Southdown – Leyland Leopard – 8156 CD – 1156

Southdown - Leyland Leopard - 8156 CD - 1156
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Southdown Motor Services
Leyland Leopard PSU3/3RT
Weymann C49F

A few weeks ago this photograph arrived in my inbox with no senders name no e-mail address and not a word of comment. Well as it is a good colour shot of a very nice vehicle and from a southern operator which I would like more of to make the site more balanced I decided to post it.
Checking into the information embedded in the jpg file it states that the shot was taken at the Southdown depot on Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth. Having just been for a drive down Hyde Park Road courtesy of Google street view I don’t think it is there anymore. The Southdown fleet unfortunately did not enter into my spotting days, way out of my area, so only know what most people have read. Anyway I still think it was worth posting, thanks for the shot Mr Anon.

Photograph Mr Anon – Copy Peter

07/08/12 – 14:44

Sorry if I offend anyone, but to me this just doesn’t look right. For my money the fanfare was a classic, but this looks as if one has been been decapitated and repaired in a hurry with whatever could be found lying around, from this angle the back window and the trim under the side ones look very Harrington like, and the end result is neither one thing or another, perhaps a bit more of the darker shade of green above and below the windows and also in the trim on the front may have made a difference. No doubt someone will shoot me down in flames, but that’s just my opinion.

Ronnie Hoye

07/08/12 – 17:40

Was this body style unique to Southdown? Never mind about the shape, just look at the livery – it oozes quality!

Ian Wild

07/08/12 – 17:49

Southdown operated 20 of these PSU3/3RT Leopards with Weymann ‘Castillion’ bodywork. They were delivered in 1962/3. The first 5 were as illustrated, and the final 15 had longer side windows, which improved the appearance somewhat. Not as pretty as the Harrington Cavalier or Grenadier though!

750 DCD_lr

Here is a shot of this superbly restored Harrington bodied example. The bodywork is a short ‘Grenadier’ as opposed to the earlier Cavalier.
This example was delivered in 1964, and was fitted with 28 seats in 2+1 configuration for Southdown’s Coach Cruises.

Roy Nicholson

08/08/12 – 07:23

I have to agree with Ronnie. It doesn’t look right. I have it on one side of my screen as I type this, together with a view of XUF141 taken at Wisley. XUF141 is, clearly, one of the shorter Leopards with Weymann body (Fanfare?) but, to me, this shows definite traces of Harrington. Hybrid, anyone???

Pete Davies

08/08/12 – 07:24

This is a Grenadier 3110 with a Cavalier front.

Philip Lamb

08/08/12 – 07:25

I see Ronnie’s point of view but the design does have some character and certainly looks a solid job. It seems to me that the front line bus body builders never seemed to quite hit it off when moving to building coaches. They always ended up with a dual-purpose look about them, like a ‘flashy’ bus. The Weymann Fanfare was an exception but does anyone remember those unhappy efforts East Lancs made at building coaches for Accrington and Widnes. At least they had the good grace to stick to buses after that!

Philip Halstead

08/08/12 – 07:26

8157 CD_lr

Although the photo of 1156 was not my submission, I thought you might like sight of 1157, another of the same batch, but this time in the livery of Southdown subsidiary Triumph Coaches.
I took the photo in July 1967, on the parking area adjacent to Southdown’s Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth premises.

Bob Gell

08/08/12 – 07:27

Yes, you’ve guessed – I like it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – which is why I guess Southdown purchased them . . . unless Weymann offered a cheaper "look-a-like-Harrington-style" than Harrington could offer. Those windscreens look identical to those on Bradford’s 256-270/286-300 batches of MCW-bodied Atlanteans (and "Manchester"-style bodies elsewhere?). Anyway, I prefer the smooth roof-line of the "Castllian" to the stepped roof-line of the Harrington offering, which . . .
Has a Cavalier front panel . . . why? Why not just produce a short Grenadier, full stop?? Did Southdown request this bastardisation, and why??? Perhaps because it looks better . . .

Philip Rushworth

08/08/12 – 08:46

All of Southdown’s Grenadier’s had Cavalier front panels, so I suspect it was a matter of standardisation. Southdown were renowned for specifying follow on batches in similar body styles to previous batches……….Probably to disguise the age of older vehicles before the days of ‘Paddy plates’

Roy Nicholson

08/08/12 – 08:47

First an apology for the fact that the photo arrived without the text, at the time I was having a self inflicted problem connecting the two.
In answer to the comments made yes these vehicles were unique to Southdown and the second batch of 15 No’s 1160-1174 with the longer side windows did look infinitely better sleeker and more elegant (a personal view I know) this batch also lacked the perspex lights in the front dome which tidied up the looks.

