Old Bus Photos

Hants and Sussex – Leyland Titan PD1 – FCG 526 – LO55

Hants and Sussex - Leyland Titan PD1 - FCG 526 - LO55
Copyright John Turner

Hants and Sussex
Leyland Titan PD1
Northern Coachbuilders L55R

The above shot of the Silentnight (Barnoldswick) works bus appeared for identification on this websites DYK page from John Turner. Pat Jennings did correctly identify it as FCG 526, it was one of nine Leyland PD1s bought new by Basil Williams in 1947 for his Hants and Sussex fleet. FCG 523/4/5 had Northern Coachbuilders H56R bodies, FCG 526/7 and FOR 837 had Northern Coachbuilders L55R bodies, and GAA 179/180/181 had Leyland H56R bodies. Interestingly, the fleet numbers LO52/3/4/5/6/8/9/60/1 were applied to these vehicles in sequence, which raises the question – what happened to number LO57? I remember seeing examples of the NCB highbridge PD1s in Fareham as a child in 1949 (though possibly it was always the same bus – a picture of FCG 523 on the Fareham service may be found in Alan Lambert’s definitive book on this operator, which is the source of much of my note here), when I assumed, as Basil Williams always intended the public to believe, that Hants and Sussex were another of the large territorial companies. I do not know what financial arrangement Mr. Williams entered into when purchasing these buses, but they all arrived new in 1947 and were all gone by 1949, several having been on loan to other operators within those two years. It seems very likely that the outturn finances of the Hants and Sussex group did not meet its proprietor’s optimistic expectations by 1949, and, indeed, the greater part of the business collapsed at the end of 1954.

Copy contributed by Roger Cox

There are three good sources of information available on Hants and Sussex, Alan Lambert’s book, PSV Circle PK14, and Alan’s article in the 2009 issue of the Leyland Journal on the company’s post war Leyland double deckers.
FCG 528 [LO57] was registered to Basil Williams personally, and thereby remained with him after the demise of the various limited companies in 1954/55. It was originally bought for the Midhurst group of routes, but after the "crash" it was used on the Thorney Island route. It was also used on the Sunday afternoon run to the Alton hospitals. It was sold for scrap in 1960 when the Tiger Cub, and Bedford SB1 were bought.

Pat Jennings

27/11/11 – 15:29

Of the ten PDIs delivered new in 1947, seven with NCB and three with Leyland H56R bodies, this is the only one that remained in the personal ownership of Basil Williams. The other nine were sold elsewhere in 1949 after only two years with Hants and Sussex, well before the 1954 collapse of the group.

Roger Cox

19/12/11 – 06:19

On the following website devoted to Bere Regis & District may be seen a photo of this very bus in 1953, which, with its fellow PD1/NCB L55R FCG 527, remained in the service of Bere Regis until 1960. It is the third picture down from the top. //www.countrybus.co.uk/

Roger Cox

19/12/11 – 11:01

It looks very proud, garlanded up for the 1953 Coronation. This is an old tradition which has sadly died out, too!

Chris Hebbron

24/10/12 – 12:40

You mean, having Coronations?

David Call

24/10/12 – 17:45

You’re as bad a pendant as me, David. But even we pedants can slip up sometimes, as I did here! I should OF known better!

Chris Hebbron

01/07/13 – 10:55

I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m immune from making ‘dopey’ comments myself – check out my one about tram wires in Hebden Bridge on the Todmorden Titan dated 18/09/12 – 07:31

David Call

02/07/13 – 07:29

Er, quite!

Chris Hebbron

03/07/13 – 06:48

I appreciate that this question has probably been adequately answered by one or more of the above sources of information, but these, unfortunately, I do not possess. I wonder if anyone has subsequent ownership details for
FCG 523/4? I can come up with at least one subsequent owner, in some instances two, for all the other Hants & Sussex PD1s (except FCG 528, of course).

David Call

21/02/15 – 07:08

FCG 524 was acquired 10/49 by the Griffin Motor Co, thence to Red & White and was disposed of in 1961. GAA 179-181 went to United Welsh in 1949 and also lasted until 1960/1.

Richard Smith

31/08/17 – 05:04

With absolutely NO knowledge pre-1970, the name of Basil Williams was still one that surfaced from time to time in our corridor of Southdown House, which we shared with Fares & Licensing. I recall that there was a bank of filing cabinets for all the companies Southdown dealt with on licensing matters – but Basil had a complete drawer to himself! Henry Frier, that Roger Cox mentions in the article on Bere Regis, sat just across the corridor from me. Did the notorious Basil continue post-1954 in another guise?

Nick Turner

01/09/17 – 05:40

Richard Smith’s post of 21/2/15 must have passed me by at the time. When I tried in 2013 no subsequent owner details for FCG523/4 would come up for me, but there are plentiful references now. In respect of FCG 524, there are at least four relevant photos accessible on the web. three of it when with Red & White, and one of it subsequently with Contract Bus Services of Llanwern. Here’s a shot of it with Red & White, together with other ex-Griffin double-deckers. //richardsmith.webplus.net/
There are at least two shots available of FCG 523, when with Stonier’s of Goldenhill.

David Call

01/09/17 – 05:42

Yes, Nick. Basil most certainly did continue beyond his 1954 cataclysm. After one distressing experience in which the transfer of road service licences from an acquired operator to his own business was refused, Williams always retained the company names of acquired operators, resulting in a bewildering profusion of separate companies that collectively operated under the Hants and Sussex name. Some services, however, were licensed to Williams in his own name as sole proprietor, and were technically not a component of the Hants and Sussex group, although they operated under that banner. By the mid 1950s, rural bus services were in terminal decline, and independent operators who were largely dependent upon such mileage began to experience financial pressures. In December 1954 the company’s bank and other creditors, who collectively were owed some £74,000 (around £650,000 today) applied for the liquidation and asset sale of Hants and Sussex. The Midhurst area services personally licensed to B.S. Williams remained in operation under his control, together with the Blake’s Tours business at Plymouth. From this somewhat shaky basis he gradually built up an operation that, from 1962,he named Southern Motorways, based mainly at his Emsworth depot. The implementation of the NBC local companies MAP (Market Analysis Project) route economies saw Williams picking up work that NBC reduced or abandoned, a curious reversal of the 1940s/1950s scenario in which Aldershot & District, Southdown and London Transport had (in collaboration) fought every expansionist move by the former Hants and Sussex business. Basil kept going right up to the end until he sold his Southern Motorways operations to Solent Blue Line in late September 1987. He died during the 1990s. The definitive book on this fascinating operator is "Hants & Sussex" by Alan Lambert. On a personal note, when, on leaving school in 1960, I took up a clerical position with London Transport (Country Buses & Coaches) at Reigate, I discovered some pretty fat files on Hants and Sussex in the attic, and gleaned much from their perusal. Sadly, I didn’t make off with them, and they undoubtedly perished under subsequent "tidying up".

Roger Cox

01/09/17 – 06:52

Thanks for that, Roger. I’d forgotten the Southern Motorways name but, sitting in the next office to Southdown’s Fares and Licensing Officer, Len Cole, with paper thin walls, I heard a lot. Road service licensing was something of a minefield, took up loads of time and money, and ultimately showed that it could be done without. I recall sitting through two whole days of a Met enquiry, waiting to be called as a witness opposing an Asian application for a Southall – Smethwick service. The applicant suddenly said he’d moved his depot up the road and the whole process had to start again. Like you and LCBS, I wonder what happened to all those SMS files in the end?

Nick Turner

01/09/17 – 15:17

Roger, may I query the date you offer for Basil Williams’ sale of his operations, which you state to be September 1987 to Solent Blue Line? I have a note copied from Bus & Coach Preservation magazine April 2012 issue which shows the last bus to carry the Hants & Sussex name. This is a Leyland National AAE 653V, and it was pictured at Havant in 1997, "just after H&S sold out to Southampton City Bus, and not long before SCB became part of First Group". Also, in Buses magazine Jan 2002 issue, there was a fleet focus on Emsworth & District (founded 1977). This article states that E&D ran Hants & Sussex for a few weeks in 1998, but found it to be beyond saving. Another Bus & Coach Preservation magazine photo in March 2016 issue shows ex-London Transport AML605H, and the caption includes the note that this ran for Basil Williams’ Hants & Sussex in 1993-94, before going to scrap in 1994. Was there a slip of the finger (1987/1997) in your input, or is there another explanation? With the history of Basil Williams fleets, anything is possible! I agree that Alan Lambert’s book on H&S is a marvellous piece. Published in 1983, it would be great if someone could write and publish the remaining history from 1983 to the end, with all the developments during the deregulation era which would also be fascinating reading.

Michael Hampton

02/09/17 – 06:26

I think Michael Hampton is right about the end of Basil William’s operations. When I was on holiday in Bognor Regis in the late 80’s or early 90’s I went to Emsworth and rode on an ex LT Swift. I also went looking for the Head Office at Hollybank House, Emsworth which turning out to be Williams’ house, well more of a mansion than a house. His son Vivian now runs it as an upmarket B & B, see www.hollybankhouse.com
The Williams family still own Glider & Blue Motor Services Limited although it hasn’t traded as an operator for many years.
I think Basil Williams died in 1999.

Nigel Turner

06/09/17 – 06:16

Michael and Nick, I yield entirely to your greater knowledge about the latter days of Southern Motorways. I haven’t ventured back to the Hampshire area from my East Anglian retreat for many years, and I can’t now recall where I acquired the idea that the end of Southern Motorways came about in the late ’80s. Thanks for the correction.

Roger Cox

06/09/17 – 06:18

There is a certain irony that the delightful Hollybank House boasts that all its rooms have flat screen TVs/DVDs, when one remembers that Basil Williams once claimed that Television was the single biggest cause of the collapse in bus use.


08/09/17 – 06:33

My apologies to Richard Smith, I hadn’t realised that the Red & White fleet list was on his own website.

David Call

24/09/17 – 14:30

In my contribution back on 01/09/17, I said it would be great if Alan Lambert and Sussex of 1983 could be updated. What do I find? In an e-mail bulletin from a publisher of transport books, there is just that book, by A Lambert! The brief review calls the author Adam Lambert, but from the script, it looks like it is Alan himself who has written this, and is published by Bowden Publishing at £40. Apparently there’s no fleet list, but I shall nevertheless be an eager purchaser as cash flow permits. So it’s good news that we will have the complete story to study and enjoy, and congratulations to author and publisher.

