West Bromwich (County Borough of) Transport Dept
To return to West Bromwich, near contemporaries of the GEA registered Daimler double deckers, a pair of which were posted on site a week or so ago, were a batch of single deckers. The chassis were built in 1948, but due to pressure of work at Metro-Cammell the bodies were not ready until 1952. By then, of course, under floor engined saloons were almost ubiquitous, so they seemed old even when new.
One of them, FEA 156, has been preserved and is seen here in 2012, in West Brom’s superb livery.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Tony Martin
17/06/13 – 06:55
Thanks for posting, Tony. I agree with your comment about their ‘old’ appearance, even from new. If the entry at the rear had been fitted with a door, or if the door had been just behind the front wheels (as with Birmingham’s Tigers, for example) it might have helped.
17/06/13 – 06:56
Looks a bit old, even for 1948…. it is not helped by the slopey windscreen and rear entrance. I have never seen a Daimler radiator finished in what looks like silver paint.. is this authentic? It makes the radiator seem to project even more in front of the bodywork, which cannot be the engine length as it is a G5: contemporary Daimlers weren’t always so, I suggest. Nice looking preservation, though.
17/06/13 – 15:04
Interesting bonnet opening arrangement as well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Was this normal Daimler practice at the time?
17/06/13 – 17:30
Wonderful livery! One of the all time classics. It seems strange that it took four years to build bodies for this small batch of vehicles despite the post-war high demand for new vehicles.
18/06/13 – 07:17
I was also thinking that the four year delay was excessive and must have had some other factor. One other thing I’m not sure of is the length of this bus. I am inclined to think that it’s a thirty-foot long vehicle as 38 is a lot of seats to fit into one twenty-seven and a half feet long when you take into account the platform style which didn’t sit well with maximising seating capacity.
The thing is, I’m sure the increased length didn’t become legal until at least 1949, so why build an illegal chassis in 1948?
Having looked around the web a bit and been rather distracted by some shots of this bus’s superbly-restored double-deck sister 174 I find references to the chassis being built in 1950. Everything then makes sense.
So what is the correct year for the chassis – I have no primary sources to refer to?
18/06/13 – 07:19
Edinburgh bought several batches of saloons with this kind of MCW body including Guys and some similar Daimlers. The body was basically a pre war design.
18/06/13 – 18:15
Yes, FEA 156 is 30′ long. The chassis was lengthened when the body was fitted, as this was legal by then.
26/09/13 – 06:33
With regards to the radiator finish, the bus was restored as original as can be, as part of the 156 group we have photos in colour that show 156 had a painted radiator compared to the more ‘standard’ finish that was used with Daimler, I believe they were painted depending on the engine, but when I have found out the correct reason why I will let you all know.
28/09/13 – 17:46
It’s lovely to see one of these W. Bromwich buses looking impeccable. In my RAF service days in the late 1950’s we’d go into Brum from time to time and see a W. Bromwich bus whizzing across a junction or lurking in a side road. I honestly never saw one other than faded and tatty. It didn’t help that B’ham Corp’n vehicles were always impeccable, greatly helped by a policy of no adverts.
11/11/13 – 09:49
Seen here together are 156 and the recently restored 174 at an event at AMRTM, Aldridge.
11/11/13 – 15:18
They make a fine pair, tony. Thx for posting.
23/02/14 – 15:17
Re: FEA 156. What a stunning body style this was. I probably saw all these when I worked in West Brom and I always considered them to be unique especially with the rear cut-away entrance and no door. The driver also appeared to sit up very high.
Re: GEA 174. Yet another stunning body style. The flared skirt just makes for a truly handsome vehicle. I rode these as often as I could on the 74 & 75 routes in preference to the Birmingham buses. They had the front row of seats in the lower deck turned at right angles to face each other.
Pity the Beclawat top hinged window vents to the front upper deck are missing. Most likely unable to find any replacements.