Old Bus Photos

West Riding – AEC Reliance – THL 921 – 921

West Riding - AEC Reliance - THL 921 - 921

West Riding Automobile
1961
AEC Reliance 2MU3RV
Roe B41D

In 1956 West Riding turned to the AEC Reliance for its limited bus saloon requirements, taking twelve with Roe B44F bodies characterised by a ‘droopy’ lower line to the windscreen. www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/
The Reliance then became the choice for the coach fleet with Roe C41C bodies, and in 1961 twelve of the 2MU3RV chassis type arrived carrying Roe B41D bodywork of which THL 921, fleet number 921 is an example. No more Reliances were purchased before West Riding sold out to the National Bus Company in 1967. This picture was taken in April 1970 before the corporate dead hand of Freddie Wood fell in 1972, after which the poppy red livery was inflicted upon West Riding.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


18/05/20 – 06:38

A stylish yet functional design enhanced by a smart livery. More attractive than the standard (Alexander in the cases of PMT and Trent) BET version of the time.

Ian Wild


17/06/20 – 07:19

These dual bodied Roe bodied Reliance saloons felt very solid indeed. They lasted until 1973 when they were ousted by new Leyland Nationals. None of the batch was repainted into National Bus Company red, and these along with the elderly Guy ArabIV of 1957 vintage stood out from the mainly repainted fleet by early 1973. They were probably the last traditional green single deckers in service.

MarkyB


18/06/20 – 06:45

I was recounting, only last week, to a friend retired from the industry that C H Roe were among the coachbuilding greats and, against a general trend and tide, retained a composite structure which produced high quality bodies of a generally attractive appearance; robust, well built and well finished. These, and the traditional deckers, were among the best bodies available (in every sense). Following in Crossley’s footsteps, the introduction of PRV frames (particular on the Atlantean and similar bodies on various front engined chassis) brought the nadir of Roe bodywork. They were ugly in the extreme and time revealed them also to be rot boxes. They did solve these problems – but not in the OBP era.

David Oldfield


 

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West Riding – Bristol Lodekka – XNU 428 – 405

West Riding - Bristol Lodekka - XNU 428 - 405

West Riding Automobile
1955
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/25RD

Around 1958, the Chief Engineer of West Riding, Ron Brooke, entered into collaboration with Guy, who then had an impeccable reputation for sound, robust engineering, in the design of a maximum capacity front entrance, low floor double decker, similar in concept to the then very new Leyland Atlantean, but with the engine mounted at the front. The basic ideas (together with the promise of substantial orders) came from Ron Brooke, but Guy then took up the design challenge with ill judged enthusiasm, incorporating a host of advanced features that ultimately contributed to the downfall of the resulting Wulfrunian model :- See this link
The Wulfrunian became the standard double deck purchase for West Riding from 1959 to 1965, by which time the profound deficiencies of the design had rendered it unsaleable to everyone else. When, in 1967, West Riding sold out to the nationalised Transport Holding Company (soon to become the National Bus Company) the new proprietors set about getting rid of the troublesome Wulfrunian fleet. A miscellany of double deckers from other NBC companies began appearing in West Riding green livery (the ex tramway red colour was abandoned, though NBC poppy red was soon to follow) and all the Wulfrunians went between 1968 and 1972, but only after donating their 6LX engines to new incoming Daimler Fleetlines. Seen in Leeds in April 1970 is No.405, XNU 428, ex Midland General 444, one of an entire batch of ten 1955 vintage Bristol LD6G with ECW H33/25RD bodies that passed to West Riding in June 1969. These ex Midland General Lodekkas did not last very long with their new owners, all ten being sold in July 1971, when XNU 428, by then 16 years old, went for scrap.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


31/07/17 – 07:28

Roger,
I think the location is Wakefield Bus Station. Service 61 was Wakefield to Bradford direct. Tong Cemetery would be a short working on that route, probably a late evening journey

John Blackburn


31/07/17 – 16:28

I am sure that you are right, John. I was relying on my unreliable high mileage memory, but I was, myself, a bit doubtful that West Riding would be running from Leeds to Tong Cemetery in Bradford. Thanks for the correction.

Roger Cox


31/07/17 – 16:29

Interesting link Roger about the Wulfrunian- thanks. The flaw in them must really have been the Gardner engine, oddly enough- too big, too heavy. Yes, it looks like the old Wakefield Bus Station with Union St behind. Remarkable that they repainted these buses so thoroughly when they only had two year’s life. That’s not a Wulfrunian behind as you may expect- but presumably a Fleetline? The taller drivers of these Lodekkas always looked so uncomfortable with the angled steering wheel and their legs splayed out on to the high floor. Were they?

Joe


01/08/17 – 07:18

I have driven some Lodekkas in my time, Joe, but, after escaping from Halifax Traffic Office in 1966, I went to Aldershot & District as a driver for some 18 months before returning to the admin side of the bus industry. The Lolines were superb machines, particularly the Mk.IIIs, and the driving position (which was not dissimilar to that of a car) soon felt quite normal. Turning the angled steering wheel in tight corners was easier than reaching across the "traditional" flat wheel of other makes (especially if one had something like a heavy PD3 to deal with). The Lolines were the best buses I have ever driven, and I’ve sampled quite a few types over the years.

Roger Cox


01/08/17 – 07:20

You were correct John regarding the late evening service. On Saturdays the 2150 from Wakefield bus station ran as far a Tong Cemetery returning from there to Wakefield at 22:36. The last through service to Bradford ran at 21:33. I managed to pick up a West Riding Time Table for 1970 somewhere along the rallies I attended so was able to check with that.

Brian Lunn


02/08/17 – 07:12

I could never understand why West Riding persevered with the Wulfrunian for so long after the shortcomings must have been fairly obvious with the first batch. Bury, LUT, West Wales, Accrington and County soon got rid of their examples yet West Riding was still ordering sizeable batches. Did they have some sort of contractual commitment to Guy? The failings must have been wider than the problem of combining a heavy front engine with the entrance as the two Accrington ones had rear entrances and a much reduced front overhang but they still didn’t last long. Wolverhampton 71 was an interesting one as this had a forward entrance and I understand drum brakes and seemed to have a more successful service life.

Philip Halstead


12/08/17 – 07:32

Just a guess, but I think the reason why West Riding kept taking repeat batches of Wulfrunians in fact right up to 1965 when it was pretty obvious from the first batch that the design was flawed was because they had to keep faith with Guy Motors because I was told the West Riding GM who had a massive input in its design & actually got West Riding to build it. I think the West Riding GM was called Ronald Brook and he touted the Wulfrunian design around various manufacturers, AEC being mentioned.
When West Riding decided to cut their losses & rid themselves of the Wulfrunians,the Halifax Lolines, old Bristol LDs, superior ex Bristol O.C FLFs and keeping lowbridge Guy Arab lVs longer plus new Fleetlines saved the day. All was not lost as a lot of valuable Gardner 6LX power units were salvaged & put in new Fleetline chassis.

Andrew Spriggs


 

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

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

West Riding Automobile
1967
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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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 6th July 2020