Old Bus Photos

Leeds City Transport – AEC Regent V – XUM 888 – 888

Leeds City Transport - AEC Regent V - XUM 888 - 888

Leeds City Transport
AEC Regent V MD2RA
Roe H33/27R

Leeds was one of several operators initially not persuaded by the AEC “new look” front end (a preference with which I entirely concur), and its first Regent V deliveries retained the classic radiator design and hence the outward general appearance of the Regent III. These buses were of the MD2RA air braked specification of which Leeds became the largest customer, being powered by the AV470 7.7 litre engine driving into the four speed Monocontrol transmission. They were delivered in two batches, all with handsome, traditional Roe H33/27R bodywork. WUA 760 to 839 (with corresponding fleet numbers) came into service from January to November 1956, and XUM 840 to 894 arrived between March and October 1957. In the photo above, XUM 888 is seen in April 1970, four years before Barbara Castle created the heavy and inefficient hand of the West Yorkshire PTE that was to fall upon the municipalities of Bradford, Calderdale, Huddersfield and Leeds. I understand that these buses did not long survive in PTE ownership. Geoffrey Hilditch paints a revealing picture of the dire financial performance of the PTE in his “Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres, Volume 3”. Later still, of course, another dogma driven politician of the opposite persuasion, a certain N. Ridley was to wreak even greater devastation upon the entire bus operating industry outside London, a saga that has previously been discussed at length on this forum.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

21/05/18 – 06:39

These buses were all withdrawn before PTE days.
The last of the WUA batch had gone by April 1973.
The XUM batch had perished earlier, all bar one (accident damaged) in 1971.

Dave Towers

23/05/18 – 06:44

These small AECs flattered to deceive they had an attractive body but were of light weight construction and when idling in later years the rattles were almost syncopated In addition because Leeds were frugal with fuel a fully laden example could really struggle on the most gentle of inclines For some reason they always seemed to really lean into corners perhaps due to their lightweight construction I well remember one occasion when one really heeled over at the bottom of New York Street in the city centre so far over did it go that the platform was causing sparks to fly from the road surface and was leaving gouges in the roadway!

Chris Hough

24/05/18 – 07:34

Chris, I recall that our highly respected and informed contributor, Chris Youhill, once commented on this forum about the distressing propensity of Leeds City Transport to cut down the engine fuel pump settings on this fleet of Regent Vs. These buses, with their modest AV 470 power units, must have been truly pathetic performers after the fuel pumps had been reset to "economy" levels. Yes, for years, a great many Bristol double deckers got along (albeit steadily) with the 94 bhp 5LW, but, in my experience, AEC motors were never remotely in the same low speed torque league as the Gardner.

Roger Cox

24/05/18 – 07:36

A feature of Leeds buses of yesteryear which always mystified me on visits to the city as a young lad was the unpainted bonnet cover on PDs & Regents of LCT. Nobody has ever given me a proper explanation as to the reason for this, somebody said it was so the fitters did not scuff the paintwork if the bonnet had been painted when working on the engine, but I do not know how true this is.

Andrew Spriggs

28/05/18 – 06:42

This was always given as the reason It survived three managers so was certainly a proper policy rather than a managerial whim and was in use in prewar days. Even the last batches of enclosed radiator AEC Regents with enclosed radiators had the feature The nineteen fifties and afterwards Daimler’s and the PD3As had green bonnets oddly the Crossleys also had painted bonnets.

Chris Hough


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Halifax Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – KWX 19 – 356

Halifax Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - KWX 19 - 356

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
Leyland Titan PD2/12
Leyland L27/26R

On the left of this photo taken in PTE days in December 1977 is the last operational ex Todmorden JOC PD2, as Halifax 356 which had been a Driver Training bus since withdrawal from passenger service. On the right is its replacement – ex Halifax 279, a 1965 Roe bodied Leyland PD2/37. This is in its new guise as Driver Training bus T7. By this date the PTE had introduced a dedicated training bus livery.
T7 was later sold to a driving school in the West Midlands. 356 was put on one side for preservation but was eventually scrapped as a lost cause, a sad loss considering what can be achieved nowadays.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

14/05/18 – 07:18

The heaters on Halifax MCW PD2s were very good for about a year. Being under the seats at floor level they sucked in lots of dust which blocked the warm air flow. It was a long job to clean them out. Just blowing the dust out with an air line covered the saloons in dust. The cleaning job was also unhealthy so nobody would do it. The old round Clayton heaters being fitted well above floor level didn’t gather much dust and remained in working order much longer. At Blackburn we used to place wet sacks over the heater unit to catch the dust when blowing it out with an airline, this was not ideal but kept some heat in the saloon during winter!

