Old Bus Photos

Aldershot and District – Dennis Lance K4 – LOU 40 – 212

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lance K4 - LOU 40 - 212
Copyright Roger Cox

Aldershot and District Traction Company 
1953
Dennis Lance K4
East Lancs L28/28R

This picture was taken in Woodbridge Road, Guildford, about 1961, and shows one of the 32 "tin fronted" Dennis Lance K4 buses unique to the Aldershot and District Traction Company. The first 20 of these had East Lancs L28/28 bodywork of the type shown, and the final 12 were bodied by Weymann with a version of the Orion, again seating 56 with 28 on each deck. The Gardner 5LW engines in these buses were removed from withdrawn Lancets of 1940 vintage, but were rebuilt and updated to the latest specification to virtually new standard. As usual with A&D buses, these vehicles had five speed gearboxes. I never drove one of these, but I understand that, with their slow revving (1700 rpm) 94 bhp engines they were less than lively, and not popular with the Aldershot and District driving staff, who christened them "Lulus" from their registration letters. The motorcycle and sidecar combination overtaking the bus is entirely characteristic of those times and something that is never seen today. I cannot identify the make of motorbike, but it is certainly something of a veteran itself as it has girder type front forks.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

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26/06/11 – 11:32

The same nickname was given by Samuel Ledgard staff to ex London RT LLU 803 – her thunder was somewhat stolen though by the later arrival of some RTLs with the same "Christian name."
Despite the cumbersome and leisurely progress of the A & D Dennis Lance I have to say that it is an extremely attractive vehicle indeed – the characterful destination display and the beautiful livery of that operator being the icing on the cake.

Chris Youhill

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26/06/11 – 19:59

Aldershot and District always had a small engine policy, and it is difficult to understand why the Lance K4 should have been singled out by certain staff for a modest performance. The pre war Lances with the high set radiator style (as on the Lancet II and III) were delivered with Dennis four cylinder sixteen valve O4 engines of 6.5 litres giving 82 bhp. Most of these early Lances were later rebodied and refitted with 5LW engines, and the wartime Guy Arabs also had the 5LW powerplant. The first postwar ‘deckers were Lance K3s with the Dennis O6 of 100 bhp, and these were lively, smooth running buses, and the following K4s of the type shown above must have seemed much more sedate by comparison. Then came Lolines powered by the 6LW engine, and it is probable that, by a certain point in time and within the experience of some drivers, the Lance K4s were the only double deck buses in the fleet still using the 5LW. My experience of the K4 as a passenger indicated that its road performance was fully up to the general standard of the time.

Roger Cox

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27/06/11 – 11:48

Happily, Tim Stubbs and Malcolm Spalding rescued sister ship A&D K4 220 some years ago, and it has been a regular at running days and other events for at least seventeen years. I’ve had the very good fortune to be on the driving rota, and it really a most characterful bus, with the reassuring thump of the 5LW and the unique 5-spd gearbox, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd sliding (not constant)mesh and preselective overdrive. The cab is not a model of comfort or convenience, but the steering is a joy. Brakes are vacuum over hydraulic, and seem to need frequent adjustment but are wonderfully progressive in action.
Seating is 28 on each deck. On top, counting from the front, the seats are for 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3 and 3. Even on a 27-long body eight rows upstairs was still less common than seven on mid-fifties lowbridge bodies but—as on contemporary Roe lowbridge products—the back seat upstairs is set as far back as it can be without compromising staircase headroom, so there’s plenty of knee room between seats.
She’s admittedly slow in hilly country, but will do 48mph on the flat and on a well-chosen route puts the miles behind her surprising quickly.
Tim’s K3 of 1950, with the Dennis O6 engine, is 6" narrower and a foot shorter but is actually slightly heavier than the K4. Unlike the 5LW, the amazingly smooth O6 is a spinner, not a slogger. The difference in engine gives the two otherwise very similar vehicles a totally different character. The 5LW demands a well-adjusted clutch-stop, but the lighter flywheel of the O6 makes it unnecessary for upward changes—except 1st to 2nd on hills.
These two vehicles are wonderful survivals, and it’s a pity that none of the lightweight (and apparently very lively) Weymann Orion-bodied K4s survived. When I first saw one at Reading Station the pop-rivets put me off. How could my schoolboy judgment have been so flawed!
There should be Dennis delights at Alton Running Day, Hampshire, this July the 17th, and the big event is 100 years of Aldershot&District at Farnborough, Hants, Sunday May the 27th 2012.

