Old Bus Photos

Portsmouth Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – 224 BTP – 224

Portsmouth Corporation - Leyland Atlantean - 224 BTP - 224

Portsmouth Corporation
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.


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


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Wallasey Corporation – Leyland Atlantean – FHF 451 – 1

FHF 451

Wallasey Corporation Transport
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Metro-Cammell H44/33F

Cheshire’s seaside resort is New Brighton, part of Wallasey. Wallasey is credited in some sources as having the first Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 in public service, and here is: FHF 451. It dates from 1958 and has a Metropolitan Cammell H77F body. A legend surrounds the peculiar colour. Many of us would regard it as a yellow, and I understand that, to distinguish them from those of the neighbouring Birkenhead blue buses, Wallasey’s were known as the yellow buses. It is – officially – sea green. According to legend, one of the first trams was about to be painted, and the unfortunate operative asked the foreman what colour of paint he should use. The foreman had no idea, but he knew that the manager, a Mr Green, would know what he wanted, and told the painter to "See Green", which he promptly applied.

FHF 451_2

The second view shows the fleet name and Crest. Both photographs were taken in North Albert Street, Fleetwood, on the Tram Sunday of 19 July 1998.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

09/10/16 – 09:39

At Kentish Bus I worked with an accountant who came from the Wirral. His view was that the bus livery reflected the quality of the water at New Brighton (I won’t repeat his exact words). So yes, Sea Green indeed.

Roger Cox

09/10/16 – 15:14

Thank you, Roger. I think the imagination can cope!

Pete Davies

09/10/16 – 15:14

To add a little more amusement to the proceedings, Wallasey Corporation Motor’s General Manager’s full name was Colonel Richard Roughley Greene and his two last names aptly describe the conflict about what colour Sea Green actually is!

Chris Hebbron

10/10/16 – 07:18

My version of the story was that it was the first buses, and the Leyland representative asked the question, but whatever! It is slightly reminiscent of the story of the umber colour of London Brighton and South Coast Railway locos, officially (?) described as "Stroudley’s improved engine green".

Stephen Ford

11/10/16 – 06:36

A Journalist enquired of an employee: ‘How would you would you describe the colour?’ The poor fellow had no idea, so he suggested that the question be directed towards the general manager. ‘See Greene’, he replied, so sea green it became!

Philip Lamb

11/10/16 – 11:20

Such is the stuff of legend!!! When Southampton Citybus, as it had become by then, fitted tanks on the roof to G prefix Dennis Darts, and First Group provided some N prefix ones, locals asked drivers why these tanks were appearing. One driver said they were air tanks, ready for use on the submarine service to Cowes, in competition with Red Funnel. The story soon spread!

A colleague had worked for St Albans Council. He and some others were doing a survey of the high street, in preparation for paving renewal. Some one asked what and why. The reply was that it was ready for the extension of the runway at Luton Airport. You can imagine the letters to the local rag that followed . . .

Pete Davies

13/10/16 – 07:08

And thanks to her owners the 201 Group she is a regular in passenger service at Rallys, possibly the oldest Atlantean still in passenger use next to the PMT preserved example?

C Aston

14/10/16 – 13:47

Wallasey 1 is without any doubt the earliest Atlantean still carrying passengers. Glasgow LA1 is the only other surviving of the four shown at the Earl’s Court show in 1958 and Glasgow Museums do not allow passengers.

Stephen Allcroft


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Ribble – Leyland Atlantean – RRN 428 – 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble - Leyland Atlantean - RRN 428 - 1279

Ribble Motor Services
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1
Weymann CH39/20F

Here are two views of RRN 428, one of Ribble’s ‘second generation’ fleet of "White Ladies". She is a Leyland Atlantean PDR1/1 with Weymann CH59F bodywork – more than on the "Gay Hostess" fleet because there is no toilet, but less than the normal bus seating because the rear seats downstairs are replaced by a luggage area. Note the white opaque windows. She’s in Fleetwood for the Tram Sunday event on 20 July 2003.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

16/08/16 – 07:27

1279 is owned by the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust. It is currently undergoing a major overhaul at the Freckleton Base.

Don McKeown

18/08/16 – 06:51

These were used regularly on the X60 from Manchester to Blackpool, and if they left Lower Mosley St with a full "through" load would sometimes go "off route" between Bolton and Preston, using the A675 through Belmont – Ribble actually held a licence to use this stretch of road between Bolton and Preston/Blackpool, although timetabled journeys used the service number X100. The A675 is a lot more curvy and undulating than the official route and the terrain seemed to have an unsettling effect on the White Ladies’ suspension. I’ve never suffered from travel sickness (even as a child), but the ride quality made me queasy and you could guarantee that at least one person would throw up before Preston. The drivers on the other hand seemed to enjoy the challenge!

Neville Mercer

18/08/16 – 10:02

I particularly remember these fine vehicles working the X43 Manchester- Skipton, and can not recall any instances of sickness. However in December 1962 I travelled to Grasmere on the X40 from Manchester. This was usually a "Gay Hostess" working, but this particular day a "White Lady" turned up. All went well until Lake Windermere was reached. At one point there was a highish stone wall and all that was visible on the nearside was water. The roll of the coach plus the water produced a sea-sickness effect with devastating results. The top deck was full of teenage boys who had been filling there faces with all manner of food since leaving Manchester. The rest as they say is history…

Andrew Gosling

18/08/16 – 13:58

I remember at Lancaster a driver coming upstairs and asking us to move downstairs due to the high percentage of queasiness from there to Keswick!/em>

Roger Burdett

19/08/16 – 06:34

Thanks for your thoughts, folks! I have some very vague memories of an article in the old MECCANO MAGAZINE, early 1960’s about a group of Leyland apprentices who had built and Atlantean chassis out of rejects. They called it the Royal Mouse. If memory serves correctly, first was thrown out, everything else went down and a new top was fitted.
I’m only glad that, with the Gay Hostess and White Lady air suspension, the Royal Mouse never went into production!
I only travelled upstairs on a Gay Hostess once, M6 between Birmingham and Lancaster in my student days. Usually, I was either downstairs or on a single decker.

