Old Bus Photos

Southampton Corporation – AEC Swift – MTR 420F – 2

Southampton Corporation - AEC Swift - MTR420F - 2

Southampton Corporation
1968
AEC Swift MP2R
Strachans B47D

I thought a southern flavour was in order with another Southampton photo this one in service in early 1968 when the bus was quite new I am not sure of the exact location in the city.
No 2 MTR 420F was an AEC Swift MP2R with a Strachans B47D body delivered in February 1968 one of a batch of five which were some 9-10 months after No 1 JOW 499E with an identical body, the ways to tell them apart was that No 1 had a red roof and a cream skirt rather than that shown on No 2 it also had a route number box above the first near/side window. These were followed by four more Swifts in 1970 this time with East Lancs who by this time were confirmed as Southampton’s body builder of choice.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave


05/06/14 – 07:38

It’s on the junction of Portsmouth Road and Victoria Road in Woolston, Dave. She’s come from Weston Estate and is going to City Centre via Bitterne and Northam.
The 8 and the 16 ran in opposite directions and the bus is turning right here because ahead of her is the bridge carrying the Southampton to Portsmouth railway line. Occasionally, drivers tried taking double deckers under the bridge, and failed to do anything other than cause the vehicle’s immediate withdrawal, hence the introduction of the compulsory right turn here. The road was lowered when the Itchen Bridge was built to replace the Floating Bridge in 1977.
Several "Corporation" services ended at either side of the Itchen, and Hants & Dorset had a couple which terminated in Woolston, along with a small depot.

Pete Davies


05/06/14 – 07:39

By the time I saw this bus it was in a rather sorry state – parked at the back of the Blackpool Corporation depot in April 1980 being used as a source of spares for their own fleet of Swifts.

Mike Morton


05/06/14 – 17:41

It’s nice to see this style of bodywork in a decent colour scheme. London Transport and Wolverhampton’s versions were both dreadful!

Neville Mercer


05/06/14 – 17:41

I recall seeing these vehicles on my occasional forays from Portsmouth to So’ton. They had attractive bodies, in my opinion, aided by the livery. I moved from the area in 1976, the same year that saw the demise of Strachans. Your comment, Mike, confirms my thoughts that they did not have long lives, like many Swifts. No idea of bodywork quality: do you DD?

Chris Hebbron


06/06/14 – 07:39

The six Strachans bodied Swifts lasted a maximum of eleven years in Southampton, but a couple of them went after a mere six years. The subsequent four Swifts with East Lancs bodies also stayed in the fleet for just eleven years, so I suspect that the modest lives of these buses was due more to the shortcomings of the Swift chassis than to inadequacies with the bodywork. In fact, the Strachans body on rear engined two door single deck chassis gained quite a reasonable reputation owing to the employment of underframing that reduced the flexing movement. The Strachans examples were rather less prone to roof structure failure in the region of the centre doorway than the efforts of some other manufacturers, as London Transport, for example, discovered to its cost.

Roger Cox


06/06/14 – 08:46

One peculiarity of the Swifts in Southampton – it may have applied to the Arab UF and Nimbus fleet as well but I never got to travel on any of them, and I suspect not – was a red stripe across the roof, to match the location of the step behind the centre door. Smoking downstairs had been prohibited for several years, but was still allowed upstairs. On the Swifts, the step and stripe designated where the ‘upstairs’ was!

Pete Davies


07/06/14 – 08:17

Roof? No, sorry! I meant ceiling!

Pete Davies


07/06/14 – 08:17

I had always wondered how cigarette smoke determined where to stop blowing. It was commonplace for Smokers to be requested to occupy the rear of the vehicle on single deck buses. But how to keep the smoke from wafting into the forward section?
Southampton clearly had the answer – paint a read line across the ceiling, the smoke won’t dare go beyond there. Obvious, or what !!

Petras409


07/06/14 – 08:18

Thx, Roger, your thoughts about the chassis rather than the body being the problem matches mine.

Chris Hebbron


07/06/14 – 10:00

Slightly off topic but there used to be an airline that had smokers on one side of the aircraft, non smokers on the other and this was on narrow bodied aircraft. The joke was that this must be Aer Lingus. The truth was it was Lufthansa. Just how German efficiency prevented the smoke crossing the aisle on a B737 for instance has never been revealed.

