Old Bus Photos

St Helens Corporation – AEC Regent III RT – BDJ 67 – 67

St Helens Corporation - AEC Regent III RT - BDJ 67 - 67

St Helens Corporation
1952
AEC Regent III RT
Park Royal H30/26R

BDJ 67 is one of the few Regent RT buses built for an operator other than London Transport. We see her here in full St Helens livery while taking part at the gathering at Brooklands on 13 April 2014. She has Park Royal H56R bodywork. St Helens had forty of these RTs taken in two batches, this actual vehicle and seventeen others were sold to Hull corporation in 1962. No, folks, it isn’t just a figment of Ken Dodd’s imagination – there really is a place called KNOTTY ASH!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


02/06/14 – 07:19

Not many of the RT’s who ‘escaped’ working for LTE had the traditional RT body. The St. Helen’s ones looked very smart in this livery, which was, of course, a much lighter colour on the top half.

Chris Hebbron


02/06/14 – 09:35

St Helens RTs even had a London Transport bullseye on the fuse box covers The eccentric way the blinds were used with a large number and squashed via points was interesting Incidentally St Helens also ran to Clock Face!

Chris Hough


02/06/14 – 10:45

The adjacent vehicle is NXP 997, RT4712, in Queen’s Golden Jubilee livery. She’s part of the LT collection and was on a day out from the Museum.

Pete Davies


03/06/14 – 07:43

This thread and Peter Williamson’s comments regarding Southport in the A Matter of Opinion thread have really stirred some memories. In 1954 my Dad bought a Standard 9 and on certain summer Sundays we would proceed in a stately fashion to either Southport or Blackpool. We would rarely make either as my mother preferred the "more refined" areas of Ainsdale and Lytham St Anne’s!
The St Helens RTs were a sight to behold as they crossed the East Lancs Rd or proceeded on the service to Southport. The colour scheme, like Southport’s (and for that matter Stockport’s) always was cleanly presented and looked a cut above most other towns and cities in the North West.
The large surround to the coat of arms was also "different" though why the Department used the blind layout it did is a mystery to me. It sort of spoiled the overall effect and, with a substantial fleet of these vehicles surely using the indicator spaces as intended would not have been a significant extra cost.
Cross referencing again to Peter on the other thread, I well remember the DUKWs -and the Bedfords that eventually ran on the sands. Southport probably had the smartest all Leyland PD2s of all and, operating alongside the St Helens RTs the enthusiast, myself included had the unique experience of seeing, in my opinion, THE pinnacle of UK bus design of the era running side by side every day.

Phil Blinkhorn


On the surface of it these were strange purchases for a Lancashire municipality. However it is easier to understand when one learns that the GM at St Helens at the time was R Edgeley Cox who had a hand in the design and development of the RT when he was in a previous post with LTE. Despite being ‘high quality’ vehicles they had relatively short lives at St Helens as they apparently fell foul of a subsequent GM’s views on operating costs after Mr Cox had moved on to Walsall. The preselector transmission gave lower MPG than manual gearbox buses and as a result the RT’s were sold on in the early 1960’s.

Philip Halstead


03/06/14 – 11:14

Thanks for your various comments, gents. The pinnacle of UK bus design, Mr Blinkhorn – the QL and the DUKW? You’re jesting, of course!

Pete Davies


One wonders if the purchase price was favourable, bearing in mind that they were purchased as part of a large on going LTE order. This might have helped to defray subsequent running costs somewhat.

Chris Hebbron


04/06/14 – 08:07

Pete, is anno domini getting to you? The PD2 and RT is what I said but, come to think of it, the DUKW and the QL could be the pinnacle of municipal transport oddity. Are there other contenders? Llandudno may be a good starting point.

Phil Blinkhorn


04/06/14 – 08:07

The book ‘Local Transport in St Helens’ by Maund & Ashton states that the RT had a lower overall height than conventional highbridge buses and that this was another reason for their purchase as St Helens had some height restricted routes. I was never aware of this feature of the RT but would welcome any comments from those with greater London knowledge.
I agree with Phil that the rather obscure use of the standard London destination display did spoil the appearance and detract from the very attractive livery. When several of them were sold on to Hull they were fitted with that operator’s standard blind display and were given another very attractive livery, the streamlined blue and white/cream.

