Old Bus Photos

Karefree Travel – Austin CXB – NPF 140

Karefree Travel - Austin CXB - NPF 140

Karefree Travel
1948
Austin CXB
Mann Egerton C31F

There appears to be some confusion about the exact model definition of the immediate post war Austin passenger model range. The Austin “near clone” of the Bedford O haulage vehicle was the K type, and the equivalent passenger model (and OB lookalike) was the CX. Some sources suggest that the bonneted model was simply classified CX, and this became the CXB in forward control form. Others state that the bonneted type was the CXB and the forward control version the CXD. When a Perkins P6 diesel option was offered from around 1950 the type became CXD Series II, which appeared in 1956 in Series III form, essentially for export, with the BMC 5.1 litre diesel. However, pictures of the bonneted model and the forward control version are both frequently described it being the CXB, so what is the true position? The Commercial Motor for 1st October 1948 states that the first forward control CXB example which appeared at the Commercial Motor Show in that year was converted from normal control by the Norwich based coach builder and Austin dealer Mann Egerton. A picture of this exhibit may be found here carrying the fictitious registration number M(ann) E(gerton) 1949:-
www.stilltimecollection.co.uk/ I remain sceptical that the 1948 forward control conversion was entirely carried out by Mann Egerton as production examples from Austin began appearing shortly after the Earls Court Show, though it may well be that the Norwich based coach builder put pressure on, and collaborated with, Austin in bringing the model to the market. The standard coach bodywork by Mann Egerton for the forward control CXB was given the name “Norfolk” and was distinguished by its curiously sculpted front end to which the standard Austin radiator grille (an upsized version of the shape employed on the cars) was rather incongruously attached. The result certainly lacked the businesslike appearance of the Bedford SB that appeared in 1950. Somewhere around 1953 the Norfolk body became rather more stylish, but the Austin coach was then in its twilight days on the home market, though exports continued into the 1960s. The 1947 bonneted Austin CX series originally had a 67 bhp 3½ litre petrol engine, but from 1948 this was upgraded with a 68 bhp 4 litre unit. The gearbox was a four speed synchromesh, which compared favourably with the crash box of the Bedford OB, but, unlike the Austin, the Bedford had servo assisted brakes and remained the more popular type by far.
NPF 140 shown above was photographed in the large Croydon council estate of New Addington in 1960, and bore the trading name Karefree Travel about whom I know nothing. The livery bears a close resemblance to the 1948 Show exhibit – could it be the same vehicle, I wonder?
It can also be seen in this 1950 shot taken in Parliament Square.

NPF 140_2
Copyright NA3T Arthur Hustwitt (Memorial)Collection)

Some interesting comments concerning the relative merits of the Bedford OB and the Austin CX range may be found here (scroll halfway down):-
www.martynlnutland.com/

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


19/07/17 – 11:07

In John Carman’s excellent book, AUSTIN K SERIES BUSES & COACHES, the following information is shown.
NPF 140, FC31F, K4/CXB, Mann Egerton, 139990, 9/49. L.G Lambird (Carshalton & Wallington Coaches) Wallington Surrey

John Rentell


20/07/17 – 07:20

John Carman’s book has an appendix of all the known Austin K series (including the 3 way van based K8) It also explains in detail the different designations.
Well worth £12 including p&p direct from John at Mont du Herissaon Grande Maison Road St Sampson Guernsey GY2 4JH

John Wakefield


21/07/17 – 07:07

Amazing that a postwar 31-seat coach should have no servo braking. As with the Bedford OB, the appearance of this Austin coach suffers from the narrowness of the front track, which shows up to particular disadvantage in the lower photograph, but even with a full-width front axle the top-heavy, ungainly body design would still spoil the whole effect. Why were just-postwar builders and their customers not content with simple, unpretentious, straight-waisted bodywork that sat easily on the chassis instead of appearing to crush it? The CXB chassis deserved better! Thanks too, Roger, for the fascinating link.

Ian Thompson


 

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West Riding – Dennis Loline III – FCP 303E – 552

