Old Bus Photos

Harveys (Mousehole) – Albion Nimbus – RJX 250

Harvey ( Mousehole) - Albion Nimbus - RJX 250
Copyright Ian Wild

Harveys, Mousehole, Cornwall
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann B31F

This former Halifax Nimbus found its way down to deepest Cornwall where local Operator Harveys operated it on their share of the Penzance to Mousehole service which was joint with Western National. The route negotiated narrow streets and sharp corners in Mousehole and this little bus must have been ideal for the service. The photograph was taken on 13th June 1974 so Harveys managed to run it despite all the shortcomings of the type. Mind you, Halifax is rather more hilly!

Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Wild

27/04/12 – 07:30

Harveys certainly put it to good use as it was still in the fleet when they were taken over by Western National in 1988. It even operated for them although unfortunately when I visited Penzance in that year it was laid up with a defective gearbox. Spares were not that easy to come by by then!
It was subsequently preserved but I don’t think it’s been too active in recent years.

David Beilby

27/04/12 – 07:31

This bus survives in preservation and has been restored to Halifax colours.

Chris Hough

27/04/12 – 07:33

Halifax purchased these Albions for the route out to Hepstonstall where there was minimum clearance. At least two of the batch were painted in reverse livery for private hires.

Philip Carlton

27/04/12 – 08:41

Great to see this bus in Mowzell! Having taken a black & white photo of this in Penzance in the late 1960s, I’m pleased to see that it is in a blue livery as I had always wrongly remembered it as being green!

Paul Haywood

27/04/12 – 10:23

How attractive this wee bus looks in the very smart blue and white livery shown here. What a pity the Albion Nimbus was such a stinker in service – one lasting for 25 years, as David relates, must be a national record! My only personal knowledge of the Nimbus is the extremely unflattering remarks made about it by staff at Maidstone & District’s Central Works, where it was regarded as a joke in the worst possible taste.
This posting raises again, however, the subject of lightweight/small capacity vehicles, and the inability of major manufacturers ever to make one that proved itself in service to the satisfaction of of operators. I’ve re-read the postings on the Guy GS; there isn’t one on the Dennis Falcon which found some favour with Aldershot & District, (unsurprising), but with very few others. Why not?

Roy Burke

27/04/12 – 10:28

The Western National contingent was Bristol SUS’s, and before that Beadle re-bodied Bedford OB’s (or possibly OWB’s).

Stephen Ford

27/04/12 – 11:38

Bizarre, Roy. I was contemplating making a similar comment myself – so now I will! In earlier time Western National ran Dennis Aces (or was it Maces?) on the Mowzell. I’m certainly of the heavyweight fraternity and full-sized light and medium weights just not cut it. As you say, the problem is when you need something of small dimension. The Guy GS, and probably contemporary Falcon, were far better engineered than any Mercedes (the better end of the modern market) let alone an IVECO or Renault.
The Tranny is too small, but better engineered than most. [Against all the odds and expectations, Luton and District got over a millions miles of reliable service from their 16 seat Bread Vans.] Unfortunately, cutting a Bristol LH down – which in theory should have given you a "heavy" small bus – didn’t work either. Probably the worst thing I’ve ever driven was an LH/ECW 25 seater – ex Blue Saloon, Guildford.

David Oldfield

28/04/12 – 07:39

Funny David should mention the Bristol LH, shortly after I left Percy Main for pastures new with Armstrong Galley, we took delivery of a Bristol LHS-305 with Plaxton C35F body, which soon became known as the ‘Stotty Box’ (stott is a Geordie expression for bounce) it was bad enough in dry conditions, but in the wet it was like trying to drive a mobile trampoline on an ice rink

Ronnie Hoye

28/04/12 – 07:40

When I was a Traffic Clerk at HPTD, I spent quite a few hours in the Halifax Nimbuses when learning to drive psvs in January 1965, and I always liked them, a view not shared by the majority of the Halifax drivers, more used to the brute force technique required of the Leopards and Titans in the fleet. I often drove on the second half of late turns on the 46 Heptonstall route, which seemed always difficult to cover, probably because of the unpopularity of the Nimbus. Despite the midget proportions of the Nimbus, the 46 route was conductor operated to enable the unbelievably tight reversing point at Heptonstall to be negotiated without major restyling of the bodywork. Later, the route was extended further into the village on a loop terminal working that allowed the operation of full sized saloons, and the Nimbuses were no longer required for Heptonstall, though some were retained for a while for the very rural 60 and 61 services to Mill Bank and Beehive. Some five years later, I used to drive the almost identical ex Western Welsh Nimbuses at weekends for North Downs of Forest Green.

