Classic Buses Profiles

Southdown Leyland Tigers - Part 2, Pre-War Buses


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Last updated 16 January 2016

This series of pages is dedicated to a very special group of vehicles, the glorious and extensive fleet of Leyland Tiger single-decker buses and coaches that Southdown operated both before and after the war. This page looks at the pre-war bus fleet. These links will take you to pre-war coaches and all post-war vehicles.

Although many of the pre-war buses were reconstructed to form the 'Beadle rebuilds', some were still working for a living virtually in their original form well into the 1950s. Here is 1455, a 1938 Tiger TS8 at that Southdown enthusiast's paradise, Pool Valley, Brighton, waiting for its passengers before heading west towards Shoreham. The date would be around 1955. It's a shame I can't give credit where it is due for this fine atmospheric shot, but I have no idea whose photo it is. Thanks, anyway.


INTRODUCTION AND CREDITS

Part two of this review looks at the single deck Leyland Tiger buses built for Southdown before the war.

The Southdown Enthusiasts Club has a huge amount of data regarding Southdown buses, and I recommend that you visit their page. They have also been kind enough to let me use some of their photographs and other information, for which I am most grateful. Owners of other pictures, when known, are also credited. However the photographers of some pictures on this page are not shown on the original photograph, and therefore are not known to me. Whoever they were I thank them, and if they contact me with their names they will of course be credited. If a rightful owner wishes me to remove any hitherto anonymous image, it will be done forthwith.

My particular thanks go to Adrian Clarke for providing a large quantity of information, which was a great help in getting this list created. Many others have helped with valuable data - too many to name I'm afraid - but thanks to you all.

The format for the listing is as follows;

Fleet No., (Regn.No.), Tiger model, Chassis number (when known), / Body manufacturer, manufacturer's body No. (when known), Southdown body No. ('Bxxx'), body configuration (except when the entire batch is the same), delivery date, subsequent modifications, withdrawal date and other notes.

As with my other lists, mistakes are bound to creep in, and some relevant information may be missing so, in order to make it as accurate a reference as possible, I would of course welcome any additions or corrections.


FLEET LIST

==========

LEYLAND TIGER TS6T  -  50-51 (Total 2)

Southdown No.551

No.551 about to depart from Eastbourne pier on 8 Sept 1949 and grind its way up to the top of Beachy Head on Route 97. Photo by Jack Turley (image now part of Dinnages Picture Library), from Gerry Hopkins personal collection.

Delivered 1934

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS6T 6-wheelers with trailing third axle (i.e. free-wheeling, and not driven by the engine), 30' long. Originally with 8.6 litre petrol engines, but fitted with 8.6 litre oil engines in 1940.

Body: Short Bros. B40C. Changed to B39C around 1946.

Notes: Purchased for the Eastbourne to Beachy Head service. As a result of an agreement with the local authority Southdown were restricted to the use of single-deckers on the lucrative Beachy Head sightseeing route. Two-axle vehicles were limited by law to 27 feet 6 inches in length so, in order to maximise the capacity, the company purchased two three axle TS6T vehicles (followed later by two more TS7T models), which enabled them to extend the length to 30 feet and carry 40 passengers. Re-numbered 550 and 551 in 1937.


LEYLAND TIGER TS7T  -  52-53 (Total 2)

No.552 at the top of Beachy Head, with 551 (TS6T) to the right (Photo unknown)

BUF 552

No.552 again (Photo: E.Gamblin, Guildford). Location unknown, but may be Royal Parade garage, Eastbourne (closed in 1972). I make no apologies for showing two pictures of this bus, as it is such a stunningly beautiful machine.

Delivered August 1935

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS7T 6-wheelers with trailing axle (8.6 litre petrol), 30' long. Later fitted with oil engines.

Body: Short Bros. B40C with folding sun roof and rear roof luggage pannier; reconfigured to B39C in 1946.

Notes: Purchased for the Eastbourne to Beachy Head service. As a result of an agreement with the local authority Southdown were restricted to the use of single-deckers on the lucrative Beachy Head sightseeing route. Two-axle vehicles were limited by law to 27 feet 6 inches in length so, in order to maximise the capacity, the company purchased two three axle TS6T vehicles, followed later by these two TS7T models, which enabled them to extend the length to 30 feet and carry 40 passengers. Re-numbered 552 and 553 in 1937.


