Old Bus Photos

LUT – Guy Arab IV – 534 RTB – 43

534 RTB

Lancashire United Transport
1961
Guy Arab IV 
MCCW H41/32R

534 RTB is a Guy Arab IV from the Lancashire United fleet, once considered by many to be the biggest of the Independents. Regular contributor to this site Neville Mercer, among others, disagrees. It has a Metropolitan Cammell body, to the H73R layout, and was new in 1961. We see it at Duxford on 29 September 1996.

534 RTB_2

Tis second view being of a close-up of the LUT Crest.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


26/01/17 – 10:30

Among my milder teenage dislikes were tin fronts, Orion bodies and (almost) all-over red liveries, but none of these three features detracts from the magnificence of this vehicle. The matchless reliability of this model and its sound-effects obviously also play a big part in its appeal. Sincere thanks to all that preserve and maintain Guy Arabs!

Ian Thompson


26/01/17 – 14:32

Thanks, Ian. The LUT fleet was something of an oddity in that the indicator layout – in the days I paid any attention to the fleet – was similar to Manchester’s while the livery was more or less in the style of London Transport: red and cream then, when LT went to red and a grey stripe, so did LUT. Finding that this has a MCCW body came as a bit of a surprise, too, because almost all the vehicles I’ve ever seen from their fleet (I know, someone’s going to correct me!) had Northern Counties bodies.

Pete Davies


27/01/17 – 06:27

Pete you are right, the majority of LUT’s Guy Arabs had Northern Counties bodies, both rear and forward entrance. I understand the copy Manchester destination arrangement was the result of a senior manager joining LUT from Manchester sometime in the 1950’s. The same gentleman brought preselect Daimlers into the fleet at the same time. The ‘squared off’ type of font was also used on the destination blinds just the same as Manchester. I always thought LUT was a ‘quality’ operation and although an independent had all the features of a big group company. Many of its routes were lengthy trunk services across what was then South Lancashire. Another operator sadly missed.

Philip Halstead


27/01/17 – 11:27

Thank you, Philip.

Pete Davies


27/01/17 – 11:29

Is this the same vehicle that was parked up in a garden at Greenodd, near Ulverston, Cumbria for quite while in the 1980s?

Larry B


30/01/17 – 07:19

Thanks Pete for posting this photograph.
43 was one of three of this batch allocated to Swinton Depot in the early 70’s (of the batch of ten) I have always thought that LUT gave this body order to MCW as a means of keeping NCME’s prices keen, as LUT were making yearly purchases of Arabs.
They were quite a problem to Guard on the heavier turns due to their total lack of handrails between the seat backs and the ceiling on both decks, when all NCME bodied Guys did have them. Later, when I became a Driver, I found them to be pretty much the same as all the other rear loading Guys, but by then, 43, 44 & 45 were on the part day only list, so were generally to be seen in Trafford Park on work services or peak hour duplicates, as their missing handrails proving unpopular at Swinton. Another of the batch at Atherton, 40 was involved in a pretty bad accident mid sixties and was rebodied by NCME as a front loader.
The unofficial notice in the cab read – dwarfs only! – as being an Arab Mk IV with a Mk V.
Style of body severely reduced head height in the cab!

Mike Norris


30/01/17 – 12:43

Thanks for your comments, Mike. As with any others of my photos on this site, if you’d like him to e-mail you a copy for your own records, our Editor has my permission to do so.

Pete Davies


01/02/17 – 17:03

I remember LUT single deckers running into Radcliffe Bus Station on the 25 service, I think it was. They were mostly Bristol REs with a few Seddons, some had Alexander bodywork with dual doors and all were in the red/grey colour scheme by that time (early 70s).

David Pomfret


02/02/17 – 06:24

As a follow-on the Peter D’s comments, Who vied with LUT as being considered the largest independent bus company at that time?

Chris Hebbron


02/02/17 – 08:23

Chris, I’d have said Barton or West Riding. Please note that Neville discounts West Riding as well, and for the same reasons: not owned by a family local to the area of operations (eg Fishwick) and with most directors based in London. On Neville’s reasoning, it’s Barton.

Pete Davies


02/02/17 – 13:37

I had always heard that Barton was second to LUT, but logically, I would suggest that "independent" had nothing to do with where the owners lived, but whether control was separate from the large groups – e.g. THC, BET. Obviously there was a large element of government control in these groups (and local government in municipal operators), but in today’s scenario I would also exclude the major groups like First, Stagecoach etc. as independents, even though they are free of government control.

Stephen Ford


03/02/17 – 06:12

Hello David,
You are correct about the 25 service to Radcliffe. The 25 and the 13 service to Whitefield were worked by Swinton depots RE,s in the main, both the Plaxton and the Alexander bodied Bristols were always first choice for these routes ( and the 11 and 17 too) their easy steering (in pre power steering made them so) they were just that little bit more nimble on the estate work around Harper Green. I enjoyed these routes as the stretch beyond Ringley was usually quiet and relatively scenic within the bounds of what scenery there was to see in South Lancashire ! Don’t get me wrong, I loved our Seddon RU,s but an RE was the master of these routes.

Mike Norris


03/02/17 – 14:12

Do I read this correctly, Mike? Someone claims to have LOVED the Seddon RU. I knew I shouldn’t have gone to that firm of opticians!!!!! It’s almost like one of the Hamble locals admitting to have watched ‘Howards Way’.

