Old Bus Photos

A. H. Kearsey – Leyland 7RT RTL – KGK 797- 62

A. H. Kearsey - Leyland 7RT RTL - KGK 797- 62

A. H. Kearsey
1949
Leyland 7RT RTL
Park Royal H30/26R

The London Transport RTL class, known to LT as the 7RT, appeared from 1948, and consisted of a modified Titan PD2 chassis frame to accord with features of the AEC Regent RT, enabling the interchangeability of bodywork between the two types. Though fitted with the standard O600 engine, the gearbox was the AEC preselective epicyclic of the RT class, a transmission option that was not a standard offering by Leyland to operators elsewhere. A total of 1631 RTL buses was made, though, as with the 4826 of the RT class, that number never ran together in service. The majority of RTLs had Park Royal bodies, though 32 were originally fitted with Weymann and 500 with Metro Cammell bodywork. To these were added 500 of the mechanically similar eight feet wide RTW class, all of which had Metro Cammell bodies. Under the LT Aldenham overhaul system, bodywork became swapped about between chassis on passing through the works, and tracing individual bodies to chassis during their London Transport lifetimes is complicated. With characteristic profligacy, LT went ahead with developing its new wonder, the Routemaster, from 1954, despite the fact that large numbers of brand new RT and RTL buses were then languishing in store without ever having turned a wheel in revenue earning service. Four years later these stored buses eventually took to the road in 1958, the year before the first production Routemasters began appearing in volume, and they then began displacing the perfectly sound earlier RTLs of 1948/49 after a service lifetime of a mere nine to eleven years, during which full chassis/body overhauls had been undertaken. These withdrawn RTLs, in fine mechanical and body condition, soon found favour with operators at home and abroad (many went to Ceylon) where they rendered years of reliable service. The former RTL 133, KGK 797, delivered to London Transport in February 1949, was sold in January 1959, despite having received a full Aldenham overhaul in 1956, when its original body was replaced with another, also by Park Royal. It was then bought by A. H. Kearsey of Cheltenham, together with RTLs 138/149, KGK 802/813, and all remained with that operator when it was taken over by Marchant’s Coaches in January 1968. In the August 1970 picture above KGK 797, fleet number 62, in Kearsey’s sombre grey and blue livery, is seen (if I recollect correctly, though hesitantly after half a century) in Bishop’s Cleeve. Marchant’s continued to serve this area right up to October 2019 when all its bus routes were withdrawn following issues with Gloucestershire County Council over funding. More Kearsey pictures may be found here:- www.flickr.com/photos/tags/kearsey/

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/03/20 – 12:29

A minor correction to the details given here by Roger. The 500 Leyland 6RT, RTW class, had Leyland bodies and not Metro Cammell ones.

John Kaye


09/03/20 – 06:32

You’re right John. My error.

Roger Cox


09/03/20 – 06:33

Did some also have Cravens bodies?

Roger Ward


10/03/20 – 06:03

I think that there were some Saunders Roe bodied RT’s as well?

Andrew Charles


10/03/20 – 06:06

The Cravens bodies, as with the Saunders bodies, were on the RT class, A.E.C. Regent III.
RT1402-1521 had Cravens bodies, whilst RT1152-1401 and RT4218-4267 had Saunders bodies.

John Kaye


11/03/20 – 06:25

The bus has generous destination panels, yet, Kearsey left the bus completely ignore every one of them!
Marchant’s Coaches, Cheltenham, are still in fine fettle, with some 7 local school bus services, private hire and mystery tours, and regular day-out tours to places like Legoland. Nice to mention a well-established family concern not in trouble or to announce its demise.

Chris Hebbron


12/03/20 – 06:07

……though they recently pulled out of local service operation, citing too much bureaucracy amongst other issues. Until, I think, the 1980s, they had an amazing network of stage routes around the Cotswolds, worked from a base at Aldsworth, the timings of which they seemed to regard as a state secrets – the recently dropped work around Cheltenham had come from other sources, notably replacing the estimable Castleways when that concern closed.

Phil Drake


15/03/20 – 06:47

Those painted-over destination boxes bothered me as well. I grew up in a place and an era when the buses I saw displayed half a dozen via points on the front, back and nearside, and showed the destination front and back, and even now TfL buses have some route information on the front. So I’m baffled – how did Kearsey’s passengers know where the RTL was going? Was it only ever on one route, which was known to everybody who was likely to use it, or did the conductor shout from the platform “We’re only going to the Town Hall today, love, but we can drop you off at the shops if you like? No sir, we don’t go to the station, not on a Wednesday!”?

