Bus Line Up

Bus Line Up

Can anyone make any sense of this one, I would say a line up from about the mid 20's, in the bottom corner you can make out what looks like Maidstone, the first bus has a destination of Wallsend so where's the connection? New buses for Tyneside's fleet perhaps?' but they're registered in Brighton and as far as I'm aware all Tyneside's buses were always TY or NL Northumberland registrations. I've no doubt that with the combined knowledge of the contributors to this site an answer will be found to the puzzle, but its got me beat

Ronnie Hoye


18/05/12 - 07:32

The one thing I can add is that the working in the left-hand bottom corner looks like Tilling-Stevens, Maidstone, which was where their factory was. The radiators, even the first/fourth ones, which have no vertical bars, look like T-S's. Could the vehicles have been bodied by Harrington (who existed then) or some other Brighton/Sussex bodybuilder, hence the registration?

Chris Hebbron


18/05/12 - 07:33

The vehicles shown are Tilling Stevens petrol electrics. Early buses had ponderous clutch and crash gearbox transmissions that were difficult to master, and the Tilling Stevens method coupled the engine to a large dynamo that powered an electric motor to provide motion. For a time, up to the late 1920s/ early 1930s, this system had a select, though limited band of supporters, but the drawback was that of excessive weight, and TS later adopted conventional transmission systems. This web page has much Tilling Stevens information:- http://www.flickr.com/photos The superb art deco Tilling Stevens factory in Maidstone thankfully still exists.

Roger Cox


18/05/12 - 07:34

Regarding the line up of what look like Tilling Stevens double deckers, the only thing I could say is the registration numbers appear to start CD 7711 the rest I can't read the numbers CD was a Brighton issued series from the 1920,s.

David Lennard


18/05/12 - 07:34

Looks like a Southdown line up to me.

John Whitaker


18/05/12 - 07:35

At a guess I would say that the picture is an official one by the Tilling Stevens company whose factory was at Maidstone. The embossed lettering in the bottom corner reads as such.

Chris Youhill


18/05/12 - 07:37

A bit of research reveals that Wallsend was also the old name for the village of Pevensey Bay (there is still a Wallsend Road there). So with the Brighton registrations, I suspect this is actually a line up of early Southdown buses. No doubt someone cleverer than I will come up with chapter and verse of what, at least, the nearest vehicle(s) is/are.

Stephen Ford


18/05/12 - 14:06

Thank you Stephen, that explains a lot. I know many place names in the UK are duplicated, but I always thought Wallsend was unique, but we live and learn. As far as I'm aware Tyneside were still running trams up until about 1930, so the buses in the photo would be too early anyway. We're talking about 90 years ago, and at that time their must have been literally dozens of bodybuilders much nearer to Tyneside, so why would they have bought vehicles from Brighton?

Ronnie Hoye


18/05/12 - 16:01

I wonder when CD7711 was first licensed? I'm not sure that Southdown bought any Tilling-Stevens buses after about 1914, yet these have pneumatic tyres, so the vehicles are not new in the photo, despite having 'T-S Maidstone' on the photo. This may also explain why not all the buses have the vertical bars on the radiator.
Do we know who built the bodies on them?

Chris Hebbron


19/05/12 - 07:28

Quite an interesting photo shrouded in the mists of time!
I always thought Southdown had some B10A series (orthodox gearbox) Tillings, but a glance at a proper fleet list would solve that one. As Chris H says, they certainly had some TS series petrol electrics dating from 1920 and earlier, and I feel sure that I once read somewhere that, like Trent, Southdown rebuilt some into the orthodox gearbox "Express" type, and fitted new Short and Dodson bodies, similar to the ones fitted to N type Leylands, as preserved at Camberley.
This one needs a Southdown expert to finalise the discussion, and that is something I am not, but it certainly "feels" Southdown!

John Whitaker


19/05/12 - 07:29

According to Fleet History 2PK1:
Southdown 201-212 CD 6834/5 7703-7712 Tilling Stevens TS3A new 1923 withdrawn 1929/30. On withdrawal 211 (CD 7711) appears to have been returned to Tilling Stevens, Maidstone 2/30; Tyneside Tramways (A) No. 38 , 1930; withdrawn 1935.
So perhaps a line up of secondhand buses for sale at Tilling Stevens 1929/30?

Mac Head


19/05/12 - 12:51

Mac Head seems to have confirmed our train of thought. As Tyneside Tramways scrapped their trams in 1930, I wonder if these TS's were bought to replace them in the interim, it being easier/quicker for the tram drivers to convert to 'gearless' buses. They may well have been lined up merely for transfer, as Mac suggests, perhaps including renovation. It'd be nice to see a photo of them in service 'oop North' and would confirm the mass transfer! Incidentally, didn't Tyneside Trams have a connexion with Tilling in some way?

Chris Hebbron


19/05/12 - 16:35

I think we may have successfully solved this problem!
I don't think Tilling had any tramway interest though Chris; only via acquisitions, of which the Tyneside company was not one. The BET group grew out of tramway interests, but the stock holding of the main group bus companies became very complicated in the 1930s, with investment from the railway companies, and Tilling, and it was not until 1942, after a major share redistribution, that the two groups acquired a clearer definition.
TBAT and BET companies became Tilling and BET, and this involved some companies switching ownership. Hence Crosville, for example, went from TBAT to Tilling, and North Western went t`other way.
I only know this by reading Alan Townsin`s books!
The older I get, the more I realise that I know a lot less than I thought!

John Whitaker


20/05/12 - 07:54

Thx John W, for putting me right on the Tilling aspect.
Your final pithy piece of wisdom is so true!

Chris Hebbron


25/05/12 - 07:44

Although I covered the first bus in the photograph, readers may be interested in the possible identities of the others?
The second bus from the left appears to be CD 8423. This bus was likewise originally delivered to Southdown as their 223 in 1924 and withdrawn in 1930. To Tilling-Stevens 2/30 thence Tyneside Tramways No39 in 1930 and withdrawn in 1935.
The other five buses in the photograph may well be some of the following that also passed to Tyneside Tramways via Tilling-Stevens:
Southdown 82 CD 5642 new 1920 w/d 1929 to Tilling-Stevens 10/29 thence Tyneside Tramways No43 in 1930 and withdrawn in 1934.
Southdown 94 CD 6894 new 1922 w/d 1930 to Tilling-Stevens 3/30 thence Tyneside Tramways No44 in 1930 and withdrawn in 1935.
Southdown 201 CD6384 new 1923 w/d 1929 to Tilling-Stevens 10/29 thence Tyneside Tramways No40 in 1930 and withdrawn in 1933.
Southdown 203 CD7703 new 1923 w/d 1929 to Tilling-Stevens 10/29 Tyneside Tramways No42 in 1930 and was withdrawn in 1934.
Southdown 207 CD7707 new 1923 w/d 1929 to Tilling-Stevens 11/29 Tyneside Tramways No37 in 1930 and was withdrawn in 1936.
Southdown 213 CD8013 new 1923 w/d 1929 to Tilling-Stevens 2/40 Tyneside Tramways No41 in 1930 and was withdrawn in 1934.
On withdrawal by Southdown all appear to carry Tilling 027/24RO bodies.

Mac Head


26/05/12 - 06:48

It would seem that these buses from the 1920's were well travelled and may well have been on service in two Wallsend's three hundred miles apart. I wonder how long it took them to get from Brighton to Tyneside?

Ronnie Hoye

 


 

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