Pete Davies


04/02/17 – 07:15

Hello Pete,
Someone has not been keeping up with LUT and their Seddon RU,s!
Very definitely a great tool for us for on the hardest, longest, busiest one man route the 84. So highly considered that if one became faulty, the union had an understanding with management that if no other RU was available, a maximum of one round trip only was worked before another RU was found. Swinton depots were highly prized if you got one on any other route, great seat, great driving position, strong engine and good brakes.
LUT, were different from most others, with front radiator and full length cardan drive shaft hence their 31 foot six length. If you find a rear view, you will see the body extension. My particular favourite was 339, I would shunt others to gat that one out in the mornings! Yes there is lots in print, especially the Crosville ones, but ours were great.

Mike Norris


04/02/17 – 09:23

Well, as they say, one lives and learns!!! Thanks, Mike.

Pete Davies


05/02/17 – 07:40

Unfamiliar with all the variants on the Orion theme, I don’t know whether this example was significantly lighter than the NCME bodies and therefore chosen to help fuel consumption, as well as for the interesting reason Mike Norris gave: reminding NCME that they weren’t the only fish in the sea!
If the bodies were indeed true lightweights, the buses must have returned nearly 13 mpg.

Ian Thompson


05/02/17 – 09:31

Presumably this bus had the 6LX engine. The 6LW Dennis Lolines of Aldershot & District gave a fleet average of 13.5 mpg, and could turn in almost 16 mpg on the long rural runs, but A&D maintenance was of a very high standard. On the subject of the Orion body and its derivatives, I agree with Ian T – they’re horrible. The straight inward taper of the body sides gave the result a pin headed appearance exacerbated by the deep lower deck/shallow upper deck windows, and the crudity of the front/rear domes. The best examples by far were (again) the Aldershot & District examples which benefited from the lower build and the equal depth of the windows on both decks, and, unlike many (most?) Orions, the interior was equipped to a high standard. Nevertheless, MCW had earned a good reputation over the years for its metal bodywork framing, so presumably the Orion held together reasonably well in service.

Roger Cox


05/02/17 – 12:06

You raise an interesting point, Roger, with your comments. After Alder Valley was formed, from two opposite sides of the fence, one of which always ploughed its own furrow, which of the two management and maintenance regimes dominated?

Chris Hebbron


06/02/17 – 06:43

Chris, when Alder Valley was cobbled together by NBC in 1972, control and ‘management’ was concentrated at Reading. Thus, the worst and scruffiest of the Tilling operators, Thames Valley, subsumed the best of the BET companies, Aldershot & District. Standards didn’t just go downhill, they fell over a cliff. Mercifully, I moved away from Farnborough in 1975, and wasn’t present to witness the continued degeneration in the local public transport scene.

Roger Cox


06/02/17 – 06:44

This was the third and last order for Orion bodies by LUT. In 1955 Cyril Charles Oakham took over as General Manager. Coming from Manchester Corporation where he had been Chief Engineer, he was to make a number of changes, the first of which to order 24 Daimler CVG5s which arrived in 1956 with 61 seat Orion bodies. Obviously Oakham did not share his former boss’s antipathy to the Orion. These appeared in a revised livery of all over red apart from a single cream band above the lower deck windows, as was soon to appear at MCTD, and with the Manchester style number, via and destination box layout. His next change was to order PD3/4s and Daimler CSG6/30s as trolleybus replacements, the former with Orion, the latter with NCME bodies. The last Leyland, 657, was the highest fleet number used by LUT as the system started again at 1 with the first of six Plaxton bodied Reliances. The batch illustrated by the example above gave LUT a rare distinction of operating Orion bodies on chassis from three of the then major manufacturers. In between times, and thereafter, NCME continued to be favoured with orders for bodies and Guy predominated with Daimler later picking up some Fleetline orders which, had the Wulfrunian lived up to its billing, would not have been built. Why did Leyland, Daimler and MCW win the front engined vehicle orders from LUT? The evidence is that initially Oakham wanted a second string supplier for double decker chassis a la Manchester and NCME’s tenders were not always the most competitive.

Phil Blinkhorn


11/02/17 – 06:32

I like Seddon RUs so much I own one…
The LUT Arab at Greenodd was 166 I believe, it was painted as a Laurel and Hardy Museum bus and is stored at St Helens Transport Museum presently.

Paul Turner


 

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Verwood Transport – Guy Arab V – WTE 159D

Verwood Transport - Guy Arab V - WTE 159D

Verwood Transport
1966
Guy Arab V 6LW
Northern Counties H41/32F

WTE159D is a Guy Arab V with Northern Counties H73F body (well, she did start her life with Lancashire United!) in service with Verwood Transport. The indicator display has been altered to suit a more rural operation, and we see her in the yard at Mallard Road during an open day at the Bournemouth Corporation transport depot on 22 May 1983.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


22/09/16 – 07:16

This beauty gives one a good idea of what a front entrance Middlesbrough Arab would have looked like Quite superb in my opinion!

Chris Hough


22/09/16 – 13:21

Thanks, Chris. When Wilts & Dorset took the firm over, they were so impressed that they painted a VR – S suffix so too new for these pages – in Verwood livery. Equally smart.

Pete Davies


22/09/16 – 15:07

U seem to remember that the proprietor of Verwood Transport trained as a driver at Middlesbrough and that’s why he chose the blue livery.