160 AUF_1

160 AUF_2

160 AUF_3

Here are some B/W photos of 1160 at a very wet 1963 Brighton coach rally, this particular vehicle was also on the Weymann stand at the 1962 Earls Court show.
Regarding Hyde Park Road the name was changed in the early 70’s to Winston Churchill Avenue and the depot name changed at the same time

Diesel Dave

08/08/12 – 15:08

A lovely batch of photos for me to enjoy, especially the Triumph one, which bring back Southsea memories. Certainly the later ones with fewer windows look sleeker.

Chris Hebbron

09/08/12 – 07:13

Are there any photos of the Accrington or Widnes coaches mentioned above?

Jim Hepburn

09/08/12 – 07:14

Apologies to Pete Davies for being picky but XUF 141 No 1141 like all Southdown’s Fanfares was on a Tiger Cub chassis. As Philip says the Castillians look a solid job and indeed they were just that and very pleasant coaches to drive, I drove for Southdown from 1969-91 at Eastbourne depot where at different times we had No’s 1160/61/62/65 all of which were among the six with only 45 seats which were low backed and leather covered in two tone green the rest were 49 seaters, 1156-59 the short window batch had high backed moquette covered similar to the Fanfares so were not as light and airy inside. These coaches looked and drove very much better than the following batches of Plaxton bodies.

Diesel Dave

09/08/12 – 07:14

Following the demise of Southdown’s favoured coachbuilder Beadle, the company switched allegiance to Weymann acquiring 35 Fanfare-bodied Leyland Tiger Cubs, bringing it more into line with contemporary BET preferences. The arrival, however, of the more powerful L2 Leopard and the availability of Harrington’s Cavalier prompted Southdown to renew its ageing coach cruise fleet with a batch of 43 vehicles of this combination in 1961/62, supplemented by a pair of Cavalier-bodied PSU3/3RT 36-footers. The same year saw the arrival of the initial five Castillians (clearly a relative of the Fanfare), also on PSU3/3RT chassis, of which three were allocated to Triumph, entered service the same year. These five coaches are sometimes wrongly described as 36ft-long Fanfares. That particular animal was never built, and if it had have been, would have looked quite different. A Fanfare stretched to 34ft and heightened to 11ft 9in was built on an LHD Worldmaster chassis in 1956 as an export demonstrator. No orders were received and the sole example, given the name Arcadian, was exported to Spain. What is more interesting about this coach is that it featured three ‘panoramic’ side windows with no ventilators — two years before the arrival of Plaxton’s Panorama! The Castillian, on the other hand, in both short- and long-window form was in the main a new design. It only found favour with Southdown probably as a follow on to its Fanfare fleet, The 15 long-window Castillians, which I agree make for a better looking coach, were also improved by their lack of ventilators, and would have looked even better in Triumph colours . . .

Philip Lamb

09/08/12 – 11:19

No offence taken, Dave! I’ve amended my records. Southdown is a foreign fleet to me . . .

Pete Davies

09/08/12 – 18:17

Granted the later version with the larger windows does look better, but it still looks like a racehorse designed by a committee. Harrington? yes – Weymann? yes but not a hybrid of the two.

Ronnie Hoye

09/08/12 – 18:18

You’ll find a Widnes example at

Mike Grant

11/08/12 – 07:09

Been away for a while, hence my silence. Back to quality over appearance – which is why Southdown probably bought them. I agree, generally, with others. I am a Fanfare fan and think the later long windowed Castillians work better.
Shortly after, Weymanns closed down and all production went to Birmingham and the newly formed MCW. Now the Topaz really was a visual dog. The later "Metropolitan" coaches were a little better – but only available on Fords and Bedfords. Some were sub-contracted to Strachans. Am I right in thinking that Starchans also produced some Orions? On sub-contract?

