Old Bus Photos

WYPTE – AEC Reliance – Pennine – ECP 950D – 250

WYPTE - AEC Reliance - Pennine - ECP 950D - 250

WYPTE (Calderdale)
1966
AEC Reliance 6MU3RA
Pennine B39F

Having suffered a number of Albion Nimbuses whilst in his previous post at Great Yarmouth, Geoffrey Hilditch arrived as GM at Halifax only to find that his predecessor there had bequeathed him a batch of ten more, only recently delivered. Bought originally with the intention of operating out-of-town feeder services to and from the hilltop villages linking with double deckers on the main valley roads, the plan never really came to fruition and the Nimbuses found themselves operating through services from town to these places, as well as substituting for heavier duty single deckers on more local services. In these circumstances rather too much was perhaps expected of them and they soon began to give problems, and were generally unpopular with drivers (except Roger Cox !).
Hilditch was not impressed and within two years he began to sell them off, but there was still considered to be a need for some shorter and narrower than standard single deckers to negotiate the narrow lanes and tight reversing points. He chose to repeat what he had done at Great Yarmouth and ordered some AEC Reliances with Pennine bodywork of reduced dimensions. Seven arrived for the JOC fleet in 1966 – 249-255 (ECP 949-955D) – based on the 505-engined 6MU3RA chassis. Bodies by the Seddon subsidiary Pennine Coachcraft seated 39, 252 having seats with headrests (removed from the two Nimbuses that had been fitted with them previously). 249 was even exhibited at the Commercial Vehicle Show at Earls Court in that year.
They proved to be very useful on the more rural routes and were regular performers on the Heptonstall, Midgley, Booth and Mill Bank services. All passed to WYPTE Calderdale District in 1974 and were withdrawn in 1979/80. 250 was withdrawn on 31 July 1979 and sold at Central Motor Auctions the following month to Askin’s, the Carlton breaker. 251 escaped the breaker to operate for Everton Coaches of Droitwich for a while and was the subject of a sadly failed preservation attempt. 252 was exported to Malta, where it operated in a non-PSV capacity for a number of years.
Here 250 is pictured in WYPTE days (1975) still in Halifax livery as it rests in Rawson Street, Halifax whilst its driver has his mealbreak in the Powell Street canteen, which was down a passageway behind Harvey’s department store on the left.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer


10/11/17 – 06:53

Nice interesting buses-always seemed in a hurry and went fast!

Stuart Emmett


10/11/17 – 06:54

I recently paid a return visit to the Halifax area to see relatives who live high above Mytholmroyd on the way up to Pecket Well. After living in the flat lands around Peterborough for over 12 years I found those moorland roads, hills and twists quite challenging even in my humble Vauxhall Zafira. I have nothing but admiration for the men and machines who piloted those orange and green buses into that hinterland. Even these short and narrow Reliances must have been a tight squeeze but unlike the Nimbuses they ousted they would at least have had some power.

Philip Halstead


12/11/17 – 07:17

I remember in the 70’s when I looked after the police radio stations. I was going to one near Blackshaw Head on a quite snowy day when one of these could not make it up a steep climb and had to assist in guiding the driver reversing for almost a 1/2 mile before he could turn round. I then had to walk back to where I had left my Land Rover.

Brian Lunn


12/11/17 – 07:18

That’s an interesting point, Philip. Some may know better than me, but the Halifax/ Heptonstall bus has to use a turning circle to approach the steep hill up to the village. At the top the road narrows through the village and is cobbled, becoming for a bus a single width. Every sort of bus seems to have been used, though, and the whole thing certainly requires skill.