Michael Hampton

23/10/17 – 06:00

Having sold a few vital organs to finance the purchase of Alan Lambert’s new book, I can say that it is well worth the cost. Hard backed, with over 200 pages, it contains the detailed history of around a dozen companies who formed the group together with details of their predecessors.
I imagine that it has been a lifetimes work for Alan Lambert to write this book and I would say that it is a job well done.

Nigel Turner

16/11/17 – 06:52

I’ve just ploughed my way through Alan Lambert’s tome on Hants & Sussex, and it really is riveting read: it’s the financial side of things which I found interesting – hardly any part of the group made a profit and the whole organisation seemed to be kept afloat on a raft of bank loans, personal loans from Basil, and loans between companies. My understanding was that the group was sunk by a combination of interest charges on new vehicles at a time when passenger numbers started to fall and fuel duty rose sharply – but truth seemed to be that he kept on buying "pig-in-a-poke" companies from all-too-willing sellers, and then wasted money in battles in the Traffic Courts and appeals to the Ministry in an effort to expand their licenses. Even if you’re not particularly interested in H&S or bus operations in that area, it really is a fantastic read: I must admit though that I found keeping a copy of Alan’s earlier work close to hand quite useful – because of the amount of detail the latest book treats each strand of the business separately, and its useful to have the chronological text of the earlier book available to be able keep happenings within the perspective of the rest of the group.

Philip Rushworth

17/11/17 – 07:39

Phiip, my reactions on reading Alan Lambert’s new volume mirror yours exactly. To your list of curious "business decisions" may be added Basil’s over eagerness to grab wartime and postwar contract work seemingly without any concept whatsoever of costing, so that massive contracts requiring much hiring in from other operators, who assuredly got their pound of flesh, ended up earning him little more than pocket money. The Hants & Sussex conglomerate was a classic example of a precarious business run by the seat of the pants, totally lacking any proper commercial costing system. In 1988, after leaving Kentish Bus when Proudmutual (aka Northumbria) got its paws on it, I was asked to undertake a survey of the Southern Motorways Midhurst operations. I found these to be of decidedly marginal value and made a number of recommendations, all of which were subsequently ignored. Right through from 1937 to the end the B.S. Williams saga was one of extreme financial fragility, yet the proprietor continued to plough his lonely furrow regardless of reality.

Roger Cox

18/11/17 – 07:35

Am I alone in seeing a parallel between Basil Williams and Colonel Stephens of light railway fame.

Malcolm Hirst

25/11/17 – 08:05

Malcolm. Ref your mention of Col Stephens I can claim no knowledge of Basil Williams other than what I have read in this thread. From that limited base I would say the two are worlds apart. Stephens knew the value of everything to the last penny and never spent a penny where a ha’penny would do. By dint of very strict financial control, he ran his empire of very marginal railways for around 30 years and noticeably, once he was gone, the empire disintegrated, which is not to say that it would not have done had he still been there. I can’t imagine any undertaking run by Holman Fred Stephens buying 8 brand new double deckers – it would have been 20 year old TD5s or surplus trolleybus bodies fitted to old chassis like Silcox did. I can’t imagine him going for expansion at all cost without having a very good idea of the costs and likely income to be had or quoting for work without knowing the costs to the last penny.

Peter Cook

25/11/17 – 14:54

I wasn’t referring to business sense but more the general penury of running a widespread operation with no money.
Also common to both is the attempt to continue to operate when any sensible person would have thrown in the towel considerably earlier.

Malcolm Hirst

04/07/20 – 07:29

As a child in the early 1950’s use to catch a Hants and Sussex Coach at it’s Portsmouth depot located at Cosham on Saturdays and Sundays for a visit to the Trelords Hospital at Alton. I remember one trip where the bus broke down at Fareham and the Driver was threatened by the passengers that if he didn’t carry on they would drive the coach. There fleet was not in very good condition. I believe Glider Coaches of Bishops Waltham had a connection to Hant’s and Sussex.

Keith Ray


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East Yorkshire – Leyland Titan PD1 – JAT 455 – 487

East Yorkshire - Leyland Titan PD1 - JAT 455 - 487

East Yorkshire - Leyland Titan PD1 - JRH 991 - 518
Copyright both shots Bob Gell

East Yorkshire Motor Services
Leyland PD1
Roe H?R
Seen on 25 June 1958 at the North Landing terminus of route 31 from Bridlington are these classic members of the East Yorkshire fleet. 
At that time, I remember them as regular performers both on the North Landing service and the then separate service to the Lighthouse.
As a visitor from Nottingham, holidaying at Flamborough, I was intrigued by the destination screen arrangement, with what looks like an additional foothold in the middle of the radiator, together with the grab handle to the bottom left of the blind box, to help the conductor reach the board to flip it over. On the nearside shot, the additional foothold and grab handle can also be seen. Quite precarious! What a pity one of this class was never preserved.
JAT 455_rad_lrJAT 455_grab_lr
The other unusual aspect to me of East Yorkshire, apart of course from the Beverley Bar roof, was the Willebrew ticket system, the like of which I had never seen before. It all added to the impression of being on holiday in a different world and certainly left a lasting impression.
Other vehicles in the above shots are top right JAT 439 – 471 and the side view is of JRH 991 – 518 both PD1s

Photographs and Copy contributed by Bob Gell

A full list of Titan codes can be seen here.

Interesting vehicles with a system the ‘elf & safety’ folk would have a heart attack over nowadays!
Was the dome-like roof replicated inside as well, or was that flat?

Chris Hebbron

Only the heads of those who didn’t duck!

David Oldfield

Not sure about the foot hole in the middle of the radiator, I would of thought that could get quite hot after a run from Hull to Scarborough or did EYMS supply asbestos lined shoes to their conductors


These were among the most beautiful and characterful vehicles of their time, and rank very highly on my personal list of favourites. The interior upper saloon contour was identical to the "Beverley Bar" exterior. The Health and Safety comments are valid of course, but pale into insignificance in comparison with the metal "bible" displays common amongst the Tilling Group operators before the War, where the driver or conductor had to climb onto a slippery metal step while hoisting the entire heavy metal assembly up aloft !! These beloved East Yorkshire vehicles had another unusual feature within – the lovely Roe wooden window frames were not stained and varnished, as was the norm elsewhere, but were painted a pleasing mid blue in durable gloss. On the rear platform wall near the stairs was another delightful anomaly presumably caused by a temporary shortage of transfers. A warning notice, about a foot square, in gold leaf warned alighting passengers to :-

until the bus
On quite a few vehicles this read "Wait until the COACH stops" – a kind of unintentional "tongue in cheek" accolade to the superior quality of these fine machines perhaps ??

Chris Youhill

Barton Transport of Nottingham acquired one of these, JAT 410, in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I think it was Barton running number 951. This may seem a very high number for a 1946 vehicle, but Bartons always numbered their vehicles strictly according to the date of acquisition, with no attempt to allocate batches of numbers to particular types. Hence the famous 1948 front entrance lowbridge Duple PD1s were in the 400 and 500 series. When they later acquired some ex-LT RTLs they were in the 1000 series.

Stephen Ford

Wonderful, evocative photographs! As a kid, whenever we went into York City centre, I would be looking out hoping to see one of these great vehicles on the 44/45/46 routes between Leeds and Bridlington or Hull – a rare treat, unfortunately, because it was a joint service with West Yorkshire, and usually the EYMS buses were single-deckers any way. Once we managed to travel on one on a trip to Bridlington but my dad insisted on sitting downstairs, so I never got to see the interior of a Beverly Bar roof.
Their magnificent indigo and primrose livery was complimented by the lovely Leyland engine silky tickover. They had beautiful blue upholstery and cream stanchions which gave them an extra air of superiority. We’d got to Rougier Street to catch the Bridlington bus on a typically raucous York-West Yorkshire Bristol K5G still sporting a ‘bible’ metal indicator, (called a ‘flap board’ at York, and thanks, Chris for reminding me of them), so the comparison between the two vehicles was pretty one-sided.
As Bob points out, another novelty was getting a Willebrew ticket; operationally, the system itself was cumbersome and laborious, but the tickets were fascinating for a young child to examine.

Roy Burke

Unlike Roy I have managed a ride on the preserved Roe bodied AEC Regent V WAT652 The overall effect was of entering a gothic church with a definite arching to the roof line I have also had a ride on East Yorkshire’s own Willowbrook bodied AEC where the interior roof line was not so pronounced However both buses were different to the norm. As well as the Beverly Bar roofed fleet EYMS also ran a fleet of standard lowbridge buses which ran in Hull and were not allowed under the Bar.

Chris Hough

I too remember the EYMS PD1s with great affection. The memory is made more vivid by Chris`s description of the mid blue painted internal window framing. I remember them so well as fast, smooth buses, which prompted me in previous posts to quote them in the "rough PD1 discussions" of a week or so ago!
My main experience of them was on the Bridlington to Hornsea service, via Barmston, Beeford and Atwick, when we had our Skipsea "Bradford Tram" bungalow.
It was after one of these visits to Skipsea, about 1950, when we were returning from Brid. on the Leeds service. Memory of the Brid to Leeds section has eroded away, but the York (Rougier Street) to Leeds section is so vivid! The (West Yorkshire RCC) bus failed, and we were transferred to a highbridge York West Yorkshire Bristol GO5G!
I can still hear every grunt of the gearbox, and every growl of the 5LW as we (slowly) made our way through Tadcaster, and back to Leeds Wellington Street. Just one of those indelible memories as a youngster, which cemented my transport interests, and firmed up for ever my love of Bristol buses of that era!

John Whitaker

I’ve always been puzzled about the Beverley Bar roof. The inward taper to the upperworks I can understand, to enable the windows and sides of the roof to clear the sides of the arch, but why was it necessary to extend the roof upwards as well? And on these PD1s there is no discernable taper to the windows at all, just a domed roof.

Peter Williamson

Gosh, John, York to Leeds in a Y-WY GO5G! No wonder you remember that; 1935 or 1937 vintage, complete with a ‘flap board’ indicator, and, in around 1950, close to its withdrawal date.
WY and Y-WY had a ‘contra-mileage’ arrangement under which, at weekends mainly, WY would use Y-WY vehicles to balance the mileage that WY vehicles had operated during the week on such things as school or works specials. I have a photo of a Y-WY K5G, (highbridge of course) used on service 43 to Scarborough; if you found the going to Leeds slow, imagine how a fully-loaded 5LW-engined double-decker coped with Whitwell. Incidentally, as a conductor with Y-WY in 1962 or 1963, I was once asked to stay on after finishing my shift to operate a late bus to Hull because the East Yorkshire vehicle, (I think they were then using AEC Bridgemasters), had broken down in Leeds. As it happens, they got it running again, so I didn’t get my overtime.

