Aldershot & District – Dennis Lancet III – GAA 611 – 975

GAA 611

Aldershot & District Traction Co.
1948
Dennis Lancet III J3
Strachan C32R

During the latter stages of WW2, all commercial vehicle manufacturers had new models awaiting production to take advantage of an anticipated post war boom in passenger and haulage markets. Dennis revealed EOR 743, its prototype of the Mark III Lancet, in the early months of 1945. A major improvement was the entirely new 7.58 litre O6 diesel housed in a longer bonnet in place of the 6.5 litre O4 in the pre war Lancet. From 1948 to 1951 Aldershot & District took a further 114 examples of the Lancet III with saloon bodywork, and these were complemented in 1948 by fifteen Dennis Lancet J3 coaches with Strachans C32R bodies, GAA 609-623, Nos. 973-987, which replaced the externally very similar O4 powered Lancet II/Strachans C32R vehicles of 1937-38. The post war Lancet was an exceptionally fine machine, and the 24 valve, wet liner, O6 engine was probably the smoothest running commercial diesel engine of the time. Coupled with the Dennis ‘O’ type five speed gearbox, it yielded excellent reliability, a high standard of refinement and good performance on the road. Notwithstanding the apparent complexity of the engine, the Lancet III became popular with and respected by many independent operators. In the 1961 photograph, GAA 611, No, 975, delivered in June 1948, is crossing Bridge Street, Guildford (now one way in the opposite direction) and about to turn right into the railway station. This coach was withdrawn in that same year. In 1953, having sampled a number of underfloor engined demonstrators, Aldershot & District stayed with the faithful front engined Lancet III and ordered fifteen 30ft by 8ft examples of the J10C with Strachans full fronted FC38R bodies. Finally, in 1954 the company bowed to the inevitable and turned to the AEC Reliance.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/06/22 – 06:34

Strachans produced a very distinctive and rather nice coach body after WW2 and this appears to be one of them but it looks so different with a full canopy at the front. It was far more familiar in half canopy form and I imagine it’s purpose as such was to provide better forward visibility for passengers on excursions and tours etc.
Full canopy coaches seem to have been popular with South of England operators, East Kent, Aldershot & District, Southdown, no doubt because of their many London services, they wanted something which looked rather more ‘business like’ and also capable of providing a clear and comprehensive destination display.
Full canopies were also popular with the Scottish companies on coaches but perhaps for different reasons in that they were also used extensively on stage carriage services.
I like this A&D Dennis, it’s a fine looking coach but I do think the side ‘flash’ is a little over done though!

Chris Barker

 

Southdown – Leyland Titan PD1 – GUF 669 – 269

Southdown - Leyland Titan PD1 - GUF 669 - 269

Southdown Motor Services
1946
Leyland Titan PD1
Park Royal H26/26R

Taken with my rather primitive Comet S camera in Brighton in 1960, this picture is not one of my best. There were twenty five of these PD1s delivered between June and September 1946, and 269, GUF 669, arrived with Southdown in July. 269 was withdrawn in 1963 and sold to Mexborough and Swinton who upseated it to H32/26R, but withdrew it for scrap just three years later. The PD1, with its 100 bhp 7.4 litre E181 engine and slow gearchange, was never a lively performer, and would have found some of the hills around Brighton to have been a bit of of a challenge, but several were based at Worthing depot, and in the picture 269 is operating along the relatively easy coastal route 9 from Arundel to Brighton.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


01/05/22 – 07:37

Poor photo you might feel, Roger, but photos of immediate post-war buses are often fascinating. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Park Royal bodied one before, still five-bay. Weymann ones are seemingly more common. I agree with the painfully slow gearchanges on these vehicles; you could drink a cup of tea between gears, at least you could with London Transport’s austerity TD4 STDs, which sometimes would appear at Raynes Park, on the 77A route! Why they were given challenging routes in Central London and not allocated to Country services, I don’t know. But that’s London Transport for you!

Chris Hebbron


22/05/22 – 06:47

I went on a family holiday to Worthing in 1959, our first Southern holiday. I remember these PD1s from that holiday and this particular bus from its days with Mexborough and Swinton as I worked as an apprentice at Parkgate at that time just along the road from the M&S depot. I don’t recall ever travelling on it or its sibling. They have a certain rugged attraction to the bodywork and certainly dissimilar to any other buses that I came across. Thanks for the memories!!

