Leicester City Transport c.1968 - 1973
and some more before my time.

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Photo 21  March 1971. The yard at the back of the Rutland Street offices, the modern equivalent to the old Bread Street depot that this new central depot replaced. click to enlarge
Looking from L to R - PD3A 66, PD3A 68, Bristol RELL 119, PD2 301 training bus (at the back), PD3A 22, with PD3A 69 at the front.
Most are "radio" buses on stand-by, fitted with Pye two-way radios, and controlled by the duty inspector in the Camera Control room, the stand-by crews in the nearby Spare Room. If a bus was missing, or late, broken down on the barrier, etc, we could get a replacement bus with crew out to the barrier in about 5 minutes! Sometimes we were quick enough to change a bus and still leave on time. I wonder how many 'spares' they carry now. I suspect that now, if a bus fails to start on the barrier, that's yer' lot - until the next one. Not one for an hour? Oh, tough luck.

On the introduction of two-way radios, crews were issued with this pink card. This was new technology to us, the application of science. In the main, only aircraft, ambulances, fire engines and police cars had full radio control up to now. Public Transport was on the up, moving towards a better future in the 21st century not so far away. What the flaming hell happened, I've no idea, but suspect money got in the way. True, most buses now have radios, but they are generally fitted more for the management's benefit - as was the case originally at LCT - than for crew safety. Even crews at this worthwhile and much-lauded operator had to fight tooth and nail to get assurances that ALL 'last buses' at 23:00 hrs would be radio buses. How do I know how hard, what industrial action we had to take or threaten -- because I was there and part of it. There were times when it wasn't all pleasant, and I never considered being roughed up by yobs not wanting to pay their fare as part of the job. Bear in mind too that at that time, Leicester's police commanders were most reluctant to let their officers get involved in any trouble on a public bus, such trouble being regarded then as nothing more than a domestic concern. That issue had to be forced as well.

Photo 22  From L - R. AEC Renown 40, PD3A 74, PD3A 258.
Note the external lift to the three floors of the offices, visible in both pictures on the left. We all got used to the new yard, with nothing to impede parking in the corner, when this lift was built as a 'retro-fit' to the new building, to specifically serve the canteen on the second floor. Renown 40 is backed up right alongside the lift itself, and more than one driver inadvertently cracked a rear, offside light on the brickwork, including Yours Truly. If anyone had given that lift-shaft a really good shove, I reckon it might have collapsed. It would be done differently now. This was also the days of Arthur Nurse, the official Guardian of The Yard, a veritable old sweat who had driven buses in the Crimea and put the fear of God into us rookie drivers. Arthur - I would never have dared call him that, he was always Mr Nurse to us - transferred from Bread Street, where he ruled his domain with a rod of iron. He knew how to park a bus, and made sure we young bucks learnt the trick as well - mirror to mirror. Arthur, bless him, used to get annoyed if he saw you looking into your mirrors instead of him as he reversed us into a tight space, and would march across and fold your mirrors in! We used to drive in under the archway at the front of the office, and out directly past where I stood to take these photos, and we quickly learnt to tuck a bus into some seemingly impossible spaces.

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Photo 23: PD3A/1 No.166 on the 47 barrier at the back of the Town Hall, in Bowling Green Street. This bus was a rocket, and powered by jet fuel, I think. Heavy to drive, hard work, yes, and the noisy bell right behind your left lug made your ears ring a bit, unless jammed up by a doubled-over fag packet! Then it went "Clunk-clunk" instead of a mighty "CLANG-CLANG!!"

Photo 24  These were never popular with drivers, or conductors, but they gave passengers a wonderful springy if wheezy ride. AEC Bridgemaster, No.213, turning from Horsefair St into Granby St on its way to a 36 Melbourne Road. Bridgemasters were slow, but we still would have done this run round "The Melbourne" and be back in town in Humberstone Gate in 17 minutes! We used to do it in 12 in 166!




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Photo 25  Ah, the beloved Daimler CVG6. I'm being ironic here, for the only vehicle we had that was hated more than the Bridgemaster; we only had five of these, 179 - 184, and here we see 181 turning into Humbestone Gate at the Clock Tower to do a 66 Melbourne Road, the opposite way round to the 36. Now these WERE slow - about 30mph top whack. Not much time for a fag or a cuppa at the terminus on these, if any. All the drivers I worked with detested them, and being as they had no heaters in the back, I was none so keen either. But in places like Northampton, Birmingham and Coventry (where they were built), Daimlers were the mainstay of their fleets. I recall once visiting Northampton and how peeved I was to discover that their Daimlers had saloon heaters. And I bet they weren't governed down like ours were.  But I suppose they wouldn't have been impressed by our Leylands either - it's what you get used to.

Photo 26   Picking up for a 29 Stoneygate in Granby St is no.182. We didn't get all that long to get out to Shanklin Drive either. Would you credit this, Stoneygate folk always believed and maintained that they had the worst and most infrequent bus service of anywhere in the city! They had three to the hour, every 20 mins, ALL DAY LONG! ... easily on a par with most estate routes, 57, 61, 18, etc.  Yee Gods, where I live now would kill for a bus every 20 minutes. Little did they know - either then, or what was to come, courtesy of privatisation. I bet it's a wonderful service now, especially after tea.



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Photo 27  And now one type I neither drove nor conducted - the AEC Regent III, which was really the AEC equivalent of the Leyland PD2. Leicester's AEC "pre-selects" had not long gone when I joined, some of them to Hull, where I went later. And so I got to hear quite a bit about these beloved ex-Leicester FBCs. No24, here on the 55 barrier in Charles Street in about 1960, for a run up Humberstone Road and through Spinney Hill to Coleman Road and eventually the excruciating final climb almost to the top of Crown Hills, and the terminus at the bottom of the General Hospital drive.

Photo 28:  AEC Regent III, No.6 at the General Hospital terminus, in 1950s. It would be more than 20 years before any route was permanently extended to run right through the hospital grounds, but in the 1950s and 1960s it was a far smaller hospital than it is now, with all its new wards, units, clinics and research facilities. It's a huge place now, almost a small town, and I believe the Outer Circle buses run right through it. Oh, how much help that would have been to my mother, when I was as a young lad and an in-patient at the LGH for about 6 weeks. And my school was just a couple of hundred yards down the road from this terminus, so I have good reasons all round to recall this area very well.


And now there's a fourth page of older pics, even more before my time.

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5

Buses 5 is a few pics of a day at Markfield in 2003
viewing Nos 40 and 190 then under restoration

Early Bus Memories
a separate page of text,
a child's-eye view of memories of
the Midland Red and LCT buses in the 50s
and then on to memories of the
Corporation Driving & Conducting School
at Abbey Park Road in 1968.

Conducting - how it was done
Another separate page solely on conducting a bus,
more exactly, how it was done on LCT in the late-60s, early-70s,
and in particular by me, and my memories of it.
Duties, shifts, ticket machines, athletic passengers and much more.
Be warned - it is a long treatise.

Rob & Val's Home Page