Old Bus Photos

Manchester Corporation – Albion Aberdonian – UXJ 244 – 44

Manchester Corporation - Albion Aberdonian - UXJ 244 - 44

Manchester Corporation
1958
Albion Aberdonian MR 11L
Seddon B42F

Single-deckers were always very much in the minority in Manchester Corporation’s fleet. In 1958 a batch of six Albion Aberdonian MR 11L entered service. These had Seddon B42F bodywork. Manchester City Council’s Transport committee had decreed that the bus fleet should be composed of Leylands and Daimlers, so the order for Albions fell outside this policy. Since Albion was a part of the Leyland group, the batch were registered as "Leyland Aberdonians" and the word Leyland appeared on their tax discs. When new they carried "Albion" badges on the front, but these were soon removed. Due to their unsatisfactory durability, they were withdrawn in the late sixties, after only ten years of service.
The photograph shows 44 (UXJ 244) passing under a footbridge on Princess Parkway, around 1968, not long before withdrawal. These were the only postwar Manchester buses to carry the -XJ registration mark. They were unusual in having an offside cab door; the driver could not enter/leave the cab through the passenger door as was usual on underfloor engined buses.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown


10/08/14 – 10:42

Don, All Manchester’s underfloor single deckers and the Airport half deckers, until Albert Neal eventually got his Tiger Cubs, had offside cab doors. As for the Albion’s durability the body was poor and the chassis not good but their demise in the fleet was due to the fact that Neal didn’t want them and they were used as little as possible when the Tiger Cubs arrived in 1961. They were sold by Ralph Bennett as soon as they were written down in the Department’s accounts. They were also unique as the only post war buses sold by Manchester for further PSV use, albeit across the Irish Sea, one staying in the area for use by a band. Given their reputation they all survived for some time – though, of course , they had hardly any wear and tear.

Phil Blinkhorn


10/08/14 – 13:36

Just to correct my previous comment regarding the offside doors on the Airport half deckers, only the batch on Royal Tiger chassis had offside driver doors. The Tiger Cub batch did not. Regarding the removal of the Albion badges, "soon" is a bit misleading. Some survived until repainting circa 1962.

Phil Blinkhorn


11/08/14 – 07:18

It hadn’t occurred to me before that these were the only XJ post war MCTD buses. I don’t think there were many VU either, the only one that springs to mind is the curious 3696, 889VU – I seem to recall there’s a reason for that registration but can’t remember what it was. Manchester, having been one of those operators who early post-war had whole batches of buses which annoyingly missed having matching fleet and registration numbers by one or two digits (e.g. 3100-3199: JNA 401-500) went on to then wholeheartedly embrace matching fleet/reg. numbers. (Interestingly though, there were latterly three double deckers in Manchester with XJ regs – Mayne’s last Regents!)

Michael Keeley


11/08/14 – 09:42

Michael, there were two post war MCTD motor buses registered in the VU series, both due to administrative error, plus fifty four trolleybuses being the Crossley Empire and Dominion series.
In July 1948 2108, the last of a batch of Crossley DD42s was registered in the GVR series as GVR 111, some five years after the series had been allocated to the Department and some two years after the decision on registrations for over 300 vehicles the Department received as the first post war deliveries arrived. A private motorist had applied for GVR 111 for his Vauxhall and the department agreed to release the number and 2108 became HVM 621, the next number available in Manchester in 1948. In 1949 the last batch of DD42s arrived (2160-2219) and these were to have been KNA 601 to KNA 660. Prior to registration, someone in the Department determined that GVR 111 had not been allocated to a bus and the registration belonged to the Department. In July 1949 2160 was delivered and took to the streets as GVR 111, the rest of the batch becoming KNA 601 to KNA 659. In the pre computer, ANPR and local registration authority days the duplication with the car passed unnoticed. The car had moved to another area so when it was re-taxed the duplication was not noticed and it was 1954 before the error came to light and NVU 137 was hastily applied to 2160.
Ten years later in 1964 the last batch of PD2s to be delivered was registered 3696-3720 VM (3696-3720. An error in the Motor Tax Department reissued 3696 VM to another vehicle. When the error was discovered, as Manchester had 889 VU available in its Ambulance Department, this was issued to 3696. So the only two post war VU registered motor buses MCTD ran were each the first of the last batch of two significant types which played a major role in the Department’s history.

