Old Bus Photos

Hebble – AEC Regent V – GJX 847 – 303 – (2)

Hebble - AEC Regent V - GJX 847 - 303

Hebble Motor Services
1957
AEC Regent V D3RV
Weymann H33/28R

Due to a height restriction at their garage in Walnut Street, Halifax, Hebble had always purchased lowbridge double deckers, and their first two Regent V’s (75/76, GCP 4/5) of 1956 carried lowbridge Weymann Orion bodies. However, by early 1957 the northern end of the garage had been modified to accept conventional highbridge buses and so the next double deck deliveries were the first of this layout.
As with the previous pair they were AEC Regent V’s of the D3RV variety, with the A218 9.6-litre engine from the Mk. III and vacuum brakes, but with Weymann Orion H33/28R bodies. On delivery in March 1957 they were the last vehicles to be numbered in the original fleet number series (81-83, GJX 845-847), but by June a new numbering scheme had been introduced and they became 301-303. They were still unable to pass through into the lower section of the garage and after a few incidents it was decided that highbridge vehicles should have their radiator cowls painted in cream, as well as having cream steering wheels as a warning measure. They were half a ton lighter than the two lowbridge Mk. V’s and were consequently very potent performers, producing the most amazing growling sound effects from their straight-through exhaust systems. They also initially had exhaust brakes which added an impressive cacophony of clicking, hissing and booming sounds whenever the brakes were applied, and I’m sure that many Hebble drivers drove them to exploit these effects to the maximum – I know I would have done !
I believe that at first 301 and 302 were initially allocated to Bradford Park Lane garage to operate Hebble’s share of the 64 Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield, as I saw them only occasionally in their early days passing our house at Stump Cross, Halifax, but 303 was based at Halifax and quickly became a regular sight on the 7/17 services to Bradford, and was a favourite for operating the very fast-timed Saturdays-only 29 ‘Wibsey Flyer’ to Bradford via Wibsey. After these Hebble switched to forward entrance Mk. V’s and the cream front cowls continued to be applied for a while, but by 1960 they had reverted to red. Originally in red with a single cream band above the lower deck windows, they later had the cream extended around those windows, then following the delivery of their first and only new Fleetline in 1966 cream was also applied around the upper deck windows too, as shown in the photo above. The fleetnames were originally of the block capital style with the middle letters undelined, but later an italic style was adopted.
301 was withdrawn in April 1970, but 302/303 survived a little longer to be renumbered into a Yorkshire Woollen-based series as 600/601, 600 being withdrawn in December 1970, but 601 lasting until the end of Hebble’s stage service operation in March 1971. All passed to the dealer W. North of Sherburn-in-Elmet, but by this time Hebble’s maintenance standards had sunk to an all time low and they found no further buyers other than the scrap man. A sad end to some most impressive buses.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


09/06/16 – 16:58

I’ve just realised I made an error in the copy. 81-83 were not numbered in the original series, which had commenced at 1 in 1924 and reached 190 by 1947, whereupon a second series reverted to 1 again and reached 83 with these Mk. V’s. (Eight second hand Tiger TS7’s and TS8’s from Yorkshire Woollen District were tagged onto the original series as 191-198, presumably as they were not intended to stay long).

John Stringer


09/06/16 – 19:09

Hebble was a bit of an anomaly in that although a BET operation it was much smaller than the municipal operators with which it co-existed. Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds were all much larger and shall we say more prestigious operations than Hebble. Probably not surprising that in the end it was swallowed up by Halifax although some of the coaching operations went to Yorkshire Woolen if I remember rightly.

Philip Halstead


10/06/16 – 05:39

I have long wondered why the National Bus Company subsequently allowed the engineering standards at Hebble to degenerate to a point where the vehicles were operating in a state that bordered on, or in some cases, actually attained, the dangerously illegal. GGH refers to some truly hair raising (though, sadly, not for me, nowadays) examples of Hebble maintenance, or the lack of it, that emerged on HPTD taking over the company in 1971. From 1968, NBC inherited the nationalised element of the Halifax Joint Omnibus Committee, plus the entire Transport Holding Company and BET interests in Hebble. Why then did it wait three years during which time Hebble suffered inexcusable neglect before offering the business to Halifax? Were there some political sensitivities to smooth over, such as the possible wounds to civic pride in Leeds and Bradford, that might have arisen with the arrival of Halifax operations in those cities? I am sure that John’s remarkable understanding of the wider scene will furnish some answers.

Roger Cox


12/06/16 – 06:51

Before the takeover by Halifax in 1971, some Hebble routes based on Bradford had been transferred to West Yorkshire Road Car (WYRCC), including the Bradford – Huddersfield service 64.
In 1972, Calderdale JOC (the undertaking formed by the merger of Halifax and Todmorden JOCs) transferred one bus working on the former Hebble Bradford – Brighouse route to WYRCC. At the same time, to replace the loss-making ex-Hebble Halifax – Bingley service, WYRCC reorganised its own services in the area. These changes were partly a response to NBC’s claim that Halifax had taken over so much of Hebble. The JOC’s report had even envisaged the possibility of WYRCC participating in the former Hebble Halifax – Leeds service, but this did not happen.

Geoff Kerr


12/06/16 – 06:52

In terms of injured pride in Leeds and Bradford. Bradford used to have joint services with Hebble while the services to Leeds had limited pick up and set down rules. When Calderdale took over the rules continued so there was no loss of traffic but Leeds.

Chris Hough


12/06/16 – 09:08

If I remember rightly – its a long time ago but maybe mid 1970s – the Leeds – Dudley Hill – Halifax service, formerly 8 but later 508, became operated by Leeds’ Bramley depot. So parochial had LCT’s western operations been up to then (apart from the 72 joint with Bradford CT) that those venturing to Halifax were looked on with the reverence usually reserved for spacemen and the like!! Chris H may have more accurate information??

Chris Youhill


12/06/16 – 16:56

Roger, I’m afraid my ‘understanding of the wider scene’ does not extend quite as far as you may imagine ! Call me shallow and a bit of a philistine but I have never found the inclination to be that interested in the political machinations that take place both within the industry and between it and national and local government. I tend to be more grounded in the ‘what actually happens on a day-to-day basis’ and ‘how it happens’, than the ‘what ought to happen’ and ‘why it happened’. It’s probably for that reason that it was fortunate that I never progressed into a management career, as I would most likely have become quickly disillusioned and depressed ! Therefore I cannot really offer much in the way of an explanation as to why the NBC took so long to part with Hebble.
Through most of its existence Hebble had directors who were also on the board of Yorkshire Woollen, and the two worked closely together – particularly with regard to coaching, and occasionally lending one another staff. In the last year or two of Hebble’s existence the NBC brought them closer together, the vehicles adopting YWD’s red livery and the vehicles being renumbered in a 5xx/6xx series within the YWD numbering scheme. There was a certain exchange of services, with Hebble’s share of the 64 Bradford-Huddersfield passing to West Yorkshire, and I imagine that all this was seen as the precursor to an eventual absorption of Hebble into YWD, in the same way as Mexborough & Swinton was absorbed by Yorkshire Traction, and Stratford Blue by Midland Red. However YWD themselves were seriously struggling in the late 1960’s with vehicle maintenance and the ability to operate a full service and so they had more pressing matters to concentrate on.
The BET group had always retained those smaller companies mentioned, apparently to provide a means of allowing up and coming trainee managers to hone their skills with a smaller unit before progressing to greater things. Hebble was ideal for this purpose as it operated local stage, express, excursion and tour services, and several well known (in their day) managers of larger BET/NBC companies had at some point done their stint with Hebble. I always felt sorry for Hebble’s last manager – David Dickinson – who suddenly found himself dumped at Halifax with the unenviable, nay impossible task of managing a company that must have seemed to be gasping its last breath before drowning in a quagmire.
There had been occasional talk in the local press since the late 1960’s of the possibility of a takeover by Halifax JOC of Hebble services, mostly put about by Halifax GM Geoffrey Hilditch himself. Some of his newer buses even had ‘Bradford’,’Wakefield’ and other destination included on their blinds, but I suspect that other parties to a possible deal may have regarded Hilditch as a bit of a ‘cocky and ambitious upstart’ and did not want to see him getting his own way and ruling the roost. I may be wrong about that, but I did work under him and know what he was like.
Regarding Chris Y’s comments about the 508 Halifax-Dudley Hill-Leeds (let’s quote it the right way round, Chris !). Leeds’ Bramley Depot came onto the route when it was extended across Leeds City Centre from King Street to the Central Bus Station. They provided two buses, with Calderdale (Halifax) providing the other three. Bramley drivers quickly developed an appalling reputation for running early, especially in the evenings, and having a generally bad attitude. I worked permanent late duties on the 508 for a few years during this period and regularly observed them passing in the opposite direction up to 20 minutes early on many occasions, and probably hundreds of people were left behind over the years – most never having even seen the bus go by and having just assumed it had been cancelled.
When it was decided (rather foolishly, as it turned out) to extend the 508 beyond Halifax westwards out to Rishworth, for the unadventurous Bramley drivers it was the last straw and they would have none of it, so Calderdale drivers got the whole service back to themselves again. The Rishworth extension was not a success and it was soon cut back to its original form, but Leeds were never invited back on again and to this day, though now operating into Leeds via Farsley and Kirkstall, it is still 100% First Halifax worked.

John Stringer


13/06/16 – 05:56

John, You didn’t miss out much by forgoing a management ‘career’. Much of mine was spent with LCBS, its forebears- not too bad generally, but its successors became an entirely different story. With the fracturing of the established companies in preparation for privatisation, things became very nasty at times as certain people used every stratagem available to secure their futures under the new order. I was glad to get out of Kentish Bus at the end of 1987, and resolved never again to seek a bus industry management post in the cut-throat private ownership environment.
Back to Halifax. Yes, I too can well appreciate the existence of a level of scepticism at NBC about Geoffrey Hilditch, who never disguised his "Greater Halifax" aspirations. This might have influenced NBC to hang on to the rump of Hebble until its survival became perilous, but the neglect of the company was utterly disgraceful. Independent operators would have had their operating licences revoked if engineering maintenance had declined to the dangerous state that existed with Hebble. Turning to the unreliable Leeds element in the joint operations with Calderdale, this does illustrate a weakness that often arises in supervision standards when two different participants are involved in a route. Did the Calderdale inspectorate not have authority over the Leeds staff on the joint operation?

Roger Cox


13/06/16 – 05:58

Thanks John for a wealth of interesting information about the 8/508 service, and by way of humble excuse I must admit that I was reading my compass wrong way round when I described the terminal points in the order that I did. As regards early running I sadly have to say that in LCT/Leeds Metro District days this crime was by no means confined to Bramley depot – the same was widespread at Seacroft, Middleton, Sovereign Street, Headingley and Torre Road as well. This meant that the conscientious folks were doing all the work while the work shy element had an easy time, and of course the passengers suffered as a result. To a very large extent the satellite tracking system of modern times has virtually eliminated early running and a good thing too.

Chris Youhill


13/06/16 – 10:59

Roger – your last sentence raises a most interesting point regarding joint operation of a service. The old established 72 service from Leeds to Bradford was shared by Leeds City Transport and Bradford City Transport and the inspectors of either could supervise any bus and it worked very well indeed. As an enthusiast I quite often, if on the area, took advantage of this to check superb Bradford buses. The silent recommendation though was that the inspectors of each operator would more or less stay local normally. I recall one occasion when I slipped up badly – I boarded a "Bradford blue" on the Leeds Ring Road at Wortley and on the front seat upstairs was an obnoxious character claiming that he couldn’t find his ticket. I "smelt a rat" and insisted that he did and in turning out each pocket, deliberately slowly, he produced an astonishing array of old rubbish and battered tickets galore – but no valid one. A further rumpus occurred as he finally realised he was going to have to pay again and by the time I’d seen to that – I’d been totally engrossed in the case – I realised to my horror that the bus was at Laisterdike within a mile or so of Bradford. I should add that checking the Bradford tickets was a bit of a nightmare anyway as they were still using low value Ultimate tickets even on such long routes. Now the Leeds Chief Inspector of the times was an unreasonable tyrant and used to forensically examine our checking sheets in the hope of finding something to "nit pick" about, but mercifully my delightful "away day" trip went un-noticed for a change."

