Old Bus Photos

North Western – Leyland Titan PD2 – KDB 666 – 666

North Western - Leyland Titan PD2 - KDB 666 - 666

North Western Road Car Co
Leyland Titan PD2/21
Weymann L30/28RD

Until the arrival of ten of these in the North Western fleet in 1956, previous examples of the Leyland PD2 had featured traditional exposed radiators and bodywork by either Leyland themselves, or by Weymann, who had supplied six lightweight but otherwise classically styled bodies in 1953. This last batch featured the PD2/21 chassis with the concealed front – originally designed for Midland Red’s LD8 class, then adopted as standard by Leyland, even leaving the oddly shaped blank space above the grille slots intended for the BMMO badge. The PD2/21 was the less common air-braked variant of the more common vacuum-braked PD2/20. The bodywork was the lowbridge manifestation of the MCW organisation’s lightweight Orion, regarded by many as being particularly slab-sided and ugly, though personally I always felt that the equal depth windows (compared with the unequal ones of the highbridge version) at least improved the overall proportions.
It seems that they were generally unpopular with crews and most local enthusiasts, being accused of being very hard riding. They were quite a familiar site to me – particularly on Summer Saturdays when the usual ‘blacktop’ Tiger Cubs or Reliances were needed for greater things – as they would often pass through my home town of Halifax working on the X12 between Manchester and Bradford. Although this service passed our house, the limited stop conditions on that section left it out of bounds to us locals, so I never got to ride on one.
Although the other nine were scrapped, Neville Mercer has said that 666 was exported to Canada, so there is a remote chance that it could still exist. Similar looking examples were also bought by East Midland, and the Corporations of Luton and Southend.
Here 666 is seen on the parking ground off Wood Street in Stockport, alongside 258, a Leopard PSU4/4R with Duple Commander III C41F body of 1968.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

29/10/14 – 17:07

When I worked at Sharston (near Northenden) 666 from Manchester depot, took me on the first leg of my journey home to Royton. It was on the 64 service to Piccadilly (from Ringway) almost every day. I hated it. The suspension was indeed very hard. I usually sat on the front nearside seat in the lower deck, which was not too bumpy. The North Western drivers always gave me a fast run into town – they made good time by ignoring one or two intending passengers. As for sound effects, the journey was accompanied by sneezing noises from the air brakes!
At summer weekends it sometimes appeared on X12, Manchester – Halifax – Bradford. I had the misfortune to ride on it one Saturday from Bradford to Oldham. The West Riding road surfaces made for a miserable journey!
Wouldn’t mind a ride on it now though!!

Peter G

29/10/14 – 17:08

John mentions that these lowbridge PD2’s were familiar to him as they regularly passed through Halifax on the X12. This one actually passed through Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1972, on its way west, it certainly took me by surprise when I caught a glimpse of it. I’m not sure if it still exists or not, or just where it might be.

Dave Careless

30/10/14 – 07:18

The problem of harsh riding given by the lightweight Orion and its clones was shared by other makes of chassis, all of which were sprung to carry the typical weight of traditional, decent quality bodywork.

Roger Cox

30/10/14 – 07:19

Not only were they hard riding, they were finished to a cheap specification, rattled a lot and the crews hated the rear doors. All in all not the finest NWRCC vehicles.

Phil Blinkhorn

30/10/14 – 07:20

It’s lovely to see a photo of the registration number KDB 666 as nature intended, adorning a North Western Leyland Titan. In the late 1970’s the registration number could often be seen around Harrogate, attached to a very nice green Rover 3500. The bus connection was maintained however, as the Rover was used by one of NBC/West Yorkshire Road Car’s senior managers.

Brendan Smith


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Liverpool City Transport – Leyland Titan – VKB 711 – L255

Liverpool City Transport - Leyland Titan - VKB 711 - L255

Liverpool City Transport
Leyland Titan PD2/20
Crossley H33/29R

New in November 1956, L255 was one of a batch of 65 Leyland Titan PD2/20 chassis that had been ordered back in 1955, partly to enable the 19 & 44 tram routes to be converted to bus operation. It was originally painted in the Dark green livery with two cream bands.
When new L255 was allocated to Carnegie Road garage, but its stay there was only short lived as it was transferred to Walton in March 1957. There it was used on routes such as 19/44/92/93 serving the new expanding housing estates of Kirkby, Southdene and Tower Hill as well as the Corporations own Kirkby Industrial Estate. where it lives today!
When Walton closed for rebuilding in October 1962, L255, along with the majority of Waltons allocation moved to the new Gillmoss garage . Following overhauls in 1966 and 1971 it returned to Gillmoss.
It then moved to Litherland garage in August 1973 and saw use on services 28,51,52,53,55,55A,56,57,57A,58,59 to Ford, Netherton and Sefton. L255’s stay at Litherland was a short one as it was transferred for the last time in April 1975 to Green Lane. There it was used mainly on peak hour extras and industrial workings until it was finally withdrawn from service in March 1976.
Purchased for preservation in May 1976 and joined the other vehicles in the growing Mersey and Calder Preservation group in 1977. As L255 was in basically good condition it was soon rubbed down and painted back into the early 1960’s livery of green with cream staircase panel and window surrounds.
In 1996 after more than 20 years in active preservation and with more than 25 years since a major overhaul, it was time for some major body restoration. After stripping every external panel off the bus, it was soon found that there was a fair amount of work involved.
Following a flurry of activity in early 2007, L255 was eventually completed finally passing the MOT 2 days before the Mersey Transport Trust’s annual running day in September 2007, proving a popular attraction during the day. During 2009 a rechromed drivers window surround was fitted and in 2010 side adverts were added much improving its appearance. It is seen at the 2014 Kirkby running day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

28/10/14 – 07:03

I always thought that the Liverpool bonnet assembly detracted from the overall look of these buses. The flush windscreen and unusual livery application didn’t really help either

Chris Hough

29/10/14 – 07:12

Totally agree Chris. Much better looking examples of what was a PRV design were operated in the North West by Oldham and Stockport.