Mr Anon

17/05/18 – 07:56

The 1965 Roe bodied Leyland PD2s & the CCP registered Park Royal bodied Regent IIIs are my all time favourite Halifax D/Ds, its a great pity that no examples of either type are in running order in the UK. I did see a former Halifax Roe bodied PD2 still in its Metro training bus guise at Winkleigh a few years ago, but I could not tell which one it was.
Another of the Roe bodied PD2s number 62 was put back in full Halifax green, orange & cream attire, but it did not spend long in preservation & it was exported to either the USA or Canada in the early 1980s. Does it still exist?

Andrew Spriggs

02/07/18 – 07:12

In 1974 my wife worked in the personnel dept. of the then newly formed West Yorkshire Metropolitan Transport Executive. She, they had to send a memo out to Ex Tod crews that taking their buses home at lunchtime was no longer permissible.

Geoff Bragg

05/07/18 – 06:21

Wonderful story, Geoff. Big business versus small business destroying the personal touch, as ever!

Chris Hebbron

11/07/18 – 07:17

The 1965 Roe bodied Leyland PD2s of Halifax were wonderful buses, very solid in the best Roe tradition. It is interesting to relate that a very similar batch of buses were supplied to Ashton Under Lyne in the same year & two years later Lincoln received a batch. Lincoln had received two batches of Roe bodied Atlanteans in 1964/5 & then reverted to PDs in 1967. I would say these Roe bodied PD2s were my favourite double deckers, the longer HBU registered Oldham Corporation Roe bodied PD3s of 1964 were also firm favourites, sadly one was lost when it turned over on a roundabout in Rochdale in 1967.

Andrew Spriggs

12/07/18 – 07:18

The Oldham bus which turned over was 108 HBU.
It turned over in Oldham, at the bottom of West Street, after being hit by a tanker, not in Rochdale.
It was operating the Rochdale to Ashton service 9.

Stephen Howarth

13/07/18 – 07:37

I drove a number of these Roe bodied PD2s whilst at Halifax when they were new, and I agree that they were in a greatly superior class to their Weymann contemporaries, except in one particular. Being a quite long legged specimen, I found that the drivers’ seats on the Roe bodies did not go back as far as those on the Weymann examples, making them less comfortable to drive.

Roger Cox

14/07/18 – 07:01

I know that Mr. Hilditch was, shall we say, a traditionalist in his views and requirements but why did he specify holes in the bonnet sides on these vehicles? It seems like a throwback to the 1940s, did they serve any practical purpose?

Chris Barker

GGH inherited this order from the previous (Leyland besotted) GM, Richard le Fevre, who, despite being on the verge of retirement, chose to saddle his successor with his Leyland legacy. Because of the extended strike at Weymann, where some of these PD2s were heled up for months, Geoffrey Hilditch managed to divert those chassis that were still accessible to Roe for bodying. The apertures in the bonnet were for access to the oil filler cap and dipstick, and this was a Leyland option that appeared on all the Halifax PD2s and PD3s.

Roger Cox

17/07/18 – 06:29

Believe me those holes are invaluable for oil checking. I have a couple of vehicles with solid sides and they are a pain. In service you needed conscientious mechanics to avoid engine seizures.

Roger Burdett


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Northampton Corporation – Crossley – VV 9146 – 146

Northampton Corporation - Crossley - VV 9146 - 146

Northampton Corporation
Crossley DD42/3
Roe H31/25R

Although Northampton were well known for their liking of the Daimler/Roe combination, in the 1930s they had purchased several batches of Crossleys, so perhaps it is not surprising that they purchased a batch of ten DD42/3 chassis with Roe bodies in 1946.
One of them, fleet number 146, VV 9146, has survived into preservation and is seen here in Great Houghton on an Heritage Weekend service, 9/9/17.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Tony Martin

02/10/17 – 07:31

To put it mildly, this was a heap of junk before the present owners (one of whom is a former Crossley employee) started work on it. The dedication involving in restoring it to its present condition is unbelievable. It has to be said though, it isn’t very fast!

