Old Bus Photos

Ribble – Leyland Titan TD7 – RN 8979 – 2323

RN 8979

Ribble Motor Services
1940
Leyland Titan TD7
Leyland L27/26R

I cannot now remember where in 1960 I took this rather sad picture of
RN 8979, a former Ribble Leyland TD7 with Leyland L27/26R bodywork, or who the operator then was. The old telephone code HIL (for Hillside) covered the Barnt Green area of Birmingham, which might help to identify the operator. Confirmed Leyland aficionado Ribble must have counted itself lucky to obtain a batch of forty TD7s in May 1940 just after the German attack in France had brought the Phoney War to a violent end.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


12/11/18 – 07:57

I believe they were actually Alexander bodies, Roger, sub contracted and built to Leyland design, as the latter were at that time overwhelmed by work.
I think Samelsbury Engineering also built a few bodies to Leyland design and possibly parts, for the same reason.

Mr Anon


12/11/18 – 07:58

This is recorded by the P.S.V. Circle as being withdrawn by Ribble in 1956 and passing to:-
Smith, Reading 12/56
Liss & District, Bordon 10/58
Trebilock (Finchley Coaches), London N.12 10/59
Dickson, Stoke Mandeville 1/61
last licenced 4/61 and to Ronsway, Hemel Hempstead in 1961, for scrap

I have just checked the old London telephone exchange names and HILlside covered North Finchley tying in nicely with the Trebilcock dates.

John Kaye


12/11/18 – 08:00

I notice that every one of the near side upper deck windows within the five bays has a half drop ventilator fitted. It appears, from photographs of similar Ribble buses I’ve looked at, that the corresponding windows on the off side had no ventilators fitted at all. It seems rather an unusual arrangement, was this Ribble’s normal specification for lowbridge vehicles?

Chris Barker


12/11/18 – 16:07

The nearside half drop would be accessible from the seats, whilst the offside would only be accessible from the sunken aisle so the positioning of the opening windows makes sense.

Phil Blinkhorn


12/11/18 – 16:08

Wow I thought these Blackburn Corporation buses had been scraped. Glad to know they are now vintage buses. My school was on the East Park side of Blackburn and I rode on these to and from school.
They were ancient and noisy to travel in. I enjoyed my journeys. It started a life long interest in buses and travelling on them.
For me these buses bring back my childhood memories of living in Blackburn.
Wonderful bus journeys.

William Ferguson


12/11/18 – 16:10

Thanks, everyone, for the extra information. The Ribble fleet number for this bus was 2323. Alexander did build ‘identikit’ bodies for Leyland, but, in his book on the TD series Titan in the series "The Best of British Buses", Alan Townsin says that these were Leyland bodies, rather than Alexander built clones. Confirmation one way or the other would be welcome.
John, your comprehensive history of this vehicle does confirm that it must have belonged to Finchley Coaches when photographed, which reassures me considerably in my advancing years – I cannot recall ever visiting the Birmingham area in the early 1960s. I am surprised that the less than pristine state of the bus as depicted in the photo still enabled it to work for a further year or so. Chris, I think that a half drop ventilator on the upper deck offside can just be detected through the front upper deck window. It is to the credit of the integrity of the Leyland body design that, after a life of some twenty years. there is no hint of any sag in the waist rail.

Roger Cox


12/11/18 – 16:11

Mr. Anon, There is no record of these on the Alexander records. I think you are confusing things with the early post-war situation which was discussed a year ago on the SCT61 site, and the chassis involved were Leyland PD1 and PD1A types in 1946/7.

John Kaye


13/11/18 – 05:35

Regarding location I think this was at the Austin works at Longbridge. Many of these buses collected workers from the Midlands and were driven by an operative also PSV qualified.

Nigel Edwards


14/11/18 – 07:11

Just a thought re Roger Cox’s possible view of offside half drop windows and the gangway, Is the visible line not more likely to be a handrail fixed to the window pillars?

Stan Zapiec


14/11/18 – 07:12

John: I always thought that Leyland did not, in principle, rebody older chassis. The only exception to that rule being the examples they rebodied for Plymouth Corporation. But, I must be incorrect in that assumption.

Mr Anon


15/11/18 – 07:40

Mr. Anon, I don’t follow your comment on Leyland not in principle rebodying vehicles, in relation to the Ribble vehicle. RN 8979 was new in 1940 with a 1940 Leyland body and so rebodying does not come into the equation.

John Kaye


16/11/18 – 06:59

One might similarly not follow the comment about Blackburn Corporation, but I suppose that, from a passenger’s perspective, there wouldn’t be such a great difference between the above and Blackburn’s PD1s/PD1As, of which Blackburn had rather a lot.

David Call


17/11/18 – 07:42

…although a PD1 and a TD7 would sound rather different in the definitive second and third gear music.

