Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – AEC 661/EE – RV 9148 – 294

RV 9148_lr
Copyright Barry Cox

Portsmouth Corporation
1937
AEC 661T/English Electric
Craven H26/26R

Portsmouth Corporation had 115 trolleybuses in its fleet.
The first 15 (1934) were a motley collection of chassis/electrical equipment and bodies, four and six wheelers, bought for evaluation.
The next nine (1935/36) were, to me, the most handsome of them all, were AEC/EE ones with English Electric bodies. Unable to move under their own power, they lived a shadowy life, latterly neglected and shabby. See here for a ‘smart’ photo of one.
The last 15 (301-315), BUT9611T, with Burlingham bodies, were the last delivered, in 1951, for a route extension.
294, from the third order, in the range (225-300), was the largest group delivered, in 1936/37. Amazingly, with not a Craven body appearing previously, these wore those bodies! They bore the brunt of the services and proved to be sound vehicles all round, although the ash bodies needed rebuilding during their 26/27 year lives.
In this rare colour photograph, 294 (like the Leyland PD1A/Weymann bus I recently posted), is also crossing Guildhall Square on tennis racquet-shaped route 17/18 from Eastney to the Dockyard, 17 anti-clockwise and 18 clockwise. The destination would be changed at Dockyard and Eastney. This photo was taken on an early Summer’s evening in 1963, on the cusp of the system’s demise on 27th July 1963. 294 lasted to the end.
Two trolleybuses have survived, but neither of them represents this range; a loss really, for I’m not aware of Craven using this body design for any other vehicles.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

———

Thank you Chris for another lovely Portsmouth photo of a very deserving type of trolleybus. The AEC 661T/Craven trolleybuses were the workhorses of the fleet and I have very fond memories of a visit to ride on them in 1963. I have always remembered the internal finish of the Portsmouth Cravens to be an excellent show of Civic pride.
I do believe similar Craven bodies were built for Kingston -upon-Hull on Crossley TDD4 trolleybus chassis nos. 27 to 46 in 1938.

Richard Fieldhouse

———

08/01/12 – 16:22

OBPJan2012285

The Cravens (full title Cravens Railway Carriage and Wagon Company Ltd) bore similarities to the twenty Cravens bodied Crossleys delivered to Hull in 1938. the majority entered service on 2 September 1938, eight lasting until 3 February 1962. There was an option for a further 54 bodies which was not taken up.

Malcolm Wells

———

08/01/12 – 18:25

Thanks, Richard/Malcolm for the comments/photos about the similarly-bodied trolleybuses to the above example. I can see a likeness.
I always liked the inside décor and furnishings of Portsmouth’s pre-war buses. Mahogany bulkheads with bevelled-edge mirrors, leather-edged, comfortable seats with a flowery pattern more akin to art nouveau than art deco. Covered lights and lined-out ceilings completed the picture.
If you use the link I mentioned above, go to David Beilby’s website and scroll a few pictures back from the one on display, there are some examples of what I mean.

Chris Hebbron

———

11/01/12 – 06:44

When clicking on the link to one of the batch of nine English Electric bodied AECs of 1935, a picture of No 24 is displayed. A previous picture on that site shows No 21 of the same batch. The contributor there notes that the electrical support structure on the roof is enclosed on No 24, but is open framed on pictures of the others in the batch. I suspect that the reason for this is that No 24 was exhibited at the 1935 Commercial Motor Show, and was built thus for that purpose. Although presumably delivered to Portsmouth after the Show, it did not enter service until April 1936. It became the last of the batch to survive, being withdrawn in 1958. As far as the Cravens-bodied stalwarts are concerned, they were what a Portsmouth trolleybus was expected to look like – just as an RM or RT represents London! No 237 reportedly survived in a Portsmouth scrapyard near the erstwhile airport for several years – possibly even into this century? But I have not heard whether it still survives, and if so whether it is accessible. No 313, a Burlingham bodied BUT of 1951 (Portsmouth’s last to run in service on 27 July 1963) is in fine fettle at Carlton Colville, I believe. No 201 (Portsmouth’s first numerically) has had a more chequered preservation career, first at Beaulieu Motor Museum, then back to Portsmouth, and ended up at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. About two years ago, it looked rather sorry for itself, and at my last visit early last year, it was not on display. I would hope that it is out of display for some smartening up work at the very least.