Chris Youhill


13/06/16 – 17:14

Halifax inspectors certainly had authority over Leeds drivers within Calderdale, and similarly Leeds inspectors could – and regularly did – check Halifax buses in Leeds. The middle section of the 508 route also passed through a significant sector of Bradford too, but I don’t ever recall their inspectors ever boarding. The problem in the evenings was that there was only one inspector allocated to ticket checking duties, and even then they would always use the flimsiest excuse to seize the opportunity to avoid going out ‘on the road’ if there was a nice little warm office job that could be found. Even then, if they did go out the service had been reduced so much that it was no longer possible to just hop on and off buses at random, and most had a set sequence of bus journeys and connections worked out that was the same every day. Consequently all the drivers knew what trips they would board, and more importantly which they wouldn’t. One particular inspector had his checking sheet written up in advance and would spend a considerable time in the late afternoon going through the sheets to ascertain which drivers would be on which trips. Then over teatime he would sidle into the staff canteen and seek out these various drivers, sit down alongside them and start up a friendly conversation. Then he would quietly ask them to verify they were on a particular trip on his sheet, then slip it beside their their dinner plate, point to the appropriate line and say "Just sign there – save me a job". All being well he would gather signatures for every journey, then of course not bother leaving the office all night ! Either that, or he would slope off home for a few hours. We shouldn’t have signed of course, but then they always had ways of getting their own back if you refused.
I have to confess a bit of inexcusable naughtiness on my part. There was one particular inspector who did go out checking and always started out boarding my regular first trip after tea – the 1850 508 Leeds. He would ride to the lower reaches of Northowram where he knew he could then cross the road and catch the inbound 508 back to Stump Cross, then on to a 549 Brighouse and so on. My trip was always lightly loaded out of town, but this chap was a bit of a chatterbox and would stand at the front yacking on about this and that. I would deliberately drag my heels up the road and divert his attention from checking his watch and looking out for the inbound bus. Nine times out of ten I would be able to manipulate matters so that he missed his connection and he would then have to get off and wait ages for the next one – his evening’s entire plan totally fouled up ! Yet he always fell for it.
As far as checking Leeds Bramley drivers running early, Halifax inspectors’ prearranged plan did not include their trips as they didn’t ‘fit’. Though the first time point at Shelf was within Calderdale, the ones at Odsal, Dudley Hill and Stanningley Bottom were in Bradford (where nobody wanted to check) and the one at Bramley Town End was in Leeds. The worst trips for running early were their last two from Halifax at 2220 and 2250, after which they ran to Bramley Depot – in fact the last one terminated at Bramley Town End and ran straight in from there.
During the daytime on the 508 it was laughable the way that once past Stanningley Bottom going towards Leeds, the Leeds drivers upon spotting a 508 catching them up would slow right down to a crawl and then pull in at the next stop, irrespective of whether there was anyone boarding or alighting. They would then remain there until the Halifax driver passed them. If I had to pull in myself to drop off, and stopped behind the Leeds bus, they would still not move off, and if necessary would just pull forward a few feet, then wave me past. They used to do it to one another too, and it was not unusual to see maybe three assorted Leeds buses parked up waiting for each other to move, or just crawling along at 5mph in a convoy – all waiting for a 508 to pass them and clear the road. Halifax drivers were different altogether and couldn’t be bothered with all this dawdling and work avoidance, so we just used to whizz past and get on with it.

John Stringer


14/06/16 – 06:04

What fascinating and slightly worrying information, Chris and John. If timetables were so blatantly disregarded and bunching so common, is it any wonder that many bus users said "enough’s enough" and bought a car? It would be understandable if traffic was the cause of bad timekeeping, but such "Spanish practices" (if I’m allowed to say this phrase nowadays) showed a disdain for the passengers. You and Chris were obviously true busmen, but some of your colleagues did a huge disservice to the industry and certainly helped to perpetuate the downward spiral of bus use.

Paul Haywood


14/06/16 – 06:05

Gosh John, now there really are some revelations there and its safe to say that with the Chief Inspector at Leeds, the tyrant I mentioned – others in the post were fair but stern, the Halifax inspectors would never have got away any of that Luddite activity and forgery. On another point, perhaps the Bradford inspectors were only permitted to board Leeds CT/Metro buses on the two joint services 72 and 78??

Chris Youhill


14/06/16 – 06:05

Sorry to nitpick John but Stanningley Bottom was and is well within the city boundary of Leeds and their inspectors should have been actively checking tickets and time keeping.

Chris Hough


14/06/16 – 11:14

Chris H – you are correct regarding the current Leeds boundary but psychologically Stanningley Bottom was, since tramway days, always considered to be the boundary between Leeds and Bradford.
To be pedantic, the correct name is Stanningley Bottoms. I first heard this used when I travelled from Leeds to Stanningley on a Hebble Regal 3 saloon. Thinking I had boarded the wrong bus, the conductor announced "First stop Stanningley Bottoms!" which, for a ten-year old, I found highly amusing. I hadn’t boarded incorrectly, of course, as I wanted to experience the thrill of riding non-stop all the way up Stanningley Road even though this involved a lengthy walk home.
Those old fare protection arrangements limited the choices for some, but gave a much speedier ride for many others travelling further distances. This advantage is now largely lost as most interurban services stop at every road end and penetrate every sprawling housing estate regardless of potential usage.
Until 1974, of course, Stanningley was effectively split within Leeds, Pudsey and Farsley which must have been a nightmare for village life. The old boundary with Leeds was a few hundred yards east of the Bottoms (which was part of Pudsey).
Local government reorganisation had many faults but at least it unified this community.

Paul Haywood


15/06/16 – 06:12

One point is that blatant early running must have led to very low passenger loadings, and examination of receipts over time would tend to suggest that particular services, or even whole routes, were surplus to requirements.

Stephen Ford


15/06/16 – 18:16

I spent many years in the bus and coach industry, and have to say that an unholy alliance of obstreperous (and militant) drivers, undisciplined supervisory staff (as set out above) and indifferent and incompetent management are largely responsible for the self-destruction of the bus industry. I have heard many times the comment "This would be a good job if it wasn’t for the passengers" only half tongue in cheek.
It is fashionable to poo-poo the word customers when referring to passengers (and it is true that this is often used insincerely to try to pull the wool over said customers eyes) but I have the notion that if more basic customer care had been used when passengers were there in plenty then perhaps they wouldn’t be so scarce now. It is unfortunate that many in service industries in the UK are unable to distinguish between "service" and "servile".

Malcolm Hirst


16/06/16 – 05:50

Very well summed-up, Malcolm! It reminds me of the attitude in many shops, not very long ago and I am amazed that some of them survive, where staff had the attitude "If we’ve got it, it’s on the shelf. If it isn’t on the shelf, then we haven’t got it." However did the management let the staff get away with it?

Pete Davies


16/06/16 – 08:13

Way back in 1972/3 I applied for a job as a Schedules Clerk with Leeds City Transport. Glad I did not get it.

Stephen Howarth


17/06/16 – 06:12

We shouldn’t forget the Traffic Commissioners, either, acting as arbitrators among competing operators when any changes to routes were applied for by one of them and, seemingly, usually keeping the status quo, with nobody ever considering what would serve the customer better!

Christopher Hebbron


18/06/16 – 06:11

To some extent I agree about the Traffic Commissioners.However on the bus scene some protection was (and is?) desirable to protect the network so as not to concentrate all operators on the same lucrative routes. One of the unfortunate by-products of deregulation was the ending of the often used principle of cross-subsidisation where many operators partially subsidised unremunerative routes to preserve their commercial position. When opened to full competition this became an expensive exercise and so it has led to curtailment of services and ever-more expensive subsidies to keep the minimum of service levels.
It should be noted that the predictions by the pro deregulation brigade of free competition and lower fares/better services have never come to pass – and the alliance of nominally competing groups have a monopoly that NBC could never have dreamed of.
Most of my experience has been in the coach industry and there the Traffic Commissioners activities were really restrictive. There was little or no opportunity to innovate. Objections to linking of licences often meant that some towns and villages had almost no excursion provision, and attempts to serve special events always led to objections by the express operators even where a day return facility did not exist ! Experiments to tap new sources of traffic or innovative destinations were almost impossible.Now that the major operators have mostly opted out of "occasional" coaching the opportunities are theoretically there, but the potential customer base is now so small that it must be difficult. Creating excursion traffic is hard work, and requires real flair and many man-hours. The "regional companies" (NBC parlance) were happy to get the revenue but I think in many cases they saw the work required as a distraction. Early deregulation of the excursion business together with an even earlier ditching of the silly (and unenforceable) separate fares rules would have led to a much healthier outcome.

Malcolm Hirst


 

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Hebble – AEC Regent III – AJX 245 – 30

Hebble - AEC Regent III - AJX 245 - 30
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Hebble Motor Services
1948
AEC Regent III 9612E
Roe L27/26R

I recently came across this photograph. I know very little about its history with Hebble, but it is familiar to me – after sale by Hebble, this and an identical vehicle AJX 281 were both acquired by an operator very local to me at the time, Makemson of Bulwell, Nottingham.
They arrived in January 1961, and ran for a while as acquired; the Makemson livery was dark red and cream, so the Hebble colours fitted in well. They replaced an ex Ribble Leyland bodied TD7, RN 8990 and
CRR 92, a 1936 AEC Regent new to West Bridgford UDC. Neither of the ex Hebble Regents lasted long with Makemson, both were withdrawn in the second half of 1962, and were sold for scrap to a local dealer/showman.
Hopefully the Yorkshire based correspondents will know its earlier history, and the location of the photograph.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Bob Gell


25/03/12 – 11:22

This photo just got me in the nostalgia department Bob!
One of Hebble`s Regent 111s, in Chester Street Bus Station, Bradford, probably some time after 1956.
It is the starting point (or was!) of the 19 service from Bradford to Bingley, via Allerton, Wilsden and Harden, a service I rode on regularly.
The route was regularly served by the Weymann bodied Regal 11s of 1946, until their withdrawal c.1956.
The 19 service followed BCPT Trolleybus 31 route as far as Allerton, and provided an alternative for us trolleybus enthusiasts to sample, as did the West Yorkshire route to Denholm and Keighley, which followed a similar route out of the City as far as Four Lane Ends, and thence with the 7 trolleys to Thornton and beyond.
Many a time have I ridden on this bus and her sisters when visiting a well known hostelry at Wilsden, known a " t`Ling Bob".

John Whitaker


25/03/12 – 12:05

Nostalgia here too John – for I used to greatly admire these lovely vehicles as they occupied the stand in King Street, Leeds next to our Samuel Ledgard terminus for Horsforth, Guiseley and Ilkley. The Hebble vehicles left at 20 and 50 minutes past the hour on services 15 and 28 to Rochdale or Burnley. Can anyone today imagine the wonderful scene in King Street each weekday between 1715 and 1730 – passengers then were plentiful. Two Hebble buses (one duplicate) left at 1720, leaving room on the stand for no less than four Samuel Ledgard machines for the 1730 to Ilkley thus – 1727 to Rawdon, 1728 to Guiseley, 1729 to Ilkley, 1730 to Ilkley. Those were the days and no mistake !!

Chris Youhill


26/03/12 – 07:48

I imagine Chris that the current 508 route is the "fag end" of Hebble’s 15 and 28 services. The 508 takes over an hour to get to Halifax; do you have any old timetables which might show how long the 15 and 28 took to get to their destinations in Lancashire? And did the Burnley route go over the top via Heptonstall and the Sportsman Inn or did it go via Todmorden and Cornholme?

Dave Towers


26/03/12 – 11:02

From my June 1965 Hebble Timetable.

Route 15 left Leeds 17:20 and via Halifax 18:18 – Heptonstall Slack 18:56 – Sportsman Inn 19:15 and arriving Burley at 19:38 – 2hrs 18min later.

Route 18 Left Leeds 17:50 and via Halifax 18:45 – Ripponden 19:03 and arriving Rochdale at 19:41 – 1hr 51min later.

Peter


26/03/12 – 13:15

Yes Dave, the 508 which was instituted by the PTE, was indeed the Halifax – Leeds section (or fag end) of the Hebble services. I say "was" because in recent times service revisions appear to be endless, and the 508 has been re-routed in Leeds away from the City end of the A647 Armley Road. It now uses the A65 as far as Kirkstall and then goes via the old Leeds and Bradford Road and Farsley before rejoining the A647 at Stanningley, then as before.
Thanks to Peter for the Hebble 15/28 details which I did not know – I do though just recall from King Street days that one of the displays showed intermediate points as "Dudley Hill, Halifax, Littleborough – I think !!

Chris Youhill


26/03/12 – 16:58

Thanks for the interesting replies, Peter and Chris. The 508 was re-routed when the 15 Bradford to Farsley service was withdrawn a couple of years back. It provided an extra service to Farsley (though not from Bradford centre) and the 72 frequency was increased to compensate for less buses down the A 647.
A 508 leaving Leeds now at 17:35 is given 1hr 29 mins to reach Halifax. A 592 leaving Halifax is given 1hr 25 minutes to reach Burnley, so add them together and you’re just short of 3 hours – such is progress! I suppose back in 1965, whilst the vehicle would be slower, there wouldn’t be as much traffic around and if double deckers were used, the service would be crew operated. It’s not a direct comparison though as the routes don’t totally match each other.