David Oldfield

11/08/12 – 12:02

Nice to see you’re back, David, and that you remain concentrated on the quality/performance/appearance theme. Keep watching, ‘cos your sharp and informed observations, (especially about AEC), are always worth reading.
It may be that quality influenced Southdown, but with due respect to Weymann, I can’t think that could have been a determining factor in a comparison with, say, Harrington. Nor, I suspect, would price, because although price was important, Southdown depreciated their fleet over 12 years, which minimised the effect of small price differences. Availability may have ben a factor, but it may just have been a matter of preference – beauty in the eye of the beholder again. Southdown’s choice of Queen Mary double-deckers, which many enthusiasts admire greatly, was not all that popular elsewhere. It was largely a matter of consistent overall fleet image as perceived by top management.
I found Diesel Dave’s driving experiences interesting, too. I never drove a Southdown Plaxton – only a Castillian, which, (you may like this, David), I didn’t think was a patch on M&D’s Reliances.

Roy Burke

12/08/12 – 07:13

Thanks for your kind comments Roy but, including yourself, I am by no means the only expert on this forum. There are no doubt many others who could claim that laurel. Your observations are equally on target.
A few observations. The Cavalier was a big improvement on its predecessor, possibly, therefore a holding pattern before the arrival of the Cavalier. ….. also, were they comparing metal frames on the Weymann bodies with composite on the Harrington? Finally, the rear end of the Castillian still looks like a rip off of the Cavalier – so which did, indeed, come first?

David Oldfield

19/03/13 – 07:20

Sometime in the early 1970s Hyde Park Road in Portsmouth was remodelled with some of it being renamed Winston Churchill Avenue. I was working at Yelloway at the time and, through our joint operator Associated Motorways (of which Southdown was a member), we were asked to include an extra note in the timetable for the Rochdale-Portsmouth/Southsea service for a couple of seasons which read something like ‘Winston Churchill Avenue Coach Station was previously known as Hyde Park Road Coach Station’. I called there once when passing through on holiday and I have a vague recollection of the coach station building standing all alone in quite a wide open space of redevelopment.

David Slater

8156 CD_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

19/03/13 – 11:46

You’re quite right, David, but calling it a coach station was stretching the imagination! It was a nondescript depot building with a storage yard and lots of bombsite land around it on which to park all the vehicles. The depot was not mentioned on blinds, merely ‘PORTSMOUTH – HYDE PARK ROAD’. Summertime, Southdown/Triumph coaches were stored there ready for the seafront tours.

Chris Hebbron

21/03/13 – 10:55

I can well imagine the poor state of the property Chris! Regarding the location. A comment on Flickr from ‘PD3’, a person who has taken lots of photos of Southdown vehicles including some Harrington Cavaliers parked around the Hyde Park Road garage, reads ‘The [Ibis] Hotel would have been next door to where the depot was, the land now has a building used by Portsmouth University upon it’.
Some of his photos at Hyde Park Road, which feature buildings in the background, include:  
Without realising it, I already had a photo on Flickr of the timetable for the Summer 1973 joint Yelloway/Associated Motorways Rochdale-Portsmouth/Southsea service which features the statement ‘Winston Churchill Avenue Coach Station was previously known as Hyde Park Road Coach Station’

David Slater

02/02/14 – 16:21

With regard to Chris Hebbron’s comment about Southdown/Triumph coaches being parked at Hyde Park Rd ready for Excursions, that is not really correct as the Triumph fleet was permanently based there, including the 3 Weymann-bodied Leopards. Had you visited on a Saturday/Sunday you would have found very few coaches there as they were either in the North (mainly) of England having worked Forces leave services on Friday evening, returning overnight on Sunday. While away from Portsmouth, they worked on the Saturday for local operators, so that fore example a coach working to Leeds on Friday would then be ‘on hire’ to West Yorkshire and work from Leeds to Scarborough or perhaps Morecambe on the Saturday.

Paul Statham


Pennine – Leyland Royal Tiger – MTC 757 & MTD 235

Pennine - Leyland Royal Tiger - MTC 757

Pennine - Leyland Royal Tiger - MTD 235
Both photographs by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Pennine Motor Services  
MTC 757 MTD 235
1950 1952
Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/13 Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/15
Brush B44F Leyland C41C

There has been some discussion on another posting about the former Leyland demonstrators, MTC 757 and MTD 235, the latter being still with Pennine and mentioned in the new PSV Circle listing on preserved buses. I have "bought" slides of these two, and I know when and where they were taken, but I’ve no idea of the photographers. MTC 757, the bus version, is seen in Malham in June 1964. MTD 235 is seen in Gargrave in September 1967. MTC 757 had a Brush bus body, while MTD 235 is quite clearly Leyland’s own. ‘The Dalesman Cafe’ on the right of the lower shot was still thriving when I was last in Gargrave a few months ago!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

05/08/12 – 12:31

Wouldn’t you put the dates of these two the other way round? The bus looks remarkably modern and simple for 1950- even the peaked front dome (or is that a trick of the light?) Could it be a rebuild? On the other hand the Leyland (export?) body looks a bit 1940’s Detroit at the front, especially that chrome "dribble".


