Old Bus Photos

Rotherham Corporation – Daimler CVG – CET 76C – 76

Rotherham Corporation - Daimler CVG - CET76C - 76

Rotherham Corporation
1965
Daimler CVG6LX
Roe H39/31F

It’s an August Sunday evening in 1967 at the Chapeltown terminus of the service from Rotherham. Huddersfield had batches of almost identical vehicles but these Rotherham ones were classy – they had hopper saloon windows! I never travelled on a Rotherham example but I hope they had more comfortable seats than the thin lightweight ones favoured by Huddersfield. As a bus, they were pretty indestructible in service although at 7 year recertification most had fractured rear body crossmembers. Enjoy the livery, swept away in the monolithic era of the PTE.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


19/02/15 – 15:57

Leeds City Transport also had a batch of five of these vehicles, two of which are preserved. I enjoyed a ride on one last autumn at the Skipton running day. The Leeds buses were bought specifically for a service which was operated jointly with Bradford Corporation, which used forward entrance vehicles. Leeds otherwise stuck to rear entrances until the advent of rear engined buses.
I have never worked on forward entrance half cabs, but I wonder if there really was an advantage, or was it a case of following fashion? I have heard tales of conductors not liking them because there is nowhere to stand out of the way at bus stops. Certainly from the point of view of lower deck passengers, forward entrance buses had very poor forward vision.
I’ve always liked Daimlers, and this one is enhanced by the "streamlined" livery. The service number blind looks odd, was there a large gap between the two digits?

Don McKeown


20/02/15 – 07:45

Don, Rotherham buses (certainly up to the mid 60s) always had the gap between the two numeral blinds. How could I have forgotten the similar Leeds Daimlers? Not only did I operate them at both Huddersfield and Halifax but 874 frequently operates the free Worth Valley Railway countryside tour service when the weather is unsuitable for the open top ex Southdown PD3.

Ian Wild


20/02/15 – 16:35

Derby also had separated digits to the route numbers – they even had completely separate apertures. Many Derby residents took this a bit literally. The no.11 to "Kedleston Road/Allestree Lane" often being referred to as a "one-one" rather than eleven.

Stephen Ford


22/02/15 – 07:53

Rotherham – Chapeltown was service 16, although I can’t make out what is actually being shown.

Geoff Kerr


22/02/15 – 07:53

CET 76C_2

Best I can do with what I have I’m afraid, I have sharpened it up a bit. Looks like route 2_6 to me.

Peter


22/02/15 – 14:02

My 1971 timetable and a photograph I took in 1970 at the same location both agree with Geoff, so unless the service had been renumbered the bus is showing the wrong number.

David Beilby


23/02/15 – 07:34

Leicester also had separate apertures for both numbers and a third for the destination.

Chris Hough


23/02/15 – 17:14

The 26 service was to Aston, on the other side of the town, so perhaps the driver has simply put the wrong digit up. The destination showing is ‘ROTHERHAM’, of course, which is what the corporation buses showed when working back towards town.

Dave Careless


 

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Rotherham Corporation – Daimler CVG6 – MET 125 – 125

Rotherham Corporation - Daimler CVG6 - MET 125 - 125
Copyright John Stringer

Rotherham Corporation
1955
Daimler CVG6
Weymann L27/26R

After years of handling crash gearboxed Bristols and latterly Crossleys, Rotherham Corporation’s drivers probably had mixed feelings about being presented with their first preselectors in the form of these 1955 Daimler CVG6’s. In certain respects physically easier to drive than what had gone before, they would have had that unfortunate tendency to occasionally kick back through the gearchange pedal if the driver forgot himself (or herself, as I believe the Department was unusual at the time in employing a woman driver – have I got that right?) and tried to ride the pedal like a clutch, or did not press it firmly to the floor with confidence – likely to cause a painful injury to the ankle, shin or knee. The body was Weymann’s much more pleasantly proportioned (in my opinion) alternative to the plain Metro Cammell Orion – in this case in its lowbridge form. Photographed at Rotherham’s Rawmarsh Road depot in 1968, it was withdrawn in 1971.

Photograph and Copy contributed by

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.


01/03/13 – 06:09

At first glance, it looks like the Swindon/Thamesdown livery (to me but my eyesight isn’t perfect!). Is it the film, the processing or the lighting? We’ve followed that route elsewhere on this site. Nice view, John!

Pete Davies


01/03/13 – 06:09

Known as the Aurora, this was far more well known as a four bay high-bridge design and, certainly by 1955, 8′ wide. This made these unusual in several respects. CVG6s figured in Rotherham orders for a good ten years – with mostly Roe, but also some more Weymann bodies. [I have not had the experience but always thought the pre-selectors with the kick back were the spring operated versions. Were these late pre-selectors spring or air operated?]

David Oldfield


01/03/13 – 06:10

John Rotherham did have female drivers in the post war period I can remember an article in the Daily Mirror in the late sixties about the ladies concerned .
One of these Daimlers is now preserved at the South Yorkshire Transport Museum.

Chris Hough


01/03/13 – 08:11

Strictly, not, Chris. It’s a 1954 high-bridge…..

