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Midland Red at Digbeth

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Sorry Lloyd,
Should be 3018 of course. Must proof read my copy before posting.

"2 out of 10 - Must do better" as Clive Whatling (The Digbeth Professor) would have said.

Meanwhile out on the patch... tiz one o' they newfangled Fleetyliner things!
 

jfc

master brummie
At last we are coming into my era with he Fleetline. I passed my up grade test(manual) in a PD 2. The oldest i drove in service was the D9s and s17.
 

john70

master brummie
Hi. Mike. enjoying your pics. of the "patch" nearly every day, thanks for them, you must have hundreds of photo,s. Cheers. John.
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Hi John,
Not hundreds, but a good many although very few with people from the job on. Here is one though, still out on the patch, this is Ida Dainter, one of the few coach conducteress's (her husband George was a coach driver). The only others I recall, but there must have been more, were Connie Richardson and "Little Edna" Jones whose husband Glynn was a very well liked inspector often working in the Bus Station.
Mike
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Lloyd & Mike,

Which one of you was it driving this example of top of the range Midland Red Transport.

Phil

MidlandRedBus.jpg
 

Dave P

master brummie
Hi, a bit of a long shot here - but does anyone remember a driver named Arthur Probyn? I think he worked mainly out of Sheepcote St on the Walsall route 118

Dave P
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Lloyd & Mike,

Which one of you was it driving this example of top of the range Midland Red Transport.

Phil


Stone me Phil, as ancient as I feel some mornings, that's a fair bit before my time! Thanks for a great pic. Lloyds only a young whippersnapper still - but no doubt he'll know about this bus.

Mike
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Here is the very first bus I drove in service with passengers on, back in January 1964 - "Showboat" 3928 (S13 type). Seen parked in Bradford Street. Fair to say apart from in the Bearwood Driving School I had also had an unofficial drive of a LD8 double decker down the long driveway known as the "Valiant Way" inside the Rover works at Lode Lane, Solihull courtesy of Driver "Leyland" Harding!
 

Lloyd

master brummie
I have heard the name of Arthur Probyn, but I can't say I know / knew him.

The early double decker was one of Midland Red Engineer LGW Shire's patents-the 'knifeboard' seating upstairs was back to back, over a hump that ran the length of the lower deck ceiling over the gangway thereby reducing the overall height.
The chassis were ex-army first war lorries, some of which ran as 'lorry-buses' in the post WW1 vehicle shortage. The rebuilds moved the driver's controls forward, alongside the driver, a position which became the norm later but was novel back then. This allowed the stairs to be inside at the front of the body, alongside the front entrance - another first in British bus design
The 'sentry box' cab looks rather uncomfortable, but the first of these leviathans of the road had the barest minimum of driver protection - a thin panel attached to the steering column. It did soon acquire a 'sentry box' itself, though.
The livery, incidentally, was red lower deck and black upper deck, which shows in the photos below. Later, in the 30s, Coaches were given Black roofs to separate them from 'ordinary' buses which had white ones!
 

gibbo2005

master brummie
Not sure if my memory i very good but i think one of the first buses i drove in the early 1950s was a guy arab 2583 in Sutton Garage they had a gearbox that changed gears in the opposite direction very confusing lol Allen
 

john70

master brummie
Hi. Gibbo. Thats before my time on the "Red", but heres a pic. of a Guy Arab at Dudley, sorry its a bit blurred.
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
This ghostly apparition of an SON type was the Parking Driver's "office" at the Benacre Street bus park. Seen here in 1962 almost ready to be towed away for scrap. Tyres had been inflated and housebricks holding it up removed. The collapsed back end was sheeted up for the journey. It's replacement was, I think, S12 3735 seen on the patch in an earlier pic (with Bert Rawlings car). Lloyd may be able to confirm this. Benacre closed soon after for redevelopment to be replaced by Adderley Street bus park opposite the BCT Liverpool Street Garage. Note the milk churn that was carried on the platform of a double deck to be filled with water at Digbeth Garage and returned to meet the demand for the gallons of tea drunk in the "office"
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Yes gibbo some of the wartime Guys had a different gearbox with what was called a 'Chinese' change, the positions being

3 1
4 2

Many drivers would have tried to pull away in 3rd, with the inevitable and embarrassing engine stall.

