|LITTLE BUS COMPANY
6 Appleyard, Haworth Close,
Halifax, HX1 2NN.
Tel: 01422 301600
Kit TS7D 1937 Leyland TS7D/Beadle B44C
Southern National Omnibus Company - Portland Six Wheeler
|The three axle version of
Leylands TS6 and TS7 Tiger, the TS6/7T with trailing rear axle and TS6/7D with both
rear axles powered, enabled single deck bodies up to 30 long and achieved modest
sales, including, apart from SNOC, the City Coach Company for its London Southend
service, Southdown for its Beachy Head service and the Central and Western SMT Companies.
Southern National had capacity problems with its Route 22 between Weymouth and Portland, because of concerns as to the safety of operating double deckers in the exposed environment of the Isle of Portland. Double deckers operated over the Chesil Beach to the foot of the island at Victoria Square but the long 410 foot climb through Fortuneswell to "Tophill" was the exclusive domain of single deckers until 1969.
SNOC hired a Beachy Head TS6T from Southdown in 1936 and, convinced of its suitability for the Portland operation, subsequently ordered six TS7Ds. These were bodied by Beadle of Dartford as B44C with Gardner 5LW diesel engines and were delivered in July 1937 as fleet numbers 1000-1005, rego. ETA 233-238. They remained in operation on the Portland service until replaced by 45 seat Bristol LS underfloor engined saloons in 1954. By this time each of the TS7Ds had achieved more than one million miles of operation.
I have fond memories of the Portland six wheelers, since I first encountered them as a nine year old on a holiday in Weymouth in 1950, but the acknowledged guru on all things Weymouth is Brian Jackson, whose article on the TS7Ds was published in Classic Bus 31 in 1997 and who has assisted me in respect of details of this model. Unfortunately all the photographs in his article have destinations of KINGS STATUE 22 or DUPLICATE, which does not clarify the individual Portland destinations. A photograph of 1004, after the 1940 bombing raid on Edward Street Garage, shows a RADIPOLE destination, which must have been a through working beyond the Kings Statue.
Postwar livery was Tilling green, with cream applied:
Black lining was applied between the green and the cream and on the beading above and below the windows.
Prewar photographs suggest a darker green on the roof, extending down the back corner panels within the beading. Prewar the rain shields above the saloon side windows were also of glass, tapering to a slight "V" shape.
From a point of detailing the model, there are four individual destination screens which can show KINGS STATUE 22, DUPLICATE or whatever. The SOUTHERN NATIONAL lettering on the side was to the seriffed style with a "winged wheel" motif between the SOUTHERN and the NATIONAL, centrally on the door on the nearside. Miniature SOUTHERN NATIONAL lettering was applied Southern above National on the green panelling of the front dash and side by side on the cream panel on the back. In postwar days all carried adverts on the roof side panels for Devenish, the Weymouth brewer, in red, shaded right and below in black, on a yellow background. On the near side this read - DEVENISHS destination K BITTER ALE - and on the off side - NUT BROWN ALE destination DEVENISHS -. Photographs suggest that similar advertising was carried prewar, but with the lettering light on a darker, perhaps brown, background.
Half drop windows were originally fitted to the first nearside and second offside long windows and to the three long windows each side behind the entrance door.
Given the life of these buses, rebuilding was necessary, such that by the end of their life all varied in detail, particularly in respect of the style of the front dash, the rain shields, the number of opening windows and the guard rails. This model is based on 1005 as running in about 1952. By this time the front registration plate was fitted at the foot of the radiator, below the starter handle, and covering the Tiger badge. Modellers are advised to consult CB31 or other photographic sources.
© Tony Swift, Kirribilli NSW Australia, March 2007.
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