Philip Halstead


04/06/14 – 08:08

This is a far more interesting story than at first appears, probably because the name R Edgeley Cox comes into it. The appearance of these buses- emphasised by the livery- belies their date, even though other (relatives?) such as CH Roe were producing some smart looking bodies oop north by the early fifties. The odd thing is the destination boxes- you would think it would not be a big issue to alter them to suit the purchaser- or were they really an off the peg or cancelled-order deal? And if these buses were available to buy (unlike Bristol/ECW) why didn’t more municipalities buy them? This was surely the age of the preselector- and hundreds of Daimler CVD’s of that era survived a full innings. So what did St Helens buy instead after 10 years? Atlanteans?

Joe


04/06/14 – 09:13

Joe, St Helens never operated Atlanteans operating a mixed fleet of Regent Vs and PD2s.

Phil Blinkhorn


04/06/14 – 15:17

I knew exactly what you meant, Phil. I was just being suitably provocative to match my Welsh background!

Pete Davies


04/06/14 – 15:17

Malcolm Keeley’s Buses in Camera ‘Mercian and Welsh’ has a good colour shot showing two of the Bedford QL’S on Ainsdale beach.

Roger Broughton


04/06/14 – 18:15

Pete, I have a Welsh friend who lives just down the road. You have just explained a great deal!!

Phil Blinkhorn


05/06/14 – 07:32

Phil, I could tell you about the "Honorary Welshman" contests we had a College on St David’s Day, but it isn’t fit for ‘family viewing’!

Pete Davies


05/06/14 – 07:33

Phil- the Atlantean reference was a bit of irony… but can’t see the logic of presumably losing money on the early sale of these RT assets: perhaps Hull made them an offer they couldn’t refuse…

Joe


07/06/14 – 08:22

I believe the RT was only 14’3" high, although how that was achieved I have no idea. It makes sense for this to have been part of the attraction, because St Helens also had its own unique version of the Leyland PD2 – the PD2/9 – on which bodywork of reduced height could be built.
Regarding the early disposal, Joe may have hit on something. There was a lot of networking between municipal managers in those days. I can just imagine the St Helens guy grumbling about a daft legacy left by his predecessor, and I can imagine the Hull guy saying there had never been a better bus than the preselective Regent III, next best thing to a trolleybus, wish they were still available etc etc. Next thing you know, a deal is done and everyone’s happy.

Peter Williamson


08/06/14 – 07:20

BDJ 818

A more suitable destination indicator set on an ex-St Helens RT as produced in Hull. No. 135 was photographed by me on 11 April 1967.

Malcolm J Wells


08/06/14 – 07:21

The destination "Knotty Ash" on a St Helens Corporation blind threw me, as it seemed to be an unusual short working for a bus on the 317 to Liverpool.
So I read page 40 of "Local Transport In St Helens" (Venture Transport) and all became obvious.
Greyhound racing was a popular pastime in St Helens, and additional buses were put on to Knotty Ash Stadium on race nights.
Then in 1950, Liverpool Stanley RLFC relocated to Knotty Ash Stadium as Liverpool City RLFC.
I doubt that St Helens RLFC played many matches at Knotty Ash, due to the teams being in different divisions, but there is a photo in the book showing 10 St Helens RTs parked on East Prescot Road (opposite Dovecote Baths) for an event.
As an aside, my dad lived in Knotty Ash in the 1920s in 9th Avenue, on an estate of prefabricated "cabins" built as a rest camp for the U.S. Cavalry on their way to/from the Western Front.
This site was adjacent to Knotty Ash Station (well worth a read on the Disused Stations website) www.disused-stations.org.uk/k/knotty_ash/  as are all the stations of the Cheshire Lines Committee.

Dave Farrier


08/06/14 – 09:51

Reading further in the Maund and Ashton book, the reason why the RT was not more popular with provincial operators may have been its cost – almost £500 per bus, compared to a standard Regent III, a considerable amount at that time. Also, I don’t think it was just the PD2/9s which were of reduced height – further on in the chapter it is mentioned that all the 1956/1957 deliveries had the "now standard configuration…of reduced height", and I think this can be discerned looking at photos of St. Helens DDs. And regarding the short life of the RTs, at the time St Helens did keep their vehicles for a relatively short time compared to other north-west municipals; in 1967, whilst still buying new rear-entrance DDs, they were already selling the 1956/57 PD2s which would have probably been considered profligate at Stockport, for instance!

Michael Keeley


11/06/14 – 08:12

BDJ 807

Some of the St Helens RTs were bought by Harper Brothers of Heath Hayes, neighbours to Walsall Corporation and R. Edgeley Cox. Both operators shared a 14’3" bridge in Cannock.
Walsall also had 5 ex LT RTLs, but they were limited to the routes they could be used on because of their height.

