Old Bus Photos

Hebble – Daimler Fleetline – DJX 351D – 351

Hebble - Daimler Fleetline - DJX 351D - 351
Copyright Ian Wild

Hebble Motor Services
1966
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX
Northern Counties H43/31F

This was the only new rear engined double decker purchased by Hebble and originally numbered 351 in their feet. In 1970 it was renumbered 625 but in 1971 it passed to Halifax JOC as their 294 when they bought out the Hebble Stage Services. It fitted in well with the contemporary Halifax Fleetlines with similar bodies. When Halifax Corporation came under WYPTE control DJX 351D was renumbered 3294, it is during its PTE days that the destination equipment was updated. The photo was taken on its last day in service 8th February 1984 leaving Wainstalls on the cross town service to Causeway Foot.

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


Although the bus is interesting (albeit perhaps a bit modern for my generation) my attention was caught by the destination. Halifax was famous for running services way out of town to remote spots, but it has always amazed me that they had a service to Causeway Foot, especially in tramway days. Were there plans to build houses out there? Was there a long-lost mill which generated traffic? The Causeway Foot Inn still exists, but that’s about it.

Paul Haywood


Good shot Ian not only for the bus but the scenery behind it, now that’s the Pennines I remember, feeling a touch home sick now.

Re Pauls comment, if memory serves me correct at one time Halifax route 63 was Steep Lane (3 miles west of Sowerby Bridge) through town to Causeway Foot, which by the way was pronounced by locals as Causi Fooit. I also think route 64 Hubberton a neighbouring hamlet to Steep Lane ran through to Pavement Lane which was about two miles short of Causeway Foot but at least there was the Illingworth housing estate there. I think the Causeway Foot route was purely to go to the limit of the Halifax Boundary there could be another reason, we will no doubt find out if there is.

Spencer


What may surprise those who don’t know is that this was the location of Halifax’s solitary trolleybus route, from Wainstalls to Mount Tabor where it connected with the trams. About as unlikely a trolleybus route as you would find and I think the highest in the country – a distinction in more modern times claimed by Huddersfield for their Outlane terminus.

David Beilby


02/05/11 – 12:59

Just a snippet of info from my personal history. I started my apprenticeship at Gardner engines in Patricroft in late 1964, and when I started I worked on the engine build line with a senior guy, George Pheasey. The engines were built from a bare crankcase/crankshaft with blocks/heads separate and a trolley full of other parts.
The Gardner 6LX in Hebble 351 was the first engine I built on the line on my own, probably in late 1965. The lead time for an engine build to it actually being part of a bodied bus was probably 6 months or so!
I remember it well as it was the only one in the Hebble order which was marked on the customer build sheet. Bus engines always had the customers shown but truck engines didn’t.
They were great engines, with tight tolerances and real craftsmanship for their time.

John Ashmore


07/05/11 – 18:36

Gardners were great engines indeed John, being built up to a standard rather than down to a price. The craftsmanship was apparent in the quality of the castings and other parts, the tight tolerances and attention to detail. I have very happy memories of fully overhauling Gardner 6LX/6HLX and 6LXB engines in the 70’s and 80’s at West Yorkshire’s Central Works, and derived a great deal of satisfaction in returning everything to original specification during assembly. Anything less would have felt like sacrilege. West Yorkshire replaced the Bristol AVW engine in one of its 1956 Lodekka LDs (DX48: RWY826) with a new Gardner 6LX unit in 1959, which managed to cover just over 500,000 miles before needing an overhaul. It had been partly stripped down at some point prior to this in order to monitor wear and tear, but was put back together and into DX48 again with only a few very minor parts needing replacement. (Albert Jackson, a fitter I worked with as an apprentice described the strip down as a ‘paraffin overhaul’). Even when the Lodekka was scrapped, its engine was removed by West Yorkshire and overhauled to live on in one of its Bristol VRTs! Gardner’s emphasis on weight-saving and keeping frictional losses to a minimum no doubt helped with their legendary fuel economy. Some companies recorded around 12 mpg from their Bristol FLF6Gs, and many RELH6G motorway coaches were said to have regularly achieved 12-15 mpg – figures that sadly can only be dreamed of with todays fuel hungry beasts!

Brendan Smith


08/05/11 – 10:21

I didn’t know Brendan that DX48 was Bristol engined when new – you learn summat new every day !! I believe though that DX 3 and DX 4 had Gardners from new but if you can confirm that please I’ll be obliged.

Chris Youhill


09/05/11 – 08:04

You are right regarding DX3 and DX4 Chris. They did have Gardner (6LW) engines from new. The 6LX that went into DX48 was one of the early LXs, as that engine had only been introduced in 1958. I can remember DX48 running in and out of Shipley when my family lived there between 1963-1966, and being intrigued by its somewhat gruff engine note compared to its siblings. It was only in later years I discovered that the LX was the reason. Apparently it enhanced DX48’s performance, but in its new guise the bus went through diffs at a fair rate at first. Whether the engine was fully rated initially (150 bhp) and later derated to a more modest output I do not know, but the diff situation apparently eased, so this may well have been the case.
Whilst on the subject of engine notes, another vehicle to attract my attention in those heady days was DX83 (YWW 78), which regularly performed at one point on the Bradford – Ilkley 63 route. (I seem to think it was an Ilkley vehicle). Although outwardly it looked like an LD Lodekka, the engine sound was different – somehow sounding smoother and more powerful to my young ears. Again it was only after joining the company as an apprentice, I learned that, along with several other later LDs (KDX75-77 and DX78-81), DX83 was an early recipient of Bristol’s new BVW engine – the AVW then being phased out. It remained one of my childhood favourites, along with WY’s solitary front entrance Lodekka DX82 (YWW 77), which I remember did a stint on the Keighley – Leeds 31 route in the early ‘sixties. Wonderful times!

Brendan Smith


09/05/11 – 08:09

Hebble DJX 351D had a spell with Yorkshire Woollen at Heckmondwike where it was numbered 147. It passed to Calderdale Joint Omnibus Committee in 8/71. Incidentally two of Y.W.D 683-693 (JHD 324-334J) Daimler Fleetline/Alexander of 1971 were ordered for Hebble but by the time they were delivered the company were no more.

Philip Carlton


09/05/11 – 08:59

Thanks Brendan for more fascinating and well informed memories of "the good old days." Incidentally the infamous DX 82 was a frequent performer on service 34 Leeds – Otley – Ilkley where, provided it turned up, it was the fastest thing in Wharfedale. I make that provision because I’m almost certain that for some reason its reliability record was abysmal – I wonder if it fared any better in the North East when it was banished to United – its rear entrance replacement in the exchange, 456 LHN, was definitely a fine machine fondly remembered.

Chris Youhill


15/05/11 – 06:41

Your comments regarding the original DX82 are interesting Chris – especially the one relating to its reliability record. Whether it was related to it being the prototype FSF Lodekka I don’t know. Maybe the design or tolerances of some of the modified parts involved might have caused problems if they had been handcrafted specially for it, perhaps. Nice to know it was a ‘flyer’ for all that though!
Returning to things Hebble, this stirred up childhood memories of their buses plying between Bingley and Bradford (via Wilsden and Harden if memory serves correctly). They were a familiar sight parked in their ‘bus station’ on the waste ground next to The Myrtle cinema at the top of Main Street. I can still recall returning from grandma’s one dark night and seeing a Hebble AEC Regent V parked there displaying its illuminated advert panel for all to see. It certainly made an impact as you could see it for quite some distance.