05/08/12 – 14:11

Joe, it’s definitely a trick of the light – MTC 757 did not have a peaked dome, and was a very neat looking bus for the time. It was built in 1950, and acquired by Pennine in 1951. They withdrew it in 1967 and it is believed to have been scrapped.
MTD 235 was the prototype for the Leyland Royal Tiger coach body, and as originally built it did not have the multi-windowed ‘lantern’ type windscreen arrangement seen here and familiar on all the production examples, though it must have been modified very early on, as all the photos I’ve seen of it with Pennine show it as it is here. I must rack my brain (quite difficult nowadays) and try to remember which book I have that shows it in its original form and report back. Don’t hold your breath !

John Stringer

05/08/12 – 14:34

I had – please note the past tense! – black and whites of both these vehicles, and taken at Lancaster Bus Station. MTC most certainly did not have a peaked front dome. I have a copy of the Pennine history by Donald Binns in collaboration with the operator, which has a photo of her on page 49. The caption includes "It was scrapped in August 1967 after 16 years service and with 825,000 miles on the clock".

Pete Davies

05/08/12 – 14:35

The dates given in the posting would seem to be correct. MTC 757 was a Royal Tiger PSU1/13 with Brush B44F body built as a demonstrator in 1950, and bought by Simpson of Gargrave t/a Pennine in 1952. Brush ceased building psv bodies in 1952. MTD 235 was also a Leyland demonstrator, and it carried the standard Leyland 41 seat coach body for this model, though the chrome trim was adapted to meet customer choice, and some examples did not have the "swept under" front panelwork. This body continued to be available up to the time that Leyland closed its coachbuilding facilities in 1954. The PSU1/13 version of the Royal Tiger had the horizontal O.600 engine coupled with a four speed synchromesh gearbox and vacuum brakes.

Roger Cox

05/08/12 – 15:06

MTD 235 is still owned by Pennine and is kept at Barnoldswick and is worked on when time permits.

Philip Carlton

06/08/12 – 07:27

The Brush body was a nice design and must have been one of the very earliest on an underfloor engined chassis (apart from BMMO). Quite different to those supplied to Yorkshire Traction/Woollen. Presumably it was 7ft 6in wide?

Chris Barker

06/08/12 – 08:34

Chris, MTC and MTD were both to the usual 8ft width for underfloor engined vehicles of the time, so far as I am aware.

Pete Davies

11/08/12 – 07:23

Think 8′ was standard width for these underfloors. Although they still existed quite recently as a heavy engineering and railway manufacturer, Brush effectively became Willowbrook in bus terms. [Not sure who bought whom.] The next Royal Tigers for Tracky were Willowbrook – but built by the same men in the same factory.

David Oldfield

11/08/12 – 12:07

Several Royal Tigers were built to 7ft 6in width, it was offered by Leyland as an option. Hebble and Devon General had some Willowbrook bodied examples.
Brush are still very much in business, in Loughborough adjacent to the railway station. It was just their bus building activities which they disposed of in 1952. All production was then transferred to Willowbrook including some double deck Daimlers for Derby which were in build at the time and Brush designs disappeared almost immediately.

Chris Barker

12/08/12 – 07:16

Willowbrook existed in Loughborough from 1931, totally independent of Brush. They occupied the retail site now known as Willowbrook Park.
Brush voluntarily quit the bus body building enterprise in 1952, but locals tell me that their designs were passed to Willowbrook.
As Chris says, Brush are still in business, but they are a mere shadow of what they once were, and are no longer the town`s biggest employer. Once upon a time, they were the second largest tramcar builder in the UK, and that was just part of their total business!
What about Pennine though! Still in business, and they have seen it all and survived it all, and still continue as a small independent. I remember them well from my courting days, with wife to be living past Settle, on the Pennine route!
Good old Happy Days are getting even happier!

John Whitaker

12/08/12 – 07:18

I thought Pennine only had a garage in Skipton, but from Philip’s comment above, and from looking at their current timetable showing some early morning services starting in Barnsoldswick, I realise they have a garage there as well. Does anyone know how many vehicles are accommodated there; presumably only 4 or 5?

