Bringing a 1947 Leyland PD1 from Yorkshire to Somerset

Due to the unfortunate collapse of a company in Yorkshire, I had the chance to collect a Leyland PD1 and drive it all the way to Weston-super-Mare following its purchase by a local collector.

But first, an apology. If you are reading this, you are either subscribed to my blog or you are a very patient watcher! I’m aware that I haven’t posted much recently but this is due to a lack of time to write more material rather than a lack of any bus-related activity. I have several more posts up my sleeve and I’ll do my best to bring them to you as soon as I can.

The subject of this post is Wigan Corporation 34 (JP6032), a 1947 Leyland PD1 with a Leyland 53-seat lowbridge body. For many years it had been a stalwart of the Yorkshire Heritage Bus Co fleet until financial difficulties led eventually to the entire fleet being put into the hands of a receiver. As ever in these situations, there was the possibility that some of these might be sold abroad or worse, broken up for spares. Jonathan Jones-Pratt bought five of the vehicles and my friend Dave Moore and I were approached to act as ‘ferry drivers’.

We were assured that both our buses had been checked over by someone at the secure yard where they were being stored so all seemed OK for the long journey south. As per usual, I did quite a bit of route research and found that there was a low railway bridge on the most obvious route from the yard to the south-bound M1, so I planned a route that would take me via Tankersley on more suitable roads.

Armed with the address where the buses were stored, Dave and I set off early in the morning by train and arrived at Penistone station about midday. A short taxi ride took us to a remote location where the Yorkshire Heritage fleet was parked in a secure compound. A couple of staff from the facility met us and showed us the two buses we were to bring back. My first impression of the PD1 was that it was OK if a little tatty. Dust and cobwebs indicated that this bus had not been used for a while!

Dave was to bring back a smart looking London Transport RT so he began his walkaround checks while I took stock of the Wigan PD1. I had a look around the RT too, (RT2591, a 1951 AEC Regent III RT3 with Park Royal body) and although the exterior is very presentable, the interior looked a bit tired, with several seats having damage. In its favour though were several original interior adverts dating from the decimal currency change-over in February 1971.

The Wigan PD1 really was an unknown quantity as nobody there had any experience of the vehicle so I poked around for quite a while before starting it up and checking all the usual daily check items. The engine started first time and ticked over slowly with a characteristic Leyland ‘hunting’ rhythm. Apparently new batteries had been fitted in readiness for the journey. I took the bus out of the compound and drove it up and down the nearby yard, just to get a feel of the vehicle and check that I could make it stop as well as make it go!

My checks revealed that the nearside front indicator wasn’t working so, while I waited for a chap to fit a new bulb, I took the above photo. I also noticed that the charge lamp on the control box in the cab wasn’t going out, even when I revved the engine so I highlighted this as well. The two chaps spent a while fiddling about and proclaimed, after watching the headlights while the engine was revved, that the dynamo was charging, despite the red lamp not going out. I was not convinced and decided not to stop the engine until I’d reached Weston-super-Mare, just in case!

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Wanted: nut guard rings for a Leyland PD2

I’m sending out a plea on behalf of the operator of the Leyland PD2/3 that I’ve been driving regularly this year. It joined the English Riviera Sightseeing Tours fleet in 2013 and, ever since I first saw it, I thought it looked strangely incomplete without the customary nut guard rings on the front wheels.

FFY403-no-nut-guard-rings

To my mind, the poor old girl looks a bit undressed without her rings! As far as I can tell, she retained her nut guard rings while she was with the Cobham Bus Museum but appears to have lost them during her stay with the Blackman collection in Halifax. By the time she reached Ensign in Purfleet the rings were missing. Locating a replacement pair is one of my winter projects, although if the original pair showed up, that would be wonderful! I have already contacted Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company (the Blackman family’s business) but I’m not holding my breath.

LRV992-cropped

Those who read this blog regularly will know that Stagecoach introduced a very similar open top PD2 this summer on which the nut guard rings are present. This made me determined to get a pair refitted to our bus!

Exeter_Corporation_17_HFJ144_at_Crossmeads_after_dark

Here’s a photo of a very similar bus which I saw at the Exeter Twilight Bus Evening in 2012. This was taken by Geof Sheppard (reproduced here under Creative Commons licence) and shows the nut guard ring fitted to the nearside front wheel very well. The bus had just been restored and, being a 1948 Leyland PD2 with a Leyland body, is almost identical to our ex-Southport one. Except that it has a roof, green paint and nut rings.

So folks, it’s over to you. Do you have a pair of nut guard rings lurking at the back of your garage? No? Perhaps you know where a pair could be obtained. In which case, please leave a comment and I’ll follow it up. It would be fantastic to be able to fit a pair of rings to FFY403. Not only would it complete her ‘look’, it would make it much easier to climb into her cab as the offside ring doubles up as a useful step!

In other news, my final wedding duty for Crosville recently found me driving 1950 Bristol L5G KFM893 down through the lanes near Bridgwater to transport a wedding party from Huntstile Organic Farm to the Parish Church of St Edward in nearby Goathurst.

KFM893-at-Goathurst