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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 Burnley  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........................



Municipal operations of Scotland Wales & Northern Ireland are on a separate page.




 Southampton Portsmouth Brighton Eastbourne Bournemouth





No. 308 was one of twelve late model Leyland PD2s that came into the fleet in 1960-61. The none too attractive rather boxy style bodies were supplied by Park Royal.





Park Royal bodied Guy Arabs like the above two were a fleet standard from the forties to the late sixties. 




 A batch of twenty of these Regent V models ( Nos.373-392) with East Lancs bodywork came into use 1966/67. 




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.



 No.256 was 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.





 Unusual in municipal service, Portsmouth, until the early sixties, ran several of these Bedford OWBs dating fro the late wartime era. This one had a Duple body but others of the batch were by Mulliner.





These 1943 Daimler CWA6 (AEC 7.7 litre engine) were presumably delivered as utility specification vehicles, however after 1955 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,however they were destined to be shorter lived.



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.




A sizeable batch of these Leyland Leopard L1s were taken into stock between 1961 and 1966. Weymann 41/42 seat bodies were fitted which allowed for 16 standees.


 The ubiquitous MCW Orion bodywork came into the Portsmouth fleet eventually. 



 The modern era arrives - a later member of the batch of 45 Leyland Atlanteans, following those acquired for trolleybus replacement, No 232 came in 1963. It had Weymann bodywork. 








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.



 A nearside view this time of No.84 of the same batch which 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.



I didn't like it at all - the old colours were much better! 














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. 





A later generation, but now very much part of the Corporation's history. An OMO Standee Leyland Panther Cub which came into the fleet in 1966













Another pre-war survivor, this open-top converted Leyland TD4 was still going strong in 1962.





No.116 was a Leyland PD2 of 1950. Full-fronted designs for double deck bodywork were not very popular but it seems that Weymanns achieved an  attractive result for this batch of 30 vehicles. (Nos. 110-139) Their twin exit/entrance and twin staircase layout however reduced their seating capacity to just 48. One example of these has been preserved.






No. 153 was an early example of the Leyland PD3 delivered in 1960. It had A Weymann 62 seat body with platform doors.




Clever conversion for sightseeing work of a late wartime Weymann 'utility' Guy Arab double-decker. It had already been converted to open-top before this further modification was put in hand c.1960.






The Burlingham bodywork on this Leyland PSU1 saloon of 1954 was originally dual-entrance but must have been converted thus later on. 





Although seen here from the off-side it is believed that this PSUC1/1 model, one of six in the fleet was also altered as described above. The bodywork in these cases being by Park Royal.




Very attractive Leyland PS2/1 No. 86 (originally No.44)  of 1949  was one of a trio with Burlingham 31-seat full-fronted coach bodies. At least one of the trio survives today in preservation. 









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 Leyland Atlantean 32, one of eventually sixteen with Massey 75 seat bodies, 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.



Reading, Swindon




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.



There were originally twelve of these all-Crossley 'deckers. Perhaps a little unusual in having lowbridge bodywork with platform doors.  




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. I tried to hurriedly capture some shots of these, together with four later examples which are shown here. The rest of the views  are from other visits  two or three 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.






A pair of 'utilities' still at work but more unusual in being Bristols rather than Guy Arabs. These two retained their high radiators and the bodywork appeared substantially unaltered. They were K6A models with AEC 7.7 litre. engines. No 46 (top) carried a Duple body whilst that of No.49 was by Park Royal. What a pity that one of them could not have been saved.







No.25 was a late Leyland PD2 of 1960. One of a batch of five carrying Massey

61-seat bodywork. 




No. 55 was the only one of the Corporation's Crossleys to have Massey bodywork.  





But, as can be seen, a more or less identical fitment is on AEC Regent No.52 which was a year older than 55. 






Colchester were devotees of Massey which supplied in 1960 also for 11 AEC

Regent V models like No.19 here. 























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. No.7 was delivered in 1951.





.....and Daimler was a popular choice too. No.2 was a CVD6 model (Daimler engine) of 1949 with less usual bodywork by the firm of Roberts.








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. No.23 (top) was an AEC Regent V of 1959 whilst No 36, A Leyland PD2A came some five years later.





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.




No.23 was a 1956 AEC Regent III with Park Royal bodywork. It was similar to its very first motor bus, No.1 of 1950 which was still active at this time. 