David Oldfield


01/03/13 – 11:33

Sheffield city centre, and immediate surrounds, used to see such a wonderful variety of liveries including this Rotherham example, the old & new Doncaster, Tracky, West Riding, Sheffield United Tours, Mexborough & Swinton, East Midland’s chocolate, biscuit and cream, (later replaced by their dark red/maroon) Wigmore blue and grey, Chesterfield’s rich dark green and cream, not to mention the plethora of independent coach operators, each with instantly identifiable colours. What a tragic shame that all were washed away by either the PTE or National blandness. Sheffield’s own livery was, of course, my personal favourite. Thankfully, users of this site keep posting nostalgia! Keep ’em coming.

Les Dickinson


01/03/13 – 11:34

What exactly was Rotherham’s requirement for lowbridge vehicles? They seem to have had a mixed fleet and towards the end of their separate existence, the lowbridge or low height contingent diminished, so were the offending bridges removed?
I’m in complete agreement about the pleasant proportions, this style was a nice alternative to the Orion, particularly in lowbridge form.

Chris Barker


01/03/13 – 11:34

The livery looks about right, Pete although the cream could be lighter and the blue royaller. They also went in for Arriva-style "swerves" with the cream at the front, but probably thought these tin-fronts swervy enough.

Joe


01/03/13 – 13:47

You’re so right Les, we lost a lot with coffee, cream and white.
Lots of roads were dropped under bridges to allow more headroom for full height vehicles. Interesting, though, that Rotherham had these splendid vehicles at almost the same time as Sheffield had their monstrous low-bridge Orion Regent IIIs. What a difference a few months can make.
Just had a cataract operation, Pete/Joe. Boy what a difference in colours with "new eyes". That could also be a factor.

David Oldfield


01/03/13 – 13:48

I well remember my first sighting of one of these, when brand new 124 showed up one Sunday afternoon on the route running through our Rotherham housing estate, which had no requirement for lowbridge buses at all, and was normally handled by Crossleys. I was seven at the time, and was so amazed by it, that I persuaded my father to take me for a ride to Canklow and back on one the following weekend, just so I could sample one of the new buses.
At the time, Rotherham needed lowbridge buses on the 33 to Treeton and the 19 service to Dinnington, joint with East Midland, but these Daimlers quite often appeared on the workers services to Templeborough (70) and the 17 to ‘Yorkshire Engine Company’!
With respect to the pre-selector gearboxes, I do recall a piece in the local Rotherham paper in the early 60’s, reporting on the fact that at least a couple of accidents had been attributed to driver inexperience with the gearbox controls, the vehicles in question having suddenly jumped ahead while stationery, one I believe knocking down a pedestrian on a zebra crossing. There were questions asked at the time about the necessity for more extensive driver training etc. I presume the pre-selectors would have been considered a lot easier to master by the drivers who were having to be retrained from trolleybus work, as a fair number of them would have moved over to the buses when the Maltby conversion took place in 1954, utilising the highbridge version of the same chassis shown here. Rotherham’s only woman driver of the period, Winifred Hallam, wouldn’t have had any trouble with the pre-selectors I’m sure; she was licensed to drive trams, trolleybuses and motor buses, the only woman in the country to hold that distinction, so I understand.
Three lowbridge Leyland TD7’s were purchased as a stopgap measure from Chesterfield Corporation in 1956, whilst delivery of three Roe bodied CVG6’s was awaited. These were already at the end of their lives, and quickly disappeared as soon as the trio of new Daimlers arrived the following year.

Dave Careless


02/03/13 – 07:21

Glad your operation was both successful and a revelation, David O!

Chris Hebbron


02/03/13 – 07:22

In answer to your question about gearboxes, David, the answer is spring-operated, if it had a kick-back. For once, this is a type of transmission I’m thankful I’ve never needed to contend with!
By 1955 an AEC with preselect could certainly be considered ‘late’ since the Regal IV & Regent III were just about to be superseded by the Reliance & Regent V – which featured Monocontrol, if they weren’t manual. For a Daimler, however. I’m pretty sure that preselects remained available in the CVG6 range right up to the end of production in 1968/9.
As to when spring-operated gearboxes gave way to air-operated (on Daimlers) I’ve always assumed it was the late 1950s, but I may be corrected on that.

David Call


02/03/13 – 09:22

Thanks, Chris, for your good wishes.
Thanks, David, re pre-selects – although I am aware that late Daimlers had moved from pre-select to semi-auto control. [Huddersfield and the route 72 Leeds models spring to mind.] Whether anyone opted for pre-selectors after this time, I wouldn’t like to say.
Spent a delightful day with an ex Morecambe 9612E a year or two ago but have also driven many miles with Scania Comfort-shift coaches – which you drive "as a pre-selector". […..even though it’s a synchromesh box.]

David Oldfield


02/03/13 – 14:06

I believe Northampton’s Daimlers retained pre-selector boxes right up to the last batch delivered in 1968.

Eric Bawden


02/03/13 – 14:06

My recollection is that all of Derby Corporation’s Daimler CVG6’s were pre-selectors – from the initial 10 with Park Royal bodywork (115-124, i.e. KRC115-125) supplied in 1957 to the very last Roe-bodied ones supplied in 1966 (185-189, i.e. KRC185-189D). I am not sure whether the gear change layout correlates with spring versus air-operated change, but I distinctly remember that all of these had an H-gate selector under the left-hand side of the steering wheel (like the AEC Regent), rather than the quadrant under the right hand side, as on the CVD6 (and I think the earlier COG5).

