Old Bus Photos

Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – HOU 905/909 – 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District - Dennis Lancet III - HOU 905/909 - 179/183

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1950
Dennis Lancet III J10
Strachans B38R

A rather sad set of pictures taken in 1967. Parked at the rear of the Aldershot & District premises in Halimote Road, Aldershot is a line up of Dennis Lancet III buses with Strachans B38R bodywork, headed by HOU 905/909, Nos 179/183, all awaiting disposal after a valued service life of seventeen years. The interior shot was taken within No. 183. There were twelve in this final batch of Lancets, HOU 899/901-911, Nos. 173/175-185, all delivered between October 1950 and January 1951, which were of the 8ft by 30ft J10 model (fleet No. 174 was the solitary A&D Dennis Dominant). They were powered by the advanced 7.58 litre six cylinder 100 bhp Dennis O6 diesel with four valves per cylinder which drove through the ‘O’ Type gearbox, a four speed sliding mesh unit with a preselective fifth gear designed on Maybach principles. The gear lever operated the ‘wrong way’ – upwards from right to left – which allowed for the throw of the gear lever required to engage fifth. Three of the batch were withdrawn in 1965 with the final nine going in 1967, by which time the AEC Reliance had already become firmly established as the A&D standard saloon chassis for thirteen years. Though I was working at Aldershot at that time, I regretfully didn’t get the opportunity to drive one of these, which seemed to see out their final days at Woking depot. The bus on the right of the Lancets is Loline I No. 353, SOU 461 of 1958. On the left is relaxed utility metal framed Weymann bodied Guy Arab II EOR 374 of 1945, originally No 884 of L22/26R configuration, withdrawn from service in 1958 and converted into a tree lopper. HOU 909 was sold for scrap, but the subsequent fate of HOU 905 is not known. Lancet HOU 904, No. 178, has been preserved.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/01/21 – 07:43

There is a full description of the Dennis ‘O’ type gearbox at – https://dennissociety.org.uk/nl/ogearbox.html

Peter Williamson


 

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Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet – LAA 228 – 193

LAA 228

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1953
Dennis Lancet III J10C
Strachan FC38R

In 1948, Aldershot & District took delivery of fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies. These replaced the externally very similar Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38, the main difference being the longer bonnet of the Lancet III which housed the 7.58 litre O6 in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war model. These post war machines were very fine coaches giving a high standard of refinement. The 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running diesel engine of all time, and, coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it was capable of excellent performance on the road. However, by the early 1950s, the traditional half cab, heavy duty, front engined coach was regarded as passé in major fleets, having been supplanted by the fashionably new underfloor engined machine. Even small independents had begun taking the superficially more modern Bedford SB. In 1950, Aldershot & District bought one of the only two Dennis Dominants ever completed (a third was constructed in chassis form only and subsequently dismantled), but had been obliged to look elsewhere for an underfloor engined chassis when Dennis decided not to produce that model in quantity. In 1953, wishing to upgrade its image, but still undecided about the underfloor configuration, Aldershot & District tried out a number of underfloor engined machines from a variety of manufacturers – Guy (Arab LUF), Atkinson (PM 744 & 745), Leyland (Tiger Cub) and Dennis (Lancet UF). Surprisingly, in view of later developments, AEC was not represented in these trials. The story of the Aldershot and District demonstrators may be found at this link.
Instead the company sought to update the coach fleet with 15 full fronted examples of the 30 feet long and 8 feet wide J10C Lancet, with Strachan FC38R bodywork, Nos.188-202, LAA 223-237. These were attractive coaches of traditional appearance, though the effect was spoiled slightly by the cheap looking wire mesh grille, the apparent frailty of which seemed to to be endorsed by the dents that it soon acquired in service. Like all Lancets, these coaches were excellent, smooth running, reliable machines, though the drivers’ cabs reputedly became unpleasantly hot, particularly so in the summer months. Aware that these coaches presented an outdated image in a world increasingly dominated by modern, underfloor engined vehicles, Aldershot & District succumbed in 1954 to the lure of the AEC Reliance, purchasing twenty-five examples of the MU3RV model with the 6.75 litre AH410 engine. Angular Strachans Everest C41C bodies were fitted with a high floor level and corresponding waistline. The arrival of the Reliances resulted in the relegation of the full fronted Lancets from regular express work to other duties, and they were all withdrawn in 1963 after a relatively short life of ten years. In the photograph, taken at Victoria in 1960, No.193, LAA 228, its windscreen significantly open wide, is laying over in the company of one of the Strachans bodied Reliances. Behind is LCD 857, one of Southdown’s Beadle rebuilds with FC35C bodywork, 30ft long and 8ft wide on 7ft 6ins chassis sections. This coach was constructed using the units of pre war Leyland Tiger TS8 EUF 96, and retained the 8.6 litre oil engine. Like the full fronted Aldershot & District Lancets, this vehicle (and its fellows) was sold in 1963.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


04/11/19 – 06:15

How surprising in 1953 for such buses/coaches to be delivered to a "substantial" company? Times had already moved on e.g. Ribble with its Leyland/Leyland coaches in 1951 and Tilling with the LS/ECW "beauties" in 1952. A nice story Roger, thank you.

Stuart Emmett


05/11/19 – 06:12

SOU 446

This picture, taken in 1961 in The Grove alongside Aldershot Bus Station – now long gone, the current bus station is a pitiful apology of a facility – shows the Winchester outstation based 1958 Dennis Loline I 338, SOU 446, with East Lancashire H37/31RD body, passing a pair of the fine 1948 Lancet III coaches with Strachans C32R bodies; these were displaced by the 1953 full fronted machines from express duties to private hire and excursion work. 984 GAA 620 and its fellow fourteen coaches were all withdrawn in the year of the photograph, 1961; the Loline survived in A&D service for a further ten years.

Roger Cox


08/11/19 – 10:27

Full-fronted Lancet J10C has thankfully been in preservation for some years. There remains work to be done before we see its welcome appearance at rallies. Thanks, Roger, for the mid-’50s demonstrators link: before reading Eric Nixon’s piece I had no idea how many types had been assessed. The Atkinson is my biggest surprise! But I still can’t help wishing that, like East Kent, they had gone for underfloor Lancets.

Ian Thompson


11/11/19 – 07:09

I think the half cab Lancet III in Roger’s second photo looks much better than this last fling from 1953. Obviously an additional window bay has been inserted to achieve the extra length but it causes the body to droop excessively towards the rear giving a strangely unbalanced look. The side flash doesn’t help either!

Chris Barker


 

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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 Friday 15th January 2021