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Birmingham buses

nickcc101

master brummie
Talking about the width of BCT buses. Coach company I worked for in Stockland green employed an ex Corporation driver who had always driven 7'6" wide buses, as our coaches were 8' wide this caused a problem especially when he was driving down to South Devon where on a number of occasions he hit the bailey bridge at Cullompton causing severe damage to the N/S of the coach. The nickname he was given before he was requested to find employment elsewhere was near side Delaney.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Local touring and bus companies always had some 7'6" wide buses so that they could negotiate some of the Dartmoor bridges. The advent of midi buses overcame much of the need.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Local touring and bus companies always had some 7'6" wide buses so that they could negotiate some of the Dartmoor bridges. The advent of midi buses overcame much of the need.
There is a reasonably new 7foot 6inch wide single deck still running the Exeter to Mortenhampstead route. It was bought especially for the service.
Bob
 

Lloyd

master brummie
As a teenager only the unusual or stunning caught my eye. One such sighting was DON 439 turning into Rea Street from Digbeth. At that time it was only distinguishable by its registration having been rebodied.
11 39 (DON 439) wasn't a rebody, it was actually the first of the next batch built early to be displayed at the commercial motor show that year (which due to the war didn't happen). In other circumstances it would have been 101 (EOG 101).

1139  DON 439  advert.jpg
 

Radiorails

master brummie
I have re-checked my info on 1139 and David H (a good friend of your I guess) makes no mention of a re-bodying. Maybe my tired eyes got that confused with another number. :eek:
Birmingham seemed to get a few of its buses shown at Commercial Motor shows but they were a big fish in a large pond.
One thing that springs to mind is that it is the oddities are always well remembered where they were seen as well. As far as 1139 is concerned as I did not notice the front of the bus it was only the near side and rear that I saw. Hence I spotted the unique registration.
I have edited my original post to omit the inaccuracy.
 
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Radiorails

master brummie
Following on from my post 1286 I mention more oddities I recall. I must have seen most and ridden on a large percentage of the 100 HOV registered Leyland PD2's. However the one that is my memory bank is the first of them, HOV 656 (1656). Having its registration plate at the top of the radiator made it stand out. I first saw it when very new at Baldwins Lane. Another oddity was HOV 803 (1803) a Daimler which had a three track route number fitted experimentally. 1803 was new in 1948, had the route number box fitted in mid 1949 and was a prototype for the new look buses that came the next year. It apparently did the round of garages to acquaint staff with what was to come. I saw this bus in 1952 when operating on the Inner Circle 8 route in Monument Road and was approaching the traffic lights at the crossroads in Monument Road/Spring Hill/ Summer Hill Road/ Icknield Street.
GOE 655 (1655), a Crossley, was seen in Colmore Row in 1950 on a fine summer day. Its engine sound was the clue to it being unusual as it had different mechanics to the other nine of the delivery.
A personal favourite was HOJ 396 (295). This was a Leyland prototype and was put into service at the end of July 1947. It could be seen often on Yardley Wood garage routes in the early days. In 1953, knowing the conductor, I rang the bell from Digbeth to Baldwins Lane.
 
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Radiorails

master brummie
My post 1288 lists some unusual looking BCT buses which was part of the fleet and was chosen by the BCT.
The following are oddities that were not chosen but allocated to the corporation by the Ministry of War Transport.
Four Daimler buses, unusually at the time 8ft. wide, were FVP 920 - 923 (1320 - 1323). They were known as Jo'burgs as they were destined for Johannesburg, South Africa, but were not shipped due to WW2. They arrived in service in early 1942 in all over grey livery. I saw all of them at one time or another in the early 1950's, usually in Colmore Row on service 9 Quinton. By that time they were in BCT colours and had the route number box removed. Sadly I never rode on one. These had gone by 1954.
FON 324 - 326 (1324 - 1326) and FON 629 (1329) were Leylands which had been destined for a Scottish bus company (Western SMT), However Birmingham got them in 1942. They were all gone by 1954. I liked these buses and their interiors were noticeably different in that they had blue covered moquette seats rather than the usual BCT brown.
Also with FON registrations were FON 327, FON 628 and 630. These were also Leylands but as they had utility bodies were not of interest to me at the time.
Other usual buses were those that carried English Electirc bodies that were originally for Manchester. Their chassis were destroyed in a Coventry air raid so were spare. Birmingham bought fifty four of them and fitted then on buses that had been destroyed or badly damaged in the cities air raids. Later in their life they were fitted to replace worn out bus bodies. I personally did not like their appearance and were quite recognizable with a contoured front.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Post 1287 showing AEC 504 bus OP 208 (fleet no. 179) was new in 1926. It was not long lived being withdrawn in 1935. It is shown operating route 7 Perry Common to Portland Road. The return service showed Perry Common 5. That lasted until 1939 when an extension to Court Lane was numbered 5A, with short working still as 5. In 1964 the full route became 5.
A reminder that none of my posts give any details after the BCT became part of WMPTE. I have no interest in the PTE and few archives about it.
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Post 1287 showing AEC 504 bus OP 208 (fleet no. 179) was new in 1926. It was not long lived being withdrawn in 1935. It is shown operating route 7 Perry Common to Portland Road. The return service showed Perry Common 5. That lasted until 1939 when an extension to Court Lane was numbered 5A, with short working still as 5. In 1964 the full route became 5.
A reminder that none of my posts give any details after the BCT became part of WMPTE. I have no interest in the PTE and few archives about it.
It is interesting that once the buses moved away from their individual owners and became part of major groups etc, at the same time they lost not only their own identity but also that of their manufacturer, nowadays you can probably tell who the bodymaker is but you have no idea whose engine is powering the bus, not a badge anywhere. The buses are in fancy colours all swoops and patterns and now even no one corporate colour within an area as towns colour their buses for specific routes. First are trying to give some local identity to its vehicles, but whilst the buses of yesteryear looked workmanlike and elegant (even Wolverhampton's poorly kept fleet and Walsall's mixed assortment) they carried the City's/Town's crest or in the case of Midland Red one colour (OK I remember the different coloured roofs) and the name writ bold and a fleet number that could be seen. The buses themselves became square tin boxes so further individuality was lost as the buses used by Devon General, looked the same as those used by Western national and those used by the cities looked the same as those used by the country operators at their worse when they were the National Bus Company. As for Birmingham's pink trams!!!!!
Bob
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Actually I quite like the pink trams but perhaps it is just because they are much better than the older trams that used to run on the Midland Metro. The old trams were due to be sold by auction last Monday but I have not heard anything about the results of the sale.
https://www.tfwm.org.uk/operations/metro-line-one/t69-tram-e-auction/

