SCT'61 An illustrated guide to the postwar Leyland Titan
This gallery reflects the amazing depth of the SCT61 photo library. The postwar Leyland Titan was probably one of the most successful and popular buses built, being represented in a wide variety of fleets and performing all sorts of duties. Produced over a period just exceeding twenty years, to meet the requirements of its many operators (some of which were very particular about certain features), there were many different variants.
This gallery attempts to portray all the home market variants and, where the SCT61 gallery permits, even some export models. All variants are illustrated, to my knowledge, although in one case it only appears alongside the main subject. I have tried to cover all different types supplied new, along with some more significant changes to vehicles in service, but I have not tried to cover every modification made by operators.
In simple terms the variants related to length, width, transmission and braking. Along with these mechanical differences there were whole series of chassis codes that referred to concealed radiator variants, together with others which related to frame detail design. The PD1 featured the E181 engine instead of the O.600 used in the PD2 and PD3.
I hope you enjoy this selection. It is as accurate as I can make it but I recognise it will not be perfect so if there are errors, please point them out. It's important that this guide is correct so that it can become a useful reference source.
The first post-war model - the PD1
The first PD1 chassis were built in 1945 and included this Roe-bodied example new to Bury. The standard PD1 like this example was 7'-6" wide and 26'-0" long with vacuum brakes, an E181 engine and a constant-mesh gearbox.
A unique variant of the PD1 was this solitary example for Leeds fitted with an O.600 engine. As it wasn't built with that engine technically it doesn't belong in this gallery but I've added it for completeness.
Central SMT was an enthusiastic purchaser of the PD1 and bought the last examples which entered service as late as 1952. The majority, like the one illustrated, were the PD1A variant which featured Metalastik rubber bushes in the suspension - a difference that wasn't readily visible.
The PD1/2 model was unique to Bolton, who were a very early enthusiast for air brakes.
8'-0" wide vehicles became legal during the production life of the PD1 chassis and vehicles to this width were designated PD1/3. This chassis was bought by Manchester (150), Oldham, Ribble and Middlesbrough.
A very extensive rebuilding was carried out by Ribble on a batch of Brush-bodied PD1As. These were fitted with 8'-0" wide axles and rebodied with Burlingham bodies. They were later fitted with O.600 engines from other PD1s which had themselves been re-engined in 1948/9. The specification of the final result was similar to the PD2/3 apart from the gearbox but they weren't re-classified as the Leyland factory was not involved in the rebuilding and the change in any event was a gradual one.
26'-0" long PD2s
The first PD2 models were 26'-0" long. It seemed appropriate to start this part of the gallery with the first production PD2. This was a PD2/1 and was 7'-6" wide with vacuum brakes and a synchromesh gearbox.
The PD2 was also aimed at the export market. These tended to have slightly thicker frames and were 8'-0" wide. The first export version was the OPD2/1 which also had vacuum brakes and a synchromesh gearbox.
There was also an 8 foot wide version of the PD2/1 which was the PD2/3. This also had vacuum brakes and a synchromesh gearbox.
One or two operators had moved to air brakes a long time before they became standard, Bolton fitted them to several chassis which didn't normally have them. They had 100 PD2/4s and were the only operator apart from Bury to buy this version new. 26' long, 8' wide with air brakes and synchromesh gearbox. The code PD2/2 was allocated to a 7'-6" wide version but no orders were forthcoming.
Another operator to specify air brakes was Blackpool but instead of the PD2/4 they had a special version coded PD2/5. This had frame modifications to accommodate the centre-entrance body but was otherwise the same specification as the PD2/4.
This photograph is to illustrate the code that never was! The standard Manchester body featured a cantilevered platform and as a consequence did not require the drop frame extension. The code PD2/6 was allocated to this chassis but the batch that was built (Manchester 3200-3264) were in fact coded PD2/3.
London bought Leyland Titans after the war but these had significant differences for standard models and were not given a Leyland designation, instead being known by their LT engineering codes. The RTW class was known as the 6RT and were the first eight foot wide buses in London, apart from which their specification was as the 7RT which follows.
The 7RT was better known as the RTL and featured a preselector gearbox and air brakes as well as a slightly different wheelbase (to allow standard RT bodies to fit). It had no drop-frame chassis extension and was 7'-6" wide.
27'-0" long PD2s
The PD2/9 was a special version of the PD2/10 (which follows) with provision for a lower floor downstairs giving a small reduction in overall height which was beneficial in St. Helens.
An increase in maximum permitted length of double-deckers to 27'-0" led to the introduction of a new range of models in 1950. The PD2/10 was the equivalent of the PD2/1 and had synchromesh gearbox, vacuum brakes and was 7'-6" wide. This fine example is from the Darwen fleet.
