Old Bus Photos

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


 

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A. H. Kearsey – Leyland 7RT RTL – KGK 797- 62

A. H. Kearsey - Leyland 7RT RTL - KGK 797- 62

A. H. Kearsey
1949
Leyland 7RT RTL
Park Royal H30/26R

The London Transport RTL class, known to LT as the 7RT, appeared from 1948, and consisted of a modified Titan PD2 chassis frame to accord with features of the AEC Regent RT, enabling the interchangeability of bodywork between the two types. Though fitted with the standard O600 engine, the gearbox was the AEC preselective epicyclic of the RT class, a transmission option that was not a standard offering by Leyland to operators elsewhere. A total of 1631 RTL buses was made, though, as with the 4826 of the RT class, that number never ran together in service. The majority of RTLs had Park Royal bodies, though 32 were originally fitted with Weymann and 500 with Metro Cammell bodywork. To these were added 500 of the mechanically similar eight feet wide RTW class, all of which had Metro Cammell bodies. Under the LT Aldenham overhaul system, bodywork became swapped about between chassis on passing through the works, and tracing individual bodies to chassis during their London Transport lifetimes is complicated. With characteristic profligacy, LT went ahead with developing its new wonder, the Routemaster, from 1954, despite the fact that large numbers of brand new RT and RTL buses were then languishing in store without ever having turned a wheel in revenue earning service. Four years later these stored buses eventually took to the road in 1958, the year before the first production Routemasters began appearing in volume, and they then began displacing the perfectly sound earlier RTLs of 1948/49 after a service lifetime of a mere nine to eleven years, during which full chassis/body overhauls had been undertaken. These withdrawn RTLs, in fine mechanical and body condition, soon found favour with operators at home and abroad (many went to Ceylon) where they rendered years of reliable service. The former RTL 133, KGK 797, delivered to London Transport in February 1949, was sold in January 1959, despite having received a full Aldenham overhaul in 1956, when its original body was replaced with another, also by Park Royal. It was then bought by A. H. Kearsey of Cheltenham, together with RTLs 138/149, KGK 802/813, and all remained with that operator when it was taken over by Marchant’s Coaches in January 1968. In the August 1970 picture above KGK 797, fleet number 62, in Kearsey’s sombre grey and blue livery, is seen (if I recollect correctly, though hesitantly after half a century) in Bishop’s Cleeve. Marchant’s continued to serve this area right up to October 2019 when all its bus routes were withdrawn following issues with Gloucestershire County Council over funding. More Kearsey pictures may be found here:- www.flickr.com/photos/tags/kearsey/

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/03/20 – 12:29

A minor correction to the details given here by Roger. The 500 Leyland 6RT, RTW class, had Leyland bodies and not Metro Cammell ones.

John Kaye


09/03/20 – 06:32

You’re right John. My error.

Roger Cox


09/03/20 – 06:33

Did some also have Cravens bodies?

Roger Ward


10/03/20 – 06:03

I think that there were some Saunders Roe bodied RT’s as well?

Andrew Charles


10/03/20 – 06:06

The Cravens bodies, as with the Saunders bodies, were on the RT class, A.E.C. Regent III.
RT1402-1521 had Cravens bodies, whilst RT1152-1401 and RT4218-4267 had Saunders bodies.

John Kaye


11/03/20 – 06:25

The bus has generous destination panels, yet, Kearsey left the bus completely ignore every one of them!
Marchant’s Coaches, Cheltenham, are still in fine fettle, with some 7 local school bus services, private hire and mystery tours, and regular day-out tours to places like Legoland. Nice to mention a well-established family concern not in trouble or to announce its demise.

Chris Hebbron


12/03/20 – 06:07

……though they recently pulled out of local service operation, citing too much bureaucracy amongst other issues. Until, I think, the 1980s, they had an amazing network of stage routes around the Cotswolds, worked from a base at Aldsworth, the timings of which they seemed to regard as a state secrets – the recently dropped work around Cheltenham had come from other sources, notably replacing the estimable Castleways when that concern closed.