Stephen Allcroft


22/09/16 – 16:42

So, Stephen, a variation on the theme of Managers taking the livery of their former command to their new one – there are several instances in these pages!

Pete Davies


24/09/16 – 07:42

WTE 159D_2

In the early 1980s Verwood was a growing community somewhat neglected by public transport. Hence Andy Wood stepped in to provide services to Poole and Christchurch on different days. As Verwood Transport , he acquired a Leyland PD3 ex Brighton Corporation. This was soon replaced by the Guy Arab shown. Both vehicles and indeed subsequent rear engine vehicles were always worked OMO [as it was known in those days].
The Guy was unique in the area and was much appreciated by passengers and enthusiasts.

Keith Newton


24/09/16 – 07:43

These buses had deep, vertically slatted grilles either side of the destination boxes when they were with LUT. Were they fitted with Cave-Browne-Cave heating equipment when new or were the grilles for some other purpose? Either way, this beautifully presented vehicle has had them removed and replaced with very much smaller, natural air vents.

Chris Barker


24/09/16 – 08:39</EM&GT;< em>

Keith, I wasn’t aware of an ex-Brighton PD3, never having seen it, but I do have a view somewhere in our Editor’s ‘in tray’ of a former BEA Routemaster.

Pete Davies


25/09/16 – 06:17

Unfortunately, due to lack of space following our recent move to a flat, most slides are unavailable at present so I cannot attach an image of the PD3. Likewise the Routemaster which was RMA11.

NMY 648E

This subsequently passed to an operator in Leighton Buzzard who used it in full Verwood Transport livery.

KGJ 612D

After de-regulation, Andy together with Roger Brown [Shaftesbury & District] re-introduced services in the area and I have attached an image of RMA37 in the green livery seen in Christchurch.

KGJ 603D

Finally is an image of the rebuilt and extended Routemaster RME1 which remained in red and is seen in Salisbury.

Keith Newton


26/09/16 – 10:11

What superb liveries are the blue and green examples shown here. I’m having to pinch myself here to make sure that its not April 1st . Joking apart, I have never heard of the RME extended Routemaster – have you any more details please. Even allowing for the Routemaster’s legendary front and rear modules this must have been quite an engineering feat, requiring longer prop shaft and pipelines of varying sorts.

Chris Youhill


27/09/16 – 05:45

Further information about RME1 may be found at the bottom of the page here:- www.countrybus.org/cob2002/cob2002c.htm

And also here:- https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shaftesbury

Roger Cox


27/09/16 – 05:46

Chris the last time I saw RME 1 it was on a wedding special in Halifax for a Keighley operator.

Geoff S


27/09/16 – 11:15

Many thanks indeed Roger – I can’t understand how I’d never heard of this ambitious project, and very neatly and professionally executed I must say. I have to be quite honest, when I saw the picture I did think that it was a "spoof"

Chris Youhill


27/09/16 – 16:38

The centre staircase on RME1 is a one-piece grp unit from an Alexander bodied Ailsa.

Stephen Allcroft


28/09/16 – 06:20

I knew of the extended Routemaster Chris (Y), and think it is a fascinating vehicle, but assumed that the conversion would have been carried out by London Transport rather than Shaftesbury & District. It just goes to show that we should never underestimate the ingenuity of the independent operator. Looking at Keith’s photos of the blue and the green Routemasters made me drift off into two of those ‘what might have been’ moments. The blue RMA gives a hint of what Samuel Ledgard’s later purchases may have included, following on from its successful ex-LT RTs and RTLs. The green RMA’s livery is somewhat reminiscent of Leeds City Transport’s (although the upper deck window surrounds and roof would have been in the darker green of course), and could have been one of a batch bought new for use on the Leeds-Bradford 72 joint service with Bradford City Transport. Just idle thoughts I know but…….

Brendan Smith


28/09/16 – 06:21

I notice in the photo at Roger’s second link, dated 2010, that the vehicle has acquired a twin headlamp front.The even window-widths make for a much neater style than the later halfwindow-width extended RM’s.

Chris Hebbron


02/10/16 – 05:37

Just an update for Chris. RME1 was on a two RM wedding special passing through Shipley this afternoon for Red Bus Days of Keighley.

Geoff S


 

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Southampton Corporation – Guy Arab – LOW 217 – 71

Southampton Corporation - Guy Arab - LOW 217 - 71

Southampton Corporation
1954
Guy Arab III 6LW
Park Royal H30/26R

LOW 217 is a Guy Arab III with Park Royal H56R body, new in 1954. It is still owned by Southampton City Council and we see it turning from Portswood Road – this section being known locally as Portswood Broadway – into (Old) St Denys Road. It is 30 May 2010 and there is a running day to mark the official (but not actual) closure of Portswood Depot. The actual closure was delayed by about three months because the new depot at Empress Road wasn’t ready.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


21/08/16 – 11:09

These buses looked rather old fashioned for 1954. By then rubber window mounts and ‘new-look’ fronts were well established. Perhaps Southampton valued standardisation more than up to the minute styling as these were the last of a very large batch of early post-war Guys.

