Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Titan – RV 6358/67 – 5/7

Portsmouth Corporation
Leyland Titan TD4
English Electric O26/24R

Here are two of the Portsmouth Corporation venerable TD4 open top buses. When delivered in 1935, this batch had English Electric bodies of H26/24 configuration, but four of these were rebuilt as O26/24R in 1953. No.5, RV 6358, formerly No.115, and No.7, RV 6367, previously No.124, are seen on 26th June 1967 at Southsea seafront. These sturdy performers were ultimately withdrawn in 1971 and 1972 respectively.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

23/07/13 – 06:44

Nearly all of Portsmouth’s 46 TD4s were quite long-lasting vehicles, many going on for 18-20 years. The four with EEC bodies converted to open-top were even more long-lived, going on to 1971/72 – a massive 35 years! I believe all four are still extant in preservation. This includes one which has had a top cover to more or less the original design fitted, although the upward sweep of the open top front has been retained. These four conversions replaced Leyland Cheetah single deckers on this route – a photo of one at the end of it’s life is also on this site. The Southdown Enthusiasts’ Club recently produced an excellent booklet on the history of Portsmouth’s sea front services, and the vehicles used. In 1956, a batch of MCCW Orion bodied PD2s replaced the remaining covered top versions of the EEC bodied TD4s. Poetically, six of these PD2/Orions were converted to open top to replace the EEC TD4s shown here! Thanks for also showing them in the traditional red (crimson) and white livery. I was never a fan of their final style of nearly all-over white with a red band or two. Interestingly, the PD2 conversions were painted white with red stripes immediately on conversion. Those preserved have been re-painted in traditional crimson and white – not strictly authentic, but their owners must agree that it’s much better-looking! Others on this site may like their Gardner and AEC engine sounds, but for me a Leyland TD4 or a PD2 is the best score in the memories of youth.

Michael Hampton

24/07/13 – 11:00

A couple of very evocative photos, with the added fact that little has changed in the second location (Clarence Pier, Southsea)and a lot in the first (by Southsea Castle). It was a pleasure to travel on these venerable public servants and it’s good to know that they’ve all survived. I also loved the roar of these indirect injection diesel engines (sounding at their most bizarre when fitted to the Crossley DD42/7’s). My wife and I would often pick up one of these by the seafront at the Marine barracks and go the Hayling Ferry and watch the activity there for an hour or so. I don’t believe there’s a seafront service any more. although I believe that a company tried one last year, obviously without success.

Chris Hebbron

24/07/13 – 14:42

Chris, the 8.6 litre Leyland oil engine was a very smooth running direct injection design, giving 94 bhp at 1900 rpm, making it the fastest revving direct injection unit then available. On my last visit to the Portsmouth/Gosport area about five years ago, I was pleased to see the seafront gardens much as I remembered them from childhood, a time when Portsmouth City still showed the terrible scars of wartime bombing. I am sorry to learn that no seafront service now operates. It was always a magical experience as a child to hear the glorious sound of these buses when pulling away, though back then (1949 to 1952) they still had covered top decks.

Roger Cox

26/07/13 – 06:48

That was a slip of the pen, Roger, but thanks for correcting me.
Not long after going out to work in London, I had a sole experience of a return ride on one of LT’s pre-war STD’s. Leyland TD4’s, with crash gearboxes, they were, nevertheless, good performers, even into Central London. Bodily, they were clever copies of roofbox STL’s to the layman, but to the bus enthusiast, not quite right, internally and externally, producing a surreal ride. Shame one never survived, although there were a couple of failed attempts.

Chris Hebbron

30/07/13 – 12:29

Some engines grunt like an O600, some thud like a 5LW or rumble like a 6LW, some thrash and some clatter, but nothing hums like a Leyland 8.6! For sound, bodywork and livery I’d have one of these Portsmouth TD4s among my Desert Island Dozen. Pity that considerations of fuel economy, clean running and power output have conspired to make the toroidal piston cavity almost universal, because it seems that the smoothness Roger describes results from the flowerpot cavity of the 8.6. For three years after the introduction of this legendary engine AEC continued to struggle with Ricardo-head indirect injection with its cold-starting difficulties.
Does anyone recall the sound of London Transport AEC 8.8-litre engines? I don’t, as I wasn’t there, but Graham Green tells me that they too had flowerpot-cavity pistons, so I imagine they must have hummed like the Leyland 8.6.

Ian Thompson

01/08/13 – 06:34

Something I forgot to ask:
Seaside open-toppers often survived way beyond the average vehicle’s service life. Is that because they were cherished by the operator and given whatever overhauls were necessary for a new CoF even when an accountant would raise an eyebrow, or were the fitness conditions less stringent for buses plying a flat seafront route at 20mph? But a counterexample was prewar Southern Vectis CDL 899, which at over 60 years of age ground doggedly up to the Needles Battery, at about 450ft, several times a day.
Enlightenment welcome!

Ian Thompson

01/08/13 – 11:20

One aspect was that they probably only worked for 4 months a year, so had less hard lives on an annualised basis. I also wonder if there was some affection for these pre-war buses, retained long after the war before conversion, and, in effect, museum pieces. I’m not so sure that post-war open-toppers, in general, have fared so well.

Chris Hebbron

02/08/13 – 10:40

You are of course right Chris, they were only used for 4 months of the year and were stored under dust sheets in the side garage at North End through the Winter. In addition they were not sent out in the rain – as the timetable of the time stated – this service will be augmented or withdrawn depending on demand and the weather.