Roger Cox

28/04/12 – 07:41

Unfavourable comments about the Bristol LHS are something I thoroughly agree with my experience of the type came after I joined Lincolnshire Road Car in 1991 at that time they had two with ECW bodies ex LCBS and at least one with Marshall body ex Gash of Newark.
They were all very unpleasant to drive with heavy steering, if anything heavier than the longer LH, the gear change on both was horribly stiff and imprecise the brakes like most Bristols was their only saving grace. Later another one appeared this with a Plaxton coach body and joy oh joy power assisted steering which life somewhat easier, the ride on all was lively to say the least. Overall eminently forgettable vehicles.

Diesel Dave

28/04/12 – 08:59

Although Mr Hilditch was not a fan of the Nimbus the replacement vehicles were roughly the same size. These were a batch of very short AEC Reliances with Pennine bodywork which looked almost identical to the nimbuses. These AECs lasted until the advent of the PTE.

Chris Hough

28/04/12 – 17:07

During my time at E.C.O.C. in Cambridge (1972-75) there were several Bristol LH’s and one LHS. they were used on OMO route 139 from Histon/Impington to the New Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Every one had extremely heavy clutch pedal operation, and as in previous comments they were not at all popular with the drivers. The LHS was referred to as ‘The Baby Bouncer’ as part of the journey was along Mill Road past the Maternity Hospital. On a return visit to Cambridge in 1997, I noticed that they were using one of the LH’s as a driver training vehicle.

Norman Long

29/04/12 – 08:03

I drove a Bristol LHS/Plaxton 35 seater at J. J. Longstaff of Mirfield. I never liked the way the pedals came out of the floor as in a car. One Sunday we used it on the service from Mirfield to Dewsbury and my clippie Kathleen referred to it as the sardine can.

Philip Carlton

01/05/12 – 19:52

Thanks, Ronnie Hoye! Can’t get that wonderful expression Stotty Box out of my head: it’ll keep me in smiles for months to come!

Ian Thompson

03/05/12 – 07:58

In the companies where I worked, the LHS was known as the "Baby Bouncer".

Roger Cox

04/06/12 – 17:08

Well I passed my PSV test on this very bus and had the privilege of driving her between Mouzel and Penzance many times. I am Vincent Harveys son and I now live in Australia.
My dad and uncle ALWAYS kept her in top order. Glad to know she’s being cared for still.
By the way, the family business was sold to Grenville Motors of Camborne.

Nick Harvey

10/05/18 – 05:47

I now own this Nimbus and it has returned to Cornwall for the first time in twenty years. She has fallen on hard times but will hopefully be returning to the road next year. Can’t wait to take her home to Mousehole.

Steve Cocks

11/05/18 – 06:40

I visited Mousehole on Sunday 9 June 2013 travelling on the First Devon and Cornwall service 6 bus from Penzance.
At the time it was the Mercedes-Benz Vario type that was used on the service because of the tight turns and narrow streets of the village. On the morning of our visit there wasn’t a suitable bus available for the service and so an Optare Solo was used. However, this type wasn’t able to negotiate the full route as it was too wide/too long so had to terminate at the ‘The Old Coastguard’ a hotel a little way short of the normal terminus.
The Solo ran until the 1115 trip from Penzance/1143 from Mousehole after which a Vario became available commencing with the 1215 service from Penzance/1243 service from Mousehole.
I took a few photographs of the Vario as it made its journey in the narrow part of the village which show the challenge the buses and drivers have. I don’t know what vehicles they are using these days. www.ipernity.com/doc/

David Slater

14/05/18 – 07:16

Glad to know she’s in safe hands, Steve. Keep us posted on progress, won’t you/

Chris Hebbron


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Halifax Corporation – Albion Nimbus – RJX 251 – 251

 Halifax Corporation - Albion Nimbus NS3AN - RJX 251 - 251
Copyright Roger Cox

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann B31F

Here is a shot of Halifax Nimbus No. 251 in Elmwood Garage repainted for service with a new owner – I cannot now remember who that was. Despite its frailty and engine unreliability, I quite liked the little Nimbus.When I went to Halifax in 1964 I had only a motorcycle driving licence, and I learned to to drive on four (should that be six?) wheels during my lunch breaks. Initially I went out with the wonderful HPTD instructor, Arthur Brearley, in the old 1947 PD2 training bus, which, by then, had worn off most of its gearbox synchromesh, and I found this extremely heavy to drive. When this was not available one day, we had a Nimbus, and I took to this instantly. The six speed gearbox, apparently detested by most Halifax drivers, was easy to use with a light touch, which was essential if the middle gate was not to be missed. After passing my test, one of the routes I used to cover as a driver in the evenings was the 46 to Heptonstall, which, because of the unbelievably tight reversing point at the village – a narrow slot between two houses off an equally narrow road; even the mirrors had to be flattened against the bus to get in – a conductor was carried on the 31 seat Nimbus. The little Albion was certainly not up to the rigorous task of Yorkshire Pennine bus work, but it was a nice little thing to drive, and I renewed my acquaintance with the type some years later when I did a bit of moonlighting for North Downs Rural Transport.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

13/10/11 – 06:08

I know very little I’m afraid about the technicalities and operating realities of the Albion Nimbus – but I must say that this immaculate repaint to the order of a new owner says volumes about an operator who knows what a dignified livery is all about – its quite simply beautiful. If I didn’t know otherwise I’d say that it was heading for "The Garden of England" and the East Kent company in the good old days.

