Old Bus Photos

B.O.A.C. – Leyland Atlantean – LYF 304D

B.O.A.C. - Leyland Atlantean - LYF 304D

British Overseas Airways Corporation
1966
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
MCW CH38/16F

In 1940, with Britain at war and civilian air traffic barely existent, Croydon based Imperial Airways formally subsumed the privately owned (though nationally subsidised) British Airways at Heston and became BOAC, though this had been the de facto situation since September 1939. At the end of the war, with Heathrow becoming the major UK airport, the European air passenger traffic business was separated from BOAC in 1946 and named BEA. (British South American Airways, a short lived separate company formed at the same time for the South American air services, was reabsorbed into BOAC in 1949 after the disappearance of two Avro Tudor aircraft over the Atlantic.) To fulfil the road transport requirements between London and the developing Heathrow Airport, the Ministry of Supply allocated BEA and BOAC a number of Commer Q4 Commando 1½ deck observation coaches with Park Royal 20 seat bodywork that had 180 cubic ft of luggage space under the raised rear section. BOAC, operating from the former Imperial Airways building at Victoria, stayed with Commer for its replacement passenger road fleet and took Harrington bodied examples of the early petrol engined Avenger model between 1949 and 1952, though a solitary Harrington C37C bodied Leyland Royal Tiger PSU1/13 came in 1950. The TS3 two stroke powered Harrington Contender then became the favoured choice, and BOAC became the Contender’s best customer taking a total of 28, of which 19 were employed in overseas locations. (Strangely, the Harrington Contender does not appear at all on BLOTW.) The last BOAC Contenders (the figure varies between one and three) reputedly had the Rolls Royce petrol engine (again, sources vary as to whether this was the straight eight B80 or the six cylinder B60) married to a torque converter, a power train concept surely inspired by a variant of the Dennis fire engine. One wonders, however, how this layout could have been accommodated like the flat TS3 engine under the floor of the Contender.

As air travel became more popular, both BEA and BOAC turned to the double decker for the airport links. BEA, whose road operations were overseen by London Transport, took the Routemaster, but BOAC preferred the Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1, purchasing fifteen in 1966, LYF 304D to LYF 318D inclusive, with “Alexander clone” MCW bodies that seated 38 passengers upstairs and 16 downstairs; the vacated space was used for luggage. Later, in 1971, these were supplemented by six PDR2/1, GML 846J to GML 851J inclusive, with Roe CH41/24F bodies. It is thought that all these Atlanteans were operated on behalf of BOAC by Halls Bros. at Hounslow. The picture shows examples of each type at the Victoria terminal building. PDR1/1 LYF 304D was delivered in October 1966, and PDR2/1 GML 847J arrived in July 1971. The BEA and BOAC London – Heathrow road services were taken over by the new British Airways from 1974 and had ceased by 1980, by which time air passengers had become accustomed to booking in directly at Heathrow, and the central London passenger facilities had become superfluous. One of the MCW bodied vehicles, LYF 307D, has been preserved.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


21/01/19 – 07:18

I remember riding in these Atlanteans out from Victoria to Heathrow. The BOAC departure point was the ground floor of their headquarters, which faces Victoria coach station across the road, although given the clientele of both BOAC and long distance coach at the time probably very few transferred between the two.
There have been many memories posted on the web about the buses out to Heathrow, a significant number of which seem to mix up BEA, BOAC and British Airways, the separate London departure points (BEA moved round several time over the years), and the vehicles, inevitably sometimes calling this BOAC fleet "Routemasters". After the merger of the two airlines, although the two bus fleets were painted in a common livery, separate operations were retained, from the different London points to the different Heathrow terminals the two halves of the airline continued to use.
Did Halls actually run the BOAC fleet ? A poster elsewhere on the web says they were employed by BOAC and drove them as part of their other airport driving duties. The vehicle base was in airport property on the north side of Heathrow, where the car parks are now. I saw the preserved Atlantean had been used in a nice British Airways TV ad with a historic theme a few hears ago.
Halls did own another Atlantean fleet, Roe bodied, for US airline TWA, likewise in their colours, used from their Piccadilly terminal, and also for other independent hires, they could be seen at various points around London. Pan Am also had their own road connections, with coaches, from a point in Kensington.