Stephen Ford


02/03/13 – 14:07

David, I have established beyond reasonable doubt that preselects were available on CVG6s up to the end of production, since the very last ones (for Northampton) were themselves preselect. One thing of which I was certainly not aware (and which came as a big surprise) was the fact that these last apparently featured spring-operated gearboxes, and vacuum brakes. So not only were preselects available to the end of production, spring-operated ones were (as well as, presumably, air-operated ones).
Northampton were certainly not alone in continuing to specify preselect gearboxes, I do know that the three CVG6LX-30s delivered to Swindon in 1967 were preselect – one of these, 145 (JAM 145E), I believe continues as a heritage vehicle with Swindon’s successor, Thamesdown Transport. I would be very surprised if there were not other operators who specified preselects to the end, simply because preselects were what they were accustomed to. As you say, semi-auto certainly became the norm in later years – I think they were probably available from the start of CVG6-30 production, c1956.

David Call


03/03/13 – 07:51

Thanks for putting me right Eric, Stephen and David.

David Oldfield


03/03/13 – 07:51

PMT’s 30 CVG5 of 1956 were vacuum braked with spring operated gear change. I only got my ankle wrapped round the driver’s seat once – that was enough!! Their sole CVD6-30 of 1958 was air braked with semi automatic gear change. If the bus was vacuum braked then the gear change would have to be spring operated – no air system for any other type of operation.

Ian Wild


03/03/13 – 07:52

There were three types of selector used on Daimler CVs, but they didn’t quite correspond to the three gearbox options. The quadrant was only used with the spring-operated preselector gearbox and vacuum brakes, and was replaced by the H-gate (with horizontal lever) in the mid-1950s. This was used with both spring-operated and air-operated preselector gearboxes, the former with vacuum brakes and the latter with air. The third option was the Daimatic (direct-acting semi-automatic) transmission, which used an H-gate with vertical lever, as on the Fleetline, with air brakes obviously. All three transmission options were eventually available on the 27ft CVG6; the CVG6-30 could have either of the two air-braked options, while the humble CVG5 was only ever available with the spring-operated preselector and vacuum brakes.

Peter Williamson


MET 125 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


21/03/13 – 17:24

I seem to remember preselector gearboxes on AEC IIIs in Sheffield in the 50s. With so many "vertical streets" in Sheffield. it was hard to set off on a hill start with a bus full & a crash gearbox. On the route I used to travel most, the 34 Graves Park & 35 Hollythorpe Rise, the crash boxed buses would have to set off in 1st gear, then by the time they tried to get 2nd selected, the bus had come to a stop! They then had to go back to 1st gear & repeat the process. The AEC were the standard for these routes with different coachwork of Northern Coachworks, Weymann & possibly Cravens on the 33 route, Hemsworth. Hemsworth is one of the highest parts in Sheffield with a watertower to supply our water. We also had the 36 Heeley Green at rush hours, they all took the same hilly route as far as Heeley Green. Could my memory be right on the preselectors?

Andy Fisher

Forgot to add, at most of the terminus, they had water with watering cans, for the driver to top them up when they were boiling, Many times they would still be boiling, coming down the hills to the city centre, so they must have got very hot.


22/03/13 – 07:53

1947 – 1950 all Regent IIIs were (air operated) pre-select. The PD2s were manual but from 1952 all Regent IIIs and Vs were synchromesh until 1963. From 1957 PD2s/PD3s had the new "semi-crash" box. These latter were the biggest culprits in the "will they, won’t they" hill start when full stakes.

David Oldfield


22/03/13 – 07:56

Scroll down, Andy, to 5/11/12 on the link below and the photo will show a familiar sight! www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Chris Hebbron


 

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Rotherham Corporation – Crossley DD42/8 – HET 509 – 209

Rotherham Corporation - Crossley DD42/8 - HET 509 - 209
Copyright John Stringer

Rotherham Corporation
1952
Crossley DD42/8
Crossley H30/26R

Lined up at Rotherham Corporation’s rather gloomy depot in 1968 are 211, 212 and 209 – 1952 Crossley DD42/8’s with Crossley bodywork to their later four-bay design. The HET-registered batch were the very last ‘proper’ Crossleys ever built. They must have been near to withdrawal, if not already withdrawn, because very shortly afterwards 213 – the last Crossley ever delivered (though 214 was numerically the last) was presented to the British Transport Museum, but turned up in my home town, on indefinite loan to Halifax Corporation, where the GM – Geoffrey Hilditch – was assembling a fascinating assortment of old buses to present in that year’s 70th Anniversary Parade (see Roger Cox’s Gallery – 1968 Halifax Parade). It remained there for a few years, even being called upon to perform Driver Training duties on occasions in the early 1970’s. It was entered in the 1973 Trans-Pennine Rally, and I had the privilege of driving it back from Harrogate to Halifax – my only Crossley driving experience. Despite all the criticism heaped on the make over the years, and though it was a bit on the slow side with rather heavy steering, I still found it a pleasant bus to drive, with a lovely gear change, and it was one of the nicest riding buses I have ever driven. So there !

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

———

12/04/12 – 06:22

To be fair John, it was parsimonious management and badly designed engines that did for Crossley and there are probably a lot of people out here who would agree with you. AEC helped, but it came too late, and the bodies continued and were, for the most part, very good.

David Oldfield

———

12/04/12 – 06:23

Hi John,
Splendid line up of Crossleys’.
This body design already seems to have some Park Royal influence even by 1952, as did some Roe bodies of the same period.