Phil Blinkhorn


 

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

 


 

Birmingham City – A E C Swift – KOX 663F – 3663

Birmingham City - A E C Swift - KOX 663F - 3663

Birmingham City Transport
1967
A E C Swift 505 MP2R
Metro-Cammell B37D+30

KOX 663F, is an A E C Swift 505 MP2R built in 1967 with Metro-Cammell B37D+30 standing bodywork. New to Birmingham and then West Midlands as 3663 it was acquired by Mid Warwickshire Motors before being preserved and has just been fully restored in West Midland livery.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones


13/04/14 – 18:30

Another candidate for the Ugly Bus page! Top-heavy treatment of the front end…. Was this for extra headroom? ….and the side route box and blank panel/window by the exit. Does it really have no doors?

Joe


14/04/14 – 07:43

Both sets of doors are open.

Roger Burdett


14/04/14 – 07:43

Slightly less ugly than the same bodybuilder’s effort on the Liverpool Panthers.

Phil Blinkhorn


14/04/14 – 08:44

Doors… I can see a handrail to each right and a well-light at the bottom- but above that I look straight through the bus. Is there room on the left, obstructing the driver’s view?… Now it can be told?

Joe


14/04/14 – 08:44

Two pictures for your consideration

KOX 663F_2

one showing that the vehicle does have doors

KOX 663F_3

and one internal shot showing the standing area.

Ken Jones


14/04/14 – 18:19

Thanks Ken- looks like one flap on each side then? Ceiling marvellous shade of Nicotine, reminiscent of top decks. Is that your silver handled cane?

Joe


14/04/14 – 18:19

Pity it’s ugly – certainly an unbalanced design – because it’s a superb restoration from the photographic evidence. The Liverpool Panthers might beat them in the ugly stakes but the Southport Panthers, with deeper screens, were quite handsome for their time.

David Oldfield


15/04/14 – 06:57

Not my cane and not my bus before anyone asks – they haven’t made a Swift in N gauge yet!

Ken Jones


15/04/14 – 06:57

It looks to me as if Met Cam have used the lower front end of a double deck Fleetline as supplied to Birmingham – probably at the customers request in the interests of standardisation

Ian Wild


15/04/14 – 06:57

I must be fair and agree with David: uglybus maybe, but it looks a lovely job. I have however been staring at Panthers & Swifts on this site and wonder why this bus has so much infilling between screen and peak- look at the Leeds Roes- just enough. Never mind.

Joe


15/04/14 – 06:58

Looking at a photo of a Southport MCW-bodied Panther here //tinyurl.com/m4xqajb, it looks like the same windscreen to me (although in the curved Manchester version rather than the Birmingham vee-form). But I can see three subtle differences which make it fit better. The blank space above the screen is split up by the way it is mounted, the front half of the bus has deeper windows and the remaining height difference is accommodated by the livery application. It just shows what a little thought can do.

Peter Williamson


15/04/14 – 10:49

…..and longer (panoramic?) side windows, Peter. Always make a better impression than multiple short windows. [Only the Y type "got away" with it, but the panoramic side window – normally coaches – version was much better.]

David Oldfield


15/04/14 – 10:51

These buses were built to the operator’s specification using many standard parts in the interest of economy and ease of maintenance. The flat screens for example, like much of the front end treatment, are shared with the BCT double-deck fleet and were used because they were much cheaper to replace than curved ones. The shell is that used to body mainly Panthers, but also some Panther Cubs and some Swifts and is a close copy of the ubiquitous BET design.
It is a great credit to the owners that they have restored this bus, which is now, and arguably always was, an interesting rarity. If we were to judge all historic artefacts on their aesthetic appearance alone, and only retain what looks nice, bearing in mind of course that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, an immediate end would be put to those interminable antiques programmes on the TV!
Let’s hope that the owners don’t read the comments left here – If I were one of them, I would feel insulted.

KOX 663_4

The bus does look much better in more favourable surroundings, as I’m sure that you gentlemen will agree.