Don Davis


Like it, Don; good point well made. Mind you, there were good displays, but confusing ones, too. Portsmouth Corporation, in its middle years, had double-lettered routes. ‘A’ one way and ‘B’ coming back. there was never mention anywhere of this and folk would wait for an ‘A’ return journey and ignore the ‘B,s going by! And this at a seaside resort with lots of holidaymakers. I grew up with suffix letters on route numbers in London, although they never went very high,, but Portsmouth had one route, 143, which went from ‘A’ to ‘F’. ‘A’ was the whole route, then the higher the suffix the shorter the route. Much higher than ‘F’ and the route travelled would have been about a hundred yards!
Incidentally, Cheltenham, which historically only had numbered routes, now has some with letters. I’m surprised that Gloucestershire County Council, which controls bus route numbers, hasn’t forced a change.

Chris Hebbron


16/03/20 – 06:50

16-03-2020

The mention by Phil Drake of Castleways of Winchcombe reminded me of this photo taken in November 1973 of their Leopard PSU3B/4 Plaxton Panorama C49F, apparently named Countess, new in November 1972 looking absolutely stunning in their dark blue and silver grey livery. Taken in Cheltenhams somewhat bleak bus station amongst the autumn leaves.

David Lennard


17/03/20 – 07:07

17-03-20

My delight with Castleways was seeing their Temsa Safari coach, which looked absolutely gorgeous in the black with gold band livery. (Photo by R Sharman).
On one occasion, I took their coach on their route to Stratford-upon-Avon. Cheltenham Bus Station, although the late 1940s reinforced concrete shelters have now been replaced by light metal glazed ones, is as bleak, draughty and lacking any comforts as it ever was. Not even a toilet. Perhaps the bus is too uncomfortably reminding them of the Great Unwashed!

Chris Hebbron


18/03/20 – 07:02

They used single deckers on their routes, and the double deckers on schools/factories and as duplicates on stage services.
They were well kept up until Marchants took over. They lost the ladies college work and other work to Castleways and started to go down hill. Marchants was always to be avoided if possible. Its only in the past 20/30 years that Marchants have improved.

A number of years ago Cheltenham and Gloucester used the same numbers, so country routes were adjusted to 3 numbers, and some renumbered, Cheltenham went to letters, Red and White forest routes renumbered.

Mike


19/03/20 – 06:39

Thx, Mike for that info.

Chris Hebbron


19/03/20 – 06:41

Chris Hebbron mentions Portsmouth’s confusing route numbers. Another seaside resort determined to baffle holidaymakers was Southport. Most routes were cross-town, and the route number went with the destination, so if you went from the town centre to Woodvale on an 11, you would return on a 10 bound for Preston New Road. Then when there was a timetable change, the routes would swap partners, and the 11 to Woodvale might return as a 2 to Marshfield!

Peter Williamson


19/03/20 – 06:52

Middlesbrough Corporation Transport used all the letters A – Z. That all changed when TRTB, MCT and Stockton were merged into TMT. Then they moved to numbers, as TRTB and Stockton used numbers. The "O" Bus or "0" ZERO was a joint Stockton/Middlesbrough Bus. 46 and 47 routes later. United then had to add a "2" so the 63 became the 263 to avoid confusion. Then it became Cleveland Transit, a disaster. Then Thatcher scrapped the buses!

Mr Anon


20/03/20 – 06:22

Castleways livery may have looked Black but was Trafalgar Blue.

Tim Presley


21/03/20 – 06:45

As my wife will testify, with a tut and a sigh, Tim, ("Do you think this colour suits me?") I’m colour blind!

Chris Hebbron


21/03/20 – 06:47

Morecambe managed without route numbers until the sixties as did Ledgard until the very end of the company.

Chris Hough


21/03/20 – 06:50

Checked to see if my comment came and then thought no that’s not right it’s Wellington Blue.

Tim Presley


 

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Manchester Corporation – Panther Cub – BND 872C – 72

BND 872C

Manchester Corporation
1965
Leyland Panther Cub PSRC1/1
Park Royal B43D

Delivered in April 1965 and photographed in June 1970 following the formation of Selnec is Manchester Corporation Panther Cub No 72, BND 872C. The Panther Cub was a shortened version of the Panther, the length being reduced from 36ft. to 33ft. 6ins. on an 18ft. 6ins wheelbase. With the 6.5 litre Leyland O400H engine instead of the Panther’s 9.8 litre O600H, the Panther Cub proved to be somewhat underpowered. The limited appeal of the model resulted in its being offered only from 1964 to 1968 during which 94 examples were built, though the same basic chassis with more powerful AEC engines was more successful as the AEC Swift. Manchester took eight Panther Cubs, BND 863C- 880C, Nos. 63 to 80, with Park Royal B43D bodywork, though the seating capacity was later altered on No. 71 to B36D and on No. 74 to B42D. The Corporation tried to improve the engine output on some of these buses by experimenting with turbocharging, not entirely successfully. The picture above is of additional interest in that the fleet number of BND 872C is displayed as 27 rather than 72. Was this just an inadvertent “numerical spoonerism” by the body shop?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


