Old Bus Photos

Birmingham City Transport – Daimler COG – CVP 207 – 1107

CVP 207

Birmingham City Transport
Daimler COG5
Metro-Cammell H30/24R

Between 1934 and 1939 Birmingham Corporation Transport, which adopted the name Birmingham City Transport from 1937, took some 800 examples of the Daimler COG5 model, which, despite its modest five cylinder Gardner power unit, was a sophisticated performer with an effective flexible engine mounting and a fluid flywheel/epicyclic gearbox transmission. Most of these buses were bodied by Metro-Cammell, though many were fitted with Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon (BRCW) bodywork, all to the distinctive Birmingham H30/24R design. Many of these reliable buses survived up to 1954/55, with a solitary example, No.1235 of 1939, being withdrawn in 1960. CVP 207, No.1107, was one of the 1937 batch, but in 1950 it received the Metro-Cammell body from similar bus No.1216 of 1939 vintage, which was then withdrawn. In 1954 1107 became a snowplough, but returned to passenger service in 1957 when the Corporation took over some Midland Red routes. On being finally retired in 1959 it thankfully escaped the scrapper’s torch, and now resides with the Transport Museum at Wythall. 1107 is seen above at Brighton during the 1969 HCVC Rally.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

16/08/18 – 06:09

There were still a couple of these pre-war COG5s tucked away in the back of Moseley Road Depot when I moved to Birmingham in September 1961. Doubtless a few others elsewhere on the system.

John Grigg


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Manchester Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – JND 619 – 3218

Manchester Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - JND 619 - 3218

Manchester Corporation
Leyland Titan PD2/3
Metro-Cammell H32/26R

Seen in Piccadilly in August 1969 in the final months of Manchester Corporation ownership is No 3218, JND 619, one of a batch of Leyland PD2/3 buses purchased in 1951. Despite appearances, the bodywork is not by Crossley, being instead of the then standard Manchester design built by Metro-Cammell. Having given some eighteen years of service to Manchester, this bus survived to pass into the SELNEC era, though not, I suspect, for long.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

23/07/18 – 06:58

This would be on a rush hour full service length extra on which these and the similar looking PD1/3s, which were withdrawn between 1967 and 1968, were regular performers. According to the official SELNEC fleet allocation these PD2/3s were not taken into stock, although Eyre and Heaps in the Manchester Bus have all but 3224, withdrawn in April 1969, transferred to SELNEC. What I suspect happened was that the vehicles were deemed withdrawn at midnight, MCTD having ceased at 23.59 on October 31 1969, SELNEC coming into being at 00.01 on November 1 – such are the legal niceties!

Further to my previous comments, the SELNEC operational fleet allocation on formation has 300 PD2s from Manchester and 103 from Salford in the Central Area fleet listing. No Manchester and Salford PD2s were allocated to other divisions on formation. The SELNEC stock allocation i.e vehicle assets taken over in whatever state, lists 501 PD2s in the Central area. Taking Eyre and Heaps listings in the Manchester Bus and in the Salford lists available, the number of PD2s owned by those undertakings on October 31 1969 was 387 in Manchester and 103 in Salford giving a total of 490. The situation would seem to have been that 67 PD2s from the MCW and Leyland bodied JND registered batch in the sequence 3200-3299 were transferred as assets but immediately deleted from the available fleet along with 1 from the Northern Counties batch 3300-3329 and 19 from the Leyland bodied batch 3330-3369. There is photographic evidence of one or more of these batches pressed into SELNEC service. There is however a discrepancy of 11 PD2s between the 501 listed as assets and the total of 403 operational and 87 midnight withdrawals. If anyone can find the missing 11, given that as far as I can ascertain, the assets of the Central division did not include any transfers in from elsewhere at the time of formation on November 1 1969 I would be grateful.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/07/18 – 07:25

I regularly travelled to and from school on these buses between 1964 and 1967. I understand that the shallower windows on each side at the rear were to support the platform which was not supported underneath as on most buses. I have read that Metro Cammell came up with this design, although Crossley adopted it as standard for a while.

Don McKeown

25/07/18 – 06:11

Manchester certainly got its moneys worth out of these buses and although quite elderly they were used on many lengthy prestige routes until the end of MCTD. They regularly appeared on the 17, 24 and 90 in Rochdale by which time the joint operating partners, Rochdale and Oldham on the 24 and 90 were using more modern stock. I always found them rather drab buses to travel in with lots of dark woodwork and a fairly depressing moquete pattern for the seats. And of course like most buses of that time the upper deck reeked of stale tobacco smoke. I think the experience of 1950’s upper deck travel so Mum could have a fag made me a life-long non-smoker!

