Eastbourne Corporation – Daimler Roadliner – EJK 891F – 91

EJK 891F_lr
Copyright Ian Wild

Eastbourne Corporation
1968
Daimler Roadliner SRC6
East Lancs B45D

This is one of the trio of Roadliners operated by Eastbourne Corporation referred to by Diesel Dave in his comment on Roadliner CVC 124C under the Halifax Corporation heading. These were the only Roadliners bodied by East Lancs (although Chesterfield had ten built by closely associated Neepsend Coachworks). The photo was taken on 3rd October 1975 when the vehicle still looked very smart but probably only had a short time left in the fleet. The 30,000 mile engine life mentioned by Dave was similar to that which we obtained at PMT although the half dozen allocated to Longton Depot did rather better as did most other types. This was nothing to do with the operating terrain at Longton but everything to do with the quality of maintenance achieved by Depot Engineer Frank Ling.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

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03/02/12 – 06:20

This photo took me back to our June 1975 annual holiday when we stayed in Eastbourne for the first time – there had been a couple of day trips previously. I discovered that you could buy a £1 travelcard which allowed unlimited travel from Sunday to Saturday. Sadly we were there from Wednesday to Wednesday which meant I had to work hard to get my moneys worth. I managed 43 trips in four days which enabled me to sample a number of unfamiliar vehicle types. My notes of the time indicate that the exterior noise of the Roadliners was impressive (and I don’t mean quiet) but the transmission seemed unhappy and hill climbing ability was poor. According to Mick Hymans’ recent book, the Corporation was offered an AEC Swift at £2,889 or a Leyland Panther at £3,072 whilst the Roadliner was the dearest at £3,311. The Daimler was chosen because it would not need any steps in the interior.
Eastbourne had also acquired ten Panthers and an ex demonstrator Panther Cub but it was a couple of other single deckers that featured in my notes. Looking out of the hotel at about 08:30 I saw No.93, the 1950 AEC Regal III with a splendid East Lancs DP30R body pass by and it appeared to be in normal service. Needless to say, I was at the appropriate bus stop the next day and enjoyed an excellent ride.
Rather less impressive was the Regals replacement, No. 94, a Seddon Pennine IV with a Pennine body, also said to be dual purpose but you could have fooled me. On this bus the driver apologised to an elderly female passenger for the vehicles shortcomings and she replied that she and her friends knew all about it’s problems and that it wasn’t the drivers fault. Either she was a closet bus enthusiast or else it really was a bad buy. The Regal still survives but the Seddon became baked bean tins long ago.

Nigel Turner

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03/02/12 – 15:58

How right you are, Nigel, about the Seddon Pennine IV. I would nominate this type as the most primitive abomination that I have ever driven. Back in September 1977 I had to take KWW 901K, which had a Seddon B56F body, from Gomshall in Surrey up to Yeates in Loughborough. The racket from the Perkins 6.354 engine was absolutely deafening, the suspension would have disgraced a London B Type, and the steering was frighteningly imprecise and needing constant correction. The Bedford YRQ that I brought back in exchange seemed like a Rolls Royce by comparison. The Pennine IV was little more than a basic lorry design with a bus body on it.

Roger Cox

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27/04/12 – 07:39

I must initially admit to having been an employee of LG&S,CECO, SA and also being involved with Neoplan.
I just hope that facts never get in the way of a good story.
Re: Cummins, The Darlington V6/V8 (Val/Vale)engines were not fitted into buses in the UK, the larger Krupp built V6 (Vim) was. The Vim was used in the Guy truck chassis (200 HP) and, was acceptable in that installation. The V6 Roadliner engine did not endear itself to customers, it was not designed to spend most of its life idling and I suspect the installation was not the best either. The L10 engine was theoretically designed to compete with the LXB/CT range, capacity wise, but CECO never built designs to suit only one market sector.
The Cummins PT system was produced as an alternative to what GM offered in their two stroke engines. The PT fuel pump in a Cummins is ‘load sensitive’, it is not an ‘all road speed governor’ type as supplied by the ‘Bosch’ designs used in European engines. The Pennine 7 chassis was an equivalent to the Leopard, like for like the HLXB was usually 2 mpg and upwards, better on fuel, with lower overall life costs.
The demise of Gardner, as with all the other UK manufacturers was self inflicted mainly by a lack of foresight by their managements. On one trip to OZ I spoke to a truck operator, once Atki but now 100% M-B.
Why Mercs? "Because I wanted Air Con and a double skinned roof, my one way trips can be 2000 miles with extreme temps one side to the other. M-B listened and actioned my request Atki’s did not" For Atki insert any UK manufacturer of your choice, not a happy story but reasonably factual.