Ian Thompson

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28/06/11 – 06:24

Ian, I lived in Farnborough, Hants, for nine years from the mid sixties, by which time the Loline reigned supreme in the A&D double deck fleet, and I had a spell at Aldershot depot as a driver before returning to the admin side of the bus industry at Reigate. Although I have travelled as a passenger on the A&D K3 and K4 Lances, and my knowledge of Dennis buses goes right back to 1946 to 1949 when, as a child, I used to travel with my mother on the pre war O4 engined East Kent Lancet IIs between Faversham and Herne Bay, I have never driven a Lance or a Lancet. I have always had a strong regard for traditional Dennis machines, and Dennis were the only British manufacturer to put oil engines with four valves per cylinder into quantity production. Crossley made a wartime prototype "four valver" that performed well, but when Saurer asked for a royalty or licence fee for the use of its combustion chamber design, Crossley hastily redesigned the engine as a "two valver" with catastrophic consequences for reliability and performance. I am envious your driving sessions in these old Dennis buses, and it is wonderful to see them in preservation. My own short lived foray into the preservation scene was as part of a group that saved the Dennis Ace YD 9533. The costs of restoration became prohibitive, and we sold it on, and it is now thankfully a regular on the rally scene. The Ace was certainly an interesting machine to drive with its central accelerator pedal! I now live in East Anglia, but I will certainly bear in mind next year’s Aldershot and District centenary

Roger Cox

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28/06/11 – 11:38

Roger, I’m equally envious of your youthful rides on 04-engined Lancets. From what I’ve heard, they were livelier than one might expect from only 6.5 litres. I believe one is preserved and I very much hope one day to have a ride on it. I used to think the days of four-cylinder engines powering full-size buses were behind us, but the new Alexander-Dennis diesel-electrics in Reading, Oxford and Manchester seem to manage very nicely with their little fours.
When I worked at Smiths in Reading there were still 04 engine bits in the workshop, although the last 04s were probably off the road by 1960.
The only Ace I’ve ever ridden on in genuine service took me from Yarmouth to Freshwater, Isle of Wight, but the sound was all wrong as it had a Bedford OB engine and gearbox.
I can see why Crossley had for legal reasons to hurriedly redesign the Saurer combustion chamber, but I wonder why at the same time they abandoned the 4-valve head? That surely wouldn’t have infringed any patents.
The Reading downdraught-engined Crossley deckers were certainly slow, with their UW of 8.3.1, and they tended, oddly, to be used on the hillier routes, but they lasted for 18 years, so the workshop must have got a feel for keeping them happy.

Ian Thompson

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29/06/11 – 06:52

Ian, your comments on Dennis and Crossley machines has prompted me to add a few more. My memories as a four to seven year old might now be optimistically tinged with nostalgia, but I do recall the curious muffled drumming sound of the Dennis O4 engines, very different from the local Maidstone and District Tigers (petrol and diesel), but the progress was very smooth and lively. I loved those old Dennis Lancets, and the high mounted radiator offset to the nearside denoted a truly independently minded manufacturer. The later Lancet III was surely one of the finest vehicles of its time.
I have some b/w pictures of three Smiths of Reading Lancets that brought a private party to Hampton Court in 1961. I will send them to the site in due course.
Still with Reading, I have a few pictures of that operator’s all Crossley DD42/8 machines which, as you say, were fitted with the downdraught engine that represented AEC’s attempt to mitigate the abysmal characteristics of the HOE7. I took the pictures in 1967 by which time the Dennis Loline reigned supreme in the double deck fleet. Having moved to the Gosport area when I was nine years old, I frequently saw the Portsmouth Crossleys in service, but I never travelled on a bus of this make until 1958, by which time I was living in the Croydon area. This was the year of the seven week London bus strike, and an outfit grandiosely calling itself "The People’s League for the Defence of Freedom" obtained permission to run some routes during the stoppage. One of these was route 2 between Croydon and New Addington, and two of the four buses allocated were ex Lancaster Corporation all Crossley SD42 (the others were an ex Crosville TD7 and an ex Lytham St Annes CWA6). Admittedly the Crossleys were 11 years old by then, and always well loaded, but I was amazed by the truly mediocre hill climbing performance of these machines. I have a picture of HTC 614 at New Addington taken with my trusty Brownie 127, and will send it in sometime.

