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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:53 am 
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Thanks for this, but it looks just the same. Evidently it isn't a SARO front, it's just me. Sorry about that.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:39 pm 
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I think Beadle and Saro Used the same glazing supplier.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:05 am 
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Location: Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
The Saunders-Roe bodies supplied to Auckland Transport Board (ATB) in the 1950s certainly had an excellent reputation, and were long-lived. I understand that there are still one or two of the Daimler Freelines around in sound operable condition, not counting any in preservation.

The total ATB Saunders-Roe fleet consisted of:

50 Leyland Royal Tiger OPSU1
160 Daimler Freeline D650HS (in two batches, the first of 90, the second of 70)
40 BUT RETB1/2
12 Bedford SBG

All were of the Rivaloy type except for the 12 Bedford SBG, which were of the SARO type. However, the BUT bodies had some SARO external features, including the front end, with differentially-raked windshield panels and the large flat dome.

The initial order appears to have been for the Leyland Royal Tiger fleet, announced in Commercial Motor (CM) 1951 September 14. Whether ATB independently chose Saunders-Roe, whether it was guided there by Leyland, or whether Leyland simply subcontracted the body supply is unknown. The Royal Tiger/Rivaloy association evidently began with the famous Cuban order, which according to Truran (1), Leyland subcontracted to Saunders-Roe. Given Leyland’s strong link with MCW, with MCW’s Apollo body being virtually a standard fitment for export Royal Tigers – and likely designed primarily around this chassis – one might infer that MCW did not always have the capacity to meet Leyland’s requirements, and so a second body supplier was needed. In the case of the Auckland order, Truran notes that chassis supply lagged the body building program, so that the bodies were stored at Anglesey awaiting the arrival of their chassis.

The Auckland Rivaloy body had a modified front dome, I’d guess to accommodate a larger destination display, than the original Cuban version, and also had symmetrical windshield panels, whereas the Cuban version had asymmetrical panels. The Auckland Royal Tigers were specially fitted with AEC air-operated preselector gearboxes. This was noted by Truran (with a nice picture of a body being lowered onto a chassis on p.50. Leyland did a neater installation of the AEC column selector gear than the AEC original.) Some of the Royal Tigers, built in 1952-53, remained in service until the second half of the 1980s, longer than any others of the Auckland Saunders-Roe fleet. Although somewhat underpowered as compared with the Daimlers, they were more robust than and so outlasted them.

I have not been able to find in the CM on-line Archive any reference as to when the first Daimler order was placed by ATB, but it must have been soon after that for the Royal Tigers. I should not be too surprised if delivery time was a factor that weighed to Daimler’s advantage. Being adequately powered might have been another factor, although at that stage the relative on-road performance may not have been known to any degree of accuracy. The Rivaloy bodies on the Daimlers had modified front ends to accommodate the higher driving position of the Freeline chassis, but were otherwise interchangeable with those on the Royal Tigers.

The Auckland Freelines were “all-hydraulic”, but I think were not quite the standard production version of the time. They lacked power-assisted steering, and had 4-speed rather than 5-speed preselector gearboxes. The gearshift was externally hydraulically operated using a front wheel-type wheel cylinder. This feature was also included on the domestic CLD/CLG chassis, as described in CM 1952 September 19. The original Freeline specification had a mechanically operated gearshift; for whatever reasons, the hydraulically assisted mechanical arrangement developed for the CD650 was not carried over. One supposes that the hydraulic operation option was offered sometime during 1952. The hydraulic braking system was said to be of the Powervalve type rather than the standard servo type, but it still retained the charging valve. The doors were hydraulically operated. The Freelines certainly had enough “get-up-and-go” for urban and suburban operations, and that I understand is why the ATB and its successor the ARA worked through and learned to live with their problems, developing appropriate and disciplined maintenance regimes, and ordered a second batch to essentially the same specification. Their engines, although quite smooth, were rather delicate, and they were undercooled (although the latter was hardly unusual for British equipment). The hydraulic braking system was troublesome, and loss of hydraulic pressure could result in a “stuck-in-gear” condition. Whilst the hydraulic system faults were often considered as being inherent to the system, when one considers the extent to which constant-flow systems were and are used in off-highway heavy equipment, it seems much more likely that the problems were the result of poor detailed design and/or poor execution on AP’s part.

The second batch of Freeline bodies was I think Saunders-Roe’s last build before it exited the body-building business.

The Royal Tigers and Freelines had aesthetically pleasing bodies for their time, and I’d judge them to be about the best execution of the British version of the American (Yellow Coach) origin transit body style with recessed windshield panels. (And generally the export versions of this body style were better than the domestic versions.)

