Old Bus Photos

Ribble – Leyland Atlantean – RRN 428 – 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble Motor Services
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Weymann CH39/20F

Here are two views of RRN 428, one of Ribble’s ‘second generation’ fleet of "White Ladies". She is a Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with Weymann CH59F bodywork – more than on the "Gay Hostess" fleet because there is no toilet, but less than the normal bus seating because the rear seats downstairs are replaced by a luggage area. Note the white opaque windows. She’s in Fleetwood for the Tram Sunday event on 20 July 2003.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

16/08/16 – 07:27

1279 is owned by the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust. It is currently undergoing a major overhaul at the Freckleton Base.

Don McKeown

18/08/16 – 06:51

These were used regularly on the X60 from Manchester to Blackpool, and if they left Lower Mosley St with a full "through" load would sometimes go "off route" between Bolton and Preston, using the A675 through Belmont – Ribble actually held a licence to use this stretch of road between Bolton and Preston/Blackpool, although timetabled journeys used the service number X100. The A675 is a lot more curvy and undulating than the official route and the terrain seemed to have an unsettling effect on the White Ladies’ suspension. I’ve never suffered from travel sickness (even as a child), but the ride quality made me queasy and you could guarantee that at least one person would throw up before Preston. The drivers on the other hand seemed to enjoy the challenge!

Neville Mercer

18/08/16 – 10:02

I particularly remember these fine vehicles working the X43 Manchester- Skipton, and can not recall any instances of sickness. However in December 1962 I travelled to Grasmere on the X40 from Manchester. This was usually a "Gay Hostess" working, but this particular day a "White Lady" turned up. All went well until Lake Windermere was reached. At one point there was a highish stone wall and all that was visible on the nearside was water. The roll of the coach plus the water produced a sea-sickness effect with devastating results. The top deck was full of teenage boys who had been filling there faces with all manner of food since leaving Manchester. The rest as they say is history…

Andrew Gosling

18/08/16 – 13:58

I remember at Lancaster a driver coming upstairs and asking us to move downstairs due to the high percentage of queasiness from there to Keswick!/em>

Roger Burdett

19/08/16 – 06:34

Thanks for your thoughts, folks! I have some very vague memories of an article in the old MECCANO MAGAZINE, early 1960’s about a group of Leyland apprentices who had built and Atlantean chassis out of rejects. They called it the Royal Mouse. If memory serves correctly, first was thrown out, everything else went down and a new top was fitted.
I’m only glad that, with the Gay Hostess and White Lady air suspension, the Royal Mouse never went into production!
I only travelled upstairs on a Gay Hostess once, M6 between Birmingham and Lancaster in my student days. Usually, I was either downstairs or on a single decker.

Pete Davies

19/08/16 – 06:35

Did the "Gay Hostess" vehicles have a better ride than these vehicles – less queasiness?

Chris Hebbron

19/08/16 – 08:12

The "Gay Hostess" seemed to have a better ride, but a lot seems to depend on road surface and camber. The Keswick run was the only time I experienced problems on a "White Lady". My return journey from Grasmere (see earlier comment) was on a "Gay Hostess" and was a good deal smoother than the "White Lady". The weight distribution of two models could well have been very different. Expert needed! Before political correctness was invented, I was told by a male East Yorkshire driver that they hated having a clippie on a Bridgemaster, as any "clearing up" had to be done by the driver!

Andrew Gosling

19/08/16 – 14:08

Thx Andrew.I suppose that the ride on a double-decker much depends on the balance of folk upstairs compared with downstairs, to some extent, not exactly top heavy but you know what I mean. Southdown 700 was, apparently, truly awful, these later vehicles better. One wonders what modern ones are like. Megabus and others run them with everyone upstairs, apart from a handful, usually disabled folk, downstairs, plus vending machines and toilets. Maybe air suspension gives better control.

Chris Hebbron

20/08/16 – 05:54

Thx Andrew.I suppose that the ride on a double-decker much depends on the balance of folk upstairs compared with downstairs, to some extent, not exactly top heavy but you know what I mean. Southdown 700 was, apparently, truly awful, these later vehicles better. One wonders what modern ones are like. Megabus and others run them with everyone upstairs, apart from a handful, usually disabled folk, downstairs, plus vending machines and toilets. Maybe air suspension gives better control.

Chris Hebbron

20/08/16 – 05:54

Some of these modern vehicles frighten me with their (notice correct grammar today!) vast size and what could happen in an accident. The only modernish large coaches that I have travelled on were the Central Liners . One was an MCW Metroliner, the other was possibly a Neoplan but I am not sure.They produced quite a comfortable ride. They were full of charming teenage children, which must be high risk w.r.t. travel sickness. In fact no problems were experienced! There has been much criticism of Lowbridge Atlanteans, but I have been on Ribble vehicles to Rossendale (X13/23) and found travel in the raised section very pleasant. The same can be said of PMT vehicles on the Stoke- Stafford run. These were in the 60s when roads were maintained to a much higher level. The amount of rattles on modern vehicles seems very great, this may be road surface, poor design or both.