Chris Youhill

13/10/11 – 10:20

This vehicle was sold to Booth and Fisher, keen Albion Nimbus users. It survived to be taken over with that fleet by South Yorkshire PTE in 1976 and was even given PTE fleet number 1059.
253 of the batch was sold to Baddeley Brothers of Holmfirth and was still in the fleet when they were taken over by West Yorkshire PTE (as of course Halifax had been), although I don’t believe it was still in service.
258 was sold from a Joint Omnibus Committee to a municipality (Warrington), then to an Urban District Council (Ramsbottom) who in turn were absorbed into SELNEC PTE.
250 is still with us today, having spent many years working for Harvey’s at Mousehole. It survived long enough to be taken over by the post-deregulation Western National.
A batch of vehicles with a truly fascinating history!

David Beilby

13/10/11 – 11:39

256 also went to Baddeley Bros. Three others went to Wiles of (I think) Port Seton in E. Lothian but not sure which ones.


13/10/11 – 11:40

Another of the batch was sold to Wiles of Port Seaton near Edinburgh,I cannot remember what its number was.

Philip Carlton

13/10/11 – 11:42

Nimbus RJX 251 was sold to Booth & Fisher of Halfway near Sheffield. I believe it’s true to say that all or most of the Nimbuses were repainted by HPT for their new owners. For the record, they were disposed of as follows:
250: Harvey’s, Mousehole, Cornwall (now preserved).
251: Booth & Fisher, Halfway.
252: Wooliscroft (Silver Service), Darley Dale.
253/256: Baddeley Bros., Holmfirth.
254/257/259: Wiles, Port Seton.
255: Halifax Corporation Welfare Department (fitted with nearside wheelchair lift).
258: Warrington Corporation (later to Ramsbottom U.D.C, and then SELNEC)

I was still at junior school when these were delivered in 1963, and I well remember coming out of school after a school prize giving concert, and one turning up at the stop on the route 2 Northowram service. Not yet having discovered ‘Buses Illustrated’ I had no knowledge about what was happening in the bus world until I actually saw it, and the appearance of new buses was always unexpected and exciting.
I noted immediately the Albion badges, and the ultra modern curved windscreen – the first in the fleet and in total contrast to the earlier flat fronted Leopards and Worldmasters. Inside they were very tidy and bright, with flush light cream formica from floor to ceiling, instead of the usual MCW utilitarian painted metal.
As I took my seat, another Nimbus passed in the opposite direction, and as I got up to alight at Stump Cross another was turning into Kell Lane on the 33 to Shibden. They were everywhere !
Despite apparently having a four-cylinder version of the Tiger Cub engine, the sound effects were pure vintage Albion, sounding to me more like coal wagons. They had a characteristic nose down, tail up appearance, which seemed to increase with time.
Drivers always seemed to be struggling with them – especially the gearbox. They were hopelessly underpowered for the local mountainous terrain, though were capable of eventually getting up to a fair old speed on more level stretches. It was when they were at speed, especially coming down the hills and well loaded that the trouble really started. The brakes were apparently hopelessly inadequate and temperamental, and there were many heart stopping moments.
Although originally intended to provide feeder services from the various hilltop villages to the main road double deck routes, it just never really happened. They spent so much time in the workshops during the day being repaired and adjusted, that when they were released as available for service, usually during the afternoon peak, they just went out on to the next available duty, which would most likely have required something a bit more substantial. Consequently they were overloaded and thrashed unmercifully by drivers who hated them, and suffered as a result.
They were all sold off after three or four years and replaced by seven shortened, narrow Reliances with Pennine bodies.
I am surprised at Roger’s comments about enjoying driving Nimbuses, as all the older drivers I ever spoke to – without exception – detested them with a passion !
I also recall going on a transport society visit to Crich on a new Halifax Loline in 1967. We had arranged to call on Mr. Woolliscoft at Darley Dale to inspect his wonderful Silver Service fleet – including the withdrawn AEC Q-type. He had just acquired Nimbus 252 and it was parked in the back of his depot, nosed in towards the wall. We asked if it would be possible to bring it out to be photographed next to the Loline, and he agreed willingly. He climbed into its cab, started it up, and then attempted to select reverse. The bus lunged forwards towards the wall, and he hit the brakes – which fortunately worked on this occasion. He stirred the lever around and tried again – same result. And again, and again ! Finally, with the front panels almost touching the wall, and its owner red faced and cursing, it was decided that the only way would be for us all to push it out of the depot and across the road, and I think we then pushed it back !
I always found it difficult to believe that they had Weymann bodies. The were totally unlike anything the MCW companies had ever built, and one might have expected a sort of short, narrow version of the familiar ‘Hermes’ body similar to the Leopards and Worldmasters. Instead they were almost copies of the ones built by Harrington for Western Welsh. They were very neat looking vehicles.
I liked them though nonetheless, but then this was a few years before I became a driver, so I only experienced them as a enthusiastic passenger.

