Old Bus Photos

Northampton Corporation – Crossley – VV 9146 – 146

Northampton Corporation - Crossley - VV 9146 - 146

Northampton Corporation
1946
Crossley DD42/3
Roe H31/25R

Although Northampton were well known for their liking of the Daimler/Roe combination, in the 1930s they had purchased several batches of Crossleys, so perhaps it is not surprising that they purchased a batch of ten DD42/3 chassis with Roe bodies in 1946.
One of them, fleet number 146, VV 9146, has survived into preservation and is seen here in Great Houghton on an Heritage Weekend service, 9/9/17.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Tony Martin


02/10/17 – 07:31

To put it mildly, this was a heap of junk before the present owners (one of whom is a former Crossley employee) started work on it. The dedication involving in restoring it to its present condition is unbelievable. It has to be said though, it isn’t very fast!

Nigel Turner


03/10/17 – 05:58

Plenty of opportunities to sample it here: www.youtube.com/

Peter Williamson


20/10/17 – 07:00

Two Crossleys in succession is quite a treat. Greatly enjoyed Peter W’s Youtube link, where the induction noise is more noticeable than on the Reading Crossleys, but the gearbox music is just the same.
Superb piece of restoration, this Northampton bus. One of my very favourite bodies on what—despite its engine woes—is also a favourite chassis. Nice steering, brakes and clutch, dead easy gearbox. A real pity that the management didn’t fork out and pay Saurer the licence fees, but even then the weak crankshaft would still have posed problems, and the much lighter Morris-Saurer engines fitted to Hants and Dorset’s Morris-Commercials were apparently not that successful. I remember seeing them at Lymington, but never got a ride. Do any MC-Saurers (from any operator) survive?

Ian Thompson


23/10/17 – 06:02

I recall going into a shed in the 1980’s,which was part of Botley’s Park Hospital, Ottershaw, Surrey (which, like many mental institutions, had a farm, but long closed by then). I found three old vehicles in there, two complete and one being just a chassis, with Armstrong-Saurer on it. It looked more lorry than bus, but who knows. I reported them all to a vehicle preservation organisation and six months later, all were gone, but to where? So Saurer vehicles were made here on Tyneside for a period, from 1930-1937, according to Grace’s Guide.

