Old Bus Photos

North Western – Bristol RE – KJA 282F – 282

North Western - Bristol RE - KJA 282F - 282

North Western Road Car 
Bristol RESL6G
Marshall B45F

In its final years, North Western chose the Bristol RE as its standard single deck bus chassis, initially selecting the shorter RESL6G version in 1968 before turning to the longer RELL6G variety from 1969 onwards. The RESL6G saloons numbered forty in total and all came with Marshall bodywork, the first fifteen, Nos 270-284, KJA 270-284F, arriving in January 1968 as B45F. However, Nos 285-309, KJA 285-289F, KJA 290- 309G delivered from July 1968 onwards, had the reduced capacity of B43F. On 1st January 1969 SELNEC PTE was formed, and much of the North Western stage carriage network lay within the designated SELNEC area. After lengthy negotiations, the National Bus Company conceded, and the hatchet finally fell upon North Western in January 1972 when its bus fleet was dismembered, leaving NWRCC as simply a coach operator. Most of the RESL/Marshall buses, including No 282 shown above, passed to SELNEC, but Nos 302 -309 were transferred to Crosville. I am sure that our Lancastrian contributors will be able to tell me the Manchester location of the photograph which was taken in June 1970. One final question – did these buses have Gardner LW or LX engines?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

18/11/18 – 10:41

This is unmistakably in St. Peter’s Square in Manchester and would have to be a tram to make such a manoeuvre now!
282 was one of the batch allocated to Oldham depot and was new in a livery that also had cream window surrounds and, distinctively, cream inside the peaks of the domes as can be seen on sister 281 here: https://davidbeilby
Although 281 survived long enough to get the SELNEC Cheshire fleetname as seen in the linked photo, 282 was repainted earlier as I have a picture of it in October 1970 in the above colour scheme. In your photo it seems to be newly-painted.
As it’s showing "PRIVATE" it doesn’t give much clue as to why it would be there and it may well be working from Manchester to Oldham depots after having been borrowed. It is also just possible, if it is a morning photograph, that it is returning from working the solitary morning peak journey from Mottram to Manchester Lower Mosley Street that was worked by Oldham – it worked out of service from Manchester back to Oldham depot.

David Beilby

20/11/18 – 09:11

It’s not early morning, David. At that point in my life I lived in Farnborough, Hampshire. I would catch an early train from London to undertake my Manchester transport jaunts, so it would be around midday or early afternoon.

Roger Cox

24/11/18 – 06:21

Well, at long last the NWRCC finally got its Bristols once again after more than 20 years.
The Central Library in the background of the photo looks far more impressive nowadays now it has been cleaned of all the grime that had accumulated prior to the Clean Air Act. I still have fond memories of the Library: there were many Saturday afternoons I would spend valuable learning time reading Buses Illustrated and Modern Tramway.

David Revis

24/11/18 – 09:56

North Western received its last Bristols, ordered prior to the effect of the nationalisation of Bristol, in late 1950 these being L5Gs 311-32 EDB 311-320 with Weymann B35R bodies. The RESL6Gs were delivered from January 1968, thus the wait for new Bristols was just 17 years, not over 20. Central Library was cleaned in 1971.

Phil Blinkhorn

25/11/18 – 06:51

The photo was taken in June 1970 and the bus looks freshly repainted. Could that explain why it is where it is? Would it have been repainted in Manchester?

Peter Williamson

15/04/19 – 07:13

To answer the question on engines, they had Gardner 6HLX engines. I have close personal experience of this, being the owner of the surviving member of the batch 299!
For obvious reasons I’ve collected a lot of photos of this batch, and I’ve found that quite a few were repainted from the ‘more cream’ style to the one we see here when quite young. My speculation (no more than that) is that the Marshall paint job wasn’t especially good, these bodies being built down to a price, and North Western gave them a repaint in the by-then current style when only about three years old.
To answer Peter Williamson’s question, it’s almost certain that it would have been repainted at the company’ Works at Charles Street in Stockport and could – conceivably – have been photographed on its way back to Oldham from the repaint.

