Old Bus Photos

Llandudno UDC – Dennis Pax V – FJC 737F

FJC 737F

Llandudno UDC
1968
Dennis Pax V
Dennis B33F

In the latter months of 1968 Llandudno UDC replaced its two Foden PVSC6 coaches, www.old-bus-photos.co.uk/ used on the exceedingly steep Great Orme route, with two specially constructed Dennis Pax V buses with Dennis B33F bodywork, registered FJC 736/7F. After the delivery of the last five production Lolines to Halifax in 1967 Dennis had effectively abandoned the bespoke passenger vehicle market, and these were flat framed haulage chassis powered by Perkins 6.354 engines coupled to Dennis U type gearboxes (not, as suggested elsewhere on the internet, David Brown gearboxes). The specially constructed bus bodies, the very last built by Dennis, were delivered in a new livery of blue and cream. The Perkins 6.354 was ever a raucous power unit (I write from experience) and the din inside these buses during the steepest sections of the ascent of the Great Orme must surely have been deafening for drivers and passengers alike, though the standard of ride is said to have been good. Does any OBP aficionado have personal experience of these machines? The photograph was taken in September 1970. On 1st April 1974 Llandudno UDC was subsumed into the new Aberconwy District Council and the two Dennis Pax buses were repainted into a livery of maroon and grey, subsequently maroon and cream. Sadly, FJC 737F was later destroyed, reputably by fire, but FJC 736F survives in a restored condition.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


11/08/22 – 05:52

I may have been partly responsible for spreading the idea that these Dennises had David Brown gearboxes. The information came from Nick Larkin, one-time owner of FJC 736F, when he loaned it to a group of enthusiasts in Chesterfield. As a passenger I believed him, because not only was the arrangement of the gears the same as on the David Brown gearbox of the Bristol SC, but it even exhibited the same characteristic of catching out the unwary driver by moving off in reverse instead of second, which I have heard a Bristol SC owner talk about. It scaled Slack Hill in second gear, and almost repeated the achievement at Cromford, only resorting to first at the very top, after turning into Porter Lane. I can’t say I noticed the noise level inside, but those waiting with cameras outside certainly did! As to liveries, the first Aberconwy DC scheme I would describe as vermilion and grey rather than maroon and grey, and I haven’t seen in-service photos of anything later except blue and advertising schemes. I have been assuming that the new owner’s pseudo Llandudno UDC maroon and cream is a ‘should have been’ statement.

Peter Williamson


12/08/22 – 05:55

Peter W, you’ve just confirmed my recollection of this vehicle, I felt sure I’d had a ride on it and it was at one of Transpire’s Running Days in Chesterfield about ten years ago. I would agree that it was somewhat noisy inside but not unbearably so. I also remember the gearstick being behind the driver to his left, in the same manner as a Bedford SB. It was an interesting ride but I couldn’t help thinking it wasn’t really meant to be a bus though!

Chris Barker


14/08/22 – 05:43

I have driven Bristol SC and SU buses, both of which had the David Brown gearbox, but the gear lever selection positions of the two types differed. On both, the reverse and first gears were located on the far left, forward for reverse, back for first, and these gears were ‘protected’ from the rest of the box by a detente spring that became very weak over time. From there, cautiously moving right in neutral, next came forward for second and back for third, which is how the accidental engagement of reverse instead of second sometimes occurred when the detente spring had weakened. The SCs and SUs that I drove were all secondhand examples run by an independent operator, consequently far from pristine in condition. My technique to avoid the unintended launch in reverse was to deliberately engage reverse on the far left of the box, then carefully go back into neutral and let the stick gently move with the spring to the correct point to allow the forward engagement of second. This took less time to do that it does to describe. Even then I would cautiously engage the clutch to ensure the vehicle was going where I wanted it to go. After the third gear position the SC and the SU differed. To move from third to fourth in the SC one took the stick forward into neutral, over to the right and then back again in an inverted U movement, and then fifth was fully forward from that slot. The SU was more logical, and followed the positioning of the AEC Reliance five speed box, over and forward for fourth and back for fifth. Unsurprisingly, I have never driven a Dennis Pax, but the excellent gearbox in the Dennis Loline III also followed the Reliance selection format, and never once driving these for Aldershot and District did I accidentally engage reverse instead of second. Descriptions of the U type five speed gearbox show that it emulated the Loline box in gear stick positions, which explains the possibility of starting off in reverse, but Dennis gearboxes were fine pieces of engineering, and I can only assume that the protective detente spring in FJC 736F has suffered severely over time. Incidentally, one could never fall into this trap with a Reliance because the gear lever had to be lifted over a ramp to engage first and reverse, so you couldn’t easily get first whilst on the move – it was essentially a crawler gear. On the livery question, is the maroon and cream of the little Guy Wolf accurate?

Roger Cox


15/08/22 – 06:41

The gear positions on FJC 736F were definitely the same as on the SC, complete with inverted U from 3 to 4. Our driver only forgot once, going straight from 3 to 5 and then quickly correcting. So maybe it has been fitted with a David Brown box at some time on its travels.

Peter Williamson


17/08/22 – 06:30

My apologies, Peter. That, as you describe it, is the David Brown gearbox as fitted to the Bristol SC, which is somewhat puzzling. The SC was produced from 1954 to 1961, and its successor, the SU with improved gear selection, from 1960 to 1966. Why would a mere two bus bodied examples of a widely sold Dennis haulage chassis, with a proven drive train of Perkins 6.354 engine and Dennis U type gearbox, appear late in 1968 with an old 1961 type of David Brown box? Surely these two machines didn’t emerge from Guildford in that form. Quite apart from assessing the dubious mechanical benefit of the David Brown box, the re-engineering would have simply increased costs to no discernible advantage – quite the opposite in my view. As far as I am aware, the only alternative gearbox offered by Dennis around that time was the Turner synchromesh. This seemingly straightforward post on the Llandudno Dennis Pax buses has taken a curious turn. Can anyone add to this aspect of the history of these vehicles?

