Brighton Corporation – Leyland Panther Cub – NUF 137G – 37

Brighton Corporation - Leyland Panther Cub - NUF 137G - 37

Brighton Corporation
Leyland Panther Cub PSRC1/1
Strachans B??D

This photo shows No 37 one of Brighton Corporation’s three Leyland Panther Cubs No’s 36-38 registration NUF 136-138G with Strachans B–D bodywork, listed on some other sites as B43F which is obviously incorrect as it can clearly be seen to have a centre exit. A further four with Marshall B43F bodies followed on as No’s 39-42 registration NUF 139-142G so maybe 36-38 were to the same layout. The Panther Cub was a fairly rare beast as less than a hundred were built in total and of those only seven had Strachans bodies three for Thomas Bros of South Wales and a demonstrator YTB 771D which was bought by Eastbourne Corporation some time after being used by them as transport for delegates at the 1967 MPTA conference held in the town (Municipal Passenger Transport Association). I worked for Eastbourne Corporation at that time and drove YTB both during the conference and after it was bought by them and numbered 92 and always found it to be a pleasant lively vehicle to drive if a bit raucous.
The manager at that time Mr R. R Davies said the interior Formica panelling pattern looked like a coffee bar.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave

06/04/14 – 11:29

The Panthers we had at Percy Main were the B48D Marshall Camair bodied PSRU1A1R version, and they too had somewhat garish interiors. Whoever designed the cab layout obviously never had to drive one, if they did they must have been a contortionist. Being a semi auto with no clutch pedal, the designer must have been under the impression that they would only be driven by drivers who didn’t have a left leg. The gearchange was positioned in such a way that it was almost impossible to get into or out of the dammed thing unless you had supreme manoeuvring skills, and once in you couldn’t get comfortable as you had nowhere to put your left leg.

Ronnie Hoye

06/04/14 – 18:23

I know just what you mean Ronnie. At Halifax we had three ex-Yorkshire Traction Marshall-bodied Leopard PSU4’s which had exactly the same layout. In order to get installed into the cab seat I used to have to climb onto, then over it into the tight space at the other side with both legs, sit down then swivel anticlockwise into position. Then, unless you wound the seat almost down into the floor, your upper legs were jammed tight under the large steering wheel rim, which would rub against them as you steered. Then of course you had to go through the reverse of all that procedure when you came to get out.
Having said all that, though cab ergonomics have improved a bit since then, I honestly can’t say that I’m ever comfortable in any of today’s buses, and nearly always finish a stint in one with pains in my back and legs.

John Stringer

06/04/14 – 18:23

I think all 7 were dual door originally. Someone else may know whether they were subsequently rebuilt as single, as happened in many fleets

John Carr

07/04/14 – 12:46

I have happy memories of travelling to school on Manchester Corporation’s Panther Cubs on Middleton local service 142. Queens Road Depot had nos. 72/74/76/78 and 80 (BND 872C etc) and any one of these would appear each morning on the 142; far more interesting than travelling on the school bus, which was always a PD2. The performance was impressively lively; I remember that one driver always started in 3rd gear, and another started in 2nd but then went straight to 4th.
I don’t know about the driving position causing problems, Manchester’s Panther Cubs had the miniature gear lever attached to the steering column. However the front platform doors were operated by the driver’s left foot (the centre exit doors being opened by a sixth position on the gear lever), I can’t remember seeing any of them struggle to reach the door pedal.

Don McKeown

07/04/14 – 15:16

I think your drivers were trying to wreck the gearbox as they disliked the Panther Cubs. I was once on a Halifax Dennis Loline III fitted with a 5 speed semi-auto gearbox and the driver started from each stop in 3rd gear, thinking it was 2nd as on a Fleetline. Giving plenty of body vibration! bus and passengers alike!

Geoff S

08/04/14 – 07:51

5-speed semi-autos could be a problem in fleets that also had 4-speed ones. Bristol Omnibus had 4-speed RELL buses and 5-speed RELH coaches and DPs. When the RELHs were cascaded to bus use, the drivers treated gears 2,3,4&5 exactly like 1,2,3&4 on the RELLs, changing up far too early and never letting the engine get into its stride. They must have wondered why these former "express" vehicles were so much more sluggish than the local ones!