LEYLAND TIGER TS7  -  1400-1423 (Total 24)

A crowded No.1422 in Worthing on Route 5 to Findon, around 1950. (Photo: Photobus)

Delivered September-November 1935

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS7 (7.6 litre petrol). Swapped engines with the 1938-39 batch of Tiger TS8 8.6 litre oil-engined coaches in 1939-40.

Body: Harrington DP31R of a high standard and luxury specification, with "Walman" half-length sliding roof, semi-coach high backed seats, and roof luggage panniers with rear access ladder; all were converted to DP32R around September 1938. During World War II they were converted to perimeter seating with large central standing area, enabling the carriage of 30 seated and 30 standing passengers! They reverted to the original configuration post-war, but many were then rebuilt by Portsmouth Aviation, who sealed up the sliding roof and removed the luggage racks.

Notes: The first of Southdown's Tiger bus purchases. The Harrington bodywork had a distinctive style, including a very comprehensive route indicator display on the nearside.


LEYLAND TIGER TS7  -  1424-1429 (Total 6)

Leyland Tiger TS7 No.1428 (DCD 328) at Pool Valley, Brighton around 1950. Photo W.J.Haynes by kind permission of the Southdown Enthusiasts Club.

Delivered 1936

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS7 (7.6 litre petrol) 27'6" long. A decision in the early 1940s to convert all bus saloons to diesel, resulted in the petrol engines from this batch being exchanged with 8.6 litre oil engines from TS8 Tiger coaches from the 1938 and 1939 batches 1182-1226.

Body: Harrington B32R with "Walman" half-length sliding roof - basically the same as for 1400-23 above, but without roof panniers, and delivered with 32 seats.


LEYLAND TIGER TS8  -  1430-1465 (Total 36)

No.1456 in Worthing on Route 106 to Goring and Ferring, around 1950 (Photo: Photobus). Bill Armstrong thinks the bus is turning right out of Steyne Gardens into Marine Parade, Worthing.

Delivered between July and November 1938

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS8 (8.6 litre diesel), 27' 6" long.

Body: Harrington B32R, 1430 to 1441 had "Walman" half-length sliding roofs, but 1442-1465 did not.


LEYLAND TIGER TS8  -  1466-1471 (Total 6)

Delivered between December 1938 and January 1939

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS8 (8.6 litre diesel), 27' 6" long. All fitted with oil engines in 1950

Body: Harrington B34R with opening sunshine roofs, except 1467 and 1470.


LEYLAND TIGER TS8  -  1472-1485 (Total 14)

No.1479 in the early 1950s at Hassocks Station awaiting its return to Hurstpierpoint on Route 34, the very short local service between the two. The bodywork is typical of post-war rebuilds of Southdown's single-deck buses by Portsmouth Aviation and others. Photo: unknown.

Mike Timberlake wrote; "I'm pretty sure the location of Southdown GCD 379 (service 34) is Hassocks Station car park where the bus turned round. I recognise the picket fence and the cottage behind where the station manager used to live. The cottage and a similar fence are still there. There used to be several shops where the awning is. The bus used to wait for the train and sometimes you had to make a dash for it when it was late getting to the station. Where the bus is standing is now a taxi stand. The lovely station was knocked down, the platform is now a miserable place to wait when it's windy and wet and the bus now stops below the car park on the main road. Looks like the rear of an Austin 7 circa 1929 in the background, I'll bet he never had to pay £2.25 to park there."

Delivered between November 1939 and March 1940

Chassis: Leyland Tiger TS8 (8.6 litre petrol), 27' 6" long.

Body: Harrington B32R.


TOTAL 90 ( with no survivors )

=========================

For more Southdown buses see;

Southdown Leyland Tigers (1) - pre-war coaches

Southdown Leyland Tigers (3) - all post-war vehicles

Southdown Guy Open-toppers

Southdown coaches 1951-1961

For many other buses, have a look at all the other profiles on the Classic Buses menu page.



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