Philip Lamb


15/04/14 – 18:11

I’m not sure why anyone should feel insulted. It is a most attractive restoration of a rather unpretty bus, but a lack of prettiness is no reason not to restore- or I would be rejected by the NHS! As it is, it tells a fascinating tale of fleet management, which has unfolded here- and how this and other operators resolved such questions. Consider the rather odd looking PS1 deckers-utility over looks? Or single deck Fleetlines? Bridgemasters, Wulfrunians were all unpretty but of their time. Was there a balance between appearance and economy through standardisation? Good material for discussion- so we can all be wannabee General Managers!

Joe


16/04/14 – 06:49

Can’t understand why anyone would feel insulted over the ugly bus comments. Preservation of anything is normally for reasons of historic value. Availability, familiarity, rarity are other factors. Looks rarely come into it and shouldn’t have any bearing with a true preservationist

Phil Blinkhorn


16/04/14 – 06:50

Thank you Joe for your balanced comment. There’s no reason for anyone to be insulted by any of the comments on this link – mine or anyone else’s.
There is, of course, a reason for the body being on both Swift and Panther. It’s the same bus. They shared a frame and only the engines and gearboxes were different. It was the first entirely new bus (in 1964) from the Leyland Motor Corporation, after the merger of Leyland and ACV in 1962.

David Oldfield


16/04/14 – 11:09

I consider this bus to be of an interesting – "different" – but perfectly acceptable appearance, especially compared to some of today’s double deckers from certain factories, vehicles which are simply a mass of incongruous bits and pieces disguised to a degree by ghastly "liveries." The Birmingham Swift’s livery is dignified and unsullied in the extreme, and the ceiling material in my view is delightfully restful and attractive and a welcome change from the almost universal garish matt white of today – I’m sure this material was chosen by BCT rather than having anything to do with nicotine Joe.

Chris Youhill


16/04/14 – 18:24

Perhaps David O you should have started your thread with ‘I think it is ugly’ rather than ‘pity its ugly’ that way it is defined as your personal opinion rather than Carte Blanche opinion on the bus as clearly opinion on this bus is divided and just maybe less people may feel a little offended – just my thoughts!
Clearly a lot of time, money and hard work has gone into an excellent restoration of a relatively rare vehicle. I rather like this bus and I would also agree with Ian Wild with regards to the front end treatment.

Richard McAllister


16/04/14 – 18:25

I think some of the difference between this Swift and the Southport Panther are due to the fact that the Panther has a front mounted radiator and therefore needs the attractive grill fitted by Metro Cammell and also has deeper destination apertures which decreases the size of the blank panel above the screen, the deeper windows in the front part of the body also lessen the large side panels aided by the band of colour below the window line which may not look as good on the O/S. To me the use of curved screens on the Panther make little difference to the overall appearance, but the Swift’s restoration is a credit to a huge amount of time and effort by many people WELL DONE.

Diesel Dave


16/04/14 – 19:02

The ceiling colour is similar to that employed by LT on its Routemasters and is there to combat nicotine. This only worked in part. I used to sell a PVC/aluminium product called Tedlar which was supposed to defeat nicotine by being wipe clean but the cost of the product and the cost of cleaning was too much for the 1960s bodybuilders and operators.

Phil Blinkhorn


17/04/14 – 06:29

David’s comment about the windows being shorter than on the Southport Panther has caused me to look at this a little more closely, and I have come to the conclusion that the Swift’s body was designed very much from the inside out. The door apertures are much narrower than on the Panther, and the exit door is mounted further forward. Presumably this was to give the internal layout that the operator desired, but the result is that it would have been impossible to fit longer windows in the front half, and therefore at all (since this was well before the advent of the Borismaster ethos where every bay can be a different size!).

Peter Williamson


26/04/14 – 18:15

Thanks for the interest and comments. My brother David and I funded and Trailways of Bloxwich, West Midlands, transformed the Swift. To me it’s a beauty !
No offence taken ! The walking stick belongs to Trailways owner Ron Faherty !

Robert Carson


27/04/14 – 08:13

Well, Robert, you can both be proud of the finished product and of Trailways for doing such a fine job. I did wonder if the walking stick was something West Midlands Travel provided on all their buses to help all disabled passengers!

Chris Hebbron


28/04/14 – 09:49

KOX 663_4

Here is KOX 663F when owned by the troubled Mid Warwickshire Motors. It is seen in Mereden on an enthusiasts’ tour.