Phil Blinkhorn


11/08/14 – 17:38

Phil, I’d forgotten about the Crossley trolleys, by the time I became a "spotter" there were only the BUTs (and those only just) so the Crossleys were a bit off my radar though I think there’s one at Boyle St. Thanks for clarifying the 3696 story – the first of the batch which along with the previous 3671-95 surely had the deepest induction roar of any PD2s.

Michael Keeley


12/08/14 – 05:51

Michael, I think Stockport’s Crossley bodied PD2s were even louder and deeper.

Phil Blinkhorn


13/08/14 – 13:04

Considering that Manchester had so few single deckers what work did they actually do?

David Slater


13/08/14 – 14:48

There were a number of routes, mainly feeders from estates within the city boundaries and overspill areas outside the city boundaries, to main roads served by trunk routes, to nearby towns such as Middleton or Oldham or to local shopping centres in Wythenshawe, but two all day trunk routes existed, the #22 between Levenshulme and Eccles – with low bridges at both ends, and the #31 from the City to Bramhall with a low bridge at Cheadle Hulme where single deckers were the only option until the 1960s. Manchester had a private hire licence which allowed it to operate well beyond its boundaries and single deckers were often used. Two single deck City Circle routes ran for a time in the city centre linking the stations and shopping areas. In addition single deckers were used to supplement double deckers at rush hour and Ralph Bennett converted a number of double deck all day routes to single operation.

Phil Blinkhorn


14/08/14 – 06:46

As an addendum to Phil Blinkhorn’s comment it shouldn’t be forgotten that the single deckers in Manchester also tended to be the guinea pigs for any omo fare collection systems dreamt up in the bowels of Piccadilly or Devonshire Street. The original stabs at this took place as early as the 1920’s in normal control vehicles and but weren’t embedded for any length on a route until 1949 when the 110 feeder service was introduced and this which remained single decked (albeit with forward control from 1953) until incorporated in a longer double decked route in the late’60’s. In between those times the six single deckers that are the subject of this article were, in addition to their feeder service duties, employed on the rush hour Express Service 130 following the withdrawal of Crossley DD42’s on the route, much to the chagrin of the passengers of which I was one. Noisy, rattley and decidedly utilitarian they were very unpopular and the introduction of omo with slow loading and exit times on a traditionally fast route did little to endear them further. In an experiment to speed up loading the department introduced ‘carnets’ of tickets, 10 for the price of 9. The tickets had a small magnetic oblong on their reverse which when fed into a slot reader mounted on the entrance bulkhead head was supposed to issue a beep. Within a fortnight most of the readers had failed and until the ‘carnet’ facility was withdrawn the torn off tickets were just handed to the driver. Fortunately the Albions were fairly soon replaced on the route by new Panther Cubs which had, at least, wider entrances than the Albions but the electronic ticket cancellers were no more reliable than the gated access on the Panthers than followed them. However, the latter did restore Journey times.

Orla Nutting


18/08/14 – 12:15

Another route using single deckers was the 56 Halfway House, Cheetham Hill to Hollinwood Station. These replaced double deckers when they became One Man Operated. It meant the service could go under the low bridge and stop opposite the railway Station. Double deckers were still used for extras and on a few occasions the drivers forgot about their height and got stuck under the bridge, much to other drivers mirth. Another single decker service I remember, was on the 7 Manley Park Brookdale Park. It operated a 6d minimax fare system. The passengers had to put a sixpence coin in to go through a turnstile for any length journey. The half fares had to use the right hand turnstile. It was not a great success.