Paul Williams

16/04/19 – 09:00

Travelling from Charles St to Oldham via St Peter’s Sq is a long way round. In 1970 the shortest route would have been Charles St-Bredbury-Denton-Ashton-Oldham.
Roger says the photo was taken mid day or early afternoon. There are a number of possibilities. David Beilby’s first suggestion; as we can’t determine the driver, some sort of engineer’s run though why go into Manchester?; if this was a Saturday (the lights are on in the library, so not a Sunday), returning from a private hire where the vehicle is not required for a return run, such as taking people from the Oldham area to an event at the close by Free Trade Hall that runs until late evening or returning from delivering people who have been visiting the Oldham area to wherever. Again, it could have run into Manchester as a duplicate on a trans Pennine service and was not required beyond Lower Mosley St or on the return. We’ll never know

Phil Blinkhorn

26/04/19 – 09:44

My own theory on why the bus is in Manchester is that having come out of the paintshop the driver may have been asked to deliver some urgent mail to Lower Mosley Street. It was common practice to send mail on service buses between depots. Oldham Depot only had two AM journeys that returned private back to Oldham. The first was a mentioned by David Beilby. The number 6 duplicate from Mottram. The other journey worked the service 503 from Adswood into the City. Prior to this journey it worked a journey from Ashton-under-Lyne to Hazel Grove (Mirrlees Works). Just a thought.

Keith Hampton

27/04/19 – 13:24

My father was one of the 116 workers entitled to use this service from the newly closed Ashton National Works to Mirrlees. At least in the early days this must have required 2 buses, perhaps one for works and a later one for offices. I presume the service ended at some point after most of the entitled moved or bought cars. Do you know how the return journey late afternoon was organised?

Tony Johnson

28/04/19 – 08:06

Thanks for explaining the origins of this Mirrlees works service. It’s pretty obvious now you mention it but not something I had thought about too much before.
There were two morning journeys from the information I have (which I think is the same that Keith Hampton has). It seems logical that there was an afternoon return service but this does not appear in the Oldham depot schedules, so one concludes it was worked by someone else. Either another North Western depot or another operator (jointly).

David Beilby

03/05/19 – 07:11

Tony Johnson mentions that at least 2 vehicles must have been required for this service.
I can confirm that this was the case, and both journeys were worked by Oldham Garage.
According to my list of Oldham duties:-
One Double Decker (Crew duty 23) departed Ashton Bus Station at 07:05, and a Single Decker (OMO duty 29) at 07:50.
On arrival at Mirrlees both buses then operated from Adswood to Chorlton Street.
Would it have been the case, do you think, that these 2 Adswood journeys would have operated to Lower Mosley Street before the closure of LMS? If that was the case then 282 was possibly heading back to Oldham after completing it work. There is no mention of PM journeys from Mirrlees in the Oldham duties.

Stephen Howarth

04/05/19 – 06:31

Stephen, the use of LMS is a distinct possibility.

Phil Blinkhorn

04/05/19 – 06:32

Unfortunately, Stephen, Roger has already pointed out that he would not have been in Manchester early enough for that to be the case.
I think that there were afternoon journeys but not worked by Oldham. I have a photograph of 932 on this service in April 1972 and that wasn’t an Oldham car at the time, but I don’t know to which depot it was allocated. It’s more likely to be an afternoon shot but I don’t actually know.

David Beilby


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North Western – Daimler Fleetline – DDB 174C – 174

North Western - Daimler Fleetline - DDB 174C - 174

North Western Road Car Co
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
Alexander H44/31F

DDB 174C is a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX with Alexander H75F bodywork. She was new to North Western in 1965. The company was split in NBC days and, so far as I am aware, she became part of the SELNEC fleet, passing to GMPTE when the ‘new’ county expanded to include Wigan. She became part of the GMPTE museum fleet and was one of two vehicles from that collection (the other was a Leigh Renown) which took part in the Southampton City Transport Centenary event, where we see her on Itchen Bridge. The date is 6 May 1979.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

29/09/15 – 07:08

Pete Davies is correct in saying that DDB 174C became part of the SELNEC PTE fleet.
The process though was not that straight forward.
I am sure a lot of contributors to this site will know this, but I think it needs retelling.
In November 1971, a new company, wholly owned by North Western, was formed in readiness for the impending split up of the Company. The new Company was the ‘North Western (SELNEC Division) Road Car Company Limited’.
On the 1st January 1972 this new company took over from North Western the stage carriage services within the SELNEC PTE area, together with Garages at Altrincham, Glossop, Oldham, Stockport, and Urmston (Wilmslow garage had closed on 19th December 1971. On the same date the services in the Biddulph, Macclesfield, and Norwich areas together with the vehicles and garages, were transferred to Crosville Motor Services Ltd.
On 4th March 1972 the properties at Buxton, Matlock, and Castleton, again with the vehicles and services, passed to the Trent Motor Traction Co Ltd.
On the same day the North Western (SELNEC Division) Road Car Company Ltd., passed from North Western to SELNEC PTE control, and was renamed the SELNEC Cheshire Bus Company Limited.

Stephen Howarth

30/09/15 – 06:07

Thanks for that, Stephen. As you say, not at all straightforward!

