Geneva 2012

Geneva 2012

I recently returned from the Geneva Motor Show.
Hidden behind the main train station, Gare Cornavin, is a small car park. Near 2 large wheelie bins there was this bus!

The last tax discs I found were for 1979 but they did give me its original registration of RMS 677 that was all the information I needed to identify the vehicle.

According to BBF 22 1965 it was originally owned by W Alexander (Midland) Ltd and was fleet number MRB 245 it was the first of a batch of 17 Leyland Titan PD3/3C with an Alexander L35/32R body built in 1961 but here is the interesting bit the chassis were older Leyland Tigers. It must still have the original destination blind as Banton is a village in North Lanarkshire I am presuming that North Lanarkshire was in the W Alexander (Midland) area

I could tell from closer inspection that the original colour was blue which also corresponds with W Alexander (Midland). It would be interesting to know how this bus ended up in Geneva and I wonder what the original Tiger looked like. The PD3/3C code seems a little strange to me a 30 foot body on much old Tiger chassis and according to the Titan codes listed on this site the PD3/3 was supposed to have a concealed radiator.


Roy Dodsworth

23/03/12 - 17:47

Roy, this bus seems to have been in Geneva for some years. I photographed it in this location in 2006.
However, it seems that it was preserved in Scotland much earlier, and here is a photo of it in the magnificent Alexander blue, circa 1982.
It looks like its Swiss sojourn may prove terminal unless it can be repatriated soon.

Paul Haywood

24/03/12 - 10:01

On my travels to Palexpo where the show is held the trolley passed a red bus some distance away from where the current is sited. Looking at your earlier photo I think the location has changed However both interesting finds thanks for the extra info.

Roy Dodsworth

24/03/12 - 18:16

You're right Roy, the positions are slightly different between photos. However, if you Google Map this location you will see the bus in the same position as mine - with the distinctive Penny Farthing sign on the wall behind. Your photo shows the bus at the diagonally opposite side of the small car park with the ivy growing on the wall behind - clearly seen on the map image. It's impossible to say how recent the Google image is, but it seems to indicate that the bus is still capable of moving.

Paul Haywood

27/03/12 - 16:07

It was great to see the former Alexander (Midland) PD3 still surviving in Geneva. It would be great to see it restored. On the chassis designation, my understanding is that the "PD3/3C" term was Alexander's own designation, after rebuilding the chassis from the PS2 originals and sending them down to Glasgow Road, Falkirk for the new body. Re the place, Banton, that brings back memories! I lived in Falkirk 1972-1977, and being car-less in those days, travelled by Midland services between Falkirk and Glasgow, either on the 7/7A (via Cumbernauld) or 20 (via Kilsyth). The 20 went direct, the 20A went via Larbert, the 20B via Banton, and the 20C via Larbert AND Banton! Banton was (still is) just off the A803 road between Banknock and Kilsyth, and the relevant bus would take the trip to Banton, reverse turn, and return to the main road. (The route was numbered 18 in 1972, but became the 20 not long after my arrival, probably in early 1973?). Local people always pronounced it BanTON, rhyming with John, and the emphasis on the second syllable. The usual vehicle provided by Alexander Midland would be an "MPE"-series Leopard PSU3 with Alexander Y-type body - a classic vehicle if ever there was one in both appearance and performance (from a passenger view point - I didn't have to drive it, or cope with SBG's policy of manual boxes for their buses!) The PD3/3Cs were to be seen in Stirling and in Glasgow, probably sometimes in Falkirk, too, but I have no notes now to check details. I always felt that these looked superior to those with BMMO fronts or the later St Helens fronts - and that odd quirk, a St Helens front fitted to a bus formerly with a BMMO front, so the "dip" for the real St Helens was infilled / panelled to the shape of the BMMO bonnet! Marvellous "doctoring" was undertaken at Brown Street in Camelon, where Midlands works was situated.

Michael Hampton

05/04/12 - 17:58

Good to get the lowdown on the Geneva PD2. I also shot it there, in May 2003, and rather assumed it had been a Ribble vehicle, from the oddly-shaped destination indicator. Now I learn that Alexander used semi-triangular windows, too!
Well done, omnibologists all!

Vic Brumby

06/04/12 - 07:49

Yet another photo with a different destination on the blind. How often is it changed? Who does it? Whoever it is, they make sure it's neatly twiddled! So far, we have Banton, Burrough's Factory (on the link to mine) and Twechar. Anyone got any other views with other destinations shown?

Paul Haywood

23/01/13 - 14:26

Comment was made about the Leyland Tiger rebody next to Geneva Station and the different destinations. When I photographed in 2006 it was showing Kilsyth as can be seen from the two attached photos.

Ian Lynas

09/03/13 - 09:08

Just back from Geneva Motor Show 2013 and took time out to check on the Geneva Bus. I am glad to see that a few people contributed further details.
I was fortunate this year to find the bus 'open' so I can share further information.
The bus was donated to a voluntary body who provide shelter and food for the homeless. A condition was that it could not be sold, and if it was to be disposed of it must be scrapped.

Attached is a poster, a number of which were circulated in Geneva in 2011. A rough translation is 'new clover grows' here is a point of help, located at the rear of the railway station. Opening 16 hours on 26th October 2011.

You will see from the photos that a poster detailing the web address has been pasted adjacent to the destination board, and that a wooden panel in the drivers cab indicates that tooth brushing facilities are provided.