Eric Bawden

———

12/04/12 – 17:58

As well as the Rotherham Crossley Halifax had an ex JMT TD1 and an ex-Red Line AEC Regal. When Geoff Hilditch went to Leicester the trio were used on a round the park service on the occasion of the depot open day to mark the end of open platform buses in October 1982. Also there was a one and a half deck trolleybus that came from Leicesters twin town Aachen. The Crossley is in the Science Museum Reserve collection the fate of the others is unknown.

Chris Hough

———

13/04/12 – 06:08

Is the Aachen Trolley the one at Sandtoft which looks like the result of a nasty accident?

Joe

———

13/04/12 – 06:08

My previous post wrongly ascribed the one and half deck trolley to Aachen rather than Krefeld. Apologies to all in Leicester.

Chris Hough

———

13/04/12 – 06:09

I travelled on these Crossleys on many occasions on service 69 from Sheffield to Rotherham when I spent 5 months at a basic training workshop at Parkgate, just up the road from the Rotherham Depot. I always felt that Rotherham buses were somewhat inferior to those of my native Sheffield. I can only ever remember Rotherham’s Crossleys turning up on the 69 although doubtless other makes must have been used on occasions. The final leg of my journey to Parkgate was by Mexborough and Swinton, usually on a lowbridge Atlantean – I still recall that Mexborough and Swinton seemed to have 100% conductresses on their buses. They also acquired several batches of Leylands of varying types from Southdown which gave added interest.

Ian Wild

———

13/04/12 – 06:09

Hilditch’s vintage collection also included an ex-JMT Leyland Lion PLSC (repainted into Edinburgh livery for an appearance in the film ‘The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie’), and an ex-Swindon Guy Arab II with wonderfully original Weymann utility body. The Regal was actually ex-Red Bus, Mansfield. It was petrol engined, and a fine bus indeed. There was also a mightily impressive bonneted Leyland Lioness all weather coach.

John Stringer

———

14/04/12 – 07:05

The Krefeld trolleybus is part of the Aberdeen and District Preservation Trust and is kept at the Grampian Transport Museum at Alford in Aberdeenshire.

Stephen Bloomfield

———

14/04/12 – 08:14

DM 6228_lr
Copyright Bob Gell

This is the Leyland Lioness referred to by John Stringer, which I photographed at Cobham in April 2002. Quite a magnificent vehicle!
A few years ago (2005), the Red Bus Regal and the Swindon utility Guy were in the Science Museum Reserve Collection at Wroughton, Wiltshire. They seem to have occasional Open Days and it is well worth a visit.

Bob Gell

———

25/11/12 – 08:25

Having once had the pleasure of driving Oldham 368, I can totally agree with John Stringer’s view of the Crossley driving experience. However, unlike most people I am not convinced that it was the Crossley engine that did for the company. By all accounts AEC’s modifications solved the problems well enough, and if the market had remained buoyant I see no reason why Crossley’s fortunes should not have revived. But in fact the bottom dropped out of the bus market in 1950, at which point wartime shortages had all been alleviated and most tramway conversion projects completed. This left the bus manufacturing industry as a whole with too much production capacity, and what nobody ever mentions is that Crossley was in the uniquely vulnerable position of being totally reliant on bus production for its survival (the Crossley Brothers engine builder being a separate concern). Everyone else had other activities to dilute the effect of the reduction in bus orders – cars in the case of Daimler, and goods vehicles in all other cases – but Crossley simply had nothing else to do.

Peter Williamson

———

25/11/12 – 11:14

There’s a good deal of truth in Peter’s observations but Crossley’s was also a cast iron case of "give a dog a bad name", coupled to the fact – borne out in time – that the ACV group would not support the marque as a separate entity.
The badging of the prototype Bridgemaster as a Crossley, an odd thing to do with a vehicle aimed primarily at BET, may have raised hopes in Heaton Chapel but was very much a false dawn, as was the badge engineering of Regent chassis as Crossleys and BUT trolleybuses and the use of Park Royal’s body designs by the body building side of the business.
Many publications and "those in the know" point to the move across the boundary to Stockport as a factor in Manchester’s rejection of the marque – some say THE major factor in the demise of the business – but, whilst politics and the local economy certainly played a major part in Crossley obtaining and retaining Manchester’s business up to the engine problems, and then Stockport’s after the move – hardly a like for like swap(!), I’ve not seen any evidence of the rejection being other than based on sound technical and business grounds.
Manchester, unlike Birmingham, another major Crossley user, certainly continued to order vehicles in quantity on an annual basis throughout the 1950s. The two chassis type policy (Leyland and Daimler) adopted by Manchester was at the behest of A F Neal, not the politicians, at a time when Manchester was very much involved in getting the best out of its Crossleys and, given a large proportion of the workforce were Manchester ratepayers, had there been any belief in the long term future for the type within the excellence of the ACV group, there would have been no good reason for Manchester to abandon the breed.

Phil Blinkhorn

———

27/11/12 – 07:27

Again, I’m not convinced that further patronage from MCTD would have made a great deal of difference to Crossley, given the sudden drastic reduction in the operator’s annual requirements. If "The Manchester Bus" is to be believed, all buses delivered up to and including 1951 had been ordered (in principle if not in detail) back in 1945/6, so that the decision not to buy any further Crossleys had no effect until at least the 1953 deliveries, by which time AEC had pulled the plug. And even if they hadn’t, what then? Triple sourcing for only 100 vehicles per year would not have done Crossley a great deal of good. And MCTD was hardly likely to abandon Daimler after discovering the delights of Gardner engines and fluid flywheels. I just don’t see it.

