Old Bus Photos

Bradford Corporation – Leyland Panther – NAK 512H – 512

NAK 512H

Bradford Corporation Transport
1969
Leyland Panther PSUR1A/1
Marshall B45D

For 1969, Bradford Corporation ordered ten chassis of the rear horizontal engine variety, its first new single deckers since a couple of AEC Reliances in 1958. The ten new chassis were split between AEC’s Swift and Leyland’s Panther, but, since the chassis design of the two types was virtually identical apart from the engine manufacture and the radiator position – at the rear on the AEC and at the front on the Leyland – the exercise was probably intended to ascertain which power unit was best suited to the challenging Bradford terrain. All ten were equipped with Marshall B45D bodies. Seen above in April 1970 is the last of the batch, No. 512, NAK 512H which was delivered in December 1969. In the event, no further single deckers were to be bought by Bradford before the infliction upon all the West Yorkshire municipalities from 1st April 1974 of the all embracing WYPTE. In this new conglomeration, the five Bradford Panthers were the only examples of their type, and the PTE Director of Engineering, a certain Geoffrey Hilditch, soon sold them all to Chesterfield. A picture of one in service in that town may be seen here (a very long page, but about halfway down – search for Chesterfield in the browser :- www.mikesbuspages.com/municipalbuses.htm
In his book Steel Wheels and Rubber Tyres, GGH says that pictures of the Bradford Panthers in original livery are hard to come by – he should have asked me.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


11/09/17 – 06:38

Nice pic!
Stuart Emmet Another story on these 10 was they were bought to start OMO; however double decker OMO was approved legally soon after they were ordered, so they were redundant as far as that went. They spent their time inventing conversions to single decker routes and seemed to settle on the 61 as shown – about a 25-minute journey across town from Undercliffe to St. Enochs that went for around 5 mins over roads in the Canterbury Ave area that were not used by other routes.Effectively a peak hour route every 10 min from 0700 to 0900 and 1600 to 1800 with a few journeys between 1200 & 1400 hours that required 6 buses for the 10-minute headway. The rest of time they seemed to rest/in-filled as spares.

Stuart Emmet


12/09/17 – 06:46

From 1969, BCT participated in White Rose Express service X33, Bradford – Sheffield, which entered its area at Birkenshaw. The other joint operators reluctantly agreed, even though Bradford’s entitlement was no more than one journey per week! In practice, as explained to me by the late Stanley King, Bradford saved up their mileage until they were able to operate a bus for a whole week, replacing a Yorkshire Woollen duty.
BCT had few single deckers and I believe these Panthers and the contemporary Swifts were used. Does anyone recall seeing a photo of a Bradford bus on X33, as I’ve never seen one.

Geoff Kerr


12/09/17 – 06:47

Just about everyone was caught with the change of legislation which allowed DD OMO. Sheffield certainly was – initially with purchase of the Swifts and subsequently with the change of Bristol order from REs to VRs.

David Oldfield


13/09/17 – 06:46

In the lovely book Colours of West Yorkshire the author states that these were ordered because agreement could not be reached with the Unions to operate OMO double deckers. I.e. The legislation already permitted it but not the Unions until agreement was reached later on.

Sam Caunt


14/09/17 – 07:04

The Bradford manager at the time was not in favour of one man buses These and the Swifts were also used on the express X72 which ran between Bradford and Leeds at peak hours.

Chris Hough


15/09/17 – 06:45

I recall someone (who I believe was very knowledgeable) telling me that as late as 1981/2 that Bradford area buses of West Yorkshire PTE were around 80% crew operated.

Dave Towers


16/09/17 – 06:47

The change in legislation to permit double deck OPO was in 1966, and I doubt that an order for vehicles to be delivered in 1969 had been placed before that date – i.e. the fact that D/D OPO was possible would have been known.
I like to see a clear and readable destination display, but in this case I suspect that a slightly smaller window would have fitted the lines of the vehicle rather better!

