Old Bus Photos

Ribble – Leyland Titan – RCK 920 – 1775

RCK 920

Ribble Motor Services
1962
Leyland Titan PD3/5
Metro-Cammell FH41/31F

In 1956 the UK maximum legal length for double deck buses was extended to 30 ft, and Leyland quickly responded with the PD3 chassis, essentially an elongated version of the PD2. Ribble ordered a fleet of 105 synchromesh gearbox PD3/4 machines distinguished by handsome Burlingham FH41/31F bodywork featuring a neatly designed full width front end. These entered service in 1958, but Ribble then tried its hand with the then very new and novel Leyland Atlantean design, taking 100 examples in 1959/60. All operators of the early Atlantean experienced a number of teething troubles, and Ribble, while continuing to favour the Atlantean for future orders, hedged its bets by partially returning to the more dependable PD3 for some of its 1961-63 deliveries. The bodywork was again FH41/31F, but this time of the aesthetically less appealing (to my eye, anyway) Orion style by Metro-Cammell . These later machines, which totalled 131 in number, were equipped with pneumocyclic gearboxes, making them type PD3/5. No.1775, RCK 920 was delivered in 1962 and operated in the Liverpool/Bootle and Carlisle localities until its withdrawal in 1981, when it was subsequently acquired for preservation. At some time in the years following, 1775’s pneumocyclic gearbox failed and was replaced by a synchromesh unit, but, when, in 2010, the vehicle passed into the hands of its current owners, the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust, the pneumocyclic box was repaired and refitted, bringing the bus back up to its original condition. In the picture above, 1775 is seen at the Wansford, Cambridgeshire, premises of the Nene Valley Railway on 8 July 2006 where I encountered it entirely unexpectedly.
A YouTube video of a ride on this bus may be found here:- at this link

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/08/17 – 06:32

Although rather plain I always thought these were quite attractive vehicles. The proportions seem to sit right and the livery suits the lines of the bodywork very well. Dignified is the way I would sum it up which is more than can be said for the horrors seen on most modern vehicles.

Philip Halstead


22/08/17 – 06:33

The change away to a synchro box was done when owned by Gerald Boden (who owned a B1+Class 40). From my memory he chose to do it as it would have been cheaper to repair the semi auto.

Roger Burdett


23/08/17 – 06:17

The almost only one-coloured livery hardly favours the body shape, Philip. I can see an improvement in Southdown livery. Oops, it must be the sort-of Queen Mary shape that reminded me of that!

Chris Hebbron


25/08/17 – 06:52

I wondered if Roger Cox or Roger Burdett can shed any light on the original gearboxes (or their flywheels) that were at first originally fitted to these Ribble PD3’s (and for that matter the fully fronted Bolton PD3’s).
When new, at idle there was a most musical tinny mechanical sound that soon disappeared once power was applied, I think they had a mechanical flywheel then. Bolton and later Ribble soon changed them to the fluid flywheel, which I understand gave a better service life – but no music! Hope someone in the ‘know’ might be able to offer enlightenment.

Mike Norris


25/08/17 – 09:36

I believe you are referring to the centrifugal clutch which I suspect was intended to be more efficient than a fluid flywheel. I only had very limited experience of it on a Bolton bus and simply remember an awful racket when the bus was in idle, not something I would describe as music at all.

David Beilby


25/08/17 – 09:37

Cannot shed any light except to speculate it was a body vibration due to harmonics.
Maybe someone from Ribble Group can enlighten if the switch back to a stick box has re-introduced the sound

Roger Burdett


25/08/17 – 09:38

I think that "jingling noise" was symptomatic of a centrifugal clutch, which was an attempt to provide a degree of automatic change, but without the drag and therefore fuel consumption penalty of a fluid flywheel.However I could be wrong.

James Freeman


26/08/17 – 07:13

I’ve noticed in several posts reference to ‘synchromesh’ gearboxes (as above) but am I right in thinking that they were only synchromesh on third and fourth gears? On every Southdown Leopard and Queen Mary I drove that was the format but may have differed elsewhere?

