Leeds City Transport – AEC Regent V – XUM 888 – 888

Leeds City Transport - AEC Regent V - XUM 888 - 888

Leeds City Transport
1957
AEC Regent V MD2RA
Roe H33/27R

Leeds was one of several operators initially not persuaded by the AEC “new look” front end (a preference with which I entirely concur), and its first Regent V deliveries retained the classic radiator design and hence the outward general appearance of the Regent III. These buses were of the MD2RA air braked specification of which Leeds became the largest customer, being powered by the AV470 7.7 litre engine driving into the four speed Monocontrol transmission. They were delivered in two batches, all with handsome, traditional Roe H33/27R bodywork. WUA 760 to 839 (with corresponding fleet numbers) came into service from January to November 1956, and XUM 840 to 894 arrived between March and October 1957. In the photo above, XUM 888 is seen in April 1970, four years before Barbara Castle created the heavy and inefficient hand of the West Yorkshire PTE that was to fall upon the municipalities of Bradford, Calderdale, Huddersfield and Leeds. I understand that these buses did not long survive in PTE ownership. Geoffrey Hilditch paints a revealing picture of the dire financial performance of the PTE in his “Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres, Volume 3”. Later still, of course, another dogma driven politician of the opposite persuasion, a certain N. Ridley was to wreak even greater devastation upon the entire bus operating industry outside London, a saga that has previously been discussed at length on this forum.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/05/18 – 06:39

These buses were all withdrawn before PTE days.
The last of the WUA batch had gone by April 1973.
The XUM batch had perished earlier, all bar one (accident damaged) in 1971.

Dave Towers


23/05/18 – 06:44

These small AECs flattered to deceive they had an attractive body but were of light weight construction and when idling in later years the rattles were almost syncopated In addition because Leeds were frugal with fuel a fully laden example could really struggle on the most gentle of inclines For some reason they always seemed to really lean into corners perhaps due to their lightweight construction I well remember one occasion when one really heeled over at the bottom of New York Street in the city centre so far over did it go that the platform was causing sparks to fly from the road surface and was leaving gouges in the roadway!

Chris Hough


24/05/18 – 07:34

Chris, I recall that our highly respected and informed contributor, Chris Youhill, once commented on this forum about the distressing propensity of Leeds City Transport to cut down the engine fuel pump settings on this fleet of Regent Vs. These buses, with their modest AV 470 power units, must have been truly pathetic performers after the fuel pumps had been reset to "economy" levels. Yes, for years, a great many Bristol double deckers got along (albeit steadily) with the 94 bhp 5LW, but, in my experience, AEC motors were never remotely in the same low speed torque league as the Gardner.

Roger Cox


24/05/18 – 07:36

A feature of Leeds buses of yesteryear which always mystified me on visits to the city as a young lad was the unpainted bonnet cover on PDs & Regents of LCT. Nobody has ever given me a proper explanation as to the reason for this, somebody said it was so the fitters did not scuff the paintwork if the bonnet had been painted when working on the engine, but I do not know how true this is.

Andrew Spriggs


28/05/18 – 06:42

This was always given as the reason It survived three managers so was certainly a proper policy rather than a managerial whim and was in use in prewar days. Even the last batches of enclosed radiator AEC Regents with enclosed radiators had the feature The nineteen fifties and afterwards Daimler’s and the PD3As had green bonnets oddly the Crossleys also had painted bonnets.

