TOTAL REFURBISHMENT OF PAGE UNDER WAY
over 200 photos (previously lost) in process of re-instatement covering about sixty operators. Caption detail will be some time behind the posting of photos
Northampton was one of the last users of normal control double deckers in the uk and took delivery of the last ever such bus built for a UK operator, a Roe bodied Daimler CVG6 in 1968. About ten years later an earlier and almost identical delivery, No.248 of 1965 with subsequent modernisation of its destination display, is seen at work picking up passengers at the Dallington Green terminus about two miles from the town centre. This was a conservation area (note the quirky wooden bus stop!) and the turning arrangements here were deemed unsuitable for longer OMO single-deckers that had by then crept into the fleet in significant numbers.
The 1960s can perhaps be regarded as the Indian Summer decade for this fascinating sector of the British passenger transport scene. At the start of the decade close to a hundred town hall fleets the length and breadth of the land then owned and operated some 20,000 vehicles. All of these amazingly varied fleets went about their business daily, their colourful liveries and often attractive coats of Arms efficiently stamping their own local identities on the communities they so ably served. It is true that by this time the tide was turning and not many of them were escaping the need for some level of ratepayer subsidy but they still represented local value for money and a level of civic pride in many locations. They included trams still at Glasgow, Sheffield (not for long though) and of course Blackpool. The once great Leeds system finally 'died' in November 1959 and thus didn't quite make it into the new decade.
I was busy chasing about the country then but somehow only managed to visit less than two-thirds of them between 1961 and 1975*, from the smaller fleets such as Hartlepool and Lowestoft to the four-figure giants of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow. I have many memories but among the best for me has to be surviving early thirties Leyland TD4s (in 1962 - still with their tops on) in Portsmouth, rides on ex-London and other well maintained utility Guy Arabs in Burton-on-Trent, the amazing variety that was the fleets of Colchester and Grimsby-Cleethorpes, especially at the latter a ride costing and old 1d on one of the ex-London post-war STLs.
In a constantly changing world however in the later part of the decade a dark cloud was beginning to descend in the shape of the Labour Government's Transport Act (1968). It all began with the creation of giant authorities known as Passenger Transport Executives whose purpose was to amalgamate and rationalise all the services in a given area under unified control. The creation of new, usually bland liveries by these slowly squeezed the individuality and character out of the erstwhile municipal fleets, and significant government subsidies led to a flood of new, less interesting and attractive vehicles suitable for one-man operation. Eventually Greater Manchester, South and West Yorkshire, Merseyside, Tyneside West Midlands and Clydeside fell under the aegis of this 'gigantomania'
*Here's some of those that I sadly didn't get to - this was often foolish oversight as I was sometimes quite near, though lack of money and time played their part...............
Aberdeen Accrington Barrow-in-Furness Bedwas & Machen Blackburn Darlington Darwen Dundee Exeter Haslingden Lancaster Leigh Leeds Llanelli Llandudno & Colwyn Bay Merthyr Tydfil Morecambe & Heysham Plymouth Pontypridd Ramsbottom Southport St. Helens Todmorden West Bridgeford Wigan
The opportunity afforded by the earlier large loss of data for this page is being taken to re-organise it into some form of geographical order and fleets are now being shown in specified UK area paragraphs. Please be patient while I upload all the views again.
I have tried to replicate as accurately as possible the actual fleet liveries (as I remember them anyway) in the title heading for each operator, but please bear in mind the limited number of colour choices that the computer offers...........................
PAGES FOLLOW IN ORDER........................
SOUTH, SOUTH-EAST, SOUTH CENTRAL, EAST ANGLIA, EAST COAST, MIDLANDS (East) MIDLANDS (West) LANCASHIRE (Central), LANCASHIRE (West), YORKSHIRE, NORTH-EAST
Municipal operations of Scotland Wales & Northern Ireland are on a separate page.
Southampton Portsmouth Brighton Eastbourne Bournemouth
Park Royal bodied Guy Arabs like the above two were a fleet standard from the forties to the late sixties
No.331 was a Leyland PD2A of 1962 - its bodywork was supplied by Park Royal and seated 66
No.197 was one of a hundred Guy Arab IIIs with gardner 6LW engines suppied 1948-51. Park Royal bodywork was again fitted
Not too sure but I think this was No.256, one of only three single deckers in the fleet at this time (1964). If I am right then it was an Albion Nimbus of 1956 with Alexander bodywork
I first went here in November of 1962 and was struck by the interesting variety of the fleet. At this time the trolleybuses were expected to be gone within weeks but lasted about four more months due to delays in deliveries of replacement buses. These photos show clearly the costly elaborate gold lining out on the maroon main livery that was a policy of the corporation even on later modern additions to the fleet
In the early 1960s it was still just possible to spot an occasional pre-war bus still working for a living. Portsmouth seemingly always looked after its fleet and consequently it lasted well ( I remember, on a school visit to HMS Victory, seeing that they still had TD2's or TD3's's only five or six years before this shot). A few of this batch of Leyland TD4s in fact lasted much longer as open-toppers but I was surprised and delighted to snap and later ride on this one in November 1962.
