Old Bus Photos

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.

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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.

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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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Anderton – AEC Reliance – OWT 940

OWT 940
Copyright John C Gillham

Anderton (Keighley)
1955
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Burlingham Seagull C41F

For me the classic Burlingham Seagull remains as stylish and attractive as it did when I saw my first Sheffield United Tours examples. This one, Reliance MU3RV294, Burlingham 5855, was new to Anderton of Keighley in January 1955 and was snapped by John C Gillham at the Clacton Coach Rally.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson


24/04/17 – 07:20

The design and appearance of the Seagull can, I think, be justifiably be described as immortal.

Chris Youhill


25/04/17 – 07:21

Shaped a bit like a teardrop… but more refined….

Mike..009


27/04/17 – 14:56

OWT 940 was sold to Victoria Coaches of Wakefield and was exported to Malta in 1970, probably as a chassis only.
It received a coach body built by Debono and was in the coach fleet as registration number 2573 by December 1970, later being re-registered to Y-0871.
By July 1987 it had been downgraded to bus work as Y-0767 as B45F, losing its glass rooflights and gaining green livery.
It later received yellow bus livery and was re-registered to FBY 767.
In this form it worked until 2011, when the interesting Malta Bus fleet was swept away in the name of progress.
Thus it worked hard until it was 56 years old, a tribute to AEC.

Dave Farrier


28/04/17 – 17:16

At one time the Maltese route bus vehicles only worked on alternate days, so perhaps this lovely old lady has a semi-retirement in the sun.

David Wragg


04/05/17 – 06:40

I was very interested to see the photo of the Anderton’s AEC. I grew up in Anderton’s home town (Keighley) and they were a well-known local coach business, always smartly turned out in pale blue and cream. I obviously wasn’t observant enough, because I don’t recall this vehicle. Anderton’s seemed to trade in at regular intervals, usually purchasing lighter modern coaches such as the Vega, etc. Sadly they sold out, I think in the early 80s, to Bowen’s and they were closed down.

David Rhodes


 

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Aldershot & District – AEC Reliance – MOR 581 – 543

MOR 581

Aldershot & District Traction Co
1954
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Metro-Cammell B40F

MOR 581 is an AEC Reliance MU3RV. The chassis of this Aldershot & District vehicle dates from 1954, but the body we see ("MCW" in the PSVC listings) was fitted in 1967. The seating is of the B40F layout, and we see it in the Alton Rally on 18 July 2010. One unfortunate feature of the Alton Rally and Fleetwood Tram Sunday is that they often clash and, even with what some of my former colleagues used to call an ‘optimistic’ style of driving, even I can’t manage both in the day!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


05/12/16 – 09:36

Beautiful! I used to travel on these, and their cousins with the older style of bodywork with an opening window for the driver. One A&D feature on OPO buses was to have just a single seat on the front nearside to allow more room for passengers paying the driver, but at the time I was a regular traveller, these buses were crew-operated. My memories are of the No.19 which turned up on time every weekday morning to take me to Haslemere Station and then onto a train to Waterloo. The railway part of my journey was much less reliable until the elderly pre-war 4-CORs were replaced by 4-CIGs.

David Wragg


06/12/16 – 14:03

Does anyone know if others of the batch were given new bodies, or why this one was treated? Crash damage springs to mind . . .

Pete Davies


06/12/16 – 15:43

Pete,
I seem to recall that there were quite a number of them and one bus magazine, it may have been ‘Passenger Transport’ commented that it was surprising that such a dated style was being adopted. I take their point, but I actually liked this style.

David Wragg


07/12/16 – 06:32

Thank you for that, David.

