Southend Corporation Bus Fleet
Leyland Titan PD3/6 with Massey H38/32R bodies delivered in early 1965
Leyland Titan PD3/4 with East Lancs H41/32R bodies, delivered at the end of 1967
The dozen double-deckers delivered in 1965 were something of a surprise, being Leyland Titans with highbridge Massey bodies. Evidently the benefit of having universal route availability was considered worth sacrificing in order to obtain cheap and straightforward buses, although the chassis did have a slightly modified suspension, which combined with some road lowering work meant that they could operate under the railway bridge in the High Street - effectively being able to operate most routes apart from the 7/8 routes to Hockley and Rayleigh (and also the 1 which interworked with the 7 and 8).
Massey had by now adopted a straighter frontal profile and 70 seats were fitted - although this was still 6 less than the Bridgemasters, which had more closely spaced seats upstairs. 333-44 were to the same basic mechanical specification as the earlier Titans, even having vacuum brakes which were considered obsolete by most operators by then.
The first three, 334, 339 and 340, went into service in February 1965 and the rest appeared over the following months, the last to enter being numerically the first, 333. The bus lists on the web site lists 334/340 as being built in Jan 1965, 337/339/344 in Feb, 336/338/341/342/343 in March and finally 333 in April. Initially the main route operated was the long and busy routes 3/3A from Shoebury to Canvey Island.
334 making the very first test run under the High Street bridge in Jan 1965 ..
.. and 337 making the first service journey under the bridge in September that year.
The following photos are of 334, 339 and 340 taken in February and March 1965 when they had just entered service.
Three more Titans, 345-347 arrived at the end of 1967, the last conventional half cab, front engined deckers to join the Southend fleet. This time they were the PD3/4 variant of the Titan with air brakes, Leyland having withdrawn the vacuum option at last! Originally they had been intended to have Massey bodies but the take over of that firm by their Wigan neighbours Northern Counties altered plans, so the 73 seat highbridge bodies came from the Blackburn works of East Lancashire Coachbuilders instead.
The 15 Titans probably had the most varied careers of any Southend buses, being hired out at various times to Colchester Corporation, London Transport, London Country and City of Cardiff.
346 operating in Colchester
6 were hired to Colchester Corporation during 1972.
336 at South Croydon
346 working from Croydon on a misty morning
10 were hired to London Transport from the middle of 1975 until February 1976 where they worked from the Croydon depot.
336 on loan to London Country in 1976
.. and 333
.. and 339
After that they were hired to London Country at Epping until January 1977.
334 in Cardiff, overtaking a Cardiff Guy Arab
... and 341
... and 335
Later, eight were hired to Cardiff City Transport between July and October 1977.
337 severly cannibalised at the Tonbridge Road works
337 was prematurely withdrawn in June 1973 after a serious accident, but the others lasted until 1978 (336, 339 and 344), 1980 (the rest of the 1965 batch) and 1981 (345-7). 347 was to be Southend's last 'proper' bus, making its final service journey on July 31st, 1981
At least six of the PD3s (334, 335, 336, 339, 341 and 347) are still around.
Many thanks to Richard Delahoy for his kind permission to include extracts from his book in this page and also to Richard, Paul Harrison, Paul Bateson, Ian Banks, Chris Stewart, David Beardmore and Richard Goring for supplying some of the pictures.