Seddon Pennine RU

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Seddon Pennine RU
Manufacturer Seddon Diesel Vehicles
Seddon Atkinson
Body and chassis
Doors 1 or 2 doors
Floor type Step entrance
Engine Gardner 6HLW or Gardner 6HLX 6-cylinder horizontal diesel engine
Transmission Self-Changing Gears direct-acting air operated semi-automatic epicyclic, electric control, 4 or 5 speeds.
Length 33ft (10m) or 36ft (11m) for 35-51 seats

The Seddon Pennine RU was a rear-engined single-decker bus built by Seddon Diesel Vehicles/Seddon Atkinson between 1969 and 1974.

History overview of Seddon/Seddon Atkinson bus production[edit]

Seddon Diesel Vehicles were, like Atkinson Lorries, ERF and Motor Traction Ltd (Rutland), a commercial vehicle producer who bought-in and assembled proprietary components. Robert and Herbert Seddon were sons of a Salford butcher who in 1919 subsequent to World War I demobilisation bought a Commer with charabanc and van bodies, using it during the week for goods transport and at weekends to run excursions from Salford. Initially a further partner was a family-friend, a dairyman by the name of Foster, so the business was initially a partnership. Foster & Seddon also reconditioned vehicles and ran a bus service from Swinton (Lancs.) to Salford, which was subsequently sold to Salford Corporation, and held an agency for Morris Motors vehicles. In 1937 Robert Seddon spotted a gap in the commercial vehicle market for low-tare diesel-engined lorries and commenced to build his own vehicle out of proprietary units, much of the drawing work being done on his own kitchen table.[1]

This was a 6-ton gvw forward-control lorry chassis with a 6-cylinder Perkins indirect-injection diesel engine. It was first shown at the Scottish Motor show at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow in 1938. Like Maudslay and ERF, Seddon Motors Ltd were allowed to continue producing commercial vehicle chassis for sale during World War II when many more-established makers such as Leyland Motors, the Associated Equipment Company and direct-competitor Albion Motors had all of their productive capacity diverted to the war effort.

In 1946 Seddon Motors Ltd moved to a former shadow factory in Oldham and were able to expand production from one or two a week to more than ten. At this point they introduced their first passenger chassis the Mark IV.[2] The 26 ft mark IV and 27 ft 6in mark VI were sales successes at home and overseas. Coachbuilders for these chassis included Plaxton and a number of smaller concerns, Seddon also built their own coachwork for these models, mainly for export. Subsequently Seddon also produced (amongst a bewildering range for which Roman numbers were adopted when the firm became Seddon Diesel Vehicles Ltd in 1950) the Mark 7P. This was a short-wheelbase version of the established theme with four-cylinder Perkins engine and up to 28 seats available within a 21 ft overall length. At the 1952 Earls Court Commercial Motor show marks 10 and 11 featured vertical Perkins (P6 80 bhp or R6 107 bhp) engines mounted underfloor (when competing underfloor-engined buses used horizontally oriented engines). Although Bedford were to have success with such a layout between 1970 and 1987 the marks 10 and 11 sold poorly, with Seddon, Charles H. Roe, Duple and Plaxton bodies on the few known examples. The mid 1950s mark 16 was a 21 ft long bus with a Perkins P4 on the front overhang and the mark 17 was a six-cylinder-engined chassis to similar layout. The mark 18 of the late 1950s, mainly sold to Australia and New Zealand, with local coachwork. It had a vertically mounted Perkins P6 80 bhp engine on the rear overhang. There was also one mark 20 with a Henry Meadows 550 cubic inch horizontal rear-engine exported to Greece. The mark 23 was a front entrance front-engined bus for Kowloon Motor Bus[citation needed] and the mark 25P a normal control 18-seat personnel-carrier based on the mark 25 integral parcel van. The bodybuilding business, not only on Seddon and other manufacturer's buses but building lorry cabs and parcel vans for customers such as Manchester Corporation (who ran a parcel delivery service) was registered in its own right as Pennine Coachcraft Ltd (wholly owned by Seddon) in 1960.

