Old Bus Photos

West Riding – Dennis Loline III – FCP 303E – 552

West Riding - Dennis Loline III - FCP 303E - 552

West Riding Automobile
Dennis Lowline III
Northern Counties H41/33F

During the mid-1960’s with the recent arrival of Geoffrey Hilditch as General Manager at Halifax Corporation, the Joint Omnibus Committee had begun to develop its tour and private hire operations, acquiring a number of secondhand coaches to that end. A works contract had been obtained requiring a number of coaches to provide transport between the smaller towns within the Wakefield/Barnsley/Doncaster triangle and Meredith & Drew’s biscuit factory at Ovenden in Halifax. Other private hires – such as to away rugby league fixtures – and the popular local afternoon countryside tours often required several coaches or DP’s and it was reckoned that economies could be made if a lesser number of suitably comfortable and speedy low-height double deckers could be provided. At the time the double deck buying policy had switched from Leyland Titan halfcabs to Daimler Fleetlines, but the latter though available in low-height form came with four-speed gearboxes and were only capable of a top speed of around 42 mph.
A Dennis Loline III demonstrator had been amongst many other types trialled in 1964, but although it had the preferred semi-automatic gearbox it too had only four speeds, but enquiries were made about the possibility of providing a five-speed version and after further trials of the same demonstrator an order was placed for what would turn out to be the last batch of Lolines to be built. Delivered in February and April 1967 they were numbered 300-304 (FCP 300-304E) and had Gardner 6LX engines, five speed semi-automatic gearboxes and smart Northern Counties H41/33F bodies with all moquette higher-backed seating.
They were most impressive vehicles to ride on and could certainly get a move on. They enabled the M&D contract to be worked by fewer vehicles at a more competitive price and were regularly used on tours, private hires and service work alike. Much has already been written elsewhere about the unfortunate unreliability of the complicated and cramped transmission involved, so I won’t go into further details here, but it was a shame as the Loline as such was an otherwise excellently engineered and quality machine. Within four years though the engineers had had enough of their problems. West Riding Automobile was desperately attempting to rid itself of its disastrous Wulfrunians and buying all the Bristol Lodekkas it could lay its hands on. The Loline was essentially based on the Lodekka and so Hilditch spotted an opportunity to be rid of them whilst they could probably still command a decent price and in due course all five became West Riding’s 464-468 (later 549-553), at first painted in their latter Tilling Green and cream livery, but by the time of this photo – taken in Hall Ings, Bradford in 1975 – they had become NBC poppy red. One was withdrawn for spares in 1973, and the others were sold to North’s the dealer in 1977, and scrapped the following year.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

13/07/17 – 08:03

I never rode on these Halifax Lolines, as I (utterly unregretfully) left my job at HPTD Traffic Office towards the end of 1966, but I did spot them about on my occasional visits in the years immediately following. Some other Lolines and a number of FLF Lodekkas also had semi automatic gearboxes which seem to have run satisfactorily in service, though I believe that all these were four speed units. As John says, the Halifax Lolines were SCG five speeders, and the problems seem to have dwelt therein. Given the fact (from GGH himself) that they were capable of ‘well over’ 50mph with the 1700rpm 6LX, it is clear that they were obviously very highly geared indeed in fifth. This would have stressed the transmission components considerably, especially in the challenging Halifax operating environment. Certainly the trouble free Aldershot and District constant mesh five speeders were no sluggards, even with the 6LW engine, though, with a top speed of about 50mph, they were not as highly geared as the Halifax examples. In his book "A Further Look At Buses" Hilditch lists the production of the various Loline models, but mistakenly shows the Reading Mark III machines as having semi auto gearboxes. They were constant mesh, the first batch having four speed Dennis boxes, while the later ones had five speed Bristol units with fifth gear blanked off (a decidedly curious arrangement). Incidentally, the location of John’s photo seems to be that of my last picture in my West Riding Wulfrunian gallery, but I see that the fine Victorian building in the background has been superseded by a ‘modern’ architectural excrescence.

Roger Cox

13/07/17 – 16:21

I believe the Eastern National semi auto FLFs were 6LX/five speed. The Crosville semi autos were also five speed, but had the less powerful 6LW, which would provide less stress for the transmission.
I have never heard of either of the above types being particularly troublesome, so the answer may have had something to do with the Halifax Lolines higher (?) gearing.

