South Yorkshire – Leyland Titan PD3/1 – 2600 WW – 83

South Yorkshire - Leyland Titan PD3/1 - 2600 WW - 83                   Copyright Brian Lunn

South Yorkshire Motors 
1960
Leyland Titan PD3/1
Roe L31/32RD

In the late 1970’s I purchased South Yorkshire Motors Leyland PD3 2600WW at the urging of a number of people who offered help in preserving this vehicle. The bus was running in service the day before I took it to where I was keeping it. I was a little naive as I thought straight out of service it must be roadworthy. How wrong could I be? I took it for a MOT a month later and it failed on 5 items rendering the vehicle dangerous to use on the road. I managed to get the bus painted in the original South Yorkshire Motors colours, by this time a year had passed and so had all the willing helpers who soon disappeared when they found out there was some hard graft to do. I think all they were interested in was going to Rally’s! However I progressed with as much as I could manage by myself, until one day in the early 1980’s I was offered a sum of cash for it and away it went. It caused a bit of a topic when it was seen in a local scrap yard, I think it caused more interest as to why I had sold it than any of the time I had been struggling to get jobs done on it. I am sure I am not they only one who has been led into the false sense of believing all the promises of help and then they do not materialise.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Brian Lunn

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09/05/12 – 07:53

Such a sad story, Brian, but so common. A friend bought a Grey Cars Reliance/Willowbrook Viscount about thirty years ago and spent much in time and money. In the end, it was too much for one man on his own and again the scrap yard won. Makes you admire even more the chaps who manage to succeed and share their charges with us at rallies and on running days.

David Oldfield

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09/05/12 – 07:56

I think we all know about "fair weather friends", Brian!
At least you tried. Thanks for posting what looks to be in interesting bus with an unusual livery, albeit one I’m not that keen on.

Chris Hebbron

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09/05/12 – 09:22

They looked good round Pontefract! There’s a clip of one of their Albions on the "sounds" page here, if I recall.

Joe

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09/05/12 – 09:22

What a very sad, but by no means rare, saga Brian. Its also a great pity because 83 and its twin 82 were, as far as I’m aware, the very last 30 foot long lowbridge double deckers ever produced, and were like all SYRT vehicles above average in internal appointments. I shall have to relay your story to my one time workmate Mrs. Gladys Banks of Pontefract – I still see her and many more of my former colleagues quite regularly.
Gladys passed her PSV test on 83 and was a driver, a very competent one indeed, for many years before becoming an inspector. Right up to her retirement she would abandon her ticket checking at a second’s notice and would operate any busy journey, OPO of course in latter days, without a whimper and with impressive and enviable punctuality !!

Chris Youhill

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09/05/12 – 19:22

After the 1325-49 Regent Vs the 901 and 464 PD3s were among my STD favourites – the PD3s being highbridge but otherwise like the South Yorkshire motors (only a year older).

David Oldfield

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09/05/12 – 19:24

Thank you Brian for being open about a saga that some would keep quiet. Unfortunately when your resources are stretched to the limit and you decide you need to let go of a bus, you will never find a suitable buyer. Let’s face it, realistically how many people would want buy a South Yorkshire PD3?
Unrealistically, I would, as I thought they were superb machines. In hindsight I would have picked one of the Bond-bodied PD2s which were also very appealing as well as being unusual.
They were by no means the last lowbridge PD3s as several entered service in South Wales later, notably the last lowbridge bus of all, Bedwas and Machen UDC 6 (PAX 466F) in 1967. Caerphilly UDC also bought a few, before turning to the PD2 for their later purchases.

David Beilby

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09/05/12 – 19:26

Thanks to every one for their comments I thought that I had not tried enough, to make it work, but it makes me feel a little better to know I was not the only one who was left to graft alone. I think that you are right Chris regarding the last 30 foot low bridge to be built. As for Gladys she used to conduct on my local service coming home from school, in the mid 50’s as Gladys Illingworth as she was then, I still see Fred Bellamy and Nelly Edwards around town. One thing that was good about SYM all the garage staff with licenced drivers and conductors, I know the duplicate on the Doncaster-Leeds route which ran from Thorp Audlin to Whitwood Tech, often had a member of the garage conducting.

Brian Lunn

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10/05/12 – 11:13

Thanks David B for that correction – I think I was confused regarding the last thirty foot lowbridge bodies, and SYRT 82/3 were simply the last such built by Roe.
Brian, I’m fascinated to learn that you are local to Pontefract, where I spent almost fifteen very happy years with SYRT/Caldaire/British Bus/Arriva before retiring on my 65th birthday.
I was once involved in the preservation of a Portsmouth Corporation Bedford OWB in the open air in a muddy yard off the A61 at Robin Hood. While we toiled away under awful conditions, hoping to reach a point where we could attend rallies "part preserved", there were plenty of "visiting dignitaries" with much verbal advice and that’s all !! I nearly blew my top one day as the season approached and a notorious pair rolled up one Saturday and, casting a deprecatory glance at CTP 200, remarked "Huh, only three weeks to the Rally – THEY’RE going to have to get out and get under then !!" "THEY’RE" consisted of me and my pal up to hilt in grease etc and we were not amused. The state visit lasted only a few minutes before the smartly clad "enthusiasts" departed.

