Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Tuesday Oddments

Open Mouth; Insert Foot
Way, way back on Sunday June 4th, fbb wrote, "The B15 was supposed to be the successor to the ubiquitous Leyland National." Utter drivel, of course.
What fbb should have writ was that the B15 was supposed to be the DOUBLE DECK successor to the Leyland National. Not the best way of putting it, but that is what your rightly-corrected blogger meant to say.

Our Isle of Wight correspondent knows a thing or two about buses having been an engineering manager for London Transport.

He explains all:-

The B15 was designed for London Transport as the replacement for the Daimler Fleetline. It was a full aluminium integral construction (no chassis) so was very much a Routemaster-like vehicle.

It had independent front suspension which required power hydraulic brakes. These were a disaster. The tight space around the front suspension ruled out a large air brake chamber but a later modification to air rear brakes and air over hydraulic front brakes was eventually engineered.
The alternative Metrobus from MCW was supplied to London with similar hydraulic brakes but was engineered properly from the start with successful air brakes which made it popular with all operators.

The rear spring brakes on the B15 were very costly to maintain and were impossible for London garages to keep leak free due to dirt ingestion.  

Leyland soon introduced a new bus with a proper chassis. It had a beam front axle and air brakes which was very much more popular.
This was the Olympian and effectively replaced the Bristol VRT, Daimler Fleetline and Leyland Atlantean.

Beautiful Buses in Bournemouth
Corrspondent John visited the Bournemouth bus rally on Saturday last and has kindly sent a whole clutch to beautiful photos. there is something rather special about shiny clean buses in a bright yellow livery. Somehow they brought cheer to their home resort,

Leyland Tiger PS2/3 JLJ 403. New to Bournemouth Corporation in 1949. This Bus is Burlingham Bodied & has a Period Art Deco interior. Now in Private ownership she is a regular attender at rallies.
And a rear view.

Former Bournemouth Corporation Leyland Titan PD3A/1/Weymann no 167 (6167 RU) was sold to Isle of Man Transport and brought back to the UK and restored to its original livery. It was new in 1963.
Full fronted Leylands were delivered to Bournemouth Corporation before the Second World War, followed by a batch of 30 PD2s with Weymann bodies in 1949/50. KEL 133 was part of that batch.
And the same bus from the rear.

Another distinctive rear end!
RRU 903 is a Leyland Tiger Cub built in 1956 with a body by Park Royal. It originally had an open platform but was rebuilt with a door for one-man operation in 1960. Fleet number 266.

We will see more of John's pictures in later blogs. Apart from the delightful colours and atmospheric style of the vehicles, you have to admire the dedication (and the deep pockets!) of the folk who, not only preserve these beauties, but keep them in running order. The crowds that attend a bus rally are a measure of that dedication.

A Bridge Too Far ...
... for the last bit of Wantage Road Station.
This is all that is left; actually this WAS all that was left of the station on the GWR main line.
In March 2016 fbb photographed the new bridge under construction to give clearance for the main line electrification.
On Saturday last, the finished bridge is shown in use, approaching from the north ...
... and descending to the re-opened Volunteer pub.
There are proposals for a new station on the site but the former interchange between the Wantage Tramway and the main line has now all disappeared.

Damory Dorset Doom Daftness?
Bournemouth correspondent John reported yesterday as follows:-

On 29th May the X12 was amongst the Go South Coast (Damory) cancellations of route registrations.

On 5th June First Whatever They Call Themselves This Week registered route 12 between Weymouth and Blandford via Dorchester. In Fridays DCC website update it was implied that the new route 5 (i.e. 12 or X12???) would also incorporate the 187 Bere Regis service.
It was listed as Route 5 by Dorset County Council, but as First already have a service 5, presumably the number 12 means that the First confuser won't get confused!
Today 12th June GoAhead have apparently re-registered the cancelled X12; The previous online cancellation has vanished from that list of cancellations, however it is listed as cancelled on last weeks N&P using the same registration number.

As yet we do not have details of the actual timetables.

Two 12s? Competition on a route that was barely viable in the first place?