These Daimler CWA6 (AEC 7.7 litre engine) were presumably delivered as utility specification vehicles, however by 1962 they were carrying more up to date bodies by Crossley. My clear memory of the lower deck ride on 177 to Paulsgrove was the noise and awful vibration. So bad was it that I waited for the next bus to return and this was a Weymann bodied Leyland PD2.
A batch of these all-Crossley double deckers was acquired in the early post-war period and a number remained in service until the early/mid 1960s. There were however significant problems encountered with the originally Crossley turbomotor engines and in Portsmouth's case they were replaced by older Leyland units.
A few of the Crossleys that came at this time received locally built bodies by Reading. Despite their semi-utility appearance they were quite attractive
Leyland PD2 with Weymann body. Note the trade mark 'skirted' lower side panels. Many operators removed these in the later years of these bodies service lives as they were labour intensive and expensive to repair when damaged.
The ubiquitous MCW Orion bodywork came into the Portsmouth fleet eventually
The modern era arrives. One of a later batch of Leyland Atlanteans following that acquired for trolleybus replacement
Brighton was a place I visited on numerous occasions. I remember the trolleybuses vaguely, seeing them as a child on seaside holidays in the mid-1950s but I began to travel here yearly in in the following decade when either just visiting for or participating as a passenger/entrant on a vehicle entered for the HCVC run each May. I was never adventurous and can't recall going anywhere in the town except the immediate vicinity of the seafront so all of my views are in and around there and Old Steine, the main bus terminal point.
For a number of years Brighton chose the MCW 'Orion' bodied Leyland PD3 as its standard, both for trolleybus replacement and for fleet renewal afterwards. They always specified the exposed radiator version and, as far as I'm aware never operated any tin front types. Earlier deliveries such as above were conventional rear entrance open platform and later ones front entrance with doors
Unlike the Portsmouth example (above) this Brighton Weymann body (here shown on an AEC Regent III chassis) appears to have had the 'skirts' removed, or perhaps they were not specified from new. No.87 shares the stand at Old Steine in the sixties with a Southdown 'Queen Mary' Leyland PD3
No.84 of the same batch still had them, so perhaps 87 was in fact modified after all
Stars of the fleet in 1963 were a few remaining just pre-war (1939) AEC Regent I's purchased at about the same time as its trolleybuses but here outliving them by about four years. Although this vehicle, No.63, not long after, became and remains to this day a well known performer in preservation but I believe that here, in May, although showing 'Private' it was still on active Corporation service
Brighton's long-time livery was this pleasant combination of red & cream, however in the mid-1970s it was all change to pale blue and white as shown by the views that follow.
The mid-1950s to the late 1960s was the era when the Mk V AEC Regent made its mark on countless municipal and company fleets nationwide. Here's an attractive blue/cream example of the Eastbourne fleet
I had a holiday in the area when I was twelve or thirteen years old. Then, I recall, the open-top fleet was elderly pre-war AEC Regents and Leyland Titans carrying fanciful names like White Knight, however by the mid 1960s they had been replaced by conversions of a small batch of early post-war Leyland PD2s. One of these, not sure which, ended its days across the 'pond' in the USA.
Another pre-war survivor, this open-top converted Leyland TD4 was still going strong in 1962
Clever conversion for sightseeing work of a late wartime 'utility' Guy Arab double-decker
This was another case of frequent visits, again because it was an was an easily reached (from London) trolleybus system.Their bus fleet in the sixties included a few gems and bore a most unusual ochre brown & cream livery
No.18 in 1963 was a Leyland PD3 with Massey bodywork
Fast forward a mere four years to 1967 and things were looking very different. It's a day or two before the end of the trolleybuses and Massey bodied Leyland Atlantean 32 at the Wheatsheaf junction pretends to be one on a working to Loose. It displays the nice duck-egg blue/cream livery chosen for the fleet to replace the familiar ochre brown
and again, this time to 1975 with a later rear-engined delivery in view en-route to the former trolleybus terminus of Loose. Note that by this time the operator is Maidstone Borough Council
I was a frequent visitor to here in the sixties mainly because of its neat and tidy trolleybus system, however it cannot be said that its bus fleet was not of interest as well and in this respect the following decade produced some very interesting stuff too.
Reading was an early follower of the standee principle and had some saloon examples as early as 1960, sometimes used to replace the trolleybuses. 264 is a later example.
There's a lot more to come from this operator so please keep looking
Colchester Ipswich Southend
I first got to here, rather briefly on the way to a family holiday in suffolk. The date was September 1962 and the fleet was then varied and interesting with a few wartime and early post war machines, well past their best, still pounding the streets. These first views are however from another visit a couple of years later, when some new acquisitions had seen off the oldest, but still the era before rear-engined buses and one-man operation which in the end I never did see there.