Chris Youhill

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11/05/12 – 08:05

Alas, the Albion clip has gone- "taken down" from you-tube. It was shot in Dewsbury, with a trip up the "cutting". Could it be tracked down?
I think I now see your livery problem, Chris H: the pic here makes the lower "Oxford Blue" look black. Chris Y & I register it in the proper colour!

Joe

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12/05/12 – 07:42

Although I do have colour-blindness problems, Joe, even my wife, not so afflicted, thought it was black at first sight. We both noticed the subtle difference between the black mudguard and lower bodywork. A look at the SY Albion on Flikr, showed the true colours. And you would both be familiar with the livery, whereas I’d never seen it in the flesh, so to speak! Freshly painted, it looks handsome!

Chris Hebbron

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12/05/12 – 17:23

In answer to the colour, I did use the official SYM paint which was mixed by Masons of Wakefield, I agree that in the photograph it does look dark, but I think that there is some evening shadows on the vehicle as the photograph was taken quite late in the day. I have looked at No 81 and the lower blue seem much lighter than I remember and looking at my collection of SYM photos a number tend to differ in different light conditions.

Brian Lunn

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13/05/12 – 08:37

Brian, I’ve had lunch in Pontefract today with Gladys, who was quite amazed and pleased to hear that she was so well remembered.

Chris Youhill

 

Exeter Corporation – Daimler CVD6 – JFJ 873 – 173

Exeter City Transport - Daimler CVD6 - JFJ 873 - 173

Exeter City Transport - Daimler CVD6 - JFJ 873 - 173
Copyright both shots Ken Jones

Exeter Corporation
1950
Daimler CVD6
Weymann B35F

This Exeter City Daimler half cab is more than 60 years old, so even older than me, and is owned by John Handford and based near Solihull in the West Midlands. I’m fortunate to be able to navigate for John on this bus and he has taken it to the Kingsbridge 7ft 6in running day, events in Exeter and the trans Pennine run to name but a few. It has a genuine Exeter City destination blind and letters so in 2009 we took the bus to Exeter and met up with a former Exeter City conductor who worked on such buses and knew all the routes and stops.
Here are two of the pictures I took during the tour around the villages near Exeter. The first on the way back from Upton Pyne at the junction drivers would stop at if passengers wanted to get on or off. The second is crossing the narrow bridge near the village of Bramford Speke.
Visibility for navigating is not ideal, and communicating with John over the engine noise, it has an original Daimler engine, can be limited to reaching out to touch his left or right shoulder. A sister vehicle is preserved at Winkleigh and they were together for the Exeter Nocturnal event in 2011.
It’s a long trip from the West Midlands to Devon – some 6 hours – an endurance test for John as the driver but also for me as the passenger.
Nice vehicle though and full of character, you can sense all the ladies of the villages talking to each other about the latest news whilst they were travelling to and from the City with their groceries.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

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06/05/12 – 16:59

Thank you Ken… this has to be one of the best bus photographs that I’ve seen, and it evokes happy memories of times long past, not only working as a rural bus driver, but of a time when the pace of ordinary life was more moderate…

Norman Long

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07/05/12 – 09:23

I agree completely Norman – at Samuel Ledgard’s we had four Exeter Corporation Daimler CVD6/Brush double deckers which had their own very special "atmosphere."
JFJ 50/51/52/55 were superbly appointed dignified vehicles full of real "quality" and even sported fascinating offside rear corner chrome bumpers which gave a lovely "pre 1948" touch. Ledgard policy was to equip all second hand purchases with powerful "KL" box type heaters – two under the lower saloon seats and one under the front nearside seat upstairs. As is well known, the large Daimler engines tended to run very hot, and I can honestly say that even in the cruellest of Winter days I’ve known passengers to plead for the heaters to be turned down or off, so effective were they. What happy days those were – and I’m saying this without a pair of rose tinted glasses anywhere to be seen.

Chris Youhill

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07/05/12 – 19:16

Next Saturday [14th May] there is an event in Coventry celebrating 100 years of CCT. Some 30 vintage buses will be at former Sandy Lane depot, where the reserve transport museum collection will be open. Some of these buses including JFJ 873 will be operating a shuttle service to the Transport Museum. There will also be a cavalcade of the buses including JFJ 873 at around 16.00

Ken

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08/05/12 – 07:20

So, there’s an opportunity for someone in the Coventry area to bag a recording of a CVD6 for the Old Bus Sounds page – any takers?

Stephen Ford

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08/05/12 – 07:26

Ken…I think you may have intended to say next Saturday May 12th. Just in case anybody gets mixed up and misses your day!

Richard Leaman

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08/05/12 – 10:47

EFJ 666_lr

EFJ 666_rear_lr

Ken Jones might be interested in the attached pictures of Exeter’s EFJ 666, Leyland Tiger TS8 Cravens B32R. I took the photos at the Gloucester Steam Fair, South Cerney in 2011. This was new in 1938, no less, and was the oldest bus present on the day. It looked and sounded wonderful despite its years

Les Dickinson

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08/05/12 – 12:10

Exeter 66 had a role in the film ‘Remains of the Day’ with some very evocative night shots as Emma Thompson boards the bus.