Nigel Turner

03/10/17 – 05:58

Plenty of opportunities to sample it here: www.youtube.com/

Peter Williamson

20/10/17 – 07:00

Two Crossleys in succession is quite a treat. Greatly enjoyed Peter W’s Youtube link, where the induction noise is more noticeable than on the Reading Crossleys, but the gearbox music is just the same.
Superb piece of restoration, this Northampton bus. One of my very favourite bodies on what—despite its engine woes—is also a favourite chassis. Nice steering, brakes and clutch, dead easy gearbox. A real pity that the management didn’t fork out and pay Saurer the licence fees, but even then the weak crankshaft would still have posed problems, and the much lighter Morris-Saurer engines fitted to Hants and Dorset’s Morris-Commercials were apparently not that successful. I remember seeing them at Lymington, but never got a ride. Do any MC-Saurers (from any operator) survive?

Ian Thompson

23/10/17 – 06:02

I recall going into a shed in the 1980’s,which was part of Botley’s Park Hospital, Ottershaw, Surrey (which, like many mental institutions, had a farm, but long closed by then). I found three old vehicles in there, two complete and one being just a chassis, with Armstrong-Saurer on it. It looked more lorry than bus, but who knows. I reported them all to a vehicle preservation organisation and six months later, all were gone, but to where? So Saurer vehicles were made here on Tyneside for a period, from 1930-1937, according to Grace’s Guide.

Chris Hebbron

28/10/17 – 16:49

The Swiss firm of Saurer had a modest impact upon the British automotive industry. In the late 1930s the Crossley company embarked upon the design of a completely new passenger chassis that was to become the DD/SD 42. The company’s Chief Engine Designer, W.C. Worrall, was then diagnosed with tuberculosis, a very serious disease at the time, treatment for which entailed taking up residence in a completely unpolluted atmosphere. Industrial Manchester fell somewhat short of the qualities sought from a health resort, and Worrall was sent to recuperate in Switzerland, where he had worked previously for Saurer. Whilst there he visited the works of his former employer and was thereby stimulated to incorporate features of the Saurer four valve cylinder head design in his new Crossley HOE7 engine. The sad subsequent story of what happened later after Worrall’s return to Manchester, when Crossley Motors MD Arthur Hubble refused to pay a Saurer licence fee, is well known, and therein lay the essence of the company’s decline and demise.
The only link between the Morris Commercial built Saurer diesel engines of 1948 onwards (which intimately became the Leyland 4/98 and 6/98 ranges) and the earlier Armstrong Saurer range of lorries was the licensed manufacture of engines to Saurer design. The Armstrong Whitworth saga is rather complicated. In 1904, Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth (primarily an armaments and shipbuilding company) took over the manufacture of the Wilson-Pilcher car which continued to be available until 1907, but the firm introduced its own car and commercial models from 1906, powered by engines between 2.4 and 7.6 litres. About 20 Armstrong Whitworth 32hp buses were delivered in 1906 to the Motor Omnibus Company of Walthamstow, better known by its trading name of Vanguard. This chassis type, which had a four speed crash gearbox and chain final drive, was also available as a three ton lorry, later uprated to four tons. By 1914 a one ton van with worm final drive had been added to the catalogue (figures refer to the payload, not, as today, the gross vehicle weight), but the firm’s commitment to automobile production was less than wholehearted. During the Great War Armstrong Whitworth concentrated on ships, armaments and aircraft – the aeroplane division was formed in 1912 – and from 1919 adapted its Newcastle Scotswood works for a determined assault into railway locomotive and road roller manufacturing. In 1927 Armstrong Whitworth merged several of its engineering interests with Vickers, when the aircraft and motor divisions of the former AW concern were sold off to J.D. Siddeley as Armstrong Siddeley. (Vickers already had its own aircraft manufacturing arm.) Armstrong Whitworth had earlier entered into a licence arrangement with Saurer of Switzerland in 1919 for the manufacture of diesel engines which were first fitted to diesel locomotives and railcars, but, in 1930, the firm decided to re-enter the automotive market with the Armstrong-Saurer range of lorries built at Scotswood. These massive looking, normal or forward control machines were available with four or six cylinder indirect injection engines coupled with four speed gearboxes in four, six or eight wheeled versions. Air brakes, overdrive or Maybach auxiliary gearboxes and double reduction final drives were optional. The main emphasis was on the diesel engined models which had names beginning with the letter ‘D’ (Diligent, Defiant, Dauntless, Dominant, Durable, Dynamic, though later models were called Active, Effective and Samson), the much rarer petrol versions using ‘P’ as the initial letter (Pioneer, Persistent, Powerful). Very few were bodied as buses or coaches, but, in 1932, a 13ft 2ins wheelbase, normal control Dauntless with the 6 cylinder diesel of 8.55 litres, producing 90 bhp at 1800 rpm (the alternative four cylinder engine developed 52 bhp from 6.8 litres) was fitted with a luxuriously appointed Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries single deck body for demonstration purposes. In 1933, Armstrong -Saurer declared that it was considering entering the single and double deck passenger vehicle market, but later that year the Armstrong-Saurer diesel engines were offered as options in the Dennis Lancet and Lance chassis. New direct injection versions of the Saurer engine appeared in 1934, a 5.7 litre four cylinder of 70 bhp and a 8.55 litre six of 120 bhp at 1800 rpm, and ten single deck Daimler COS4 and one double deck COS6 thus powered were delivered to Newcastle Corporation in 1935. They were converted to AEC engines during WW2. In 1934 Dennis produced its own direct injection four cylinder O4 diesel of 6.5 litres, which, like the Saurer, had four valves per cylinder, though the design must have differed from the Saurer patents because no license fee was ever paid by the Guildford firm.
Despite its premium prices, the Armstrong-Saurer range earned a solid reputation with hauliers for quality, but sales were a struggle in the depressed 1930s. Railway locomotive production was also in decline, and the Scotswood workforce fell from some 3000 in the early 1920s to just 500 by 1935. Rumors concerning the future of Armstrong-Saurer production at Scotswood began circulating in that year. Despite official denials, these proved to be well founded, and the entire Armstrong-Saurer range was withdrawn in 1937 when the Admiralty bought the Scotswood works and leased them back to Vickers-Armstrongs in order to concentrate on military work in the rapidly worsening political climate of the period.