Philip Halstead


21/08/16 – 16:17

Yes, Philip, I think you’re right. The next batch to arrive was the PD2 with Midland Red front, then the PD2A and Regent V before the Atlantean. Bill Lewis managed to modernise the livery on the Atlanteans to something like the Manchester style, and I’m not sure why he didn’t deal with the older vehicles as well. Perhaps Nigel Frampton can advise!
Bill had other difficulties with his Committee – they were adamant that they would not follow the trend to overall adverts – the best he could achieve for many years was the ‘wrap around’ style and, although other Councils, including our neighbours Bournemouth and Portsmouth had coaches or dual purpose vehicles for private hire work, Bill was not allowed to have them. I have a strong suspicion that the presence of a local coach proprietor on the Committee had more than some influence there! What about a declaration of conflicting interests?

Pete Davies


21/08/16 – 17:08

Arab III/Park Royal might look a bit old fashioned, but elegant at the same time, especially in the standard livery. I think you might agree that neither the PD2 or PD2A could be described as pretty, particularly in the "red look" livery. Wasn’t the livery on the Regent V/East Lancs/Neepsend pretty much the same as the Guys, except for no silver roof? As far as private hire was concerned, I think you are most likely correct & add in a number of rate paying coach operators in the district & there’s no contest!

David Field


22/08/16 – 05:45

Had this Guy Arab for my wedding on September 2011 taking us all from Fareham to Portsmouth and return. Great for me as provincial (my favourite operator) had many of this type. A proper bus, brilliant.

Arthur Syson


22/08/16 – 05:46

Wasn’t the Arab IV well established by 1954?

Chris Barker


22/08/16 – 09:23

I don’t recall Portsmouth Corporation having any vehicles for private hire work, be they coaches or DP type. It was a rigmarole for bus enthusiasts to get one of their buses for private hire outside the Portmsouth area, little more the Portsea Island, plus Leigh Park, a Portsmouth Council housing estate, where dispensation had been given after it was built. However, some arrangement enabled the open-topped TD4’s to go to the Epsom Derby.

Chris Hebbron


22/08/16 – 10:44

Portsmouth Corporation did operate some dual purpose vehicles in it’s final years. These were the three Leyland National 2s, nos 98-100 (CPO98-100W) with DP40F bodies, and a zig-zag red on white livery. These were delivered in 1980. In 1982, the Corporation added three Dennis Lancets (95-97), two were buses (B35F), and one (95, GTP95X) was DP33F. All three were bodied by Wadham Stringer. Finally, the Corporation bought a "proper" coach, secondhand from a dealer. This was a Leyland Leopard / Duple C57F, numbered 101 (AUS644S). Then, in the new era of Portsmouth City Transport "arm’s length" company from October 1986, they added two more second hand coaches. These were also Leyland Leopards with Plaxton C51F bodies, and came from Bournemouth. They were nos 104-105 (FEL 104-105L). Apparently PCT Ltd also hired two Shamrock & Rambler Leopard/Plaxton coaches in the summer of 1987. Several of these came under Southampton ownership when Southampton Citybus took over Portsmouth Citybus in July 1988. However it seems to be a quite complex arrangement as to who owned or borrowed which ones in this era. Then along came Stagecoach, then Harry Blundred, then First Group . . . all change! Sorry, this is a long way from the Guy Arab III in the original image. As a teenager, I often visited Southampton when these were the main components of the fleet, so the image brings back good memories. Also, as was mentioned above, some ended up with Provincial at Gosport and Fareham, joining that company’s very similar buses. Those purchases seemed a perfect fit, as even the destination screen arrangements were virtually identical – just the alignment in the front panel being the clue if you know what to look for.

Michael Hampton


22/08/16 – 14:01

I much preferred the Guy Arabs that Provincial acquired new, which had a less spartan interior finish than the Southampton vehicles, while the 5LW gave a better looking profile, but, of course, Southampton needed the 6LW for the long steep hills while Gosport and Fareham had few hills and nothing of any note.

David Wragg


23/08/16 – 06:08

Sorry Pete, I’m afraid I don’t know the reason why the Atlantean livery was not extended to the front engined types. I suppose one could speculate that it was a form of "OPO" livery, in a similar manner to the Bristol Omnibus Company in the few years just prior to the introduction of NBC standard liveries in 1972 – but it would be purely speculation.
I would also add that there was something of a tradition of specific classes of buses retaining different liveries in SCT. One commentator referred to the silver roofs of the Guy Arabs (double and single deck), the Park Royal bodied Leyland Titans and AEC Regent Vs, and the Nimbuses. As far as I know that feature was included at repaint. Then there were the Swifts and Seddon RUs – Swift number 1 always had a different layout of colours (and, I think, a different shade of cream). I also think that the Seddons had another, richer shade of cream.
It would not, of course, comply with modern thinking on corporate images, but I don’t ever recall thinking that the services were operated by anything other than one single operator! On the other hand, one could argue that the various livery layouts had been adapted to suit the respective vehicles. Now that’s something that today’s livery designers could learn!

Nigel Frampton


23/08/16 – 06:13

Well, thank you so much, Michael H, for clarifying the situation on Portsmouth Corporation’s DP buses and coaches. I left Portsmouth in 1976 and was not able to watch the twists and turns of Portsmouth Corporation in its later years and its death throes. I’ve looked on the web and can find no photos of any of the vehicles you mention.

Chris Hebbron


23/08/16 – 06:13

You didn’t mean it this way, David W, but your comment that "Fareham had ‘nothing of any note’ reminds me of an old tourist guide I read many years ago which described Fareham as being "devoid of interest"!