Pat Jennings

04/08/13 – 06:44

How I agree with Ian on the subject of the pot cavity Leyland oil engine in TS and TD chassis. Originally of 8.1 litres capacity, the engine was derived from Leyland’s contemporary petrol unit and inherited its overhead camshaft design concept. This contributed to the smooth running characteristics, albeit at a slight penalty in longer overhaul procedures. In fact, when later bored out to the familiar size of 8.6 litres, the E102 unit proved to be very reliable, and this apparent maintenance complexity was unimportant in practice. Coupled with the "silent third" gearbox, which had sliding mesh engagement for first and second, but helical constant mesh for third, the TS and TD buses thus equipped were, to my mind, the most musical psvs of all time. The song of one of these pulling away from a stop was a delight upon the ear. My experience of the AEC pot cavity 8.8 litre engines was limited to a very few rides upon the 10T10 Regals from Selsdon when Green Line routes 706 and 707 were introduced on the 26 June 1946. I was then four years old, so such memories are justifiably hazy, and one month later I went to live in the very rural Kent village of Doddington, which, to my joy, was served by Maidstone and District Leyland TS Tigers. Route 28 ran along the valley to Faversham with utility rebodied petrol TS2 buses, and these hissed along almost silently. Route 58 ran to Sittingbourne with TS7 (or possibly TS8) Tigers, and the glorious sound of these wonderful machines ascending Chequers Hill remains in my memory to this day. Perhaps our professional musician contributor, David Oldfield, might wish to offer a view on this subject. Much of our pleasure in old buses derives from their distinctive sounds, a quality that utterly eludes the present day crop of routine rattle boxes. To me, it’s like comparing Monteverdi with Heavy Metal. An interesting additional point arises from this discussion. So effective was the prewar Leyland 8.6 litre oil engine, that, when Crossley and Daimler designed their post war diesels, they copied exactly the 4½ ins bore and 5½ ins stroke of the Leyland, though not the pot piston cavity. Neither engine remotely emulated the success of the Leyland. When I first encountered the new post war PD1/PS1 Leylands, I was sadly disappointed with the sound of the E181 engine. The old Stradivarius sounds had been replaced by the rattle of a Gatling gun.

Roger Cox

04/08/13 – 10:38

Roger. Thanks for the recognition. I regret to say that I was (just) a little young and was badly placed as a kiddie to comment on TD and TS Leylands. Born in 1952 and only let loose on my own about ten years later, my early experience was Sheffield native vehicles. These were all high quality Leylands and AECs – but essentially post-war. Your description of the music of a Leyland 8.6 is only a thing I can imagine and, at the same time, be jealous of. It is certainly true that, although the engine has a big part to play, the gearbox is the critical part of the anatomy for producing the musical sounds of any motor vehicle. For this reason, I found PD2s rather characterless but when my favourite all Leyland PD2/10s (656-667) were on tick-over, they were almost silent – with just a little whistle and chuff. Whether Pre-select or synchromesh, there was far more character from the gearbox of a Regent III/V. Why, though, did the pre-select, the monocontrol and the BR/BUT (DMU) gearbox have delightful music to it which was missing on the Atlantean? Hardened gearwheels enhanced the music of certain manual AECs as did the (standard?) fair of Guy Arabs ( I – IV?). I also remember, as a student, being delighted to ride on a Manchester CCG6 – loved by enthusiasts and loathed by drivers! I’m not sure whether these were the thoughts that Roger was expecting or hoping for. All I can say is that my description of modern buses is "a load of characterless sewing machines". [The nearest thing to character I ever found on anything modern was the Voith boxes on the South Yorkshire AN68s of 1980/81 – but that was over thirty years ago!]

David Oldfield

04/08/13 – 14:46

I’m surprised no-one seems to have mentioned the reassuring clatter of an exhaust brake: perhaps they are post 1970: in which case I’ll still settle for the melodious sound of a CVD6, hunting and then tunefully gurgling away.


05/08/13 – 08:00

I too discovered the music of prewar (and postwar) Leylands at the age of four, in my case from Manchester TD5s and PD1s respectively. As Roger says, the sound of a TD pulling away from a stop is something very special, and I was so taken with it that (not knowing what they were really called) at that age I gave them a name based on the sound they made. Part of the magic came from clutch judder transmitted into the gearbox. In my experience the rapidity of clutch judder depends on gearing, and the TD must have had a very low second gear to sound the way it did. Manchester, however, did not have the "silent third" gearbox, but specified a special version with cellos and trombones in third gear as well as second (first was never used).

Peter Williamson

RV 6358 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

05/08/13 – 08:01

Not 100% sure, but I suspect the sound Roger Cox refers to may be like that of the Lincoln TD7 which is to be found on the Old Bus Sounds page. I remember it on many of Barton’s rebuilds around the time of our move to Long Eaton in 1954 – not to mention their ex-Leeds Regents and TDs.

Stephen Ford

06/08/13 – 06:13

The Lincoln TD7 is indeed capable of making all the right noises – I had a nostalgic ride on it last November. I don’t think there’s a second-gear start with clutch judder on this recording though. However, there is a nice burst of second gear from 6:36.

Peter Williamson


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Portsmouth Corporation – Tilling-Stevens E60A6 – RV1147 – 84

Portsmouth Corporation - Tilling-Stevens E60H6 - RV1147 - 84
Copyright G E Baddeley

Portsmouth Corporation
TSM (Tilling-Stevens) E60A6
English Electric H26/24R

CPPTD lent seven TSM’s and three Leyland TD1’s to supplement the shortage of LPTB’s vehicles. Parked at the Red Deer pub, Croydon, alongside two Ford Y’s and an Austin 14, Portsmouth Corporation’s TSM (Tilling-Stevens) E60A6 is very much on foreign territory, in Surrey. At the very end of its sojourn in London, between October 1940 and March 1941, it’s part of a restful scene in an otherwise turbulent time, with the Blitz in full spate. The low-angled sunlight shows up the lining-out and city crest a treat! Also showing up is the garage/running number plate just below the front downstairs window, the empty holders of which identified many London helpers to the day they were scrapped! Note the absence of anti-blast netting on the windows. It’s on route 12 which, at the other end, reached Oxford Circus. It was probably based at Croydon Garage, a mere 100 yards from the Red Deer, both still existing, although the garage has been re-built.
She got about in London, for I’ve seen a photo of her at Golders Green, too!
CPPTD bought ten of these petrol-engine’d vehicles, with vee-front English Electric bodies, in 1932, numbered 78-87. Two were destroyed in 1941, in Portsmouth, the rest being withdrawn in 1944 (4) , 1946 (1) , 1947 (2) and 1948 (1). Maybe the delivery of nine Daimler CWA6’s enabled them to withdraw the first four, but, with the pressures on buses in this year on other local operators, this is surprising and mysterious. We shall never know now.
All ten buses were lucky, for they were returned to Pompey on 13/14 March 1941, just after Eastney Depot was bombed on the 10th, destroying ten buses!

Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron Photo copyright G E Baddeley

19/11/12 – 08:14

It seems that these buses were lucky twice over, Chris. If they left Croydon Garage (TC) in March 1941, they escaped the devastating damage caused in May 1941 when the depot was hit during the Blitz and caught fire, causing a number of casualties. See:- www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk These TSM double deckers carried the Leyland clone style of radiator adopted in 1931 to replace the antiquated shape worn by the B10 Express. The wheelbase was 13ft. 4½ ins., and the six cylinder 6.972 litre petrol engine (apparently designed in part by Harry Ricardo) developed 109 bhp at 2500 rpm, driving through a four speed crash gearbox. Among the antiquated features carried over from earlier models was the central accelerator pedal, which some manufacturers, Crossley and Dennis being others, seemed curiously reluctant to abandon. The TSM double decker was not a success, with Walsall, Birmingham and Benfleet & District (which soon became part of Westcliff-on-Sea) among the few purchasers in addition to Portsmouth.

Roger Cox

19/11/12 – 10:30

13ft 4½ins seems very short for the wb. though, considering 16ft for contemporary Regents et al (or around that figure anyway).
What I find truly fascinating about this photo is the English Electric body! This style must beat all records when it comes to the amount of different chassis upon which it was placed, from its 1932-6 existence! I cannot think of a Thornycroft version, or, of course, a Bristol, but all the rest of the contemporary competition had examples. Please correct me if I have missed anything!

John Whitaker

19/11/12 – 12:52

That was a bad bombing, Roger. I found an associated link with a photo of the results – see //goo.gl/giEwB. Croydon was a Tilling Garage pre-1933 and hosted many Tilling STL’s, one of which can be seen as a casualty! Thx for the additional information. I wish I knew what the TSM model codes meant; sadly, your information sheds no light on the codes.
Your observation is correct, John W, about the versatile EE body. although it always seemed to grace more Leyland chassis than most others, but that may be a faulty observation!

Chris Hebbron

20/11/12 – 05:19

I think that you are correct, John. The wheelbase figure I gave came from a piece written by Geoff Hilditch many years ago, but I think that it might well be a misprint for 15ft 4½ins. The contemporary original 661 Regent had a wheelbase of 15ft 6½ins.

Chris, I hesitate to be pedantic on this – I have gleaned this info from various sources over the years and am open to correction, but the chassis codes for TSM/Tilling Stevens seem to be based on the following formula:-

First letter = Model type number, this case E

Second group = Engine power (petrol) or manufacturer/no. of cylinders (diesel), which here should probably be the figure 60.
Possibly this reflected the old RAC rating, which was really a measure of engine capacity rather than power.

Third letter = Vehicle purpose. A was the letter for a passenger chassis

Fourth number = wheelbase, 6 being the double deck wheelbase figure of around 15½ feet

Other TSM/Tilling Stevens chassis codes were the H type, as in Dave Gladwin’s posting of the Preston’s of Ferryhill coach, and the familiar ex Altonian K type, K6LA7, in which the ‘6L’stood for 6LW and the final 7 for a wheelbase of around 17½ feet. The later, 30 ft long, full fronted lightweight Express models with four cylinder Meadows engines were coded L4MA8, the last figure denoting a 18ft 7½ins wheelbase. There was also a shorter version of the Express II, with a Perkins P6 engine, the L6PA7. The 5LW powered short wheelbase 30 seater buses ordered by the China General Omnibus Co. which were diverted in wartime to the home market, and the very similar machines bought by the China Motor Bus Co. from 1948 were coded H5LA4 and K5LA4 respectively. The wheelbase on these appears to have been about 13½ feet.

Roger Cox

20/11/12 – 15:19

Thanks for that information Roger, I’ve often wondered too because Notts & Derby had a batch of five double deckers in 1932, coded D60A6, so I imagine they would have been quite similar to the ones above, presumably petrol engines were standard at that time. Was a diesel version offered, if so, what form was it? In spite of them being regarded as not successful, some of them seem to have achieved good service lives, the Notts & Derby ones ran for thirteen years, although perhaps war was a factor in that.
I have a photo of an L4MA8 coach with a Duple body which looks very similar to a Bedford SB of the time (1952). What a shame production ended just as TSM were about to enter the ‘modern’ era!

Chris Barker

20/11/12 – 16:55

Your pedantry is very welcome, Roger, and sheds some light on the somewhat arcane coding system TSM used at that time. Incidentally, I believe that TSM reverted to the Tilling-Stevens name just before the war. Even in the post-war era of distress purchasing, they did not do well, their largest orders coming from Hong Kong; 108 to China Motor Bus and 50 to Kowloon Motor Bus (K5LA7), all delivered in 1947/8. This would make the latter like the Altonian vehicle, but with a Gardner 5LW engine. One of them is preserved.

Chris Hebbron

21/11/12 – 06:47

I believe the Notts and Derby batch were a serious bid by TSM to gain access to the Balfour Beatty Group, where tram abandonments were mooted. The composite Weymann bodies were virtually identical to the Mansfield "Regents" of 1932, which replaced the BB tram system there.
TSM never really recovered from the loss of business with the Tilling companies, with whom they shared some common ancestry, with Bristol becoming the standard "marque" after 1934. Several demonstrators had visited the Group in 1932/3, with no success.

John Whitaker

21/11/12 – 06:48

Roger, I understand that the third letter in Tilling Stevens/TSM vehicle designations stood for the location of the driving position: A denoting forward control and B denoting normal control. Hence the B9B and the B10B were normal control versions of the ‘Express’ B9A and B10A.

Michael Elliott

21/11/12 – 10:00

Yes, that sounds right, Michael. I have looked through all references to TSM/Tilling Stevens/Vulcan, including goods chassis, that I can find, and the only other letter that appears is the ‘B’ that you mention. If the ‘A’ stood for ‘passenger’, the B10B would not fit the scheme, so it must, as you say, denote the driving position. At last, we seemed to have cracked the code.