Peter Furnival


18/08/14 – 17:28

NBU 515

Peter Furnival makes mention of Double Deckers going under Hollinwood Station Bridge. Well here is a picture of Oldham Corporation Passenger Transport Department NBU 515 having carried out just such a manoeuvre. The gentlemen ‘wrapping up’ the top deck for transportation back to Wallshaw Street Depot, are from left to right:-
Don Harris (Garage Foreman), Eric Watts (Assistant Chief Engineer), and Bill Connelly (Assistant Depot Foreman).
History does not say who the Driver was or his ultimate fate.

Stephen Howarth


01/02/17 – 17:08

Phil, do you know what became of all six of the Aberdonians? I understand the whole batch was bought by the dealer Dodds of Dromara in Co. Down but where did they pass on to. I believe UXJ 244 may have been with the Fermanagh County Education Committee?

Bill Headley


 

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Rochdale Corporation – AEC Swift – MDK 735G – 35

Rochdale Corporation AEC Swift

Rochdale Corporation
1969
AEC Swift MP2R
Seddon B46F

My Thanks to Ian Beswick for contributing the above excellent shot of this Rochdale Corporation AEC Swift with its Seddon body who also supplied bus bodies under the name of Pennine.
The Swift was AECs move into the rear engined single decker market. It first appeared at the 1964 commercial motor show and there were two versions a low frame for bus work and a high frame for coach operations. Operators also had the choice of either the 16ft 6in wheelbase for a vehicle length of 33ft or 18ft 6in for a 36ft vehicle. The high frame version allowed for luggage to be stored in underfloor side lockers due to the fact that the rear of the vehicle housed the horizontal six cylinder diesel engine. Yet again there was a choice of two engines the AH505 ?? litre or the AH691 11·3 litre. London transport acquired several 36 ft 11·3 litre Swifts which they called Merlings (MB) for some reason best known to them, but the manoeuvrability was poor so the shorter version (SM) were acquired but due to the shorter length they had to have the AH508 8·2 litre engine which rendered them well under powered.

Photograph contributed by Ian Beswick


When AEC first announced its rear-engined single deckers, there were to be two models, the medium-weight Swift with the AH505 engine (33ft or 36ft), and the heavy-duty Merlin with the AH691 (36ft only). London Transport ordered their Merlins at that stage.
By the time the two models went into production, they had been harmonised to such a degree that AEC renamed them Swift 505 and Swift 691. But LT always persisted with the original names.

Peter Williamson


Can someone give technical information on the Swift Chassis, like its length, weight, width and other information?

Charlie


The Swift was the first joint production with Leyland after the 1962 "merger".
The main chassis frame, and other components, were common to the Swift and the Panther. The engines and axles were unique to each respective model.
There was a 32’6" (AH505) model (Leyland was the Panther Cub with 0.400 engine). There was a 36’0" long (AH505 or AH691) model (Leyland was the 0.600 Panther).
All were 8’2½" wide. There was the most common bus version with a lower front frame and the high frame model intended for coach work. In the event, no AEC Swifts were built with high frames but there were a number of high frame Panthers, some with 0.680 engines.

David Oldfield


Does anybody by chance know the weight of the AEC SWIFT AH505 Chassis?

Charlie


13/02/12 – 07:18

I once worked with a former London Transport engineer, who told me how Merlins were constantly being reported for defective engine stops. Quite often the true explanation turned out to be that the awful engine had worn its cylinder bores oval, so the bus was actually burning its own sump oil which was leaking past the piston rings! No good cutting off the diesel if that isn’t what’s burning…!
And, I once attended a Traffic Commissioner’s hearing in Southampton where Bill Lewis, then General Manager, responded to a question about the Southampton Swifts by saying: "If only someone would make me an offer for them!". Not one of AEC’s best efforts!

David Jones


21/04/12 – 11:38

I had a couple of holidays in South Australia in the mid 90s where I saw many ex Adelaide Swifts in various guises. Their were some in a yard at Port Adelaide being converted for further use. In Port Pirie the local bus company had about 6 in use. There was one on town service in Port Lincoln. One at Port Kenny as a caravan which had a Hino engine a popular conversion with mobile home conversions. A further mobile home in North Adelaide. Another in Woolaston near Gawler. In a Marina at Port Adelaide I found one in use as a support vehicle for a film company who had four more in stock for the same purpose all still with their AEC engines, one of which had just returned from filming a documentary in the out back doing many miles off road. I read a couple of years ago the some Swifts had been refurbished and sold to a mining company on an island in Indonesia for staff transport. All this info suggests that the poor reputation of the Swifts might be unjustified.