The Crossley DD42 with bodywork also by the chassis manufacturer was a choice made by many municipalities seeking in the early post-war years to update their fleets
In the early/mid 1960s Colchester divided its loyalties between AEC and Leyland continuing to patronise Massey for its bodywork. Identical bodywork is fitted to both here
This was my next stop after Colchester in September 1962. A quick break for lunch and we were on our way to Lowestoft. My only record of Ipswich trolleybuses was captured at this time. Ipswich was unusual in that it operated only trolleybuses until 1950 when it acquired its first motor bus. It very much supported local industry in this and bought in the pre- war era many electric vehicles from both Garrett and Ransomes Simms & Jeffries. At the time of these photos the motor bus was gradually taking over and indeed the electric service to Rushmere Heath had only succumbed a short while before. In 1962 no rear-engined buses were operated and as I did not visit again those that subsequently came were not seen by me.
One thing I can remember about the batch of AEC Regent V of which No.38 formed part was that they were promoted as having 'slash-proof' seats!
I can remember going here when very young indeed, about three years old I think and strangely can recall then a ride on a trolleybus from the station. My first photographic sorties were however somewhat later, in 1961 and 1963. I went a couple of times after that but both were before any major fleet modeernisation so no rear-engined buses were seen or photographed.
Southend was another which saw value in London's discarded utility Daimlers and Guys in the early 1950s. It purchased a number of the former having them re-bodied by Massey c.1954 as shown. My personal recollection of riding on them was that they were noisy and none too comfortable.
Similar bodies were fitted to 'home grown' examples like 252 and also on some with AEC chassis, which I regrettably did not manage to photograph
Massey bodywork is carried by both Leyland PD2s shown above. The lower photo depicts a mid-1950s trend for the 'tin-front' however many operators continued to specify the exposed radiator. Southend seems to have changed its mind here for No.292 was actually newer than 279
As a footnote I thought this view worthy of inclusion. In 1963 Southend Airport was not the busy hub that it is today although, as can be seen in the background many brave souls risked a hop over to The Channel Islands or France aboard an ageing DC3 or Argosy/Viking/Hermes and the like. This ex Corporation Daimler meanwhile is busy operating a visitors airport sightseeing tour
THE EAST COAST
EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Lowestoft Great Yarmouth Kingston-upon-Hull Grimsby-Cleethorpes
The small (only 17 vehicles in 1962) Lowestoft fleet was, despite its size an interesting one in the 1960s. The town's claim to bus fame was that it operated the most easterly bus route in the British Isles, to and from a place called Pakefield
The mainstay at this time was a batch of AEC Regent IIs delivered in 1947 supplied with locally built Eastern Coachworks bodies at a time when that company had come under postwar public control and was being set up then to provide exclusively for the nationalised Transport Holding Company fleets. The Council was obviously keen to provide local employment with the supply of its requirements.
No. 19 was seen in September 1966, whilst exactly four years earlier No.25 waits at the end of the nowadays pedestrianised High Street. The conductor takes the opportunity to chat with his driver whilst they are delayed by an opening of the swing-bridge over the River Waveney entrance to the dock area . It could take several minutes for it to close after the passsage of, say, one or more fishing trawlers.
Also in 1966, a comparatively new addition was a couple of AEC Regent V which had Massey bodywork. Note that even then local registrations were not yet using suffix letters. The Council then went on to order similarly bodied Leyland PD3s and with the coming of local government re-organisation in 1974-5 services were operated as part Waveney District Council. Vehicles thereafter included AEC Swift OMO single deckers but I never saw these or the PD3s in service.
........but the undoubted stars of the fleet in 1962 (they lasted a couple of years more) were three or four remaining Guy Arab Utilities dating from 1945. As with most late survivors of this type elsewhere they had undergone some modernisation and rebuilding including rubber mounted windows but FBJ373 was of more original appearance than its brothers and at this time included the heavy shadow script style of fleetname that was being replaced fleetwide by a simple coat of arms. I may be wrong but I think that the Hughes Electricals business is still present in the High Street there.
GREAT YARMOUTH CORPORATION
113 was a Roe bodied Daimler CVG6, basically a front entrance example of the Northampton vehicle at the head of this page. It is seen here catching the summer sun on a strangely deserted the sea front in 1964
KINGSTON UPON HULL CORPORATION
My one and only visit to here was near the very end of the trolleybuses in 1964. At this time the motor-bus fleet was varied and interesting
Kingston-upon Hull's fleet was notable for the number and variety of second-hand purchases it contained. Most interesting were a small number of these AEC Regents acquired from St. Helens Corporation which was the only operator to order what were virtual copies of the famous London RT
Daimler, ex-Newcastle Corporation
The two separate neighbouring municipal operations of Grimsby and Cleethorpes amalgamated c.1957. Both had operated trolleybuses on a fairly small scale. By 1964 the joint fleet was very varied, notable for numerous second-hand acquisitions
The post-war (1945/46) batch of London Transport STL types with Weymann bodies were sold to municipalities in 1955 and HGC 233 was still giving valiant service to Grimsby some nine years later
AEC Regent, evidently ex-Sheffield
THE MIDLANDS (East)
EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Northampton Leicester Derby Nottingham Chesterfield Burton -on-Trent
1960s - 1990s
My first vist to here was in the summer (!) of 1963 when the wet stuff was determined to spoil my day. It succeeded to the extent that I only stayed for a couple of hours and got only a small number of acceptable views which are shown here below:-
Daimler No.204 had the earlier style of tin-front. Unless my ageing eyes deceived me a year or two ago when on a coach in the Dartford area, I think the GVV204 number is still extant on a modern single-decker in the area operated by the Ensign company. Can anyone confirm?