The OPD2/10 was one of a range of export chassis that were 27'-0" long. Unlike the PD2/10 it had air brakes and was 8'-0" wide.
This model was a PD2/10C, which referred to a rebuilt chassis given a new chassis number. To the same specification as the PD2/10 it started life in this instance as a Tiger PS2/3 but UTA had similar chassis rebuilt from both PS1 and PS2 chassis.
The PD2/11 was allocated to 7'-6" wide chassis with air brakes and synchromesh gearboxes but no orders were placed. When Leeds bought these which were to the same specification but had pneumo-cyclic gearboxes, Leyland coded them PD2/11.
A very popular variant was the PD2/12, an 8'-0" wide chassis with synchromesh gearbox and vacuum brakes.
Midland Red wanted their Leylands to have a similar look to their own-built buses and they were thus fitted with what became known variously as the new look, the BMMO front or just plain tin front. The first with this style, they were coded as PD2/12s as the PD2/20 code had yet to be designated. Apart from the front they were to the same specification as the PD2/12.
The PD2/13 was an air-braked version of the PD2/12, 8'-0" wide with synchromesh gearbox. It seems that only Bolton (as shown) and Ribble bought this model.
Leeds bought ten of the PD2/14 which is the closest there was to a provincial version of the RTL. It was 7'-6" wide with air brakes and a preselector gearbox. The one other vehicle that is sometimes quoted as a PD2/14, Walsall 823 (TDH 770) is referred to in a separate entry below.
NTF 9 was a Leyland demonstrator and used to showcase the pneumocyclic transmission. Although mechanically similar to the PD2/11s for Leeds it was 8'-0" wide and thus received the designation PD2/15.
27'-0" long PD2s with concealed radiators
New codes were introduced when the BMMO front became an option, but the numbers did not correspond with the exposed radiator equivalents. The most popular model was the PD2/20, an 8'-0" wide version with vacuum brakes and synchromesh gearbox. This vehicle started life as a demonstrator but was to the Edinburgh design.
A unique PD2/20 was this example new to Hutchison of Overtown, which featured a PD1 drivetrain with the E181 engine and a constant-mesh gearbox, later replaced with a more conventional O600 power unit. The photograph shows it with its third owner, despite being only four years old.
Walsall 823 (TDH 770) has often been referred to as a PD2/14 but that seems to be erroneous - see John Kaye's caption to the photograph. It seems that Walsall 823 and Newcastle 351 were in effect PD2/24s, but were built before that code was allocated. As a result they were coded PD2/20 but apart from the pneumo-cyclic gearbox they would also have had air brakes, so PD2/21 would have been a bit more accurate. For those who know their Leyland wheels, they will know that 8'-0" wide chassis had front wheels with a distinct offset and that is an easy way to distinguish the two widths. At least it is normally but Walsall have fitted wheels without the offset to 823. Fortunately, the fleet number provides a more definite clue, as they initially numbered 8'-0" wide buses in the 800-series.
The air-braked 8'-0" wide chassis was coded PD2/21 and also featured a synchromesh gearbox. This variant was bought by Blackpool, North Western and East Midland. The East Midland batch was a mixture of PD2/20s and PD2/21s as West Mon found to their cost as they ended up with one of each!
7'-6" wide chassis with the BMMO front were only taken up by a handful of operators and all took the vacuum-braked PD2/22 chassis. The code PD2/23 was allocated for an air-braked version but none was built.
King Alfred bought two examples of the PD2/24, one of which is now preserved. This chassis had the pneumo-cyclic gearbox and was 8'-0" wide. As the pneumo-cyclic gearbox required air pressure that transmission was never offered in conjunction with vacuum brakes. By far the biggest customer for the PD2/24 was Glasgow, who purchased 300 of the type, the first of which was originally fitted with fully automatic transmission.
This glass fibre front came to be known as the St. Helens front and replaced the BMMO front. Chassis fitted with this front were classed generically as PD2As, with the suffix retaining the same meaning. The PD2A/24 was supplied to a few operators in relatively small quantities, Blackburn having the biggest fleet with 24.
The PD2/25 was a 7'-6" wide version of the PD2/24 with air brakes and the pneumo-cyclic gearbox. Only Glasgow bought this model.
The PD2/27 was 8'-0" wide with air brakes and synchromesh gearbox and had the BMMO front. It was a lighter version of the PD2/21 and mainly bought by Blackpool. Bolton had ten which, like Blackpool's, had full fronts. TRTB and Southampton bought half-cab versions.
The PD2A/27 was the same specification as the PD2/27 but had the St. Helens front. It found favour with quite a few municipal operators but notably Western Welsh bought a batch of twenty-one in 1963. Harper Bros of Heath Hayes bought a solitary example in 1966.