Roger Cox

21/11/12 – 12:53

Kept wondering what it was that makes this rare and handsome bus look so much newer than it really is, and it’s just occurred to me: the very low radiator and bonnet line!
Thanks to Chris for the posting and to Roger for the very full detail. With a spec like that, and issuing from such a respected stable, the chassis ought to have sold in good numbers, but like the Vulcan Emperor, the Morris-Commercial Dictator, the Thornycroft Daring and the pre-war Guy Arab it just seems to have faded away. Was it cost, or some unsuspected weakness…?

Ian Thompson

21/11/12 – 15:26

Ian, one valuable reference source of Tilling Stevens data is the article written by "Gortonian" (Geoffrey Hilditch, of course) in the old Buses magazine in its superior days of 45 years ago, and republished in his book "Looking at Buses". He states that the double decker’s six cylinder engine, though a new design, had only a four bearing crankshaft instead of the usual seven, and the friction surfaces of the clutch were not attached to either the driving or driven plates, a feature intended to ease maintenance but which didn’t actually work out too well in practice. The chassis retained some antiquated design features and, although this TSM was an advance on its forebears, it still compared unfavourably with the Titan and Regent. As we know, the Tilling Group had lost any interest, literally and financially, in the TSM concern by this date, and the firm found it extremely difficult to gain entry to other markets in the depressed ‘thirties. The low bonnet line is certainly commendable. Some contemporary manufacturers, such as Bristol and Dennis, adopted unnecessarily high bonnet levels apparently to give an impression of power. The pre war Dennis Lance with the very high set oval radiator was possibly the most extreme example of all. The Strachans bodied Aldershot and District Lances of 1937 had tiny cab windscreens, which, coupled with the high bonnet, must have severely limited the driver’s view.

Roger Cox

21/11/12 – 17:28

Others were the Sunbeam Pathan/Sikh (the latter an early posting of mine). I’d forgotten the Vulcan Emperor, of which a few were bought by Southport Corporation, more as support for a local business than for any other reason, I suspect! I’m sure a few were bought elsewhere, but can’t recall, off-hand. You’ve got to feel sorry for folk putting in all that work, to come to naught in the end! Bad period for business, what with the Wall Street crash et al. You’re right about the low radiator/bonnet line giving the TSM a modern look: Leyland TD1/2’s of the same period looked more antiquated, with their radiator shape.

Chris Hebbron

22/11/12 – 07:24

The Vulcan Emperor was certainly a rarity. A picture of Vulcan’s advertisement can be seen here:- www.flickr.com/photos/

Roger Cox

23/11/12 – 08:16

Chris B and John W mention five Notts & Derby TSM D60A6’s, with Weymann bodies, delivered in 1932 and lasting until 1945. Here is an artist’s impression of one: www.cooperline.com  from which it is noticeable that the radiator shell is subtly different. Nice looking vehicle, though.

Chris Hebbron

23/11/12 – 10:06

Nice one Chris!
From photos though, I cannot discern any difference.

John Whitaker

07/12/13 – 07:55

I am currently trawling through seemingly endless internet pages to find out as much as possible about Tilling Stevens machinery. Above, in the very first comment, I say that the wheelbase of the E60A6 was 13ft.4½ins., which is patently erroneous for a 26ft. long bus. John Whitaker quite rightly challenged this figure and suggested 16ft. as being more likely. The Commercial Motor for 21 July 1931 gives the figure of 16ft.1 inch, which also fits the final ‘6’ wheelbase code. John got it right!

Roger Cox

08/12/13 – 08:24

I shall very much look forward to the information you find about Tilling-Stevens/TSM when your ‘digging about’ comes to an end, Roger. The company has always fascinated me.

Rv 1143

In the meantime, I have found a good close-up photo of sister bus No. 80 (RV1143) in the Strand, London, on Express service 12. [Copyright W J Haynes].

Chris Hebbron

08/12/13 – 10:27

Me too Roger. I have always been fascinated by Tilling Stevens: Ever since our Bradford tram seaside "bungalow" was placed at Skipsea in 1948, right next to an ex-North Western single decker!
You mentioned Vulcan "Emperors", another fascinating rarity. Am I correct in thinking Glasgow had the most significant number of this make and type, or was the Southport batch the largest? I am trying to collect as much info. as I can on this subject, but apart from the Southport history published by the Leyland Society, there is very little to go on. Thanks for your efforts.

John Whitaker

08/12/13 – 15:43

Between us, we seem to have cracked the post 1930 chassis designation code, and I am sure that, once I have managed to cobble together some information, our collaborative efforts will eventually unravel the details of earlier types. I am fascinated by this splendid picture, Chris. These buses must have been pretty rare subjects for the transport photographer, so every example is very welcome. What was Express Service 12? Did Portsmouth hold some express road service licences, or was this a wartime picture of an LPTB operation? I note that the front wings are painted white which might suggest the latter, but I can’t read the destination. The terminals of the old route 12 were Croydon and Hendon, though no buses operated the entire length; the route was run in overlapping sections. Did the LPTB run some express sections over established routes in wartime?

Roger Cox

08/12/13 – 18:13

Thanks for the photo, Chris H. English Electric bodywork of this era is another subject "close to my heart", and Pompey was a mecca!
On the PCT theme, is it not strange that Portsmouth escaped the massive bus damage which was inflicted on so many other Luftwaffe targets? No utility trolleybuses were necessary, and only the (6?) Duple CWA6s?

John Whitaker

09/12/13 – 09:23

John W – Vulcan also built bus bodies and some 40 or so were ordered by Birmingham Corporation on AEC Renown Chassis in 1930 and one on a solitary Crossley Condor in 1932. I have a photo of one of the Renowns (424) with badly mangled Vulcan body which I would have assessed as a write-off, yet it was not disposed of until 1945 (Peter Gould). I also had one of a damaged Southport Vulcan somewhere, too, and an advert for them. You are welcome to use them if you wish. They also trialled an Emperor in 1930. Of course, Tilling-Stevens took over Vulcan if memory serves, didn’t they?