From 1966 (with mark numbers climbing into the high twenties), Seddon decided to simplify its nomenclature, wagons were henceforth to be identified as (for example) 16-4 with the first number being the gross vehicle weight and the second the number of wheels. Bus chassis were to be known as Seddon Pennine Mark (x). The first buses using this system produced were for Bermuda and were Seddon Pennine Mark 3, they are believed to be similar to a short-wheelbase Pennine Mark 4 but with Perkins P6 or 6-304 engines[3] or an integral development of the Mark 17 model of similar layout.[4]

From the middle 1950s, Seddon had been almost absent on the home market for bus & coach concerns. A sole mark 19 using many AEC Reliance components in a Seddon-sourced frame with Harrington body being sold in 1960 to Creamline Coaches in Hampshire. But following the success of the Ford R-Series and the Bedford VAL and VAM, Seddon decided to make a similar product, to a variety of wheelbases with Perkins engines; as on the competitors, these were vertically mounted on the front platform. This was launched in 1967 as the Pennine 4, which thanks to vigorous marketing became a strong seller worldwide, the largest order being from Kowloon Motor Bus of Hong Kong, who took 100 11-metre versions with Perkins 170 bhp V8 engines and Pennine Coachcraft 47 seat + 42 standing dual-door bodies.[5] A rear-engined derivative was the Mark 5 (only one sold in the UK, a 45 seat Van Hool coach) and a version with a turbocharged Perkins 6-cylinder engine mounted at the front but under the passenger floor was the Pennine 6. In 1969 a more concerted effort at the UK bus market resulted in the launch of the Pennine RU.

In 1970, Seddon took over Atkinson Lorries to form Seddon Atkinson, in 1974 International Harvester bought Seddon Atkinson, later Pegaso took over the business until it in turn became part of Iveco, the last lorries under the Seddon Atkinson name were built in Oldham in 2004. Bus and coach production having ceased in 1983 when the last Pennine 7 models were delivered.

RU description[edit]

The Seddon Pennine RU (for rear-underfloor, the location of the engine) was launched in 1969 as a competitor in the market for rear-engine single deckers. Although a very different product to the Pennine 4 it followed the same market-driven philosophy. Viz: offer the same major features as the most in-demand model but cut out most of the complexity, some of the purchase price and offer it for sale quickly and cheaply with the choice of in-house Pennine Coachcraft bodywork. The market leader was in the rear-engine single-deck segment was the Bristol RE and Seddon decided to use similar mechanical units, notably Gardner engines and Self-Changing Gears semi-automatic transmission.

Whereas the RE used a complex stepped frame on bus variants. Seddon decided to use a straight frame using 8in channel longitudinals and mainly tubular cross-members which was oriented to rise from front to rear at about 5 degrees from the horizontal. Wheelbases offered were either 16 ft 6in for 33 ft coachwork or 18 ft 6in for 36 ft bodies. Instead of the complex drive-line arrangement of the RE a straightforward T-drive layout was employed. The rear end of the 10.45-litre Gardner 6HLX (the 8.6 litre 6HLW was optional) was mounted below and hard against the rear cross member on the short version, driving directly via a fluid flywheel into a Self-Changing Gears 4 or 5-speed direct-operating epicyclic gearbox, air-operated with electrical control. The Eaton spiral-bevel rear axle, to a variety of different final drive ratios, was just ahead of the power pack and a very short drive shaft was fitted with resilient rubber-based joints. Originally on the long-wheelbase version a similar arrangement was employed but with the engine further from the rear of the frame. Conventional leaf springs were used, but the spring shackle-pins were fitted with polyurethane bushes, which would not require greasing and so reduce maintenance costs. The braking was full air-operated using Girling wedge-type drum brakes. A spring operated air parking-brake was employed, power steering for the Seddon-designed front-axle was optionally available. Unlike the RE and the Leyland Panther the radiator was not carried at the front but hung from the offside of the chassis in mid-wheelbase, ahead of the rear axle. A combined saloon heating and ventilation system with a thermostatically-controlled heat-exchanger and reversible fan drive was announced but this was never made available to customers.