Dave Towers

28/08/12 – 14:29

The Pennine garage at Barnoldswick was acquired with the business of Ezra Laycock Ltd in 1972. As an ex-Laycock employee I ought to be able to confidently tell you the depot’s capacity – I can’t quite do that, but I think that the answer is five, although in Laycock days vehicles were parked outside as well. According to the timetable three buses start and finish at Barnoldswick, so that is presumably how many operational buses are kept at the depot. I did have it in my head that MTD 235 had been moved to Skipton, but I may have imagined that bit.
As far as I am aware Pennine also continues to use the small depot at Settle, capacity two vehicles.

David Call

29/08/12 – 07:26

I notice that Pete Davies has mentioned (on the Pennine LWY 702 posting) that MTD 235 is indeed now resident at the Skipton depot.

David Call

29/08/12 – 18:59

All is explained, at last. The section about MTC 757 & MTD 235 appears under a total of four headings – Brush (bodybuilder), Leyland (bodybuilder), Pennine (operator), and Leyland Royal Tiger. Only under the heading of Leyland Royal Tiger is there a section devoted to Pennine’s LWY 702, and it is at the foot of that section where Pete Davies has mentioned that MTD 235 is now at Skipton depot.
I would not expect LWY 702 to be mentioned under Brush, of course, but I am surprised that it does not at least get a mention under Pennine (operator). As to whether it should appear under Leyland (bodybuilder) or even Leyland (chassis builder), I suppose you will have to draw a line somewhere regarding what gets included and what doesn’t, there were an awful lot of Leyland buses manufactured. In passing perhaps I could mention that I noticed that under the heading of Leyland Royal Tiger Cub, only one of the three sections actually relates to an example of that model. The other two refer to the infinitely more common Leyland Tiger Cub.
Should I trawl through the other headings checking for similar errors/anomalies? It would beat counting sheep, I suppose.

David Call

30/08/12 – 06:56

The comments engendered by entries to this Forum frequently range far and wide, often well beyond the strict confines of the original submission. We have all had at least one reprimand, not, be it noted, from our webmaster, for straying from the initial subject, but that is entirely within the spirit of this site. The wealth of interest, information and detail that emerges thereby is invaluable. I think that we should go on regarding ourselves as a bus enthusiasts’ equivalent of Dr. Johnson’s Literary Club, with free ranging discussion. Cross referencing every point made in the "comment" columns would be a nightmarish task. Let us just be very grateful for this splendid site.

Roger Cox

30/08/12 – 11:47

Agreed, Roger. It’s worth remembering, too, that, although not as good as cross-referencing, there is a search facility on the website which I’ve found useful a couple of times.

Chris Hebbron

31/08/12 – 07:24

I think most of us form a loose group of cyber friends with a common purpose. I think that overrides any jobsworth tendency to pedantry – and that comes from one of the world’s biggest pedants!

David Oldfield

31/08/12 – 07:25

Contrary to what I stated above, it seems that the section devoted to LWY702 actually appears under all the headings I mentioned – I hadn’t realised that many of the headings lead to multiple pages. It does not help, of course, that my search engine (google) only picks up words and phrases which are contained in the first of those multiple pages – not the second and subsequent.

David Call

11/05/14 – 11:14

On the Pennine (operator) pages, Chris Wright and Orla Nutting comment on the forthcoming closure of the company.
There has been some confusion about MTD 235. Some sources say she’s at Barnoldswick (spoken locally as Barlick) and some (including me, based on reports I’ve had) say she’s at Skipton. To a degree, both are right and both are wrong! On withdrawal, she spent MANY years gathering dust at Barnoldswick garage. About 2 years ago, she was moved to head office with a view to start of restoration. The inspection was duly undertaken and it was found to be [I quote] ‘a massive job’ which would divert too many staff hours, so she’s back at Barnoldswick, apparently with one of the Leopards new to Ezra Laycock.
I suspect that a number of readers will be concerned about the future of MTD maybe she should could go either to the Leyland Museum or to the one in St Helens if the family don’t keep her.

Pete Davies

12/05/14 – 08:37

The ex-Laycock Leyland Leopard reputedly stored at Barnoldswick depot can only be OWY 197K, since that was the only Leopard ever owned by Laycock’s.
An interesting point is that throughout the few months of its time with Laycock’s, and into Pennine ownership, it carried the incorrect registration OWY 179K.