Nick Turner


26/08/17 – 07:14

This page seems to confirm that these Titans were initially fitted with centrifugal clutches:- www.flickr.com/photos/ Several operators tried out the centrifugal coupling to improve fuel consumption – the fluid flywheel could never attain 100% drive efficiency – but transmission snatch and maintenance problems meant that the fluid flywheel reigned supreme until the arrival on the psv scene of the multi stage torque converter gearbox.

Roger Cox


26/08/17 – 07:14

The Wigan PD3’s which were pneumo-cyclic also made this noise. Wigan went back to manual gearboxes for their later PD2’s so perhaps there was some dissatisfaction with the semi-auto transmission.

Philip Halstead


27/08/17 – 07:01

I seem to recall there was another stage of development when centrifugal shoes were included in the fluid flywheel so that it locked up at a suitable speed. I can’t recall technical details of the Ribble/MCW PD3 but know they seemed to perform very well up to the bitter end of TMO in Merseyside.
PS> The Captcha code for this post is PD3A!

Geoff Pullin


27/08/17 – 07:02

The PD2 was initially supplied with the GB63 four speed gearbox that had synchromesh on second, third and top, bottom gear being simply constant mesh. Unfortunately the second gear synchro set up gave some trouble in that engagement was often strongly baulked. Geoffrey Hilditch records examples of the resistance to engagement being so severe that gear levers were snapped off by the over enthusiastic pressures being applied by desperate drivers. Leyland then offered the GB83 box in which the second gear synchromesh was eliminated, and this continued to be available after the second gear synchro problems of the CB63 box were sorted out. All the PD2/PD3 buses I drove in Halifax had synchro on second gear.

Roger Cox


29/08/17 – 06:38

For those who like classic liveries like this, there’s news from Arriva. Their new universal bus livery is a simple Bradford blue, it seems: not clear to me how many extra bits or brandings can be added or where, but others may have more intimate knowledge. It does look if all the fussy skirts and linings may have gone, but what about the odd flash? After First, this is a relief!

Joe


 

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Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – 224 BTP – 224

Portsmouth Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - 224 BTP - 224

Portsmouth Corporation
1963
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Metro Cammell H43/33F

The production Atlantean appeared in 1958, but the early examples proved troublesome and expensive to maintain. Nevertheless, the concept appealed to several operators, and, by 1963, Portsmouth Corporation, long time devotees of the Leyland marque, must have thought the risk to be worthwhile, for it bought a batch of 35 PDR1/1 buses in that year, followed by a further 10 in 1964 and 9 more in 1966. All members of the Portsmouth PDR1/1 fleet carried the very plain Metro-Cammell H43/33F body design. The Corporation subsequently switched to the PDR1/2 version and finally to the AN68. Seen on 13 August 1967 at Portsmouth Harbour, known locally as “The Hard”, is No.224, 224 BTP, one of the 1963 deliveries, displaying the superb Portsmouth livery to good effect. I doubt if trips round the harbour are now offered for 15p (3/-) but, unlike the late 1940s/early 1950s when I lived in Alverstoke, the current Royal Navy could almost be accommodated on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, so there isn’t much to see these days.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


17/04/17 – 07:49

Mixed feelings about this photo.
The Atlantians were the mainstay of my trips to school on the 143 but their arrival marked the end for the much loved trolleys.

Dave French


18/04/17 – 07:44

So typical of CPPTD’s pride, four years old and yet still looking brand new! Even if they were troublesome in their early days, the department was well up to coping with whatever was thrown at it. IF I recall The Hard for anything, it was the Mudlarks rummaging on the muddy foreshore which passed as a beach there, with them searching out coins thrown at them by passers by! Not forgetting the three lines of trolleybuses parked there at the terminus, awaiting the dockers coming out, at least those that weren’t on a bike. It was always like the beginning of a bike race here at coming out time! This was a time of transport change in the area. Not long after, the electric ‘Nelson Stock’ trains acquired their half yellow fronts, then later went from dignified green to plain blue, not even with any grey to relieve the monotony, as other trains . My other abiding memory, when coming into Havant rail station during my 1957-59 National Service days, was hearing the announcer, in broad Hampshire ‘burr’ saying, ‘avant, this is ‘avant. Change ‘ere for the Broighton Loin, change ‘ere for ‘ayling Oiland!". Now, they all talk like Londoners. (I am a Londoner!). Reminiscing? Not I!