I went again four years or so later and the climate was better............
At All Saints Square opposite the achitecturally and historically interesting church of that name
Summer 1967 at the Kingsthorpe 'Five Bells' terminus which, due to modern traffic conditions is not now used as such. Also, that 1980s trend of disrespect for old and traditional things saw the pub renamed 'Frog & Fiddler' or something equally daft and similar.
By the mid 1970s the older generation depicted above had understandably all been retired and the fleet standard Roe bodied 'tin-front' Daimler CVG6 still just about ruled the streets., batches having been delivered regularly until the late 1960s. At the time of this photo, taken from the roof of the Mayorhold multi-storey car park, No.210 was the first and oldest of these still operating. The car park is still there though I'm sure with heightened security awareness you can't, as then, just wander in and up to get this view today. It's changed a lot and as the town has virtually doubled in size the traffic is constant along here. The business premises top left has gone to be replaced by a large block of prestige flats and a modern entertainment venue sits behind where the hoardings are seen.
In the days before Abington Street, Northampton's main shopping thoroughfare was pedestrianised the Daimlers operated frequent services up and down. Here we see No.214 passing the first part of the excellent Victorian edifice of the Notre Dame school which succumbed to so called progress, like so much else of this once attractive town centre and was demolished around thirty years ago to be replaced, along with buildings to the right by a row of bland shops. The three storey building extreme right however survives as the studio of the BBC local radio station. Route 6A to Newton Road was at that time a local for me and served then a couple of large engineering production facilities with hundreds of employees on the west side of the town, Express Lifts and British Timken Bearings, both American owned are sadly no longer there, their sites being covered by hundreds of houses and flats. The night shift at the latter resulted in the last bus at 23.05 from town centre on weekdays often being full to bursting with a dozen or more standing. This was cheerfully ignored by the inspector who blew his whistle at that appointed hour signalling the simultaneous departure from various central locations in the vicinity of All Saints Church of last buses to several outer residential terminii.
Northampton first dipped its toes into the one man operation pool by purchasing a pair of second-hand AEC Swift's from Wolverhampton Corporation. This 1975 view is at Rectory Farm, an area of the eastern district of the town that has developed somewhat and now has literally hundreds of houses
A large order for twenty Marshall bodied Daimler Fleetlines with Leyland engines was received in 1972-3. No.13 was seen at Parklands c.1981. It is shortly to arrive at the terminus which was outside a large secondary school for girls. Service 14 traversed Wellingborough Road and service 11 came and went via Kettering Road. These routes were, until a few years before this photo, the regular haunt of the Daimler CVG6s. and at this time were more commonly operated by OMO double-deck Bristol VRs. Maybe this was a Sunday.
.................and some Leyland Nationals came during the following year. No. 25 is seen at Kings Heath
Here's another, this time in colour and from 1975 showing a manoeuvre, turning from the Mounts, that was made impossible many years ago by the pedestrianisation of the town's main shopping thoroughfare Abington Street. There is a strong suggestion that a partial return to vehicular traffic here may be sometime be sanctioned as the retail business community has long held the view that pedestrians only there has been a disaster for the shops.
The late 1970s saw the arrival of a new fleet standard in the shape of a sizeable number of these Leyland engined Bristol VRTs. They sported Alexander bodywork of very similar design to that used on the Volvo Ailsa. They were unusual in having rounded rear roof domes as the standard Alexander of the time was with a squared end with slight peak. It's obviously raining here but No.60, a 1977 delivery nevertheless seems to have picked up an excessive lot of road mud. I always thought them rather noisy, and they seemed moreso that than their United Counties/ECW counterparts. I was still relying on a bus to and from the station then and when these arrived on my local route ousting the CVG6s I was not pleased. One early winter saw drivers refusing one day to operate them, on my route anyway, because they were difficult to control in icy conditions.
A perhaps better impression of the type here, about a dozen years later. No 58, new in 1978 appears to have recently visited the paintshop and is very smartly turned out. Its boldy signwritten side shows clearly that the Corporation status has been lost although the operation was still wholly municipally owned and would remain so until sale to First Group in the 1990s
A rather unsuccessful purchase was a batch of these Leyland Olympians, No. 80 is seen here 'in trouble' awaiting attention as they seemed more often than they should to be. As with the Bristol VRs, this was odd because the United Counties examples with ECW bodies always seemed to me to be reliable and trustworthy. Perhaps someone out there who was involved with them for either operator knows more?
