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
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The fleet were withdrawn in the mid 50s, and the older models were scrapped (although I believe that at least one was preserved); the newer models were rebodied as H59R.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!


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.



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


Oldham Corporation – Leyland Titan – PBU 951 – 451

Oldham Corporation - Leyland Titan - PBU 951 - 451
Copyright David Butterworth

Oldham Corporation
Leyland Titan PD2/30
Roe H35/28R

I Would like to contribute the above photo of Oldham Corporation 451 taken after its first repaint – so minus the waistrail white stripe and the intricate lining out (abandoned when these vehicles were repainted in 1965). The interior paintwork was changed also from the original hammered metal finish to a plain cream finish on the majority of the buses.
The first example of this batch to receive a repaint was 439, in January 1965, after substantial repairs following a serious front end collision the previous summer, when it had ploughed into a terraced house on Manchester Road whilst operating on route 98. The Oldham Chronicle carried a story with a photo of 439 embedded in the house with its crumpled bodywork surrounded a pile of bricks. No one was injured apparently.
I well remember riding on it from school to home one evening in January 1965 on the B (later 21) route.

Photograph and Copy contributed by David Butterworth

A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.


23/01/12 – 07:52

These buses were a great favourite of mine. The Roe bodies were very well appointed and in the original livery with the red lining out they looked very classy. I rode on them frequently on the 9 route from Rochdale travelling to Watersheddings to watch the rugby. They were extremely comfortable and smooth riding. Oldham had a good team in those days and invariably beat Rochdale Hornets in the local derbies.
I agree the buses lost a bit of their class in the simplified livery, initially retaining the original maroon to be replaced later by the Pommard and Cream livery which Oldham adopted up to absorption into SELNEC. I understand there were problems with the maroon fading which led to the ultimate change to the purpley red shade of Pommard. Like most of the Manchester area half-cabs they didn’t look too good in the SELNEC orange and white.
They had a fair turn of speed and were much faster than Rochdale’s Gardner engined Regent V’s which often operated the Rochdale share of the 9 route which was jointly operated by Ashton, Oldham and Rochdale Corporations.
They also worked on the 24/90 Limited Stop service between Rochdale and Manchester where they could show their paces to good effect, particularly on the 90 which ran non-stop between Royton and Manchester.
The Roe bodied examples of Oldham’s large fleet of PD2′s always seemed to be a cut above the Northern Counties and Crossley bodied examples and there was definitely no contest with the Metro-Cammell Orions which were positively spartan by comparison.
The photo also shows us that Oldham was among the small band of operators that used route letters for some of their services. To set the hare running I can bring to mind others as Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Exeter. I am sure someone will soon add some more!

Philip Halstead


23/01/12 – 10:15

Yorkshire Woollen District used route letters on their Dewsbury area tram replacement services.

John Stringer


24/01/12 – 05:57

Lettered bus routes sometimes came about when the bus routes came along in conjunction with the trams. The trams had the numbers, so the buses got the letters.
I’m intrigued about a reverse situation with Cheltenham, which always had route numbers, tram and bus, but, at some point, in recent years, changed over to letters.

Chris Hebbron


24/01/12 – 15:45

Mexborough and Swinton used route letters until the trolleybuses were phased out in March, 1961, at which time they switched over to numbers.
Rotherham Corporation ran jointly on the trolleybus routes to Mexborough and Conisborough, the Rotherham saloons showing either 8 or 9, and the Mexboro’ Sunbeams ‘A’ or ‘B’ respectively, until the changeover.

Dave Careless


24/01/12 – 15:46

I seem to remember (from 1956) that Great Yarmouth had a mix of lettered and numbered routes. I think all the lettered ones went to Gorlestone, but not all Gorlestone services were lettered ones. I have the distinct memory that route 3 started from Newtown on the northern edge of Yarmouth, and terminated at "Gorlestone (Green Ace)" – presumably a hostelry!

Stephen Ford


25/01/12 – 13:14

Middlesbrough Corporation also used route letters. Teesside Municipal Transport carried on this tradition for a number of years.

Stephen Bloomfield


20/02/12 – 13:38

Cheltenham switched to letters in the late 1980s when the Gloucester and Swindon operation was separated from Bristol. Both Gloucester and Cheltenham started minibus operations under the Metro name, and to avoid confusion Gloucester went for numbered routes and Cheltenham went for lettered. The one Cheltenham town route that kept a number for a while longer was the Prestbury-town-Coronation Square route 2 (which had full sized buses), but that eventually became the A.

James McLaren


20/02/12 – 17:12

Thx, James, for the answer to my question. A strange decision, really, since that neither towns’ local services ever strayed beyond their boundaries before or after minibuses came along. Still, it makes for variety. Does anyone know of any other bus companies currently using lettered routes?

Chris Hebbron


21/02/12 – 07:15

The Hebden Bridge local services supported by Metro and operated by Tyrer Tours use letters A – E. These were introduced in 2003 when First commenced operating the revised services with Optare Solos and Aleros supplied by Metro.

Ian Wild


21/02/12 – 07:18

Stagecoach Devon’s Exeter city services are still designated by letters, and it seems that to a large extent they are the initial letters of the suburbs to which they run – e.g. P – Pennsylvania; A – Alphington.

Stephen Ford


12/01/13 – 16:15

Try Preston corporation buses. Fp was Farringdon Park and there would have been others.



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