Brendan Smith


15/05/11 – 17:47

Many thanks Brendan for another important and interesting fact of which I was unaware till now – that DX 82 was a prototype. I’m sure you’re right about the Hebble intermediate points between Bradford and Bingley – I never travelled on them, but I have a firm memory of seeing the destination blinds in Bradford set to "BINGLEY Harden Wilsden."

Chris Youhill


16/05/11 – 09:07

Hebble’s 19 service ran exactly as you described, basically on a half-hour frequency.

David Beilby


16/05/11 – 09:09

Just a quick story about Hebble if I may. I work for West Yorks PTE and was speaking to a caller the other week who was complaining about the unreliable nature of the current 508 (Halifax-Leeds) service, which was basically the old Hebble route until their demise in 1971 or 1972. Her comment was along the lines of "it’s just not been the same since Hebble stopped running it"!
She didn’t sound particularly old, so would have been pretty young when Hebble were actually running the route. But what made me smile was that, in their final years, didn’t Hebble have an atrocious reliability problem, meaning ageing second-hand vehicles were drafted in from all over the place? Or am I confusing them with another company?

Dave Towers


17/05/11 – 11:00

That makes me smile wryly Dave T – the travelling public do conjure up some astonishing theories in their minds. When I worked for the old family firm South Yorkshire Road Transport we were taken over in July 1994 by Caldaire Group (West Riding) and quite soon our familiar blue/white livery disappeared in favour of the various Corporate colours which followed. I clearly remember driving a full bus, green and cream "West Riding",along the A19 out of Doncaster on the 411 to Pontefract and Leeds when an elderly Askern lady was loudly lecturing her fellow passengers on their error in expecting a reliable service from "this lot" – they were advised to follow her advice and wait for "one of them blue South Yorkshires as they are always on time and they’re better drivers too !!"

Chris Youhill


17/05/11 – 11:02

Hebble did run some elderly Titans from Yorkshire Traction but this was not the companies fault there was a long term weight restriction on a bridge in Halifax Like their fellow BET Group companies they also received some cast off from Sheffield when the JOC and C fleets were wound up in Hebbles case two relatively young AEC Regent Vs.
As a result of the need for Hebble to have some lighter buses some of their AEC Regent Vs were loaned to YTC not a name one associates with Southall products!

Chris Hough


17/05/11 – 11:05

You’re not wrong. Geoffrey Hilditch has made comments on the state of Hebble vehicles at takeover. On the usage of old terms for services I used to call the Oldham-Huddersfield service the "Hanson" well into PTE days. Possibly as in Hanson days it didn’t have a route number.
Another expression which I used for a long time without knowing why was "Tilleys", used for North Western buses in the area. It’s only when I took a preserved North Western bus to a local event in 1980 and a long-standing family friend used the term that the penny suddenly dropped. It was short for Tilling-Stevens, a name emblazoned on the front of their early buses although the last left the area not long after the war!

David Beilby


29/05/11 – 07:02

The Hebble fleet was dire in the 1960’s they had a lot of 36′ Reliances which being B and C plates were scrapped at the take over due to total condition, hushed up were various problems like passengers falling through trap doors, wheels falling off and a host of mechanical defects, it was a total embarrassment to the NBC and in the end the Regional Director (Ian Patey) was responsible for putting it into the JOC because they already had the BR shareholding, also Walnut Street depot had a lot of restrictions to height which did not help.

Christopher


31/05/11 – 11:37

A few quick questions please:-
a) Was the Hebble fleet garaged solely in the Walnut Street depot?
b) What was the fleet strength in the company’s final years?
c) What bus (not coach) routes were operated?
d) Is the garage still in use, or has it been demolished?

Dave Towers


31/05/11 – 18:56

Hebble operated at least 3 routes out of Bradford.
No 19. Chester St. to Bingley, via Wilsden and Harden.
Bradford to Halifax (from Chester St.)
Bingley-Cottingley-Duckworth Lane (Bradford).
In the post war years, to about 1956, 19 was operated by the Regal 0662 Weymann single deckers, whilst the Duckworth Lane routes were mainly using the Roe batch.
The Halifax routes utilised mainly the Regent III Roe buses which were, I believe, 0961, whereas the 1953 Willowbrook Regents were of the 7.7 litre variety according to my fleet list.
As a boy, I also remember Hebble running a Bradford to Hipperholm service, which was later, I think, incorporated into the Halifax routes, which went via either Queensbury, or Shelf.

John Whitaker


01/06/11 – 07:57

Thanks John, but they also operated into Leeds, didn’t they? I’m fairly certain they did a Leeds-Burnley and maybe a Leeds-Rochdale. I remember a trip on a Regent around about 1970 or 1971 but I only went as far as Odsal. Maybe by this time the route had been shortened to Halifax.

Dave Towers


01/06/11 – 09:22

I agree about the 806 – 809 batch Chris, but when the "new" excitement wore off, and in quiet contemplation (!) I do not think the S series 4 bay design had quite the same balance as the classic final version of the first post war 5 bay style.
I greeted the first DXs with absolute rapture, but looking back, I do not personally hold them in quite the same esteem as the HWW series. Something to do with my age perhaps!

John Whitaker


01/06/11 – 09:25

The routes from Leeds to Rochdale and Burnley lasted until the advent of Calderdale JOC I once caught a Halifax Weymann bodied Leopard all the way from Rochdale to Bramley in Leeds. The draught through the rubber edges of the door over the tops lives with me still! I think the routes were cut back after the advent of the PTE in 1974. The Leeds Halifax service now acts as a local between Farsley and Leeds leaving the main road at Pudsey to negotiate a housing estate and the constant traffic of Kirkstall Road. After 2 years of this First have introduced an express peak hour service the X8 which follows the old route The choice of the number 8 is appropriate as this was the old Hebble service number!

Chris Hough


01/06/11 – 10:22

Quite right Dave, routes 15 and 28 ran from King Street Leeds, stand adjacent to the Samuel Ledgard routes to Horsforth and Ilkley (via Guiseley), to Burnley and Rochdale. The six vehicle scene in King Street at 5.20 pm on weekdays was an absolute joy to behold. The 5.20 pm Hebble departure with duplicate, plus no less than four SL vehicles for the 5.30pm commuter rush – one Rawdon duplicate, one Guiseley duplicate, one Ilkley duplicate, and the Ilkley service bus last to depart. All would be full for part or most of their journeys !!

Chris Youhill


13/03/12 – 06:25

My school was in Halifax near Boothtown and I lived in Northowram. Hebble were ALWAYS first choice, they got you home five minutes faster than Halifax Corp!. Only in the later years did the maintenance get cut back, I was in the bus station when a Regent V arrived to be greeted by an engineering inspector. He had a look around and took it out of service. The queue had to wait for another to come from Walnut St! (MCW bodywork coming adrift) They also had a Bradford garage too. At least in the 60’s, there were as good as any other fleet. I think when BET decided to sell out, they just cut the budget to emergency work only. The weight restriction on North Bridge did not effect buses, they narrowed the road to get the traffic into the centre, that’s all.

John (tee)


15/03/12 – 09:30

The Bradford garage was at Park Lane and was shared with Yorkshire Woollen who had a few vehicles allocated. The latter did not have a permanent allocation as vehicles were changed over at Cleckheaton and Dewsbury for maintenance. After the demise of Hebble the garage was sold to Wallace Arnold. The last time I passed it had been demolished.

