Oldham Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – NBU 508 – 408

Oldham Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - NBU 508 - 408

Oldham Corporation
1957
Leyland Titan PD2/20
Crossley H33/28R

This picture shows Ashton-under-Lyne Corporation Transport XTC 855 and Oldham Corporation Passenger Transport NBU 508 in Oldham’s Wallshaw Street Depot.

NBU 508_2

The photograph shows the cast fleet number plate that was a feature of the Oldham fleet at that time.
In this view 408s Coat of Arms is on the lower deck panel, until, like Ashton, they were moved to the front upper deck panels. This was to save the costs of replacement when damage occurred due to accidents.
The Service 3 was Middleton to Rushcroft.
408 was renumbered as 5308 in the SELNEC fleet in November 1969.
The picture shows the vast expanse of the roof of Wallshaw Street depot. The Garage roof having only 3 stanchions, supporting girders with spans of over 200ft.
Ashton XTC 855 was one of the Guy Arab IVs with Bond H32/28R bodywork delivered as No. 40 in 1956. Here it has Fleet No. 68 which it received in 1964. It was renumbered 5468 at the formation of SELNEC in November 1969.
It can be seen that the Corporation crest and lettering is in the normal position before being moved to the upper deck front panel (as shown in the photograph of No. 19 in Part One – Ashton under Lyne article by Phil Blinkhorn and Roger Cox).
It is in Oldham Garage, showing Service 8 which was the joint Oldham, Ashton, & SHMD service between Oldham and Stalybridge via Hurst Cross.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Stephen Howarth


12/09/13 – 16:30

Oldham 408 was numerically the first of five Leyland PD2/20 with Crossley bodies built to Park Royal design, after the takeover by the ACV group. Similar bodies were supplied to Ashton-Under-Lyne and Stockport Corporations at this time Crossley ceased body building soon after, although not before they had built the prototype Bridgemaster, which had many similarities to this body design. The Manchester independent A. Mayne and Son had three AEC Regent V with Park Royal bodywork to the same basic design (although in 30ft length.)
These bodies proved inferior to their contemporaries of other makes, and after takeover by Selnec PTE, 409 was overhauled and lasted in service until 1973, the rest of the batch were withdrawn in 1970.
Ashton-Under-Lyne Corporation was a Leyland User, and had only the one batch of Guy Arab IV’s. These were unusual in having exposed radiators and 5LW engines, as well as the relatively rare body make. I enjoyed several rides on these interesting buses from Ashton to Mossley, this route being their usual home.
I wonder why an Ashton bus was inside Oldham’s depot? At first I wondered if it was one of the many buses hired from other operators as a result of the disastrous visit by Ministry of transport inspectors in October 1965. However David Wayman’s book on Oldham buses states that there were no Ashton buses involved. Perhaps it had broken down in Oldham.

Don McKeown


13/09/13 – 06:30

An interesting photo of a neighbouring municipality’s vehicle interloping into the home fleet’s garage. I would venture this was a relatively rare occurrence in its day unless someone can enlighten us. The photo has made me realise what an attractive design the Bond bodies were in a fairly understated way. The Guy radiator looks a bit old fashioned and puts about 10 years on the body design though. The Birmingham tin front would have made them into really stunning buses. Bolton of course had similar bodies on exposed radiator Leyland PD2’s but somehow the Leyland radiator seemed to age much better and still looked good right up to the end of Titan production.

Philip Halstead


13/09/13 – 08:30

A number of points regarding Don’s comment. The Stockport PD2s with Crossley bodies to the same design didn’t have the same problems as the Oldham batch and some were sent to Oldham after SELNEC took over. As I’m away from home at present I can’t confirm actual vehicles used and the dates but the Stockport vehicles outlasted the Oldham and Ashton batches.
The Ashton Guys were specifically bought for the Mossley route – see my article on SELNEC Part One. They appeared on the 7 and 8 from time to time, both being regular Guy turns, more frequently operated with rebodied austerity Guys sporting 7 foot 6 in versions of the Crossley body shown in the picture.
What the bus is doing in the depot is a matter of conjecture. It certainly wasn’t a 1965 swap vehicle. A breakdown is possible but as there was always one of the batch spare and it may have been filling in for a broken down Oldham vehicle which came to grief in Ashton’s territory and would have been taken to Mossley Rd. Most of the joint services in the Manchester conurbation had vehicle swap arrangements should a vehicle come to grief in the territory of another operator.