One more view of one of the Daimlers to round off. Northampton's Greyfriars Bus Station is of the kind of architecture for which its designers should be lined up against its wall and shot! Locally sometime referred to as 'the jaws of hell' it is a ghastly blot on the landscape dating from the mid-1970s and typifies the type of construction which replaced so much of the old town centre in that and the previous decade. It incorporates a couple of floors above of offices which, to my recollection, have spent more than thirty of their years empty and unlettable. Weeds now grow profusely from its roof. In recent times there was a nationwide television poll about buildings that people would most like to see done away with and this edifice got a mention.
Now, however they are going to get their way. As I write this construction of a new Bus Station a quarter of a mile away now more or less complete and it is due to come into use in March 2014. It is to be called 'Northgate' as it is apparently near to the site of the North Gate of the former Castle. A long awaited development of more retail is seemingly at last on the cards and it will be on the old Greyfriars site, forming an extension to the town's main shopping centre.
The new bus station is now up and running and I have to say that I am quietly impressed. It is somewhat smaller and some terminal points have been located in adjacent thoroughfares but, following a first working day of utter chaos with town centre traffic utterly gridlocked all now seems to be ok. The problem was put down to inappropriate traffic light phasings to facilitate the new pattern of bus central area movements and urgent action to correct the situation was taken. It should be explained that a large part of the Greyfriars building was used for overnight stabling of buses by Stagecoach United Counties and this is not the case for the new facility.
Photos to follow shortly but in the meantime here's a memory of Greyfriars on its first day when it seemed to be the answer to all the town's transport problems.
I think 211 may have been used to convey guests to the opening ceremony. It is seen above, and here at the St.James' Garage alongside Trainer 190, an earlier incarnation of the pre-selector Daimler CVG6. The wheel has now turned full circle for this premises now lies eunused since the ending of operations in the town by FirstBus, original successors to Northampton Transport
Pedestrians seem here to be unsure of where to walk. It soon became necessary to enforce a strict ban on people wandering about like this and the internal roadways understandably became a no-go area for walkers.
NB. The above three shots were on Boots own brand colour transparency film (Italian stuff, Ferrania or similar I think) and the film has not stood the test of time. Fortunately they have escaped the unsightly purple blotches that have disfigured many of the images on the rest of this cassette but this sort of problem is a timely warning that nothing lasts for ever and digitisation is a wise step before all is lost!
The heading shot here is from the mid-1970s and the last two are 1976-77 but the rest are from my 1964 first visit. The Corporation was then seemingly wedded then to large capacity crew operated double-deckers. From late in the decade the fleet was rapidly modernised and a variety of rear-engined and mid-engined vehicles came on the scene.
Leicester was one of the earliest in the seventies to order and operate the Metro-Scania, placing orders for both single and double deck versions.
Also operated at this time were examples of the Bristol RE
and later still it was one of very few to chance its arm with operation of the Dennis Dominator.
Derby was first visited briefly in 1964 when trolleybuses were still operated quite widely
BURTON ON TRENT CORPORATION
This view shows No. 36, one of Burton's 'home grown' utility Guys still giving faithful service in 1964. Burton, by and large, did not do much to rebuild or alter the appearance of their utilities and kept them in fine fettle and running longer than most. Compare this shot with that of the modified Lowestoft example in the East Coast paragraph
Going for a Burton, in Burton!
Resting in the Depot is No.66, another former London 'Utility' Guy Arab. The unidentified one backed onto it must be one of Burton's originals by virtue of the single sliding window on each side of each deck. Ex-London buses had half-drops
When I hopped on to No.70 for a ride in 1964 little did I know that it would live on become nowadays arguably the most famous surviving early Guy Arab. Rescued for preservation a few months later, albeit minus engine and a few other useful bits by then it soon returned to its original London appearance of 1945-53. Eventually coming under the wing of the London Bus Preservation Trust it underwent a few years ago a major Lottery assisted restoration. It now resides at the LBPT London Bus Museum at Brooklands and is often seen out and about at special events.
I went on to Nottingham to briefly see its trolleybuses after my stop at Derby in 1964. My subsequent visits were all after the trolleybuses had gone
I got here very late indeed, in fact it was my last sortie to a municipal location. The date was a typical wet summers day in 1983.Almost twenty years before I had been to neighbouring Sheffield and had seen but was not able to photograph an older generation vehicle perhaps working a joint service between the towns.
A MkII Leyland National in the town centre
By this time Chesterfierld was making good use of a number of ex-London Transport Daimler Fleetline DMS types
The 14th century Church of Our Lady of All Saints with its prominent and famous crooked spire forms a good background to this and the first view
THE MIDLANDS (West)
Birmingham Coventry West Bromwich Walsall Wolverhampton
The city of Birmingham had to wait until 1964 before I could get there. I did not, as would seem logical, travel via the midland route from Euston, instead electing to go via the Great Western route from Paddington to Snow Hill station. Thinking back but unable to recall, I can only assume that there was still disruption of services out of Euston due to electrification and rebuilding.
The Birmingham post-war standard design of bodywork in fact came from three or four different suppliers and was fitted to four different makes of chassis, Daimler, Crossley, AEC and Leyland.