David Call

13/05/14 – 06:34

Thank you, David, for your comments about the Leopard. In the Donald Binns book about Pennine, there are two photographs showing her with OWY 197K, but the listings in the book show both registrations! She is shown in the book as being stored at Ingleton, but that is clearly out of date if my information from company staff the other day is correct.

Pete Davies

23/05/14 – 07:51

Pete. I paid my respects to Pennine on the last day 16th may I Actually wrote to Maurice Simpson wishing him well for the future and how sad it was Pennine Motors was closing down. I suggested MTD 235 should be restored in memory of his father and the company and what his plans are for the vehicle.
Work was carried out on the brakes and other bits and pieces the chief engineer tells me, however she is to be towed back to Skipton in the coming weeks but what the future is it is not clear as yet.

Mark Mc Alister

25/05/14 – 10:33

Thanks, Mark, for your update.
Before I retired, I worked in the passenger transport team of Southampton City Council, dealing with the local operators over aspects of their services. The national concession scheme was just coming into use. My managers commented on several occasions that the regulations said that the level of reimbursement must be strictly neutral, in that the operator must be no better off and no worse off through taking part in the scheme.
The reports I have read in various places all suggest that North Yorkshire County Council have a different view.

Pete Davies

MTD 235_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

26/05/14 – 09:28

The point made by Pete Davies was first specified in the Ridley 1985 Transport Act when each local authority had the power to determine a concessionary fare scheme. This led to wide variations throughout the country, and some authorities, of course, chose not to offer any meaningful scheme at all, which was one of the reasons why the Labour government, in reality, John Prescott, decided to ensure that mandatory schemes were available everywhere from 2001. This was followed up in 2007 by a national scheme for England. The Welsh and Scottish administrations pursued their own policies. This new scheme maintained the requirement that "Travel Concession Authorities are required by law to reimburse bus operators for carrying concessionary passengers, on the principle that the operators are "no better off and no worse off" by taking part in concessionary travel schemes. The aim is not to subsidise bus operators, but to pay for any increased costs that they have incurred". The legislation goes on to say, "The national bus concession in England is available at any time on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, and from 9.30am to 11pm on any other day. TCAs are able to offer concessionary travel outside these hours on a discretionary basis". I understand that North Yorkshire allows the passes to be used from 9am until 6am the following morning, which is entirely lawful under the clause stated above.

Roger Cox

26/05/14 – 09:29

The situation in respect of the depot premises is as follows.
Skipton: To let at £40,000 p.a. or might sell
Barnoldswick: Sale agreed
Ingleton: Sale agreed
Settle: For sale (‘Guide price’ £75,000) or might let
As Mark McA says, the future for MTD 235 is not clear – it looks even less clear now. We can only hope that it will be, as suggested by Pete, donated to one of the established museums.

David Call

26/05/14 – 14:01

Quite right, Roger, but it’s the amount of reimbursement that seems to have upset matters in this case.

Pete Davies


Moss Tours – Beadle Rochester – WKJ 787

Moss Tours - Beadle Rochester - WKJ 787
Copyright Roger Cox

Moss Tours Isle of White
Beadle Rochester
Beadle C41C

This picture of WKJ 787, a Beadle Rochester C41C coach was taken in 1970 at Alum Bay, Isle of Wight. The Rochester was an integral design from the Dartford based coachbuilder, and was powered by the Rootes TS3 3 cylinder horizontally opposed piston two stroke engine, very similar to the pre war Sulzer ZG9. (The wartime Junkers Jumo aero engine operated on related principles but differed in several design aspects.) The TS3 was designed initially at the Humber works of the Rootes group, and production was undertaken at the former Tilling Stevens (hence "TS") factory in Maidstone that Rootes acquired in the autumn of 1950. Two stroke engines have a power stroke on every rotation of the crankshaft, and have to have some form of pressure charging for induction. On the TS3 (and on contemporary Foden two strokes) this was achieved by a Roots (no commercial relation to Rootes) supercharger driven by the engine, which absorbed some of the power output.  The engine had a capacity of 3.26 litres and developed 105 bhp at 2400 rpm. The very distinctive exhaust note akin to a Gatling Gun in full cry earned these engine the sobriquet of "Knockers". A four cylinder 4.35 litres version was developed giving 200 bhp at 2600 rpm, and 14 prototypes ran 1.2 million miles very successfully, but this programme came to a halt with the Chrysler takeover of Rootes in 1967. Chrysler had entered into joint agreements with fellow American engineers Cummins for commercial vehicle engine supplies, and the exceptionally promising TS4 was an embarrassment to these arrangements. As it turned out, the Cummins V6 and V8 engines were a disaster. The TS3 was subsequently cancelled as well, and Chrysler turned to Perkins for the supply of smaller engines. Yet another promising British engineering achievement foundered upon corporate ignorance and myopia.
The Rochester in the picture began life in 1955 as a Beadle demonstrator, and was later acquired by Moss Tours on the Isle of Wight. It was bought by a church group in the 1990s, and then thankfully sold on into preservation. To my eye, the body design is quite well proportioned, making due allowances for the ample application of chrome at the front. A recent view of this Rochester may be found here:-