Roy Burke

Some optical illusions here Peter which can I hope be briefly explained. The reason why there was no "inward taper" on the PD1 windows is that the vehicles were only 7’6" wide – I think the angle in the windows became necessary with 8’0" buses later. Also I’m sure that the upper edges of the windows were only at the height normally found in "lowbridge" buses, and accordingly the roof was not actually extended upwards but was merely at standard "highbridge" level for passenger headroom purposes. This is a most fascinating discussion, and I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when EYMS initially approached bodybuilders with these special requirements – I daresay calendars were hastily scanned to ensure that it wasn’t April 1st !!

Chris Youhill

Yes Roy, the memory of the "G" highbridge ride is really vivid… it was one of the YG batch. I have to admit being a real West Yorkshire fan of those days, much as I also loved East Yorkshire, because the latter were different. Tilling fascination is something else!
Another vivid memory of the Leeds to Bridlington route was the regular use of pre war L types, and the notice on Garrowby Hill "West Yorkshire Road Car Co" DRIVERS ARE INSTRUCTED TO ENGAGE LOW GEAR. Or was it "Requested"?
I tended to lose interest in West Yorkshire after the 1954 renumbering, it being the pre 1950 types which I loved most, and it seems just like yesterday that I rode on Gs on the Thornton Road routes in Bradford, to Denholm and Keighley, where they competed with our beloved BCPT trolleybuses!
Memories of conductors licking their indelible pencils, stacks of bible boards in the green hut in Chester Street, and the requests for "smokers to occupy rear seats", and "Please tender exact fare and state destination". The most evocative sound of all, the guttural growl of a 5LW just starting up, the inability for a clean gear change (always a grinding sound!) and drivers with their cotton summer dust coats.
Wonderful memories!

John Whitaker

Yes John, I well remember the transfers in the prewar vehicles. I recall that the smoking one was on four lines thus :-


Another fabulous transfer used to fascinate me too – it was a transparent one, small and rectangular, which was applied to the insides of the windows and read :-
The Company will press for heaviest
penalties against offenders

Chris Youhill

I DO remember the "wilful damage" transfers!! How evocative is that??!! Also the moquette covered box adjacent to the single seat over the wheel arch on the Js and pre-war Ls! Super comments too from you and Richard about the post war Ls. I remember being overwhelmed (like you) by the sheer modernity of the clean lines of post war ECW bodies when they first appeared, contrasting so strongly with the pre war "roundness". Pre war ECW and Roe bodies were almost "Beverley Bar" with their domed roofs in highbridge form. Perhaps we should transfer this topic away from EYMS into a more WYRCC subject heading!

John Whitaker

I apologise if some of us are turning this lovely posting about EYMS PD1s into a discussion on West Yorkshire instead, However, recalling John’s and Chris’s comments on notices, I rather think the wording on the notice at Garrowby Hill was ‘instructed’. The ‘smoking’ notice I particularly remember on WY’s JO5Gs, but didn’t they also have a small plastic label on the backs of the front rows of seats with the same request instead of an ashtray?
I was intrigued by John’s recollection that the GO5G he rode on to Leeds was a YG series; my own fleet list mentions 1935 AWW vehicles, (Y316-330) and 1937 BWT vehicles, (Y343-346), but the only record I have of Y-WY YG-registered vehicles, (apart from some Dennis Lancets), is of 3 lowbridge GO5Gs that were bought new from WY but sold back after only about seven months in 1935. Well, I’ve been wrong before!
Like you, John, I find the sound of a 5LW most evocative. Y-WY certainly got its money’s worth out of them. Some of the 1939 batch of K5Gs, (admittedly they were rebuilt and re-registered), were still in service very nearly 30 years later.

Roy Burke

The latter one, I think was a Tilling or THC notice as I don’t recall seeing it on BET group vehicles. Midland General had it on all their vehicles and on double deckers also had:
Presumably this was because the lower saloon seats were moquette whilst the upper deck seats were leather and easier to wipe clean after dirty workmen! In mining areas it was common for pitmen to travel to and from work in their ‘grime’ as many mines did not have pit-head baths until after they were nationalised.
Another notice I remember was:
SPITTING STRICTLY PROHIBITED which seems inconceivable nowadays but was also aimed at miners, many of whom used to chew tobacco rather than smoking it!

Chris Barker


Hi Roy Sorry about the YG/AWW. My mistake…I was dreaming about the main fleet G05Gs based at Bradford, which carried YG registrations.!!
Old age creeping in!

John Whitaker


"No Spitting" was not just aimed at miners, and not at their tobacco which was only a substitute for woodies down the pit. Firstly, they and anyone living in the industrial atmosphere were prone to chronic respiratory problems which often meant the need to clear the airways: then it was felt that such clearance- by anyone- could spread TB. Those who remember those days find today’s macho spitting a bit disturbing.
Because of their numbers and shift patterns, miners often had "special" buses, another interesting source of vintage transport.


31/01/11 – 15:07

Regarding the prohibition of spitting This brings to mind the verse by I think Spike Milligan There was a man from Dargeeling who took a bus to Ealing
It said by the door do not spit on the floor
So he carefully spat on the ceiling!

Chris Hough

31/01/11 – 20:19

With regard to "No Spitting", as I recall, Hull Corporation buses carried the notice "Do Not Spit – Penalty £5". I wonder how many £5’s were collected?

Keith Easton

01/02/11 – 05:10

You’ve beaten me to it Chris with your response to Peter’s Gothic roof question! You are absolutely correct about the buses being to standard highbridge height and layout, but with the upper deck windows set lower – in effect in the lowbridge position. Also the panel work between decks is of shallower, lowbridge proportions. Construction & Use Regulations stipulated a minimum gangway height for each deck, so the central gangway upstairs would have had to comply with this just as on any other double-decker, whether highbridge, lowbridge, Lodekka et al. Although the low set windows must have had an impact on the view from the top deck, it would have been a much easier solution for the coachbuilder, rather than setting the windows in their normal highbridge position and then trying to mould the glass into that classic Gothic shape! As Roy says, very evocative pictures indeed. As youngsters, my brothers and I often visited Bridlington and Flamborough in the family Morris Minor. If we were lucky we would catch sight of a pointy-roofed bus or two around Driffield, which meant that the sea wasn’t too far away. Our favourites were the PD2/Roe ‘LAT’ registered batch – some of which crooned their way around Brid bound for the exotic-sounding ‘Belvedere’. Roe bodies of that era were always beautifully proportioned, but I must admit to feeling that the extra width of the eight-footers somehow added a fullness to the design. The Beverley Bar roof was just the icing on the cake.

Brendan Smith

01/02/11 – 05:13

I don’t think £5 for spitting was very good value for money. If I had had money to waste in those days (and I must say that I never did!) I would have pulled the communication cord and stopped an express : "Penalty for improper use £5"!

Stephen Ford

01/02/11 – 15:21

Well said Stephen – I always admire a man prepared to haggle honourably for a genuine bargain !!

Chris Youhill

02/02/11 – 06:29

I can recall seeing signs that said, "Penalty for spitting – 40/-" which is strange wording; nobody ever sold me anything saying, "That’ll be 40 shillings please".
Maybe the folk who lived locally were poorer than those living in the £5 ones!

Chris Hebbron

02/02/11 – 10:00

Oh dear, this is getting silly! However, as we seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel somewhat, might I ask others for an explanation of the old notice in BR train toilets: ‘Gentlemen Lift The Seat’. Was this a request or a definition of a gentleman?

Roy Burke

02/02/11 – 20:57

The first sentence I ever read was "MIND YOUR HEAD", found in all Reading d/ds until the Crossleys arrived with their stodgy "Caution: low roof", but the one that tickled me most was "Do not speak to the man at the wheel whilst car is in motion", seen in the normal-control front-entrance Guy B & BA single-deckers of 1926-30. Two of them had their 4-cylinder petrol engines replaced by AEC 4-cylinder oilers, with oversized-looking AEC radiators to match. The last were withdrawn in 1947. "Spitting prohibited" and "Please retain ticket for fare paid" afforded more reading practice.

Ian Thompson

03/02/11 – 20:10

The remark about "Gentlemen lift the seat" reminded me of a public convenience in my home area which had the sign "Gentlemen adjust your dress" – possibly leading to confusion as to which door one had entered or what one should be wearing. When this convenience was demolished a few years ago, the back wall adjoining another building was left intact, complete with this sign on the white tiling for all to see! (The "equipment" had been removed).
And to bring this back to what this site is all about, this facility was adjacent to the White House pub, Milton in Portsmouth, which was a significant timing point and a short-turn destination for some routes. In the final trolleybus days, the BUT’s would run on the 5/6 from Dockyard through to Cosham Red Lion. But those lovely "Leylandised Crossleys" (ie the Crossley bodied DD42/7s with Leyland TD4 engines) would run short workings from the Dockyard and turn at Milton White House. The full route also passed the Green Lane terminus of other t/b routes (7/8, 11/12), so there were some colourful destinations (Red Lion, Green Lane, White House).
And why ever did Portsmouth change the Dockyard destination to "The Hard Interchange"? OK, I know the street is called "The Hard", and the interchange was for buses, trains and ferries, but who wants to undertake a "hard interchange" – perhaps it was difficult after all. Anyway, these days it’s called "Gunwharf Quays" but the buses are still in more or less the same place. Pity there are no Crossleys though.
Portsmouth also had "spitting prohibited" on both decks of older vehicles, blue-edged gold lettering, with the additional wording "no smoking" on the lower deck.

Michael Hampton

03/02/11 – 20:42

With regard to destination indicators, I’m reliably informed that Maidstone trolleybuses carried the destination "Loose Womens’s Institute"! The terminus was situated in the area of Maidstone known as Loose.

Keith Easton

04/02/11 – 06:55

I think there is probably scope for an article on unusual, eccentric or amusing destination displays. Was Westward Ho! (Southern National) the only one that included an exclamation mark?

Stephen Ford

07/02/11 – 05:33

I have been researching this fleet, largely because I have loads of nostalgia for EYMS in the period 1946-1963. I have used the excellent East Yorkshire site fleet list, to gain a list for this period, but would love to know which of the TD4/5s were rebodied post war, with ECW Beverley Bar type bodies. Most grateful, if anyone can answer, and thanks in anticipation.

