Old Bus Photos

East Kent – Dennis Lancet – HJG 6

East Kent - Dennis Lancet - HJG 6

East Kent Road Car Co. Ltd.
1954 – 1957
Dennis Lancet UF – Guy Arab IV
Duple C41C – Park Royal H33/28RD

East Kent’s first foray into underfloor engined vehicles occurred in 1951 when six Leyland Royal Tigers with ornate but rather uncertainly styled Park Royal coach bodies arrived in 1951. In 1953 came two more Royal Tigers, this time with well proportioned Duple C32C Ambassador bodies. Thirty more similar Duple coach bodies, the first six being C32C, the rest C41C, arrived in the following year, but this time mounted on Dennis Lancet UF LU2 chassis, East Kent having been an enthusiastic customer for the front engined Lancet in pre and early post war years. These coaches were registered HJG3 to 32 – East Kent did not use fleet numbers, but duplication of the number element of the registrations was always avoided. This Lancet UF order was the largest Dennis ever received, and the total production figure for the model was a mere 71. Factors influencing this outcome were the low driving position, the high pressure hydraulic braking system and the idiosyncratic Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox, a four speed crash unit with a preselective overdrive fifth. That gearbox had been a feature of the vertical engined Lancet and East Kent drivers were fully familiar with it, but, in the UF model, its remote location together with the engine halfway long the chassis made clean changes by ear difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, these Lancet UF coaches were very refined, fast and reliable, achieving a service life of up to 17 years.
East Kent’s pre war standard double decker was the Leyland Titan TD4 and then the TD5. During the war East Kent was effectively in the front line, and the fleet suffered extensive damage through enemy action in the air and from artillery firing across the Channel from the French coast. Utility Guy Arabs were allocated to East Kent to meet vehicle losses and the rugged dependability of the marque so impressed the company that the Arab became the standard post war double deck chassis up to 1957. The BET preferred supplier system then oversaw the transfer of subsequent orders to the AEC Regent V, though three Bridgemasters were also bought, all with Park Royal bodywork. Thenceforward the melodious murmur of Gardner engine and Guy gearbox was supplemented by the atonal scream of the AEC transmission. MFN 896 was an example of the last batch of Guys, one of 20 Arab IVs of 1957 with Park Royal H33/28RD bodywork of outstandingly classic proportions. The first AEC Regent Vs that followed in 1959 were the PFN registered ‘Puffins’ which wore a full fronted version of the traditional Park Royal design, but thereafter the Regent body deliveries witnessed a decline from the sublime to the ridiculous by carrying the hideous Bridgemaster derived highbridge design that so offended Southampton Corporation that it quickly transferred its long standing patronage from Park Royal to East Lancashire. The ugliness of the design was accentuated later when these Regents were turned out in NBC poppy red.
The picture was taken in Canterbury in 1967 when East Kent was still a BET company, and shows 1954 Lancet UF HJG 6, by then reseated to C41C, alongside 1957 Arab IV MFN 896, with another Arab of the same type to its right. These Arabs originally presented a full destination blind display, but by 1967 the aperture had been reduced to a single line. On the right hand edge of the photo are two of the ugly duckling Park Royal Regent Vs of 1961 onwards that eventually totalled 121 in the fleet.

More details of the Dennis Lancet UF and the earlier Dominant may be found here:- https://www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/dandl.html.

A detailed article covering EKRCC operations, principally in the Dover area, is here:- https://doverhistorian.com/2016/12/16/east-kent-road-car

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/01/21 – 06:24

I’m so pleased to see someone saying what I’ve long thought about the the later Regent Vs. I was a schoolboy in Folkestone in the early ‘60s, and whereas the MFN Guys were my favourites and I quite liked the PFN Regents, I thought the later Regents were freaky and designed by somebody who would probably have done well in some other occupation. On the other hand I was pleased to see the back of the lowbridge PD1As; travelling upstairs on one of those could be a depressing experience.

Don


22/01/21 – 07:38

If it wasn’t for the Duple single decker I was all ready to say "Edinburgh Corporation". What a similarity of livery colours, livery application, double decker bodywork, etc.