Phil Blinkhorn


13/09/13 – 08:30

I know exactly what the Ashton Guy was doing in the Oldham garage and I even have the negative of this photo (although I didn’t take it). I’ve had to look very carefully as it is quite likely that very similar photographs were also taken.
Ashton 68 was on a tour organised by the Buckley Wells Bus Enthusiasts Society. It operated on 9th July 1967 and visited several locations in north Lancashire. Thanks to Stan Fitton, who organised the tour, I have photographs of the Ashton Guy next to Todmorden PD2s, a BCN Guy and an Accrington Wulfrunian. I hope in time to put these in a gallery recounting the history of the Society as I think many will find it an interesting story.
Although both these vehicles were allocated SELNEC fleet numbers neither carried them and in fact the Oldham PD2 had been withdrawn some time before SELNEC was formed.

David Beilby


13/09/13 – 16:30

I wonder why the blind was set for route number 8? Has David thwarted a ruse set 46 years ago to confuse future enthusiasts and historians? The date was my 20th birthday and I spent the day riding buses – far away from Oldham however.
They were two shades of green, exclusively single deck and carried a coat of arms containing the letters SPQR and a crown. I have in mind an article covering my wanderings on the city and country buses I used around Rome but am having problems finding relevant photos and accurate references to exact types.

Phil Blinkhorn


14/09/13 – 06:24

XTC 854

To quote Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, "Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder". I consider the elegant and timeless Guy radiator on the Ashton Arab IVs to be much superior in appearance to the bulbous Birmingham style tin front. The best version of the Birmingham front was that fitted to the Dennis Lance K4 which had vertical chrome strips instead of the crude sausage shaped slots. Did these Ashton Arabs really have the 5LW engine? Hitherto, I understood the power plant to be the 6LW. Gardners were always cool runners, an effective oil cooler being an important feature of the engine design. The handsome Bond bodywork exhibits several similarities with contemporary five bay East Lancashire products. Perhaps Bond used the East Lancs frame. Then again, the Harkness bodies of the period had much the same appearance, and these used MetSec frames.

Roger Cox


14/09/13 – 16:19

Roger, as you are aware, I’m away at present but my memory and the references I can find on the Net all point to the 5LW engine. Bond used various frames inc Burlingham but I’ve no knowledge of any use of East Lancs frames and I’d doubt that the Blackburn concern would have supplied frames given just about every batch built by them in the 1950s and 1960s was unique, though I take your point about resemblance, especially the frontal appearance.
The Park Bridge service was an oddity. It followed the Oldham Rd to almost the boundary with Hathershaw then turned right down a winding road to Park Bridge, a hamlet established in the 18th century around an iron works. Its timings on weekdays were based around rush hours and a late evening service. Saturday saw an enhanced daytime service for shoppers but, until the closure of the Oldham to Guide Bridge and Stockport rail services in the Beeching era, the halt at Park Bridge provided a more frequent service though Oldham Rd station at Ashton was a good ten minutes walk from the market and shops, the final 200 yards back to the station being up a quite sharp gradient. The hamlet is now a heritage site with beautifully restored houses in a rural setting.

Phil Blinkhorn


15/09/13 – 07:25

Phil, your knowledge of the operators in the Manchester locality is rewardingly comprehensive, and, as you indicated in the Ashton article, these Guys must have been purchased for a specific reason. Nonetheless, it does seem extraordinary that Ashton should specify the 7 litre, 94 bhp 5LW engine to meet a situation that distressed a 9.8 litre, 125 bhp Leyland. The Gardner would assuredly climb a proverbial brick wall without overheating, but progress must have been decidedly sedate. On the subject of the body frames used by Bond, a contributor to the following website, named T W Moore (surely the well known bus photographer) suggests that Bond was an associated company of East Lancs (see the last post on the page):- http://cwk205.freeforums.org/  
Do you think that this was the case?

Roger Cox


15/09/13 – 09:36

XTC 855

The attached photo shows the Ashton Guy at the start of this tour (and all the other Buckley Wells Bus Enthusiasts tours), Manchester Victoria station. 68 has as a backdrop the long-demolished buildings on Hunt’s Bank. The coach behind is unusual as it is a Setra from the Somme Département in France, as shown by the registration which ends with the number 80. Continental coaches were a rare sight in those days.
The blinds were set to all sorts of displays during the tour (it was an opportunity to practice this much-desired but usually not permitted activity). At Ashton it showed 159, certainly not an Ashton route, and a lot of time it showed the perennial favourite but incorrect Ashton display, "10 Downing Street", which unfortunately came out as Downing St 10. Downing Street was a short working on the 5 to Droylsden via Littlemoss.

