Copyright John Stringer
After years of handling crash gearboxed Bristols and latterly Crossleys, Rotherham Corporation’s drivers probably had mixed feelings about being presented with their first preselectors in the form of these 1955 Daimler CVG6′s. In certain respects physically easier to drive than what had gone before, they would have had that unfortunate tendency to occasionally kick back through the gearchange pedal if the driver forgot himself (or herself, as I believe the Department was unusual at the time in employing a woman driver – have I got that right?) and tried to ride the pedal like a clutch, or did not press it firmly to the floor with confidence – likely to cause a painful injury to the ankle, shin or knee. The body was Weymann’s much more pleasantly proportioned (in my opinion) alternative to the plain Metro Cammell Orion – in this case in its lowbridge form. Photographed at Rotherham’s Rawmarsh Road depot in 1968, it was withdrawn in 1971.
Photograph and Copy contributed by
A full list of Daimler codes can be seen here.
01/03/13 – 06:09
At first glance, it looks like the Swindon/Thamesdown livery (to me but my eyesight isn’t perfect!). Is it the film, the processing or the lighting? We’ve followed that route elsewhere on this site. Nice view, John!
01/03/13 – 06:09
Known as the Aurora, this was far more well known as a four bay high-bridge design and, certainly by 1955, 8′ wide. This made these unusual in several respects. CVG6s figured in Rotherham orders for a good ten years – with mostly Roe, but also some more Weymann bodies. [I have not had the experience but always thought the pre-selectors with the kick back were the spring operated versions. Were these late pre-selectors spring or air operated?]
01/03/13 – 06:10
John Rotherham did have female drivers in the post war period I can remember an article in the Daily Mirror in the late sixties about the ladies concerned .
One of these Daimlers is now preserved at the South Yorkshire Transport Museum.
01/03/13 – 08:11
Strictly, not, Chris. It’s a 1954 high-bridge…..
01/03/13 – 11:33
Sheffield city centre, and immediate surrounds, used to see such a wonderful variety of liveries including this Rotherham example, the old & new Doncaster, Tracky, West Riding, Sheffield United Tours, Mexborough & Swinton, East Midland’s chocolate, biscuit and cream, (later replaced by their dark red/maroon) Wigmore blue and grey, Chesterfield’s rich dark green and cream, not to mention the plethora of independent coach operators, each with instantly identifiable colours. What a tragic shame that all were washed away by either the PTE or National blandness. Sheffield’s own livery was, of course, my personal favourite. Thankfully, users of this site keep posting nostalgia! Keep ‘em coming.
01/03/13 – 11:34
What exactly was Rotherham’s requirement for lowbridge vehicles? They seem to have had a mixed fleet and towards the end of their separate existence, the lowbridge or low height contingent diminished, so were the offending bridges removed?
I’m in complete agreement about the pleasant proportions, this style was a nice alternative to the Orion, particularly in lowbridge form.
01/03/13 – 11:34
The livery looks about right, Pete although the cream could be lighter and the blue royaller. They also went in for Arriva-style "swerves" with the cream at the front, but probably thought these tin-fronts swervy enough.
01/03/13 – 13:47
You’re so right Les, we lost a lot with coffee, cream and white.
Lots of roads were dropped under bridges to allow more headroom for full height vehicles. Interesting, though, that Rotherham had these splendid vehicles at almost the same time as Sheffield had their monstrous low-bridge Orion Regent IIIs. What a difference a few months can make.
Just had a cataract operation, Pete/Joe. Boy what a difference in colours with "new eyes". That could also be a factor.
01/03/13 – 13:48
I well remember my first sighting of one of these, when brand new 124 showed up one Sunday afternoon on the route running through our Rotherham housing estate, which had no requirement for lowbridge buses at all, and was normally handled by Crossleys. I was seven at the time, and was so amazed by it, that I persuaded my father to take me for a ride to Canklow and back on one the following weekend, just so I could sample one of the new buses.
At the time, Rotherham needed lowbridge buses on the 33 to Treeton and the 19 service to Dinnington, joint with East Midland, but these Daimlers quite often appeared on the workers services to Templeborough (70) and the 17 to ‘Yorkshire Engine Company’!
With respect to the pre-selector gearboxes, I do recall a piece in the local Rotherham paper in the early 60′s, reporting on the fact that at least a couple of accidents had been attributed to driver inexperience with the gearbox controls, the vehicles in question having suddenly jumped ahead while stationery, one I believe knocking down a pedestrian on a zebra crossing. There were questions asked at the time about the necessity for more extensive driver training etc. I presume the pre-selectors would have been considered a lot easier to master by the drivers who were having to be retrained from trolleybus work, as a fair number of them would have moved over to the buses when the Maltby conversion took place in 1954, utilising the highbridge version of the same chassis shown here. Rotherham’s only woman driver of the period, Winifred Hallam, wouldn’t have had any trouble with the pre-selectors I’m sure; she was licensed to drive trams, trolleybuses and motor buses, the only woman in the country to hold that distinction, so I understand.
Three lowbridge Leyland TD7′s were purchased as a stopgap measure from Chesterfield Corporation in 1956, whilst delivery of three Roe bodied CVG6′s was awaited. These were already at the end of their lives, and quickly disappeared as soon as the trio of new Daimlers arrived the following year.
02/03/13 – 07:21
Glad your operation was both successful and a revelation, David O!