 No.5 of that first batch is here. An obvious difference to later No. 23 seen above is the ribbed roof panelling and drop style opening windows






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!






At this time the only saloons in the fleet were six of these AEC Regal IV models of 1`954 with Park Royal 42-seat bodies. There was a low bridge in the road leading to and from the station which necessitated their use.


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 modernisation 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.




 One of a pair of Leyland Leopards of 1951 withWeymann 43 seat bodywork.




......and two more saloons were Albion Aberdoniians built in 1961, also with Weymann bodies. 







Second-hand acquisitions included this pair of Daimlers for use as open-top sightseeing buses. No.247 came from Birmingham City and No.246 originated with the Westcliff-on-Sea concern however both were acquired from Eastern National.



Ten of these Albion Lowlanders (actually Leyland PD3s and badged as such) entered the fleet in 1963. The bodywork was by Alexander and seated 70. 




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.



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 from 1948 for the nationalised Transport Holding Company fleets. The Council was obviously keen to provide local employment with the supply of its requirements and worked to ensure it got ECW to complete its order for bodies the years before. No. 19 was seen when 19 years old 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.

Most certainly the handsomest members of this small fleet were Nos. 28/9, a pair of AEC Regent IIIs fitted with smart looking Massey bodywork. They dated from 1951 - sadly neither of them, or a Guy Arab survived into preservation.



Also in 1966, a comparatively new addition was a couple of AEC Regent V which also 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.





113 was a Roe bodied Daimler CVG6 of 1961, 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. 





No.92 was one of six Albion Nimbus with 31-seat Willowbrook bodies supplied in 1959. 


No.70 was an all-Leyland product (PD2), the last of ten to arrive in 1949.


The curvy Massey body on No. No.54, a Leyland PD1 of 1947 also shows off the attractive blue/cream livery that, by 1962 had all but disappeared. The batch of ten of which it was part were more or less the only fleet members left carrying it by 1962. within a couple of years they had gone, but a few found their way, still painted as such into the fleet of noted independent Mulley's of Ixworth. I don't think they ever became his orange & cream.


One of five AEC Regent V delivered in 1956. This was one of, by then, very few areas still issuing two-letter registrations.

Yarmouth was an early user of the rear-engine Leyland Atlantean, having four like this Weymann bodied example in 1960. No.1 looks as if it had had some repairs to damaged panels.



Four years later a further two were purchased, but this time with slightly less boxy bodywork by Roe. No.5 carried the name 'Charles Dickens'.

No.23 was a Daimler Freeline with Roe bodywork that seated 43.




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 bar one to order what were virtual copies of the famous London RT.




In the decade after WWII Hull acquired around a hundred AEC Regents with Weymann bodies. Here, two from the 1948 deliveries are vying for position.




One of five AEC Reliances of 1960 with Weymann 39 seat bodies. 





One of ten Daimler CVG6 with Metro-Cammell Birmingham style bodies acquired from Newcastle Corporation in 1961.






No. 383 was one of a large batch of Leyland Atlanteans with Roe bodies  that came into the fleet 1960-65.





Across the Humber 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 extremely varied, and, like Hull, 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.




No. 50 was an AEC Regent III of 1948 acquired from Sheffield in 1961.






The unmistakable slightly dated lines of a Roe body show off No.92 acquired by Grimsby Corporation in 1950.






Ex-Salford City Transport - this was a Daimler CVG6 of 1950 with bodywork by Burlingham.






No.127 was a Daimler CVD6 originating in the Cleethorpes Corporation fleet in 1950. Those conspicuous upper front ventilators in place of opening windows, especially when wide open like this, surely made for one of the ugliest frontal appearances of any bus of its time, although it has to be said that the rest of the Willowbrook fitment looks strong and purposeful.





A front-entrance Roe body is fitted to Daimler CVG6 No.54 of 1961.






In 1960 a couple of AEC Bridgemasters were acquired. They had 68-seat Park Royal bodies.





No.18 was a 1961 AEC Reliance with Willowbrook bodywork.






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:-



This can't be positively identified but it was one of the twenty 1947 supplied Daimler CVG6 with Northern Counties bodies. The name of the hotel behind (it's long gone now) would probably arouse the passions of the politically correct brigade today.





