Old Bus Photos

Rochdale Corporation Welfare Dept – AEC Regal III – BCP 543 – 900

Rochdale Corporation Welfare Dept. - AEC Regal III - BCP 543 - 900

Rochdale Corporation Welfare Dept. - AEC Regal III - BCP 543 - 900

Rochdale Corporation Welfare Dept.
AEC Regal III 9621E
Roe B33F

BCP 543 was originally one of twenty-two AEC Regal III 9621E’s with Roe B32R bodies delivered to the Halifax Corporation and JOC fleets in 1949, and was numbered 268. Fourteen of them, including 268, were rebuilt at Skircoat Road workshops during 1953/54 to B33F layout and with modifications made to the front bulkhead to allow for one-man-operation.  These were also for a time repainted into a livery of cream with a single orange band to draw attention to the fact that they were OMO and in connection with them being used for the local Countryside Tours during the summertime and bank holidays, though they were returned to standard bus livery later. Withdrawn in 1964, 268 was sold to the Rochdale Corporation Welfare Department who rebuilt it with a rear tail-lift for the transport of disabled people and numbered it 500. They renumbered it 900 in 1970, and it was withdrawn and sold for scrap in 1972.
Though Roe’s teak body framing always had an enviable reputation for strength and longevity, when Halifax Corporation had carried out its modifications, the cutting of an aperture in the nearside for the forward entrance directly opposite another on the offside for the emergency exit, along with the bulkhead alterations caused a significant weak spot across the bodywork at that point, and the resultant sag in frame stands out quite clearly – particularly in the offside view above. The nine Regals that retained their rear entrances remained sound until the end – which unfortunately came rather early, some going as early as 1958 and the last one in 1962. Lovely little buses.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

21/10/14 – 06:19

Although allocated to the Rochdale Welfare Department this bus received what was then the current Rochdale Corporation bus fleet livery with the exception that the blue band was a lighter shade. This is interesting as when the new predominantly cream Rochdale bus livery was being introduced in the early 1960’s, two vehicles wore this lighter blue band for a very short period before the darker Oxford Blue trim as pioneered on AEC Regent V no.277 was adopted as the new standard. These were Daimler CVG6 no.238 and AEC Regal IV no.12. I seem to recall the light blue only lasted a matter of weeks on these vehicles before the Oxford Blue replaced it.
At the time as a schoolboy spotter I was quite excited about this new livery but once it began to replace the streamlined blue and cream across the whole fleet I came to hate it. It was bland and totally impractical for a northern industrial town where the atmosphere in those days was mucky to say the least.

Philip Halstead

22/10/14 – 07:17

The lighter blue was worn by 12 and 238, and also on delivery by new Weymann bodied Reliances 16 – 20 (3116 – 3120 DK). It didn’t last on these, of course. The blue adopted as standard was the same shade of blue as used on the much lamented "streamlined" livery.

Don McKeown

22/10/14 – 17:59

Daimler CVG6 number 238 was always easily identifiable because the rubbers holding the destination blind glasses were painted cream whereas it was usual to mask them over during repaint so they remained black. By the way 16-20 were 2116-2120 DK.

David Slater

15/11/17 – 07:17

Re rad blankets PD2 exposed rads had a plate about one foot deep but full width. It appeared to be in the middle because that was the bottom of the cooling tubes. The lower section of the rad was a dummy. Also with the blanker fitted on the outside there was a 2 to 3 inch gap to the actual tubes which would seriously reduce the warming effect. In effect as the thermostats were pre wax type generally they failed inside a year so the engines always ran cooler than the designed temperature. Even in summer

Mr Anon


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Halifax Corporation – AEC Regal III – BCP 544 – 258

