Old Bus Photos

Lancashire United Transport – Atkinson Alpha – TTD 297 – 528

LUT - Atkinson Alpha - TTD 297 - 528

Lancashire United Transport
Atkinson Alpha PL745H
Roe B44F

When the BET subsidiary and previously staunch Bristol user North Western Road Car Co. found itself unable to continue buying its favourite make of chassis (due to the manufacturer falling under state-owned BTC ownership and only able to supply to other similarly owned companies), NWRCC management, not to be outdone, sought the services of the independent truck maker Atkinson Lorries (1933) Ltd. of Walton-le-Dale to produce an equivalent to the underfloor-engined Bristol LS model which they would no doubt have otherwise purchased.
The new model was christened the Alpha, and the first ones were duly delivered to NWRCC in 1951. However the BET Group were having none of it and stepped in to force its companies to stick to its preferred choice of Leyland Tiger Cub or AEC Reliance.
Atkinson continued with the Alpha though, which was initially offered as a mediumweight model, fitted with a choice of Gardner 4, 5 or 6HLW engines, and either an Atkinson 5-speed overdrive constant-mesh or David Brown 5-speed direct top synchromesh gearbox. At the 1953 Scottish Show they displayed an Alpha fitted with Self-Changing Gears semi-automatic gearbox – quoted as being the first to be fitted to a PSV chassis (Leyland – owner of SCG – had a minority shareholding in Atkinson at the time). At the same time a lightweight version was offered. Apart from orders for 40 for LUT, and 20 for Venture of Consett, the rest were mostly supplied as coaches in small or single numbers. Production diminished throughout the 1950′s, the model’s swansong occurring in 1963 when Sunderland Corporation surprised everyone by taking three updated 33ft. long buses with semi-automatic gearboxes and modern-style Marshall bodies, but these were the last of the line.
LUT took a batch of ten in each year from 1952 to 1955, and 528 (TTD 297) seen here at their Atherton Depot was a model PL745H with Roe B44F body, new in 1954.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

24/04/14 – 08:21

Weren’t the first NWRCC examples delivered with single rear wheels, but the road holding, or lack of it, lead to the more normal twin rear wheels being subsequently fitted?
Did any other operator take single wheel Alphas?

Eric Bawden

24/04/14 – 08:22

If my memory isn’t faulty (and it often is these days) I have a feeling that Sunderland Corp’n took delivery of some earlier Alphas, with similar Roe bodies, in the mid-1950′s.

Chris Hebbron

24/04/14 – 08:22


A survivor from the three Atkinsons bought by Sunderland Corporation. I took the photo at the 2013 N.E.B.P.T rally at Seaburn, which is to the north of Sunderland, so no doubt the bus would have been used on services in the area at some time during its working life.

Ronnie Hoye

24/04/14 – 11:37

Sorry folks, in my haste I forgot to add the fleet and registration numbers for the Sunderland Atkinson. WBR 248 fleet number 48. More photos of the vehicle were posted in my Metro Center May 2013 gallery.

Ronnie Hoye

24/04/14 – 11:38

The NWRCC Alphas did have single rear wheels, something the company tinkered with on and off in the 1950s.

Phil Blinkhorn

24/04/14 – 11:39

GCR 230
Copyright Chas. H Roe

Here’s an official photo of one of the earlier Alphas, with Roe bodies, which Sunderland Corp’n bought and I mentioned earlier.

Chris Hebbron


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Maidstone Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – NKK 243F – 43

Maidstone Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - NKK 243F - 43

Maidstone Corporation
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Massey H43/31F

Maidstone Corporation’s No 43 registration NKK 243F was a rather rare combination of Massey body on the Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 chassis with H43/31F seating being one of only thirty two rear engine chassis bodied by Massey Bros. Of this total Maidstone Corporation bought twenty all on Atlantean chassis No’s 27-46 and Colchester Corporation bought ten also on Atlantean No’s 45-54, the other two went to members of A1 Services of Ardrossan one on the only Daimler Fleetline chassis bodied by Massey which was followed by one on an Atlantean. All thirty two had the same seating layout as the photo’s subject.
Several of Massey’s regular customers who bought from them on front engine chassis chose not to go to them when rear engines became the order of the day which possibly contributed to the later merger with Northern Counties.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

20/04/14 – 09:32

By 1968 most bodybuilders were producing bodies with a more shaped frontal aspect on rear engined chassis but to my eye this is quite an attractive functionally boxy body, aided by a simple but effective livery.

Ian Wild

20/04/14 – 17:36

EKP 232C

I Worked for Connor & Graham, Easington East Yorkshire in 1982 and we had three of them, I was told he bought two and later the dealer phoned and gave the third one free, the bodywork was very sound as it was used on school run from Sunk Island to Withernsea and to Hull on Saturday, I left in 1983 I think they were Maidstone Corporation Nos 28,29 and 31.

Phil Savin

21/04/14 – 06:22

I agree with Ian, although boxlike, I thought the Massey design was quite attractive and far better looking than some other builders designs where curved or wrap-round windscreens were indiscriminately ‘grafted’ on leaving some real ‘hotch potch’ end results. The livery also helps. Tasteful, traditional and practical.

Philip Halstead

21/04/14 – 06:23

Wigan had at least one AN68. Were there any more – for Wigan or anyone else?

