Old Bus Photos

Ribble – Leyland Titan – RCK 920 – 1775

RCK 920

Ribble Motor Services
1962
Leyland Titan PD3/5
Metro-Cammell FH41/31F

In 1956 the UK maximum legal length for double deck buses was extended to 30 ft, and Leyland quickly responded with the PD3 chassis, essentially an elongated version of the PD2. Ribble ordered a fleet of 105 synchromesh gearbox PD3/4 machines distinguished by handsome Burlingham FH41/31F bodywork featuring a neatly designed full width front end. These entered service in 1958, but Ribble then tried its hand with the then very new and novel Leyland Atlantean design, taking 100 examples in 1959/60. All operators of the early Atlantean experienced a number of teething troubles, and Ribble, while continuing to favour the Atlantean for future orders, hedged its bets by partially returning to the more dependable PD3 for some of its 1961-63 deliveries. The bodywork was again FH41/31F, but this time of the aesthetically less appealing (to my eye, anyway) Orion style by Metro-Cammell . These later machines, which totalled 131 in number, were equipped with pneumocyclic gearboxes, making them type PD3/5. No.1775, RCK 920 was delivered in 1962 and operated in the Liverpool/Bootle and Carlisle localities until its withdrawal in 1981, when it was subsequently acquired for preservation. At some time in the years following, 1775’s pneumocyclic gearbox failed and was replaced by a synchromesh unit, but, when, in 2010, the vehicle passed into the hands of its current owners, the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust, the pneumocyclic box was repaired and refitted, bringing the bus back up to its original condition. In the picture above, 1775 is seen at the Wansford, Cambridgeshire, premises of the Nene Valley Railway on 8 July 2006 where I encountered it entirely unexpectedly.
A YouTube video of a ride on this bus may be found here:- at this link

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


22/08/17 – 06:32

Although rather plain I always thought these were quite attractive vehicles. The proportions seem to sit right and the livery suits the lines of the bodywork very well. Dignified is the way I would sum it up which is more than can be said for the horrors seen on most modern vehicles.

Philip Halstead


22/08/17 – 06:33

The change away to a synchro box was done when owned by Gerald Boden (who owned a B1+Class 40). From my memory he chose to do it as it would have been cheaper to repair the semi auto.

Roger Burdett


23/08/17 – 06:17

The almost only one-coloured livery hardly favours the body shape, Philip. I can see an improvement in Southdown livery. Oops, it must be the sort-of Queen Mary shape that reminded me of that!

Chris Hebbron


25/08/17 – 06:52

I wondered if Roger Cox or Roger Burdett can shed any light on the original gearboxes (or their flywheels) that were at first originally fitted to these Ribble PD3’s (and for that matter the fully fronted Bolton PD3’s).
When new, at idle there was a most musical tinny mechanical sound that soon disappeared once power was applied, I think they had a mechanical flywheel then. Bolton and later Ribble soon changed them to the fluid flywheel, which I understand gave a better service life – but no music! Hope someone in the ‘know’ might be able to offer enlightenment.

Mike Norris


25/08/17 – 09:36

I believe you are referring to the centrifugal clutch which I suspect was intended to be more efficient than a fluid flywheel. I only had very limited experience of it on a Bolton bus and simply remember an awful racket when the bus was in idle, not something I would describe as music at all.

David Beilby


25/08/17 – 09:37

Cannot shed any light except to speculate it was a body vibration due to harmonics.
Maybe someone from Ribble Group can enlighten if the switch back to a stick box has re-introduced the sound

Roger Burdett


25/08/17 – 09:38

I think that "jingling noise" was symptomatic of a centrifugal clutch, which was an attempt to provide a degree of automatic change, but without the drag and therefore fuel consumption penalty of a fluid flywheel.However I could be wrong.

James Freeman


26/08/17 – 07:13

I’ve noticed in several posts reference to ‘synchromesh’ gearboxes (as above) but am I right in thinking that they were only synchromesh on third and fourth gears? On every Southdown Leopard and Queen Mary I drove that was the format but may have differed elsewhere?

Nick Turner


26/08/17 – 07:14

This page seems to confirm that these Titans were initially fitted with centrifugal clutches:- www.flickr.com/photos/ Several operators tried out the centrifugal coupling to improve fuel consumption – the fluid flywheel could never attain 100% drive efficiency – but transmission snatch and maintenance problems meant that the fluid flywheel reigned supreme until the arrival on the psv scene of the multi stage torque converter gearbox.

Roger Cox


26/08/17 – 07:14

The Wigan PD3’s which were pneumo-cyclic also made this noise. Wigan went back to manual gearboxes for their later PD2’s so perhaps there was some dissatisfaction with the semi-auto transmission.

Philip Halstead


27/08/17 – 07:01

I seem to recall there was another stage of development when centrifugal shoes were included in the fluid flywheel so that it locked up at a suitable speed. I can’t recall technical details of the Ribble/MCW PD3 but know they seemed to perform very well up to the bitter end of TMO in Merseyside.
PS> The Captcha code for this post is PD3A!

Geoff Pullin


27/08/17 – 07:02

The PD2 was initially supplied with the GB63 four speed gearbox that had synchromesh on second, third and top, bottom gear being simply constant mesh. Unfortunately the second gear synchro set up gave some trouble in that engagement was often strongly baulked. Geoffrey Hilditch records examples of the resistance to engagement being so severe that gear levers were snapped off by the over enthusiastic pressures being applied by desperate drivers. Leyland then offered the GB83 box in which the second gear synchromesh was eliminated, and this continued to be available after the second gear synchro problems of the CB63 box were sorted out. All the PD2/PD3 buses I drove in Halifax had synchro on second gear.

Roger Cox


29/08/17 – 06:38

For those who like classic liveries like this, there’s news from Arriva. Their new universal bus livery is a simple Bradford blue, it seems: not clear to me how many extra bits or brandings can be added or where, but others may have more intimate knowledge. It does look if all the fussy skirts and linings may have gone, but what about the odd flash? After First, this is a relief!

Joe


 

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Ribble – Leyland Atlantean – RRN 428 – 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble Motor Services
1962
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?

Joe


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
1961
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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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 22nd November 2017