Ron Stringer


21/07/12 – 12:19

As an enthusiastic operator of AEC’s Swift. I find it difficult to imagine how a few operators apparently had so much trouble with them. From working for an independent who acquired nine of them second hand … and with more to put into service had he not passed away, to running four of my own, I found them excellent, reliable and economical work-horses. Any mechanical maladies were easily attended to as everything was practically laid out in typical AEC fashion. There are few more challenging bus operating areas than North Staffordshire with it’s mix of dense urban environment and steep hills. All ours were 505 powered which generally allowed 10mpg on service and any feeling of being underpowered was usually attributable to a stretched accelerator cable in my experience. Were I still operating today, I’d have no hesitation in having one around as a spare bus … indeed I share a preserved one. (ps. The 505 was generally regarded as being just under 8.2 litres swept volume and had power outputs up to about 160bhp)

Martyn Hearson


20/03/14 – 17:37

Happened on this site purely by accident. In no way consider myself a bus enthusiast. Rootes Classic cars are my scene.
But many of the photos on this site have stirred up some vivid childhood memories from growing up in Alkrington, Middleton on the 17 Manchester / Rochdale route.
Like – how immaculate the Rochdale buses on this route always were. Loved the blue/cream livery and the deep blue seats. AND on this route were Lady Conductors! Unheard of in Manchester. As a 10 yo I developed a hopeless crush on one particularly pretty chatty girl and it was a thrill when she came along to issue the ticket.
I’m pretty sure that this route 17 and the 24 to Rochdale via Broadway/Royton are two of very few to have retained their original route numbers to the present day since WW2 and maybe before. The 17 was certainly the tram route number way back when (not that I remember that far back!)

Paul Blackwell


21/03/14 – 17:58

Yes, the 17 has a very long history and as a bus service it has the longest possible history of using the same number in Manchester, as it dates from the introduction of route numbering in 1930 although at that point it was an express service from Bacup to Flixton. It took its current form in 1932.
Whilst there are several routes that have remained essentially the same for many years, the 17 has avoided being renumbered in all that time. The 24, by contrast, is a comparative youngster, as it dates from the acquisition of the Yelloway service from Manchester to Rochdale at that time.

David Beilby


22/03/14 – 08:20

Another route 17 (and 18) is that of Portsmouth Corporation (and successors’) tennis racquet-shaped route from Dockyard-Eastney-Dockyard. It lasted, unchanged, for about 82 years, until a major re-arrangement of services brought its demise last year.
Here is a trolleybus on the route- www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Chris Hebbron


05/12/15 – 06:53

I used to live in Rochdale & remember the 17 that ran to Manchester, both Manchester Corporation "Red" & Rochdale Corporation "Blue Bus". The buses had a peculiar idle sound, where the engine would rev up then coast, never settling at a constant speed until driven off.
Can anyone tell me what this was? Was this a design feature or a worn engine? Also what make were they? I seem to recall "AEC" & "Leyland" on the driver’s steering wheel but I’m not sure if these were the type of buses in question. I’ve heard sound samples of Routemasters (the only type I’ve identified recently) but they seem to have a normal idle sound.
I live overseas now so can’t research this in person. Thanks in advance.

Mike


07/12/15 – 06:18

Mike, I think that the distinctive engine sound you heard probably relates to Leyland buses of the late 40s/50s. Leyland engines of the period often had pneumatic rather than mechanical governors fitted to their fuel injection pumps (usually supplied by CAV or Simms and both offering a choice of governor type). The fitting of a pneumatic governor gave rise to the characteristic ‘hunting’ at tickover, and other vehicles with this fitment and idling characteristic which spring to mind are the 4-cylinder Ford Thames Trader, and 4-cylinder underfloor-engined Albion Claymore lightweight trucks. The Claymore’s Albion EN250H engine was also fitted to the Albion Nimbus and Bristol SU psv chassis. Personally I found the ‘rise and fall’ tickover quite endearing, especially on Bradford City Transport’s Leyland Titan PD2s, which gave the impression of "contented mechanical purring" when idling.