David Beilby


15/09/13 – 14:02

On the face of it the use of the 5LW looks odd but there may have been a very logical reason – at least in the minds of the members of the Transport Committee and the General Manager. The order was placed in the period in the 1950s when diesel prices and wages had escalated rapidly putting up costs against a background of increased availability of cars, an increase in home entertainment with a widening of TV output and a resistance against increased fares all of which produced a marked decline in passenger numbers.
Small and reduced output engines were not a rare phenomenon in the area and whilst the route to Mossley may have seemed to demand a large engine, a slow plodder which completed the journey, on what was a fairly relaxed schedule, was preferable to an enforced cooling stop or even a breakdown, which had become a regular and expensive enough occurrence. No other route in the system had such demands and the 5LW would have had a more racehorse like performance on the other routes to which Ashton’s Guys were allocated and to which the vehicles would eventually be tasked. I rode on both the Leylands and the Guys and whilst I was under ten at the time the Guys took over, I have memories of their stately progress compared to the rather raucous progress of the Leylands, which included much gear changing and stuttering starts from some of the bus stops on the steeper parts of the route, not to mention the overheating.
With regard to Bond, the posting linking the company to East Lancs contains a major nonsense in so far as it places the latter in Bridlington, not once but twice – hardly a typo. Apart from its own bodies Bond did finish bodies for other manufacturers and may well have taken the strain for East Lancs with the Coventry job but, as far as I have understood the rather obscure history of the company, it was totally independent of any other bus body builder, its demise in Wythenshawe coming about after protracted labour disputes between craft unions.

Phil Blinkhorn


15/09/13 – 16:50

Roger’s information with respect to the suggestion that the S.H. Bond concern was an associate of East Lancs. would go a long way towards explaining why the remainder of a batch of nine pre-war Bristol saloons of Rotherham Corporation, of which I think four had been rebodied by East Lancs. at Bridlington when the decision was taken to wind up the seaside operation in 1952, ended up being taken to Bond at Wythenshawe for the work to be done.

Dave Careless


15/09/13 – 16:51

Ashton’s Guy Arab IVs had 6LW engines. I get this information from a very detailed fleet list published by Ashton themselves about 1968 when the buses were part of the current fleet. As (I believe) the only Ashton buses ever fitted with a 6LW it is most unlikely they would have got that wrong. The fleet list shows withdrawn vehicles and the utility Guys are shown correctly with a 5LW engine.
Bond bodies were built on Metal Sections frames and were as good as anybody else’s. The closest connection they had to any other coach builder was Brush as the head of their bus operation had come from Brush when they moved out of the business.
One of these Guys was earmarked for preservation in early SELNEC days but a significant chassis defect meant that project was stillborn. It’s a shame as one of these would have been a fine testimony to a local coachbuilder, the sole representative being a contemporary Ashton trolleybus.

David Beilby


15/09/13 – 18:05

Phil, East Lancs did have a subsidiary business at Bridlington as the following web page confirms:- www.ebay.com/itm/  
I do, however, agree with your assessment of the situation in that any connection between Bond and East Lancs occurred purely in the course of business; there was no inter company control. I am grateful to David for endorsing my belief that these Ashton Guys had 6LW engines. The revelation that the Bond bodies were built on Metal Section frames also ties in with the visual and quality similarities to the fine Harkness products of that time.

Roger Cox


15/09/13 – 19:19

Dave, I’m a little surprised that either Coventry or Rotherham accepted tenders from the Bridlington operation of East Lancs as I always understood this arm of the operation was to be wound down from the end of 1951, thus my thought that the reference to Bridlington in the link posted by Roger was in error. If the operation was still functioning in 1952, as seems to be the case, then it’s demise must have been delayed then brought on in very short order for vehicles to be moved to Bond, implying a hasty decision and that the Blackburn operation was operating at capacity.
Again, the movement to Bond doesn’t imply any legal connection or association. As mentioned before, Bond completed orders for a number of body builders, including three of the 1953 Royal Tiger half decker airport coaches for Manchester for which Burlingham supplied the frames, the Blackpool concern completing the other three itself.
David, as I mentioned previously, I’m away from home at the moment so can’t access my own records. If 6LW engines were fitted, they would certainly have been the only ones in the fleet and from a power point of view the bigger engine, as Roger points out, would be more logical though the references I can find say 5LW. The fleet list to which you refer has long been on my "must have" list but seems to be as rare as hens’ teeth.