Chris Hebbron


18/04/17 – 10:44

Wonderful memories Chris, but they were dockIES, not dockERS – they didn’t load and unload ships they built and repaired them.

Pat Jennings


18/04/17 – 17:04

They were commonly known, the ones on the bikes at least, as Dockyard Mateys!

Philip Lamb


18/04/17 – 17:06

Yes, a great picture of a Portsmouth bus still proudly presented. The Corporation seemed to be forward thinking in these days, with the trolleybus conversions using some one-person operated saloons (noteworthy for urban use at the time), and then the use of Atlanteans for the final conversion. Other south coast municipalities were generally slower to move to rear-engined buses, I recall. However Portsmouth waited for other pioneers to iron out initial difficulties – Reading had used O-P-O saloons a year or two before them, and Hastings’ trolleybus conversion with Atlanteans was back in 1959 (although a BET operation, it was somewhat municipal-like in its scope). The result was that Portsmouth’s Atlanteans were of the "Mark II" variety, introduced that year. In fact I think the first few were delivered in original format, and were returned to the maker for modification to the new format. Also, the bodywork contained the "Manchester staircase" as opposed to the original Met-Cam design.
Dave mentions their use on route 143 – this was previously route C/D, which used to change the screens on route because of its length. When it became 143, the whole route detail was squeezed on to the via screen, with the final destination in the smaller screen below. The result looked extremely squashed, and rather spoilt the overall appearance in my view.
The terminus has also changed it’s name in recent years. Just plain "Dockyard" sufficed when the picture was taken. Much later it became "The Hard Interchange", and nowadays it’s "Gunwharf Quays". I always felt that "The Hard Interchange" was a little unfortunate, bearing in mind that one could change from a bus or coach to the Gosport Ferry or London/Southampton/Brighton line trains – was it really that hard? We all hoped not!

Michael Hampton


19/04/17 – 08:13

One minor correction to the text is that Portsmouth did not have any PDR1/2 Atlanteans – this was the version with a drop centre rear axle, intended for low height bodies, although some operators used it to permit additional headroom in the lower saloon.
After the PDR1/1s, Portsmouth’s next Atlanteans were the PDR2/1 single deckers – the PDR2 being the longer wheelbase version of the chassis. The next double deckers were Alexander-bodied AN68s.

Nigel Frampton


19/04/17 – 08:14

This is a great view of a Municipal bus in traditional livery, even to the lining out. The light upper paintwork, white or cream or whatever depending on which fleet is in question, has often been regarded as difficult to photograph. With a blue sky, it stands out. Thank you, Roger, for posting.
Like, Mr Hebbron, I am a Londoner, but by default, since my parents were living there when I was born, but I am of Lancashire origins. Between "The Hard Interchange" and "Gunwharf Quays", Michael, was it not simply "The Hard"?

Pete Davies


20/04/17 – 06:16

Pete, it may well have been just plain "The Hard" at some point. I do remember "The Hard Interchange" being used on the AN68 Alexander bodied Atlanteans. But when de-regulation came in and there were so many changes, it may well have become "The Hard", perhaps depending on the operator, and/or size of destination screen. I don’t have ant specific memories of those more recent times!

Michael Hampton


20/04/17 – 06:18

There is an sameness about these earlyish Atlanteans and Fleetlines- or am I not observant enough? They were all boxy, with separate windscreens right and left and no sign of any overall design or even "styling" features that may be found on an older half-cab. They all seem to be built from the same standardised components and carrying over the half-cab liveries. Only later, or even much later, came shrouded bustles, one piece screens and larger window bays. Was Liverpool the first to introduce a complete "new look"..? that’s a provocative question.

Joe


22/04/17 – 07:03

It used to be ‘DOCKYARD’ in the 1950s and early 1960s. ‘Hard’ was the Hampshire term for the first bit of dry land one came to from the sea. Across the harbour, Gosport Hard was known to Provincial as ‘GOSPORT FERRY’ and the Hants & Dorset as simply ‘GOSPORT’, and the same applied to the solitary Southdown rout, that from London Victoria Coach Station via the Meon Valley.

David Wrag


22/04/17 – 07:05

The bus is either operating route 148A or 148B. At that time, routes crossing the City boundary had Southdown rather than Corporation numbers.

Andy Hemming


22/04/17 – 09:50

The route is 148A.