Nigel Frampton


17/09/17 – 06:55

Another story was that the unions rejected the DD legislation but SD would be OK It was also said on delivery of these SD’s unions OKed the use of DD OMO How far this any of this is fact or fiction seems lost in time.

Stuart Emmet


18/09/17 – 07:19

I started working at Bradford City Transport in the Traffic Office in October 1973. The story of OMO at BCT is intriguing. I cannot comment on the position of General Manager Edward Deakin in relation to OMO, although I could find out as Bob Tidswell his PA is still heal and hearty. I can say that Traffic Superintendent John Hill was not very enthusiastic about OMO, and from all accounts the T&GWU branch was not very keen, either. Around 1971 or 1972 the position of Asst. Traffic Superintendent became vacant and Brian Eastwood, who was Traffic Superintendent at Maidstone Corporation, was appointed to the post. Maidstone had undertaken extensive conversion to OMO and BCT felt that Brian’s experience in this regard would be extremely useful. Many years later Brian told me that when he arrived at Forster Square – BCT Head Office – there was little enthusiasm for OMO. Earlier this year I had lunch with Brian and he said that many of the new ideas that he tried to bring to Bradford fell on stony ground. Maidstone had a very large circle OMO sign on the front of their Atlanteans and Brian arranged for one of the signs to be sent to Bradford for evaluation. John Hill rejected the idea. Bob Tidswell once told me that Edward Deakin had a policy of splitting chassis orders between manufacturers – and thus having small batches – on the basis that if one chassis type developed a serious fault then the impact on the operational fleet would be minimised. Some of the single-deckers were allocated to Ludlam Steet and were used on the 272 service to Leeds, the 61 and sometimes other routes operated from the depot, such as Eccleshill, Fagley and Haworth Road. They were used on the White Rose service and at weekends for private hire work at weddings etc. When the PTE was formed John Hill became Metro Bradford District Manager and the position of District Traffic Officer was given to Bert Henry from Leeds City Transport who was very keen to expand OMO across the Bradford route network.

Kevin Hey


19/09/17 – 06:01

Still trying to get "facts" and the best come across so far, is from the JS King book. The following is a timeline summary:
1967
BCT ordered the Swifts and Panthers (503-512 ) to start OMO and had the unions OK 8 and 10/1969. The Swifts and Panthers arrived but went to work with conductors on 61, 83 and 27-29/32. Cannot find a reason why they were not used for OMO. These buses were also available for breakdown cover for the other operators on the joint with 7 other operators "White Rose" express to Sheffield; BCT having only one journey a week which they "banked" so they could then a bus operate all week.
Mr King notes the SD were already "white elephants", as by now DD OMO was acceptable, so seventy 33 foot DD were ordered, with union acceptance of OMO for these 2 door 33 foot vehicles.
8/1970
The DD start to arrive (401-470) but unions said no as are too long and the drivers’ view of exit door was insufficient. So OMO introduction postponed once again.
9/1971
SD work on the peak time only Leeds express (272) joint with Leeds CT who operated SD OMO, but BCT used conductors
31 Dec 1972
OMO finally starts using 30 foot DD (315 to 355) on routes 36-38 and 40-42 20 May 1973
OMO starts on joint working with Leeds on the 72 route
Footnote
This appears is a strange story, that however, shows the management/union environment at the time.

Stuart Emmet


19/09/17 – 06:02

Re Kevin Heys comments. There was a regular evening trip on service 46 to Buttershaw.
OMP operation commenced in Bradford with the conversion of the 72/78 services between Bradford and Leeds which were jointly operated with Leeds City Transport. This started in late May 1973. I cannot recall them being used on White Rose services during my time in Bradford in 1973.

Stephen Bloomfield


22/09/17 – 07:15

I suspect that when BCT ordered dual doorway buses the ‘agreement’ with the T&GWU was merely one of outline or agreement in principle to discuss the matter. It would appear that a detailed agreement with signatories was not secured until 1972. The initial conversions at the end of 1972 used single door Fleetlines, but evidently the T&GWU was prepared to allow two-door buses to be used on services to Leeds when these were converted in May 1973. The feeling I detected at Bradford was that neither management nor the T&GWU were keen to pursue OMO. Management believed that OMO made the service worse for passengers, while the T&GWU was against a reduction in potential members and staff – members – losing overtime.