Dave


27/03/12 – 07:19

I travelled regularly on the Burnley/Rochdale to Halifax sections of these routes back in 1965-70 and don’t remember seeing double-deckers in use on them anywhere west of Hebden Bridge. Usually it was Weymann Hermes/BET style saloons, although on one occasion I managed to talk myself on board a Hebble Bellhouse Hartwell Landmaster serving as a duplicate – in theory only for passengers connecting to Yelloway’s overnight departure to Torquay. The Landmaster then went "on hire" to Yelloway. Am I right in thinking that one of these wonderful coaches survives?

Neville Mercer


27/03/12 – 07:19

This photo and the comments bring back happy memories from my childhood. One of the joys of travelling by Hebble on the 15 or 28 from Leeds was the (usually) non-stop thrash to Stanningley Bottom. This was the result of the then very common revenue protection arrangements enforced by Leeds City Transport within their boundaries.
To a twelve year-old lad, the pleasure and novelty of overtaking LCT buses on Armley and Stanningley Roads was always appreciated and a fitting end to a day’s train spotting, even though Hebble’s first permitted stop was well beyond our usual destination. In keeping with our childish mentality were our giggles when being asked by what was probably the first Asian conductor I’d encountered, "Are you sure you want this bus – the first stop is Stanningley Bottoms!".

Paul Haywood


27/03/12 – 07:21

These services have an interesting history. Road service licensing meant that, as Todmorden already had services in the valley, Hebble had to be content with getting to Burnley through Heptonstall. This was a route not suitable for double-deckers and in some winters not suitable for buses at all. They provided an hourly service though for the sheep to watch – there was little in the way of traffic on this section.
The Rochdale service had a variety of operators including the LMS Railway from Rochdale to Leeds. That was hourly, again with single-deckers, in this case due to low bridge in Littleborough, although the Rochdale to Halifax section was half-hourly on Saturdays. It also included a through journey to Llandudno on summer Saturdays, just slightly west of Rochdale.
When Calderdale JOC was formed Halifax, Todmorden and Hebble became all part of the same organisation and a rationalisation of services ensued. The service to Burnley via Heptonstall became two journeys on a Saturday and through traffic was dealt with by linking the Halifax to Hebden Bridge and Todmorden to Burnley services, supplemented with an express Leeds-Burnley service, the 8. The express service was not successful and was truncated to a Leeds to Halifax service, the 8 which became the 508 under the PTE numbering scheme. Up until 1976/7 it was worked exclusively from Halifax but then operation was shared with Leeds, just in time to allow some of the last surviving buses in Leeds livery to work it – I have a picture of Jumbo 491 in Halifax on it.
The Rochdale service became really exciting in Halifax ownership. The existing 28 ran every two hours and alternated with a new 27, which turned off at Triangle and passed through Soyland and Mill Bank before rejoining the 28 near Baitings reservoir. The 27 was a lovely run along hilly country lanes but made exciting by the fact that for all the detour, it didn’t have any more running time. The Leopards used on it gave a very spirited performance. I used to love riding on it and more than once had Tony Blackman at the wheel, which was even better.
After deregulation the Rochdale services were operated by Yelloway and saw such vehicles as Plaxton-bodied Reliance coaches and National 2s.
I used to use the 508 when I was at Leeds University to get back from Halifax (and beyond) after a pub crawl as you could get back later from Halifax than most other places.

David Beilby


27/03/12 – 15:50

David, your comment reminds me of the time when Leeds began to operate the 508 service out of Bramley depot. Its difficult now to imagine how very "parochial" the Leeds operation in general was in those days – even those drivers aware of the long distance journey to Bradford were looked on by the rest as brave explorers. When the Halifax participation began only a limited number of drivers were familiarised and they became celebrities almost overnight. I was once "showing up" (spare) in Leeds Bus station with an AEC Swift and a conductor when a harassed inspector enquired of the several crews if anyone knew the way to Bradford as there was a serious hiatus in the frequent service – I volunteered immediately with glee, and was looked on by the others as a "double agent" who’d let the side down and broken up the card school. I enjoyed the trip immensely, full load all the way there and back, and managed to handle all the usual passenger jibes "Thought you’d gone on strike" etc – the young conductor was not amused at all – no stamina some of them you know !!

Chris Youhill


27/03/12 – 15:51

I once caught the Rochdale – Leeds service in Calderdale days. The steed was a Weymann bodied Leopard which gave a good account of itself .However it was a chilly spring evening and the rubber edging on the door was somewhat frayed and the ensuing draft assumed Antarctic proportions on the tops . Like many Calderdale buses the Leopard was fitted with the unusual and eccentric method of change giving whereby the coins rattled down a chute to the right of the passenger The journey cost me 40p at the time what a bargain! Incidentally First ran a short lived direct peak hour Leeds – Halifax direct service numbered X8 which has now ceased.
The Heeble service from Bradford via Queensbury to Halifax was another epic with astounding views into the Calder Valley as you headed into Halifax

Chris Hough


28/03/12 – 08:44

I’ve been wondering exactly the same as Neville Mercer about the Hebble Royal Tiger/Bellhouse Hartwell. It was ECP 500 and apparently someone made an appeal to Dewsbury Bus Museum to see if it could be saved but that was well over a year ago and as nothing has been heard since, I fear it has been lost. A very sad event if so because I thought they were wonderful machines, they exuded fabulous Fifties flamboyance!

Chris Barker


28/03/12 – 08:44

When Calderdale took over the Leeds services they tended to use dual purpose saloons interspersed with bus Leopards and front entrance Titans and Regent V. However the depot must have been short of motive power one afternoon as the 4PM departure from Leeds to Burnley was an ex Todmorden all Leyland PD2/12! Despite its age around 20 it stormed up Stanningly road leaving LCT vehicles trailing in its wake! It was still carrying Todmorden livery which must have confused passengers no end

Chris Hough


28/03/12 – 11:32

There is a good shot of ECP 500 in Malcolm Keeley’s Buses in Camera ‘Mercian and Welsh’

Roger Broughton


28/03/12 – 11:33

I agree with Chris Barker that it would be a tragedy if the Landmaster has been scrapped. These were never that common – the only other one I ever managed to ride on was an AEC Regal IV belonging to Meredith & Jesson of Cefn Mawr. M&J frequently used their example on their stage service to Wrexham! I fear that if the Hebble machine has indeed gone, then the glorious BH Landmaster is now extinct. Where on Earth are people’s priorities when there are hundreds of Routemasters still in preservation? Thank heaven for far-sighted preservationists such as Roger Burdett and the Ementons who bring a bit of welcome variety to the preservation scene.

Neville Mercer


28/03/12 – 11:37

Gentlemen – thank you for filling in the information on this Regent’s Hebble days, I’m pleased you found the photo of interest.

One question though – why is the bus parked with its offside nearest the platform/bay/stand – was it normal practice, or a one off?

Also there has been mention of the Hebble Royal Tiger ECP 500, below are a couple of shots as it was when I photographed it in Lancashire in August 2008.

Bob Gell

Ex Hebble ECP500

Ex Hebble ECP500 (3)


28/03/12 – 18:25

Chester Street bus station in Bradford was basically two rudimentary laybys with Chester Street going through the middle West Yorkshire used the layby opposite the Hebble stands which was also home to Yorkshire Woollen and Yorkshire Traction services. As well as the aforementioned laybys the actual street was also utilised. The whole set up being very spartan with little in the way of passenger facilities

Chris Hough


28/03/12 – 18:29

…..and there was also the Sheffield United Tours pair of 1955 Reliances. They seemed to be an extra order and the bodies were apparently cancelled by Blue Cars and originally intended for Leyland chassis. Blue Cars already had examples.

David Oldfield


28/03/12 – 18:30

Apparently the Landmaster was due to be scrapped, but at the eleventh hour it was reprieved when Ensign agreed to take it on. Having seen some of the restoration jobs they have undertaken, this was a great relief, but I am told that even they decided that it was beyond redemption, and that it may well have been scrapped by now. I hope not, as it would be a tragic loss.

John Stringer


28/03/12 – 18:31

I have a feeling that I read somewhere, not so long ago, that Ensign had been approached to save ECP500, but had declined because of its stripped out condition and its frailty, making it too tricky to tow.

Chris Hebbron


28/03/12 – 18:38

To answer Bob Gell’s latest question – Chester Street Bus Station (but not the through road down the middle) operated at this time as “one way” for buses.
Thus they all entered via Little Horton lane and exited via either Great Horton Road or (in the case of buses heading back up Little Horton Lane – The Sheffield 66 joint service and certain Hebble Routes) via a loop on Wilton Street past the morgue and thence back up Little Horton Lane.
The non West Yorkshire side had two stands – on the side pictured there were the Hebble Stands for the 7 & 17 Halifax services, the two Hipperholme (26) routes (where AJX 245 appears to be heading as far as I can tell from the blind), and the Bingley 19 service via Wilsden. Additionally there was the joint Yorkshire Woollen and North Western X12 Manchester service. Any remaining space nearer Little Horton Lane was taken up with spare West Yorkshire vehicles between turns. Interestingly these were parked against the traffic flow – presumably so that they could regain the West Yorkshire half facing in the right direction ready for their next run. Thus all these service buses loaded on the live bus carriageway.
On the other side of this half there were stands for the Sheffield 66, (joint Sheffield’C’ Yorkshire Traction and Yorkshire Woollen.) and also the Samuel Ledgard Leeds via Pudsey Routes. These loaded from the kerb.
On the West Yorkshire half, all routes with the exception of the 67 Keighley/Skipton loaded in the middle of the bus carriageway as they were parked “herringbone” either side of the Green Hut. All passengers for these routes had to cross the bus carriageway to join their buses.
All in all the place was somewhat hazardous for passengers to say the least. I think things were remodelled sometime in the late 60’s. Returning to AJX 245 it was bound for Hipperholme Crossroads via Wibsey. There were two routes 26 and 26a, one branching off just after Stone Chair at Shelf to run through Coley village with other keeping to the main road through Lumbrook. There was a short working for a time to the edge of the then new Bradford Council Buttershaw Estate which displayed Boltby Lane – running I recall at peak hours only. This was discontinued when Bradford Corporation built a trolleybus extension into the heart of the Estate. One other interesting bit of information is that there was a through route to Halifax (29) that ran on this route from Bradford as far as Shelf thence to Halifax – for some reason on Saturdays only. It was termed the “Wibsey Flyer” – its route was marginally shorter than the main routes through Queensbury or Odsal/Shelf and Hebble drivers always liked a challenge.
And finally I used to visit my Sister for lunch once a week – she lived in Allerton on the Hebble Route 19 from Bingley. I always used to catch the Hebble back into Bradford, I reckon it could shave at least 5 minutes off the 31 trolleybus – rarely stopping at all after the Chapel Lane stop in Allerton. As I said the Hebble drivers liked a challenge !

Farmer G


29/03/12 – 08:04

The Samuel Ledgard (formerly B & B TOURS) buses for Harrogate also departed from the "West Yorkshire" side of Chester Street Bus Station. Their route was identical to the WYRCC 53 service except that "the blues" deviated from the main road at the Hare and Hounds and additionally served the full length of Menston Village.

Chris Youhill


29/03/12 – 08:06

What a shame to think that ECP 500 has survived so long only to be lost so recently. Whilst in a poor state it doesn’t look so dreadful compared to some restorations. I managed to find a photograph of it taken in 1976 and better times when it appears to be in fine condition.
Here… http://s880.photobucket.com/ 

Richard Leaman


29/03/12 – 08:07

To sort of illustrate Chris’ memory on this thread (which seems to be unravelling into about three different themes) the attached picture shows the bus he was referring to, which was Calderdale 357. This one lasted quite a while in Todmorden livery and I’m pretty sure was the last to carry it by some margin.

1766
This picture is taken near Cliviger, between Todmorden and Burnley, a location much better known to railway enthusiasts as Copy Pit and a bit of a shrine in the very last days of steam.
What it shows is a Halifax PD2 on the 8 from Burnley to Leeds, with 357 behind on what I recall as a duplicate. Behind that is a Ribble Leopard on an express service to Manchester.

David Beilby


29/03/12 – 17:50

I love your comments, Farmer G, about the speed of the Hebble 19 service! They were flyers alright, especially before the route was double decked. Swirls of dust and dead leaves in their wake!
West Yorkshire, down Thornton Road were just as exciting sometimes, even with 5LWs, but one of the reasons was the longer spacings of bus stops, and the penny surcharge in the City boundary, which got them to Town quicker, but which most thrifty Bradfordians did not experience because of said surcharge.
Mind you, the old "Regen" trolleys could move a bit too! Memories of hurtling down Thornton Road, from Spring Head to Bell Dean come to mind. So much for "silent trolleybuses"! They made more noise than a Hebble and a WY combined!
Happy Days!

