Old Bus Photos

Rotherham Corporation – Bristol K6B – EET 580 – 180

Rotherham Corporation - Bristol K6B - EET 580 - 180
Copyright Ian Wild

Rotherham Corporation
1949
Bristol K6B
East Lancs H30/26R

Rotherham was an enthusiastic Bristol operator until they became no longer available to non Tilling Companies. 180 is one of a batch of four Bristol L6B originally with Bruce B32C bodies delivered in 1949 and all rebodied in 1951 (only two years later) by East Lancs as H30/26R double deckers.

The photo was taken in August 1967 at the Chapeltown terminus of service 16. My information doesn’t include any withdrawal dates but the bus was a creditable 18 years old at the time.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

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180 lasted in service until 1967, one year later than the other three.

Chris Hebbron

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Ah! Blue and cream – almost as good as cream and blue (Sheffield).
Living in the far South West of Sheffield, I lived just about as far from Rotherham as I could be and the 69 went to Exchange Street, not Pond Street Bus Station. I am a fan of Bristol engined Bristols but wasn’t aware of Rotherham’s Bristols until long after they had gone. It was the AECs and Daimlers that I remember – and of course the AECs were actually in the minority.
Ironically, Rotherham was to become significant to me – as a musician – in later years, and still is today.

David Oldfield

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What a coincidence, David. I too lived on the south west side of Sheffield. I was at a training centre in Rawmarsh for 6 months during the winter of 1962/3 and travelled daily by bus. The 69 of course was a joint Sheffield/Rotherham service, Rotherham’s contribution almost exclusively being a Crossley. Rotherham had one single lady driver which was unusual in those days but she was a complete master (mistress?) of the Crossleys. Sheffield used their three ‘stock’ all Leyland PD2s (601-603), with their none standard destination displays on the 69. I seem to remember them having a brown seating material rather than Sheffield standard.
From Rotherham I travelled to Rawmarsh by Mexborough and Swinton. Their lowbridge Atlanteans were quite unusual to my eyes although later I worked for a fleet with 105 of them! Best thing about M&S was the almost exclusive use of conductresses, many of them rather attractive!!
Does anyone have any photos of the M&S Atlanteans?

Ian Wild

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The interesting question is, why were these vehicles re-bodied after only two years? It’s inconceivable that the Bruce bodies would have been unserviceable after such a short time, I believe Bruce had a good reputation and weren’t they associated with East Lancs? Was it the case that Rotherham suddenly had a desperate need for double deckers? and were the original bodies re-used on other chassis?
Did the fact that they were single deck chassis have any effect on the rear platform of the re-bodied vehicles, such as the Wallace Arnold re-bodied Daimlers for Kippax and Farsley with their two-step platforms?

Chris Barker

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And it wasn’t a cheap conversion, either. They were delivered as Bristol L6B’s, which were single decker chassis. The Bruce bodies were classified B32C’s which suggests that they were originally coaches rather than single-deck buses. The chassis were then rebuilt to K6B standard and fitted with the East Lancs double decker bodies. It’s likely that even the gearbox/axle ratios needed changing. But, as Chris B says, what were the ‘coaches’ originally planned for?

Chris Hebbron

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Two-step platforms: there was a fashion for these in the early 50’s: Doncaster had some new Roes in the 120’s with two step platforms and cranked seats- was it a way of dealing with 7ft 6in widths for narrow streets (or narrow washers depending which version you prefer)?

Joe

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I wonder if it was something to do with Rotherham getting wind of the impending loss of access to new Bristols. They may have taken whatever they could get hold of before the stable door was finally locked and bolted, on the basis that a 6B is a 6B, whatever happens to be sitting on top of it. It is quite probable that there would be a second-hand market for four good-quality coach bodies no more than two years old. From an accounting point of view it is quite likely that the subsequent rebodying would be done through the maintenance budget. So there would be few questions asked (however much it cost), compared with the approval process for purchasing new capital stock.

Stephen Ford

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PSV Circle fleet supplement P71R dated October 1963 provides further information. Eight 1949 Bristol L6Bs were rebodied with double deck bodies in 1951, fleet numbers 112-114 and 179-184. The displaced single deck bodies were fitted to prewar L5Gs fleet numbers 137/140/142/143 of 1938 and 159-162 of 1939. Of these, at least 137 etc originally had Cravens bodies. All were withdrawn in 1957/1958. Please note these B32C bodies were bus bodies (not coach)- the C refers to central entrance which seems to have been a Rotherham speciality as the Cravens bodies were of the same configuration.

Ian Wild

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Following on from Ians comment, centre entrances were very common in this area. Rotherham also ran many centre entrance single decker Daimler trolleybuses, a number of which were rebodied at a very young age with Roe double deck bodies. Rotherham were the joint operator with Mexborough and Swinton on services between Rotherham and Conisborough via Mexborough. Most of the ‘tracklesses’ operated by the Mexborough system were centre entrance with only a few very early examples and some wartime second hand vehicles bucking the trend. One of the latest centre door vehicles that I can think of in that area was a Doncaster CT Regal IV that from new was equipped with a centre door body albeit rebuilt to dual entrance later in life.

Dates relevant to the bus shown in the photo above are:-
Date into service – March 1949 (original body was by Bruce on East Lancs frames)
Chassis modified from L6B to K6B and rebodied by East Lancs in April 1951
Withdrawn October 1967 it passed to Autospares of Bingley for scrap in December 1967.
The original single deck body was used to rebody the refurbished chassis of a 1940 L5G of the CET 44x batch numbers 159 – 162

Andrew Charles

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27/02/11 – 12:00

Some interesting comments here, but does putting a double-deck body on a Bristol L make it a K? I grew up in Bristol and remember all the rebodying that went on but Bristol Omnibus never did a single to double deck conversion. The L chassis was 27′ 6" long, the K 26′ but, by the time of Rotherham’s rebodying, double deckers were allowed to be 27′ long. So how long was 180? Rotherham went on to buy the KS chassis, the only non-Tilling operator to do so; comparing photo-graphs of the two, 180 is almost certainly 26′ long, so the chassis had to be shortened to fit the new double deck body.

Geoff Kerr

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