James Freeman

21/07/17 – 07:03

I remember the Halifax Lolines very well and I remember going on a countryside tour to Delph on one. To me they represented the ultimate half cab D/D development ie Gardner 6LX engine, 30 ft in length, semi automatic gearbox and nice airy interior, a great pity they were flawed.

Andrew Spriggs

22/07/17 – 07:01

ECP 679D

What a surprise I got when I read Andrew Spriggs’ comment above, and found mention of my home village of Delph.
Not often mentioned in bus circles, but featured in the film ‘Brassed Off’ when the band plays at the Whit Friday Contests.
My family ran the village Post Office in Delph for a number of years, and the Halifax buses on the Day/Afternoon Excursions used to stop right outside, so the passengers could stretch their legs and have a wander down by the River Tame, and possibly have a beverage (or two), in one of the 4 pubs.
The White Lion being run by Sonny Ramadhin a West Indian cricketer of some renown in the 1950s and 60s.
I recall a number of vehicles being used including Lolines, PD3s, and later Fleetlines, along with single deckers if the loadings were not overly generous. Delph, and Saddleworth was of course no stranger to Dennis Lolines, as the local operator, North Western Road Car Company, ran a large fleet of them.
Delph was of course the home of one Geoffrey Hilditch for a number of years, and I think the area made a lasting impression on him, as he is buried in the Grave Yard of Denshaw Church, which is the next village up the valley.
Anyway enough of my ramblings, and attached is a picture which was sent to me a number of years ago, of 3 Fleetlines in Delph (King Street), on the said Excursions.
The Post Office is situated just out of shot to the right, and if shown, would probably show me hanging out of the flat window on the top floor.

Stephen Howarth


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West Riding – Leyland Tiger PS2 – EHL 336 – 725

EHL 336

West Riding Automobile
Leyland Tiger PS2/12
Roe C35F

EHL 336 affectionately known as Ethel, or if you are a chemist like me Ethyl, is a Leyland PS2 from 1953 with imposing 30ft x 8ft body. It was new as West Riding fleet number 725, and saw further use with Boddys of Bridlington before being preserved. Restoration was completed in 2011, the year this picture was taken. It is part of the Roger Burdett collection. This year (2013) sees it celebrating its 60th birthday – that’s only a year younger than the photographer.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

08/08/13 – 07:36

Oh what a beauty! Needs little elaboration.

David Oldfield

08/08/13 – 07:36

Part of Roger’s collection, and among Ken’s photographs. Only three words: "Thank you" and "Excellent!"

Pete Davies

08/08/13 – 10:25

EHL 336_2

I was the last Boddys driver to drive EHL from Hull to Brid were it was parked awaiting collection by the West Riding Group.

Ken Wragg

08/08/13 – 19:16

What a gem! Everything about the design and livery works a treat. The preservationists have done a superb job.

Chris Hebbron

09/08/13 – 07:51

Charles H Roe at his/their best. I suppose this is basically the same body as Lancashire United’s Guy Arab III coaches.

David Oldfield

09/08/13 – 15:28

To my eye, this body looks similar to Duple C33F of 1948 of Wallace Arnold as shown on this site under Duple.

Jim Hepburn

10/08/13 – 09:26

Lovely coach – a true classic. It’s interesting however that the two biggest independents in those days, West Riding and LUT, both went for traditional half cab coaches when the underfloor models were virtually the norm for most operators of heavyweights by 1953.
If West Riding had adopted a similar traditional approach a few years later for their double-deck purchases and gone for the Guy Arab rather than the revolutionary but ill-fated Wulfrunian (as indeed LUT did) they might have stayed in business as an independent for a lot longer. But then hindsight is something we don’t always have.

Philip Halstead

10/08/13 – 12:00

To be fair, Philip, they did. They had quite a few Arab IVs prior to the Wulfrunians – which were a joint development (even at the prompting of West Riding). As you said, interesting – but more so that they had the same design of Roe coach.