Chris Hebbron


23/08/16 – 06:13

Between 1949 and 1952 (when aged 7 to 10 years) I lived at Alverstoke, where the standard type allocated to the Gosport – Haslar route 11 was the 5LW Guy Arab III with Guy built bodywork on Park Royal frames. In appearance, they were essentially identical to the 6LW Southampton examples, which, to the delight of a visiting small boy, seemed to be operated in huge numbers in that city. Several of these would subsequently become part of the Provincial fleet. Much later, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, I would travel to the city for Institute of Transport meetings at Southampton University, and contrived to catch a Guy for the local part of the journey whenever possible. The Arab III/Park Royal combination is my favourite bus of all time, and I believe that its standard of ride, dependability and operating economics have never been equalled. Geoffrey Hilditch stated that a Guy Arab fleet could regularly offer a 98% standard of reliability, a figure that included engineering spares and buses on overhaul. Nothing else surely could match that. The 1951 Arab IV evolved from the 1950 specification issued by Birmingham City for their new Guys, and, in addition to the repositioned front bulkhead to eliminate the radiator ‘snout’, the updated chassis included features better to meet the requirements for 8ft wide bodywork. The Arab III was offered alongside the Arab IV until late in 1953, and Southampton’s Nos.67-73 batch must have been among the very last deliveries of the type. A picture of No.71 in service may be found on the OBP Southampton gallery. In 1961 Southampton plummeted from the sublime to the ridiculous with its PD2s, the execrable appearance of which led the Corporation to abandon Park Royal after a loyalty of some 33 years.

Roger Cox


23/08/16 – 06:16

Living in Southampton in the post war Guy Arab era, I have to declare a fond predilection for these vehicles.
Although the 64-73 batch were Mk III Arabs, they did have a different exhaust system layout to the earlier vehicles. This batch had a larger diameter system with the pipe located behind the offside wheels; all the other Arabs in the fleet had a smaller diameter system with the exhaust outlet in front of the offside wheels. In 1961, Mr Jenkins, the deputy GM always attributed their superior performance on the road to this difference.
This batch certainly had more oomph! than their predecessors and coped effortlessly on the hillier routes 4 and 6. Of the ten I always thought No 68 (LOW 214) was the pick of a very good bunch.

Peter Elliott


23/08/16 – 06:44

pando

Slightly off subject, but I was told a story that the original So’ton livery was blue/white as per the Regent V BOW 507C in the photo (but without the P&O sponsorship!). This was changed to red/cream when So’ton gained a Labour council sometime between the wars, and there was no way they were going to have blue buses. Can anyone confirm this?

pando_2

Also the first batch of Regent V’s might well qualify in the Ugly Bus page see photo of 318 AOW attached.
I think the Arab’s that went to Provincial were mainly from the earlier batches, which indeed had things like exposed bulbs for the interior lights, & a sliding window between the lower saloon and the cab, which allowed the conductor and driver to chat . Did you know that the good old "Jelly Mould" interior lights fitted to later models is still in production today . Sorry about the poor picture quality. The photos were taken at So’ton Centenary in 1979.

David Field


23/08/16 – 10:17

David F, I can’t comment on the reason for changing from blue to red livery, but the blue is certainly the pre-war livery. The Regent painted thus for the Centenary is one of the views in our editor’s file for consideration, along with a note on the reason for the P&O adverts.
Roger, you describe the Park Royal bodies on the PD2 as ‘excrable’. I’m sorry, but I didn’t think they were as pretty as that!

Pete Davies


23/08/16 – 14:01

shampton

Here’s a coloured photo of an early 1930’s Thornycorft Daring in Southampton Blue with blue roof. At some period, the blue roof was dropped.
The corporation favoured this local bus builder for a period and, guess what, they had Park Royal bodies!

Chris Hebbron


24/08/16 – 05:54

Sorry, Chris. Didn’t mean to offend Fareham. I was really writing about the lack of steep hills. My favourite Guy Arabs were the Southdown Mk.IVs of around 1956, with Park Royal bodies.

David Wragg


24/08/16 – 05:56

If your story is true, Davis F, it just shows how petty politicians can be. I recall that, when Big Ben was thoroughly renovated some years ago, it was found the the clock faces were originally blue and it was suggested that, in the interest of historical accuracy, the faces regain their original colour. Labour objected vehemently and it was not to be. How childish!

Chris Hebbron


24/08/16 – 05:57

Taking up the point made by Peter E about the livelier performance of the later Guy Arabs, Gardner introduced the ‘K’ type LW range of engines in 1950, which, for the 6LW, raised the output from 102 to 112 bhp. That should have made a difference, but I would have expected all the Arabs from No.184 onwards to have exhibited this improved performance. Perhaps that revised exhaust system did provide a magic ingredient.

Roger Cox


24/08/16 – 10:17

It’s all right, David W; I was amused, not upset!

Chris Hebbron


25/08/16 – 15:25

Chris Hebbron writes of difficulties in finding photos of Portsmouth Corporation’s coaches and duple purpose vehicles.

Try and locate the following books:-
Portsmouth Citybus and its Predecessors PSV Circle 1997.
Fares Please Eric Watts 1987 Milestone Publications.
Portsmouth Corporation Transport Bob Rowe 2012 Venture Publications.