Peter Williamson

10/04/14 – 07:38

NUF 136G

NUF 137G

Here are two more pictures from 1970 of the Brighton Corporation Strachans bodied Panther Cubs. 36, NUF 136G is seen at Preston Park, with the impressive railway viaduct behind it, and 37, NUF 137 is in Old Steine, Brighton.

NUF 141G 

The later Marshall bodied version is represented here by 41, NUF 141G heading north on the A23 towards Preston Drove, with an array of British built cars in the background – those were the days!

Roger Cox

31/12/16 – 17:09

All of the Panther Cubs for Brighton were dual door from new & remained as such throughout their short lives. They were all withdrawn by 1975. They had been Brighton Corporations first single deckers & it would be 1983 before any more arrived.

Malcolm Pelling


Midland Red – Daimler Fleetline – UHA 225H – 6225

UHA 225H

UHA 225H_engine

Midland Red (Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Co)
Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB
Alexander H45/30D

Midland Red 6225, UHA 225H, is a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB with Alexander H45/30D body, and was new in 1969. It has been restored into West Midlands livery and I include a picture of it’s Gardner engine. Both of the shots were taken last weekend at the AMRTM (Aston Manor) running day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

30/03/14 – 13:08

One of the Fleetlines at Southgates Garage was fitted with a Leyland pneumatic Gear change pedestal instead of the usual electric gear shift. This made for much smoother gear changes, I don’t know if it was a one off experiment or not but it was certainly an improvement.

Tony Gallimore

02/04/14 – 16:54

As a Fleetline Fan and driver at Lancashire United in the 70’s, there was absolutely nothing wrong at all with the Fleetlines Daimatic semi automatic gearbox. Had you been a passenger whilst I was driving, you be hard put to tell any of my gear changes, upwards or downwards, apart from the revs changing.
No need to put anything of Leyland origins in any Daimler buses!

Mike Norris

03/04/14 – 07:46

Totally agree, Mike. My experience with the ‘pedestal’ Leyland Pneumocyclic box showed that it was very slow in responding to movement of the gear selector lever. Smooth gear changes required one to anticipate the action of the gearbox. To change gear upwards, one had to move the lever into neutral and only then release the accelerator, pause, then engage the next gear position, and pause again before pressing the accelerator again. Similarly, changing down meant selecting neutral whilst still holding the accelerator, blipping the engine, moving the lever into the next gear down and only then pressing the accelerator again. Lazy drivers not bothered about this would give a snatchy ride and wear out the gearbox brakebands. The SCG gearbox and its licensed versions always gave instantaneous response to gear lever movements.

Roger Cox

05/04/14 – 07:15

I have to agree that uncomfortable and unpleasant gear changes on semi-automatic gear boxes were, assuming the gearbox was properly maintained, almost certainly due to lazy driving techniques and a lack of pride in doing the job to the best of ones ability with management either unaware or uncaring of this habit plus it annoyed those who did do their very best. The Leyland direct air operated gear change did need the technique so accurately described by Roger but was by no means as difficult to master as it may sound and I came to enjoy using it perhaps because it needed that little extra thought to get the best out of it.

Diesel Dave

06/04/14 – 08:32

Midland Red had three classes of Fleetline/Alexanders. The first 50 arrived in 1963 and were classed DD11. During 1966 to 1968 a total of 149 very similar Fleetlines, class DD12. Finally, between 1969 and 1971 came the DD13s – 103 in all, including UHA 225H. The DD13s had centre exits and also Gardner 6LXB engines, which gave a rather better performance than the 6LXs in the other two classes.
Many, possibly most, DD12s were retrofitted with pneumocyclic gearboxes by the early 1970s, as described by Tony Gallimore. I have never found out why. No DD11s or DD13s were so converted as far as I know.
I seem to recall that in the 1980s a handful of Fleetlines that Midland Red South obtained from West Riding had pneumocyclic gearboxes. Was this correct or am I mistaken?