Chris Hebbron


28/10/17 – 16:49

The Swiss firm of Saurer had a modest impact upon the British automotive industry. In the late 1930s the Crossley company embarked upon the design of a completely new passenger chassis that was to become the DD/SD 42. The company’s Chief Engine Designer, W.C. Worrall, was then diagnosed with tuberculosis, a very serious disease at the time, treatment for which entailed taking up residence in a completely unpolluted atmosphere. Industrial Manchester fell somewhat short of the qualities sought from a health resort, and Worrall was sent to recuperate in Switzerland, where he had worked previously for Saurer. Whilst there he visited the works of his former employer and was thereby stimulated to incorporate features of the Saurer four valve cylinder head design in his new Crossley HOE7 engine. The sad subsequent story of what happened later after Worrall’s return to Manchester, when Crossley Motors MD Arthur Hubble refused to pay a Saurer licence fee, is well known, and therein lay the essence of the company’s decline and demise.
The only link between the Morris Commercial built Saurer diesel engines of 1948 onwards (which untimately became the Leyland 4/98 and 6/98 ranges) and the earlier Armstrong Saurer range of lorries was the licensed manufacture of engines to Saurer design. The Armstrong Whitworth saga is rather complicated. In 1904, Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth (primarily an armaments and shipbuilding company) took over the manufacture of the Wilson-Pilcher car which continued to be available until 1907, but the firm introduced its own car and commercial models from 1906, powered by engines between 2.4 and 7.6 litres. About 20 Armstrong Whitworth 32hp buses were delivered in 1906 to the Motor Omnibus Company of Walthamstow, better known by its trading name of Vanguard. This chassis type, which had a four speed crash gearbox and chain final drive, was also available as a three ton lorry, later uprated to four tons. By 1914 a one ton van with worm final drive had been added to the catalogue (figures refer to the payload, not, as today, the gross vehicle weight), but the firm’s commitment to automobile production was less than wholehearted. During the Great War Armstrong Whitworth concentrated on ships, armaments and aircraft – the aeroplane division was formed in 1912 – and from 1919 adapted its Newcastle Scotswood works for a determined assault into railway locomotive and road roller manufacturing. In 1927 Armstrong Whitworth merged several of its engineering interests with Vickers, when the aircraft and motor divisions of the former AW concern were sold off to J.D. Siddeley as Armstrong Siddeley. (Vickers already had its own aircraft manufacturing arm.) Armstrong Whitworth had earlier entered into a licence arrangement with Saurer of Switzerland in 1919 for the manufacture of diesel engines which were first fitted to diesel locomotives and railcars, but, in 1930, the firm decided to re-enter the automotive market with the Armstrong-Saurer range of lorries built at Scotswood. These massive looking, normal or forward control machines were available with four or six cylinder indirect injection engines coupled with four speed gearboxes in four, six or eight wheeled versions. Air brakes, overdrive or Maybach auxiliary gearboxes and double reduction final drives were optional. The main emphasis was on the diesel engined models which had names beginning with the letter ‘D’ (Diligent, Defiant, Dauntless, Dominant, Durable, Dynamic, though later models were called Active, Effective and Samson), the much rarer petrol versions using ‘P’ as the initial letter (Pioneer, Persistent, Powerful). Very few were bodied as buses or coaches, but, in 1932, a 13ft 2ins wheelbase, normal control Dauntless with the 6 cylinder diesel of 8.55 litres, producing 90 bhp at 1800 rpm (the alternative four cylinder engine developed 52 bhp from 6.8 litres) was fitted with a luxuriously appointed Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries single deck body for demonstration purposes. In 1933, Armstrong -Saurer declared that it was considering entering the single and double deck passenger vehicle market, but later that year the Armstrong-Saurer diesel engines were offered as options in the Dennis Lancet and Lance chassis. New direct injection versions of the Saurer engine appeared in 1934, a 5.7 litre four cylinder of 70 bhp and a 8.55 litre six of 120 bhp at 1800 rpm, and ten single deck Daimler COS4 and one double deck COS6 thus powered were delivered to Newcastle Corporation in 1935. They were converted to AEC engines during WW2. In 1934 Dennis produced its own direct injection four cylinder O4 diesel of 6.5 litres, which, like the Saurer, had four valves per cylinder, though the design must have differed from the Saurer patents because no licence fee was ever paid by the Guildford firm.
Despite its premium prices, the Armstrong-Saurer range earned a solid reputation with hauliers for quality, but sales were a struggle in the depressed 1930s. Railway locomotive production was also in decline, and the Scotswood workforce fell from some 3000 in the early 1920s to just 500 by 1935. Rumours concerning the future of Armstrong-Saurer production at Scotswood began circulating in that year. Despite official denials, these proved to be well founded, and the entire Armstrong-Saurer range was withdrawn in 1937 when the Admiralty bought the Scotswood works and leased them back to Vickers-Armstrongs in order to concentrate on military work in the rapidly worsening political climate of the period.

Roger Cox


31/10/17 – 07:10

I have challenged before, and will challenge again, the widespread notion that Crossley failed because of its engine problems. In the early postwar years, Crossleys sold as well as they did because there was a high demand for buses. When they became part of the ACV group, AEC engineers quickly sorted out the HOE7 engine, and if the demand had still been there, word would have got around and they would have continued to sell. But the fact is that the bottom dropped out of the bus market in 1950, resulting in over-capacity in the industry, and in that situation Crossley were uniquely vulnerable because buses were their only product. Daimler made cars, Bristol were protected by a guaranteed market, and every other bus manufacturer was also a lorry builder. Crossley were totally dependent on the shrunken bus market, and that is why they failed.