John Whitaker

07/02/11 – 05:43

I have managed to find a few prints of 1960s photos taken with a plastic Brownie camera.
The location is Limekiln Lane which was the terminus for the EYMS Bridlington Route from Belvedere South Side Terminus to the North Sands (ie Limekiln lane- which was close to a Caravan site.

JAT 462 
I took the above rear view shot in spring 1964 of JAT 462 fleet no 494 for the roof profile as so few of this view existed, it was a 1950 Leyland Titan PD1A H28/26R. I had heard that these Leylands were due to be disposed of within a short time so recorded them in Bridlington not far from my home – note the East Yorkshire Bus Stop sign and old cast iron bus shelter – boy did you need a shelter near the cliff top.

Ian Gibbs

07/02/11 – 09:05

After a quick look John I’ve found that the ECW rebodying of the TD4s/TD5s took place in 1948, creating some of the most fascinating vehicles ever.
Those involved were :-
When I was in the RAF at Patrington in 1955/6 we used to go into Hull on Friday and Saturday nights and a duplicate was always provided on the last bus to Withernsea – it was invariably one of the rebodies to my delight. A most fascinating performance occurred on this journey. As each village was reached, and many people alighted, a rapid census of both buses would be carried out and as soon as the total could be accommodated on one vehicle a reshuffle was ordered, almost invariably at Keyingham, and the rebodied TD would return empty to its stable at 252 Anlaby Road while the service bus scurried eastwards to Withernsea Depot.
Oh to go back to those happy days !!

Chris Youhill

07/02/11 – 09:07

bus stop

Ian, a lovely classic picture at Limekiln Lane – and I’d completely forgotten, or perhaps never noticed, that the stop plate is marked "FARE STAGE"

Chris Youhill

07/02/11 – 20:07

Thanks Chris for the ECW rebody detail of EYMS TD4/5s.
I remember them so well, and the super sedate smooth sound as they meandered from Ulrome to Bridlington. They were not the regulars on this route in my time, but they did come to Brid, I think direct from Hull via Skirlaugh, Leven and Beeford.
I presume that other TD4s gave up their units for the Beadle rebuild coaches.
What surprises me a bit is that more of the ECW Titans succumbed to rebodying than did the Brush variety. Perhaps ECW built to a price for the (unusual) double deck Federation style. My childhood trademarks for EYMS were dds with 3 windows up front on the top deck, and sds with oval rear windows!

John Whitaker

07/02/11 – 21:34

Further to the EYMS TD5 rebodies, which Chris remembers so well from the passenger shuffling occurrences (!) can anyone recall any other highbridge ECW rebodying of Titans in the TD3-7 range? There must have been a BET contract, as Ribble, East Kent and others received lowbridge bodies on TD4/5 chassis.
I presume that all East Yorkshire`s Arab 1 and 11s were rebodied, all by Roe.
The photo of the PD1A at Limekiln Lane is very evocative. Is it not on the old White Bus route out of town? I remember well going past the caravan park on White Bus Bedford OWBs, and we had a holiday there in 1964, probably just at the same time as the photo of the PD1A was taken. I am getting to like East Yorkshire more and more!

John Whitaker

08/02/11 – 05:20


Following Chris Youhill’s interest in that EYMS -Bus Stop -Fare Stage sign. Here is a picture of an interesting relic from the Golden Days of Bus Services

Ian Gibbs

08/02/11 – 05:25

I Believe that both White Bus and Eat Yorkshire operated services via Limekiln Lane to Flamborough. The acquired routes were soon assimilated to EYMS licences BE3/39 and BE3/40. By the way, John, East Yorkshire is fantastic. I have a full fleet list if you would like one. You can contact me via the website.

Keith Easton

08/02/11 – 05:27

I have always been fascinated by this bus. I am getting married this year and would love to use this bus. My brother is coming over from America and my Dad has always has old cars and buses. So I would like to have this bus on my wedding day and surprise them all. If you could let me know where I can talk to someone about this I would be so grateful saw this bus at Pocklington Thoroughbred Car Club rally this year. Thank you so much.

Carol Eveson

08/02/11 – 05:29

Me too John, for it’s fascinating history and the fact that it’s still very much in business today but I do worry about what will happen to it when Peter Shipp decides to retire!

Chris Barker

08/02/11 – 09:01

Hello Keith.
Yes, I would love a full EYMS fleet list, as it would save me going through each individual number on the website fleet list. I only need to go as far as 1963 though, if that makes it easier.
Many thanks

John Whitaker

Keith if you mail it to me I will pass it on I have a feeling that other people may be interested, I am for one.


10/04/11 – 05:00

Reading these East Yorkshire postings relating to the Leyland PD1’s has brought back some wonderful memories of holidays at the seaside in the 1950’s and early 60’s, when these buses were a constant source of fascination to me as they ambled around Bridlington; I seem to recall them showing ‘Old Town’ as one particular destination on the blinds, which was presumably the area around the harbour?
Brendan Smith’s recollection of looking out for the sight of a ‘pointy-roofed bus’ around Driffield, and thus knowing the sea wasn’t that far away, was particularly poignant. We used to invariably stop at a café near Driffield on our way to the coast, I think it might have been called ‘The Four Winds’, and sitting there drinking tea, with one eye on the bucket and spade and desperate for the sight of an East Yorkshire ‘decker, is a very strong childhood memory. I have a feeling that the prominent windsock at the airfield, which was visible from the café windows, might well have been responsible for the name of the cafe!
Likewise Ian Gibbs’ classic rear end shot of 494 at Limekiln Lane is very evocative of caravan holidays at Bridlington back in that era. My father once left the family camera, an old Agfa, on an upstairs seat at the terminus at this spot, and the bus had headed back into Bridlington before he’d realised his mistake. Sure enough, he found it lying right where he’d left it some time later after the vehicle had completed the round trip and arrived back at Limekiln Lane again.
Those full-fronted PD2’s in the yellow and light blue livery running between Hull and Scarborough were something to behold as well, the ‘Beverley Bar’ roof looked even more striking on these vehicles, I thought. The sight of these remarkable machines trundling along the main road past the Butlins holiday camp at Filey, with all its flags flapping in the breeze, is an abiding holiday memory that will be with me forever.

Dave Careless

19/04/11 – 09:00

Thanks Dave for even more fascinating memories of a wonderful era in the greater Bridlington era. Two of your points are of particular interest. Firstly "Old Town" was actually nothing to do with the resort or the harbour – it referred, and still does, to the ancient settlement of "Burlington" surrounding the beautiful Priory Church and the Market Place and "Old Town" High Street. One of Williamson’s two town services terminated there in the Market Place and the fixed destination blind read "OLD TOWN and THE QUAY" – "The Quay" referring to the centre of modern Bridlington (Chapel Street). For some inexplicable reason the destination blind for the other service had the termini the other way round and read "THE QUAY and QUEENSGATE." The Four Winds cafe was indeed right opposite RAF Driffield, later an Army Camp, and I’m sure still exists as a restaurant of some kind.

Chris Youhill

21/04/11 – 06:02

Thanks, Chris, for finally explaining where “Old Town” is in Bridlington, it only took me fifty plus years to get that straight, but as they say, good things come to those who wait!!
I do have a couple of photos in my collection of a Bristol K and an L, both bodied by East Lancs at Bridlington, posed in front of the historic Bayle Gate, before setting out for Rotherham on delivery; presumably, this would be well into the “Old Town” area. Incidentally, not sure how widely known it is, but that Bridlington body building works also built school furniture as a sideline, and in fact built a pantechnicon body on an old ex-Rotherham Bristol chassis in which to deliver the desks and cupboards!
I have a vague recollection of staying in a bed and breakfast at Bridlington not far from the East Yorkshire garage, and seem to recall it was on a road leading away from the seafront south of the harbour and the main part of town. Is this right, or have I got it all completely jumbled up in the mists of time?

Dave Careless

21/04/11 – 11:45

Thanks Dave for even more fascinating Bridlington history and, while I was aware of the East Lancashire "overflow" production (wasn’t it on the former RAF Carnaby airfield ??) I certainly knew nothing of school cupboards and desks. Similarly a removal firm in York, Whitby C. Oliver, once made a large van from a York-West Yorkshire Bristol J5G !!
I’m afraid the mists of time have still to clear for you – aren’t we all in the same boat eh ?? – as the East Yorkshire garage was north of the town, just above Queensgate and below the Priory Church. The only depot I can think of in a road such as you describe for your bed and breakfast would be the Boddy’s one in Horsforth Avenue. Hope this helps rather than hinders !!

Chris Youhill

21/04/11 – 20:25

A big help Chris, no question, so thanks again. At least now I can finally put the thought that I’d once stayed in a guest house close by the Bridlington garage directly into the recycling bin, where it so obviously belongs! Perhaps it was in fact Boddy’s premises that I’d seen after all; at least I got that café opposite the airfield at Driffield right!!
It seems as if I’ve been thinking about little else than those “Beverley Bar” buses ever since I read the piece on the East Yorkshire PD1’s and the subsequent comments, a wonderful trip down memory lane. There’s no doubt it’s because those elegant vehicles are synonymous with childhood holidays at the seaside that makes the memories of them so special. Just looking at photographs of them conjures up recollections of the harbour and the boat trips to Flamborough Head, the amusement arcades, and the obligatory trip round the lifeboat shed!
But above all it was the buses; another wonderful sight was the cavalcade of United buses on the Scarborough sea-front, and at the North Sands terminus at Corner Café, but even that still didn’t quite measure up to the look and sound of those remarkable “pointy roofed” machines toiling around Bridlington all those years ago.

Dave Careless

20/09/11 – 14:42

I was a summer conductor on EYMS in Bridlington whilst I was at Hull University. Did my time in the summers 1960 to 1963. Mostly we "students" were assigned to town services. Spending the summer with £5 of pennies in a leather sack slung round one’s neck, a ticket machine on the other shoulder, and in a thick dark blue serge uniform—all for £10 a week—was a hard way to build up spending money for term time. However, it was also good fun, though one thanked the Gods that one didn’t have to do it all year.
Mostly we had the AEC Beverley-topped buses in town. I remember one dreaded route (Brid to Scarborough) that used these. It went past Butlins at Filey. Understandably, the Butlins crowds were tight with money, and I recall many an argument about the right fare as we crept up Hunmanby Hill. Usually Major Richardson, the chief Bridlington Inspector, would be lurking at the Dotterel Inn, and he would back the "connie". Later he’d tear a strip off you for letting someone take un-fare(!) advantage.
If one kept in with the dispatcher, one could get a great route: the Saturday extra coaches to Leeds. You could get all the fares by Burton Agnes, and take it easy after that. The holiday makers boarding house changeover was Saturday, so the bus was weighed down with big suitcases as well as many large Leeds ladies and gents. On one Saturday lunchtime my driver stopped at the top of Garrowby Hill, came round and said with a straight face that he didn’t think with all the weight aboard that he could make it safely down. He asked me to select ten passengers to get off, with their luggage, and walk down. Fortunately, before I opened my mouth and got lynched, his straight face cracked.
I lived in Flamborough and sometimes had strange mornings when I had to cycle from there to the garage on Quay Road, just past the Queensgate junction, to take over a bus that was assigned to route 28—Flamborough Lighthouse and North Landing!