Chris Hough

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09/05/12 – 08:04

Yes I meant Saturday May 12th – thanks for pointing out the error

Ken

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09/05/12 – 08:05

Did the rear offside seats on any of these single-deckers extend to the very back of the bus, possible because the platform would be split into two steps. The earliest of LGOC/London Transport’s T’s did, until most, but not all, were modified to front entrance. One, T31, is preserved in original condition and, as a rear passenger, I would have felt very insecure, I feel, when going around a right-hand bend!

Chris Hebbron

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05/09/12 – 08:42

Thanks for the wonderful old photo’s. I drove these buses also the Guys & the Leyland PD2’s from 1963 to when Exeter City Corporation merged with Devon General, best years of my life. Great to see these old friends being preserved so well. My uniform was donated to the Winkiegh Museum.

Tony Comley

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JFJ 873_2_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

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11/09/12 – 05:30

JFJ 875_lr

By the time that the last edition of the West of England BBF came out around 1966, the existence of half-a-dozen half-cabs as the only single-deckers in the fleet of Exeter City Transport was already of sufficient curiosity to be remarked upon.
For several years during the ‘nineties, sister vehicle JFJ 875 (Exeter 175) was in the care of Carmel Coaches for operation on Dartmoor Rover summer Sunday service 174 between Okehampton and Moretonhampstead, seen at the latter on a rather damp 3rd August 1997. Unfortunately 175’s body wasn’t entirely Dartmoor-weatherproof by this time and a game of musical busseats usually took place when the rain started.

Michael Wadman

 

J Wood & Sons – Leyland Atlantean – KTD 551C

J Wood & Sons - Leyland Atlantean - KTD 551C
Copyright Ian Wild

J Wood & Sons
1965
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Park Royal H41/33F

A comment from Chris Hough dated 20th March concerning Bolton ABN213C mentions this ex Demonstrator Leyland Atlantean operated by Joseph Wood and Sons of Mirfield, West Yorkshire. It has a Sheffield design Park Royal body and it ran on the Mirfield to Dewsbury service which was joint with J J Longstaff & Sons and Yorkshire Woollen District. Its livery with Woods was slightly modified from that which it sported as a demonstrator. The photo was taken in September 1979 by which time the bus was 14 years old.
The bus has another claim to fame. I have a newspaper cutting dated July 1966 headed PRINCE OF THE ROAD which tells of a  visit by Prince Philip to Leyland Motors where he drove KTD ‘for a mile long drive on the test track’ and ‘returned the £8,000 bus safely’. A photograph with the inevitable 007 route number records the event. Amongst his passengers were Sir Donald Stokes, Managing Director of Leyland Motors together with Chairman Sir William Black.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


04/05/12 – 07:37

Yes KTD replaced the ex Baxters Crossley that is now preserved and currently up for sale at Quantock Motor services. The plaque describing the driving by the Duke was removed before the bus was scrapped and is owned by Mr Colin Wood the son of Joseph Wood.

Philip Carlton


04/05/12 – 08:55

While it was a demonstrator the bus served with the Wallace Arnold subsidiary on the "Kippax and District" route from Leeds via Halton, Crossgates and Garforth to Kipaax and Ledston Luck – again with the somewhat tiresome "007" in the route number display.

Chris Youhill


04/05/12 – 14:43

The livery of this bus, to me, looks modern and gives a more modern appearance to the vehicle than might otherwise be the case. I like the way the ‘W’ has been incorporated in the waistline stripe. Simplicity is usually best.

Chris Hebbron


08/05/12 – 07:36

Oh how I agree with Chris regarding the livery style of the Atlantean and even more with his view that simplicity is usually best. The concept of a simple refined livery and layout appears to be totally forgotten nowadays with swoops and slashes and assorted disjointed shapes which bear no relationship to the lines of the bodywork in fact they seem to be deliberately "designed" to jar and clash. The new First livery is a glaring example of this both inside and out, I also find the Stagecoach layout to be unpleasantly disjointed and the interior rather garish.

Diesel Dave


08/05/12 – 12:07

I agree entirely Diesel Dave – public transport has never looked more appalling and meaningless – at obscene expense. Managements insist that such horrors of marketing actually increase passenger numbers considerably, but I doubt if the artwork is the reason at all. I bet a straw poll of folks in the street would reveal conclusively that hardly a soul has any idea, or the remotest interest, – IF the vehicle is on its branded route, often they are not for obvious operational reasons. Thank goodness for the restrictions imposed by, I believe, TFL which ensure that buses in the Capital are practically pleasing red all over.
Digressing very briefly, the same unsightly nonsense applies also to the railways. I look out of my flat at Headingley station a quarter of a mile away and see the Northern Rail trains all day – anyone would think quite justifiably that the Depot yards had been invaded by an organised army of aerosol wielding graffiti louts. I despair.

Chris Youhill


09/05/12 – 08:09

Weren’t they a rather pleasing Maroon/Brown/Dark Green colour with a large gold ‘N’ originally (I’m colour-blind, Chris Y).

