Old Bus Photos

PMT – AEC Reliance – 693 AEH – SN7693

PMT - AEC Reliance - 693 AEH - SN7693
Copyright Ian Wild

Potteries Motor Traction
AEC Reliance 470
Weymann B44F

This is one of many AEC Reliance 470 with standard BET style Weymann bodies (B44F) operated by PMT. This particular example dates from 1957 denoted by the 7 prefix to the fleet number. Allocated to Milton Depot at the time, it has come to grief sliding into a ditch adjacent to some road works whilst on an inward journey on the 43 from the village of Stanley to Hanley – which is the main town of the Stoke on Trent conurbation. Milton Depot had an allocation of about 20 buses, mainly single decks for services such as the one shown plus three lowbridge Atlanteans and I think three MCW highbridge Leyland PD3/4 for the Hanley to Abbey Hulton services. Inside the depot was a survivor – engineless AEC Regal ex fleet number S315 KEH 608 which was in use as the staff canteen. It later went to Hollis of Queensferry for preservation – wonder what happened to it? Going back to SN7693, I remember a call we took concerning a bus on fire somewhere out in the Staffordshire countryside. It turned out to be SN7680 of the same batch but by the time we reached it in a narrow country lane all that remained was a chassis – and some burnt grass banks either side of the road.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

These were the last batch of this type of body they had stick operated doors, Newcastle garage finished up with SN7688 which I would drive often as I thought it was a much better bus than the new Reliances we had with Alexander bodies, it had a good exhaust on it too.

Michael Crofts

Strange you should mention stick operated doors because Trent’s Tiger Cubs of the 1950’s had them. I remember thinking they had two gear sticks! The one to the right of the driver was forward when the doors were closed and then pulled back (a good pull was required!) and this pulled a flexible wire through a tube to open the doors, which were a mixture of jack-knife and two-piece. I often wondered if many fleets specified this apparatus. It fell out of favour by the end of the 50’s when something more sophisticated was felt necessary!

Chris Barker

Sheffield Transport amassed quite a fleet of Leyland Leopard Coaches between 1959 and 1961 with Weymann Fanfare, ECW and Burlingham bodywork. I did not have much cause to travel on them but I do remember that some, at least, (including the Weymann?) had this stick operation to their doors. These were full coaches with proper, heavy, coach doors – in the days when no coach had air assisted doors.

David Oldfield

My recollection is that earlier PMT Weymann bodied Reliances SN5573-5612 had electrically operated doors. I think lever operated doors commenced with SN6627-6646 and continued right through single deck deliveries including the 34 Albion Aberdonians until the ‘Jubilee’ batch SL801-810 when power operation recommenced. We avoided OMO conversions on lever door vehicles for as long as possible and of course the Aberdonians were never modified for OMO.
David mentions the lever operated doors on the Sheffield Leopards and I can recall a trip out to Bakewell on one of the B fleet Weymann Fanfare vehicles when fairly new (probably early 1960) where a friend and I sat on the front nearside seat and assisted with operating the door by hand as the driver was having difficulty with the lever operation from the cab!! The Fanfare vehicles were never modified to power operation whereas the Burlingham and ECW batches were later converted for OMO which included power operated doors.

Ian Wild

All the AEH reg batch AECs had the stick doors along with all the Albions.

Michael Crofts

With the delivery of 25 Alexander bodied Reliances in 1961, this brought a total to 150 of the 30 foot Reliances at PMT, most having Weymann bodies apart from another 10 Willowbrook bodied ones.

Michael Crofts

10/12/11 – 14:58

There were also a few Albion versions with this body operating Chell to Longton at this time. All three, Leyland, AEC and Albion had their own distinctive engine sound.
Anyone know who made the engines for the Albion?

Mr Anon

11/12/11 – 06:57

The Albions would have been Aberdonians – light-weight Leyland Tiger Cubs. The lightweight was in axle and chassis construction. They both shared the same Leyland Comet engine (0.350 version). Albions always had Albion gearboxes. [At different times, the Tiger Cub could have either a Leyland or an Albion box.]

David Oldfield

11/12/11 – 06:59

The Albion Aberdonian was a lighter weight version of the already lightweight Leyland Tiger Cub. It was powered by the Leyland O.350 engine of 5.76 litres giving 94 bhp, and was coupled to the Albion five speed constant mesh gearbox. It proved to be something of a frail beast, and most of the operators that tried it didn’t come back for more. Production ceased around 1960.