Kevin Hey


21/11/17 – 08:30

Just a reminder that the 5 Panthers transferred to Calderdale in early PTE days. There was a serious blind spot problem with the blank front corners and all were modified with small corner windows. Memory fails me but I wonder if a serious/fatal accident blamed on lack of visibility occurred. I recall that these weren’t bad buses, hadn’t done a lot of mileage with Bradford.The biggest problem was (the lack of) pit length and accessibility with 36′ long buses in the Dock Shop at Skircoat Road. They were also a bit limited on allocation because of road/junction/camber problems on many routes. Someone out there will remind me how long they ran in Halifax prior to sale to Chesterfield where they put in a good number of years service.

Ian Wild


22/11/17 – 07:22

The first of the Bradford Panthers to arrive in Halifax was 2511 in October 1974, followed by 2508/10/12 in November and 2509 in December – all still in BCT blue and cream livery. They were allocated solely to the 5/6 West End Circular route, which required four vehicles during the daytime just going endlessly round and round, so presumably the fifth one was usually either parked up or ‘day in’ for maintenance. I don’t think the trade union would allow them to be used on any other route – I certainly don’t remember seeing them anywhere else.
Unfortunately one of them was involved in a fatal accident when operating a 6 (clockwise) journey and turning right from Heath Road into Free School Lane – just a couple of hundred yards from Skircoat Garage. They had very thick front corner pillars which caused a terrible blind spot for the driver. The bus had begun to take the right turn and was not cutting the corner when a young chap on a moped approached from the right and appeared to stop at the junction with the intention of going straight ahead after the bus had turned. However he must have decided to chance it and accelerated across the front of the bus, but due to the blind spot the driver couldn’t see him and a terrible accident ensued in which the lad was killed. The bus driver was shown to have been blameless.
The five were immediately taken off the road and, as Ian says, small (very small) windows were let into the pillars. My records only show that they were withdrawn during 1975, but that they passed to Chesterfield Corporation in the September. They ran them quite successfully until 1985/86 after which they saw even further service with CityBus in Manchester.

John Stringer


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Maidstone & District – Leyland Panther – JKK 199E – S99

JKE 199E

Maidstone & District
1967
Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R
Willowbrook B45F

This photo of Maidstone & District Leyland Panther No S99 reg JKK 199E with Willowbrook B45F bodywork was new in April 1967 prior to the renumbering to 3099 so was probably taken in the summer of that year outside Southdown’s Pevensey Road bus station. M&D had I believe ninety five Panthers the first sixty had Willowbrook B45F bodies (S26-S40 and S61-S110) and the remainder had Strachans bodies of either B45D (3111-3120) or B48F (3121-3140) layout. The 190 route was part of the joint Southdown/M&D Heathfield cycle a complicated but effective group of six interworked services, a thorough explanation of this working can be found in the Southdown Enthusiasts Club book called "Working Together".

Photograph and Copy contributed by Diesel Dave


12/07/17 – 07:27

Hants & Dorset/Wilts & Dorset had some of these wished upon them during the reshuffling of fleets under the early years of NBC, DKE.C and JKK.E batches. JKK 203E even managed to gain Tilling red! I have a bought view of her thus at Basingstoke.

Pete Davies


13/07/17 – 07:58

Further to Pete’s comment they were more of a curse than a wish. A nightmare to keep on the road mechanically, hated by most of the crews. Give me an RE or Leopard any day. The ex King Alfred trio on H&D benefited from having the 680 engine but were still not the most reliable buses.

Steve Barnett


14/07/17 – 07:37

Steve, I think it’s probably true to say that, if H&D/W&D had been BET operators, they would have stayed well away, as I belief Southdown did. Incidentally, does anyone know why some fleets suffered this ‘asset stripping’ by having vehicles transferred out? Was it that the recipients were deemed to be short of suitable vehicles?

