Old Bus Photos

Ribble – Leyland Titan TD7 – RN 8979 – 2323

RN 8979

Ribble Motor Services
Leyland Titan TD7
Leyland L27/26R

I cannot now remember where in 1960 I took this rather sad picture of
RN 8979, a former Ribble Leyland TD7 with Leyland L27/26R bodywork, or who the operator then was. The old telephone code HIL (for Hillside) covered the Barnt Green area of Birmingham, which might help to identify the operator. Confirmed Leyland aficionado Ribble must have counted itself lucky to obtain a batch of forty TD7s in May 1940 just after the German attack in France had brought the Phoney War to a violent end.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox

12/11/18 – 07:57

I believe they were actually Alexander bodies, Roger, sub contracted and built to Leyland design, as the latter were at that time overwhelmed by work.
I think Samelsbury Engineering also built a few bodies to Leyland design and possibly parts, for the same reason.

Mr Anon

12/11/18 – 07:58

This is recorded by the P.S.V. Circle as being withdrawn by Ribble in 1956 and passing to:-
Smith, Reading 12/56
Liss & District, Bordon 10/58
Trebilock (Finchley Coaches), London N.12 10/59
Dickson, Stoke Mandeville 1/61
last licenced 4/61 and to Ronsway, Hemel Hempstead in 1961, for scrap

I have just checked the old London telephone exchange names and HILlside covered North Finchley tying in nicely with the Trebilcock dates.

John Kaye

12/11/18 – 08:00

I notice that every one of the near side upper deck windows within the five bays has a half drop ventilator fitted. It appears, from photographs of similar Ribble buses I’ve looked at, that the corresponding windows on the off side had no ventilators fitted at all. It seems rather an unusual arrangement, was this Ribble’s normal specification for lowbridge vehicles?

Chris Barker

12/11/18 – 16:07

The nearside half drop would be accessible from the seats, whilst the offside would only be accessible from the sunken aisle so the positioning of the opening windows makes sense.

Phil Blinkhorn

12/11/18 – 16:08

Wow I thought these Blackburn Corporation buses had been scraped. Glad to know they are now vintage buses. My school was on the East Park side of Blackburn and I rode on these to and from school.
They were ancient and noisy to travel in. I enjoyed my journeys. It started a life long interest in buses and travelling on them.
For me these buses bring back my childhood memories of living in Blackburn.
Wonderful bus journeys.

William Ferguson

12/11/18 – 16:10

Thanks, everyone, for the extra information. The Ribble fleet number for this bus was 2323. Alexander did build ‘identikit’ bodies for Leyland, but, in his book on the TD series Titan in the series "The Best of British Buses", Alan Townsin says that these were Leyland bodies, rather than Alexander built clones. Confirmation one way or the other would be welcome.
John, your comprehensive history of this vehicle does confirm that it must have belonged to Finchley Coaches when photographed, which reassures me considerably in my advancing years – I cannot recall ever visiting the Birmingham area in the early 1960s. I am surprised that the less than pristine state of the bus as depicted in the photo still enabled it to work for a further year or so. Chris, I think that a half drop ventilator on the upper deck offside can just be detected through the front upper deck window. It is to the credit of the integrity of the Leyland body design that, after a life of some twenty years. there is no hint of any sag in the waist rail.

Roger Cox

12/11/18 – 16:11

Mr. Anon, There is no record of these on the Alexander records. I think you are confusing things with the early post-war situation which was discussed a year ago on the SCT61 site, and the chassis involved were Leyland PD1 and PD1A types in 1946/7.

John Kaye

13/11/18 – 05:35

Regarding location I think this was at the Austin works at Longbridge. Many of these buses collected workers from the Midlands and were driven by an operative also PSV qualified.

Nigel Edwards

14/11/18 – 07:11

Just a thought re Roger Cox’s possible view of offside half drop windows and the gangway, Is the visible line not more likely to be a handrail fixed to the window pillars?

Stan Zapiec

14/11/18 – 07:12

John: I always thought that Leyland did not, in principle, rebody older chassis. The only exception to that rule being the examples they rebodied for Plymouth Corporation. But, I must be incorrect in that assumption.

Mr Anon

15/11/18 – 07:40

Mr. Anon, I don’t follow your comment on Leyland not in principle rebodying vehicles, in relation to the Ribble vehicle. RN 8979 was new in 1940 with a 1940 Leyland body and so rebodying does not come into the equation.

John Kaye

16/11/18 – 06:59

One might similarly not follow the comment about Blackburn Corporation, but I suppose that, from a passenger’s perspective, there wouldn’t be such a great difference between the above and Blackburn’s PD1s/PD1As, of which Blackburn had rather a lot.

David Call

17/11/18 – 07:42

…although a PD1 and a TD7 would sound rather different in the definitive second and third gear music.