The PD2/28 code was allocated and just one built, whilst the PD2/29 was not even allocated. Despite appearances it is a PD2/28 and not a PD2A/28 - it received a St. Helens front later in life whilst retaining the original bonnet lid, which resulted in the nearside cutaway having to be filled in. This was a very unusual 7'-6" wide chassis with air brakes (and also a synchromesh gearbox). It still survives as a towing vehicle and thus joins the PD2/15 as a variant where all examples built still survive!
The PD2/30 was a lightweight version of the PD2/20, 8'-0" wide with vacuum brakes and synchromesh gearbox. It was a popular chassis and represented in a wide variety of fleets.
The PD2A/30 was the later version of the PD2/30 fitted with the St. Helens front, otherwise having the same specification.
Edinburgh had standardised in the BMMO front and even fitted their own version to some chassis other than Leylands. They wished to continue with this front but as it was no longer offered by Leyland they had to supply their own. This batch were coded as PD2A/30 by Leyland but didn't have the St. Helens front.
Another non-standard PD2A/30, coded as a PD2A/30 special, was supplied to Colchester in 1964. This featured a 7'-6" wide chassis which was no longer listed. They were effectively PD2A/31s but not actually identified as such.
The PD2/31 was a 7'-6" wide chassis with BMMO front, synchromesh gearbox and vacuum brakes, a narrower version of the PD2/30. Narrow chassis were already a more specialised requirement and this version only had a handful of customers, including Jersey.
The market for narrower buses had reduced even more by the time the St. Helens front was introduced. As far as I can tell only Colchester bought the PD2A/31 and along with the later PD2A/30 specials above I believe they were the only operator to buy 7'-6" wide PD2As.
27'-0" long PD2s with exposed radiators
The PD2/34 was an exposed-radiator version of the PD2/24 and had air brakes, pneumo-cyclic transmission and was 8'-0" wide. The only customer was Manchester with six, and even these were not all the same with the latter three having electro-pneumatic gearchange, the only PD2s so fitted.
The PD2/37 was 8'-0" wide with synchromesh gearbox and air brakes. Quite a popular chassis, the version shown here had very unusual lowbridge front-entrance bodywork.
Three PD2/37s supplied to Lancaster were built to an increased length of 28'-6". It is not clear whether the chassis differed in any way from the standard PD2/37, the modifications (to the rear chassis extension) may have been made by the bodybuilder.
The PD2/38 code was allocated to 7'-6" wide chassis with synchromesh gearbox and air brakes. There were very few narrow PD2s with air brakes sold over the years and only one home market PD2/38 is reported, which was this special hill bus for West Mon. It is also reported as a PD2/41 (with vacuum brakes) and I have since received confirmation that it had vacuum brakes. It was rebuilt in 1966 with new axles and an 8'-0" wide double-deck body.
Some PD2/38s were exported in C.K.D. form to Ashok, India, but they do not feature on SCT61 (yet!).
The PD2/40 was a vacuum-braked version of the PD2/37 and sold in large numbers right to the end of PD2 production, being the chosen variant for Salford, Stockport and Birkenhead, all late purchasers of the PD2.
Warrington had a need for 7'-6" wide vehicles and, like Colchester, persuaded Leyland to produce a batch for them. Coded PD2/40 Special they were otherwise to PD2/40 specification, except that like the Lancaster PD2/37s referred to above they were also 28'-6" long.
The final version of the vacuum-braked 7'-6" wide chassis with synchromesh gearbox was the PD2/41. Bought by a few municipal operators it was also to be found in the fleet of Baxter of Airdrie.
27'-0" long PD2s - rationalised component range
A new range of designations was introduced in 1967 to standardise components and design features with other models in the Leyland catalogue. Four PD2 codes were allocated but the only one produced was the PD2/47. This was the equivalent of the PD2A/27 with the St. Helens front. In these new codes the A was no longer used to indicate a St. Helens front but the rationalised pneumo-cyclic gearbox.
Thirty foot models - the PD3
The thirty-foot PD3 model was introduced following a change in legislation. The PD3/1 had a BMMO front, synchromesh gearbox, air brakes and like all the original PD3 range was 8'-0" wide. Although popular with large operators this vehicle demonstrates (three times!) that smaller operators also found the PD3 useful.
The version of the PD3/1 with the St. Helens front was designated the PD3A/1 and was a popular model to the end of PD3 production. This example is from Darwen, one of the few fleets to revert to the PD2 after buying PD3s.
The PD3/2 was a version with the pneumo-cyclic gearbox and air brakes. As with the pneumo-cyclic PD2 this found greatest popularity in Glasgow. Nearby Laurie of Hamilton, trading as Chieftain, by contrast bought this solitary example in 1959.