The new order! - In 1964 Birmingham, like many other places was embracing rear-engine designs> This was one of an initial batch of Daimler Fleetlines
A chance shot whilst on a family visit to the new Coventry Cathedral c.1962
In the mid-1970s Coventry finally gave up its struggle to remain independent of the West Midlands PTE. These last two views from about 1974 were very near the end which resulted eventually in all the city's buses becoming dark blue & cream
WEST BROMWICH CORPORATION
Looking for all the world to be from an earlier era (note semaphore trafficator!) this Metro-Cammell bodied Daimler dated only from 1948. More modern versions are to the right and behind
A fleet of much variety and some experimentation. My first look here was in 1963 and I returned a couple of other times before the trolleybuses were all withdrawn about six years later
Walsall acquired in the early 1960s a small number of ex London Transport RTLs. They looked initially quite impressive in their light blue livery and later on had their upper front opening windows removed which made them look quite odd.
I didn't have as much luck with my photography here as I did with neighbouring Walsall, so fewer views are presented
Wolverhampton was the location of Guy Motors and it was persuaded to try out a couple of examples of the 'Wulfrunian'. This quirky front-engine design was ultimately a commercial failure, but only a decade or so later The Swedish Volvo concern was to re-visit the general principles of the layout a little more successfully with its Ailsa model.
LANCASHIRE (CENTRAL & EAST)
Eventually to include Manchester Salford SHMD Bolton Burnley Colne & Nelson Bury Oldham Ramsbottom Rawtenstall Rochdale
The county of Lancashire was the next best thing to heaven for bus enthusiasts in the 1960s offering a complex variety of services across a very large area that included no fewer than twenty-eight municipal authorities all running their own buses. I unfortunately only managed to get to about half of them. I have given the area two separate paragraphs
I was determined to make the city of Manchester one of my first ports of call when i started my photo safaris in the autumn of 1962, however it had to wait until my first holiday with pay which came in June of 1963. My mother had warned me that "it always rains in Manchester" as I set off to catch my overnight train from Euston and boy, she was so right, for the day was a horrible wet one indeed making my photography a lot harder. The photos that follow are a mixture from that visit and one a year or so later.
From 1949 to 1963 Manchester acquired large numbers of Daimler CVGs. All had Gardner engines, most being the 6LW though the legendary 5LW was also well favoured. No. 4107 was from a batch of fifty that came in 1950-51 with Metro-Cammell 58-seat bodies
Crossleys were a local product and as such found a ready home, both pre-war and post-war in the Manchester fleet. For its post-war renewal programme a high number entered the fleet during 1947-49 but were in the end less favoured than the Daimlers. Heavy inroads into their ranks were made in the early 1960s, indeed on my first Manchester visit in 1963 my arriving train passed a huge yard at Ardwick where I estimated fifty plus were lined up ready for the scrapman. No 2081 however seems here to be wearing its almost sixteen years very well.
Manchester turned towards Leyland for much of its 1950s requirement. No.3327, a PD2/12 came in 1954 and had a Northern Counties 61-seat body.
With its painted radiator No.3489, also a PD2/12 looks older but in fact dates from 1958. Its Burlingham body however was less pleasing to the eye
Daimlers were also a regular acquirement in the 1950s and into the 1960s. No 4575 was a CVG6 model with a later but very similar looking Burlingham body. It looks somewhat better for having cream upper deck window reliefs. It is seen here waiting to depart on the 92 service to Stockport that was jointly worked with that Corporation
No.245 (later 45) was one of a batch of six Albion Aberdonians delivered in 1958, most unusually with Seddon 42-seat bodywork
Crossley 2216, in fact a couple of years newer than 2081 above splashes through the rain eeking out its last days by putting a trainee through his paces. All Manchester Crossleys had bodies supplied by the chassis manufacturer
No. 4494 is a Daimler CVG with Metro-Cammell bodywork supplied as late as 1955 with a Gardner 5LW power unit under a tin-front
The rear-engined front entrance bus was making big inroads into the Manchester fleet in the early 1960s. Twenty of these Metro-Cammell Daimler Fleetlines came in 1962/3 to be followed by 150+ Leyland Atlanteans a couple of years later. We'll never know what these crews were talking about but perhaps they were comparing the new type with the ageing Daimlers Crossleys and Leylands that many of them doubtless still had to contend with on a daily basis.