Chris Hebbron


09/05/12 – 08:11

I too agree with Diesel Dave, particularly about the First livery, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did! The truly insipid pastel shades introduced a couple of months ago were, I understood, to have provision for local identity but I haven’t seen any evidence of such. The new Wright bodied deckers for First Manchester bear the words ‘We believe in improving your bus service’ Hardly a convincing message when they’ve recently been fined a quarter of a million pounds for poor performance!
My local operator, Trent Barton, not only route brands but has a different livery for each separate service with just about every colour on the shade card being used. The downside of this is that many passengers think that they are all operated by different companies. Sure, they’ve won ‘Bus Operator of the Year’ a couple of times but although such awards are coveted within the industry, I doubt, as Chris Y says, they mean anything at all to people in the street, none of whom had a vote!

Chris Barker


09/05/12 – 09:26

To be perfectly honest Chris H there have been so many railway livery changes in recent years that I’ve lost track (Oh dear, I promise no pun intended there) of the time and detail boundaries. The simple but pleasing WYPTE (Metro – that poor over used word again) colours were plain maroon with a light custard band – individual, sane, and universally understood. When the franchise was gained by Arriva the trains were painted in that Organisation’s colours of pleasing mid blue with the "cow’s horn" cream section, again excellent. I do vaguely remember the plain gold "N" but I think that this was applied only temporarily to stock remaining in Metro maroon and cream (gold). The basic Northern Rail colour is a quite rich and pleasant "regal" blue and the "N" logo is OK, but then the rot sets in. The wild and totally meaningless (and expensive) coloured graffiti shapes have to be seen to be believed, as have huge pictures of town halls and waterfalls and so forth.
Sorry to seemingly digress onto railways, but the atrocious waste of money and disfigurement of otherwise handsome vehicles is a parallel scandal to the one we are discussing on the buses.

Chris Youhill


09/05/12 – 19:17

One exceptional disfigurement, Chris Y, was dinosaurs on the IoW 1938 LU stock. One, at least, now carries true 1938 livery with silver roof and richer red, as befits a 74 year-old!

Chris Hebbron


09/05/12 – 19:34

Yes, Chris Y & H, I agree with your aversion to the manic and illogical bus and train liveries now so common throughout the UK. However, one notable exception is the smart Grand Central Railway livery which (so far) has not fallen under the influence of their new owner – Arriva.

Paul Haywood


02/06/12 – 07:06

How I agree with the comments above on "modern" liveries, most of which seem to be the product of ecstasy induced nightmares. The preposterous original version of the "First" (how supremely ironic a name for such a company) Barbie livery had the grubby white/pink/purple shades blending into one another. Whoever devised that, and I expect that a consultancy firm received handsome payment for the aberration, had no concept of the practical world of panel damage. Not only are such liveries painful excrescences to the eye, but the over tight grasp exerted by the big groups upon their maintenance budgets is painfully apparent in the appearance of external paintwork. The older, and by no means old, buses of my local Stagecoach outfit are scruffy in the extreme. They bear absolutely no comparison with the impeccable fleet standards offered by the nearby Delaine and Norfolk Green businesses.

Roger Cox


02/06/12 – 11:59

The version of First’s livery to which Roger Cox refers was known as ‘Barbie 2′ and used for older types of vehicle. Many may may not realise that the ‘fading shades’ applied to the lower panels was actually an enormous vinyl that was a nightmare to apply, requiring several people several hours to wrap it around the entire bus, trimming and snipping around the wheelarches, fuel filler and other access flaps, grilles, lights etc. It had to be fitted around all the beading strips between the panels and around the wheelarches, but inevitably bubbled up, split or peeled away round the edges. If any oxidation occurred in the aluminium panels it would form large bubbles which someone would always be tempted to burst. The bus washing machine then had a field day with it !
Repairing minor accident damage was then very difficult. One depot actually started to cut the vinyls down by half into a narrower strip, eliminating the fadeout effect, but looking equally silly. I don’t imagine anyone involved with maintaining the buses was ever consulted about the practicality of it all.
Design Consultants eh ?

John Stringer


03/06/12 – 07:03

Nothing really to do with this subject. But John Stringer mentions a word I hate… Consultants. I’m sure John will remember the time at WYPTE, when a consultant said that there was no need for 2 vehicle workshops based on Kirkstall and Thornbury, so Thornbury went. Then a couple of years later another consultancy came along and said there was a need for central workshops in either division.
Personal titbit, worked with Colin Wood when I worked at Abbeyways 1994/5. Great bloke, good sense of humour.

Chris Ratcliffe


03/06/12 – 07:03

The new"local livery" now used by First is little better using a pale lilac that will surely fade quickly Far better to use proper local colours based on the former colours of constituent companies.

Chris Hough


03/06/12 – 11:12

You can live in hope Chris, but I fear you will die in despair!

Eric Bawden


03/06/12 – 19:35

Sadly Eric I fear you are right!

Chris Hough


06/06/12 – 07:46

Consultants : "They borrow your watch to tell you the time, and then sell it back to you."
Committees : "The incompetent, picked by the incapable to do the unnecessary."
I’ll just go and put my tin hat on!

Stephen Ford


06/06/12 – 09:46

Why?