Bill


 

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Sheffield Corporation – AEC Swift – TWE 123F – 1023

Sheffield Corporation - AEC Swift - TWE 123F - 1023

Sheffield Corporation
1968
AEC Swift 2P2R
Park Royal B53F

Sheffield took delivery of two batches of AEC Swifts in 1968. The 2P2R type was fitted with the AH691 engine, ideal for the Sheffield hills. The first 11 buses were single doorway for the Joint Committee B fleet as shown here. These buses were initially put to work on the Inner Circle services 8 and 9 despite these being category A services. 1023 is seen here so employed when just a few weeks old at Hunters Bar. The Inner Circle routes took one hour for a round trip serving the older and inner parts of the City. The small window beneath the nearside windscreen had a roller blind behind which could be set to either blank (as here) or Please Pay as you Enter as appropriate.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


29/06/20 – 06:21

Who knows? I could have been lurking within 1023. I was a pupil of King Edward VII School on Newbold Lane from 1964-1971 and these were my regular mode of transport to and from school from 1968. Fast and smooth but, in retrospect, not the equal of the RE. Ironic that, shortly afterwards, an order for the superb RE was changed for the flawed VRT.

David Oldfield


15/07/20 – 06:45

I think you and I spent many a happy hour waitiog for these Swifts and before that – whatever could be mustered from East Bank Road depot at that time in the morning, be it a 30ft long AEC Regent V with Weymann, Alexander or Roe bodywork, a PD3, Atlantean, Fleetline or even somethingg older. What a splendid mix was the Sheffield fleet right up to the 1970s.
The Swifts had a hard life climbing up and down the ferocious hills of the Steel City to Lodge Moor, Gleadless, Upperthorpe, Walkley and, as here, on the Inner Circle. Of course they never looked as good as this once taken over by the South Yorkshire PTE.

Philip Hanwell


17/07/20 – 07:33

Yes, it was a bit of a hotch potch just prior to the Swifts. Not sure about the B fleet Regents Vs or Fleetlines, but we certainly had the rest – and older. [Not to mention the fleet of almost retired Regent IIIs and PD2s used to ferry us to games at Trapp Lane and Castle Dyke.]

David Oldfield


 

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Manchester Corporation – Leyland PDR1/1 – HVM 914F – 1014

Manchester Corporation - Leyland PDR1/1 - HVM 914F - 1014

Manchester Corporation
1968
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Park Royal H45/28D

One of the famous Mancunians which revolutionised the double deck bus in the late 60s is seen turning into Portland Street in May 1968 when just a couple of months old. The stunning livery brightened up Manchester – sad that they soon succumbed to SELNEC orange and white.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


25/05/20 – 07:24

1014 was one of the vehicles delivered in the cream and red livery based on the scheme previously used on the Panther single deckers. It was displayed in Piccadilly along with 1001 which was in the white version of the livery and the public were asked to comment. The result was a majority in favour of white so 1014 and, I think, 1017 went back to the spray booth.

Phil Blinkhorn


26/05/20 – 06:54

Phil, you are too modest. Part Four of your expansive article, Manchester Buses – A Retrospective, gives the comprehensive story behind the Mancunian double deck design:- Manchester Buses a Retrospective – Article

HVM 903F

Here is another picture, showing the nearside, of one of the early Atlanteans, No. 1003 HVM 903F, taken in June 1970. In 1968 Ralph Bennet moved on to London Transport, later becoming first Deputy and then Chairman. There he came up against the exhibitionist and rabid Thatcherite leader of the GLC, Horace Cutler, who engineered his early removal from office in 1980 on the politically motivated, utterly preposterous grounds that he lacked the necessary managerial expertise. Cutler’s transport legacy of cost cutting, asset stripping and under investment is still felt in London to this day.

Roger Cox


26/05/20 – 06:55

I have a soft spot for these first Atlantean Mancunians. I travelled the 19 route regularly on my journeys from Work, when I was in digs at Debdale Park while working in Denton. Hyde Road also used these on the 169/170 services, to which there is a clue in the destination number box. The 1 has been left, the 6 or 7 wound to 9 and the last last digit the 9 or 0 wound off. Keen drivers would correctly have just used the second and third tracks only, far neater in my opinion. If I could not sit at the front upstairs my second choice was the rear offside seat over the engine to listen to it. The 19 was very convenient for me as the short walk from Victoria Station to Greengate would get me on a 12/31/38 to visit my parents at Little Hulton. To add to Phil’s comments about the colours, perhaps we can add that it was 1044 that later on, suffered a most catastrophic fire. Question to Phil, there was also the first demonstration of a Mancunian in Piccadilly, but that was to demonstrate it against two other operators new buses, neither came near to it.

Mike Norrios


26/05/20 – 06:55

Since my previous comment, I’ve found the record of the deliveries and repaints. There were 7 deliveries for entry into service in March 1968. 1001/03/04/05/10/14/24. Of these 1003/04/14 and 1024 were delivered in red and cream, the rest in red and white. On Saturday February 24 and Saturday March 2 two vehicles were displayed and free rides given in Piccadilly bus station. 1001 in white and 1024 in cream took part with 1014 substituting for 1024 the second Saturday. March deliveries for April entry into service included 1002 also in red and cream but as a result of both the public opinion surveys and previous comments about the cream yellowing on the Panthers – shades of problems to come with SELNEC’s sunglow orange – all five red and cream vehicles were resprayed within six weeks.