By 1953 Roe bodies were taking on the general appearance that would grace the town's streets until the early eighties. No. 199 was, numerically, the last exposed radiator bus acquired. 





The batch that included Daimler No.204 came next and sported a tin-front. Unless my ageing eyes deceived me a few years ago when on a coach in the Dartford area, I think the GVV204 number was then still extant on a modern single-decker in the area operated by the Ensign company. Can anyone confirm? 




No.235, a fleet standard after the mid-1960s would last in service till the late 1970s.




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. I believe this bus survives somewhere, but as an open-topper now.



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. Pleased to note though that it's got its proper name back again in 2015.





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 and I ventured up again recently to get a high level view of the new Northgate Bus Station which is opposite. Sadly the buses using it are no longer municipally operated! Things have 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 thirty plus 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 that are sadly no longer there, their sites being covered by hundreds of houses and flats. 23.05 was the appointed hour of departure for several last buses from the town centre. The night shift at the latter resulted in the last bus on the 6A 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 precise time, signalling the simultaneous departure on pre-Greyfriars days from various central locations in the vicinity of All Saints Church of 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. but 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. Work is today complete and provides for a partial return to vehicular traffic here as the retail business community has long held the view that pedestrians only there has been a disaster for the shops. This manoeuvre however is still not possible.

In the eighties some of the Leyand Nationals, including  No.25, the Kings Heath located example seen above, received

all-over advertising liveries.



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.









The last municipal acquisitions (in the early nineties) were some of these Volvos, most of which received names along with this somewhat different livery. Many eventually gave around fifteen years of service. 






A rather unsuccessful 1984 purchase was a batch of these Leyland Olympians, No. 80 is seen here 'in trouble' and needing attention not possible at the roadside. It is going back to the St, James Garage to be sorted. My recollection is that they seemed more often than they should to have problems. 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?


No.78 though, seems to be behaving itself here,







One more view of one of the Daimlers to round off. Northampton's Greyfriars Bus Station was of the kind of architecture for which its designers should  have been lined up against its wall and shot! Locally sometime referred to as 'the mouth of hell' it was a ghastly modernist blot on the landscape dating from the mid-1970s and typified the type of construction which replaced so much of the traditional old town centre in that and the previous decade. It incorporated a couple of floors above of offices which, to my recollection, spent more than thirty of their years empty and unlettable. Weeds grew profusely and unchecked from its former roof garden.


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 have had their way. 

The new bus station, named Northgate as it is near to the former location of the North gate of the now long gone castle has now been operational for a year, and I have to say that I do like it, even though I share with many others reservations about its size and the need that now arises to start and terminate many services from nearby shopping streets, mainly The Drapery, which seems now to frequently get clogged up by loading and unloading buses. This is understandably not popular with some users.

Latest news - Greyfriars demolition work finally began in late January 2015 and was completed with a'big bang' on Sunday 15th March when the whole brutalist edifice was expertly reduced to 20,000 plus tons of rubble in just six seconds by 2000+ explosive charges in a carefully planned operation that was reported in national newspapers watched on nationwide television.


All this is admittedly well beyond the municipal era in Northampton but is all to do with the town and its former council run bus services that used the facility so I've put it here!

The last time I saw anything like this was the late seventies demolition of two massive cooling towers of a power station on the outskirts of the town and thousands were able to watch from parkland at a safe distance, however in the case of Greyfriars over 400 homes were evacuated and a massive exclusion zone was in place. 


* It should be explained that a significant part of the much larger 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 in 1978  when it seemed to be the answer to all the town's transport problems.



Brand new in 1978 and, in 2015, now no more.





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 worst of  the unsightly purple blotches that have disfigured many of the images from 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!


.............and here to start is a front entrance view of Northgate - more views to follow






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.







Sixty-five of these all-Leyland PD2s entered the fleet 1949-50. 






It was always interesting to come across No.1s in any fleet though by no means all had them. In 1964 Leicester's was a Metro-Cammel bodied AEC Regent III of 1948.







No.220 was a 1962 AEC/Park Royal Bridgemaster.




No.176 was a Leyland Titan PD3 of 1959 with Metro-Cammell 'Orion' bodywork.  




The same year saw the arrival of six of these Daimler CSG6 with identical bodies.





 Leyland PD3 164 had Willowbrook bodywork. It is seen here passing Daimler Fleetline/Alexander demonstrator 565CRW then on trial by the Corporation. 