Peter Hobson

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29/04/12 – 08:07

Hi Peter H
I am also ex-Gardner, like yourself, and agree with your reasons why UK manufacturers, however good in their time, because of bad attitude and complacency they could not survive.
On your comment about the Roadliner engine weaknesses. I worked at Daimlers for a short time involved in warranty repairs prior to Blue Bus getting their new Roadliner. The biggest issue which blew the engines was over-revving, not idling. Black and White coaches dropped valves regularly because of over-revving, which caused the valves to bounce. The design of 4 valves per cylinder with crossheads was not common at the time and adjusting the tappet clearances regularly were critical in that V6-200 engine. There were two clearances, between the rocker and crosshead, and the crosshead and each valve. If the clearances were not kept to specification the gaps eventually opened up, and when the over-revving valve bounce occurred the crossheads had room to slip sideways hitting the valve, then the collets flew out, and the valve disappeared down through the piston at high speed. Result, bus stops suddenly at side of road with a big pool of oil, piston has probably broke the crankshaft or crankcase, and customers inconvenienced.
Other weaknesses I encountered were the throttle sticking wide open – and the Roadliner coach was a fast vehicle for the era. Squeaky bum moment if it happened! Also, the engine/gearbox mounting did not support the gearbox sufficiently so the support casting cracked where the gearbox fastened to the engine, and it could land on the tarmac if not noticed early enough!
The Blue Bus Roadliner did not blow up in the 3+ years while I looked after it, and it was a pleasure to drive.

John Ashmore

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29/04/12 – 17:11

In the years from the mid 1950s, the Gardner company was run in an exceedingly autocratic style by Hugh Gardner, whose engineering capabilities were excellent, but whose intolerance of alternative points of view was extreme. In particular, he hated the concept of induction pressure charging, and forbade any work on the application of turbocharging to Gardner engines. With no new designs in the offing, Gardner engines increasingly fell behind in the ability to deliver the bhp outputs consistent with increasing lorry payload weights, and, by the time that Paul Gardner was eventually permitted to embark upon a programme of turbocharging applications, it was too late. The later Gardner designs produced under Hawker Siddeley ownership soon revealed weaknesses that had hitherto been unthinkable in the context of the Gardner name, and HS simply ditched the Gardner company. Those chassis manufacturers that had nailed their colours to the Gardner mast very successfully for several years were forced to look elsewhere for power units, but the outstanding traditional Gardner features of reliability and economy could not be recreated. Having lost their unique selling points, the smaller manufacturers simply died out in the new world of sophisticated continental engineering.

Mr Anon

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30/04/12 – 07:45

A very informative post, Mr Anon, and one which tells the story of so many intransitive bosses who think they know what’s best for the customer. You have to feel sorry for the Paul Gardner’s of this world: his position was invidious. So many companies go from creation to closure in three generations.

Chris Hebbron

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30/04/12 – 07:47

Hi John A,
Your memories of the Roadliner V6 engines are more vivid than mine, but I have to admit putting far more fires out due to the mayhem caused by the Darlington built small V6 and V8′s fitted to the Dodge ‘K’ and Ford D1000′s!
The high incidence of failures to Roadliner V6′s was not mirrored by the Guy Big J engines.My comment about the installation also includes the driveline which was outside our remit. I think the crosshead was responsible for many dropped valves when an overspeed condition was underway, i.e. pressing down on the valve retainer thus releasing the collets. Surely why and how it was oversped is the question to be asked of the driver, not the engine?

To Mr Anon,
Perhaps I can shed more light on your comments.
"JHSG being autocratic", absolutely. e.g. I have a copy of the LXB Sprayer drawing (Injector)’ it states "This drawing is intended solely for the use of Mr JHSG and must not be circulated without his consent".
Did my very limited, and circumspect, use of this info result in repeated engine and parts sales? in a word yes. Would he have let me use it outside the company, had I asked him, I leave you to judge.
Paul was the Technical Director responsible for the introduction of the 6LXCT/6LXDT/6LYT engine designs. I can assure you they did not lose their unique selling points, but, a lack of funding to ‘debug’ and ‘productionise’ them did not help their introduction into the market. It should be remembered that Hawker Siddeley was at that time in the process of dismembering their group. Perkins bought Gardner in 1986. There are various reasons put forward as to why they made the purchase, but, they did fund the revision of the 6LXDT. The resulting engine, the LG1200,is what had been needed at the start of the 80′s. There were many potential alliances that came to nought, but, mainly due to uncertainty about future ownership and legislative changes the spiral was always downwards. Dismissive one liners, regarding the demise of Gardner, I can assure anyone, are very wide of the mark.
I have to admit that hindsight is always 100% accurate, if only we all had a crystal ball to look into before we made a decision!

Peter Hobson

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30/04/12 – 09:10

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the end result is always the same. I know numerous examples of family members wrecking the efforts of founder members of a company – not the least independent operators. There is a "Gardner" story to tell with a pipe organ builder who for a hundred years was England’s, and one of the world’s, finest only to be wrecked, as it seemed overnight, by the great-grandson.
I would also contend that maybe you protest too much over the Roadliner/Cummins. I’m an advanced motorist and take a pride in my driving but surely a manufacturer should make their product driver/idiot proof rather than simply blame the idiot. This is the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Commecon Lada.

