Copyright Ken Jones
DBN 978 is listed as one of only eighteen Crossley single deck half cabs that survive. It is a SD42/7 with Crossley B32R body dating from 1949 and preserved in original condition as Bolton Transport number 8. It was transferred to Bolton Corporation Welfare Department, and is now privately preserved c/o The Tameside Transport Collection 2005. A picture of it prior to preservation taken in 1966 can be found at this link. The above picture was taken in September 2010 when it was present at the Rigby Road depot Open Day in Blackpool.
Photograph and Copy contributed by Ken Jones
28/12/12 – 06:47
I wonder why Crossley bothered with the step up in the window line on this model. The strengthening Manchester wanted for the suspended platform on its post war standard required the step up in the upper deck window line only, the lower deck step up was purely cosmetic – so why follow the idea through on a single decker?
This is a lovely example which I well remember seeing in service.
28/12/12 – 06:48
An excellent view of a lovely machine! I’ve seen her on several occasions, including on her native territory in my "black and white print" days of the early 1960′s. The odd thing is that, apart from rally appearances, views I’ve seen of her in Bolton are all round the depot area behind the office at 147 Bradshawgate. Did she not move much?
A bought slide, from the Omnicolour collection suggests – incorrectly, I think – that she was a SELNEC vehicle when that photo was taken and comments she would have looked rather odd in orange. Of course, if she was with the Welfare Department, she wouldn’t have passed to SELNEC – or would she???
28/12/12 – 09:52
Bolton withdrew the bus in 1962 and it passed to the Welfare Department. As with other Councils, the Transport Department looked after the vehicle mechanically and provided garaging (some even provided drivers) but the asset was owned by the Council’s Welfare Department and was not included in the stock passed to SELNEC though they may well have looked after and housed the vehicle under contract.
28/12/12 – 11:03
Thanks, Phil. Another incorrect caption to join the list!
28/12/12 – 11:52
DBN 978 was bought by the Crossley Omnibus Society in the summer of 1969. We had a frantic two weeks repainting it and then took it for its first trip out to the Grand Transport Extravaganza that year. Whilst in preservation it was kept at first in Carlton Street, alongside the Bolton (and later SELNEC) garage in Shiffnal Street, in almost exactly the same place it had been parked as a welfare bus.
I think this is where some of the confusion has come from. It was no longer owned by Bolton or SELNEC, just parked there. It moved up to the society accommodation in Greenfield on 19th September 1971 under tow due to an engine problem which after removing the engine turned out to require a replacement core plug at a cost of about 2p!
It was bought by the current owner in 1974 and restored to rear-entrance the following year (from memory). It is unusual in having air brakes.
28/12/12 – 13:43
Thank you, David, for giving the assorted dates. The slide I have is dated May 1970, so it is well into the preservation era. I’ll let the operator of Omnicolour know for future reference.
29/12/12 – 07:01
Thanks for the fascinating information, gentlemen.
When was it converted to front entrance? Was it for its Welfare Department service or was it an early o-m-o conversion? Good to see it back in original condition.
Frankly, considering the comparatively small number of single-deck Crossleys put into service, I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that no fewer than eighteen still survive.
I’ve always had a soft spot for them, and I’d love to see an all-Crossley Rally somewhere someday (or have I already missed them?)!
29/12/12 – 09:08
Peter Gould’s fleet lists show that 6 and 7 of the same batch were converted in 1954 and 1955 respectively yet omit a date for 5 and 8. Can’t confirm if this is an oversight or if the conversion was done after withdrawal in 1962 but the conversion looks identical to 6 and 7 rather than one done specifically for the needs of the Welfare Department.
29/12/12 – 14:05
I used to see these buses around 1961 as Pete Davies says always parked behind the Bradshawgate offices and I am pretty sure they were front entrance omo by then. Bolton’s need for single deckers was quite small and the few routes they operated were infrequent services to the north of the town so I suppose these buses spent long periods on layover. I don’t ever recall seeing one on the move.
30/12/12 – 07:17
I used to think that all had been converted to front-entrance but this was not so. 5 remained rear-entrance and I have a photograph of it in Cowley’s yard in Salford, still with rear entrance.
6 and 7 were full one-man conversions and featured an angled cab side window for the driver to collect fares.
8 was converted later and no doubt used a lot of the principles adopted for 6 and 7. However, there was no fare collection on a Welfare Bus so the angled window wasn’t needed. In fact it would have caused a problem on this bus as it was fitted with a heater in this role (I don’t believe they had them before) and the pipes went up in a box enclosure in the corner where the angled window would have been. The heater was above the bulkhead window – pre-dating the Leyland National physics-defying arrangement by some years!
Another difference was the blind display. Instead of a destination plus three-track number blind, there was just a single destination. This had a blind which if I recall correctly had just a single display "Welfare". Inside of course the bus was completely different, with longitudinal seating and a tail lift at the rear.
30/12/12 – 08:51
Thanks for that info David. Interesting that they didn’t need a ramp or chair lift as many Welfare Departments specified when converting buses from the Transport Department
30/12/12 – 09:45
The tail lift was a chair lift – sorry if I gave the wrong impression.
30/12/12 – 17:27
Ah, my error in interpretation.
I travelled on this bus on what was billed as its first day of service boarding it at the top of Halliwell Road and travelling up to Smithills Dean CE School It was my favourite ‘though No 6 was reputed to be faster!
29/01/13 – 15:28
I have owned DBN 978 partly from 1971 as a Crossley Omnibus Society member and wholly in August 1974 onwards. The bus is presently taxed and insured. Just waiting to refit the overhauled starter motor.
The bus has been operated more or less trouble free since 1997 when the engine was rebuilt. The only major event was a broken offside leafspring in 1997. Due to personal circumstances it has been laid up for the past 2 years until now. The starter was found to have become coated with rust in this period hence the overhaul. Next rally will be in April to Dukinfield.
Almost forgot! The bus can be viewed at Tameside Transport Collection at Roaches, Mossley where it is kept. Just off the A635 if you come from Manchester a road off to the right just before the Saddleworth/Yorkshire border. If you pass the sign you missed it! The bus has been a regular rally attender for years including European destinations of Noordwijk aan Zee and Amsterdam.