Images of Yesteryear
We have received many requests to present a selection of historic images and we are pleased to be able to do so. We plan to add new images a couple of times a year and hope that you will enjoy them. The copyright images can be licensed for use by media outlets.
Remembering the Leyland National
The Leyland National was the National Bus Company's preferred single deck vehicle, built by fellow nationalised company Leyland. It was forced onto National Bus subsidiaries, although Oxford did manage to avoid adding any to the fleet. Midland Red took a substantial number of the vehicles, which were allocated across its network. Part of the Nuneaton fleet was 551 (NOE551R), pictured heading to Nuneaton with a 765 service from Tamworth. Bu the time the image was taken the 'Hunter' local identity had been introduced in the Nuneaton area.
Midland Red driving through the snow...
It’s been a while since we published an Images of Yesteryear, so back to the 1970s and Midland Red in Nuneaton where a Marshall-bodied Leyland Leopard typifies the dual purpose vehicle favoured by Midland Red following the formation of the National Bus Company. 325 (PHA325M) is seen in a snowy Camp Hill whilst heading back to Nuneaton with an N50 working.
An interesting RoadCar open top conversion!
Whilst Rocky and his friends form part of the modern Stagecoach East Midlands open top operation in Skegness we were intrigued by this image from RoadCar days in the town. Garish coloured buses were a trademark of the RoadCar operation but it was the style of the open top conversion on this Northern Counties-bodied Leyland Atlantean that caught our attention. Obviously a low-cost conversion with only the central section of roof removed! LJA622P was new in 1976 to the Greater Manchester PTE.
Lake District open top travel the 1999 way....
The open top operation in the Lake District has come a long way since 1999 when the service was provided by Bristol VRTs. Since then it has been operated by former London Leyland Titans, and the odd Leyland Olympian. Then came former London Dennis Tridents. Now, in a first for Stagecoach the 599 route has received brand new Volvo B5TL double decks with Wrightbus Gemini part open top bodywork. Bristol VRT UWV618S was new to Southdown in 1978 and migrated to the Lake District where it operated between 1996 and 2001. It then moved to Stephensons of Rochford and was put to work on the Southend on Sea Sightseeing tour before being exported to New Jersey USA in 2005.
The Midland Red Collection (The Transport Museum, Wythall)
This week's image, or rather images, have been chosen to show that iconic bus designs of yesteryear are still around in 2017. The excellent Transport Museum at Wythall has a great selection of Midland Red vehicles across the decades. It also receives the support from owners of privately-owned vehicles who frequently make their vehicles available to support special events.
West Midlands PTE (ex Hull) Leyland Atlantean
Following the takeover of Midland Red’s Birmingham and Black Country operations in December 1973 the West Midlands PTE faced a major vehicle shortage. Huge investment in new buses could not keep pace with one-man operation conversion as well as replacing many of the older vehicles inherited from the Walsall, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and Birmingham corporations. Surprise second hand purchases were a number of Leyland Atlanteans from Kingston upon Hull. Most of which were pressed into use at former Midland Red depots.
West Midlands PTE (ex Coventry Transport) Daimler CVG
Former Coventry Transport Metro-Cammell ‘Orion’-bodied Daimler CVG 239(Y) was the first of a handful of CVGs that were surprisingly repainted in Coventry colours some two years after the Coventry undertaking was absorbed into the West Midlands PTE. There were several theories as to the reason for the repaint which included a low-cost tidying up of the buses prior to recertification whilst the theorists also suggested it was in defiance of the PTE’s blue and cream colour scheme. Whatever the reason, 239(Y) became the PTE’s East Division’s, (as the Coventry operation) had become, Showbus. With the full backing of Operations Manager James Stokes it made its first outing on the Rykneld Run from Burton on Trent to Derby in the summer of 1976. It also attended early Showbus rallies and was used for several staff private hire trips. On withdrawal from service it was bought by a group of PTE staff and is now owned by Coventry-based operator DeCourcey although unfortunately is no longer in a serviceable condition.
Stagecoach Optare Metrorider
The Metrorider minibus was launched by Birmingham-based bus builder MCW. When MCW exited bus building it was subsequently built by Optare. Whilst this image is only 13 years old - from October 2004 - neither the vehicles or the livery remain. The two vehicles were painted into a green-based Peterborough Park & Ride livery to operate a shuttle service between Peterborough Bus Station and the car park of the Peterborough United football club during major rebuilding works on the London Road bridge into Peterborough City Centre. The service was poorly used and didn't last long with the two vehicles being used on normal services minus the Park & Ride branding.
Stagecoach Bristol FLF
Mark 3 coaching stock and locomotive-hauled trains were still being operated by Virgin Trains in 2004 as this image taken at Euston station on 23rd December shows. It is rare for double deck buses to be allowed onto the platforms at the station. The open top Bristol FLF with Eastern Coach Works bodywork was at the time based at Stagecoach's Northampton depot and ventured to London to operate a Private Hire for Virgin's Communications and Media Team around London taking in the Christmas lights of Oxford Street and Regents Street. Unfortunately the bus failed with an electrical problem on this occasion and had to be recovered to Northampton depot. A few years later, when it was based at Peterborough, it successfully operated a tour around London taking in the Christmas lights.
Midland Red/Oxford South Midland Daimler Fleetline
After building two prototype front entrance. mid-engined vehicles, Midland Red turned to Daimler for its front entrance/rear engined vehicles with bodywork coming from Alexander. Towards the end of their life some of the first batch of vehicles went on loan and were then sold to Oxford South Midlands. Some even received a Park & Ride livery whilst with Oxford. 5254HA was Midland Red's 5254 and retains this fleet number but also carries its Oxford fleet number of 918.
Coventry Transport/West Midlands PTE Daimler Fleetline
After turning to Willowbrook for bodywork on its first rear engined buses (Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines), Coventry Transport ordered 22 Daimler Fleetlines with bodywork to the same design from East Lancs and Neepsend. The 22 buses had a curved-style bodywork with wrap round windscreen. Some received West Midlands PTE blue and cream livery after Coventry Transport was absorbed into the PTE in April 1974 whilst others remained in service with WM logos and fleet names on their coventry red and ivory livery, as shown by 22Y which was pictured a few days before its withdrawal from service. The 'Monobus' board on the front signified one man operation.
Midland Red S22 Single Deck
Midland Red produced its own single deck vehicles right up until 1969. Two, of the last three types built were designated dual-purpose with dimi-coach seats for use on longer distance services. The S22-type also had a larger luggage area and were also frequently used on long distance holiday express services when new. 5890 is pictured in Oxfordshire around 1979 during the return journey to Leamington and Nuneaton after a day trip to Brighton with a staff private hire.
British Rail Cravens (Class 105) DMU
Norwich was one of the strongholds of the Cravens-built diesel multiple units operated by British Rail. Classified as Class 105, they shared many of the Norfolk branch line workings with Class 101 Met Camm and Class 110 Gloucester RC&W-built units. They were not confined to local workings and frequently worked to Birmingham from both Cambridge and Norwich. The '39' in the window is the set number, whilst the '4' is the maintenance date. I can't recall whether it showed the date of the last exam or the date of the next due exam.
Midland Red D9 Double Deck
With rounded curves to the roofline and engine cowling, the Midland Red (BMMO) D9 double deck was the Midland's equivalent of the ubiquttous London Routemaster. Initially most examples had opening vents in the front upper saloon windows but there were removed by fixed glass due to them causing weakness in the front end structure. The D9 could be seen operating across the Midland Red area, and also further afield. 5299 is seen in Leamington whilst on a staff private hire working.