullman vehicles, that’s worth showing that is, shot into sun again, apart from having my finger in front of the lens I couldn’t have got it more wrong. Anyway this shot does show off York Pullmans distinctive livery, there was a darker yellow band below the windows unfortunately the upper band does not show very well in this shot. York Pullman took delivery of three of these Regent IIIs in 1954 JDN 667-9  fleet numbers 63-5 fortunately number 64 was restored by Tony Peart to a very high standard and on his death passed to the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society.

A full list of Regent III codes can be seen here.

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Chassis, body, operator – almost perfection. [Well you know I prefer heavy weight AECs - or heavy anything, come to that!] …..and if my bad photos turned out like this one I’d be very happy.

David Oldfield

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A very handsome vehicle in a very handsome livery, and the shadow cast by the sun shows the waist rail up a treat. For anyone interested, there is a video clip on ‘you tube’ aboard 64 (JDN 668), touring around Lincoln. Whilst watching and listening to this, I could not help thinking that the gearbox sounds were very similar to those of pre-war AECs. Was the gearbox of prewar design by any chance, or a modified version perhaps?

Brendan Smith

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I suspect the aural beauty of all manual AEC boxes lay in their pre-war origins.

David Oldfield

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I would also like to associate myself with the affection expressed for the music of the AEC manual gearbox. My early recollections are of Midland General specimens (including some pre-war front entrance Regents), various Trent examples, and later Grimsby’s ex-London Transport STLs. Just a few weeks ago I had the enjoyment of the same sounds on a preserved Regal/Strachans during the Kingsbridge 7ft 6in running day – all the way from Kingsbridge to Totnes and back – a hilly run with plenty of second and even first gear work.

Stephen Ford

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Yet another vote here for the glorious sounds of the AEC manual gearboxes. The much travelled and totally rebuilt example that we had at Samuel Ledgard’s (FJW 938) was a fine example of the original sounds with further fascination from a good deal of wear – originally a Birmingham Corporation Regent 1 it arrived with us as a "Regal" coach with Burlingham bodywork (the rebuilding by Don Everall of Wolverhampton). It was a joy to work on but its raucous subtleties (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) didn’t filter through to the passengers – their loss of course !! When the new Regent Vs arrived further aural delights were to be enjoyed. These fine vehicles had a rather higher pitched and "purer" sound which disguised the already civilised and quiet 9.6 litre engines somewhat and gave a distinct "petrol" impression – those senior ones among us have experienced some glorious times which are not to be had on service work today.

Chris Youhill

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Oh Chris. Don’t get me started again about STD Regents on the hills of Sheffield and Derbyshire!

David Oldfield

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The place to stand, if I recall hazy memories, was the middle of Shude Hill in Sheffield as the many buses climbed towards High Street. The AEC’s, especially the "big bore" Regent V’s would blast hot exhaust across the central island, but the III’s would sometimes seem to have what we boy racers would call valve bounce. As for the tin-front Titans- was it more a sort of strangled wheeze? That may be inaccurate, but I do remember one Regent going up at full chat and a man saying to a woman next to me "that’ll singe tha nylons luv"!

Joe

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T Severn & Sons – AEC Reliance – PYG 605

T Severn & Sons – AEC Reliance – PYG 605
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

T Severn & Sons Ltd.
1956
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Park Royal B41F

Not the best of shots, depot shots very rarely are especially if shooting towards a window. But I think it is worth it as these vehicles were owned by another of the many independents operating in the Doncaster area mainly serving the mining industry. At one particular time T Severn & Sons were one of five operators based in the small village of Stainforth, just shows how big the mining industry was in that area. But I will not dwell on the history as apart from the usual Peter Gould website there are two other sites I have found dealing with the Doncaster independents I have put links to them below.
T Severn purchased two of these Reliances PYG 605 and 606 new in 1956, one interesting thing I found out from their fleet list was that 606 was withdrawn in 1963 but 605 stayed on until being withdrawn in 1970. I somehow cannot see the early withdrawal due to vehicle deteriorating so I presume it was because of the increase in passenger numbers and vehicles with an higher capacity were required. The reason I came to that conclusion is that in the 1963/4 period Severns acquired two new and three second hand double deckers, one of them ex London Transport RT331 as well as two coaches. One of the new vehicles is in the above shot, new in 1964 BWW 654B a Leyland Titan PD3/4 with a Roe front entrance body, this vehicle passed onto SYPTE in March 1979 and was numbered 1156 in their fleet.
Here are the two links for the history of the Doncaster independents as the links are rather long I have made things easy so there is one here and another one here.

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here and Titan codes here.

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I think these two vehicles were always ‘dual purpose’, having seats with headrests, but were delivered in plain green/cream livery with straight mouldings. This was altered some time later to the style shown, possibly because neighbour Felix had a Reliance later on with V moulding on the front and Severn had to keep up! As to why one vehicle lasted 7 years longer than the other, we can only guess but Severn’s did odd things sometimes such as going to the trouble of having a PD1 re-bodied, then selling it only three years later, also buying a Bristol K5G into a fleet which had by then virtually standardised on the Leyland O600 in it’s double deckers.

Chris Barker

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18/01/12 – 06:47

I believe PYG 606 came to Mowbrays, South Moor, part of the Diamond syndicate, I have photographs of this one in service on the Stanley/Durham service, I drove part time in 1961/63? but never drove this one.

Jim Taylor


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 31st July 2014