Andrew Gosling

20/08/16 – 05:55

I’ve travelled some distances on Neoplan Skyliners (as once used on Motorway Expresses) and they just seem to have sophisticated suspensions. Behind the two rear axles was a huge luggage compartment and the engine, so the small lower saloon didn’t provide much ballast. On French D roads with steep cambers they did lurch a bit, but not often and that more seemed the rear wheels/ suspension soaking this up rather than the whole vehicle. What were the Standerwick Bristols like?


20/08/16 – 10:22

Joe, re Standerwick Bristols, I can only comment on what I have read which contains much unfavourable material. The engine position must have presented stability problems. A local (now defunct) bus company bought one second hand. I never saw it other than in their yard!

Andrew Gosling

20/08/16 – 11:06

To answer Joe’s question, I only ever saw them parked at Fleetwood (in NBC white = YUK!), never moving, and I never rode on them. I seem to recall that one fell over in some way, but the mitigating circumstance was that it was hit by a marauding lorry. They were VRL, I think, not the usual VRT, and Reading had some of that layout. Perhaps one or more of our members from that area can enlighten us, remembering of course that the Reading ones were buses not double deck coaches

Pete Davies

20/08/16 – 17:45

Correction! I now realise that the Reading ones are listed as VRT/LL rather than VRL. Sorry!

Pete Davies

23/08/16 – 06:03

The Standerwick VRL M1 accident near Luton on a wet road surface on 26 July 1974 arose as a result of an immediately previous collision involving a jacknifed lorry that left a lamp standard leaning across the carriageway. The driver was placed in an impossible situation. In attempting to avoid the obstructions, the VRL turned over, killing three and injuring 30 others. The hysterical tabloid coverage distorted the facts of the sad event, and attention hungry politicians then jumped on the bandwagon by threatening to ban double deck coaches from the outside lane of motorways.

Roger Cox

23/08/16 – 10:15

Thanks, Roger.

Pete Davies

30/08/16 – 15:08

Out of interest, has anyone got any colour pictures of Ribble 2173, in Ribble timesaver colours.

Stephen Hamer

31/08/16 – 10:13

Stephen, 2173, no. 2174 in the ‘Venetian blind’ stripes, yes, if it’s of any use to you. (Inside Devonshire Road garage)

Pete Davies

18/10/16 – 07:48

Thanks Pete, it would be a great help with re painting 2173. At the moment it is in the old Lancashire United blue and cream. Many thanks.

Stephen Hamer

20/10/16 – 15:47

Many thanks Pete, the photo of 2174 will help a great deal. There are not a lot of photos of 2173. Thanks again.

Stephen Hamer


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Ribble – Leyland Leopard – PCK 618 – 1036

Ribble - Leyland Leopard - PCK 618 - 1036

Ribble Motor Services
Leyland Leopard L2T
Harrington Cavalier C32F

This Leyland Leopard L2 with Harrington Cavalier C32F body was new to Ribble in 1961. The low seating capacity means it was one of the touring fleet. I do have a query about the chassis designation, because some of my sources mention a twin-speed rear axle, meaning it would be L2T. Any thoughts, please, folks? The coach is seen at the Harrington event at Amberley on 3 June 2012.

Ribble - Leyland Leopard - PCK 618 - 1036

Here we have an interior view of the vehicle which was taken courtesy of the owner.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

24/03/16 – 05:58

Primrose Valley Coaches of Filey had PCK 616. I enjoyed driving it and its two speed axle, and only 32 luxury seats.

Ken Wragg

24/03/16 – 17:03

I became misty eyed looking at this photo as an avid admirer of Harrington’s Cavalier and Grenadier designs and there is a tantalising glimpse of one of Southdown’s near identical extended tour Leopards alongside, these were definitely L2Ts.The main differences were the 27 reclining seats in 2+1 layout and the glazed cove panels and they too were a delight to drive although I only drove them after they were up seated for normal coach duties. My drooling at least won’t show on an e-mail.

Diesel Dave

25/03/16 – 14:22

Thank you, Dave and Ken, for confirming the L2T version. Dave, the adjacent Southdown was 2722 CD and the blue and cream one parked back-to-back with PCK 618 was Hawkey’s 100 VRL. I have views of both, if you’d like me to forward via Peter.

Pete Davies

26/03/16 – 05:18

PMT acquired three of this batch in 1972 as Roadliner replacements, PCK601, 602 and 605. These were C41F as acquired. They did four seasons with PMT before withdrawal in 1976. I remember them as very sound, reliable coaches. Does anyone have photos of them in PMT service?

Mr Anon

26/03/16 – 05:19

Pete, Like Diesel Dave I tend to glaze over and dribble when a Harrington appears . . they truly are icons of an age when these machines shouted style and quality, sadly missed. I for one would appreciate a peek at your shots of 2722 CD and 100 VRL.