Roger Cox

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29/06/11 – 06:58

The strange thing about the Crossley HOE engine was that they never cured, or bothered to cure, the breathing problems that became apparent with the conversion to two-valves per cylinder. Yet, when AEC took them over, the problem was sorted out quite quickly!

Chris Hebbron

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29/06/11 – 19:41

Chris, judging by the comprehensive "Crossley" book by Eyre, Heaps and Townsin, the Crossley Motors company did not take kindly to external criticism, and any that was forthcoming merely served to strengthen the firm’s intransigence, a very curious attitude to adopt in a fiercely commercial environment. Thus, not only did it take no meaningful action to solve the shortcomings of the HOE7, but it appeared to resent the AEC solution that appeared as the downdraught engine, even continuing to supply unmodified HOE7 engines in new buses. A similar cussedness was displayed in respect of the steering geometry on all Crossley buses. A simple readjustment in design would have cured the exceptionally heavy steering characteristics, that, in the case of the three axled "Dominion" trolleybuses, bordered on the impossible, but Crossley would not shift its position. No wonder AEC got fed up.

Roger Cox

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30/06/11 – 05:33

What amazes me about Crossley is the difference in attitude between their chassis and body departments. Whereas the chassis people stuck stubbornly to their own ideas come what may, their first standard postwar body was designed not by Crossley but by Manchester Corporation. The special Manchester features – curves, waistrail steps and cantilever platform – quickly became optional, and even the first Liverpool bodies were actually the de-Manchestered Manc design reworked as a four-bay body with a flat front, as required by the Liverpool spec. I don’t think Crossley ever designed a double-deck body from scratch at all, although their postwar framing system was all their own.

Peter Williamson

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01/07/11 – 05:27

Thank you Roger and Peter, for mentioning the diverse attitude of the two parts of Crossley, one self-serving and the other accommodating towards its customers. As we know, a chain is only as good as its weakest link!

Chris Hebbron

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03/07/11 – 19:54

Talking about Track routes to this day the Arriva service 268 Dewsbury- Bradford service is still referred as the Track although in tramway days the service only went as far as Moorend as did service G in bus days.The service 281 Bradford to Thornhill is always referred as The Donkey for obvious reasons.

Philip Carlton

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30/04/12 – 07:53

Roger, in his copy, records that these vehicles had five-speed gearboxes, but I seem to recall that they had four-speed boxes with overdrive. The driver would move the lever in a semi-circular way to gain overdrive. I only travelled on them from Woking to St. Peter’s Hospital, Ottershaw, a very flat route, so was never able to judge their hill-climbing capabilities. When living in Portsmouth, I did travel on the Petersfield – Guildford route as far as Milford on a couple of occasions, but that was on a Loline. I imagine that the Lances would also have been on that challenging route over the North Downs and I’d have loved to have ridden on them up there!
A childhood delight was going on holiday, around 1950, from Kingston – Southsea on a duplicate Southdown Leyland Cub coach. But I digress!

Chris Hebbron

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30/04/12 – 09:12

Oh, there you go – as Chris Youhill has said elsewhere, that’s the fun of this site. Digress away. After the pathetic failure that was yesterday’s Cobham/Wisley event, we may only be left with our digressions!

David Oldfield

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01/05/12 – 06:48

Well, the weather must have been appalling, if Gloucester was anything to go by, but were there other problems, too, David?

