A Matter of Experience

A further tribute to the late Dr Michael Harrison whose dedicated work on the history of Burnley, Colne & Nelson's trams and buses was sadly unfinished at the time of his tragically early death in November, 2000. This article has been copied 'warts an' all' from an early proof manuscript which may have been subsequently published but not to this website's author's knowledge. Photographs have been inserted into this transcription of his work to illustrate certain points which I'm sure Dr. Harrison would have intended. The Leyland Society have published a book entitled "The Leyland Buses of Burnley, Cone & Nelson Joint Transport". Some of the information in this article has been reproduced in that book along with additional photographs. Well worth a read.


Burnley Centre c.1933 featuring Leyland LT2's or AEC Regals on the left and a 1931 AEC Regal on the right. The bus following the tram is probably  Ribble.

Burnley Centre c.1937 featuring BCN TD3 (no.88 front left) & TD4 Titans and a Lion LT7, a Ribble TD4 and in the centre possibly a Hebble single deck.


                                                                          Burnley's Tram Replacements 1931 - 1935

                                                                                       A Matter of Experience

                                                                                  Michael Harrison 12th May 1998

        Before 1881 the Burnley public transport system was based on the limited use of horse buses supplementing the main line railway services. Steam trams were introduced in September 1881 running between Padiham, Burnley & Nelson. There were many vicissitudes in the first few months but the service gradually improved over the years with better engines and bigger cars until municipalisation and electrification began in 1901(1). The electric trams were all large bogie cars, mainly double deck, but with a proportion of long single deckers both to ascend the steep Manchester road route and to pass through the diminutive Culvert on the Todmorden Road route.

        Burnley developed a special form of maximum traction bogie which had the especial features of greater power at the rail from the same motor with a considerable economy in operation and greater acceleration. All the passenger cars were subsequently fitted either from new or retrospectively so that the fleet was largely standardised by the outbreak of the Great War. The truck design was subsequently copied by other manufacturers who built some 450 examples which were primarily to be found in Birmingham until 1953.

        The Burnley tramways expanded but ran into a brief period of financial difficulties due to national inflation arising from the Great war - one effect was to preclude all but one of several proposed new routes being built, motor omnibuses being bought instead. The buses had contradictory financial characteristics - being small they cost less per vehicle mile to operate than trams but incurred annual losses which had to be recovered from the profits made on the trams. The trams reached their peak in 1929: the nationwide recession began that December and unemployment in the town soared reaching its peak in 1932.

        In the winter of 1930/1 (MH still to determine date) the Borough Treasurer wrote to the Tramways Manager regarding the losses being generated by the buses. It was concluded that one of the profitable cross town tram routes should be replaced by petrol omnibuses and these were delivered between December 1931 and April 1932. 14 AEC Regents and 2 Crossley VR6 diesels were delivered fitted with 8 Roe and 8 Brush centre entrance 50 seat bodies. The remarkable feature was not the twin centre staircase or the rear destination screen mounted in the roof dome out of site of all but passing starlings or the diminutive capacity compared with the trams but in the wide open entrance fitted, if that is the word, with no doors. Thus passengers were subjected to the full blast of the air, wind, rain and snow - engendering their well deserved epithet of pneumonia boxes.

'Pneumonia Box'  AEC Regent / Roe 41, HG 1027, as new. Photo: Ribble Enthusiasts.


        Within months it became apparent that the Crossleys had inherent problems. The brakes and electrical fittings required rather more maintenance per month than the petrol engined AECs 44-49 which carried identical bodies, the chassis, drive and engine each required about 3 times as much maintenance, the fuel system, particularly the 'atomisers' or injectors, required almost 6 times the maintenance but the gearboxes required almost 8 times as much maintenance. Overall by December 31st 1932, a Crossley had required 2.8 times the maintenance effort to keep it on the road compared with the AECs. The result was that the mileages run by the Crossleys were much lower than the AECs. Fortunately, the two buses could be considered as experiments but they would soon be bypassed by Leyland chassis powered by an 8.6 diesel - one of the great early diesel engines.

        Excluding the experimental Crossley machines, the chassis and engines purchased from 1931 to 1935 to replace the trams were reliable. Leyland appeared to have got over some very bad patches in that department, having had to fit new chassis frames to all of a batch of Burnley LT2s when they cracked and the Roe bodies had to be rebuilt in 1930.

        In 1930 Colne Corporation reviewed the future of its undertaking and concluded it should abandon its trams. The discussions which were to lead later to the formation of a committee to direct the public transport of the three adjacent towns were advised by A.R.Fearnley, manager of Sheffield's transport, and A. Collins, a London accountant. Fearnley urged the abandonment of all the tramways and avoided several pointed questions from Burnley councillors. The reports considering the merits of trams and buses for each route were tarnished with a lack of understanding and quite unusual assumptions. However, at least momentary consideration was given to investing in a fleet of 50 modern trams for Burnley(2). The Nelson & Colne trams were considered obsolescent even though those needed for everyday service were built with good technology in 1925 or 1926. The cavalier assumptions and philosophy applied to the substantial tramway investment were applied with equal vigour to the purchase of new buses.

        In April 1933 the modest Nelson and Colne tramway and bus departments were added to Burnley to form the "BCN" Joint Transport. Since late 1927 the philosophy of the Colne Corporation had turned against further modernisation of their - by ten - single tram route jointly operated with Nelson. Both towns had acquired several new high quality trams, each a new tram depot, and new power station generators at Nelson. the Nelson track had all been re-laid while Colne had started to renew the track in autumn 1925 and replaced many of its original traction poles, but stopped in summer 1927. So by 1933 the 1903 built track through the town centre was well overdue for renewal, two thirds of the traction poles were in desperate need of replacement. Within days the former Burnley manager, now manager of the combined system, took one of Burnley's well maintained single deck cars to Colne and inspected the track. He was horrified. The tram was standing up on the full sized wheel flanges in what was left of the rail grooves so the treads of the wheels were standing clear of the rail heads. Colne & Nelson's cars must have had their wheel flange diameters progressively reduced over the years to match the lousy Colne track.

        The decision to close the Nelson and Colne tramways followed primarily from the condition of the Colne street infrastructure and the inability to overcome the inherent operating objections to tramways built with single tracks punctuated with passing loops. The abandonment of the Burnley system was much less easy to justify and the main line was to be retained until 1938.

