Old Bus Photos

PMT – AEC Reliance – WJO 744 – S5626

PMT - AEC Reliance - WJO 744 - S5626

Potteries Motor Traction
1955
AEC Reliance MU3RV
Willowbrook B45F

Nine of these AEC Reliance MU3RV’s with Willowbrook B45F bodies had been ordered by City of Oxford Motor Services for delivery in 1955. Registered in Oxford as WJO 736-744, the last three were instead diverted to PMT which numbered them S5624-5626 and placed them in their Wells Motor Services Ltd. subsidiary fleet, painted in Wells’ green and cream livery. The Biddulph-based 20 vehicle Wells business had been acquired in 1953, and was absorbed into the main fleet in 1959, whereupon the trio of Reliances received standard PMT red and cream fleet livery. It is pictured here outside Biddulph depot on a dismal day in late 1971, probably not long before withdrawal.

Photograph and Copy contributed by John Stringer

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.


19/11/13 – 05:45

Ah, memories, memories. ‘PMT – NorWestern, Biddulph Depot’. Foreman Tommy Chell complaining regularly about the rubbish that Paddy Grimes, his opposite number at NWRCC Macclesfield Depot sent him! (Not that it prevented Tommy from having a drink with Paddy most Friday nights!) For NWRCC, Biddulph was an outstation of Macclesfield, PMT carried out the necessary maintenance on the North Western contingent. As for S5626, well very much a Biddulph machine. The trio had a sad appearance, rather high front waist with consequent shallow windscreens. One thing is certain, it wouldn’t be long before it suffered a head gasket failure!!!5626 was the last of the three to be withdrawn, in 1972 passing to Martin, (Weaverham), Dealer in December that year.

WJO 744_2

Here is a photo of S5626 in service in Biddulph on 8th March 1971, looking rather neglected. Note that the standard PMT blind display is too deep for the aperture.

Ian Wild


19/11/13 – 15:22

It seems to me to be unusual for vehicles intended for one operator to be diverted to another before entering service, and then keep their allotted registrations. My experience – admittedly limited – is generally that the booked registrations become void and are superseded by ones relevant to the new "home" territory.
It is of course an entirely different story if a vehicle is passed from one operator to another after service, such as a Ribble PS2 going to Southport for further service.
How wrong am I???

Pete Davies


22/11/13 – 08:01

In 1965 Bristol Omnibus received four MWs originally built for Eastern National. These were delivered to Bristol in ENOC livery with Essex registrations in the JHK-C series, before being reregistered in Bristol with BHW-C marks.

Geoff Kerr


22/11/13 – 10:02

Thanks, Geoff

Pete Davies


22/11/13 – 10:03

The vast geographical area covered by the United Automobile Services Empire contained literally dozens of registration options, but they had a policy that vehicles new to them were all registered in Darlington, and so had an HN index. On the other hand, Northern General vehicles usually had the mark of the area to which the vehicle was first allocated, so they could be either a County or local authority registration.

Ronnie Hoye


09/03/16 – 06:55

North Western’s Biddulph depot was a depot in its own right and was so from July 1936 until March 1972 when the Biddulph depot work, together with Macclesfield and Northwich depots passed to Crosville.
North Western outstations were at Castleton (Derbyshire) and Warrington plus for a very short time Congleton.

John Dixon


10/03/16 – 05:02

With reference to the comments above regarding new vehicles diverted to different operators, I think it depends when the vehicle is first registered/taxed. In 1977, Trent exchanged VRs for Nationals with Northern General – the VRs had already been registered by Trent (UTO 830-7S) but had not entered service when they went to Northern General; the Nationals had not been registered by Northern General, so they were registered by Trent as VCH 473-80S. Another example is the G regd Willowbrook Atlanteans intended for Devon General – some at least were photographed at Willowbrook with Devon General fleet names,fleet numbers and Devon registration numbers in the OTT-G series; at the last minute they were diverted to Yorkshire Traction, who put them into service in Devon General livery, but with local Barnsley registrations in the RHE-G series.