John Stringer

13/10/11 – 11:43

Albions – much neglected due to their early demise after their take over by Leyland in 1951. They should be remembered more fondly than perhaps they are, being side-lined into niches by Leyland. [The Aberdonian was a cheap light-weight version of a cheap light-weight version!!! ie of the Tiger Cub and was reviled as such.]
The Albion Victor VT21L was a Bedford SB13 clone with the Leyland 370 and a six speed gearbox. Generally regarded as much the superior beast, it was too expensive and too late to knock Bedford or Ford off their pedestals – and there were still Commer Avengers around. After this it was down hill all the way, although like the Leyland Panther, they still had success overseas where the home market didn’t work.
Booth and Fisher. A superb independent which ran by the end of my road on the Sheffield/Derbyshire border when I was a boy.

David Oldfield

13/10/11 – 17:05

When the Nimbuses were in service at Halifax, the bulk of the fleet consisted of Leylands, and changing gear with a PD2, even more so with a PD3, and exceedingly more so with the early Leopards, required the application of a certain degree of brute force. Also, it was not possible to miss the desired gate on the Leyland four speed synchromesh box. The six speed constant mesh Nimbus gearbox was the extreme opposite, and gear changing, which required double declutching, could be undertaken with the light pressure of a couple of fingers on the lever, and this was essential if the centre gate was to be detected. The gearstick did have rather long travel, and I have heard the characteristics of the Albion box described by unsympathetic persons as "stirring porridge with a knitting needle". The unpopularity of the Nimbuses was largely due to the total contrast of its light touch constant mesh gearbox with the heavier synchromesh boxes of the Leylands and AECs, or the even easier to drive AEC and Daimler preselectors.

Roger Cox

14/10/11 – 11:34

Was two of the batch painted in reverse livery and more comfortable seats for private hires.?

Philip Carlton

14/10/11 – 14:50

All the Nimbuses were delivered in conventional bus livery. The following year two Willowbrook-bodied Leopard DP’s arrived (269/270) which had the cream and orange areas reversed. Shortly after this Nimbuses 250 & 251 had their seats retrimmed with the same moquette as the Leopards and had headrests fitted. They were then repainted into the new DP livery. However, whereas the Leopards and later Reliance DP’s had polished metal trim above and below the central orange band, the Nimbuses had to have black lining painted on, as on the normal bus livery. On their withdrawal, some seats from both 250 & 251 were removed and fitted to new short Reliance replacement 252, though it was in bus livery. (The Nimbuses seated 31, but the Reliances seated 39). What was then used to reseat the Nimbuses for sale I do not know.

John Stringer

23/01/13 – 14:34

RJX 258_2

Sorry about the very late entry to this discussion about the Halifax Nimbi, but attached is a shot of 258 when it operated for Ramsbottam U.D.C.
I thought I had a shot of one of the other Halifax ones at Booth & Fisher, but it was one of the ex-Western Welsh ones.
Here in Australia the Nimbus was as successful as in UK, Rockhampton City Council in Central Queensland had six, 3 with Athol Hedges bodies and 3 bodied by Stewart & Sons of Bundaberg. They lasted into the mid-1970’s and a few saw further service with schools.
I’ll post a photo of the Ramsbottam one at the Stubbins Lane depot in 1969.

Ian Lynas

23/01/13 – 15:35

To see how unreliable these were just read the books by Geoffrey Hilditch who was responsible for them at Halifax. Aldershot and District borrowed one from Devon General and used it on their route 66 shadowed by one of their Falcons. They didn’t buy any!