Andy Hemming


26/08/16 – 05:07

Had I lived in Southampton at the time, I should have been mortified to see the trams replaced by mere buses, but SCT couldn’t have chosen a worthier vehicle for replacement. I’ve read the postings with particular interest. I agree with both Roger Cox and David Wragg that both the Southampton Arab IIIs and the Southdown Arab IVs were very handsome vehicles.
Bearing in mind the wonderful reliability of the IIIs, can anyone shed light on SCT’s odd decision to move away from Guys? The Arab IV would have been the ideal vehicle for the next order after the III finally went out of production.
What a pity none of the Thornycrofts ever turned up languishing in a barn somewhere. Few enough single-deck Thornycrofts survive, let alone a decker.

Ian Thompson


26/08/16 – 05:08

Thank you Andy for reference to the publications with images of the Portsmouth vehicles I mentioned. There is also a model of the Leyland National 2 in the stripey livery available, their ref 14702. An internet search for this will bring up an image of this, and it is a good representation of the actual thing.

Michael Hampton


26/08/16 – 14:12

To answer Ian’s question, I seem to recall that in the 1959/60 period Guy virtually withdrew the Arab from the market as it was putting all its thrust on the Wulfrunian. I know committed Arab user Lancashire United bought Leyland PD3’s and Daimler CSG’s in this period and perhaps Southampton moved to Leyland for the same reason. The Wulfrunian as we now all know did not quite work out (I am being diplomatic – more like an unmitigated disaster) and Guy went back to offering the Arab around 1962. By that time Guy were in financial difficulties which may have deterred further sales.

Philip Halstead


28/08/16 – 06:29

Sorry, Chris H, but that Big Ben clock face story is an urban myth. It is thought that Pugin’s original colour was green for the dials with royal blue for numbers and hands, but research continues. The Southampton livery changed from blue/white to red/cream after WW2 when the entire tram and bus fleet was in a parlous state at the end of hostilities. The official reason for the livery change was the alleged instability of the blue paint – it was a piece of received wisdom in the bus industry that blue was a “difficult” colour, though a number of operators successfully serving the country north of Watford clearly took a different view. Southampton’s choice of the Daring chassis in the 1930s arose from a natural desire to support local industry. The Thornycroft shipyard was at Woolston, having relocated from Chiswick in 1904, but all the road going vehicles were manufactured at Basingstoke where the company had opened a purpose built factory in 1898. Southampton did take some open top double deck and some single deck examples of the J type in 1919-1921 , but then favoured AEC, Leyland and Guy. The most successful Thornycroft passenger model from the later 1920s was the BC Forward which could also be supplied as a double decker. Southampton took four double deck examples of the two axle BC and became the only significant customer for the HC six wheeler, though these designs were outdated in comparison with the three AEC Regents bought by the Corporation at about the same time. The first Thornycroft passenger model of recognisably modern concept was the XC double decker of 1931, five of which were supplied to Eastern National, though two demonstrators were also made. From this was derived the single deck Cygnet and double deck Daring, distinguished by a new style of radiator shell with a central dividing strip. Southampton took four Daring DD chassis with Park Royal H28/26R bodies in 1933, and these were powered by the 7.76 litre AC6 ohv petrol engine. In the following year another Daring arrived in the fleet, making a total of just five, but this had the first production example of Thornycroft’s 7.88 litre DC6 diesel engine, an indirect injection design yielding 98 bhp at 2100 rpm. A Park Royal H26/24R body was fitted, the different seating from the earlier Darings possibly arising from a repositioned bulkhead to accommodate the diesel engine. (The 6LW powered Darings of SHMD had similar modest seating capacities.) Peter Gould’s list shows this bus as having the AC6 petrol engine, and it may well have been initially so fitted, but the bus ran in service with the diesel. The success of this unit may be gauged by the fact that Southampton’s next bus orders went to Guy and Gardner. All Southampton’s five Darings were subsequently re-engined with 5LWs. OBP has an post on these buses (Southampton Corporation – Thornycroft Daring – OW 3434 – 9), and the picture submitted above by Chris H is a “hand coloured” version of a pre delivery photo of the same bus:- www.bobmockford.co.uk/museum/  
Meanwhile, in the trying trading conditions of the mid 1930s – serious losses were incurred between 1932 and 1936 – differences in opinion arose at the Thornycroft board level. Tom Thornycroft, an advocate of the company’s involvement in the bus and coach market, resigned from the firm. The limited sales of Darings and Cygnets convinced the board that there was no future for the company in the passenger chassis market, and the company withdrew all bespoke bus/coach models from 1936. In post war Southampton, the change in supplier from Guy to Leyland and AEC followed the retirement of Manager Percival Baker in 1954. As so often occurred elsewhere in municipal bus management, his successor clearly took a different view on bus procurement matters. The next double deck orders were not placed until 1960/61, by which time Guy was again offering the Arab. (The above information on Thornycroft bus chassis has been derived from several sources, but particularly from Alan Townsin’s book on the manufacturer.)

Roger Cox


31/08/16 – 06:43

David Field’s comments about the interior lights on Provincial’s ex SCT Arabs is interesting. My memory of the post war Arabs in the Southampton fleet is that they had glass covers / shades on all interior cabin lights and that the only pre 1950 Arabs with a sliding window behind the driver’s were those vehicles used for driving training (Fleet nos 114, 129 and 150 ) none of which were sold to Provincial.

Peter Elliott


31/08/16 – 06:43

With regard to the Darings, Nottingham purchased 4 second hand from Southampton in 1947, but according to a book I possess (including a corroborating photograph) these were Southampton 6, 60, 61 and 61 (OW9932 and AOW263-5) supposedly supplied originally in 1936 and 1937 respectively. (Unfortunately I am not at home at the moment, so I cannot say which of the 4 appears in the photo). They were bought to cover post-war shortages, but apparently found little favour, and were withdrawn within a year – largely, no doubt, because they were non-standard.

