Transdev in Keighley with Keighley Bus Museum
Planning an open day or running day event takes time to develop, with many ideas thrown into the ring and out again. But the first open day at the Keighley Bus Museum for 2015 was to evolve into a new venture with local bus operator Transdev In Keighley. A poster was designed by your author and with a few tweaks by Transdev, it was used in many shops and Keighley buses. The KBMT had wanted to build upon the success of the 2014 rally season with some very fine events, such as Metro 40 and the Regent Running day. However events over the winter period saw many changes, with some departures amongst the directors, which led to a fresh start for the new year. We at the KBMT wish our former directors good fortune for their future endeavours and new challenges in the coming years.
With these changes came new challenges, along with new horizons for the KBMT, with many behind the scenes changes. But as ever the show must go on, as 2015 brought so many new fresh ideas. Three events were chosen for the new season, our traditional opener in April, a themed running day outside Keighley in July and a nocturnal running day in late October. For the April open day a West Yorkshire RCC theme was put on the table, which led to the interest from Transdev, who wanted to hold an open day at their Keighley depot. Both events were going to be held on the same day, again with a little serendipity it turned out well on the day. As both Transdev and the KBMT decided to run the day together. At this stage your author had produced a programme for the days event and using several ideas, came up with the programme which was on sale on the day. By March 2015 both parties who had several people concerned with the event, arranged a meeting at Trandsev In Keighley main offices near the bus station. These planning meetings saw the event grow into the show staged on the day, with visiting buses at Transdev's bus depot, with vintage and modern buses. While the KBMT had over 15 stalls, light refreshments and a display of visiting buses at Dalton Mills.
It was an early start on Sunday April 26th, as the previous day saw both depots preparing for the open day, with was buses and finalizing any lose ends. The morning was a crisp fresh one as the sun slowly warmed things up, as the events team along with KBMT board members worked to get everything ready. Buses were parked for display, while stall holders arrived at Riverside, which was a hive of activity. Likewise at Transdev's Keighley depot the visiting modern buses arrived ready for a day's public viewing, the various displays and vintage buses were also ready for the off!. The KBMT depot was opened at 10:00am, with members of the public arriving and purchasing the programme. The first trip to Transdev started at 10:25am, while at the depot a large crowd had gathered as the Lord Mayor of Keighley Mr. G. Mitchell with Mr. A Hornby (Transdev MD) officially opened the event, by cutting a white ribbon. Soon after both gentlemen were standing beside newly refurbished 1801 (Volvo B7RLE/Wrights) in the new 'the shuttle' two tone blue livery, again the bus was officially launched. 1801 would find it's self called into service on Monday April 27th as First Bradford had a dispute with its drivers. The bus wash rides proved quite a draw, with such demand three buses were used for this part of the Transdev depot. One bus was raised to allow the public to look underneath a vehicle, an engine, gearbox were also on display. A model of the former Vicar Lane bus station was also on view, giving the visiting public a look back at this once busy area. Two electric vehicles were on display at Keighley with 4007 the Magtec powered double decker conversion and EB2 the grey liveried Optare SoloEV. Burnley 2770, Harrogate 3601 and Blackburn 1308 were part of the modern buses on display at the K&D depot. There was a busy buzz around the depot, which saw families and bus enthusiasts mixing and talking about the buses. Thanks must go to Mr. Revell and his team at Keighley who pulled out all the stops to hold a superb open day, the first since 1978, well done all.
At Riverside the crowds gathered as the vintage buses brought in full loads of passengers, from the Transdev depot. Inside Riverside, again a happy buzz of conversations were ringing round, as friends and families mingled around the collection of buses. During the morning some of the Transdev managers ventured into Riverside for a brief photo-call and look around the museum collection, which rounded off a very good mornings work. But it was still all to do before the end of the day, buses with stalls, stall holders all had to pack away. The buses at Transdev's depot which were visiting were quickly moved out, because the first Sunday returns were about to arrive back home.
By early evening most of the buses used for displays by the KBMT were now back inside Riverside, as the guest vehicles were well on there way home. The remaining members milled around until it was decided to go home, some went to a pub for some well earned refreshment. While another group ventured to Grassington on the former Pennine Dart D15, for a spot of tea and a review of the day's events. Again thanks to the KBMT board for putting together this event, with valuable assistance from Transdev. Positive feedback from the public on the day and on the KBMT facebook page added to the knowledge that this open day was very successful.