Chris Hebbron

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01/05/12 – 06:50

Chris, the Dennis gearbox was an overdrive unit, giving five gears in all. Overdrive was a preselective gear designed using Maybach principles. To engage from fourth, the gear lever was moved at any time, as with a conventional preselector, to the left and forward, and actual engagement occurred when the accelerator was released to allow the revs to die. When the accelerator was pressed again, fifth gear was already engaged. To change down, the lever was moved back to the fourth position, and engagement occurred when the accelerator was released and then pressed again to raise the revs for the fourth ratio. Sadly, I have never driven a Dennis with such a gearbox, though I have travelled many miles as a passenger on Lances and Lancets so equipped. Ian T is the expert when it comes to practical experience.

Roger Cox

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01/05/12 – 06:51

Is that Arthur and Olive from On the Buses just passing?

Philip Carlton

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01/05/12 – 19:27

We were discussing this on Sunday, Chris, saying that the organisers might use the weather as an excuse. The weather was atrocious – but that wasn’t the problem. Most of the "runs" were a circuit of the airfield – not a decent run on proper roads. The 499 to/from Weybridge Station was supposed to be half modern low-floor vehicles – it was even worse. More of them, supplemented by re-engined RMs. I have friends "high" in the industry who said after Dunsfold, and then this, they will no longer be supporting it. Likewise people in the business who are enthusiasts who brought their own vehicles from wide and far. We were charged £10 to enter, get soaked and find nothing to entertain us – and a further £2 for the programme. Sorry you got me going Chris, but it wasn’t the weather and, despite living up the hill, it won’t be in my diary next year.
Rant over, now let’s get on with friendly sharing of expertise and experience.

David Oldfield


 

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Widnes Corporation – Daimler CWA6 – FTF 207 – 59

FTF 207_lr
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Widnes Corporation
1945
Daimler CWA6
Duple UL55R – East Lancs L27/28R 1955

This photo was sent to me by Richard Mercer after he had seen the posting of the London Transport Daimler D1 which also had a Duple body, but as Richard points out this one is more rounded with softer edges and not so angular as the LT one.  As there is only one year between this vehicle and the LT one it leads to the question was this bus rebodied before this shot was taken, and if it was, is it possible that it was done by East Lancs. What I like about it is the very shapely cab door, side window and windscreen the driver had good visibility from that cab. Richard has fond memories of this bus which was photographed in St Pauls Road Widnes as it was his school bus in the 1950,s. The bus was withdrawn in 1967 and went to a dealer in Wombwell South Yorkshire I do not know if it had a life after that, if you know, let me know.

Photograph and information contributed by Richard Mercer

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.


12/06/11 – 10:41

The asymmetrical upper deck window arrangement was not as may be thought a simple repair job but the standard adopted by Widnes for all its new double deck deliveries until the switch to saloons in the nineteen sixties.

Chris Hough


12/06/11 – 11:27

This looks like an East Lancs body to me, and this is borne out by another picture of this bus on the Omnicolour Bussslides website. East Lancs apparently managed to convince the authorities that it could not adopt the severe austerity style of construction specified for the standard Utility bodywork without disrupting production, and its wartime bodies were built to the usual East Lancs appearance, though one imagines that the general embargo on the use of lightweight alloys and other materials must have applied. It is possible, therefore, that the body shown is original. However, the neat, well proportioned lines of the body on this Widnes bus certainly looks like an East Lancs product of the 1950s to me.

Roger Cox


13/06/11 – 07:46

I am no expert on these matters but it definitely looks like a rebody to me. The radius corner flush mounted side windows and sliding ventilators don’t look like those from a utility body and the front and rear domes are too rounded. It does have an East Lancs look about it though.

Ian Wild


13/06/11 – 07:48

FTF 207 was indeed rebodied by E/Lancs with this lowbridge body in 1955. Several Daimlers from the same batch and and also the 1943 batch received E/Lancs highbridge bodies around the same period.
My information is taken from the 1965 edition of Ian Allan British Bus Fleets book 6, Lancashire Municipal fleets.