Pete Davies

19/08/16 – 06:35

Did the "Gay Hostess" vehicles have a better ride than these vehicles – less queasiness?

Chris Hebbron

19/08/16 – 08:12

The "Gay Hostess" seemed to have a better ride, but a lot seems to depend on road surface and camber. The Keswick run was the only time I experienced problems on a "White Lady". My return journey from Grasmere (see earlier comment) was on a "Gay Hostess" and was a good deal smoother than the "White Lady". The weight distribution of two models could well have been very different. Expert needed! Before political correctness was invented, I was told by a male East Yorkshire driver that they hated having a clippie on a Bridgemaster, as any "clearing up" had to be done by the driver!

Andrew Gosling

19/08/16 – 14:08

Thx Andrew.I suppose that the ride on a double-decker much depends on the balance of folk upstairs compared with downstairs, to some extent, not exactly top heavy but you know what I mean. Southdown 700 was, apparently, truly awful, these later vehicles better. One wonders what modern ones are like. Megabus and others run them with everyone upstairs, apart from a handful, usually disabled folk, downstairs, plus vending machines and toilets. Maybe air suspension gives better control.

Chris Hebbron

20/08/16 – 05:54

Thx Andrew.I suppose that the ride on a double-decker much depends on the balance of folk upstairs compared with downstairs, to some extent, not exactly top heavy but you know what I mean. Southdown 700 was, apparently, truly awful, these later vehicles better. One wonders what modern ones are like. Megabus and others run them with everyone upstairs, apart from a handful, usually disabled folk, downstairs, plus vending machines and toilets. Maybe air suspension gives better control.

Chris Hebbron

20/08/16 – 05:54

Some of these modern vehicles frighten me with their (notice correct grammar today!) vast size and what could happen in an accident. The only modernish large coaches that I have travelled on were the Central Liners . One was an MCW Metroliner, the other was possibly a Neoplan but I am not sure.They produced quite a comfortable ride. They were full of charming teenage children, which must be high risk w.r.t. travel sickness. In fact no problems were experienced! There has been much criticism of Lowbridge Atlanteans, but I have been on Ribble vehicles to Rossendale (X13/23) and found travel in the raised section very pleasant. The same can be said of PMT vehicles on the Stoke- Stafford run. These were in the 60s when roads were maintained to a much higher level. The amount of rattles on modern vehicles seems very great, this may be road surface, poor design or both.

Andrew Gosling

20/08/16 – 05:55

I’ve travelled some distances on Neoplan Skyliners (as once used on Motorway Expresses) and they just seem to have sophisticated suspensions. Behind the two rear axles was a huge luggage compartment and the engine, so the small lower saloon didn’t provide much ballast. On French D roads with steep cambers they did lurch a bit, but not often and that more seemed the rear wheels/ suspension soaking this up rather than the whole vehicle. What were the Standerwick Bristols like?


20/08/16 – 10:22

Joe, re Standerwick Bristols, I can only comment on what I have read which contains much unfavourable material. The engine position must have presented stability problems. A local (now defunct) bus company bought one second hand. I never saw it other than in their yard!

Andrew Gosling

20/08/16 – 11:06

To answer Joe’s question, I only ever saw them parked at Fleetwood (in NBC white = YUK!), never moving, and I never rode on them. I seem to recall that one fell over in some way, but the mitigating circumstance was that it was hit by a marauding lorry. They were VRL, I think, not the usual VRT, and Reading had some of that layout. Perhaps one or more of our members from that area can enlighten us, remembering of course that the Reading ones were buses not double deck coaches

Pete Davies

20/08/16 – 17:45

Correction! I now realise that the Reading ones are listed as VRT/LL rather than VRL. Sorry!

Pete Davies

23/08/16 – 06:03

The Standerwick VRL M1 accident near Luton on a wet road surface on 26 July 1974 arose as a result of an immediately previous collision involving a jacknifed lorry that left a lamp standard leaning across the carriageway. The driver was placed in an impossible situation. In attempting to avoid the obstructions, the VRL turned over, killing three and injuring 30 others. The hysterical tabloid coverage distorted the facts of the sad event, and attention hungry politicians then jumped on the bandwagon by threatening to ban double deck coaches from the outside lane of motorways.

Roger Cox

23/08/16 – 10:15

Thanks, Roger.

Pete Davies

30/08/16 – 15:08

Out of interest, has anyone got any colour pictures of Ribble 2173, in Ribble timesaver colours.

Stephen Hamer

31/08/16 – 10:13

Stephen, 2173, no. 2174 in the ‘Venetian blind’ stripes, yes, if it’s of any use to you. (Inside Devonshire Road garage)

Pete Davies

18/10/16 – 07:48

Thanks Pete, it would be a great help with re painting 2173. At the moment it is in the old Lancashire United blue and cream. Many thanks.

Stephen Hamer

20/10/16 – 15:47

Many thanks Pete, the photo of 2174 will help a great deal. There are not a lot of photos of 2173. Thanks again.

Stephen Hamer


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 23rd February 2018