John Whitaker


30/03/12 – 07:08

What a superb photo David B! When was it taken, early PTE days perhaps?

Dave Towers


30/03/12 – 08:52

Sorry – I forgot to add a date! It was on 17th June 1972.

David Beilby


17/09/12 – 06:58

I well remember the Hebble service over the tops to Halifax in the 1960s–used to use it on Saturdays to call at the Sportsman for a few jars–great service–do any buses go over the tops these days? Hard for me to check as I left to live in France when I retired.

John Oakes


17/05/13 – 09:09

I was a parcels delivery driver for rail express in the early 1970s I noticed ECP 500 in the yard at Talbot House school in Glossop whilst delivering there. I wrote to the H C V C in the hope that someone could rescue her 40 years on I have just found out that John S Hinchliffe purchased her from the school. Some pictures I have seen show that she scrubbed up well how sad that more recent pictures tell a different story.it would appear that she did not survive

John Kelly


05/04/14 – 07:12

I lived in Northowram and when the Bradford service was routed via Stone Chair and Landemere under Calderdale, we often had to give directions to drivers who previously stopped at the Northowram boundary or at least, only knew the main road between Bradford and Halifax. They would fly down the hill from Stone Chair only to find around a slight bend at the bottom that there were passengers standing in the road (no pavement). The drivers were none too happy in trying to pull up a Fleetline in short order!

John Turnbull


06/04/14 – 08:24

John, I was once involved in a collision on the ‘slight bend’ you mention, which was towards the bottom of Score Hill and just above Landemere Syke.
If they were on time, opposing buses were due to pass one another in Score Hill, so could easily meet on the bend. There was a stone barn belonging to the adjacent farm on downhill side, right on the bend, severely restricting visibility, so one quickly learned to scan the view ahead over the top of the farm from much further back – whilst travelling along Northowram Green (outbound) or from the top of Score Hill (inbound). Though it was not an official instruction, the regular drivers’ convention was for the inbound bus to slow right down or stop half way down the hill until the outbound one had safely negotiated the corner.
One weekday afternoon I was outbound towards Bradford in an ex-Halifax Fleetline. I did the usual scan ahead and could not see a bus descending the hill, so I proceeded and approached the bend with great caution. Unfortunately, whilst I had been passing through the blind section of the dip at Landemere Syke the inbound bus had come over the brow of the hill and was hurtling down it rather too speedily. The weather conditions were dull and drizzly, so the road surface was already wet, but the fact that the farmer from Wall Nook Farm had earlier herded his cows down the road meant that there was a lethal coating of slippery brown stuff too.
As I very slowly rounded the bend I then saw the bus – another of the same type – coming towards me and so stopped immediately. The other driver had only passed out of the driving school a few days before and must have panicked, hitting the brakes hard. It went into a lengthy skid – totally out of control – and as Fleetlines would do in such instances went into a front wheel skid on the bend. I instinctively accelerated to the left to avoid being hit head on, and the bus collided violently with my front offside then bounced off in the other direction and buried itself in the barn wall, virtually destroying it.
Strangely I felt quite calm, and was about to leap out to check if the other driver was injured – fearing the worst. I raised my arm to brush a fragment of something from my hair, and my conductor Ken got into a bit of a state and shouted at me not to move, and not to touch my head – pointing at it anxiously. I looked in the mirror and there was a very large triangular-shaped section of my offside cab window glass stuck into my hair in an upright position – like a kind of glass Mohican ! He’s assumed it must have been buried into my skull, but I just flicked it away without any red stuff gushing out, much to his relief.
Miraculously neither the other driver nor any of our passengers were injured. Police and our inspectors and engineers were soon on the scene, and the other bus had to be extracted and towed away. Our inspector – the late John Davis – having knocked out the remaining broken glass from my side windows and twisted off various bits of metal trim and the odd panel, deemed that my bus was fit to drive, and decided that the other badly shaken driver should drive it back to depot under his supervision, fearing that otherwise they would go home and never want to drive again. That would most certainly not happen nowadays, but fortunately he was right and the driver did carry on and drove for a few more years. The barn was eventually rebuilt, and ever afterwards each time I passed it I could not help being reminded of the incident, and of what might have been.

John Stringer


06/04/14 – 10:44

A very ‘interesting’ tale, in more ways then one, John. The scary thing is seeing things unfold and it was quick-witted of you to get your bus moving so quickly when trouble approached. The amazing thing is that the barn was rebuilt, so perpetuating the very danger that caused the accident!

Chris Hebbron


16/06/15 – 06:41

More on the Hebble Halifax to Burnley route. When I began drinking, the Shoulder of Mutton at Blackshaw Head was a lively place with bands on every Friday and our friends place to be for years. We used to meet in Halifax at the Bulls Head, then catch the 7-30 pm Hebble. It used to "fly" down the Calder Valley and we were usually at the pub soon after 8 pm. Going home was more difficult at the last bus was while the band was still playing as the pub stayed open very late. You had to see if you could cadge a lift off someone or leave early. (Back to Northowram) Happy days!

John Turnbull


AJX 245_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


02/08/16 – 17:30

Hebble ran several services out of Bradford. Two to Halifax No’s 7 and 17. Huddersfield 64, Bingley 19. One to Duckworth Lane. Hipperholme 2 ways – Lumbrook and Coley alternate. Saturday only 29 to Halifax via Wibsey and the Bolby flyer peak hours to Buttershaw estate. Several Yorkshire Woollen vehicles were housed in Park Rd. The X12 to Manchester ran a YWD vehicle.

Allan Wood


 

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Hebble – Daimler Fleetline – DJX 351D – 351

Hebble - Daimler Fleetline - DJX 351D - 351
Copyright Ian Wild

Hebble Motor Services
1966
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
Northern Counties H43/31F

This was the only new rear engined double decker purchased by Hebble and originally numbered 351 in their feet. In 1970 it was renumbered 625 but in 1971 it passed to Halifax JOC as their 294 when they bought out the Hebble Stage Services. It fitted in well with the contemporary Halifax Fleetlines with similar bodies. When Halifax Corporation came under WYPTE control DJX 351D was renumbered 3294, it is during its PTE days that the destination equipment was updated. The photo was taken on its last day in service 8th February 1984 leaving Wainstalls on the cross town service to Causeway Foot.

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


Although the bus is interesting (albeit perhaps a bit modern for my generation) my attention was caught by the destination. Halifax was famous for running services way out of town to remote spots, but it has always amazed me that they had a service to Causeway Foot, especially in tramway days. Were there plans to build houses out there? Was there a long-lost mill which generated traffic? The Causeway Foot Inn still exists, but that’s about it.

Paul Haywood


Good shot Ian not only for the bus but the scenery behind it, now that’s the Pennines I remember, feeling a touch home sick now.

Re Pauls comment, if memory serves me correct at one time Halifax route 63 was Steep Lane (3 miles west of Sowerby Bridge) through town to Causeway Foot, which by the way was pronounced by locals as Causi Fooit. I also think route 64 Hubberton a neighbouring hamlet to Steep Lane ran through to Pavement Lane which was about two miles short of Causeway Foot but at least there was the Illingworth housing estate there. I think the Causeway Foot route was purely to go to the limit of the Halifax Boundary there could be another reason, we will no doubt find out if there is.

Spencer


What may surprise those who don’t know is that this was the location of Halifax’s solitary trolleybus route, from Wainstalls to Mount Tabor where it connected with the trams. About as unlikely a trolleybus route as you would find and I think the highest in the country – a distinction in more modern times claimed by Huddersfield for their Outlane terminus.

David Beilby


02/05/11 – 12:59

Just a snippet of info from my personal history. I started my apprenticeship at Gardner engines in Patricroft in late 1964, and when I started I worked on the engine build line with a senior guy, George Pheasey. The engines were built from a bare crankcase/crankshaft with blocks/heads separate and a trolley full of other parts.
The Gardner 6LX in Hebble 351 was the first engine I built on the line on my own, probably in late 1965. The lead time for an engine build to it actually being part of a bodied bus was probably 6 months or so!
I remember it well as it was the only one in the Hebble order which was marked on the customer build sheet. Bus engines always had the customers shown but truck engines didn’t.
They were great engines, with tight tolerances and real craftsmanship for their time.

John Ashmore


07/05/11 – 18:36

Gardners were great engines indeed John, being built up to a standard rather than down to a price. The craftsmanship was apparent in the quality of the castings and other parts, the tight tolerances and attention to detail. I have very happy memories of fully overhauling Gardner 6LX/6HLX and 6LXB engines in the 70’s and 80’s at West Yorkshire’s Central Works, and derived a great deal of satisfaction in returning everything to original specification during assembly. Anything less would have felt like sacrilege. West Yorkshire replaced the Bristol AVW engine in one of its 1956 Lodekka LDs (DX48: RWY826) with a new Gardner 6LX unit in 1959, which managed to cover just over 500,000 miles before needing an overhaul. It had been partly stripped down at some point prior to this in order to monitor wear and tear, but was put back together and into DX48 again with only a few very minor parts needing replacement. (Albert Jackson, a fitter I worked with as an apprentice described the strip down as a ‘paraffin overhaul’). Even when the Lodekka was scrapped, its engine was removed by West Yorkshire and overhauled to live on in one of its Bristol VRTs! Gardner’s emphasis on weight-saving and keeping frictional losses to a minimum no doubt helped with their legendary fuel economy. Some companies recorded around 12 mpg from their Bristol FLF6Gs, and many RELH6G motorway coaches were said to have regularly achieved 12-15 mpg – figures that sadly can only be dreamed of with todays fuel hungry beasts!

Brendan Smith


08/05/11 – 10:21

I didn’t know Brendan that DX48 was Bristol engined when new – you learn summat new every day !! I believe though that DX 3 and DX 4 had Gardners from new but if you can confirm that please I’ll be obliged.

Chris Youhill


09/05/11 – 08:04

You are right regarding DX3 and DX4 Chris. They did have Gardner (6LW) engines from new. The 6LX that went into DX48 was one of the early LXs, as that engine had only been introduced in 1958. I can remember DX48 running in and out of Shipley when my family lived there between 1963-1966, and being intrigued by its somewhat gruff engine note compared to its siblings. It was only in later years I discovered that the LX was the reason. Apparently it enhanced DX48’s performance, but in its new guise the bus went through diffs at a fair rate at first. Whether the engine was fully rated initially (150 bhp) and later derated to a more modest output I do not know, but the diff situation apparently eased, so this may well have been the case.
Whilst on the subject of engine notes, another vehicle to attract my attention in those heady days was DX83 (YWW 78), which regularly performed at one point on the Bradford – Ilkley 63 route. (I seem to think it was an Ilkley vehicle). Although outwardly it looked like an LD Lodekka, the engine sound was different – somehow sounding smoother and more powerful to my young ears. Again it was only after joining the company as an apprentice, I learned that, along with several other later LDs (KDX75-77 and DX78-81), DX83 was an early recipient of Bristol’s new BVW engine – the AVW then being phased out. It remained one of my childhood favourites, along with WY’s solitary front entrance Lodekka DX82 (YWW 77), which I remember did a stint on the Keighley – Leeds 31 route in the early ‘sixties. Wonderful times!

Brendan Smith


09/05/11 – 08:09

Hebble DJX 351D had a spell with Yorkshire Woollen at Heckmondwike where it was numbered 147. It passed to Calderdale Joint Omnibus Committee in 8/71. Incidentally two of Y.W.D 683-693 (JHD 324-334J) Daimler Fleetline/Alexander of 1971 were ordered for Hebble but by the time they were delivered the company were no more.

Philip Carlton


09/05/11 – 08:59

Thanks Brendan for more fascinating and well informed memories of "the good old days." Incidentally the infamous DX 82 was a frequent performer on service 34 Leeds – Otley – Ilkley where, provided it turned up, it was the fastest thing in Wharfedale. I make that provision because I’m almost certain that for some reason its reliability record was abysmal – I wonder if it fared any better in the North East when it was banished to United – its rear entrance replacement in the exchange, 456 LHN, was definitely a fine machine fondly remembered.

Chris Youhill


15/05/11 – 06:41

Your comments regarding the original DX82 are interesting Chris – especially the one relating to its reliability record. Whether it was related to it being the prototype FSF Lodekka I don’t know. Maybe the design or tolerances of some of the modified parts involved might have caused problems if they had been handcrafted specially for it, perhaps. Nice to know it was a ‘flyer’ for all that though!
Returning to things Hebble, this stirred up childhood memories of their buses plying between Bingley and Bradford (via Wilsden and Harden if memory serves correctly). They were a familiar sight parked in their ‘bus station’ on the waste ground next to The Myrtle cinema at the top of Main Street. I can still recall returning from grandma’s one dark night and seeing a Hebble AEC Regent V parked there displaying its illuminated advert panel for all to see. It certainly made an impact as you could see it for quite some distance.