As a rider to the above, the Commercial Motors’ archive which often can clear up seemingly contentious issues with contemporary news items is silent on both the demise of the Bridlington operation and the Ashton order for the Arab IVs.

Phil Blinkhorn


16/09/13 – 06:28

Bond were initially active in rebuilding before they turned their hand to building new bodies. Ribble was a big customer and most memorable were the early SLT trolleybuses that were given a new lease of life at Wythenshawe.
Significantly it appears from the fleet list elsewhere on this site that the Rotherham Bristols that went to Bond were also lengthened to (almost) the recent 30-foot limit, whereas the others were rebodied and remained the original length.

David Beilby


NBU 508 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


17/09/13 – 05:06

Phil, the story of East Lancashire Coachbuilders (Bridlington) Ltd., and sister company, Yorkshire Equipment Company, is a most interesting one. Apparently the latter built school furniture, desks and cupboards etc., and even constructed a furniture van body on an old Rotherham Bristol JO5G chassis with which to deliver the items to schools around the country.
Unfortunately, as orders for bus bodies and school desks inevitably dwindled, and commitment from owners wavered, the search for a buyer was unsuccessful, and both companies went into voluntary liquidation in mid-1952.

Dave Careless


19/11/13 – 18:04

In the comment above you make reference to Yorkshire Equipment being a subsidiary of East Lancs and being a school furniture maker. I had my own website back in Gocities days and had a page for makers. In doing research for Mann Egerton of Norwich, I found a US site that had school desks made by them. At one time they also made radios! Varied markets for many!

John Turnbull

 

PMT – Leyland Leopard – 920 UVT – C920

Potteries Motor Traction - Leyland Leopard - 920 UVT - C920 1962

Potteries Motor Traction
1962
Leyland Leopard PSU3/3R
Plaxton Panorama C48F

C920 was one of a batch of five Leyland Leopard coaches to the recently permitted 36ft length delivered in 1962.
They were used on tours until 1968 when they were modified for one man operation which included fitting the roof mounted destination box. During my time at PMT they were allocated to Hanley Depot where they were reasonably suited to the longer distance services such as Hanley – Sandbach, Hanley – Crewe etc but not good on the more urban routes. My recollection is heavy steering, heavy clutch and heavy gear change – in fact they were just a heavy vehicle! The next batch of coaches were Reliance 590s, a much more lively and lighter vehicle to drive. (That should suit David O)!
The photo is taken in the preservation era on 9th September 1979 at the West Riding 75th Anniversary Rally at Belle Isle Depot in Wakefield. The programme records it as recently acquired by the Potteries Omnibus Preservation Society – I wonder if it is still around?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


08/09/13 – 08:30

You know me so well, Ian. Maybe that’s the real reason SUT got 333? Did it escape from an intended batch of six for PMT? Not only were they heavy, heavy, heavy, they had that low cramped driving position and – care of gear ratios – slow. I commuted regularly on the X48 to Manchester and initially it was on North Western’s early Y types on the same chassis. Only once did I get the feeling that they could be good with a driver who managed to DRIVE the thing – keeping the thing in third at the CORRECT revs and storming over the hills on Woodhead. Being an AEC man doesn’t prevent me saying that the Leopard eventually developed in its later years into a good coach – but they never got the ratios right on the standard Pneumo-cyclic box.

David Oldfield

PS: The roof box looks like one of those virtual reality head sets.


09/09/13 – 06:41

David’s comments about North Western’s early Y types is interesting. I regularly rode on those as a teenager on the X5 services to and from London and from a passenger’s point of view they were certainly lively enough on the flat and the more gentle gradients.
I also rode Western Scottish’s versions to and from Glasgow. The A6 over Shap and A74 over Beattock never seemed to present a problem, even when having to get around some fairly slow moving eight wheelers from Southall and Leyland which, when laden and often drawing a trailer, would really struggle.
Given Ian’s recollections regarding the heavy handling of the vehicle, it strikes me as a little odd that North Western, as a keen user of both AEC and Leyland, put all its coach eggs in the Leyland basket from the early 1960s onwards with the Leopard as the chosen chassis.