Pete Davies


14/07/17 – 07:38

Hants & Dorset’s problem (one of them, at least) in the early 1970s was that they had not purchased enough single deck buses in the late 1950s and early ’60s. Such vehicles would have been suitable for OPO, but H&D had purchased mainly Lodekkas plus 6 coaches per year. Result: when costs started rising, and finding staff became more difficult, conversion to OPO was the logical move, but H&D were constricted by the lack of suitable buses.
Thus the 33 Panthers were an attempt to resolve this problem, but, as Steve says, they were notoriously unreliable. Hearsay claimed that, of the 33 buses, there were always at least 10 off the road. One could, of course, ask why Maidstone & District could release such a large number of buses, most of which were only around 4 years old, but preferred to retain older, underfloor engined, types with similar capacity. For H&D, the answer must have become obvious quite quickly!
It is interesting to speculate what the real problems were – the Panther was not universally hated. Sunderland apparently found them satisfactory, and Brisbane had a large fleet, some of which were rebodied at some stage in their lives. Perhaps when you have a large fleet, you have to find a way of making them work.
The vehicle in this photo was one of those that went to Wilts & Dorset – as far as I recall the vehicles concerned were S38-40 and S81-110. The first 17 were for Hants & Dorset, and the rest for W&D, but some didn’t enter service with their new owners until after the advent of NBC corporate liveries and the disappearance of the W&D name. A few did receive Tilling red or green (H&D’s version of it), and some ran with H&D or W&D fleetnames on the M&D dark green. There was more than just the one that Pete mentions in Tilling red – JKK 207E ran in Southampton for a while in that condition. I guess it must have been the spring/summer of 1972, and I have an idea that it was quite often used on the evening 47B service to Hursley – usually a crew working!

Nigel Frampton


15/07/17 – 06:56

At Winchester our three Metro Scanias were replaced by three of these Panthers, the three London Country Nationals for which the Scanias were swapped were allocated originally to Southampton. So the Panthers had a hard act to follow although I accept the Metro Scanias were not to everyone’s taste. Altogether we had 8 panthers allocated in the mid seventies, including the three ex King Alfred ones. It was rare that more than six were on the road at any one time. The three ex London Country buses finally arrived at Winchester when most of Southamptons allocation of Nationals were swapped with REs from around the Hants and Wilts depots. Southampton was desperately short of fitters and the Nationals were proving to be almost as challenging as the Panthers were so the powers that be decided to share the problem around!

Steve Barnett


16/07/17 – 16:42

JKK 190E

The attached may be of interest. In Hants and Dorset colours JKK190E is leaving Winchester Bus Station in December 1975. Although I have slides of the Panthers taken in Wilts and Dorset colours on routes around Basingstoke, these are at present in store following our recent move. One was often on the 76 to Andover which might explain an evening ride I enjoyed on Basingstoke’s last LL5G !

Keith Newton


17/07/17 – 06:00

Keith’s picture shows 1695 which was one of the replacements for the Metro Scanias, the 66 was their regular home mainly I think due to slow running time which meant the struggle on hills didn’t affect timekeeping too much. Incidentally the view shown is ab0ut to change significantly, the bus station closed a week ago. The garage in the background is being demolished and stands are being built on the left hand side to facilitate running in the other direction. This finally takes buses out of the pedestrian area of the city. (Ex King Alfred leopard in the background)

Steve Barnett


20/07/17 – 07:17

My misty memory recalls that the 30 Fleetline / Marshall two-door single decks were arriving when I landed at M&D in 1970. They all went to Medway towns. GM Arthur White had a history of buying large batches of new types of vehicles and I suspect that these were ordered to replace Panthers which could not perform adequately there and the need for single decks elsewhere was indeed a good way of moving vehicles out and keeping more reliable machines, especially after new CE Vin Owen had prevailed with Leopard orders rather than AEC or Panthers. I can recall investigating a few engine fires in those days and Panthers were not quite as bad as 590 Reliances from what I recall! Of course the 1970 SD Fleetlines did not last long as a new Traffic Manager wanted more capacity, so they were swopped for similar age DD Fleetlines with Northern General, now that OMO operation of DD had been accepted in the company. See www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/

