Isn’t it strange that at one time travelling by bus was the only option for most of us and we thought no more of it.
What we didn’t realise was the affection this form of transport would hold for us in later life even when we were car owners.
How many of us look at a vintage bus and are immediately transported back to our school days when boarding a bus full of classmates, giving the conductor grief with the level of noise and trying to bunk the fare, was a national sport.
Remember getting on a bus after a watching a game at Fratton Park? Apart from a pal with whom you might have gone to the game, no-one knew anyone else. But it only took one passenger to start talking about the match and within minutes the whole deck was analysing the game.
The four photographs here were supplied by Terry Bye and the information by Nigel Appleford. Both are transport buffs and know more about buses than I could ever know. Thank you both.
The top picture shows one of 12 Leyland Atlantean single-decker buses delivered to the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department in 1971-2. They had Leyland Atlantean PDR2/1 chassis with bodies built by Seddon of Oldham, seating 40 with 19 standing.
Two of these buses are currently preserved: 190 by the Portsmouth 190 Group at City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport Depot (CPPTD), Portchester, and 196 seen here, which at the time was owned by Colin Batten of Fareham but has since moved on via a Scottish owner to a Mr Pygall of Hutton Henry Co. Durham.
In the second picture we seethe familiar livery of a Southdown bus. The company bought 285 broadly similar buses between 1957 and 1967. They were the largest UK customer for this chassis, a Leyland Titan PD3 (this one is a PD3/4) with full-fronted bodies built by Northern Counties of Wigan and seating 69 passengers. They were known as Queen Marys because of their size.
No 279, seen here, was one of a batch of 35 delivered in 1965. After service with Southdown it was sold to OK Motor Services, Bishop Auckland. After withdrawal from there it was sold for preservation.
Its current owner is Philip Blair of Upham, near Bishop’s Waltham, who has returned it to the traditional Southdown green/cream livery.
The final picture shows an open-topper.
Delivered to Portsmouth in 1956 as a conventional 56-seat, closed top double-decker with fleet number 104, its seating capacity was increased to 59 in 1961.
It was one of four of 25 buses to be converted to open-top form in 1971 and renumbered 4 (a further pair were converted in 1972).
No 4 was withdrawn in 1980 and acquired for preservation.
Since 1993 its bodywork has been extensively restored because of severe corrosion.
In 1994 it was repainted in traditional Portsmouth livery (which the bus never carried in service as an open-topper) in lieu of the white with red bands and mudguards carried by the city’s open top buses.
In 2011 it returned to the workshops for a new clutch and rear platform floor and supporting structure. It’s currently at City of Portsmouth Preserved Transport Depot (CPPTD), Portchester.