Metro Centre May 2013

Metro Centre May 2013

On Sunday 5th May, armed only with my mobile phone I set off for the Metro Centre in Gateshead. Now call me old fashioned, but life was much simpler when phones were for talking, and you took photos with a camera loaded with a roll of film, but that's another story. Anyway, here are some of the photos I managed to retrieve.

Ronnie Hoye

We've seen this one before, but it's always worth another look. NVK 341, is a beautifully preserved 1950, Newcastle Corporation AEC Regent III with Northern Coachbuilders H30/26R body

From the Economic fleet, YPT 796, is an AEC Reliance with centre entrance Roe Dalesman body.

WBR 248; a Marshall bodied Atkinson Alpha with Gardner 6HLW engine; one of three delivered to Sunderland Corporation in 1964.

FUN 319; a 1947 Burlingham bodied Crossley SD42/7 in the livery of Wright Bros.

One of 50 RMF Routemaster bought by Northern, PCN 762 was originally RCN 699, hence the reason why the registration and fleet numbers don't marry up. EUP 405B is posted elsewhere on this site, and is in the livery they were delivered in.

New to South Shields Corporation in 1967, ECU 201E, is a Bristol RESL6L/ECW and is seen here in the first version of T&W PTE livery, which was basically Newcastle Corporation without the name.

HHN 202; a 1947 Bristol L5G with ECW B35R body. This vehicle has a long history, but briefly, it started life in the red livery of United, but was later transferred to the Durham District subsidiary.

Some purists may frown on the next two, but far better to have them 'wrong' as not have them at all.

HDV 641E; looking resplendent in the coach livery of West Yorkshire Road Car Company, and displaying an 'On hire to Ribble' sticker, in truth it probably never filled either role. When new in 1967, it was 1436 in the Western National fleet, and was based in Exeter, it was later transferred to royal Blue at Plymouth.

United had quite a number of these Bristol RESL6L/ECW's, but as far as I'm aware, HTU 354G was never one of them. It was new to Bristol Omnibus Company, so I haven't a clue how it came to be in United livery, but you have to be honest and say that it looks very smart.

A splendid trio of handsome Roe bodied vehicles, these were very popular with many municipally owned fleets.

AHN 451B; a Daimler from Darlington Corporation

LCU 112; another Daimler this time from South Shields Corporation

UUA 212; a Leyland PD2 of Leeds Corporation


17/05/13 - 10:06

The last picture, that of LCT UUA 212, shows an interesting intermediate destination display which had never registered with me before. The original display for the 56 service was "UNIVERSITY ROAD, VICTORIA ROAD." As the University grew University Road was eventually closed to through traffic and the 56 was amended to follow the main road (Woodhouse Lane) for a few hundred yards further, before turning into Reservoir Street which has since itself been renamed Clarendon Road. You've certainly got to keep your wits about you to follow all the changes in a city !!

Chris Youhill

17/05/13 - 10:41

Ronnie, you certainly know how to make this Yorkshireman drool. AEC; Roe; Routemaster; Bristol (especially RE); (Half-cab) Burlingham; ECW. Lucky man, superb photos. Couldn't manage to fit in travel so far North.

David Oldfield

17/05/13 - 12:43

Ronnie, an excellent set of photos, particularly from a phone. The Newcastle Regent not only brings back memories of my trips to Newcastle as a boy but is so evocative of an era long gone - I can almost smell the new paint and the warm engine.
The Atkinson Alpha shows what might have been, had North Western been allowed to order the quantity they wanted and develop the breed, and there's a touch of the RTL about the Leeds PD2.
I'm not keen on false identities on vehicles, why put so much effort into what is in effect misrepresentation, but at least the vehicles look attractive and are runners.

Phil Blinkhorn

17/05/13 - 18:23

Nice views, Ronnie! My son has the same sort of idea about modern mobile phones. He describes his as a camera that makes phone calls.

Pete Davies

17/05/13 - 18:24

Splendid set of photos - especially for a "talking-type telephone". (Will they eventually invent one that can also brew coffee?)

Stephen Ford

18/05/13 - 08:07

Now then Phil B - you may be amazed to hear that a batch of ten LCT PD2s bore a far closer resemblance to the RTL than did 212 which had pneumocyclic two pedal transmission. Numbers 301 - 310, RNW 301 - 310, had exactly the same air operated three pedal preslector gears and control quadrant, mounted left of steering column, as had the RTL/RTW. They were the only PD2s so equipped apart from the two huge classes in the Capital.