The Pennine Coachcraft body was a jig-built aluminium-framed structure similar to that of the standard body fitted to the Pennine 4. It was directly attached to the Pennine RU chassis frame, saving further cost and weight. Although this body was intended as the standard offering, other coachbuilders' products could be fitted. In the event three other makes of bodies were fitted to the RU, Plaxton used a steel-reinforced hardwood structure whilst East Lancashire Coachbuilders and Charles H. Roe both used steel-tube framing.

The initial prototype TBU598G, registered in March 1969, carried a Pennine Coachcraft 41 seat dual-door body on the short-wheelbase version of the chassis and Seddon demonstrated it to a number of municipal and company fleets mainly in the Pennines, commencing its career in Halifax.[6] The second prototype was to the 36 ft length with 45 seats and dual doors. It was exhibited at the 1970 Commercial Motor show at Earls Court in the livery of Crosville where it was overshadowed by the debuts of the Leyland National and the Metro-Scania;[7] it was then registered ABU451J and served as a demonstrator across Great Britain.[8] Initial list prices complete with body started at £6,200 which was substantially cheaper than an equivalent ECW-bodied RE,[9] lead times were very good because Seddon had expanded into adjacent premises in order to set up a dedicated bus-production facility.[10] Furthermore, the RU was the first bus chassis designed to meet the requirements of the New Bus Grant announced in the Transport Act 1968. This government grant initially covered 25% of the first cost of grant-compliant buses used on local bus services, from 1971 this was increased to 50%.

By the end of 1970 a further 46 chassis had been built, bodied and delivered. Production then rose to a peak of 109 (including the second prototype) in 1971, dropping back slightly in 1972 to 99 then only 13 were delivered in 1973 and six in 1974, so 76% of chassis were built in two years, the municipal market was moving back toward double decks and the rival Leyland National was outselling every other single-deck bus.

Production ceased in March 1974 after 274 were completed,[11] the last chassis numerically were numbers 56041/2[12] which were ordered by Huddersfield and delivered to West Yorkshire PTE in September and October 1974 respectively (registered PVH 452/453M).


From 1966-9 Pennine had bodied increasing numbers of rear-engined single deck buses, and by the time body production ended in 1975 they had, besides the RU, bodied AEC Swifts, Daimler Fleetlines, Leyland Atlanteans and Leyland Panthers, but the largest number of home-market Pennine bodies on third-party chassis had gone on Bristol RELL and RESL, with Reading Corporation being the largest customer with 28 bodies to its own outline on a short-wheelbase version of the RELL.[13]

The majority of customers for the RU also took the Pennine body. This was fitted to 69% of RU production (23% carried Plaxton bodies with 4% shares for both East Lancashire and Roe). It sold best in Cheshire (37%, all Crosville), Lancashire (36%, spread between one PTE, one independent, and six corporations, total also including both demonstrators) and Yorkshire (22% over one PTE, one independent and four corporations), the first customer to take delivery was Doncaster Corporation who took their first fourteen in the early months of 1970 [14] Huddersfield Corporation also had short, dual-door versions in service with H registrations (thus registered prior to August 1, 1970),[15] Lancashire United were the third customer to get H-registration examples, their first twenty. Huddersfield were to take 22 and Doncaster 25. Other municipal customers included Accrington Corporation (5), Blackburn Corporation (6), Halifax Joint Omnibus Committee (3), Burnley, Colne and Nelson JOC (20), Darlington Corporation (8), Lytham St Annes (6), Morecambe Corporation (6), Rotherham Corporation (9) and Southampton Corporation (5).

Accrington and Blackburn took East Lancashire bodies on theirs, Halifax and Rotherham chose Plaxton Derwent II bodies as did Huddersfield for its final two and the rest took the Pennine Coachcraft option. The final 11 for Doncaster were the only ones with Charles H Roe bodies.

Due to central government legislation English and Welsh county and borough council boundaries were changed and from 1974 metropolitan counties were created in England in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. Most of the metropolitan areas already had passenger transport executives but these were established in the two metropolitan Yorkshire counties (which together comprised the majority of the historic West Riding) thus South Yorkshire absorbed the Rotherham and Doncaster RU's and West Yorkshire the Halifax/Calderdale and Huddersfield vehicles.