David Oldfield

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01/05/12 – 06:58

I am the writer of the comment above attributed to "Mr Anon", and I can’t imagine how my name came to be missed. I am certainly not reluctant to stand by my entries to the Forum. Personal acquaintances of mine will testify that I would qualify for the title of "Gardner’s greatest fan", and I do not dismiss the demise of Gardner in one liners. The 6LXB was the supreme bus engine, especially for double deckers, and its high torque delivery throughout the entire rev range gave buses so powered a road performance better than the nominal bhp would have suggested. Hawker Siddeley tried to rush the new range of Gardner engines into production, and when problems emerged, they simply gave up on the company. Another critical aspect of the Gardner story is the devastating effect of the Euro emission regulations. The traditional Gardner engines could not meet the Euro standards, and sales just dried up. However, it is interesting that modern bus engines complying with the Euro standard (now at Euro 6) deliver absolutely pitiful mpg figures, way behind those reliably turned in by Gardners, and, since matter can be neither created nor destroyed, one wonders just how meaningful the Euro emission targets really are. The chemical character of the emissions might be modified to reduce nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide levels using AdBlu or similar agents, but more fossil fuel is being burnt to achieve the result. As they say in exam papers – "Discuss". I would be pleased to hear the views of others on this subject.

Roger Cox

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01/05/12 – 19:33

Roger, very few of us would disagree with you. The inability to do anything to a high standard – in any field of work – is probably due to beaurocrat’s supreme ability to churn out initiatives (and clear the forests as well) at such a prodigious rate. We’re all so busy ticking boxes that doing the job in hand is secondary. Because the job is secondary, cutting corners is an easy answer to problems at both design and production levels. Those who would do it properly (Gardner?) take too long and the costs escalate and they price themselves out of the market. QED. How do we reverse this tendency? I fear we may be too late. It is probably only crinklies like us, who remember what a good bus is, who are even bothered. A friend of mine, who died recently and spent many years on Tillings (cab and management), always complained about the junk London was running these days. But so what? The contract will only last five or so years, then the bus can collapse and no one will care.

David Oldfield

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02/05/12 – 08:42

In the last 40 odd years, I’ve driven PSV and HGV vehicles of all shapes and sizes with virtually every type of engine you can name, during that time I’ve had pistons trying to escape through the side of the block, blown gaskets, dropped valves and all the other problems you would expect to encounter in a lifetime in transport, but I can only remember one breakdown where a Gardner engine was the problem, and that proved to be down to water in the fuel so it would be a bit harsh to class that as mechanical failure. I’m a driver not an engineer, and no doubt some more qualified than me will disagree, but in my opinion. best engine – Gardner 6LXB – worst – Leyland 500 fixed head.

Ronnie Hoye

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02/05/12 – 08:51

Please may I make a rather general observation which covers various "threads" and that is that as I have never worked in the Bus industry nor even driven one, I am both fascinated and amazed to read so often about how terrible so many buses were to drive, maintain and operate yet despite this, all modern vehicles seem to attract universal dislike and derision.
Purely as a passenger, I can fully appreciate the skills needed to drive older vehicles having been involved in Vintage (pre 1930) and pre War cars for many years so am always impressed by the excellent drivers of preserved vehicles these days. What does surprise me is that to me, a new, reasonably smooth riding, self changing, power steered and braked bus must be much easier to drive yet I read differently..I do notice that most bodywork seems flimsy with loads of rattles and creaks though!
My other experience is from 26 years of regular travel in Switzerland where as long ago as 1986, a Mercedes Benz 0303 seemed like the proverbial "magic carpet" and also any Postbus is both beautifully maintained, quiet, powerful and appears very well engineered.
Now I do not mean anything to upset anyone but am confused so, what buses were considered delightful and are any of today’s offerings a pleasure to drive?

Richard Leaman

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02/05/12 – 11:20

Oh Richard, your mention of Swiss postbuses makes me think of all those wonderful normal-control Saurer’s and FBW’s of the 1950′s.
I’m quite sure that needing skill to drive, steer and brake with a bus that gave a sense of pride to drivers in the past, even though many pre-war buses were hardly paragons of virtue, in fact, downright unreliable and unsafe! There was probably more camaraderie among drivers, too.
With standardisation and modern driving aids, it all seems routine. I was speaking to a couple of Stagecoach drivers recently for about 10 minutes and they seemed to consider the job a sort of 9-5 office routine. They did prefer the recent models and were glad that the Volvo B10′s were disappearing. For all this, we must beware of wearing rose-tinted spectacles! Being able at soundless gearchanges with a crash gearbox , with 5 secs delay while double de-clutching, would be unbearable in today’s urban congestion!