Peter Williamson

———

27/11/12 – 13:11

Historically, Manchester was Crossley’s biggest customer for both bus chassis and bodies. In the 1930s,for political reasons, the Transport Committee insisted that the bulk of orders go to Crossley. From the beginning of 1930 to the end of 1940 no less than 772 chassis were delivered and Crossley either built, finished or provided frames for around 800 bodies, both figures include trolleybuses.
From 1945 to 1950 (1951 in the case of trolleybuses) 355 all Crossley buses and trolleybuses were delivered plus a further 50 bodies on the CVG5s, out of a total of 598 deliveries of all makes received by MCTD, a further 100 all Leyland/Leyland MCW vehicles from the immediate post war orders being delivered in 1951.
The Phoenix bodied Daimler CVG6s, delivered in 1950/1 were not ordered until 1948 but I can’t state with certainty if this was before of after AEC’s purchase of Crossley, I suspect the latter.
It is obvious from the work that went on between MCTD and Crossley during WW2 on both chassis and, particularly, body development that Manchester was still very much linked to Crossley as its major supplier.
Back in the 1930s Stuart Pilcher had persuaded the Transport Committee to accept Leyland tenders as a second string supplier so all his eggs wouldn’t be in the basket of a company that wasn’t always consistent in its product development and production.
The Daimler orders in the run up to war were only placed because Crossley were directed by government to concentrate on military production and Pilcher wasn’t going to be left bereft of vehicles in his drive to rid Manchester of trams.
Had Crossley heeded Manchester’s interest in the Gardner/Wilson combination instead of its own power/drivetrain ideas it probably would have survived the down turn.
Albert Neal was frustrated by Crossley’s intransigence over the HOE7 debacle. We don’t have records of the many meetings and phone calls to back up the letters that exist between the two concerns but it is a safe bet that long before the AEC takeover a decision had been forming to reduce the dependence on Crossley and the takeover changed the thinking from a reduction of dependence to total divorce.
The Phoenix bodied CVG6 order was the first indication to the outside world of the way the wind was blowing and in 1949 the Transport Committee formally confirmed that the Department’s policy would, in future, be split 50/50 Leyland and Daimler with MCW as the preferred body builder.
So how does my contention that Manchester’s continued patronage of Crossley would have saved the company stand up?
It is true that the general bus market declined after the rash of orders immediately following the cessation of hostilities. The figures, however, speak for themselves. Manchester took delivery of no fewer than 601 vehicles between the last of the post war orders which for the sake of my argument has Leyland 3299 being the last, and the end of December 1958 – the 601 thus includes the Phoenix bodied Daimlers.
Based on previous ordering patterns, had Crossley listened to Manchester’s needs, they would certainly have picked up the orders that went to Coventry (270 chassis)and there is every reason to believe that a good proportion of the orders that went to Leyland would have gone to Errwood Park. As there was great satisfaction with the bodies Crossley had produced or finished, again it is almost certain a good proportion of the bodies required would have emerged from Errwood Rd, especially given Neal’s dislike of the early MCW Orion offerings.
As it turned out Errwood Park did get a final order from Manchester for 62 BUT trolleybuses (basically Regent chassis with locally produced Metrovick control gear) but Burlingham got the body contract, Piccadilly wanting nothing with a Crossley badge and justified the vehicles under its two chassis policy as BUT was a 50/50 AEC/Leyland company.
So, with Crossley under the AEC banner but still active at Errwood Rd, why didn’t the Department buy locally produced motor buses especially as AEC eventually solved the engine problem and, given their willingness to have Gardner engines mounted on Regent chassis, would presumably have been more than happy to work with MCTD to produce a Gardner/Crossley combination which would have resulted in a reasonable flow of orders?
The answer is down to politics, but nothing to do with the move to Stockport. In the early 1930s Stuart Pilcher pressed hard to have orders for AECs approved, on sound technical grounds. The transport committee, given the Great Depression, insisted on orders going to Crossley and it might be said that the bus side of the business both survived and benefitted technically from the largesse of the Committee.
Albert Neal’s frustration with Crossley led to the two chassis supplier policy which was both technically and economically sound but why Leyland and Daimler to the exclusion of AEC/Crossley?
Firstly there was a great deal of "the dog having a bad name" thinking in the industry and in Piccadilly and Manchester Town Hall in particular and, for the time being, the ACV group were keeping the Crossley name.
Even more importantly, Leylands were made in Lancashire and were considered as "local" in terms of where the Committee’s money would end up. Daimler may have been in Coventry but Gardner engines were made in Patricroft.
AEC, on the other hand, made it plain from day one that all monies spent at Errwood Rd would be directed to the newly formed ACV and it was based in London!!
There have been statements in various publications that Crossley was too small to survive as a bus manufacturer but post war it managed to build 1114 DD42s chassis between 1945 and 1951 plus the trolleybuses for Manchester, Ashton and Cleethorpes and 1680 SD42/43 single deck chassis, 1175 of which were for a one off export order to Holland.
Those figures are hardly small and, in addition, they were also building bodies.
So, I return to my contention that had Manchester not pulled the plug Crossley would have survived, but having persisted with an engine that frankly didn’t work as advertised, they committed commercial suicide by not listening and working with their most loyal, consistent and largest regular customer.

Phil Blinkhorn

———

27/11/12 – 14:10

…..and of course Leyland learned from Crossley’s mistakes…..?