Philip Carlton


05/05/12 – 16:58

The comments about the reliability of Hebble in its last years is very true. Indeed, there used to be comments that the tow truck did more miles than the rest of the fleet!!! I remember, when my Dad was the village bobby at Northowram, how I used to sit on the police Station wall (opposite what was the Stocks Arms) watching the Hebbles line up at the side of the road. In the meantime the Corpy buses kept coming. Yes the end was sad, because the crews were more friendly, but, the outfit had by say 1969 seen better days. The route shown, was Wainstalls to Causeway Foot, which I could be wrong, but I think replaced the Steep Lane to Causeway Foot service, and incidentally was one of the last crew routes at Halifax, in, I think, early 1986.

Chris Ratcliffe


06/05/12 – 17:04

As Chris implies, Hebble was a complete shambles in its last years, and it must have been an absolute embarrassment to its employees. I recall walking home from college one dinnertime, probably in the Summer of 1969, and passing a broken down Hebble Reliance at the lower end of New Bank. Just after this their tow-wagon – a cut down 1946 Weymann-bodied Regal JX 9106 – rumbled up behind it, apparently to render assistance. I continued up the hill and saw as I approached Godley Bridge a Regent V apparently also deceased at the side of the road – the crew standing resignedly leaning against the side, having a smoke. "Not broken down, surely ?" I asked, to which the driver replied with a sigh "Aye lad, what’s new ?". Just then the Regal appeared, having abandoned the Reliance for the time being. The despairing mechanic asked a couple of questions of the driver and had a quick look underneath, then said they’d just have to wait as they had to sort out a coach which had broken down on service at Buttershaw, and that it took priority as it was wanted for a Private Hire later on. Then off they went ! A former driver colleague of mine at Halifax who had been a mechanic at Hebble told me that virtually every day was like that – and often worse !

John Stringer


07/05/12 – 09:17

During my time at Yelloway in the early 1970s we often got Hebble drivers bringing their bus into our garage(which was very close to the Hebble terminus of their service 28 into Rochdale from Leeds and Halifax)for our mechanics to look at. I recall on one occasion we gave the driver one of our YDK registered Harrington Cavaliers as a replacement, which at the time were around 10 years old – the driver was ecstatic! There was a joke amongst our mechanics that the ‘temporary’ repair they had made some time earlier was still holding out many weeks later when the same bus re-visited perhaps with another yet different problem!

David Slater


07/05/12 – 09:18

John,
And I thought Hanson’s were bad!

Eric Bawden


07/05/12 – 09:19

I hate to "turn the knife in the wound" so to speak and I hope I’m wrong here, but I do seem to remember a scandal of some kind where a Regent V overturned possibly descending to North Bridge. This was alleged, and I stress alleged, to have been caused by the front brakes being adjusted "off" instead of being "taken up" as the direction of adjustment differed from that on the Mark 3 Regents. I really hope that I’ve remembered this wrongly, or that it was a malicious rumour started by someone with a grudge. Can anyone remember the incident and, if so, comment on it please ??

Chris Youhill


07/05/12 – 19:17

The accident Chris Y. refers to was way back in 1958 when almost new 30ft Regent V 304 (JCP 672) ran away at the bottom of New Bank and turned over on the end of North Bridge. I remember my father coming home from work and telling me about seeing it on its side, and I still have the newspaper cutting. It was sent back to Metro-Cammell who rebuilt it, and on its return it was renumbered 306. Hence JCP 672 and 673 were ever after numbered 306 and 305 – apparently the wrong way round.
This was however an unfortunate event in what were much better days for Hebble. The real decline only came in the late 1960’s.

Mr Anon


08/05/12 – 07:32

Typically an absolute fortune was spent doing up the Walnut Street garage only for it to close shortly afterwards.

Philip Carlton


08/05/12 – 07:34

My dad still to this day recalls the conversation he had with the driver when he left the phone box by our yard at Northowram Police Station, when the driver rang the bus in, and was told to bring it to town. My dad telling the story to me when I entered the driving school at Halifax in December 1979, and telling me , it is your licence, don’t land up in a similar position. It stuck, and there was many a time when I left Halifax buses at Leeds and Bradford, and came back with one of theirs.

Chris Ratcliffe


08/05/12 – 12:05

That, Philip, reminds me of Air Ministry workings – as soon as an RAF station had a fortune spent on it, we knew it was doomed and we’d have to move on a few months ahead!

Chris Hebbron


09/05/12 – 07:59

Railway stations too in the run-up to Beeching. It was as though there had to be some extraordinary deadweight expense thrown in to sink any defence of its financial viability.

Stephen Ford


09/05/12 – 09:34

In response to Paul Haywood in the first comment, Causi Fooit is probably one area of Halifax that has hardly changed since the first trams in September 1900. At the time, the reservoir at Ogden Water, approx quarter of a mile from the terminus, was a tourist attraction at the turn of the 20th century, and the service in the summer months certainly, by all accounts more than earned its keep. However, the winter months must have counterbalanced that, as nobody in their right mind would go there in winter, just to walk round a reservoir, would they? The nearest mill to the area would probably have been Bradshaw Mill, about half a mile from the Bradshaw short working terminus at Pavement Lane, which in turn is about a miles worth of green fields to Causi Fooit even today. There was also a small quarry at Ratten Clough, just after what was the Peat Pitts Inn, which the corporation built a line into for the granite setts for the roads. The lines were there into the 80’s, when what was to become Transperience at Bradford dug them up for posterity. However, a scrapman saw the rails, and they disappeared!!!Interestingly there was a none corpy route that passed through Causi Fooit for many years, but it was not operated by Hebble. Yorkshire Woollen District were the culprits with an Ossett to Keighley service.

Chris Ratcliffe


12/05/12 – 17:19

Hebble too ran through Causeway Foot – their hourly service 2 (which I think was also the service number of the Yorkshire Ossett-Keighley service) shared the road with the Yorkshire service between Halifax and Cullingworth, where it diverted to run to Bingley. Their Hebble terminus in Bingley – also served by 18 (Duckworth Lane) and 19 (Bradford via Wilsden) – was described as "Central Area", in reality a rubble-strewn wasteland later occupied (I think) by the HQ of the now-defunct Bradford & Bingley Building Society. Service 2 required 3 omo single-deckers and was operated jointly by Halifax and Bradford depots (so there must have been some dead-running from the latter, unless the service was interworked with 18/19). Certainly in latter years between the peaks the service only operated between Bingley and Cullingworth, where connections were made with the Yorkshire service (which also ran hourly). On the formation of Calderdale JOC the Hebble service and the Halifax-Keighley section of the Yorkshire service
became Calderdale services 1 and 2 respectively, each running hourly and co-ordinated over the Halifax-Cullingworth section. The Bingley service didn’t last long and was (within a year I think) abandoned, Calderdale then running Halifax-Keighley on an hourly basis. On Sunday mornings, when the Keighley/Bingley services didn’t run the Corporation service 25 (by then, Wainstalls-Halifax-Causeway Foot) was extended beyond the Borough boundary to Denholme (the next major settlement between Halifax and Cullingworth). This state of affairs continued until late PTE years, when the 25 became a peak-only operation. On deregulation the Halifax-Keighley service was linked with the Huddersfield-Halifax service as part of a combined Huddersfield-Halifax-Illingworth (just off the route to Causeway Foot, [30 min]))/Keighley (60 min)/Thornton-Bradford (60 min – branching off the Keighley service at Denholme Gate, between Causeway Foot and Denholme). Subsequent changes saw the abandonment of the Halifax-Thornton-Bradford service (a route I think Bradford Corporation considered introducing in the late 60s/early 70s) and the uncoupling of the Halifax-Huddersfield and Halifax-Illingworth sections. Now the Halifax-Keighley service has, I think, gone – although the Halifax-Bingley service came back a few years ago as a twice-a-day operation, presumably linked to a school contact (such were the timings).
Although I was young – 6 when they disappeared – I remember the Hebble well, living in Queensbury on the route of service 17 (Halifax-Queensbury-Bradford) and having a great aunt who lived at . . . Causeway Foot. To this day I remember suddenly realising the Hebble were no more, and – outside Squires bakery in Brighouse (also long gone) asking my mother "where are the Hebble buses" and her reply "Halifax have taken over" . . . for the first time a bit of me died.
For anybody who is interested in the latter-day operations of Hebble, Frank Woodworth (then GM) wrote an article for the Omnibus Society "A little of everything". This compliments Norman Dean’s (a much earlier GM) Omnibus Society pamphlet "The Origins of Hebble". I’ve got both, and would be happy to copy and send to anybody who wants to know more about this, in my opinion, fascinating operator.
If I can drift off-topic for a bit, why did NBC give up on Hebble (intractable maintenance issues?), dismember North Western (I’ve read it was the complexities of its operations with the SELNEC constituents that made an NBC-PTE deal unachievable), and flog-off BMMOs most profitable parts (I’ve read that it was a desperate need to re-finance the company – but why?) – when no such deals were done with Northern/United and Tyneside PTE, West Yorkshire/Yorkshire/West Riding/Yorkshire Traction and West Yorkshire PTE, and Yorkshire Traction/East Midland and South Yorkshire PTE?

