Old Bus Photos

West Riding – Dennis Loline III – FCP 303E – 552

West Riding - Dennis Loline III - FCP 303E - 552

West Riding Automobile
1967
Dennis Lowline III
Northern Counties H41/33F

During the mid-1960’s with the recent arrival of Geoffrey Hilditch as General Manager at Halifax Corporation, the Joint Omnibus Committee had begun to develop its tour and private hire operations, acquiring a number of secondhand coaches to that end. A works contract had been obtained requiring a number of coaches to provide transport between the smaller towns within the Wakefield/Barnsley/Doncaster triangle and Meredith & Drew’s biscuit factory at Ovenden in Halifax. Other private hires – such as to away rugby league fixtures – and the popular local afternoon countryside tours often required several coaches or DP’s and it was reckoned that economies could be made if a lesser number of suitably comfortable and speedy low-height double deckers could be provided. At the time the double deck buying policy had switched from Leyland Titan halfcabs to Daimler Fleetlines, but the latter though available in low-height form came with four-speed gearboxes and were only capable of a top speed of around 42 mph.
A Dennis Loline III demonstrator had been amongst many other types trialled in 1964, but although it had the preferred semi-automatic gearbox it too had only four speeds, but enquiries were made about the possibility of providing a five-speed version and after further trials of the same demonstrator an order was placed for what would turn out to be the last batch of Lolines to be built. Delivered in February and April 1967 they were numbered 300-304 (FCP 300-304E) and had Gardner 6LX engines, five speed semi-automatic gearboxes and smart Northern Counties H41/33F bodies with all moquette higher-backed seating.
They were most impressive vehicles to ride on and could certainly get a move on. They enabled the M&D contract to be worked by fewer vehicles at a more competitive price and were regularly used on tours, private hires and service work alike. Much has already been written elsewhere about the unfortunate unreliability of the complicated and cramped transmission involved, so I won’t go into further details here, but it was a shame as the Loline as such was an otherwise excellently engineered and quality machine. Within four years though the engineers had had enough of their problems. West Riding Automobile was desperately attempting to rid itself of its disastrous Wulfrunians and buying all the Bristol Lodekkas it could lay its hands on. The Loline was essentially based on the Lodekka and so Hilditch spotted an opportunity to be rid of them whilst they could probably still command a decent price and in due course all five became West Riding’s 464-468 (later 549-553), at first painted in their latter Tilling Green and cream livery, but by the time of this photo – taken in Hall Ings, Bradford in 1975 – they had become NBC poppy red. One was withdrawn for spares in 1973, and the others were sold to North’s the dealer in 1977, and scrapped the following year.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


13/07/17 – 08:03

I never rode on these Halifax Lolines, as I (utterly unregretfully) left my job at HPTD Traffic Office towards the end of 1966, but I did spot them about on my occasional visits in the years immediately following. Some other Lolines and a number of FLF Lodekkas also had semi automatic gearboxes which seem to have run satisfactorily in service, though I believe that all these were four speed units. As John says, the Halifax Lolines were SCG five speeders, and the problems seem to have dwelt therein. Given the fact (from GGH himself) that they were capable of ‘well over’ 50mph with the 1700rpm 6LX, it is clear that they were obviously very highly geared indeed in fifth. This would have stressed the transmission components considerably, especially in the challenging Halifax operating environment. Certainly the trouble free Aldershot and District constant mesh five speeders were no sluggards, even with the 6LW engine, though, with a top speed of about 50mph, they were not as highly geared as the Halifax examples. In his book "A Further Look At Buses" Hilditch lists the production of the various Loline models, but mistakenly shows the Reading Mark III machines as having semi auto gearboxes. They were constant mesh, the first batch having four speed Dennis boxes, while the later ones had five speed Bristol units with fifth gear blanked off (a decidedly curious arrangement). Incidentally, the location of John’s photo seems to be that of my last picture in my West Riding Wulfrunian gallery, but I see that the fine Victorian building in the background has been superseded by a ‘modern’ architectural excrescence.

Roger Cox


13/07/17 – 16:21

I believe the Eastern National semi auto FLFs were 6LX/five speed. The Crosville semi autos were also five speed, but had the less powerful 6LW, which would provide less stress for the transmission.
I have never heard of either of the above types being particularly troublesome, so the answer may have had something to do with the Halifax Lolines higher (?) gearing.