Halifax Corporation - AEC Regal III - BCP 544 - 258
Copyright Roger Cox

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
Roe B32R

Halifax buses seemed to undergo a curious renumbering merry go round from time to time, as if fleet numbers were somehow on ration. The number 258 was a case in point. Here is another Regal III of the 1949 batch, BCP 544, which, like its fellow AJX 848 also on this site, was rebuilt from B32R to B33F in 1953/4. It originally joined the ‘B’ Joint Committee fleet as number 269, but in October 1964 it was transferred to the ‘A’ Corporation fleet as number 99. In the following month it was transferred back again to the ‘B’ fleet with the number 268, but it was then renumbered again as 258, which is the number it carries in this picture. This Regal was the only remaining example of its type when I joined Halifax Passenger Transport as a Traffic Clerk towards the end of 1964, and I drove it from time to time when training for my PSV licence in early 1965. Despite its sixteen years of service, it was a delightful and characterful bus to drive, and carried its age very lightly.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

24/10/12 – 07:58

One thing that has always intrigued me with exposed radiators is the variety of ways people find for keeping them warm. This one’s ‘appendage’ looks quite professional, certainly far better than a bit of old newspaper!

Pete Davies

24/10/12 – 11:15

I was going to refer to these over another recent posting. They seem to suggest that AEC and Leyland engines ran "cold" but did Daimlers D’s ever have them? – because they ran hot, it seems, judging by the supplementary air intake, otherwise known as leaving the bonnet side open and resting on the mudguard. Am I anywhere near, Engineers?


24/10/12 – 11:30

That’s an interesting observation, Pete. I can’t make out the exact nature of the blind on this vehicle, but, as you say, there were many different approaches. I’ve always been fascinated, for example, with East Yorkshire, which seemed to like placing an aluminium sheet over part of the exposed radiator, although, for reasons I’ve not understood, the actual treatment varied between vehicles, even ones of the same batch. Did the engineers know the fleet so well that they could tailor blinds individually, since although you could raise or lower a flexible blind, an aluminium sheet was a fixed feature?

Roy Burke

24/10/12 – 12:47

What a marvellous sight to see this morning as I land on the OBP Homepage bleary-eyed !
How lucky you were Roger to have driven this delightful bus. Around this time I was still at school, and this last remaining Regal was sometimes used to transport us the relatively short distance to Woodside Swimming Baths if the more usual Nimbus was unavailable. Our local Bus Club hired it in 1965 for a memorable visit to Bolton, Bury and Rochdale Corporations – on which it performed admirably. It was almost regarded as a mascot by the local enthusiasts.
Not long afterwards it was sold to local building contractor Pickles for staff transport. HPT repainted the lower panels cream before sale, and it pottered around the locality in an increasing state of decrepitude until finally scrapped.
Unfortunately, the framework modifications involved in moving the entrance to the front – cutting out a large piece when there was already a weakness due to the emergency door being directly opposite, and cutting into the front bulkhead to allow for one-man-operation, severely compromised its structural integrity.
The uncanny thing about your photo is that aside from the fact that 258 was scrapped forty-odd years ago, it could have been taken this morning. Parked in what is nowadays referred to as 7-Bay at Skircoat Garage, the building is exactly the same – even to having the same shades of paint on the wall, though today it is maybe peeling a bit more.

John Stringer

24/10/12 – 17:48

There was always a timelessness about the old Skircoat Garage, wasn’t there, John. One would have been only mildly surprised to chance across a tram or two, such was the period feel to the place. I wrote to Geoff Hilditch a few years back to send him copies of my small store of Halifax bus pictures, and he very kindly replied in a long letter. One of the things he told me was that the Skircoat depot, along with Elmwood, is facing demolition in the near future. Another piece of treasured transport history seems to be about to vanish.
Joe’s comment about hot running engines is interesting. Gardners were always cool runners, which proved to be a bit of a problem when bus heaters became generally adopted. The vast majority of wartime Daimlers had the AEC 7.7 engine, as did the bulk of utility Bristols. Any cooling problems must have been caused by the installation design. Daimler’s own CD6 8.6 litre engine proved to be highly variable in quality between individual examples, the best being satisfactory, but the worst were as bad as the contemporary Crossley HOE7.
Installations were probably made to cater for a worst case scenario.

Roger Cox

Leeds exposed radiator buses had both an aluminium plate and a roll down blind attached to it. There were two distinct designs the AEC version covered the radiator from the bottom to just over half way The one used on Titans and Crossleys was around 2-3 feet deep and was positioned mid radiator. These were generally fitted around this time of year and were removed in March/April.