09/02/20 – 08:31

The legal lettering on a Southampton Atlantean mentioned, for some odd reason, PROTSWOOD Road rather than the correct PORTSWOOD. I saw in Stubbington on one occasion a road marking for GOPSROT, and there is a hotel in Southampton which ‘failed’ some years ago. The rot seems to have set in after the opening of a brasserie, spelled incorrectly after one has to assume the sign writer was distracted by the presence of a lap-dancing club opposite. Who knows what distractions the fellow applying 27 had?

Pete Davies


09/02/20 – 10:22

The fleet number is correct – it had been renumbered not long before when Manchester renumbered their single-deckers from 46 upwards as 1 upwards (so fleet numbers were reduced by 45). The whole batch of Panther Cubs totalled twenty with the original pair new as 61/62 (ANF 161/2B).

David Beilby


10/02/20 – 06:47

CPPTD made a success of our Panther Cubs, mainly because the city is mostly dead flat. One survives.

Dave French


10/02/20 – 06:48

Thanks for the corrections, David. I overlooked the original two. I did not know that these buses had been renumbered – Peter Gould’s LTHL listings do not record this. Apologies also for the typo in my copy. Eight should read eighteen.

Roger Cox


10/02/20 – 06:50

I didn’t know about that renumbering, and evidently I’m not alone, as Peter Gould’s fleet history in the Transport History Library says that 61-80, 81-99 and 101-110 passed to SELNEC retaining the same fleet numbers. I wonder, did the missing Panther 100 (destroyed by fire at MCW before delivery) result in a missing 55, or were 101-110 reduced by 46 instead of 45?

Peter Williamson


10/02/20 – 11:12

I suppose Portsmouth (CPPTD) could be described as making more of a success of the Panther Cub, but they were still rather short-lived compared with more traditional vehicles. Typically, the PD2s and PDR1 Atlanteans worked for around 16 years, those converted to open-top even longer. But of the 26 Panther Cubs, nine went in 1977, at just ten years old. Four more went in 1979/80. The remaining 13 were withdrawn in 1981, which may have been life-expired withdrawals, but was also influenced by the results of the then-recent MAP project. The result of that saw a "rationalisation" of services, and saw all 14 of the five-year old Leyland Nationals sold as well! The Panther Cubs did look smart when new in their traditional CPPTD livery, but I did not like the eventual transformation to an almost all-white scheme with just a red line. I wonder whether drivers, mechanics, etc saw them as a "success"?

Mr Anon One


10/02/20 – 11:13

It was SELNEC which renumbered the ex Manchester single deckers.

Mr Anon Two


11/02/20 – 06:53

To add to the comments from Mr Anon Two, according to the P.S.V. Circle SELNEC Fleet History (PC7), the vehicles transferred to SELNEC under their old numbers on 1st November 1969, and the fleet renumbering was introduced in March 1970.
Peter W asks about the Panther Cubs and the Panthers. 61-99 became 16-54, and 101-110 became 55-64.

John Kaye


11/02/20 – 06:55

SELNEC 55 was GND 101E, so there was no gap in the new numbers for the missing GND 100E.

Dave Farrier


11/02/20 – 16:26

Thanks everyone for clarification. I hadn’t noticed the date of the photo, and I was fooled by the apparent survival of the "City of Manchester" fleet name, though I must say whatever is above it doesn’t look much like the city coat of arms.

Peter Williamson


12/02/20 – 16:46

Did the registration number GND 100E signify the bus was fitted with a Ford side valve engine? If so, it is not surprising that it was missing, although not in the accepted sense of the word. Try changing the plugs!

Mr Anon Three


13/02/20 – 06:06

72/4/6/8/80 were allocated to Queens Road Depot from new. I used to travel to school on them sometimes on service no 142. There was one regular driver who always started in third gear, another started in second then slammed it into fourth without a pause. I always thought they were lively performers.
I believe 61-70 had the turbocharged engine. Some if not all of these had machines to cancel prepaid tickets which were bought in books of ten. These ten also had lever controls for the exit door, while 71-80 had the exit door controlled by an extra position on the gear lever, as later became standard on the Mancunians. All had the front door controlled by a foot control.

Don McKeown


15/02/20 – 06:31

It was 71-80 that had the turbochargers, but they were troublesome and usually disconnected. I too thought the Panther Cubs were lively performers, as long as the revs were kept up. I’m quite surprised at the widespread view that they were underpowered.