As the old saying goes, March roars like a lion and leaves like a lamb, which is the best way to describe the weather on the first full bus rally of the year in Yorkshire. Which is the now annual Spring open of the Dewsbury Bus Museum, with a fare selection of buses on show, most from Yorkshire with one or two from beyond our fair county.
The day started damp and dull without much improvement, well apart from the old glimmer of hope for some warm sun. Your author arrived early doors, as a small number of Dewsbury Bus Museum's vehicles were awaiting there starting orders. Parked up in the Kirklees SEC car park were Todmorden 9, Yorkshire Woollen 768, Arriva Yorkshire Spectra 637 and a Keighley Hoppa minibus. While outside were Woods of Mirfield Roe bodied Crossley, West Riding 733, Yorkshire Traction 245 and South Yorkshire 81. These were joined by First Halifax Volvo decker tribute to the late Geoffrey Hilditch, in a special livery and a 15 plate TLC ADL E20D. The Bristol RE shown above arriving at the rally, was officially being handed over to West Riding Omnibus Museum Trust during the day.
Fellow Yorkshire based bus museum based in Keighley had brought five vehicles, which were owned by members of the group with West Yorkshire PTE Atlantean 6020 (9339) seen above, Bradford Corporation AEC Matador as WYPTE 025, fictional Yorkshire Rider recovery vehicle 9501, West Yorkshire Road Car 1853 now preserved as Yorkshire Coastliner 421 and finally core vehicle Huddersfield 473. 9339's restoration is all thanks to a select number of gents since 2010 until late in 2014, when the bus was complete apart from a few road tests. The bus was out on its first full public viewing and it looked very smart in the Yorkshire Rider colours. The livery on 6020 is as originally applied by Yorkshire Rider Engineering in 1992.
Also from the West Yorkshire PTE were a former Huddersfield Leyland Atlantean and a former Todmorden based Leyland Leopard. While another West Riding vehicle was the smartly restored ECW bodied Leyland Olympian 577, which did a few morning and afternoon turns on the 70 service to Dewsbury. The NBC was also represented by Trent 356 a fine example of the Bristol RE with Gardner engine, which sounded really draft when climbing out of Ravensthorpe.
The Museum was busy as always with people looking and buying all kinds of bus related collectables. The café, which was in a bus last time, was now inside the depot. Which allowed a Leyland National 2, a Guy Wulfurian and a West Riding coach time to stand outside in the fresh air. The free shuttle service to Dewsbury was as popular as ever, with plenty of the buses going full towards Dewsbury, the mystery tours and visits to Charlottes Ice Cream parlour were popular despite the awful morning weather. Thankfully the afternoon perked up quite well as the sun finally arrived on the scene. This allowed for some very pleasant shots near the canal area just near Mill Lane, which is were the West Riding Leyland Titan 640 above is pictured.
For much of the day your author decided to photograph the various buses moving between Ravensthorpe and Dewsbury, with West Riding vehicles running in the morning on service 70. Guest vehicles running around during the afternoon with various extras, during that time. The preserved Woods of Mirfield Roe bodied Crossley was used on a special service 205 to Mirfield via Knowle to Dewsbury.
By 16:30 preserved West Riding Leyland Olympian 577 made its final trip out to Dewsbury, before going forward to Wakefield and the Arriva Belle Isle depot. As the sun set on yet another fine event, with Dewsbury Bus Museum buses parked up ready for bed, one final bus made its was home, Yorkshire Woollen Park Royal/Roe NBC body style Leyland Atlantean 768.
The first Leeds City Transport standard arrived in 1968 on Daimler Fleetline chassis as 146-160, with 146-155 powered by the Gardner 6LX engine, while 156-160 had the Gardner 6LXB engine. According to Alderman Turnbill a Leeds councilor these buses (146-160) are ' the most modern and refined double deck buses in Britain' For the 1968 commercial motor show held at Earls two of the new Leeds standards were placed on display. In early September the first standard had arrived in Leeds from Charles. H. Roe of Cross Gates, in the new One Man livery, now known as One person operation, with light green and a dark green centre band. The new style white and yellow registration plates were introduced from this batch of buses. The front end dash had three headlights and square indicators, towing eyes and central positioned registration plate. Side destination displays with route number and destination were placed near the entrance doors. More batches followed on the Daimler Fleetlines with 161-180 in 1969, with the first Atlanteans arriving in 1970 with 386-405. 1970 arrived with Daimler Fleetlines, 181-200 and more Atlanteans with 406-425 and 426-445. With these Leeds Standards the front end dash was improved with twin side indicators and four headlights slightly off-set and a central moulding strip. Two batches of Leyland Atlanteans arrived in 1971 with numbers 446-465 and 466-495. The final batch of Daimler Fleetlines arrived in 1972/3 with 751-780, later renumbered 201-230, these vehicles were powered by Leyland engines.
