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Author Topic: Chatham & District Traction Company  (Read 72592 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2010, 15:30:01 »
I've acquired a treasure - a Maidstone & District timetable for 19 September 1951 :)
It's  got some stuff in it worth posting and I had thought of starting a new topic, but this one has already spilled over from C&D to M&D, so I thought it would keep the thread going better if I left it here.

To start, here's the route map:


I forgot to label the route going off to bottom left - it goes to Brighton.
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Offline AlanH

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2010, 02:38:24 »
I only worked out of Gillingham depot so don't know much about the rest. I do remember being sent down to Luton with a bus and told to bring back one of Gillingham's Panthers which had just been repaired..... and it needed repairing again after I took the corner at The Brook and Chatham High St. wrong and the mirror of the bus waiting to enter the High St. went through a window!
I was very inexperienced and they let me off  as I was such a nice lad. :)
Another incident but which definitely wasn't my fault was when wheeling slowly into Maidstone terminal and an elderly driver walked straight into the front doors!
/>I braked hard as I heard the thump and passengers went flying as they were all standing up ready to jump off.  There were plenty of curses directed my way but I got the doors open and the old boy had fallen down and his legs went under the bus. If I hadn't braked hard I may have gone over his legs.
I filled out heaps of accident forms and was absolved of any responsibility as the driver admitted he had been reading his paperwork and didn't check for traffic.
Alan.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2010, 22:20:55 »
This link shows video of Daimler bus like those run by M&D. It doesn't show detail of controls, but at start and near the end (2m 35s) shows the general appearance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUW6DMTDMJw

Also, from Wikipedia:
A substantial number of British buses built between about 1935 and 1960 had preselector transmission, particularly those built by Daimler and AEC, and some by Leyland. Some were mechanical, whereas the AEC RT type, universal in London at this period, had the gearbox air-operated (compressed air was also used for the brakes, windscreen wipers, etc), which gave off a characteristic hiss when the change gear pedal was pressed. Typical operation of London buses was they had a very low first gear, only used on hills, so the driver when starting would select second gear, depress and release the change gear pedal to engage the transmission, and then select third ready for changing gear on the move, all this done while the bus was still stationary. On starting just the accelerator pedal was pressed, the gear change to third made at about 15 mph by just pressing the left pedal, and that could well suffice to the next stop where the bus would be stopped in gear and the process repeated
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Offline MedwayDweller

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2010, 18:27:25 »
I'll ask my dad about the old Postley Works building, he still keeps in touch with people. Hearing you mention Postley Works reminded me of the five-a-side tournaments that went on between depots, my dad used to play for Head Office. I think they used to play on the site of the old market or where some sort of cattle auctioneering went on during the day, it was a huge place with a very hard floor and freezing in winter. I would assume it's now the Lockmeadow leisure complex these days.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2010, 16:21:49 »
There was once a central overhaul works for all M&D buses at Postley Works, Postley Road, Maidstone. All buses were sent there for major overhaul at prescribed intervals until reliability of modern vehicles made this unnecessary. I think it was the Leyland Atlanteans that triggered this. Maintenance was then done by the local depots and Postley Works was closed. It was a large premises on the left at the top of Postley Road, and I wonder if the building is still there.

The M&D buses with pre-selector gearboxes were Daimlers, of the same vintage as the wartime Bristols and Guys with utility bodies mentioned in previous replies. They had the Daimler fluted radiators like those on Daimler cars, which also had pre-selector gearboxes. These had a lever on the steering column which was moved to select the next gear, but the change didn't happen until the driver depressed what would be the clutch in a normal transmission.

Does anyone remember the round plate about 2 inches diameter carried on M&D buses at the bottom-left at the rear, to indicate the depot the bus belonged to? It was 'M?'for Maidstone, 'GL' for Gillingham. 'GR' for Gravesend, 'S' for Sittingbourne, and so on.