Michael Hampton

———

11/01/12 – 10:33

Thx, Michael, for the interesting titbit about 24 being in the 1935 Comm. Motor Show. You mention one Cravens survivor hanging on in Pompey somewhere and I believe another one did for a few years as a public convenience in Bristol – I think I saw a photo of it once, painted white. I saw 313 only in October, but it was in the ‘garage’ and I was unable to see anything other than an impeccable rear: it wasn’t running that day. Were these distinctive Burlingham bodies replicated on other contemporary (trolley)buses? I can’t recall any others, off-hand. And you’re so right about the Craven’s ones. The comprehensive and intensive system Pompey had, meant that a trolleybus was barely ever out of sight and the 75 Cravens ones seemed to total more like 200, always popping up. Wherever you went, there they were! Fratton Bridge was a complex junction for the overhead and I used to happily spend 20 mins watching the poles picking their way across the wires and frogs. The last (evening) journeys were still by trolleybus, even when the system officially closed down, and that was my last ride on a Cravens. Happy days!

Chris Hebbron

———

11/01/12 – 13:19

I always thought that Cravens bodies were full of character, regardless of operator or application. Having waxed lyrical in many discussions about how I loved the Cravens RTs in London I’ve usually found that I couldn’t convince the opposition – sad really, because I think that they are missing something very attractive in the five bay construction within the RT classic outline – a magical combination in my view.

Chris Youhill

———

11/01/12 – 17:08

I have a prejudice in favour of Cravens because they were from my home town (Sheffield) and provided many STD buses from the mid thirties until 1950. [At this point they left bus building until they bought East Lancs in 1964 – and also formed Neepsend Coachworks.]
The last Cravens (1950 Regent IIIs)were among my favourites – and I thought amongst the most attractive of the immediate post war designs. They were almost identical to the RTs – but minus the "Londonisms".

David Oldfield

———

12/01/12 – 06:01

I always liked the Cravens’ RT’s, too. They were nicer to look at, in all respects, save for the hunched back and, if I recall correctly, the emergency windows and lower rear window did not match up, either. Nevertheless, they made a good stab at making a pseudo-RT body from a standard design shell. Surprisingly, there are only two postings of Cravens’ bodied vehicles on this website, which should be rectified! Perhaps David could post a photo of the 1950 AEC Regent III’s he mentions. It would make an interesting exercise to compare them with the Londonised RT’s.

Chris Hebbron

———

12/01/12 – 06:07

LWB 836_lr
Copyright P R Doughty

The latest comment by David Oldfield on the Portsmouth Cravens trolleybus has reminded me of this slide, taken by a friend of mine when we visited Sheffield in December 1966. I guess this is the batch he is mentioning

Bob Gell

———

12/01/12 – 06:05

Re above posting from Chris H, Here is a picture of the rather unfortunate Portsmouth ‘bus that ended it’s days in a rather unusual service role. It was used as such for many years, maybe around fifteen or even more! It was in use during 1961 and as far as I am aware it disappeared about 1980 http://farm8.staticflickr.com/  
No 313 has survived in fine condition and can be seen in running order here. http://www.youtube.com/

Richard Leaman

———

12/01/12 – 10:38

Bob’s slide is most pleasing, and shows well the very attractive upper saloon front bay and roof dome which I’ve always found to be a particularly classic outline.
Richard’s comparison of the two latter careers of the Portsmouth trolleybus are heart warming, and the visitors to Carlton Colville are obviously flushed with enthusiasm at the relaunch.

Chris Youhill

———

12/01/12 – 10:39

Thx, Bob, for the Sheffield bus photo, from which I can see something of the ‘RT’. Did these bodies have the hunched back that the ‘RT’s’ possessed?
And thx, Richard, for reassuring me that my memory of the ‘Ladies’ trolleybus wasn’t faulty! I think we can say that preservation of it was not an option by this stage! And it was nice to see 313 in action, too. I was surprised to read that this vehicle, after being saved, went for scrap and was rescued a second time.