Peter Hale

20/04/14 – 16:07

I, too, liked the pedestal-change conversion on the DD12. It was located by your left hip and encouraged you to sit more upright when driving, doing wonders for back and shoulders! The DD11s were probably excluded due to age, and the DD13s because of the exit door control.
Does anyone remember DD11 5261 when it was powered by a BMMO 10.5 engine? Any facts, particularly from engineering staff, gratefully received.

Allan White

23/04/14 – 05:34

With regards to the comment on DD1 5261 I remember this vehicle during my early teens when I was a Midland Red enthusiast, it was based at Sutton Coldfield and could be seen on the 160 family of services at peak times, in my opinion it out performed the other dd11’s but was extremely noisy in the lower deck, another of my favourite buses was D9 prototype 4773 located to Sheepcote Street ( a regular performer on the above services), really miss those great days, sadly left the Birmingham area in 1967.


06/05/14 – 07:41

Re. Peter Hale 6/IV: Midland Red (South) acquired 4 of the PHL XXXK Northern Counties-bodied Fleetlines from WRAC in 1985. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the transmission. However, I do remember travelling from Oadby into Leicester in early 1985 aboard one of Midland Fox’s ex-Yorkshire ECW-bodied LHD XXXK Fleetlines: what struck me was that gear selection was by a Leyland pneumocyclic selector, which was mounted to the side of the instrument housing (where you’ld expect to find the smaller SCG selector) . . . and selection was automatic (as the selector lever was left in the same position throughout the journey. (Trent’s Fleetlines DRC536-551J [536-551] had a similar arrangement.) And yes, my memories have been stirred by "Midland Red in NBC Days", (Geenwood/Roberts, Ian Allan,) which I picked up at the weekend.

Philip Rushworth

25/06/14 – 08:29

A lot of the D12 class Fleetlines had the Leyland style pedestal changes, but not all. It’s never been quite clear if it was a Midland Red modification. Regardless of gear selector type, the gearbox remained the same.
The fierceness or otherwise of the gearchanges is down to the setting of a valve which regulates the pressure of the air being supplied to the gearbox, via the EP Valve.(the pedestal changes had the EP valve built in). This regulator valve was adjustable, and they were frequently set wrongly :in those days companies overhauled their own units, valves etc, and when the regulator valves were assembled, the adjuster screw would just be screwed in and locked in any old position. A test rig would have been needed to set the pressure correctly, and nobody was going to build one for something like this.
So valves were fitted to buses and the pressure would often be set too high causing fierce changes. Likewise no-one was going to go to the trouble of fitting a pressure gauge into the line on the bus to get the pressure right, so it was down to trial and error, if anybody could be bothered.
I remember when WMPTE Stourbridge Garage closed and Oldbury inherited their National 2’s – they used to leap in the air almost the gearchanges were so bad. Once they were all adjusted the difference was remarkable and it was impossible to get a bad change then, no matter how you tried.

I’ve just noticed that the engine shot of 6225 reveals it has been retro-fitted with an air accelerator, using the same make of rear cylinder as found on National 1 (510), prototype Metrobus, and others. No doubt this has been done because of a stiff throttle: the most common cause of this was the accelerator pedal heel/hinge becoming dry and seizing up over time. Seems a lot of trouble to go to, especially as you don’t have the same amount of control as with the hydraulic system normally fitted.


25/06/14 – 18:04

The comment about the transmission on the ex.Yorkshire Woollen ECW bodied Fleetlines at Midland Fox surprised me. They must have had their transmissions altered by their new owners because when they were at YWD they had normal four speed gearboxes with a 5th position on the gear lever to open the entrance door.

Philip Carlton

27/09/14 – 07:07

I am of an age where I remember the DD12 & DD13 buses running with Midland Red (later Midland Red East and Midland Fox) in Leicester. Three buses of these types that spring to mind that regularly worked my local routes were GHA 429D, SHA 870G & UHA 207H. They were nice buses but rattled well from what I can recall.