Tony Martin


11/06/14 – 11:28

Didn’t I also read that the suspension and profile of the tyres on RTs contributed to their "low height" characteristics?

David Oldfield


30/10/14 – 15:14

Besides the one AEC RT that is in a Scottish museum are there any more of the forty still surviving.

Mr Anon


BDJ 67 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


23/06/15 – 06:32

BDJ 807 had been kept at Rugeley Trent Valley for many years but has now vanished. Does anyone know where it is now?

Tony Martin


 

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London Transport – AEC Regent III RT – JXN 46 – RT1018

London Transport - AEC Regent III RT - JXN 46 - RT1081

London Transport
1948
AEC Regent III RT
Weymann H56R

Here is a view of JXN 46, RT1081 1018 (see below) in full London Country NBC livery. She’s on parade in the Weymouth rally on 1 July 1979. She dates from 1948 and has a Weymann H56R body. At the time of the photograph, she was still in service – mainly on training duties – but is now preserved.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


17/02/14 – 07:57

I have been privileged to drive for a number of years for Peter Cartwright and Amersham & District on their running days. The Watford – Hemel section of the 302 has featured regularly for the annual August Hemel Running Day. March 30 sees the first Watford event. I’m hoping to be driving in the afternoon. Say hello if you’re there.

David Oldfield


23/02/14 – 15:24

Think you’ll find that JXN 46 is RT1018 not 1081. Used to drive it when I worked out of Tring in the early ’70s. It used to belong to Mike Lloyd of Wigan. Not sure if he’s still got it.

Keith Williams


24/02/14 – 07:46

It is indeed RT 1018, not 1081. I bought it in September 1981, and yes, I do indeed still have it. That photo was taken at Weymouth Bus Rally 1st July 1979. This was the bus’s first-ever rally and it was still owned by LCBS at the time. We rallied it from Hemel Hempstead Garage for a couple of years, then when it was withdrawn, I bought it. Of course, I didn’t live in Wigan in those days.
It is currently having a bit of re-restoration, which it is entitled to after 32 years in preservation.

Mike Lloyd


25/02/14 – 06:54

Hi Mike. Pleased to know you’ve still got 1018. Can you tell me if you’re going to rally her again after her re-restoration. If so ,where? Love to see her again after all these years. Seems we’ve all moved north as I’m in Crewe now.

Keith Williams


26/02/14 – 12:08

Appologizz for the triping eeroar! I must check more carefully in future.

Pete Davies


15/09/14 – 06:57

I was just doing a bit of research on this bus, my late father Barry Neave was pictured with it sometime back in the 80’s I believe. Was just really interested in where it was and what it was doing, is it still being restored?

Celina Neave


18/09/14 – 07:50

I don’t visit this page often, so sorry for delayed reply to Keith. When she is back on the road I shall certainly take her to rallies now and then; however, restoration is proving long-drawn-out because of time constraints so I can’t say when it will be. The bus is kept at the North West Museum of Road Transport at St Helens these days but is not on display, obviously, because it’s in the workshops.

Celina – very sorry to hear that Barry is now "the late." He was a part-time driving instructor at Hemel Hempstead and RT 1018 was "his" bus for that purpose. He was a great help, visiting other bus garages and scrounging spare parts for the bus, some of which I still have. I have loads of pics of the bus working as a trainer, but not sure if Barry is in any of them because normally he would be sitting in the saloon giving advice and instruction to the driver, so you couldn’t see him in photos. I may possibly have one of him at a rally somewhere, although he didn’t always accompany us. See above for where the bus is now, and yes, it is still under restoration – mainly things I had not restored previously, of course. Rest assured, she’s in good hands. I wouldn’t part with her for anything, having known her since 1959.

Mike Lloyd


22/09/14 – 07:12

Thank you so much for the reply Mike it meant a lot to hear some more information about dad and the busses, it was his life. If you did have any pictures of dad with the bus they would be more than gratefully received, my mum Gloria had the picture we have as I think she accompanied dad on the rally? I’d love to come and see the bus, or maybe when it’s on rally again. Thank you so much again.