David Oldfield

10/08/13 – 18:42

The Arab IVs seemed to go on and on. We have discussed the Wulfrunian here before, but it could be that despite its inherent flaws, the winners are writing the history books. Leyland produced a bit of a lemon too in the Atlantean, but had the clout to make it work. Now what was wrong with the AEC Q?


11/08/13 – 06:53

There’s a challenge to the engineers and traffic officers…. What made the Fleetline so good and reliable and the Atlantean a lemon? Why was the AN68, in contrast, so good? What was wrong with the Q? Just too advanced for its time.

David Oldfield

26/08/14 – 06:46

Where is EHL 335 on view? I missed it at Heath Common.

Tim Thomas

26/08/14 – 10:44

EHL 336_2

EHL 336_3

I attach a couple of views of the wonderful West Riding vehicle which already appears on your pages. These were taken by myself at the Gloucestershire Steam Fair in 2011. It not only looked good but sounded good too.

Les Dickinson

26/08/14 – 13:48

Sister vehicle EHL 335 is now in the care of the Aire Valley Transport Group.

Chris Hough

Joe asks why the Q didn’t work. It did as a single decker, provided it was London Transport running them. The double decker did not work for a number of reasons but the main ones were cooling or the lack of and the dodgy handling that was caused by the short rear overhang and the single rear wheels.
The combination of the two and other weaknesses led to most being sold early.
Geoffrey Hillditch’s Another Look at Buses goes into some detail, including looking at the maintenance records of the sole Halifax bus.

Stephen Allcroft


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West Riding – AEC Reliance – JHL 717 – 817

West Riding - AEC Reliance - JHL 717 - 817
Copyright Chris Hough

West Riding Automobile
AEC Reliance
Roe B44F

In the nineteen fifties West Riding bought very few batches of saloons They were used on a selection of routes. Seen in Leeds bus station is a Roe bodied AEC Reliance fleet number 817 registration JHL 717 which dates from 1956. It is on the "back roads route" from Leeds to Castleford via Swillington and Fryston. West Riding did not always bother with route numbers as is evident from this shot The bus certainly shows the effect of road grime on paintwork as it stands in Leeds bus station in 1967.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hough

01/08/12 – 07:19

Odd design- front not very Roe? It may well have picked that spray up that day on that back roads route- could be off the fields or clay slurry from mining. Note the single mini-wiper and the gloop around its perimeter, the state of the wheels/tyres and (possibly) the wet muck behind the rear wheels. It got better when the windows were covered too- that’s where the idea for the all-over adverts came from.
Nearly on thread: West Riding’s successors, Arriva, have just managed to provide a new batch of deckers with facing fore and aft seats over the rear wheels. Now where do the local yobbery put their muddy feet/boots? Arriva are now providing notices to try to stop people dirtying their clothes on muddy seats. Come back practical designers… conductors… inspectors!!


01/08/12 – 08:53

Actually, very Roe, Joe. For a time in the early fifties, this droopy windscreen was a feature of Roe saloons – and distinguished them from their Park Royal cousins built on the same frames. I like your theory about the origins of contra-vision adverts, though!

David Oldfield

01/08/12 – 11:59

As we Geordies would say "wor bairns hacky mucky" rough translation "the baby is in need of a wash"

Ronnie Hoye

01/08/12 – 12:01

What a dismal scene! Obviously a grotty day, when some photographers would leave the camera at home because of a) the weather and b) the resulting dirty appearance of the vehicle. There are some photographers of buses who capture only "pristine" views but there is a real world out there and it often happens that the cleaners can’t keep pace with the weather. It may just happen that the photographer is on holiday and wants to record the local transport. I know that doesn’t apply in this case, but what’s the photographer supposed to do, come back next year and hope the same bus is still in service?
Very atmospheric, and the black and white print enhances that. Thanks for sharing.
Interesting comment from Joe regarding back to back seating over the rear wheels. I first noticed this with Bolton Corporation, but the idea still persists. The original idea was to have greater seating capacity. The inward facing arrangement seems to me to be far better. Clearly, a candidate for the "nice idea, but . . ." file!