Peter Williamson


 

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Charlton-on-Otmoor Services – Leyland TD – FKO 223 – 293

Charlton-on-Otmoor Services - Leyland TD - FKO 223 - 293

Charlton-on-Otmoor Services
1939
Leyland TD5
Weymann H28/26R

Not one of my best pictures, I fear, but the Comet S camera did not cope well with action shots. Seen on its way out of Oxford in 1960 is FKO 223, a Leyland TD5 with Weymann H28/26R bodywork. This bus was delivered in 1939 to Chatham & District where it operated as No. 293 until 1942 when it then passed to parent company Maidstone & District as DH365. It was bought by Charlton-on-Otmoor Services in November 1955. It is thought that this bus still remains in existence, but information about its present status is scanty.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


18/11/19 – 10:41

What a beauty! Had sadly left Charlton-on-Otmoor services by the time I came to Oxford in 1971. Intrigued to hear that it may have survived!

Ian Thompson


23/11/19 – 06:58

What a handsome bus! How like an AEC were those TDS of the period – two fine British champions of the psv world – worldwide….
I expect we’ve all noticed how nut-rings set off the front wheels, and beautify the overall image. Manufacturers which eschewed them produced utility- looking buses and coaches – just for the sake of those trims. Guy springs to mind, and posh buses with the nut-rings removed in service as contractors site transport, looked truly down-at-heel!
Who can tell me why London transport removed thousands of rear-wheel spats in the 50’s? Those full discs looked very sleek. Few other operators employed them – why?

Victor Brumby


23/11/19 – 13:46

My 2006 copy of Preserved Buses shows FKO 223 as owned by Gibbons, Maidstone. It may well have moved on now of course but hopefully still about in one piece.

John Darwent


23/11/19 – 13:47

Those rear wheel discs caused brakes to overheat. Burys PD3s them for a very short time when new but they were very quickly binned. Some of Manchesters Fleetlines had them too and, again, they were quickly discarded. I personally didn’t like them much.

No name given,      yet


24/11/19 – 15:08

The Gibbons Brothers still own it but have partially stripped it for components. They are asking too much money for it to be a worthwhile restoration exercise unless you have a real passion for M&D.

Roger Burdett


29/11/19 – 05:54

I think that bus bodies, in the 1938-39 period, finally reached a classic shape, although I never really liked the fluting at the bottom of Weymann’s bodies. I travelled on the Leyland TD4 STL-copy STD’s of London Transport and they looked smart. Their fruity roar and crash gearbox slow changes gave a young lad goose pimples…..until girls overtook my bus passion!

Chris Hebbron


29/11/19 – 10:10

In regard to previous comments about nut guard rings and rear wheel discs, firstly London Transport removed the rear wheel discs across the fleet in the 1970s, not the 1950s. Manchester ordered discs for all its double deck fleet, except the first batch of Atlanteans, until 1964. The discs don’t cause brake overheating. Manchester in particular had a thing about overheating brakes and regularly cut back front mudguards yet ordered the discs. The reason many fleets didn’t use them and why they were often discarded, in Manchester’s case unofficially and to the ire of authority, was the same reason as the wholesale removal in London – efficiency. They had to be removed every time tyre pressures needed checking, every wheel change and every time wheel nut tightness needed to be checked. On large fleets this added considerable time to maintenance and when accountants costed this and cost won out over appearance, they were officially removed – something Manchester depot foreman had been doing for years, reporting them lost in service.
Nut guard rings were brought in to do exactly what their name implies – to stop drivers using the wheel nuts as steps into the cab. Leyland designed a ring with holes through which nuts could be tightened but only a minority of their chassis were ordered with these. Whilst many operators discarded the rings for the same reason as they discarded or didn’t order discs, others decided the extra effort in maintenance was worth it to protect the wheel nuts.

Phil Blinkhorn


06/01/20 – 11:11

Regarding previous incorrect comments concerning FKO 223. My brother Chris and I have owned this handsome classic since 1993 (Surely Weymann at it’s best!)
We’ve never actually offered the vehicle for sale.
It’s true the major components are removed but have been/are being completely reconditioned. This has cost many pounds so far as parts have had to be re-made and spares hard to source. We’ve restored many other buses and do fund 99% of work ourselves, not having luxury of a dedicated workforce.
Due to health issues we would consider passing this fine bus on, but only to someone with the wherewithal, dedication and determination to complete the project to a top class standard.
The bus still wears its ‘as withdrawn’ Charlton on Utmoor livery.

Rob Gibbons


10/01/20 – 11:52

Wonderful to hear that FKO 223 is safe. Restoration can be a very long-term business, often entailing periods where to the outside world nothing seems to be happening. Very glad too to hear that she still wears Charlton-on-Otmoor livery.

Ian Thompson


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 15th July 2020