James Freeman


21/07/17 – 07:03

I remember the Halifax Lolines very well and I remember going on a countryside tour to Delph on one. To me they represented the ultimate half cab D/D development ie Gardner 6LX engine, 30 ft in length, semi automatic gearbox and nice airy interior, a great pity they were flawed.

Andrew Spriggs


22/07/17 – 07:01

ECP 679D

What a surprise I got when I read Andrew Spriggs’ comment above, and found mention of my home village of Delph.
Not often mentioned in bus circles, but featured in the film ‘Brassed Off’ when the band plays at the Whit Friday Contests.
My family ran the village Post Office in Delph for a number of years, and the Halifax buses on the Day/Afternoon Excursions used to stop right outside, so the passengers could stretch their legs and have a wander down by the River Tame, and possibly have a beverage (or two), in one of the 4 pubs.
The White Lion being run by Sonny Ramadhin a West Indian cricketer of some renown in the 1950s and 60s.
I recall a number of vehicles being used including Lolines, PD3s, and later Fleetlines, along with single deckers if the loadings were not overly generous. Delph, and Saddleworth was of course no stranger to Dennis Lolines, as the local operator, North Western Road Car Company, ran a large fleet of them.
Delph was of course the home of one Geoffrey Hilditch for a number of years, and I think the area made a lasting impression on him, as he is buried in the Grave Yard of Denshaw Church, which is the next village up the valley.
Anyway enough of my ramblings, and attached is a picture which was sent to me a number of years ago, of 3 Fleetlines in Delph (King Street), on the said Excursions.
The Post Office is situated just out of shot to the right, and if shown, would probably show me hanging out of the flat window on the top floor.

Stephen Howarth


 

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Barton Transport – Dennis Loline – 861 HAL – 861

Barton Transport - Dennis Loline - 861 HAL - 861

Barton Transport
1961
Dennis Loline II
Northern Counties FL37/31F

861 HAL is the famous ‘limbo dancing’ Dennis Loline II from the Barton fleet. It has an ultra lowbridge Northern Counties FL68F body and we see it at the Netley rally on 13 July 1986. How low can you go? Well, King Alfred’s WCG 104, Tiger Cub, is alongside – compare heights!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


17/11/16 – 07:08

Where does this Loline live now? A long-standing ambition is just to see it: riding on it would be the cherry on top.

Ian Thompson


17/11/16 – 07:09

So much has been written about 861 that I apologise if I’m repeating what’s gone before but for those who may not know, this ultra low Loline was purchased specially by Bartons to pass under an ultra low railway bridge at Sawley Junction station (now renamed Long Eaton) This it did, just, but Bartons proved it could be done. However, the Traffic Commissioners were having none of it and refused to licence the intended route for double deck operation. This left the company with a one-off vehicle with no real purpose but all was not lost for 861 because it became regularly employed on the X42 Nottingham – Derby express service where it put in some astonishing performances, up to 70 mph on the A52 road between the two cities. For most of it’s life it had a Leyland O.600 engine and also a regular driver too, a chap who was always immaculate in Barton’s brown uniform complete with striped shirt and bow tie, I never knew his name but he was known to everyone as ‘Flash Harry’ and a very competent driver he was. The X42 was jointly operated with Trent but those who knew and wanted an exhilarating ride chose Barton!

Chris Barker


17/11/16 – 10:36

Thanks, Chris and Ian. The PSVC listing for 2015 says 861 is part of the Barton collection, but I don’t know the location. A Wiki search gives me all sorts of museums, rare breeds farms and so on, but not what I’m actually seeking!

Pete Davies


17/11/16 – 10:37

This vehicle has become legendary, but I have never actually seen it. I don’t know if those alleged speeds are verifiable – the bus must have been very highly geared to get to 70 mph (I’ve got quite near to that in a 6LXCT powered Olympian). Nevertheless, I can vouch for the supreme stability of the Loline at high speeds, so 861 would have been entirely safe when motoring fast, especially so with such a low built body.

Roger Cox


17/11/16 – 10:56

Ian
861 currently resides in its old depot at Chilwell, along with the other members of the Barton Collection. The premises are usually open to the public during the Heritage Weekend in September each year. Well worth a visit.

Bob Gell


17/11/16 – 12:31

It appeared as part of the Barton display at Showbus this year. I believe the Chilwell site has approval for redevelopment, but don’t know how that will affect the Barton collection.

Ian Comley


17/11/16 – 14:40

861 HAL_2

As presented in the Barton line-up at Showbus 2016.