        The 21 Nelson & Colne trams were to be replaced by 12 Leyland TD3s bodied by English Electric (2) and Park Royal (10) with open platform rear entrances. The Park Royal bodies included a staircase whose top step in the upper saloon was forward of the normal position for a double deck omnibus rear bulkhead which was therefore "split" with the offside part built forward relative to the nearside part. The two tram systems were closed with some ceremony on 7th January 1934 and the trams moved to Burnley depot to be broken up a few months later. The 12 new buses, covering 12 duties without spares, were used on the tram route from Nelson centre to Colne Heifer Lane (by the depots) there bifurcating to Trawden Lane House (tram 1904-28, then single deck one man bus) or Laneshaw Bridge (tram 1905-26 the sd omo). The Nelson - Higherford route, operated primarily by 73 seat Burnley Bogies since April 1933, was replaced by 31 or 32 seat single deck conductor operated Leyland Lion LTs or AEC Regals of Burnley or Nelson running 13 duties on an extension of the route to/from Burnley via Four Lane Ends (known by Burnley as Marsden Cross) and 4 Nelson local duties to Hallam Road Top. It soon became apparent that there was a lack of capacity - the single deck buses were too small and the double deckers too few. In January 1934 , a further 18 double deck buses were ordered, 6 being for the ex. tram services: more TD3s but this time, to demonstrate their new found faith in cutting edge technology, fitted with 8.6 litre fuel oil engines, and metal framed bodies built by English Electric. Although it was not appreciated at the time, this was a major strategic error.

        It is worthwhile digressing here to consider "experience". Burnley had run into grave difficulties with the county police, the magistrates, and the Board of Trade in 1881 &1882 over technical regulations concerning miniscule steam emissions from the first tram engines. A new 27 year old tramway manager had been appointed in April 1882, one Henry Mozley. He and the company board tested four or five different engine makes, in service, on the route, selected the best and ordered several - then subsequently ordered new large capacity bogie trams to match. Mozley was chosen to manage the subsequent municipal electric trams and at all times lead from the front with formidable engineering support from the Car Works: he believed quite firmly that trams were a sound form of public transport with buses providing a secondary supporting role. When he retired in March 1930 the Corporation had an immediate dilemma - the need for an experienced and steady hand on the tiller.

        There is grave danger in adopting new technology en masse for immediate front line operation. In the tramway era the Burnley management had learnt not to believe manufacturers' claims regarding steam emission (Kitson 1881), or armature life (B.T-H. 1901), trolley standard safety (Blackwell 1901), axle life (Baker 1903), magnetic brakes (Westinghouse 1903), or chassis life (Leyland 1930). Now suddenly centre entrance buses had been ordered without doors, and lightweight double deck bodies were delivered having metal framed structures whose pedigree was frankly unknown.

        In the summer of 1933 the Joint Transport had resolved to scrap the three Burnley local single deck tram routes during 1934 and the "main line" by late 1938. In the spring/summer of 1934 the manager caused Leyland to bring to Burnley first one then another of their demonstration buses fitted with the Lysolm-Smith semi-automatic torque converter. It is not known where these buses were driven.

        In 1903 there had been discussions in London between the Board of Trade and the representatives of the Burnley Corporation with especial regard to the proposed tramway route on Manchester Road, Burnley. Then and now, the road climbs continuously from the town at an average gradient of 1 in 18 - but including a short stretch of 1 in 9.8 to pass over the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The BoT insisted on restricting the route either to 4-wheel trams which Burnley declined or bogie mounted single deckers. Bogie double deckers were refused authority. All the trams had had to be fitted with extra brakes: the electric brake and the mechanical wheel brake were only regarded as sufficient for service stops. Thus hand operated "slipper" brakes were applied to the rail heads between each pair of axles before each descent began and each tram had to be brought to a compulsory halt at four designated stops on the descent to ensure that all the brakes worked (3). During the ascent a "run back" brake, designed by Burnley, prevented the tram from rolling backwards. Only specially trained drivers were used - with extra payment for the added responsibility. Standing passengers were forbidden, on pain of instant dismissal ( 4).

        Now in the spring of 1934 the 19 single deck trams with their multiple brakes were to be replaced by 12 much lighter double deck Leyland TD3c buses with metal framed bodies by English Electric. The buses would have triple servo foot brakes operating on four brake drums and a hand brake, effectively a parking brake, operating on the pair of rear wheel drums. The 8.6 litre fuel oil engine was mated to the newly introduced hydraulic torque converter (note 5). The danger of a standing load of passengers and the need down a long hill for almost constant use of the brake shoes leading to the dreaded "brake fade" must have been ignored. The 6 m.p.h. speed limit on the descent of trams from Piccadilly Road to the Town hall disappeared, replaced by a blanket 30 m.p.h. motor vehicle urban limit. Was there political pressure to get rid of the trams at any price?

         Many years ago as a mere school boy the writer was pressed by the Queensgate yard foreman, whose father had been a senior inspector, to name the best brake on a bus. The inexperienced suggestion of the foot brake was rejected firmly in favour of engine compression and gearbox. At the time this seemed to be an odd challenge - was there a hidden message? It certainly worked: to this day steep hills are descended in a lower gear via a manual box. The problem with the Leyland torque converter was that the unwanted power produced by the engine was converted, not into additional braking, but into waste heat, dissipated through an additional radiator mounted on the other chassis frame from that carrying the fuel tank. An engine mated with a gearbox could be made to slow the bus down by selecting and engaging a lower gear: because the engine revolutions were controlled - by the oil pump governor which supplied the injectors - the resulting compression would limit the top speed of the bus. This feature was adopted by "United" buses in the Whitby area, the drivers of which were required to stop at the top of the very steep banks(6) and engage low gear, each bus then descended under control. Given the strictures imposed by the Board of Trade on the operation of the Manchester Road tramway from February 1904 one might ask why such safety measures were so easily abandoned.

        In March 1930, the General Manager since 1882, Henry Mozley, retired although he continued to live in Burnley until 1936 when he moved to the East Riding. His right hand man during the entire electric traction period was Fred S. Whitaker who began working with Mozley on the preceding steam trams. Perhaps resulting from an experience in Westgate in 1902 when a newly delivered tram he was travelling on slid a short distance backwards down hill, Whitaker had invented the run back brake, first applied to the 1903 locomotive he had designed and built, and this brake was fitted to the new Manchester Road cars from 1904 in addition to their handbrake on the eight wheels, track brake applied to four slippers forced down onto the rails, and the electric brakes applied to all four motors. Whitaker had tested different types of electric tram on the Manchester Road route primarily to reduce consumption and increase their speeds but also to secure powerful and reliable brakes. Only one tram ran away and that actually lost its grip from a standing start on the steepest part of the ascent from just below the railway station: while the run back brakes worked, the wheels slid down the rails, the automatic points above the canal bridge diverted the car onto the downward track, and the driver finally succeeded in halting the car just past the Town Hall presumably using the slipper track brakes and the electric brake, and no doubt with substantial flats on all wheels. Whitaker retired in May1932.