Pete Davies

01/08/12 – 15:38

While "facing seats" are not by any means ideal the abuse of them on both buses and trains is absolutely abominable. Its almost certain that, as you walk past any stationary bus, if you look inside you will see passengers with their filthy footwear planted on the opposite seat – and not just placed there either – there will be plenty of "scrubbing" in every direction just to plant more filth and to cause as much wear to the material as possible. It might be thought that those responsible would just be the yobs of Society, but not a bit of it – the culprits are just as likely to be smartly dressed businessmen or secretarial young ladies. It is a despicable and costly habit, of which the perpetrators are fully aware and, apart from the burden placed on transport operators, the ruination of decent peoples hard earned nice clothing is scandalous. In summary the phrase "Blow you Jack I’m alright" springs to mind, and in reality there can be no cure for it – its sadly just another sign of "Today."

Chris Youhill

01/08/12 – 17:37

You’re dead right, Joe and Chris. However, it seems to be a universal problem. I remember once risking my life by photographing a couple of youths on a German train with their feet on the seat directly under a large and unambiguous"Halten Sie Füße weg von den Sitzen"(or similar) sign and graphic image. Needless to say, they just laughed at me, but (who knows) maybe the memory of the occasion may just hit home to one of them in years to come? Staff, particularly on railways, rarely bother to challenge the offenders as they prefer a quiet life, and who can blame them? However, one can sometimes come unstuck by making big assumptions – like the time I worked myself into a Victor Meldrew Harumph on seeing a lady with outstretched legs onto the opposite seat in a first class carriage. I was on the brink of saying something when I thankfully noticed that she had removed her shoes and placed a newspaper on the seat to rest her stockinged feet! Phew! Nearly an "I’ll get my coat……." moment!

Paul Haywood

02/08/12 – 07:12

Would, the would be perpetrators on arriving home put their muddy /dirty shoes on their own furniture thus defiling their property, I think not.

David Henighan

02/08/12 – 07:13

Sometimes a bit of sarcasm works wonders, when I was at Armstrong Galley one of our drivers had a notice in his coach ‘if the floor is full please don’t hesitate to use the litter bin’ strangely enough it seemed to work

Ronnie Hoye

02/08/12 – 07:13

I acknowledge your knowledge, David. I was thinking of exclusive Roe users like Doncaster, but at that time they were still on half cabs! Underfloor came much later.


02/08/12 – 07:14

I thoroughly agree with Joe regarding back to back seating over rear wheel arches, they seem to be obligatory with modern day low floor buses. I witnessed one of Stagecoach leather coach seated Scania/ALX 400’s when only days old being so treated despite various notices asking that it not be done.
When I was a driver I would wherever possible make a point of loudly asking for all feet to be taken off all seats it seemed popular with most passengers except the thoughtless culprits, as Chris says another sign of "today" I’m glad that I retired 9 years ago.

Diesel Dave

02/08/12 – 07:15

I wholeheartedly agree about the comments made about yobs (and non yobs) putting their feet on the back to back seats, who knows what they could have stood in? A few years ago I went for a lengthy trip on the Yorkshire Coastliner service between Leeds and Scarborough and felt the need to contact the company about some matter or other, I honestly can’t remember what it was now. Anyway, I took the opportunity to mention that this seating arrangement was not ideal for such a long journey and that people sat on the back seat tended to use the facing seat as a footrest. Coastliner’s suggestion was that I should have had a word with the perpetrators!

Dave Towers

02/08/12 – 11:18

Dave Towers received a somewhat pathetic and "resigned" reply from Coastliner – did they also include a list of A & E departments along the route where Dave could receive attention to his injuries after the quite likely "smack in t’ mouth" which could result from "having a word."
I share Diesel Dave’s sentiments and I am glad that I retired eleven years ago – the level of appalling conduct by too many passengers is now beyond a joke – and I loved the career to a passion – so I can well understand how most drivers who are doing the job "just for a living" must feel.

Chris Youhill

02/08/12 – 11:20

Joe. This comes down to personal experience – if you had never come across the droopy screens then you would assume they did not exist, or were an aberration. I happen to be a Roe fan/"expert" – but presumably, with Doncaster connections, so are you. I’ve been caught out in the past myself.