From 1973-1974 the revised Leyland Atlantean AN68/2R was purchased by Leeds City, with 496-530, then 531-555 and 556-580, 582-585, 590-591, with 581, 586-589 and 592-595 arrived with the new West Yorkshire PTE, all the Leeds standards passed to the new West Yorkshire PTE in 1974. 427 (9350), 434, 467-68, 470-76, 478, 480-88 and 490-3 passed to Yorkshire Rider in 1986, with Yorkshire Rider vinal stickers on the PTE livery, these vehicles were withdrawn by November 1988. 496-517, 519-522, 524-25, 527-32, 534-47, 549-595 all passed to Yorkshire Rider in 1986, with most gaining the Yorkshire Rider Livery. But by 1993 a small number including 588 saw service until March of '93 when these were withdrawn before April 1993. 580 was in fact the very last municipal transport department bus remaining in the Yorkshire Rider fleet, on the 31st of March 1993.
588 was sold during the summer of 1993 to Halifax based Eureka were the bus was stored pending its future as an exhibit for the centre. But as the years passed by the building in which 588 was being stored began to fall into dis-repair. Then by chance in the early part of 2015, a small group of people were able to extract 588 from Halifax. Thus after 22 years being preserved inside, the bus minus windows and a flat tire saw daylight and freedom. 588 is currently stored waiting plans to restore her back into life.
To find a museum celebrating some 25 years of preserving classic buses is quite an achievement, this final open day of the season saw Dewsbury Bus museum celebrate in style.
November 16th 2014 saw the rally season end on a high note, as the autumn open day at the Ravensthorpe depot of the Dewsbury Bus Museum. Opened its doors to stall holders, new visiting buses and a 25th Anniversary to celebrate. The morning started with a collection of West Riding liveried buses being parked up outside the bus station in Dewsbury, on South Street. Preserved Leyland Panther 164 was joined by Leyland Lynx 252, Leyland Olympian 577 and Leyland Titan 640, along the South Street area, later the Arriva 2DL integral 1508 arrived in the zip livery featuring the West Riding livery at the rear. 1508 was used to mark the 110th anniversary of the 110 Hall Green/Kettlethorpe-Wakefield-Leeds bus service. The preserved buses were used during the morning sections of runs to Dewsbury to Ravensthorpe and back, along with West Riding classic 733 the Roe bodied Leyland Tiger.
Dewsbury Bus Museum have always been situated in the former Yorkshire Woollen District winter storage shed, used for coaches. This was in 1979, when such buildings could be purchased, by 1989 the building was becoming run down. In order to secure a future build the Dewsbury Bus Museum (DBM) established charitable status, this allowed the build to be replaced with a new shed. Since then DBM have brought into service many West Riding buses into the preservation scene, with additional space taken up on open days by near-by Havelock Street, home for a local education Centre run by Kirklees council. Two years ago the splendid Leyland Titan 640 was completed and entered into the rally scene, this year progress has been made on the MKII Leyland National 73, which is hoped will be ready for the March 8th 2015 spring open day.
Leyland Olympian 577 provided a free shuttle service from the Arriva Belle Isle Depot, Wakefield Bus and Westgate Rail Stations and to Dewsbury, the reverse of the route was the final bus to leave at 16:50 in Dewsbury. Two routes explored the delights of Charlotte's Ice Cream Special on the 99 service, while keen Gardeners could pay a visit to Whiteley's Garden Centre on the 53. Two mystery tours were conducted by Halifax 35, which ran during at 15:05 and 15:50. The 25 Dewsbury shuttle ran every 10-15 minutes during the with the last one departing at 16:30.