Celina


04/11/14 – 17:21

RT 1018

Looking at this posting of RT 1018 sent me scurrying to an old photo album where I found this photo taken in the yard beside Victoria Garage [GM] round about 1950/51 when this RT had worked a relief Green Line in from St.Albans. I cannot swear to it being 1018, it could be 1013 as the writing on the back has faded plus I am standing in front of the number plate but thought it might be of interest.

Graham Crockett


26/11/14 – 06:18

JXN 46_2

This is the picture I have of dad with the bus.

Celina


16/01/15 – 09:03

JXN 46

Here is a photo I took of RT1018 possibly at a Cobham rally in the 90’s.

G Crockett


19/01/15 – 12:11

Re the photo taken of the RT at Victoria (GM) Garage Yard around 1950/51. 04/11/14 – 17:21 posted above by Graham Crockett.
It would be RT 1013 as the batch RT 1005-RT 1014 were allocated from new to St Albans (SA) RT 1005-RT 1011 had roof route boxes whereas RT 1012-RT 1014 had the route number box in the lower down position. I was living in Albans at that time.

M Horan


21/01/15 – 15:17

JXN 46

Picture taken of RT 1018 in 1980 at possibly Southend Rally.

G Crockett


29/03/15 – 18:01

Celine Neave
Your dad was a well respected by all. When I first started at Two Waters he was helpful to me and I have never forgotten that.

David Jenkins


07/06/15 – 06:27

I also remember 1018 from it`s days at Tring in the 70`s. I was there until it closed in `77, then went to Amersham. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember we had an RT that had an RF type steering wheel, and I think it was 1018. I also remember David Jenkins, especially when he was made up to inspector.

Brian Keating


08/07/15 – 05:39

If there was an RT with an RF steering wheel it certainly wasn’t 1018. 1018 returned to Hemel as a training bus and had an RT wheel, which of course she still does. I do not think you could actually fit an RF steering wheel to an RT as the columns are different.
I remember David Jenkins, too.
Sorry to say I have not so far found any pics of Barry Neave with the bus, although it was his regular vehicle. I’ll keep looking.

Mike Lloyd


06/02/17 – 10:27

Was it not one of the 34 that were sold onto LT and ended up in Norbiton Garage for the 65 till RT’s ended on 16th Oct 1975? Maybe I am confused with the passage of time.

George Chmielewski


JXN 46 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


16/03/17 – 06:24

No, it most certainly did not pass to LT.
It was the first LCBS RT to be overhauled and painted into NBC green, at which time it worked from Chelsham.
There were four others, two training buses (subsequently scrapped) and RTs 604 and 3461, also now preserved.
1018 was also the only one to receive a repaint into NBC green, but now it is back in its proper livery – Lincoln green.

Mike Lloyd


 

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East Midland – AEC Regent III RT – KGK 750 – D47

East Midland - AEC Regent RT - KGK 750 - D47

East Midland Motor Services
1949
AEC Regent III RT
Cravens H56R

You can almost smell the workshop in this view!
This ex-London Transport Regent RT came to East Midland with the take-over of Wass, Mansfield in April 1958. D47 was gone in 1960 – to A1 Service, Ardrossan.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson


26/05/13 – 10:31

Nice view, Les, and thank you for posting. I note that East Midland acquired this vehicle as part of the deal in buying Wass, but what did London Transport deem to be so "non standard" about Cravens and Saro bodies that they were sold out of the fleet so quickly?

Pete Davies


27/05/13 – 07:00

Splendid picture, there’s something altogether fascinating about views of buses undergoing repair or maintenance. Makes me want to go and brew a pot of extra strength ‘busman’s’ tea!
What a pity KGK 750 didn’t make it into the East Midland fleet until after they’d switched over to the maroon livery, it would have looked a treat in the old biscuit, chocolate and cream scheme.

Dave Careless


27/05/13 – 07:01

The Cravens RTs were totally non standard with 5 bay construction. Not only were the body spares, particularly glass spares, non standard, the vehicles could not be processed through Aldenham works where body and chassis swaps were the rule, unless they were swapped with other Cravens bodied vehicles due to the way the bodies were mounted.
As this did not fit the, by mid 1950s, maintenance regime the Cravens vehicles were sold off. In any event they had been a stop gap to cover delivery delays at Park Royal and Weymann.
The SARO vehicles were much more standard but there were enough differences to make them cuckoos in what was very much a Park Royal/Weymann nest.

Phil Blinkhorn


27/05/13 – 07:02

The Cravens bodies were not to London Transport design but used the standard Cravens shell with London Transport features. Most noticeably they were of five-bay construction rather than four.
I wasn’t aware that the Saunders bodies were short-lived, and Ian’s Bus Stop site www.countrybus.org/RT/RT3s.htm  says they weren’t.