Outside the metropolitan counties, local government changes caused some fleets to merge (e.g. Lancaster with Morecambe & Heysham, Blackburn with Darwen) while others were renamed, Burnley, Colne and Nelson becoming Burnley & Pendle and Accrington changing title to Hyndburn.

Independent customers for the RU were headed by Lancashire United Transport (LUT) of Atherton who took delivery of fifty over 1970-1. These had a special version of the Plaxton Derwent II body supplied only to this operator featuring flat rather than curved windscreens, deleting peaks on front and rear domes and having glazing and general appearance similar to Plaxton's previous (1958–66) Highway bus body. They also appear (judging by photographic evidence) to have had front-mounted radiators. As well as being fitted to the fifty RU which were dual-door 40-seaters on short chassis, the same body went on two batches of Bristol RESL6G, twenty B42D in 1967/8 and ten DP41F in 1973/4. Subsequently LUT (and other outliers such as the Calderdale Region of West Yorkshire PTE) were prevailed upon to take the standard version of the Derwent II.[16]

Other independent customers for the RU took the Pennine body, all in long single-door form with 51 bus seats; these were Garelochhead Coach Services (1), Dodds (AA Service) Troon (2), Grahams Bus Service of Paisley (1), and Reliance of Sutton on the Forest, North Yorkshire (1).

When the second National Bus Company order table was published on July 30, 1970 tabulating orders for subsidiaries in 1971 the biggest surprises were two orders each calling for 100 single-deck buses. Midland Red (whose last home-built BMMO bus had just been delivered) ordered 100 Ford R192 with 45-seat Plaxton Derwent II bodies whilst Crosville ordered 100 Seddon Pennine RU complete with Pennine Coachcraft bodies.[17]

Arguably the Crosville order was more surprising as, apart from a pair of Commer/Harrington minibuses in 1964, Crosville had exclusively ordered Bristol chassis and Eastern Coach Works bodies for its bus fleet from 1950. Crosville's Pennine RU were all to 36 ft length, the order broke into two sub-batches of fifty, half were single door with 47 coach seats for long limited-stop journeys and half were 45 seat dual-door buses for intensive urban operations. Crosville had taken the last of its 593 Bristol Lodekkas in 1968 [18] and was concentrating on renewing its single-deck fleet, which at the time still included a few half-cab Bristol L-types, it did not order its first VRs until 1972. It ordered 288 REs between 1964 and 1973, calling for them in every year but 1970.[19] Seddon started delivering this (joint) record order for complete buses in April 1971 with 46 delivered with J plates (i.e. prior to August) and completed it just over a year later in May 1972, a creditable performance for a new factory unit which was also engaged in a batch of 100 Perkins V8-engined Pennine 4 for Kowloon Motor Bus and a large number of smaller orders, as well as converting double-deck buses to dual-door for such undertakings as Merseyside PTE and Nottingham City Transport.

The final RU to be delivered to a new customer was equipped with a Chloride sponsored battery-electric driveline and was called the "Silent Rider". It was sold to SELNEC (later Greater Manchester) PTE who numbered it EX61 in its experimental series, registering it XVU387M. The Chloride battery pack weighed four tonnes and the vehicle (unladen but for those batteries) weighed 13 tonnes (almost double the unladen weight of the Gardner-powered version) so payload was limited, by the axles fitted, to one tonne which equalled a capacity of B41D + 9 standing and although it featured regenerative braking the bus (like Lucas battery-electric Seddon Midi EX62 XVU364M which followed in 1975) was not a success. The Silent Rider project alone cost £100,000 at mid-1970s values, promotional tours to Sheffield and Chicago, Illinois, USA may have been prestigious for the Executive and for the manufacturers of vehicle and batteries, who were both major employers of voters in the PTE area,[20] but Cook County Transit and the South Yorkshire PTE were, lacking the electrical-charging and cell-care infrastructure installed in a Manchester garage as part of the project, able to get even less use out of the thing than Greater Manchester who tried to employ its advertised 100-mile range by using it sporadically on one morning and one afternoon peak-time journey on routes 202/3. It was out of service by 1976.