Ian Wild


24/05/22 – 05:46

Chris, the utility London Transport STD class of 1941/2 comprised eleven ‘unfrozen’ buses of the Leyland TD7 variety, a type that was introduced in succession to the TD5 in 1939. The TD6 was a special Birmingham only gearless version of the TD7, the model number being changed by Leyland for the wider market. In addition to being higher geared than the TD5, a significant change was the adoption of flexible engine mountings, and, to reduce rock, the engine was equipped with a heavier flywheel than before. This, however, resulted in the engine revs taking a long time to die between upward gear changes, which, added to the high gearing, made the TD7 painfully slow on intensive town services. Perversely, the London TD7s were all allocated to Victoria garage where they were regarded with an attitude bordering on hatred, and STD 101-111 were the very first utility buses to be withdrawn from front line service by London Transport. They all went unlamented for scrap. In practice, several provincial operators found that the flexible engine mountings of the TD7 weakened the chassis frame at the back of the engine and restored their examples to the solid mountings of the TD5, so was it all worth it, one wonders. The wartime bus industry is reported to have been utterly dismayed when the Leyland TD8 utility bus option was cancelled by the Ministry of War Transport, leaving only the suspiciously unknown quantity called the Guy Arab available to operators. Perhaps the heavy flywheel TD8 might not have proved popular in practice, whereas the Arab went on to earn a reputation as a truly dependable workhorse. Despite having a rigidly mounted engine the PD1 also precluded remotely speedy gear changes, and Geoffrey Hilditch declared that this model had the slowest gear change he ever encountered, though it seems that he didn’t come across the equally ponderous TD7. Strangely, the single deck PS1 of identical mechanical specification did not seem to earn a similar reputation. No doubt the lighter vehicle weight permitted better forward progress through the gears.

Roger Cox

 

Southern National – Leyland Lion LT1 – VE 2143 – 3439

Southern National - Leyland Lion LT1 - VE 2143 - 3439

Southern National
1929
Leyland Lion LT1
Beadle B35R

Before the First World War, the public transport needs in Cambridge were met by the horse drawn Cambridge Street Tramways Company and some small, often short lived, independent motor bus operators, most notably the Cambridge Motor Omnibus Company. In 1907 the assets of the struggling Cambridge Motor Omnibus Company were bought by James Berry Walford who hailed from Egham in Surrey. He relaunched the business in 1908 as the Ortona Motor Company which progressively became the major operator in the Cambridge area, finally seeing off the tramways company in February 1914. In 1913 The BET/BAT group took a initial 50% shareholding in Ortona, to which railway interests were later incorporated, and in 1919 Thomas Tilling set up the neighbouring Eastern Counties Omnibus Company in Ipswich which then became a Tilling/BAT company in 1928. In 1929, T/BAT assumed control of United Automobile Services and took steps to rationalise the somewhat sprawling United territory that covered large parts of Northumbria, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and East Anglia. The Lincolnshire sector became the Lincolnshire Road Car Company, and the East Anglian part was transferred to an expanded Eastern Counties Road Car Company which subsumed the Ortona business on 14 July 1931. The Ortona vehicle livery changed from green to red, and 94 vehicles, 73 of them less than five years old, all with pneumatic tyres, were transferred to the new business. By the 1920s Ortona’s favoured choice of manufacturer had become Leyland, with Titan TD1 double deckers ultimately predominating. Single deck deliveries were more varied, but three Leyland Lion LT1 saloons with Dodson B32F bodies, VE 2142/3/4 arrived with Ortona in November/December 1929. A picture of VE 2144 in original form may be found in Paul Carter’s book, Cambridge 1, to which much of this detail must be credited. These ran with ECOC until 1945, and it is thought that they acquired Gardner engines during that period. In the picture the two inspection holes in the bonnet suggest that a 5LW lay beneath it, probably fitted by ECOC. VE 2143 was sold to Southern National who fitted it with a new Beadle B35R body and a CovRad radiator in 1947 and gave it fleet number 3439. On disposal by Southern National it was acquired by G J Mutton, a showman of Coalpit Heath, South Gloucestershire. This bus was still in use with a showman when photographed in 1961 on Mitcham Common. Behind the Lion may be seen another former Western/Southern National bus, YD 4707, an AEC Regent of the early 1930s rebodied by Beadle around 1943/4, with its upper deck trepanned for fairground duties. Does any OBP expert have more details of this bus please?

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


13/04/22 – 08:13

Just out of interest, between 1925 and 1929 Ortona placed a total of 24 BMMO SOS chassis.
These comprised of 7 “S” types in 1925/6, 7 “Q” types in 1927 and 5 each of the “M” and “ODD” types in 1929.

Eric Bawden

 

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