Chris Youhill

18/05/13 - 08:09

I must be honest, the phone was my Daughters Iphone 'she calls mine a brick' but for every good photo I got about five that were lousy, probably more down to me that the phone, so it's a camera next time. However, as you can see, the members of the N.E.B.P.T.Ltd set themselves very high standards, and I'm aware of one or two restorations that are nearing completion, so watch this space.

Ronnie Hoye

18/05/13 - 09:31

Chris, not as amazed as you might think as this site throws up fascinating facts and new to me information on a regular basis.
It's an interesting commentary on the thinking of the industry between 1945 and 1968 that there was such a range of gear changing possibilities available and so many different ideas amongst fleet managers as to the most effective and economic system.
In my own sphere of detailed knowledge it amazed me that, with its massive purchasing power Manchester, having played with Crossley's experiments and finding itself more than satisfied with Daimler's solution to transmitting the power from engine to wheels, didn't either follow London's lead or work more closely with Leyland rather than dabble round the edges with one demonstrator and five experimental PD2s.

Phil Blinkhorn

19/05/13 - 07:27

The Leeds PD2 was one of twenty bought in 1955 fifteen were bodied by Roe like the one here the other 5 were given Orion bodywork.
They followed the ten "provincial RTL' PD2/14's of 1953 which gave a very refined ride These were also refined but always but always seemed to have an amazing turn of speed and a truly rasping exhaust.
My late father always thought these were amongst Leeds best buses for conducting and time keeping as they always seemed to have something in reserve On withdrawal several became driver trainers and at least three of the Roe bodied ones survive . One in the original dark and single light green band the later light green lower deck liver and one in verona green red and cream PTE training livery.

Chris Hough

27/05/13 - 09:08

To answer Phil's comments about Manchester's choice of transmissions (and btw there were six experimental PD2s - 3515-20), we have to go back to pre-war times and remember that Manchester ordered special gearboxes for its Leyland TDs because it considered its territory to be unusually arduous - something which I always think must have caused some amusement in such as Oldham, Rochdale and Bolton. Postwar, as a matter of policy, for as long as Daimlers were used in all-day service they were confined to the southern depots, where the land was flat. I know that the 4100 series Daimlers famously went across town and up the hills to Moston for over 20 years, but they were an exception, and they frequently did it with boiling radiators. More generally, it was probably only the sheer vastness of Wythenshawe that enabled MCTD to be happy with quite so many Daimlers in the fleet. Leyland's pneumocyclic transmission was not good in hilly territory (witness Huddersfield and Southdown, to name but two). The PD2/14 was probably better, but you wouldn't get a Lancashire operator copying an idea from Yorkshire.

Peter Williamson

28/05/13 - 07:54

I'm always pleased when someone posts to "Metro Centre - May 2013". A look at that gorgeous Newcastle AEC Regent III always cheers me up for the rest of the day!

Chris Hebbron

28/05/13 - 11:16

Interesting comments Peter - apologies for the brain fade, 3516 to 3520 does total six !!
Perhaps there is more than meets the eye to this tale - the derated engine policy. This obviously affected the performance of what should have been more than adequate Gardner 6LW engines used in most batches of Daimlers, especially as the K version was specified, and the K upgrade had been retrofitted to the two batches which made up 4100-4189.
Is there a known reason for persisting with Princess Rd based 4100s on the cross city services to Moston when there were plenty of Leylands available at Queens Rd and later Rochdale Rd?

Phil Blinkhorn

28/05/13 - 17:11

Damned silly War of the Roses. We have more in common than we do with southerners.....

David Oldfield

29/05/13 - 07:03

Regarding Phil's comment on Manchester's 41xx Daimlers running to Moston. It wasn't instead of Leylands but as well, most of these services in my memory were jointly operated from Princess Road and Rochdale Road or Queen's Road.
I used to catch the 65, 80, 88 or 112/3 from All Saints to Oldham Street every day as part of my journey home from school. I have to say I used to enjoy riding on the 41xx Daimlers and preserved 4127 is very capable of recreating those days as it can turn out a lively performance with the right driver.

David Beilby

29/05/13 - 09:21

David B, I was well aware that Leylands were also used, the point I was querying was why the Daimlers were persisted with.