Chris Hebbron

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03/05/12 – 07:53

In answer to Richards question, it’s over 20 years since I’ve driven a bus, for the last 18 years until I retired I was driving lorries, the last 12 as an R.T.I.T.B. instructor/assessor. I can only speak from my experience with Northern General and Armstrong Galley, but what were the best and the worst. The oldest buses I ever driven were 1950′s Guy Arabs with Gardner 5LW’s, by todays standards they were under powered, no power steering, crash box, poor brakes which you needed very strong leg mussels to apply, very hard leaf springs and no heaters, but they were virtually indestructible and almost impossible to abuse, you only had one way to drive them and that was properly. So what would I keep from todays buses and what would I change? Power steering? yes, as long as it still has ‘feel’ Air brakes? Yes, no argument Air suspension and anti roll bars? defiantly. Automatic gears? NO, I would go for semi auto on local service buses, okay they’re more open to driver abuse, but when used properly you get a much better ride with no lurching as the bus comes to a halt, and drivers have MK1 eyeball which gives them a distinct advantage over a sensor, no matter how sophisticated it may be, on coaches I would opt for a 6 speed ZF with two speed axle. What are my best and worst? As regards half cabs, the best looking were the 1956 Park Royal bodied Guy Arab IV’s, but the best to drive were the Leyland PD3′s, best rear engine bus? Alexander bodied Daimler Fleetline with Gardner 6LXB, worst? PDR1 Atlantean. Best coach? Sorry if I upset anyone but it has to be a Volvo B10M with 6 speed ZF and two speed axle, mind you, I think that AEC could have given them a run for their money if BL hadn’t killed them off, and my worst bus ever? MK1 Leyland national, no contest

Ronnie Hoye

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03/05/12 – 11:02

Well Ronnie, I can only agree with everything you said (including the bit about AEC).

David Oldfield

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03/05/12 – 11:03

Ronnie and Chris..thank you so much for your thoughts! I can understand why different vehicles attract diverse feelings..it depends on whether you prefer a driving challenge and are rewarded with getting something "right" or would go for easy and undemanding. I guess that lady bus drivers were quite rare until 10/15 years ago and so the "he-man" controls thought acceptable became rather less so in recent times. What has puzzled me most though is that from comments, the bus manufacturers have not advanced anything like as much as the motor car industry. Around 6/7 years ago my cousin joined First to become a driver and had to do the full training etc. but was aghast at how dreadful the training bus he was told to drive actually was. Sadly I cannot tell you what exact vehicle but I suspect an early Dart or something. He described the steering as being completely devoid of feel and had so much slack that keeping it in a straight line was nearly impossible. The brakes barely worked and the performance from the tired engine was less than a moped. He gave the job up after six months after being set upon by a gang of late night yobs on his last run.
Purely as a passenger, I loved the smooth "London" sound of early RM’s, have always appreciated the build quality and sound of nearly all Bristol’s and am fascinated by the variations in older manufacturers…but when you get to the 1970′s maybe I lose inspiration! I do share your recollections on those dreadful Leyland National’s and have never enjoyed a trip on a Dart although we still have some 1994/5′s in service in Bristol so they must last well!
Chris…The Postbus is my great favourite and I recall one journey from Grindlewald up to the mountain stop at Bort where the snow was fluffy deep at 2′ deep all the way up with steep drops on the side and sharp bends with the fearsome reverse experience! It was a short wheelbase, narrow body Mercedes fitted with a 9 litre, twin turbo engine, double reduction transmission with four wheel drive and double snow chains…not fast but it ploughed through the snow and up glassy ice without a flinch. The driver wore a very thick flying suit and gigantic leather boots looking like Danny Kay in Hans Christian Anderson. The journey back down was..memorable..but the bus and driver were as sure footed as a mountain goat.

Richard Leaman

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03/05/12 – 14:04

Richard, if I can make one further point. Although I have never been full-time in the industry I became an Advanced Motorist forty years ago and gained my PSV sixteen years ago. When you have a stick and left foot pedal it concentrates the mind. You have to think and read the road ahead to make smooth and safe progress. At a time when, albeit part-time/casual, I regularly drove an automatic Volvo B10M, I became aware that it was making me lazy and that the standard of my driving was suffering. From then on, I was more aware and always take more care when driving an automatic but far prefer the 6 speed ZF – one with a splitter is just icing on the cake.

David Oldfield

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03/05/12 – 14:11

If I might add one small tweak to Ronnie’s idea of the perfect bus, with today’s technology it would be perfectly possible to build a semi-automatic gearbox which is NOT open to abuse. The control system would change down automatically if power was demanded at too low an engine speed, and refuse to change down at too high a road speed. Many automatic gearboxes in cars nowadays have a sequential override mode which does exactly that.

Peter Williamson

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05/05/12 – 16:55

The over-revving of the Roadliner coach was probably caused by drivers changing down at too high a speed, or using the engine to assist braking, more often than not down hills. The Cummins V design was not as tolerant of this as, perhaps, some other engines were under engine assisted retardation. Indeed, the 14 litre in line 6 cylinder Cummins of the same era was fitted with an engine exhaust brake as standard, and seemingly could accommodate the stresses in its design.

John Ashmore

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EJK 891F_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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16/05/12 – 07:57

John Ashmore – many thanks for the clearest explanation of the mechanical problems that beset the Cummins V6 engine in the Daimler Roadliner. It’s very difficult to find out just what caused this engine to be such a disaster, but you have certainly helped. It’s all so long ago now, but I can clearly hear the sound of the V6 in Black and White coaches in Derngate bus station in Northampton in the 70′s, and the recent YouTube video of the restored Walsall Corporation Daimler CRC6 with that same engine brought it all back. It’s important to remember that the Roadliners were Black and White’s first rear-engined coaches, and a powerful engine at the opposite end of the coach from the driver,which sounded totally different to AECs and Leylands, coupled to an easy-to-abuse semi-automatic gearbox, would have made it very easy for the less-sympathetic drivers to over-rev the engine. No engine protection systems in those days! If you get a few spare minutes, any reminiscences about your time looking after Roadliners would be much appreciated.