194 was a Leyland Tiger Cub of 1959. Weymann bodywork was fitted. 






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. Their experience of them was obviously better than London's. 

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, this being undertaken under the stewardship if the much respected Manager Geoffrey Hilditch.








Derby was first visited briefly in 1964 when trolleybuses were still operated quite widely.


 A  smart Brush body adorned No.114, a Crossley DD42 of 1951. 




 Acquired in the earlier stages of the trolleybus  replacement programme  No.140 was a Roe Daimler CVG6. 




Not many users bought the post-war Foden PVD6, however Derby acquired five of them with Willowbrook 56-seat  bodies in 1951. 



1957 saw ten new Daimler CVG6 with Park Royal bodies. Note the earlier style of tin front compared to No.140 above. 











Burton was a strong devotee of the Guy Arab in many different forms. No11 was a Mk III with Gardner 6LW power unit and carries a rare Davies body. 





This view shows No. 36, one of Burton's 'home grown' utility Mk. II 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.



No. 10 was a 5LW powered Mk.III of 1951. The deeply curved front upper deck windows are a tell-tale sign that the body here is by Massey. 





No.14 was also a Mk. II but this time has a Davies 53-seater lowbridge fitment. 




Going for a Burton, in Burton! - The final incarnation of the Guy Arab was the

Mk. IV. No.76 was new in 1961. Most oddly for such a late bus, it was powered by the trusty but old Gardner 5LW which type first appeared in the late thirties..




No.75 was a 1959 delivery, but note the different frontal treatment.





Resting in the Depot is No.66, another former London 'Utility' Guy Arab (G415?). 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 all 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 (new to London Transport) 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 late 1964.The sun was low and the light unsatisfactory but my best  motorbus efforts then are the openers here. My subsequent visits were all after the trolleybuses had gone.



An early example of the AEC Regent Mk. V with exposed radiator. No. 233 was one of thirty such with Park Royal  61-seat bodies and was new in 1956.





No. 124 was from an earlier series (Mk. III) One of a large batch with Metro-Cammel bodies delivered in 1949. 




........and later visits








A batch of thirty-five of the then new AEC Renown (replacement for the Regent V) was delivered in 1965 with rather ungainly looking 70-seat front entrance bodywork by Park Royal.





Metro-Cammel 'Orion' style bodies were on 45 Leyland PD2s like this, new in 1959. 




Nottingham had its own ideas for design when the time came to invest in

rear-engined rolling stock. This is an early (1967) example of the unique lines of

what became more or less standard Nottingham acquisitions for several years to come.




c. 1984



In somewhat later years the AEC Renowns appearance changed when the AEC front grilles were painted over. Never particularly attractive vehicles, this made them look even less so. A few of these later worked on London sightseeing.









Nottingham of course, like many other UK cities is much re-developed and enlarged, however it stands out for me in one particular respect. That is that whilst the city council has entered into partnership with Transdev for operation of the NET the bus services are largely still in municipal hands.





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, a second-hand acquisition from Yorkshire judging by its registration.




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.




  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 only Park Royal bodied vehicles in the vast fleet at this time always stood out as a refreshing change. This is No. 2185 of the batch 2181-2230, Leyland PD2s of 1949-50.




Ninety-two of these Leyland PD2s came in 1948 supplied with the Brush version of the  city's standard design

of double-deck body. 

















 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.





Metro-Cammel bodies were on 124 Daimler CVG6  like this, new 1955-59.



The city transport authority finally gave up its struggle to remain separate from the West Midlands PTE in the mid-1970s. This series of colour views offers a small memory the old maroon/cream livery before just about everything became the same dark blue/cream as the fleets of Birmingham Wolverhampton and Walsall and West Bromwich.











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.


Looking older, but built 1952 were five of these Daimler CVG5 saloons with Metro-Cammell bodies. 



One of five Leyland Tiger Cubs in the fleet at this time. 





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.



One of over a hundred such Guy Arabs in use at this time, No.2 was a Mk. III 5LW of 1948 with Park Royal body. 





No. 813 of 1953 was a Leyland PD2 with Roe 71-seat full-front forward entrance body. 









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. Later on at least one unit had all its windows changed like this.











No.800 was the first of seventeen Dennis Lolines built 1958. Its Willowbrook front-entrance body seated 70. 