Patrick Wesley

21/09/11 – 06:08

A wonderful set of tales, Patrick – thx for sharing them with us.

Chris Hebbron

21/09/11 – 06:11

Let us not forget another wonderful feature in Bridlington in those happy days of yore – United Automobile Services. Almost opposite the EYMS bus station in the Promenade was a little United booking office and space for about four buses (at a push) on the forecourt. From there departed United service 111 to Scarborough, after crossing the pavement !! That route ran via Speeton and Hunmanby. The premises are still there as a friendly little cafe – I’ve often been tempted to pop in and ask for a Bristol Breakfast and a Lowestoft Lasagne, but I suppose I would be humoured while they sent for the men in white coats !!

Chris Youhill

21/09/11 – 15:39

Looking at Ian Gibbs’s EY sign in his post of 8/2/11, I love the precision of the word ‘depôt’ with its circumflex! How English has changed not not necessarily for the better.
It also reminds me of the old railway sign, "ALL TICKETS MUST BE SHEWN". In fact, my wartime schooling was by aged teachers brought out of retirement. We were taught some very old-fashioned English and ‘shew’ was one example. after some twenty years without anyone commenting, a new generation started telling me I’d spelt it wrongly and I re-adapted, although it still catches me out sometimes!

Chris Hebbron

05/11/11 – 11:36

My morning this Saturday started with a query, as to why ‘Atlas Editions’ do not produce a model of an EYMS ‘Bar bus’? Then it started…..reams of memories in these posts.
I travelled by East Yorkshire ‘double-deckers’ on a daily basis from 1954 to 1960, from Willerby Square (which was ’round’ and still is)… to Beverley Grammar School (via Cottingham Green and Skidby). These vehicles had usually begun their routes at Hessle and Anlaby. The ‘Hessleites and Anlabyites’ had always laid claim to the upper-deck front seats, so we were often upper-deck back-enders’. I recall a favourite ‘Guy’ (That Indian Chief radiator cap will be worth a fortune now I guess)… (Fleet No.382) which had a tendency to ‘steam’ as it managed Skidby Hill.
Many of the ‘youths’ had total disrespect for our school bus and took great delight in moving to one side of the upper-deck, then…grabbing the metal handrails began a rhythmic sway…..which needless to say put the vehicle into a dangerous situation…and one Glaswegian driver into a ‘more’ dangerous situation. On one occasion he stopped his vehicle, appeared on the upper deck puffing more steam than his ‘Guy’ and waged war on these ‘toffee-nosed little Gits from Grammar School’! (What a rude man).
I have now amassed about 20 Atlas Edition bus models, but that company should be re-named to…. ‘Alas Editions’, as….’alas’ no model EYMS Bar Bus has appeared in its range yet.
To conclude, as a lad…my pal and I used to cycle from our homes in Willerby to the EYMS depot at Anlaby Common. There we were entertained by the EYMS’s resident artist, the man responsible for those wonderful oil paintings of tourist venues that adorned bus station walls. On one unforgetful occasion I was allowed into the driver’s cab of a ‘double-decker’ where he sat me on his knee and allowed me to steer the vehicle, probably about 1 mph inside the garage. I doubt that ‘driver-knee-sitting’ would be allowed in this PC age either. Not that any driver would wish it now….I am 68 and 14 stones (of pure ‘East’ Yorkshireman).

Richard Pullen

14/02/12 – 07:45

I too travelled on a daily basis from Anlaby to Beverley Grammar from 1963 to 1968 on a wide range of EY buses – the first ones being PD1 Titans through the Regents, Bridgemasters, and finishing with the Renowns. I remember a visit to the Anlaby Common depot from the Primary school, I now remember catching the Willerby to Hull bus to travel to the primary school in the late 50’s when the weather was unfit for walking – the bus stop was just before St Peters Church on Wilson St. The buses that fascinated me then were the " Flat Roofs" as we used to call them, remembering to duck if you sat down stairs on the offside, and the high step up upstairs to get onto the long seats.
If only the diecast producers would look at the variety of EY buses over the years, and also KHCT’s impressive " Blue and Whites", pre Cleveland Transit and ultimately Stagecoach at present, there could be a fascinating range of models.

John Eggleton

14/02/12 – 11:18

There is a beautiful new EFE model of one of the Leyland PD2s with Leyland lowbridge body and the destination display "Hull via Patrington" – ie travelling from Withernsea. I was not aware, certainly in my RAF days, that any such lowbridge vehicles wandered due east of Hull, but perhaps this was a later development after October 1956 ??

Chris Youhill

18/02/12 – 15:37

I have to agree that the EFE PD2 Lowbridge is one of the best models they have produced – it still stands though, that the Beverley Bar range of vehicles would produce an unmissable selection of models, with the ultimate one being a " Yellow Peril". The stumbling block as always is the cost of new tooling.

John Eggleton

19/02/12 – 11:57

Can I be controversial? I remember, as a young boy, the arrival of the "Yellow Perils" and apart from the livery was not impressed and am still not – in looks they did not compare with the immortal PD1As and the superb PD2/3s. My family visited relatives in Newby just outside Scarborough on Saturdays – two hours plus on a PD2/3 and twenty minutes on a Bristol L – now there is an icon – to Newby on the 116 In Scarborough you could enjoy and contrast the EYMS and the United liveries,not to mention the West Yorkshire buses at the shared bus station at Northway including for a short time single deckers with bible indicators – there were also "standard" ECW bodies and the Beverley Bar version.
In the early fifties when bus travel was heavy at holiday times a lowbridge was once used as a duplicate on the Scarborough route – how it got there I don’t know. Also in the early fifties EYMS would hire Regent IIIs from KHCT at weekends to be used on the Withernsea route – a note in the KHCT 1953/4 annual report states this happened on four occasions much less than previously owing to poor weather. Hire was much simpler than KHCT taking over an EYMS local service – the mileage balancing arrangements of the Coordination Agreement being too complicated.
The lowbridge buses were used on one route to Hornsea and to Selby – highbridge buses used to carry a notice in the cab stating which bridges they were forbidden to pass under – I think one in Hornsea itself, one at North Cave and one at Howden – there might have been another but I’m not certain.
In the early fifties EYMS had 11 lowbridge buses, 426/7 PDI/Roe L51R of 1947, 505-7 PD1A/Roe L51R of 1949 and 584-9 PD2/12/Leyland L53R.
Four more were purchased, 632/3 PD2/12 Roe L56R in 1955 and 649/50 AEC Regent III/ Willowbrook L59R in 1957. Of them all I felt the Leyland bodies looked the best
382 was a TD5 of 1939 originally having a body by ECW H52R which was replaced with another ECW H54R body in 1948 – there’s a photo of it in the PSV/OS fleet history of EYMS
Incidentally, how old is old – hard to believe that Hull’s first Atlanteans are 52 years old this year!

Malcolm Wells

JAT 455_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

30/03/13 – 07:22

Regarding the EYMS Beverley Bar buses, I have a question I’ve been trying to find a definitive answer to for years. What was the purpose of the white band along the roof edge? Perhaps the answer is obvious – to reveal any contact with the archway, which would also leave white paint on the masonry. Can anyone confirm this?

Re the discussion on signs and notices inside buses, there was the one widely seen in ECW lowbridge buses on lower-deck seatbacks under the sunken gangway and on the upper deck:


Some were clandestinely altered to "Lower your seat when leaving your head"!

Martin S

30/03/13 – 17:08

Regarding the white roof band on the EYMS Beverley Bar roofs, I believe this came about after the first Beverley Bar roofs were introduce, before the Beverley Bar roof, all of the roof on deckers was painted white, as with many other bus fleets, to avoid the roof of a Beverley Bar decker being all white and looking like a pile of snow! the top section was painted indigo blue to lower the profile, this was continued to cover the rear dome (not sure why), the remaining white section got smaller over the years and became a roof band and part of the livery, and was also carried on lowbridge deckers (not all) and saloons also had white roofs up to the 60’s.
I don’t think the white band had anything to do with the Beverley Bar.

Mike Davies


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Bristol Omnibus – Leyland PD1/A – LAE 13 – C4044

Bristol Omnibus - Leyland PD1 - LAE 13 - C4044

Bristol Omnibus
Leyland PD1/A
ECW H30/26R

Chris Youhill has mentioned that Samuel Ledgard bought and ran a few of these vehicles in the early 1960’s, which prompted me to rummage around and find this photo, which I took at the Bristol Bus Rally in 1977. I don’t believe that LAE 13 was a Ledgard vehicle, although LAE 12 was.
This unusual chassis/body combination arose because of Bristol Tramways Motor Constructional Works’ inability to meet the urgent post-war demands for Bristol chassis. So, fifty Leyland chassis were bought to fill the gap and keep the ECW production line going. Their contemporary high-bridge body was fitted. They did look very high!
One other member (C4019) of the 50 has survived, just, and is slowly being restored.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Chris Hebbron

You couldn’t get any nearer than this to turning the clock back could you ?? Below is another picture of LAE 13 and yours truly, taken on October 14th 2007 on the occasion of the Running Day to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the demise of the Samuel Ledgard undertaking. The very appropriate location is at Otley Bus Station and LAE 12 which Chris H mentions was stationed at Otley depot throughout its Ledgard career. It was also the bus which I had for my very first duty as a driver – a wickedly busy late turn starting in the peak period on a Friday – and although I was naturally suffering from "stage fright" the wonderful vehicle behaved like a dream, "pulled like a trooper", and kept any of my errors in engine revs and road speed completely quiet and not even a click was heard by the passengers. Here also is a picture of "the real LAE 12" in Leeds. I was already a dedicated Leyland PD1 fan and that Friday was one of the happiest days of my life. The Running Day was also exactly fifty years after I started as a young conductor and so to be able to stand with a vehicle as near as is possible to its memorable twin meant everything to me.