Bill


21/01/19 – 07:19

That was the last type of d/d bus I rode in at the start of my journey in May 1971 to Australia where I still reside.

David Revis


22/01/19 – 07:29

The operation of a bus fleet necessitates facilities for cleaning, washing, fuelling and maintenance. It is possible, perhaps, that the driving staff were BOAC employees, but did the airline really cover all the other essential requirements itself? It is surely more likely that a specialist contractor like Halls would have been used.

Roger Cox


23/01/19 – 06:36

An airline at its main base typically has a very large fleet of motor vehicles of all types, specialist and standard, and a Motor Transport maintenance department to suit. These would operate both airside and on the road. I would imagine the BOAC motor fleet of all types required at Heathrow would dwarf the Hall fleet, the numbers possibly into the hundreds, all of which would require the services described. Further buses were commonly owned for passenger transfer across the apron.
BOAC used to have some substantial articulated passenger trailers at Heathrow pulled by HGV tractor units which shuttled between the terminal and the aircraft. They lasted well into British Airways days. These were an interesting niche about which there is little information.

Bill


23/01/19 – 06:37

I don’t see why BOAC who had a large fleet of lorries and other vehicles as well as buses, would need a coach hire company to maintain their buses at Heathrow when they were perfectly capable of looking after their own buses at Prestwick.

Stephen Allcroft


25/01/19 – 06:55

These services must have had a road service licence, probably the old Express Licence, as they just charged fares, sold at a terminal counter, and anyone could go on them, not just air passengers. 7 shillings and 6 pence (7/6) seems to ring a bell. I don’t recall there being a published timetable (otherwise I would have taken one) but they were fairly turn up and go.
Both BOAC and successor British Airways also ran substantial fleets of regular coaches at Heathrow, Leopards and others, run both airside and landside, for trips such as shuttles to hotels, and I recall these coaches sometimes turned up on the BOAC Central London run as well. I presume the two fleets were kept separate so those used only within the airport could run on red diesel.

Bill


28/01/19 – 07:29

These were certainly operated by BOAC as I worked in the PSV section of the Metropolitan Traffic Area and, unusually, rather than use the post, on occasion a smartly uniformed BOAC employee would turn up with a batch of renewal forms. I seem to recall that the vehicle licences would have been stage, but I don’t doubt that the road service licences would have been express.
I wonder if airside lorries and coaches would have run on red diesel within the airport boundaries as ‘red diesel’ wasn’t available until later, and in any case, there was a lot of domestic air traffic.’Red diesel’ is for agricultural use.

David Wragg


31/01/19 – 06:03

Red diesel is for use by anything that does not run on a public road. Boats, trains, off-road industrial and construction vehicles and plant are allowed to use red diesel as well as agricultural use.

Philip Halstead


31/01/19 – 11:49

Linking in with Philip’s comments, West Yorkshire used red Diesel when running in overhauled engines on the two Heenan & Froude dynamometers in the engine test house at Central Works. A small brick building behind the test house housed a largish fuel tank marked ‘gas oil’ specifically for the red Diesel. The units would probably have been classed as stationary engines whilst on test.

Brendan Smith


04/03/19 – 06:30

Although I realise Roger’s posting is mainly regarding Leyland Atlanteans, perhaps I may be permitted a few words of clarification regarding the Harrington Contenders used by BOAC. Most of the Contenders were petrol powered using the Rootes "sloper" engine as featured in the contemporary Avenger chassis. In fact a number of the BOAC Contenders were in service two years before the TS3 diesel was announced. If the chassis codes are to be believed then only 6 of the fleet were TS3 powered and all of these were exported – as were many of the petrol versions. The petrol engines were front mounted but it seems likely that the TS3 versions were mid mounted in the same way as the coaches that were available for general purchase. The Rolls Royce Contenders were also mid-engine. Modifications were made to the intake system of the down draft carburettors to reduce height and a fabricated sump was made to allow the engine to sit lower in the frame. Two were built, both with B60 engines.