Kieron Willans

29/09/14 – 07:37

Re. Philip Carlton 25/06 (and sorry to have taken so long to have replied – I must have missed the post): it was how unusual this feature (direct pneumocyclic selection) was that struck me – I must have used vehicles from this batch once or twice in Yorkshire, but never noticed that . . . so I suspect Philip is right, that Yorkshire’s LHD XXXK Fleetlines were modified after arrival at Midland Fox. Why? it seems an awful lot of expense on already long-in-the-tooth hardware.

Philip Rushworth

01/03/17 – 06:32

Having both being a conductor and a driver for BMMO in the 60s I have driven most of the buses used during this period D9 buses I found to be very stable much more than the Leyland that were purchased, these were terrible in windy conditions especially when winds were blowing between houses, you could often be on the wrong side of the road. The Leyland National also difficult to pull onto bus laybys when there was a line of raised "bricks"/kerbstones when the road was wet no such trouble with BMMO. Having the front wheels set back as the D9s were meant a much smaller turning circle. Disc brakes fitted in 1959 for C5s etc how advanced can you get most cars of that era did not have these.4943/4 both at Stafford at the end of there life another innovation engine under the floor better balance than rear engines of Leyland F Fleetline which were very light at the front.

Graham Millard

01/03/17 – 12:07

Moving away from the transmission to the bodywork, when Alexander initially designed the A style body back in 1962, it incorporated the windshield and upper deck front windows that were supplied on the Y series coach body as windshield and rear window respectively. I can understand why BMMO specified the easily fitted split windscreen as replacement of the original after damage could be costly, but why go to the trouble and expense of redesigning the upper deck window arrangement? No other BET company operating the Alexander body seemed to have trouble with that the upper deck window and none to my knowledge either followed the BMMO redesign or made changes of their own.

Phil Blinkhorn


United Automobile – Bristol RE – 104 VHN – RE4

United Automobile - Bristol RE - 104 VHN - BRC4

United Automobile Services
Bristol RELH6G

104 VHN, was new in January 1964, with the fleet number BRC4; I am not sure when the last of the type were delivered, but the ECW bodied RELH6G’s were among the last United vehicles to carry this understated and distinctive livery. Some of the early Plaxton bodied Bristol’s did, but most had the ghastly, or should that be ghostly, all white, one size fits all NBC livery. United coaches had a well-deserved reputation for passenger comfort, obviously they were used on other duties but the primarily role for many of these was the long haul to London, and so United specified the more spacious 43 seat variants, whereas most of the Tilling group had the 47-seat version. Arguably, other vehicles of the era may have been better looking, but as far as build quality and reliability is concerned, these were as good as it gets. The level of comfort they offered, coupled with their exceptional ride quality and the ultra reliability of the Gardner H6LXB engine made them an act that was extremely hard to follow, and many would say has never been surpassed. Once in London, the crews stayed until the next day before returning, but the vehicles had a turnaround of about three hours, during which they were cleaned out and refuelled at Samuelsons. In a 24 hour period, they would do a full round trip of over 600 miles, and it was nothing unusual for them to clock up over 4,000 miles a week, most of them accumulated phenomenal mileages during their lives. I know that several from other companies have survived, but I’m not aware that any of United’s have.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ronnie Hoye

27/03/14 – 06:58

I’ve said it before. RELH/ECW – possibly the ultimate class act.

David Oldfield

27/03/14 – 06:59

I happened on this web-site by accident searching for any books on "United" I started with the Company at the Scarborough depot in 1955 and this was intended just for the season, and I was employed as a Conductor, after two seasons being laid off in September known as Surplus to requirements I was finally given a full time job in 1957 and after a variation of jobs finally retired in 1990 having been transferred to E Y M S because of deregulation.
I have one Bus photograph of fleet no B G L 59 and it was taken when I was in the Driving school, I think it was a 5 Cylinder Gardner, I have other Memorabilia such as long service awards, safe driving awards and I still have my P S V badge BB 40875, and also lots of memories of ex staff.

Gordon England

28/03/14 – 07:11

Couldn’t agree more David, and thanks for posting Ronnie. The coach looks simply glorious.

Brendan Smith

28/03/14 – 07:11

On paper, a livery of olive green and cream sounds rather less than prepossessing, but, in practice, the United coach livery was a peerless example of dignified restraint that exuded quality. How one yearns for the return of such schemes in place of the present day ostentatious eyesores from the likes of Best Impressions. The Bristol RELH was a classic coach, and I firmly believe that, updated to meet modern requirements, it could still present a serious challenge in the present day market place.