Chris Hebbron

———

12/01/12 – 10:41

Thanks, Bob. This is indeed the batch. [Strange how vehicles which spent most of their lives with grey roofs looked bald when repainted without it. Apparently this grey was called "smudge" – an STD concoction from mixing paint.] Put a London cab and London opening windows in and they are more or less identical styles.
This vehicle was departing the small Bridge Street Bus Station for the borders of Ecclesfield which, at the time, was actually in the West Riding. [It became part of Sheffield after the 1974 Government reorganisation.] Bearing in mind the common 13 year life of STD buses, 1966 was very late for a bus of 1949/50 vintage, but occasionally vehicles reached 16 – and exceptionally 20 – years service.
Please note, in the distance, one of the Neepsend bodies I mentioned earlier. STD had about 40 on the atrocious PDR1/2 Atlantean between 1964 and 1966.

David Oldfield

———

13/01/12 – 07:21

Chris Y, Chris H, David – Thanks for your kind comments; pleased to help. David, thank you also for identifying the location, which I wasn’t sure of.
A nice co incidence getting two Sheffield bodied vehicles on the same shot.

Bob Gell

———

24/01/12 – 05:59

Michael Hampton recalls that No. 237 languished in a Pompey scrapyard for many years. I’ve found a photo of it on David Bradley’s excellent website, having just arrived at Jordans Scrapyard and it can be found at the link below. Apparently, it survived until about 2000 and a Sheffield group of Craven’s enthusiasts looked into saving it, but it was too far gone. The majority finished up in a quarry on Portsdown Hill where a cutting was made some years ago to bring the A3(M) through to join the A/M27.
David Bradley’s website  http://www.trolleybus.net/

Chris Hebbron

———

25/01/12 – 05:13

Here’s a three minute ‘collage’ of Portsmouth trolleybuses, both Craven and Burlingham-bodied types, along with glimpses of Southdown and Corporation buses, especially some Bedford OWB’s. The first scene shows the brilliant acceleration, (driver showing off?) despite the sounds of old age, creating a tram-like whine. You can also hear the ‘twang’ of the overhead wires at one point, something I’d forgotten about. See HERE: http://www.youtube.com

Chris Hebbron

———

07/02/12 – 16:37

Thanks to Chris H for more info and the links to other sites re the one that ended up in a "convenient place" in Bristol, and the evocative clip of several swishing their way through Portsmouth streets. Many places still recognisable, but with subtle (and not some not so subtle) changes.
In an earlier contribution (11th Jan), I mentioned that pioneer trolley 201 (AEC/EE) had been in a rather down-at-heel condition at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, and had disappeared from there at my last visit. A friend handed me a cutting from a recent local paper (The News, Jan 31, 2012) which has a few paragraphs reminiscing about the trolleybuses. Most importantly, it states that from June 2009, 201 has been in the care of the City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport Depot, at Portchester (nr Fareham, Hants). So it’s good to know that it’s disappearance from Basingstoke is not sinister, and that it’s still being looked after.

Michael Hampton

———

08/02/12 – 06:21

That’s good news, Michael. I would think that it’s in much the same state as the London ‘Diddler’ by now – delicate!

Chris Hebbron

———

28/04/12 – 07:57

As a Sheffielder I well remember the Cravens batch of AECs. I thought they had nice simple clean lines. Cravens later effort on the only Bedford ever in the Sheffield fleets, number 11 KWA 811D was an ugly beast by comparison. What a shame that no Sheffield Cravens Regents were ever preserved.

Les Dickinson

———

28/04/12 – 08:54

Oh how I agree with everything you say, Les.