02/03/13 – 07:22
In answer to your question about gearboxes, David, the answer is spring-operated, if it had a kick-back. For once, this is a type of transmission I’m thankful I’ve never needed to contend with!
By 1955 an AEC with preselect could certainly be considered ‘late’ since the Regal IV & Regent III were just about to be superseded by the Reliance & Regent V – which featured Monocontrol, if they weren’t manual. For a Daimler, however. I’m pretty sure that preselects remained available in the CVG6 range right up to the end of production in 1968/9.
As to when spring-operated gearboxes gave way to air-operated (on Daimlers) I’ve always assumed it was the late 1950s, but I may be corrected on that.
02/03/13 – 09:22
Thanks, Chris, for your good wishes.
Thanks, David, re pre-selects – although I am aware that late Daimlers had moved from pre-select to semi-auto control. [Huddersfield and the route 72 Leeds models spring to mind.] Whether anyone opted for pre-selectors after this time, I wouldn’t like to say.
Spent a delightful day with an ex Morecambe 9612E a year or two ago but have also driven many miles with Scania Comfort-shift coaches – which you drive "as a pre-selector". [.....even though it's a synchromesh box.]
02/03/13 – 14:06
I believe Northampton’s Daimlers retained pre-selector boxes right up to the last batch delivered in 1968.
02/03/13 – 14:06
My recollection is that all of Derby Corporation’s Daimler CVG6′s were pre-selectors – from the initial 10 with Park Royal bodywork (115-124, i.e. KRC115-125) supplied in 1957 to the very last Roe-bodied ones supplied in 1966 (185-189, i.e. KRC185-189D). I am not sure whether the gear change layout correlates with spring versus air-operated change, but I distinctly remember that all of these had an H-gate selector under the left-hand side of the steering wheel (like the AEC Regent), rather than the quadrant under the right hand side, as on the CVD6 (and I think the earlier COG5).
02/03/13 – 14:07
David, I have established beyond reasonable doubt that preselects were available on CVG6s up to the end of production, since the very last ones (for Northampton) were themselves preselect. One thing of which I was certainly not aware (and which came as a big surprise) was the fact that these last apparently featured spring-operated gearboxes, and vacuum brakes. So not only were preselects available to the end of production, spring-operated ones were (as well as, presumably, air-operated ones).
Northampton were certainly not alone in continuing to specify preselect gearboxes, I do know that the three CVG6LX-30s delivered to Swindon in 1967 were preselect – one of these, 145 (JAM 145E), I believe continues as a heritage vehicle with Swindon’s successor, Thamesdown Transport. I would be very surprised if there were not other operators who specified preselects to the end, simply because preselects were what they were accustomed to. As you say, semi-auto certainly became the norm in later years – I think they were probably available from the start of CVG6-30 production, c1956.
03/03/13 – 07:51
Thanks for putting me right Eric, Stephen and David.
03/03/13 – 07:51
PMT’s 30 CVG5 of 1956 were vacuum braked with spring operated gear change. I only got my ankle wrapped round the driver’s seat once – that was enough!! Their sole CVD6-30 of 1958 was air braked with semi automatic gear change. If the bus was vacuum braked then the gear change would have to be spring operated – no air system for any other type of operation.
03/03/13 – 07:52
There were three types of selector used on Daimler CVs, but they didn’t quite correspond to the three gearbox options. The quadrant was only used with the spring-operated preselector gearbox and vacuum brakes, and was replaced by the H-gate (with horizontal lever) in the mid-1950s. This was used with both spring-operated and air-operated preselector gearboxes, the former with vacuum brakes and the latter with air. The third option was the Daimatic (direct-acting semi-automatic) transmission, which used an H-gate with vertical lever, as on the Fleetline, with air brakes obviously. All three transmission options were eventually available on the 27ft CVG6; the CVG6-30 could have either of the two air-braked options, while the humble CVG5 was only ever available with the spring-operated preselector and vacuum brakes.
Vehicle reminder shot for this posting
21/03/13 – 17:24
I seem to remember preselector gearboxes on AEC IIIs in Sheffield in the 50s. With so many "vertical streets" in Sheffield. it was hard to set off on a hill start with a bus full & a crash gearbox. On the route I used to travel most, the 34 Graves Park & 35 Hollythorpe Rise, the crash boxed buses would have to set off in 1st gear, then by the time they tried to get 2nd selected, the bus had come to a stop! They then had to go back to 1st gear & repeat the process. The AEC were the standard for these routes with different coachwork of Northern Coachworks, Weymann & possibly Cravens on the 33 route, Hemsworth. Hemsworth is one of the highest parts in Sheffield with a watertower to supply our water. We also had the 36 Heeley Green at rush hours, they all took the same hilly route as far as Heeley Green. Could my memory be right on the preselectors?
Forgot to add, at most of the terminus, they had water with watering cans, for the driver to top them up when they were boiling, Many times they would still be boiling, coming down the hills to the city centre, so they must have got very hot.
22/03/13 – 07:53
1947 – 1950 all Regent IIIs were (air operated) pre-select. The PD2s were manual but from 1952 all Regent IIIs and Vs were synchromesh until 1963. From 1957 PD2s/PD3s had the new "semi-crash" box. These latter were the biggest culprits in the "will they, won’t they" hill start when full stakes.
22/03/13 – 07:56
Scroll down, Andy, to 5/11/12 on the link below and the photo will show a familiar sight! www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/