There were six of these Bedford SBO's built in 1956. Most unusual acquisitions for a municipal operator, they remind one of typical British exported to the colonies buses of the time.




808 was a coach configured Leyland PSU1 with seats for forty. I believe it is now preserved by the Aston Manor Transport Museum. 






I didn't have as much luck with my photography here as I did with neighbouring Walsall, so fewer views are presented 


Thanks to the radiator blind here this cannot be identified with certainty but looks to be No.390 from the batch of fifteen Guy Arab IIIs with Park Royal bodies that were added to the fleet during 1948-9. 




This time its a dirt covered registration plate to blame but most digits ??W565 can be discerned in zoom. This can only therefore be No. 565, a Guy Arab III with the chassis makers own 34-seat bodywork.





No. 529 was from a delivery 1948-50 of  thirty-six Daimler CVG6 with Brush bodies.





A more modern fleet member was No. 21, a Metro-Cammell bodied Guy Arab IV of 1959. This has a full-fronted front entrance version of the ''Orion' style body, generally disliked by enthusiasts and sometime described as 'monstrous masses of shimmering tin'. My experience of them certainly bore out their tendency to vibrate quite alarmingly, particularly when held stationary in gear.







Wolverhampton was the location of Guy Motors and loyally patronised its local industry for much of its fleet.It was persuaded to try out a couple of examples of the 'Wulfrunian'. This quirky front-engine (entrance ahead of the front wheels) 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.







Eventually to include Manchester Salford  Stockport 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 configuration.



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.





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.





No.510 awaits  its passengers.  For decades since this photo (1964) I have been interested in an have built collections associated with old gramophones and records. Someone here seems involved in some 'horse-trading' in wind-up machines. Three or four are stacked on the pushchair. Maybe he's just playing music hoping for money - I don't remember?



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 forty-six ordered, the last six having front-entrance fitments (see next shot).


A nearside view of one of the six with front-entrance bodies. This configuration cost one seat, for they seated sixty-four against the rear entrance type's sixty-five.  








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.






 Stockport  Corporation vehicles entered Manchester on the joint service between the two locations. Here we see No.273 an all- Leyland PD2 of 1949. 



The first post-war renewals were two batches of Crossley DD42 delivered between 1946 and 1948. No.254 was one of the last to be received. Bodywork was also by Crossley to their more or less standard design. 




'Utilities' were always something to seek out and vey few survived nationwide by the early sixties. By 1964, probably their last year, here anyway, they were seemingly confined to peak hour duties and I could only get this rather poor garage shot of No. 221. 






Also on the 92, a later Leyland PD2 with tin-front.  


..and newer still, unusually bearing a number 1 registration and fleet no.1 was this 1963 delivered Leyland PD2. 




Surely the municipality with the longest name, which was usually referred to as SHMD, was visited in 1964.





Leyland PD2 No.89 of 1958 had a Northern Counties body. 














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 the  Manchester area 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.







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. This was a 1963 delivery, and if it came before June 1st that year this might explain why it did not have an 'A' suffix registration. The last four ordered came the following year and had 'B' suffix numbers. 



One of four Bond bodied Guy Arab IVs, No.41 was new in 1956.


Ashton seemingly had a piecemeal fleet numbering regime. It bought three of these Crossley bodied Leyland PD1's in 1947. Consecutive registrations were GTJ 527-529 but fleet numbers were  32 45 and 75 respectively.









This was No. 81, a 1957 delivered AEC Reliance with Weymann body.




A model seen in many municipal fleets of the time was the AEC Regent III with Weymann body. Bury's pair came in 1952 and by 1964 still retained their skirted side panels. 





 With identical body but new three years earlier were twenty-five on Leyland PD2 chassis. Earlier that year (1949) there were sixteen on the PD1 chassis too.







No.88 was one of a pair of 1964 AEC Reliances with Alexander bodies. 





Twenty-five Leyland PD3's with Weymann 'Orion' bodies came in 1958-9. 






The fifteen Daimler Fleetlines with Alexander bodies dated from 1964.





......whilst fifteen from the previous year were completed by Metro-Cammell.





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.




The ten East Lancs bodied Leyland Tiger Cubs for one-man-operation were the second order for such

into operation 1964-65.










No.234 was a Leyland PD3  of 1961. Analysis would probably indicate that this front-entrance with doors configuration was more popular in the northern areas than down south.