David Oldfield

———

RV 9148_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

———

15/10/12 – 07:41

Recent pics of Trolleybus 201 can be found here www.cpptd.co.uk

Tony Hawes


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Bradford Corporation – AEC 661T – KY 8210 – 607 & AAK 422 – 620

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - KY 8210 - 607 & AAK 422 - 620
Copyright J A Pitts

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - KY 8210 - 607 & AAK 422 - 620
Copyright J Copland

Bradford Corporation Transport            Bradford Corporation Transport
1934                                                       1935
AEC 661T                                                AEC 661T
English Electric H32/26R                      NCB H30/26R (rebuilt 1949)  

This photo of Bradford “Regen” 607 was taken in 1944 outside Duckworth Lane depot and shows this trolleybus in dark blue with war time white paint and headlamp masks. The overhead wiring has flash guards fitted on the points as a blackout precaution. Also present are two Bradford motor buses in khaki livery which did not apply to any of the trolleybuses in the fleet. The bus on the left is a 1939 Daimler COG6/English Electric Company and the bus on the right is a 1936 Daimler COG6/Weymann. Behind 607 there is a parked 1935 “Regen” in the “new blue” livery introduced by Bradford in 1942. “New blue” was the description used by the Bradford engineering staff during the early years of this light blue and cream livery which remained the standard in Bradford up to April 1972 when WYPTE took over all the Corporation fleets in West Yorkshire.
From my research I have found that 607 had a serious front accident in late December 1935 and was rebuilt with a full width cab and seating reduced to 58. The control contactors and shunt resistors were relocated from the chassis side to the cab. All the “Regens” except 632 were originally built with a half cab and 60 seats but all were rebuilt to full cabs as 607 in 1937/38 and the seating reduced to 58.
Perversely due to the cramped half cabs, the main circuit breakers were located on the roof trolley gantry and operated by levers in the drivers‘ cab connected by Boden cables with steel wires. Overtime these steel wires extended and often broke rendering the trolleybus inert and an operational disaster. It is surprising that Bradford did not fit cab located circuit breakers at the time when the full bulkheads were fitted. This work however did start in 1942 for some “Regens” but was not done to 607 where the large boxes are the circuit breakers which can be seen on the roof. 607 was withdrawn for re-bodying in June 1945 and returned to service with a Northern Coachbuilders Mark 1 56 seat body in September 1946.

The photo of 620 now with a 1949 Northern Coachbuilders Mark 2 56 seat body shows it accelerating noisily up Godwin Street in Bradford City Centre in October 1952. In the background is a Brush bodied “Regen” on the Allerton service to the City Centre terminus. 620 still wears the glorious Tattam livery with cream bands, black beading and yellow lining. It soon lost its cream bands, was moved from Duckworth Lane depot to Thornbury in 1954 and then could be seen elsewhere in the City, Sadly 620 was withdrawn from service prematurely in April 1958 due to a serious accident when it skidded and overturned on the Clayton route. Other “Regens” with NCB bodies lasted until November 1962 having given 28 years service, albeit with a troubled number of early years until re-bodied in the forties.
Happy days, these unique “Regens” with their wailing and humming sound will always remain etched in my mind.

Photographs and Copy contributed by Richard Fieldhouse

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.


01/02/11 – 18:41

What a treat to see the 2 "Regen" Bradford trolleybuses, and thanks to Richard for the technical data concerning the circuit breakers and full cab rebuilding.
It all goes to emphasise the points I made about the severe problems with these early EEC metal bodies, mentioned in my own "Regen" post.
In their rebodied form, I spent hours travelling in them, and, like Richard, will never forget their distinctive wailing sound. Also of interest is the rear of the EEC bodied COG6. My recent article on English Electric Bus Bodies mentions the 1937 re-design, and the well rounded rear dome of this bus illustrates this very well. There were very few takers for this design. I can only think of TD5s at Barrow, and lowbridge "Regents" at Southend. Anyone know of any more? The previous design had a very upright dome as can be seen on the "new blue" AAK "Regen" to the left of 607.
My home was about a mile and a Half from Duckworth Lane depot, shown here, and I was about five when the photo was taken!