As well as the C&D subsidiary, M&D also had the subsidiary 'Hastings Tramways' that operated trolleybuses in Hastings. I  think there was a third subsidiary in that area that operated private hire coaches, does anyone remember?
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Offline MedwayDweller

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2010, 14:39:18 »
Am loving this bus thread! My father worked for Maidstone & District Motor Services (M&D) between 1959 and 1994 on the clerical side, mainly on the ticket auditting side amongst others over the years and so I have a great love and nostalgia for the subject. He worked at Maidstone Head Office (Knightrider House) in the early years, then down to Luton depot, then back to Maidstone until 1981 when it was closed and operations were amalgamated with East Kent's HO down in Canterbury to save money. Both Maidstone and Luton depots now long gone of course. Have some brilliant memories as a young boy of having the treat of visiting a depot on a Saturday and seeing the buses being worked on over the maintenance pits, seemed a bit special seeing a part of things the general public didn't. I particularly remember the Leyland Atlanteans being worked on as they had the distinctive rear end flap where the engine could be inspected. M&D acquired many of the first models of these off the production line in the late 50's to replace the old trolley bus fleet. It was quite radical in those days for buses to have their engines in a bay at the rear. I loved M&D's old pre-nationalised bus fleet's colours of dark green and cream trim, with the excursion coach vehicles having the livery reversed. Then of course nationalisation came in 1969 and National Bus Company was created as a parent to all the nation's bus companies. Then the buses became a rather bland leaf green. And now of course we have the situation where Arriva are running things and there buses are all the same turqoise, be it in Cornwall or Glasgow! Although it gave a sense of identity to the local towns having their own unique and recognisbale public transport colours, it did prove expensive repainting a vehicle were it transferred to another operator, hence the fact Arriva keep all their areas the same colour.

I have been reading about the lack of synchromesh on early bus gearboxes, and though I don't profess to knowing any technical information I do remember some buses had pre-selectors, does that mean anything to anyone?

Also, I found out that the large white 4-digit numbers painted on the dome at the front of buses running in Chatham were to aid in identification for traffic controllers in the Pentagon. Cameras could pick the numbers up on their entry to the Pentagon bus depot so their progress could be tracked.
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Offline AlanH

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2010, 02:23:54 »
Don't know what sort of boxes buses that old would have had, way before my time. The Atlantians and other more modern buses of my time had what they called an electropneumocyclonic gearbox or something and the shifter was a little stick on the left of the steering wheel. Big change from those crash boxes.
Alan.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2010, 09:32:51 »
C&D Bristols were K5G, with 5 cylinder Gardner engines. M&D Bristols were K6As with much more powerful 6 cylinder AEC engines. Class distinction? :)

K5G up-changes seemed quicker; the driver went straight into next gear without double decluthing, whereas K6As were slower. I understand this was because the K5Gs had a 'clutch stop'; pushing the clutch right down slowed the engine quickly for up-changes, but it was only pushed part-way down for downward changes needing double declutching to speed the engine up. On K6As the driver had to wait for the engine to slow for upward changes. Does this make sense?

As a passenger, it seemed that the slowest up-changes were on the Leyland Titans. Do  I remember correctly - did the wartime Guy Arabs have 1st and 2nd gears to the right of the gate, and 3rd and 4th to the left, the oppposite to most vehicles?
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Offline AlanH

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2010, 03:53:15 »
I took the PSV Licence in 1967 and drove for M&D out of Gillingham Depot. There was an old chap there by the name of Blackman I think who was the test examiner and it was done in one of those Bristol buses with no syncro.
Part of the test meant a hill start from the bottom of Chatham Hill, first gear and engine howling then BANG back into second without taking the foot off throttle! No time for double declutching or anything fancy like that as the bus would just stop.
Further up the hill just past where it levelled off a bit he stopped you, got out and watched you take off using the handbrake and if you rolled back at all you immediately failed. It was said he put a matchbox under the wheel to check if you crushed it but I never saw him do it.
Leyland Atlantian double deckers, Panther single deckers were the modern buses at that time and they were so quiet and smooth compared to the Bristols and Guys etc. but luckily I rarely had to drive the old type bus.
Alan.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2010, 21:18:37 »
Somewhere I have my grandfathers long service certificate which shows a selection of the vehicles he drove, will try and find it to post here if anyone is interested.