Edinburgh 998 (PWS 998) had this unique glass-fibre front by Holmes of Preston, who traded under the name of Homalloy. It was one of two PD3/2 chassis. The second PD3/2, along with four PD3/3s bought at the same time, were the only PD3s bought by Edinburgh that had specifications in line with their chassis designations. Hence the frequent appearance of Edinburgh in this gallery!
Bolton's 174 was a PD3A/2 with the St. Helens front, on this occasion in the fairly rare combination with a full front leading to asymmetrical windscreens. This batch was one of several featuring a centrifugal clutch instead of a fluid flywheel, although there was no difference in designation between the two. My limited experience of these was that they were very noisy on tickover!
Just as had happened with their PD2s, Edinburgh continued fitting their own version of the BMMO front when the standard Leyland offering was the St. Helens front. The last Titans for Edinburgh were this batch coded as PD3A/2 by Leyland, a late move to the pneumo-cyclic gearbox in Auld Reekie after the initial dabblings (see above).
The only listed version of the PD3 with the BMMO front and vacuum brakes was the PD3/3, which also featured synchromesh transmission for the conservative customer! This model was popular with the Scottish Bus Group, but this single example entered the fleet of Hudson, Horncastle, who also had a solitary PD2/22.
The PD3A/3 with St. Helens front was only supplied to four operators all of which fitted lowbridge bodywork. Three were SBG fleets (Western SMT plus Alexanders Midland and Northern) but the fourth was an odd purchase. Leigh bought two, despite already having bought six Dennis Lolines which didn't require lowbridge bodies.
Coded PD3/3C, but I suspect not by Leyland but Alexander, was this batch of Leyland Tiger rebuilds which ran for W. Alexander and were all transferred to the Midland fleet, formed not long after they entered service.
The exposed radiator PD3 designations started with the PD3/4, which had air brakes and a synchromesh gearbox. This batch with Metro-Cammell bodies was one of the first big batches of PD3s to enter service and gave years of sterling service to PMT.
The pneumo-cyclic version with an exposed radiator and air brakes was the PD3/5. A large batch of these was bought by Leeds but a more surprising purchaser of this type was T. Severn of Dunscroft. This 1958 example was one of only a relatively small number of PD3s built at the time of the photo.
There wasn't an OPD3 chassis, as the strengthening incorporated in the OPD1 and OPD2 was a standard feature of the PD3 chassis. Many PD3s went for export including this PD3/5 seen in Port Elizabeth. This incorporates some elements of the St. Helens front on a full front body. Ribble and Southdown had large and famous fleets of a similar concept but with more simple front ends.
With vacuum brakes and a synchromesh gearbox the PD3/6 was the most traditionally-specified PD3. The model found favour mainly in municipal fleets and the first of the type went to Bury, who bought twenty-five which had long lives.
Not a manufacturer's option but a variant that can't be missed in a compilation such as this was the Preston PD3 rebuild. There were only eight and it took as many years to complete them all. They were not identical as some had started life as lowbridge buses, including the one shown. The chassis had new frames and cross-members, presumably supplied by Leyland, so the allocation of code PD3/6 can perhaps be justified but they were all built as PD2/10s.
Edinburgh's PD3s appear a lot in this guide. Their first large batch new in 1964 must have caused Leyland some difficulties as in specification they were PD3/3s. However, not only had the PD3/3 been replaced by the PD3A/3 with St. Helens front, but even that model had been withdrawn from the catalogue. These vehicles were designated PD3/6 as if they were exposed-radiator chassis - the BMMO-style front being supplied by Edinburgh anyway. They had been the only home market vacuum-braked PD3s since the two PD3A/3s had gone to Leigh over two years earlier and the only later ones were a batch for Southend in 1965.
In Ireland there was a large number of postwar Tigers that were quite young but unsuitable for one-man operation. Their running units were recovered and assembled into these unique PD3A/6 chassis with CIE bodies using Park Royal kits. The chassis designation logic was presumably similar to that for the Edinburgh PD3/6, with these having St. Helens fronts and presumably vacuum brakes as fitted to the Tigers.
PD3s - rationalised component range
As with the PD2, a new rationalised range of PD3 models was introduced in 1967 and more of these made it into production. The PD3A/12 was the equivalent of the previous PD3A/2 except that this time the A referred to the pneumo-cyclic gearbox rather than the St. Helens front (each model had both). This was a very late order from Bradford who were buying batches of front- and rear-engined buses simultaneously at this time.
Stockport bought no less than twenty-seven PD3/14s, which were the equivalent of the PD3/4 with air brakes and synchromesh gearbox. Six of these formed the last batch of open-platform buses built in this country and Stockport's were the last new Titans apart from two for Ramsbottom (one of which was delivered to SELNEC). These fine examples are a very fitting final entry in this gallery.
Compiled by David Beilby from resources provided by the many SCT61 photograph contributors.