Roger Cox

11/12/11 – 11:20

The Albion Aberdonian had the same Leyland engine as the Leyland Tiger Cub, but strangely no Tiger Cub growl.

Peter Williamson

11/12/11 – 16:11

I always preferred the Aberdonian to the Tiger Cub, partly because I was brought with them. North Western’s batch of six spent most of their lives at Oldham depot and were the mainstay of the Saddleworth local services, running past my front door every half hour. I always thought they were quieter than the Tiger Cub and in retrospect I put that down to the Tiger Cub’s fan, although I don’t know if I’m correct in this.
The Albions had, shall we say, a distinctive vibration when idling. The only Aberdonian in preservation to my knowledge is the East Yorkshire one and that made the same sounds despite having a different body. It’s a bus I haven’t heard of for many years – does anyone know of its current status?
There are a few pictures of North Western’s Albions in my Saddleworth Buses gallery at: http://davidbeilby.zenfolio.com/ where they will be found in the 156, 157 and 158 collections. (This gallery is still developing but the collections relevant to these buses have been done.)

David Beilby

13/12/11 – 08:58

I too had a soft spot for the Aberdonian, despite my only first-hand experience of them being the Manchester ones with Seddon bodies of almost third-world standard. I always feel that the model had a rough deal being marketed as an alternative to the Tiger Cub, as an urban bus or express coach, when it would have been much happier doing the sort of jobs that Bedfords did – pottering around villages on market days or providing day trips to the seaside – but giving the passengers a more refined experience than a Bedford could.
As far as I know, Plaxton-bodied Aberdonian coach XUP 692 is still with us, but it now very audibly boasts a Leyland 401 engine, and by all accounts goes like a rocket. I wish one of the Charlie’s Cars Harringtons had survived.

Peter Williamson

13/12/11 – 11:21

There’s an idea for another thread on the web-site – re-engining with similar, but different and larger, engines. I am already aware of AV760 powered RTs and RMs!

David Oldfield

15/12/11 – 06:52

When I drove for Stanley Gath of Dewsbury he had an ex O.K Motor Services Roe bodied AEC Reliance RUP 768 that had a rod operated entrance door. The bus was always called Rupert for obvious reasons.

Philip Carlton

26/04/14 – 07:24

I used to go to work on the Albions from Chell to Hanley and the gearbox seemed to be arranged from right to left, very different from the Leyland and AEC.
Can anyone verify this?

Clive Reynolds

27/04/14 – 08:06

Clive, the gear selector gate on the PMT Albions was exactly the same as any other bus in the fleet. They had a five speed Albion constant mesh unit fitted. The linkage was very sloppy giving the effect to the driver of stirring a very thick pudding when trying to locate each gear!
The Tiger Cubs that were acquired from Stratford Blue in 1971 had exactly the same gearbox but with a Leyland designed selector arrangement. The gear change on these was much more positive (and heavy!) but once you acquired the knack, I always thought a pleasant bus to drive. Mind you, I didn’t have to operate them in service on one man services.

Ian Wild


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Cheltenham District – AEC Regent I – DG 9819 – 2

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Colin Martin

Cheltenham & District - AEC Regent I - DG 9819 - 2
Copyright Davis Simpson Collection

Cheltenham District
AEC Regent I
Weymann H30/24R

When my photos of the Cheltenham & District Albion Venturer
CX19 No. 72, were published they attracted a comment from Ian Thompson which read as follows-
"Three of the civilised and handsome Weymann-bodied 56-seat AEC Regents, mentioned by Chris, went in 1947 to fellow Red & White company Venture of Basingstoke, passing in 1951 to Wilts & Dorset. They were DG 9819 (No. 2) and DG 9820 (No. 3) of 1934, and BAD 30 (No. 10) of 1936. I remember seeing them (and secretly clambering aboard them in the AWRE Aldermaston bus park in 1955-56)."

