Old Bus Photos

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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J Wood & Sons – Crossley DD42 – EVD 406 – 20

J Wood & Sons - Crossley DD42 - EVD 406 - 20
Copyright Pete Davies

J Wood & Sons (Mirfield) 
1949
Crossley DD42/7
Roe H56R

Here is a view of J Wood & Sons of Mirfield preserved Crossley DD42/7 bought in 1953 from Baxter’s of Airdrie where it was delivered new in 1949. She sports a Roe H56R body from either 1954 or 55 there seems to be conflicting information on the actual date, can anyone confirm? New 1949 rebodied 1954/5, five or six years does not seem all that long, is there a story behind that, and does anyone know what the original body was? She is seen outside Winchester Guildhall on 1 January 2010, visiting the King Alfred Running Day.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


21/12/12 – 07:33

Just for information. The 2013 King Alfred Running Day will, as usual, be on New Year’s Day. Sometimes, the event is moved, but no disruption for this coming one. The restored Leyland Olympic should be back in service and one of the members is hoping to have his 1930’s Paris Renault on duty.

Pete Davies


21/12/12 – 07:34

I have some information about the Crossley of Joseph Wood. The original body was built by Scottish Aviation. Two elderly coaches were traded in to Comberhill Motors of Wakefield to purchase the bus. This was the first double decker for the firm. Mr Colin Wood Josephs son related the facts to me. He was serving in the army in Korea when he received an angry letter from his father to tell him that on its first test it had failed due to bodywork defects. Colin suggested that they had the bus rebodied. At the time Yorkshire Woollen were having their wartime Guy Arabs rebodied so it was arranged that the Crossley would have similar bodywork. In 1954 the company scrapped the body and the head driver Mr Sam Land drove the chassis from Mirfield to Crossgates. On its return it entered service and was used on the joint service from Mirfield to Dewsbury alongside J J Longstaff and Yorkshire Woollen. For the next twenty years or so it went through two engines on the service its only escape was when Huddersfield Town Football club was playing at home when it was used on the excursion to the ground. Eventually the day came when the Crossley was due for withdrawal and so the ex Leyland Atlantean demonstrator KTD 551C was purchased. The Crossley was parked up against the garage and eventually became a tyre store. Colin had always wanted to preserve the bus and for the next few years he worked on the bus and had it reupholstered. On completion the bus looked splendid and one Sunday he invited friends and former employees and the bus made two commemorative journeys. Then the bus was kept at Keighley Bus Museum and was rallied frequently. Eventually it was decided to sell the bus and it was sold to Quanstock Motor Services and I read in Preserved Bus that the vehicle was for sale. If I win the Euro Millions Lottery it will be the first thing on my shopping list!!!

Philip Carlton


21/12/12 – 07:35

This bus is currently up for sale at Quantock Motor Services and they have it being re-bodied in 1952

Andrew


21/12/12 – 07:36

Beautiful – and beautifully preserved – bus. As a Roe man, my gut instinct says 1954 rather 1955. The upper deck would have been slightly different, but the archaic five bay lay-out muddies the waters. [I don’t have documentary proof, just instinct.]

David Oldfield


21/12/12 – 07:38

Pete, you have raised an interesting question about the original body on this bus, and, surprisingly, the comprehensive ‘Crossley’ book by Eyre, Heaps and Townsin does not give a specific answer as far as I can find. The authors do make reference to five single deck SD42s bought by Joseph Wood, and then go on to state that Wood "acquired a second hand DD42 which it had fitted with a new Roe body", but neither the previous owner nor the original body are identified. The Scottish agent for Crossley was the Scottish Commercial Motor Co. of Glasgow, and it made the bodies itself on a number of its sales, but some were fitted with other makes of bodywork, including lowbridge examples by Roe. However, the following site www.sct61.org.uk/ confirms that the original body was, indeed, a Scottish Commercial product that was superseded by the current excellent Roe body in 1954. Clearly, some, at least, of the Scottish Commercial bodies must have been decidedly suspect to have given a life of only five years. Most of the wartime utilities managed rather better than that.