Chris Youhill

Bristol Omnibus - Leyland PD1 - LAE 13 - C4044_ at Otley

S Ledgards - Leyland PD1 - LAE 12

Delighted to see the Bristol/Sammy Ledgard PD1, which reminds me of early post war Tilling Group policy.
I believe 100 PD1s were purchased, and spread out among several fleets, including some others with highbridge bodies at Eastern Counties (?).
Tilling also embarked upon a rebodying exercise, including many quite venerable chassis, which placed further demands on ECW, and I wonder if this was why some of the Bristol examples were bodied by BBW (Brislington Bodybuilding Works!). Perhaps someone will have more explanatory detail, but the whole early post war Tilling programme was absolutely fascinating….stick a new body on it, and fit a recond. 5LW, and you had a standard Tilling bus whatever the chassis origin, although the PD1 was not in this category.
I just wish that West Yorkshire had been a bit more involved in these fascinating exercises.

John Whitaker

Glad you liked the picture, John, of what is to me a very special vehicle as you can imagine. We had a total of six former Bristol Leyland PD1s, three each by ECW and BBW.
ECW : KHW 631 KHY 395 LAE 12
BBW : KHW 243 KHW 622 LAE 2
The first five were at Otley Depot while LAE 2 served at Armley where it was eventually prohibited from going on the Leeds to Bradford route due to its habit, when bouncing, of clattering the underside of the railway bridge in Whitehall Road !! Just one of those fascinating little oddities – why wasn’t it based at Otley where its anti railway nature would have been contained ?? We shall never know now.

Chris Youhill

The other major participant in the 100 PD1/As order was Crosville. Crosville also had some Regals which were shared with either Bristol or Western National. I believe they had Beadle Bodies to standard post-war ECW design. Another Crosville strand was the PS1s(?) with Weymann body delivered direct but redirected from a Balfour Beatty/Midland General order. [This is also interesting as BF/MG normally had AEC/Weymann combinations – Leylands occasionally, but rarely, appearing on the list.]

David Oldfield

Interesting comments David re. Crosville, which perhaps was the most un-Tilling of the Tilling companies! Probably because they were part of the BET group prior to the 1942 TBAT switch round, with North Western going the other way, and they therefore did not have any pre -war Bristols apart from a few odds.
I never drove a bus, so Chris`s comments re the Ledgard PD1s were intriguing too. I always picked up vibes about the PD1 being rough and slow. Certainly my recollections in Lytham and with EYMS are not so, but perhaps the different engine mounting on the PD1A had some effect. Did the PD1s of Ledgard from other sources behave as well as the Bristol ones Chris?

John Whitaker

The Crosville AEC Regals had Strachan bodies. JFM 575 is preserved.

Peter Williamson

Peter W, thanks for the correction.
John, I believe you could be correct about PD1A being smoother with their modifications. I do drive buses – but as more of a hobby than our resident professionals like Chris Youhill. I have only driven PD3s and only experienced PD2s and PD3s with STD as a boy.
My only experience of PS1/PD1 is on the preserved rally circuit. They do have a reputation of being rough – but I think this is merely comparing the 7.4 and the 9.8 engines. Personally, I have found them different, rather than rough, and Granville Smith’s PS1/Plaxton running around Helmsley I found to be one of the best and sweetest vehicles that I have ridden on. Could be the driver is a critical factor. […and coming from an AEC man that is praise indeed!!!!!]

David Oldfield

It is most reassuring from the observations of John and David that the allegations of "roughness" are not borne out by present day experience. I think, though, that I may be able to identify the origin of the theory as I remember clearly in 1946 when I was ten years old that my first impression of Samuel Ledgard’s newly delivered half dozen PD1s was of very harsh knocking from the engines. This comparison was, of course, against all the Company’s many TSs/TDs virtually all of which were still in full day service and on top line coaching duties at the time. I do believe that the early "noisiness" of the 7.4 litre engine most probably arose from poor quality diesel in the aftermath of The War, and from the fact that operators’ fitters and engineers were entirely unfamiliar with the tuning required on what was, after all, an entirely new engine in the civilian area. Once the necessary practical experience was in place the engines began to perform in a very potent and civilised manner.
I agree wholeheartedly with David’s praise of Granville Smith’s glorious PS1/Plaxton which for several summers has operated magnificent but tortuous services on the North Yorkshire Moors. Not many sixty year old vehicles can claim to ascend the long and notorious Sutton Bank’s 1 in 4 gradients without a whimper !!
I can promise John that all the Ledgard PS1s/PD1s performed magnificently and smoothly. We had the following, from a quick mental resume :-
NEW 6 PD1s 8 PS1s
Ex RIBBLE 4 PD1s (plus 2 "converts" to PD2)
My personal experience was that the apparent large difference in capacity compared to the 9.8 litre engine was of little consequence, and the delightfully precise behaviour at all times of the PS1/PD1 clutches and gearboxes made them a delight to drive and, acoustically, a real treat in which to travel – or for that matter to issue tickets !!

Chris Youhill

What cruel fate that such Leylands (and their fellow AECs) are reduced to just happy memories! As a postscript, I have read – and heard recounted – that people who worked with and drove these "100" far preferred them to contemporary Bristol K5Gs.

David Oldfield

Would the ‘roughness’ actual/imaginary stem from the fact that pre-war Leylands had indirect oil engines (which were very quiet and smooth) and postwar ones direct injection?
Was it my imagination that a characteristic of post-war Leyland engines was to ‘hunt’ on tickover (run through all cylinders in one go, then pause before repeating the cycle) rather than just have a conventional, even, tickover? Maybe it was another make of engine, or the engine was out of adjustment in some way.

Chris Hebbron

I think you’re right on both counts, Chris H

David Oldfield

I’m afraid Chris H that I haven’t the technical knowledge to express a qualified opinion on "indirect v direct" injection, but I’m sure that your suggestion may indeed be the reason for the difference in noise characteristics between the prewar 8.6 litre engines and their 7.4 litre. successors.
As far as "hunting" goes you are absolutely right, and both the 7.4 and the 9.8 invariably had this habit. At the risk of being ticked off by devotees of the 9.8 I have to say that I always found these to hunt unpredictably and fussily as if they weren’t sure what to do next. On the other hand the 7.4 hunted with metronome accuracy comparable with the movement of a high quality Swiss watch, and in between each six injections would whisper a couple of delightful little refined whistles. If I’m thought there to be a little "over the top" well I’m "guilty as charged yer’ honour" and I admired and enjoyed the PS1s and the PD1s beyond measure.

Chris Youhill

I suppose that the best way to describe direct versus indirect injection sound characteristics would be to say that the latter type ‘knocks’ and the former don’t! In fact, simplistically, it is hard to tell a pre-war Leyland 8.6 diesel engine from a petrol engine.
LAE12 looks much better in Ledgard livery than in the Bristol one, primarily because the all-white upper deck gives the vehicle a much ‘lighter and lower’ look.
PD1’s must have been a small part of virtually every fleet in post-war Britain, either new or second-hand. Even London Transport had 65 of them, with Leyland bodies. When I worked in London in the mid-50’s, they would trundle past my office on their well-worn path on route 38A between Victoria and Loughton (Essex). I would catch one from time to time and enjoy the experience. They were all withdrawn in the mid 50’s and exported to Jugoslavia, and a hard life, to judge from the odd photo I’ve seen taken from there.
Anyway, enough of this rambling – glad I was able to turn the clock back for a short while, Chris Y!

Chris Hebbron

Thanks again Chris H for that clarification. Just a small detail of information about the Ledgard livery – the top deck and lower saloon windows of LAE 12 do indeed look white in the picture, but the colour was actually a very very light grey, the manufacturer’s title being "duck egg blue." I am fascinated by your memories of London Transport STD 112 – 176 as I was in great admiration of them also as a frequent visitor to London in those days. When travelling from Victoria to the West End I would wait as long as necessary to board one on the 38A and needless to say loved the journey. I’m not sure how many were allocated to Victoria Gillingham Street Depot (GM) but certainly when they were new they often appeared on the tortuous 137 route from Highgate in the north to Crystal Palace in the south – a very long run with some nasty hills here and there. I bet the drivers used to preselector STLs would curse anyone who halted an STD midway up Central Hill at Norwood !! There, I’m rambling now – I do apologise.

Chris Youhill

Chris Y’s description of the E181 (Leyland 7.4) "hunt" is not OTT at all – it is spot on. But oddly, it isn’t universal, at least not in the preservation world. Some hunt more than others, and the one in Philip Thornes’ ex M&D Beadle-Leyland doesn’t hunt at all. I wonder if this may have something to do with the fact that it wasn’t built for civilian use. Apparently it came, unused, straight out of a War Department box.

Peter Williamson

Peter that’s most interesting – I’ve ridden many times on the beautiful vehicle mentioned, and know Philip well, but I never realised from whence the engine came. Also when travelling I’m so in awe with happy memories from the period ambience that the lack of "hunting" has never registered with me !! Thanks though for confirming my general observation about these engines – much appreciated.

Chris Youhill

A very interesting thread, though have to say am not as enthusiastic about the PD1 as others here. Oldham rather than waiting for the PD2 which followed almost immediately in 1947, forged ahead and took 14 PD1s and 50 of the 8ft PD1/3s. They were sluggish and underpowered especially on the unforgiving gradients around that town.
That they were used as driver trainers is no coincidence with their painfully slow gear changes where the revs having died away completely would need pumping up again. It was said by drivers that they could roll a fag between changes.
The observation on Lythams PD1s is however totally correct, quite apart from the flat terrain they worked, they were much livelier with quicker gear changes, and this was all down to the fact that the flywheels had been bored out. This is a mod that other operators may have also adopted hence the differing characteristics between vehicles and operators?
Certainly the sweet natured vehicles encountered nowadays may have much to do with the degree of tlc lavished upon them as opposed to when in service?
Eastern Counties 20 PD1As which were all Gardner 5LW engined served from 1947-64, so a creditable record.
The uneven tickover of the 7.4 E181 engine probably has more to do with the pneumatic governors with which they were fitted than anything else, and the related whistle on idling. Postwar Crossleys had similar idling characteristics for the same reason.

Keith Jackson

I have found the comment I made about Yorkshire Traction PD1’s – on the Smiths Luxury Coaches – Leyland Titan PD1 posting. I was reminded of it by your comment about the revs dropping, Keith – spot on. Compared with Doncaster Corporation Transport buses, they were painfully slow.