        The new manager from 1930, C.H. Stafford, came from Reading, where he had been the assistant for a small old fashioned type of tramway. One must assume that he had only limited experience of very long gradients and the paramount need for safety in their descent. Otherwise torque converter buses would never have been purchased. Instead he sought to persuade his committee of the utility of the "gearless" Leyland. It is now known that Leyland motors eventually condemned the principle in favour of syncromesh during the war. The writer shudders at the thought of having travelled on such dubious machines, with standing loads, in his childhood down the 1 in 9.8 gradient of Manchester Road.

        In August 1934 it was revealed that the canal bridge on the Padiham route was to be rebuilt, widened and strengthened as soon as possible: it was decreed that trams could not operate during this engineering work, notwithstanding the identical scenario in 1925/6 when the Church Street river bridge had been  rebuilt and widened on the Nelson route. It was initially proposed that the Nelson trams should continue operating but at an increased frequency to match that necessary on the Padiham route using small buses, making their reversal at the Red Lion Street crossing at the bottom of Manchester Road. This was thought to be undesirable so the wholesale abandonment of the Burnley tramways was approved: tenders were invited for 28 double deck buses to replace 36 double deck trams all of which were in good, sound condition fit for years of further service, according to the department information. The trams were to cease running at the end of March 1935 (10/12/34 Committee 10b).

        A 5 page tender specification was issued on 10/11 September. Buses were to have a compression ignition engine with fluid flywheel or torque converter transmission. The bodies were to be composite and/or all-metal, soundly constructed of the best materials and guaranteed to withstand the severe racking stresses on the BCN routes. The bulkhead was to be of ample strength, well designed and constructed to give complete rigidity while the staircase was to be to BCN standard design and dimensions. The body exterior was to receive 7 coats of paint or varnish.

         In late October the committee and manager visited Leyland Motors who quoted a price less than expected for a complete double deck bus. This opportunity permitted the BCN to replace normal control single deck buses (4 Colne, 1 Nelson), two of which had been condemned by the Ministry inspector, so that 32 Leyland TD4c chassis were ordered with Leyland metal framed bodies. This was a serious blunder.

        The first part of the order was delivered in late January 1935: when buses 101 to 106 are thought to have arrived in the town bearing "vee front" metal framed bodies to the latest design. On 22nd January the proposed bus routes to replace the tramway - that had been running in one form or another for over 50 years - were presented to Committee, with revisions to stops and fares.

       Photo: East Pennine T.G. Roy Marshall Collection.


         Then followed list upon list of additional issues arising from the change from trams to bus: (i) the manager claimed a bigger salary; (ii) the bus route from Burnley to Padiham via Lowerhouse and the Padiham tram route was to be terminated at the Burnley boundary with the buses doing a U-turn on the main road; (iii) the six 550 volt D.C. motors in the Car Works machine shop would have to be replaced by A.C. motors; (iv) accident claims were proliferating; (v) tramway staff were being found unsuitable for bus work; (vi) there was a need to encourage conductors to pay more attention to the safety of passengers; (vii) additional fuel storage was required at Nelson depot; (viii) there were almost 100,000 sq.yds. of tramway to be reinstated costing 25,000 to 35,000; (ix) the Traffic Commissioners were too busy to consider the application for Road Services Licences until early May; (x) within a fortnight three of the new TD4cs had had minor accidents with gas lamps by mid-February, something a tram could not readily achieve; (xi) the cost of fuel was fixed by a commercial price ring, not by negotiation with the Electricity Committee.

         Delivery of all 32 new buses is thought to have been completed by the end of March 1935 presumably producing a major storage problem at the three depots.

        The accident reports revealed that the 1931/2 AEC "pneumonia boxes"  were being spread about the town, perhaps to minimise passenger distress, since they left a trail of damaged gas lamps in their wake. In mid May a minor historical event was registered - Messrs Boots (Chemists) claimed for repairs to an electric sign damaged by the trolley pole of tramcar No.59 on Tuesday March 5th 1935: this appears to have been the last tramcar accident. Two months later the Burnley "case" finally "came on" before the Commissioners so that the last tram No.63 ran into Queensgate depot early in the morning of Wednesday 8th May.

         Within days several of the 36 trams were moved onto the former permanent way yard rails and setts and probably the south side approach track and siding to await the depredations of the scrap men. The bulk of these trams' mechanical equipment had been designed, built and maintained at the depot by men who had known what they were doing. It is thought that the last trams were probably dismantled before the end of July. Certainly the Mitre canal bridge deck was being dismantled by late May blocking both tram tracks; and the traction supply from the power station ceased during July - so there was now no going back. Which as they say, was rather unfortunate, in view of what was about to be revealed.

        On May 13th the increased fuel tax was reported as having raised costs by 11,000 per annum. Five members of the administrative staff were seeking increased salaries. A week later the Colne - Padiham Limited Stop bus service, introduced in 1932, was shown to have lost two thirds of its very modest patronage following the tramway abandonment: it was abandoned and not revived until 1957. On August 8th the manager proposed to replace six more of the Colne normal control buses and two of the Burnley PLSC1s: in the event Leyland chassis were to be ordered but not Leyland bodies. Why?

        The bombshell exploded at the Joint Transport Committee on Tuesday September 17th 1935 at 2.10 pm. under item 9: Defects on Leyland All-Metal Bodies (Nos. 101 to 132). This report is so significant it is quoted verbatim.

        "These vehicles went into service between February and May and for the first month everything was alright. After this period, however, there was a tendency for rattling and on investigation we found that weaknesses were developing in certain portions of the body, in particular the seat front supports over the wheel arch and cross members beneath the gangway shewed signs of cracking. The matter was reported to Messrs. Leyland who carried out certain modifications with a view to overcoming the trouble. [Defects 1 & 2]

        "We next had a report that something was loose at the rear of the body at the point where the upper saloon structure is secured to the cant rail of the lower saloon, and on examination we found that the upper saloon pillar foot brackets were broken at each side of the rear standing pillars, and also those of the pillars in the rear framework were broken. The curved portion of the cant rail was cracked at the point where it is secured to the rear nearside platform pillar, and the platform itself was found to be drooping towards the rear by as much as 11/2". These further defects were reported to Messrs. Leyland and we suggested that stronger gauge pillar foot brackets should be welded over the existing ones, and proposed other improvements which were duly adopted by Leyland. The parts required were supplied and fitted by Messrs. Leyland. [Defects 3,4 & 5]

        "A further trouble then began to develop. There was much movement and noise at the rear end of  bus No. 103 and we found a considerable number of defects. The staircase was loose, the offside bulkhead partition was moving and also a crack was found in the stiffening plate forming the step riser from the rear platform into the lower saloon. The floor of the lower saloon shewed signs of movement when passing over rough ground, which endorsed our opinion that the cross member of the floor was too weak and that further support was necessary at the rear bulkhead. Bus No. 103 was sent to Leyland and the rear end was modified and certain other improvements were introduced to overcome the trouble we had found. [Defect 6]

        "Most of the trouble of the bodies appeared to be due to the weakness of the floor and supporting framework, and too optimistic a few of what sheet metal should do as a means of anchoring had been taken by the designer of these vehicles.