Roger Cox


21/12/12 – 10:33

Thank you, gents, for your comments on the origin of this bodywork. A fascinating read!

Pete Davies


21/12/12 – 12:48

I would say that the earliest the body dates from is 1954. I am basing this on deliveries to Leeds in that period all of which had deeper windows on both decks. By the arrival of the 1954 AEC Regents these were much shallower as seen here. However the bus is still an absolute gem and ideally should be repatriated north.

Chris Hough


21/12/12 – 12:49

I’m in complete agreement with David O, that it would have looked so much better with the Roe four and a quarter bay body, but I’m not sure if that style was available in 7ft 6in width, which this vehicle was. Around the same time, J W Moseley of Barugh Green, Barnsley had an ex-Sheffield utility Daimler rebodied with exactly the same style of Roe body.

Chris Barker


21/12/12 – 13:47

EVD 406_lr_2

You may want to add this picture to the current discussion as it shows the vehicle from the front, and no reflections in the windows. Taken by myself at Taunton Railway Station on 1/5/10 during Quantock Motors running day,

Ken Jones


21/12/12 – 13:48

Chris The 4 and a quarter bay body was widely available so to speak from Roe Leeds standardised on 4 bays the half bay was (blanked off) from 1948 onwards and I think this was the Roe standard. One thing Roe often did for smaller operators was to tack their buses onto the end of a larger order which meant they got the same style of body but with a bit off the cost.

Chris Hough


23/12/12 – 07:19

It has to be said – a great looking vehicle even if it’s an ACV Crossley. Given the location of its owner, given the weather and, prior to smokeless zones, the output from household fires and woollen mill chimneys, the choice of colour scheme must have kept the bus washers busy.

Phil Blinkhorn


31/12/12 – 07:02

The Roe body dates from 1955 being completed on the 6th April that year.

Andrew Beever


01/01/13 – 11:33

The first photograph on this link shows EVD 406 prior to the 1955 Roe body being fitted www.jsh1949.co.uk/

Andrew Beever


18/02/13 – 08:29

Stephen Morris was driving this vehicle in service today [17/2/13] at the Hanley event. He expects to be driving it in service at the Kirkby Stephens event over Easter

Ken Jones


02/03/13 – 07:05

Was delighted to see this bus at Hanley but the engine was running flat no guts at all. Not sure what has happened to it recently but the last time I rode on it in 1999 at Keighley it had plenty of power then. Unfortunately the Hanley performance caused the running out in conversation all the usual Crossley negative traits. Shame after the effort myself with DBN 978 and the Birmingham 2489 Group have made to dispel this image!

Ralph Oakes-Garnett


14/03/13 – 16:06

A quick question if I may, when did Woods actually finish??

Peter Abel


15/03/13 – 08:33

The question of when Woods finished is around 1985 I forget the actual date. What happened is that they sold out to Abbeyways of Halifax who consolidated the Mirfield operation as Go Big Ltd and operations continued sometimes using buses from the Hyndburn hire fleet both double and single deckers but a bizarre purchase was a Leyland Leopard with an Alexander body that had once been a Leyland demonstrator abroad that operated on a Q plate. I remember that it had the destination for the Mirfield to Dewsbury service painted on the destination glass. Later on selling this bus the new owner had it rebodied by Plaxton.Eventually Abbeyways wound up the Mirfield operations and the depot at Lee Green Mirfield was sold to Ron Lyles who moved there from Batley. Later he moved his operations back to Batley and the depot was pulled down and Old Peoples flats were built on the site.

Philip Carlton


15/03/13 – 11:11

Thanks very much for info Philip. I will see if there’s anything in ‘Buses’ for that year.

Peter Abel


EVD 406_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting


18/06/15 – 10:48

I believe this bus is now in the care of the Dewsbury Bus Museum. It turned up as a ‘special guest’ at their March open day, still in pristine condition. Unfortunately it was parked in a corner and my photo did not do it justice.

Tim Jackson


 

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