The interior has been cleared and is now 'tastefully furnished' with cooking and washing facilities.
I am a former drug squad officer and I noticed the fresh roast aroma of cannabis and other drugs.

Roy Dodsworth

09/03/13 - 10:35

Thanks, Roy for this update. Fascinating to learn of its use (and yet another destination!). It obviously must be capable of moving (towed or under power) as it seems to be in yet another different position on the car park, but it's sad to learn that there's a stipulation stating it must be scrapped if disposed of. Surely there must be ways and means to overcome this if it is ever to be repatriated.

Paul Haywood

13/03/13 - 08:06

Regarding movement of the bus - I do not think it has moved since I last saw it in 2012.
The comment about disposal I think refers to the fact that the previous owner may have died and that the donating family did not want it to go elsewhere. My French is not very good and it was difficult to understand what the person in charge was telling me.

Roy Dodsworth

15/04/13 - 14:41

Further to the discussions about this ex-Alexander Titan, this photo was taken at the 1979 Dunbar Rally (August if I remember correctly). Another destination showing for the collection (GLASGOW) although the 245 route no is not correct and probably refers to the MRB245 fleet no. Fleet No is on the small cream plate above the o/s side light (hard to read) and the depot plate (S for Stirling) is just below the same light.

Mike Chapman

19/10/13 - 17:27

This was indeed an in-house conversion from PS2 to PD3/3C in 1961. This vehicle spent all of its life working out of Kilsyth depot - despite the S for Stirling plate - working mostly on the Falkirk-Glasgow or Kilsyth-Glasgow via Twechar routes. on many a Friday or Saturday night these would be the last bus from Glasgow to Kilsyth and carried many more than the official 67 capacity. All 17 vehicles were withdrawn in 1967 - end of an era.

Mick Garrel

07/03/14 - 17:54

Annual update for Geneva bus - now not a meeting place for the down and outs, but 'Christine's café', you will see all spruced up, touch of paint here and there to bodywork, silver painted mudguards and whitewall tyres, the destination board now show Kilsyth.
Throughout my 5 days there never saw anyone.
Looks a bit like a circus vehicle?

Roy Dodsworth

21/09/14 - 07:35

I saw and photographed the PD3 on Saturday 30th August, having first seen it in June 2003. There was no sign of life on board at about 09:00, nor later in the day when I was again in the area at about 14:00. The bodywork is, not surprisingly, looking tired. The many coats of paint cannot disguise the decay. The external destination gear winding handles are readily accessible and presumably still work, hence the many different displays shown in contributors' photographs.

Jonathan Cadwallader

22/09/14 - 15:00

It looks as though this wasn't the only PD3 that made the long trip across France, last week I photographed this example just a few miles along the south coast of Lake Geneva from the subject of the original question towards Thonon les Bains. I assume from the destination display that it's origin is also Scotland (?) but unfortunately these shots were as close as I could get so have no more details other than what can be derived from the photo's, perhaps the collective can shed more light on it's identity.

Andrew Charles

23/09/14 - 06:26

The above bus looks to be an Albion Lowlander (Northern Counties body), most likely from the UCS or VCS registered batches of Western SMT.
Later examples for Western, and all those for Central, featured, from new, opening windows at the upstairs front, but some did have them subsequently removed.

David Call

23/09/14 - 06:27

Re. the photo of the vehicle with the St. Helens front seen at Thonon les Bains by Andrew Charles. I suspect that this is actually an Albion Lowlander. Comparison with other photos of Northern Counties bodied Lowlanders would appear to confirm this. Here's a link to a shot of preserved BCS 256C.

Jonathan Cadwallader

23/09/14 - 06:32

Further to my message a few days ago, a friend has provided more information about RMS 677. It seems that it is not really a single to double deck conversion, as the original chassis frame, in this case a OPS2/1, was not used, a new one being obtained whilst the original was converted to something akin to a PS1. It all seems to have been a lot of trouble to go to, but the aim was presumably to gain the benefit of the extra capacity that a PD3 would provide over simply rebodying the shorter OPS2 chassis, all at a cheaper price than an all new PD3.
The PSV Circle lists RMS 678, which was another of the 17 buses similarly altered, as being preserved by an owner in Stirling.

Jonathan Cadwallader

02/09/16 - 09:37

I was in Geneva briefly on Monday last (30th August). The bus is still there, though there was no sign of anyone on board. The most noticeable change in the 2 years since I last saw her is the application of paint to the offside to depict the Pink Panther. To what end I know not.

Jonathan Cadwallader

02/09/16 - 14:05

Jonathan, thanks for the latest photo of this bus. I caught a glimpse of it from a train in April and noticed the paint job but couldn't make out what it said. As you say, we have no idea why it has been applied. Since I first saw it in 2006, other photos suggest it has moved position slightly within the same parking area on a number of occasions, with no fewer than eight different destinations showing. So, someone seems to "own" it and takes the trouble to change the blind from time to time. Let's hope that, one day, it can be saved as a runner and restored to its true Alexander Midland state.

Paul Haywood

24/09/18 - 06:50

Latest pictures of this vehicle in Geneva - I was passing through Geneva on 03/09/2018 and had a wait between connections long enough to explore outside the station and look at the trolley buses but then this caught my eye ...... Looking a bit sad and neglected, pity about the graffiti.
On returning to UK a google search brought up your website to fulfil my curiosity about the vehicle's life story.

David Richardson



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