Working the City Circle was No.57, a Leyland Tiger Cub with 38 seat Park Royal bus body. Others of the batch were centre-entrance coach seated confiiguration
Reminiscent of London's much loved BEA Coaches and serving the same purpose for Manchester's Ringway Airport No.34 was a Leyland Royal Tiger of 1953 - the bodywork was by Burlingham
SALFORD CITY TRANSPORT
Despite being what I had always regarded as a suburb of Manchester I was always mystified as to why Salford claimed the title City. These views were recorded on my 1964 visit to Manchester when my overnight journey was switched at a late hour to run via the Great Central from Marylebone, whilst Euston was undergoing major re-development which sadly included the destruction of that famous arch. This placed me on arrival at a different Manchester station
The mid 1960s was the time when the Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline rear-engined designs were advancing their order books considerably. though conventianal types still found favour. Salford unusually ordered some of thes Leyland PD3s with exposed radiators and Metro Cammell 'Orion' bodywork alongside concurrently delivered Daimler Fleetlines. No.196 was brand new when seen here in 1964
Salford's fleet was seemingly always very smartly turned out and they clearly looked after their vehicles. Two large batches of these probably unique design Daimler CVG6s with Metro-Cammell bodies came in 1950-52 and, to my mind always looked older than they actually were
A later CVG6 was No.130 of 1962. Also with (updated) Metro-Cammell bodywork there were 46 ordered, the last five having front-entrance fitments
The proximity of the registrations of Daimler Fleetline No.206 above to that of Leyland PD3 196 at the head of the section confirms their consecutive 1964 deliveries
STALYBRIDGE HYDE MOSSLEY & DUKINFIELD OMNIBUS AND ELECTRICITY BOARD
Surely the municipality with the longest name, which was usually referred to as SHMD, was visited in 1964
The firm of Atkinsons was better known for its commercial goods chassis but dabbled in the passenger market with a number of saloon design chassis. It did however build just one double decker UMA 370. I made about three 1960s visits to Manchester but was never able to photograph it on SHMD service. This shot was however captured at the SHMD depot on a Saturday when it was not due for use. Quite revolutionary at the time (1964) was the open air parking area with its individual terminals into which each bus could be plugged to keep the engines warm overnight.
ASHTON UNDER LYNE CORPORATION
The briefest of stops here for this is when the June 1963 rain was at its heaviest which resulted in only these usable shots and also spoiled my few photos of Manchester Crossley trolleybuses working jointly on routes with Ashton
No.34 was a Roe bodied Leyland PD2 and by all accounts looks brand new in this shot
One of four Bond bodied Guy Arab IVs, No.41 was new in 1956
BURNLEY COLNE & NELSON JOINT TRANSPORT COMMITTEE
I got to here somewhat later than many of the other locations included in this paragraph. In fact it was not until 1972 and it was indeed memorable for being the only municipal photography visit I undertook by plane! This was a case of travelling with an aviation buff friend who assured me that the days of the Vickers Viscount on the flights to Leeds/Bradford were numbered. We flew by North-East Airlines from Heathrow to Leeds/Bradford and somehow got to Burnley by bus.
As I have already indicated, this was a place that I never actually got to. In fact I foolishly missed several municipal operators in this part of Lancashire, even though I made at least three visits to the Manchester area in the sixties.
..................So this one and only rather poor offering is at a rather rain-sodden Bolton
A nice record of the development of the AEC Regent in the decade or so after the second world war. No.37 is a standard Regent III model of the late forties with Weymann body whilst 273 dates from 1956 and is a Regent V model
I first arrived in Bolton quite by accident. The last weekend of October 1962 saw me as an invited seat-filler passenger on a local factory weekend visit to the Blackpool Illuminations. On the way home on the Sunday morning the factory party had arranged to meet their 'northern branch' colleagues for lunch and a joint bingo session which I was neither invited to or wished to attend. The venue turned out to be not far from the central bus station in Bolton so I had almost two hours to savour the local transport scene. Later visits were made when the rear-engined era began there and ultra modern looking vehicles joined the fleet
No.167 was the highest numbered of seventeen AEC Regent Vs in the fleet at this time and was one of six to have Metro-Cammell bodywork
57 was a Leyland PD2 of 1955
East Lancashire coachbuilders supplied the bodywork for twenty-one Daimler CVG6 like 91 in 1957
Very modern looking for 1962, No.12 was a one-off Leyland Leopard with East Lancashire dual-purpose bodywork
The application of large areas of cream relief certainly helped the appearance of Leyland PD2 No.77 that was new in 1956
No.135 was a Leyland PD2 (one of ten such) fitted with rather ungainly full-fronted 'Orion' style bodywork by Metro-Cammell. One is always tempted by this photo to wonder what the occasion was requiring the poster to be fixed under the radiator cap. It reads 'Krazy Klancy'. Was that the driver or conductor and was he celebrating a birthday,or perhaps retiring? I guess we'll never know unless you are the browser that can solve the mystery. The date was probably 1964 and the bus seems to be in normal service.
Belated thanks are due to Anne-Marie who used the Guestbook some time ago to advise that 'Krazy Klancy's was in 1964 a cut-price home goods store, the first in Bolton
No. 145- A Daimler CVG6 with East Lancashire bodywork was delivered in 1960
When the 'modern' era arrived in Bolton East Lancashire was again a favoured supplier of extremely smart looking bodywork for eight 1963 Leyland Atlanteans. These were the first I remember seeing with flush rear ends and, I believe they were the result of the influence of the much respected transport manager Ralph Bennett who was later also to leave his mark on the Manchester fleet
I never actually got to here - I think these two views were in Bury. This was one of a significant number of Lancashire locations that I carelessly failed to visit, but on this occasion was lucky because Rawtenstall had a service to a neighbouring town I did go to.