25/01/13 – 06:43

"PAYE" signs . . . you don’t see those anymore, do you? Halifax’s must have been amongst the more elaborate: an internally-illuminated glass covered by a drop-down flap – or as here, a slide down insert. At the time I thought YWD buses were very inferior with their black-on-yellow perspex flip-up/down boards behind the nearside windscreen – I think the KHD-series Leopards might have also had an illuminated PAYE sign to the rear of the entrance. The first time I saw a Leyland National (I) it had both its PAYE displays – to the left of the destination, and to the rear of the door – lit: wow! such modernity . . . and that I think was the last time I ever saw them in use. So: were these things ever a legal requirement, or just a passing fad? and if they weren’t a legal requirement why did operators spend so much cash specifying illuminated signs that were never used?

Philip Rushworth

25/01/13 – 12:33

Well, I guess at a time when PAYE was not universal (in fact quite unusual in urban areas) operators thought that signs (elaborate or not)might speed up the process if intending passengers were alerted to have their (hopefully correct) money ready as they got on. As we all know, that was a lost cause. Many city operators went over to "no change given" to save the time spent faffing about with change. And we are all familiar with the tedious process as a row of people board, each in turn putting his/her shopping, buggy and parcels down and then ferreting in the wallet, purse or handbag for cash, collecting the ticket, putting the wallet, purse or handbag away again and then collecting their worldly possessions together so that the pantomime could start all over again with the next "customer". (The essential of a passenger is that he travels. The essential of a customer is that he pays.) Of course twerly passes have speeded things up a bit – but not much.

Stephen Ford

26/01/13 – 06:28

See the posting of PMT 130 here  PMT 130 for that Operator’s early design of Pay as you Enter sign on the front panel.

Ian Wild

RJX 251_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

11/02/16 – 09:04

RJX 251 ended up after the stint with SYPTE as the Chesterfield Cricket Club tour bus. We at the club have just obtained a picture for the club house in Queens Park. Does anybody know what happened to RJX after it left our ‘care’



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Halifax Corporation – Albion Nimbus NS3AN – RJX 253 – 253

Halifax Corporation Albion Nimbus
Photograph by ‘unknown’ if you took this photo please go to the copyright page.

Halifax Corporation Transport and Joint Omnibus Committee
Albion Nimbus NS3AN
Weymann B31F

Halifax acquired ten of these little Albion Nimbus to do a few routes that due to the narrowness of the roads and sharpness of the bends a small bus was required for the job. These buses suited the bill fine size wise but that was about all. With its rather small engine 4.1 litre I think climbing the Pennine hills was quite a chore and as they were noisy on the flat you can imagine the noise on the climb up from Hebden Bridge to Heptonstall. It has also come to light that they were not all that reliable in a few other ways too. They must of been really bad as 2 went in 65, 2 more in 66 and all the rest by 67 a 4 years life span is not good.

Halifax General Manager Geoffrey Hilditch wrote a series of magazine articles called "Looking at Buses" under the pen-name Gortonian, one of which was about the Albion Nimbus. I’m not saying there weren’t reliability problems, but as I recall it, the main problem at Halifax was a more general operational one. At a time when there was a general shortage of serviceable vehicles, anything that was available and working needed to be able to go anywhere, not be restricted to certain duties because it only had 31 seats. I think that’s why they had to go.

Peter Williamson

They had to go because they were truly dreadful for reliability, they were replaced with the special short narrow Pennine bodied AEC Reliances


A coincidence (not) that Great Yarmouth’s six Nimbuses were replaced by short Reliances with Pennine bodywork? Not really GH was GM at Caister Road too.
One of the latter vehicles (85) has been wonderfully restored by the East Anglian Transport Museum.

Mick Capon

Several of these Halifax buses served with Wiles as the backbone of their short services from Tranent to Prestonpans and Port Seton well into the 1970s. They stood out as the sole surviving independent bus operation at that time in the Edinburgh area, and the Nimbuses provided an interesting variation on the usual fare!

John Godfrey

Christopher’s comments on the Albion Nimbus reminded me of a short tale, (anecdotal, so I don’t guarantee its total accuracy), about the reliability of these vehicles. Maidstone & District bought a small number of them to use on light rural routes, and they had a dreadful reputation. The Chief Engineer, allegedly, made a derogatory remark about the ability of the Central Works to overhaul the engines properly, and got one that had been rebuilt by his former company, Western Welsh – that much is certainly true; I remember seeing it at Postley Works. A little later, after I had moved to a different department, I asked a friend who worked at Postley how they had got on with it. ‘It ran relatively well’, was the reply. ‘It managed about twenty feet outside the works door before breaking down!’

Roy Burke

29/05/11 – 07:00

When Mr Hilditch then at Great Yarmouth heard that Mr LeFevre was buying Albion Ninbii he offered the Great Yarmouth batch and begged him to reconsider but to no avail, it was shortly after this that Mr. Hilditch returned to Halifax to find his newest buses to be these 10.