Roger C – I notice that Birmingham Corporation took a number of T-S TTA1/2/TS3 with Tilling and LGOC bodies in 1914, then bought some more TS3’s in 1915 and bodied them with bodies taken off some pre-war Daimler chassis requisitioned by the War Dept. in 1914! They also trialled a demonstrator T-S TS3 in 1923 and a C60A6 in 1931, but it came to naught.

Roger/John – Yes, the bus is in Whitehall. I can find nothing on LPTB EXPRESS route 12, save that it appeared to operate only for the duration of the loan of these vehicles, detailed above. The destination box is blank. However, looking at the original of 84 at top of page, that, too, seems to show route 12 and is taken in Croydon, but no EXPRESS label is shown. At this time the other destination was Oxford Circus. The supposition that the route was part-EXPRESS or partly so, may well be correct.
The T-S in the lower photo bus worked out of Nunhead Garage, Peckham, opened, in 1911, by the National Steam Car Co Ltd, from where, ironically, bearing in mind the T-S petrol-electrics, operated another non-standard bus type, Clarkson steam buses, fired by paraffin!

Chris Hebbron

09/12/13 – 14:36

It’s interesting to reflect on these "also ran" manufacturers of the early 1930s. These could include the TSM E60 and related models, Thornycroft Daring, Vulcan Emperor, Morris Commercial Dictator, Gilford 163DOT, Karrier Consort and Sunbeam Sikh and Pathan. Quite possibly the pre-war Guy Arab is an "also ran" in this era of the 1930’s. None of these were effective competition against the mighty AEC Regent and Leyland Titan. Karrier and Sunbeam saved themselves by manufacturing trolleybuses instead. Would it be true to say that Daimler might have been an also ran had it not developed it’s "CO" series with Gardner engine and fluid transmission? The earlier CH and CP series had, I think, limited followings. Somewhere in between this list of also rans and the mighty Leyland and AEC were the likes of Dennis, Crossley and Bristol – the latter two having specific support (Manchester Corporation and the Tilling Group respectively) to boost their success. I agree with the contributor above that Portsmouth was a mecca for the stylish English Electric bodywork. Unfortunately the TSM’s shown had all been withdrawn long before I could be aware of their presence on the streets.

Michael Hampton

09/12/13 – 15:22

Hi Chris H. Yes, I would love to see the Renown bodies by Vulcan. Also the advert! Thanks.
Re. Michael`s comments about other contemporary "rarities", it is interesting to note the position of Guy in all this. I think the FC48 "Invincible" model was more of a contemporary of the "Emperor", etc. It was the mid 1930s before the "Arab" appeared, but as Michael says, it was definitely an "also ran" as were Maudslay and Foden double deck attempts during this time.
Daimler were quite successful though, with the COG5, and to a lesser extent with the COG6, but mainly with the municipal fleets. Interesting thoughts Michael!
Good old Bristol could hold their own though, with any competitors!

John Whitaker

11/12/13 – 06:33

According to Ken Glazier’s excellent tome on London Buses during the Second World War (a book now itself twenty-seven years old), the Express 12 followed the normal 12 but ran limited stop between Dulwich and Trafalgar Square. This operation started on 24th October 1940 and ended after 18th March 1941. The main purpose of these services seems to have been to get people home as early as possible, before the combined effects of the blackout and blitz extended their journey too much. By the following spring the urgency was reduced and the change of focus by the Luftwaffe meant that by the following winter these measures were not needed. They had not, in any case, proved very popular.

David Beilby

11/12/13 – 14:53

Thx, David B, for filling in the gap.
Although nothing can be read into it, it would seem that this bus was not popular, since it appears to be empty!

Chris Hebbron

12/12/13 – 12:20

Thanks, John W, for your comment (on 9th). I agree that the Guy equivalent of the Vulcan Empreror would have been the Guy FC, which was named the Invincible later in it’s production career. The FD Arab came on the scene in 1933, and was more contemporary with the Morris Commercial Dictator offering. I had forgotten Maudslay – was their offering called the Meteor? Memory tells me that Foden only produced one (perhaps two double deckers pre-1939. One was registered AMB 834, and had a body with a very sloping front profile in a straight line from upper deck top window right down to the front mudguard. I think it worked for a Cheshire or North Wales independent. I can’t trace the books I need to check these items, so apologies if my memory is faulty – no doubt you good folk out there will add your own memories and facts as needed.

Michael Hampton

12/12/13 – 15:36

Michael, the pre (1939-45) war Foden double decker appeared in 1934, and it would seem that three examples were made. AMB 834 had a Burlingham body with the features you describe, and was purchased by the Ebor Bus Company of Mansfield. A little bit of history about this company may be found here:- www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk/
The fates of the other two Foden ‘deckers seem to be more elusive to researchers.

Roger Cox

12/12/13 – 15:38

Michael. The only pre war Foden I can bring to mind was the one supplied to Ebor, of Mansfield. This had a sloping front right down to the base. Not sure exactly when it was delivered, or who bodied it.Maybe Burlingham?
Coventry referred to their Maudslay double deckers, from 1929 to 1931, as "Magna", I believe, including both 4 and 6 wheel versions. I have also seen reference to them described as "Mentor", so hope someone can clarify.
Thanks for the "Arab" clarification. I think the first one was for West Riding, with a Roe CE body, but have always thought that the "Arab" was simply a Gardner engined development of the FC. Certainly, its chassis "geometry" is in line with the FC , being much more a relic of the TD1 era.
Would n`t it be nice if we could bring all this detail from all these 1929/32 attempts at AEC/Leyland competition together in one document!

John Whitaker

13/12/13 – 07:31

Guy double deckers always seemed to be rare in the 1930’s although Cheltenham District bought some (were they called Invincibles?). Another company was Albion which built the Venturer (1932-39 and CX (1937-39), which did not really penetrate south of the Border very much between the wars and not that much in Scotland to my knowledge. Glasgow had some, but also bought Leylands and AEC’s quantity (ever pervasive!). Dundee – NIL. Aberdeen – ?. Scotland never seemed so supportive of Albion as many North Country municipalities were to firms like Crossley and the like in that era. Yet they were sound and reliable vehicles to be trusted.