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

03/08/12 – 07:57

To my mind this is pretty much what a centre entrance Weymann Fanfare would have looked like. I’ve never seen one, so was that an option or were they all front entrance?

Ronnie Hoye

03/08/12 – 07:58

Whereas there were front entrance Rochesters there were never centre entrance Fanfares. They are suspiciously similar but I believe Weymann were on the market first and, if you ignore the Fanfare front end, the rest can be seen as pure Beadle – despite similarities. I still find it incredible, after all these years, that Beadle "got away with" the Rochester as did Duple (or was it Roe?) with the Elizabethan and the Dalesman.
This vehicle made a guest appearance at last year’s Hemel Running Day. Handsome beast, whatever.

David Oldfield

03/08/12 – 07:59

Yorkshire Woollen had a batch registered CHD 375-390 new in 1957 and these were C41F.They were all withdrawn in 1967.

Philip Carlton

03/08/12 – 08:12

I’ve seen this several times, in ISLAND QUEEN guise. Moss still exists as an operator on the Isle of Wight, as part of Southern Vectis, whose fleet has been renumbered in the last few weeks as part of an exercise involving the whole of "Go South Coast".

Pete Davies

03/08/12 – 10:56

What a lovely picture. I can see the Fanfare similarities but it smacks of Yeates in some ways too.

Les Dickinson

03/08/12 – 17:20

The TS3 was an amazing engine; a real success story in a difficult area of internal combustion technology.
General Motors also produced the Detroit Diesel with a Roots blower, as early as 1938. It was used in some British tanks, but never used in the UK other than this, to my knowledge.
Chrysler made a stupid decision to scrap development (which included plans, jigs and engines) of the TS4, which was virtually ready to go. A couple of engines survived under wraps and here is the wonderful sound of a TS4 running: 

Chris Hebbron

03/08/12 – 17:21

Yes, Les, the somewhat ornate decoration does suggest the designer had a look at some Yeates products and liked what he saw. I’ve always had the idea that the Yeates decoration was overdone, on the basis of "There’s a bit here that’s still blank. Let’s decorate it!" It must have increased the body weight, surely?

Pete Davies

03/08/12 – 17:21

Southdown had 25 Rochesters the first five of which had centre entrances but the windscreens and the first body bay were quite different being more akin to the bodies fitted to Southdown’s Tiger Cubs which were being delivered around that time. The remaining twenty were standard front entrance 41 seat models which were used extensively on express services. I drove later Commer Avengers fitted with this engine which could be quite lively if revs were kept up which makes me think I would love to have tried the four cylinder version it could have had great potential another chance missed.

Diesel Dave

03/08/12 – 17:40

WKJ 787_2_lr

I have been through my archives and attached is a picture you may want to add to the current discussion. Island Queen is owned by Roger Burdett and in 2008 I was a passenger on it to Scotland via the Kirkby Stephen Rally. The day before we went to the Lakeside and Hatherwaite Railway where I took this picture. Besides the obvious change in livery the vehicle has lost one of the orange front skylights.

Ken Jones

04/08/12 – 07:45

Thanks for that link to the TS4, Chris. That sound takes me right back to the days when the Southdown Commers could be seen (and decidedly heard) sprinting along the A22 and A23 south of Croydon. The cancellation of the TS4 and discontinuation of the TS3 should be added to the sadly substantial list of corporate follies that has denuded the UK economy of much of its engineering expertise.

Roger Cox

04/08/12 – 07:46

How did it perform, Ken, and was the engine noise subdued inside?

Chris Hebbron

04/08/12 – 07:47

I couldn’t have put it better myself Pete, this is better for being a little less cluttered I think.

Les Dickinson

04/08/12 – 11:41

Reference question above from Chris Hebbron – I thought it performed well – Scotland and back with no problems – and as a passenger it gave a nice ride. It was however noisy depending where you sat, so choice of seat is very important on this vehicle as I soon discovered.

