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16 hours ago, HarmonicCheeseburger said:

Howcome double deckers now have lost this rear hump?

COAL Real Fire Heating. | The standard Blackburn Borough Tra… | Flickr

They were only ever really a temporary thing on some of the first rear-engined DDs and at the time were a sensible idea with easy maintenance access, better cooling performance and better isolation of sound and heat from the saloon. With improvements in engines these requirements became less relevant over the years and the smooth aesthetics of an integrated body became of greater importance. Leyland's Titan was an interesting middle ground with a peephole at the rear. I believe there have been single-decker Atlantean conversions over the years but Google images isn't being a massive help!

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8 minutes ago, willswitchengage said:

They were only ever really a temporary thing on some of the first rear-engined DDs and at the time were a sensible idea with easy maintenance access, better cooling performance and better isolation of sound and heat from the saloon. With improvements in engines these requirements became less relevant over the years and the smooth aesthetics of an integrated body became of greater importance. Leyland's Titan was an interesting middle ground with a peephole at the rear. I believe there have been single-decker Atlantean conversions over the years but Google images isn't being a massive help!

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I really need to drive one of these! Build is so tough, that for a while it cost more than scrap value to dismantle! 

Incidentally, the engine and gearbox are suspended from the Upper Deck floor structure and the coolant expansion tank is under the rearmost passenger seat on the offside. 

Odd, but doesn't suffer as badly from difficult cooling and heating system bleeding! 🤓

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3 minutes ago, willswitchengage said:

And I think had indie front suspension too. That design really was full of innovation.

I might be talking total tosh here but wasn't there 'bus regionalism' back then? London for the Titan, the Midlands the Metrobus and Scotland the Ailsa.

As I may have mentioned before, the IFS lived on in Volvo B7L; B7TL; B10L and Volvo Super Olympian until the mid 2000's. 

As I understand it, Titan sales were limited by it's relatively inflexible design; 'Highbridge' only. It was a rather complex bus for it's time. 

Also, delays caused by industrial action at Park Royal Vehicles didn't help matters. Many orders were cancelled. 🤓

 

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3 minutes ago, willswitchengage said:

And I think had indie front suspension too. That design really was full of innovation.

I might be talking total tosh here but wasn't there 'bus regionalism' back then? London for the Titan, the Midlands the Metrobus and Scotland the Ailsa.

Not far off.

The Jocks liked simple, easy maintenance buses that preferably didn't have engines at the back.

Midlands well, if it was built there that was all that matters.

London, how fucking complicated can we make something that we can take to pieces at Aldenham.

 

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8 hours ago, Inspector Morose said:

Well, the first Atlantean PDR1 (not the first rear engined double decker built but I might come back to this in a bit) didn't have a bustle but had the engine compartment built into the body. On testing this prototype with operators (another was built but not registered and was used for in house testing) it was found that the 0600 engine was using the body as a giant sounding box making the travelling on it a very noisy experience for the passengers - not what you want passengers to take from a 'bus of the future'.

The first modification was to cut large grilles into the engine cover to try an let some of the noise out but this was barely any better. Obviously a better solution was needed so after it's use as a demonstrator ended, the prototype Atlantean was pulled in to the works and the rear was completely rebuilt with what would become the familiar bustle in an attempt to move the noise of the engine outside the bus. After this rebuild, the bus never carried another passenger but was used, along with its unregistered twin, for further refining of the bus following feedback from operators.

The resultant Atlantean PDR1/1 was a much simpler design, with a conventional chassis, leaf springs and the engine (in the now familiar bustle) mounted outside of the passenger saloon.

Daimler, on developing the Fleetline basically copied the concept of the Atlantean bustle and all but using a drop centre rear axle, Gardner engine allowing it to me more palatable for those wanting a low height vehicle and/or a Gardner engine.

There were exceptions with first generation rear engined buses. Most obviously was the Bristol VRT whose ECW body had the power-pack built into the bodywork but whether it was the quieter Gardner engine or Bristol thought that their passengers were made of hardier stuff; the internal noise levels were not deemed to be an issue.

The other exception was not a rear engined bus but could not be classified as one of the new generations of chassis. This was the Guy Wulfrunian - a front engined, front entrance low height bus with disk brakes, air suspension (independent on the front) and a combined heating/engine cooling system that dispensed with a conventional radiator. The hulking great Gardner engine was mounted between the driver and the front platform and with so little space available, apart from a thin metal cover, there was little in the form of insulation. Having driven one of the surviving examples for a good number of miles I can tell you that Leyland were right on the money in encapsulating the engine and moving it outside of the passenger space!