Peter Williamson


27/05/13 – 07:03

Five bay construction whilst all other RT family members were four bay, perhaps?

Tony Martin


27/05/13 – 07:04

Pete, the Craven-bodied RT’s were merely Craven’s standard fare modified to look something like standard RT bodies.
The fronts were flatter (I preferred them), they had five-bays and the back curved, hunch-backed, above the rear platform window, itself less wide and offset to the offside. The rear number plate was also further to the right. They were not jig-built and useless for standard Aldernham overhauls. I’m not so sure that the SaRo versions had shorter lives with LTE; they were entirely standard in all respects, to my knowledge.
Here’s a rear offside three-quarter view of a Craven’s RT. The five bay layout made the downstairs windows finish slightly further back than usual,although the side route number fitting was in the usual place. Therefore the gap between the two was less. To the average passenger, it is unlikely they’d notice the difference. Two survive, both with Ensign, one red and one green. www.flickr.com/photos/

Chris Hebbron


27/05/13 – 07:06

I’ve done a little more digging, Pete, about the SaRo bodies. They were strong and fully compatible with RT bodies from the usual suppliers, although they had slight weakness with the front bulkhead, corrected at first overhaul. The only reason they were withdrawn a little earlier than others was because they had front roofboxes. Nevertheless, some lasted a full 20 years,albeit as learner vehciles latterly.

Chris Hebbron


27/05/13 – 09:02

Chris, were the SARO bodies exchanged in the normal way in the Aldenham programme? As top box bodies were considered non standard from the mid 1950s I was under the impression that they weren’t after first overhaul, to avoid non standard bodies being mated with the newer chassis.

Phil Blinkhorn


27/05/13 – 09:03

Thanks for your responses, gents. I knew someone would be able to clarify!

Pete Davies


27/05/13 – 09:03

Although I’ve always been a fervent admirer of the wonderful standard RT (and RTL/RTW), both as a passenger and as a driver, I have equal enthusiasm for the fascinating Cravens version also. The five bay appearance fits in very well with the general handsome RT profile, and the various other smaller differences add to the individual appeal of "The Cravens." As far as I’m aware the only difference from standard in the appearance of the Saro bodies was the position of the offside route stencil frame – oh and, once in a lifetime, the need to reduce the tyre pressures/height in order to "escape" from Anglesey under the portals of the Menai Straits bridge.

Chris Youhill


27/05/13 – 16:38

Since no-one has yet mentioned London Transport’s perennial disposal of perfectly good buses at a ridiculously young age (Cravens RTs, RWs, DMSs etc), perhaps I should be the one to set the cat amid the pigeons! The usual excuses given for these premature disposals (standardisation, inability to cope with the London environment, and so on) are transparently so much guff when one considers the loss of barely depreciated assets. In every case it would have been cheaper to hang on to these perfectly good vehicles and send LT engineers out into the real world to learn how to maintain them. I await the barrage of counter-arguments from LT apologists (or, as I like to think of them, fetishists…)

Neville Mercer


27/05/13 – 16:38

It would be interesting to know which depot this was, I would say either Mansfield or Worksop. Wass Brothers operated a busy service from Mansfield to Clipstone, Edwinstowe and Ollerton, they bought three of these Craven RT’s in 1957, the others were JXC 219 and KGK 739, their livery was half maroon and half dark red and it’s difficult to tell from the picture if East Midland repainted them when Wass had only painted them a year earlier, or if they simply added a cream band. The destination box was certainly altered by East Midland, Wass had retained the LT style boxes and had painted their name in the bottom aperture. It seems a shame that these fine vehicles were disposed of by East Midland after just two years when only eleven years old but by 1960 they were taking large numbers of Atlanteans.

Chris Barker


28/05/13 – 07:41

This photo was taken in the old fitting shops at Worksop depot. The three of these ended their lives on Worksop town services. This was due to them being high bridge.

Ian Bennett


28/05/13 – 07:42

Bradford City Transport had 2 Saunders RTs in the batch of 25 bought from Birds dealer in 1958 Numbered 411 and 421 they lasted until 1968 with the odd spell stored in the TIN SHED at Thornbury.