Chris Hough

 

Halifax Corporation – Leyland Titan PD2 – KWX 19 – 356

Halifax Corporation - Leyland Titan PD2 - KWX 19 - 356

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
1951
Leyland Titan PD2/12
Leyland L27/26R

On the left of this photo taken in PTE days in December 1977 is the last operational ex Todmorden JOC PD2, as Halifax 356 which had been a Driver Training bus since withdrawal from passenger service. On the right is its replacement – ex Halifax 279, a 1965 Roe bodied Leyland PD2/37. This is in its new guise as Driver Training bus T7. By this date the PTE had introduced a dedicated training bus livery.
T7 was later sold to a driving school in the West Midlands. 356 was put on one side for preservation but was eventually scrapped as a lost cause, a sad loss considering what can be achieved nowadays.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild


14/05/18 – 07:18

The heaters on Halifax MCW PD2s were very good for about a year. Being under the seats at floor level they sucked in lots of dust which blocked the warm air flow. It was a long job to clean them out. Just blowing the dust out with an air line covered the saloons in dust. The cleaning job was also unhealthy so nobody would do it. The old round Clayton heaters being fitted well above floor level didn’t gather much dust and remained in working order much longer. At Blackburn we used to place wet sacks over the heater unit to catch the dust when blowing it out with an airline, this was not ideal but kept some heat in the saloon during winter!

Mr Anon


17/05/18 – 07:56

The 1965 Roe bodied Leyland PD2s & the CCP registered Park Royal bodied Regent IIIs are my all time favourite Halifax D/Ds, its a great pity that no examples of either type are in running order in the UK. I did see a former Halifax Roe bodied PD2 still in its Metro training bus guise at Winkleigh a few years ago, but I could not tell which one it was.
Another of the Roe bodied PD2s number 62 was put back in full Halifax green, orange & cream attire, but it did not spend long in preservation & it was exported to either the USA or Canada in the early 1980s. Does it still exist?

Andrew Spriggs

 

Midland General – Bristol Lodekka – 972 ARA – 453

972 ARA

Midland General Omnibus Company
1956
Bristol Lodekka LD6G
ECW H33/25RD

Photographed in Nottingham in August 1961 is Midland General 453, 972 ARA, a Bristol LD6G Lodekka with ECW H33/25RD bodywork, delivered to the operator in October 1956. This vehicle, together with other buses from across the NBC, went to West Riding in April 1970 to expedite the withdrawal of the troublesome Guy Wulfrunian fleet. Sadly, 453 didn’t last very long in the care of West Riding as it went to the scrapyard in December 1971 having, rather pointlessly, been renumbered No. 408 just one month earlier.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


09/04/18 – 07:39

Such a pity the BTC had such a rigid livery policy with most Loddekkas being in wall to wall red or green. We were denied the opportunity to see such attractive vehicles in attractive liveries such as this one on a wider scale. The Midland General livery seemed to slip through the livery police net somehow but the loophole was soon spotted by the dreaded NBC and the even more dreaded poppy red was soon inflicted.

Philip Halstead


10/04/18 – 05:39

I agree – the only other attractive exception was BH&D, who had cream roofs and a much deeper band of crew around the lower deck windows – oh, and I think that either Notts & Derby or Mansfield District did something similar with Tilling Green and cream. Pity as the ECW body was beautifully proportioned, although too Spartan inside for my taste.

David Wragg


10/04/18 – 05:40

Some Midland General vehicles were initially painted dark blue with a white band and the fleetname in NBC style.

Stephen Bloomfield


10/04/18 – 05:41

Midland General never was a Tilling company but throughout it’s existence as a BTC and THC operator, it’s vehicles were always immaculately turned out, regardless of age and always sported comprehensive, fully working blind displays with via points shown, right until the later FLFs and VRs which had provision for ultimate destination and service number only. It was strict company policy that they must be correctly set too, the word ‘SERVICE’ would never have been allowed, in fact it wasn’t even on the blinds as an option.