Chris Hough

24/10/12 – 17:49

One of this batch came to Rochdale when I lived there in the early 1960’s to operate for the Social Services Department. If I remember correctly it was fitted with a wheelchair lift. I regret I cannot remember the number of the vehicle but it was painted in Rochdale Corporation’s then new livery of cream with a single blue band. It was a case of what might have been as Rochdale was of course a staunch AEC user but never actually had any post-war single deck half cabs.

Philip Halstead

25/10/12 – 07:14

Isn’t it interesting how some postings generate a lot of comment, sometimes veering off at tangents from tangents from tangents, while other postings generate very little? It’s all part of the fun of taking part in the world of the forum!

Pete Davies

25/10/12 – 07:47

You’ve noticed that as well, Pete.

David Oldfield

25/10/12 – 12:02

Of course it’s unrelated to interest or enthusiasm, for there would be plenty of silent admirers, even with quiet posts. What always intrigues me are the posts which run their course, go silent for ages, then spring into life again! And by some queer quirk, I sometimes find the whole thread passed me by the first time round!

Chris Hebbron

25/10/12 – 12:01

The Regal that went to Rochdale was BCP 543 and it was given the fleet number 500. It said "Welfare Service" in the destination box.

David Beilby

25/10/12 – 12:03

Geoffrey Hilditch is alive and well. I met him the other week on one of his visits to Wigan. He still drives from Torquay and back.
He said how much he enjoyed his time at Halifax and wondered if today’s bus managers feel the same, with all the financial pressures.
I didn’t know about the garages though – they are still there!

Geoff Kerr

25/10/12 – 16:03

I agree with John and Roger – Skircoat Garage has hardly changed over the intervening years. Enjoy it while you can – word is that the site has been sold to ASDA and the depot will be demolished in the near future

Ian Wild

26/10/12 – 07:34

Hope ASDA realise that they’re going to have ghosts of AEC Regals amongst their frozen ready-meals!

Stephen Ford

26/10/12 – 07:35

Ian. How sad to think that a useful building providing work, skills, training and local employment has to die to build yet another Temple to the £1 bottle of milk. If I lived there I would never step foot inside the place but, just last weekend I bought a new camera from Curry’s/PC World built on the site of the former Winterstoke Road Garage of Bristol Omnibus Company..but not without thought.

Richard Leaman

26/10/12 – 14:16

The same thing happened to the Newcastle Corporation central works at Byker which employed dozens of people with all manor of skills, as well as being a garage they could virtually build a vehicle from scratch. Now it’s a retail park where you can buy all manor of goods, mostly produced in China. I think it comes under the definition of progress.

Ronnie Hoye

27/01/13 – 16:58


Reverting to the comments about radiator blinds/mufflers, one company that was very organised in this respect was Bristol. Their blinds had a white stripe down the middle. At various points on the system – the one I happen to recall was at Bath Bus Station – there was a miniature display of a radiator with blind. This would be set to show the desired blind setting for the day, to match temperature. The white stripe on the blind meant that an inspector could spot from a distance that the driver had set his own blind correctly. The attached view shows buses with two of what appear to have been four different settings. You can just make out in the left hand view the clips to which the upper part of the blind would be attached. It would be interesting to know whether the setting was determined by head office or locally. I can imagine there being considerable temperature variation on the same day between the coast at Weston and the high ridge of the southern Cotswolds.

Alan Murray-Rust

01/06/13 – 15:30

I’m a Bristolian and spent several years working for BOC but never knew that! Remember Winterstoke of course and was quite shocked when I saw it had gone.

Geoff Kerr

03/10/16 – 08:15

Geoff….I pass the site where Winterstoke Road Bus Garage was located just about every day and the line up of retail warehouses is just a terrible replacement for that superb garage. In my mind I see lines of K, L and KSW parked up with a few of those new fangled Lodekka’s! Once upon a long time ago I spent many an hour with my old friend Clive checking fleet numbers and spotting favourites from the safety of the grassed areas just inside the front walls. I do remember the radiator setting sign also mentioned….it is a good 40 plus years ago but have an idea there was one on the back wall of the old Marlborough Street Bus Station..in the garage/parking area…I remember seeing it/them many times and think one might be preserved at the BVBG garage. I will have a look on the next open day.