Phil Drake


15/03/20 – 06:47

Those painted-over destination boxes bothered me as well. I grew up in a place and an era when the buses I saw displayed half a dozen via points on the front, back and nearside, and showed the destination front and back, and even now TfL buses have some route information on the front. So I’m baffled – how did Kearsey’s passengers know where the RTL was going? Was it only ever on one route, which was known to everybody who was likely to use it, or did the conductor shout from the platform “We’re only going to the Town Hall today, love, but we can drop you off at the shops if you like? No sir, we don’t go to the station, not on a Wednesday!”?

Don Davis


Like it, Don; good point well made. Mind you, there were good displays, but confusing ones, too. Portsmouth Corporation, in its middle years, had double-lettered routes. ‘A’ one way and ‘B’ coming back. there was never mention anywhere of this and folk would wait for an ‘A’ return journey and ignore the ‘B,s going by! And this at a seaside resort with lots of holidaymakers. I grew up with suffix letters on route numbers in London, although they never went very high,, but Portsmouth had one route, 143, which went from ‘A’ to ‘F’. ‘A’ was the whole route, then the higher the suffix the shorter the route. Much higher than ‘F’ and the route travelled would have been about a hundred yards!
Incidentally, Cheltenham, which historically only had numbered routes, now has some with letters. I’m surprised that Gloucestershire County Council, which controls bus route numbers, hasn’t forced a change.

Chris Hebbron


16/03/20 – 06:50

16-03-2020

The mention by Phil Drake of Castleways of Winchcombe reminded me of this photo taken in November 1973 of their Leopard PSU3B/4 Plaxton Panorama C49F, apparently named Countess, new in November 1972 looking absolutely stunning in their dark blue and silver grey livery. Taken in Cheltenhams somewhat bleak bus station amongst the autumn leaves.

David Lennard


17/03/20 – 07:07

17-03-20

My delight with Castleways was seeing their Temsa Safari coach, which looked absolutely gorgeous in the black with gold band livery. (Photo by R Sharman).
On one occasion, I took their coach on their route to Stratford-upon-Avon. Cheltenham Bus Station, although the late 1940s reinforced concrete shelters have now been replaced by light metal glazed ones, is as bleak, draughty and lacking any comforts as it ever was. Not even a toilet. Perhaps the bus is too uncomfortably reminding them of the Great Unwashed!

Chris Hebbron


18/03/20 – 07:02

They used single deckers on their routes, and the double deckers on schools/factories and as duplicates on stage services.
They were well kept up until Marchants took over. They lost the ladies college work and other work to Castleways and started to go down hill. Marchants was always to be avoided if possible. Its only in the past 20/30 years that Marchants have improved.

A number of years ago Cheltenham and Gloucester used the same numbers, so country routes were adjusted to 3 numbers, and some renumbered, Cheltenham went to letters, Red and White forest routes renumbered.

Mike


19/03/20 – 06:39

Thx, Mike for that info.

Chris Hebbron


19/03/20 – 06:41

Chris Hebbron mentions Portsmouth’s confusing route numbers. Another seaside resort determined to baffle holidaymakers was Southport. Most routes were cross-town, and the route number went with the destination, so if you went from the town centre to Woodvale on an 11, you would return on a 10 bound for Preston New Road. Then when there was a timetable change, the routes would swap partners, and the 11 to Woodvale might return as a 2 to Marshfield!

Peter Williamson


19/03/20 – 06:52

Middlesbrough Corporation Transport used all the letters A – Z. That all changed when TRTB, MCT and Stockton were merged into TMT. Then they moved to numbers, as TRTB and Stockton used numbers. The "O" Bus or "0" ZERO was a joint Stockton/Middlesbrough Bus. 46 and 47 routes later. United then had to add a "2" so the 63 became the 263 to avoid confusion. Then it became Cleveland Transit, a disaster. Then Thatcher scrapped the buses!

Mr Anon


20/03/20 – 06:22

Castleways livery may have looked Black but was Trafalgar Blue.

Tim Presley


21/03/20 – 06:45

As my wife will testify, with a tut and a sigh, Tim, ("Do you think this colour suits me?") I’m colour blind!

Chris Hebbron


21/03/20 – 06:47

Morecambe managed without route numbers until the sixties as did Ledgard until the very end of the company.

Chris Hough


21/03/20 – 06:50

Checked to see if my comment came and then thought no that’s not right it’s Wellington Blue.

Tim Presley


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 15th August 2020