Stephen Ford


31/08/16 – 09:23

Yes, you’re right, Stephen, and so is Chris H. I completely overlooked the four later deliveries. Southampton took those Darings after trying the early Guy Arab, which itself virtually disappeared from the market after 1936. Perhaps Thornycroft, having lost interest in the heavy psv market, was particularly tardy in completing the order, for those Darings – no.6 was delivered in 1936 and nos.60/1/2 a year later – were the very last of their kind. The model was officially withdrawn in 1936, though a few more single deck Cygnets were made for export. Southampton seems to have been reviewing its double deck needs at that time, as, mixed up amongst the Thornycrofts and Guys was a single Leyland TD4, surely a more advanced vehicle than the Wolverhampton and Basingstoke offerings at that time. This fact must have finally registered because the TD4 and then the TD5 became the standard Southampton double decker until the advent of the wartime Arabs.

Roger Cox


31/08/16 – 16:08

Living in Burgess Road in the 1950’s, most of the Arabs I travelled in were on the relatively easy 15 & 15A routes, so I wonder if these were actually Arab II in their last lives. This would explain things like the exposed bulb interior lights (set in a conical mount as I recall). I can also recall how dim these lights were when the buses were stopped at Swaythling, with engines either idling or possibly even stopped. When it was time to move off, the interior became a veritable blaze of light as the generator kicked in. I don’t think batteries were high on the Council’s spending priorities! There was no need to go to Southsea funfair for a roller coaster ride, all you had to do was get on an Arab LUF single decker that was running late and go down Lances Hill…far scarier than the roller coaster & cheaper too.

David field


01/09/16 – 06:37

Incidentally, Southampton Corp’n were so enamoured with Thornycroft vehicles, the Borough Engineer’s Dep’t, bought dustcarts with Daring-type rads – see http://tinyurl.com/hb6h68a  
And, as another aside, I saw a Dennis ‘dustcart’ yesterday, an Elite6 model. I’d assumed that Dennis had given up making all but Alex-Dennis buses. Seems not.

Chris Hebbron


01/09/16 – 06:38

David, in MacFarlane-Watt’s book, he lists the Arab II members of the fleet, in the DTR series, and says they were delivered in 1944 to 1946. Most were 5LW but DTR907 onwards were 6LW. The first of the Arab III 6LW fleet is reported as being FCR194, delivered in 1948.

Pete Davies


01/09/16 – 10:08

One of my earliest posts was an ex – Southampton Thornycroft Daring in service in London in 1949.  Here is the link  
The last SHMD Daring survived with them until 1959! So those few buyers had their moneysworth out of them.It is a shame that none survived.
Thx, Andy H, for the headsup on books with photos of coach/dual-purpose Pompey vehicles.

Chris Hebbron


01/09/16 – 10:09

Chris, the Dennis Eagle dustcart business in Warwick is an entirely separate manufacturing concern from ADL in Guildford. When Dennis fell into the clutches of Mayflower, that ill fated outfit rebranded the Guildford business with the juvenile name "TransBus". It sold off the Dennis Eagle municipal vehicle side in 1999, and that, together with the "Dennis" name, is now owned by the Spanish firm Ros Roca, which still has a manufacturing base in Warwick. The Guildford factory also made the well known fire appliances until 2007 when the reality of meeting spasmodic and small orders to differing specifications made production uneconomic. The Sabre and Rapier fire engines are regarded as the best machines of their type ever made, but nowadays appliances are built on much cheaper modified standard lorry chassis. Fire engine bodywork is still constructed in Guildford on all makes of chassis by John Dennis Coachbuilders, formed in 1985 by a grandson of one of the family company founders. An interesting point – in the Econic, Mercedes have copied the Dennis dustcart chassis concept whereby the engine is set back to give a low, unobstructed cab. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Dennis Eagle generally supply the dustcart body anyway.

Roger Cox


02/09/16 – 06:43

Thanks for the information Roger. I – and I’m sure many other people – had simply thought that a modern Dennis was a Dennis, whether it be a ‘dustcart’ or a bus. It just shows how the modern vehicle markets have evolved. I suppose it is not dis-similar to Volvo, where the car business was sold to Ford some years ago, yet the Volvo name continued to appear on both the cars and the commercial vehicles. (Following it’s later sale by Ford, Volvo Cars is I believe now owned by a Chinese company). Although it is somewhat sad to learn that Dennis Eagle is now under foreign ownership, at least – as is the case with DAF Trucks in Leyland – production remains in the UK, and continues to provide much-needed jobs in the engineering sector.

Brendan Smith


02/09/16 – 06:43

What a complex world we live in nowadays, Roger, but your clearly explained post makes the position clear. Underneath the huge chromed DENNIS name was a circular chrome disc with a complex pattern not decipherable at a distance. At least one member of the iconic Dennis family is still in business. This story is slightly less complex than that of Dunlop, which can be read in Wikipedia, if anyone has an hour to spare!!