Philip Halstead

26/07/18 – 06:45

I was living on Barlow Moor Road in Didsbury in 1969 and 1970, and I remember 3218 as being the only one of these at Parrs Wood garage – very much the odd one out; always slightly surprised when it turned up, which it often did on rush hour extras.

Steve Owen

27/07/18 – 06:45

I have slides of 3237, 3246 and 3255 taken in Manchester on October 29 1970. They did not sport the green SELNEC Central S.
They were showing the following route numbers 64X, 63X, and 62X respectively.

Stephen Bloomfield

29/07/18 – 07:36

Stephen, the Central flash was Blue.
Green was for the Southern Division, Magenta was the Northern Division, and the Orange was for the Coaches, Parcels, and Central activities. Brown was later used for the Cheshire Division, the ex North Western Road Car Company.

Stephen Howarth

05/08/18 – 07:52

I was using rush-hour limited-stop services along the Hyde Road corridorout of Chorlton Street bus station for a time between 1970 and ’71 and several of these "32xx" PD2s turned up regularly on routes such as the "124" and "207/208/209". The buses were run-down inside (torn-rexine) and were probably living outside the Hyde Road depot in the yard,awaiting the chop.

John Hardman

05/08/18 – 09:41

John, you are most likely correct in your assumption as to the source of the rush hour extras. SELNEC would have preferred not to have taken any vehicle assets over fifteen years old but the legislation demanded that the undertakings absorbed were absorbed lock, stock and barrel. The distinction that was made between the operational fleet and the total vehicle assets was quickly blurred due to the need to move vehicles around the divisions to introduce OMO and the need for extra vehicles caused by delays in deliveries. It would seem that the best runners from the withdrawn stock that still had valid certificates of fitness were temporarily relicensed to fill rush hour gaps. It was estimated that in 1965 one third of the Manchester fleet was retained for rush hour duties, generally vehicles over fifteen years old and apart from the 1953/1954 Daimlers which SELNEC took into the operational fleet, all those older vehicles in the Manchester fleet in 1969 were originally listed as non-operational. In passing it is worth commenting that the MCW PD2s outlived the newer Northern Counties bodied batch from 1953.

Phil Blinkhorn

07/08/18 – 06:06

I moved to Manchester to become a student in October 1970 and I am absolutely certain that MCTD 32xx series buses were in service then and at least for a few months afterwards. I do not recall seeing any 33xx series fleet numbers and I assumed that they had been withdrawn previously although at that stage of my university career I admit that I did not go far off the Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road axis.

Peter Cook

08/08/18 – 06:06

I became a Manchester student a year after Peter, and didn’t move far off the Oxford Road/Wilmslow Road axis either. My abiding memory is of the 1953/4 Daimlers on the 44/46. I do not remember the PD2s at all.

David Oldfield

09/08/18 – 07:21

Regarding Phil’s comment about a third of the Manchester fleet, I must admit I’ve always understood it to be the other way round – i.e. that Manchester’s peak problem was so severe that only one third of the fleet was out all day, with the majority being confined to rush-hour extras, rush-hour services, works services, works variants and works contracts. But I’ve believed that for so long now that I’ve no idea where I got it from.

Peter Williamson

10/08/18 – 07:12

Regarding Peter Williamson’s comments on the proportions of the Manchester fleet, the situation as he has it was certainly the case up until the late 1950s. From then things started to change. Rapidly increasing car ownership was the main factor but there were others. New vehicles delivered from 1957 had around 17% more seats than those they replaced and the eventual inclusion of reasonable numbers of Fleetlines and Atlanteans saw this figure rise to over a third more seats per bus. Diesel trains replacing steam on commuter lines and the electrification of lines to Crewe saw faster, cleaner and competitively cheap trains and the decimation of the Crossley fleet ahead of normal life expectancy were all factors which changed the the fleet use proportions. By 1969 the use of private cars had massively increased over that of 1960 and with far further large capacity vehicles in service, including the Mancunians, the need for a large rush hour fleet had diminished further.