Richard Heron

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17/05/12 – 08:42

Some years ago I travelled up the M1 on a hired-in coach: the only identification on the white coach was the word "Cummins". We seemed to arrive in no time- faster than my usual car progress- and when I went to speak to the driver near our destination I remember looking down and the speedo was reading 90 (can’t have been kph with that timing and we were swaying gently from side to side). I said something like "Goes a bit" to which he replied- I remember clearly- "Yes it builds on you". These posts make me wonder if it was a poor old Roadliner- ungoverned, untachoed, unretarded….. misjudged?

Joe

 

West Hartlepool Corporation – Daimler CWD6 – EF 7942 – 14

West Hartlepool Corporation - Daimler CWD6 - EF 7942 - 14
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

West Hartlepool Corporation
1947
Daimler CWD6
Roe H28/22C

The above shot shows one of West Hartlepool Corporation centre-entrance double deckers, this style of bodywork dated at West Hartlepool from the late thirties onwards although there were some post-war 8 foot wide examples. This style was also popular with Sunderland and a few other operators.
My question is if anyone knows why on earth the operators wanted this design in the first place.
I can just about remember them in service, and they were quaint if nothing else. By the time that I knew them they were used mainly on the lightly trafficked routes 2 and 3 to the Park area, and for duplicates and specials.
On entering the wide centre door there were two separate compartments, front and back, and if I remember rightly these had their own sliding doors, rather like a railway compartment of the time. At least some of the seating was bench seating, which in the rear compartment would cover the wheel arch, and I suspect that each compartment held ten passengers. Opposite the door the staircase divided into two, fore and aft, hence the wide blank area seen in the offside view. Upstairs the seating was effectively divided into three parts, to the front, rear and some further seats between the stair heads (possibly 3 rows of seats at the front, two at the rear, and four double seats in between). Whilst the exact configuration is a mixture of guesswork and memory the stated capacity was H48C; the 8 foot wide models were H50C, and I think this was achieved by fitting a single centre seat facing backwards from the front bulkhead and the centre of the rear compartment.
The fleet were withdrawn in the mid 50s, and the older models were scrapped (although I believe that at least one was preserved); the newer models were rebodied as H59R.
As this layout would have been readily available when they were built I have always wondered why anyone would want a design which must have been more difficult to build, a conductor’s nightmare, and which involved the loss of capacity for about ten extra passengers!

Photograph and Copy contributed by David Todd

A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.


29/01/12 – 09:28

Just a memory from the mists of time, but I believe that the appeal of this design was speed of loading on busy routes. Its easy to see that this was a very valid consideration as the long awkward queues to access the traditional front or rear exits in both saloons were at least halved, if not eliminated altogether. The same or a similar principle applies today for operators who insist on avoiding centre exits on colossal modern vehicles holding approaching one hundred passengers. I have personal experience of the disastrous effect on timekeeping (and convenience) on busy services with today’s single doorway giants – even now I’m retired I sit in exasperation while watching the inevitable battle between those struggling to alight and the incoming hordes paying and looking for space. So, in summary, the old centre doorway and two staircases was a very good idea indeed.

Chris Youhill


29/01/12 – 11:19

West Riding "Red" buses were something like this configuration, too. There was supposed to be a mysterious connection with the trams that they replaced. The double-deck RER trains in Paris have a similar system, but the door is between decks. Anything has to be better than the present OMO arrangements on awkwardly seated double deckers which tumble you to the front at stops!

Joe


29/01/12 – 16:04

Joe I don’t think that its a mysterious link with the old trams – simply a rather lovely long lasting legend. Arriva service 110 from Leeds to Wakefield, Sandal, Kettlethorpe and Hall Green, formerly West Riding number 10, is still to this day referred by staff as "The track." I loved working on that route – to this very day you can still sense the honest hard working "no nonsense" atmosphere of long ago despite the somewhat different vehicular equipment – its impossible to imagine one of the centre entrance red Mark 3 Regents being called "Jonathan Ross" – oh dear, I must take a lie down and a glass of Sanatogen !!

Chris Youhill


29/01/12 – 16:05

The main exponent of the centre entrance double decker was of course Blackpool with large fleets of both pre- and post-war Leyland Titans with this arrangement. These were the brainchild of General Manager Walter Luff who I believe specified the design to maintain a ‘family’ similarity with the ‘Baloon’ tramcars built in the 1930′s, many of which are still in existence although with much rebuilding.
The post-war PD2′s were 8 feet wide with fully-fronted locally built Burlingham bodywork and only had a single staircase but otherwise followed a similar arrangement to the West Hartlepool vehicles with two distinct (forward and rear) lower saloons. The entrances were fitted with powered sliding doors and the vehicles were extremely well-appointed inside with lined-out ceilings and coach style moulded glass light fittings.
They were the mainstay of the Blackpool fleet when as a child I was taken to Blackpool for family holidays. I thought they were magnificent. I was most disappointed when new buses arrived in 1959 with boring open rear platforms due to a change of policy after Mr Luff retired to be replaced by a new manager.
It is ironic that after having buses with doors in the 40′s and 50′s, Blackpool stuck with open platform rear-entrance PD2′s and PD3′s when many Lancashire operators were adopting the forward entrance arrangement pioneered in the area by Ribble.
The last buses with this arrangement to enter service in the UK to my knowledge were the SHMD Daimler CVG6′s and solitary Atkinson in the late fifties. I believe the GM at SHMD at the time had served at Blackpool under Walter Luff at some stage in his career.