John Whitaker


01/02/11 – 18:47

Fascinating submission. This is not the first one which mentions noisy trolleybuses, yet I cannot ever recall hearing more than the odd whine and swish from them, and I must have visited and travelled on them in some 10 towns which operated them. Any reason for the noise?.
I must confess that noise would have given individuality to an otherwise usually rather bland form of travel.
Even so, I was always impressed by their 0-60 acceleration and indeed used to ride on the last trolleybus from Croydon to Mitcham which went flat out across the common (about 60) silently, bar the singing of the poles/wires and the vibration from a far from new class of trolleys. On reflection, I wonder if I saw the girlfriend, who gave me this routine, for longer than I might, simply for the trolleybus experience!!

Chris Hebbron


02/02/11 – 06:14

Chris, I think the noise was generated by the double reduction gears in the rear axle differential that were straight cut teeth. Similar to tram motor gearing so a similar noise. I am pleased you found these Regens pictures interesting.

Richard Fieldhouse


05/02/11 – 16:07

Glasgow must have had very quiet trolleybuses. My dad can remember them being almost silent to pedestrians and they became known as ‘the silent death’. I hadn’t ever heard this mentioned anywhere else but reading Ken Houstin’s excellent ‘The Corporation Bus’ (Grosvenor House, £9.99 from Waterstones) lastnight I came across mention of one Dionne Warwick vs Glasgow Corporation. It seems the singer left the Glasgow Odeon after a concert using the back door on to West Nile Street. This being shrouded in thick fog, she didn’t hear or see a trolleybus and was struck by it and an out-of-court settlement smoothed things over!

Scott Anderson


29/04/11 – 06:49

One of the class lasted until 1965 having become trainer no. 060 in 1962. This was the former 597 with an NCB (mk2) body. I photographed it in this role outside Thornbury depot in July 1963. On withdrawal in 1965 it had achieved almost 31 years of service.
No. 603 was repainted in the 1911 style livery to celebrate Bradford’s Golden Jubilee in 1961. According to Stanley King no. 603 attained 1 million miles in service on 24 April 1962.

Malcolm Wells


26/03/12 – 07:53

I have just put together a gallery to commemorate 40 years since the end of Bradford trolleybuses. This incorporates over 500 photos including a section on the ‘Regens’ which I hope will shed some new light on the issues they experienced. Richard Fieldhouse has given me some useful information which has helped to interpret the photos, a lot of which relate to the structure of the body.
There is also route-by-route coverage. The gallery can be found at: http://davidbeilby.zenfolio.com/  
Hope you enjoy it!

David Beilby


26/03/12 – 13:21

David, the Bradford additions to your gallery are absolutely superb. Many thanks for your efforts, and particularly the EEC views, which to us Bradford enthusiasts are unbelievable. We would never have believed that such a wonderful archive even existed, let alone become available.
The Regens have always been my main transport "love", as I grew up with them, and have previously said on a 606 posting, they were "personal friends" in the way that true transport enthusiasts will readily understand.

John Whitaker


27/03/12 – 07:17

Thx, David B, for putting Bradford’s trolleybuses on your website. Interestingly, the range 597-632 is virtually identical to (2)16-(2)24 (and especially (2)24 in Portsmouth Corporation’s fleet. Bradford re-bodied them around the end of the war, but Pompey’s carried their original bodies until they were scrapped, mainly in the 1957-8 period.
What was news to me were the five AEC ‘Q’ trolleybuses, presumably all with English Electric bodies, although whoever built the ‘Q’ (trolley)bus bodies, usually seemed to make them all look very similar. Bradford’s ‘Q’, 633, had a relatively short life (1934-1942). To withdraw a vehicle in mid-war would seem to indicate a really serious deficiency somewhere. The clue might lie with Southend’s ‘Q’ trolleybus No. 123, originally on hire from AEC Ltd., from 1934. It was rebuilt by Sunny Dawes in 1943 and again by Beale in 1945, finally being withdrawn in 1949. Intriguingly, Peter Gould’s website shows this vehicle as being a lowbridge example.