Above are two photos of No.2, firstly looking immaculate with Cheltenham & District on 23rd May 1939 and then, about 1952, as ex-Venture 91, looking a little careworn on a filthy day, after Wilts & Dorset had taken over Venture.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

This later-life picture of DG 9818 brings back not only happy memories of AWRE Aldermaston bus park in the 50s, but also a question that has niggled me for years.
I was never content with bus-spotting from outside and was always curious about staircases and upstairs seating layout. I very distinctly recall a decker whose staircase started in the usual way–three or four steps rising towards the offside rear corner–but then instead of turning to rise forward, it made a 180-degree turn to debouch upstairs facing the nearside. The two forward-facing seats opposite the top step were only singles. I don’t remember any incursion downstairs: the whole staircase fitted into the platform-well. My admittedly fallible memory recalls this bus as one of the Cheltenham trio, but when I asked a retired Cheltenham driver about it sixteen years ago he could recall no such layout; nor could Colin Martin, author of Cheltenham’s Trams and Early Buses (Tempus 2001) and other authoritative bus books.
I’ve studied hard the photos of the DGs and BADs in Colin’s books and in Venture Limited by Birmingham and Pearce (1995) and in Wilts and Dorset, by Colin Morris and Andrew Waller (Hobnob 2006) and can see nothing that suggests what I recall. The DGs had only 24 seats downstairs and the BADs 26, but they all seated 30 upstairs, so there again there’s nothing to back me up. I begin to wonder whether the bus that I recall so clearly wasn’t an ex-Cheltenham after all, but then whose was it? All the E. Yorkshire Beverley Bar buses I’ve clambered around on seem to have had conventional stairs but with Roe-type square top steps. Can anyone disentangle me? Thanks!
And thanks, Chris H, for the pictures.

Ian Thompson

10/02/11 – 10:16

These three AECs which went to Venture as nos 85, 88 and 91 all had Gardner engines on arrival at Venture. The front bulkhead downstairs had a large rectangular panel (with round corners) protruding into the lower saloon above the flywheel cover – presumably because the Gardner 6LW took up more room than the standard AEC. They sounded rather like tractors compared with the usual Venture AECs. The staircases did indeed turn through 180 degrees and the top step protruded into the lower saloon above the off-side sideways seat next to the staircase: it was rather oval-shaped and a good example of the metalworker’s art as despite the many footsteps no dents or bumps were visible. It was just large enough for a footstep. There was no danger of a passenger bumping a head as upon standing up the body was clear of the intrusion.

Michael Peacock

24/03/12 – 09:25

As a kid I remember traveling to school on these old AEC Regents. One of the features of the Weymann coachwork was access to the destination blinds on the top deck by undoing two latches thus enabling one to alter the route number. As some of the stops were shared by more than one route such action caused some concern to passengers and did not last very long as astute conductors would remove us guilty or otherwise.


06/12/12 – 16:54

Somehow I managed to miss Michael Peacock and Deryck’s comments on the Cheltenham Regents that ended their careers with Wilts and Dorset, and have only just read them! It’s a relief to know that my recollection of the odd staircase wasn’t mistaken after all. I think this arrangement must have been a Balfour Beatty speciality, as it’s shared by the 1949 Notts and Derby BUT/Weymann H32/26R trolleybus at the West of England collection at Winkleigh, Devon, which I saw only two months ago. Given the above-average upper deck seating capacity, the nearly-180-degree staircase was obviously space-thrifty. Belated thanks to Michael and Deryck for shedding more light on these fascinating vehicles.

Ian Thompson


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St Helens Corporation – AEC Regent V – GDJ 438 – H138

St Helens Corporation - AEC Regent V - GDJ 438 - H138

St Helens Corporation
AEC Regent V MD3RV
Weymann H33/28R

The letter in front of the fleet number denotes the transport committees sanctions codes for new vehicles, I think I have seen this before with another operator but who just slips my mind at the time of writing. I am not quite sure as to why it is used unless it is a way of dating the vehicles. The strange thing is that it was only used on their double deckers mind you when this shot was taken in the summer of 64 St Helens corporation only had 4 single deck vehicles. Three AEC Reliance Marshall bodied buses and rather strange for a corporation fleet a Leyland Leopard L2 centre entrance Duple Britannia coach. Not quite sure what that was used for, school children to the swimming pool perhaps or for private hire, they would not of been the first municipality to go down that road.

A full list of Regent V codes can be seen here.