Philip Rushworth


13/05/12 – 08:29

Philip, it was the differing policies of the several PTEs. SELNEC and WMPTE insisted on full control and ownership of services within their area. WYPTE and Tyneside had a sort of franchise where, in effect, NBC were a contractor for the PTE either running in PTE colours (Tyneside) or with PTE logo (WYPTE). SYPTE ran a similar system but since there was very little overlap of operations even within the "county", NBC buses simply had SYPTE signs in their windows.

David Oldfield


13/05/12 – 08:30

Oops! To correct my previous post, when Calderdale JOC took over the Halifax-Keighley/Bingley rights each route ran TWO-hourly – providing a combined sixty-minute service over the common Halifax-Cullingworth section.

Philip Rushworth


13/05/12 – 08:31

Hi Philip
The Halifax Keighley service is still in existence Now numbered 502 it mainly consists of a single early morning journey from Halifax to Cullingworth and back There is no Saturday service but a roughly two hourly service on Sundays from 11 until 5

Chris Hough


13/05/12 – 08:32

What an interesting article by Mr Rushworth. I have been an enthusiast all my life and have always had a special interest in Y.W.D and Hebble as two generations and my self have worked for them.

Philip Carlton


13/05/12 – 18:38

A fascinating topic indeed and some really interesting and possibly forgotten aspects of PTE policies. In West Yorkshire there was much Company opposition to the PTE’s requirement that all NBC buses should be in "buttermilk and emerald." I seem to recall that West Yorkshire Road Car Co held out for a long time before "doing as they were told" – in fact one Bristol VR was "in custody" at Harrogate Works for many months before being the first to be allowed out in "spring hues."

Chris Youhill


13/05/12 – 18:39

West Yorkshire PTE also insisted that NBC operators buses carried PTE verona green and cream West Riding and YWD quickly repainted the fleet but West Yorkshire were much slower since repainting their buses limited their use to the PTE area and they had many services outside the boundary which needed red buses West Yorkshire PTE also insisted that NBC operators buses carried PTE verona green and cream West Riding and YWD quickly repainted the fleet but West Yorkshire were much slower since repainting their buses limited their use to the PTE area and they had many services outside the boundary which needed red buses.

Chris Hough


14/05/12 – 07:35

Your recollections about the PTE-liveried VR being held "in custody" are correct Chris. From what I remember, West Yorkshire ‘greened’ it, and the union ‘blacked’ it, as they felt that this move could be the start of an eventual takeover of large parts of WYRCC by the PTE. After much reassurance that this would not be the case, the VR later re-entered service in its new colours. West Yorkshire’s GM, Brian Horner, did his utmost to limit the number of company vehicles repainted verona green and buttermilk within the fleet, to the minimum required however. It was felt that because the company had an extensive network outside the PTE area, it would have been impractical (and inefficient) in having to repaint buses on transfer from depots within the PTE area to those outside it, and vice versa. The policy did somehow evoke memories of West Riding’s ‘red’ and ‘green’ fleets in times gone by, and I must admit to thinking that the VRTs actually looked quite attractive in the PTE livery (Shhh!).

Brendan Smith


14/05/12 – 07:37

I remember the first Yorkshire and West Yorkshire buses appearing in poppy red, and the arrival of Leyland-Nationals – it all seemed really thrusting and exciting to somebody so young. Then, some years later, when I was travelling from Queensbury to Hipperholme Grammar School by Yorkshire bus I used to beg for a BET-syle Leopard to be rostered, and longed for the days of individual liveries: once, and this must have been in the "first form" (Year 7 now – I’m a teacher and to me its still "first form"), an Albion Lowlander turned up on the school service – I took what I knew would be probably my only opportunity to ride a Lowlander and went past school into Brighouse, with the girls for the Girls Grammar School, where the service terminated, before changing and returning back to Hipperholme, and concocting the sort of ludicrously-contrived excuse for lateness that as a teacher I’ve now learned to identify as xxxxxx! Then when the poppy red of Yorkshire/West Riding/Yorkshire Traction started to be replaced by the insipid verona green/cream of the PTE I started, of course, to crave for poppy red variety: I remember West Yorkshire applied the PTE-style "MetroBus/[Company Name]/From here to there in West Yorkshire" fleetnames but on poppy red – good on them for showing some resistance.
To pick up on David’s comment about PTE policies – PTEs had no compulsory powers of purchase . . . so why did NBC (which was a much larger organisation overall) capitulate to WMPTE and SELNEC? My wife – who is an economics lecturer (OK, we might – in the present climate – have opinions on the credibility of economists) is adamant that raising finance by selling assets is something that should never be done.
As far as the dismemberment of Hebble is concerned, Geoffrey Hilditch – in vol.2 of his memoirs (Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres) – has recorded that there was some ill-feeling within NBC about the way in which Hebble had been seen to be handed over to "Halifax", and as a conciliatory gesture Calderdale JOC then handed a one-bus working on the Bradford-Hipperhome-Brighouse service (ex-Hebble 26/26A Bradford-Hipperholme – extended to Brighouse on "mergeover") to WYRCC, well outside the WYRCC operating area. This seems somewhat ironic since WYRCC had previously inherited Hebble’s share of 64 Bradford-Huddersfield, which – also being well-outside its operating-area it repeatedly tried to pass on to Bradford City Transport (joint operator) in exchange for latter’s operating rights between Saltaire and Crossflats/Eldwick (an area of repeated conflict between BCT and WYRCC).

Philip Rushworth


14/05/12 – 07:38

If you thought that Keighley to Ossett was an unlikely pair of destinations there was another, not so far mentioned, operated by West Riding and co-ordinated with the "2"’s – numbered I recall "3" from Wakefield to Cullingworth !