Peter Williamson


01/11/17 – 07:07

The Crossley DD/SD42 was a very sound chassis design, but quickly revealed deficiencies in the engine department and in its steering, which was very heavy. In the immediate post war period the demand for passenger chassis was exceptionally high, and, on the strength of the performance of the HOE7 ‘Saurer head’ engine, orders for Crossley chassis poured in. 3119 chassis were built between 1945 and 1951, but the concentration of production was in the years before the weaknesses of the HOE7 engine became widely apparent. It is true that the demand for new buses fell off sharply after 1949, but I maintain that the poor reputation of the engine did contribute to the decline of the Crossley Motors company, particularly in the double deck field. Somewhat surprisingly, since Crossley had not been a significant player in the pre war coach market, the single deck SD42 sold quite well to independent coach firms, whose operations were less punishing than all day stop start work on heavily laden municipal bus routes, and whose drivers tended to be rather more respectful towards their machinery. The Crossley Motors board did read the market trends accurately from 1945, and seeking a more secure foothold, entered into negotiations with Maudslay in 1946, which dragged on into 1947 when AEC expressed an interest. In 1948 AEC took control and began reshaping the business in line with its own procedures, which were not entirely to the liking of the Crossley directors and employees. There is surely no doubt that the long term continuation of independent Crossley models was not part of the AEC plan. In the meantime, early purchasers of the DD42 were becoming more than a trifle disenchanted with their buses, and did not offer repeat orders. Notably Manchester, potentially a very valuable customer, did not come back again after its 1946/47 deliveries. Stockport, in whose area the Crossley new Errwood Park factory was located, strongly resisted taking any more vehicles from the firm, but eventually and reluctantly conceded another order after a rather suspect tendering process in which Crossley slightly undercut Leyland. Yes, in frustration over Crossley’s lack of progress in sorting out the HOE7’s problems, AEC did come up with the downdraught engine, but hardly quickly, for this did not appear, and then only spasmodically, until 1950, by which time the Southall die had been cast against the passenger vehicle dependent Crossley marque.

Roger Cox


 

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Rotherham Corporation – Crossley DD42/7 – EET 891 – 191

Rotherham Corporation - Crossley DD42/7 - EET 891 - 191

Rotherham Corporation
1949
Crossley DD42/7
Crossley H30/26R

A dull overcast day in Rotherham in summer 1962, and the crew of corporation Crossley 191 appear to be abandoning their charge outside the Angel Hotel in Bridgegate and heading for the busman’s canteen at the back of the Municipal Offices in search of some hot tea. This initial batch of twelve Crossley-bodied Crossleys, 185-196, dating from 1949, were a staple on the short service 70 to the blast furnaces and rolling mills at Templeborough, or on the longer and even busier 69 service through to Sheffield, joint with Sheffield Corporation.
Behind is Park Royal-bodied AEC Bridgemaster 139 (VET 139), just a year old when this picture was taken. In an article in ‘Buses Illustrated’ in June of the previous year on the conversion of the Mexborough and Swinton trolleybuses to diesel buses, and which were operated in conjunction with Rotherham Corporation, the writer Terry Shaw commented that he’d always considered that Mexboro’s Brush-bodied Sunbeam single-deckers were ugly until he caught sight of one of these Rotherham Bridgemasters, five of which made up Rotherham’s contribution to the trolleybus conversion scheme. It’s not hard to see what he meant, as they literally were a ‘box on wheels’ Mexboro’ chose Leyland Atlanteans, almost equally as boxy but still one up on these ‘biscuit tin’ Bridgemasters.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Dave Careless


08/07/17 – 06:06

I agree the Park Royal Bridgemasters were truly appalling in appearance. The Rotherham livery application with a black mudguard on the nearside and a cream panel on the offside accentuates the asymmetrical front end. But then any livery application would have struggled to disguise this dog’s breakfast of a design. It makes the Crossley in front look sheer class!

Philip Halstead


09/07/17 – 06:32

Was Park Royal the only bodybuilder for the Bridgemaster? I@ve never come across any other body for them. And was it an integral vehicle, or did it have a chassis?

Chris Hebbron


09/07/17 – 06:33

Glad you agree, Philip. Even from the back the Park Royal body looked ugly and overly heavy, whereas the Crossley, with that outstanding emergency window, appeared very classy and well thought out.
A friend on Merseyside used to joke that Park Royal built the Bridgemaster bodies in one continuous line, and a set of shears simply came down every 30′-0" and chopped one off! Not all that hard to envision, really!