Nick Webster


05/03/19 – 06:51

Thanks for that clarification on the BOAC Contenders, Nick. Yours is the first definitive explanation concerning these remarkable vehicles that I have encountered. One can understand the preference for petrol engines in overseas locations, but why persist with them at home? Again, do we know where the Rolls Royce powered coaches were based, and why such idiosyncratic power trains were felt to be necessary? The expense of so adapting a mere two vehicles could not possibly have been cost effective.

Roger Cox


06/03/19 – 15:33

I made an embarrassing error in my previous post – there were in fact three B60 Rolls Royce Contenders for BOAC, not two as stated. They were JSD 851, KAG 783 and LCS 638, delivered in 1956, 57 and 58 respectively. All went to Prestwick airport, at that time an important hub in trans-Atlantic flight. There they stayed until individually returned to London during 1964-65. After a few months, LCS 638, the first to return was sent out for further use in Karachi. It is known that at least one Commer based coach was also in use there but whether this replaced or supplemented is not known. Never heard of again of course. The other two saw only months of service (or perhaps just stored) before they were disposed via dealer Four Point Garages, Feltham to A. C. Pond Coaches of Roydon. Both were scrapped before the end of three years. They were incidentally, together with an unknown number of the Commers, six inches narrower than the standard 8 ft. coach. I was fortunate enough to obtain drawings from Kirkstall axles, Leeds before they closed down.
In considering the logic of such vehicles, one has to remember that in the 1950s air travel was promoted in rivalry to travel by Luxury Liner and the then necessary coach transfer was no time to let the side down. Furthermore, although diesels reigned supreme in the service bus, many coach operators for private hire insisted on smooth petrol vehicles even after rationing, rising prices and supply problems resulting from the 1956 Suez crisis. For Harrington, even selling as they did to the "top" end of the market, the reason for using a Rolls Royce engine is slightly more prosaic: there was probably a sale on. In the mid 50s Rolls Royce were attempting to increase sales their "B" range of engines and made them available to a wider market. For Harrington this was a last determined attempt to make the various versions of the Contender attractive to all levels of their customers. It is generally considered that Suez killed the Rolls Royce Contender. Indeed, by 1958 the whole integral coach project was scrapped in favour of a new lightweight body later known as the Crusader which was intended to suit the most popular chassis of the day.

Nick Webster


 

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Ribble – Leyland Atlantean – RRN 414 – 1814

RRN 414

Ribble Motor Services
1962
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Weymann L39/33F

Seen in August 1969 in less than pristine condition leaving Manchester’s Lower Mosley Street Bus Station (often confusing us slow witted southerners by appearing on bus destination blinds as “Manchester LMS”) is Ribble 1814, the last of a batch of fourteen Weymann bodied lowbridge Atlanteans on the original PDR1/1 chassis. This was fitted with a straight rear axle which required the lower deck to incorporate a step to gain access to the uplifted rear part of the saloon. The corresponding rear section of the upper saloon also had to be raised, so that a side gangway of the traditional lowbridge variety was employed in that area, though this was located on the nearside of the vehicle (front engined lowbridge double deckers had the gangway on the offside to avoid fouling the passenger entrance). The 1801 -1814 lowbridge Atlanteans were the last examples of the PDR1/1 chassis to be bought by Ribble.
Another OBP page showing one of these Atlanteans may be found here:- At this link
and a comprehensive article by Neville Mercer on Lower Mosley Street is here:- Lower Mosley Street – Article

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/03/18 – 06:06

I think by 1962, the bodywork on these lowbridge Atlanteans had improved somewhat on the original examples which came out in 1959. The single skinned fibreglass domes (which tended to crack) had been replaced by double skinned ones, the interior face being a sort of brilliant white plastic which seemed to resist yellowing very well. Other small improvements to the interior trim and panelling made the general ambience feel noticeably better and I quite liked to travel on the later ones. I believe both Ribble and PMT got very long service lives out of them in spite of the problems they were supposed to have had.