David Oldfield


07/06/12 – 10:31

Why indeed Stephen – I’m sure that 99.9% of folk to several decimal places agree with you. I find the new "First Leeds" local "livery" to be as bad and un-necessary as anything before it. Who on earth wants to pay towards silhouette pictures of local landmarks concealed within the "LEEDS" lettering ??

Chris Youhill


10/06/12 – 08:15

This discussion seems to be getting further and further away from the attractive outline and livery of this Atlantean. Am I right in thinking that this same Park Royal style was used on Birmingham’s KOX…F series? It’s pleasing to know, however, that there are still SOME operators who use liveries of a traditional style. Delaine, Pennine, and a few others are well known. Here in Hampshire, there is a father and son operation XELABUS, based in Winchester and Eastleigh, using the old Hants & Dorset livery. Very nice, too!

Pete Davies


10/06/12 – 14:46

Xelabus are operating Southsea’s Open Top Sea Front service (X25), from Gun Wharf Quays to the Royal Marines Museum, Eastney, via Clarence Pier, Blue Reef Aquarium and South Parade Pier, but only on Saturday, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the summer: daily during the Summer School Holidays. The original CPPTD route ran from Clarence Pier to Hayling Ferry. They have kept the original route number, which was 25. Wonder what vehicles they will use; certainly not Leyland TD4’s!

Chris Hebbron


12/06/12 – 18:51

A nice write-up on Xelabus in the latest "Buses" magazine (No.687 June 2012) states that the principal bus to be used will be an ex-Lothian Atlantean, GJZ 9571), originally registered BFS 14L. The reserve vehicle will be an ex-Portsmouth Atlantean, No 11 ERV 251D. This is one of their heritage fleet. I don’t know what liveries these now carry – haven’t been to Southsea to see them yet, even though I’m local! So we’re getting back on track with the comments – two Atlanteans, albeit with different bodies (Alexander and Metro-Cammell) to the original Park Royal one at the top.

Michael Hampton


13/06/12 – 09:41

What happened to Woods? Didn’t they become part of the Abbeyways "group", but then what . . . ? I remember that, in the 1980s, they ran an ex-Singapore Alexander-bodied 12m Leopard (in Abbeyways livery)on the 205 (as the Dewsbury-Knowle-Mirfield route had become under WYPTE numbering), but then they seemed to disappear – at some point.
Incidentally, Longstaff has recently given up on this route – its timings have passed to Lyles of Batley, although Metro publicity still refers to operations as being conducted by "Longstaff of Mirfield". Anybody know the story here?
Anyway, what were Wood’s colours? I’ve always assumed they were black and white – because they look black and white in the only photographs I’ve seen, which are black and white . . . errm . . .

Philip Rushworth


15/06/12 – 05:47

As stated Joseph Wood and Son was purchased by Abbeyways under the guise of Go Big Ltd. The livery was always Black and Cream. The depot was in Lee Green Mirfield and shortly after Abbeyways had wound up the operation it was sold to Ron Lyles of Batley who afterwards moved back to Batley. Then the depot was demolished and today there is now old peoples flats there. With regards to J.J. Longstaff earlier this year the operation along with the two buses was sold to Albert Lyles Coaches who are trading on the service as Longstaffs. The only difference is that the service now starts and finishes at Dewsbury whereas before the service started and finished at Northorpe where Longstaffs garage was.

Philip Carlton


16/06/12 – 07:21

I worked for Abbeyways in 1993/4. I remember being sent with a message for Colin Wood one day at a garage which had the Crossley in under restoration, and I think a coach in the Abbeyways livery that had been withdrawn sometime. It certainly was not Luck Lane in Huddersfield, and I seem to remember coming away from there and turning right on to the A62 towards Leeds, but I couldn’t tell you if that was the Woods Depot, although the Crossley was a big clue I suppose. Going by what Steven Ives did in Blackpool with Abbots Coaches, then it is probable that apart from the name he bought nothing. Happy to be proved wrong on this but that is certainly what he did in Blackpool. I seem to think though that Colin Wood lived next to this depot, and part of the deal was for him to keep it. Somebody out there will probably know.

Chris Ratcliffe


17/06/12 – 07:35

It has been interesting to read some of the comments here regarding peoples’ preference for traditional livery applications.
I personally never liked this particular design of body. It was basically a late-in-the day attempt by Park Royal to disguise its original MCW-style box to compete with such as the superb Alexander design, and in my opinion it never looked right in any livery. Oddly, Roe – part of the Park Royal Group – managed to do quite a good job of updating the low-height version by adding an Alexander-inspired front to Atlanteans for West Riding and King Alfred. I thought they looked really good, even though mechanically they were perhaps not so.
I am afraid that I do not believe that Wood’s livery did this one any favours either. The band below the lower deck windows just looks wrong – too thick and set too low – as does the total absence of relief colour on the top half of the bus.
I think if it ever looked even passable, it was probably when in its original demonstration livery.
I am in agreement with most about preferring the traditional liveries of old, though many would be just too fussy to transfer comfortably to the lines of certain modern buses, and would need simplifying.
A number of operators over the years have revived an old livery on a new bus to celebrate an anniversary. Many have looked really well, but some looked really awkward and self-conscious.
I have always thoroughly disliked First’s livery, but am staggered frankly at their latest mess. I have to admit that as modern liveries go, some of the Blazefield/Transdev companies schemes seemed to be quite good – strong, distinctive, contrasting colours applied quite simply. I had rather hoped that when Giles Fearnley moved to First some of this influence might have come with him. Instead the new ‘style’ is pale and wishy-washy, with odd stripes here and there for no apparent reason, starting and finishing in the middle of nowhere. It looks like it was designed by a committee to me. A thorough disappointment.