Philip Halstead


29/01/12 – 16:07

I had never seen anything like this until I was taken to Blackpool as a youngster, they of course had a whole fleet of Burlingham bodied centre entrance PD2′s. I can see the advantages of this layout, but they must have been a nightmare for the conductors at peak times, as no matter which way you went first, their would always be someone at the other side of the entrance who was only going a couple of stops and could avoid paying.

Ronnie Hoye


29/01/12 – 16:08

Yorkshire Woollen purchased a number of Leylands to this configuration in the 1930s for tram replacement.They were nicknamed locally as :room and two kitchens.

Philip Carlton


29/01/12 – 17:38

No less than seven of the magnificent Yorkshire Woollen TDs later served, on far gentler services, in Bridlington – not a Dewsbury style incline to be seen anywhere. Williamsons had HD 4629/4630/4801/4803/4810, all of which retained the beautiful YWD elaborate fleet numbers inside.
HD 4625/4631 with White Bus ventured "long distance" as far as Sewerby and Flamborough.

Chris Youhill


30/01/12 – 07:42

White Bus travelled a fair old ‘long distance’, Chris Y, which I’d have thought would have taken a couple of hours at least.

Chris Hebbron


30/01/12 – 07:42

Were these vehicles stored for a time before bodying? I’m not disputing the date which is borne out by the West Hartlepool fleet list but 1947 seems rather late for a CWD6. The CV had become well established by then.

Chris Barker


30/01/12 – 07:43

Grimsby Corporation also favoured centre entrance vehicles (AEC Regents, and some trolleybuses) in the 1930s – all, I think, with Roe bodies. I can just remember travelling on one of the Regents from Riby Square to Old Clee the first time I visited relatives in the area. This would be December 1956. I don’t think any of them survived to be absorbed into the Grimsby-Cleethorpes joint committee, formed the following year.

Stephen Ford


30/01/12 – 11:05

I seem to remember that the centre staircase design was subject to legal action with English Electric (Preston) resolved with a licensing agreement between the two companies.

David Oldfield


30/01/12 – 16:09

I know what you mean Chris H about the "long distance" but the dear old TD1s would have surprised us !! I daresay that years of conquering the mountainous Dewsbury district terrain stood them in good stead for their genteel retirement on the East coast – and possibly the bracing North Sea air was like nectar to carburettors accustomed to industrial smog. In the event they managed the journey time to North Landing (25 minutes out, 23 return) and Lighthouse (28 minutes each way) with scarcely a minute lost or an asthmatic gasp !!

Chris Youhill


30/01/12 – 16:11

Mr Whitely, the Grimsby gm. worked very closely with Roe on the centre entrance idea, designed to speed loading. This was in 1930, and Roe had some success in marketing the concept, BCN becoming early users too.Just who owned the patent though, as David points out, is questionable, as EEC produced a batch of centre entrance Regents for Nottingham in 1929, and Roe "fell out" with Brush in 1931 after the latter also built some vehicles, some on Crossley chassis, for BCN during that year.
As Chris says, White Bus, and Williamson of Bridlington took several C/E Roe TD2s from YWD in the early post war period, which I remember with elation (!), but Sewerby and Flamborough are only a short distance from Brid. (Re. comment by Chris H.)
Regarding the Blackpool connection, I think Walter Luff brought his C/E ideas with him from West Riding, when he became BCT gm. in 1933.

John Whitaker


31/01/12 – 08:00

Regarding the Y.W.D centre entrance double deckers. The majority were bodied by Roe but in 1933 269-277 were bodied by Weymann. According to the publication of the history of Weymann they had to pay Roe royalties as Roe held the patent for this style of body.

Philip Carlton


31/01/12 – 15:20

Aw, shucks, Chris Y, you’re so good at all that poetic stuff! But well put and I’m picturing the ride now, although I’d rather live it!
I take it the shorter time back from North Landing was because of the bracing easterly breeze off the North Sea!

Chris Hebbron


01/02/12 – 07:51

Were the entrances open to elements, or did they have doors? Pictures of the Grimsby ones seem to show outward-hinged swing doors at the top of the steps, but on every picture they are open. The rear compartment must have scooped up those icy blasts off the North Sea, in either Grimsby or West Hartlepool, at this time of the year. Definitely the seats of last resort for the cognoscenti!