In service[edit]

Although conceived as a bus chassis, a surprising number were used for interurban services, among these were the three ordered by GG Hillditch for the Halifax JOC. These (315-317, MJX15-17J) carried Plaxton Derwent II bodies with 45 full-coach seats on a flat floor with a three-step entrance to the front platform and then a further transverse step into the saloon, thus the entrance was more like a Bristol RELH than an RESL. Styling on these three was to Mr Hillditch's standard single-deck outline of the time with a large projecting two-line destination indicator above the BET-style double curvature screen, This large and legible advertisement projected from a rounded front dome, with a similar rounded rear-end.[21] These were specified for limited-stop 'trans-pennine' services and in the year after delivery became the 'top-shed' buses for Calderdale JOC (which was a merger in 1971 of Halifax, Todmorden and National Bus Company interests.) route 8 from Leeds via Halifax and Todmorden to Burnley.[22] These were replaced on this front-line work after a year, being succeeded by similar-looking AEC Reliances which in their turn gave way to similar-looking Leyland Leopards. When West Yorkshire PTE was formed all three Calderdale RU were moved to Huddersfield, concentrating the fleet's collection of the type in one place.

The single-door half of the Crosville batch were initially allocated to long distance Anglo-Welsh services. Numbers of other RUs though used on bus services were fitted either with Seddon's design of individual semi-coach seat, as on the 47-seat Crosville examples, or other designs of luxury seats, whilst some of the Huddersfield ones were delivered seatless and had Roe coach seats removed from AEC Regals absorbed with the takeover of Hanson buses fitted at the Huddersfield works prior to entry into service, this re-using of seats and internal fittings was something of a Huddersfield trait, throughout its existence, sometimes it got entire bodies re-chassied.

Only one RU was fitted with a luxury-coach body however, this was ordered by Accrington and delivered to Hyndburn as its 38 (STC968M). This carried one of the three East Lancashire 'Lancastrian' coach bodies built, the only one to 10-metre length. It was an ungainly vehicle with a high ramped floor, carrying 39 Plaxton seats, all forward-facing, Large curved side screens were used on the four main-bays, of a type used on contemporary Mercedes-Benz and Neoplan coaches leading to a parabolic roof contour, but aft of the rear axle flat Willowbrook-pattern bus glazing was used, offside and nearside emergency doors were fitted. A wide two-leaf entry/exit door was fitted forward of the front axle to ensure grant-compliance, and the front was basically flat with a very large angled flat-glass windscreen surmounted by a peak reminiscent of a British Rail 'Western' diesel-hydraulic locomotive.[23] Luggage was contained in underfloor wheelbase lockers as in contemporary Bristol RE coaches. It spent a quiet life, working peak hour extras and select coach hires. It seems an irony that two early Harrington Cavaliers were exclusively to transport the blind yet this coach, finished in navy blue with scarlet flashes, was able to assault the senses of the sighted for one of the longer operational lives of its type, actually outlasting the two similar bodies Widnes/Halton had on Leopards.[24] Hyndburn 38 may have been an aesthetic disaster, but it was not: unlike most RU, a mechanical one (see later).

The RU was intended as a municipal bus, and 42% went to Corporation bus fleets, NBC (the Crosville order) took 36%, and independents, mainly Lancashire United accounted for 20%. The other buses were the two demonstrators and three delivered to PTEs. The formation of the West Yorkshire PTE gave them an instant fleet of 24 with two on delivery, South Yorkshire PTE inherited 34 with the Doncaster and Rotherham Fleets, and upon purchasing Lancashire United on 1 January 1976[25] Greater Manchester Transport found its fleet of RU climbing from one to fifty-one. The strangest case of all was that of the original demonstrator which went to Green Bus Service of Rugeley from 1971 until 1974 when Midland Red took them over. Midland Red sold it to a dealer and it was purchased for the enlarged Lancaster operation.[26] Thus out of the four sectors purchasing RU, this bus served in three of them and briefly gave NBC a second RU operator.

