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From Our Collection: Walsall Corporation Leyland PD2 RDH 505
Reg No: RDH 505 - new 1953
Chassis: Leyland Titan PD2/12
Engine: Leyland 0600 9.8 litre diesel
Body: Roe 56 seats
The traditional double-deck bus with its half width cab alongside the engine, familiar until the 1960s, was considered by some managers to be old-fashioned in appearance. Walsall Corporation took delivery of a considerable number of Leyland and Guy double-deckers in 1951-3 which featured full width cabs. This was intended to streamline the look of the vehicles but, of course, made access to the engine much more difficult. The bodies were built by Park Royal with the contract on the 1953 batch completed by its subsidiary company, Roe. Bodywork for Walsall tended to be built down to a price but these Roe bodies were an exception and were widely considered to be amongst the finest buses built for Walsall. They were Walsall's first double-deckers with platform doors and feature an unusual two step entrance. They had forced air heating as well as conventional ventilation.
The newly appointed General Manager of Walsall Corporation Transport, Ronald Edgley Cox, revised an existing order for 15 Park Royal-bodied Leyland Tiger PS2s for five Leyland Royal Tigers and ten of these Titans. 815 entered service on 2 July 1953 and settled on the Corporation's longer distance services such as Dudley-Walsall-Stafford. Three of the ten were later extended in length and converted to front entrance but 815 survived largely unaltered. 815 passed with Walsall's fleet in 1969 to the new West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) and was one of three to receive the blue and cream livery. It was withdrawn in July 1973 but lived on as a staff rest room at Bradford Place, Walsall, until April 1977. It was sold to a preservation group as a source of spares but was reprieved and passed to the Trust. Some repair work has subsequently been carried out but the vehicle awaits full restoration, including a return to Walsall's livery of bright blue relieved by yellow.
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