Eric


13/06/11 – 07:51

Yes indeed. BBF6 has this as rebodied by East Lancs in 1955. However, it is shown as L55R rather than H55R, with FTF 208 rebodied at the same time as H60R.

Peter Williamson


13/06/11 – 10:41

As a stranger to the area and the operator I can’t possibly comment on the accuracy of the fleet lists, but unless its an optical illusion it certainly looks like a highbridge body. It is an extremely handsome vehicle – however tall it is !!

Chris Youhill


13/06/11 – 10:32

If you look at the handrail running alongside the upperdeck off side windows this confirms that it is a sunken gangway lowbridge body and the roofline is much flatter than the highbridge version.
My home town of Huddersfield had two batches of Regent III’s in 1954/5 with identical lowbridge bodies to this one. They also had a batch of highbridges in 1955 with a much more rounded roof profile. Leigh Corporation also had a batch of lowbridge Regent III’s around the same time and there is a photo of one of these in the 1965 BBF6

Eric

There is a shot of a Leigh Regent here and a Huddersfield one here.

Peter


13/06/11 – 12:11

I’ve just had a look at the photo of the Leigh one and whilst it is of the same general style as the Widnes/Huddersfield bodies I have noticed that the windows are not as flush as in the newer bodies and the radius corners of the pillars are slightly more angular. So the Leigh bodies are to the earlier design of about 1951. Again, Huddersfield had a batch each of highbridge and lowbridge bodies to this design delivered in 1951/2 the highbridges being 170-5 (FVH 170-5) of 1951 and the lowbridges 226-31 (GCX 26-31) of 1952. The also had a batch of highbridges delivered in 1950, 163-9 (EVH 563-9) but these bodies were of a totally different style altogether. So perhaps this shows that East Lancs were "on the ball" when it came to body design and updating.

Eric


14/06/11 – 08:23

Another good way of telling that it’s lowbridge is the gutter moulding above the lower saloon. This dips down behind the cab and then up again at the rear bulkhead and is in line with the floor. The drainage from the upper saloon floor would be behind that moulding.

David Beilby


15/06/11 – 07:09

I found this very confusing at first. I’ve never seen a picture of this before and I was initially unable to decide between Duple or East Lancs but it clearly is the latter as has now been proven. I think the confusion can be explained through the links posted by Peter W, this vehicle is obviously 7ft 6in wide, which gives the impression of extra height although it is lowbridge and dissembles the East Lancs look to a degree. The Leigh and Huddersfield vehicles are clearly 8ft wide and look more as you expect East Lancs to look for the period.
How nice to read that it achieved 22 years service!

Chris Barker


15/06/2011 15:55

Perhaps the missing push out ventilator on the off side upperdeck front window makes some people question if it is an East Lancs body and I think it does detracts slightly from what is an otherwise classic design of the period.

Eric


16/06/11 – 09:20

East Lancs bodied the majority of Widnes fleet in post war years a batch of East Lancs bodied PD2s which were to prove Widnes last deckers all had the winking eye upper deck treatment East Lancs even bodied a rather bizarre coach for Widnes in the sixties They switched to Nationals and later the Lynx when these became available

Chris Hough


Just dug out my very well thumbed BBF No 6 Lancashire – dated 1960 (Price 3/6d) and 59 was definitely East Lancs L57R rebodied in 1955 on the original CWA6 utility chassis. Some of this batch were CWD6 and some retained their utility bodies and were never rebodied at all. I remember seeing a utility bodied example in St Helens in the early 1960’s probably 1961/2 from memory.
For the record if anybody is interested according to this issue of BBF6 (and they were normally pretty accurate in those days) the details of the batch still in stock at 1960 are:-
49/51/53/60 – East Lancs H60R rebodied 1955
54 Northern Counties UH56R
55/56/57 Duple UH56R
58 Duple UL55R
59 East Lancs L57R rebodied 1955
So 59 was the only lowbridge East Lancs rebody.
I have them all underlined as being ‘copped’ apart from 54 which I have crossed out so it must have been an early withdrawal.
I agree that the single front ventilator which was a Widnes trait made the buses look a bit ‘botched’ and detracted from what otherwise was a tidy fleet. I presume the logic was that passengers wanting the fresh air treatment could choose to sit on the nearside while those of a less robust disposition could take to offside!
I remember a spotting trip to Widnes in 1962 when I copped these buses and at that time the new Widnes-Runcorn bridge had not long been open. We took a walk over it and the old Transporter Bridge was in the process of being dismantled. I regret that I never saw it in operation.
It was only after the opening of the new bridge that Widnes buses ventured over to Runcorn and previously terminated on the Lancashire side of the river to allow passengers for Runcorn to alight and go as foot passengers on the Transporter.
The bus drop-off point and the old Transporter Power Building is still in place at the end of a side street of terraced houses. The rest was all demolished.