Oh yes, I was going to mention the first rear engined double deckers, wasn't I? Well, these were two experimental buses (The Leyland Lowloader) built by Leyland to solve the Lowheight problem. Usually to have a lowheight bus, the upper deck was a compromise with a sunken side gangway serving rows of four abreast seating. This was due to the chassis height not being low enough for a regular bus body within the restricted height limits. Bristol were first to come up with a better solution with the Lodekka but Leyland went a different way, moving the engine on to the rear platform and making the chassis more of a giant rear engined skateboard allowing the body to be of a more normal layout. Obviously the space on the rear platform could not contain the usual 0600 engine so a smaller 0350 engine was used instead. To regain the power deficit, a turbo was fitted to the engine. This combination of a small engine with a turbo made the powerpack quiet enough for it not to be that much of an issue, it only becoming a problem on the next development of the concept (The PDR1 Atlantean which is where we came in).

This idea of a queter running, smaller turbo engine has also allowed newer generations of chassis builders to get rid of the bustle and along with much better insulation has made travelling at the rear of one of these not the noisy experience of old.

That does sum up Atlantean vs VR nicely. We had both here in Southampton. It's true, you could hear Atlanteans miles away, literally. On a quiet morning I could hear them leaving Lordshill a full four minutes before they arrived at my stop. I could hear every gear change and intermediate stop as the engine note changed. The engine is practically outside, that fibreglass housing has no real soundproofing. 

The VR was a much better put together bus (our Atlanteans had East Lancs bodies which were just about the cheapest you could buy and they looked like it) and much quieter from outside. But inside, despite the racket going on outside, the Atlantean was a quieter more comfortable place to be. The VR seemed much hotter inside too, not helped by the brown vinyl seats. 

I used Atlanteans every day (apart from the year and a bit we had Routemasters, but even then I fancied an Atlantean occasionally) and the only two places I sat, if available, were the upstairs front seats or downstairs at the back. For a while I was on nights and would catch one home just after 6am and would always sit by the engine. It was a really cosy place to be and you could have a little nap on the way home. I only missed my stop a couple of times and only by a couple of stops, still walking distance! 

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31 minutes ago, Yoss said:

our Atlanteans had East Lancs bodies which were just about the cheapest you could buy and they looked like it

Yep, they supplied a batch of L reg ones to Sheffield (one actually is preserved), that had three line registration plates on the back. Except that Sheffield plod pointed out that this was illegal (tractors  and bikes only for this) so they had to change them all (yes, I've a pic !).

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2 hours ago, Yoss said:

That does sum up Atlantean vs VR nicely. We had both here in Southampton. It's true, you could hear Atlanteans miles away, literally. On a quiet morning I could hear them leaving Lordshill a full four minutes before they arrived at my stop. I could hear every gear change and intermediate stop as the engine note changed. The engine is practically outside, that fibreglass housing has no real soundproofing. 

The VR was a much better put together bus (our Atlanteans had East Lancs bodies which were just about the cheapest you could buy and they looked like it) and much quieter from outside. But inside, despite the racket going on outside, the Atlantean was a quieter more comfortable place to be. The VR seemed much hotter inside too, not helped by the brown vinyl seats. 

I used Atlanteans every day (apart from the year and a bit we had Routemasters, but even then I fancied an Atlantean occasionally) and the only two places I sat, if available, were the upstairs front seats or downstairs at the back. For a while I was on nights and would catch one home just after 6am and would always sit by the engine. It was a really cosy place to be and you could have a little nap on the way home. I only missed my stop a couple of times and only by a couple of stops, still walking distance! 

What was it with East Lancs? All of my experiences with vehicles carrying this bodywork have been interesting*. 

Always seemed to be something rattling like fuck. And leaking like fuck. And who styled them? 

Ralph Bennett styled the Mancunian and Londoner bodies for PRV. 

And these are still impressive examples of industrial design. Compare these two with contemporary ELC stuff! Awful! 

And don't get me started on their Alexander clone body... 🤓🤓🤓

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Few more pics from between about 1969 and 1972, West Riding this time. We'll start in Wakefield Bus Station with 132, A Plaxton Derwent bodied Leopard

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Bristol FLF 543,

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Leeds B.S., and Roe bodied Guy Arab 842,

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and finally a working Wulfronian, 912. Note the angle of that o/s front wheel.

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Did someone mention Southampton Atlanteans?  In the last years, they always reminded me of pictures I'd seen of Lancaster bombers that had just made it back over the channel with bits shot off.  252 or 1252 somehow managed to look a bit better, and was the oldest for quite a while.  It made it into preservation but not for very long. 

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1 hour ago, willswitchengage said:

another oddity in what at the time was the strangest fleet in the country. O405s anyone?

Imported into the country as basic shells then finished here as TWM wanted a minimum UK content. Think it was Wadham Stringer who were going to finish them off but the job went tits and they ended up being finished off by MB's UK importers at Wentworth, just off J36 of the M1.

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Park Royal Fleetline on the Walkley service and a Park Royal Regent V heading down Commercial Street. Check out Google Street view for that today. There's a fooking great roundabout just behind those buses now not to mention the Supertram (ignore that monorail).

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