Joe


12/11/17 – 07:19

Philip, I now live some 10 miles down the A1 where the Black Fens abut the rolling hills of West Hunts, and I agree that there could be no greater contrast with the dramatic Calderdale skyline than the the billiard table top topography of South Holland lying to the north of Peterborough. These Pennine bodied Reliances began to appear during my last months with HPTD in the latter part of 1966, but, being earmarked for (what was then called) OMO, they were not driven by we humble office employees who covered only crew duties. On the subject of the Nimbuses (yes, John, I loved ‘em) my acquaintance with them was always on the 46 route to Heptonstall, which, because of the unbelievably constricted terminal reversing point, colloquially known as ‘The Rathole’ – even the mirrors had to be flattened against the bus sides – these little machines carried a conductor. Before the coming of the Nimbuses, I believe that the route was previously operated with Regals, and I commend those drivers struggling over the years to turn round these bigger vehicles at the Rathole. However, I can vouch that the Nimbus did not lack performance when in good order, and could scamper up the steep Heptonstall Road from Hebden Bridge every bit as effectively as the Leopards that initially superseded them when the 46 was mercifully extended onwards beyond the Rathole to follow a circular terminal working round Heptonstall – why this route could not have been adopted long before I cannot imagine, unless there was some Road Service Licence difficulty. Having resolved the terminal problem, it was logical that the 46 would become a driver only operation, but, in my day, the Booth and Midgely services, which ran common with the 46 as far as Luddenden Foot, were PD2 crew runs. It would seem that they, too, soon became OMO workings with the then new Reliances. The Nimbus certainly had mechanical weaknesses, but so did the AH505 engine in the Reliance, so troubles were certainly not over. I have long thought that the fine Reliance chassis (much superior to the Leopard) should have been fitted with the superb Dennis O6 engine – we are all allowed to dream.

Roger Cox


12/11/17 – 09:40

An example of Heptonstall village bus "squeeze" as Joe mentioned. http://www.sct61.org.uk/hx266

John Lomas


 

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David MacBrayne – AEC Reliance – LUS 524E – 150

David MacBrayne - AEC Reliance - LUS 524E - 150

David MacBrayne Ltd.
1967
AEC Reliance 2U3RA
Willowbrook DP49F

LUS 524E is a 1967 AEC Reliance 590 2U3RA with Willowbrook DP49F body. It was new to the legendary Scottish operator, David MacBrayne, fleet number 150. When MacBraynes ceased operation of bus services, it passed to Highland Omnibuses, being painted in that operator’s superb blue and red livery. Although the body is to the standard BET group design, it is unusual in having a one piece inward opening door, as was normal on contemporary coaches. This vehicle is preserved and is seen here at Brough, taking part in the 2016 Kirkby Stephen Running Day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Don McKeown


24/10/17 – 06:44

This vehicle appeared briefly in Northern Ireland as a "swap" for former Scottish Omnibuses SWS 671 which returned to Scotland. LUS resided with a church group around Gilnahirk in Belfast before returning to the mainland for preservation.

Bill Headley


 

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Hebble – AEC Reliance – BJX 134C – 134

Hebble - AEC Reliance - BJX 134C - 134

Hebble Motor Services
1965
AEC Reliance 2MU4RA
Park Royal DP39F

Photographed late on a summer day in 1966 at Stump Cross, a location very well known to our regular contributor and esteemed authority on Halifax matters, John Stringer, is AEC Reliance BJX 134C, No.134 in the fleet of Hebble Motor Services. The bodywork is by Park Royal, seated as DP39F, and the vehicle is seen in typically rugged terrain en route from Halifax to Cleckheaton. Those days of pre political correctness are reflected in the legend “One Man Operation” displayed in the destination box. This Reliance was the last of a batch of four, BJX 131-134, Nos. 131-134 delivered to Hebble in July/August 1965. The National Bus company took control of the BET bus empire in 1968, and, in the following year, management of Hebble (together with Yorkshire Woollen) passed to West Riding at Wakefield. The subsequent reallocation of services between these companies then saw Hebble expand to twice its BET size, but in 1971 the situation was turned entirely on its head when (to the delight of a certain Geoffrey Hilditch) NBC passed the Hebble business over to the Halifax Joint Omnibus Committee. Of the four Reliances 131-134 (renumbered 666-669 by Hebble in 1970) only the last (shown pictured above) entered the Halifax JOC fleet as No.320 in March 1971, when the bodywork configuration had become B43F, though whether this was inherited as such or was a JOC conversion I know not. I am sure our OBP experts will supply the answer. The 2MU4RA version of the Reliance had the AH470 engine coupled with the Thornycroft six speed constant mesh gearbox which demanded proper respect in use (I drove the Aldershot & District examples so I speak from experience). As far as I can establish, 320 would then have been the only constant mesh gearbox bus in the Halifax fleet since the expulsion of the last Nimbus, a type that was almost (I loved ‘em and drove them at every opportunity) universally detested by the driving staff. I bet 320 was not popular to say the least.
A truly comprehensive and lively discussion about the final years of the Hebble company may be found on OBP at this link.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