Pete Davies


07/12/16 – 06:34

According to this 15 of them were re-bodied in ’67 http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad267a  
Here is another re-bodied one http://www.sct61.org.uk/ad273

John Lomas


07/12/16 – 06:36

MOR 594

In its search for a suitable vehicle of the then new underfloor engined format, Aldershot & District initially bought a Dennis Dominant in 1951. Only three Dominant chassis were ever made, of which two were bodied, the third chassis being dis-assembled after exhibition at the 1950 Earls Court Show. Although Dennis abandoned plans for volume production of the model, there was very little wrong with the Dominant apart from its excessive weight (a characteristic shared by the the contemporary Regal IV and Royal Tiger), and Aldershot & District kept HOU 900 in front line service for fourteen years. In 1953 the company bought a solitary example of the Guy Arab LUF, which it retained in service until 1965, but purchased no more. Then, after sampling a number of different underfloor types, Aldershot & District finally took the plunge in 1954 with the AEC Reliance, twenty five being delivered with rather gawky, high floor and waistline, Strachans Everest C41C bodywork. These were registered MOR 581 to 605, numbered 250 to 274, and were used on the Farnham – London express route, and on excursions and private hire until displaced by the 1963 Park Royal bodied Reliances. These Strachans MU3RV coaches were powered by the small AH 410 engine of 6.754 litres, a direct (though updated) descendant of the A172 “bootlace” wet liner engine of the 1935 Regal II. The "bootlace" engine design became the basis for all the AEC wet liner engines from the 1950s, and therein lay the root of subsequent trouble, for the original “bootlace” became notorious for cylinder liner seal and gasket failures. No. 263, MOR 594 is shown in 1968 on route 3D (Aldershot – Cove, Minley Estate) passing the RAE in Farnborough Road. The inadequate destination blind display seen here was most unusual on A&D in those days, and indicates a degree of crew laziness in the early NBC era that would not have been tolerated in BET times. These machines were quite pleasant to drive, though given to a somewhat wallowy standard of ride, but the performance with the small AH410 engine was less than sparkling. In 1965, fifteen of these coaches were selected for rebodying with the then A&D standard Weymann saloon design, but the Weymann factory was closing down, and the order was undertaken by Metro-Cammell. The engineering standards on Aldershot & District were extremely high, and no doubt all of the initial 25 Reliances could have been so rebodied if required. Indeed, the remaining Strachans vehicles, of which No. 263 shown was one, continued in service for several more years.

390 AOU

After experience with the initial Strachans bodied coaches, from 1957 Aldershot & District adopted the AH 470 engined Reliance as its standard saloon type with Weymann B41F (OMO) or B43F bodies. The initial buses had opening windscreens for the driver, but the 1960 and subsequent batches incorporated fixed windscreens which had just become legal. No.390, 390 AOU was a 2MU3RV vehicle of 1961, and representative of the final style of the Weymann A&D saloon. It is seen in Queens Avenue, the technically military road that links Farnborough North Camp with Aldershot, and is wearing the revised saloon livery of 1967 with the darker green on the lower panels. It is also carrying the retrograde ‘simplified’ fleetname style that appeared in that same year. The Metro-Cammell bodies on MOR 581 above and some new 1966/67 Reliances differed from the Weymann version in several respects – the offside emergency exit was placed at the rear instead of the centre, the front screens lacked the metal surround, and the lower front panel incorporated a small grille.

Roger Cox


07/12/16 – 06:37

This was from a batch of twenty-five 250-274, MOR 581-605 new in 1954/5 with Strachans C41C bodies.
In 1965 250/2/4-7/9-62/4/9/70/2/3 were delicensed and the bodies removed. The chassis were rebuilt and were rebodied with MCW B40F bodies, renumbered 543-557 respectively, and entered service in 1967. They were to the same design as 283-312, RCG 601-630, which had been new in 1957.
Prior to 1966 bodies were built by Weymann at Addlestone and by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham but after the Weymann works closed at the end of 1965 all subsequent bodies were built by Metro-Cammell-Weymann.

John Kaye


07/12/16 – 13:33

Many thanks for your further thoughts on the history of this vehicle and her sisters.

Pete Davies


07/12/16 – 16:34

I can remember seeing the AEC Reliance chassis parked in the Guildford garage all painted in bright silver paint, I assume they were waiting to be sent for rebodying. I was a passenger on an A & D Loline 111 service 20 travelling from Aldershot to Woodbridge road Guildford to attend technical college.

John Shrubb


10/12/16 – 17:28

I’ve been thinking (I do occasionally!) and I suspect that the fifteen Strachans Reliances selected for rebodying might well have been chosen on the basis of body condition, the better ones being retained as they were. Certainly those that kept their Strachans C41C bodies continued in service for several years after 1965.

Roger Cox


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Sunday 23rd July 2017