Les Dickinson


18/11/16 – 07:12

Given that the Loline was offered with a variety of engines, in this case the Leyland 0.600 being fitted, I’ve often wondered how 861 achieved such a low windscreen line together with what appears to be minimal engine intrusion beside the driver. It would seem to be much lower than, say, a Lowlander bonnet line or any other Lolines for that matter. For the technically minded, would the engine have been modified at all, or perhaps a shallower radiator fitted?

Chris Barker


18/11/16 – 07:17

Here is a link to my Flickr site where I have a set of 20 photos of  Barton vehicles at Showbus 2016. Barton at Showbus 2016

Les Dickinson


19/11/16 – 13:38

Thanks for the info, gentlemen. I hadn’t realised that 861 was on the road, so I particularly regret not going to September’s Showbus—especially with all the other fascinating Barton vehicles there. To complement the ingenuity of the mechanical design and seating layout, everything about 861 looks well integrated: the very opposite of the afterthought-plastered-onto-afterthought appearance of some 1960s deckers.

Ian Thompson


20/11/16 – 05:49

Chris, like you, I am convinced that the radiator must have been repositioned or modified to achieve that low windscreen level, and the same is surely true also in respect of the similar bodies on the Barton Regent Vs of the type shown in this link:- www.oxford-chiltern-bus-page.co.uk/

Roger Cox


20/11/16 – 08:20

I take it, Roger, that the Regents weren’t ‘limbo dancers’ in the same was as the Loline – just broadly similar at first glance.

Pete Davies


21/11/16 – 07:50

If you compare the photos of other Loline 2s on this site, you can see that the radiator grille on 861 HAL is much lower, relative to the front wheels, than on other examples of the model.

Nigel Frampton


21/11/16 – 07:51

The clear recognition point between the Loline and the similar-looking Regents is the distance between the top of the wheelarch and the base of the windscreen and side window line.
But both are classic versions of a pleasing design that hasn’t been bettered by the more recent use of economical flat glass for windscreens. The wrap-around look gave a real sense of style, in my opinion. And, of course, much better visibility than certain modern buses with heavy non-glazed corner panels.

Peter Murnaghan


21/11/16 – 10:33

When 861 and Regents 850-4 were delivered they were fitted with the Cave Brown Cave heating system, so presumably they didn’t have a radiator in the conventional position. After only a few years, the CBC grilles disappeared, but it begs the question as to where the radiator is now. I remember one journey on 861 on the X42 with a new driver; I think he must have been used to the Regent Vs (four speed gearbox) as he never found fifth gear on the Loline for the whole journey!

Bob Gell


22/11/16 – 12:27

Fifth gear on the Loline I and II was engaged by pushing the stick forward from fourth into neutral, and then over to the right and back again in a ‘U’ movement. If the driver hadn’t been shown, he would probably never have found it. Changing back down from overdrive to fourth needed practice, too, to avoid engaging second gear by mistake. The trick was to move the stick forward into neutral and let it go, so that the detent spring could centre it properly, and then just pull it straight back into fourth.

Roger Cox


22/11/16 – 13:45

The curved front windows look natural on this bus and not out of place as they definitely do on the later Southdown Queen Mary Titans.

David Wragg


22/11/16 – 16:14

This would seem to be the same procedure as I used to observe drivers doing in the Dennis Lances, Roger, if I’m not mistaken, as I travelled from/to Woking Station and St. Peter’s Hospital, Ottershaw.

Chris Hebbron


22/11/16 – 16:15

Roger Thanks for the explanation of finding fifth gear (and getting out of it again!); is this similar to the 5 speed gearbox fitted to Bristol MWs?

Bob Gell


23/11/16 – 07:28

Whilst 850-4 and 861 had Cave-Browne-Cave equipment when new 957-62 did not and the radiators of tin-front buses were generally a lot smaller than the 1940s -style exposed items. I recall that unlike some Northern Counties full front bodies the regents did not use the manufacturer’s bonnet pressings. Perhaps the owner of one of the preserved examples could comment further.