31/05/11 – 18:47

RJX 253 and 256 ended up with Baddeley Bros. of Holmfirth for use on their rural routes. 253 lasted long enough to pass to West Yorkshire PTE, as a withdrawn vehicle, with the Baddeley’s business in 1976.
I also remember going to see one of the others operating with Wiles, but can’t remember which one, possibly RJX 252


26/09/11 – 06:34

Ramsbottom Urban District Council became the owner of RJX 258 having acquired it from Warrington Corporation in 1967. It was given fleet number 12 and used on the infrequent service to Holcombe Village. When RUDC was absorbed into SELNEC PTE in 1969 the bus became SELNEC 6082, a picture of it on the service to Summerseat appears at: www.flickr.com/photos/
Summerseat had a railway station but no bus service until the railway closed. Due to the tight access to the village the Nimbus proved useful. Later alternatives were the similar sized Seddon Pennine midi buses one of which, on the Holcombe Village service, appears at: www.flickr.com/photos/

David Slater

28/07/14 – 07:40

Mention of the Hebden Bridge-Heptonstall route prompts the question:
When did they stop doing the hairpin turn into and out of the hill to Heptonstall and install the turning circle further along towards Todmorden?

John Lomas

29/07/14 – 06:32

When I was a Halifax Traffic Clerk in 1964-66, I gained my PSV licence in February 1965, and then worked most evenings and Saturdays covering shifts on the road. Probably uniquely in HPTD, I loved the little Nimbus and became the first to be called upon when a Heptonstall duty needed covering – the regular road staff always steered clear as far as possible. The 46 route had an unbelievably tight reversing terminal point at Heptonstall – even the mirrors had to be folded back to get the bus off the narrow Towngate into the tiny gap between buildings – and, for this reason, the little Nimbuses on this service carried conductors to guide the driver into the constricted aperture. Later, when standard saloons replaced the Nimbuses, the route was diverted to run round the (then) council estate. Why this could not have been accomplished earlier, I cannot comprehend. Perhaps there was a Road Service Licence problem. At Hebden Bridge, as John Lomas has indicated, the Heptonstall Road descends steeply down to a very acute west facing junction with the A646 in the Calder valley. It was just possible (but officially frowned upon) to crank a Nimbus hard right from the main road into Heptonstall Road and up the hill, a manoeuvre that I now see (from Google Earth) is prohibited. Also, I don’t recall there being traffic lights at this point back in the ‘sixties. Returning from Heptonstall, one had no option but to continue along the A646 and swing round where the roadway widened near Church Lane. This was the official recommendation for both directions, and when standard saloons took over the route, no other option was possible. I haven’t visited this area for a great many years now, but, looking at this junction on Google Earth, I am amazed how little has changed in half a century. Even most of the distinctive houses on the steep valley side, with their first floors at the front becoming the ground floors at the back, are still there.

Roger Cox

29/07/14 – 17:39

As Roger says, the official (and in most cases the only possible way) to make the turn into Heptonstall Road was to proceed past, pull over onto the righthand side of the road, reverse into Church Lane, then return back along the road to what was then just a left fork. This applied to both the HJOC’ Heptonstall route and Hebble’s 15 Burnley.
I have no record of when the Mytholm turning-circle was constructed. Though I started driving Halifax Corporation buses in 1973 I do not recall driving buses that far ‘down the valley’ (strictly speaking, it’s ‘up the valley’ – but that’s the local terminology !) until about 1980, and by then it had been in operation for quite a while. I would suggest it was opened in the early 1970’s.

John Stringer

30/07/14 – 06:49

I was hoping John S might know when the turning circle was built as I have an undated print showing it in use.

Geoff Kerr

30/07/14 – 08:28

Roger- you seem to have a dawning realisation in recent posts about Halifax that it is a place where NOTHING CHANGES, an endearing or infuriating feature of the real west Yorkshire. The inconsistency is the adventure in bus purchases, as you would have expected them to be ordering Titans for ever- like, dare I say, Todmorden "up" the Valley. (There is something Biblical in the way you are said to travel from Halifax (Jerusalem) down to Todmorden (Jericho). Apart from Mr Hilditch’s influence, many purchases show an underlying respect for nature- steep hills, ancient, narrow lanes, cold winters- although where rear engines fit into this I’m unsure. It is said that Halifax has retained a fine Victorian centre because no-one could agree on redevelopment, although another fault in the theory they couldn’t resist a bit of peripheral highway-in-the-sky. Perhaps in this and the Fleetlines etc old fashioned civic pride has to be added to the mix. Another thought: about the time of WYPTE the districts did take up some new liveries before the rather anaemic eau de nil and then the naffly-named and liveried Yorkshire Rider. Calderdale, if I recall was Royal Blue with yellow? Kirklees was to keep red, but the other two?