The Royal Tigers and Freelines carried 66 pax within 12 tons gvw. By comparison ATB’s handful of the AEC Regal IV type (hopelessly underpowered) with conventional NZMB bodies required 13 tons gvw for the same of slightly fewer pax. I think too that the contemporary Christchurch Regal IV fleet, with a mix of Crossley and PRV bodies, were 13 tons gvw for 63 pax.

The 40-strong Rivaloy-bodied BUT RETB1/2 fleet was Saunders-Roe’s only build of trolleybus bodies. The order was recorded in CM 1952 November 07. They were also the first anywhere to be fitted with BTH’s then-new eddy current device-type automatic acceleration controller. They had “oversized” 36’ x 8’6” bodies, and carried something like 83 pax at 14 tons gvw. The earlier BUT 9711T fleet, with MCW bodies, similarly sized, carried 77 pax at 15 tons gvw.

The second Auckland batch (34) of BUT RETB1/2 trolleybuses had PRV bodies, evidently of similar weight to the Rivaloy. I’d guess that by the time the order was placed, Saunders-Roe was out of the business.

Most of the Auckland Saunders Roe bodies were shipped CKD (or maybe PKD would be more accurate) and were assembled locally. Those shipped fully-built appear to have been:

Royal Tiger: 25 (of 50)
Freeline 1st batch 16 (of 90)
BUT RETB1/2: 3 (of 40)
Bedford SBG: 1 (of 12)
Freeline 2nd batch: 1 (of 70)

Of course, Saunders-Roe could not maintain a monopoly on lightweight bodies, and the major competitors caught up. For example, MCW announced its lightweight Hermes body for the Tiger Cub about a week after Saunders-Roe announced its SARO. Leyland had no doubt made sure that both of its preferred suppliers had bodies ready for its new lightweight chassis. The Hermes also found its way to New Zealand. Wellington City Transport (WCT) had 67 AEC Reliance MU2RAE in 1957 fitted with 30’ x 8’ Hermes bodies, followed by 33 BUT RETB1 in 1958 with 33’ x 8” Hermes bodies. The latter carried 63 pax at 13 tons gvw; unlike the Auckland fleet, they did not have shunting batteries. Another 19 Hermes-bodied BUTs followed in 1964, this being half of an order for 38, the other 19 being bodied in NZ, collectively these being the last build of BUT trolleybuses. The 1964 Hermes bodies had squared-up rear ends with wrap-around quarter windows, but retained the traditional front ends. Other PRV lightweight bodies were also used in New Zealand, on the 1950s Christchurch AEC Reliances, from 1956. These included 30’ x 8’ MU2RAE, 33’ x 8’ HMU2RA and 30’ x 8’ HMU2RA variants.

Cheers,



(1) Saunders-Roe Anglesey Ltd; Builders of the World’s Lightest Buses; Gerald Truran; Bryngold Books, 2009; ISBN 978-1-905900-10-7


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:52 pm 
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Stephen Allcroft wrote:
From these two buses three orders resulted, delivered in 1952/3. Liverpool took AEC Regent III chassis for their A39 and A40, the latter being among the first buses to feature a 1950s fad for unpainted aluminium finish. Birmingham also took a similar body on Guy Arab 3002 (LOG302) which was a ton lighter than their standard bodies and so only required a Gardner 5LW rather than a 6LW to provide the same performance, thus travelling a mile further for every gallon of fuel used. LOG302 is fully restored and preserved at Aldridge transport museum.

Actually 3002 (LOG302) is a Daimler CLG5 with lightweight Metro-Cammell body. The Guy with lightweight Saunders-Roe body is 3001 (LOG301), and although I believe it survives, I don't think it is restored. Remarkably, photos (see http://tinyurl.com/oyyx9t2 ) show that far from resembling the Liverpool bodies, 3001 was built to the Birmingham standard design, even more so than 3002 which has flush windows and other differences.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:00 pm 
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You're quite right, apologies there.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:38 pm 
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I've just picked up this thread after months away from it. The Birmingham SARO-bodied bus 3001 (LOG301) is certainly still in existence, and is under (somewhat slow) restoration; the MCW lightweight LOG302 is, like the single-deck Guy Arab LUF demonstrator, at Aston Manor Transport Museum, in Aldridge, Walsall. It is interesting that both LJW336 and LOG302 have very RT-like interior window surrounds - I can't speak about LOG301 as I haven't yet seen it (must go and have a look sometime).


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