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 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.  



Another, closer look at one of the Regent V's. Not at all apparent but these were most unusual versions in that the Corporation specified Gardner 6LW engines rather than the normal AEC units. It was an AEC and Daimler customer and was perhaps playing safe in that its most recent buses before were Daimler CVG6 with the same Gardner units which it must obviously have considered best. It reverted to AEC engines for its next Regent V orders in 1957-59 however.






.........and here's one of those Daimlers. Thirty were bought in 1953.

No. 4 was a 1951 AEC Regal IV - one of seven with East Lancs 44-seat bodies. A further five of these had Burlingham fitments.



The modern era arrived in 1964 with five Daimler Fleetlines carrying Weymann bodywork. 





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.




One of the oldest units in the fleet in 1964, No.387 was an

all-Leyland PD2 of 1949. Originally part of an order for a hundred very few were left at this time. Indeed 387 looks rather past its best here when it was fifteen years old.




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.

The power of the internet!! - 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!






One of a pair of Leyland PS2s supplied in 1950 with East Lancs bodies. This one had a front entrance whilst sister No.55 had a rear one.



 EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Liverpool Wallasey Birkenhead  Warrington Widnes Chester  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 course 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.






East Lancs bodies were on eight Leyland PD2s like this new in 1962.





An older PD2 version from 1950 No.74 had a Leyland body. 






































 Older than it looks - No.249 was a Guy Arab, originally with utility body delivered in 1944 but received the replacement fitment shown from Massey in 1953.





Another  Massey Guy Arab, this time a Mark IV  from  1959.





1951 saw arrival of twenty all-Leyland PD2s like No.214 here. 




Massey body again but this time o a Leyland PD2 chassis of 1963. 




Another fifteen followed two years later - these were the first fleet members with suffix registrations.





Almost seemingly a fleet standard - No. 43 was new in 1961.




An old Guy Arab of 1951 performs driver instruction duties - note the extended radiator indicating that behind it rumbles a larger Gardner 6LW engine. 




A Daimler Fleetline of 1964 - maybe the most modern looking buses in the fleet at this time but not the newest - see below. 






Birkenhead was far from the only operator to continue acquiring conventional forward control buses well into the

rear-engined era. As late as 1967 a batch of these Leyland PD3s with exposed radiators arrived. The bodies were again by Massey but see how their design had changed and was without their long cherished curved back upper deck.




NB: There is, regrettably not a colour available on my computer that truly represents the livery of Wallasey's buses. I think it was officially called 'sea green' or suchlike but was demonstrably a wishy-washy pale yellow, not quite as dark as shown above.





Attractive for their time was the batch of these Metro-Cammell bodied Leyland PD2s of 1951.  









Wallasey had the distinction of being the first English municipality to place the Leyland Atlantean in serice with its purchase of six units 1958-9. This however was No.7 which came in 1960. 








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. 



In Fleetwood where the trams  run on the streets we seeLeyland PD2 No.331 of 1959 just managing to squeeze past one of the railcoaches.






Fifty of these most attractive and unusual Leyland PD"s were supplied In 1949. They were full-fronted and had

central entrances with doors.





No. 13, still giving yeoman service in 1964, was a Leyland TS8 of 1940! 






My first presence here was during my first Blackpool trip in late October 1962 referred to above.

. The weather was exceedingly dull and photographically it was most unsatisfactory so these images are just for the record, however some rather better shots using a much better camera were obtained at later visits to the area and are also shown




A wholly Leyland user at this time  No11 of 1948 even carried a body of this make.



........as did 14 of the same batch. 





No.56 was a Leyland PSUC1 of 1957. 



No.10 in better weather a couple of years later.


No. 7, again an all-Leyland product, was new in 1951.


Newer still No.60 dated from 1957 and carried Northern Counties bodywork.


I very much wanted to sample this bus. No.11 was a 'Gearless' Leyland of pre-war origin still active in 1962, but not sadly at the time of my visit so this was the best I could do in the depot. It later was preserved though I've not seen it for decades.





EVENTUALLY TO INCLUDE: Halifax Bradford Huddersfield Doncaster Sheffield Rotheram




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.


A Park Royal bodied AEC Regent III c.1948. Several batches of these were acquired in the period 1947-52.