The distinctive ‘hunting’ on idle would more than likely be attributable to the vehicles concerned being fitted with pneumatic governors rather than the more usual mechanical type. In the post-war years CAV and Simms both produced fuel injection pumps which had pneumatic governors as an option, and several manufacturers specified these on some of their diesel engines, including Leyland. Albion was another and used them on its EN250 engine as fitted to their Claymore truck, and Nimbus small single-deck chassis for example. This engine was also fitted to the Bristol SU chassis. Ford Thames Traders fitted with Ford’s own 4-cylinder ‘Cost Cutter’ diesel also sported pneumatic governors, and likewise had that distinctive ‘rise and fall’ tickover. In fact many a Trader front bumper could be heard rattling in perfect harmony with its idling engine!
I can vividly recall as a schoolboy, being fascinated by the tickover of Bradford C T’s EKY- and GKU- registered batches of Leyland Titan PD2s. They had that reassuring ‘hunting’ characteristic, which to my young ears sounded not so much of an affliction, but more a rather contented gentle mechanical "purring". In later years I would again be treated to "that" tickover when occasionally travelling on one of West Yorkshire’s little Bristol SUL4As – although I couldn’t help thinking in this case that the little 4-cylinder engine was somewhat reminiscent of a coal wagon when idling! They had a tendency to lose dipsticks when new, as the horizontal EN250 engine had a dipstick tube with a quite shallow curve in order to fit neatly under the floor. Apparently the flexible dipsticks had a habit of ‘creeping’ up the tubes due to the vibrations set up on tickover, and over time they would simply pop out of the end!

Brendan Smith

These are all absolutely fascinating observations and opinions from different angles and I am really enjoying reading and learning from them. One thing though does surprise me a little on the aspect of painfully slow gear changes on the PS1s/PD1s and this is that no-one has mentioned an ingenious device called a "clutch stop." I’m not an engineer so I can’t fully understand how this works, although I believe something akin to brake linings is involved, but on all the Samuel Ledgard examples it was extremely effective – although requiring a degree of confidence, I’ll explain. The system was to declutch once, placing the lever in neutral, and then to very positively and quickly fully depress the clutch whereupon the next gear could be selected silently before the engine revs dropped fully. This was most useful on hills when heavily loaded although there was no need to employ it on the level. When I say confidence was needed this is because any "half hearted" attempt at the procedure would result in a screaming protest like a sawmill, audible for miles around, from the gearbox and those of us with pride in the job soon learnt to do it properly or not at all. To a layman like me it seems obvious that a degree of "design mechanical cheating" must have been involved to enable the gear to be engaged at the wrong engine revs but the clutch stop was an official device which had to be kept, so the fitters explained, finely tuned – or else !!

Chris Youhill

I remember so well the Bradford PD2/3 s as described above!. I could never understand the random gurgle of the tickover which never seemed to reimpose itself on a regular rhythm pattern. Now I know why! This wonderful sound was vividly brought back to my notice last year when I sampled the Wallasey PD2 at Birkenhead. Bradford never had PD1s, but many fleets, it seems to me, were only too keen to get rid. Leicester comes to mind, whereas their PD2s did the best part of a 20 year stint. Were the East Yorkshire PD1s modified in any way, as I remember these as quite nippy on the rural routes from Bridlington to Hornsea.?

John Whitaker

Chris Y- are we talking crash gearboxes here? This sounds like the old technique of double declutching- pedal down, move into neutral: raise revs in neutral, pedal down, engage next gear as revs fall. Not as easy as that sounds. That is why drivers would labour the engine on a hill until stalling loomed.


Something that hasn’t been mentioned in connection with PD1 performance is overall gearing. I don’t know about the Tilling PD1As, but I do know that Manchester and Oldham’s PD1s both used the highest gearing available, which gave a high top speed but very poor performance on hills, whereas Wigan’s were much lower geared, giving better hill-climbing at the expense of a lower top speed.
The approach to the clutch-stop was very variable throughout the industry. Tilling fleets were often clutch-stop strongholds, with the clutch-stops on Ks and Ls being every bit as effective as on the PD1 when kept in tune. The transmission on the Guy Arab III-V and Daimler CCG also had a clutch-stop, but it was much slower-acting, giving the driver a bit more breathing apace, but still faster than a double declutch.
Returning to that tickover, I wonder if this will bring back some memories:
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)
Diddlydum (shoo-shoo-shoo-shoo)

Peter Williamson

Yes Joe, we are talking about crash gearboxes, but the "clutch stop" procedure is a completely different method to the normal double declutching. I didn’t stress that use of the "clutch stop" was only necessary on upward gear changes to cheat the normal rate of rev loss when taking the foot off the accelerator.

Thank you Peter – I recognised the melody straight away from your description and it will always be one of the top tunes in the automobile acoustic hit parade for me – a brilliant picture in words.

Chris Youhill

Shut me up if I’ve mentioned this before, but Smith’s Luxury Coaches of Reading had LAE 16 roofless as a tree-lopper. Being that much lighter it flew along and I even had the impression that the axle was higher geared than that of the Leeds JUG PD1s.
Tree-lopping in the quiet lanes west of Reading was very enjoyable, the none-too-laborious task being further lightened by the old hands’ anecdotes of the romantic encounters they had witnessed over the years in the fields below as they gazed down from the lopping deck. I spare you the details… I do agree with what Chris, Peter and others have said about the PD1 clutch-stop: that very heavy flywheel made it essential for up-changes, but the PD1 clutch-stop seemed much less predictable than its AEC, Crossley or Bristol counterpart. Chris Youhill’s "screaming protest like a sawmill" beautifully sums up the price you pay for holding the clutch down for the minutes fraction of a second too long.
One day when I hadn’t much to do I fiddled with the pneumatic governor of JUG 630 and I reckon I got the tickover down to a stable 150rpm, but I put it back before going out again. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any of our 7.4 engines hunting particularly, but they all sounded and "felt" different.

Ian Thompson

Keith Jackson mentions that the Eastern Counties PD1As had Gardner 5LW engines. I never knew this, and am surprised that Leyland would succumb to this deviation! Were they supplied new like this, or converted later by ECOC, and did other Tilling fleets have the 5LW fitted?

John Whitaker

Leyland would never have supplied any bus, at that time, with other than Leyland power. If they were 5LW powered, they had been retro-fitted. As I said above, Leylands were preferred to Bristol K5Gs. It could only have been an expedient.

David Oldfield

08/08/11 – 07:01

Just to correct two misapprehensions. All twenty of the Eastern Counties PD1As had lowbridge 53 seat ECW bodies, and all but one had Leyland six cylinder engines. The first, GPW 346 had a Gardner 5 cylinder engine. There were rumours of ECOC modifications to improve economy with a consequent reduction in performance, and Leyland Motors were not happy!

Nigel Richards

09/08/11 – 18:02

As a recent arrival on the internet and this site had me reminiscing? I was a driver for Bristol Omnibus Co. 1959/1965, and I was based at Eastville Depot where the whole batch of PD1s (less 3 at Lawrence Hill)were allocated, ah yes, I remember them well, getting a little tired though some of them, I loved ’em, they were certainly oddities amongst a great fleet of Bristol/ECW vehicles. The comments about hunting brought back vivid memories as did the talk of clutch stops, I particularly liked the way you could place your right boot "into" the throttle pedal, your heel nestling against the raised lip at the rear of the pedal. I have encountered a couple of them over the years at rallies and running days, and as a plus to all that after transferring to the country services at Marlborough St. Bus Stn in Jan. 1962 in the middle of the Great Snow/whiteout, I think that was the year Wilts and Dorset took over Silver Star of Porton Down, and lo and behold we had 3 Atlanteans on the fleet, initially based at W.S.M. "WESTON", but then sent to Bristol for use on the Portishead 85 route, it was not my regular rota, I was an O.M.O. driver, but often drove them on overtime duties, my how they could power up the viciously steep Rownham Hill, uncanny how quiet they were with the big 680 engines in the rear ‘bustle’, of course they were not standard, and that being the watchword of the Tilling Group they were not around for long, oh how we missed that power. The reference to Gardner 5s, reminds of an occasion when I was climbing Tog Hill on the A420 one early morning with a Bristol LS, empty, and I was overtaken by an 8 wheeled AEC Regent belonging to Dobsons of Edinburgh I believe, fully loaded with aviation spirit for RAF Lyneham, a master class show of a large under stressed engine walking away with its load no problem. Of course, not many years later we were seeing Daimler Fleetlines zooming about the UK powered by HUGE Gardner 6LXBs, but that’s another story. Years later I was driving a DAF truck, which as we know came about with the collapse of Leyland Bus and Truck, and the emergence big time of Volvo and DAF etc. Thanks for the opportunity to roll back the years

Dave Knapp

02/10/11 – 07:03

Re Chris Hebron’s initial photo and comments about the ex Bristol PD1As, there were initially 150 engine and chassis delivered to the Tilling Group in 1947/8, and 100 of them were equipped with lowbridge ECW bodywork, and sent to 7 different Tilling Group Company’s the other 50 went to Bristol Omnibus where I was a driver at Eastville Depot, there were 25 fitted with ECW highbridge bodies and 25 with BBW highbridge bodies, they were all allocated to my depot apart from 3 or 4, I am not sure which, that were allocated to Lawrence Hill. As I have said on other occasions they were getting a bit tired come the 1960s, but generally speaking they would give a driver a satisfying return for being patient with grasping their "ALIEN" ways, I was quite fond of them, the Leyland sound of the 0600 engine was very welcoming to the ears, it certainly made a change to the usual Bristol/Gardner melodies which abounded in the Bristol streets. I moved to the country services in 1962 and that was my last contact with them, I did spot two of them some years later, they were internal transport at the Filton plant of British Aircraft Corp. where the prototype Concord was being built. The one in the photo, LAE 13/4044, I saw it at a rally at Wroughton nr Swindon, about 10 yrs ago, looked well spruced up and well ready to do "3 times up Oldbury Court" on the 11 service!! The chap that owned it said they were having a spot of trouble with the power steering and the air/con, oh, how we all laughed? I do believe I would enjoy an hour or two on a private road getting reacquainted with a well fettled Leyland Titan PD1A, that would certainly roll back the years!