David Oldfield

———

27/11/12 – 16:22

David, you and I are old enough to realise that governments, economists and companies are too bound up with their own brilliance to take the time look around to see the mistakes of others and far too busy take the time to look back in history.

Phil Blinkhorn

———

27/11/12 – 17:37

Or, to quote (approximately) two often mentioned statements:
1. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.
2. History teaches us that history teaches us nothing.

Stephen Ford

———

28/11/12 – 07:30

There’s an interpretation here that Crossley was an arrogant engineer led company devoid of commercial nouse that always thought they knew best and certainly there is some evidence to that effect. When they weren’t playing the ‘local jobs’ card with Manchester they played it with Stockport (though it’s probable that most of their employees lived in M/cr even after the move to Errwood Park as they had only to take a hop on a #19 to get from Gorton). Their bids for work were rarely the cheapest and when they were so there is a pattern of requests for subsequent price uplifts post contract. Failure to win a bid sometimes led to a request to retender on somewhat specious grounds.
I don’t think the move to Stockport had any part in the downfall of Crossley. Manchester would have continued to take Crossley product if it had been better served by Crossley. Crossley were the engineers of their own downfall, something that I guess ACV realised after the acquisition.
Smaller bus builders than Crossley with a much smaller customer base did survive, Dennis to name but one and which, in a very different form, is still around today.

Orla Nutting

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28/11/12 – 15:50

I would suggest one of the main reasons for the demise of Crossley Motors was the fateful decision by the Managing Director, Arthur Hubble in late 1944 not to use the "Saurer Head" HOE7 engine, which had performed very well in the prototype Crossley DD42/1 (GNE 247). The engineers were instructed to redesign the engine to avoid Saurer patents infringements. This was a hurried operation, untested and the outcome was a mess. Sadly this redesigned engine was fitted to the production run of SD42 and DD42 buses from 1945 onwards up to 1949 and caused a lot of trouble. AEC engineers then came to the rescue to redesign the engine and produce the HOE7/5 downdraft version which was a big improvement but too late as the damage had been done. Was this a case of money taking precedence over engineering?

Richard Fieldhouse

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28/11/12 – 15:51

Dennis, however, Orla, did not rely solely on building buses (which they dipped in and out of over the years), but also on municipal vehicles like dustcarts and fire engines and all-purpose lorries. It was the companies with all their eggs in one (bus) basket which often failed, as in other business dealings. I leave out arrogance, well covered above!

Chris Hebbron

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28/11/12 – 17:15

In fairness to Peter’s point in regard to Crossley having nothing else to do when the orders slowed, every other chassis manufacturer did have other lines of production and a look at what those alternatives were highlights just how Manchester dependant Crossley had become:
Leyland, AEC, and Guy, all produced trucks with a broad customer base. Foden and Sentinel tinkering on the edge of the market had truck businesses.
Also Leyland and AEC bus divisions had good relationships with BET and a range of export customers
Dennis was in the middle of a fire engine replacement boom.
The two long established bus manufacturing companies most exposed were Daimler and Crossley.
Daimler, as Peter says, had car production but in 1953 when Geoffrey Hilditch joined the company for a very short time, he was aware of redundancies in the bus division and that the car division had been badly affected by increases in purchase tax and the concentration on high end vehicles which, whilst individually profitable, were sold in far smaller numbers, up to five times fewer, than the competing Jaguars which were also cheaper, Jaguar of course eventually buying out Daimler.
Two things saved Daimler bus production. Of immediate influence was the production of a quality product designed to the needs of a loyal and widespread customer base which, whilst rarely offering large orders, kept the lines working.
The company was really kept afloat by the very profitable Ferret armoured car which was ordered by the British army and over 20 export customers.
As Peter says, Crossley had nothing else. Car production had long ceased, only two prototype trucks were built post war and the British military that had been a major customer almost continuously since the WW1 abandoned the company – I wonder why? Did the same attitude that lost them Manchester’s business cause annoyance at the War Ministry and among the heads of the armed forces?
Due to production priorities at the Alvis factory, Crossley did produce just six Saracen armoured car pre-production models in 1956, well after the AEC takeover.
With regard to the Saurer head, there is an inference that Hubble hoped to get away with copying it without paying for a licence and the redesign was done hurriedly and badly under pressure of his irritation.
It’s ironic that the money it cost from an accounting point of view to redesign the head badly, taking in hours worked, overtime and tooling, wasn’t much less than he could have negotiated for a licence.
The real cost was, of course much, much more.

Phil Blinkhorn

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28/11/12 – 17:22

Bradford had 6 Crossley DD42/7 buses which were fitted with the HOE7/5 engine to which Richard refers. As young enthusiasts in the early post war years, we were very aware that the BCPT Maintenance staff had a very low regard indeed for these buses, Nos.518 – 523. They were virtually restricted to one route, West Bowling, and were suitably disposed of at a very early date for post-war 8ft. wide vehicles. Neither did they find a purchaser!
This is not a personal dislike, as their official unpopularity tended to heighten our fondness for them, but for "Them that knew", they were hated with some vehemence!