Phil Blinkhorn


09/09/13 – 09:00

The only area where the early Leopards were superior to the AEC was that they went in the direction you turned the wheel, where as the AEC’s had a tendency to wander. But you’re right about the later Leopard’s David, however, an AEC Reliance with a six speed ZF would knock spots off any Leopard, perhaps that’s why BL ‘not Leyland Motors’ killed if off?

Ronnie Hoye


09/09/13 – 14:15

SUT’s drivers hated 333 [it was the same age and identical to PMT C920] for the reasons stated. The next Leopards only arrived, in the mid ’70s, after NBC take over. I drove a 1976 example with a subsequent owner and was agreeably surprised by how it performed. By then a higher driving position, power steering and the 5 speed pneumo-cyclic box (not to mention a bigger engine) had addressed a number of the earlier criticisms. Ian’s (and SUT’s) criticisms were widespread but the Leopard did have some virtues – but maybe more for the engineer than the driver. It was, to quote a Commercial Motor journalist who was/is also an operator, a reliable plodder. When I once put Phil’s question to a North Western driver he said, "Well the Leopard – especially semi-auto – is nigh on idiot proof but not every one can drive a six speed ZF." Chris Y and Ian will agree that a ZF is not difficult if you drive properly (that is sensitively) but I know people, who ought to know better, who can’t! Lots of Leopard coaches had two speed rear axles. I always find these fun. There’s a sense of achievement using the splitter well – and this no doubt helped the performance of early Leopards. If you were a Leyland fleet, there was no doubt enough to keep you faithful – but I preferred the (Ribble) Leyland engined REs on the Manchester – Scotland services.

David Oldfield


10/09/13 – 16:30

I was still at Percy Main the first time I encountered an AEC Reliance with a ZF box, a Duple bodied demonstrator turned up, and those of us who were around at the time were invited to have a drive. We were all experienced with manual boxes, which on occasion required a bit of brut force and ignorance. We sat round for the pep talk, and we were informed that “You don’t need to grab the gear stick, all you need with a ZF is gentle guidance with the palm of the hand, and it will do all the work for you” Guess what? He was dead right.

Ronnie Hoye


11/09/13 – 08:30

As someone who worked for Southdown for nearly 22 years I had experience of various types of Leopard as well as an assortment of East Kent Reliance on South Coast Express work I have to agree with the previous comments.
The Leopard most certainly required considerable muscle to drive the steering and all the pedals were heavy to use although I found the large treadle throttle was comfortable in use and as Ronnie Hoye says the steering had no tendency to wander unlike the Reliance which needed constant attention but was lighter to use.
The two speed axle, which was fitted to all our Leopards both buses and coaches, did indeed help the performance especially on the O.600 engine models on the later O.680 engine models it really boosted the performance, although they were something that needed to be used properly to get the best out of them which sadly all too many drivers didn’t bother to do We had a batch of seven PSU5’s in 1981 which were fitted with a splitter box a much smoother operation, the main difference being that being part of the gearbox it changed as soon as the switch was operated irrespective of throttle position whereas the two speed being part of the rear axle would only change when the throttle was released taking the load off the mechanism, so could be preselected if necessary.
Having said all that about the Leopard I still found the Reliance much more enjoyable to drive the 6 speed box being a delight to use needing only the lightest of touches to get the best from it which after the effort needed on the manual Leopard was such a pleasure the brakes were also much lighter and progressive to use. The engine always felt much more free revving and, more powerful, I only drove one semi automatic Reliance after which I still preferred the manual version.
The later Leopards with 680 engines, pneumocyclic gearboxes and high driving position were indeed much better vehicles but never as good as the 6 speed Reliance

Diesel Dave


11/09/13 – 16:30

Well, I’ve said it before – i) ZF Reliance ii) RELH/REMH – (preferably 6L) iii) TRCTL11 Tiger iv) late Leopard. That is my hall of coaching fame – with apologies to Arab LUF fans. (I neither rode on nor drove any so I cannot have a view!)

David Oldfield


12/09/13 – 08:30

Couldn’t agree more Dave, the Leopard with raised driving position, 680 engine and 5 speed pneumocyclic gearbox made a very good bus or coach.
PMT had 20 Leopard buses delivered 1962/3 with manual gearboxes which weren’t bad vehicles. It was the five coaches converted for omo that just weren’t suited to their new role. The contemporary Reliance 590 buses although better than the earlier 470s still had problems with cylinder head gaskets/cylinder liner seal failures and the hydraulically operated clutches gave a fair degree of trouble. Much easier to steer and change gear on though!