Phil Blinkhorn

12/08/18 – 07:18

I’ve spent some time trying to reconcile the number of PD2s the SELNEC Central Division inherited and operated given the confusing numbers published in Eyre and Heaps The Manchester Bus, Manchester and Salford – One Hundred Years of Municipal Transport, Stewart Brown’s Greater Manchester Buses and my own sources from MCTD, Salford and SELNEC from 1968 through 1970. My own notes show that SELNEC intended to reduce its fleet of traditional front engined vehicles in short order and introduce OMO as soon as possible – an aspiration repeatedly delayed by late deliveries, the need to write down assets and union negotiations. It is a fact backed by written information from SELNEC, that SELNEC Central Division required an Operational Fleet for daytime running of 400 PD2s to cover services, maintenance, reserve vehicles for breakdowns and education departments’ needs. The Operational Fleet as far as PD2s were concerned was restricted to vehicles of less than 15 years old, in fact the oldest vehicles were the 1956 3400 series PND registered ex Manchester PD2s. Manchester contributed 300 PD2s, Salford 103. No vehicles to the best of my knowledge were imported to Central from other divisions. In addition to the Operational Fleet it appears Central had a fleet of licenced, driver training and withdrawn PD2s, all transferred from MCTD. The Manchester Bus in its vehicle listings at the back of the book infers the PD2s older than 15 years old that were transferred to SELNEC were fully licenced vehicles. Manchester and Salford a Century of Municipal Transport breaks down the transfer into driving school and withdrawn vehicles, as can be found on page 301 of The Manchester Bus, leading to the conclusion that the withdrawn vehicles were delicenced at midnight on 31 October/1 November 1969. However, the Eyre and Heaps publications disagree with each other in terms of numbers and because Manchester and Salford a Century of Municipal Transport was published much later than the last edition of The Manchester Bus, I have taken the latter’s figures. Central still required a reasonable number of rush hour extras and the older PD2s that were licenced, were thus employed. Most were withdrawn during 1970, the last of the pre 1956 PD2s in early 1971. The next discrepancy is that Greater Manchester Buses states that 501 PD2s were inherited in total and does not break down the numbers.
MCW Manchester Standard bodied PD2s 3200-3223 and 3225-3264 were transferred as licenced – total 64.
Leyland bodied PD2s 3287/94/99 transferred as licenced – total 3
3266/71/75/78/88/90 transferred as driving school – total 6
3265/67/69/70/72/77-79/82/89/92-95/97 transferred as withdrawn assets – total 15
Northern Counties bodied PD2s 3323 transferred as licenced – total 1
3324/25 transferred as driving school – total 2
Leyland bodied PD2s 3331/32/34/37/39/40/42/45-47/50-52/54/56-60/64 transferred as licenced – total 20
The overall PD2 assets transferred, if the later figures compared to the previous figures I had are to be believed number 514, now 13 more than noted in Greater Manchester Buses. Anyone else want to have a shot at sorting this?

Phil Blinkhorn

13/08/18 – 05:57

I’m surprised to read that there was a requirement specifically for 400 PD2s. What about the contemporary Daimler CVG6s (and CCG6s? Surely there would be some overlap between these two types?

Don McKeown

14/08/18 – 06:00

Unlike the situation with the PD2s, there was no cut off for Daimlers older than 15 years as the total of front engined Daimlers required for the Operational Fleet was 368 vehicles and to achieve this 48 CVG6s from Salford dating from between 1950 and 1952, 67 CVG6s from Manchester dating from 1950-1951 and all 110 of the 4400 batch of CVG6s and CVG5s from 1953 to 1955 were taken into all day service, though almost all of the 1950-1952 CVG6s from both city’s fleets had gone by the end of 1970, penny numbers of the Salford examples provided rush hour extras in early 1971. Again there are discrepancies in the published information. Greater Manchester Buses has it that 368 CVGs in total were taken by the Central Division but adding the requirement of 368 vehicles to the withdrawn and driving school assets taken over, the total is 407. the breakdown is as follows:-
Salford CVG6 415/16/18/25/28/29/33/39/57/61/63/65/70/73/78/83/84/85/88/98/506/07/11/21/22/24/25/27-29/31/33/35-41/43-45/47/48/52-54/60 Total 48 to Operational Fleet.
419/22/58/64/66/67/69/77/502/08-10/12/13/15/26/49/50 Total 18 taken over as withdrawn
Manchester CVG6/CVG5 4111/18/22-37/39-48/50-74/76-89/4400-4509 Total 177 to Operational Fleet
4101 Total 1 to driving school
4106-4108/4112-4116/19/21 Total 20 to driving school.
Post 1955 Daimlers CVG5 and CVG6s taken over were:
ex Salford 111-146/189-190 Total 38
ex Manchester 4510-4654 Total 105
It would seem the Greater Manchester Bus, unlike with the PD2s, only listed the number of CVGs in the Operational Fleet

Phil Blinkhorn


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Ribble – Leyland Titan – RCK 920 – 1775

RCK 920

Ribble Motor Services
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!


22/07/18 – 06:20

To confirm what has been discussed about the PD3’s with the semi-auto g/box the Fleet nos starting with 1700 were all fitted with the Centrifugal Clutch and the fleet nos starting with 1800 were all fitted with the Fluid Flywheel.
The Centrifugal Clutch used to rattle when the engine was on tickover as the toggles and pins were worn, as when they were new they used to whine until the clutch engaged.

Norman Johnstone


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 19th August 2018