H or L often meant High or Low bridge? Some municipalities would have coaches to take civic parties on tours of inspection- eg the planning committee!


It’s been said before, and it’s still true. In the right livery, the Orion could be a handsome beast. This is an excellent example. [So is an STD Orion!]

David Oldfield

In this colour scheme, being light on the top half, the whole vehicle looks balanced and attractive. And the rear wheel spats give a touch of class!

Chris Hebbron

Sheffield had the (in)famous 9000 WB, a Reliance/Roe Dalesman C37C – for the use of the Transport Committee but available for Private Hire.
It was alleged that this was bought "because Leeds had one" – but I do not know whether this was true.
Salford had a late (1962) Weymann Fanfare/Reliance which became an airport coach after SELNEC took over. It replaced a Daimler CVD6/Burlingham – both originally committee coaches.
The St Helens Leopard was a 1962 Motor Show exhibit and is pictured in Doug Jack’s book "Leyland Bus".

David Oldfield

You’ve hit the nail squarely on the head David. In the right livery the Orion could indeed be a handsome beast. In this neck of the woods Samuel Ledgard operated four ex-South Wales AEC Regent Vs and an ex-Tyneside Leyland Titan PD2 with such bodies, and they looked a treat in Sammie’s blue and grey livery. The Regents were somewhat spartan inside mind you, but they had the most beautifully raucous exhaust note to compensate. Following Ledgard’s takeover by West Yorkshire in 1967, the AECs were numbered DAW1-4 and later allocated to Harrogate depot. My brother and I would deliberately walk from our usual stop in Bilton, to the one at the top of King Edward’s Drive, just for the sheer pleasure of catching one into town (and obviously back!!). They were generally to be found on the 1/2 Bachelor Gardens-Woodlands and the 9 New Park-Oatlands services, which suited us just fine. At the time I had a morning paper round, and so was also treated to the glorious sound of them barking their way up Bachelor Gardens or the Hill Tops just after seven each morning. Fabulous!

Brendan Smith

DAW 1 – 4 were indeed vehicles full of character Brendan. DAW 2, MCY 408, was the first Ledgard vehicle to be painted in West Yorkshire colours quite soon after the takeover. Along with all the AECs it was initially allocated to Otley and while working the last journey home at 22:35 from Cookridge Street it failed at the Gaumont Cinema (as was). It was taken to Roseville Road and treated to a mechanical wash with a vengeance – being 14’6" inches high it fouled the washing machine and suffered a damaged front roof dome, it was quickly repaired and became the first red "Sammy’s" double decker since G.F.Tate’s WN 4759 in 1943.

Chris Youhill

20/11/11 – 07:30

The Leyland Leopard L2 coach was number 200 (SDJ 162).
On October 9th 1965, I had booked to go, as a Liverpool fan, to Old Trafford to see Liverpool play Manchester United. My friends and I went by bus from Huyton down to Lime Street as we had booked on Crown Tours of Liverpool to get to Old Trafford.
I had a pleasant surprise to find that our coach was SDJ 162, on hire to Crown. However we lost 2-0 to goals from Best and Law, so the coach remained the highlight of the day.
It was later part exchanged against Bedford VAM 201 (KKU 77F) and was not traced after that.

Dave Farrier

20/11/11 – 13:35

David Oldfield mentions above the fact that Sheffield had a coach because Leeds had one. Leeds first coach was a 1965 AEC Reliance with a Roe body based on the Roe bodied AEC Reliance service buses bought at around the same time It was numbered 10 ANW 710C and was bought for private hire it went into preservation but its current whereabouts are unknown. Just before the PTE took over a trio of Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopards were also purchased numbered 21-23 MUG 21L etc

Chris Hough

20/11/11 – 14:44

Chris. How interesting – since the Sheffield one predated your Leeds one by about seven years. The story mangled the facts a bit, evidently.
As a matter of fact, I actually drove 10 when it was owned by Classic Coaches of High Wycombe on a private hire from Reading to Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, and back.
It was of Classics original fleet of four (including a West Riding Dalesman, a "Brown Bomber" Harrington and a Royal Blue MW/ECW). Mr Crowther then grew too quickly and went pop – after which I lost track of his vehicles. A lot of the interesting ones found further homes in preservation – it is to be hoped that the three Reliances above were among them.