Brendan Smith


15/05/11 – 17:47

Many thanks Brendan for another important and interesting fact of which I was unaware till now – that DX 82 was a prototype. I’m sure you’re right about the Hebble intermediate points between Bradford and Bingley – I never travelled on them, but I have a firm memory of seeing the destination blinds in Bradford set to "BINGLEY Harden Wilsden."

Chris Youhill


16/05/11 – 09:07

Hebble’s 19 service ran exactly as you described, basically on a half-hour frequency.

David Beilby


16/05/11 – 09:09

Just a quick story about Hebble if I may. I work for West Yorks PTE and was speaking to a caller the other week who was complaining about the unreliable nature of the current 508 (Halifax-Leeds) service, which was basically the old Hebble route until their demise in 1971 or 1972. Her comment was along the lines of "it’s just not been the same since Hebble stopped running it"!
She didn’t sound particularly old, so would have been pretty young when Hebble were actually running the route. But what made me smile was that, in their final years, didn’t Hebble have an atrocious reliability problem, meaning ageing second-hand vehicles were drafted in from all over the place? Or am I confusing them with another company?

Dave Towers


17/05/11 – 11:00

That makes me smile wryly Dave T – the travelling public do conjure up some astonishing theories in their minds. When I worked for the old family firm South Yorkshire Road Transport we were taken over in July 1994 by Caldaire Group (West Riding) and quite soon our familiar blue/white livery disappeared in favour of the various Corporate colours which followed. I clearly remember driving a full bus, green and cream "West Riding",along the A19 out of Doncaster on the 411 to Pontefract and Leeds when an elderly Askern lady was loudly lecturing her fellow passengers on their error in expecting a reliable service from "this lot" – they were advised to follow her advice and wait for "one of them blue South Yorkshires as they are always on time and they’re better drivers too !!"

Chris Youhill


17/05/11 – 11:02

Hebble did run some elderly Titans from Yorkshire Traction but this was not the companies fault there was a long term weight restriction on a bridge in Halifax Like their fellow BET Group companies they also received some cast off from Sheffield when the JOC and C fleets were wound up in Hebbles case two relatively young AEC Regent Vs.
As a result of the need for Hebble to have some lighter buses some of their AEC Regent Vs were loaned to YTC not a name one associates with Southall products!

Chris Hough


17/05/11 – 11:05

You’re not wrong. Geoffrey Hilditch has made comments on the state of Hebble vehicles at takeover. On the usage of old terms for services I used to call the Oldham-Huddersfield service the "Hanson" well into PTE days. Possibly as in Hanson days it didn’t have a route number.
Another expression which I used for a long time without knowing why was "Tilleys", used for North Western buses in the area. It’s only when I took a preserved North Western bus to a local event in 1980 and a long-standing family friend used the term that the penny suddenly dropped. It was short for Tilling-Stevens, a name emblazoned on the front of their early buses although the last left the area not long after the war!

David Beilby


29/05/11 – 07:02

The Hebble fleet was dire in the 1960’s they had a lot of 36′ Reliances which being B and C plates were scrapped at the take over due to total condition, hushed up were various problems like passengers falling through trap doors, wheels falling off and a host of mechanical defects, it was a total embarrassment to the NBC and in the end the Regional Director (Ian Patey) was responsible for putting it into the JOC because they already had the BR shareholding, also Walnut Street depot had a lot of restrictions to height which did not help.

Christopher


31/05/11 – 11:37

A few quick questions please:-
a) Was the Hebble fleet garaged solely in the Walnut Street depot?
b) What was the fleet strength in the company’s final years?
c) What bus (not coach) routes were operated?
d) Is the garage still in use, or has it been demolished?

Dave Towers


31/05/11 – 18:56

Hebble operated at least 3 routes out of Bradford.
No 19. Chester St. to Bingley, via Wilsden and Harden.
Bradford to Halifax (from Chester St.)
Bingley-Cottingley-Duckworth Lane (Bradford).
In the post war years, to about 1956, 19 was operated by the Regal 0662 Weymann single deckers, whilst the Duckworth Lane routes were mainly using the Roe batch.
The Halifax routes utilised mainly the Regent III Roe buses which were, I believe, 0961, whereas the 1953 Willowbrook Regents were of the 7.7 litre variety according to my fleet list.
As a boy, I also remember Hebble running a Bradford to Hipperholm service, which was later, I think, incorporated into the Halifax routes, which went via either Queensbury, or Shelf.

John Whitaker


01/06/11 – 07:57

Thanks John, but they also operated into Leeds, didn’t they? I’m fairly certain they did a Leeds-Burnley and maybe a Leeds-Rochdale. I remember a trip on a Regent around about 1970 or 1971 but I only went as far as Odsal. Maybe by this time the route had been shortened to Halifax.

Dave Towers


01/06/11 – 09:22

I agree about the 806 – 809 batch Chris, but when the "new" excitement wore off, and in quiet contemplation (!) I do not think the S series 4 bay design had quite the same balance as the classic final version of the first post war 5 bay style.
I greeted the first DXs with absolute rapture, but looking back, I do not personally hold them in quite the same esteem as the HWW series. Something to do with my age perhaps!

John Whitaker


01/06/11 – 09:25

The routes from Leeds to Rochdale and Burnley lasted until the advent of Calderdale JOC I once caught a Halifax Weymann bodied Leopard all the way from Rochdale to Bramley in Leeds. The draught through the rubber edges of the door over the tops lives with me still! I think the routes were cut back after the advent of the PTE in 1974. The Leeds Halifax service now acts as a local between Farsley and Leeds leaving the main road at Pudsey to negotiate a housing estate and the constant traffic of Kirkstall Road. After 2 years of this First have introduced an express peak hour service the X8 which follows the old route The choice of the number 8 is appropriate as this was the old Hebble service number!

Chris Hough


01/06/11 – 10:22

Quite right Dave, routes 15 and 28 ran from King Street Leeds, stand adjacent to the Samuel Ledgard routes to Horsforth and Ilkley (via Guiseley), to Burnley and Rochdale. The six vehicle scene in King Street at 5.20 pm on weekdays was an absolute joy to behold. The 5.20 pm Hebble departure with duplicate, plus no less than four SL vehicles for the 5.30pm commuter rush – one Rawdon duplicate, one Guiseley duplicate, one Ilkley duplicate, and the Ilkley service bus last to depart. All would be full for part or most of their journeys !!

Chris Youhill


13/03/12 – 06:25

My school was in Halifax near Boothtown and I lived in Northowram. Hebble were ALWAYS first choice, they got you home five minutes faster than Halifax Corp!. Only in the later years did the maintenance get cut back, I was in the bus station when a Regent V arrived to be greeted by an engineering inspector. He had a look around and took it out of service. The queue had to wait for another to come from Walnut St! (MCW bodywork coming adrift) They also had a Bradford garage too. At least in the 60’s, there were as good as any other fleet. I think when BET decided to sell out, they just cut the budget to emergency work only. The weight restriction on North Bridge did not effect buses, they narrowed the road to get the traffic into the centre, that’s all.

John (tee)


15/03/12 – 09:30

The Bradford garage was at Park Lane and was shared with Yorkshire Woollen who had a few vehicles allocated. The latter did not have a permanent allocation as vehicles were changed over at Cleckheaton and Dewsbury for maintenance. After the demise of Hebble the garage was sold to Wallace Arnold. The last time I passed it had been demolished.

Philip Carlton


05/05/12 – 16:58

The comments about the reliability of Hebble in its last years is very true. Indeed, there used to be comments that the tow truck did more miles than the rest of the fleet!!! I remember, when my Dad was the village bobby at Northowram, how I used to sit on the police Station wall (opposite what was the Stocks Arms) watching the Hebbles line up at the side of the road. In the meantime the Corpy buses kept coming. Yes the end was sad, because the crews were more friendly, but, the outfit had by say 1969 seen better days. The route shown, was Wainstalls to Causeway Foot, which I could be wrong, but I think replaced the Steep Lane to Causeway Foot service, and incidentally was one of the last crew routes at Halifax, in, I think, early 1986.

Chris Ratcliffe


06/05/12 – 17:04

As Chris implies, Hebble was a complete shambles in its last years, and it must have been an absolute embarrassment to its employees. I recall walking home from college one dinnertime, probably in the Summer of 1969, and passing a broken down Hebble Reliance at the lower end of New Bank. Just after this their tow-wagon – a cut down 1946 Weymann-bodied Regal JX 9106 – rumbled up behind it, apparently to render assistance. I continued up the hill and saw as I approached Godley Bridge a Regent V apparently also deceased at the side of the road – the crew standing resignedly leaning against the side, having a smoke. "Not broken down, surely ?" I asked, to which the driver replied with a sigh "Aye lad, what’s new ?". Just then the Regal appeared, having abandoned the Reliance for the time being. The despairing mechanic asked a couple of questions of the driver and had a quick look underneath, then said they’d just have to wait as they had to sort out a coach which had broken down on service at Buttershaw, and that it took priority as it was wanted for a Private Hire later on. Then off they went ! A former driver colleague of mine at Halifax who had been a mechanic at Hebble told me that virtually every day was like that – and often worse !

John Stringer


07/05/12 – 09:17

During my time at Yelloway in the early 1970s we often got Hebble drivers bringing their bus into our garage(which was very close to the Hebble terminus of their service 28 into Rochdale from Leeds and Halifax)for our mechanics to look at. I recall on one occasion we gave the driver one of our YDK registered Harrington Cavaliers as a replacement, which at the time were around 10 years old – the driver was ecstatic! There was a joke amongst our mechanics that the ‘temporary’ repair they had made some time earlier was still holding out many weeks later when the same bus re-visited perhaps with another yet different problem!

David Slater


07/05/12 – 09:18

John,
And I thought Hanson’s were bad!

Eric Bawden


07/05/12 – 09:19

I hate to "turn the knife in the wound" so to speak and I hope I’m wrong here, but I do seem to remember a scandal of some kind where a Regent V overturned possibly descending to North Bridge. This was alleged, and I stress alleged, to have been caused by the front brakes being adjusted "off" instead of being "taken up" as the direction of adjustment differed from that on the Mark 3 Regents. I really hope that I’ve remembered this wrongly, or that it was a malicious rumour started by someone with a grudge. Can anyone remember the incident and, if so, comment on it please ??

Chris Youhill


07/05/12 – 19:17

The accident Chris Y. refers to was way back in 1958 when almost new 30ft Regent V 304 (JCP 672) ran away at the bottom of New Bank and turned over on the end of North Bridge. I remember my father coming home from work and telling me about seeing it on its side, and I still have the newspaper cutting. It was sent back to Metro-Cammell who rebuilt it, and on its return it was renumbered 306. Hence JCP 672 and 673 were ever after numbered 306 and 305 – apparently the wrong way round.
This was however an unfortunate event in what were much better days for Hebble. The real decline only came in the late 1960’s.

Mr Anon


08/05/12 – 07:32

Typically an absolute fortune was spent doing up the Walnut Street garage only for it to close shortly afterwards.

Philip Carlton


08/05/12 – 07:34

My dad still to this day recalls the conversation he had with the driver when he left the phone box by our yard at Northowram Police Station, when the driver rang the bus in, and was told to bring it to town. My dad telling the story to me when I entered the driving school at Halifax in December 1979, and telling me , it is your licence, don’t land up in a similar position. It stuck, and there was many a time when I left Halifax buses at Leeds and Bradford, and came back with one of theirs.

Chris Ratcliffe


08/05/12 – 12:05

That, Philip, reminds me of Air Ministry workings – as soon as an RAF station had a fortune spent on it, we knew it was doomed and we’d have to move on a few months ahead!

Chris Hebbron


09/05/12 – 07:59

Railway stations too in the run-up to Beeching. It was as though there had to be some extraordinary deadweight expense thrown in to sink any defence of its financial viability.

Stephen Ford


09/05/12 – 09:34

In response to Paul Haywood in the first comment, Causi Fooit is probably one area of Halifax that has hardly changed since the first trams in September 1900. At the time, the reservoir at Ogden Water, approx quarter of a mile from the terminus, was a tourist attraction at the turn of the 20th century, and the service in the summer months certainly, by all accounts more than earned its keep. However, the winter months must have counterbalanced that, as nobody in their right mind would go there in winter, just to walk round a reservoir, would they? The nearest mill to the area would probably have been Bradshaw Mill, about half a mile from the Bradshaw short working terminus at Pavement Lane, which in turn is about a miles worth of green fields to Causi Fooit even today. There was also a small quarry at Ratten Clough, just after what was the Peat Pitts Inn, which the corporation built a line into for the granite setts for the roads. The lines were there into the 80’s, when what was to become Transperience at Bradford dug them up for posterity. However, a scrapman saw the rails, and they disappeared!!!Interestingly there was a none corpy route that passed through Causi Fooit for many years, but it was not operated by Hebble. Yorkshire Woollen District were the culprits with an Ossett to Keighley service.

