September 14th 2014 saw the 8th Merseyside Transport Trust running day, again using Liverpool South Parkway Interchange as the main base. Penny Lane and Pier Head/Mann Island were also used as transfer points across the day.
Feeder services from across Merseyside ran into Pier Head and Liverpool South Parkway (LSP), Aintree, Kirkby, Netherton, Ormskirk, St. Helens and Tower Hill. All these routes called at Mann Island before running forward to LSP and either Speke Hall or Aigburth Vale, via Penny Lane. The MTT provided a mix of front and rear engine vehicles for the travelling public to use, two AEC Regents, a Bristol RE, Leyland Atlanteans and a Leyland Panther. Also a Chesterfield Roe bodied Daimler Fleetline, a Merseyside PTE Dodge Minibus, a Stagecoach Ribble Leyland Olympian, a Ribble Olympian, a Merseyside Leyland National MKI and a National Travel West Leyland Leopard coach. With a preserved Halton Leyland national MK2 proving some interest on some 'H' services throughout the day.
LSP saw most of the early morning departures run with reasonable passengers on board, as a mixture of buses and the coach headed for either Pier Head or Speke Hall, providing some great areas for photographing these classic vehicles in service. Buses on the 77A used Mather Avenue for Pier Head journeys and via Woolton Road for Speke Hall diagrams. The MTT's own buses were used mainly on this particular service, with a few journeys operated by Mr. J Cherry's MPTE Leyland national 1000. The H1 and H25 were operated by the former Ribble Leyland Olympians 2101 and 2186, with the Halton Leyland National 2. Merseyside Minibus 7685 ran on the M2 MerseyMini service from the City to Speke Boulevard, while open topper 1449 ran on the 401 Garden Show special service.
For most of the morning I stayed around the Mather Ave and Woolton Rd areas to catch the buses running to and from Pier Head and Speke hall. By the afternoon a move to Pier Head and Mann Island saw more vehicles in situ, with a Crosville Bristol Lodekka and various Leyland vehicles parked up or waiting for departure on the H1/H25 or the 77A routes.
However a visit to Aigburth Vale was not taken as time flew by and its was time to watch the final departures from LSP, as the sun was starting to set. The MTT always put on a good selection of buses for this annual running day, with thanks to Chairman Steve Kelly and all the other MTT members for their hard work in getting the day ready.
Leeds City Transport started operating trams from 1894, with electric power arriving during 1904. The buses were only used as feeders to the trams, these being sixteen seat Guy vehicles, eventually the motor bus began to over take the trams. By the 1930's buses were going places were the trams could not go, and even taking over abandoned tram routes. From the Primrose livery to a stylish blue, Leeds purchased the AEC Regent and Leyland Titan chassis with locally built Roe bodywork. The Daimler chassis again with Roe bodywork was also used in the city, also Metro Cammell and Weymann bodies were purchased by Leeds.
The Tramway at its peak operated some 400 plus trucks, with LCT, Brush and English Electric bodies, with second hand trucks arriving from Hull London and Southampton, with a few Manchester examples too. The 1930's brought in such classes as the Horsfields, Middleton Bogies and the Lance Corporals, these mixing with Chamberlains and Beeston air breaks. The late 1940's brought the LCT built post war tram, similar design to the Middleton Bogie cars and in 1953 the two Roe bodied Rail Cars for the Coronation arrived. However on a very foggy and damp day on November 7th 1959 the last former London Fletham and Leeds horsfield cars ran in service, the final act of the tramway. A special cavalcade with an illuminated car 178 led the closing procession from Swinegate depot, with 173, 176, 189, 175, 191, 198, 171, 172 and 160. These cars were specially number 1-10 for this occasion of duty and they departed Swinegate at around 18:15, cars 1-5 ventured to Cross Gates, while cars 6-10 ventured to Temple Newsam. Then with plenty of tramway officials, delegates and enthusiasts the final movements were started and by the end, all the tramcars were back at Swinegate depot.
By 1956 Leeds had gained a new two tone green livery with Brunswick green and apple green, initially buses had a relief apple green band between decks. This was later increased to the lower saloon windows, giving an improved look to the fleet. Leeds continued to purchase AEC, Daimler and Leyland half cab chassis with most being bodied by Roe. By 1964 the first of ten rear engine Daimler Fleetline chassis with Roe bodies arrived, with 101 being used at the Commercial Motor Show. Other Leeds buses which were exhibited at the show from 1954 were 730 TNW730, 32 TUA32 both were AEC Regent and Reliance chassis with Roe bodies. In 1958 Roe bodied Leyland Titan 221 2221NW and in 1962 Roe bodied AEC Reliance 43 843CUM were at the show. Weymann bodied Leyland Atlantean 340 CUB340C, was a unique to Leeds its body was started at Weymann's factory, but finished by Metro Cammell it too was a motor show exhibit. AEC Swift 51 GUM451D and Daimler Fleetline 131 HNW131D both with Roe bodies were the 1966 Leeds Commercial motor show exhibits. 1968 saw two new Leeds dual door Roe bodied Daimler Fleetlines going to the show 156 and 158 (PUB156/8G), similar bodied Atlantean 428 XUM428J was the 1970 show exhibit. New Mercedes Benz minibus with Deansgate body 30 YUA530J was also seen at the 1970 show, finally Roe bodied Daimler Fleetline 761 (211) JUM211L was the last Leeds bus at the motor show in 1972.