Roger Cox

31/10/17 – 07:10

I have challenged before, and will challenge again, the widespread notion that Crossley failed because of its engine problems. In the early postwar years, Crossleys sold as well as they did because there was a high demand for buses. When they became part of the ACV group, AEC engineers quickly sorted out the HOE7 engine, and if the demand had still been there, word would have got around and they would have continued to sell. But the fact is that the bottom dropped out of the bus market in 1950, resulting in over-capacity in the industry, and in that situation Crossley were uniquely vulnerable because buses were their only product. Daimler made cars, Bristol were protected by a guaranteed market, and every other bus manufacturer was also a lorry builder. Crossley were totally dependent on the shrunken bus market, and that is why they failed.

Peter Williamson

01/11/17 – 07:07

The Crossley DD/SD42 was a very sound chassis design, but quickly revealed deficiencies in the engine department and in its steering, which was very heavy. In the immediate post war period the demand for passenger chassis was exceptionally high, and, on the strength of the performance of the HOE7 ‘Saurer head’ engine, orders for Crossley chassis poured in. 3119 chassis were built between 1945 and 1951, but the concentration of production was in the years before the weaknesses of the HOE7 engine became widely apparent. It is true that the demand for new buses fell off sharply after 1949, but I maintain that the poor reputation of the engine did contribute to the decline of the Crossley Motors company, particularly in the double deck field. Somewhat surprisingly, since Crossley had not been a significant player in the pre war coach market, the single deck SD42 sold quite well to independent coach firms, whose operations were less punishing than all day stop start work on heavily laden municipal bus routes, and whose drivers tended to be rather more respectful towards their machinery. The Crossley Motors board did read the market trends accurately from 1945, and seeking a more secure foothold, entered into negotiations with Maudslay in 1946, which dragged on into 1947 when AEC expressed an interest. In 1948 AEC took control and began reshaping the business in line with its own procedures, which were not entirely to the liking of the Crossley directors and employees. There is surely no doubt that the long term continuation of independent Crossley models was not part of the AEC plan. In the meantime, early purchasers of the DD42 were becoming more than a trifle disenchanted with their buses, and did not offer repeat orders. Notably Manchester, potentially a very valuable customer, did not come back again after its 1946/47 deliveries. Stockport, in whose area the Crossley new Errwood Park factory was located, strongly resisted taking any more vehicles from the firm, but eventually and reluctantly conceded another order after a rather suspect tendering process in which Crossley slightly undercut Leyland. Yes, in frustration over Crossley’s lack of progress in sorting out the HOE7’s problems, AEC did come up with the downdraught engine, but hardly quickly, for this did not appear, and then only spasmodically, until 1950, by which time the Southall die had been cast against the passenger vehicle dependent Crossley marque.