Roger Cox


27/04/17 – 06:00

In answer to Joe, I think that in the beginning the overall appearance of the Atlantean, however bodied, was so revolutionary that no-one noticed that the detailed styling was derived from the MCW Orion (which itself wasn’t very old at the time). The Park Royal/Roe version was clearly a copy, and even the Alexander used similar window dimensions, while Northern Counties used their own halfcab styling in the same way that MCW used the Orion’s.
So yes, the Liverpool Atlantean was the first example not to be based on either halfcab styling from the same builder or someone else’s Atlantean/Fleetline. Strangely, only Liverpool, Bolton and Bury took it, all other MCW customers staying with the Orion-based design, with or without a prettified front end.
It was quickly eclipsed by the copy that East Lancs did for Bolton, enhanced by a stunning new livery, and I would also like to raise a flag for the restrained elegance of the first Warrington Fleetlines, which slipped on to the scene completely unsung in late 1963: https://flic.kr/p/DQQWky

Peter Williamson


27/04/17 – 10:50

Bury, after its flirtation with MCW Liverpool style bodies, continued to look for something more attractive and went to East Lancs which produced almost identical bodies to those of Warrington. The Warrington bodies were built by the East Lancs sister company, the Sheffield based Neepsend, who built the same design for Sheffield on Atlantean chassis and shared an order for Coventry with East Lancs on Fleetline chassis, 13 bodies being built by Neepsend, 9 by East Lancs.

Phil Blinkhorn


28/04/17 – 07:11

In between the Liverpool style Atlanteans and the East Lancs Fleetlines Bury took 15 Fleetlines with Glasgow style Alexander bodies but with the Midland Red style vee windscreens. These were very attractive buses and to my eyes were the best looking of the three manufacturer’s products for Bury.

Philip Halstead


28/04/17 – 16:55

Not sure what happened with my post on this topic yesterday. My original post overnight Wednesday/Thursday included a mention of the Alexander bodied Fleetlines prior to those from East Lancs and was listed when I checked the site at around 08.00 on Thursday. Clicking the link to the comment revealed that it had not been added to the thread. I sent an email regarding this and a truncated version of my original then appeared.

Phil Blinkhorn


 

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Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – MOR 581 – 543

MOR 581

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1954
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Metro-Cammell B40F

MOR 581 is an AEC Reliance MU3RV. The chassis of this Aldershot & District vehicle dates from 1954, but the body we see ("MCW" in the PSVC listings) was fitted in 1967. The seating is of the B40F layout, and we see it in the Alton Rally on 18 July 2010. One unfortunate feature of the Alton Rally and Fleetwood Tram Sunday is that they often clash and, even with what some of my former colleagues used to call an ‘optimistic’ style of driving, even I can’t manage both in the day!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


05/12/16 – 09:36

Beautiful! I used to travel on these, and their cousins with the older style of bodywork with an opening window for the driver. One A&D feature on OPO buses was to have just a single seat on the front nearside to allow more room for passengers paying the driver, but at the time I was a regular traveller, these buses were crew-operated. My memories are of the No.19 which turned up on time every weekday morning to take me to Haslemere Station and then onto a train to Waterloo. The railway part of my journey was much less reliable until the elderly pre-war 4-CORs were replaced by 4-CIGs.

David Wragg


06/12/16 – 14:03

Does anyone know if others of the batch were given new bodies, or why this one was treated? Crash damage springs to mind . . .

Pete Davies


06/12/16 – 15:43

Pete,
I seem to recall that there were quite a number of them and one bus magazine, it may have been ‘Passenger Transport’ commented that it was surprising that such a dated style was being adopted. I take their point, but I actually liked this style.

David Wragg


07/12/16 – 06:32

Thank you for that, David.