Phil Blinkhorn


26/05/20 – 10:53

A Sheffielder, I spent my student days in, and around, Manchester from 1971-1976 – and then stayed to work until December 1980. The Sheffield "standard" PRV body on the 163 Atlanteans and subsequent Fleetlines – and the later London Country/NBC version – is a favourite of mine. However, I always preferred the 33ft Mancunian by PRV/MCW/Roe, but I always felt it was better and more balanced in design as a 33footer rather than this original, shorter, version.

David Oldfield


26/05/20 – 10:55

Mike, the demonstration you refer to was after the 1968 Commercial Motor Show on October 26 when the show exhibit Mancunian, Fleetline 2048 which had been held back to be exhibited by Park Royal, was shown on Piccadilly alongside Sheffield Atlantean 293, also straight from the Park Royal stand at the show and Newcastle 601 an Alexander bodied Atlantean whose hitherto advanced styling was totally eclipsed by the other two with the Mancunian going on to be the template for future double deck design.
Roger, it’s interesting how a later London leader of the same political kidney and with no real experience in transport, wasted millions in removing vehicles found quite satisfactory in cities large and small around the globe and replacing them with a vanity project which could not be operated as designed, cooked the passengers in summer and were designed to look from the rear to fulfil all the meanings of "like the back end of a bus".

Phil Blinkhorn


27/05/20 – 07:04

Phil, My thanks to you.
My memory seems to recall the Newcastle one, have a reversed nearside staircase, or what the Sheffield one? There was something very peculiar about it, on one of them.

Mike Norris


27/05/20 – 07:05

Who on earth, and what bus, can Phil possibly be referring to?!

Stephen Ford


28/05/20 – 07:12

I guess that Phil Blinkhorn didn’t actually live along one of the routes that the London Bendys actually ran on. Their obstructive characteristics really became apparent where, as they tended to do far more than regular vehicles, they ended up running in tandem. I believe there was an instruction that they were not to overtake one another.
They also had a higher accident record than normal vehicles. I know it’s sometimes presented as no different, but these vehicles paid an additional rate and were only driven by experienced senior drivers who otherwise had a much lower than average accident rate.
Sir Peter Hendy stated there was no loss on the disposal of them because they were leased, and just handed back at a lease break point.
When it comes to "experience in transport", we can possibly start with a manufacturer who states the first one destroyed by fire was a "unique incident", the second one was a "extraordinary coincidence", and the third one was "er … we’re going to do a modification". I can still see where the classic trees on Park Lane were ruined by the 436 which caught fire there.

Bill


28/05/20 – 07:14

Mike, it was the Newcastle Atlantean that had the near side staircase – a bit of a Newcastle fad at the time.

Phil Blinkhorn


29/05/20 – 06:52

601 was a conversion by Newcastle Corporation of accident damaged 251(KBB 251D). One of the claimed advantages was that the layout gave the driver a better view of the exit door. I believe Newcastle took two batches of Alexander bodied Atlanteans to this layout. Tyneside PTE, and subsequently Tyne and Wear PTE, adopted this speciation. It appeared on Daimler Fleetline chassis, and Willowbrook built some bodies of this layout for the PTE on long Atlantean chassis.

Richard Slater


29/05/20 – 06:53

No Bill, I didn’t live on a bendy bus route but I have driven in cities on five continents where such vehicles operate and they are no more obstructive than any other long vehicle. Their removal was a toxic mixture of the old LT "not invented here" attitude, political reaction to an innovation by an opposing party and flag waving jingoism. Their very expensive replacements are unable to operate either safely or economically as designed. As for fires, 12 of the articulated vehicles were destroyed by fire and fire has also destroyed a number of the new Routemasters – as it has other hybrids and, going back in time, a good number of Atlanteans, Fleetlines, Panthers and other "conventional" buses.

Phil Blinkhorn


01/06/20 – 07:46

We had the very under powered Wright Ftrs in Leeds which were a bit of a disaster to put it mildly York also had some which the council pressurised First into moving to Leeds. York is also home to a number of Mercedes artics on park and ride service which have no problem in the narrow city centre streets.

Chris Hough


09/12/20 – 07:07

In my opinion the Mancunian was the most stylish body/livery combination ever produced on a rear engine double deck chassis. Ignoring the fact that it is not a fully low floor layout, if one of these turned up at anyone’s bus stop today, I doubt if anyone would believe you if you said the design was over 50 years old.

Alan Murray-Rust


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 27th January 2021