West Riding - Dennis Loline III - FCP 303E - 552

West Riding Automobile
1967
Dennis Lowline III
Northern Counties H41/33F

During the mid-1960’s with the recent arrival of Geoffrey Hilditch as General Manager at Halifax Corporation, the Joint Omnibus Committee had begun to develop its tour and private hire operations, acquiring a number of secondhand coaches to that end. A works contract had been obtained requiring a number of coaches to provide transport between the smaller towns within the Wakefield/Barnsley/Doncaster triangle and Meredith & Drew’s biscuit factory at Ovenden in Halifax. Other private hires – such as to away rugby league fixtures – and the popular local afternoon countryside tours often required several coaches or DP’s and it was reckoned that economies could be made if a lesser number of suitably comfortable and speedy low-height double deckers could be provided. At the time the double deck buying policy had switched from Leyland Titan halfcabs to Daimler Fleetlines, but the latter though available in low-height form came with four-speed gearboxes and were only capable of a top speed of around 42 mph.
A Dennis Loline III demonstrator had been amongst many other types trialled in 1964, but although it had the preferred semi-automatic gearbox it too had only four speeds, but enquiries were made about the possibility of providing a five-speed version and after further trials of the same demonstrator an order was placed for what would turn out to be the last batch of Lolines to be built. Delivered in February and April 1967 they were numbered 300-304 (FCP 300-304E) and had Gardner 6LX engines, five speed semi-automatic gearboxes and smart Northern Counties H41/33F bodies with all moquette higher-backed seating.
They were most impressive vehicles to ride on and could certainly get a move on. They enabled the M&D contract to be worked by fewer vehicles at a more competitive price and were regularly used on tours, private hires and service work alike. Much has already been written elsewhere about the unfortunate unreliability of the complicated and cramped transmission involved, so I won’t go into further details here, but it was a shame as the Loline as such was an otherwise excellently engineered and quality machine. Within four years though the engineers had had enough of their problems. West Riding Automobile was desperately attempting to rid itself of its disastrous Wulfrunians and buying all the Bristol Lodekkas it could lay its hands on. The Loline was essentially based on the Lodekka and so Hilditch spotted an opportunity to be rid of them whilst they could probably still command a decent price and in due course all five became West Riding’s 464-468 (later 549-553), at first painted in their latter Tilling Green and cream livery, but by the time of this photo – taken in Hall Ings, Bradford in 1975 – they had become NBC poppy red. One was withdrawn for spares in 1973, and the others were sold to North’s the dealer in 1977, and scrapped the following year.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


13/07/17 – 08:03

I never rode on these Halifax Lolines, as I (utterly unregretfully) left my job at HPTD Traffic Office towards the end of 1966, but I did spot them about on my occasional visits in the years immediately following. Some other Lolines and a number of FLF Lodekkas also had semi automatic gearboxes which seem to have run satisfactorily in service, though I believe that all these were four speed units. As John says, the Halifax Lolines were SCG five speeders, and the problems seem to have dwelt therein. Given the fact (from GGH himself) that they were capable of ‘well over’ 50mph with the 1700rpm 6LX, it is clear that they were obviously very highly geared indeed in fifth. This would have stressed the transmission components considerably, especially in the challenging Halifax operating environment. Certainly the trouble free Aldershot and District constant mesh five speeders were no sluggards, even with the 6LW engine, though, with a top speed of about 50mph, they were not as highly geared as the Halifax examples. In his book "A Further Look At Buses" Hilditch lists the production of the various Loline models, but mistakenly shows the Reading Mark III machines as having semi auto gearboxes. They were constant mesh, the first batch having four speed Dennis boxes, while the later ones had five speed Bristol units with fifth gear blanked off (a decidedly curious arrangement). Incidentally, the location of John’s photo seems to be that of my last picture in my West Riding Wulfrunian gallery, but I see that the fine Victorian building in the background has been superseded by a ‘modern’ architectural excrescence.

Roger Cox


13/07/17 – 16:21

I believe the Eastern National semi auto FLFs were 6LX/five speed. The Crosville semi autos were also five speed, but had the less powerful 6LW, which would provide less stress for the transmission.
I have never heard of either of the above types being particularly troublesome, so the answer may have had something to do with the Halifax Lolines higher (?) gearing.

James Freeman


21/07/17 – 07:03

I remember the Halifax Lolines very well and I remember going on a countryside tour to Delph on one.To me they represented the ultimate half cab D/D development ie Gardner 6LX engine,30 ft in length,semi automatic gearbox and nice airy interior,a great pity they were flawed.

Andrew Spriggs


 

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Maidstone & District – Leyland Panther – JKK 199E – S99

JKE 199E

Maidstone & District
1967
Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R
Willowbrook B45F

This photo of Maidstone & District Leyland Panther No S99 reg JKK 199E with Willowbrook B45F bodywork was new in April 1967 prior to the renumbering to 3099 so was probably taken in the summer of that year outside Southdown’s Pevensey Road bus station. M&D had I believe ninety five Panthers the first sixty had Willowbrook B45F bodies (S26-S40 and S61-S110) and the remainder had Strachans bodies of either B45D (3111-3120) or B48F (3121-3140) layout. The 190 route was part of the joint Southdown/M&D Heathfield cycle a complicated but effective group of six interworked services, a thorough explanation of this working can be found in the Southdown Enthusiasts Club book called "Working Together".

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave


12/07/17 – 07:27

Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset had some of these wished upon them during the reshuffling of fleets under the early years of NBC, DKE.C and JKK.E batches. JKK 203E even managed to gain Tilling red! I have a bought view of her thus at Basingstoke.