Chris Ratcliffe


12/05/12 – 17:19

Hebble too ran through Causeway Foot – their hourly service 2 (which I think was also the service number of the Yorkshire Ossett-Keighley service) shared the road with the Yorkshire service between Halifax and Cullingworth, where it diverted to run to Bingley. Their Hebble terminus in Bingley – also served by 18 (Duckworth Lane) and 19 (Bradford via Wilsden) – was described as "Central Area", in reality a rubble-strewn wasteland later occupied (I think) by the HQ of the now-defunct Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Service 2 required 3 omo single-deckers and was operated jointly by Halifax and Bradford depots (so there must have been some dead-running from the latter, unless the service was interworked with 18/19). Certainly in latter years between the peaks the service only operated between Bingley and Cullingworth, where connections were made with the Yorkshire service (which also ran hourly). On the formation of Calderdale JOC the Hebble service and the Halifax-Keighley section of the Yorkshire service
became Calderdale services 1 and 2 respectively, each running hourly and co-ordinated over the Halifax-Cullingworth section. The Bingley service didn’t last long and was (within a year I think) abandoned, Calderdale then running Halifax-Keighley on an hourly basis. On Sunday mornings, when the Keighley/Bingley services didn’t run the Corporation service 25 (by then, Wainstalls-Halifax-Causeway Foot) was extended beyond the Borough boundary to Denholme (the next major settlement between Halifax and Cullingworth). This state of affairs continued until late PTE years, when the 25 became a peak-only operation. On deregulation the Halifax-Keighley service was linked with the Huddersfield-Halifax service as part of a combined Huddersfield-Halifax-Illingworth (just off the route to Causeway Foot, [30 min]))/Keighley (60 min)/Thornton-Bradford (60 min – branching off the Keighley service at Denholme Gate, between Causeway Foot and Denholme). Subsequent changes saw the abandonment of the Halifax-Thornton-Bradford service (a route I think Bradford Corporation considered introducing in the late 60s/early 70s) and the uncoupling of the Halifax-Huddersfield and Halifax-Illingworth sections. Now the Halifax-Keighley service has, I think, gone – although the Halifax-Bingley service came back a few years ago as a twice-a-day operation, presumably linked to a school contact (such were the timings).
Although I was young – 6 when they disappeared – I remember the Hebble well, living in Queensbury on the route of service 17 (Halifax-Queensbury-Bradford) and having a great aunt who lived at . . . Causeway Foot. To this day I remember suddenly realising the Hebble were no more, and – outside Squires bakery in Brighouse (also long gone) asking my mother "where are the Hebble buses" and her reply "Halifax have taken over" . . . for the first time a bit of me died.
For anybody who is interested in the latter-day operations of Hebble, Frank Woodworth (then GM) wrote an article for the Omnibus Society "A little of everything". This compliments Norman Dean’s (a much earlier GM) Omnibus Society pamphlet "The Origins of Hebble". I’ve got both, and would be happy to copy and send to anybody who wants to know more about this, in my opinion, fascinating operator.
If I can drift off-topic for a bit, why did NBC give up on Hebble (intractable maintenance issues?), dismember North Western (I’ve read it was the complexities of its operations with the SELNEC constituents that made an NBC-PTE deal unachievable), and flog-off BMMOs most profitable parts (I’ve read that it was a desperate need to re-finance the company – but why?) – when no such deals were done with Northern/United and Tyneside PTE, West Yorkshire/Yorkshire/West Riding/Yorkshire Traction and West Yorkshire PTE, and Yorkshire Traction/East Midland and South Yorkshire PTE?

Philip Rushworth


13/05/12 – 08:29

Philip, it was the differing policies of the several PTEs. SELNEC and WMPTE insisted on full control and ownership of services within their area. WYPTE and Tyneside had a sort of franchise where, in effect, NBC were a contractor for the PTE either running in PTE colours (Tyneside) or with PTE logo (WYPTE). SYPTE ran a similar system but since there was very little overlap of operations even within the "county", NBC buses simply had SYPTE signs in their windows.

David Oldfield


13/05/12 – 08:30

Oops! To correct my previous post, when Calderdale JOC took over the Halifax-Keighley/Bingley rights each route ran TWO-hourly – providing a combined sixty-minute service over the common Halifax-Cullingworth section.

Philip Rushworth


13/05/12 – 08:31

Hi Philip
The Halifax Keighley service is still in existence Now numbered 502 it mainly consists of a single early morning journey from Halifax to Cullingworth and back There is no Saturday service but a roughly two hourly service on Sundays from 11 until 5

Chris Hough


13/05/12 – 08:32

What an interesting article by Mr Rushworth. I have been an enthusiast all my life and have always had a special interest in Y.W.D and Hebble as two generations and my self have worked for them.

Philip Carlton


13/05/12 – 18:38

A fascinating topic indeed and some really interesting and possibly forgotten aspects of PTE policies. In West Yorkshire there was much Company opposition to the PTE’s requirement that all NBC buses should be in "buttermilk and emerald." I seem to recall that West Yorkshire Road Car Co held out for a long time before "doing as they were told" – in fact one Bristol VR was "in custody" at Harrogate Works for many months before being the first to be allowed out in "spring hues."

Chris Youhill


13/05/12 – 18:39

West Yorkshire PTE also insisted that NBC operators buses carried PTE verona green and cream West Riding and YWD quickly repainted the fleet but West Yorkshire were much slower since repainting their buses limited their use to the PTE area and they had many services outside the boundary which needed red buses West Yorkshire PTE also insisted that NBC operators buses carried PTE verona green and cream West Riding and YWD quickly repainted the fleet but West Yorkshire were much slower since repainting their buses limited their use to the PTE area and they had many services outside the boundary which needed red buses.

Chris Hough


14/05/12 – 07:35

Your recollections about the PTE-liveried VR being held "in custody" are correct Chris. From what I remember, West Yorkshire ‘greened’ it, and the union ‘blacked’ it, as they felt that this move could be the start of an eventual takeover of large parts of WYRCC by the PTE. After much reassurance that this would not be the case, the VR later re-entered service in its new colours. West Yorkshire’s GM, Brian Horner, did his utmost to limit the number of company vehicles repainted verona green and buttermilk within the fleet, to the minimum required however. It was felt that because the company had an extensive network outside the PTE area, it would have been impractical (and inefficient) in having to repaint buses on transfer from depots within the PTE area to those outside it, and vice versa. The policy did somehow evoke memories of West Riding’s ‘red’ and ‘green’ fleets in times gone by, and I must admit to thinking that the VRTs actually looked quite attractive in the PTE livery (Shhh!).

Brendan Smith


14/05/12 – 07:37

I remember the first Yorkshire and West Yorkshire buses appearing in poppy red, and the arrival of Leyland-Nationals – it all seemed really thrusting and exciting to somebody so young. Then, some years later, when I was travelling from Queensbury to Hipperholme Grammar School by Yorkshire bus I used to beg for a BET-syle Leopard to be rostered, and longed for the days of individual liveries: once, and this must have been in the "first form" (Year 7 now – I’m a teacher and to me its still "first form"), an Albion Lowlander turned up on the school service – I took what I knew would be probably my only opportunity to ride a Lowlander and went past school into Brighouse, with the girls for the Girls Grammar School, where the service terminated, before changing and returning back to Hipperholme, and concocting the sort of ludicrously-contrived excuse for lateness that as a teacher I’ve now learned to identify as xxxxxx! Then when the poppy red of Yorkshire/West Riding/Yorkshire Traction started to be replaced by the insipid verona green/cream of the PTE I started, of course, to crave for poppy red variety: I remember West Yorkshire applied the PTE-style "MetroBus/[Company Name]/From here to there in West Yorkshire" fleetnames but on poppy red – good on them for showing some resistance.
To pick up on David’s comment about PTE policies – PTEs had no compulsory powers of purchase . . . so why did NBC (which was a much larger organisation overall) capitulate to WMPTE and SELNEC? My wife – who is an economics lecturer (OK, we might – in the present climate – have opinions on the credibility of economists) is adamant that raising finance by selling assets is something that should never be done.
As far as the dismemberment of Hebble is concerned, Geoffrey Hilditch – in vol.2 of his memoirs (Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres) – has recorded that there was some ill-feeling within NBC about the way in which Hebble had been seen to be handed over to "Halifax", and as a conciliatory gesture Calderdale JOC then handed a one-bus working on the Bradford-Hipperhome-Brighouse service (ex-Hebble 26/26A Bradford-Hipperholme – extended to Brighouse on "mergeover") to WYRCC, well outside the WYRCC operating area. This seems somewhat ironic since WYRCC had previously inherited Hebble’s share of 64 Bradford-Huddersfield, which – also being well-outside its operating-area it repeatedly tried to pass on to Bradford City Transport (joint operator) in exchange for latter’s operating rights between Saltaire and Crossflats/Eldwick (an area of repeated conflict between BCT and WYRCC).

Philip Rushworth


14/05/12 – 07:38

If you thought that Keighley to Ossett was an unlikely pair of destinations there was another, not so far mentioned, operated by West Riding and co-ordinated with the "2"’s – numbered I recall "3" from Wakefield to Cullingworth !

Gordon Green


14/05/12 – 09:26

I agree entirely with Brendan on the subject of liveries per se, disregarding the rights and wrongs of mergers, takeovers, and "join our flock whether you like it or not" activities. In my opinion Nationals, VRs and Olympians looked very acceptable in original PTE green and cream, once again delightful in "Tilling" red and cream, and absolutely superb and fresh in Yorkshire Rider colours – I was always an ardent admirer of the latter, particularly in view of the quite indecent haste in which it had to be devised for October 26th 1986 : even weeks before that date it was by no means certain in any stable degree whether Metro (WYPTA/PTE) would be a bus operator or simply a service administration organisation. As I was about to take welcome redundancy from a very taxing supervisory job on "D" Day, thereby escaping the battlefield shambles that was to follow, I well remember the uncertainty and stress in all departments. One shining example of the tomfoolery was the conversion of two of Leeds’ very busiest and frequent double decker routes to minibus operation on ridiculously high frequencies and staff wages. If I remember rightly also, due to the hasty birth of the scheme, many of the necessary huge numbers of new Transits and Sherpas were not delivered in time. The scenes that followed on services 6 (Halton Moor to City – formerly Rodley) and 42 (Harehills to Old Farnley) were incredible and would have put Reg Varney, Blakey and the rest of the "On the buses" folks out of business. Sorry to seemingly digress, but its all part of the "out with the old and in with the unwise new" discussion after all.

Chris Youhill


15/05/12 – 07:43

With regard to the comments about PTE policies, the PTEs were able to insist on full control of operators within their areas, but not on ownership – at least not in the early days. However, in the case of North Western, operating as an agent for SELNEC would have meant losing control of most of their operation, with the consequent inability to continue to meet objectives set by the NBC. The sale took place because no satisfactory formula could be found for the two organisations to work together. (Information from A E Jones’s book on North Western in the Glory Days series.)

Peter Williamson


18/05/12 – 07:43

Peter, thank you for clarifying why North Western Road Car was sadly sold to SELNEC by NBC. I have always wondered why this was allowed to happen to such a respected and well-loved Company. It didn’t seem to make sense, but now at last I know. Although co-ordination of public transport was the order of the day, NBC and the ‘corporation’ fleets had different remits regarding services. From the outset NBC was charged with making a profit – taking one year with the next – which it did successfully for most of its existence (making a loss in only five financial years). If any of the municipal operators or PTEs made a loss, they were allowed to subsidise the loss from the rates. NBC also paid Corporation Tax, which the municipalities and PTEs did not, which seemed a little unfair to say the least. Leaving controversial corporate liveries aside, it could be argued that National Bus actually made quite a good fist of running things, considering some of the ‘events’ it had to contend with in its formative years. For example, the large fleet of time-expired buses it inherited from London Transport on the formation of London Country Bus Services. London Country also inherited a large operating area with, in effect, a large ‘hole’ in the middle, and was left without a central repair works, with which to overhaul its fleet. NBC turned its fortunes around eventually, investing heavily in new vehicles, but then had to contend with Midland Red losing its operating heart to West Midlands PTE, which again left another of its larger companies with a ‘hole’ in its operating territory. (At least it retained its renowned central repair works, although ironically this was deep in the heart of ‘enemy’ territory). Coupled with the loss of North Western, it was quite a turbulent time for National Bus, whose senior management must have thought that the PTEs had it cushy!

