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From Our Collection: Tilling Stevens O 9926

Tilling Stevens O 9926

Reg No: O 9926 - new 1913
Operator: Birmingham Corporation Tramways
Chassis: Tilling-Stevens TTA2
Engine: Tilling-Stevens petrol
Transmission: Electric traction motor
Body: Thomas Tilling 34 seats

ONE OF BIRMINGHAM'S FIRST MOTORBUSES


Tilling-Stevens was a popular early builder of buses due to its early form of gearless transmission. The engine was connected to an electricity generator; the current produced passing to a motor that drove the rear wheels. Few bus staff were experienced motor vehicle drivers then, so simplifying gear changes was important.

These were Midland Red's first reliable buses. Many were ordered from 1912 including, at first, double-deckers like this one, new in 1913.

Midland Red and Birmingham Corporation reached an operating agreement in 1914 and, as part of the deal, 30 double-deckers passed to Birmingham Corporation Tramways. So this bus exchanged its red and black livery for blue and cream.

It ran until 1924, covering around 6,000 miles per month. The mileage and 11 year life was good for a vehicle that had solid tyres and a top speed of 12 miles per hour.

Preservation

The body was discovered years later being used as a garden shed and rescued by a Nottingham enthusiast. The Museum's predecessor purchased it in 1974 and in 1980 reunited it with a Tilling-Stevens chassis. Subsequent cosmetic work gives visitors a better idea of how early motorbuses looked. The Museum would welcome news of any Tilling chassis as major parts are still needed.

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