Chris Hebbron

13/12/13 – 11:42

FWIW, David B, I came across another EXPRESS route which ran for a slightly shorter period: 7/11/40-19/3/41 – same reason given. This was the 47, running from London Bridge, stopping only at Lewisham, Catford, Bromley (Market Place), then all stops to Bromley Garage.

Chris Hebbron

16/12/13 – 07:28

Following on from my posting of 9/12/13, I’ve found details of TS models, with dates into service, which might fill in more blanks: 1924 – TS5X and TS3A, 1925 – TS6, 1926 – TS5A, 1927/1928 – TS6, 1928 & 1931, both T-S and TSM B10A2.

Chris Hebbron

21/12/13 – 07:19

OOps! – In my list of "also rans" for double-decker chassis manufacturers, I mentioned Morris Commercial. I wrongly noted the Dictator, which was a single-deck chassis. The d/d equivalent was the Imperial. This was sold to Birmingham and East Kent (and I think Edinburgh, too?). Also my thanks to Roger Cox for linking my description of the Foden to the bus I had in mind – the Burlingham bodied example owned by Ebor of Mansfield. (Now another digression – Ebor is the Latin name for York – is this a co- incidental use of the fleetname, or is there a specific connection between the Ebor of Mansfield bus company and the city of York?).

Michael Hampton

21/12/13 – 11:46

It would appear that Ebor, besides being the ecclesiastical title of the Archbishop of York, was also the name of a famous nineteenth century racehorse. Perhaps the diocese should submit an entrant to the London Marathon. This link www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk/  gives a bit of information about the Ebor Bus Company, but it contains no indication about the origin of the name.

Roger Cox

21/12/13 – 15:20

The Roman town was actually called Eboracum, not just the Bishop! This shuffled into Jorvik (as in the heritage centre) with the Danish invasion and then this gradually became York. Similarly Danum Corporation Transport (the Crimson Lake chariots)- all right, Doncaster.


02/04/15 – 09:04

The Portsmouth Corporation Tilling Stevens seen on the Red Deer forecourt in South Croydon was photographed between October 1940 and February 1941. The row of houses behind the bus, and the school behind the houses were flattened when a bomb fell on the school on 5th February 1941. About 100 yards to the left, the South Croydon bus garage was bombed on 10th May 1941, destroying the building and 65 buses which had been refuelled ready for the next morning. Seven men were killed in the explosion.

H. Daulby

30/08/15 – 06:55

The most Vulcan Emperors amassed by anybody were the 25 the Glasgow Corporation transport ran.
Vulcan itself was bankrupt by 1934. The liquidators sold the name to TSM.
As for the 1933-40 Guy Arab Robin Hannay has some detail about it it the current (August-September 2015) number of Classic Bus; in it he also mentions the solitary Sunbeam DF1.
Also Ebor bus Company of Mansfield were connected with Ebor general Stores of York.

Stephen Allcroft

31/08/15 – 06:36

The Ebor Bus Company was an offshoot of Ebor Trading Ltd. of Walmgate in York. Part of their business involved financing vehicle purchases for various operators, one of which was Rudolph Twaites of Lockton, near Pickering, who ran buses into York from Pickering and Malton. Mr Twaites possible over-stretched his finances and the vehicles and business passed to Ebor Trading in 1929. This business became the Ebor Bus Company. Possibly the Mansfield business was acquired in a similar fashion. The York Operations were sold to West Yorkshire Road Car Company in 1930.

David Hick

28/12/17 – 07:56

I have no knowledge of buses but have got a photograph of a Tilling-Stevens bus which is being loaded at Folkestone Harbour. The reg date is about 1921 and bus is a petrol electric double decker, and looks very new.
My interest is in researching and building a model of the Folkestone Harbour railway.
There are a number of possibilities of why a bus was being loaded onto a ferry steamer for France. A return of a bus from France after WW1 is discounted as none were shipped out. The best that I can offer is that holidays by coaches to France were being offered via Dover, and Folkestone was trying out a new steam crane to load the bus.
Please can anyone advise, with many thanks,

David Austin

24/07/18 – 07:21

A very good picture of one of these TSM double deckers in wartime service with London Transport may be found on the following page (scroll down a bit):- www.hampsteadheath.net/bus-slides.html  Click on the picture for a larger view.

Roger Cox

25/07/18 – 06:08

Thx for posting the link of 82, Roger. This is the photo that I mentioned in the second paragraph in my initial blurb, taken at Golders Green.
As an aside, I said that seven TSM’s and three Leyland TD1’s were lent to London Transport at that time, Ironically, we’ve seen three photos of the former, yet I’ve seen none of the latter!

Chris Hebbron

26/07/18 – 06:42

I’m joining this dialogue at a late stage (7/18). I ived in Paulsgrove as a lad and remember changing at Hilsea Lido on the way home to the 21. It always struck me as a powerful vehicle especially when conducting a hill start with a full load in Paulsgrove. There were two buses scheduled for the 21 nearly always CWA6’s. As a small boy in the late 1940’s I remember the original bodies as they had wooden slatted seats. They operated on the then J/K route between Highbury and Wymering. Later in life I spent a short time as a Southdown driver operating out of the Hilsea garage.

Terry Ward

28/07/18 – 06:37

Thanks for your comment, Terry. Here’s a post I did some time ago about the re-bodied Daimler CWA6’s //www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/?p=5211. I lived in Pompey from 1956-1976, but missed seeing the original Duple-bodied ones as I was in the RAF from 1956-1959 and it was in 1959 that they were re-bodied. The corporation were late to have them re-bodied, being lucky to have their utility vehicles bodied by Duple, who probably built the best quality bodies from a hotch-potch of steel and green wood. On one occasion they rejected a delivery of this wood as being virtually unworkable, a close-to treasonable act during WWII! London Transport, who still had some clout during the war, managed to take delivery of all 281 of its Daimler CWA/CWD6’s bodied by Duple and even persuaded the Ministry of War TRansport to have Duple build a lowbridge version of their body, too.
PHotos of Portsmouth’s Duple-bodied Daimlers are very rare and have eluded me so far, but I did see a photo of the rear of one of them in North End Garage and was surprised to note that rear blind boxes had been installed in them, possibly the only case where this was done.
Riding in them for me was a depressing experience. With only 9 buses with pre-selective gearboxes in the fleet, the drivers used to abuse the gearboxes terribly and it’s to the credit of the makers and corporation fitters that they kept going for so long.