        "A second vehicle was then sent to Messrs. Leyland and in the meantime they had appointed a new body designer from Messrs. Metropolitan-Cammell-Weyman. I interviewed this gentleman in connection with the job, and after a few days had elapsed I was notified that Messrs. Leyland had decided to re-design the whole of the vehicles from the point of view of the framework, and they would be glad if I could arrange for the vehicles to be returned to their works in pairs so that complete rebuilding could be carried out. This process is at present time being put through."

        The tram replacing superbuses had begun to disintegrate after one month in service: within six months they had turned into full scale blunderbuses.

        This remarkable story was kept out of the public domain and might have wholly avoided publication but for certain documents coming to light in 1996/7 in Leyland and Burnley. In 1997 the British Commercial Vehicle Museum in conjunction with PSV Circle published the researches of David Bailey and Ron Phillips as "Leyland Metal Framed Bus Bodies 1933-1935 The Great Disaster". This reveals the first 15 "vee front" bodied TD3cs were built for Middlesborough in May and June 1934 suffering serious body defects in the first few weeks of service. They were followed by 19 Titan bodies to West Riding, Crosville, Haslingden, Eastbourne, a Leyland demonstrator, Tyneside, Ledgard and Stockport. The Burnley order was the biggest ever placed for "vee-front" double deck bodies: the progressive physical disintegration of the structure detailed in the BCN report must have caused alarm and worry throughout the Queensgate Bus Works as each vehicle was checked over the pits or taken out for testing and inspection. But the reliable trams had gone and the die was cast: BCN was lumbered with a fleet of tin cans. Insufficient experience both at Burnley and at Leyland was revealed.

        From the detailed photographs which have been found in the Leyland archives during 1998 and those taken in later years, it is possible to piece together what may have happened.

        The front bulkhead was decreed to be unduly weak. The front corner pillars were duplicated and bolted by vertical angles and panelling to the original pillars to make a vertical box section within each lower saloon side frame. Subsequently this was further strengthened at cant rail level by inserting an additional box section. The front bulkhead began life with one central box section pillar supplemented by a second similar pillar behind the cab seat and a less than equivalent half height pillar behind the engine. To these was added a full height pillar offset 10" to the nearside of the central pillar. When panelled over these three new pillars caused the saloon interior to become permanently gloomy.

        The rear bulkhead on the Burnley vehicles was clearly a major difficulty. The specification for the staircase had effectively broken whatever strength this bulkhead design might once have possessed. The most obvious modification imparted to the body was the replacement of the rearmost offside lower saloon window by a panel incorporating a diminutive central window: this presumably masked a strengthened structure to hold up the bulkhead staircase. Only one vehicle is now known to have retained its original window design in this location (No.105).

        Presumably the Burnley advice, reported to the Committee, regarding weak lower saloon floor members and upper saloon pillar footing fasteners was corrected on each bus by Leyland. It is believed that the strengthening process may have continued from perhaps March 1935 to at least January 1938, the latter is known from a series of 10 photographs found in the Leyland archive in 1998 showing a Burnley bus undergoing rebuilding.

        Unfortunately the story has only just begun.

        On 14th October the tenders for the proposed 8 single deck buses were revealed. Dennis quoted least but with a normal gearbox, Daimler the most for the quickest delivery, while AEC were cheaper than Leyland who were then forced down to five shillings a bus lower than AEC. 9 firms tendered for All-Metal bodies, Leyland being far and away the cheapest but they quoted a 32-36 week body delivery compared to 10-12 weeks for their chassis. There were 13 quotes for Composite bodies but Leyland did not quote. In the event the relatively expensive quote of English Electric was adopted, a handwritten note alongside in the files observes "Dick Kerrs North", a modest reduction in the quote was negotiated, and Burnley went up one step on the bus learning curve having no doubt recalled that all their single deck trams, ten complete double deckers, and almost three dozen top decks had been built in steel and wood at Dick Kerr's works under one name or another and had survived very well for up to 30 years. All-Metal frames were found wanting.

         Sadly thing now took a turn for the worse.

        A vee front bus No.118 was returning to depot from Burnley Centre at 12.55 am on Friday November 6th after working the Late Employees Special. On passing Gunsmith Lane, the bus developed a skid which the driver endeavoured to correct but this lead into another skid and he was powerless to prevent the ensuing collision with a wall in front of Whitaker's Monumental Mason, causing considerable damage to the wall and very extensive damage to the bus. The driver, William Walters, died of shock and internal injuries four days later at 2 am on Tuesday. There were three witnesses all on board the bus: a passenger who received lacerations of both arms and a suspected leg fracture who was detained in hospital, the conductor who had abrasions of both legs and a second conductor who suffered shock and cuts to his face neither of whom were detained in hospital. Curiously the second conductor had been learning driving with Walters but who had just handed the bus over in the Centre. Walters was 42, joining the tramways in 1912 as a conductor then tram driver then bus driver. As far as we know he was the first Burnley tram or bus driver to be fatally injured, a melancholy thought.

        At the inquest two weeks later the speed of the bus was thought by its driver to have been 20 miles/hour, the passenger conductor thought 15 mph, the official conductor thought 15-20 mph. After the crash the driver had climbed out of the cab but then collapsed, recovered and walked round to the rear platform where he lost consciousness before the ambulance arrived. The sole passenger on board had estimated the speed of the bus at 30 mph or more, the road had been wet and greasy, and he thought the bus had struck something making the driver lose control.

        The manager described the damage to No.118. The front of the chassis was severely distorted including the rear engine cross member: the steering column had been broken off. The whole cab framework was wrecked. The top deck of the bus had moved forward about six inches, twisting the whole body structure, bending all the pillars and bulkhead framework of the lower saloon forward to the extent of about four inches. All nearside lower saloon windows were broken and two on the off-side. The framework of the rear bulkhead was twisted and the window broken. Two seats had been dislodged from their mountings. (This implies that the top half of the body, including the upper deck floor, had rotated around a vertical axis centered at the top of the staircase.) The tyres were in good condition. Questioned, the manager said that on a greasy road a skid could develop without any apparent assistance from the driver to cause a skid. This suggests that in urban conditions buses were unsuitable forms of public transport compared to the trams they had replaced but the point was not explored.