Chris Barker


17/03/18 – 07:15

Looks like someone tried to prize off the Ribble fleet nameplate on the front panel.
Perhaps her less than pristine condition is down to her being due her seven year Check/Overhaul.

Cyril Aston


18/03/18 – 06:47

Ribble got very good service from these some lasting into the eighties

Chris Hough


18/03/18 – 06:47

Quite a sad photo, I can’t remember which particular bus it was, but had a trip on one of this batch when brand new on the X23 from LMS. I suppose I haven’t worn any better than the bus! Personally I enjoyed riding on the lowbridge Atlanteans. PMT used them on the Stoke-Stafford service which like the Ribble services gave them a good chance to open up. Travelling in the rear upstairs was quite smooth, I suppose the lower height lowered the centre of gravity, resulting in a better ride.

Andrew Gosling


07/05/18 – 07:13

PMT certainly got their moneys worth out of their 105 lowbridge Atlanteans. A lot depended on the Depot. Frank Ling who was Resident Engineer at Longton Depot achieved phenomenal engine mileages out his Atlantean fleet by carefully and diligently looking after them. recollection is that he had 4 spare vehicles for a PVR of 58 so not a lot of spare capacity there. Mind you, Frank also managed to run quite successfully a sizeable fleet of Albion Aberdonian single deckers which again other Depots failed to do so. Memory fades but I’m sure that some batches of PMT’s Atlanteans also had a plastic finish to the inside of the front domes.

Ian Wild


19/07/18 – 07:13

Stafford garage had a duty on the 10 service which I occasionally worked for my rest day. The Atlantean would probably be 909 and occasional 910 these buses belonged to Hanley garage and were serviced by them. They were a pleasure to drive and were both quite fast. Happy days !!

Michael Crofts


27/11/19 – 08:47

With regards to PMT Stafford garage I would add that both 909 and 910 were the resident Atlanteans and they were serviced by Stoke garage, not Hanley. They were indeed fine buses.

Leekensian


 

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Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – 224 BTP – 224

Portsmouth Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - 224 BTP - 224

Portsmouth Corporation
1963
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Metro Cammell H43/33F

The production Atlantean appeared in 1958, but the early examples proved troublesome and expensive to maintain. Nevertheless, the concept appealed to several operators, and, by 1963, Portsmouth Corporation, long time devotees of the Leyland marque, must have thought the risk to be worthwhile, for it bought a batch of 35 PDR1/1 buses in that year, followed by a further 10 in 1964 and 9 more in 1966. All members of the Portsmouth PDR1/1 fleet carried the very plain Metro-Cammell H43/33F body design. The Corporation subsequently switched to the PDR1/2 version and finally to the AN68. Seen on 13 August 1967 at Portsmouth Harbour, known locally as “The Hard”, is No.224, 224 BTP, one of the 1963 deliveries, displaying the superb Portsmouth livery to good effect. I doubt if trips round the harbour are now offered for 15p (3/-) but, unlike the late 1940s/early 1950s when I lived in Alverstoke, the current Royal Navy could almost be accommodated on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, so there isn’t much to see these days.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


17/04/17 – 07:49

Mixed feelings about this photo.
The Atlantians were the mainstay of my trips to school on the 143 but their arrival marked the end for the much loved trolleys.