David Oldfield

22/11/11 – 07:27

David This posting proves what a small world it is! I went to secondary school with David Crowther and later worked with his wife. Like many enthusiasts I think he let his heart rule his head despite training as an accountant

Chris Hough

22/11/11 – 09:16

Small world indeed. A very nice man – but not a successful operator – but I know a number of "professional" operators who would fit this bill as well. [I also know a number of the latter who run the ship with military precision but are thoroughly unpleasant people to work for!]
PS David had a cracking pair of Leyland engined REs as well!

David Oldfield

13/07/12 – 06:10

I went to school on this vehicle. If I remember I think the Letter in the fleet number was related to the registration number. A DDJ bus would be D### and K199 was a KDJ registration.

Geoff Atherton

14/07/12 – 18:09

To pick up a point raised in the original post, about "sanction codes" in front of fleet-numbers: the ten AEC Regent Vs delivered to Bradford Corporation Transport in November 1962 (126-135) carried the code "A" – they were the only vehicles so to do. These vehicles had been ordered in March 1961. John Wake, GM at St. Helen’s, had been appointed GM at Bradford in March 1961 . . . but left for Nottingham in July 1962. This innovation didn’t survive beyond his departure – although the St. Helens-style three piece destination layout did, and the earlier Regent Vs (106-125) were converted to this layout. I gather, from J S King’s excellent three-volume history of BCT, that John Wake didn’t stay long at BCT because his anti-trolleybus views put him in conflict with a good proportion of the Transport Committee . . . although that didn’t, during his short tenure, stop him pushing through the agreement in committee that led to the final decision to decommission the trolleybus operations.

Philip Rushworth

05/08/12 – 07:24

Re the comment from Geoff Atherton, St Helens K199, Reg No. KDJ 999 was an experimental Regent V front entrance bus bought in lieu of the fact that Leyland could not supply Atlanteans. She was unique to the Corporation and as far as I can remember had the nickname "Big Bertha". She ended up on the 309 service from Burtonwood to Southport, but had a habit of running out of diesel on route. Apparently, whilst on charter to Blackburn, she also dropped part of her engine on the nearside lane of the M6! As far as I am aware, she is still extant in the North West Transport Museum in St Helens.

Alan Blincow

22/08/12 – 14:58

St Helens Corporation had a kind of year letter system but it was only briefly used on double deckers. Some had the letter stencilled internally, others didn’t. Some had just the fleet number at the front of the bus, others didn’t.
It was only used between 1954 and 1966, the final six Leyland Titan PD2As and three AEC Regents (1967) were just 50-58.
Letters A-D were retrospectively applied, A being pre-1945, B were 1945-47, C 1948. The London specification AEC Regent RT types were given letter D. Sanction E was the first to be applied new, to Leyland Titan PD2s (1954/5), F (1955/6), G (1956). H, J and K were AEC Regent Vs of 1957-59 and the first "St Helens bonnet" Leyland PD2As of 1960. Letter L applied to AEC Regent Vs and Leyland PD2As built in 1961/62. L was used for the 1965 Leyland PD2As instead of M, but these had year-letter registrations and the corporation decided that with future new buses having year letter registrations the fleet number prefix was no longer necessary so it was dropped. However many of the L prefixed buses carried them internally until withdrawal in Merseyside PTE days in the late 1970s.

Paul Mason

25/05/13 – 08:34

Re Alan Blincows post…
K199 was used on the 309-319 services between Warrington and Southport extensively between 1963 and 1967 and most certainly didn’t run out of fuel on the ‘last Southport’!!!. The tank was more than ample for any duty that the Corporation ran.
I think you are referring to an article in Mervyn Ashtons otherwise excellent book on St Helens Transport…. Let’s just say that Mervyn was using a little ‘poetic licence’ at times!!!.
I bought Big Bertha from Tom Hollis at Queensferry in June 1978, and later sold her on to Ray Henton at the North West Transport Museum, where she still resides…

Roy Corless

GDJ 138_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

24/08/14 – 10:39

Yesterday I did a wedding hire with ex St Helens AEC Regent V/MCW bus no 58. A warning in the cab says Unlaiden height 14ft 3 1/2in . So this must have been the standard for the corporation till the last half cabs were delivered

Geoff S


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