However I agree with Bob about how much more interesting it was to see the different liveries as you visited different towns. There was never a standard livery for the BET bus companies (including the Midland Red) unlike the Tilling bus companies which were usually green.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Post 1287 showing AEC 504 bus OP 208 (fleet no. 179) was new in 1926. It was not long lived being withdrawn in 1935.

Nine years was a fair life for a city bus back then, more so because the advances in design made a few years later when the AEC Regent arrived in the fleet with such advances as enclosed stairs to the upper deck. Also by the mid 1930s diesel powered buses were coming in, with a fuel consumption nearly double that of the petrols, and with less need for maintenance too. Many buses of 1928/9 were completely outdated within two years. Normal bus life was only 12 years by the late 40s, but the need to keep them running during the war and in the post war shortages saw lives being extended. Some of the last rear-loaders were over 20 years old when withdrawn by the WMPTE.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
The driver of this bus might have misjudged fuel consumption ...
Five_ways_bus.jpg

from https://birminghamhistory.co.uk/for...our-old-street-pics.41947/page-72#post-545376
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
Its an engineer, come from nearby Tennant Street garage, to refuel buses en route. Legal then, but a big no-no today, even with diesels.
OM, Lloyd & Radiorails
All these pictures bring up my favourite subject 'elfnsafety', spare a thought for those champions of virtue employed by both local authorities and the HSE and how many prohibitions etc would be brought in if this picture were transported to today with the same bus and the same situation, not to mention the civil enforcement officer (parking) because he is on the wrong side of the road and the union because the driver is in the open. It is a wonder that we all got here without the constraints that are now applied to everyday life. Nowadays a health and safety expert would probably earn a masters degree for 'Study the picture below carefully and then write a thesis of not more than 5000 words on what is wrong here and how it should be corrected'. However once again an excellent picture, sharp in black and white and although the bus is covered in adverts it still looks smart and not like an escapee from a Jackson Pollock exhibition.
Bob
 

Radiorails

master brummie
In the thread quoted by Old Mohawk (where this photo originally was posted) there was a suggestion that it was a Midland Red bus. From the photo it looks rather like one of the O 9913 - O 9929 batch, new in 1913 a Tilling Stevens which was owned by the Birmingham District & Power Co. but hired by Midland Red (B&MMO). However, the city took possession of these buses in 1914 when Midland Red operations in the city were transferred to them. There were modifications when they the corporation took over them and as fas as I can see many had visual changes over their lifetimes. They were withdrawn in 1924. The crest and used ticket box are clearly seen in the photo confirming it to be a BCT bus. That 'used ticket' box design lasted for a long while, it appears, I had not realized it had such long legs!
 

Bob Davis

Bob Davis
In the thread quoted by Old Mohawk (where this photo originally was posted) there was a suggestion that it was a Midland Red bus. From the photo it looks rather like one of the O 9913 - O 9929 batch, new in 1913 a Tilling Stevens which was owned by the Birmingham District & Power Co. but hired by Midland Red (B&MMO). However, the city took possession of these buses in 1914 when Midland Red operations in the city were transferred to them. There were modifications when they the corporation took over them and as fas as I can see many had visual changes over their lifetimes. They were withdrawn in 1924. The crest and used ticket box are clearly seen in the photo confirming it to be a BCT bus. That 'used ticket' box design lasted for a long while, it appears, I had not realized it had such long legs!
I noticed how long that used ticket box must have been used and had the same thought
Bob
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
JOC 200 on the 29A route along Digbeth. The Bonser & Co Warehouse on the left but with another company's name on the doors. Nice looking building behind the bus ... pity we can't see more of it.
JOC200bus.jpg
 
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