David Oldfield

02/08/12 – 17:12

Tough attitude of passengers both young and old can be yobbish but to a degree the companies are also at fault. In Leeds the interior of vehicles are often filthy with old newspapers, tickets etc on buses just out of the depot. Minor vandalism such as graffiti is left in situ so Joe Public see an unloved uncared for bus that they think hmm the company don’t care why should I. I am old enough to remember buses smelling of disinfectant on leaving the depot not last nights takeaway!

Chris Hough

02/08/12 – 17:13

I seem to remember being told that the reason for the demise of inward facing seats over wheelarches, in favour of back to back ones, was an ‘elfen safety’ issue. It was reckoned that passengers could fall off these seats too easily when the bus cornered (yes, they did actually sometimes!).
I agree entirely with all the above sentiments regarding inconsiderate, yobbish behaviour on buses these days, and as someone who still has to drive buses for a living (albeit part-time now, after nearly 40 years full-time) for a major operator, it is heartening to know that at least a few of you sympathise with the hopeless situation we find ourselves in.
All too often, present day bus drivers are criticised for being uncaring and disinterested, and held totally to blame for the state of the industry today. Physically we may have it easier with our automatic gearboxes, power-steering and computerised ticket machines – no more grappling with crash boxes, heavy steering or snipping away at piles of Willebrew tickets etc. – but the job is much more stressful, frustrating and demoralising in a host of different ways that the PSV drivers and conductors of yesteryear could never envisage.
Passengers often complain that the "bus driver should have done something" when there has been yobbish, unsocial behaviour taking place but, as Chris rightly implies, one is certainly putting oneself at risk of abuse – at the very least of the foul verbal kind, and quite possibly of the violent physical kind – if one intervenes. It’s just not worth it.
The companies pay lip service to their official intolerance of this kind of behaviour, but otherwise just ignore the issue – probably for fear of appearing too authoritarian. Even yobs are fare-paying passengers so we must not upset them too much.

John Stringer

03/08/12 – 07:55

I remember these buses coming through Dewsbury on the joint West Riding/Yorkshire Woollen service 3 to Cullingworth. I believe one is being prepared at the Dewsbury Bus Museum.

Philip Carlton

09/08/12 – 09:30

If I may climb back over the seats to the subject of Roe Underfloor Designs of the 50’s…. checking with Peter Gould’s list, I see that Doncaster actually bought a single centre entrance Regal IV in 1951…it must have been a sort of Festival of Britain experimental fling, because they also bought the two 8ft double deckers- Regent III and CVD6- which they sold on as two wide (for the streets or the washer- the jury is out) and then the two all-Leyland PD2’s which were the last non-Roe deckers ever bought and, trolley-bodied, lasted nearly 20 years: the next year, I see they bought nothing! Anyway… the party was clearly over and they reverted to half cab Regal IIIs in 1953, which were more typical of this traditional fleet. But… my point is that I have found a pic of 21 and it doesn’t have droopy windscreens… angled two piece, it seems…… so the droopy screens came later…


11/08/12 – 07:27

Pontypridd U.D.C. had three 1957 Guy Arab LUF’s with Roe rear-entrance bodies and ‘droopy’ windscreens – try this link:- www.sct61.org.uk/  Lancashire United Transport had some Atkinson PM746H’s with Roe bodies with similar fronts also, see:- www.flickr.com/photos/

John Stringer

11/08/12 – 09:20

I’ll throw another one at you Joe. You mentioned square screens on Regal IVs – just like Sheffield’s 12 – 14. The droopies were only on Reliances (and contemporary underfloors) which would make them 1953 onwards – but still from "the early fifties".

David Oldfield

12/08/12 – 07:21

As Manuel said… I learn… I learn. Curious that the "square" underfloor body designs look better or more modern…like that Pennine Royal Tiger.


16/11/12 – 09:04

John mentions (02/08/12) the yobbish attitude of passengers sadly this attitude to other peoples property is prevalent in all walks of life. I work in the NHS and we have a constant problem with mindless vandalism to furniture in particular. I once asked a culprit if he would do the same to his own property and was met with a torrent of four letter words and told I pay your effin wages so shut it.

Chris Hough

Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

04/07/14 – 07:41

You get a fine from Merseyrail Electrics if you put your feet on their seats. There are signs up warning about it and they seem to work. Not that I use their trains very often.

Geoff Kerr


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 24th July 2017