GoAhead have also registered Dorchester Town Services 1 and 2, previously run by Dorset County Council itself.

 Next "It's All On-Line" blog : Wednesday 14th June 


  1. We'll have to wait and see, of course, but IMHO Damory now have plenty of school buses (and drivers) which have no work in the daytime between schools.

    It makes sense (from their view) to use said buses and drivers on marginal services that only need to cover fuel and (part of) driver costs.

    Hang on - - - isn't this what Dorset CC wanted operators to do? Sensible use of resources and a reduction in subsidy.

    I sense that Dorset CC seem not to actually speak to operators until it's too late . . . . these compromises would (and should) have been sorted out earlier in the tendering process with a little dialogue.

    Still . . . . ultimately it's only the residents of Dorset that'll pay . . . .

    1. Is this because of online tendering procedures.

  2. Patience please people. I'm back from a weeks holiday and am getting stuck in to the changes, so some will appear on Traveline this week and more in the following weeks.
    Ken Traveline Dorset

  3. Perhaps the operators might deign to reveal all to their customers? No, that's just a silly, far fetched idea!

    1. Cripes, FBB - give them a chance! Assuming that no tender results were released (even to operators) until Thursday (end of purdah {what a silly name!}) or even Friday, then managers would need to consider the results and what contingency plans to implement.

      These would need to be communicated to VOSA in Leeds and then the on-line suitable timetables to be prepared and uploaded.
      As Ken Traveline has said, be patient and all will be revealed! In any case, as I've said before, around two weeks prior is about the right time to release full timetables, otherwise Joe Public will just get confused {and yes, I do appreciate that you're considerably more clued up than Joe P (no insult intended)}, but us bus types do need to do the work before telling others!!

      Keep up the blog - it's my first read every morning - but sometimes you're a little sharp with busmen who are very often under some pressure from a lot of folk who demand results NOW!!

  4. I'm afraid you still have the relationship of the Leyland National and B15 wrong - the word "successor" simply doesn't apply. The B15 was intended to be complementary to the National, giving Leyland an integral product for both double and single deckers.

    Your Isle of Wight correspondent is correct in saying that the B15 was intended as the replacement for the Daimler Fleetline as far as London Transport was concerned, but it would also have replaced the Atlantean. The Bristol VRT was normally used for low height vehicles, and to the best of my knowledge Leyland did not plan to build lowheight versions of the B15 -that role was to be performed by the Olympian.

  5. For those who can't wait, today's Traveline upload, visible Thursday hopefully, will contain all the Yellow Buses changes for 23 July which may answer all the speculation about where the open toppers are going. It should also include Damory X12 and the Dorchester town services 1 and 2. The X12 was never cancelled, a large batch of paperwork went to the Traffic Commissioners last week and the variation to X12 was accidentally posted as a cancellation by the TC's and subsequently retracted.
    The First 12 (to mimic the X12 number)will be done for next week, First haven't had a service 5 in Weymouth for a few years now, and to date I haven't had the registrations for the work won by South West Coaches.

    1. Sorry - forgot to sign off - Traveline Ken

    2. Comprehensive response Ken but in fairness to FBB, there is now the 5 that replaces the 101 to Crossways.

      However, FBB is way off beam ref: the B15. The successor to the National was, of course, the National 2 that incorporated the best of the later Mk1 variant and the B series that was in parallel production for a few years.

      The B15 was only ever designed as a full height machine but that was little use in the provinces where 13'8 was required and so the B45 (Olympian) was the direct replacement for the VR.

    3. Hi Ken

      Confused - so are there two competing Blandford-Dorchester-(Weymouth) routes then, presumably both commercial after First won the supported contract (12) amid Damory deciding to continue its existing X12 (prompting Dorset CC to withdraw its financial support from the tendered 12 I guess)???

      Intriguing if so although I predict any competition will be short term?!

  6. Yes apologies to FBB I was remembering back to the Southill 5 despite having created the Crossways 5 not that long ago.
    Regarding the X12, all will become clear when you can see Damory's timetable later this week, and First's tendered 12 timetable next week. Interesting to read all the speculation on here and other forums though!!
    Ken Traveline