Problems in operation[edit]

Drivers generally found handling on Seddon RUs vague, and steering imprecise. Geoffrey Hillditch[27] refers to 'a most peculiar feeling' when driving one. Steering bushes, axle thrust pads and king pins were less durable than they should have been, adding to steering troubles, whilst unbalanced front wheels could cause the steering wheel to wobble.[28] Weight was biased too much toward the rear and this exacerbated handling problems. The polyurethane bushes wore 'alarmingly'[29] and were replaced by traditional (regularly) greased chromium-plated brass units. Springs were not substantial enough.

The steering box mountings also needed to be reinforced. Radiator mountings were also initially inadequate and had to be strengthened. The air cleaner was located aft of the nearside rear wheel and although this was hard to reach had to be attended-to regularly if engine performance was not to suffer. The main battery switch was also located in a position where it was vulnerable to road splash and had to be shielded, some of the wiring was also 'suspect' sometimes causing fires[30] and had to be re-routed[31]

The brakes were unfamiliar to bus engineers who were used to cam-operated brakes and drivers complained that the buses could not pull-up in a straight line. In the Classic Bus reader poll for the worst bus of all time the RU failed to make the top ten but J. Whiteing summarises the type thus: 'Provided they started they would run and run, but stopping was a case for hope and prayer.'[32] The Pennine bodies were found to be rather too light and tended to crack around the chassis mounting points, whilst the dual-door versions also had localised fractures around the centre exit door.[33]

Jim Sambrooks of Doncaster Corporation and South Yorkshire PTE recalled[34] a Doncaster engineering foreman saying "If it's a Seddon it's a dead 'un." Again referring to the unlikelihood of pulling up in a straight line, he also recalled the first batch had car-type handbrake levers which disintegrated in use; later upon becoming a fitter he discovered that the brake adjusters (of two different sorts on the different batches) were virtually inaccessible, that spring shackle-pins often needed to be knocked out which was equally difficult, that topping up the fluid flywheel was "nigh-on impossible" and only done when a bus developed gearbox-slip, and that in order to remove the engines for overhaul, Doncaster engineers actually had to cut-away the rear cross member and bolt in a removable piece of girder once they had done. Problems on the Doncaster Pennine bodies included rivets falling out and frame-fractures above the exit door.

John S Hinchliffe[35] singles out Huddersfield no 45 (XCX245J) as "the only one that stopped in a straight line, was smooth to drive, had positive steering and gave a smooth ride". Even though, as pictured, the offside fog lamp of this bus is missing and there is a prominent fracture-line in adjacent regions of the front fibreglass panel. Huddersfield's 21 Pennines were all built as dual-door vehicles but were converted by the manufacturer to single-door, in the case of 51 after only nine months in service, while this was done Huddersfield were lent a fully automatic Pennine VI Interurban demonstrator, which they used on service to Oldham. Mr Hinchliffe sums up his experience of the type by saying they were 'reliable' but 'not popular due to their inability to hold the road'.[36]

However the insuperable problem was the proximity of the engine to the rear axle, and on 33 ft versions many different designs of drive-shaft were employed but no effective way was found of insulating the engine and gearbox from road shocks.[37] Crosville had all of its 36 ft models converted with a revised engine and gearbox mounting closer to the rear cross member, allowing a longer universal-jointed drive shaft to be put in place, this arrangement was also applied to later long-wheelbase RU as built. To cover for vehicles being modified, Seddon Atkinson lent Crosville the prototype Pennine 7 (UBU72N), which remained with Crosville after the work was done.

Unlike their Bristol REs which were cascaded to more remote parts of the company's North Wales hinterland as newer replacements arrived, Crosville's Seddons were generally kept close to the central works at Chester. Crosville did allocate some dual-purpose RU to its South Cambrian division in 1975 but they were not popular, finding themselves allocated to non-service work including swimming bath contracts before they were returned across the border in 1976.[38] By 1981 Crosville had started to fit some 6HLX engines from Seddons it had withdrawn on expiry of their certificates of initial fitness into its Mark 1 Leyland Nationals.[39]

The Garelochhead bus, 106 (CSN716K) a single-door 51-seater was the company's first 11m vehicle and was bought in July 1972 for its Helensburgh town service.[40] It was sold in late 1977 to Dodds for spares and, its career described as 'troubled', was reported in process of being scrapped by January 1978.[41]