Chris Hebbron

29/07/18 – 07:33

Chris, the Pompey Daimler utilities were re-bodied in 1955, not 1959. That explains why you saw none of them in their original condition! It has become a recent myth to give the 1959 date, I don’t know it’s origin, but the true date is 1955. They then lasted until 1965, being replaced by the final nine MCCW-bodied Leyland PDR1/1s (246-254 with ERV-D registrations). Some of those Atlanteans (5 of the 9) were converted to open-toppers, renumbered 7-11, and I think some survive today. That makes a vague link back to those Daimlers in a way, and looking at a fleet history, the Daimlers will have replaced some of the TSM E60A6s at the head, so we can connect the whole thread!

Michael Hampton

30/07/18 – 06:31

I originally put 1955 in my other blurb, but didn’t look at it to refresh my memory and must have fallen for a later mention of 1959, which neatly, but inaccurately fell into line with my RAF service! I’m thinking that Route 21 was originally route J/K, or is that rubbish, too, Michael? Have you ever seen a photo of the Duple-bodied buses?
Mention of my RAF service has just brought to my mind how awkward I used to feel on the few occasions I had to come home to Pompey and be the lone figure in blue/grey amid a sea (pun!) of uniformed matelots!

Chris Hebbron

01/08/18 – 07:27

Unusually for Portsmouth Corporation at the time, route 21 (Hilsea – Paulsgrove) was bi directional. Once route 3-4 was converted from trolley to diesel, it was extended from Cosham to Paulsgrove and replaced route 21.
Route J-K began some time before 21. It was later re-designated 23-24. Part of a caption on page 97 of Bob Rowe’s ‘Portsmouth Corporation Transport’ states "Space does not permit an explanation of the rather complicated history of these two services (J & K respectively) which strictly speaking were not a pair."
I was born in, and grew up, in Portsmouth, but the area served by J-K was uncharted territory for me. A classmate told me that the service was difficult to understand unless you travelled on it. Maybe Mr. Hebbron or others are able to elucidate.

Andy Hemming

01/08/18 – 07:37

Hi Chris, unfortunately the erroneous 1959 date is now in print, in the Portsmouth Corporation Transport Super Prestige Series (No. 26) – a photo caption on p.60 has it as a given date. I must have seen the Daimlers with Duple bodies in action, as they seem to have been used on the J/K service, which wasn’t far from where I lived. But I don’t recall them, and the photos I have seen are in books such as the one I’ve just mentioned. Service 21 was a completely new route, started as a feeder from a developing part of Paulsgrove housing estate to Hilsea Lido, where passengers could then change to other service into town. In 1955, it was the first numeric bus service for many years (c.1927) – all other motor bus routes were lettered. It was also the first to be numbered the same for both directions rather than paired as, say, 21/22. Towards the end of 1960, it became part of route 3/4 (Cosham to South Parade Pier), which was converted to motor bus from trolleybus, and extended from Cosham to Hillsley Road. The J/K service was entirely separate (apart from some common roads in Cosham), and my memory says it started in war-time, although it had it’s origins in a private service from the Highbury Estate to Cosham. When the Corporation decided to rid themselves of lettered bus routes, it became 23/24, in c. 1961/62. At about that time, I was in Combined Cadet Force at school, and opted for the RAF – so you weren’t the only one flying the colours!

Michael Hampton

22/04/19 – 07:27

For those interested, there is an article on Tilling-Stevens on the Local Transport History Library website:- //www.lthlibrary.org.uk/index.html
This site, which has many illustrated fleet histories and fleet lists, is run by a group of transport enthusiasts with past and present associations with the psv industry. The secretary is Peter Gould, and the LTHL project entirely replaces, updates and improves Peter’s former bus operator listings, which are now redundant. This important transport reference resource is well worth a visit, and LTHL has now added a link to OBP.

Roger Cox

23/04/19 – 07:19

Thx, Roger, for the heads-up on LTHL. I shall enjoy reading the intriguing T-S story PDF Booklet and make a donation to support this effort.

Chris Hebbron

RV 1147_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

31/10/19 – 05:58

The Portsmouth Corporation J/K post-war route operated as a circular route around Wymering Estate linking the Estate with Cosham High Street (shopping centre) and beyond to Highbury Estate. The service was operated by by Leyland, English Electric, and Craven bodied Leyland engined TD4 back loaders until the early 1960s when the one-man band Single decker took over with the service redesigned 23/24. The J/K were indeed linked, with one being the reverse of the other. So in effect both the J and K ran in both directions between the section Sixth Avenue – Cosham High Street – Chatsworth Avenue – Highbury Estate. I hope this clarifies. There are photographs on line of buses running on the route. Prewar I have found evidence of the J/K running on the future 9/10 post-war trolleybus route. Cosham – Twyford Avenue – PALMERSTON Road – Fratton Road – Cosham Red Lion. These were apparently operated by the same above Leyland TD4 type buses.

Bernard Robinson

31/10/19 – 13:38

Bernard, just a note about Portsmouth’s J/K. The Highbury/Wymering route was, I believe, started c.1942, and didn’t have identifying letters at first. The pre-war situation for this area was a 7-seat limousine running between Highbury and North End and no Wymering connection. The limo was a 1929 Daimler [JG 522] which was purchased by the Corporation in 1935, and sold in 1942. The builder of the Highbury Estate had instigated a service using a Dennis 20-seat saloon from Highbury to Cosham [High Street?], and because it was over initially private roads, no license was needed. However, as the estate neared completion, he offered the service to the Corporation. I have never read any account of the estate’s Dennis saloon, but the Corporation didn’t take it over – even though they had experience of that make of single-deckers. The route letters used pre-war were two services, one was I/J, the other K/L – two separate routes, although they may have had common roads in part. But they were nothing to do with the Highbury/Wymering service as far as I am aware.