Ian Wild


12/09/13 – 08:30

No need to apologise, David, since we are talking about different eras. I have only ever said that I think the Guy Arab LUF was the finest coach chassis of its time. As for late Leopards and Reliances, the only good thing to come out of the demise of the Reliance was the Leopard with 6-speed ZF gearbox, which is what it should always have had.

Peter Williamson


12/09/13 – 16:30

The 470 and 590 lost AEC a number of friends – despite the 691 and 760 addressing most of the problems – but the ZF Reliance (especially 691/760 powered) was a thoroughbred. Leyland still didn’t get it quite right, though, Peter.
The ZF used on the Reliance was an overdrive unit (5th was direct), that used on the Leopard had a direct 6th. [Rather like the strange unit used on the X reg Midland Scottish Leopards. Ostensibly a 5 speeder with CAV change (ie like Monocontrol and not the normal Westinghouse pedestal), it was more like a 4 speeder with a crawler below 1st. I drove one in preservation and it was odd to be able to start regularly in "3rd".

David Oldfield


11/08/14 – 17:32

AEC vs Leyland at North Western
Engineering staff at Macclesfield always told me they mistrusted AECs for always blowing gaskets. Leylands more friendly to maintain.

Bob Bracegirdle

 

Leeds City Transport – AEC Swift – JNW 952E – 52

Leeds City Transport - AEC Swift - JNW 952E - 52

Leeds City Transport
1967
AEC Swift MP2R
Roe B48D

Leeds bought several batches of AEC Swifts between 1967 and 1971. Prior to these appearing the fleet was 90% double deck with around 15 saloons most of which were AEC Reliances some with centre entrance bodies with the later ones being dual door for one man operation.
Seen here are a quartet of the first two batches of Swifts parked outside the old Bramley depot which was a former tram depot.
Three of the Swifts have Roe bodywork of an attractive style while the fourth carries an MCW body which had forward sloping window pillars and a slightly stepped waistrail. Further saloons in the shape of both Swifts and single deck Fleetlines would appear before the last Roe bodied Swifts entered service in 1971. All of the buses seen here carry their original dark green with light green windows livery that was basically reversed when it was decided to paint one man operated buses in a different style to the rear entrance fleet. All of the Swifts passed to the PTE and had a largely normal life span. From the left they are 52 JNW 952E, 74 MNW 174F the solitary MCW example seen here and 54 and 56 from the same batch as 52.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hough


05/09/13 – 14:30

Leeds City Transport plus Roe bodywork is pretty much as one might expect, since the factory was within the boundary. MCW? However did that idea get past Committee???

Pete Davies


05/09/13 – 14:30

A matter of personal preference I know Chris, but I thought that the traditional Leeds City Transport livery as shown here was the very best – corporate and completely dignified, inside and out. The various batches of Swifts each had fascinating characteristics, often considerably different and interesting (challenging even) in their own ways. The first fifty as shown in the picture had semi automatic transmission while the final batches of fifty and twenty had the option of fully automatic or, if drivers like me preferred, manual override so as to allow "normal" gearchanging of a sort. In fairness though the fully automatic mode on these was normally very predictable and well behaved. All things considered, the final twenty (1051 – 1070) with luxury seats were the best of the lot and were a delight to drive and to ride in. Passenger flow in the last seventy was really excellent and they were ideal for one person operation. Rumour had it, we shall never know on what foundation, when the last twenty were on order that they would be of 12 metres length – its a good job that they weren’t, as some of the corners on the inner city routes would have been literally impossible – the turn from the nearside lane of East Parade into Park Lane (Headrow) being one certainty. Thanks again for a really nostalgic picture Chris.

Chris Youhill


06/09/13 – 08:21

Peter Leeds had a long history of dual sourcing bodywork between Roe and MCW although the Swifts were the first saloons.
Chris I too preferred the original liveries seen here although the doors were a little eccentric since the exit door was half the width of the entrance. The Park Royal examples were much better in having both doors of normal width. The Roe 1971 batch had fronts derived from the Leeds two door decker design and as you say were a joy to ride on. I recall that they were replaced on the Ring Road service with Duple bodied Tigers which were also a pleasant ride. One thing that has always struck me about the MCW bodied Swifts was their apparent narrowness at the front compared to the Roe examples.

