Monday, 29 August 2016

Buses I Have Known (1) : Daimler Fleetline

Growing up in Birmingham i've travelled on many buses in my time, in this short series i will reminise (or wibble anyway) about some of the buses i travelled on while a boy and a student during the 1970s to the 1990s...

There is only one place to start, the Daimler Fleetline. My earliest memory is being on one in the early 1970s, on the 55 bus route, being taken to my Nan's as she looked after me in those pre-school days while my Mum was at work (i don't think nurseries had been invented back then, not for the working class anyway). Fleetlines dominated the WMPTE fleet, especially with the locally built MCW bodywork, during the 1970s and i travelled on many to school on the number 11 bus route. The Metrobus began to replace them as the 1980s wore on but you could still them well into the 1990s.

It was back then that i wanted to be a bus driver when i grew up, i think mostly because i wanted to be able to change the display on the front using the various levers above the cab. Well that never happened anyway, maybe its a pity. Or maybe not...

Birmingham had the second largest fleet after London but the London DMS (as they were called) had a lot less successful career than in the Second City and indeed some ex-London buses returned North to augment the Brum fleet. They stood out a bit as at first they had separate entrance and exit doors which was not the usual practice up here.

The last Fleetline left WM Travel service in 1997 and none are likely to be in regular revenue earning service these days, except maybe for tourist sight seeing buses perhaps, but a number are in preservation. Travelling the WMPTE liveried example at the Aston Manor Transport Museum (now Aldridge Transport Museum) is a true nostalgic thrill. Old memories are often sparked by the most mundane of objects and when i sit on those red seats on a blue and custard bus i am taken back to happier days before the horrors of skool.
It looks like an old photo but actually taken fairly recently on an Instamatic

The side of a Fleetline amid a cloud of healthy clag

AMRTM's Fleetline XON 41J, same age as me!

DMS 1 at London Transport Museum, Acton

XON 41J at Aston