Leeds was a late converted to 'One Man Operation' (OMO) and the rear engine chassis, following the 1964 Fleetlines were the Atlanteans which arrived in 1965. Leeds purchased its final AEC Regents in 1966, alongside Roe bodied Fleetlines. By 1968 Park Royal bodied some 30 Atlantean chassis 356-85 with identical bodies as Fleetlines 131-145. With OMO or as it was later know 'One Person Operation' (OPO) the Leeds livery changed to denote OMO status, with more of the light green on the bus. Leeds had purchased a large batches of AEC Swifts and a batch of saloon Daimler Fleetlines, mixed in with the Thomas Lord standard dual door Atlanteans and Fleetlines. But as the newly created PTE's arrived in late 1969, due to the 1968 Transport Act, Leeds' own future was put into question. By 1972 the answer was plain and simple, a local Government re-organization act saw a new Metropolitan county council created, called West Yorkshire. On March 31st 1974 Leeds City Transport would operate for the last time, with Atlantean 591 being the final delivery and entered into service on the last day too.
In late 2013 vehicle owner Richard McAllister started planning a Leeds City Transport Running day between to points in the city. Following successful meetings with Armley Mills and Thwaite Mills museums and Metro, the day was set. A date of August 31st 2014 was penciled in and all that was needed now were former LCT vehicles. Only a small number of the former Leeds buses are still around in preservation 1931 Dennis Lance 1 111 UB7931, 1934 AEC Regent 135 ANW678, 139 ANW682, 1940 AEC Regent II 106 HUM401, 1948 Leyland Tiger 28 MNW86, 1950 AEC Regent III 492 NNW492, 1955 Leyland Titans 207, 212, 214 UUA207/212/214, 1959 Leyland Titans 228 5228NW, 2805280NW, Daimler CVG6 512 & 514 7512/7514UA. 1960 AEC Regent V 916 3916UB, 1962 Daimler CVG6 572 & 574 , 572/574CNW, 1964 AEC Regent V 592 592JUB, 1965 Leyland Atlantean 331 CUB331C, 1966 Daimler Fleetline 131 HNW131D, AEC Regent V 980 ENW980D, 1971 AEC Swift 1070 AUB170J and 1974 Atlanteans 560/591 SUG560/591M.
The day arrived and well the weather could not be any better, glorious sunshine and warn too. Four of the six vehicles which were in service were based at Keighley Bus Museum, with private owned 212, 916 and 331 alongside 131 owned by the KBMT. At around 09:15 331 was driven out and headed for Leeds via a 78 Bradford working. Then by 09:30ish Leeds 212, 916 and 131 were driven out and made there way to Leeds via Rodley and Kirkstall. By 10:20 all the buses had entered Leeds 212 and 916 stayed at Infirmary Street, while 131 ventured to New York Street for the 10:30 departure to Thwaite Mill museum. At the stop in Leeds was former Leeds 592, which had arrived form Lincoln, in the guise of Tyne & Wear PTE 413, with yellow front. The route was planned so that stops F4 and F7 in York Street could be used, with thanks to Metro who allowed this. Buses going south would pass along to Hunslet and Thwaite Mills, while buses heading North would pass through Kirkstall, Armley and on to Bramley Town End. Here the buses used the roundabout just off Henconner Lane to return to Leeds.
Without the help and assistance of the individuals and groups who provide vehicles and their own time this day would not have been possible, but with some planning and creative thinking, it was a success! Everyone tried the buses the museums had extra business and families were treated to some vintage Leeds buses, running in Leeds. A dream come true for most enthusiast of LCT and no doubt stirred memories of Leeds Folk alike who travelled on such buses in the 1960's and 1970's. With the last services concluded, the Keighley four of 212, 916, 331 & 131 made one final call to the former Kirkstall Road Works site, which has been demolished, for a team photo. Then it was back to Keighley, buses put to bed apart from 331, which was the transport to Skipton. As the people who had been up since around 06:00 decided to have a well earned pint and some grub, with plenty of laughs and reflections of the day.