Brendan Smith


21/05/12 – 09:10

Here is a list of Hebble workings from the mid-1960s – at which time 106 drivers, 61 conductors, and 108 inspectors/clerks/mechanics were employed – (provided by Frank Woodworth, GM), in each case the order is number/route/frequency/depot (Halifax or Bradford)/allocation (brackets = allocation over main):
2 Halifax-Denholme-Keighley, Hourly, H/B, 3 omoSD
7 Halifax-Odsal-Bradford, 20/30 min, H, 3 DD (1 SD)
11 Mountain-Harecroft, Two-hourly, B, 2 omoSD
15 Leeds-Halifax-Burnley, Hourly, H, 3 omoSD / (3 SD) / 2 DD*
17 Halifax-Queensbury-Bradford, 20/30 min, H, 4 DD
18 Duckworth Lane-Bingley, 30/60 min, H/B, 2 omoSD (1 DD)
19 Bradford-Bingley, 20/30 min, B, 4 DD (1 omoSD)
25 Bradford-Buttershaw Estate, 30 min, B, 1 omoSD
26**** Bradford-Lumbrook-Hipperholme, Hourly, B, 1 omoSD
26A**** Bradford-Coley-Hipperholme, Hourly, H, 2 omoSD
28**** Leeds-Halifax-Rochdale, Hourly, H, 5 SD (2 DD)
29 Halifax-Wibsey-Bradford, Sat only, H/B, 2 DD
39 Scholes-Whitcliffe-Cleckheaton, Hourly, H, 1 omoSD**
40 Halifax-Norwood Green-Scholes-Cleckheaton, Hourly, H, 1 omoSD***
64 Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield, 15min, B, 4DD***
*Part omo and DD/SD worked due to need to reverse at Hebden Bridge – Burnley-Hebden Bridge section omo.
**Interworked and joint with YWD, revenue/mileage-agreement.
***Joint with Bradford CT and Huddersfield JOC, each operator kept own takings and duplicated own journeys.
****Later certain journeys diverted via Belle Vue Estate in Shelf and adopted numbers 36, 36A, 38.
At this time Hebble operated 60 vehicles out of Halifax depot, and 22 vehicles out of Bradford depot (which also accommodated 15 YWD vehicles outstationed from its depots).
Of course, Hebble also also operated a small number of express services . . .
J1>, Yorkshire-Blackpool Pool, Year Round
X1, Todmorden-Halifax-Scarborough, Seasonal daily
X2, Todmorden-Halifax-Norwich-Great Yarmouth, Seasonal weekends only (ex. Walton & Helliwell, 1958, extension to Burnley refused)
X3, Bradford-Rochdale, Seasonal weekends only (authorised as link to Devonian services of Yelloway, through vehicles operated)
Which by 1968 had been expanded to;
X4, Todmorden-Halifax-Norfolk Coast-Great Yarmouth, Seasonal weekends only (X3 and X4 now joint with YWD on granting of pick-up points at Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Dewsbury).
X6, Halifax-Woollen District-Lincolnshire Coast-Skegness, Seasonal weekends only (joint with YWD)
X7, Todmorden-Yeadon Airport, Seasonal weekends only.
X28, Halifax-Llandudno, Seasonal weekend-only thorough journey of 28 Halifax-Rochdale jointly with Creams (Lancashire) Ltd
X91 Halifax-Odsal-Leeds-Whitby, July Saturdays only (joint with UAS/WYRCC0.
But the X3 had disappeared! What had happened to X3? Well, by 1968 the Yorkshire-South West "South West Clipper" pool had been established, and Hebble had relinquished its through-workings with Yelloway to become a major participant.
And finally! Between 1955-58 Hebble operated a Clayton-Yews Green circular service following withdrawal of BR services over the Queensbury lines (Queensbury station was some distance below the village and more accessible from the tiny hamlet of Yews Green [which was otherwise devoid of public transport]) – like most rail-replacement services, it didn’t last long. At some point a variation of service 7, Halifax-Shelf-Low Moor BRS, was operated – a special service to a BRS depot, how quaint! I don’t have details of service numbers for Clayton-Yews green or Halifax-Low Moor BRS, but if anybody could oblige I’d be grateful . . .

Philip Rushworth


21/05/12 – 11:21

The service from Clayton to Yews Green used route number 10. I have a number of old Hebble timetables and faretables and when I can unearth them I will check to see if the BRS Depot route had a number. Don’t hold your breath though !

John Stringer


21/05/12 – 15:15

According to the 1970 YWD and Hebble timetable, and the July 68 Yorkshire central timetable the Low Moor service was the 9. However, you didn’t plan a day out on it, because it has the footnote- ‘This service is liable to suspension when not required by British Road Service employees’!!!!!! It also looks like it was a one journey per day service. I do wonder whether it stayed in the garage more than it operated, I don’t recall it passing me on the police station wall at Northowram. I remember the 7, 15, 28 and the piece de resistance, 29 Wibsey Flier, which does make me wonder.

Chris Ratcliffe


22/05/12 – 07:57

How interesting Mr Rushworths list of Hebble services was. I believe one was missed out. Service 38 was Cleckheaton to Windy Bank Estate interworked with service 39 and joint with Y.W.D.

Philip Carlton


22/05/12 – 10:15

Re my earlier comment re the West Riding Cullingworth – Wakefield service I am beginning to think that this might be my memory playing tricks as nobody has picked up on it to confirm. Did it exist ?
Also re Philip Rushworth’s superb list did Hebble 2 eventually divert to Keighley or is this intended to read Bingley

Gordon Green


22/05/12 – 14:38

You’re right, Gordon. There certainly was a Wakefield to Cullingworth service number 3 operated by West Riding. It took an incredible route from Wakefield via Ossett, Dewsbury, Ravensthorpe, Mirfield, Brighouse, Hipperholme, Queensbury, Denholme and Cullingworth. It cut deep into YWD and Hebble territory but must have been a very useful orbital feeder service from the main "trunk" routes to and from Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford and Keighley.

Paul Haywood


22/05/12 – 14:40

It certainly did exist. In the 1968 Central Yorkshire timetable YWD operated the 2, Ossett to Keighley But also Hebble operated a Halifax to Bingley service, so I can see where I got confused with my earlier comment. Two services with the same number run by two companies with a very similar shade of red confusing to a 10/11 year old boy. The 3 ran from Cullingworth to Wakefield via Queensbury, Hipperholme, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Ossett. However, in the 1970 Hebble and Yorkshire timetable, the 2 table is labelled as joint between Hebble and YWD, and it looks like the 2 is the Keighley service operating every 2 hours with the odd short extra here and there, and the Bingley service has become the 2A on the other 2 hours The 3 by then has no operator listed, so I am presuming it was still YWD, and the route has been cut back to Denholme School Street. Later still of course, it was cut back to Queensbury Raggalds Inn. Hope that helps you.

Chris Ratcliffe


There’s a lovely shot of a West Riding Reliance on the Cullingworth service at http://www.sct61.org.uk/wr814

David Beilby


23/05/12 – 09:19

Services 2 and 3 were two of YWD’s earliest motor bus routes. Both were originally operated by YWD only, commencing at Dewsbury, the 2 being Dewsbury to Keighley via Brighouse, Elland Bridge, Halifax, Denholme and Cullingworth, the 3 being Dewsbury to Haworth following the same route to Brighouse, then as described by Paul to Cullingworth then on to Haworth. Then in the late 1930’s an arrangement was made with West Riding Automobile whereby the 2 was extended from Dewsbury to Ossett, and the 3 from Dewsbury to Wakefield – whereupon WRAC began to operate a bus on the service. At the same time the 3 was cut back at its outer end to Cullingworth, the section from there to Haworth passing to West Yorkshire Road Car who incorporated it into their existing services.
As a very young child I can remember seeing West Riding’s green halfcab Leyland Tigers occasionally passing through Hipperholme or Brighouse, but for several years the regular issue were AEC Reliance/Roe’s of the JHL-registered batch, then still in cream with green tops. YWD used Brush-bodied PS1’s or the lengthened PS2/Willowbrooks and Brush-bodied Royal Tigers, before the BET-style Reliances of the DHD batch took over.
The route had to be single decked because of a low bridge in St. Giles Road, Lightcliffe – a road now no longer served by buses.

John Stringer


23/05/12 – 17:02

Thanks to Paul Haywood, Chris Ratcliffe, David Bielby & John Stringer for setting my mind at rest and confirming that my memory still does work (sometimes!) and for providing an interesting history of these various routes.
When I first made my comment I nearly said that I thought that the two routes diverged between Denholme and Brighouse but I wasn’t sure.
I have recently been reading some archived minutes of the old Haworth UDC who in those days had to licence bus operation in their area and who had from time to time deal with complaints about both the YWD and indeed West Yorkshire buses – if I can find them I will post them on this thread.

Gordon Green


24/05/12 – 07:58

Now look what you’ve started, Gordon! Intrigued by the prospect of YWD serving Haworth, something in the back of my mind kept nagging me that I remembered seeing a photo of an old YWD Dennis reportedly pulling up out of Cross Roads (close to Haworth). After much trawling, I found it in on page 101 of "Roads & Rails of West Yorkshire 1890 – 1950" by AE Jones. The photo, taken in 1927, says it is "tackling Manywells Heights between Cross Roads and Denholme, on the arduous route from Keighley". Not recognising the exact location, a map check tells me that it is in fact pulling out of Cullingworth towards Denholme. Also, and this is the intriguing part, the destination shows Halifax. Was this a short-working of the original route 2 to/from Dewsbury to which John refers? What a route that must have been in those early bus days.

Paul Haywood


24/05/12 – 08:00

In response to Philip’s post of 22/5: he is right on both counts – but "2" is imprinted as Halifax-Keighley, and 38 had disappeared before the time of my list (and I forget to add it at the end with the "lost" 9 and 10 [and thanks for that detail]). But thanks for pointing that omission out. I think the 38 was incorporated in/became a YWD route extended through to Heckmondwike (and possibly beyond) – I imagine the Hebble crews would have been pleased, as having only to interwork 39/40 instead of 38/39/40 would have given them additional standing time at Cleckheaton Bus Station (although by the time I was familiar with it it wasn’t a place one wanted to linger! – though the number of bricked-up doorways and windows suggested that it had been a place of greater activity/importance in days gone by).
After Hebble was dismembered its share of 40 (Halifax-Cleckheaton) passed to Calderdale JOC. The standing time at Cleckheaton was transferred to the Halifax end and service 39 became a YWD responsibility. To utilise standing time at the Halifax end the 40 was interworked with Halifax Corporation [sic] route 36 Halifax-Paddock Lane – so I assume that there must have been some financial dealings to compensate the JOC and YWD for operating a Corporation route.
The whole pattern of NBC services in the Leeds-Cleckheaton/Dewsbury-Halifax/Brighouse/Rastick corridor changed under a PTE restructuring on 6th January 1979. This led to the covering of 40 by the extension/diversion of other YWD routes, the replacement of 36 by by a new 36 which had no YWD involvement, and changes to the 278 (eh! what that? – well, its what the "3" had become . . . by then running Dewsbury-Mirfield-Brighouse-Elland-Rastrick [with no West Riding involvement, but a significant YTC input]) which brought it back to the truncated Brighouse-Queensbury section of the Brighouse-Cullingworth section it had forsaken when it took over the Brighouse-Elland/Elland Rasrick sections of a couple of linked YWD Leeds-Elland/Elland-Rastrick services. The Leeds-Brighouse service (?25) which resulted from that split then interworked with the Brighouse-Queensbury section of the old "3" as the "35", later 547 under PTE numbering (the only 5-series YWD service, but so numbered because it ran entirely within Calderdale District and between Brighouse and Hipperholme it "more-or-less" paralled ex-CJOC services (5)48/(5)49). Does any of this make sense? Is anybody still reading?? Well, think of the public!
When I can think straight again I’ll try [sic] to piece together the linked stories of the YWD 2 Dewsbury-Halifax service(the Halifax-Keighley section having bome CJOC "2") and YWD/WROC 3 Wakefield-Cullingworth services/successors post-1969.
Thanks, John, for explaining why YWD/WRAC "3" terminated at such an unlikely spot as Cullingworth – I’d always wondered why it didn’t run on to somewhere more significant (Bingley/Keighley/Haworth/Oxenhope), but I’d never linked this with YWD’s withdrawal from Cullingworth-Howarth.
And, of course it was Gordon and not Philip that pointed out my error re the destination of Hebble "2" – in my defence Ofsted have just visited my place of work, and I’m struggling to get back on track!

Philip Rushworth


24/05/12 – 08:01

The 2/3 service have always been single decked as is the present day 279 [Dewsbury-Halifax] service because of the railway bridge at Elland. This appears to be normal height but there is a nasty girder inside.I believe a driver once was driving the paddy bus and tried to take a short cut back to Heckmondwike depot.