Tony Martin


24/12/15 – 12:11

The usual stamping ground for single-decker BCT buses like this was the 27 route because it required so many low railway bridges to be negotiated – notably in Northfield and outside the Cadbury factory. The 27 was my daily transport to and from school and during the 1960s and early 70s BCT would use the route to trial all kinds of manufacturers test offerings, asking passengers for their opinion. There were Ford R192s (BCT later bought a couple) and even on one occasion a Volvo.

Ray Trendy


KOX 663F_2 Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


01/01/16 – 16:51

I think the "issues" with the frontal styling arose because the Swift chassis was (at the rear) relatively high, but this one has a low driving position. Hence the correspondingly low positioning of the windscreen, relative to the overall height of the vehicle, which needs to allow for the height of the floor in the rear section.
As David O says above, the Swift and Panther used the same chassis frame, but Swifts had radiators in the side adjacent to the engine, and I believe this caused them to have higher floors at the rear. Other bodybuilders had this problem with Swifts, for example, Southampton’s East Lancs bodied batch numbered 7-10 also had an "extra" section between the windscreen and destination box.

Nigel Frampton


 

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

 


 

Leeds City Transport – AEC Swift – JNW 952E – 52

Leeds City Transport - AEC Swift - JNW 952E - 52

Leeds City Transport
1967
AEC Swift MP2R
Roe B48D

Leeds bought several batches of AEC Swifts between 1967 and 1971. Prior to these appearing the fleet was 90% double deck with around 15 saloons most of which were AEC Reliances some with centre entrance bodies with the later ones being dual door for one man operation.
Seen here are a quartet of the first two batches of Swifts parked outside the old Bramley depot which was a former tram depot.
Three of the Swifts have Roe bodywork of an attractive style while the fourth carries an MCW body which had forward sloping window pillars and a slightly stepped waistrail. Further saloons in the shape of both Swifts and single deck Fleetlines would appear before the last Roe bodied Swifts entered service in 1971. All of the buses seen here carry their original dark green with light green windows livery that was basically reversed when it was decided to paint one man operated buses in a different style to the rear entrance fleet. All of the Swifts passed to the PTE and had a largely normal life span. From the left they are 52 JNW 952E, 74 MNW 174F the solitary MCW example seen here and 54 and 56 from the same batch as 52.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hough


05/09/13 – 14:30

Leeds City Transport plus Roe bodywork is pretty much as one might expect, since the factory was within the boundary. MCW? However did that idea get past Committee???

Pete Davies


05/09/13 – 14:30

A matter of personal preference I know Chris, but I thought that the traditional Leeds City Transport livery as shown here was the very best – corporate and completely dignified, inside and out. The various batches of Swifts each had fascinating characteristics, often considerably different and interesting (challenging even) in their own ways. The first fifty as shown in the picture had semi automatic transmission while the final batches of fifty and twenty had the option of fully automatic or, if drivers like me preferred, manual override so as to allow "normal" gearchanging of a sort. In fairness though the fully automatic mode on these was normally very predictable and well behaved. All things considered, the final twenty (1051 – 1070) with luxury seats were the best of the lot and were a delight to drive and to ride in. Passenger flow in the last seventy was really excellent and they were ideal for one person operation. Rumour had it, we shall never know on what foundation, when the last twenty were on order that they would be of 12 metres length – its a good job that they weren’t, as some of the corners on the inner city routes would have been literally impossible – the turn from the nearside lane of East Parade into Park Lane (Headrow) being one certainty. Thanks again for a really nostalgic picture Chris.

Chris Youhill


06/09/13 – 08:21

Peter Leeds had a long history of dual sourcing bodywork between Roe and MCW although the Swifts were the first saloons.
Chris I too preferred the original liveries seen here although the doors were a little eccentric since the exit door was half the width of the entrance. The Park Royal examples were much better in having both doors of normal width. The Roe 1971 batch had fronts derived from the Leeds two door decker design and as you say were a joy to ride on. I recall that they were replaced on the Ring Road service with Duple bodied Tigers which were also a pleasant ride. One thing that has always struck me about the MCW bodied Swifts was their apparent narrowness at the front compared to the Roe examples.