Phil Blinkhorn

30/05/13 - 06:00

A comment from a southerner living in Yorkshire!!
The Bristol Omnibus RESL, THU 354G, also appears as XHN 934G on another website. It's only recently gone into red livery and was in green a year ago.

Geoff Kerr

30/05/13 - 06:00

Phil, you are absolutely right about derated engines. In Manchester both Leyland O600s and Gardner 6LWs were restricted to 100bhp at 1650rpm, but the Leyland unit, being larger, would have a higher torque level, and the manual transmission would also give a performance advantage. On the Moston services two garages were involved, presumably to minimise dead mileage. Princess Road used Daimlers because it was a Daimler garage. Quite why those particular Daimlers I don't know. There were a few late model PD2s there as well, but I always assumed they were there for the 53.

Peter Williamson

30/05/13 - 11:31

The 1958 and onwards Orion bodied PD2s at Princess Rd were irregular performers on the 53 until around 1961 when they became quite frequent though the ubiquitous 4100 series continued to dominate with the 33xx series all Leyland PD2s in a secondary role.
Albert Neal, continually under pressure from the Transport Committee to keep costs down, became fixated on both de-rating engines and, in the case of Daimler, buying a number of batches of five cylinder engines, mainly for flat running along princess parkway to Wythenshawe.
It would be interesting to know how "flogging" the 4100 series on the Moston trips over many years, if it was to save dead mileage, fitted the overall policy of cost cutting as there must have been some extra maintenance costs involved if they struggled due to the prevailing conditions and the relative inflexibility of the gear box.
I only had experience of the breed on the routes south of the city so can't comment on how they performed "at altitude"!!

Phil Blinkhorn

30/05/13 - 14:39

Phil. My main Manchester experience was at first Oxford Road down to Didsbury and then later Sale (a total of 11 years from 1971 - 1981). I therefore only experienced the 44** Daimlers in the flat-lands - they were more than adequate. But as one from the Sheffield/Derbyshire Peak District hinterland, I'm sure I would have preferred PD2s in the Northern Heights of Manchester (and Rochdale/Oldham).

David Oldfield

02/06/13 - 18:37

Pretty much in awe of the vast knowledge that flies about on here, so just keep my observations short. The 41xx series Daimlers were also regulars on the 80 when it became cross city combined with the old 54 (Middleton to Stevenson Sq) and I travelled on them a lot late 60s and early 70s. Most times you would get a speedy run down Greengate (from town). Everywhere else was like a slow switchback, winding streets and stops quite close together. The vibration in these vehicles was really something and the seat backs inside and on top would vibrate furiously at bus stops. What was impressive though was the acceleration away from stops. We didn't see many Daimlers in Middleton though and even the Rochdale ones were quite rare. I must dig out my notebooks from those days...

Mike Franks

03/06/13 - 07:09

Mike, you were riding on the vehicles at the latter period of their long working lives. That class came from a period when Manchester equipped itself with many vehicles which lasted 20 years or so but the 4100 class was pretty much unique in so far as almost all the class, from both batches, saw all day service to all but the last few months of their lives, when most classes spent all but the rush hour periods in the depot after reaching fifteen years old, sometimes less.
Once SELNEC took over they became candidates for early redundancy and maintenance slipped, as it had done in the last few months of MCTD when some depots didn't bother fixing minor "cosmetic" problems.
Most commentators state that the class was both the most cost effective and the most reliable type Manchester ever purchased and the acceleration you mention was typical of the breed, as was smooth running [and tick over] for most of their lives.

Phil Blinkhorn

05/06/13 - 05:58

Hi Phil, Points taken and understood now, so thank for your clear explanation. I was always impressed by these vehicles and hoped that would come across in my comment. For example, on the 112 and 113 on Rochdale Road, they just purred along up the hill past St Oswald's, with such seemingly effortless ease, I used to wonder why we didn't see them any further north than Conran Street. Similarly, the Salford Daimlers' performance on the Crescent and old Broad Street in both directions was always exciting. I realise now that I only got to travel on them as they were coming to the end of their working lives but their best qualities still really stood right out. The 80 journeys I recalled were from All Saints right through to Middleton, so I also recall the section from New Cross to Queen's Road which was equally fast. Happy days indeed and all for 8d!

Mike Franks



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