Phil Blinkhorn

29/10/14 – 15:59

When compared to other tin fronts of the period, the front panel and the area around the windscreen, give it a sort of DIY in-house accident repair appearance, rather than one that was built that way in the first place.

Ronnie Hoye

30/10/14 – 07:16

There is a lot of confusion about Crossley bodies of this period. Despite employing the PRV rear emergency window, I don’t believe this was the PRV design (as supplied later to Stockport and Oldham), and neither does the Crossley book (Eyre Heaps & Townsin). Mind you, that book isn’t foolproof; identical bodies supplied to Darwen are coded as the PRV design, while those supplied to Sunderland are coded as a Liverpool design.
The flat front to the upper deck is something specifically requested by Liverpool and used on Crossley bodies elsewhere. The standard Midland Red assembly would not have allowed this, and in fact later Liverpool bodies with the Midland Red assembly had bow-fronted bodies by Duple and Alexander.

Peter Williamson

31/10/14 – 06:27

As the owner of the bus, I can confirm that the Crossley body is of Park Royal design, I have restored both L255 & Park Royal bodied Barrow 170 CEO 957, the only difference being the window frames. Liverpool using glass mounted from the inside with a window ledge inside as against the Standard Park Royal body on 170 with windows mounted from the outside with a ledge outside. The last true Crossley designed body supplied to Liverpool was L224, L225 to L244 also carried Crossley framework but the coachwork was completed by LCPT at Edge lane works.
I hope this clarifies it more.

Rob Wilson


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Western National – Bedford VAM 5 – KDV 140F – 710

Western National - Bedford VAM5 - KDV 140F - 710

Western National Omnibus Co Ltd
Bedford VAM 5

The last Bristol MW’s entered service in May 1967, and the first LH’s in June 1968. In the interim, Western National placed in service a batch of twelve Bedford VAM 5 with Eastern Coachworks bus bodywork. These were numbered 701-712 (KDV 131 -142F). The body design was clearly based on the standard design which had been produced in large numbers for the Bristol MW model, but with a more modern front end grafted onto it. The VAM 5 model had the small Bedford 330 cu in engine and a four speed gearbox. The batch led a full service life of at least twelve years; Latterly the last six of the batch were allocated to Newquay Depot, and could regularly be found working the scenic and hilly route 573 from Newquay to St. Columb Minor, which followed the coast for a few miles before turning inland. Here we see one of the batch negotiating a hairpin bend just west of Watergate bay.
West Yorkshire also had four Bedford VAM with this style of ECW body, but the West Yorkshire examples were type VAM 14, with the Leyland 400 engine and a five speed gearbox. The West Yorkshire batch had a very short operational life. I believe that Eastern Counties also had some of these interesting vehicles.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown

22/10/14 – 18:20

Eastern Counties did have some of these ECW bodied Bedfords one was sold to Primrose Valley of Hunmanby. I rode on it from Filey to Reighton Gap and I have to say never had I been on a more vibration prone vehicle. Although having now had a ride on a preserved Bristol SC!

Chris Hough

23/10/14 – 07:04

I always considered these to be fascinating and businesslike vehicles, combining the classic "no nonsense" ECW lines with a most worthy lightweight chassis. I’ve always had a very soft spot for Bedford "no nonsense" honest and well performing vehicles, and if any vibration was felt look on the bright side Chris – therapeutic vibro massage included free !!

Chris Youhill

24/10/14 – 07:28

I remember encountering these beasts at Dartmouth in the early ’70s. With the benefit of hindsight (as well as driving later examples) I would hazard the opinion that the zenith of Bedford’s existence was with their petrol models. With due deference to Chris, I would say that Bedford diesels were a poor substitute and my operator friend concurs that the VAM5s he operated with Eastern Scottish were a nightmare and grossly underpowered. Likewise, Ribble got rid of its small number of VAM5s after an indecently short time. While the 466 and 500 diesels were a great improvement, there is a general consensus that the VAL14 and VAM14 (Leyland O400) were far better than the VAL70 and VAM70 (Bedford 466). Which makes the short operational lives of West Yorkshire’s VAM14s all the more strange.

David Oldfield

24/10/14 – 18:23

I don’t remember these when growing up in Taunton but I’ve asked for more information from Colin Billington who says "The early ones (700-703) were allocated to Plymouth often passing through Kingsbridge on the 93 route. Don has the numbering wrong, They were 700-711 (KDV 130-141F) not 701-12. 712 was a LH.
Noisy things with the engine next to the driver"

Ken Jones


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 31st October 2014