Dave French


18/04/17 – 07:44

So typical of CPPTD’s pride, four years old and yet still looking brand new! Even if they were troublesome in their early days, the department was well up to coping with whatever was thrown at it. IF I recall The Hard for anything, it was the Mudlarks rummaging on the muddy foreshore which passed as a beach there, with them searching out coins thrown at them by passers by! Not forgetting the three lines of trolleybuses parked there at the terminus, awaiting the dockers coming out, at least those that weren’t on a bike. It was always like the beginning of a bike race here at coming out time! This was a time of transport change in the area. Not long after, the electric ‘Nelson Stock’ trains acquired their half yellow fronts, then later went from dignified green to plain blue, not even with any grey to relieve the monotony, as other trains . My other abiding memory, when coming into Havant rail station during my 1957-59 National Service days, was hearing the announcer, in broad Hampshire ‘burr’ saying, ‘avant, this is ‘avant. Change ‘ere for the Broighton Loin, change ‘ere for ‘ayling Oiland!". Now, they all talk like Londoners. (I am a Londoner!). Reminiscing? Not I!

Chris Hebbron


18/04/17 – 10:44

Wonderful memories Chris, but they were dockIES, not dockERS – they didn’t load and unload ships they built and repaired them.

Pat Jennings


18/04/17 – 17:04

They were commonly known, the ones on the bikes at least, as Dockyard Mateys!

Philip Lamb


18/04/17 – 17:06

Yes, a great picture of a Portsmouth bus still proudly presented. The Corporation seemed to be forward thinking in these days, with the trolleybus conversions using some one-person operated saloons (noteworthy for urban use at the time), and then the use of Atlanteans for the final conversion. Other south coast municipalities were generally slower to move to rear-engined buses, I recall. However Portsmouth waited for other pioneers to iron out initial difficulties – Reading had used O-P-O saloons a year or two before them, and Hastings’ trolleybus conversion with Atlanteans was back in 1959 (although a BET operation, it was somewhat municipal-like in its scope). The result was that Portsmouth’s Atlanteans were of the "Mark II" variety, introduced that year. In fact I think the first few were delivered in original format, and were returned to the maker for modification to the new format. Also, the bodywork contained the "Manchester staircase" as opposed to the original Met-Cam design.
Dave mentions their use on route 143 – this was previously route C/D, which used to change the screens on route because of its length. When it became 143, the whole route detail was squeezed on to the via screen, with the final destination in the smaller screen below. The result looked extremely squashed, and rather spoilt the overall appearance in my view.
The terminus has also changed it’s name in recent years. Just plain "Dockyard" sufficed when the picture was taken. Much later it became "The Hard Interchange", and nowadays it’s "Gunwharf Quays". I always felt that "The Hard Interchange" was a little unfortunate, bearing in mind that one could change from a bus or coach to the Gosport Ferry or London/Southampton/Brighton line trains – was it really that hard? We all hoped not!

Michael Hampton


19/04/17 – 08:13

One minor correction to the text is that Portsmouth did not have any PDR1/2 Atlanteans – this was the version with a drop centre rear axle, intended for low height bodies, although some operators used it to permit additional headroom in the lower saloon.
After the PDR1/1s, Portsmouth’s next Atlanteans were the PDR2/1 single deckers – the PDR2 being the longer wheelbase version of the chassis. The next double deckers were Alexander-bodied AN68s.

Nigel Frampton


19/04/17 – 08:14

This is a great view of a Municipal bus in traditional livery, even to the lining out. The light upper paintwork, white or cream or whatever depending on which fleet is in question, has often been regarded as difficult to photograph. With a blue sky, it stands out. Thank you, Roger, for posting.
Like, Mr Hebbron, I am a Londoner, but by default, since my parents were living there when I was born, but I am of Lancashire origins. Between "The Hard Interchange" and "Gunwharf Quays", Michael, was it not simply "The Hard"?

Pete Davies


20/04/17 – 06:16

Pete, it may well have been just plain "The Hard" at some point. I do remember "The Hard Interchange" being used on the AN68 Alexander bodied Atlanteans. But when de-regulation came in and there were so many changes, it may well have become "The Hard", perhaps depending on the operator, and/or size of destination screen. I don’t have ant specific memories of those more recent times!