Chris Hebbron


27/03/12 – 15:47

Chris. Bradfords Regens were the first EEC metal framed trolleybus bodies. Like their BCN Leyland TD3 cousins, the bodies were literally shaken to pieces after 10 years, due to body weakness, cobbled streets, and the double reduction drive. EEC had learnt a few lessons by the time PCT received their’s, and there was a redesign in 1937, as exemplified by 635 etc in the BCPT fleet.
the Q ("Queenie", No 633) was sold to South Shields in 1942, where she ran until c.1950. She was non standard in Bradford, regarded as draughty, and there were problems with the front overhang. A MOWT directive instructed BCPT to sell earlier 6 wheelers, and 633, South Shields and Newcastle being the recipients in 1942, and 1945.
Bradford had, of course, received 10 Sunbeam MF2s in 1942 under MOWT directive, which enabled these transactions to proceed. I refer to the "Joburghs", 693-702.
We could write paragraphs on the "Regens", so I will leave it there!

John Whitaker


28/03/12 – 08:31

Thanks, John, for filling in the gaps. We tend to forget cobbled streets and the effect they had on vehicles of the time, and probably to a lesser extent now as well. I sometimes wonder if East End of London cobbles were a prime reason for London Transport’s chassisless bodies coming into service. Although one or two small orders had their weaknesses, most survived the punishment well, although a large maintenance workforce would have helped.

Chris Hebbron


28/03/12 – 18:23

It has always amazed me Chris, that the LPTB chassisless trolleys performed as well as they did, and that the concept was not followed up apart from, I suppose, the RM input. Interesting point!
Re. Bradford`s Q trolley, I think an identical, or near identical body was fitted to the Halifax Motorbus Q. Have a look on David`s site. Most Q motorbuses had MCW bodies as did Bradford`s.
As you say, Southend`s EEC Q was lowbridge, as were the earlier 661Ts! What a fascinating fleet that was!
re. Portsmouth, I am assuming that their EE bodied 5 bay AEC 661T trolleys were metal framed, as I always assumed, perhaps wrongly, that they were. The earlier 6bay EEC bodies, and their 6 wheel equivalents were definitely composite, as the BCPT ones, delivered from November 1934, were definitely the first trolleys from EEC with metal framing.The Burnley C and N Titans were their first all metal motorbus bodies, and caused horrendous problems, as has been stated before. What a great hobby interest we share!!

John Whitaker


02/12/14 – 16:14

I always thought these Bradford Corporation AEC 661Ts 597 to 632 (built 1934/35) with double-reduction differential rear axle drives were unique. This belief was wrong as I have now found details in the recently published Portsmouth Trolleybus book by David R H Bowler that their AEC 661Ts 16 to 24 were also fitted with double-reduction drives and also made a loud noise when running. These Portsmouth trolleybuses with English Electric bodies were built in 1935 and followed the Bradford order and were similar in appearance. By 1936 I believe a worm drive with stronger bearings had emerged from AEC, no doubt due to London Transport influence, and future orders by Bradford and Portsmouth were for AEC 661Ts with worm drives which were much quieter in their operation.

Richard Fieldhouse


03/12/14 – 05:39

Nice to hear from you again, Richard. If you go to ‘More Pages’ on this website, then Old Bus Sounds, the first item is a Portsmouth trolleybus of the later type, but still with a noisy rear axle, albeit because it was worn, perhaps, near the end of its days! It’s certainly not a silent one! I confess that I never heard one of the 16-24 type, to my knowledge. They didn’t possess battery power movement and were usually relegated to peak time workings and were scrapped earlier than would otherwise have been the case. They also had a neglected air about them, with faded paintwork. Sad, because I always thought they had the most attractive bodies of all of Pompey’s trolleybus fleet.

Chris Hebbron


03/12/14 – 10:26

Many thanks Chris for your kind words and advice on the Bus Sound section for the sound of a Portsmouth AEC 661T/Craven trolleybus. I believe the General Manager Mr Ben Hall of Portsmouth was very wise to specify at a late stage Battery Traction availability for the large AEC 661T/Craven order. With the damage due to bombing during World War II, the trolleybuses in Portsmouth were still able to operate by using temporary turning points on battery power. Regarding trolleybus noise, this was also common in Bradford with some of their AEC 661Ts with worn worm drives adding to the "music". It made every trolleybus seem to be a character. Interestingly the Karrier E4s (677 to 692; built 1938) used to make a more growling noise even when newly overhauled. Perhaps these were the bass section.