Chris Hough


06/09/13 – 08:22

By 1967/8 MCW had been Leeds’ ‘backup’ supplier of bodywork for the best part of two decades. It was widely believed that it was possible to get more advantageous quotes from suppliers by multi-sourcing.

David Call


10/09/13 – 06:33

You are right Chris, and the MCW do appear narrower and even allowing for slightly different camera angle its very strange indeed – but must somehow be just an illusion ??
The Tigers were truly superb vehicles, mechanically and bodily, and the luxurious brown patterned moquette seats were the finest. They did indeed replace the Swifts on the Ring Road service entirely, and I think on most other single deck routes from Headingley Depot – memory not clear, although it should be, on the last point but its getting now to be a long time ago – I eagerly took redundancy from the forthcoming "circus" on October 25th 1986. On joining South Yorkshire Road Transport after that I encountered daily more Tigers but with OPO adapted Plaxton luxury coachwork – these really were the bees knees for stage carriage work, and one of them still enjoyed a working radio – the others having been silenced because of arguments arising on private hires and excursions – and whenever I had number 22 on bus services (often) the passengers were able to enjoy Radio Two.

Chris Youhill


10/09/13 – 16:30

Like Chris, I have a great deal of affection for the TRCTL11 Tigers. [A shame there were no TRCTL12s – AEC men will know what I mean.]

David Oldfield


10/09/13 – 16:30

Going off at a bit of a tangent here, but at Halifax we had some of the Tigers to which Chris refers. They became regular performers on the ex-Hebble Rochdale service, along with its later alternative variant via the incredibly narrow and tortuous lanes around Mill Bank and Soyland. They certainly romped along compared with ex-West Yorkshire Leopard coaches which we also had at the time, though they always gave me the impression of not being quite so durable. They were also without any doubt the worst buses I have ever had to drive in snow and ice.
However, I would question Chris’s views on their bodywork. They had Duple Dominant Bus bodies, and were apparently built in stages, the works giving priority to coach production and fitting ours in as and when they had a bit of spare time. Our chap whose job it was to monitor the construction of the PTE’s buses paid a visit to the works and found their basic steel frameworks had been assembled and then dumped outside in the yard with inadequate (or possibly no) rustproofing to suffer the worst of the salty Blackpool sea air. They were already rusting away and a strong request was made (in no uncertain broad Yorkshire terms I can well imagine !) to get them treated straight away. This was apparently carried out, but apparently not very well, and they began to suffer corrosion problems from quite an early stage in their lives. There were two batches, and I think it was the first batch of seven Y-reg ones (which went to Leeds) which suffered the worst, but one of our A-prefix ones was subject to quite a major rebuild later and became the only one to carry the white, blue and yellow First Calderline livery, and the last to survive.

John Stringer


11/09/13 – 08:30

But John, they were Duples. The reason that the firm folded was because of the appalling quality and finish. Your story helps explain why the metal frames were so prone to rust and corrosion. The fit and finish left a lot to be desired on the 320/340 bodies at the end (1989). I know of at least one Western National 340/Tiger where the panels were coming adrift after a few months and I drove a 320/Scania where I thought that the engine cover had counterbalancing until I was told it was rusted metal "sloshing" about in the cavity. How are the mighty fallen. Duple were at the top of their game when they moved to Blackpool and had an honourable history with the Continental and Commander but seemed to lose the plot after that. The Dominant was an Elite rip off – but with a metal frame. Somehow it never worked – despite the Continental being a successful metal-framed model. MCW had exactly the same corrosion problems despite the MCCW metal frames being the best of their time.

David Oldfield


11/09/13 – 16:30

Following on from Davids comments. It is interesting that the PTE/Yorkshire Rider never went for the National (one batch only) and Calderdales last pre low floor saloon were Plaxton bodied Volvos.

Chris Hough


12/09/13 – 08:30

John and David – I can only say that I amazed to hear of such structural inferiority in the Duple Dominant bodies, but naturally don’t doubt it for a minute on hearing such reliable reports. All I can say is that, in their "youth", the Headingley PTE Tiger ones were superbly comfortable and free of any rattling or body noise and movement – as the saying goes "You can’t judge a book by its cover." !!

Chris Youhill


 

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 Wednesday 17th August 2022