Brendan Smith


07/12/15 – 17:12

I don’t know how these Pennine bodies fared on the AEC Swift chassis (or on the Lancashire streets) but we had two almost identical bodies on 33ft Fleetline chassis, also G registered, at Halifax which fell to pieces.

Ian Wild


08/12/15 – 05:50

Portsmouth had 12 Pennine single-deck bodies on double-deck Leyland PDR2/1 Atlantean chassis, delivered in 1971/72. This followed deliveries of 26 Leyland Panther Cubs and 12 AEC Swifts, with a mixture of Marshall and MCCW bodies. At that time I was only an occasional visitor to Portsmouth, but I remember the Panther Cubs and Swifts as sometimes seeming rather sluggish in pulling away, but the Atlantean saloons being strong performers. However, the bodies really shook, rattled and rolled! It is of interest, though, that after the MAP project in 1981, the Corporation withdrew all the remaining Panther Cubs, all 12 Swifts, and 14 newer Leyland Nationals (new 1976). These Seddon-bodied Atlanteans continued their shaking ratttling movements for several more years. Their numbers dwindled slowly with the last going c.1986/87. So the Corporation must have been satisfied enough to persevere with these, in spite of any faults that there may have been.

Michael Hampton


08/12/15 – 13:53

I travelled on the single-deck Atlanteans a few times up until 1976, when I left Pompey. The bodies rattled and rolled after about two years service, even on the more sturdy double-deck chassis. They were certainly lively vehicles, but one wonders why they were ever purchased for the virtually flat terrain of Portsea Island, save for Fratton and Copnor Bridges, which crossed the railway lines and were hardly vertiginous!
This does raise the thought of who else bought single deck Atlanteans, I recall Great Yarmouth and Glasgow, if memory serves, not hilly places, either!

Chris Hebbron


09/12/15 – 06:18

The early rear underfloor engined single deckers suffered from structural problems, particularly the longer 36′ types, but this probably affected the shorter versions, such as those in Portsmouth, to some extent as well. The Panther Cub used the Leyland 400 engine, and was, I believe, generally regarded as underpowered, and not particularly satisfactory in other respects as well.
So it is perhaps not so surprising that Portsmouth looked for something different for the next batch, and single deck Atlanteans would have offered the additional benefit of standardisation with the double deck fleet. The 33′ Atlanteans had a short rear overhang, so the structural problems should have been less. When it came to the later clearing out of some of the single deckers, I would imagine that the fuel consumption counted against the Leyland Nationals – although the potential ease of selling the Nationals against the "oddball" single deck Atlanteans might also have been a factor.
I think that Glasgow’s single deck Atlantean was rebuilt from a fire-damaged double decker, and not purchased new as such. On the other hand, Merseyside PTE had two s/d Atlanteans, that had been ordered by Birkenhead, with Northern Counties bodies. In later years, a number of operators had old Atlantean chassis fitted with new single deck bodies, including the Southampton East Lancs bodied "Sprints". As I understand it, their performance in this form did not live up to the name!

Nigel Frampton


 

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Oldham Corporation – Seddon MK17 L – 203 FBU

Oldham Corporation - Seddon MK17 L - 203 FBU
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Oldham Corporation
1963
Seddon MK17L
Seddon B36F

Another shot from the ‘Do You Know’ page and it appears this is not strictly a PSV, but as Peter Williamson, Stephen Howarth and Les Ronan made the effort to solve the mystery I think it only fair that their information is posted in the usual way.
The above vehicle was actually operated by the Oldham Education Committee and not the Transport Department. It had a two tone Green livery instead of the usual Crimson and Cream of the Passenger Transport Department but it was garaged in their Bus Depot in Wallshaw Street. It was used mainly to transport children to and from school but during the day it would take children to the local swimming baths for swimming lessons. The vehicle was sold by Oldham Corporation in 1972 and appeared in quite a few dealers before being scrapped in 1981 I suppose if it was not classed as a PSV then there would not be many buyers for it. On a personal note I was in the fortunate position of being transported to and from the swimming baths on a Maudslay half cab coach owned by Glenways of Ripponden, I can see that big ‘M’ on the radiator now, no photos I am afraid and I doubt if anyone has, but you never know!!!
(You know where I am if you have)


21/02/12 – 08:06

Oldham Corporation - Seddon MK17 L - 203 FBU

I thought you may like to see a front near side view of 203 FBU school bus.