Visiting buses were from far and wide, with most having a Yorkshire feel, others were from elsewhere. The most modern bus LT2 arrived form First Leeds West Yorkshire, as the NBfWY vehicle, which has been busy out and about promoting First West Yorkshire's future vehicle purchases. Former Pennine Dennis Dart D15 and Leyland National LN19 were also on display. Keighley Bus Museum members brought a wide selection of buses, from traditional Halfcab AEC Regents to a more modern Leyland Olympian, the Aire Valley Transport Group also brought in a couple of their buses, a LUT Leyland Tiger saloon and an Eastern Counties Bristol K. Plenty of former Yorkshire Rider buses were attending this celebratory event, with 5158, a Northern Counties bodied Leyland Olympian, 8648 a Scania N113CRL Alexander Strider bodied saloon and a Mercedes Benz Plaxton Beaver bodied minibus. A Stagecoach Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10B, a Yorkshire Woollen Ford Thames Trader with Duple body, the East Lancs bodied Daimler CVG6, a Yorkshire Traction Leyland national 2 and the Todmorden Willowbrock bodied Leyland Leopard were all there. The former South Yorkshire Motors Albion Valiant, which was a saloon first, later becoming a Roe bodied double decker bus, was around too. Wallace Arnold coaches, which ran in Leeds until Shearings took control, had preserved Leyland Leopard/Plaxton Elite attending, in the 1970's grey and cream livery. Perhaps the star of the day was the Crossley double deck chassis with Roe bodywork for Joseph Woods of Mirfield, looking splendid in preservation.
For the Autumn open day at Keighley Bus Museum, a theme all about the various AEC Regents was used. The AEC Regent began production during the 1930's, but the on set of World War II stopped production. It was in 1947 the Regent production began until around 1968 with the popular Regent III and Regent V models. The RT was the London Transport version of the Regent, with over 7000 built for LT, which included some 2100 Leyland Titan chassis built to RT standard as RTL's.
The KBMT found support from First-West Yorkshire as the event sponsor, they sent over LT2 used for trials as the New Bus for West Yorkshire. Keighley also had a real treat for visiting enthusiasts and families, rides on Leeds 139 a 1934 built Regent II, which went well. Roe bodied 106 is on extended loan from First, being a worthy addition to the whole KBMT vehicles. Other private owners place their Regents on display in Dalton Mills, just up from the KBMT's Riverside home on Dalton lane in Keighley. A recent addition to the former Leeds AEC Regents is 135, which was being restored at the MTT's Burscough site.
Bradford 220, EYMS 652, Morecambe & Heysham 73 and Rochdale 205 were displayed on the main row inside the KBMT depot, Leeds 106 & 492 were stored near the back of the depot. Meanwhile Leeds 916 was used in service along with former London RT Bradford 410, kindly loan for the day from the Aire Valley Transport Group. Other buses assisted with the free journey's such as Huddersfield 473 and Yorkshire Coastliner 421 (WYRCC 1853).
As is the standard for the open days, two free bus routes were in operation, with a town service via Ingrow railway station. The other visited local attraction Riddlesden Hall and the Airedale Heifer. As an extra treat as already mentioned 139 would be used for trips to Bingley, via Crossflats. Passengers could only used the lower deck, purely because of the age of the bus. The 14:05 departure featured an outing with the NBfWY LT2 bus as a duplicate with 139.
The event ended with a Regent cavalcade around Haworth and Oakworth and back into Keighley, which saw LT2 and a recently introduced Enviro E400/Dennis Trident 33882, along with Bradford 410, Leeds 139, Morecambe 69, Rochdale 235 and 290 with a Mayne's of Manchester Regent V. This allowed for great photos to be taken of this true classic of the front engine half cab era. When the cavalcade returned, both vehicles from First were driven back to Leeds. The visiting Greater Manchester Museum of Transport buses also set off for home, just leaving the KBMT buses to be put to bed.
Thus ending quiet a successful year for the whole KBMT members, who started the year in March with a great open day, followed by the hugely successful Metro 40 held in Bradford. Then the two depot open days, which equaled the years success, with high visitor numbers and bus ride being made. This year saw the introduction of private stall holders and catering being made available at the museum for the first time, another reasonable draw.
So here it is to a successful 2015, with more rallies planned for next season, and members visits to rallies and open days across the year/season.
During late 1975, Leyland was producing prototypes for its new integral double deck TN series Titan bus. MCW had enjoyed success with two Scania chassis based vehicles from 1968-1977, the Metro-Scania saloon and the Metropolitan double decker.
The skills involved with Scania, allowed MCW to consider an integral double deck chassis for the UK bus market, using their own in house body design. The MCW Metrobus was created using a Gardner engine with a Voith gearbox and a drop centre rear axle, for those who wanted a low height version. Naturally MCW homed in on the London Transport business for the Metrobus, which gave MCW orders for some 1000 plus vehicles from 1977-1984. The West Midlands PTE purchased seven prototype models from 1977, with full orders from 1979-1986, with over 930 in the fleet.