No.6 was a Leyland Royal Tiger 'Worldmaster' with Weymann 42-seat bodywork set out for one-man operation. It was one of nine delivered in 1958.







No. 89 was a Daimler CVG6 of 1954 with Roe bodywork. For some reason their Gardner 6LW engines were replaced in 1957 by Leyland 0.600 units then later one of the batch of twelve was tried out with a Daimler supercharged unit and another with a more up to date Gardner 6LX.



No.48 was a late Leyland PD2 with front entrance Weymann Orion bodywork.



AEC's contribution to front-entrance requirements came with eight of these Regent V models with Weymann bodies dating from 1960. 




NB -My collection of ABC's is too early to include some of the newest members of the fleet in the mid-sixties - I will add the details here as soon as I can research them.  






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


image to follow 


No.12 was a Weymann bodied AEC Regent III, part of a 1949-50 batch of 40 












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.















At last, after a too long delay I am able now to re-install these images. Somehow the folder with these negatives in became mislaid and has only recently turned up again to enable them to be re-scanned.

A batch of 21 of these all-Leyland products, based on the new PD2 chassis came in 1947. The bodies were 56-seat highbridge.

Sheffield was able towards the end of its (first!) tramway era to access the new Leyland Atlantean and bough sizeable batches to see off the last of its railbound fleet 1959-60

No.667 was the last of another batch of highbridge PD2's, delivered in 1952. This time however the bodies seated 58. Twelve or so years old in this shot it looks to have been freshly overhauled.

Given the weather here the dirty condition of No.544 was the more common site. Again it is a Leyland PD2 with Leyland body from 1947. One cannot help wondering whether the 'tin front' was a later modification.

No.1258 was unusual as a 1955 AEC Regent III in having the tin-front usually associated with the successor Regent V. The body was a fairly standard Roe highbridge product. There cannot have been many this late though that retained the earlier Roe trademark window over the staircase

No.223 was the second of a pair of Leyland PSU1 saloons from 1954. The bodies were 31-seat standee type by MCW.



It seemed that members of the trainer fleet had reversed livery of dark blue all over. Former No.595 had earned its semi-retirement after pounding the streets of the city since 1948. It was a Crossley DD42/5 with a Northern Coachbuilders 56 body.



Presumably this pair were likewise members of the Trainer fleet, however my point of reference (1957 ABC Yorkshire Municipals) does not list JWB 416

(left). KWA 218 however is shown as former No.218 of 1948 and both buses appear the to be the same, Leyland PS1 with Weymann 34-seat bodies.



All the above views were collected on a single short visit in the  summer (!) of 1964 during one of the persistently wettest days that I have ever, before or since, tried to photograph on. This also took in my only visit to Rotheram and its fast declining trolleybus operation.







      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.





more to follow........ 



Some views from 1963




No. 161 was the first of a batch of eight Guy Arab IVs from 1957 with Roe bodywork. Note that South Shields borough was another late user of two-letter registration marks.

No.142 was an all-Crossley product of 1947. These were maids of all work in many locations, purchased at this time when an order for the more popular makes would perhaps have taken too long to arrive. The chassis designation was DD42. South Shields had one version 4, two version 5 and this one, apparently a version 6.

Unmistakably a Roe body sits on No.148, a Guy Arab III of 1951.

...........and 1967


By 1967 Bristol and Eastern Coach Works had been freed from the constraints of having to only supply the state-owned THC/Tilling fleets and South Shields was an early taker of the neat little Bristol........................... 




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


No. 94 was a Leyland PD2 with Northern Counties body built 1957. 





.........whilst No.6 was the same but with Leyland's own bodywork. It dated from 1954. 




The MCW 'Orion' body came to the fleet in 1962 when seven units on Leyland PD2 chassis were delivered. 





No.97 is as 94 above.

The first rear-engine buses came into operation the year after the above photos were taken. I never returned there and so did not see any.




After first dropping in in 1963 I actually went here about three  more times so my views here are from the sixties and seventies.









Daimler Fleetline  No.256 was new in 1963. Its attractive Roe bodywork is enhanced here by this particular livery interpretation. 


Nos 197-208 were an order for Daimler & Roe in 1954. They were CVG5 models with the ubiquitous Gardner 5LW engine. 


Later on Sunderland boldly went where no UK bus operator had been before and acquired a fleet to operate flat fare services using tokens and fareboxes.





















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.