Gordon Green


14/05/12 – 09:26

I agree entirely with Brendan on the subject of liveries per se, disregarding the rights and wrongs of mergers, takeovers, and "join our flock whether you like it or not" activities. In my opinion Nationals, VRs and Olympians looked very acceptable in original PTE green and cream, once again delightful in "Tilling" red and cream, and absolutely superb and fresh in Yorkshire Rider colours – I was always an ardent admirer of the latter, particularly in view of the quite indecent haste in which it had to be devised for October 26th 1986 : even weeks before that date it was by no means certain in any stable degree whether Metro (WYPTA/PTE) would be a bus operator or simply a service administration organisation. As I was about to take welcome redundancy from a very taxing supervisory job on "D" Day, thereby escaping the battlefield shambles that was to follow, I well remember the uncertainty and stress in all departments. One shining example of the tomfoolery was the conversion of two of Leeds’ very busiest and frequent double decker routes to minibus operation on ridiculously high frequencies and staff wages. If I remember rightly also, due to the hasty birth of the scheme, many of the necessary huge numbers of new Transits and Sherpas were not delivered in time. The scenes that followed on services 6 (Halton Moor to City – formerly Rodley) and 42 (Harehills to Old Farnley) were incredible and would have put Reg Varney, Blakey and the rest of the "On the buses" folks out of business. Sorry to seemingly digress, but its all part of the "out with the old and in with the unwise new" discussion after all.

Chris Youhill


15/05/12 – 07:43

With regard to the comments about PTE policies, the PTEs were able to insist on full control of operators within their areas, but not on ownership – at least not in the early days. However, in the case of North Western, operating as an agent for SELNEC would have meant losing control of most of their operation, with the consequent inability to continue to meet objectives set by the NBC. The sale took place because no satisfactory formula could be found for the two organisations to work together. (Information from A E Jones’s book on North Western in the Glory Days series.)

Peter Williamson


18/05/12 – 07:43

Peter, thank you for clarifying why North Western Road Car was sadly sold to SELNEC by NBC. I have always wondered why this was allowed to happen to such a respected and well-loved Company. It didn’t seem to make sense, but now at last I know. Although co-ordination of public transport was the order of the day, NBC and the ‘corporation’ fleets had different remits regarding services. From the outset NBC was charged with making a profit – taking one year with the next – which it did successfully for most of its existence (making a loss in only five financial years). If any of the municipal operators or PTEs made a loss, they were allowed to subsidise the loss from the rates. NBC also paid Corporation Tax, which the municipalities and PTEs did not, which seemed a little unfair to say the least. Leaving controversial corporate liveries aside, it could be argued that National Bus actually made quite a good fist of running things, considering some of the ‘events’ it had to contend with in its formative years. For example, the large fleet of time-expired buses it inherited from London Transport on the formation of London Country Bus Services. London Country also inherited a large operating area with, in effect, a large ‘hole’ in the middle, and was left without a central repair works, with which to overhaul its fleet. NBC turned its fortunes around eventually, investing heavily in new vehicles, but then had to contend with Midland Red losing its operating heart to West Midlands PTE, which again left another of its larger companies with a ‘hole’ in its operating territory. (At least it retained its renowned central repair works, although ironically this was deep in the heart of ‘enemy’ territory). Coupled with the loss of North Western, it was quite a turbulent time for National Bus, whose senior management must have thought that the PTEs had it cushy!

Brendan Smith


21/05/12 – 09:10

Here is a list of Hebble workings from the mid-1960s – at which time 106 drivers, 61 conductors, and 108 inspectors/clerks/mechanics were employed – (provided by Frank Woodworth, GM), in each case the order is number/route/frequency/depot (Halifax or Bradford)/allocation (brackets = allocation over main):
2 Halifax-Denholme-Keighley, Hourly, H/B, 3 omoSD
7 Halifax-Odsal-Bradford, 20/30 min, H, 3 DD (1 SD)
11 Mountain-Harecroft, Two-hourly, B, 2 omoSD
15 Leeds-Halifax-Burnley, Hourly, H, 3 omoSD / (3 SD) / 2 DD*
17 Halifax-Queensbury-Bradford, 20/30 min, H, 4 DD
18 Duckworth Lane-Bingley, 30/60 min, H/B, 2 omoSD (1 DD)
19 Bradford-Bingley, 20/30 min, B, 4 DD (1 omoSD)
25 Bradford-Buttershaw Estate, 30 min, B, 1 omoSD
26**** Bradford-Lumbrook-Hipperholme, Hourly, B, 1 omoSD
26A**** Bradford-Coley-Hipperholme, Hourly, H, 2 omoSD
28**** Leeds-Halifax-Rochdale, Hourly, H, 5 SD (2 DD)
29 Halifax-Wibsey-Bradford, Sat only, H/B, 2 DD
39 Scholes-Whitcliffe-Cleckheaton, Hourly, H, 1 omoSD**
40 Halifax-Norwood Green-Scholes-Cleckheaton, Hourly, H, 1 omoSD***
64 Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield, 15min, B, 4DD***
*Part omo and DD/SD worked due to need to reverse at Hebden Bridge – Burnley-Hebden Bridge section omo.
**Interworked and joint with YWD, revenue/mileage-agreement.
***Joint with Bradford CT and Huddersfield JOC, each operator kept own takings and duplicated own journeys.
****Later certain journeys diverted via Belle Vue Estate in Shelf and adopted numbers 36, 36A, 38.
At this time Hebble operated 60 vehicles out of Halifax depot, and 22 vehicles out of Bradford depot (which also accommodated 15 YWD vehicles outstationed from its depots).
Of course, Hebble also also operated a small number of express services . . .
J1>, Yorkshire-Blackpool Pool, Year Round
X1, Todmorden-Halifax-Scarborough, Seasonal daily
X2, Todmorden-Halifax-Norwich-Great Yarmouth, Seasonal weekends only (ex. Walton & Helliwell, 1958, extension to Burnley refused)
X3, Bradford-Rochdale, Seasonal weekends only (authorised as link to Devonian services of Yelloway, through vehicles operated)
Which by 1968 had been expanded to;
X4, Todmorden-Halifax-Norfolk Coast-Great Yarmouth, Seasonal weekends only (X3 and X4 now joint with YWD on granting of pick-up points at Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Dewsbury).
X6, Halifax-Woollen District-Lincolnshire Coast-Skegness, Seasonal weekends only (joint with YWD)
X7, Todmorden-Yeadon Airport, Seasonal weekends only.
X28, Halifax-Llandudno, Seasonal weekend-only thorough journey of 28 Halifax-Rochdale jointly with Creams (Lancashire) Ltd
X91 Halifax-Odsal-Leeds-Whitby, July Saturdays only (joint with UAS/WYRCC0.
But the X3 had disappeared! What had happened to X3? Well, by 1968 the Yorkshire-South West "South West Clipper" pool had been established, and Hebble had relinquished its through-workings with Yelloway to become a major participant.
And finally! Between 1955-58 Hebble operated a Clayton-Yews Green circular service following withdrawal of BR services over the Queensbury lines (Queensbury station was some distance below the village and more accessible from the tiny hamlet of Yews Green [which was otherwise devoid of public transport]) – like most rail-replacement services, it didn’t last long. At some point a variation of service 7, Halifax-Shelf-Low Moor BRS, was operated – a special service to a BRS depot, how quaint! I don’t have details of service numbers for Clayton-Yews green or Halifax-Low Moor BRS, but if anybody could oblige I’d be grateful . . .

Philip Rushworth


21/05/12 – 11:21

The service from Clayton to Yews Green used route number 10. I have a number of old Hebble timetables and faretables and when I can unearth them I will check to see if the BRS Depot route had a number. Don’t hold your breath though !