Chris Hough


06/09/13 – 08:22

By 1967/8 MCW had been Leeds’ ‘backup’ supplier of bodywork for the best part of two decades. It was widely believed that it was possible to get more advantageous quotes from suppliers by multi-sourcing.

David Call


10/09/13 – 06:33

You are right Chris, and the MCW do appear narrower and even allowing for slightly different camera angle its very strange indeed – but must somehow be just an illusion ??
The Tigers were truly superb vehicles, mechanically and bodily, and the luxurious brown patterned moquette seats were the finest. They did indeed replace the Swifts on the Ring Road service entirely, and I think on most other single deck routes from Headingley Depot – memory not clear, although it should be, on the last point but its getting now to be a long time ago – I eagerly took redundancy from the forthcoming "circus" on October 25th 1986. On joining South Yorkshire Road Transport after that I encountered daily more Tigers but with OPO adapted Plaxton luxury coachwork – these really were the bees knees for stage carriage work, and one of them still enjoyed a working radio – the others having been silenced because of arguments arising on private hires and excursions – and whenever I had number 22 on bus services (often) the passengers were able to enjoy Radio Two.

Chris Youhill


10/09/13 – 16:30

Like Chris, I have a great deal of affection for the TRCTL11 Tigers. [A shame there were no TRCTL12s – AEC men will know what I mean.]

David Oldfield


10/09/13 – 16:30

Going off at a bit of a tangent here, but at Halifax we had some of the Tigers to which Chris refers. They became regular performers on the ex-Hebble Rochdale service, along with its later alternative variant via the incredibly narrow and tortuous lanes around Mill Bank and Soyland. They certainly romped along compared with ex-West Yorkshire Leopard coaches which we also had at the time, though they always gave me the impression of not being quite so durable. They were also without any doubt the worst buses I have ever had to drive in snow and ice.
However, I would question Chris’s views on their bodywork. They had Duple Dominant Bus bodies, and were apparently built in stages, the works giving priority to coach production and fitting ours in as and when they had a bit of spare time. Our chap whose job it was to monitor the construction of the PTE’s buses paid a visit to the works and found their basic steel frameworks had been assembled and then dumped outside in the yard with inadequate (or possibly no) rustproofing to suffer the worst of the salty Blackpool sea air. They were already rusting away and a strong request was made (in no uncertain broad Yorkshire terms I can well imagine !) to get them treated straight away. This was apparently carried out, but apparently not very well, and they began to suffer corrosion problems from quite an early stage in their lives. There were two batches, and I think it was the first batch of seven Y-reg ones (which went to Leeds) which suffered the worst, but one of our A-prefix ones was subject to quite a major rebuild later and became the only one to carry the white, blue and yellow First Calderline livery, and the last to survive.

John Stringer


11/09/13 – 08:30

But John, they were Duples. The reason that the firm folded was because of the appalling quality and finish. Your story helps explain why the metal frames were so prone to rust and corrosion. The fit and finish left a lot to be desired on the 320/340 bodies at the end (1989). I know of at least one Western National 340/Tiger where the panels were coming adrift after a few months and I drove a 320/Scania where I thought that the engine cover had counterbalancing until I was told it was rusted metal "sloshing" about in the cavity. How are the mighty fallen. Duple were at the top of their game when they moved to Blackpool and had an honourable history with the Continental and Commander but seemed to lose the plot after that. The Dominant was an Elite rip off – but with a metal frame. Somehow it never worked – despite the Continental being a successful metal-framed model. MCW had exactly the same corrosion problems despite the MCCW metal frames being the best of their time.

David Oldfield


11/09/13 – 16:30

Following on from Davids comments. It is interesting that the PTE/Yorkshire Rider never went for the National (one batch only) and Calderdales last pre low floor saloon were Plaxton bodied Volvos.

Chris Hough


12/09/13 – 08:30

John and David – I can only say that I amazed to hear of such structural inferiority in the Duple Dominant bodies, but naturally don’t doubt it for a minute on hearing such reliable reports. All I can say is that, in their "youth", the Headingley PTE Tiger ones were superbly comfortable and free of any rattling or body noise and movement – as the saying goes "You can’t judge a book by its cover." !!

Chris Youhill

 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 16th January 2017