Buses & Coaches 1915 - 1950

CD7045 - Leyland G7 - 1922 - Entry No. 001 Fleet No. 135

The Leyland G7 chassis became one of Southdown’s standards in 1921. This particular vehicle was supplied with a Harrington 27 seat charabanc body and had solid tyres. This and others from the batch were re-bodied later in life and 135 was fitted with a Short Brothers O27/24RO body in December 1928 (perhaps receiving pneumatic tyres at the same time?). It was sold for further use in September 1934 to the Gosport & Fareham Omnibus Co. (Provincial). It was withdrawn in 1946 and restored for preservation. Southdown reacquired the vehicle in 1970.

Having enjoyed the trip on service 31 on Queen Mary’s, VRs, Atlanteans and Fleetlines I wonder how passengers faired on such a journey on the top deck with solid wooden seats and no weather protection!

UF1517 - Dennis 30cwt - 1927 - Entry No. 007 Fleet No. 517

The Dennis chassis had been entering the Southdown fleet through operator acquisition and the reliability of the marquee led to the Company placing its own orders. 517 was delivered in 1927 with a Short Brothers B19R body of all metal construction. Withdrawn in 1933 it was sold to a dealer in Hove and rediscovered many years later built into a summerhouse. A painstaking and remarkable restoration was undertaken at the Amberley Chalk Pits museum.

UF4813 - Lyland Titan TD1 - 1929 - Entry No. 002 Fleet No. 813

The Leyland Titan TD1 was the first of a very long serving range of double-deck chassis. This one was supplied new with the existing Brush O27/24RO. During WW2 it was fitted with a temporary canvas top and after peace returned it continued on sea front services until withdrawal in 1951 when the Company preserved it themselves.  The interior of the lower deck looks very comfortable which cannot be said for the upper deck.  The stairs are most precarious too!

UF6805 - Tilling Stevens - 1930 - Entry No. 008 Fleet No. 1205

Tillings Stevens chassis was an early favourite of the Company and this B10A2 ‘Express’ example was part of a new generation of full sized forward-control single deck buses. It was fitted with a Short Brothers B31R body, a 5.1 litre petrol engine and withdrawn in 1940. It was sold to the War Department and by the end of that year was seeing service with Cambridgeshire War Agricultural Committee. It later became a caravan and finally a chicken house. Acquired for preservation in 1977, it was stored for several years while an engine and running units were found and then went to Amberley for major restoration.

AUF 670 - Leyland Titan TD3 - 1934 - Entry No. 005 Fleet No. 970

Some historians consider the Titan TD3 to be the first truly ‘modern’ double-deck chassis - the mechanical units were moved forward thereby permitting more passenger room in the lower deck. When supplied, 970 was fitted with a Short Brothers body to H26/24R layout and it was fitted with a folding roof. Of the intake of double-deckers in this year 8 were supplied with 8.6 litre Leyland oil engines – the first in the fleet.

After WW2 several vehicles in the fleet were fitted with replacement bodies and 970 was provided with a new East Lancs body to H26/26R layout in August 1946. In June 1958 it was sold for further use to an independent operator and entered preservation in August 1963.

GCD 48 - Leyland Titan TD5 - 1939 - Entry No. 006 Fleet No. 248

Delivered in the month prior to war being declared 248 was one of 115 Titan TD5s delivered to the Company. It was delivered with a Park Royal body (H26/26R) and a Leyland 8.6 litre oil engine – oil as the means of fuel being the standard from 1937. In February/March 1950 the body was removed and a new Park Royal one to H28/26R layout fitted instead. It was withdrawn in 1961 and sold to the then usual dealer (F. Cowley of Salford) in December that year. By September 1967 it had entered preservation.

HCD 449 - Leyland Tiger PS1 - 1947 - Entry No. 003 Fleet No. 1249

The Leyland Tiger PS1 shared many of the mechanical features of the Titan PD1 double-decker. The delivery of this chassis in some numbers from 1947 marked the return to peacetime conditions for the Company. Eastern Coachworks was a new supplier for Southdown and the overall layout was not far removed from the post-war standard for bus bodywork from ECW (C31R). These vehicles were used on express coach work initially. In October 1956 the vehicle was fitted with full size bus destination screens and demoted to stage carriage work (the seats were not altered however). Withdrawn in 1961 it was converted to a ‘left luggage’ van for use at Bognor Regis. Still used as this in March 1974 and that same year sold into preservation.  I remember seeing it in this guise in the late 1960s.

GUF 727 - Leyland Tiger PS1 - 1947 - Entry No. 004 Fleet No. 1247

Delivered with ECW C31R bodywork in April 1947 this vehicle was used initially used as intended on express coach services. In November 1954 it was fitted out with bus seats in the layout of B32R and converted to have full size bus destination screens. Withdrawn in 1960 it was sold for further use to a charitable organisation in Lancing in October of that year. It finally entered preservation.  The view of thw two similar vehicles next to each other highlights the destination screen alterations made for bus work.