Richard Fieldhouse


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Bradford Corporation – AEC 661T – AAK 422 – 620

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - AAK 422 - 620
R F Mack

Bradford Corporation Transport
1935
AEC 661T
English Electric H32/26R

We all have our personal favourites as far as buses are concerned, and I have to confess that mine are, (or were), trolleybuses.
Amongst my earliest memories were the late war years in Bradford, where I so clearly recall the sight, and sound, of Bradford`s “Regen” trolleybuses.
These were AEC 661T types based at my home depot of Duckworth Lane, and were unlike any trolleybuses anywhere else, as they made a NOISE. Their mournful wail could be heard for miles about, especially when braking, and this was due to the double reduction rear axle and full regenerative control. How Bradfordians distinguished them from the Air Raid “all clear” signal I shall never know!
They were new in 2 batches, in 1934 (597-617  KY 8200-8220) and 1935 (618-632  AAK 420-434), and carried early examples of English Electric metal framed bodies, which recent research has discovered, were extremely troublesome right from the off. English Electric metal bodies at that time did not benefit from the expertise demonstrated in the products of Metro Cammel. Having said that, the situation was not helped by tight and hilly schedules, the aforesaid unusual double reduction rear axles, and the fully regenerative control, such that these bodies were virtually shaken to bits after a troublesome 10 year life on Bradford`s granite setts.
Failures were occurring at an alarming rate by the war years, and BCT received permission to rebody 9 of them with Brush utility bodies in 1944, during which process, the regenerative control was reduced. The remainder were rebodied by Northern Coachbuilders in 2 styles, between 1946 and 1949, the last of the English Electric all metal bodies being consigned to scrap in 1947, and these trolleybuses, with their composite bodies, then settled down to a “second life” which was to last into the 1960s.
They still made plenty of noise in their new guise and being a regular rider to school, each one developed its own character for me, and they became firm friends. Sad, I know!

Bradford Corporation - AEC 661T - KY 8209 - 606
I attach a poor quality Brownie Box photo of 606, one of the Brush rebodies, and always my favourites, taken on a quiet 1953 Sunday morning. This photograph is full of nostalgia for me, especially as it was one of the last to carry the older Tattam livery with cream bands and rear dome.
Happy Days! If only I could ride on one again at Sandtoft!

Photographs and Copy contributed by John Whitaker

Bus tickets issued by this operator can be viewed here.

———

Not sad at all – some vehicles, just like people, have characters and the more eccentric ones get recalled the most! How amazing that permission was given to re-body vehicles while the war was on, something I’ve not previously heard of.
I always had a soft spot for the London United Tramways (later LT) A1 and A2 class ‘Diddler’ trolleybuses, unique and also frail bodywise!

Chris Hebbron

———

Fear not John, as Chris H rightly says there’s nothing sad in being fortunate enough to be able to recognise the characteristics of vehicles. It is a fact that, even in large batches of brand new ones, individual machines very quickly display their own particular "natures." As a teenager on frequent visits to relations in South London I was also totally fascinated by the "Diddlers" on outings to Hampton Court and the area.

Chris Youhill

———

Thanks Chris H and Chris Y for the reassuring remarks about my deceased friends!! Good to know that other enthusiasts are just as moved as myself when referring to man-made inanimate objects !!

Thanks for comments about London "Diddlers" from Chris Y and Chris H. I too was fascinated by them, but never saw them "in the flesh". I hold my very fleeting memories of Bradfords EEC 6 wheelers, and single deckers in the same light, as I can only just remember them. It would be great to hear about other trolleybus interests from fellow enthusiasts, as my enthusiasm is for anything old in the psv line, including trams!

But I wont go there!