Pete Davies


07/12/16 – 06:34

According to this 15 of them were re-bodied in ’67 http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad267a  
Here is another re-bodied one http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad273

John Lomas


07/12/16 – 06:36

MOR 594

In its search for a suitable vehicle of the then new underfloor engined format, Aldershot & District initially bought a Dennis Dominant in 1951. Only three Dominant chassis were ever made, of which two were bodied, the third chassis being dis-assembled after exhibition at the 1950 Earls Court Show. Although Dennis abandoned plans for volume production of the model, there was very little wrong with the Dominant apart from its excessive weight (a characteristic shared by the the contemporary Regal IV and Royal Tiger), and Aldershot & District kept HOU 900 in front line service for fourteen years. In 1953 the company bought a solitary example of the Guy Arab LUF, which it retained in service until 1965, but purchased no more. Then, after sampling a number of different underfloor types, Aldershot & District finally took the plunge in 1954 with the AEC Reliance, twenty five being delivered with rather gawky, high floor and waistline, Strachans Everest C41C bodywork. These were registered MOR 581 to 605, numbered 250 to 274, and were used on the Farnham – London express route, and on excursions and private hire until displaced by the 1963 Park Royal bodied Reliances. These Strachans MU3RV coaches were powered by the small AH 410 engine of 6.754 litres, a direct (though updated) descendant of the A172 “bootlace” wet liner engine of the 1935 Regal II. The "bootlace" engine design became the basis for all the AEC wet liner engines from the 1950s, and therein lay the root of subsequent trouble, for the original “bootlace” became notorious for cylinder liner seal and gasket failures. No. 263, MOR 594 is shown in 1968 on route 3D (Aldershot – Cove, Minley Estate) passing the RAE in Farnborough Road. The inadequate destination blind display seen here was most unusual on A&D in those days, and indicates a degree of crew laziness in the early NBC era that would not have been tolerated in BET times. These machines were quite pleasant to drive, though given to a somewhat wallowy standard of ride, but the performance with the small AH410 engine was less than sparkling. In 1965, fifteen of these coaches were selected for rebodying with the then A&D standard Weymann saloon design, but the Weymann factory was closing down, and the order was undertaken by Metro-Cammell. The engineering standards on Aldershot & District were extremely high, and no doubt all of the initial 25 Reliances could have been so rebodied if required. Indeed, the remaining Strachans vehicles, of which No. 263 shown was one, continued in service for several more years.

390 AOU

After experience with the initial Strachans bodied coaches, from 1957 Aldershot & District adopted the AH 470 engined Reliance as its standard saloon type with Weymann B41F (OMO) or B43F bodies. The initial buses had opening windscreens for the driver, but the 1960 and subsequent batches incorporated fixed windscreens which had just become legal. No.390, 390 AOU was a 2MU3RV vehicle of 1961, and representative of the final style of the Weymann A&D saloon. It is seen in Queens Avenue, the technically military road that links Farnborough North Camp with Aldershot, and is wearing the revised saloon livery of 1967 with the darker green on the lower panels. It is also carrying the retrograde ‘simplified’ fleetname style that appeared in that same year. The Metro-Cammell bodies on MOR 581 above and some new 1966/67 Reliances differed from the Weymann version in several respects – the offside emergency exit was placed at the rear instead of the centre, the front screens lacked the metal surround, and the lower front panel incorporated a small grille.

Roger Cox


07/12/16 – 06:37

This was from a batch of twenty-five 250-274, MOR 581-605 new in 1954/5 with Strachans C41C bodies.
In 1965 250/2/4-7/9-62/4/9/70/2/3 were delicensed and the bodies removed. The chassis were rebuilt and were rebodied with MCW B40F bodies, renumbered 543-557 respectively, and entered service in 1967. They were to the same design as 283-312, RCG 601-630, which had been new in 1957.
Prior to 1966 bodies were built by Weymann at Addlestone and by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham but after the Weymann works closed at the end of 1965 all subsequent bodies were built by Metro-Cammell-Weymann.

John Kaye


07/12/16 – 13:33

Many thanks for your further thoughts on the history of this vehicle and her sisters.

Pete Davies


07/12/16 – 16:34

I can remember seeing the AEC Reliance chassis parked in the Guildford garage all painted in bright silver paint, I assume they were waiting to be sent for rebodying. I was a passenger on an A & D Loline 111 service 20 travelling from Aldershot to Woodbridge road Guildford to attend technical college.

John Shrubb


10/12/16 – 17:28

I’ve been thinking (I do occasionally!) and I suspect that the fifteen Strachans Reliances selected for rebodying might well have been chosen on the basis of body condition, the better ones being retained as they were. Certainly those that kept their Strachans C41C bodies continued in service for several years after 1965.

Roger Cox


 

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