John Stringer


17/06/12 – 07:36

Regarding the operation by Abbeyways of Joseph Wood mention has been made of the ex Singapore Leopard demonstrator that was used on the service from Dewsbury to Mirfield. My recollection is they also used buses from the Hyndburn hire fleet both doubles and single deckers and for a while they ran service 208 from Dewsbury to Whitley. The depot Chris Ratcliffe visited was at Lee Green Mirfield as mentioned in my earlier posting. I have never found out why Abbeyways gave up operations at Mirfield but this seems typical of Steven Ives.

Philip Carlton


18/06/12 – 08:01

Lets hope for a return to some traditional colours in West Yorkshire. I’ve heard on the rumour mill that First has put everything in Yorkshire (and more possibly) up for sale with the exception of Leeds – including the York operations it invested in quite heavily a few years back. That might explain why I haven’t seen any Halifax/Bradford/Huddersfield names on the new livery (what would First have chosen as the sky-line for "Bradford", given the present state of the city centre [non] redevelopment? – a pile of rubble??). Are First planning to pull out of Sheffield? Whatever, come on Transdev, come on Go-Ahead, buy in there and re-invent (I agree with John, you can’t always resurrect) some of the wonderful liveries from the past. We could debate the aesthetics of this Park Royal body style against its contemporaries, but it still looks way better than today’s offerings – and, moreover, it doesn’t look like it would fall apart when it hit the first stone/pot-hole in the road.

Philip Rushworth


19/06/12 – 08:19

I am intrigued to learn that First are now pursuing wholesale withdrawal from West Yorkshire. One wonders what this group’s business plan now is, as it seems to be getting out of some major conurbations. It withdrew from Kings Lynn a couple of years ago, where the operations were taken over very effectively by the smart fleet of Norfolk Green, whose livery is very much in the traditional style. Since then, Bury St. Edmunds has been abandoned. Perhaps, after the initial flurry of manic, cut-throat competition, and then the establishment of large regional monopolies, we are about to see phase three of the deregulation scene, with the expansion of soundly established independent operators into the "vacated" areas.

Roger Cox


19/06/12 – 09:19

I hope the rumour mill is correct certainly Rotherham seems on its last legs and Stagecoach are proving a viable contender in Sheffield If only Leeds would also go to someone with pride in what they do unlike First with their poor quality take it or leave it attitude.

Chris Hough


19/06/12 – 11:41

Despite early bad publicity – often either malicious or simply incorrect – Stagecoach has developed into one of the best groups around, along with Go-Ahead. As someone who does not have shares in Stagecoach but an informed observer, this pleases me. I, like many others, would be happy to see First disappear from South Yorkshire – and many other places too – but feel that it would be unhealthy if Stagecoach were left to it themselves. I agree that the best situation would be for a decent independent to emerge. Failing that for Go-Ahead to come in and support "healthy" competition.

David Oldfield


19/06/12 – 13:35

Roger, the actual words used by First were ‘We may have to re-position our UK bus portfolio’. That was when they felt the need to issue a profits warning earlier this year. That’s what it’s all about, unfortunately, their primary duty is to make a profit for their shareholders, but how is it, that some seem to achieve this in a better way than others? I agree with the view about Stagecoach, some of their tactics in the past have been despicable, but they do appear to have become one of the better players. How many times have you seen the words ‘municipal pride’ attached to many of the old council operations? What a great shame the former municipals in South and West Yorkshire, in their present day ownership, have become very much a case of profit first, service second!

Chris Barker


20/06/12 – 08:32

Just returned from a weeks holiday in Cheltenham were we travelled just about everywhere by Stagecoach. We made use of their excellent West Megarider gold ticket which, at £19.50 gave unlimited 7 day travel covering an area centred on Gloucester as far out as Hereford, Tewkesbury, Oxford, Swindon, Marlborough, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Lydney and Monmouth. There is also a good selection of smaller area runabout type tickets to choose from at varying prices. Excellent value when you consider the five minute journey from where I live into Halifax costs £2 with First. Whilst Stagecoach do have some competition from smaller independents in the Gloucester/Cheltenham area by and large they seem to "rule the roost" with there network of services yet still provide a ten minute frequency from the suburbs into Cheltenham plus the ten minute frequency between Cheltenham and Gloucester using high quality double deckers (leather high back seats etc.). One must also bear in mind the largely rural nature of most services once out of the towns and cities. Being visitors to the area we also found the drivers willing and helpful in answering our queries.
From my experience of Stagecoach West I think it shows that a large conglomerate, with a bit of thought, can get the balance right between shareholder needs and providing a service to the public