Bob Gell


 

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Western Welsh – AEC Reliance – WKG 284 – 1284

Western Welsh - AEC Reliance - WKG 284 - 1284

Western Welsh Omnibus
1961
AEC Reliance 2MU3RA
Willowbrook DP41F

Delivered in 1961 to Western Welsh, WKG 284 is a dual purpose AEC Reliance with Willowbrook body. WKG 284 would last with the company until 1972 when it then passed to Gelligaer UDC. It has been restored by the RE-Liance Bus Preservation Group and was photographed from an open top vehicle arriving at the recent rally at the G & W Railway at Toddington.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones

A full list of Reliance codes can be seen here.


15/09/13 – 09:39

Yet another beautiful restoration. With the PMT Leopard we also revisited the problems with the AEC wet-liner engines (470 and 590). What needs to be reiterated is that, especially with the 470, the engines pre-dated universal motorway usage and for all their foibles they were sufficient unto the day. AECs virtues always far outnumbered their vices.

David Oldfield


16/09/13 – 06:35

As David O says, another beautiful restoration, captured admirably by Ken. What has always puzzled me about this operator name was that I only ever saw services in south east Wales, not in the west. I see from that encyclopaedia site that there were operations in Tenby and parts of the West Country in the early days. I suppose they were hived off in the interests of "rationalisation".

Pete Davies


16/09/13 – 09:15

The "Western" in the company’s name refers to the Great Western Railway who were a major shareholder and contributed their existing services to the Combined operation. The same logic applied to the naming of Southern National (part owned by the Southern Railway), Southern Vectis (ditto), and Western National, plus of course Eastern National where LNER were a major owner.

Neville Mercer


16/09/13 – 13:10

In 1929, Great Western Railway bus services in South Wales were merged with those of a company called South Wales Commercial Motors. A new company, Western Welsh Omnibus Co. Ltd, was formed with a GWR share-holding.
This was during the period of large-scale acquisition of bus interests by the railways.

Geoff Kerr


17/09/13 – 05:10

Thank you, Neville & Geoff!

Pete Davies


17/09/13 – 05:12

The AEC 470 engine vehicles didn’t need a motorway to show up problems, David! On service work, minor cylinder head gasket failures, not enough to affect performance, would instantly cause an air lock in the heating system with the inevitable bookings of ‘cold heaters and demisters’. Oh that the cause could be rectified as quickly as the report could be written. The horizontal 470 was the bane of many an operations engineer’s life – wonder if the vertical version was any better? I never came across one to find out.

Ian Wild


17/09/13 – 05:14

Does anybody know (or care to suggest a reason) why, when Western Welsh elected to display route numbers, they chose yellow-on-black rather than white-on-black? . . . whilst retaining white-on-black for destination blinds?

Philip Rushworth


17/09/13 – 08:55

Philip, it’s an interesting question, especially as most indicator displays are now of the dot matrix or led system, and yellow on black. Why, indeed, would Western Welsh have gone the way they did?
When, roughly, did they go to this formation?
For the latter half of my working life, I was dealing with bus operations in particular but other elements as well, of traffic management in Southampton. Some of that work was dealing with disabled parking bays. One of my colleagues, the signs specialist, observed one day about the need to place a white or silver stripe round some (strangely, not all) sign posts, for the benefit of folk with defective eyesight. According to the manual, for instance, a bus stop pole ‘shall’ be either black or silver. How many of other colours do you see? Quite a lot, especially if operators provide and maintain their own. Some still do!
It provided a contrast. This is why many steps have an edge of different colour. One "Circular" he received mentioned the fact that, in conjunction with RNIB, it had been found yellow was an even better contrast, especially at night. A lot of people say they are waiting for "the number 62". They don’t want any others in the range of bus services that might serve a particular part of their town. They want the "62". Could Western Welsh have been among the first operators to realise that the yellow gives a better contrast when prospective customers are looking for a certain number?
Could they, perhaps but unlikely, have been the guinea pig operator for testing blinds? No, surely not, as this firm and Red & White had by then been merged into National Welsh.