Stephen Allcroft


23/11/16 – 07:29

In answer to Chris H, the Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox fitted to the Lancet, Lance and Lancet UF (though the few LU4 late examples had the Meadows gearbox) worked the ‘wrong way round’ from right to left, and was essentially a four speed sliding mesh (i.e. true ‘crash’) unit with a preselective overdrive on the end of it. To engage fifth the gear stick had to be pushed from the fourth position over to the left and forward. Unlike me, OBP contributor Ian Thompson has driven Dennis machines with this unique box, so he is our ‘in house’ expert here. The Bristol box, Bob, as fitted to the LS and MW, was a synchromesh unit working conventionally upwards from left to right, and I do have experience of it. Fifth gear was engaged from the fourth position by moving it to the right and forward. It was thus impossible to engage/disengage fifth except though fourth, which meant much labouring of the stick to get going again if one was baulked in overdrive. The Lodekka had the same gear positions, but in that case the gearbox was a constant mesh affair, making the extrication process from overdrive rather more difficult. Generally speaking, Lodekka drivers seemed very reluctant to use fifth in service unless a clear stretch of open road beckoned. By contrast, all versions of the Loline (the Loline III had a gear selector layout similar to the Reliance) allowed immediate access to neutral and the other gears from the fifth gear slot, and fifth was treated as the normal top gear. This feature alone meant that the Loline was a more sprightly machine on the road than the Lodekka.

Roger Cox


24/11/16 – 09:45

For those who would like more information on ‘Dennis ‘O’ Type 5 Speed Gearbox’ see this site:- http://www.dennissociety.org.uk/nl/ogearbox.html

Roger Cox


25/11/16 – 07:24

Thx, Roger, for explaining much more about these gearboxes and that the ‘O’ was different from the Loline. You can quite see that drivers put on these vehicles without any advice, would have difficulty finding overdrive, or, if inexperienced, preferred the simplicity of avoiding it!

Chris Hebbron


25/11/16 – 10:37

One endearing thing about Dennis is that they don’t sheepishly follow the crowd. As Roger’s link to Ted Gamblin’s piece makes clear, changing into and out of the Maybach-designed overdrive on the Dennis "O"-type box is simplicity itself, whereas the other gears need rather precise timing. With the strange two-shaft box of the Loline I and II, on the other hand, you can hardly go wrong with any upward or downward changes, EXCEPT for the change down from fifth into fourth, which needs care not only in locating fourth properly in the gate, as Roger points out, but also in engine-speed matching. Having to go through first to engage and disengage reverse can also take you by surprise!
I may be over-generalising here, since the only Loline I I’ve ever driven is ex-A&D 357, currently out of action with gearbox problems.
It’s interesting that despite (or thanks to?) Dennis’s history of experimental and sometimes eccentric design, and their near-disappearance from the PSV market on several occasions, the company in its present form continues to thrive. Good that they escaped Leyland’s clutches!

Ian Thompson


29/01/17 – 08:43

With BartoN Transport Ltd family and employees we had somewhat different names for the vehicles than what the spotters and enthusiasts call them nowadays. For example the full fronted AEC regents were known as Derby Deckers nothing else, all the ex Londons were London Deckers the 30 foot AEC 470 saloon were known as Reliance (which they were) but the 590s were known as 36 footers. Any thing with a PD1 or PD2 engine was known as just that, we never used Tiger or Titan, or what the chassis originally was. A Vuemaster was that and only that regardless of what it was made from, body names like Vista and Vega were never used. The moggy pickup trucks were vans, the AECs with 3 seats one side and two the other were Jumbos.

Bill Redfern


25/02/17 – 16:30

The driver of 861 on the x42 Derby/Nottm express was Harry Bell or ding dong as we used to call him. His opposite was Ken Gardener also very smart with a dicky bow. I recall this very well as I used to drive 861 on a Saturday which was their day off.

Chris Coleman


 

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Verwood Transport – Guy Arab V – WTE 159D

Verwood Transport - Guy Arab V - WTE 159D

Verwood Transport
1966
Guy Arab V 6LW
Northern Counties H41/32F

WTE159D is a Guy Arab V with Northern Counties H73F body (well, she did start her life with Lancashire United!) in service with Verwood Transport. The indicator display has been altered to suit a more rural operation, and we see her in the yard at Mallard Road during an open day at the Bournemouth Corporation transport depot on 22 May 1983.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


22/09/16 – 07:16

This beauty gives one a good idea of what a front entrance Middlesbrough Arab would have looked like Quite superb in my opinion!

Chris Hough


22/09/16 – 13:21

Thanks, Chris. When Wilts & Dorset took the firm over, they were so impressed that they painted a VR – S suffix so too new for these pages – in Verwood livery. Equally smart.