David Oldfield

21/04/14 – 10:49

Northern Counties bought Massey Bros in 1967.
The final Massey deliveries to Wigan Corporation were Titans FEK1-9F in early 1968.
The first AN68s delivered to Wigan Corporation were NEK1-10K in August 1972.

Dave Farrier

22/04/14 – 05:04

Ah. Right. Obviously NCME then. Not to a Massey outline by any chance?

David Oldfield

24/04/14 – 08:18

London Country borrowed six of these buses during a period of acute vehicle shortage in 1977. They were operated out of Chelsham Garage on the busy 403 group of services across Croydon to Wallington. I rode on several of these at the time, and noted the high standard of internal finish of the Massey bodies, but the PDR1/1 Atlantean did struggle a bit on the long gradient up to Sanderstead Church. In the mid 1960s, Massey double deck design went from the extremely curvaceous to the excessively angular. The Pemberton firm was very late entering the rear engined double deck bus market, and this application of the perpendicular was its eventual offering. It would seem that, from then on, some structural componentry must have been common to rear engined and front engined double deck bus bodywork, because the latter type, hitherto very rounded, then became very squared up. It was as if the firm had become revitalised by memories of its markedly austere wartime utility designs. The bold angularity of these Atlanteans was not unattractive, but the vertical front screens must have given problems with internal reflections from the interior lighting during hours of darkness. I was never a convert to the insipid and rather grubby pale blue and cream livery. To my eye, the colours do not complement each other – the lighter colour would have looked better had it been white with black lining out – but Maidstone really should never have abandoned in the mid 1960s the magnificent ochre and cream livery that I recall adorning the trolleybuses when I was a child living in Kent during the late 1940s. Maidstone, once a proud operator, seemed to go progressively downhill in its metamorphosis from ‘Corporation’ through ‘Borough Council’ to the ultimate horror of ‘Boro’line’ with its truly ghastly blue and yellow, with red and white trim, so called "livery".
Take a look at this if you don’t believe me. No prizes for guessing the perpetrator of this abominable colour scheme. No wonder the Boro’line outfit eventually went bust. http://victoryguy.smugmug.com/Maidstone

Roger Cox

24/04/14 – 08:18

When NCME took over Massey, they moved into the former Massey factory and some subsequent NCME bodies showed a marked Massey influence, particularly around the front of the upper deck. None were identical to past Massey products, however.

Peter Williamson


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Priory Coaches – Bedford VAL 14 – BFT 942D – 50

Priory Coaches - Bedford VAL 14 - BFT 942D - 50

Priory Coaches of North Shields
Bedford VAL 14
Plaxton C52F

George Chapman established Priory Coaches of North Shields in 1929. North Shields is located in what was the County Borough of Tynemouth, and the name and company logo relate to Tynemouth Priory, which is an ancient monument situated within the grounds of Tynemouth Castle. By the early 50’s the fleet numbered in excess of 40 vehicles, to the best of my knowledge, they never ran any stage carriage services, although they did have a regular twice-weekly service to two local outlying hospitals in Morpeth and Prudhoe. For as long as I can remember, the fleet consisted entirely of Bedford’s of all shapes and sizes, with either Duple or Plaxton bodies. In common with most post war coach operators, at one time much of the fleet was made up of Bedford OB’s. As far as I know, they only ever had one VAL 14, I could be wrong, but I don’t think it was around for very long. The Priory livery was two shades of green and cream with gold lettering, and as far as I can remember the seats were upholstered in a rich dark red moquette material, and very smart they looked. The company has changed hands, but I’m pleased to say they are still on the go, although the fleet is nowhere near the same size as it was. It now numbers around 10 vehicles, the livery has also changed, and is now white with two shades of blue. Bedford’s no longer being available, the bulk of the fleet is now mainly Volvo.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

17/04/14 – 10:55

These were good looking and, for their time, well built coaches. If anything, they were a little more elegant than the Panoramas, with the thick pillar aft of the first bay. The VAL14 (Leyland engine) was better liked than the later and more powerful VAL70 (Bedford engine).

David Oldfield

17/04/14 – 18:24

The 1967 edition of ‘The Little Red Book’, information for which would have been supplied in 1966, stated, that Priory Motor Coach Co. Ltd., had a rolling stock of 12 coaches.
12 Bedford Chassis, and bodies by Duple 6, Plaxton 5, and Yeates 1.

Stephen Howarth

18/04/14 – 09:30

Purely a personal view of course, but I always found the Bedford VAL to be a delightful and fascinating vehicle to ride in and to drive. For whatever engineering reasons – six small wheels/leaf springing etc – its excellent degree of riding comfort seems often to be overlooked by those attaching great importance to its moderate but very adequate performance. I’ve even done journeys of well over 200 miles in VALs, riding and driving, in perfect contentment. While its gladly acknowledged that it can’t match the speed and power of the Leopard/Reliance/Volvo "big boys" it was nevertheless a very commendable design, and appealing too in what might by some be classed as its "cheeky" involvement in stage carriage work here and there. I loved the VALs and remember their plucky character very fondly, and when all’s said and done they came from a very honest "no frills" stable.

Chris Youhill

18/04/14 – 18:20

I have a photo of BFT 942D in cream and blue livery with "Leisureline" in the destination blind in the front bumper.
Does anyone know where this operator was based?

Dave Farrier


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 24th April 2014