Dave Careless


10/07/17 – 07:36

The first few pre-production Bridgemasters were built at the Erwood Crossley factory and looked a good deal better. Nothing outlandish just the tidy rounded body typical of Crossley bodies of the late 50s, although by this time much influenced by Park Royal. Park Royal were very capable box makers in the late 50s and 60s! See the Crossley Story by Eyre, Heaps & Townsin. The Bridgemaster was integral, unlike the later Renown.

Andrew Gosling


10/07/17 – 07:36

The Bridgemaster was an integral vehicle, using (I understand) some of the same construction techniques as the Routemaster. So no other body make was available, which was part of its undoing.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about Bridgemaster bodies, along the lines that Crossley did it properly, whereas Park Royal made a mess of it. In fact the change of styling when production moved to Park Royal was coincidental. Crossley had developed the original body using the Park Royal styling features which were current at the time, but Park Royal’s double deck bodywork as a whole then took a nasty turn at the behest of BET management (who in the end didn’t place the orders to justify it).
It’s also true that the rear-entrance Park Royal Bridgemasters were not nearly as ugly as the front-entrance ones, and I don’t think this was just because of the entrance position. I’m almost convinced that they were completely different bodies.

Peter Williamson


10/07/17 – 07:37

To answer Chris the Bridgemaster was of integral construction using only the Park Royal body largely because AEC and Park Royal were in the same group of companies. The later Renown had a separate chassis and was bodied by other companies who generally made a much better job than Park Royal. The East Lancs bodies on Renowns for Leigh and West Bridgford showed what could be done to make a very attractive bus.

Philip Halstead


14/07/17 – 07:28

Thx Peter/Philip. I guessed that the Bridgemaster might have been integral, since only the Park Royal body ever appeared on them. And I agree that the rear entrance ones were the less unattractive of the two types and the Leigh/West Bridgford Renowns were a great improvement.
Both types passed me by, because my travels never took me to an area where they ran.

Chris Hebbron


14/07/17 – 16:18

If it hadn’t been invented by AEC/Park Royal, you might have thought the Bridgemaster was a deliberate attempt to wean us enthusiasts away from liking half-cabs.

Stephen Ford


15/07/17 – 06:48

The BET has a lot to answer for with the Bridgemaster design. The influence was felt on conventional half-cabs. Park Royal produced a very respectable half-cab e.g. Nottingham Regents and those built under the Crossley name were equally attractive, eg Stockport Titans (although several of these were actually finished by the Corporation). The production Bridgemaster was a worthy forerunner of the worst buses ever manufactured, Southampton’s PD2s (reach for hard hat)

Andrew Gosling


16/07/17 – 07:49

In 1948 Liverpool Corporation ordered 50 DD42/7 double deckers with Crossley bodywork to a revised design, being of four bay construction with a completely flat front (in plan view). Beauty is in the eye etc, but the result was very attractive in my opinion, and Rotherham Corporation must have felt the same, because all its Crossleys, the twelve in the 1949 batch, the further six bought in 1951 and the final six of 1952/3, had the Liverpool style of body (the very last true Crossley ever built was No.213, HET 513 of the final batch). Incidentally, the final batch of Crossleys is missing from Peter Gould’s Rotherham listing.
Turning to the Bridgemaster, the construction principle certainly owed much to the Routemaster insofar as it consisted of an integral body supported on front and rear subframes carrying the engine, gearbox and axle units, but the actual subframes differed significantly between the two models. Alan Townsin has remarked that it is surprising that little effort seems to have been made to achieve a degree of commonality between the components of the Routemaster and the Bridgemaster, even allowing for the fact that the latter was low floor design with a synchromesh gearbox option. The earliest Bridgemasters had RM style coil sprung rear suspension, but from 1958 air suspension became standard. The good looking body style by Crossley on the first five Bridgemasters had framing and other components in aluminium, as did the Routemaster, but, again, no attempt seems to have been made to use RM body components. Having taken the decision to close the Crossley works, AEC transferred body construction to Park Royal, where, at the behest of the BET, steel framing replaced aluminium, making the complete vehicle heavier than its market competitors. Park Royal came up with a stark body design that somehow exaggerated the flat panel beneath the driver’s windscreen that completely obscured the offside wing. The nearside wing remained exposed in the conventional manner which gave the already ugly duckling a curiously Nelsonian appearance when viewed from the front. Considerable subframe redesign was necessary to allow a front entrance to be accommodated, and the Park Royal body then became even more gaunt than before. Aesthetics was clearly not a strong point with Park Royal at that time, because the ungainly aspects of the Bridgemaster body were reflected in the firm’s products on other chassis, and faithful customers of long standing quickly took their business elsewhere.