Nigel Edwards

26/03/16 – 16:54

Here is PCK on coaching duties with PMT www.flickr.com/photos/

Stephen Bloomfield

27/03/16 – 07:33

2722 CD

100 VRL

100 VRL_2

Nigel Edwards comments that he would like to see views of 2722 CD and  100 VRL.

Pete Davies

27/03/16 – 09:58

These photos only reinforce my long-held view that Harrington’s Cavalier/Grenadier bodies seemed to look stylish in virtually ANY livery!

Chris Hebbron

27/03/16 – 17:39

Many thanks to Pete Davies for posting the three extra photos of 2722 CD and 100 VRL as looking at them made me all misty eyed and nostalgic and quite weak at the knees.
It is also good to see 2722 CD in the original livery with the cream roof unfortunately this only lasted 2 or 3 years before being painted green this was long before it was reseated as it is now. The armchair reclining seats from these and the later 1800-44 Leopard PSU3’s were distributed to the various staff canteens and rest rooms for the benefit of drivers numb parts and were much appreciated.

Diesel Dave


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Ribble – Leyland Titan PD2 – DCK 219 – 1248

Ribble - Leyland Titan - DCK 219 - 1248

Ribble Motor Services
Leyland Titan PD2/3
East Lancs FCL27/22RD

This vehicle is easily recognisable as one of Ribble’s famous ‘White Ladies’. She has a Leyland Titan PD2/3 chassis, with East Lancs FCL49RD body. She dates from 1951 and, at the time of this photograph, she was with Quantock. I understand she has now passed to Sir Brian Souter. We see her outside the Guildhall, but Prestonians will know that this is not Preston Guildhall. The date of 1st January 2005 gives a clue – she’s in Winchester for a King Alfred running day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

26/02/16 – 05:32

Back in the spring of 1972 I had read in "Buses" magazine that Premier Travel were about to withdraw the last of their ex Ribble White Ladies, so I decided take a day trip to Cambridge to sample one while I had the chance. I rode from Cambridge to Royston and the youthful conductor (who I now suspect was Paul Carter, later to write the history of Premier) told me that I could catch a bus from Royston to the depot at Chrishall and then another back to Cambridge. I did as suggested and at the depot I found the chief engineer in the process of handing over this very bus to a group of enthusiasts for preservation. It was to be 43 years before I saw it again at the Scottish Bus Museum at Lathlalmond in 2015.

Nigel Turner

26/02/16 – 08:43

Thanks for that, Nigel. I still can’t reconcile the lowbridge seating with coach designation, but there we are!

Pete Davies

27/02/16 – 08:36

These vehicles were often used on service X4 from Manchester to Burnley via Todmorden, which passed under a low bridge at Portsmouth (a suburb of Todmorden.)

Don McKeown

27/02/16 – 09:22

I’m pretty sure that the bridge which barred full-height double-deckers from services X4/X14 was on the A646 between Walk Mill and Towneley. There isn’t a bridge at Portsmouth, but there is one just down the road at Cornholme. This is passable for full-height double-deckers (Yorkshire Rider used highbridge Atlanteans on Halifax depot’s share of service 592, Halifax-Burnley), but, being an arched bridge, it’s still ‘risky’.

David Call

27/02/16 – 12:55

I drove this vehicle a few times for Stephen Morris before he sold it to Brian Souter. It certainly was a lively performer but rolled a lot upstairs.
Great vehicle and lovely to see it.

Roger Burdett

28/02/16 – 06:11

The bridge between Walk Mill and Towneley had a maximum permissible height of 14ft 6in and was passable for full-height double deckers up to and including that height. I remember passing under it on an enthusiasts’ outing with Halifax JOC 377 (BCP 671) and we stopped to photograph it doing so. The bridge was a straight steel one – not arched – so it was not a case of getting the position right. I think in the days before WYPTE diverted the Halifax-Todmorden Burnley route via Mereclough and Pike Hill it was not unknown for full-height double decks to pass under the bridge, though low-heights were the normal allocation. I know Burnley & Pendle had to be careful when their coaching unit received some Volvo CityBus double deckers, as they were 14 ft 9in and had to avoid the bridge.

John Stringer

28/02/16 – 15:22

Bridge heights always a problem as there seems to be some debate regarding this particular vehicle and the necessity for using it here is a suggestion. I seem to recall London Transport Country having problems with RCL Routemasters some where in I think Hertfordshire where the road had been lowered so that the warning sign indicated enough clearance for said vehicle but upon exiting from under the bridge hit the back end of the vehicle.
This is probably more common with HGVs particularly artics where the front of the vehicle rises up before the back and levels out earlier.

Patrick Armstrong

18/11/16 – 11:40

I used to "spot" these beautiful buses as they made their way through Prestwich, north of Manchester. I have also tried hard to interest someone in a die cast model but to no avail as they were only used by Ribble and Premier. What a shame!

Peter Worsley


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