John Stringer


21/05/12 – 15:15

According to the 1970 YWD and Hebble timetable, and the July 68 Yorkshire central timetable the Low Moor service was the 9. However, you didn’t plan a day out on it, because it has the footnote- ‘This service is liable to suspension when not required by British Road Service employees’!!!!!! It also looks like it was a one journey per day service. I do wonder whether it stayed in the garage more than it operated, I don’t recall it passing me on the police station wall at Northowram. I remember the 7, 15, 28 and the piece de resistance, 29 Wibsey Flier, which does make me wonder.

Chris Ratcliffe


22/05/12 – 07:57

How interesting Mr Rushworths list of Hebble services was. I believe one was missed out. Service 38 was Cleckheaton to Windy Bank Estate interworked with service 39 and joint with Y.W.D.

Philip Carlton


22/05/12 – 10:15

Re my earlier comment re the West Riding Cullingworth – Wakefield service I am beginning to think that this might be my memory playing tricks as nobody has picked up on it to confirm. Did it exist ?
Also re Philip Rushworth’s superb list did Hebble 2 eventually divert to Keighley or is this intended to read Bingley

Gordon Green


22/05/12 – 14:38

You’re right, Gordon. There certainly was a Wakefield to Cullingworth service number 3 operated by West Riding. It took an incredible route from Wakefield via Ossett, Dewsbury, Ravensthorpe, Mirfield, Brighouse, Hipperholme, Queensbury, Denholme and Cullingworth. It cut deep into YWD and Hebble territory but must have been a very useful orbital feeder service from the main "trunk" routes to and from Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford and Keighley.

Paul Haywood


22/05/12 – 14:40

It certainly did exist. In the 1968 Central Yorkshire timetable YWD operated the 2, Ossett to Keighley But also Hebble operated a Halifax to Bingley service, so I can see where I got confused with my earlier comment. Two services with the same number run by two companies with a very similar shade of red confusing to a 10/11 year old boy. The 3 ran from Cullingworth to Wakefield via Queensbury, Hipperholme, Mirfield, Ravensthorpe, Ossett. However, in the 1970 Hebble and Yorkshire timetable, the 2 table is labelled as joint between Hebble and YWD, and it looks like the 2 is the Keighley service operating every 2 hours with the odd short extra here and there, and the Bingley service has become the 2A on the other 2 hours The 3 by then has no operator listed, so I am presuming it was still YWD, and the route has been cut back to Denholme School Street. Later still of course, it was cut back to Queensbury Raggalds Inn. Hope that helps you.

Chris Ratcliffe


There’s a lovely shot of a West Riding Reliance on the Cullingworth service at http://www.sct61.org.uk/wr814

David Beilby


23/05/12 – 09:19

Services 2 and 3 were two of YWD’s earliest motor bus routes. Both were originally operated by YWD only, commencing at Dewsbury, the 2 being Dewsbury to Keighley via Brighouse, Elland Bridge, Halifax, Denholme and Cullingworth, the 3 being Dewsbury to Haworth following the same route to Brighouse, then as described by Paul to Cullingworth then on to Haworth. Then in the late 1930’s an arrangement was made with West Riding Automobile whereby the 2 was extended from Dewsbury to Ossett, and the 3 from Dewsbury to Wakefield – whereupon WRAC began to operate a bus on the service. At the same time the 3 was cut back at its outer end to Cullingworth, the section from there to Haworth passing to West Yorkshire Road Car who incorporated it into their existing services.
As a very young child I can remember seeing West Riding’s green halfcab Leyland Tigers occasionally passing through Hipperholme or Brighouse, but for several years the regular issue were AEC Reliance/Roe’s of the JHL-registered batch, then still in cream with green tops. YWD used Brush-bodied PS1’s or the lengthened PS2/Willowbrooks and Brush-bodied Royal Tigers, before the BET-style Reliances of the DHD batch took over.
The route had to be single decked because of a low bridge in St. Giles Road, Lightcliffe – a road now no longer served by buses.

John Stringer


23/05/12 – 17:02

Thanks to Paul Haywood, Chris Ratcliffe, David Bielby & John Stringer for setting my mind at rest and confirming that my memory still does work (sometimes!) and for providing an interesting history of these various routes.
When I first made my comment I nearly said that I thought that the two routes diverged between Denholme and Brighouse but I wasn’t sure.
I have recently been reading some archived minutes of the old Haworth UDC who in those days had to licence bus operation in their area and who had from time to time deal with complaints about both the YWD and indeed West Yorkshire buses – if I can find them I will post them on this thread.

Gordon Green


24/05/12 – 07:58

Now look what you’ve started, Gordon! Intrigued by the prospect of YWD serving Haworth, something in the back of my mind kept nagging me that I remembered seeing a photo of an old YWD Dennis reportedly pulling up out of Cross Roads (close to Haworth). After much trawling, I found it in on page 101 of "Roads & Rails of West Yorkshire 1890 – 1950" by AE Jones. The photo, taken in 1927, says it is "tackling Manywells Heights between Cross Roads and Denholme, on the arduous route from Keighley". Not recognising the exact location, a map check tells me that it is in fact pulling out of Cullingworth towards Denholme. Also, and this is the intriguing part, the destination shows Halifax. Was this a short-working of the original route 2 to/from Dewsbury to which John refers? What a route that must have been in those early bus days.

Paul Haywood


24/05/12 – 08:00

In response to Philip’s post of 22/5: he is right on both counts – but "2" is imprinted as Halifax-Keighley, and 38 had disappeared before the time of my list (and I forget to add it at the end with the "lost" 9 and 10 [and thanks for that detail]). But thanks for pointing that omission out. I think the 38 was incorporated in/became a YWD route extended through to Heckmondwike (and possibly beyond) – I imagine the Hebble crews would have been pleased, as having only to interwork 39/40 instead of 38/39/40 would have given them additional standing time at Cleckheaton Bus Station (although by the time I was familiar with it it wasn’t a place one wanted to linger! – though the number of bricked-up doorways and windows suggested that it had been a place of greater activity/importance in days gone by).
After Hebble was dismembered its share of 40 (Halifax-Cleckheaton) passed to Calderdale JOC. The standing time at Cleckheaton was transferred to the Halifax end and service 39 became a YWD responsibility. To utilise standing time at the Halifax end the 40 was interworked with Halifax Corporation [sic] route 36 Halifax-Paddock Lane – so I assume that there must have been some financial dealings to compensate the JOC and YWD for operating a Corporation route.
The whole pattern of NBC services in the Leeds-Cleckheaton/Dewsbury-Halifax/Brighouse/Rastick corridor changed under a PTE restructuring on 6th January 1979. This led to the covering of 40 by the extension/diversion of other YWD routes, the replacement of 36 by by a new 36 which had no YWD involvement, and changes to the 278 (eh! what that? – well, its what the "3" had become . . . by then running Dewsbury-Mirfield-Brighouse-Elland-Rastrick [with no West Riding involvement, but a significant YTC input]) which brought it back to the truncated Brighouse-Queensbury section of the Brighouse-Cullingworth section it had forsaken when it took over the Brighouse-Elland/Elland Rasrick sections of a couple of linked YWD Leeds-Elland/Elland-Rastrick services. The Leeds-Brighouse service (?25) which resulted from that split then interworked with the Brighouse-Queensbury section of the old "3" as the "35", later 547 under PTE numbering (the only 5-series YWD service, but so numbered because it ran entirely within Calderdale District and between Brighouse and Hipperholme it "more-or-less" paralled ex-CJOC services (5)48/(5)49). Does any of this make sense? Is anybody still reading?? Well, think of the public!
When I can think straight again I’ll try [sic] to piece together the linked stories of the YWD 2 Dewsbury-Halifax service(the Halifax-Keighley section having bome CJOC "2") and YWD/WROC 3 Wakefield-Cullingworth services/successors post-1969.
Thanks, John, for explaining why YWD/WRAC "3" terminated at such an unlikely spot as Cullingworth – I’d always wondered why it didn’t run on to somewhere more significant (Bingley/Keighley/Haworth/Oxenhope), but I’d never linked this with YWD’s withdrawal from Cullingworth-Howarth.
And, of course it was Gordon and not Philip that pointed out my error re the destination of Hebble "2" – in my defence Ofsted have just visited my place of work, and I’m struggling to get back on track!