Rotherham's nine 44-seat Plaxton Derwents were its last single deckers, they entered service in late 1972, replacing 1963 AEC Reliances, and were withdrawn by SYPTE on expiry of their certificates of initial fitness. Glynne S Pegg recalled two of them failing him on journeys to work in the same week.[42]

In retrospect, later copies by Ward Brothers and Dennis[edit]

Lest it be thought the RU was unpopular with everyone, the late batch of eight 11-metre versions supplied to Darlington Transport were well liked by the operator and they tried to commission more from Seddon Atkinson after the end of production, this was not to be and Darlington (whose other single-decks were then Daimler Roadliners and Daimler Fleetlines) instead bought four dual-door Leyland Leopards in 1977, their next two new vehicle orders went to Dennis for single deck Marshall-bodied Dominators, then in 1983 they got Ward Motors Ltd to build them six RU-like vehicles called the GRXI (for Gardner, Rear-engine 11 metres. This latter in Roman numerals). These differed from the RU only in having 180 bhp Gardner 6HLXB engines, ZF power steering and Wadham Stringer Vanguard B45D bodies, a further six were optioned, but the Ward Brothers' company went bankrupt before these could be built.[43]

And, despite its ugly-duckling appearance, Hyndburn 38 was one of the longer-lived examples of the breed; it and its more bus-like batch-mates enduring in service until 1984 when they were replaced by the only short-wheelbase examples of the Dennis Falcon HC, which derived some of its features from the Bristol RE, but unlike the earlier Falcon H had a driveline closely resembling that of the Pennine RU. The direct replacement for number 38, the coach seated example, was recently reported to still be working on Malta.

The last RU to run as a PSV is understood to have been new to Lytham St. Annes STJ847L which was withdrawn by East End Coaches, Clydach in South Wales in late 2000. East End bought several RUs between 1980 and 1991 from Burnley, Fylde and Darlington. In 1997 it still operated Fylde STJ847/50L, Darlington WHN462/3/8M and had WHN466/7M and RHG314K as spares donors. A fire in 1999 destroyed WHN463/6/7M and damaged STJ850L and only STJ847L continued in use. Both Fylde ones, WHN462/8M and RHG314K were disposed of in spring 2001, STJ847L for preservation, the remainder for scrap.[44]


As far as is known, only 2 Seddon Pennine RUs survive in preservation, these being former Lytham St. Annes /Fylde Borough Transport 47 STJ847L (Lancastrian Transport Trust) and Southampton Corporation 15 BCR379K (Southampton & District Transport Heritage Trust). Although the "Silent Rider", was stored for the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport it was vandalised and found to be beyond economic restoration and reluctantly scrapped.[45]

Even more tellingly, Seddon itself is long-gone and of the twenty operators who took the Seddon Pennine RU new, only one, Reliance of the North Riding survives in a recognisable form.



  • Kaye, Buses and Trolleybuses Since 1945, London 1968
  • Hillditch, A Further Look At Buses, Shepperton 1981
  • Booth, The British Bus, Today and Tomorrow, Shepperton 1983
  • Curtis, Bus Monographs:5 Bristol RE, Shepperton, 1987
  • Townsin, Duple, 75 Years Of Coachbuilding, Glossop, 1998
  • Brown, Buses in Britain: the 1970s, Harrow Weald 1999
  • Brown, Plaxton A Century of Innovation, Hersham, 2007
  • Curtis, Bristol Lodekka, Hersham 2009


  • Parke(ed), Buses, Shepperton passim 1969-78
  • Parke(ed), Buses Extra, Shepperton, passim 1977-81
  • Morris (ed) Buses Extra, Shepperton, passim 1982-92
  • Booth (ed) Classic Bus, Edinburgh, passim 1992-2005
  • Stenning (ed) Classic Bus, London, passim 2005-10