Pete Davies


17/09/13 – 16:48

The smaller AH410 revealed the same problems as its larger capacity cousin. The Aldershot and District Reliances repeatedly incurred air locks in the cooling and saloon heating system, due, in no small measure, to the failure of the seals in the wet liners. Driving one of these buses on the very busy Cove services during a wet winter night with ineffective, cold demisters was, almost literally, touch and go insofar as forward vision was concerned. That a firm the size of AEC should prove incapable of producing reliable wet liner engines suggests a significant malaise in the design department. The much smaller Dennis company managed to make trouble free wet liner engines in petrol and diesel forms from the 1930s onwards to the end of its engine production programme. The first AEC wet liner engine was the "bootlace" or A172 motor of 6.754 litres which appeared in 1935, and this design, which had had a reputation for wet liner and gasket failures throughout its life, was the basis for the postwar AEC family of wet liner engines. It now seems incredible that, in decades of development, AEC could never cure the faults.

Roger Cox


18/09/13 – 05:41

One of our Depot Engineers with quite a number of Reliance 470s on his allocation became so desperate that he acquired two of those windscreen heaters with two rubber suckers used on cars in pre-demister days. These were duly fitted one to each screen of an errant Reliance, wired in series (couldn’t get 24volt versions) in an attempt to warm the cold air being pumped out by the demister and thus provide some degree of windscreen clearing. Not a success!! (but 10/10 for innovation!) Let’s not forget that the Leyland 0.350 fitted to the Tiger Cub etc was not too successful in the head gasket department either, made worse by the use of a single cylinder head.

Classy livery and practical too. NBC had a lot to answer for!

Ian Wild


25/09/13 – 07:27

Western Welsh used yellow route numbers to denote one-man operated services.

Nigel Utting


26/09/13 – 06:40

Thanks Nigel! But I’m now going to leaf through "Glory Days: Western Welsh" and "Shades of Red, White and Grey" to see if I can find any Renowns or crew-operated Atlanteans with yellow number blinds . . . which would put paid to your idea! (Although I hope it doesn’t.)

Philip Rushworth


27/09/13 – 06:55

You probably will, Philip – although that was the original intention, in time it rolled out across the fleet. Seemed a strange way of doing things, but there we are.

Nigel Utting


03/10/15 – 03:58

Western Welsh introduced 3 digit Route numbers in 1959. The first digit identified the depot the route was primarily operated by e.g., 2XX worked by Bridgend 8xx Haverfordwest.
The 24 Leyland Tiger Cubs with Park Royal B43F bodies SBO 240 to 263 Fleet Numbers 1240 to 1263 were the first fitted with destination indicators containing number roller blinds. Western Welsh used yellow route numbers from the outset. Services worked by OMO carried a black triangular flap with yellow lettering on the nearside front which could be inverted when working conventionally with a conductor.

Western Welsh’s operating territory covered the whole of South Wales and Monmouthshire with the notable exception of Swansea (South Wales transport). At its formation in 1929 the Great Western Railway services were based in Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, North Pembrokeshire, Neath, Abergavenny and Brecon. Those of South Wales Commercial Motors were based in Cardiff and Bridgend. Expansion into the Eastern and Western Valleys of Monmouthshire was achieved in 1933 and South Pembrokeshire as late as 1956 with the acquisition of Green’s of Haverfordwest. The only service into England was the Brecon to Hereford 730 service introduced in 1962 following closure of the Rail service and was an extension of the Brecon Hay on Wye service hitherto.

Stuart Davies


14/12/15 – 06:27

I worked as a turner at Ely garage in the seventies, and since then have wondered what the strange type of red the buses were painted was called. Anybody know? Also most of the buses had a diamond painted on their rear showing which depot they "belonged" to. Yellow was Ely, blue either Barry or Bridgend, Cross Keys black.