Geoff S


28/05/13 – 07:43

I concur completely with your view of London Transport extravagance, Neville, and have made similar comments on this forum in the past. I joined LT(CB&C) at Reigate in a clerical capacity from school after ‘A’ Levels in August 1960, and was astounded at the curious attitude that prevailed throughout the organisation at every level. It was like being on a different planet, totally insulated from all outside influences. It was incapable of learning from others in the bus industry since it believed that London operating conditions were unique – its own experience therefore existed on a far higher plane than that of "provincial" people. Thus it made expensive mistakes that could have been mitigated by contacts outside its own closed mentality. The engineering system was typical of its centralised attitudes and slavish devotion to standardisation. The RT family (once those nasty, interloping Cravens and Saunders machines were removed), the RFs and the RMs were all designed, like Meccano, to be taken to pieces. Defective pieces could then be removed at garages and sent to Chiswick or Aldenham, and reconditioned parts installed in replacement. No proper analytical engineering expertise was required at garage level. The front line mechanical operation was maintained by fitters, not by engineers. Whatever the fault, major or minor, a replacement part was almost always seen as the solution. Another LT vehicle class that epitomised the cavalier approach to costs was the RC and the allied EC of BEA that LT ‘looked after’. Yes, the wet liner engines of the Reliance did give trouble, but swathes of British bus operators ran them successfully for years. The LT/BEA fleets spent much of their time in store and were disposed of after very short lives. Remarkably, the insular attitude of London’s public transport "experts" remains today, as may be seen in Boris Johnson’s preposterous, extravagant, ego inflating "Routemaster". After their inevitably limited life in London, I don’t see many takers for those things on the secondhand market unless they are extremely cheap.

Roger Cox


28/05/13 – 07:44

The destination looks like Langold, which I think was a mining village near Worksop.

Geoff Kerr


28/05/13 – 07:45

As for your comment, Neville, about LTE’s disposal policy, I’m the first one to wonder why! Firstly, this policy did not extend across the whole of LTE. Non-standard trolleybuses, and there were several of them, led almost full lives alongside their compatratriots and I recall, when living in London, several Tube and sub- surface stock ‘non-standard’ carriages also with their ‘standard’ compatriots. The bus division certainly disliked non-standard vehicles and I even recall a very-sloping front-ended STL which, late in life, was rebuilt, all for the sake of four seats! A whole lot of already non-standard lowbridge green ST’s were tweaked such that not one of them looked the same in the end. TF1, with non-standard body, was altered to look marginally like its compatriots, then disposed of in 1946, along with various other non-standard types, like the double-deck Q’s at the very time when it was obvious they were needed! However, with the RT family of buses, peak passenger numbers were in 1949, although the dwindling numbers were slow to start with. Typically, LTE definitely over-ordered them to the point where the last 400 went into store for about four years and many of them had ex-SRT bodies draped on them until they eventually went into service. LPTB/LTE achieved some remarkable things in its short life, especially pre-war, but it was quite barmy in some ways and you won’t find me an apologist for it! And Chris Y, I never realised they had to lower the RT’s tyre pressures to get them off Anglesey, presumably after that first accident!

I can’t answer your query about the transfer of SaRo bodies at Aldenham, Phil, save to say that their incompatibility with RTL chassis meant, unlike regular RT bodies, they were not put onto RTL chassis because they, too, were non-standard and disposed of earlier. Incidentally, there was nothing odder than seeing a roofbox-bodied RTL – http://tinyurl.com/p5dgkls

Chris Hebbron


28/05/13 – 08:53

Chris H – some most interesting insights into LPTB/LTE policy and practice. I hope I wasn’t imagining the necessity to lower the Saro RTs for their journey from the factory, but I’m sure that I read it somewhere reliable. I’d never considered the feature of roof route number boxes on RTLs but having looked at these pictures I’ve quickly decided that I liked them, and on the RTs too. I think they gave just a little "look of determination" to the otherwise curvaceous and attractive fronts. On a practical level too I’m sure that the all important route number was more easily seen by intending passengers in heavy traffic – perhaps though there were risks of damage and leakage from incidents in mechanical washing machines, although none seems evident in photographs.

Chris Youhill


28/05/13 – 08:59

Well, Chris, Neville, Roger and Chris. Been away and just read your theses on London Transport. Can add little other than whole hearted agreement. Look no further than the premature withdrawals all having longer (happy) lives with a second (major) operator than with LT – including the not particularly happy Swift/Merlin fleet in Malta. As a Sheffielder, I will always have a soft spot for the Cravens.

