Old Bus Photos

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

17/10/19 – 06:02

Wallasey buses were locally know as the banana buses. because they were yellow and left the ferry terminal in bunches when the inspector blew his whistle.

Mr Anon


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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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King Alfred – Leyland Atlantean – REU 52E

King Alfred - Leyland Atlantean - REU 52E

King Alfred Motor Services
Leyland Atlantean PDR1/2
Roe H43/33F

Here is a Leyland Atlantean PDR1/2 with Roe H76F body, from the fleet of King Alfred Motor Services, Winchester. EU was a Brecknockshire (or Breconshire) registration before 1974, when it passed to Bristol, and King Alfred Motor Services never bought any buses from an operator in that area, so what’s going on? It is really HOR 592E and it has carried VCL 461 as well, but it has reverted to the original plate since I captured this view on 25 April 1993. This was a running day to mark 20 years since the sale of the company to Hants & Dorset.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies

03/06/16 – 06:41

HOR 591E

Here is fellow Atlantean HOR 591E seen re entering Winchester on route 11 from Basingstoke in 1970. My first experience of a journey on a Metro Scania (single decker) was on this route in the following year on one of the King Alfred examples. I was not greatly impressed with the rather wallowing standard of ride. R. Chisnell & Sons Ltd, t/a King Alfred Motor Services, ceased operation on 28 April 1973, and the three King Alfred Metro Scanias went to London Country for use on the Stevenage Superbus services. They only lasted until 1977/78, when they were less than seven years old.

Roger Cox

04/06/16 – 06:49

Fellow independents West Riding and South Yorkshire also had Atlaneans with this style of Roe body. All date from around the same time and I’ve often wondered if the small King Alfred and South Yorkshire batches were tagged onto the West Riding order.

Chris Hough

04/06/16 – 06:50

Thanks, Roger. One thing that many cannot understand about KAMS is the continuing use of a number on the destination blind after the introduction of a separate box for the number. I have read that the direction of any particular service was achieved through a simple half turn of the blind, and I’m supposing that it allowed for interchange of blinds between vehicles but, as I noted above, many find it an odd arrangement. The half turn of the blind was useful in a number of cases, such as a series of Hants & Dorset routes from Southampton, where we had Southampton Woodlands, Woodlands Cadnam, Cadnam Nomansland – all very easy for the skilled conductor to do!

Pete Davies

04/06/16 – 06:51

King Alfred HOR592E was taken over by Hants & Dorset as number 2304 in 1973. Then passing to Bristol as number 8600 in 1979.
It passed to the newly formed Badgerline in January 1986 still as 8600 (HOR592E), being re-registered to VCL461 in May 1986.
Upon sale by Badgerline in 1990, it was re-registered to REU52E which was issued by Bristol LVLO.

Dave Farrier

05/06/16 – 07:17

In answer to Chrish Hough’s query about the similarity of livery, I suggest a look at Philip Rushworth’s views in respect of the KAMS Renowns. It seems that the good folk at Charles H Roe made more than one mistake!

Pete Davies

05/06/16 – 07:18

I think that the featuring of the route number within the destination display was simply a measure to allow standardisation of the blinds between single and double deck vehicles, and those double deckers that did not have a separate route number box, like the Guy Arab utilities. Once upon a time this practice might have been disparaged as being "overcareful wi’ munnie", but it has since gone up considerably in the world and is now graced with the name of "Recycling". There is an informative web page about King Alfred:- www.fokab.org.uk

Roger Cox

05/06/16 – 07:19

King Alfred bought a batch of four of these Roe bodied Atlanteans, as a result of a shrewd purchase, through the continuation of a batch in build for West Riding. HOR 589-592E all passed on to Hants & Dorset and, after four or five years, were transferred to Bristol Omnibus and subsequently Badgerline. 589 was numbered 8603; 590 was 8602; 591 was 8601; and 592 was 8600. Three of them were converted to open top in 1979 for service in Weston-super-Mare and later in Bath. The exception was 591 (8601), which retained its roof and seems to have been used as a driver training vehicle and general engineers’ runabout. I saw 591 at Lawrence Hill many years ago and it looked very down at heel.
In 1983, 589 was scrapped. In the same year, 591 was bought by the Friends of King Alfred Buses as a derelict wreck for £40. It was cosmetically returned to King Alfred condition for the running day in 1984. Subsequently, in 1990, FoKAB bought open top 592, which was in much better condition, both bodily and mechanically. But King Alfred had never operated open top buses, so the decision was taken in 1992 to dispose of 591 and transfer its roof to open top 592. This involved parking the two buses close alongside and all screws and fixtures were undone. Then a gang of volunteers lifted the roof and windows from 591 and slid it across to 592. Then a hasty clamber down the stairs of 591 and up the stairs of 592 to receive the roof and begin the process of fitting the roof. The story goes that, despite the two vehicles being from an identical batch, 591’s roof was about ¾ inch longer than the recipient 592. But it was persuaded into place and the remainder of 591 was scrapped.
592 had been re-registered VCL 461, but this registration was retained by Badgerline and subsequently used on a hybrid drive Mercedes minibus, which was experimentally used in Portsmouth, but that’s another story. So 592 was sold with the temporary registration REU 32E, until its proper HOR 592E could be reassigned.
So what you see in the pictures above are indeed 592, with the roof of 591, during the very short period that it operated without its proper registration. And, the lower picture, of the same roof on 591,but the rest of that bus no longer exists.
Finally, as a tailpiece the remaining member of the batch, 590 was acquired by FoKAB in 1987, but, as there are no more suitable roofs available, that remains in open top condition and is a favourite vehicle for rides around Winchester on sunny days.

Peter Murnaghan

06/06/16 – 06:46

Thank you Roger C and Peter M. It’s always good to read your thoughts. Is Peter M still attending "The Castle" or has he now retired from there? I retired from Southampton about 8 years ago.

Pete Davies

07/06/16 – 07:07

Thanks for your kind words, Pete. Now resident in Liskeard, Peter M was released from captivity in The Castle five years ago.

Peter Murnaghan


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