Roger Cox


16/07/17 – 10:28

6696 KH
No.696 (of 1960) taken on 11 May 1967

4708 AT
No 708 of 1961 also taken on 11 May 1967

752
No.752 of 1963 taken on 30 July 1963.

After all the comments about Bridgemasters following the Rotherham Crossley article these pictures show that not all Bridgemasters were identical as shown by East Yorkshire’s first three batches of Bridgemasters. Note the doors on the rear entrance versions and the upper deck modified outline for Beverley Bar operations.

Malcolm J Wells


16/07/17 – 16:45

Yes, Malcolm. As I state above, the original Park Royal rear entrance bodies were built on an earlier form of the front subframe, which had to be redesigned to permit a front entrance body to be fitted. The frontal profile of the ensuing front entrance Park Royal body was even more ‘frowning’ than the earlier type.

Roger Cox


 

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Sheffield Corporation – Crossley – JWJ 737 – 237 & KWA 776 – 576

Sheffield Corporation - Crossley - JWJ 737 - 237 & KWA 776 - 576

Sheffield Corporation - Crossley - JWJ 737 - 237 & KWA 776 - 576

Sheffield Corporation
1947
Crossley SD42 & DD42
Crossley B32R & H56R

Following the end of the war, Sheffield Corporation A fleet took a small number of Crossleys (28 in all) over three years. First to arrive were six single-deckers 237-242 (JWJ 737 – 742) in 1947. In the same year eight double-deck vehicles were added, they were 573 – 580 (KWA 773 – 780). They were followed in 1948 by another ten and in 1949 by four more. The two pictures show examples of the earliest deliveries, but look at the different styling around the front ends. The doubledeck version is probably more typically Crossley with the window line dipping to meet the line of the windscreen. The singledeck version has a straight window line at the front but still meeting the line of the windscreen. Most Sheffield doubledeckers would have two route blinds, these one-liners were in a minority but taken at a time when getting new buses was a higher priority than "calling the shots".

Photograph and Copy contributed by Les Dickinson


20/06/13 – 16:44

I think all Crossleys were distress purchases, in time of great need, and that they were diverted orders. That explains the non-standard features. Certainly the four 1949 Crossleys were diverted from a Liverpool order, albeit they seemed to have Sheffield specification – down to destination blinds.

David Oldfield

PS: The 1948 ten were interesting in that they had NCB bodywork. Were they unique?


21/06/13 – 08:10

I believe the single deckers were a diverted order from Chesterfield Corporation and the batch of eight double deckers 573-580 diverted from a Lancaster order.
Numbers 573-580 seemed to spend most of their lives on the Inner Circle routes 8 and 9.

John Darwent


21/06/13 – 08:11

A picture of a former Lancaster City Transport SD42 showing the straight windscreen is on this site at the People’s League for the Defence of Freedom page.The straight lower line of the windscreen was standard on the single deck Crossley bus body (the Dutch Crossleys are a completely different species). This feature was maintained right up to the very last single deck SD42/7 Crossley bodies, two of which were delivered to Southport Corporation in 1951, though these lacked the stepped waistrail. Southport had earlier also specified the straight windscreen line on its pair of DD42/7s with downdraught engines supplied in 1950.

Roger Cox


21/06/13 – 08:11

Here’s one of the DD42/3’s with NCB bodywork you mentioned, David O. Certainly nothing I’ve ever seen before. www.sct61.org.uk/sh595

Chris Hebbron


21/06/13 – 16:45

crossley_ad

Above is an advertisement put out by Crossley that is quite appropriate.