Geoff Pullin


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

Maidstone & District – Leyland Panther – LKT 132F – 3132

Maidstone & District - Leyland Panther - LKT 132F - 3132

Maidstone & District
1968
Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R
Strachans B48F

LKT 132F is a Leyland Panther PSUR1/1R new to Maidstone & District in 1968. It has a Strachan B48F body, somewhat unusual for a BET firm, and we see it in the Netley rally on 14 July 1996 so the body at least is more or less ‘home’ as Strachans later products were built just along the road in Hamble. The Parish Council calls it Hamble Le Rice now, and it’s nothing to do with puddings. In this sense, it means ‘rich’.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Pete Davies


20/11/16 – 15:48

Yes its a standard BET front, but the livery does a great deal to hide the uneven window and panel spacing layout. Just by example if you were to look at Liverpool 1097 currently in the heading on the ‘other’ bus blog page, it shows how neat this one really is. Its a pity we don’t have sound on here as Panther exhausts were in a class of their own.

Mike Norris


21/11/16 – 07:54

Mike there is a section on here for bus noises. To be found at the ‘More pages’ tab top right in the menu, then select ‘Old Bus Sounds’.

Stephen Howarth


05/11/17 – 07:30

With reference to 3251 (ex SO251) as I knew it when I drove it. This was always a delightful vehicle to drive and was usually requested by our depot engineer – Ernie Marks – at Gravesend. I remember using it on many runs to High Halstow, Cliffe and also Meopham & Harvel. I have a photo slide of it taken when I used it.
With reference to S1-S5 or 3701-5, again when I drove all of them, these would often tread there way onto the 122 London to Brighton run and I had the pleasure of driving them between Gravesend and Tunbridge Wells. The only problem I found was the bodywork rattle caused by over-inflated tyres, something which Tunbridge Wells was usually in favour of. Hence, all vehicles from both garages had bodies that were shaken to pieces – sometimes almost literally!

Freddy Weston


09/11/17 – 07:14

Although my memory is not so good nowadays, I have to hand a fleet allocation list for 1st October 1971. From that it looks as if Freddy’s and Ernie Marks’ favourite Reliance 3251 had left the fleet by then. 3701-6 are shown as allocated to Tonbridge and 3125 was allocated to Maidstone. With regard to comments about high tyre pressures, it is relevant that M&D had three tyre mileage contractors in 1970. I think Gravesend and possibly Borough Green were covered by Michelin who would only have used radial ply tyres which have more flexible walls. The Tunbridge Wells district (inc Tonbridge, Hawkhurst and Edenbridge) was covered by Firestone with cross ply tyres which may have felt harder. Dunlop was the third contractor. This made it a bit difficult when vehicles were re-allocated across contracts! Around 1971, Dunlop were contracted to cover the whole fleet using a new centralised tyre workshop for fitting new and re-grooving tyres. Mobile inspectors examined the fleet regularly for pressure and tread depth. Each depot had a supply of wheel assemblies with fit tyres for failures in service. An interesting aspect of this was that quite a few vehicles were found to be fitted with wheels of the incorrect offset, so a supply of new wheels had to be bought to facilitate a sorting out!

Geoff Pullin

PS – I meant to add that Panthers 3131 and 3135 were delicensed for repair of fire damage and 3127 for major body repairs! Engine compartment fires were a bit endemic for Panthers and also Reliances at the time. As I have said elsewhere, M&D found that the Willowbrook bodied Panthers were better than the Strachans bodies which suffered a lot of panel movement and aluminium dust permeating the insides. They were strengthened by a scheme devised by Wiollowbrook!


 

Quick links to the  -  Comments Page  -  Contact Page  -  Home Page

 


 

All rights to the design and layout of this website are reserved     Old Bus Photos does not set or use Cookies but Google Analytics will set four see this

Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Thursday 23rd November 2017