Roger Cox

28/03/14 – 07:12

JHN 835C

Here’s one of the fine machines I captured in 1970, doing its ‘job’ on the M1 south on a wet Sunday afternoon in Derbyshire.

Berisford Jones

28/03/14 – 17:51

Couldn’t agree more on every count Roger.

David Oldfield

28/03/14 – 17:52

The ultimate quality coach; I don’t think any other coach was better looking – except perhaps similar vehicles in Royal Blue livery. These coaches were a joy to drive – some drivers complained about the manual gearbox version, but I had no trouble with them. No other type of coach had such a relaxing, subdued sound, even when travelling at high speed.

Don McKeown

28/03/14 – 17:53

Nice action photo, Berisford. Amazing to think that, on Ronnie’s calculations, this vehicle would have clocked up some 1,248,000 miles by 1970!

Chris Hebbron

29/03/14 – 07:45

Don, that relaxing subdued sound was the superbly engineered Gardner engine. Even when flat out they were revving at less that 2.000 RPM, which is only about twice what a modern car will tickover at, so a run on the motorway was just a leisurely stroll to them.
Chris, as I said, they had other duties, but 600 plus miles a day was the norm on the London run. Not every depot that had them operated that service, so in all probability they would have been periodically swapped around in an effort to even out the mileage. Nevertheless, in those days odometers returned to zero at 100,000 miles. and I know for a fact that by the time some of the first intake at Jesmond depot were a year old, most of them were nearing the end, and some had passed their second time round the clock.

Ronnie Hoye

29/03/14 – 07:47

It’s absolutely incredible to think that this superb coach was new fifty years ago! I had the pleasure of riding on a Midland General example a few times, manual gearbox, a turn of speed which was breathtaking and a ride which was almost silent. Today’s National Express offerings don’t even come close!

Chris Barker

29/03/14 – 08:19

105 VHN

A front view of sister United Autos Bristol RE 105 VHN. Seen here in Doncaster on a Service 203 to Newcastle.

Stephen Howarth

29/03/14 – 09:06

Sorry to show my ignorance but bearing in mind the plaudits given for the quiet and smooth ride of the RELH, can somebody please bring me up to speed with the engine configuration and drive train on these classic vehicles.

John Darwent

29/03/14 – 12:01

Series 1 sanctioned for the nationalised Tilling/Transport Holding Company set up. Rear engined – most Gardner 6LXB, some Leyland O.600 or O.680. Bristol 5 speed synchromesh manual gearbox. [Air suspension standard fitment.]
Series 2 on open market. Similar drive train/power source as Series 1. Gardner 6LXB/Leyland 0.680 in roughly 2:1 proportion. Menu of fittings and options for open market which also meant that the air suspension became an option rather than standard. 5 speed epicyclic (semi-automatic) gearbox became standard on Series 2.
Series 3 never saw the light of day. Further improvements were at the planning stage when BLMC pulled the plug on the RE in favour of the Leyland National but also axed the RELH in favour of an improved Leyland Leopard. A spring parking brake got as far as at least one West Yorkshire RE.

David Oldfield

29/03/14 – 18:47

Just to add a little to David’s comprehensive note, the engine in the RE was horizontally mounted, unlike the current crop of ‘modern’ rear engined single decks. The gearbox was mounted forward of the rear axle and the drive from the engine went over the axle to the gearbox and then back again to the differential. This configuration allowed the fitment of a propshaft of adequate length to allow for suspension travel in the drive train. Some other designs, notably the Seddon RU, fell lamentably short on this design requirement.

Roger Cox

29/03/14 – 18:48

Thank you for that info David. I seem to recall that RE’s had longitudinally mounted engines rather than transversely as became the fashion in service buses. Noting from a previous post that you have had the pleasure in later life of driving RE’s, you may be able to comment on the gear change of the manual models bearing in mind the lengthy linkage presumably involved. How come an academically minded O.E. as yourself came to be at the wheel of such revered vehicles? Fat Nat would spin in his grave!