David Oldfield


28/05/13 – 11:13

Chris H, my first visit to London from up North was as an 8 year old in 1955. The roof box fascinated me and, over the years and on many visits into the 1960s, I managed a few rides on roof box RTLs.

Chris Y, you aren’t suffering from excess imagination as the reduction in tyre pressures has been documented in a few publications over many years. Given the longevity of the tale and the fact |I’ve never seen it contradicted, it may well be true.

Phil Blinkhorn


28/05/13 – 11:14

Just to finish our deviation, there were a few body oddities with LPTB I never mentioned. Several ‘pre-war’ RT’s were fitted, post-war, with quarter opening front windows, for an experiment, I assume. One of them had its front roofbox altered for them by an errant tree, the former never being replaced. This reminds me that LPTB, in 1942, were authorised to build some semi-austerity bodies to STL style, to be fitted to unfrozen Regent I chassis. In the event, only three were so fitted, the rest going onto used chassis. The highbridge versions all had the roofbox fronts, but minus the roofboxes. The rest of the highbridges had a mix of ‘float’ boxes some back to 1932. They all had crash boxes and sensibly went to hilly parts of Country Area. These highly non-standard, semi-austerity vehicles lasted until the very end of STL operation, me catching my only ever glimpse of one (re-painted green by then) as a garage ‘hack’, in mid-1955, within days of withdrawal. So, sometimes, non-standard was valued!

Chris Hebbron


28/05/13 – 17:03

An interesting aside to Les’s posting is that Wass Brothers were an apparently well respected independent and although it is now fifty five years since they sold out to East Midland, their garage and premises on Westfield Lane, Mansfield survive to this day in their entirety and are now used by another well known independent, Johnson Bros/Redfern Travel.

Chris Barker


29/05/13 – 06:57

Just wondered if anyone has any details of the years of Wass ownership re the Ex Lincoln Corporation Leyland Titan TD4. Did they have two? Presumably the RTs replaced them, Any info will be most welcome.

Steve Milner


29/05/13 – 10:03

Wass Bros Mansfield. Regarding the depot comment by Chris Barker. I wonder Chris, perhaps you are mixing up the locations here? I live in the district and I’m frustrated at how little history from the 20’s to the 70’s was recorded.
As such I’m not saying you’re mistaken but my understanding is that the Wass Bros depot was about half a mile further up Westfield Lane, at the junction with Redgate Street. They (WB) did have an ‘office/house/HQ’ on Welbeck Street in Mansfield but I’ve no evidence that they occupied the Lindley Street Garage used by Redferns for some 30 odd years.
Research suggests that The Lindley Street depot was a late 20’s extension to the original Neville & Sons Motor Garage on Westfield Lane. George Neville was a pre WWI Mail Carrier and operated the first omnibuses in Mansfield, his business expanded into wagon building and adaptations and moved to a larger site just before WWII. The body building company still exists in the town today, although owned by some foreign multi-national.
The Westfield Lane/Lindley St site then seems to have passed to existing Lindley Street haulier Tom Eason, who must have been attracted to the bigger garage just down his street! He rapidly developed his business into specialist carrier, Westfield Transport Ltd. They moved to a purpose built site in 1958 before being taken over by Pickfords in 1964.
The Garages were then occupied by another haulier, W.T.Kemp, by the 70’s his sons were operating the site as a Saab and DAF cars dealership. Redferns moved into the Lindley Street Garage in 1975.
It was 5 years before the Wass Bros depot site was re-developed with the building of a pub known the The Redgates.
I’ve never seen any picture taken in or around the depot so if anyone would care to share? I do however have a picture of JXC 219, still in Wass 2 tone red but with East Midland decals. It is photographed with serious front dome damage, seemingly having tried to pass under a bridge some 3 or 4 inches too low. Amazingly none of the glass in the upper deck looks to have failed, well built those Cravens bodies?
There does seem to have been 2 ex-Lincoln TD4’s in the fleet, VL 8847-8. Listed with Wass from June 1952 till April 1956.

Berisford Jones


29/05/13 – 18:13

Berisford, I’m sure you’re correct in what you say. I do have one or two pictures of Wass vehicles which I took with me to Mansfield a few years ago to try and identify the site, which I thought I had but unfortunately I didn’t know about the premises further up Westfield lane. Oh well, at least some of the other operators sites, Trumans, Ebor, Red Bus and Naylors are still recognisable!
With regard to the ex-Lincoln TD4’s, there was also an ex-Chesterfield TD5, HNU 818 and it made me wonder if the three RT’s replaced the three Titans but the RT’s didn’t arrive until 1957 so were there any more second hand double deckers?