I was always intrigued how neighbouring Rotherham more or less kept their Crossleys hard at work on the flat terrain as much as possible, mainly on the joint service 69 to Sheffield, whereas STD seemed to deliberately seek out some of the fiercest hills, such as several encountered on the Inner Circle, on which to run theirs!
Division Street obviously had more faith in the Crossley’s climbing abilities than Frederick Street!

Dave Careless


22/06/13 – 07:55

The mention of the double deckers being diverted from a Lancaster order goes a long way to explaining the style of indicator display.

Pete Davies


22/06/13 – 07:56

I don’t think it is true to say that all Crossleys were distress purchases. AFAIK there were only two problems, the engine and the steering, neither of which were known about when the first ones were ordered. The engine problem only became serious under stress: I have never heard any complaints about it in single deckers, even in double deckers it was worse in hilly terrain than on the flat, and it was eventually fixed by AEC engineers. As for the steering, it too could be fixed (I don’t know if Manchester were alone in doing this) and although it sounds brutal, it was something that only affected drivers and not the balance sheet. So unless an operator actually cared about its staff, or had a strong trade union presence, the problem could be ignored.
Those two things apart, I seem to remember Geoffrey Hilditch being quite complimentary about Crossleys.

Peter Williamson


22/06/13 – 09:43

Depends what you mean by distress, Peter. Given a clear field, untrammelled by Government intervention, Sheffield would have continued to buy only Leyland and AEC – presumably continuing the pre-war body orders to Leyland, Weymann, Craven and Roberts. Like everyone else, they couldn’t get enough from their preferred suppliers and in times of "distress" went where they could to find sufficient vehicles. This included the said diverted orders of Crossleys but also included deliveries of Daimler CVD6s as well as going to unusual suppliers of bodywork – NCB; Cawood; Wilks and Meade. When things settled down in the ’50s, a simple dual sourcing policy returned – Leyland/AEC and Weymann/Roe.

David Oldfield


23/06/13 – 08:16

A further point of interest is that on receipt, the six SD42’s diverted to Sheffield had only a single destination aperture at the front (as found on similar Chesterfield vehicles) and this was not wide enough to incorporate a route number as well as a place name. Sheffield therefore effected their own modification and cut out a separate aperture alongside for the route number but presumably the restricted space for this exercise was only sufficient for a two digit display. I doubt this would have been a problem since, as far as I can remember, they spent the majority of their lives on such routes as 37 and 40 to Bakewell via Baslow and via Carver Sough.

John Darwent


23/06/13 – 08:17

Leeds had dual sourced AEC & Leyland pre war and were allocated utility Daimlers during hostilities. Such an impression did these make that Daimler continued to supply chassis for the next thirty years. They bought one Crossley which impressed enough to be followed by 20 odd others all of which lasted until the early sixties. Indeed they outlasted some of the postwar Daimlers which were far more standard than they were. Perhaps as Leeds was a major AEC customer they got help with the Crossleys from that quarter.

Chris Hough


23/06/13 – 08:17

As a small boy in Sheffield I remember being taken by my uncle on more than one occasion for a ride all the way round on the "Outer Circular" service. From memory and it is a long time ago, the bus was invariably a Crossley. Again, from memory, it was never very full so maybe "Division Street" did keep these buses to the lighter used routes?

Stan Zapiec


23/06/13 – 17:23

Like Stan, I also used Crossleys on the 2 / 3 Outer Circle. My trips were shorter, being from Gleadless Town End to Graves Park, or Abbeydale Road where we would get the tram to Millhouses Park. The Crossleys never seemed very happy on this run, especially on the uphill return journey, to my young mind.

Les Dickinson


25/06/13 – 17:04

I used the 8/9 regularly from Broadfield Road to Newbould Lane to get to school from 1964 – 1971. The Crossleys had gone by then. I only had cause to use the Outer Circle after some nit had changed it (and the route) to 2/59! [They were PDR2/1 Atlanteans. Actually quite good, but outside our purview.]

David Oldfield


03/07/13 – 15:13

The double-decker`s were used on the 8&9 routes, along with the 69 Rotherham. They would only have needed single destination blinds for these routes. Later PD2s on the 69 route also had 1 destination blind that had the route & number in one box, as you lads have explained to me before.

Andy Fisher


 

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