John Whitaker

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29/11/12 – 07:22

I do incline to Orla’s interpretation of the Crossley chronicles. The company did play politics to secure orders. The arrogance attributed to the Crossley company really lay with the Managing Director, Arthur Hubble. Although we do not now know what terms Saurer demanded for the use of its combustion chamber design (and the comprehensively researched book by Eyre, Heaps and Townsin has not been able to establish any figures about this matter), it does seem that the payment of a licence fee was the fundamental factor. Other manufacturers used Saurer technology very successfully – the Morris Commercial diesel engines of Saurer design continued in production into the Leyland era. The last minute revamp of the original Saurer HOE7 cylinder head demanded by Hubble was not received gladly by the Crossley design team, and the resulting motor was a dud in terms of reliability, economy and performance. Hubble’s innate obstinacy was revealed in other ways, also. Crossley steering was always heavy, a problem that could have been easily rectified by redesigning the steering geometry, but the company would not budge. Instead it replaced the races with thrust buttons that made a bad situation very much worse. When AEC took over Crossley, it insisted that the troublesome HOE7 had to be sorted out quickly, but Hubble resisted this strategy, and a frustrated AEC gave the job to its own engineers. The resulting "downdraught" engine was a major improvement, though it still inherited the crankcase weaknesses of the original Crossley design. Yet, despite the availability at last of a fully competitive engine by courtesy of AEC, Crossley continued to make and fit the old HOE7 to many new orders, even in some instances where the customer was expecting the downdraught version. After the success of the Birmingham order for 260 DD42/6 buses, AEC instructed Hubble to approach Gardner for an agreement for the supply of LW engines, Birmingham’s preferred power plant, thereby keeping Birmingham interested in future Crossley orders. The meeting between the intransigent Hubble and the autocratic Gardner family had an inevitable outcome, and Hubble reported back to AEC in obvious glee that Gardner would not supply Crossley with engines. Yet, in a very many aspects, Crossley got a great deal right, presumably in those areas where Hubble didn’t interfere with his engineers.The DD42 was a fundamentally sound chassis design, and Crossley constant mesh and synchromesh gearboxes were excellent. Whether, with a more sensitive hand than Hubble’s on the company’s tiller, Crossley would have remained in business for a longer period is imponderable now, but the certainty is that its reputation would have been significantly higher, a major factor in commercial success.

John, weren’t the Bradford Crossleys of the DD42/4 type, and delivered in 1948? At that date they would have been fitted with the standard HOE7 engine. Were they converted later to the downdraught HOE7/5 specification?

Roger Cox

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29/11/12 – 07:24

Phil, the reason I said that all Manchester deliveries up to 1951 had been ordered (in principle) back in 1945/6 is that "The Manchester Bus" includes the Daimler/Phoenix orders in the 1946 order figures – originally just 50, but quickly increased to 90. That could, of course, be wrong. I didn’t know about the reason for Manchester going to Daimler in the first place.
On the subject of Crossley’s "attitude" problem, I have commented before (maybe not here) about how it seemed to be confined to chassis matters. The body division seemed willing to bend over backwards to do whatever the customer wanted. Strange that.

Peter Williamson

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29/11/12 – 09:50

I am not sure Roger; I just know they were not liked by BCPT! We had a friend and neighbour who held a high position at Thornbury, and his comments were far from complimentary. I remember one school special when the Crossley was virtually unable to ascend Oak Lane, and drivers too hated them for their "slow gear change" They were banished to the short and fairly flat West Bowling route. Ordered in 1947, but not delivered until mid 1948, I have often wondered how other "hilly" systems coped with their DD42 Crossleys.
Lancaster is quite hilly, and they had DD42s, although I am not sure of just how exact such comparisons are. I am as certain as I can be that no alterations of a mechanical nature were made to our 6 Crossleys, but I am unable to confirm this as I would not now know who to ask!

20 minutes later

I have just "dug out" my BCPT stock book of the 1950s, and see that I have recorded 518-523 as type DD42/3, and they entered service in September 1948.
Another character defamation aimed at them was their weight, but I have to say that they did seem to demonstrate quality of build, and had a more luxurious air about them, as, indeed, did the 1952 Crossley trolleybus rebodies, which entered service early 1952.

John Whitaker

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29/11/12 – 10:13

All really interesting stuff, folks. Do we have a date from which the HOE engine was dumbed down? Oh, those lucky early post-war orderers, whoever they were!

Chris Hebbron

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29/11/12 – 10:57

Well, I’ve already said that they were distress purchases – when anything was better than nothing – and that the bodies were palpably a much better product than the chassis. I cannot say it better than any of the other correspondents. You cannot turn round in Sheffield without bumping into a hill but the Crossleys were put on the least hilly routes (ie with fewest hills per mile/route). The SD42s did venture out into Derbyshire – but presumably the lesser weight helped to make this possible. [Anyone have experience of SD42 coaches. How did they fare?]

David Oldfield

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29/11/12 – 10:57

So much has been said about the miserable performance of postwar Crossleys – both on this site and for quite a long period in Classic Bus magazine (to the point where the editor had to end further correspondence if I recall). However, there are two points that never really seem to be raised.
The first is that we only here about the double deckers, but how did operators find the single deck version ? The SD42 was very common amongst independent coach operators – probably not through choice initially, more because in the postwar coaching boom they had to take anything they could get, but how did they perform ?
Secondly, if the main problem lay with the troublesome breathless engines and the rest of the design was pretty good, and their bodies excellent, what about the operators who subsequently re-engined theirs with Gardner/Leyland/AEC units ? Surely then they ought to have been good buses – problem solved ?
Does anyone know how these vehicles performed ?