West Yorkshire PTE had looked at the intention of ordering a small batch of the Leyland Titan for evaluation, however with the production problems encountered at Leyland. The PTE cancelled the order, when it was clear that the Titan TN series going to be a London Transport vehicle. The PTE then ordered ten MCW Metrobuses DR101/7 all with Gardner engines and Voith gearboxes, these were stationed at the Seacorft depot. 7501-5 arrived in April and May 1980, with 7506-10 arriving in late November 1980, with hydraulic brakes fitted when new. air brakes were fitted to 7501-10 during March to August 1983. All ten passed to Yorkshire Rider in 1986, then stationed at Torre Road depot in Leeds and gained the Yorkshire Rider livery. 7507 was withdrawn in March 1994 and dispatched to PVS in May the same year, 7509 was involved in a fatal collision in 1989 and also sent to PVS in 1990. 7501-6, 8 & 10 were sold to Merseyside transport in August 1994 for continued service. 7501-4, 6, 8 and 10 were withdrawn and purchased by Fleetlink a Liverpool based dealer, these buses found buyers around the UK.
7505 was later purchased by Rutherford (Earnside Coaches), Glenfrag in Scotland in 1996 then passing to the Keighley Bus museum in 2002. The bus was slowly tended too across the years with various parts found for the bus. However 2014 was busy year for 7505, it was seen at Metro 40 in Bradford and then sent off for a re-paint into the WYPTE Metrobus livery. By late September the bus had returned to Keighley now looking very well with the PTE livery applied. Saturday 27th September 2014, the bus was used for a photo-shoot for Bus & Coach Preservation magazine. Philip Lamb and a few KBMT members were driven around Keighley as the sun was setting that evening, photographs taken. 7505 headed back to Keighley and the following day's open day.
It is hoped that 7505 will do a photo-shoot around her old Easterly Road haunts in Leeds, as she revisits Leeds for the first time since 1994?.
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.
Should anyone doubt the popularity of the Routemaster, then the gathering held at Finsbury Park, North London during the weekend July 12-13th 2014. Marking the 60th anniversary of the introduction of RM1 into London Transport service, should prove that the RM is still in people's hearts.
The first large gathering of the Routemaster type would be the 2004 RM50 when Finsbury Park played host to this unique event. Then the chance of having the first ten RM's brought into line was lost because of a lack of RM2s attendance to the rally, which was a shame. However the Routemaster Association started to promote the 2014 RM60 event early, thus gaining the possible chance of having even more Routemasters in attendance. Well for the 2014 event some 140 RM's of various type were entered, plus RT, STL, L, T and the new LT class of vehicle would be on display, with selected RM's in service on the X60 specials. The ROOMA group was in full swing organizing, gathering and creating merchandise and a lavish programme for the two day event, which needed the good fortune of great weather and no problems.
By July 12th only two RM's failed to make it to RM 60, the newly restored RMC4 with it's ECW bodywork and RM10, which had developed a problem. On that day some 89 Routemasters were on display in Finsbury park, with some being used on the X60 service, which included two Routemaster coaches with rear platform doors. The crowds were a mixture of general public, bus enthusiasts and visitors to the park, who were in for a real treat. Several parades were organized for both days as various Routemasters were placed in some kind of order of age or type.
The ROOMA group made this RM60 rally such a success, with help from all it's members and invited Routemaster owners. Naturally the owners do make the event work and this year vehicles arrived from France, Germany and all parts of the UK. The Routemaster in its various guises was on display with RM, RMA, RML, RMC and RMF including the unique FRM1. The stall holders were out in force across the weekend, with official London Transport Museum, ROOMA and friends of London Transport plus other stalls selling all kinds of transport related items. One item of extreme interest were the special RM60 blinds, which some of the RMs on display wore with pride. The RM60 collectors gifts were selling well from the Visions stall, even to the point of some items selling out. The London Transport Museum stall was also doing swift business across the weekend.