        The police constable who attended the accident reported that the bus was embedded in the wall debris with the rear part in the centre of the road. The road was very slippery owing to the drizzling rain but the lighting was particularly good. He had concluded from a half moon shape on the road some five yards long that the nearside rear wheel had struck the kerb before the skid occurred. The Coroner's jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death". The accident had occurred almost precisely six months to the hour since the last tram had passed the same spot also on the last trip of the night to depot.

        The bus must have been towed back to the depot in the middle of the night out of sight of the press. It probably arrived at Leyland late on the Monday: in 1997 two photographs of it turned up in the Leyland archive. The damage was as described, the lower deck being severely deformed confirming the inadequacy of the original design. Structural design differs depending on the principal material used. A large building may have a heavy roof but it may need buttresses to keep the walls in place (7). A bridge may be built of steel or concrete but the design adopted must take into account the different capabilities of the alternative materials. A three dimensional structure cannot be made out of steel as may once have been from timber. It is not merely the thickness of each joist or section but the crucial element is the joint: with steel a critical consideration in design is the collapse mechanism. Having established that, you protect the structure from it. The vee front Leyland body seems not to have adopted that philosophy - the design was near, but not near enough, to acceptability. It was not so much the accident which happened to Burnley No118 and the consequential front end damage, although that was wholly reprehensible, but what happened to the bodywork at the impact that was so damning. The body structure in effect turned like a cork screw and slumped forward, demonstrating weakness in the structural joints as well as the pillar sections.

        It is assumed that No.118 must have been reposted by Leyland throughout the lower deck and restructured to the revised design as then thought necessary. It was not however rebodied, unlike the five wee fronts supplied between December 1934 and June 1`935 to Samuel Ledgard who had demanded that that entirely new bodies should be fitted for a nominal sum (8). In due course it returned to public service and has been found in a 1936 photograph in Burnley Centre.

        Photo: East Pennine T.G. Roy Marshall Collection. Burnley town centre circa 1947.

        In December 1935 the manager reported progress since the formation of the Joint Transport in April 1933. The torque converter buses had been remarkably successful and maintained the service satisfactorily. On a hilly route fuel consumption was higher than gearbox types but this was offset by the low maintenance costs and reliable service. The torque converter offered many advantages such as extreme ease of manipulation and control under all conditions of road and traffic, absence of gear noise, smooth operation and increased passenger comfort. There was no mention of metal framed bodywork nor of the dangers inherent when running downhill. 68% of the weekly 96,200 miles run was at Burnley, 17% at Colne and 15% at Nelson. During this month  extremely bad conditions arose during fog and most bus routes failed to keep normal time. Fog had been much less of a problem with trams which were strictly scheduled even to where each "special" was to pass each other car on single line and loops sections.

        During February 1936, the tramway tracks were lifted from Manchester Road between St. James St. and the Town hall and the Woodplumpton terminus was extended 100 yards from Constable Avenue to Moorland Road: bus drivers agitated for extra running time. Time keeping checks were made in units of 1/2 minute: one mid-evening bus ran from Towneley to the Centre in 31/2 minutes rather than the 8 minutes scheduled, averaging 22.3 mph. The extra running times sought would have increased the vehicle numbers to the same as the trams costing 750 per annum per annum plus capital charges, which was deemed uneconomical. The service introduced the day after the Manchester Road, Towneley (via Todmorden road) and Brunshaw Road trams had been withdrawn had extended beyond the Manchester Road tram terminus east to Woodplumpton and west to Cog Lane. The latter was now withdrawn completely meeting with immediate public protest.

        In May 1936, one year after the trams had finished, the Borough Treasurer drew attention to the Third Party Insurance Fund. Contributions had been made at the rate of 46 per double deck bus and 34/10/- per single deck bus. In 1933/4 payments for claims made had amounted to 900 but in 1935/6 they were 4,500 even though the only change had been the replacement of trams by buses. It appears that the Contributions were  increased to 76 & 62/1-/- to provide appropriate insurance protection. Nonetheless accidents would continue to happen at the increased rate hurting people and damaging buses and other property. This indicated that the operation of buses on former tram routes was not just one of fuel consumption but also safety. In truth this was a damning indictment of the changeover.

        A frequent source of accident claims was double deck buses damaging the Gas Department's lamps at the kerb edges, particularly lamps scoring repeated 'hits'. Some on the Rosehill housing estate were being damaged three months before the Manchester Road tram route had been replaced by buses and extended to the estate: AEC centre-entrance buses were clearly being used on driver familiarisation runs.

        Buses had a poor accident record compared with the electric trams: the accident compensation paid out per million passengers carried at 44 for buses, was four times that for trams. Burnley area bus passengers tended to incur more injuries due to alighting, boarding, swerving and sudden stops than those in trams. There were more accidents recorded between other road vehicles and buses than there were with trams: this experience was in direct contradiction to the Royal Commission on Transport which had claimed in January 1931 that "tramways cause ... considerable unnecessary danger to the public". One might well wonder where the Commission had looked before coming to such a cock-eyed conclusion.

        The two Crossley oil engined buses (50 & 51) had been a matter of concern since they were introduced in replacement of the Rosegrove - Harle Syke tram route in April 1932. In 1935/6 the average Crossley mileage run was less than half that of other double deckers but at double the cost per mile. The two centre entrance bodies were "standing up remarkably well" being expected to last until they were 10 years old so they were transferred onto new AEC Regent oil engine chassis which were 25 cheaper than Leyland Titans. The Crossley remains were sold to Rochdale for spares.



        The 12 TD3 buses bought in late 1933 to replace the Nelson & Colne trams had been supplied with petrol engines. In July 1936 replacement oil engines were ordered with ancillaries and fitting by Leyland at 409 per bus. This left only 13 of the tram replacement fleet fitted with petrol engines (AEC Nos. 37-49).

        By December 1936 it had become apparent that there were newly perceived problems with the depot accommodation at Burnley's Queensgate depot. The large former car running shed had roller shutter doors but no heating as trams started instantaneously regardless of the ambient temperature. During cold spells, each one of the 70 or 80 buses had to be started up and run several times during the night to facilitate reliable starting for early morning service, filling the shed with exhaust fumes which were harmful to the night staff, and disturbing the nearby residents. It was proposed to extend the shed at a cost of 6,300. Four months later this lethal night time practice enabled petrol-engined centre-entrance AEC No 39 to back-fire in one of the Colne depots - the Roe wood framed body was destroyed, the blaze damaging several other buses while the few staff on duty fought heroically to drive them outside.