Philip Carlton


24/05/12 – 08:03

I have just found my 1939 Hebble timetable, and I must amend my previous comments, as it shows YWD service 2 operating from Wakefield to Keighley.
Although Service 3 largely followed the A644 between Brighouse and Denholme Gate (where it rejoined Service 2), just before Hove Edge it turned right along Finkil Street, left along Upper Green Lane, and right along the winding Spout House Lane and St. Giles’ Road (round the back of the old Brooke’s Chemical Works) then just before the end of the road it had to make a tight 90 degree left turn under a low arched railway bridge near Lightcliffe Station, necessitating a wide swing on to the opposite side of the road to avoid hitting the arch. It then turned left opposite Lightcliffe Stray and followed the A649 to Hipperholme Crossroads, where it turned right and rejoined the A644.
By 1974 the service was reduced to operating Brighouse to Queensbury only as Service 35 (hourly) by YWD. In the PTE renumbering scheme around 1976 it became Service 547.
Later I seem to recall Yorkshire Traction taking it over (was it 278?) and running it from Dewsbury to Raggalds (an even more obscure place to have a terminus). It was interworked with their 262 Huddersfield to Dewsbury via Hopton route.
Back to Hebble though, and further route numbers used in 1939 were:
8: Halifax-Leeds via Dudley Hill (before being linked to the Rochdale or Burnley routes).
12: Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield Originally each of the joint operators used different numbers from their own series, and this was Hebble’s. Eventually they all agreed to use Bradford’s no. 64.
23: Bradford-Halifax-Blackpool
25: Halifax-Wyke via Norwood Green A route taken over from Calder Bus Service, Bailiff Bridge. Early postwar it was joined to YWD’s 40 Wyke to Cleckheaton service and took the YWD series number.
27: Todmorden-Halifax-Leeds-Scarborough
The routes operated at the time were: 2, 7, 8, 11 (then Mountain-Duckworth Lane), 12, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26 (no 26A via Coley then), 27, 28, 29.
The Blackpool and Scarborough services are not shown as having route numbers in the timetable, but they are shown as 23 & 27 on the route map in the back.
I was always mystified by the seemingly haphazard numbering system Hebble used for its routes, with many missing numbers, but these appear to represent the routes that Hebble originally operated in the 1920’s but which passed to Halifax Joint Committee in 1929. What does not quite add up though is that Hebble did not use route numbers until the 1930’s, so why leave gaps for routes that they had not run for a number of years ? Either Norman Dean just had a great sense of history, having been responsible for setting up those routes in the first place, or maybe Hebble had used route numbers all along for internal purposes, but just had not seen the need to display them on the vehicles. Who knows ?
I have tried to make a list of all the start dates for the various services, then allocate chronological route numbers to them, and they almost fit – but not quite.
Anyway, where does Hebble’s Fleetline come into all this ???

John Stringer


24/05/12 – 10:37

Going even farther from the Hebble Fleetline, it seems clear that operators up and down the land "did their own thing" as regards route numbering. I wonder if some were being far-sighted, leaving gaps so that they could allocate numbers in sequence to existing routes when new variants were introduced. Derby Corporation (in the early 60s) had routes 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 39, 39A, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 49A, 50, 51, 51A, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 66, 70, 74, 77, 88, 90, 91 – a total of 40 (but no route 1!) – and another quixotic touch was that originally all multiples of 11 were trolleybuses! Odd workings, school, works services etc. nearly always showed route 02. Midland General/Notts & Derby went for single letter and single digit number for their routes (A1 to A9, B1 to B9 etc). I have mentioned elsewhere that Trent’s jointly operated routes did not harmonise their route numbers, so for example Nottingham – Worksop – Doncaster was a Trent 64 or East Midland 36. (Surprisingly, in old days East Midland destination blinds actually showed both numbers.) And now bureaucracy thinks we are all so thick that we cannot be trusted to distinguish between a red 52 and a blue one. Every service has to be different, giving rise to daft astronomical numbers even for operators who only run a couple of routes.

Stephen Ford


24/05/12 – 10:38

John, what a complex history routes 2 and 3 had! I’ve just looked at a copy of an undated (but claiming to be 1940’s) YWD map which shows the 2 terminating at Dewsbury, and the 3 continuing to Wakefield.
Putting on my tram fan cap, and reverting to the early services, there can’t have been many bus services anywhere in the country which would have paralleled or crossed so many tram systems.
Lets imagine YWD route 3 in (say) 1930, starting at Keighley; early "trackless" (to Utley); Bradford trams (crossing at Queensbury); Halifax trams (crossing at Stone Chair and following Hipperholme to Brighouse); Huddersfield trams (meeting at Brighouse and nearly meeting at Cooper Bridge); YWD trams (Ravensthorpe to Dewsbury); Dewsbury & Ossett trams (from Dewsbury to Ossett) and finally meeting WR trams at Ossett. Six tramways and one early trolleybus route on one stage-carriage bus route. If the longer route 2 via Halifax was followed from Keighley to Wakefield, that would have missed the Bradford trams. Now those certainly would have been rides to remember!

Paul Haywood


24/05/12 – 10:39

As a long forgotten radio comedian used as his catch phrase – " I only asked" !!

Gordon Green


25/05/12 – 07:32

John is right, the discussion has deviated – but what a richness of information has come to light! And how else could we share such knowledge? Back to the original post then. Why did Hebble buy just the one Northern Counties bodied Fleetline – for a fleet with with maintenance problems it could only have added to their difficulties, why not two or three? Was the decision influenced by Halifax’s purchasing policy at the time?? – did Hebble think that they might obtain spares from a neighbour??? Am I right in thinking that part of a batch of Alexander-bodied Fleetlines delivered to YWD was, when the fleets were under common management, originally destined for Hebble? (one of these did subsequently pass to Hebble, didn’t it? and into the Calderdale fleet [EFE did produce a model of this, but in the wrong height I think] . . . which must in turn have caused Calderdale problems in keeping body spares for a unique vehicle). Does anybody out there remember the interior of the Hebble Fleetline?: Halifax’s had a pale green melamine interior panel – what colour was Hebble’s?
Its all fascinating stuff.
To answer part (d) of Dave’s question, from almost a year ago – Walnut Street Depot is long gone, Walnut Street still exists, but the site of the Hebble depot is now occupied by a light industrial unit. And in response to Philip’s post of 8/5, the major improvement (in 1961) was the move of the stores unit which had divided the Walnut Street depot into separate "highbridge" and "lowbridge" sections and the raising of the roof of the lower half, such that the whole of the depot was capable of accommodating highbridge vehicles (prior to this highbridge Regent Vs had their grill-surrounds painted white to identify them as such).
And finally. To fill in a missing bit from my post of 12/5 and link with John’s post of 23/5, in the late 1960s the hourly Hebble 2 (Halifax-Bingley) and YWD 2 (Ossett-Halifax-Keighley) were integrated as 2/2A Ossett-Halfax-Keighley/Bingley each running 2-hourly – though Hebble never ran on the Keighley branch.
What a fascinating time this must have been for bus enthusiast – I’m about ten years too young to have experienced this era in all its glory, so this site is a haven!

Philip Rushworth


25/05/12 – 07:32

Service 278 was Dewsbury to The Ragalds Inn worked by Heckmondwike depot and also as stated 262 Dewsbury to Huddersfield. I once was on 278 and had the need to get some change at the Ragalds. I was given grief by the landlord who stated he was running a pub not a bank.

Philip Carlton


25/05/12 – 15:13

It always seemed strange to me that Hebble’s Fleetline was so similar to Halifax’s, the BET-style curved screen but flat upper deck front not being taken by any BET company as far as I am aware. This style was used by other municipalities such as Swindon and Chester, and by Western SMT.
Hebble operated increasingly under the wing of YWD, sometimes following their vehicle buying policy – such as Regent V’s and Ford coaches, yet shunning Leopards after an initial six in 1963 and reverting to Reliances. YWD had taken eleven Alexander-bodied Fleetlines the previous year, and was to take more – and also Atlanteans – the year after, but in 1966 they took no double deckers so Hebble could not have just tagged an extra bus onto their order. Also the YWD buses were of an intermediate height of around 14ft., and Hebble may have wanted the full 14ft. 6in. Northern Counties were suppliers of Fleetlines to the BET Group, but if the order was a bit of a last minute job it may just have been convenient to slip in an extra one to Halifax specification in front of their own order. Its chassis and body numbers were separate from Halifax’s though.
The Hebble bus arrived some while earlier than Halifax’s and at first was used on the Halifax-Bradford routes 7/17, but later one of YWD’s Alexander-bodied Fleetlines (BHD 222C) was transferred to Hebble in order that they could have two Fleetlines to operate on the 64 Bradford-Huddersfield service. This bus looked really great in Hebble’s livery.
Though both passed initially into YWD ownership at the winding up, they were soon passed on to Halifax, BJX 222C strangely going to the Corporation as 103, displacing their existing 103 to the J.O.C. as 293. DJX 351D went to the J.O.C. as 294, and it was interesting to see how similar yet different it looked in Halifax livery.
I drove both buses a lot during their time at Halifax/WYPTE. Both seemed to have a different braking system to our own Fleetlines, having a harder pedal and being much more difficult to stop – especially on steep downhill gradients of which there are one or two round here. We later acquired five ex-Leeds Fleetlines 101-105 LNW and these were the same. I believe these older ones had a Westinghouse rather than Clayton Dewandre system, but am not certain.
294 had numerous detail difference from our own, the most noticeable being the large single aperture destination and route number box, compared to Halifax rather fussy three-piece ones. The doors were of the 4-piece jack-knife type, against our owns’ 2-piece glider doors. This meant nearside visibility was slightly impaired, but at least they did not blow open in crosswinds, or generally flop about and let draughts in. It had a small glass panel, originally illuminated with the Hebble name, in the upper deck rear panel, where ours had route number indicators. The interior had a kind of reddish/salmon coloured Formica on the lower panels compared to Halifax’s pale green, and the seats were trimmed in reddish colours. I may be wrong, but I think the staircase was a different shape.
Like Chris R. I was not too keen on 294, but then I thoroughly disliked all the older Fleetlines. They were heavy, with vague steering, the front ends of the NCME bodies were weak, and the windscreens worked loose, and on a few occasions fell out into the road – or blew out from the inside when the crosswinds blew the doors open ! Their flywheels slipped, brakebands slipped, they fumed, overheated and were desperately hard riding at the front. Ugh !! However, setting aside its deficiencies, being a J.O.C. bus it was used a lot on the Halifax-Bradford 76/77 services and at least I could pretend to be working for Hebble.
103’s Alexander body seemed much better built and had no rattles. The lower build gave it far better roadholding with no rolling and swaying. The driver’s cab was a bit cramped, and you seemed to sit much closer to the offside. The cab ceiling was lower and it was easy to almost perforate the side of one’s head on the row of flick switches (for the interior lights) whose box jutted out at just the wrong place. I used to really like 103, which once WYPTE took over was no longer confined to A-Side routes and I always used to try to get it on Bradford.
All the NCME Fleetlines were structurally weak at the front, and the shrouded rear ends caused problems, and in WYPTE days all were rebuilt and strengthened, and had the rear shrouds removed – including the Hebble one. At the same time it gained the still non-standard destination box shown on the photo.
In 1971 – now under much closer control by YWD – Hebble had two Alexander-bodied Fleetlines and three Marshall-bodied Leopard PSU3B’s on order, but these were delivered to YWD as part of the JHD-J and KHD-K batches respectively.

John Stringer


26/05/12 – 06:23

In later life many of the Halifax Fleetlines were fitted with Leeds style front destination boxes with the three track number blind below a final destination

Chris Hough


26/05/12 – 06:26

LHL 162F_lr

Whilst on the subject (by the way what was the subject ?) here is a scan from a slide I took on 30th May 1968 of West Riding Roe-bodied Panther 162 (LHL 162F) on Service 3, returning from Cullingworth to Wakefield along Brighouse & Denholmegate Road between Queensbury and Stone Chair roundabout.

John Stringer


28/05/12 – 08:23

Just a few more scraps of Hebble route information for Philip Rushworth (everybody else must have given up the will to live by now !)
The 26A variation via Coley started in 6/39 – just after my 1939 timetable must have been published.
The Hebble 25 (Wyke) and YWD 40 were combined in 1952.
The 25 Buttershaw commenced in 1955.
64 was adopted by all operators for Bradford-Huddersfield in 6/55.
At the same time as the 10 (Clayton Circular) started (23/5/55) there was also a 9 (Wibsey-Cullingworth via Harecroft). Both ceased on 1/10/58.

John Stringer


DJX 351D Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


29/01/14 – 06:16

I read that one outcome of the 1971 NBC mergers was the replacement of most of services 2 and 3 by a service from Wakefield to Halifax (79, now 278). This seems an obvious route now and strange that it didn’t exist until 1971, but I suppose the regulatory regime/area agreements must have been responsible.

Geoff Kerr


 

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