30/07/14 – 13:36

Having consulted with a friend who lived nearby the Mytholm turning circle, who has in turn consulted a colleague who drove for Halifax Corporation in the early to mid-sixties (probably simultaneously with Roger Cox at one point) the latter reckons it may have opened as early as 1964 ! Any more offers ?

Regarding the liveries from the PTE onwards. Shortly before WYPTE took over, a bus from each district was experimentally turned out in a suggested new livery, with different colours in a common layout. These were mostly cream but with a band around the lower half of the skirt panels and the roof and top-deck window surrounds painted in a district colour that related to the previous municipalities – green for Leeds, blue for Bradford, red for Kirklees (Huddersfield) and orange for Calderdale (Halifax). The idea was rejected however.
Then Geoffrey Hilditch repainted seven Halifax vehicles (three Fleetlines, two PD2’s, a Reliance and a Todmorden Leopard) in a scheme of his own, consisting a darker green and cream but all applied in different layouts, and with a ‘Metro Calderdale’ fleetname enclosed in an orange losenge shaped rather like a coffin! What was he implying ? Despite all GGH’s rather cheeky efforts, the idea was also rejected. The final universal livery of Verona Green and Buttermilk was actually based on that used on the three Plaxton Elite-bodied Leopard coaches delivered to Leeds City Transport in 1973.
The post-deregulation Yorkshire Rider livery of green and cream was in many ways not unlike GGH’s 1974 offerings but with very large and gaudy red fleetnames added. Badgerline Holdings took over briefly and added rather childish smiley badgers to lurk behind the rear wheelarches.
FirstBus at first allowed each district to devise their own individual liveries and fleetnames. Leeds went for a a sort of pale beige with red, orange and yellow stripes (very similar to a contemporary petrol tanker livery if I recall ?) with the name ‘Leeds City Link’. Bradford went for two shades of blue and red, with an unbelievable number of layout variations, and chose to be ‘Bradford Traveller’. Huddersfield chose two shades of green (the darker shade being the same as the old YR green) and red, and the ‘Kingfisher’ identity. Halifax chose a startling mostly white livery, with Ford Tractor blue and Sunburst Yellow lower bands that turned up sharply towards the rear, and the name ‘Calderline’.
Shortly after, First devised the now familiar corporate pale grey (or dirty off white ?), blue and pink livery and decreed that this should be applied to all new vehicles. The local liveries were soon abandoned and the hideous corporate simplified ‘Barbie 2 fade out pink’ vinyls were applied to the older buses – the absolute nadir as far as I am concerned.
These vinyls obviously seemed like a good idea to someone with actually no idea. They took the form of one very long and expensive roll of vinyl transfer that was to wrap around the entire lower section of the bus. Maybe this type of thing was practical on large slab-sided vans, but fitting them around all the corners, and cutting them around all the doors, wheelarches, panel beading, radiator, diesel and other access flaps, ventilation grilles, light fittings etc. was an utter nightmare for the two bodyshop chaps who would have to struggle manfully for up to two days with scissors and a hot air gun applying them. Before long the bus wash, weather and accidental scrapes would soon cause them to peel and become grubby and ingrained with dirt, and if a panel had to be replaced then a new bit would have to be cut from a roll and stuck on – though sometimes they didn’t bother at all and just painted them in, the painter becoming quite adept at recreating the ‘fading out’ effect with his paintbrush ! What had it all come down to ?

John Stringer

31/07/14 – 06:21

Sounds then as if I have my reliverying backuds way on, then, John. Hardly surprising in the general chassis.
In the fourth district, life was simpler: National poppy disappeared and West Riding Green reappeared with a swervy swatch and more cream. Now Deutsche Bahn fiddle and refiddle with their over fussy liveries.


31/07/14 – 18:05

The NBC and some of the PTE liveries may have been pretty naff, but the present day crowd are in a class of their own. Now that it has finally swallowed Norfolk Green (after an ‘arms length’ connection for some time, I would guess) buses are appearing in a "Stenningised" version of the livery that has the front three quarters of the bus in grey. Norfolk Green is now Norfolk Grey. One extraordinary comment on the Anglia Bus Forum (I am not a member!) is:- "Looks to me that Ray Stenning has been used, which is never a bad thing". Words fail me.