Richard Leaman


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Halifax Corporation – Albion Nimbus – RJX 251 – 251

 Halifax Corporation - Albion Nimbus NS3AN - RJX 251 - 251
Copyright Roger Cox

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann B31F

Here is a shot of Halifax Nimbus No. 251 in Elmwood Garage repainted for service with a new owner – I cannot now remember who that was. Despite its frailty and engine unreliability, I quite liked the little Nimbus.When I went to Halifax in 1964 I had only a motorcycle driving licence, and I learned to to drive on four (should that be six?) wheels during my lunch breaks. Initially I went out with the wonderful HPTD instructor, Arthur Brearley, in the old 1947 PD2 training bus, which, by then, had worn off most of its gearbox synchromesh, and I found this extremely heavy to drive. When this was not available one day, we had a Nimbus, and I took to this instantly. The six speed gearbox, apparently detested by most Halifax drivers, was easy to use with a light touch, which was essential if the middle gate was not to be missed. After passing my test, one of the routes I used to cover as a driver in the evenings was the 46 to Heptonstall, which, because of the unbelievably tight reversing point at the village – a narrow slot between two houses off an equally narrow road; even the mirrors had to be flattened against the bus to get in – a conductor was carried on the 31 seat Nimbus. The little Albion was certainly not up to the rigorous task of Yorkshire Pennine bus work, but it was a nice little thing to drive, and I renewed my acquaintance with the type some years later when I did a bit of moonlighting for North Downs Rural Transport.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

13/10/11 – 06:08

I know very little I’m afraid about the technicalities and operating realities of the Albion Nimbus – but I must say that this immaculate repaint to the order of a new owner says volumes about an operator who knows what a dignified livery is all about – its quite simply beautiful. If I didn’t know otherwise I’d say that it was heading for "The Garden of England" and the East Kent company in the good old days.

Chris Youhill

13/10/11 – 10:20

This vehicle was sold to Booth and Fisher, keen Albion Nimbus users. It survived to be taken over with that fleet by South Yorkshire PTE in 1976 and was even given PTE fleet number 1059.
253 of the batch was sold to Baddeley Brothers of Holmfirth and was still in the fleet when they were taken over by West Yorkshire PTE (as of course Halifax had been), although I don’t believe it was still in service.
258 was sold from a Joint Omnibus Committee to a municipality (Warrington), then to an Urban District Council (Ramsbottom) who in turn were absorbed into SELNEC PTE.
250 is still with us today, having spent many years working for Harvey’s at Mousehole. It survived long enough to be taken over by the post-deregulation Western National.
A batch of vehicles with a truly fascinating history!

David Beilby

13/10/11 – 11:39

256 also went to Baddeley Bros. Three others went to Wiles of (I think) Port Seton in E. Lothian but not sure which ones.


13/10/11 – 11:40

Another of the batch was sold to Wiles of Port Seaton near Edinburgh,I cannot remember what its number was.

Philip Carlton

13/10/11 – 11:42

Nimbus RJX 251 was sold to Booth & Fisher of Halfway near Sheffield. I believe it’s true to say that all or most of the Nimbuses were repainted by HPT for their new owners. For the record, they were disposed of as follows:
250: Harvey’s, Mousehole, Cornwall (now preserved).
251: Booth & Fisher, Halfway.
252: Wooliscroft (Silver Service), Darley Dale.
253/256: Baddeley Bros., Holmfirth.
254/257/259: Wiles, Port Seton.
255: Halifax Corporation Welfare Department (fitted with nearside wheelchair lift).
258: Warrington Corporation (later to Ramsbottom U.D.C, and then SELNEC)