        Evidence from research in the Leyland Motors archive suggests that the reconstruction of the Leyland TD4c bodies continued during 1937, one bus being photographed at their works in January 1938 apparently undergoing further strengthening. Clearly the whole process had been both tiresome and a source of continual interruption and inconvenience to the Burnley traffic and engineering staff. It had at the very least contributed to the death of an experienced driver and the injury of three other people, it had probably frightened both management and committee out of their corporate wits, the public had been placed in some danger, albeit without their knowing, and it had been demonstrated that the replacement of the trams, at the very least, had been rather less than the success claimed in the publicity.

        On 10th January 1938, the Transport Committee were informed that there had been negotiations with Leyland Motors Ltd. who had offered to supply and fit free a new body to a chassis to be purchased by the Committee, no doubt as compensation. This was to materialise as one TD5c with 8.6 compression ignition engine and hydraulic converter transmission at a cost of 1,110 net; this compares with 1,955 paid by Rawtenstall for identical machines at the same period. The body was the entirely new design of Colin bailey who had been headhunted from Metro-Cammell Weyman in August 1935: it was an altogether more handsome style. The paramount feature was its structural design which was sound, unlike the unfortunate predecessor. Rawtenstall had received six examples with six more due in 1938, and Accrington had four with two on order: both municipalities may have been operating them into Burnley past the Town Hall.


        The experience with No.154 may have wooed Burnley slightly as further Leyland bodies were eventually bought between 1947 & 1950 but its fingers had been badly burned. The scale of the problem was about to be doubled.

        The 18 TD3 buses bodied by English Electric and supplied in the early summer of 1934 were no doubt anticipated to need a first body overhaul during 1938 and 1939. It is not known now what happened when the first three examples were stripped in the Queensgate Body Shop but each had to have the lower deck reframed: the extent of the task is not recorded. The bodies of 71-88 and the slightly later 89-100 had been metal framed: Burnley must have been taken aback by what they discovered. By July 1938, an order had been placed with the new firm of East Lancashire Coachbuilders Ltd. of Blackburn for 25 lower frameworks, at a cost of 116 per frame. Today it is sheer speculation as to what was involved but it sounds at least like new side frames and may have included the floor and chassis mounting; what had to be done to the front and rear bulkheads and the platforms must be guesswork. In these 30 cases perhaps the problem was one of severe corrosion rather than structural design failures. Invoicing of the first framework occurred in August continuing monthly to at least November 1939 with at least 24 frames invoiced. By June 1939, the 25 East Lancashire frames had been fitted or were in hand; two further lower deck frameworks were then ordered together with one upper deck framework for a bus that had met with an accident. Perhaps the 30 afflicted buses had been rebuilt by early 1940. By this date one may assume that major rebuilds had ceased or would have done so shortly thereafter.

        The outbreak of the Second World war found the Burnley tram replacement fleet in need of imminent replacement, given that the debt would be paid off between 1939 and 1943,and the life expectancy reached about two years later. But of course this was impossible and the vehicles would have to continue in service.

        The wartime camouflage was limited to the covering of the front and rear domes, and standard lighting restrictions: until the paint stocks ran out. By August 1943, 6 TD3cs had been repainted in all over grey and at least 4 TD3s and 1 TD4c had been converted to run on producer gas from a trailer towed at the back. On one occasion the driver of one of the producer buses got himself into difficulties at the Lockyer Avenue terminus - in error he turned into the wrong side street which proved to be a cul-de-sac, inexperienced at reversing a trailer the bus became trapped and the breakdown wagon had to be called. It was so much easier with a tram . . (9).

        No details of the producer gas conversions are known to have survived. However drawings were prepared in July and September 1939 of the "mixer" required to run buses on coal gas, following by the gas filling arrangement at Reedley Halt, which is close to the Queensgate depot, and in September 1940 the proposed single deck bus roof mounted gas bag (10). It is assumed that single deck gas powered buses made one round trip to Burnley per full bag. No doubt the few double deck buses forced to drag trailers were only used on the less steep routes - but the Lockyer Avenue shortworking of the Padiham route included the 1 in 15 Westgate hill.

        At the end of the war photographs show that the fleet was fairly run down. The management was faced with the major problem of aged stock. At least one of the English electric bodied TD3cs was distressed structurally with a drooping cab while the TD4cs appear to have developed a second set of defects. Three of the centre entrance AECs were condemned while the two with the 1936 chassis were sent to East Lancs to be fitted with new bodies, marking the second stage of what was to become a fruitful relationship in later years. Many of the TD3s must have been overhauled substantially to achieve very respectable lives of 16 or 17 years but others were withdrawn after only 14 or 14 years of use.

        But it was to be the once disgraced "vee-fronts" that were to achieve eventual fame. The defeat of the German forces by the Allies in early 1945 meant that urgent orders for planes, tanks and military vehicles no longer required fulfillment. Before the war Leyland Motors had developed a new 6.2 litre engine fitted to a large batch of Ribble TS8s in 1939, a later 7.0 litre version became a military engine used in pairs in tanks. A further enlargement to 7.4 litres, the E175, was fitted to military goods vehicles. A modification to take a larger dynamo, the E181, became the version fitted to the post was PD1 bus (11).

        During the war the extra fuel consumption of the torque converter Titans (and Lions) compared to those with manual gear boxes may have been regarded as an unwelcome burden. Thus commencing in the Spring of 1946 the TD4cs were taken into the Fitting Shop for an ultra heavy overhaul - the 8.6 engines, the torque converters, the converter radiators, the Autovacs, and the drive shafts were pulled out and new E181 engines and matching new gearboxes and drive shafts fitted. Interestingly, the last TD4c to be converted was No.118, the crash bus. Thereafter the Burnley vee fronts were forever known as "tankers".

        At the same time the bodies were again rebuilt, in some cases quite heavily. In October 1945 drawings were prepared of the TD4 rear bulkhead base girder, the modified (and apparently strengthened) rear (platform floor) framework and the kicking plates for the rear platform. The rebuilding varied from bus to bus. All lost the rear sprung bumpers and the direction indicators, the offside destination blind box was removed, many had sliding ventilator windows fitted in place of the drop frames, some had new staircases installed, cab doors were modified, some had the the offside rear bulkhead window fully panelled over indicating further strengthening had been necessary, on some the distinctive waist rail mouldings were replaced implying the insertion of new structural waist frames, at least one had the rear nearside bulkhead strengthened. There probably was no alternative to this extensive programme of work given the lack of new buses during the war.

        In the Winter of 1947. there was a grave problem when heavy snow fell followed by weeks of continuous freezing. The drifts were up to 10 feet deep and the A56 Manchester Road was blocked beyond the Burnley boundary. A national coal shortage led to frequent cuts in electric power and the closure of cotton mills and engineering works. None of  Burnley's  buses had the luxury of heaters but the open door centre entrance AECs must have been severely despised when they turned up for peak hour duties in Burnley centre. Passengers could smell the leaking petrol inside the lower saloon. What a come down compared to a spick and span electric tram. Within five years the message had been learned and the private car began its rapid growth to usurp the bus industry.