Nice night time photos of the Benacre Street 'office', Mike. It was one of the DHA registered batch, they did not get the post-war rebuilding with rubber-mounted windows.
There is some thought that they were a cancelled order for Trent Motor Traction, who had similar bodied buses, and these had fuel tanks on the offside and not under the driver's seat as most Midland Reds did.
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
It's a summer Saturday in 1962 and overnight all buses in the garage have been parked out in surrounding streets to turn the whole garage over to coach station for the holiday coaches that would fill it all day. 5082, my favourite S15 basks in the early morning sunshine in Bradford Street not too far to walk from the garage. On such days it was not unknown to have to walk as far up as Alcester Street, no joke if it was raining. Although 5082 remained my favourite it let me down badly one evening as I drove it down the hill in Dene Court Road, Olton on the 174 route to Acocks Green. Applying the footbrake for the T junction at the foot of the hill, the pedal went straight to the floor and stayed there. Having a transmission handbrake we were only supposed to use it as a parking brake under threat of all sorts of damage to the transmission if we ignored the instruction.I thought blow that, shouted out to hold tight and yanked the handbrake up. We started to slow down but still overran the junction. Steering with one hand whilst hanging on the handbrake with a quick request to the conductor to push the steering wheel to the right we made it round the corner onto the opposite pavement without hitting anything and we ended up stopped but rocking backwards and forwards as happens with the transmission handbrake. We should have turned left at the junction but I would never have got the steering locked over for that. A lady came to the front and said "that just serves you right for trying to go round the corner so fast". When I showed her the brake pedal she nearly fainted.The few passengers on had to walk up to the Warwick Road for another bus to the Green. Best of it was, when I phoned in, the Parking Driver Tommy Maiden said "bring it in steady, I'm too busy to come out" so as we did on the Red then I took 5082 in ,where they found out a plastic brake pipe to the front nearside wheel had gone missing, and all the brake fluid had leaked out. Wouldn't bring one in now with todays traffic and evening driving standards round Sparkbrook way!
 

Phil

Gone, but not forgotten.
Lloyd or Mike,

Any recognition or information about this photo. The information I have is,

Dave Carpenter Proudly showing off a brand new D9 awaiting delivery at Carlyle Works Edgbaston in 1961.

Phil

27/12/11. I am unable to find this photo, so if anybody took a copy please let me have one and I will replace it.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
No information other than agreeing that 4887 was new in 1961, and the location does appear to be Central Works. The rarity of the shot is that cameras were generally forbidden on site, photos of buses there are quite rare until the latter days.
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Was Dave an electrician Phil?. I seem to remember him when I spent a while driving this mobile workshop for Central Works in the late 1960's. I know he went out to the garages to do jobs as well, I saw him at Digbeth sometimes.
(Another of those forbidden photos here)
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
And now for something completely different! I leave it to Lloyd to fill you in on this one.
Sorry about the quality of the pic but it was taken on one of those dodgy little disc cameras with negatives the size of a thumbnail.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
For several years Midland Red Coaches had the contract to carry members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to their 'out of town' concerts, regular seasons were held at Cheltenham, Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, Leicester, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Warwick University and the Royal Festival Hall, London. Two coaches took the players and the CBSO's own van, based on a Leyland coach chassis, took the heavier instruments, chairs and music stands. I the late Geoff Kane and Malcolm Hendley were the regular coach drivers, assisted on occasions by other quality staff like Mike (motorman-mike to you!) Holloway. The CBSO choir used us if they were travelling away, too, as did the supporters society.
The 'National express' emblem on the front of the van showed that as part of the deal they could use the bus wash facilities at Digbeth, and sometimes park at other depots when away from Birmingham.
Here's a pic of the van and two coaches where we stayed after a concert at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Sorry it's a poor shot, but it was winter, freezing and the sea tide was right in, the breakers were washing the coaches for us!
 

motorman-mike

Brum visitor who stayed.
Nice work with the CBSO. Remember half the orchestra used to fill a small local pub near the Royal Well on the Cheltenham gig where they regularly ate them out of Snake and Pygmy Pies (are we allowed to call Steak and Kidney pies that now in these PC times?)


Next pic from the 1980's and again something different = and I hope bestmate Stitcher will soon be back on to see this. Not many people ever saw it on the road and many didn't know the Red had even got it. It was a AEC 8 wheeler but sadly I couldn't get back far enough to get the back end in. Anyone got a better photo please?
 
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