Pete Davies

30/09/15 – 06:07

These Fleetlines were very cramped internally. There was very little leg room between the seats. Later when I worked at Rochdale Depot, we had four of these Fleetlines. As a conductor I still found them a bit cramped internally, even though they were the same size as other buses. The gangway was narrow, and the ceilings were low – they were the only low height buses I conducted. Later as a driver, they were very nice to drive, although like all Fleetlines in those pre-power steering days, the steering became very heavy when the bus was full. They would have benefitted from a footrest for the driver’s left foot. On one or two occasions I picked up bricks to use as a footrest.

Don McKeown

30/09/15 – 06:08

If anyone wants to see DDB 174C Close up she has been on static display At Boyle Street for Sometime now.
As if any of us who follow this site would need an excuse to visit.

Cyril Aston

01/10/15 – 06:22

The lack of opening windows is notable – I seem to recall that North Western’s second batch of Renowns was similar. Can anyone recall how the forced ventilation coped with the cigarette fug – or the heat on a rare North West sunny day? (I suppose the lack of sliding vents was one less place to let the rain in!!) As an afterthought, Bus Manufacturers still can’t produce a reliable heating/ventilation system in 2015

Ian Wild

01/10/15 – 17:30

DDB 174C_2

With reference to this posting, I attach a view of DDB174C on Southampton Common the following morning, in company with the Leigh Renown (PTC 114C) and the Merseyside (ex Southport) PD2 open topper, CWM 154C. What a wonderful variety of chassis and body styles our operators had back then!

Pete Davies

02/10/15 – 05:50

Not to mention a wonderful variety of fine liveries Pete.

Brendan Smith

02/10/15 – 05:50

Indeed, Ian, especially in respect of the windscreen area!

Pete Davies

03/10/15 – 12:34

I don’t remember Crosville taking over stock from Norwich. Wasn’t it Northwich?


04/10/15 – 07:06

Thanks for correcting my typo Woody.
I blame the pre-emptive text on my Kindle.

Stephen Howarth

04/10/15 – 11:49

Talking of Wilmslow depot (29/09/15, above), didn’t it become North Western’s HQ for a time? If I’m right in this, could someone say when, relative to the other events mentioned?

David Call

05/10/15 – 06:18

David, I think you are right, but I’m not sure on dates. I seem to remember a day out from a family visit to my grandmother in Bolton in April 1973, when I went to Blackpool on a North Western vehicle, and that had the Wilmslow address.

Pete Davies

05/10/15 – 06:19

David Call is correct in that Church Street Wilmslow became the Registered office of North Western in January 1972.
The slimmed down Company was left as an Express service operator with 84 coaches, a garage at Hulme Hall Road in Manchester and a Travel Office at 32 Merseyway, Stockport.
Wilmslow was also George Brook’s office as Regional Director of NBC.
The garage was used for storing withdrawn vehicles for a time after it ceased being an operational garage.
I do not (as yet) have a date when it finally shut. It was sold for redevelopment.

Stephen Howarth

14/05/16 – 06:41

It should also be noted that from 1 January to 3 March 1972 inclusive North Western vehicles operating on local services carried "On Hire to North Western" labels whilst all the legal formalities were carried out.

John Dixon

14/05/16 – 08:48

John, that reminds me of the time when the green buses in north Devon carried labels saying, "This is a Red Bus".

Roger Cox

15/05/16 – 06:55

John & Roger,
I once attended a seminar at Aston University where Dr Caroline Cahm (did I spell the surname properly?) was one of the speakers. She related the odd situation in Portsmouth on the first day of "Portsmouth Transit", when a lady with a Southdown pass could not understand why a driver in Southdown uniform would not let her use the pass on a bus in Southdown colours. Politics and politicians – who’d have them?

Pete Davies

01/08/19 – 09:05

Still grinds every time I see 174 with a fleet number below the windscreen. North Western NEVER displayed the fleet number on this batch this way.

The reference to Crossville takeover above should no doubt read Northwich not Norwich!

Bob Bracegirdle

03/06/21 – 06:26

I remember riding on Daimler Fleetline buses as a child in Partington.They ran on the 222 service. Later changed to 252 I believe. There was an old arched railway bridge just as you came into Partington in which these buses had to steer into the middle of the road to clear the bridge. I can’t quite remember the other bus models that ran services in Partington to Sale Stretford, Urmston and Manchester City centre.

Terence Burgess


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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

05/11/14 – 06:29

I have a note of seeing this bus in Frank Cowley’s yard in Fallowfield, re-registered KDB 499, in January 1972. I wonder what that mark was transferred from?