Philip Rushworth


24/05/12 – 08:01

The 2/3 service have always been single decked as is the present day 279 [Dewsbury-Halifax] service because of the railway bridge at Elland. This appears to be normal height but there is a nasty girder inside.I believe a driver once was driving the paddy bus and tried to take a short cut back to Heckmondwike depot.

Philip Carlton


24/05/12 – 08:03

I have just found my 1939 Hebble timetable, and I must amend my previous comments, as it shows YWD service 2 operating from Wakefield to Keighley.
Although Service 3 largely followed the A644 between Brighouse and Denholme Gate (where it rejoined Service 2), just before Hove Edge it turned right along Finkil Street, left along Upper Green Lane, and right along the winding Spout House Lane and St. Giles’ Road (round the back of the old Brooke’s Chemical Works) then just before the end of the road it had to make a tight 90 degree left turn under a low arched railway bridge near Lightcliffe Station, necessitating a wide swing on to the opposite side of the road to avoid hitting the arch. It then turned left opposite Lightcliffe Stray and followed the A649 to Hipperholme Crossroads, where it turned right and rejoined the A644.
By 1974 the service was reduced to operating Brighouse to Queensbury only as Service 35 (hourly) by YWD. In the PTE renumbering scheme around 1976 it became Service 547.
Later I seem to recall Yorkshire Traction taking it over (was it 278?) and running it from Dewsbury to Raggalds (an even more obscure place to have a terminus). It was interworked with their 262 Huddersfield to Dewsbury via Hopton route.
Back to Hebble though, and further route numbers used in 1939 were:
8: Halifax-Leeds via Dudley Hill (before being linked to the Rochdale or Burnley routes).
12: Bradford-Brighouse-Huddersfield Originally each of the joint operators used different numbers from their own series, and this was Hebble’s. Eventually they all agreed to use Bradford’s no. 64.
23: Bradford-Halifax-Blackpool
25: Halifax-Wyke via Norwood Green A route taken over from Calder Bus Service, Bailiff Bridge. Early postwar it was joined to YWD’s 40 Wyke to Cleckheaton service and took the YWD series number.
27: Todmorden-Halifax-Leeds-Scarborough
The routes operated at the time were: 2, 7, 8, 11 (then Mountain-Duckworth Lane), 12, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26 (no 26A via Coley then), 27, 28, 29.
The Blackpool and Scarborough services are not shown as having route numbers in the timetable, but they are shown as 23 & 27 on the route map in the back.
I was always mystified by the seemingly haphazard numbering system Hebble used for its routes, with many missing numbers, but these appear to represent the routes that Hebble originally operated in the 1920’s but which passed to Halifax Joint Committee in 1929. What does not quite add up though is that Hebble did not use route numbers until the 1930’s, so why leave gaps for routes that they had not run for a number of years ? Either Norman Dean just had a great sense of history, having been responsible for setting up those routes in the first place, or maybe Hebble had used route numbers all along for internal purposes, but just had not seen the need to display them on the vehicles. Who knows ?
I have tried to make a list of all the start dates for the various services, then allocate chronological route numbers to them, and they almost fit – but not quite.
Anyway, where does Hebble’s Fleetline come into all this ???

John Stringer


24/05/12 – 10:37

Going even farther from the Hebble Fleetline, it seems clear that operators up and down the land "did their own thing" as regards route numbering. I wonder if some were being far-sighted, leaving gaps so that they could allocate numbers in sequence to existing routes when new variants were introduced. Derby Corporation (in the early 60s) had routes 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 39, 39A, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 49A, 50, 51, 51A, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59, 60, 66, 70, 74, 77, 88, 90, 91 – a total of 40 (but no route 1!) – and another quixotic touch was that originally all multiples of 11 were trolleybuses! Odd workings, school, works services etc. nearly always showed route 02. Midland General/Notts & Derby went for single letter and single digit number for their routes (A1 to A9, B1 to B9 etc). I have mentioned elsewhere that Trent’s jointly operated routes did not harmonise their route numbers, so for example Nottingham – Worksop – Doncaster was a Trent 64 or East Midland 36. (Surprisingly, in old days East Midland destination blinds actually showed both numbers.) And now bureaucracy thinks we are all so thick that we cannot be trusted to distinguish between a red 52 and a blue one. Every service has to be different, giving rise to daft astronomical numbers even for operators who only run a couple of routes.

Stephen Ford


24/05/12 – 10:38

John, what a complex history routes 2 and 3 had! I’ve just looked at a copy of an undated (but claiming to be 1940’s) YWD map which shows the 2 terminating at Dewsbury, and the 3 continuing to Wakefield.
Putting on my tram fan cap, and reverting to the early services, there can’t have been many bus services anywhere in the country which would have paralleled or crossed so many tram systems.
Lets imagine YWD route 3 in (say) 1930, starting at Keighley; early "trackless" (to Utley); Bradford trams (crossing at Queensbury); Halifax trams (crossing at Stone Chair and following Hipperholme to Brighouse); Huddersfield trams (meeting at Brighouse and nearly meeting at Cooper Bridge); YWD trams (Ravensthorpe to Dewsbury); Dewsbury & Ossett trams (from Dewsbury to Ossett) and finally meeting WR trams at Ossett. Six tramways and one early trolleybus route on one stage-carriage bus route. If the longer route 2 via Halifax was followed from Keighley to Wakefield, that would have missed the Bradford trams. Now those certainly would have been rides to remember!

Paul Haywood


24/05/12 – 10:39

As a long forgotten radio comedian used as his catch phrase – " I only asked" !!

Gordon Green


25/05/12 – 07:32

John is right, the discussion has deviated – but what a richness of information has come to light! And how else could we share such knowledge? Back to the original post then. Why did Hebble buy just the one Northern Counties bodied Fleetline – for a fleet with with maintenance problems it could only have added to their difficulties, why not two or three? Was the decision influenced by Halifax’s purchasing policy at the time?? – did Hebble think that they might obtain spares from a neighbour??? Am I right in thinking that part of a batch of Alexander-bodied Fleetlines delivered to YWD was, when the fleets were under common management, originally destined for Hebble? (one of these did subsequently pass to Hebble, didn’t it? and into the Calderdale fleet [EFE did produce a model of this, but in the wrong height I think] . . . which must in turn have caused Calderdale problems in keeping body spares for a unique vehicle). Does anybody out there remember the interior of the Hebble Fleetline?: Halifax’s had a pale green melamine interior panel – what colour was Hebble’s?
Its all fascinating stuff.
To answer part (d) of Dave’s question, from almost a year ago – Walnut Street Depot is long gone, Walnut Street still exists, but the site of the Hebble depot is now occupied by a light industrial unit. And in response to Philip’s post of 8/5, the major improvement (in 1961) was the move of the stores unit which had divided the Walnut Street depot into separate "highbridge" and "lowbridge" sections and the raising of the roof of the lower half, such that the whole of the depot was capable of accommodating highbridge vehicles (prior to this highbridge Regent Vs had their grill-surrounds painted white to identify them as such).
And finally. To fill in a missing bit from my post of 12/5 and link with John’s post of 23/5, in the late 1960s the hourly Hebble 2 (Halifax-Bingley) and YWD 2 (Ossett-Halifax-Keighley) were integrated as 2/2A Ossett-Halfax-Keighley/Bingley each running 2-hourly – though Hebble never ran on the Keighley branch.
What a fascinating time this must have been for bus enthusiast – I’m about ten years too young to have experienced this era in all its glory, so this site is a haven!