Pete Davies


22/09/16 – 15:07

U seem to remember that the proprietor of Verwood Transport trained as a driver at Middlesbrough and that’s why he chose the blue livery.

Stephen Allcroft


22/09/16 – 16:42

So, Stephen, a variation on the theme of Managers taking the livery of their former command to their new one – there are several instances in these pages!

Pete Davies


24/09/16 – 07:42

WTE 159D_2

In the early 1980s Verwood was a growing community somewhat neglected by public transport. Hence Andy Wood stepped in to provide services to Poole and Christchurch on different days. As Verwood Transport , he acquired a Leyland PD3 ex Brighton Corporation. This was soon replaced by the Guy Arab shown. Both vehicles and indeed subsequent rear engine vehicles were always worked OMO [as it was known in those days].
The Guy was unique in the area and was much appreciated by passengers and enthusiasts.

Keith Newton


24/09/16 – 07:43

These buses had deep, vertically slatted grilles either side of the destination boxes when they were with LUT. Were they fitted with Cave-Browne-Cave heating equipment when new or were the grilles for some other purpose? Either way, this beautifully presented vehicle has had them removed and replaced with very much smaller, natural air vents.

Chris Barker


24/09/16 – 08:39</EM&GT;< em>

Keith, I wasn’t aware of an ex-Brighton PD3, never having seen it, but I do have a view somewhere in our Editor’s ‘in tray’ of a former BEA Routemaster.

Pete Davies


25/09/16 – 06:17

Unfortunately, due to lack of space following our recent move to a flat, most slides are unavailable at present so I cannot attach an image of the PD3. Likewise the Routemaster which was RMA11.

NMY 648E

This subsequently passed to an operator in Leighton Buzzard who used it in full Verwood Transport livery.

KGJ 612D

After de-regulation, Andy together with Roger Brown [Shaftesbury & District] re-introduced services in the area and I have attached an image of RMA37 in the green livery seen in Christchurch.

KGJ 603D

Finally is an image of the rebuilt and extended Routemaster RME1 which remained in red and is seen in Salisbury.

Keith Newton


26/09/16 – 10:11

What superb liveries are the blue and green examples shown here. I’m having to pinch myself here to make sure that its not April 1st . Joking apart, I have never heard of the RME extended Routemaster – have you any more details please. Even allowing for the Routemaster’s legendary front and rear modules this must have been quite an engineering feat, requiring longer prop shaft and pipelines of varying sorts.

Chris Youhill


27/09/16 – 05:45

Further information about RME1 may be found at the bottom of the page here:- www.countrybus.org/cob2002/cob2002c.htm

And also here:- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shaftesbury

Roger Cox


27/09/16 – 05:46

Chris the last time I saw RME 1 it was on a wedding special in Halifax for a Keighley operator.

Geoff S


27/09/16 – 11:15

Many thanks indeed Roger – I can’t understand how I’d never heard of this ambitious project, and very neatly and professionally executed I must say. I have to be quite honest, when I saw the picture I did think that it was a "spoof"

Chris Youhill


27/09/16 – 16:38

The centre staircase on RME1 is a one-piece grp unit from an Alexander bodied Ailsa.

Stephen Allcroft


28/09/16 – 06:20

I knew of the extended Routemaster Chris (Y), and think it is a fascinating vehicle, but assumed that the conversion would have been carried out by London Transport rather than Shaftesbury & District. It just goes to show that we should never underestimate the ingenuity of the independent operator. Looking at Keith’s photos of the blue and the green Routemasters made me drift off into two of those ‘what might have been’ moments. The blue RMA gives a hint of what Samuel Ledgard’s later purchases may have included, following on from its successful ex-LT RTs and RTLs. The green RMA’s livery is somewhat reminiscent of Leeds City Transport’s (although the upper deck window surrounds and roof would have been in the darker green of course), and could have been one of a batch bought new for use on the Leeds-Bradford 72 joint service with Bradford City Transport. Just idle thoughts I know but…….

Brendan Smith


28/09/16 – 06:21

I notice in the photo at Roger’s second link, dated 2010, that the vehicle has acquired a twin headlamp front.The even window-widths make for a much neater style than the later halfwindow-width extended RM’s.

Chris Hebbron


02/10/16 – 05:37

Just an update for Chris. RME1 was on a two RM wedding special passing through Shipley this afternoon for Red Bus Days of Keighley.

Geoff S


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 24th July 2017