Michael Keeley

05/11/14 – 11:36

I’ve long wondered if "KDB 499" was a real registration mark. Given the fundamentalist tendencies of many North Americans I can understand why Cowley (given a Canadian buyer for the vehicle) might have decided to remove the original "Number of the Beast" plate, but would they really have gone to the trouble of officially re-registering it with a similar mark? My suspicion is that the plate was for purely cosmetic purposes.
Back in the late 60s I saw a few withdrawn NWRCC vehicles being ferried to Cowley’s Salford and Fallowfield premises using the dealer’s "BA" trade plates, and once the PD2/21 had gotten there its next trip was on a boat. I’d also be interested to find out when the WYRCC staff-car received the registration. Was there a noticeable gap?
The PSV Circle’s NWRCC fleet history asserts that KDB 499 was a genuine registration, but as aficionados of these histories will be aware the level of accuracy in this is not up to their usual standard. Does anybody have a record of Stockport registrations?

Neville Mercer

06/11/14 – 06:08

KDB 499 may well have been a real registration mark but not to NWRCC for a PSV. They had KDB 631 to KDB 700, all but 661-670 being applied to Tiger Cub deliveries in 1956 and 1957.

Orla Nutting

06/11/14 – 11:42

Hi Orla, I think you’ve forgotten the batch of Weymann Fanfares that started at KDB 626, making a total of 75 vehicles in the block allocation. KDB 499 was presumably allocated to a private car, and I really can’t understand why NWRCC would go to the trouble of re-registering the vehicle before selling it to Cowley. Back in those days this would have involved buying the previous vehicle to wear the marks – a rather expensive manoeuvre merely to get rid of one old bus. There’s obviously another story going on here – the allocation of 666’s old registration number to the WYRCC staff car. I appreciate that "KDB" looks vaguely like a WYRCC fleet number, but a staff car would look nothing like a Keighley based Bristol double-decker! Why would anybody (especially a no-nonsense THC subsidiary) pay good money to do this?
Do we have any ex-WYRCC readers who can throw further light on this?

Neville Mercer

06/11/14 – 14:15

Ah, yes. The AEC Reliances. I had forgotten them.

Orla Nutting

07/11/14 – 13:17

Neville, the senior member of staff arrived in Harrogate from elsewhere in the National Bus Company empire, and the Rover came with him, already bearing its KDB 666 registration. Maybe he had a soft spot for this particular bus (666) or perhaps there was something of significance in the registration. Alas we’ll probably never know.

Brendan Smith

11/11/14 – 18:18

I’ve done some digging in my records and find that KDB 666 was on a Rover 3500 that came under West Yorkshire admin on 16/1/75. However, it runs in my mind that the NBC “senior member” was Robert Brook, and that he didn’t come to Yorkshire to join West Yorkshire, but to live. Certainly, it’s shown as being the “Chief Executive’s” car. At about this time, if you remember, NBC was also running an area office in Darlington, to which Bill Stephen had been “shunted” when he was removed as WY Chief Engineer, but whether that was where Mr Brook also worked I can’t now remember. I suspect he probably spent a lot of time commuting to London!

Trevor Leach

12/11/14 – 05:36

Presumably the Robert Brook who was General Manager of North Western at the time it was broken up? I seem to recall that there was another Robert Brook, although I might just have been confused by rapid ‘career moves’!

Nigel Frampton

09/04/15 – 07:05

I remember seeing a beige Rover in Cheadle in the late sixties or early seventies with the reg KDB 666. I loved occasionally having a lowbridge Titan on my journey to school. The routes 29, 30, 52 and 52A were predominantly Daimler Fleetlines, Dennis Lolines 2 and 3 and AEC Renowns (my favourite bus ever was AJA 121B one of the second batch with moquette upholstery on the upper deck) so a lowbridge Titan was quite a novelty.

Graham Bloxsome

23/05/15 – 07:05

There’s no mystery. Robert Brook was the last GM of North Western and he took the registration with him for his car when he left at the end of 1972. He also left with a photo I prepared for him of 666 as delivered in the old cream roof black wings livery. He and I left the Manchester area at the same time and he kindly let me speak to him in his office knowing my interest in North Western and as owner of CDB 206.

Bob Bracegirdle

01/09/17 – 15:14

I’ve just read through this thread and can definitely clarify, if there’s still any uncertainty, that Robert Brook was overall Chairman of NBC in 1978-80 at a time when Linda Chalker was Minister for Transport. My GM at the time would say ‘Oh dear, we’ve got another Dear Robert, love Linda.’ i.e. another memo from the Minister to our lord and master that had to be dealt with. Presumably Bob B’s ‘left’ didn’t mean retirement, or could have referred to another RB?

Nick Turner


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