        By 1949 the TD4s were still very much front line vehicles appearing on all the Burnley double deck routes. By early November that year, only one tram replacement bus remained at the Nelson depot (TD3 No.59N), one centre entrance Regent (No.41) and half a dozen of the TD4s were based at Colne (Nos.110, 112-115, 123 & 126), while four centre entrance Regents (Nos.43, 44, 48 &49) were still running at Burnley with 15 of the 18 1934 TD3s, 3 of the TD3cs, and 24 of the TD4s. One TD4c had been withdrawn in 1948, presumably condemned for some uneconomic problem (No.119): its top deck was transferred onto No.128. the remainder being cannabilised for spares. Clearly the TD3cs were being eliminated as soon as possible: torque converters combined with early metal framed bodies were quite out of favour. One further reason for this may have been another near accident which occurred on Manchester Road. Driver Arthur Reed found himself driving a "gearless" down hill when the brakes failed: he was unable to restrain the speed and the bus ran out of control through the two important traffic signalled junctions at Grimshaw Street and across the main thoroughfare of St. James' Street into the bottom of Bridge Street and then up the hill where gravity brought the bus to a halt. The date is unknown but it is thought to have happened soon after the war, perhaps in 1946.

        By the end of 1951 only the TD4s remained, 28 in number. The culling of many in 1953 reduced them to the status of serving the original bus route, No.11.Centre to Reedley halt - which is relatively flat - double deck peak hour specials, and learner duties. In 1955 three more fell by the wayside that May yet 102, 106, 125, 131, and finally 122 were put through the paint shop for a touch up and varnish between February and August that year implying a potential life of perhaps two more years. In 1956 five more were withdrawn; the remainder (those varnished in 1955) would be withdrawn by August 1957 (12). By now the TD4s were regarded as ancient history - belonging to the tramway era - more recent buses, the LT7s and TD5s of 1936-38 vintage had gone and yet the unique sound could still be heard and experienced grinding up the hills of Westgate (1 in 15), Manchester Road (1 in 9.8), and Briercliffe Road (1 in 12).

        But in 1956 and 1957 two things happened - the Suez war with fuel rationing, and financial difficulties for the BCN - so that new bus purchases had to be deferred. Consequently the last six TD4s had to be kept running. Unfortunately in March 1957 a shaft broke in No.125 which was then delicensed.

        In August 1957 (13) it was decided that the TD4s would have to have yet another reprieve and at the end of the month some limited repair work was undertaken to get them through their "MOT" for a 12 month certificate. Worn floor slats, platform and staircase edges were renewed, the odd exterior panel was renewed and damaged paintwork was made good. No doubt worn pins and brake bearings were renewed on the chassis to satisfy the examiner. Bu October 126 suffered gearbox failure, 125's was exchanged, 126's repaired and fitted to 125. In late January 1958 125 was sold and driven away; only four weeks later No.102, now over 23 years old, was rammed in the back by a BRS lorry resulting in a twisted staircase and withdrawn.

        Circumstances decreed that no new buses could be afforded as patronage and revenue were falling; so once again the four surviving TD4s were recertified for a further year. Even so traffic must have been short of a bus to meet all the schedules. With the source of spares driven away weeks before there must have been some hard bargaining between traffic and engineering, the one demanding that 102 be repaired, the other saying find the money and parts. The engineers lost. So a non-standard rear window pan was located and the joiners, panel beaters and painters got to work. In late July No.102 went back into service, the last prewar bus to be repaired.

        In mid February 1959, East Lancs began building the bodies of two PD3s and two PSUCs which were delivered in late March and mid April. Immediately Nos.122 and 131 were withdrawn, as were the rechassised, rebodied AECs 50 & 51.

        By now it was obvious that just as the last trams were a while dying in the spring of 1935, so it was with their replacements. No.102 died on April 26th leaving just two TD4s, Nos 106 and 126. 126 was called in from Colne to operate from Burnley for its last few days: for tax reasons this would be April 30th. The morning dawned and found no.126 teaching some new recruit the terrors of the 350 foot drop that is Manchester Road. As the evening peak hour came to its end, the usual queue formed from Colne Road into Disraeli Street across the tram track fan up to the fuel pump. No.126 was in the lead followed a few minutes later by No.106. Which as they say was very interesting: back in January 1935, the Leyland photographer had taken a "group" shot of Nos.101 to 107 in the works, and then No.106 had been driven out for the usual paired shots. So the first was now the last.

        Some diplomatic negotiation with management and staff found the former No.102 brought back from the dead, driven out of the main Running Shed and paeked in the yard, Nos. 106 and 126 were set ticking and backed alongside to form a trio for the last farewell. Some selective twiddling yielded some long gone destination displays then it was over. First 102, then 126 and finally, in a cloud of exhaust fumes, No. 106 tottered into the shed, the latter bearing "Cemetery" as its destination (14). A week late the fuel pumps were exchanged for, no doubt, less satisfactory examples off the shelf for future use on the PD1s and PS1s with the same engines. On May 7th Nos. 102 and 106 were parked up in the yard against the former car Works with their engines left running, a sure sign that the knackers were due. No.126 however refused to be started. The tow wagon was brought out and with some tugging, the 7.4 came to life at 10.20 am. for its last journey - to North's yard at Stourton, near Leeds. It was 24 years to the day since the last trams had been in service for the last time. The curtain fell, the experience was over.

        Photo: East Pennine T.G. Roy Marshall Collection.                                    photo: H. W. Peers

        But historically speaking - not quite. In January 1961, a 1927 Burnley Lion PLSC1 had been found in North's yard and there too was the former No.105, minus its 7.4 engine and gearbox. The years passed and No.57 turned up in a yard at Cheddleton in March 1967. This machine had been delivered on December 21st 1933 to replace the Nelson and Colne trams. Withdrawn in 1949 it arrived in Cheddleton that October, eventually losing its petrol engine and gearbox, becoming a store. Its Park Royal body was deforming slowly with old age but its features survived: stanchions on both decks, rectangular lamp covers, "Hold tight please" notice on the staircase mirror, the still familiar crest on the rear panels albeit greatly faded, and the staircase top step inset through the rear bulkhead. Strangely, the relic decaying alongside was numbered 58, a Warrington vee front TD4 of July 1935; according to Phillips the abandonment of Warrington's tram system had been delayed due to Leyland having decided to strengthen all 12 buses in that batch before delivery. It is believed that Nos. 57 & 58 may have remained in the yard for at least another decade, before being cut up.

        Photo: H.W.Peers.