Stephen Howarth


21/02/12 – 16:37

Was the bodywork unique? I don’t recall seeing another like it.

Chris Hebbron


10/01/13 – 09:32

Hi I am now resident in South Africa, Pennine was a brilliant place to work, after serving my coach building apprenticeship of 5 years at Star Bodies, Pennine was the first company to pay one pound an hour in the area so we all flocked to Pennine to work, anyway just a bit of info.

Eric Chapman


14/01/13 – 13:27

Great photo of 203 FBU. I belonged to the Buckley Wells enthusiast group and later the Crossley Omnibus Society led by Stan Fitton and we had Oldham 368 kept in the Wallshaw St depot, often as not next to 203 FBU which I always remember, but being young, didn’t record any info on it, like chassis number. If anybody has it, could you post a reply please. 203 FBU was often out during the day with school parties and I remember being taken for a run around Glodwick in it by a mechanic checking that some work had been done properly. I’ve lived in Australia for over 40 years but remember this bus with its beautiful livery. No, I haven’t seen any Seddons around the world with this style of body. A few Seddons did come to Australia and a lot of Seddon Pennine 4’s went to Fiji and Malaysia but not with Seddon bodies. There are still some in service in Fiji, greatly modified, most with Leyland engines from Albion Vikings, but Seddons underneath.
Of course didn’t dare attempt a photograph of 203 FBU in the depth of Oldham’s depot, that was left for professional to do with good cameras, not my crappy Bencini. So thanks to Stephen Howarth for the photos.

Ian Lynas


28/02/13 – 17:14

Some Oldham buses had a distinctive "exhaust" roar 437/443/452/460 plus various M.C.T.D 3555/3557 etc, was this something to do with "Leyland Motors" as it was supplied or down to corporations experiments on power/economy measures. I lived on the "59" route at Mills Hill going up to Oldham it was a hard slog [especially on a Crossley!] regular boiling/steaming engines, often to include 433/440 /437/455.

David Bell


01/03/13 – 05:51

Stockport’s PD2/30 333-342 of 1958 all had a similar "bark" whilst the 1960 deliveries if the same chassis (343-352) didn’t.

Phil Blinkhorn


11/09/13 – 08:30

In the early 1970’s my interest in buses and coaches was started by riding daily on one of two Pennine IV vehicles with Plaxton Panorama Elite II bodies owned by Knightswood of Watford. One of the pair was on show for Plaxtons at the commercial motor show prior to delivery. Those Perkins engine coaches were fine vehicles in my recollection although I was only a kid at the time. Later they bought another Pennine IV with a Perkins V8 engine and Van Hool Vistadome coachwork. It was a noisy beast even though the floor was almost flat. These days they would require industrial ear defenders. After a couple of years the whine of the rear axle was excessive and resonated with the roar of the V8 as it wound it’s way home along the B462…

Julian


23/05/14 – 13:07

This unusual Seddon ran for the "230th Johnson-Hewlett Manchester Boy Scout Group" with a large roof rack, still in two-tone green.
This group also owned ex Western National Bristol L5G 1743 (RTT 953) in 1976.
They appear to have deregistered as a charity in 2009.

Dave Farrier


30/09/14 – 18:30

I remember the chassis being tested at the Shaw Road works and when Chief Engineer RW told the driver to go, it did a wheelie down the shop. The test driver wasn’t too pleased, neither was RW but it didn’t stop them producing. This would explain the wooly steering.

Trevor Gough


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 17th November 2017