RM60 became a record breaking rally as on Sunday July 13th, 2014. Some 124 RM's were on display, with an additional six on X60 service and the eight extra vehicles. Which included LT60, L2, T1, RT113, RT2177, STL2377, LGOC B-Type B2737 and DLA1. The only thing that can not be confirmed is the amount of people who either visited the event on any given day, which by the looks of things was going to be huge. All ready You-Tube has samples of the RM60 weekend out there, while no doubt PMP video, via Dave spencer will be selling his version. Then there could be a ROOMA DVD out in the shops or via their web site, which looks to be in the making during the day. Photographic books will no doubt be produced, along with Buses, Bus&Coach Preservation and other bus magazines all climbing aboard the review of RM60 act.
In basic terms, RM60 was a celebration of last truly designed bus for the old style London Transport. Way back in the early 1950's Colin Curtis ( sadly passed away in 2012), M.A. Durrant and Douglas Scott, with LT engineering all drafted designs that became the shape of the Routemaster. By 1954 RM1 was revealed at the Commercial Motor Show in September that year, then three other prototype Routemasters arrived in 1955-6 all the various elements added, such as RML 3 built by Leyland with Weymann bodywork, RMC4 with an ECW body. By 1958 RM8 and RM5 were placed into passenger service, as production started and lasting until 1968, as some 2700 plus RM's were built for London. Northern General based in Newcastle upon Tyne purchased a batch of 50 RMF type RM's after evaluating RMF1254. 65 RMA class or Airport Routemasters were build for British European Airways (BEA). There were Routemaster Coaches, Long Routemasters and the FRM1. The FRM1 used 60% Routemaster parts, giving a universal feel to the type, an AEC AV691 engine, an AEC gearbox and seats for some 76 passengers gave the FRM1 a unique feel. But during the 1960's AEC found its self being acquired by British Leyland, who by 1968 formed the British Leyland Motor Company (BLMC). This resulted in the dropping of the FRM type of vehicle for London Transport. However the Routemaster outlasted the so called 'Off the peg' products like the DMS Daimler/Leyland Fleetline the AEC Swift saloon. But the RM class was beaten by just a few short months by the Titan and Metrobus T & M class vehicles. The RM saw its withdrawal from 2003 until December 9th 2005 with the 159, as the afternoon change over from Routemaster to ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs. The change over took place at Brixton depot, and the crowds gathered for the last final RM service. In true British style the Routemaster was given three cheers and as RML2217 passed into history, a late running RM passed Brixton garage as it headed for Streatham.
You can look at more pictures of the RM60 weekend on my Flickr webpage at 6228 Leeds photostream. Also keep up to date with the Routemaster Association on their web pages and no doubt there will reviews in various magazines in the coming months.
Having taken several months of planning the main event in June for The Year of the Bus. Was the much anticipated Regent Street Cavalcade, which promised some 40 plus vehicles across London's Transport history, in attendance. Using a rolling road block between eight and ten buses were driven to regent Street from the Albert Embankment. Classic London General B and K-types, a Thomas Tilling double decker and one A.G. Partridge vehicle were amongst the first wave. Then came the STL, RT, RTL, RTW and RLH variations of the AEC Regent chassis, these looked the part wondering around central London. The prototype Routemasters RM2 and RML3 were the next to be seen, passing along Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. Following more restored RM's came the initial rear engine buses the FRM1, SM1, MBA582, DMS1, M1, T1 and DMS 2646, all entering lower Regent Street. Awaiting there turn onto the Regent Street display, these were followed by modern buses in the shape of a SP, TE, VW, three LTs an OEC and the Optare Excel outshopped in the Year of the Bus evolution of the London bus advert.
As the vehicles were parked up along the length of Regent Street, with stalls and various entertainment areas. The setting was complete for a good day, as the horse drawn bus stood at the Piccadilly Circus end, while LT8 was placed near the Oxford Circus end of Regent Street. While this unique event was going on the North Wheld Bus rally was in full swing, again with a Year of the Bus flavor. There were not Leyland or Volvo Olympians or V3 at Regent Street, but the preserved Grey Green 115 Volvo Citybus was there.
The hot sunny weather also help the day go by, as the families wonder around the history of the London bus. Starting with the George Shillibeer horse drawn bus right up to the low floor New Routemaster buses, via the London General B-type, London Transport RT, RM, DMS, SM, M and T class buses, then the modern low floor Dennis Trident, Scania N230UD and Volvo B7TL. The London Transport Museum and TfL members were on hand to assist, with questions and vehicle information. For myself, I was pleased to have made the effort to travel down from Yorkshire for this special event. With the support of Londoners and tourists the whole event was a welcome relief from a congested central London. But no-doubt some with disagree with such events that prevent people moving around London by car.