Eric Bawden


21/06/12 – 06:50

Usually, once a year, I go for a Grand Day Out, by bus, with a friend. However, on a Friday, last summer, I got the megabus from Gloucester to Swindon, a Stagecoach West bus from Swindon to Andover, then used Stagecoach Hampshire to get to Winchester, where a friend lives. We came back by car on the Monday. I got some advance advice from Stagecoach West, not for the first time, and have always found them to be helpful, making enquiries of their neighbouring colleagues, where necessary. They have also re-introduced a through service from Gloucester to Hereford and later buses on Gloucester’s routes, now leaving town centre at around 23:30hrs. My local town service had a 15 minute frequency during the day, hourly after 19:00hrs. I have no connexions with the company.
Local Gloucester independents are Aston’s, Pullen’s, Swanbrook, Jackie’s and Mike’s Travel. The days of National Welsh and Midland Red, who ran an express service to Birmingham, are long gone! Other routes went to Abergavenny and also Cardiff, although the latter route has been progressively cut back to Newport, then Chepstow, now Lydney!

Chris Hebbron


21/06/12 – 06:51

When I attended the Harrington Gathering at Amberley, I got chatting to a Stagecoach employee from Brighton. Among his comments about my life in Southern Hampshire was one that falls in with several above. The recent service changes which First made here a couple of months ago were an utter waste of time and money. I had heard from several of the local drivers and inspectors that it was a last ditch attempt to generate more than they were spending, but the chap from Brighton said the other groups between them give First six months before collapse.
We shall see!

Pete Davies


21/06/12 – 11:29

I’m sure the MD of Stagecoach West would be pleased to hear the above comments. [I have to declare an interest here; he’s a friend of mine.]

David Oldfield


22/06/12 – 11:17

This was Woods last decker and was replaced by a Plaxton bodied Leyland Leopard The body design although mainly associated with Sheffield was also bought by Birmingham Leicester and Salford.

Chris Hough


22/06/12 – 15:05

David O, you are welcome to show your md friend my comments on Stagecoach West

Eric Bawden


23/06/12 – 06:05

Sorry to contradict the comment about KTD 551C being the last decker.It was replaced by an ex London DMS TGX 769M.Incidentally the Leopard mentioned had its Plaxton service bus body scrapped and the chassis was sold to Stanley Gath of Dewsbury who had a number of older chassis rebodied but for some reason this never happened and the chassis was dismantled for spares.

Philip Carlton


23/06/12 – 06:06

This is a bit off topic, I know, but relates very topically to the issues discussed above, and very indirectly to Woods-will the "Woods" return?
Metro, that is the West Yorks Transport Authority have today announced a plan to take control- as they may- of local buses in terms of "quality contracts"- supposed to be like London, but sounds like the Railways to me, too. Bus passengers have plummeted: presumably the idea is to make the buses run where they are needed, on time, at approved fares- and most importantly, turn up at all, on some routes. In my youth it was unthinkable that the bus would not turn up… that attitude- the Woods or Ledgards or some of the old Municipals- is what we need. Presumably First got wind….

Joe


23/06/12 – 14:22

Thanks Philip I’d forgotten the DMS The other independent Longstaff ran an ex Devon General tin front AEC Regent III for a while and bought a long wheel base Atlantean with NCME bodywork which ran for the late lamented Black Prince for a time.

Chris Hough


24/06/12 – 15:24

The Leyland Atlantean of J.J.Longstaff was sold by Black Prince and eventually became a cut down recovery vehicle with Yorkshire Traction. I drove for Longstaffs in the late 1970s.Incidentally Mr Brian Longstaff the last surviving son of the founder John James Longstaff died a couple of years ago. As mentioned in these listings the family have sold the business to Albert Lyles Coaches of Batley who are still operating the service 205 from Dewsbury to Mirfield exactly as Longstaffs did.

Philip Carlton


25/06/12 – 07:33

Nice to see the business (and route) going to another independent.

Chris Hebbron


25/06/12 – 07:34

I had a aunt who lived at Ravensthorpe and we occasionally visited for tea. After a while I would escape and go watch the buses passing by along North Road. These were on the joint YWD/Wood/Longstaff service mentioned, but it was interesting that it was only when Metro (WYPTE) took charge of timetables that all three operators’ timings were listed. YWD had stubbornly refused to mention the other two’s timings, giving the impression that it was only hourly instead of every 20 minutes. I remember Wood’s Crossley, and the replacement Atlantean, but there was also an ex-Glasgow Leyland Worldmaster – FYS 689 – which for a while ran with its original Weymann/GCT body before Wood’s rebodied it with a new Plaxton Panorama Elite coach body. It later passed to Tower Coaches who ran it for many years, although by then it had a later style Leopard badge, and sounded more Leopard than Worldmaster, so they may have replaced more than just the body. Worldmasters sounded distinctly different from Leopards – we had nine of our own in Halifax and I was very familiar with them (more of these another time).
I seem to also remember a Burlingham bus bodied Atkinson single decker before that.
Longstaff’s had an ex-LT RT – HLX 321 – which then gave way to a marvellous ex-Devon General Regent III/Weymann Orion (with ‘New Look’ front)of the PDV-registered batch, like the two that Ledgard’s had. This was replaced with the unusual Daimler CSG6/30 /Northern Counties LSN 286 with David Brown synchromesh gearboxes, that had been new to Garelochhead Coach Service.
Longstaff’s too had a single decker, which was a Tiger Cub/Weymann Hermes, which I think was ex-Rhondda.