Roger Cox

11/08/14 – 07:12

The "Kingfisher" livery of two shades of green (applied in manner not unlike naval "dazzle camouflage") adopted, as John writes, by Yorkshire Rider Huddersfield was actually the last corporate Yorkshire Rider livery: Bradford, Halifax and Todmorden, and Leeds all adopted new identities as described (identities being spot-on in the case of Bradford Traveller – there were [?three] trial versions before a "final" application was chosen . . . that then turned out to be less-than-final as further simplifications followed) but Kingfisher adopted the final Yorkshire Rider scheme as it had just had a large injection of new vehicles which it didn’t want to repaint. I do remember a lot of adverse comment in the letters pages of the local press about the adoption of "Kingfisher" instead of "Yorkshire Rider Huddersfield" as the trading name (the locals wanted to see Huddersfield on the sides of their buses, and thought "Kingfisher" was meaningless), the response was a lot of blather about "Kingfisher" representing something dynamic/colourful/resilient (I’m assuming Chris Youhill doesn’t read the Huddersfield Examiner, or he’d have had a heart attack) . . . eventually "Kingfisher Huddersfield" was adopted to placate local opinion.
In my opinion liveries are routed in what the French call "terroir": they are part of, and they define their localities – here in Aireborough (Yeadon/Rawdon/Guiseley) we were served by the red buses of WYRCC (OK Chris . . . and the blue buses of Ledgard) but not – unless you want to go back a bit – the blue/green buses of Leeds City Transport (forget the short-lived Cookridge-Morrisons shoppers service) and that set us apart. You meddle with liveries at your peril: Aberdare/Cynon Valley’s maroon might have been a bit dour, but Geoffrey Hilditch’s imposition of Halifax/Calderdale’s dual-purpose application of green/white/orange had no connection locally.
And finally. I’ve thrown it out, and I can’t remember where I saw it, but it was a very recent "back in those days" article about Halifax’s first female driver – "Yorkshire Post"? "Yorkshire Reporter"?. The 23-year-old ex-conductress was pictured smiling at the wheel of one of Halifax’s Daimler Fleetlines: oh dear! that smile would soon be wiped-off her face when, 30 min after starting out on her first "9 Raw Lane" journey, half the town’s buses were off the road in protest. Apparently Sarah(? – I think I’ve got her name right) was then returned to conducting duties whilst arbitration was carried out. The atmosphere at the Sixth Form College where I teach can be toxic at times (actually, is toxic most of the time(), but this is in a different league.

Philip Rushworth

11/08/14 – 09:56

Halifax Corporation’s first female driver was called Sandra Holt. As Philip says, the matter caused quite a furore at the time and she left the department very soon afterwards. Interestingly though a couple of years later in 1973 when the second female driver – Mavis Sayer – appeared on the scene, there was no problem whatsoever and she had nothing but support from her colleagues, finally retiring about five years back after 40 years service. After Mavis many more quickly followed suit, and I reckon that up to the present day the Corporation and its successors in Halifax have employed around 75 female drivers.

John Stringer

13/08/14 – 07:02

Sandra Holt! That’s her name – thanks John. I have to ask myself, is there something about bus/HGV-driving and ladies/women/females (oh God! what a minefield) that is problematical? The role of women in the Police and Armed Forces has been much expanded/integrated since I joined, and I had no problems subsequently working under female superiors . . . but if I see a bus or HGV driven by a female I still think (or even say to my family): "look! woman driver!!".

Philip Rushworth

15/08/17 – 08:05

Just a note on liveries for the then new PTE, Geoffrey Hilditch had as a first go four model Dinky toys Routemaster buses painted in four liveries, all essentially Halifax except for the panel between the windows, one was Halifax green, one Leeds dark green, one Huddersfield red and the other Bradford blue.
I think this was simply too traditional for the Board and too Halifax as well, after this came the painted buses with top and bottom the local colour, I recall the Halifax PD2 very well, was it nick named the ice cream van?
The eventual verona green had the Doncaster ‘roads and pavement’ strap round the front, GGH was not enthusiastic.


RJX 253_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

31/03/18 – 07:48

Sandra Holt, Halifax’s first female bus driver was mentioned earlier in this thread. I thought readers might like to know that there is currently a brief video clip of her, together with a view of the bus moving, in a short video on the BBC web site. It’s about a minute into the video
(Sorry, I don’t know for how long it will remain on the site. I just happened to watch it and arrived here, searching for more information, because I was amazed that her fifteen minutes of "first woman" fame occurred less than fifty years ago!)

Jennifer H.

01/04/18 – 07:57

As an aside, the clip shows that those women who were employed by companies suffered discrimination, not from the employer, but from their colleagues, even to the point of striking in protest! They had a problem getting and retaining their jobs, let alone getting equal pay. Going back to pre-war days, women who got married were expected to give up work. My mother, a secretary in Hatton Garden, and married in 1933, used to take her wedding ring off and assume the mantle of remaining unmarried, until about June 1937, when her pregnancy with me would have started to show!

Chris Hebbron

01/04/18 – 07:58

Just about three-and-a-half-years after my post about Sandra Holt we get to see her in action – thanks Jennifer.

Philip Rushworth


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