Michael Hampton


20/04/17 – 06:18

There is an sameness about these earlyish Atlanteans and Fleetlines- or am I not observant enough? They were all boxy, with separate windscreens right and left and no sign of any overall design or even "styling" features that may be found on an older half-cab. They all seem to be built from the same standardised components and carrying over the half-cab liveries. Only later, or even much later, came shrouded bustles, one piece screens and larger window bays. Was Liverpool the first to introduce a complete "new look"..? that’s a provocative question.

Joe


22/04/17 – 07:03

It used to be ‘DOCKYARD’ in the 1950s and early 1960s. ‘Hard’ was the Hampshire term for the first bit of dry land one came to from the sea. Across the harbour, Gosport Hard was known to Provincial as ‘GOSPORT FERRY’ and the Hants & Dorset as simply ‘GOSPORT’, and the same applied to the solitary Southdown rout, that from London Victoria Coach Station via the Meon Valley.

David Wrag


22/04/17 – 07:05

The bus is either operating route 148A or 148B. At that time, routes crossing the City boundary had Southdown rather than Corporation numbers.

Andy Hemming


22/04/17 – 09:50

The route is 148A.

Roger Cox


27/04/17 – 06:00

In answer to Joe, I think that in the beginning the overall appearance of the Atlantean, however bodied, was so revolutionary that no-one noticed that the detailed styling was derived from the MCW Orion (which itself wasn’t very old at the time). The Park Royal/Roe version was clearly a copy, and even the Alexander used similar window dimensions, while Northern Counties used their own halfcab styling in the same way that MCW used the Orion’s.
So yes, the Liverpool Atlantean was the first example not to be based on either halfcab styling from the same builder or someone else’s Atlantean/Fleetline. Strangely, only Liverpool, Bolton and Bury took it, all other MCW customers staying with the Orion-based design, with or without a prettified front end.
It was quickly eclipsed by the copy that East Lancs did for Bolton, enhanced by a stunning new livery, and I would also like to raise a flag for the restrained elegance of the first Warrington Fleetlines, which slipped on to the scene completely unsung in late 1963: https://flic.kr/p/DQQWky

Peter Williamson


27/04/17 – 10:50

Bury, after its flirtation with MCW Liverpool style bodies, continued to look for something more attractive and went to East Lancs which produced almost identical bodies to those of Warrington. The Warrington bodies were built by the East Lancs sister company, the Sheffield based Neepsend, who built the same design for Sheffield on Atlantean chassis and shared an order for Coventry with East Lancs on Fleetline chassis, 13 bodies being built by Neepsend, 9 by East Lancs.

Phil Blinkhorn


28/04/17 – 07:11

In between the Liverpool style Atlanteans and the East Lancs Fleetlines Bury took 15 Fleetlines with Glasgow style Alexander bodies but with the Midland Red style vee windscreens. These were very attractive buses and to my eyes were the best looking of the three manufacturer’s products for Bury.

Philip Halstead


28/04/17 – 16:55

Not sure what happened with my post on this topic yesterday. My original post overnight Wednesday/Thursday included a mention of the Alexander bodied Fleetlines prior to those from East Lancs and was listed when I checked the site at around 08.00 on Thursday. Clicking the link to the comment revealed that it had not been added to the thread. I sent an email regarding this and a truncated version of my original then appeared.

Phil Blinkhorn


02/03/19 – 06:58

I digress from Pomopey buses, but want to add to Chris Hebron’s memories of station announcer accents. At Portsmouth & Southsea station for many years I always heard "Portsmouth and Saysey, this is Portsmouth and Saysey, remain on the train for Portsmouth arbor, the Oila Woyt and Gosport ferries." Now it’s electronic in perfect clipped accentless English.

Jules


05/03/19 – 06:54

We are way off the subject but I was told that a good Station Announcer could announce the intermediate stations for a stopping train to Waterloo in one breath,

Andrew Hemming


06/03/19 – 07:09

When I was a driving instructor I had one pupil with a quite extreme stutter/stammer, he was employed as a station announcer and I never heard him mis-speak at work.

John Lomas


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 11th December 2019