John Whitaker

———

Chris Hebbron raises an interesting point re. re-bodying of vehicles during WW2. The MOWT (Ministry of War Transport) controlled all allocations of chassis and body manufacture, and supply to customers. I doubt whether operators had much say in most cases; Body builders were allocated orders in batches, and hence Pickering, for example, built small numbers of utility bodies in 1942/3 on unfrozen, and early Guy Arabs, (including a minority on Mk2 chassis), they disappeared again until late 1945, when they were allocated a contract for relaxed single deck utility bodies on Albion chassis, for Scottish operators.
East Lancs were used for re-bodying only, several fleets receiving all metal bodies on reconditioned chassis (mainly AEC) to almost peacetime standard. Brush were unusual, but not unique, in being used for new and reconditioned chassis, viz the Bradford trolleybuses and early AEC Regents for Birmingham. Bradford had 10 AEC Regents with all metal English Electric bodies which dated from 1935/6, and these were just as worn out as their trolleybus cousins by 1944, such that 7 were given new East Lancs bodies that year. I intend to look at the English Electric situation as far as metal framed bodies are concerned, as there were other disasters, notably with a batch of TD3/TD3c buses for Burnley Colne and Nelson JTC. I will submit a post on the subject if there is sufficient interest.

John Whitaker

———

I was delighted to see the Bradford AEC 661T "Regens" 620 and 606 posted on this web site by my best friend John. These were my favourite group of trolleybuses as they made a loud noise and had regenerative braking. Over the last few years I have been doing research into the early years of these trolleybuses 597 to 632 built 1934/35. My findings have been published in the Journal of the Bradford Trolleybus Association "Trackless" 200 to 205 inc. and 211. I can confirm the double reduction differential rear axle drive and the fierce regenerative braking were the main contributory factors leading to the failure of their EEC metal-framed bodies. The noise and vibration made it impossible for passengers to have a conversation inside these trolleybuses when running at speed, such as from Springhead Road to Bell Dean Road on the Thornton route. This leads me to ponder why Bradford specified a double reduction differential drive when a single worm drive differential was working quietly and efficiently on a very similar AEC 661T/EEC in London, namely LTPB 63 delivered some months earlier.

Richard Fieldhouse

———

This site has certainly brought back some memories.
I served an apprenticeship with the English Electric Co. at the Thornbury works in Bradford in the late 50’s. The Trolleybus motors kept the Traction Department busy for many years.
I recall working on the motors in both production and refurbishment and for it’s output it was very compact, good for it’s purpose, but a pain to work on. A common fault with motors returned for Overhaul was the "Square Commutator" Not really square but appearing so due to abnormal wear on opposite sides. Caused it turned out by slightly eccentric brake drums on some vehicles resulting in the motors always stopping and starting at the same point in it’s rotation.

Phil Johnson

———

Amazing the sort of problems which crop up – I should think it required some thinking about to identify THAT problem!

Chris Hebbron

———

I found Phils’ comments and experience at the English Electric Co at Thornbury most interesting and wonder which type of trolleybus traction motors were being overhauled and who were the regular customers. Can I assume Bradford City Transport was a regular as it was a loyal supporter of English Electric traction equipment?

Richard Fieldhouse

———

19/04/11 – 19:20

In the comments on the page for Bradford Corporation AEC661T trolleybuses, some correspondents mention the LUT "Diddler" trolleybuses. In 1962 the last trolleybuses were withdrawn in London and living in a road near the last trolleybus route to close I took my 18 month old son to see the last trolleybus from Hammersmith to the depot at Fulwell. In the event the modern bus was preceded by a "Diddler" from the London Transport Museum decorated with bunting, etc. as for its opening day. Alas, my son does not recall the sight.
For those of you who are interested, if you log on to the "You Tube" website and type in the Search Box "Twickenham Trolleybuses" (without the quotes) there is a film of the first day of operation of the diddlers taken in 1932. It is in black and white and, originally, was silent but a sound track of 1930’s band music has been added.
If you look carefully you will notice that they do not have headlights but it was shortly afterwards at the insistence of the police that a single headlight was put in the centre of the panel replacing the radiator on a IC engined bus.

Phi Jones

——— Top of this posting ———


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

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 22nd August 2017