I was still at junior school when these were delivered in 1963, and I well remember coming out of school after a school prize giving concert, and one turning up at the stop on the route 2 Northowram service. Not yet having discovered ‘Buses Illustrated’ I had no knowledge about what was happening in the bus world until I actually saw it, and the appearance of new buses was always unexpected and exciting.
I noted immediately the Albion badges, and the ultra modern curved windscreen – the first in the fleet and in total contrast to the earlier flat fronted Leopards and Worldmasters. Inside they were very tidy and bright, with flush light cream formica from floor to ceiling, instead of the usual MCW utilitarian painted metal.
As I took my seat, another Nimbus passed in the opposite direction, and as I got up to alight at Stump Cross another was turning into Kell Lane on the 33 to Shibden. They were everywhere !
Despite apparently having a four-cylinder version of the Tiger Cub engine, the sound effects were pure vintage Albion, sounding to me more like coal wagons. They had a characteristic nose down, tail up appearance, which seemed to increase with time.
Drivers always seemed to be struggling with them – especially the gearbox. They were hopelessly underpowered for the local mountainous terrain, though were capable of eventually getting up to a fair old speed on more level stretches. It was when they were at speed, especially coming down the hills and well loaded that the trouble really started. The brakes were apparently hopelessly inadequate and temperamental, and there were many heart stopping moments.
Although originally intended to provide feeder services from the various hilltop villages to the main road double deck routes, it just never really happened. They spent so much time in the workshops during the day being repaired and adjusted, that when they were released as available for service, usually during the afternoon peak, they just went out on to the next available duty, which would most likely have required something a bit more substantial. Consequently they were overloaded and thrashed unmercifully by drivers who hated them, and suffered as a result.
They were all sold off after three or four years and replaced by seven shortened, narrow Reliances with Pennine bodies.
I am surprised at Roger’s comments about enjoying driving Nimbuses, as all the older drivers I ever spoke to – without exception – detested them with a passion !
I also recall going on a transport society visit to Crich on a new Halifax Loline in 1967. We had arranged to call on Mr. Woolliscoft at Darley Dale to inspect his wonderful Silver Service fleet – including the withdrawn AEC Q-type. He had just acquired Nimbus 252 and it was parked in the back of his depot, nosed in towards the wall. We asked if it would be possible to bring it out to be photographed next to the Loline, and he agreed willingly. He climbed into its cab, started it up, and then attempted to select reverse. The bus lunged forwards towards the wall, and he hit the brakes – which fortunately worked on this occasion. He stirred the lever around and tried again – same result. And again, and again ! Finally, with the front panels almost touching the wall, and its owner red faced and cursing, it was decided that the only way would be for us all to push it out of the depot and across the road, and I think we then pushed it back !
I always found it difficult to believe that they had Weymann bodies. The were totally unlike anything the MCW companies had ever built, and one might have expected a sort of short, narrow version of the familiar ‘Hermes’ body similar to the Leopards and Worldmasters. Instead they were almost copies of the ones built by Harrington for Western Welsh. They were very neat looking vehicles.
I liked them though nonetheless, but then this was a few years before I became a driver, so I only experienced them as a enthusiastic passenger.

John Stringer

13/10/11 – 11:43

Albions – much neglected due to their early demise after their take over by Leyland in 1951. They should be remembered more fondly than perhaps they are, being side-lined into niches by Leyland. [The Aberdonian was a cheap light-weight version of a cheap light-weight version!!! ie of the Tiger Cub and was reviled as such.]
The Albion Victor VT21L was a Bedford SB13 clone with the Leyland 370 and a six speed gearbox. Generally regarded as much the superior beast, it was too expensive and too late to knock Bedford or Ford off their pedestals – and there were still Commer Avengers around. After this it was down hill all the way, although like the Leyland Panther, they still had success overseas where the home market didn’t work.
Booth and Fisher. A superb independent which ran by the end of my road on the Sheffield/Derbyshire border when I was a boy.

David Oldfield

13/10/11 – 17:05

When the Nimbuses were in service at Halifax, the bulk of the fleet consisted of Leylands, and changing gear with a PD2, even more so with a PD3, and exceedingly more so with the early Leopards, required the application of a certain degree of brute force. Also, it was not possible to miss the desired gate on the Leyland four speed synchromesh box. The six speed constant mesh Nimbus gearbox was the extreme opposite, and gear changing, which required double declutching, could be undertaken with the light pressure of a couple of fingers on the lever, and this was essential if the centre gate was to be detected. The gearstick did have rather long travel, and I have heard the characteristics of the Albion box described by unsympathetic persons as "stirring porridge with a knitting needle". The unpopularity of the Nimbuses was largely due to the total contrast of its light touch constant mesh gearbox with the heavier synchromesh boxes of the Leylands and AECs, or the even easier to drive AEC and Daimler preselectors.