Stephen Ford

17/11/18 – 07:45

Yes John, that is my mistake, at first glance the bus looks like one of Ribble’s pre war Leyland TDs, rebodied after WW2. Some were also rebodied by ECW. But on closer inspection the body fitted to RN8979 is the original 1940 Leyland body. The height of the driver’s door side window, visible through the windscreen, is a give away.
I still maintain that Leyland did not in principle rebody existing chassis, even of their own manufacture, except for the two pre war Titans rebodied with Farrington type bodies for Plymoth. I believe Donald Stoke’s father was GM at Plymouth at the time, which may have influenced their deciscion.

Mr Anon

20/11/18 – 15:09

Ledgards bought two of the early metal framed Leyland bodies in 1934. These caused no end of trouble and Sam being Sam prevailed upon Leyland to rebody them in 1938.

Chris Hough

22/12/18 – 12:21

Chris, Sam was not the only disgruntled operator to trouble Mr Spurrier’s door. On one day he received a delegation, Messrs Sword, Dick and Alexander..

Stephen Allcroft

09/04/21 – 06:36

Further to Mr Anon (17/11/18), a total of eight Plymouth Leyland TD5c, originally Weymann-bodied, were rebodied postwar by Leyland. Two were the last of the 1938 batch (213/4: ADR 813/4), of which 213 became 141 after rebodying. The other six were presumably from the 1939 batch (215-39: BDR 252-76), but there is no acknowledgement on BLOTW of this. 232 (BDR 269) became 143 after rebodying. 213 and 232 later served with Theobald’s of Long Melford.

David Frank


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Smiths Luxury Coaches – Leyland Titan TD7 – EDK 648

Smiths Luxury Coaches - Leyland Titan TD7 - EDK 648
Photograph taken by Stuart Wyss

Smiths Luxury Coaches (Reading) Ltd
Leyland Titan TD7
English Electric H30/26R

Once again I am most grateful to Stuart Wyss for this photo.
Peter Greave’s recent comment on that handsome Rochdale Regent III and Chris Youhill’s mention of the Leyland 8.6-litre engine prompted me to send this English Electric-bodied Leyland TD7 of 1940, which I guess must have been Rochdale Corporation no 170. It had gone from Smith’s by 1964, and most probably by 1960. Another double decker that migrated south to spend its final years as a contract bus. If I find more info, I’ll put it up: even better, OBP friends may be able to shed more light.


Photograph and Copy contributed by Ian Thompson

15/02/11 – 15:10

I was delighted to find this picture of a 1940 Rochdale TD7 with English Electric body.
After my article on EEC bodies, I was hoping to see as many as possible of the 1937 re-design. There were far fewer EEC bodies built after this date, Southend, Bradford and Barrow being the only ones I could bring to mind, but there were others, including Rochdale. Any more?
This delivery in 1940 must have been among the last genuine EEC bodies built, and it clearly illustrates the design difference from the pre-1937 style. Again, I wonder why it was not more successful.

John Whitaker

16/02/11 – 06:07

A lot of later English Electric bodies were to customer’s design, Manchester’s notably, as a lot of others were just one-offs. The bodies I can find photographs of built to the final style were for Ashton, Salford, Barrow, Rochdale and Glasgow (although the latter appears to have more than a bit of Weymann styling). In addition lowbridge bodies were built for Central SMT and Newcastle.
Some operators seemed to stick with more traditional designs – as far as I can tell Preston did but there are only photographs of the interiors of the last batches.

David Beilby

16/02/11 – 17:39

I really appreciate your info. re. EEC bodies, and will check out those you mention at Ashton, Salford and Glasgow. Southend’s were to lowbridge layout. Rochdale, Barrow, and Bradford I know about, I am aware of Preston building to operators own style, such as Manchester c.1940/1, but had no idea that SMT and Newcastle had lowbridge bodies by EEC.

John Whitaker

I now live in Sutton on Sea on the Lincolnshire coast following living in Reading for a period of 60years.
I remember Smith’s Coaches for the many journey’s I was able to enjoy.
I can remember that on a Saturday morning the Coaches would all be ready to travel being parked in Mill Lane and all up Southampton street to destinations all along the South coast.
Smith’s did a great service to all those people who wished either to journey for a week’s holiday, or for a good day out. of recent I have stayed at the Premier Inn now situated at what was Mill Lane in Reading , so it does bring back very fond memories.

Dennis Hall

01/05/12 – 19:43

Smiths of Reading purchased EDK 645/6/7/8/9 (RCT 167/8/9/70/1) with EE bodies and EDK 650/2/3 (RCT 172/4/5) with ECW bodies via W. North. They arrived at Smiths between July and September 1956 and departed during 1959 and 1960.

Mac Head

01/05/12 – 20:53

Recently I had a long and fascinating talk with Jim Foster, a Smith’s driver from 1962 till 1973. We went through some of my photos (taken by Graham Low and Stuart Wyss) and some of Jim’s own, and watched a black and white film of drivers building the Rose Kiln Lane garage after the war, with commentary by Mrs Jackie Mills, the Guv’nor’s daughter. Also in the film are stills of Dennises and Bedfords lined up in Mill Lane ready to leave with excursion passengers bound for Southsea and who knows where else.
Jim mentioned that Smiths themselves built some bodies, but I wonder whether they were extensive rebuilds of some of the bodies that came off the prewar Leyland Cheetahs. The nice straight waistrail and window spacing are clues. Apologies to Doug Adams—I didn’t reply to his January comment—but John Whitehead and I continue to glean morsels of Smith’s history. More when available.