Pete Davies


13/07/17 – 07:58

Further to Pete’s comment they were more of a curse than a wish. A nightmare to keep on the road mechanically, hated by most of the crews. Give me an RE or Leopard any day. The ex King Alfred trio on H&D benefited from having the 680 engine but were still not the most reliable buses.

Steve Barnett


14/07/17 – 07:37

Steve, I think it’s probably true to say that, if H&D/W&D had been BET operators, they would have stayed well away, as I belief Southdown did. Incidentally, does anyone know why some fleets suffered this ‘asset stripping’ by having vehicles transferred out? Was it that the recipients were deemed to be short of suitable vehicles?

Pete Davies


14/07/17 – 07:38

Hants & Dorset’s problem (one of them, at least) in the early 1970s was that they had not purchased enough single deck buses in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Such vehicles would have been suitable for OPO, but H&D had purchased mainly Lodekkas plus 6 coaches per year. Result: when costs started rising, and finding staff became more difficult, conversion to OPO was the logical move, but H&D were constricted by the lack of suitable buses.
Thus the 33 Panthers were an attempt to resolve this problem, but, as Steve says, they were notoriously unreliable. Hearsay claimed that, of the 33 buses, there were always at least 10 off the road. One could, of course, ask why Maidstone & District could release such a large number of buses, most of which were only around 4 years old, but preferred to retain older, underfloor engined, types with similar capacity. For H&D, the answer must have become obvious quite quickly!
It is interesting to speculate what the real problems were – the Panther was not universally hated. Sunderland apparently found them satisfactory, and Brisbane had a large fleet, some of which were rebodied at some stage in their lives. Perhaps when you have a large fleet, you have to find a way of making them work.
The vehicle in this photo was one of those that went to Wilts & Dorset – as far as I recall the vehicles concerned were S38-40 and S81-110. The first 17 were for Hants & Dorset, and the rest for W&D, but some didn’t enter service with their new owners until after the advent of NBC corporate liveries and the disappearance of the W&D name. A few did receive Tilling red or green (H&D’s version of it), and some ran with H&D or W&D fleetnames on the M&D dark green. There was more than just the one that Pete mentions in Tilling red – JKK 207E ran in Southampton for a while in that condition. I guess it must have been the spring/summer of 1972, and I have an idea that it was quite often used on the evening 47B service to Hursley – usually a crew working!

Nigel Frampton


15/07/17 – 06:56

At Winchester our three Metro Scanias were replaced by three of these Panthers, the three London Country Nationals for which the Scanias were swapped were allocated originally to Southampton. So the Panthers had a hard act to follow although I accept the Metro Scanias were not to everyone’s taste. Altogether we had 8 panthers allocated in the mid seventies, including the three ex King Alfred ones. It was rare that more than six were on the road at any one time. The three ex London Country buses finally arrived at Winchester when most of Southamptons allocation of Nationals were swapped with REs from around the Hants and Wilts depots. Southampton was desperately short of fitters and the Nationals were proving to be almost as challenging as the Panthers were so the powers that be decided to share the problem around!

Steve Barnett


16/07/17 – 16:42

JKK 190E

The attached may be of interest. In Hants and Dorset colours JKK190E is leaving Winchester Bus Station in December 1975. Although I have slides of the Panthers taken in Wilts and Dorset colours on routes around Basingstoke, these are at present in store following our recent move. One was often on the 76 to Andover which might explain an evening ride I enjoyed on Basingstoke’s last LL5G !

Keith Newton


17/07/17 – 06:00

Keith’s picture shows 1695 which was one of the replacements for the Metro Scanias, the 66 was their regular home mainly I think due to slow running time which meant the struggle on hills didn’t affect timekeeping too much. Incidentally the view shown is ab0ut to change significantly, the bus station closed a week ago. The garage in the background is being demolished and stands are being built on the left hand side to facilitate running in the other direction. This finally takes buses out of the pedestrian area of the city. (Ex King Alfred leopard in the background)

Steve Barnett


20/07/17 – 07:17

My misty memory recalls that the 30 Fleetline / Marshall two-door single decks were arriving when I landed at M&D in 1970. They all went to Medway towns. GM Arthur White had a history of buying large batches of new types of vehicles and I suspect that these were ordered to replace Panthers which could not perform adequately there and the need for single decks elsewhere was indeed a good way of moving vehicles out and keeping more reliable machines, especially after new CE Vin Owen had prevailed with Leopard orders rather than AEC or Panthers. I can recall investigating a few engine fires in those days and Panthers were not quite as bad as 590 Reliances from what I recall! Of course the 1970 SD Fleetlines did not last long as a new Traffic Manager wanted more capacity, so they were swopped for similar age DD Fleetlines with Northern General, now that OMO operation of DD had been accepted in the company. See www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Geoff Pullin


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 21st July 2017