  • Bus Lists on the Web
  • Yahoo! Groups: The Rear Engined Bus Club


  1. ^ Hillditch, A Further Look at Buses, Shepperton 1981, p103 (interview with Robert Seddon by the author.)
  2. ^ Hillditch, A Further Look at Buses, Shepperton 1981, p104 et.seq.)
  3. ^ Kaye, Buses and Trolleybuses Since 1945, London 1968
  4. ^ G.Burrows, Chassis Code Cracking: Seddon in Booth(ed) Classic Bus 29, Edinburgh 1997 p42
  5. ^ Parke (Ed), Buses, Shepperton February 1971, front cover
  6. ^ Hillditch, A Further Look at Buses, Shepperton 1981, p109
  7. ^ Booth and Parke in Parke(ed), Buses, November 1970 pp436-40
  8. ^ GR Mills, 'Fleet News' in Parke(ed), Buses, May 1971 p198
  9. ^ Hillditch, Op Cit, p110
  10. ^ Hillditch, Op Cit, p110
  11. ^ "Bus Lists on the Web". 
  12. ^ Hillditch, Op Cit, p112
  13. ^ Curtis, Bus Monographs:5 Bristol RE, Shepperton, 1987 pp50-1
  14. ^ Hillditch Op Cit, p112
  15. ^ Parke (ed) Buses August 1970 'Pictureview' p309 (top)
  16. ^ Brown, Plaxton 100 Years, Hersham, 2007
  17. ^ Parke(ed), Buses October 1970 p392
  18. ^ Curtis, Bristol Lodekka, Hersham, 2009
  19. ^ Curtis, Bus Monographs 5: Bristol RE, Shepperton, 1987
  20. ^ D. Thrower, The Future Was Bright…in Stenning(ed)Classic Bus 90, 2007 p30
  21. ^ As pictured in later life on Page 3 (foot) of Brown, Buses in Britain: the 1970s, Harrow Weald 1999
  22. ^ "Picture featuring MJX17J in its original livery of green roof, orange waist-rail and wheels and cream lower deck panels, complete with a slipboard on the waist-rail reading Burnley Todmorden Halifax Leeds and Mr Hillditch himself leaning out of the entry door in Classic Bus 74.", Picture by G Lumb, in Booth(ed) Classic Bus 74, Edinburgh 2004 p32(top) 
  23. ^ Parke(ed), Buses, December 1974, 'Pictureview' middle of page 234.
  24. ^ Brown (1999). Buses in Britain The 1970s. Harrow Weald. p. 60. 
  25. ^ Brown (1999). Buses in Britain The 1970s. Harrow Weald. p. 43. 
  26. ^ Knowles (1977). Parke, ed. "TWW Knowles was General Manager of City of Lancaster Transport. TBU598G served Lancaster until 1978". Buses Extra 1 (Shepperton): 27. 
  27. ^ Hillditch,op.cit. p110
  28. ^ Hillditch, op.cit. p111
  29. ^ Hillditch, op.cit. p111
  30. ^ A.Millar Classic Blunder Bus in Booth(Ed) Classic Bus 24, Edinburgh 1996 p44.
  31. ^ Hillditch, op.cit. p111
  32. ^ Whiteing in 'Give a Dog a Bad Name' in Booth (ed) Classic Bus 7, Edinburgh 1993 p27
  33. ^ Hillditch,op.cit. p112
  34. ^ A.Millar in Classic Blunder Bus Follow-Up in Booth(ed)Classic Bus 29, Edinburgh 1997
  35. ^ Hinchliffe in Booth(ed)Classic Bus 57, Edinburgh 1982 p7
  36. ^ Hinchliffe in Booth(ed)Classic Bus 57, Edinburgh 1982 pp6-7
  37. ^ Hillditch,op.cit. P112
  38. ^ A.Moyes in Parke(ed) Buses Extra 12, Shepperton 1979, p10
  39. ^ Morris(ed), Buses Extra 27, 1983 p30
  40. ^ H. Hay in Parke(ed) Buses Extra 12, Shepperton 1979 p38
  41. ^ A. Millar, Scottish News Round Up in Parke(ed) Buses, January 1978, p28
  42. ^ Pegg, Rotherham Corporation Buses 1945-74 in Morris(ed) Buses Extra 57, 1989 p27
  43. ^ A. Millar, Classic Blunder Bus in Booth(ed) Classic Bus 26, Edinburgh 1996 p44
  44. ^
  45. ^ D. Thrower, The Future Was Bright…in Stenning(ed), Classic Bus 90, 2007 p30