John Darwent

30/03/14 – 07:45

The manual gearbox was something a driver needed to make an effort to master but once mastered it was easy and light to use although there seemed to be too big a gap between 2nd and 3rd gears which could be a problem on rising gradients. The most difficult thing to master when timing the gear changes was hearing the engine revs due to the overall quietness of the body and engine especially with a good load on. One thing to beware of was selecting reverse with the heater control in the midway position on the ECW bodies as it was easy to get a finger trapped between gearstick and the control.

Diesel Dave

30/03/14 – 07:45

John. Nat retired after my first year and Flink was acting Head until the Sharrock era. Strangely enough my (fully MOT approved) driving instructor was a master at KES. He also got me through the Advanced test (IAM) whilst I was at music college. I had been interested in buses from a babe in arms but it was my oldest friend from KES who twisted my arm to get my PSV. [He is about to retire as a Managing Director of Stagecoach Bus.] I only ever rode on Series 1s and only drove Series 2s in preservation. I write after playing for a concert in Kingston last night and about to play a morning service prior to driving RML2440 this afternoon on the new Watford running day. [So no rest for the wicked.] Roger’s addendum is, of course, correct.

David Oldfield

30/03/14 – 09:44

Thank you Diesel Dave for the interesting comments and scenario.
David O, what an amazing tale. I was a few years earlier than your goodself at KES and there was little interest in transport matters at the time. Having said that, if we go earlier still there was Terry Ellin, later to find fame with his restoration of Leyland Comet coach MHY 765. Hope you have a great day with RML 2440.

John Darwent

31/03/14 – 07:19

The layout of the Bristol RE was an absolute masterpiece in chassis design, offering a low step height and comfortable ride for passengers, yet keeping the engineering staff happy by offering easy access to all the major mechanical components. From a driver’s viewpoint the RE did not seem to show any of the tail-heavy characteristics of other rear-engined single-deckers, due to the better weight distribution of its major components, and from the traffic department perspective the RE would be suitable for PAYE operation. As David O. comments, the Series I chassis for the THC ‘Tilling’ fleets used Gardner’s 6HLX engines in the main, although a few operators did specify the smaller 6HLW. When Leyland took a 25% stake in Bristol (and ECW) in the mid-sixties this allowed the company access to the open market, and the Leyland 0.600 engine option became available, with the 0.680 following a little later. Interestingly the RE Series II was offered with AEC AH505 and AH691 engine options, but sadly none were ordered. (Bet you’d liked to have heard one of those David. The 691 would have sounded gorgeous coupled to the RE exhaust). Ulsterbus specified Gardner’s more powerful 6HLXB (Up to 180bhp available at 1850rpm compared to the HLXs 150bhp at 1700 rpm) in some of its later RELL6Gs. They must have sounded grand as well.

Brendan Smith

31/03/14 – 12:44

John. Had a very good day with RML2440, thanks. Didn’t know where I was going (but didn’t get lost) and discovered new bits of Metropolitan Hertfordshire. Didn’t realise Terry was an OE. In my time we had a informal "Bus Club" of 6th formers and met under the balcony in the hall. Two of us became musicians/music teachers, one the Stagecoach director, one an English teacher (and subsequently an operator), one a civil servant and one a research scientist – and all, as you say, academically minded graduates.
Brendan. It would take a lot to beat a ZF Reliance but I did know about the AEC option for REs. Now that would have been spectacular. [Reading documents referring to LT and the Merlin one gets the impression that, apart from the "breaking back" syndrome found in other rear engined vehicles, the other problem was cooling. Much of this centred round failing convoluted piping caused in part by the lay out in the engine compartment. Presumably, this would not be a problem the an AEC/RE either?]