Chris Barker


29/05/13 – 18:14

Thanks for that Berisford – most welcome ta

Steve Milner


30/05/13 – 06:00

I have the first 2 RT’s listed as arriving in May 56 as the 2 TD4’s leave and the 3rd RT looks to have entered service with Wass in November 56 as the Chesterfield HNU818 departs?

Berisford Jones


30/05/13 – 06:00

That’s interesting, Chris, regarding ex-Chesterfield Titan HNU 818. Sisters HNU 817/9/20 went to Rotherham Corporation in 1956, as a stop gap measure until three lowbridge Daimlers that the corporation had ordered could be delivered the following year. I was only young, but I recall riding on one of them one evening, on its way into town from Dinnington, and it left a lasting impression, as it was such a raucous machine.

Dave Careless


30/05/13 – 06:00

Oh dear, I feel the imminent onset of the famous "egg on the face." I’ve just looked in Ken Blacker’s splendid book about the RTs and there is a photo of a long line of the Saunders buses on the Menai Straits bridge – a portal is visible and there appears to be plenty of headroom, so I don’t know what to make of the tale about reducing tyre pressures – perhaps someone once made a "tongue in cheek remark" ??

Chris Youhill


30/05/13 – 08:31

Chris, don’t be embarrassed. As I said before, that tale about tyre pressures has been around a long time. I remember having first read it whilst still at school, and I left school in 1965.

Phil Blinkhorn


30/05/13 – 12:26

Wass’s service was a busy one which needed quite a bit of duplication and it would seem that there were six double deckers in the fleet at any one time, three bought new, a PD1/Burlingham, a Crossley/Willowbrook and an all Leyland PD2. The second hand ones as detailed, three pre-war Titans replaced by the three RT’s. The ones purchased new were all lowbridge and yet the service didn’t appear to require lowbridge buses. There was also a nice Willowbrook bodied PS1 saloon.

Chris Barker


31/05/13 – 06:23

Beresford the comments on Wass Bros depot on Newgate Lane. I have seen photos of No 12 (D48) in the yard this was a single deck building at the side, The photo is one of R H G Simpson collection. Don’t know if they are still available. The other gent on about tyre. London fitted 36×8 tyres and wheels to gain bridge clearance, I Know We fitted a High bridge bus and found it suitable. The out come was it Took a Long time for Sheffield to catch on.

Ian Bennett


31/05/13 – 06:24

Just wondered also which dealer supplied the Wass Cravens RTs ? I thought these were withdrawn by LT in 1954 or am I wrong ?

Steve Milner


31/05/13 – 17:47

Steve, according to the PSV Circle fleet history of East Midland, the RT’s were acquired by Wass via Bird’s of Stratford-on-Avon in 1957.

Chris Barker


01/06/13 – 06:18

Thank you Chris ! Appreciate this.

Steve Milner


01/06/13 – 06:19

The wholesale withdrawal by London Transport of the Craven RTs occurred between the summer of 1955 and the early part of 1956. Yet another indicator of LT profligacy was the repainting in 1956 of no less than 21 of these buses from Central red into green Country livery, only for them to be finally withdrawn into store after only one to six months of subsequent operation. The full story can be found here on Ian’s Bus Stop website

Roger Cox


KGK 750 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


01/06/13 – 15:27

Chris Barker, I wonder, have you got an erroneous/alternative copy of the East Midland PSV fleet list? My edition of PE13 and ‘Ians Bus Stop’ site clearly show the RT’s as acquired in 1956, with the PE13 even showing, with the help of local authority licence date, the May & November 1956 dates for the Wass Bros double decker in-out/swap overs!

Berisford Jones


02/06/13 – 06:34

Ian’s Bus Stop shows KGK 750, RT 1491, being acquired by Wass in November 1956. RT 1456, JXC 219, and RT 1480, KGK 739, are also listed as arriving with Wass in 1956, but the actual month in both cases is uncertain.

Roger Cox


02/06/13 – 06:34

Berisford, my copy of the East Midland fleet history is undated but bears the number PB1, current until 1963 with addenda for 1966 and 1968 so perhaps it is a little erroneous! I have had a look on the ‘Ian’s Bus Stop’ site which I didn’t know about and I agree with you that the dates are obviously correct and account for the withdrawal of the Titans.

Chris Barker


 

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