'All Aboard Please' Manx Buses Part 3
The set features Manx buses from both the Douglas Corporation and Road Services fleets from the 1950s through to nationalisation in 1976 when the two fleets were amalgamated under government control as Isle of Man National Transport.
Leyland Titan PD2
The first double-deckers with concealed radiators to enter the Road Services fleet were three PD2/22s in 1956. Although mechanically similar to previous PD2s acquired shortly after World War II, these differed in having lightweight bodywork and 'tin-fronts' of a style used by BMMO in the UK. All three were withdrawn from service by the mid-1970s.
AEC Regent V
Following on from the immediate post-war period, Douglas Corporation Transport continued to order additional new double-deckers from AEC (Associated Equipment Company) with four rear-entrance Regent Vs appearing in 1957. With a lightweight body and semi-automatic transmission these buses were quite lively performers.
Douglas Corporation Transport was renowned for having unusual vehicles in their fleet. For example, two AEC Reliances acquired new in 1958 were the only ones of their type to be fitted with bodywork by Mulliner, perhaps better known as luxury car body builders. The Reliances continued in service until October 1976 when DCT was amalgamated with Isle of Man Road Services.
In 1967 IOM Road Services ventured into coaching operations with three dual-purpose Leyland Leopards. Originally painted grey and red and fitted with coach seats, they were downgraded to service bus status and adopted red and cream livery when the company gave up its coaching interests. The bus illustrated operated on the Island for 19 years and was the last bus in the fleet with a manual gearbox.
The first Leyland National in the Road Services fleet appeared in 1974. At 11.3 metres long and with a turbo-charged rear engine and integral construction, it was a radical departure from anything seen previously. Six further examples followed in 1975 and another seven in 1976, becoming the last buses delivered to IOM Road Services. The first one, MN 9514, was subsequently re-registered MAN 14A to match similar vehicles in the fleet.
The final bus acquired by Douglas Corporation Transport was a Bedford YRQ which entered the fleet in 1975 and was therefore just a year old when the Douglas undertaking was amalgamated and nationalised. All the surviving yellow buses that continued in service were quickly repainted into National Transport red and white though, like the Bedford shown here, many were little-used before being sold to UK buyers.
The images for this wonderful issue have been specially commissioned from renowned motorsport and transport artist Peter Hearsey, while local historian and author Richard Davis provides expert commentary.
Richard was born in Douglas in 1946 and still lives on the Island. Retired after 30 years' service in the Isle of Man Constabulary, Richard is a well-known author and historian having published seven books relating to the Island's history and buses: Buses of the Isle of Man 1945 – the Present Day, Douglas Corporation Transport Buses – Centenary Edition, Isle of Man Road Services Buses and four volumes of Those Were the Days. When not researching or writing books, Richard spends time restoring and displaying his vintage buses at transport events in the UK and Ireland.
Peter was born in London where, after leaving art school, he worked in advertising for several years before moving to the Island in 1977. He is an elected member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society in the USA and his paintings and etchings of historic motor racing scenes are collected worldwide. Since working on the first "All Aboard Please!" stamp issue in 1999 he has produced the artwork for various other stamp issues and has enjoyed working with Richard Davies on this latest set.