The 500 Group - for Teesside Bus Enthusiasts
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Are you interested in buses
The 500 class Standard Fleetline
|When the local Government re-organisation came about in 1968 there was a need to decide on a standard type of bus that could be used right across the authority’s area.
The area had long been plagued with low bridges, making the use of a low height bus a necessary on certain routes, notably those to the Transporter Bridge, under Albert Road Railway Bridge
Daimler, had a low height Fleetline chassis and Northern Counties Motor Engineering designed a suitable body, with twin doors and built to a height of 13’5”
This attracted the 25% Bus Grant that was payable for fleet replacement with new buses in the 1970s.
There were seventy six of these seventy seat buses purchased over a period from 1971 to the end of 1973, they were numbered L501 to L576 Some had Gardner 6 LX engines but others had Leyland 0.680s, because the Gardner unit was in short supply following a strike at the Patricroft factory.
They were finished in the authority’s new Turquise and Cream livery and had blue Melamine paneling inside.
The passengers entered at the front but the stairway led from the centre door in a forward direction. The centre door was driver operated, with an interlock, so that the bus could not be put in gear with the doors open.
All were withdrawn by 1987 but the 500 Group preserved L544
L538 (BXG 538K) is seen working a service 57 to Hardwick in 1972. It is in original condition with wheel embellishers and a side destination number blind.
|An essential part of the maintenance schedule of a bus is to steam clean the chassis to remove excess oil and grease as well as road dirt. This is usually done before the vehicle is submitted for it’s annual inspection by the Ministry of Transport examiners.
The vehicle is hoisted into the air to enable the operator to do this dirty job in a thorough manner
EXG 460D, an ex Middlesbrough Daimler Fleetline, gets the full treatment in 1972 - picture F.M.Dowling
Aquasitions from former undertakings
| This ex Stockton Corporation Leyland 'Horse Box' really suited the new livery
It is 8634PT No. 104 in the Fleet, renumbered to H204 in the 1970 re-numbering
It was new in 1962 and survived into Transit days becoming a driver trainer in 1979. It was finally withdrawn in 1980
1970 - Buses ordered by the former Stockton Corportion
|in 1970, the last of the buses ordered by the former Corporation partners were delivered. They were fifteen Leyland Atlanteans that had twin door Northern Counties bodies fitted to their short Leyland chassis
SXG 51H (A51) when brand new in 1970. It was built to bus grant standards so that it could get the 25% rebate that was on offer for bus replacements
1969 - The ex Reading Trolley Buses
|The Teesside Railless Traction Board built an extension to their system in 1967. This ran from Eston, eastwards to Whale Hill and then North to Grangetown, emerging near the Magnet Hotel and joining the loop back to North Ormesby. It opened on the first day that Teesside Municipal Transport took over the undertakings.
This was the last new Trolley route to be opened in England. To provide vehicles for the new route, five Sunbeam F4s, with handsome Burlingham bodies were purchased from Reading Corporation, who were abandoning their system. They too were scrapped with the closure of the Teesside system in 1971.
VRD 184 (Fleet No.T289) in 1970
1969 ex Leicester PDs
| There was a great vehicle shortage in 1969 and several Leyland PD2 were acquired from Leicester Corporation. They only cost £250 each.
Colour pictures are rare of these vehicles, this one is 'as received' and has yet to be painted in Fleet colours. It is FJF 196, 149 in the Fleet, it was eventually withdrawn in 1972, it was obviously a bargain.
1971 - Coaches into buses
|There were route expansions after the amalgamation and therefore a great shortage of vehicles. To achieve a 'quick-fix' , eleven ex Ribble/Standerwick Leyland Atlantean coaches were obtained. These had previously been used on Motorway services down the M6 and M1 from Lancashire to London. They were 1960/61 vehicles with quite ornate Weyman bodies complete with toilets downstairs at the rear.. They were converted from CH34/25F spec to H34/35F, the upper deck retaining their coach seats, the lower being replaced together with the toilets. They were still fitted with motorway axles which made them quite unsuitable for town work and even had toilet rolls in the loos when they arrived.
NRN 601. which was originally Ribble No. 1252, was numbered A54 by T.M.T. It was sold by Cleveland Transit to a scrap dealer in 1979.
1972 First move into luxury coaching.
|Late in 1972 a decision was made to enter the coach market.
The Transport Committee approached a dealer group with the intention of finding a first suitable vehicle. A Bedford YRQ was offered off the peg.It had a Duple 45 seat coach body. The vehicle was brought to Middlesbrough and found to be suitable. It was finished in an orange and cream livery. The coach looked very distinctive in these colours and after purchase it was decided that these should be the standard colours of the coaching arm of the undertaking.
HXG 6L was the vehicle, it is seen, when almost new in 1972, it was allocated No. 370 in the T.M.T. fleet.
1973 Coaching expansion
|After the acquisistion of HXL 6L, more coaches were purchased in the Spring of 1973.
Two vehicles were purchased, both Leyland Leopards, one with a Plaxton body and the other with Willowbrook. Both were front entrance 45 seat coaches.
KXG372L (Fleet No. 372) is seen alongside the Cleveland Centre. It subsequently had a lot of bodywork modification made and in fact was fitted with a Cleveland Transit built body ( with Northern Counties components) in 1983