Roger Cox

14/10/11 – 11:34

Was two of the batch painted in reverse livery and more comfortable seats for private hires.?

Philip Carlton

14/10/11 – 14:50

All the Nimbuses were delivered in conventional bus livery. The following year two Willowbrook-bodied Leopard DP’s arrived (269/270) which had the cream and orange areas reversed. Shortly after this Nimbuses 250 & 251 had their seats retrimmed with the same moquette as the Leopards and had headrests fitted. They were then repainted into the new DP livery. However, whereas the Leopards and later Reliance DP’s had polished metal trim above and below the central orange band, the Nimbuses had to have black lining painted on, as on the normal bus livery. On their withdrawal, some seats from both 250 & 251 were removed and fitted to new short Reliance replacement 252, though it was in bus livery. (The Nimbuses seated 31, but the Reliances seated 39). What was then used to reseat the Nimbuses for sale I do not know.

John Stringer

23/01/13 – 14:34

RJX 258_2

Sorry about the very late entry to this discussion about the Halifax Nimbi, but attached is a shot of 258 when it operated for Ramsbottam U.D.C.
I thought I had a shot of one of the other Halifax ones at Booth & Fisher, but it was one of the ex-Western Welsh ones.
Here in Australia the Nimbus was as successful as in UK, Rockhampton City Council in Central Queensland had six, 3 with Athol Hedges bodies and 3 bodied by Stewart & Sons of Bundaberg. They lasted into the mid-1970’s and a few saw further service with schools.
I’ll post a photo of the Ramsbottam one at the Stubbins Lane depot in 1969.

Ian Lynas

23/01/13 – 15:35

To see how unreliable these were just read the books by Geoffrey Hilditch who was responsible for them at Halifax. Aldershot and District borrowed one from Devon General and used it on their route 66 shadowed by one of their Falcons. They didn’t buy any!


25/01/13 – 06:43

"PAYE" signs . . . you don’t see those anymore, do you? Halifax’s must have been amongst the more elaborate: an internally-illuminated glass covered by a drop-down flap – or as here, a slide down insert. At the time I thought YWD buses were very inferior with their black-on-yellow perspex flip-up/down boards behind the nearside windscreen – I think the KHD-series Leopards might have also had an illuminated PAYE sign to the rear of the entrance. The first time I saw a Leyland National (I) it had both its PAYE displays – to the left of the destination, and to the rear of the door – lit: wow! such modernity . . . and that I think was the last time I ever saw them in use. So: were these things ever a legal requirement, or just a passing fad? and if they weren’t a legal requirement why did operators spend so much cash specifying illuminated signs that were never used?

Philip Rushworth

25/01/13 – 12:33

Well, I guess at a time when PAYE was not universal (in fact quite unusual in urban areas) operators thought that signs (elaborate or not)might speed up the process if intending passengers were alerted to have their (hopefully correct) money ready as they got on. As we all know, that was a lost cause. Many city operators went over to "no change given" to save the time spent faffing about with change. And we are all familiar with the tedious process as a row of people board, each in turn putting his/her shopping, buggy and parcels down and then ferreting in the wallet, purse or handbag for cash, collecting the ticket, putting the wallet, purse or handbag away again and then collecting their worldly possessions together so that the pantomime could start all over again with the next "customer". (The essential of a passenger is that he travels. The essential of a customer is that he pays.) Of course twerly passes have speeded things up a bit – but not much.

Stephen Ford

26/01/13 – 06:28

See the posting of PMT 130 here  PMT 130 for that Operator’s early design of Pay as you Enter sign on the front panel.

Ian Wild

RJX 251_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

11/02/16 – 09:04

RJX 251 ended up after the stint with SYPTE as the Chesterfield Cricket Club tour bus. We at the club have just obtained a picture for the club house in Queens Park. Does anybody know what happened to RJX after it left our ‘care’



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