Roger Cox

04/02/18 – 07:13

I remember visiting a bus museum near Hall i’ th’ Wood in Bolton some time in the mid 1980s and a Northampton Crossley was one of the buses there, in unrestored condition. I don’t know which one it was, could it have been this one?

David Pomfret

05/02/18 – 16:57

Only just seen your post of 1/11/17, Roger. Although you only mention the directors of Crossly, Roger, I can only assume the Arthur Hubble was still there after the AEC takeover, since I recall you saying elsewhere that he caused friction with Gardner’s management at much the same time. I’m surprised that the senior management were allowed to stay when AEC took over, but, perhaps, it was more common then. Nowadays, they go willingly with a good handout, but then it was less likely, I imagine. But I’m sure in the bus industry, that Hubble’s truculent and mean-spirited attitude was well-enough known to have justified arranging for his rapid departure!

Chris Hebbron

06/02/18 – 13:39

Only really of relevance to those close to Colchester, a former Crossley employee (and joint owner of VV 9146) will be giving a talk on Feb 9th about his time with the company which promises to be very interesting. I doubt that there are many ex employees still around given how long it is since the company’s demise..

Nigel Turner

07/02/18 – 05:48

Chris, all the original Crossley Motors directors were of advancing years by 1948. Sir Kenneth Crossley was almost 70, Arthur Hubble 60, T.D. Wishart (chassis designer) retired in that year, Major Eric Crossley retired in 1948 and died in the following year. No doubt AEC retained the residual management at Crossley to see out the production of existing models, which, hopefully, faced a better future with the AEC designed downdraught engine of 1949. AEC’s longer term plan for Crossley can be only conjectured, but I doubt that the Stockport firm was seen as a continued supplier of complete vehicles in a declining market. As with Leyland then and later, the absorption of other companies was an exercise in reducing competition as much as expanding productive capacity.

Roger Cox

07/02/18 – 16:32

Nigel: many thanks for mentioning Tony Melia’s talk at Friends’ Meeting House, Colchester, 7:15pm Friday Feb 9. Sounds unmissable—well worth travelling the 220 miles from Oxford to Colchester and back. (By train and not in one day, of course!)

Ian Thompson

09/02/18 – 07:08

Thx, Roger. One wonders if the improved engine stimulated demand for a period. Whatever happened, at least the profits went to AEC.

Chris Hebbron

09/02/18 – 17:06

I see that we get again that all the Leyland closures were to reduce competition- try amending that to reducing losses and concentrating investment to compete against the rest of the world-which we still failed to do.
As you can see from the Crossley thread there was precious little new engine development (as against evolving product) even pre-war as they bought in overseas development

Roger Burdett

18/02/18 – 06:17

Thanks again to Nigel Turner for mentioning Tony Melia’s talk on his time at Crossley Motors. Spellbinding! Not just Tony’s perfect recall of the works and vehicles, but a wonderful insight into how apprentices were treated in those days, how fairly inexperienced workers were expected to use their initiative to get round any problem that might crop up and—of course—a total lack of Health & Safety. Some good character studies, too. Plenty of laughs.
Any Bus Enthusiasts’s Society lucky enough to secure Tony Melia for an evening has a real treat in store.

Ian Thompson

18/02/18 – 17:01

It was good to meet Ian Thompson at Colchester and I’m glad he enjoyed the talk by Tony Melia, actually I’m sure that everybody there did so.
Despite being in his ninetieth year, Tony spoke fluently for two hours which is no mean feat. Some of his stories about road testing the bare chassis over the Snake Pass make you wonder how he survived to his thirtieth birthday let alone his ninetieth.

Nigel Turner


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