Michael Hampton


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



Midland Red – SOS SLR – CHA 976 – 1994

CHA 976_lr
Copyright Roger Cox

Midland Red (Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co)
English Electric C30C

Following on from Paul Haywoods posting of a Midland Red Regent II I thought you may be interested in a picture of one of the types of vehicle produced by the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Company itself under its SOS manufacturing name, possibly standing for "Shire’s Own Specification" – L. G. Wyndham Shire was the BMMO Chief Engineer – though other interpretations have been suggested. This vehicle is a coach of the SLR type, which stood for "Saloon Low Rolls Royce", indicating a comparison with RR luxury rather than any mechanical involvement of that firm. The SLR coaches, of which fifty examples were produced in 1937, had English Electric C30C bodywork, and were fitted with six cylinder RR2LB petrol engines of 6.373 litres capacity, though these were replaced by Leyland E181 7.4 litre diesels in 1948. All the SLRs were withdrawn in 1955, and, although the spares availability for second hand BMMO manufactured vehicles has always posed problems, some, at least, of these coaches found further work elsewhere, including places like Cyprus and the Canary Islands. This one was photographed in Cambridge in 1959, when it was owned by Sindall, contractors. Unfortunately, on a bright, sunny day, the vehicle was parked with its front end deeply in shade under trees, which rather taxed the limitations of my trusty Brownie 127 of those days.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

20/05/12 – 12:02

I’ve never seen one of these before, in the flesh or in a photo and didn’t even know they existed. They would just have gone out of service by the time I was in the RAF in the Midlands. The radiator grill is pure Maudslay SF40 in style and you can see the follow-on post-war, in the superb lines of the C1’s. I also liked the C5’s, too.
Do you recall, Roger, if it was still in BMMO’s livery? It looks like the post-war livery of red/black, but maybe the pre-war one was different.
1937 would have been EE’s period of diversification into coachbuilding – let’s hope the bodies were sounder built than their earlier attempts with bus bodies! The chassis did not receive new bodies, it would seem, so maybe they were, although maybe they were rebuilt! Of course, coaches were often laid up for the duration of the war, or led easier lives as ambulances. Nice photo, overcoming the challenging conditions very well.

Chris Hebbron

It just so happens Chris there is a C1 and a C5 coming shortly


20/05/12 – 16:43

Splendid photo, Roger, of a delightful looking machine. It certainly looks to be in its MR black and red coaching livery as I doubt if a contractor would have "thoiled" the cost of a dual-colour repaint. It amazes me that in 1937 MR were building these almost art-deco coaches when the rest of their huge fleet of single-decker buses were little more than throw-backs to the 1920s, still using slot-in destination boards instead of roller blinds. How things changed after the war.

Paul Haywood

20/05/12 – 17:00

Unfortunately, Chris, at this distance in time, I cannot positively recall the livery, but it certainly looks like the standard post war coaching red/black, which this class certainly received – the book "Midland Red Buses" by M.W. Greenwood has two pictures of these coaches in that livery. The bodies must have proved to be reasonably sound as they lasted for 18 years with Midland Red, and then had several more years in secondhand afterlife.

Roger Cox

21/05/12 – 07:40

After their long service life a number of these old-timers were converted to dual-control and continued in the driver training roll. On leaving the RAF in 1957 I actually had my driving assessment on one at Bearwood prior to my PSV test on a D7 three weeks later. Thanks Roger for the added info I was not aware of. Just to continue the "SLR" interest, came across this interesting snippet- //www.flickr.com/photos/ -it is amazing to find these old birds still able to give useful service well after their sell-by date. Looking again at Roger’s post I think the fleet number was 2424, I stand to be corrected – or shot . . . .

Nigel Edwards

21/05/12 – 07:42

There’s a photo of one of these in its original finery in my English Electric gallery at: //davidbeilby.zenfolio.com

David Beilby

21/05/12 – 09:27

Two excellent photos at opposite ends of their lives. Interesting that David’s gleaming one shows the coach with a different grill and stylish art deco SOS badge!
Midland Red’s coaches certainly had style either side of the war.

Chris Hebbron

22/05/12 – 07:51

Nigel, there is a picture of one of these coaches after conversion to a dual control trainer at the following site, which must bring back some memories. //www.flickr.com/photos/geoffsimages/6925352463/  
On the subject of the fleet number, I do not have a BMMO historical fleet list, and I deduced the number from the text of a picture I saw on the web, but which I cannot now find. However, I have since found these pictures of CHA 965 and 990 on hire to Epsom Races in 1951 at the site below. The fleet numbers are given respectively as 1983 and 2008, which tie in with the postulated number for CHA 976. //www.na3t.org/road/photo/Hu02677

Roger Cox

23/05/12 – 09:25

I did my National Service in Egypt and then Tripoli. I was amazed to see these lovely old coaches in Tripoli – I think they were conveying US Airmen to and from Wheel US Airbase. The RASC operated a rickety Morris Commercial bus service for British troops. I have always been a Midland Red enthusiast and enjoyed going to Birmingham from Wolverhampton on the top deck of a FEDD – a wonderful experience.

Eric Bannon

Eric there is a FEDD posting in the pipeline.


24/05/12 – 08:11

Roger, thanks for the link – could well have been me (1957), Navigation Street, and in fact many of the city centre streets, were the ‘standard’ route for trainees at this time. Splendid bit of nostalgia especially the ‘Moggy’

Nigel Edwards

18/10/12 – 17:20

David Beilby suggests you follow a link to his site.
I suggest that anyone that has not looked at his GEC collection of Photos has a look, some of the interiors are the best internal shots I have seen.

David Aston

07/04/14 – 08:12

Sindalls had at least ten of these CHA952/968/972/976/977/981/982/985/989/992 In a recent article it was claimed eight of these went to PVD. One in Classic Bus had Sindall Fleet no 268.
Which ones went to PVD and what registration was 268?

David Aston


Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page



All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 15th April 2024