Ken Jones

04/08/12 – 17:20

The TS4 was discontinued as a result of the Rootes takeover by Chrysler who introduced the V6 in the Dodge KP Series. This engine was seriously fast outpacing the TS3 and according to my father (who used the TS4 in development on the road). Unfortunately it was an erratic engine throwing belts and of course saw its reputation totally screwed by its lack of reliability in Daimler Roadliners.
Island Queen is a delight to drive and ok for noise if you sit in the front half. It is likely to be out and about in the second half of 2013

Roger Burdett

04/08/12 – 20:46

I’m sure that the initial engine in the Roadmaster was a Cummins ‘small-V’ one, which proved troublesome to the point where it was replaced by a Perkins engine and finally a Leyland unit, none of which produced a fully acceptable solution. I’ve seen it mentioned that it was originally a marine unit and suffered from problems of responsiveness, not a problem in a marine setting. Other contemporary Cummins engines were pretty good, but the one fitted was suitably very compact.
The chassis appears also to have been prone to flexing, causing body problems.
The TS4 never really came out of R&D and into volume production, to my knowledge.
Whatever the shortcomings of the early Leyland Nationals, they acquitted themselves well in comparison with the Roadliner. Thx, Ken, for the passenger experience pointers.

Chris Hebbron

07/08/12 – 07:14

I have had a ride on this vehicle, and got the impression that the engine noise was amplified by the entrance stairwell, which is presumably right next to the engine. This suggested that a front-entrance one would probably be more refined.

Peter Williamson

13/08/12 – 08:49

Here is a link to a picture of a Rochester with a front entrance body. The pillar at the rear of the front curved corner glass has had to be repositioned from that of the centre entrance design in order to accommodate the door. This one, KPR 688, was apparently one of three Rochesters bought new by Bere Regis and District in 1957.

Roger Cox

15/10/12 – 17:06

The other surviving Rochester, 8 GMK, is likely to be a couple of years before it appears on the rally scene as there are a couple of others in the queue before it gets started.
There is a lot of work to do to it, including a large dent in the rear dome and some chassis work. Plus I need to get the ‘K’ and the VAS finished first. There are quite a few shots of it at this link.

Charlie Lemon

06/05/13 – 08:19

I travelled many hundreds of miles on the Yorkshire Woollen Rochesters and always enjoyed riding on them. However, while 105 bhp is impressive on paper, my recollection is that they had no worthwhile torque whatsoever, which made hill climbing a slow and tedious business, even with a driver who knew to keep the revs up (they were the only coaches at the time fitted with a rev counter). With someone who tried to drive them like a Gardner, things became hopeless as below a certain RPM the engine switched to four stroke which halved the power.
As far as noise is concerned, I do not recall them being any worse than, say, a Leyland inside but the ones I knew had front entrances and I always sat at the front. Outside was a different matter. I used to deliver papers early in the morning and remember a brace of Rochesters heading for Blackpool in the morning stillness as they blasted their way out of Cleckheaton. They were audible for about 3 miles. Heaven only knows what a TS4 would have sounded like.

Bob Hunter

29/10/13 – 07:17

The resemblance between the Weymann Fanfare and the Beadle Rochester, which was highlighted earlier in this thread, is also mentioned in John Senior’s "The Weymann Story Part 2 1942-1966".
Apparently at a time when Weymann was highly profitable there was a disagreement between the managing director, DJA (Jack) Davies, and the owners, United Molasses, about what to do with the profits. The row became acrimonious and Davies was forced to leave. He went to Beadle in March 1955, and the Rochester appeared the following year.

Peter Williamson

06/11/13 – 16:08

On YouTube under the heading ‘QUANTOCK CLASSIC BUS DAY 2011 Part3′ a short journey aboard WKJ 787 is included in the video. The Rochester footage begins at 5.54 and lasts until 8.09, followed by a very brief ‘encore’ from 9.20 – 9.56. Sound effects from the little Commer TS3 engine are as one would expect – growly, raucous and gorgeous. It’s definitely worth watching/listening to if you like 2-stroke diesels – just make sure the neighbours are out before you turn up the volume!

Brendan Smith

07/11/13 – 07:15

Brendan: My word- I’d forgotten what it was like. An Atco with hyperdrive…. and what a driver!


WKJ 787_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

04/02/14 – 07:41

Does anyone have any information about WKO 136 ? apparently a demonstrator.



All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 26th May 2015