Ed


28/06/16 – 06:27

The colour the buses were painted in the 1970’s was National Bus Company ‘Poppy Red’.
This was one of the two standardised NBC liveries (but there were exceptions) introduced from late 1972 under Chairman, Freddy (later Sir Frederick) Wood.
Although these two NBC colours were actually British Standard colours and should have been the same on all vehicles, in practice, due to differing paint suppliers used by different companies there was actually some discernible difference between fleets.

Rob F


 

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P M T – AEC Reliance – 4990 VT – C990

Potteries Motor Traction - AEC Reliance - 4990 VT - 990

Potteries Motor Traction
1964
AEC Reliance 2U3RA
Duple C49F

Potteries Motor Traction took delivery of six of these fantastic vehicles in 1964 they had the AEC 590 engine and 6 speed ZF manual gearbox. Drivers and passengers loved them, 4989 VT won the 1964 Brighton coach rally. I have not driven a coach before or since as good as these splendid vehicles. The company got rid of these vehicles in 1976 the older drivers like myself still talk about them now, there was nothing like driving down the third lane of the M6 motorway at about 75MPH which at that time was legal. Oh happy days.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Michael Crofts


11/08/13 – 08:31

Brings back happy memories of Sheffield United Tours and Cyril (C G) Littlewood with their ZF Reliances roaring in and out of Pond Street to and from the north of Scotland, the south of England and continental venues as far away as Switzerland, Italy and Yugoslavia. As Michael says, fantastic vehicles – to ride in and to drive,

David Oldfield


14/08/13 – 11:17

Back in 1965-67 I used to do a regular monthly trip through PMT land, usually starting off with a ride from Manchester to Leek on North Western’s X1 (operated by the previous year’s Y-types, quickly relegated from the X5 to London). After a visit to Berresfords in Cheddleton I’d carry on to Hanley to see what was new with the independents there and then return to Manchester on PMT’s afternoon X2 departure.
On one occasion this was operated by this very machine which made a pleasant change – PMT were in the habit of throwing any old rubbish at this route with lowbridge Atlanteans quite common at busy times. You never realised how uncomfortable these were until you’d spent two hours on one!

Neville Mercer


31/10/13 – 07:16

I remember 4989 VT, as I sometimes travelled to School on it when it was operated by a firm from Bugbrooke Northamptonshire. They sold it in around 1975. I believe it is in that great Coach park in the sky now more’s the pity. The regular driver said it was good for 90 mph on the motorway. No Tachographs or Speed Limiters in them days!

Stemax1960


01/11/13 – 08:12

Overheating was a problem with these six coaches when driven for long periods in 6th gear such as on motorway work. Some had 6th gear blanked off which had the consequence of lowering the top speed but ensuring reasonable fan revolutions. Fleet number C991 had a tandem radiator fitted, from memory as an AEC initiative to overcome the problem. Whilst I can remember the fitment, I can’t recall the result! Too many years ago. I assume that SUT and other Operators had the same problem?

Ian Wild


01/11/13 – 13:51

I remember a journey from Great Yarmouth to Sheffield in August 1968. Part of the route was on the A1 around Newark, fast, even in those days. We were "going like stink" with our C reg, SUT, 2U3RA Reliance (with AH590) – 356-365 batch. Suddenly we were doing about 30mph – for quite some time. Later, when I questioned the driver, he said she was overheating so he slowed up to give her a chance to cool down. SUT put an experimental air scoop under the grille of B reg 349 – from 346-355 – but this was not entirely successful and was subsequently removed. As I have said before, the wet-liner AH590 – and its problems – lost AEC a lot of friends. Others like SUT and Yelloway persevered and the AH691 and AH760 repaid their persistence. Heavyweight ZF Reliances were thoroughbreds which were a delight to drive and to ride in. The AH590 let the side down.

David Oldfield


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 26th September 2016