        According to PSV Circle records the last operating bus was the former No.113. This bus had been withdrawn at Burnley in September 1956 yet by the following August it was with a firm called Hawkins, at Gosport, Hampshire where it was scrapped in January 1963. Was this the last to operate? Well no.

        The first tram replacement bus was AEC Regent No.36 with a Roe centre entrance body based on the earlier English Electric design. This machine actually appeared in Burnley on November 24th 1931 but it is believed that it was garaged with the local AEC dealer, Oswald Tillotson. On Thursday November 26th, it made a trial run to Clitheroe with members of the Town Council and the manager. On Monday November 30th, two of the class, probably including No.36, went all the way to Morecambe, a 50 mile, 2 hour long journey. It may well have been on these occasions when the nickname for the class, "pneumonia boxes", was first generated: certainly one can think of quicker, warmer and more comfortable means of travel over such distances at that time of the year. it was delivered to Queensgate depot on December 2nd and no doubt went into service soon after for school specials and driver familiarisation (training was done on a second hand A13) as maintenance of plugs and brakes was soon recorded. It entered service replacing trams after dinner on April 4th 1932.

        On April 24th 1933 it was taken out of service to have an oil engine fitted by Tillotsons, re-entering service on May 6th. It was withdrawn from service in 1945 and was then turned over in the yard and re-righted as a training exercise. The PSV Circle recorded that it re-entered service with Venture of Basingstoke as their No.75 in August 1945. In 1948 it was fitted with a 1945 East Lancs body taken from Venture 61, FM 6140 ( a 1930 AEC Regent ex. Chester) and fitted with an AEC 7.7 litre engine. In this form it must have looked like the rebodied 1936 Burnley AEC Regents 50 & 51. Passing to Wilts 7 Dorset as their No.475 in January 1951 it was sold to a dealer in October 1953. By June 1954 it was with Mr. G Mossman, a farmer of Caddington, near Luton, who had the bodywork cut down and converted to a horse box.

        Mr. Mossman had a very special enthusiasm - horsed transport. Over a period of 50 years he journeyed long distances to rescue half forgotten horse-drawn vehicles of every kind which were then restored. He became famous in 1953 when one of his carriages carried the Royal crown during the Coronation procession. In 1988 he drove the most famous coach "Old Times" from London to Brighton to mark the centenary of a record breaking run. Much of his collection is now on display in a modern museum in Luton. HG 1022 was run by Mr. Mossman, carrying two horses inside and towing a trailer supporting a horse carriage or horse bus behind, for two or more decades before being sold for scrap in the mid 1980's. At this stage perhaps only the chassis remained of the Burnley bus, but this does appear to have been the last, truly historic, survivor.


AEC Regent 36, HG 1022,  being re-righted as a training exercise in Queensgate Depot yard. Photo: Burnley Library


        Thirteen of the TD3 and TD3c machines were sold to Barton Transport, Chilwell. The bodies were removed and the chassis apparently "cut in half" and combined with another similar "half" to make a longer chassis which was named a "BTS1". This was then given a new full front single deck body. Burnley 59, 60, 71, 74, 78, 83, 84, 88, 91, 92, 94, 98 & 99 were used in Barton 659, 631, 658, 596, 599, 635, 632, 633, 635, 634 and 657 respectively.

         One TD3, No.77, was transformed quite literally into a tram. The body was removed and a replica Falcon tram engine and open top car built on it: the car had 7 windows as borne only by the second hand car No.16 bought from St. Helens in 1900 the original of which itself survived until 1963 as a contractor's hut. The "tram" then ran in the Burnley 1951 Festival of Britain parade from Ightenhill Park Lane to the Prairie - the in-town section of the original tram route. To provide "smoke" the exhaust of one cylinder was diverted into the "chimney", a fitter being hidden on board in case of trouble - he was the Queensgate expert on fuel pumps.

        A few days after the TD4s were removed from the premises the writer was summoned to the office of the Rolling stock Engineer, Leonard Graham. Mr. Graham had been employed by the Burnley Corporation Tramways & Omnibuses department and must therefore have known all about the problems encountered with the tram replacement buses, but he never let on to a mere outsider, in fact he was at times a taciturn gentleman apparently more concerned with keeping his fleet on the road than its developing history. So it was a very great surprise to find a presentation being made of something especially unique.

        The ill-fated Leyland metal framed bodies had all carried the oval plate declaring their royal patronage and the Date Built. The plate form No.106 had been removed and inscribed with the additional information that it had been withdrawn in April 1959 at a mileage of 668,000. This plate is historically unique as it comes from the first and the last of its class. It is known that at least one more was so inscribed, presumably from either 102 or 126, and may still exist. It is to be admitted that those from Nos 101 & 107 were also "released from captivity" somewhat earlier before the bodies to which they were attached went to scrap.

        Noel Coward once said "before you break the rules you'd better learn them" (15). It is all a matter of experience.


Notes) 1. Harrison, M. The Tram Restored at Burnley. Tramway review 168: 284-305, 1996 &169: 4-23. 1997.
            2. Stafford, C.H. Some aspects of municipal transport amalgamation. Paper to Inst.of Transport. March 22 1935 ( or later in 1938?).
            3. Scott Park Road, Piccadilly Road, Halstead Street, Healey Wood Road. WTTGI 1/4/20 p93.
            4. WTTI 1/4/20 p97.
            5. The care and maintenance of Six-cylinder Leyland Passenger Vehicle Tiger and Titan T.S.6 and T.D.3. Leyland Motors Ltd. October 1933.
            6. As on Sutton Bank near Sleights on the Leeds route.
            7. Collapse of Chichester Cathedral tower, 21 February 1861
            8. Jenkinson,K.A. Ledgard Way: The History of Samuel Ledgard. 112 pp. 1981. See page 32.
            9. Frank Harker, chemistry lesson, Burnley Grammar School, lecture room No.8 mid 1950s.MH present.
          10. File 0005.wk3 BCN drawings 204-6, 213-6, 239 & 264
          11. Townsin, A. The Best of British Buses. No.9 Leyland Titans 1945-1984. 96pp. 1986
          12. Leonard Graham 3rd May 1957
          13. Ernie Hitchin in Body Shop, 21st August 1957. 102, 106, 125 (?), 126 due August, 131 due September, each to be tried for recertification. 122 to be scrapped in April 1958.
          14. This had been a very early bus route off Rossendale Road but more recently was a Rosegrove via Coal Clough Lane short-working.
          15. Coward, N. Interviewed by Milton Schulman in the Dorchester Hotel, London. Arena: the Noel Coward trilogy - Sail Away. BBC2, 13th April 1998.



Tribute to Michael Harrison - A Brief History of Transport in Burnley

List of Photos


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