The chassis of No.11 was apparently the first production example of the Leyland PD2!
LANCASHIRE (West ) + CHESHIRE
EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Liverpool Wallasey Birkenhead Warrington Widnes Chester Stockport Preston Lytham St. Annes Blackpool
The famous port city of Liverpool was first visited in 1967 when all the views here were captured. I well remember that by then the word was getting around about the future and, speaking to crews there and in neighbouring towns I got a sense of the unease they all felt about the forthcoming legislation that was to result in the creation of the Merseyside PTE
Liverpool experimented by not painting a few units of its fleet. A229 was an example. Broadly speaking the A prefix indicated vehicles of AEC manufacture while those with L were Leylands. A229 was one of nearly 200 Regent V models delivered 1956-59 with a variety of bodywork supplied. It was one of thirty whose Metro-Cammell frames were finished in the Corporation workshops during 1959.
A740 was one of ten AEC Regent IIIs dating from 1950 (part of a batch of 100) Most unusually it has bodywork by Davidson and appears to have lost its front registration plate which was JKF 983
The new order. Liverpool was a major customer eventually taking very large numbers with their own distinctive bodywork style. L529 ws new in 1963. Of cours they were crew operated at this time so the single door configutaion sufficed even in a major city operational environment. Interestingly the camera has caught in the act refuse collectors doing what, many years later for health & safety reasons would have been the dismissable offence of riding on their moving cart.
The aforesaid, my late 1962 visit to here was my first and I was keen to see the trams, however my better record of these, and of its buses came in subsequent trips in 1964 and later in the decade
EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Halifax Bradford Huddersfield Doncaster Sheffield Rotheram
HALIFAX CORPORATION & JOINT OMNIBUS COMMITTEE
My first visit to the county of Yorkshire came in April of 1963. I initially went to Bradford but rode over to see the 'sights' of neighbouring Halifax too. As was often the case the weather was not too kind but some interesting vehicles were seen. A couple of visits were made later in the decade and more modern vehicles seen and photographed.
The trouble with going to Bradford during the sixties was that its large and fascinating, but dwindling trolleybus system left little time or energy to pursue the motor bus fleet. That said it was not particularly interesting in my view anyway
In the earlier stages of the trolleybus conversion Bradford was content to buy conventional replacement buses such as the Regent V above, but later aquisitions were dictated by the hard to forgo subsidies available under the 1968 Transport Act for vehicles suitable for one-man operation.
414 was a front-entrance Leyland PD3 with Roe bodywork. It is seen here in the centre of Huddersfield
at rest before setting out on what not long before would have been a trolleybus working
Similar bodywork is here fitted to a Daimler CVG6 chassis
I usually, after 45-50 years am still able to muster some recall regarding my photographic visits, however that to Doncaster has for long occupied some seemingly non functioning spaces in my mind. The object was to see what little remained of the trolleybuses there and I travelled overnight, sometime in the latter half of 1963, being deposited to await a connection at about 03.30 on a cold dark Selby Station. The connection did not come for over three hours I do recall and I got to my destination early on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately at that early hour only a couple of trolleys were on the road - after all, the 'system', such as it then was, had only weeks to run and there was a better selection of motor buses to photograph. Where I went afterwards is completely lost to memory but I know I did not stay very long - all the photos are in rather wet and dull conditions
To be added shortly
EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Newcastle-upon-Tyne South Shields Sunderland Stockton-on-Tees Middlesborough Tees-Side Hartlepool West Hartlepool
My first venture to this part of the country, then the furthest north that I had ever been, was in June of 1963. I was determined then to squeeze in visits to as many places as possible and managed in the day to get to eight different municipal areas including three with trolleybuses. The downside, which I have regretted ever since was that I spent too little time at each place to get a full selection of photographs for each fleet.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE TRANSPORT
more to follow........
SOUTH SHIELDS CORPORATION
Most notable for its connection with the birth of railways (Stockton & Darlington Railway 1825) this town had an unremarkable bus fleet in 1963. My only visit was brief indeed - I passed through on my way to Middlesborough and Tees-Side so my views , taken in the space of less than an hour are, except one, in what I assume to have been the town's main shopping street. I allowed myself a ride to one of the estates on one of the newest Leyland PD3s
After first dropping in in 1963 I actually went here a couple more times so my view here are from the sixties and seventies
TEES-SIDE MUNICIPAL TRANSPORT
WEST HARTLEPOOL CORPORATION
I spent rather more time here that originally intended. The plan was to end my June 1963 marathon north-east trip here by catching a late afternoon/early evening train back to 'the smoke' however, contrary to (obviously poor) research, by about 5.00pm there was in fact no train to get me back to London at a reasonable evening hour. There was, however, thankfully an overnight departure at about 11.30pm. I whiled away some of the wait at a cinema watching the film Sammy Going South starring Edward G Robinson !
Just one photo here for this must have been the smallest municipal fleet consisting in 1963 of just four units, all these 1956 Regent V type. Also unusually this was a contract operation as the service was crewed and operated by Bee-Line Roadways on the corporation's behalf.