Philip Halstead


21/08/15 – 06:02

58 and 59 were the only two in the fleet with the side gangway upstairs (handrail visible on 59), the seats being four in line on the nearside. 58 was a more decrepit unit so was probably in original form? My grandmother would never travel on upper decks as smoking was allowed, hence the ventilators. Downstairs she would try to avoid the offside seats on these two as headroom was restricted because of the sunken gangway upstairs. I witnessed many a cracked skull.

Kenneth Aaron


06/09/17 – 06:28

3 that I know of, 49, 51 and 60, had Leyland bodies in the mid 1950’s

Richard Mercer


16/05/20 – 06:32

I was interested to read the comment by Chris Hough (12/6/11) concerning the asymmetric upper deck window arrangement on Widnes buses.
My father J H (Harry) Craggs was general manager of Widnes Corporation for many years (from around 1950-1965) and I recall very clearly, when I was a young boy, he mentioned the reason for this unusual configuration! He told me that one window was sufficient to get good upper deck ventilation… two were not necessary and having both opened at the same time could cause drafts. It seemed both logical and fascinating at the time and I never forget this unusual conversation, even all these years later!

John Craggs


 

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Rotherham Corporation – Bristol K6B – EET 580 – 180

Rotherham Corporation - Bristol K6B - EET 580 - 180
Copyright Ian Wild

Rotherham Corporation
1949
Bristol K6B
East Lancs H30/26R

Rotherham was an enthusiastic Bristol operator until they became no longer available to non Tilling Companies. 180 is one of a batch of four Bristol L6B originally with Bruce B32C bodies delivered in 1949 and all rebodied in 1951 (only two years later) by East Lancs as H30/26R double deckers.

The photo was taken in August 1967 at the Chapeltown terminus of service 16. My information doesn’t include any withdrawal dates but the bus was a creditable 18 years old at the time.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

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180 lasted in service until 1967, one year later than the other three.

Chris Hebbron

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Ah! Blue and cream – almost as good as cream and blue (Sheffield).
Living in the far South West of Sheffield, I lived just about as far from Rotherham as I could be and the 69 went to Exchange Street, not Pond Street Bus Station. I am a fan of Bristol engined Bristols but wasn’t aware of Rotherham’s Bristols until long after they had gone. It was the AECs and Daimlers that I remember – and of course the AECs were actually in the minority.
Ironically, Rotherham was to become significant to me – as a musician – in later years, and still is today.

David Oldfield

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What a coincidence, David. I too lived on the south west side of Sheffield. I was at a training centre in Rawmarsh for 6 months during the winter of 1962/3 and travelled daily by bus. The 69 of course was a joint Sheffield/Rotherham service, Rotherham’s contribution almost exclusively being a Crossley. Rotherham had one single lady driver which was unusual in those days but she was a complete master (mistress?) of the Crossleys. Sheffield used their three ‘stock’ all Leyland PD2s (601-603), with their none standard destination displays on the 69. I seem to remember them having a brown seating material rather than Sheffield standard.
From Rotherham I travelled to Rawmarsh by Mexborough and Swinton. Their lowbridge Atlanteans were quite unusual to my eyes although later I worked for a fleet with 105 of them! Best thing about M&S was the almost exclusive use of conductresses, many of them rather attractive!!
Does anyone have any photos of the M&S Atlanteans?