Chris Hebbron


02/09/16 – 06:43

Peter Davies’ reference to A K MacFarlane Watt’s book on Southampton City Transport (1977) both helps and hinders on two recently posted topics.
First, pages 50 and 51 clearly show the interior lighting of the post war Arabs and presumably also extant on the lower decks of 164 and 167 and on both decks of 71.
His fleet listing of the Mk III does contain a major inconsistency; in that the chassis numbers carried by 104,106-108, 111-112 and 114 were a continuation of the Mk II series.The PSV Circle Fleet History (1993) has got this matter ‘spot-on’.
A key difference could be found in the cab layout:- the Mark II’s had the instruments display mounted in a wooden frame attached to the body below the driver’s windscreen; the Mk IIIs had the display mounted below the steering wheel contained in a black bakelite housing.
The comments about dim lights rings a very familiar bell!
When I worked at SCT in the mid 60’s, drivers were instructed never to leave a full ‘set on’ when the engine was off! Most of the time however the 12volt system worked pretty well and considerable attention was paid by the maintenance staff to keep vehicles’ batteries in good order.

Peter Elliott


02/09/16 – 06:44

Thanks for that info, Peter. I can remember the DTR regd Arabs, I’m sure on the 15A route. So these are probably what I’m thinking about. Would I be right in thinking they had fabricated rear & possibly front domes? So would have been utility bodies?

David Field


05/09/16 – 06:22

All bar one of the DTR utilities had been withdrawn by 1952 bar one which was eventually rebuilt into a tree lopper. I cannot recall therefore any detail relating to their bodywork.

Peter Elliott


16/12/16 – 15:09

I can vaguely remember that the colour scheme of the Southampton Corporation buses was changed around about the same time that Southampton was awarded City Status. I remember that the older buses that ran when I was a child had the indicator blinds that read TOWN CENTRE whilst the newer buses had the blinds that read CITY CENTRE. So I think that the colour scheme was changed when Southampton gained city status. My elderly parents both who came from Southampton advised me that back in the 1930s whilst the buses were blue and cream, the trams were red and cream. I do remember being taken on the old number 5 route on a bus that had a silver roof circa 1964. It would have the Blind indicator set for WOOLSTON (floating bridge) via Butts Road

C Phillips


17/12/16 – 13:32

C Phillips (16/12/16 – 15:09) refers to a change of colour scheme around the time Southampton gained city status.
Southampton was granted city status in 1964, but the change from the blue livery to red for the buses took place in 1945. Ashley Macfarlane-Watt’s book confirms Roger’s explanation above, i.e. that the blue livery did not wear well. To be fair, it would have been thoroughly tested in the previous 6 years, but I can also recall an article in "Buses" in the 1970s referring to problems of durability with blue paint, and hence the relative rarity of blue liveries.
The first 12 Leyland PD2s (301-12) were delivered in a red livery with just 2 narrow cream bands, but this did nothing to enhance the overall beauty of the PD2/Park Royal combination, so the livery was changed to include larger areas of cream fairly soon after those buses were delivered. As I understand it, from Mr Macfarlane-Watt’s book and contemporary photos, it was only those first Titans that ever carried that livery, and the subsequent Park Royal-bodied AEC Regent Vs and Leyland PD2As all carried the livery with more cream from new. The main roof panels (excepting the front and rear dome sections) were silver, but some buses ran with all cream roofs for a time. These vehicles retained their silver roofs throughout the rest of their careers with SCT.
When the East Lancs-bodied Regent Vs commenced delivery a year or so later, these carried all cream roofs, and had a deeper cream band below the upper deck windows.
There were, therefore, minor changes to the livery for some vehicles "around" the time that Southampton gained city status, but Mr Phillips’ recollection of a bus with a silver roof in 1964 would almost certainly be correct – at that stage, most of the fleet had them.

Nigel Frampton


18/12/16 – 07:13

Going further back in this thread, Chris Hebbron (22/08/16 – 09:23) says, with respect to private hires outside the Portsmouth city area: "However, some arrangement enabled the open-topped TD4’s to go to the Epsom Derby."
This was probably allowed because the buses were not hired as a means of transport, but as mobile grandstands. Southampton used to hire their open top Arab for the same purpose, but they didn’t carry any passengers to or from the Derby.
I believe some operators did carry passengers on open toppers going to the Derby, but I would think those were for shorter distances. The prospect of 60 or 70 miles at a maximum of 35 m.p.h. on the top deck of an open topper would probably not appeal to most visitors to the Derby!

Nigel Frampton


18/12/16 – 13:26

Your comment about long journeys by bus, Nigel, reminds m of the London Transport RT’s which used to come to Southsea on Summer garage outings up to the early 1970’s. They would park on Southsea Common by Clarence Pier and the families would disgorge for the day. They would invariably display the home garage on the blind display, along with PRIVATE in the main box. I always recall a green one displaying Watford Garage, which, according to a quick look at G Maps, was nigh on 90 miles away, but there were no motorways/dual carriageways then, apart from the Kingston and Milford by-passes and a short straight stretch north of Horndean. A break at Hindhead and something like 40mph max would have taken about 4 hours. I’m assuming that crates of beer, with concomitant extra stops, were not in the equation!

Chris Hebbron


LOW 217 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


21/12/16 – 06:23

I am interested to find out what year Southampton Corporation did away with the rear destination blinds on their rear platform buses. When I lived in Southampton back in the 60’s, all of the buses as I recall had a destination blinds at the front and at the rear along with the route number. I recall on a trip back to Southampton finding that all of the buses had had their rear indicator blind windows painted over and only the route number was being shown.

C. Phillips


 

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