John Stringer

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29/11/12 – 10:58

It’s just occurred to me that this trio bear bodies of the same style as the Portsmouth Daimler CWA6’s that Crossley re-bodied in 1955. SEE: www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Chris Hebbron

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29/11/12 – 14:44

Roger, I think I misquoted the HOE designation on an earlier post, and am now more confused than ever. I believe Bradford’s Crossleys, being 8ft. wide, should be classed as DD42/4, whereas I have always thought of them as DD42/3, even though I misquoted them as DD42/7 before! I will leave you technical experts to sort it out, and apologise for my "clouded enthusiasm", compounded by ever increasing senior moments!

John Whitaker

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29/11/12 – 14:44

My good friend John W mentions in his Bradford stock book that 518 -523 were Crossley DD42/3 which I believe relates to the 7′ 6" width chassis whereas the Bradford Crossleys were 8′ wide. This means they should be coded DD42/4 as they were part of the 94 sanction. Could they have been ordered as 7 ‘6" but changed to 8′ width as there was a long period from ordering to delivery in September 1948 when 8’ width was legal?

Richard Fieldhouse

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29/11/12 – 14:48

Peter, I just wonder if the difference in attitude between the chassis and body side of the business was because Hubble regarded the former as real engineering and a science and liked to interfere and the latter as far less worthy of his input.
It has always seemed to me that the excellence their bodies attained throughout their history matched the aspirations for their chassis and engines which were, certainly post war, rarely attained. If only the latter could have matched the former.
With regard to the chassis order eventually bodied by MCW with the Phoenix body, I understood that the sanction for a call for tenders was given for a bulk total of vehicles required up to 1951 by the Transport Committee in 1945. My reading of archive material, albeit 30 years or so ago, was that this did not include the CVG6s and probably did not include the Leyland bodied PD2s of the 32xx batch though Heaps and Eyre contend they were included in the total.
Heaps and Eyre state a total order of 763 vehicles was made between 1945 and 1946.
"The 1945 order was for 100 each from Leyland and Daimler and 109 from Crossley…..the 1946 order was for 100 Leylands, 50 Crossleys and 54 Crossley trolleybuses, followed by 100 more Leylands, 60 Crossleys and 50 Daimlers – the Daimler order was quickly increased to 90".
The catch is in the indefinite wording. The "100 more Leylands" were PD2s and the type was only available to order from 1947, though a demonstrator had been shown to some operators, not including Manchester, in the last months of 1946.
I believe those Leylands and the CVG6s were ordered in 1948. To back this up, Southport bought the first 8ft wide PD2s when announced in the autumn of 1947 and had received them all by the end of the year. A host of operators took PD2s of both widths in the period 1947-1950 yet Manchester, which needed vehicles for both tramway and obsolete vehicle replacement didn’t receive its PD2s until May 1951 deliveries stretching until February 1952. London had placed its order for RTL and RTW PD2s in early 1948 and Manchester’s order followed this, the London vehicles being delivered from 1950.
Similarly operators large and small were receiving Daimlers throughout the period 1946-1950 (indeed Manchester’s 1945 ordered CVG5s arrived and, to Manchester’s great exasperation, half the chassis had to be stored awaiting Crossley bodies, whilst the Brush bodied examples were delivered as intended in 1947/8).
I can see no reason to suppose Manchester delayed a total of 200 urgently needed vehicles when everyone else were receiving vehicles in sequence of order.
The CVG6s were, I believe, ordered as a hedge against the problems at Crossley and the second batch were added by Albert Neal when he ran out of patience.
Regarding Manchester’s move to Daimler pre war and to expand on my simplistic previous statement, on February 8 1939 the City Council approved a 3 year purchase plan to allow Pilcher’s tramway conversion. This did not include Daimlers but included 165 Crossleys (diesels and trolleys) out of 325 vehicles but it was soon obvious Crossley wouldn’t be able to cope, given the demands of the military.
The Council changed its mind and approved, after some heavy lobbying by Daimler, an order for 327 buses and trolleybuses 124 of which were Crossleys and 83 Daimlers. The reasoning was the promised delivery dates by Leyland and Daimler would reduce the time for tramway conversion by half and would guarantee delivery if war was declared – ironic given many of the Daimler chassis ordered were destroyed by enemy action.
The next order in July 1939 was changed from the planned 50 Leyland and 50 Crossley diesels to 33 Daimler, 33 Leyland and 34 Crossley.
The Council got it right. Crossley had delivered only a third of their allocation when they had to cease bus production, Leyland delivered everything on time and the Daimlers were delivered as required up until the time the factory was bombed.
Crossley suffered both financially and in terms of talent as some design staff left to join Leyland.

Phil Blinkhorn

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HET 509_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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30/11/12 – 07:39

Re David O’s comments about Sheffield Crossleys – the initial batch of DD42/3s spent virtually all their working life on the Inner Circle Services 8/9 which had some fearsome gradients – Newbould Lane, Crookesmoor Road, Rutland Road come to mind. The Sheffield Crossleys were a small proportion of the fleet – but all the 1948 batch of DD42/5s ended up as driver trainers – maybe if you could drive a Crossley you could drive anything!!

Ian Wild

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30/11/12 – 07:40

Chris, on the subject of the resemblance between the Rotherham Crossleys and the Portsmouth rebodied CWA6s, this has been discussed on the Portsmouth thread – see Chris Hough’s comment and my reply a couple of messages further down.
It’s not as straightforward as it may appear.

David and John: I have no personal experience of the SD42, but I have never heard anything bad about it, and quite a lot of good in fact. It seems that the engine could cope a lot better with the lower weight, and the refinement of the Crossley chassis was really appreciated by coach operators.

Peter Williamson


 

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