Ian Wild

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The interesting question is, why were these vehicles re-bodied after only two years? It’s inconceivable that the Bruce bodies would have been unserviceable after such a short time, I believe Bruce had a good reputation and weren’t they associated with East Lancs? Was it the case that Rotherham suddenly had a desperate need for double deckers? and were the original bodies re-used on other chassis?
Did the fact that they were single deck chassis have any effect on the rear platform of the re-bodied vehicles, such as the Wallace Arnold re-bodied Daimlers for Kippax and Farsley with their two-step platforms?

Chris Barker

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And it wasn’t a cheap conversion, either. They were delivered as Bristol L6B’s, which were single decker chassis. The Bruce bodies were classified B32C’s which suggests that they were originally coaches rather than single-deck buses. The chassis were then rebuilt to K6B standard and fitted with the East Lancs double decker bodies. It’s likely that even the gearbox/axle ratios needed changing. But, as Chris B says, what were the ‘coaches’ originally planned for?

Chris Hebbron

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Two-step platforms: there was a fashion for these in the early 50’s: Doncaster had some new Roes in the 120’s with two step platforms and cranked seats- was it a way of dealing with 7ft 6in widths for narrow streets (or narrow washers depending which version you prefer)?

Joe

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I wonder if it was something to do with Rotherham getting wind of the impending loss of access to new Bristols. They may have taken whatever they could get hold of before the stable door was finally locked and bolted, on the basis that a 6B is a 6B, whatever happens to be sitting on top of it. It is quite probable that there would be a second-hand market for four good-quality coach bodies no more than two years old. From an accounting point of view it is quite likely that the subsequent rebodying would be done through the maintenance budget. So there would be few questions asked (however much it cost), compared with the approval process for purchasing new capital stock.

Stephen Ford

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PSV Circle fleet supplement P71R dated October 1963 provides further information. Eight 1949 Bristol L6Bs were rebodied with double deck bodies in 1951, fleet numbers 112-114 and 179-184. The displaced single deck bodies were fitted to prewar L5Gs fleet numbers 137/140/142/143 of 1938 and 159-162 of 1939. Of these, at least 137 etc originally had Cravens bodies. All were withdrawn in 1957/1958. Please note these B32C bodies were bus bodies (not coach)- the C refers to central entrance which seems to have been a Rotherham speciality as the Cravens bodies were of the same configuration.

Ian Wild

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Following on from Ians comment, centre entrances were very common in this area. Rotherham also ran many centre entrance single decker Daimler trolleybuses, a number of which were rebodied at a very young age with Roe double deck bodies. Rotherham were the joint operator with Mexborough and Swinton on services between Rotherham and Conisborough via Mexborough. Most of the ‘tracklesses’ operated by the Mexborough system were centre entrance with only a few very early examples and some wartime second hand vehicles bucking the trend. One of the latest centre door vehicles that I can think of in that area was a Doncaster CT Regal IV that from new was equipped with a centre door body albeit rebuilt to dual entrance later in life.

Dates relevant to the bus shown in the photo above are:-
Date into service – March 1949 (original body was by Bruce on East Lancs frames)
Chassis modified from L6B to K6B and rebodied by East Lancs in April 1951
Withdrawn October 1967 it passed to Autospares of Bingley for scrap in December 1967.
The original single deck body was used to rebody the refurbished chassis of a 1940 L5G of the CET 44x batch numbers 159 – 162

Andrew Charles

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27/02/11 – 12:00

Some interesting comments here, but does putting a double-deck body on a Bristol L make it a K? I grew up in Bristol and remember all the rebodying that went on but Bristol Omnibus never did a single to double deck conversion. The L chassis was 27′ 6" long, the K 26′ but, by the time of Rotherham’s rebodying, double deckers were allowed to be 27′ long. So how long was 180? Rotherham went on to buy the KS chassis, the only non-Tilling operator to do so; comparing photo-graphs of the two, 180 is almost certainly 26′ long, so the chassis had to be shortened to fit the new double deck body.

Geoff Kerr

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