Roger Cox


18/08/22 – 06:42

I remember the two Dennis taking over the Great Orme service from the Fodens but I don’t recall travelling on the Dennis but made several trips over the years on each of the Fodens. The Fodens were fitted with a sprag brake, effectively a ratchet which dropped into a pawl on the transmission when activated by the driver. This was used on the upward journey where the very steep 1 in 4 started just below a terrace of houses and remained in use until about the Half Way station for the tram. This was to prevent a runaway in the event of the engine stalling. Does anyone know if the Dennis pair had this device?

Ian Wild


 

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Eastern Scottish – Bristol RE – EWS 166D – XA 166 A

Eastern Scottish - Bristol RE - EWS 166D - XA 166 A

Eastern Scottish
1966
Bristol RELH6G
Alexander C38F

Seen on layover in London are three of the Alexander C38F bodied Bristol RELH6G coaches operated by Eastern Scottish from a batch totalling 33 vehicles of the type delivered in 1966. These toilet equipped coaches brought a new level of refinement to the lengthy journey between the Capital and Caledonia for several years. In this picture, none of the vehicles is carrying the ‘Bristol RE’ nameplate on the radiator grille which they certainly wore at another time in their lives.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


11/07/22 – 06:02

Just to clarify, the vehicles from left to right are EWS 166D, EWS 193D and EWS 190D, with matching fleet numbers XA166/193/190 A.

Roger Cox


11/07/22 – 06:03

I could be wrong on this ‘I frequently am’ but I’m pretty sure that the services to Scotland, i.e. Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, were all overnight only.
Unlike the United Tyne Tees Thames, which was twice a day. 8am and pm if memory serves.

Ronnie Hoye


12/07/22 – 05:43

EWS 193D

Eastern Scottish did operate daytime services between London and Edinburgh, per my photo herewith.

Richard Slater


13/07/22 – 06:15

Thanks for that, Richard. I did say that I was frequently wrong.
The location looks to be the start of the Tyne Bridge, heading north towards Newcastle.
The bus facing us, is probably a Gateshead & District Alexander ‘A’ type bodied Leyland Atlantean, and the one to the left is a Newcastle Corporation, or possibly by that time a PTA turning to go towards Gateshead Station.
Bit hard to tell, but my guess would be a P/R bodied MkV AEC Regent.

Ronnie Hoye


13/07/22 – 06:16

I think you’ll find that you are both correct. Eastern Scottish called the daytime services "Tours" – as they took 2/3 days to do the journey with overnight stops.

David Oldfield


14/07/22 – 06:01

The Summer 1969 ABC Bus and coach guide shows conventional daytime journeys on both routes (Edinburgh and Glasgow), which completed the journeys within the same day. As far as I know, the 2/3 day tours were only operated by Eastern Scottish.
Departure was at 08:00 from both ends, on both routes.

Nigel Frampton


15/07/22 – 06:05

Memory tells me that, in my student days in Birmingham, the Standerwicks would move out of the fast lane only for blue lights and the Scottish coaches, and I think they were usually Western, rather than Eastern, on the M6.

Pete Davies


16/07/22 – 06:24

Speaking as a retired LGV Instructor, Pete, I can tell you quite categorically that there is no such thing as the ‘Fast Lane’ on UK Motorways. You drive on the left, unless overtaking

Ronnie Hoye


17/07/22 – 06:29

Ronnie: Unfortunately regardless of how many times broadcasters have been told by me and others to stop using "Fast Lane" in traffic reports they will persist and thus those like Pete perpetuate it in everyday usage.
I remember once climbing the M6 southbound from Penrith towards Shap Summit and there were 3 coaches from different companies (Well different liveries anyway) having a 3 mile drag race up the gradient.

John Lomas


 

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Bradford Corporation – Leyland Badger – KW 7604

Bradford Corporation - Leyland Badger - KW 7604

Bradford Corporation
1930
Leyland Badger TA4
Plaxton B20F

The Leyland Badger was a haulage model introduced in 1920, but progressively developed for heavier weights up to the outbreak of WW2. This little bus, a TA4 4 tonner (denoting payload), was purchased by Bradford for its Welfare Department in 1930, when the city motorbus fleet then consisted of AEC 413, Leyland Lion PLSC and Bristol B full sized saloons, and Leyland TD1 double deckers. The B20F body is thought to be the oldest Plaxton product still in existence. Having served the Corporation for some 32 years, KW 7604 was deservedly sold into preservation in 1962. It is shown here on a Brighton HCVC Rally in the very early 1970s (sadly my slide is an undated Agfa) being followed by the Wigan Leyland PD1 JP 6032 through Preston Park, with the spectacular LBSC railway viaduct in the background.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


01/07/22 – 06:07

Bradford CT Miscellaneous Fleet number O23, worked for the Education Department and had daily runs to a special school in Lister Lane, Bradford whilst being maintained and garaged by the Transport Department. Most of the work from 1949 was done by Bedford OB’s numbered 024 to 026, leaving 023 available if needed.
Sold for preservation to the LVVS, it has appeared in various liveries and in films/TV. https://www.lvvs.org.uk/kw7604.htm  gives further details.

Stuart Emmett


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Friday 19th August 2022