Stephen Ford


17/11/18 – 07:45

Yes John, that is my mistake, at first glance the bus looks like one of Ribble’s pre war Leyland TDs, rebodied after WW2. Some were also rebodied by ECW. But on closer inspection the body fitted to RN8979 is the original 1940 Leyland body. The height of the driver’s door side window, visible through the windscreen, is a give away.
I still maintain that Leyland did not in principle rebody existing chassis, even of their own manufacture, except for the two pre war Titans rebodied with Farrington type bodies for Plymoth. I believe Donald Stoke’s father was GM at Plymouth at the time, which may have influenced their deciscion.

Mr Anon


20/11/18 – 15:09

Ledgards bought two of the early metal framed Leyland bodies in 1934. These caused no end of trouble and Sam being Sam prevailed upon Leyland to rebody them in 1938.

Chris Hough


 

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Ribble – Leyland Atlantean – RRN 414 – 1814

RRN 414

Ribble Motor Services
1962
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Weymann L39/33F

Seen in August 1969 in less than pristine condition leaving Manchester’s Lower Mosley Street Bus Station (often confusing us slow witted southerners by appearing on bus destination blinds as “Manchester LMS”) is Ribble 1814, the last of a batch of fourteen Weymann bodied lowbridge Atlanteans on the original PDR1/1 chassis. This was fitted with a straight rear axle which required the lower deck to incorporate a step to gain access to the uplifted rear part of the saloon. The corresponding rear section of the upper saloon also had to be raised, so that a side gangway of the traditional lowbridge variety was employed in that area, though this was located on the nearside of the vehicle (front engined lowbridge double deckers had the gangway on the offside to avoid fouling the passenger entrance). The 1801 -1814 lowbridge Atlanteans were the last examples of the PDR1/1 chassis to be bought by Ribble.
Another OBP page showing one of these Atlanteans may be found here:- At this link
and a comprehensive article by Neville Mercer on Lower Mosley Street is here:- Lower Mosley Street – Article

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/03/18 – 06:06

I think by 1962, the bodywork on these lowbridge Atlanteans had improved somewhat on the original examples which came out in 1959. The single skinned fibreglass domes (which tended to crack) had been replaced by double skinned ones, the interior face being a sort of brilliant white plastic which seemed to resist yellowing very well. Other small improvements to the interior trim and panelling made the general ambience feel noticeably better and I quite liked to travel on the later ones. I believe both Ribble and PMT got very long service lives out of them in spite of the problems they were supposed to have had.

Chris Barker


17/03/18 – 07:15

Looks like someone tried to prize off the Ribble fleet nameplate on the front panel.
Perhaps her less than pristine condition is down to her being due her seven year Check/Overhaul.

Cyril Aston


18/03/18 – 06:47

Ribble got very good service from these some lasting into the eighties

Chris Hough


18/03/18 – 06:47

Quite a sad photo, I can’t remember which particular bus it was, but had a trip on one of this batch when brand new on the X23 from LMS. I suppose I haven’t worn any better than the bus! Personally I enjoyed riding on the lowbridge Atlanteans. PMT used them on the Stoke-Stafford service which like the Ribble services gave them a good chance to open up. Travelling in the rear upstairs was quite smooth, I suppose the lower height lowered the centre of gravity, resulting in a better ride.

Andrew Gosling


07/05/18 – 07:13

PMT certainly got their moneys worth out of their 105 lowbridge Atlanteans. A lot depended on the Depot. Frank Ling who was Resident Engineer at Longton Depot achieved phenomenal engine mileages out his Atlantean fleet by carefully and diligently looking after them. recollection is that he had 4 spare vehicles for a PVR of 58 so not a lot of spare capacity there. Mind you, Frank also managed to run quite successfully a sizeable fleet of Albion Aberdonian single deckers which again other Depots failed to do so. Memory fades but I’m sure that some batches of PMT’s Atlanteans also had a plastic finish to the inside of the front domes.

Ian Wild


19/07/18 – 07:13

Stafford garage had a duty on the 10 service which I occasionally worked for my rest day. The Atlantean would probably be 909 and occasional 910 these buses belonged to Hanley garage and were serviced by them. They were a pleasure to drive and were both quite fast. Happy days !!

Michael Crofts


 

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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


22/07/18 – 06:20

To confirm what has been discussed about the PD3’s with the semi-auto g/box the Fleet nos starting with 1700 were all fitted with the Centrifugal Clutch and the fleet nos starting with 1800 were all fitted with the Fluid Flywheel.
The Centrifugal Clutch used to rattle when the engine was on tickover as the toggles and pins were worn, as when they were new they used to whine until the clutch engaged.

Norman Johnstone


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Saturday 15th December 2018