Definitely interested. I used to have books with complete lists of bus fleets, but ditched them when we moved house!!!! Does anyone remember the Ian Allen series of books on all sorts of transport - buses, trains, airlines etc? I'm also interested in services run by M&D. Ian Allen books showed these as well.

Peter.
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2010, 21:07:56 »
I'm pretty sure it is, but there's a mystery. The original picture clearly shows the service number to be 147. But another book it says that M&D service 147 replaced C&D service 4, which ran to Salters Cross and not via North Street. Unfortunately I can't read the destination.

Peter
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Offline ChrisExiledFromStrood

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2010, 19:31:52 »
...
                And so to the final act.
               ...
                A Guy Arab ordered for C&D but delivered to M&D, running over a C&D route re-numbered in the 14x series and in M&D livery.
              
Would that picture with the Three Gardeners be North Street, Strood?

jon attwood

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2010, 17:27:19 »
some great information here,and its a subject I had been planning to research because it is relevant to my family history.
 my grandparents both worked on the buses around the medway towns, grandfather was a driver and gran was the clippie on his bus, both starting at chatham traction and moving to M&D (anyone remember Charlie and Grace Collins?) I'm not sure if a married couple working together like this was the norm or the exception at the time. Somewhere I have my grandfathers long service certificate which shows a selection of the vehicles he drove, will try and find it to post here if anyone is interested.

> I remember grandad telling me about the time he was driving up chatham hill and a bomb dropped right in front of the bus (fortunately empty as he was returning to the depot), aparently he managed to stop just in time with the bumper about 6 inches from the edge of the shell hole, he also told me a tale of a wartime diversion due to a bomb damaged road that took him towards a bridge a couple of feet lower than the bus, again he managed to stop in time but I bet whoever was on the top deck got the fright of their life! as bus driver was a protected occupation during the war he was spared military service, and was involved in training  others to keep the service going. He had started driving at a very young age, firstly on electric trolleybuses then moving on to their replacements, I believe both would have retired in the late 60s or early 70s, though they were definitely well known to the M&D drivers in the mid 80s 'cos I remember ever time they took me somewhere on a bus (which was quite often)
 the driver would clear the front seat for them so they could have a chat!
Jon
 

Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 21:47:56 »
Here's an M&D bus repainted in C&D livery for the 50th Jubilee. I've posted it because it's the best picture I've found of the original 'Belt & Buckle' logo, although even this does not show the wording.
                                

I used to buy the C&D and M&D timetables purely so that I could look up bus times, as most people do, then ditch them afterwards. A 1954 C&D timetable (original price 3d) was recently on e-bay for £55. Arrrgh!!
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Offline peterchall

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Re: Chatham & District Traction Company
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 17:50:47 »
There is one C&D bus left that has been brought back to the Medway Towns for restoration.
Apparently there is one surviving bus left which has really got around the country and is now back in Maidstone.

That seems to be GKE 68.

GKE 65 was rebodied as a breakdown truck in March 1954. It was then passed to M&D and rebodied as a lorry. My info says it was "purchased for preservation" in 1970, but that's all I have. I also believe that Leyland TD5, FKO 223, which was transferred from M&D to C&D for a short time in 1942, and then back again, is also being restored somewhere.

GKE 64 and GKE 72 were converted to tower wagons for maintenance of the overhead wires of 'Hastings Tramways' trolleybuses.
Hastings Tramways was a similar subsidiary of M&D, taking over from a tram system. I think it lasted until 1977 before being absorbed by M&D.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

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