Chris Barker


11/04/18 – 06:00

What is often overlooked regarding the BTC’s standard red and cream/green and cream ‘Tilling’ liveries is that when they were first introduced, the Tilling Group was in private hands. For many years the Group had operated a policy of centralised control and one of its aims, post-World War II, was to standardise on its ‘in house’ Bristol-ECW products – namely the K type double-decker in highbridge or lowbridge form, and the L type single-decker in bus or express form. Standard liveries for its bus fleets were also being pursued. When the Tilling Group was nationalised in 1948, outwardly it would probably have looked like ‘business as usual’ to the general public, as the old Tilling liveries remained. Interestingly, when the Balfour Beatty Group came under state control, Midland General, Notts & Derby Traction and Mansfield District retained their original liveries. Later, when the Red & White Group was acquired, Cheltenham District continued with its dark red and cream livery, applied in its distinctive fashion. The BTC did not seem to be as obsessed with rigid standardisation as perhaps the privately owned Tilling Group had been.
Although many of the coaches in the BTC fleets donned cream with either green or red/maroon relief, some distinctive and well respected coach liveries continued – those of United, Royal Blue, South Midland, Bristol-Greyhound, and Crosville spring to mind. Presumably prestige and local good will still counted for something, even under state control.
When the THC and BET Group were combined to form the state owned NBC in 1969, with the well-intentioned objective of halting the decline in bus use, for the first few years it appeared once again to be ‘business as usual’ regarding liveries. Ironically, it was someone from the private sector – one Freddie Wood – at the behest of the Heath government, who was responsible for the corporate liveries inflicted on the constituent companies in 1972. The standardised poppy red and white, or leaf green and white liveries for buses and ‘local coaches’ and the allover white National coach livery were not a patch on the liveries they replaced. In fairness, the introduction of the ‘National white coach network’ did improve public awareness of express travel and business did increase as a result, but why such an impractical colour was chosen for such hard working vehicles operating over long distances in all weathers remains a mystery.

Brendan Smith


11/04/18 – 06:04

Midland General, together with Notts & Derby and Mansfield District, were Balfour Beatty companies. Balfour Beatty initially concentrated upon tramway operation in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, whence it then broadened its activities into electricity generation and supply in those counties. When the electricity supply industry was nationalised in 1948, that aspect of the Balfour Beatty operation was taken over by the government, but the three public transport components of the business, by then using trolleybuses and motor buses, did not automatically follow suit. The disposal of Midland General, Mansfield District and Notts & Derby was a decision taken by Balfour Beatty in the light of the then Labour government’s aspirations for public ownership of the bus industry. Tilling sold out at about the same time, but the BET resisted. I agree with Chris that the standards of Midland General were very high, endorsed by the splendid livery.

Roger Cox


19/04/18 – 06:35

The reason that the Midland General fleet could be so smart was that the services operated were extremely profitable compared with other operators such as Trent.

Nigel Turner


20/04/18 – 06:40

Indeed so Nigel, Midland General had some very lucrative routes and on weekdays they operated many works and colliery services which operated throughout the day to meet changing shift patterns. On Saturdays, when vehicles which had been used on such duties might otherwise have stood idle, many of their principal services were so busy with shoppers, they were doubled in frequency, so the fleet was fully utilised. A blue livery and a blue chip company!

Chris Barker


23/05/18 – 06:47

Roger, the shareholdings of MGOC/NDT/MDT were all held by the Balfour Beatty subsidiary "MIDESCO", the Midland Counties Electricity Supply Company – it was MIDESCO which was nationalised as part of the compulsory nationalisation of the electricity supply industry, becoming part of the British Electricity Authority (BEA). It was because Balfour Beatty chose not to separate out the accounts for MGOC/NDT/MDT from those of the parent (MIDESCO) that they were nationalised (as part of that electricity supply company). Initially the BEA negotiated with a management agreement with Balfour Beatty for "oversight" of MGOC/NDT/MDT, but this lasted only months until the BEA transferred MGOC/NDT/MDT to the BTC.
The Llanelly & District company ended up in state-owned hands for similar reasons, but the outcome then was quite different.

Philip Rushworth


24/05/18 – 07:29

Thanks for that clarification, Philip. An interesting website about the Midland General Group may be found here:- https://midlandgeneralomnibus.weebly.com

Roger Cox

 

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