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 Two were destroyed in 1941, in Portsmouth, the rest being withdrawn in 1944 (4) , 1946 (1) , 1947 (2) and 1948 (1).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 1942, 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.
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!
19/11/12 – 12:52
That was a bad bombing, Roger. I found an associated link with a photo of the results – see http://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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…?
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.
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.
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/
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.
23/11/12 – 10:06
Nice one Chris!
From photos though, I cannot discern any difference.