Dave Knapp

02/10/11 – 10:34

The pre-war (i.e.1939-45) Leyland 8.6 litre oil engine was always a direct injection unit. It had an overhead camshaft and pot cavity pistons, and was governed to the then high speed (for direct injection) of 1900 rpm. It ultimately developed 98 bhp, compared with the 102 bhp at 1700 rpm of the contemporary Gardner 6LW, but it gained a reputation for smoothness and reliability at a time when certain other makes of oil engine were proving to have neither of these qualities. AEC obtained permission to use the pot cavity piston design for their engines, resulting in the direct injection versions of the 8.8 and 7.7 power units.
I always understood that the only difference between the PD1 and the PD1A was the use of Metalastik spring shackles in the latter. The types were otherwise identical in specification. The 100 bhp 7.4 litre E181 was a toroidal cavity engine, and it was certainly rougher and noisier than its predecessor, and, having experienced problems with the flexible engine mounting on the TD7, Leyland reverted to rigid mountings for the PD1. However, the point made by Chris Y about the poor quality post war diesel fuel is surely true. Similarly, modern oil technology is so far advanced compared with those far off times that engine performance today, even for old motors, is very much smoother. The high revving, turbocharged screech boxes of modern times would never have survived more than five minutes on the fuels and oils of 1947.

Roger Cox

20/10/11 – 06:43

Re my comment above dated 09/08/11 – 18:02, I think I am a bit out on the date of the Great Snow, (I am a Vicar of Dibley fan), Jan 1962 should have read Jan 1963, some of the outlying villages, Doynton/Littleton-on Severn/and quite a lot more did not have a bus for weeks, and in spite of this the usual greeting from passengers after a big trek up to the main road to get on the bus was generally cheery and sympathetic to our travails trying to maintain schedules/timetables in such appalling conditions. I still think back to the, joys’ of a 4/5hr stint in the cab of an old Bristol L5G, the raked back side window of the cab to cope with O.M.O. duties, freezing cold, no mod cons, we used to call them "conker boxes", rackety old crates as they were, I must confess they were in a minority, we mostly had LSs and MWs, which, though not state of the art were a big improvement.

Dave Knapp

28/11/11 – 09:21

Fascinating stuff! I rode many of Manchesters PD1 fleet, numbered 3000 to 3049 or 3050, as they were used on the 50X limited stop schools service from Sale to Manchester Grammar school. The hunting, whenever heard, still brings back memories, and that slow change especially from 3rd to Top gear!–wonderful.
That part of the World being fairly flat, none of the buses I regularly used ever needed to use first gear, which in those circumstances could be regarded as an emergency ratio.
The Gardner 5 cylinder Daimlers, numbered 4000 to 4500 were interesting. Clearly underpowered, but the odd one would seem to go like hell, I wonder if some were retro fitted with a bigger engine?
Finally for now, in peak times in the 1951/2 years Manchester brought out some old Crossleys, one of which was so gutless that it would only just manage to get into top gear and hold about 18/20 mph on a dead level road. But it sounded normal! Happy days–

Mike Plant

03/01/12 – 17:11

It has been really interesting reading all the comments about the PD1. I am lucky enough to own the Warrington PD1 registered EED 5 which I have enjoyed driving and pampering for the last 30+ years. True to form, the E181 engine of EED 5 has that delightfully slow tickover (and so it should) that makes gear selection much easier, and a slow gear change that allows you to roll a cigarette between gears!
Gear changing in hilly areas can be a bit of a challenge and the clutch stop does come in handy for a quick 1st to 2nd change and maybe even a 2nd to 3rd, but you have to be quick and ensure the pedal goes right to the floor. I have ridden on Philip Thornes really nice Beadle/Leyland coach and am really impressed with the attention to detail and excellent turn-out; I did notice that the Beadles engine is set to tick over a lot faster than on mine and wonder if this is simply how they prefer it? Whatever the reason, it has a lovely pedigree and its so nice to see it in service.

Phill Clark

06/02/12 – 07:43

I gained my PSV drivers license on a PD1 with Eastbourne Corporation in 1962 and afterwards drove them in open top form on the seafront service The performance was best described as adequate but I don’t recall them being noticeably rough, fitted with a pneumatic governor which gently whistled I realised after a while that when it reached a certain pitch the gears would engage very easily and silently without using the clutch making for a less tiring day but the change was always very slow, some drivers said they could roll a cigarette while waiting for the revs to die down (metaphorically speaking of course) ah happy days.

Diesel Dave

06/02/12 – 09:28

Phill, thank you greatly for your fastidious preservation OF EED 5 – a vehicle which I’ve long admired when I’ve seen it. I’m in no way a traitor to my native county of Yorkshire but, similarly, I’ve never been a party to the rivalry between the "red and white roses" and have always found all aspects of public transport west of the Pennines to be utterly absorbing. If I see EED 5 anywhere this season I shall make myself known if I may.

Chris Youhill

06/02/12 – 09:29

I’ve driven PD2’s & 3’s but never a PD1, but it sounds as if the gear change technique is much the same as the first vehicles I ever drove, they were Guy Arabs with the slow revving Gardner 5LW, very slow change up and loads of revs and quick change down, and the whole world heard about it if you got it wrong.

Ronnie Hoye

06/02/12 – 13:47

I drove PD2’s and PD3’s at Halifax from 1973 until the last was withdrawn in the early 80’s, and then as an Instructor I still regularly drove the two PD2 trainers until they went in 1990. Most operators had withdrawn their PD1’s by then (Halifax never had any anyway) but during my involvement in bus preservation in the 1970’s I drove both a PD1 and a PS1 on several occasions. Having heard all the adverse comments about them over the years, especially no less than Geoffrey Hilditch’s recollections of how difficult he found them to drive in Manchester, I had approached them with apprehension, but was surprised to find how pleasant and satisfying these two actually were.
As Diesel Dave says, the trick with up changes was to listen to the wheezing sound of the pneumatic governor dying down, then as it just started to whistle, quickly snick it in – with or without clutch. These constant-mesh boxes had less movement in the gate, and required little physical effort, unlike the heavy synchromesh PD2’s and PD3’s. In hilly areas they needed a few more revs when moving off up a gradient compared to what I was used to, but once on the go they were surprisingly nifty performers – especially the PS1. I liked them a lot – full of character.
One unusual bus we had in our group was a PD2/1 which was fitted with the PD1 type gearbox. The original synchromesh boxes had begun to fail dramatically in many fleets after only a short time in service, and for a while until the problem could be sorted out, Leyland began to fit the constant mesh unit in some PD2’s. There was no change in model designation, and little publicity was given to the matter – so not many enthusiasts knew about it until comparatively recent years. Those in the know about our preserved example used to rather naughtily not mention the fact when allowing someone else to drive it, then watch the hapless driver struggle whilst they fell about laughing ! Very silly, really (I wasn’t one of them I hasten to add). It was also a nice bus to drive though, with obviously more ‘go’ than a PD1, the only drawback being a severe transmission judder on moving off – something that many early PD2’s suffered from.

John Stringer

28/07/12 – 08:49

I agree with Phill Clark, who’s PD1 was the first I ever rode on as a youngster way back in the ’80s from Brighton back to Battersea if memory serves.
Many years later I am the delighted owner of Plymouth PD1 DDR 414.
After many years of driving various different PD2s & 3s I have to say I find the Driver Fatigue Factor of a PD1 is much less…

Bob A

02/04/19 – 07:00

Just a note to say that I saw LAE 13 on Sunday in safe hands and dry storage but under fairly expensive body repair. It looks like it might be some time before it is back on the road but it is still sound and impressive..I hope the work will be done one day.

Richard Leaman

03/04/19 – 08:34

The Group restoring LAE 13 are like many groups in that their volunteer base is becoming narrower and getting older so that with their running buses as well restoration takes a back seat and becomes an elongated process. It probably needs around 1000 man hours max to complete but there has only been minimal progress in the last 2 years. The above comment is not meant as a criticism just a statement of fact.

Roger Burdett

05/04/19 – 06:55

This string has started me off reminiscing.
My earliest experience of buses was the village’s three or four times a day utility Bedford OB with wooden slatted seats on the Wrington to Clevedon service. Even then my latent engineering mind was intrigued by the manual folding door which was cunningly designed to shoot closed as the bus pulled away and naturally crashed open as the brakes were applied.
My interest in buses began around 1948 when travelling in the family Vauxhall ten through Bristol, I began to see lots of new shiny green and cream buses and gleaming “LAE” registration plates with low numbers (and yes I did eventually spot LAE1) and these for some reason grabbed my continuing attention.
Up until then what I could see from my low head height was a motley selection of red, blue and green double deckers as we travelled in the bombed city. Then I noticed that some of these new buses had LEYLAND on their radiators and others had Bristol. I didn’t think much of that until we had a family holiday in Blackpool which meant driving up the A38 and through Kidderminster and seeing all sorts of extraordinary buses in different colours. Getting nearer to Blackpool I noticed a few that had RIBBLE on their radiator and thought that they looked rather like Leyland radiators. This caused me some confusion and I erroneously concluded that those with Bristol must also be Leylands with the operators name replacing the manufacturers! I managed to ignore the fact that the radiators were different outline shapes and the driver’s windscreen bottom was horizontal on Leylands and drooping on Bristols.
Around that time Ian Allan published the Bristol Tramways fleet list and being young and liking things new, I could not understand why it was printed with a blue and yellow cover! By the time I discovered it, Bristol Tramways had already duplicated three or four updates available free from their offices in St Augustine’s Parade. These were needed with the reorganisation around Stroud and Cheltenham which caused lots of odd vehicles to come and go rather quickly. All was now revealed and I was able to work out the differences between Bristol and Leyland and ECW, Duple and BBW and eventually ten years later ended up as a Tilling Group trainee graduate engineer!
The LAEs also started my interest in registration letters and I could eventually remember most of the two letter county / borough one and two letter allocated letters and still find myself (mis-) interpreting the final three letters of present day plates as if they were issued in the heritage system!
All 50 of the Leyland LAEs and the earlier vehicles of the batch with K registrations (far less exciting!) were allocated to Eastville depot in those days indicated by a little white round plate screwed to the front panel. Later in life, some of the ECW bodies returned to Lowestoft for a mid-life restoration and were noticeable on return as they had regained the black lining between the cream bands and the green (never applied by the company at repaint) and the upper-deck front bulkhead had gained shiny ribbed aluminium covering instead of lino.
Sorry to bore you, but I feel better for adding this to the archive!

Geoff Pullin

06/04/19 – 08:11

Just brilliant to have that sort of post-reminded me of my teen years.

Roger Burdett

LAE 13_lr Vehicle reminder shot for this posting

12/08/19 – 08:00

Thank you for a very interesting read. As a small boy I was struck by the sound of so many London Transport green double deckers. They would hunt at idle, getting faster and faster as they pulled away, until they finally got to 30MPH and the engines ran smoothly. Almost as though they had invented a missing cylinder, to cut back in only at speeds. With this amazing Internet, I’ve read that others noticed this too.

H Rogers


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