26/06/17 – 07:24

Interesting looking lorry passing in the opposite direction. The square stepped wheel arch reminds me of a Guy Warrior. Can anybody identify it?

David Hargraves


27/06/17 – 07:04

Thank’s Roger, I’ve never been esteemed before !
The problems you suggest may have occurred at Halifax with the arrival of 134 (latterly 669 under the YWD-based scheme) into a synchromesh and semi-automatic fleet did not happen.
Towards the end of 134’s time with Hebble one of their Plaxton Panorama-bodied Reliance coaches with synchromesh gearbox (either 20 or 21) suffered a gearbox failure in the Cheltenham area whilst working an outbound journey on the South West Clipper. A changeover (presumably by Black & White) was provided – not exactly a unique occurrence – to continue the rest of the journey to Paignton but no assistance was forthcoming regarding a repair (probably because it was happening too often). Consequently a Hebble mechanic and apprentice were instructed to grab the first Reliance that returned to depot, remove its gearbox, shoot off down to Cheltenham with it in the service van (a very hard worked vehicle) and swap the boxes over in time for their coach to change over the loaned coach on its way back. They then returned to Halifax with the defective box and it was duly ‘repaired’ (probably after a fashion). Then being in a constant state of vehicle shortage there was no time to bother getting the right boxes back into the right vehicles, so 134 received the repaired synchromesh box and retained it for the rest of its days, the coach retaining the constant mesh one.

0025037cejR1OBP[2]

As a result BJX 134C arrived at Halifax JOC (as 320) thus equipped, being no different to their other Reliances. Due to the strange Hebble trim layout it received a most unusual interpretation of the Halifax DP livery, starting out like a DP at the front and ending up in service bus livery at the rear. Here it is seen entering St. James Road prior to turning into the Cross Field Bus Station, Halifax sometime in late 1971. Please forgive the dreadfully out-of-focus shot but it is the only one I ever took of it in this livery.

0034022cejR1OBP[2]

Not long afterwards it was refurbished as a service bus with bus seating, its racks and luggage boot removed and repainted into normal bus livery. It passed into WYPTE ownership in 1974 becoming 3320 but never received PTE livery, being sold for scrap soon afterwards. This second photo shows it passing along Towngate, Northowram in the Spring of 1973.

John Stringer


27/06/17 – 09:10

Thanks, John. I knew that you would come up with the comprehensive answers – an esteemed authority indeed. You confirm that the conversion to bus seating was a Halifax exercise. Circumstances certainly acted in the favour of this vehicle where the gearbox was concerned. I suppose that is why only this one out of of the batch of four was accepted by GGH. Had it retained its original Thornycroft box in Halifax service I am sure that the gear changes would have been heard right across the West Riding – anything with a crash/constant mesh box was an anathema to the Halifax drivers.

wagon

Turning to David’s enquiry, I can see the resemblance to the Guy front end, but nothing I can find matches it exactly. Pantechnicons were often built closely to operators’ requirements so you could well be right. I will send a closer view if the front end to Peter to help with identification.

Roger Cox


05/07/17 – 06:25

Could the body on the pantechnicon be by Marsden/Vanplan.

Stephen Bloomfield


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 17th November 2017