Philip Rushworth


25/05/12 – 07:32

Service 278 was Dewsbury to The Ragalds Inn worked by Heckmondwike depot and also as stated 262 Dewsbury to Huddersfield. I once was on 278 and had the need to get some change at the Ragalds. I was given grief by the landlord who stated he was running a pub not a bank.

Philip Carlton


25/05/12 – 15:13

It always seemed strange to me that Hebble’s Fleetline was so similar to Halifax’s, the BET-style curved screen but flat upper deck front not being taken by any BET company as far as I am aware. This style was used by other municipalities such as Swindon and Chester, and by Western SMT.
Hebble operated increasingly under the wing of YWD, sometimes following their vehicle buying policy – such as Regent V’s and Ford coaches, yet shunning Leopards after an initial six in 1963 and reverting to Reliances. YWD had taken eleven Alexander-bodied Fleetlines the previous year, and was to take more – and also Atlanteans – the year after, but in 1966 they took no double deckers so Hebble could not have just tagged an extra bus onto their order. Also the YWD buses were of an intermediate height of around 14ft., and Hebble may have wanted the full 14ft. 6in. Northern Counties were suppliers of Fleetlines to the BET Group, but if the order was a bit of a last minute job it may just have been convenient to slip in an extra one to Halifax specification in front of their own order. Its chassis and body numbers were separate from Halifax’s though.
The Hebble bus arrived some while earlier than Halifax’s and at first was used on the Halifax-Bradford routes 7/17, but later one of YWD’s Alexander-bodied Fleetlines (BHD 222C) was transferred to Hebble in order that they could have two Fleetlines to operate on the 64 Bradford-Huddersfield service. This bus looked really great in Hebble’s livery.
Though both passed initially into YWD ownership at the winding up, they were soon passed on to Halifax, BJX 222C strangely going to the Corporation as 103, displacing their existing 103 to the J.O.C. as 293. DJX 351D went to the J.O.C. as 294, and it was interesting to see how similar yet different it looked in Halifax livery.
I drove both buses a lot during their time at Halifax/WYPTE. Both seemed to have a different braking system to our own Fleetlines, having a harder pedal and being much more difficult to stop – especially on steep downhill gradients of which there are one or two round here. We later acquired five ex-Leeds Fleetlines 101-105 LNW and these were the same. I believe these older ones had a Westinghouse rather than Clayton Dewandre system, but am not certain.
294 had numerous detail difference from our own, the most noticeable being the large single aperture destination and route number box, compared to Halifax rather fussy three-piece ones. The doors were of the 4-piece jack-knife type, against our owns’ 2-piece glider doors. This meant nearside visibility was slightly impaired, but at least they did not blow open in crosswinds, or generally flop about and let draughts in. It had a small glass panel, originally illuminated with the Hebble name, in the upper deck rear panel, where ours had route number indicators. The interior had a kind of reddish/salmon coloured Formica on the lower panels compared to Halifax’s pale green, and the seats were trimmed in reddish colours. I may be wrong, but I think the staircase was a different shape.
Like Chris R. I was not too keen on 294, but then I thoroughly disliked all the older Fleetlines. They were heavy, with vague steering, the front ends of the NCME bodies were weak, and the windscreens worked loose, and on a few occasions fell out into the road – or blew out from the inside when the crosswinds blew the doors open ! Their flywheels slipped, brakebands slipped, they fumed, overheated and were desperately hard riding at the front. Ugh !! However, setting aside its deficiencies, being a J.O.C. bus it was used a lot on the Halifax-Bradford 76/77 services and at least I could pretend to be working for Hebble.
103’s Alexander body seemed much better built and had no rattles. The lower build gave it far better roadholding with no rolling and swaying. The driver’s cab was a bit cramped, and you seemed to sit much closer to the offside. The cab ceiling was lower and it was easy to almost perforate the side of one’s head on the row of flick switches (for the interior lights) whose box jutted out at just the wrong place. I used to really like 103, which once WYPTE took over was no longer confined to A-Side routes and I always used to try to get it on Bradford.
All the NCME Fleetlines were structurally weak at the front, and the shrouded rear ends caused problems, and in WYPTE days all were rebuilt and strengthened, and had the rear shrouds removed – including the Hebble one. At the same time it gained the still non-standard destination box shown on the photo.
In 1971 – now under much closer control by YWD – Hebble had two Alexander-bodied Fleetlines and three Marshall-bodied Leopard PSU3B’s on order, but these were delivered to YWD as part of the JHD-J and KHD-K batches respectively.

John Stringer


26/05/12 – 06:23

In later life many of the Halifax Fleetlines were fitted with Leeds style front destination boxes with the three track number blind below a final destination

Chris Hough


26/05/12 – 06:26

LHL 162F_lr

Whilst on the subject (by the way what was the subject ?) here is a scan from a slide I took on 30th May 1968 of West Riding Roe-bodied Panther 162 (LHL 162F) on Service 3, returning from Cullingworth to Wakefield along Brighouse & Denholmegate Road between Queensbury and Stone Chair roundabout.

John Stringer


28/05/12 – 08:23

Just a few more scraps of Hebble route information for Philip Rushworth (everybody else must have given up the will to live by now !)
The 26A variation via Coley started in 6/39 – just after my 1939 timetable must have been published.
The Hebble 25 (Wyke) and YWD 40 were combined in 1952.
The 25 Buttershaw commenced in 1955.
64 was adopted by all operators for Bradford-Huddersfield in 6/55.
At the same time as the 10 (Clayton Circular) started (23/5/55) there was also a 9 (Wibsey-Cullingworth via Harecroft). Both ceased on 1/10/58.

John Stringer


29/01/14 – 06:16

I read that one outcome of the 1971 NBC mergers was the replacement of most of services 2 and 3 by a service from Wakefield to Halifax (79, now 278). This seems an obvious route now and strange that it didn’t exist until 1971, but I suppose the regulatory regime/area agreements must have been responsible.

Geoff Kerr


DJX 351D Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


16/10/19 – 05:39

Returning to the topic of Hebble’s (lack of) reliability, I spent 1972 to 1974 at Mansfield District’s Sutton Road Depot.
NBC had set up a network of help points to which long distance coach drivers could turn, if required. MDT was responsible for an area of North Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, which included a section of the M1. That could be interesting, given that our coaches seated 41 and our DPs seated 43!
We suspected Hebble drivers were either under instructions to seek a change-over as soon as they left Yorkshire or just sought the first opportunity to try for a better steed. On one memorable occasion, a south-bound Hebble driver pulled onto the M1 hard shoulder, concerned about a banging noise coming from a front wheel. MDT’s duty Running Shift Fitter duly attended, examined the vehicle, and pronounced it fit to continue. The driver set off and, as soon as he had got going in the inside lane, one of his front wheels detached. To say the attendant police officers were not amused is an understatement!!

Terry Walker


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 20th November 2019