David Oldfield

02/04/14 – 08:23

Berisford’s action shot of one of United’s fine RELH6Gs on the motorway reminded me of a ‘minor difficulty’ that beset West Yorkshire when it took delivery of a batch of six RELH/ECW coaches in 1970. These fine machines were to have been delivered with Gardner 6HLX engines, but due to demand for such outstripping supply at the time, Leyland 0.680 engines were substituted. (The coaches were delivered as CRG17-22, but renumbered CRL1-6: CWY498-503H). Upon entering service, it soon became apparent that an unforseen problem was causing the company some embarrassment. The Gardner engines were to have been rated at the usual 150bhp at 1700rpm, but the substituted Leyland units developed 150bhp at 2200rpm. However, as the rear axle ratios were geared for the lower engine speeds of the Gardners, the higher rpm of the Leyland engines gave the CRLs an impressive (and illegal) top speed on the motorway. After several cautions from the boys in blue regarding 85 mph West Yorkshire coaches, the fuel injection pumps were removed and recalibrated to give 150bhp at 1800 rpm. This was a much quicker, cheaper and more practical solution to the problem, rather than replacing the rear axle innards. After this modification, things settled down to a gentler pace. Drivers did report though that the Leylands were still a little faster on the flat, but that the Gardners would still pass them on the hlls.

Brendan Smith

07/04/14 – 16:06

I noticed one of the recent articles on the RE mentions action shot on the motorway well here are some more. The cab shot is a Royal Blue Bristol RE Manual gearbox being overtaken by a Crosville Semi-Automatic Bristol RE on our way to the Duxford bus ralley in 2006. Both vehicles are in preservation.

Michael Crofts






08/04/14 – 07:53

Good action shots, Michael.
I see 90mph on the speedo of the first shot, so that overtaking RE must’ve really been motoring!!!

Chris Hebbron

08/04/14 – 07:54

Brendan, it was much the same story with the NGT Group Fanfare’s. The Wakefields AEC Reliance versions were a fraction faster on the flat, but the NGT Gardner engined GUY Arabs would leave them for dead uphill.

Ronnie Hoye

08/04/14 – 11:04

Sorry to shatter the illusion Chris, but the vehicle is fitted with a tachograph, so the speed is recorded in KPH not MPH. 100 KPH is 62.5 MPH.

Ronnie Hoye

08/04/14 – 16:58

You’re right, Ronnie, I’m really shattered!

Chris Hebbron

08/04/14 – 16:58

Not that something approaching that wouldn’t have been possible when new. Did over the ton in a ZF Reliance (I wasn’t driving) on the A1M before Tachos and 70mph limits.

David Oldfield

09/04/14 – 08:18

I seem to recall that our motorways, initially, had no speed limits on them. However,coaches, in particular, were reaching speeds of 90mph (in the very late ’50’s and early ’60’s) and there were a few accidents, mainly due to tyre technology being up to the new challenges, hence the introduction of the 70mph speed limit. I can recall doing 75mph in my car on the M4 and being well-overtaken by coaches!

Chris Hebbron

09/04/14 – 13:11

Doesn’t Chris mean ‘tyre technology "NOT" being up to new challenges’?

Stephen Howarth

09/04/14 – 18:00

Yes, I did!

Chris Hebbron

12/04/14 – 08:06

Both coaches were cape able of exceeding 70 mph.

Michael Crofts

104 VHN Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

24/04/14 – 08:12

How well I remember these lovely coaches which finally saw the ECW bodied models delivered in 1970. In my younger days I often travelled to London on the dsytime service returning some days later on the overnight 206 to Middlesbrough and without doubt the real highlight of my holiday was the journey to and from London on board one of these coaches. It was sad to see them demoted in later life with headrests cut down and I seem to remember even the roof lights bolted down. Sadly none ever survived long enough of the 95 delivered to see preservation.

NHN 953E

Here is an early view of two of the examples taken at Hawes in North Yorkshire in October 1972. Fleet number 1253 was based at Redcar who in United days used to operate excursions and this outing was one of the popular six lakes ones. They also ran another E registered example. It’s one of my early views so sorry about the quality.

Ken Hoggett

27/05/14 – 15:23

Ken’s comment about their latter days is spot on. I encountered them when they were running longer stage routes such as Scarborough-Helmsley and Berwick-Seahouses in their last years. They still rode well and sounded good but they looked terribly down-at-heel internally. Some (cf the EFE model) ended up in NBC red- enough said.

Phil Drake


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 26th February 2018