John Stringer


25/06/12 – 17:06

Longstaff’s Tiger Cub replaced a far more interesting saloon, Sentinel STC4/40 OUP 579, which ran for them on the Dewsbury service from November 1961 to November 1965. The vehicle had been new in October 1953 (making it one of the last STC4/40s to be sold) and was originally operated by Trimdon Motor Services. Strangely TMS only kept it until February 1955 – most of their Sentinels lasted until the end of the decade before disposal. It then ran for a couple of contractors on staff services (an astonishingly young vehicle by most contractors’ standards!) before being acquired by LG Phillips of Glynceiriog in June 1961 from the Don Everall dealership. Three months later Everalls repossessed it (their version) or had it returned to them because it was rubbish (Phillips’ version) and then it went to Longstaff.
The fact that Longstaffs kept it for four years, in daily service on a busy urban route, might help readers to make up their minds as to which version was true. It certainly looked very nice in Longstaff’s two-tone blue livery, and an excellent colour shot of it can be found in Geoff Lumb’s book "The Heyday of the Bus in Yorkshire" (Ian Allan).
After withdrawal by Longstaff it went to another Phillips, this one of Shiptonthorpe, and gave another year of service on works contracts before being scrapped.

Neville Mercer


26/06/12 – 06:46

Regarding John Stringers comment about Y.W.D not acknowledging that the service from Dewsbury to Mirfield was a joint service rang a bell with me. Longstaffs and Woods departed from the side of Dewsbury Minster yet the YWD bus left from the bus station on the other side of the road. Brian Longstaff once told me that they acquired a Saunders bodied London RT with a route roof number box. Longstaffs painted the number 11 on it and were given a sharp rebuke from YWD and were told to remove it which they did. Yet later when YWD were having a severe vehicle shortage a Longstaffs bus went on hire to YWD in the evenings and was crewed with a Longstaffs driver and a YWD conductor and of course this timing went from the bus station.

Philip Carlton


15/02/14 – 15:25

One of the problems of fitting vinyl is that in corners there is a tendency for the vinyl not to fit right into the corner but take a short cut. If you could see a side on view it would look like a triangle with the vinyl being the long edge. This is called "tenting".
Inevitably the vinyl eventually tears (as it is under stress) or develops a hole, water is trapped behind it and creates a bubble that some are tempted to burst. Either way it can provide the conditions for rot to get a foothold.
Vinyl comes in various grades and many operators choose the cheaper grades. Sunlight is not kind to it!
In a similar vein: Contravision.
Contravision is quite simply perforated vinyl. From the outside the eye sees the "big picture". The eye doesn’t see the thousands of very small holes.
In theory from the inside the eye sees through the holes to the outside view as this is brighter. I am sure we are all familiar with various optical illusions and how the "mind" can be confused. This can happen with Contravision where some just seem to see the inside of the vinyl.
What causes the problem is the perforated holes fill up with grime / grease etc. Washing doesn’t seem to remove it as any brush glides over the top as the vinyl sits proud. The only solution is to literally pick out the grime from each hole – a fools errand.
As much as advertising revenue is important to operators I seriously wonder if the long term loss to the business (in terms of customer perception and satisfaction etc) is greater.

David R


23/02/14 – 06:51

First of all may I make a comment about the ostensible ‘joint’ service referred to – and this will come a bit alien to anyone who wasn’t around at the time of Road Service Licensing.
Longstaff and Wood operated a joint service, to the extent that it was covered by a joint Road Service Licence. The YWD Service 11 was completely independent, even though it followed exactly the same route – except for the terminating arrangement in Dewsbury, of course. However the timings were coordinated to the effect that, between the three operators, a twenty-minute service was provided.
The above, John S, is the reason why there was no mention of the Longstaff/Wood service in the YWD timetable – YWD would have had no more reason to include it than they would the service of any other operator which ran in its area. However there was a time (this would be the early 1970s, at least) when there was a separate section in the YWD timetable for other operators’ services – and the Longstaff/Wood operation was shown there, i.e. not in the same section as YWD Service 11. This showing of other operators’ services was widespread throughout the NBC at the time.
Finally, Philip C, referring to the story of Longstaff going on hire to YWD, if the hirings took place in the evenings (rather than peak times), it sounds as though it was drivers YWD were short of at the time, rather than vehicles.

David Call


24/02/14 – 07:43

I drove for Longstaffs in the early 1980s.Brian Longstaff once told me that on Sundays they were willing to have the day off alternating with J,Wood on a weekly basis but Alice Wood would not comply so the three services ran even though there was not enough passengers for one bus never mind three. Now a days the service does not run on Sundays and terminates at 8 P.M whereas when I drove we worked until 11.30.

Philip Carlton


KTD 551C_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


23/09/14 – 06:22

Does anybody know what happened to the plaque of woods 007 bus and what does it look like what is it made of when was it last seen please can you let me know.

Mr Brompton

 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 24th November 2014