Harveys, Mousehole, Cornwall
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
This former Halifax Nimbus found its way down to deepest Cornwall where local Operator Harveys operated it on their share of the Penzance to Mousehole service which was joint with Western National. The route negotiated narrow streets and sharp corners in Mousehole and this little bus must have been ideal for the service. The photograph was taken on 13th June 1974 so Harveys managed to run it despite all the shortcomings of the type. Mind you, Halifax is rather more hilly!
Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild
27/04/12 – 07:30
Harveys certainly put it to good use as it was still in the fleet when they were taken over by Western National in 1988. It even operated for them although unfortunately when I visited Penzance in that year it was laid up with a defective gearbox. Spares were not that easy to come by by then!
It was subsequently preserved but I don’t think it’s been too active in recent years.
27/04/12 – 07:31
This bus survives in preservation and has been restored to Halifax colours.
27/04/12 – 07:33
Halifax purchased these Albions for the route out to Hepstonstall where there was minimum clearance. At least two of the batch were painted in reverse livery for private hires.
27/04/12 – 08:41
Great to see this bus in Mowzell! Having taken a black & white photo of this in Penzance in the late 1960s, I’m pleased to see that it is in a blue livery as I had always wrongly remembered it as being green!
27/04/12 – 10:23
How attractive this wee bus looks in the very smart blue and white livery shown here. What a pity the Albion Nimbus was such a stinker in service – one lasting for 25 years, as David relates, must be a national record! My only personal knowledge of the Nimbus is the extremely unflattering remarks made about it by staff at Maidstone & District’s Central Works, where it was regarded as a joke in the worst possible taste.
This posting raises again, however, the subject of lightweight/small capacity vehicles, and the inability of major manufacturers ever to make one that proved itself in service to the satisfaction of of operators. I’ve re-read the postings on the Guy GS; there isn’t one on the Dennis Falcon which found some favour with Aldershot & District, (unsurprising), but with very few others. Why not?
27/04/12 – 10:28
The Western National contingent was Bristol SUS’s, and before that Beadle re-bodied Bedford OB’s (or possibly OWB’s).
27/04/12 – 11:38
Bizarre, Roy. I was contemplating making a similar comment myself – so now I will! In earlier time Western National ran Dennis Aces (or was it Maces?) on the Mowzell. I’m certainly of the heavyweight fraternity and full-sized light and medium weights just not cut it. As you say, the problem is when you need something of small dimension. The Guy GS, and probably contemporary Falcon, were far better engineered than any Mercedes (the better end of the modern market) let alone an IVECO or Renault.
The Tranny is too small, but better engineered than most. [Against all the odds and expectations, Luton and District got over a millions miles of reliable service from their 16 seat Bread Vans.] Unfortunately, cutting a Bristol LH down – which in theory should have given you a "heavy" small bus – didn’t work either. Probably the worst thing I’ve ever driven was an LH/ECW 25 seater – ex Blue Saloon, Guildford.
28/04/12 – 07:39
Funny David should mention the Bristol LH, shortly after I left Percy Main for pastures new with Armstrong Galley, we took delivery of a Bristol LHS-305 with Plaxton C35F body, which soon became known as the ‘Stotty Box’ (stott is a Geordie expression for bounce) it was bad enough in dry conditions, but in the wet it was like trying to drive a mobile trampoline on an ice rink
28/04/12 – 07:40
When I was a Traffic Clerk at HPTD, I spent quite a few hours in the Halifax Nimbuses when learning to drive psvs in January 1965, and I always liked them, a view not shared by the majority of the Halifax drivers, more used to the brute force technique required of the Leopards and Titans in the fleet. I often drove on the second half of late turns on the 46 Heptonstall route, which seemed always difficult to cover, probably because of the unpopularity of the Nimbus. Despite the midget proportions of the Nimbus, the 46 route was conductor operated to enable the unbelievably tight reversing point at Heptonstall to be negotiated without major restyling of the bodywork. Later, the route was extended further into the village on a loop terminal working that allowed the operation of full sized saloons, and the Nimbuses were no longer required for Heptonstall, though some were retained for a while for the very rural 60 and 61 services to Mill Bank and Beehive. Some five years later, I used to drive the almost identical ex Western Welsh Nimbuses at weekends for North Downs of Forest Green.
28/04/12 – 07:41
Unfavourable comments about the Bristol LHS are something I thoroughly agree with my experience of the type came after I joined Lincolnshire Road Car in 1991 at that time they had two with ECW bodies ex LCBS and at least one with Marshall body ex Gash of Newark.
They were all very unpleasant to drive with heavy steering, if anything heavier than the longer LH, the gear change on both was horribly stiff and imprecise the brakes like most Bristols was their only saving grace. Later another one appeared this with a Plaxton coach body and joy oh joy power assisted steering which life somewhat easier, the ride on all was lively to say the least. Overall eminently forgettable vehicles.
28/04/12 – 08:59
Although Mr Hilditch was not a fan of the Nimbus the replacement vehicles were roughly the same size. These were a batch of very short AEC Reliances with Pennine bodywork which looked almost identical to the nimbuses. These AECs lasted until the advent of the PTE.
28/04/12 – 17:07
During my time at E.C.O.C. in Cambridge (1972-75) there were several Bristol LH’s and one LHS. they were used on OMO route 139 from Histon/Impington to the New Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Every one had extremely heavy clutch pedal operation, and as in previous comments they were not at all popular with the drivers. The LHS was referred to as ‘The Baby Bouncer’ as part of the journey was along Mill Road past the Maternity Hospital. On a return visit to Cambridge in 1997, I noticed that they were using one of the LH’s as a driver training vehicle.
29/04/12 – 08:03
I drove a Bristol LHS/Plaxton 35 seater at J. J. Longstaff of Mirfield. I never liked the way the pedals came out of the floor as in a car. One Sunday we used it on the service from Mirfield to Dewsbury and my clippie Kathleen referred to it as the sardine can.
01/05/12 – 19:52
Thanks, Ronnie Hoye! Can’t get that wonderful expression Stotty Box out of my head: it’ll keep me in smiles for months to come!
03/05/12 – 07:58
In the companies where I worked, the LHS was known as the "Baby Bouncer".
04/06/12 – 17:08
Well I passed my PSV test on this very bus and had the privilege of driving her between Mouzel and Penzance many times. I am Vincent Harveys son and I now live in Australia.
My dad and uncle ALWAYS kept her in top order. Glad to know she’s being cared for still.
By the way, the family business was sold to Grenville Motors of Camborne.