Ian Thompson

08/06/12 – 06:42

Thanks for uploading the photo. I am looking for more photos of the Smiths Bedford OB’s if anybody has any. I am working on EDP 757 and would love to see anything on these vehicles in service. Keep up the great site

Chris Whitehead

12/09/13 – 08:30

Just found the Smiths website. I have pictures no one has seen, taken when I worked at Smiths in the 1962 era., and I plan to put them out for every one to share some time. I was known as the man with the camera. I then went on Horsemans a few times, and HGV driving also became a Driving Instructor with Beeline and HGV instructor as well, as they say watch this space.

Dave Doe

13/09/13 – 06:30

We’ll look forward to seeing your photos, Dave.

Chris Hebbron

13/09/13 – 16:30

Looking forward very much to seeing Dave Doe’s photos. If I remember right, Dave used to keep a camera just behind the windscreen of his coach and never missed a good shot. Welcome to the fold!

Ian Thompson

03/10/15 – 12:31

MCY 406
MCY 406 after hitting Vastern Road Bridge. (Picture Dave Doe)

NUR 17
Myself with NUR 17 prior to Abergavenny or a night. (Picture Dave Doe

I am sorry about delay in sending any pictures of Smiths Coaches promised in 2013, but I lost the email. I am enclosing a couple of pictures from my vast library of employment pictures. My collection consists of numerous staff pictures and vehicles and unusual pictures never seen before.
I enjoyed my time at Smiths, with many laughs and incidents. I will try and send others.

David Doe

07/10/15 – 07:01

MCY 406

Here is a picture of MCY 406 before it entered into its argument with the bridge.

Roger Cox

17/11/15 – 11:04

Dave: Good to see your photos of those two Smith’s vehicles. Looking forward to seeing plenty more when you can dig them out, and to hearing a few anecdotes too!
Roger: Thanks for the pre-decapitation picture of MCY 406. Confession: although I’m usually sorry to see any vehicle come to grief, I never had any affection for those Regent Vs; they seemed inferior to the ex-Leeds PD1s, the ex-Oxford and ex-Rhondda Regent IIIs, the ex-London RTs, the Lancet IIIs and the quaint collection of heavy single-deck chassis bearing rebuilt Alexander bodywork from Leyland Cheetahs.

Ian Thompson

18/11/15 – 07:25

Ian, my sole driving experiences with Regent Vs took place with the Halifax examples, and it would be an understatement to say that I was unimpressed. How AEC, having made the highly civilised Regent III, could then substitute it with so uncouth a beast as the Regent V baffles me to this day. I’ve sometimes suspected that the crash gearbox versions of the Regent III were just as rough and raucous as the synchromesh V, though your comment suggests that this was not the case. I suppose that the Monocontrol Vs were smoother and quieter runners than the synchromesh ones. Perhaps someone could confirm.

Roger Cox

21/01/16 – 07:30

Hi I worked in the body shop 1968 to 1978. I actually built a new roof for that double decker with Les Cooper.

Barry Armstrong

01/05/18 – 05:58

Does Barry Armstrong have any info. on how much rebuilding was found to be required on the early RTs bought by Smiths in the late ’50s. There’s a picture of one (FXT 283),taken in 1963,that appears to have had its upper-deck windows replaced.

John Hardman

03/05/18 – 06:20

I’ve just seen Roger Cox’s query from 18/11/15 – 07:25 about AEC Regent Vs. The early D2RA version, with A218 engine and Monocontrol transmission, was every bit as civilised as a Regent III, if not more so in some cases, at least from a passenger point of view. The later 2D2RA, with AV590 engine, sounded more like a Routemaster being driven in semi-automatic mode.

Peter Williamson

22/08/20 – 05:35

One of the ex-Rochdale TD7s, EDK 650 with ECW body, was later with Marchwood Motorways, still in Smiths blue and orange livery, and was used for at least a couple of years from about 1959 or 1960 transporting pupils from the Marchwood/Hythe/Fawley area to Totton Grammar School. I never managed to get a photo of it. I wonder whether anyone else did?

John Livermore


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Crosville – Leyland Titan TD7 – GCD 688

Crosville - Leyland Titan TD7 - GCD 688
Copyright Roy Cox

Leyland Titan TD7
Body unknown see text in ‘Gallery’

This shot is from the Roger Cox gallery contribution titled "The People’s League for the Defence of Freedom" click on the title if you would like to view his Gallery and comments.
The shot is shown here for indexing purposes but please feel free to make any comment regarding this vehicle either here or on the gallery.


This bus was built for Southdown as No 288 with a Park Royal body part of a batch numbered 266-292 in 1940 but due to travel restrictions on the south coast they were deemed surplus to requirements and diverted to other companies, Crosville receiving 16 the others went to Western Welsh 7 and Cumberland 4, none ever ran for Southdown. The fleet numbers were used after the war the first of their Leyland PD1’s.

Diesel Dave


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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Monday 15th April 2024