Stephen Ford


01/02/12 – 16:28

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on the practical pros and cons of the centre-entrance twin-staircase layout, but most of all I love the sheer character of this wonderful W Hartlepool bus. Livery, unfailingly handsome Roe bodywork, the sit-up-and-beg look, two-letter registration—it’s got everything! I rode as an 8-yr-old on a Venture of Basingstoke (ex-Burnley 76) which must have got the fascination going.
At least one centre-entrance Grimsby decker(1931 body on 1935 chassis) mentioned by Stephen Ford was still in the depot at Easter 1957.
I had a peep at the W Hartlepool fleet list and notice that very early withdrawal (11-12 years) was the policy for a good while. Little chance, then, that EF could ever have been preserved!

Ian Thompson


01/02/12 – 16:28

Thanks Chris H – I do think that a bit of different terminology adds to already fascinating topics sometimes. I found the different running times to be puzzling – its a long time ago – but on reflection I think that the outward journey to North Landing was via Prospect Street, the cenotaph, and various minor thoroughfares before joining the main Flamborough Road somewhere near Fortyfoot. The return was via the main road and the Promenade to Queen Street and therefore probably easier and slightly quicker. This doesn’t explain though why Lighthouse was the same both ways ??

Chris Youhill


02/02/12 – 06:48

Either Chris or Peter have got a bit lost! Those buses are now working a service from Bridlington to West Hartlepool, as if Dewsbury wasn’t bad enough!

David Beilby


02/02/12 – 06:49

Thanks Ian. I found a comment on Flickr to the effect that a number of the Grimsby Regents survived to 1958, but none were every repainted blue and cream. Three of the Regents (fleet numbers 60-62) received conventional East Lancashire replacement bodies during the war, after bomb damage to Victoria Street depot destroyed their centre entrance superstructures.

Stephen Ford


02/02/12 – 06:50

Ian An older Leyland Titan with this style of body is preserved this is a 1942 "unfrozen "TD7 with Roe centre entrance bodywork 36 EF 3780

Chris Hough


07/02/12 – 10:59

Thanks, Chris H, for welcome news of EF 3780′s survival. Where does it live?

Ian Thompson


16/02/12 – 16:04

Regarding the patents for centre entrance double deck bodies in the 1929/31 period, the published material states that the patent was held jointly between EEC and Roe, and that royalties were payable by other builders. EEC produced a batch in 1929 for Nottingham BEFORE the Grimsby prototype, so presumably the 2 concerns were working in unison. It would be of interest to find out if there were any design differences between the two at this early stage, with regard to stair layout etc.
The Blackpool connection is interesting, as Walter Luff had experience of the Roe variety at West Riding, and early Blackpool TD3s were built by EEC and Roe. I remember reading somewhere that the Burlingham TD3s had several EEC features included in their design, as well as the centre entrance, and this practice could well have been a follow on from the Blackpool rear entrance TD2s, which are given as bodied by Burlingham, but look (to me anyway), just like standard EEC composite bodies of the period.

John Whitaker


17/02/12 – 11:40

In my gallery there is a series of photos of an English Electric-bodied Leyland Titanic for Bury which had a centre entrance. These show all angles so will be good for comparison with other designs. http://davidbeilby.zenfolio.com  takes you to the first image.

David Beilby


17/02/12 – 16:06

I have checked the "full on" staircase view of the Bury "Titanic" with a similar angle photograph of the YWD TD2s, and I cannot highlight a difference in stair layout.
Can I say how much pleasure I have had looking at your gallery of pre war EEC bodies etc.
Any chance of any more Bradford pre-wars ?

John Whitaker


18/02/12 – 07:04

John – you’ll be pleased to know I have a big Bradford project going on at the moment which I’m sure you’ll find of interest! It will be live in about a month – in the meantime I’ve got a lot of work to do!

David Beilby


EF 7942_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


13/09/13 – 08:30

The centre-entrance topic died long before this 2013 posting but I can add that I travelled on the six S.H.M.D. Daimlers and the single Atkinson 40-odd years ago and they were warmer in winter than their back-loader successors (the doors never seemed to be a handicap to the crews, either). Both West Hartlepool and Sunderland seem to have given a higher priority to the ever-present "Shop at Binns" ad than to giving would-be passengers a comprehensive, decent-sized, route-indicator display did Binns have some kind of hold on North-East bus-operators to be able to get such prominent placing for their name?

John Hardman


13/09/13 – 16:30

With regard to your last sentence John, the answer to the "some kind of hold" is I’m sure a simple one – "Revenue" !!
Interesting also is the full size advertisement on the CWD6 – DULUX, the four small words being "Fine paints, Fine decoration." This was an extremely smart advertisement with dark blue base and cream/white lettering, and it was used virtually nationwide on many operators’ buses, including good old Samuel Ledgard’s vehicles.

