Old Bus Photos

Hebble – AEC Reliance – BJX 134C – 134

Hebble - AEC Reliance - BJX 134C - 134

Hebble Motor Services
1965
AEC Reliance 2MU4RA
Park Royal DP39F

Photographed late on a summer day in 1966 at Stump Cross, a location very well known to our regular contributor and esteemed authority on Halifax matters, John Stringer, is AEC Reliance BJX 134C, No.134 in the fleet of Hebble Motor Services. The bodywork is by Park Royal, seated as DP39F, and the vehicle is seen in typically rugged terrain en route from Halifax to Cleckheaton. Those days of pre political correctness are reflected in the legend “One Man Operation” displayed in the destination box. This Reliance was the last of a batch of four, BJX 131-134, Nos. 131-134 delivered to Hebble in July/August 1965. The National Bus company took control of the BET bus empire in 1968, and, in the following year, management of Hebble (together with Yorkshire Woollen) passed to West Riding at Wakefield. The subsequent reallocation of services between these companies then saw Hebble expand to twice its BET size, but in 1971 the situation was turned entirely on its head when (to the delight of a certain Geoffrey Hilditch) NBC passed the Hebble business over to the Halifax Joint Omnibus Committee. Of the four Reliances 131-134 (renumbered 666-669 by Hebble in 1970) only the last (shown pictured above) entered the Halifax JOC fleet as No.320 in March 1971, when the bodywork configuration had become B43F, though whether this was inherited as such or was a JOC conversion I know not. I am sure our OBP experts will supply the answer. The 2MU4RA version of the Reliance had the AH470 engine coupled with the Thornycroft six speed constant mesh gearbox which demanded proper respect in use (I drove the Aldershot & District examples so I speak from experience). As far as I can establish, 320 would then have been the only constant mesh gearbox bus in the Halifax fleet since the expulsion of the last Nimbus, a type that was almost (I loved ‘em and drove them at every opportunity) universally detested by the driving staff. I bet 320 was not popular to say the least.
A truly comprehensive and lively discussion about the final years of the Hebble company may be found on OBP at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


26/06/17 – 07:24

Interesting looking lorry passing in the opposite direction. The square stepped wheel arch reminds me of a Guy Warrior. Can anybody identify it?

David Hargraves


27/06/17 – 07:04

Thank’s Roger, I’ve never been esteemed before !
The problems you suggest may have occurred at Halifax with the arrival of 134 (latterly 669 under the YWD-based scheme) into a synchromesh and semi-automatic fleet did not happen.
Towards the end of 134’s time with Hebble one of their Plaxton Panorama-bodied Reliance coaches with synchromesh gearbox (either 20 or 21) suffered a gearbox failure in the Cheltenham area whilst working an outbound journey on the South West Clipper. A changeover (presumably by Black & White) was provided – not exactly a unique occurrence – to continue the rest of the journey to Paignton but no assistance was forthcoming regarding a repair (probably because it was happening too often). Consequently a Hebble mechanic and apprentice were instructed to grab the first Reliance that returned to depot, remove its gearbox, shoot off down to Cheltenham with it in the service van (a very hard worked vehicle) and swap the boxes over in time for their coach to change over the loaned coach on its way back. They then returned to Halifax with the defective box and it was duly ‘repaired’ (probably after a fashion). Then being in a constant state of vehicle shortage there was no time to bother getting the right boxes back into the right vehicles, so 134 received the repaired synchromesh box and retained it for the rest of its days, the coach retaining the constant mesh one.

0025037cejR1OBP[2]

As a result BJX 134C arrived at Halifax JOC (as 320) thus equipped, being no different to their other Reliances. Due to the strange Hebble trim layout it received a most unusual interpretation of the Halifax DP livery, starting out like a DP at the front and ending up in service bus livery at the rear. Here it is seen entering St. James Road prior to turning into the Cross Field Bus Station, Halifax sometime in late 1971. Please forgive the dreadfully out-of-focus shot but it is the only one I ever took of it in this livery.

0034022cejR1OBP[2]

Not long afterwards it was refurbished as a service bus with bus seating, its racks and luggage boot removed and repainted into normal bus livery. It passed into WYPTE ownership in 1974 becoming 3320 but never received PTE livery, being sold for scrap soon afterwards. This second photo shows it passing along Towngate, Northowram in the Spring of 1973.

John Stringer


27/06/17 – 09:10

Thanks, John. I knew that you would come up with the comprehensive answers – an esteemed authority indeed. You confirm that the conversion to bus seating was a Halifax exercise. Circumstances certainly acted in the favour of this vehicle where the gearbox was concerned. I suppose that is why only this one out of of the batch of four was accepted by GGH. Had it retained its original Thornycroft box in Halifax service I am sure that the gear changes would have been heard right across the West Riding – anything with a crash/constant mesh box was an anathema to the Halifax drivers.

wagon

Turning to David’s enquiry, I can see the resemblance to the Guy front end, but nothing I can find matches it exactly. Pantechnicons were often built closely to operators’ requirements so you could well be right. I will send a closer view if the front end to Peter to help with identification.

Roger Cox


05/07/17 – 06:25

Could the body on the pantechnicon be by Marsden/Vanplan.

Stephen Bloomfield


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 19th July 2019