Chris Youhill


13/09/13 – 16:30

That’s an interesting comment John. Logic suggests that they would be warmer – but only provided the doors were closed. If not, the saloon to the rear of the entrance would be scooping in circulating currents of cold air – nice on hot Summer days, but not in November with an easterly off the North Sea! My experience with the Barton’s front entrance PD1/Duples, which often ran with the doors open, was that they were draughtier than open platform back-loaders

Stephen Ford


I’m afraid I can’t agree with your remarks about the ‘Shop at Binns’ advert. It’s a point which could reasonably be made about some SDO ‘deckers of that era which had very narrow destination apertures and no route number but they were, after the mid-’50s, the exception rather than the rule.
West Hartlepool destinations were of perfectly adequate size – larger than many, in fact – and the route number box is to be found under the canopy (on this one, showing ’2′).
Sunderland Corporation didn’t introduce route numbers until 3 July 1953. This was one of many innovations proposed and implemented by Norman Morton during his tenure as General Manager. Mr Morton had been appointed twelve months earlier and older buses were either rebuilt to carry a route number box alongside the destination display or fitted with number boxes under the canopy similar to that on WHCT 14 above. Mr Morton also recommended that the red livery, which was very similar to that used by Northern General, be replaced by green and cream and that the ‘Shop at Binns’ advert be standardised on a style also not dissimilar to that on 14 above. It has to be said that some the earlier ‘Shop at Binns’ adverts on Sunderland buses and trams did dominate the destination display which, on buses, consisted of two boxes, either alongside one another or above one another depending on the vehicle, one showing the destination and the other showing ‘SCT’.

Alan Hall

 

London Transport – AEC Regent III RT – NLE 826 – RT3719

London Transport - AEC Regent III RT - NLE 826 - RT3719
Copyright Victor Brumby

London Transport
1953 (registration date)
AEC Regent III RT – RT8/2
Weymann H30/26R

Two weeks ago my contribution for the ex London Transport STL2117 was posted on this site, the shot was taken in April 1958. At about the same time that shot was taken, spiffing new RTs were coming on stream, and here is a shot of KGU 191 RT2262 and new NLE 826 RT3719 at the old Stevenage railway station route terminus. Would I be right is saying that NLE 826 RT3719 was one of many stored new at Loughton garage for ages, awaiting entry to service as NLE was 03/53 – 11/53, presumably because RT production had exceeded requirement?

London Transport - AEC Regent III RT - OLD 528 - RT4742
Copyright Victor Brumby

Or was OLD 528 RT4742 one of those last entrants to the fleet? (In Green Line rig, unusually……) Seen according to my notes at Hitchin along with AEC Regal IV LUC 225 RF25 which was last in the first batch of 25 Regals delivered at the 27ft 6in length and were classed as Private Hire Coaches for sightseeing tours and the like. In the mid 50s ten of the batch 16-25 were transferred to Green Line. Unfortunately the glazed sightseeing roof panels can not be seen in this shot.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Victor Brumby

———

27/01/12 – 17:37

According to the vehicle histories on "Ian’s Bus Stop" website, RT 3719 entered service at Windsor (WR) garage in May 1953, and transferred to Hitchin garage in 1957. (http://www.countrybus.org/)
His histories haven’t got as far as the 47xx sequence, but RT 4742 was (according to Ken Glazier’s "London Buses in the 1950s") one of those delivered straight to storage in 1954 and entering service between March 1958 and August 1959. Ken Blacker’s definitive work on the RT class lists dates of entry to service, but I do not have a copy to hand.
The appearance of (bus livery) RTs on Green Line coach services was not that uncommon – many routes at that time had one or two peak hour duplicates, and most routes required relief buses particularly on summer Sundays – to cater for Londoners visiting the countryside, and (where routes served new towns such as Stevenage) visits between new town residents and their friends and relatives still living in inner London.
The provision of a few RTs in semi Green Line livery (green central band, Green Line transfers between decks) at country bus garages to cater for this happened in 1960 (again, according to Ken Glazier’s book.)
There is more about Hitchin garage (closed 1959) here – http://www.ampyx.org.uk/  – the building is still standing, although I understand there is a current planning application in which will involve demolition.

Jon

———

29/01/12 – 07:32

According to Ken Blacker’s RT book, RT4742 (OLD 528) was indeed one of those stored for the first few years of its life, finally entering service in March 1958, at SV (Stevenage, Fishers Green).

Bob Gell

———

27/08/12 – 07:58

Firstly can I say how pleased I was to see the photo of the RT’s at the old Stevenage Station, I can only just remember this Station, I was five when it moved, and new ‘AN’s were coming on stream. The other photograph of the Green Line RT is a real gem, as it is the only photograph I have seen, besides one in Ken Blackers ‘RT’ book of the first Stevenage depot, situated in a cul-de-sac off Fishers Green Road, behind the old Station which was in use as a temporary outstation of Hitchin & Hatfield until the new depot in Danestrete opened in 1959.

Alec Bright

———

06/11/12 – 06:46

Just a quick note to confirm that the building shown behind the RT is Stevenage Fisher’s Green, and not Hitchin. You will find a 1990s image of the garage with its curiously pitched and slanting roof span on my web page: http://www.ampyx.org.uk/
The story unfolding in Hitchin today is complex, and the local historical society are still trying to persuade the planning authorities of the value of the structure. You may have seen coverage in BUSES an B&CP magazines.
By coincidence, the National (later UCOC) garage in Fishponds Road was demolished in September of this year.
I am shocked at how much revision of my historical pages is necessary. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

Jonathan Wilkins

 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 29th July 2014