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Some Melbourne 31 seaters

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Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby system improver » Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:34 pm

Here are some pics, from the Malvern Tramway Museum courtesy of Norm Maddock OAM, former union official and curator of the museum since 1991. They show the penultimate Comeng Leyland OPS1 delivered to the MMTB in 1948. It was one of the 40 delivered by Comeng to the same design as the 27 bodied by Preston Workshops in 1947. It goes to show that good design is not necessarily the triumph (or fault) of the builder. In this case, it was a triumph:

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This last shot shows them at Fitzroy with a group of, just as lovely designed, Leyland TD5c Double Deckers:

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If you were looking for a list of "the most beautiful bus ever" this must surely rank in the top ten. What do you think?
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby Dave Wilson » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:03 pm

The OPS1s were rather attractive in the old MMTB colours with chrome rads but I think the OPS4s take the prize. It would be nice to see an example fully restored in early 50s MMTB colours one day.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby Swift » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:14 pm

Very smart body shape to them and the interior looks very neat .Had no idea you had so many double deckers at one point!

I saw one of these ex Melbourne single deckers going through Eddy Ave here in Sydney's Central back in the early 1990s.It was in a green and cream colour scheme much like Sydney's DGT and had been converted to a caravan.

I later heard it was in an accident not long after my sighting and was written off.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby Dave Wilson » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:18 pm

Melbourne had the most wonderful collection of half cabs in the 50s pre and post war - I wish the DGT Sydney did.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby system improver » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:33 pm

Dave Wilson wrote:Melbourne had the most wonderful collection of half cabs in the 50s pre and post war - I wish the DGT Sydney did.


Me too! Unfortunately, preservation in Melbourne is nothing like what it is in Sydney, and I'm sure you think things could be better. After Kennett's privatisation and the "destruction" of the MMTB Heritage Fleet, and absolutely no interest from Labor, these beautiful buses will, soon, only to be seen in pictures.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby User xxx » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Can I have one of the titan deckers there is plenty of them in last picture I would like see a ex tramway board double deck fully restored route660.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby boronia » Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:39 pm

I took a few shots of half cabs at Fitzroy about 20 years later
113u23.jpg
113u21.jpg
113u20.jpg


One of the last surviving MMTB deckers might have been this one at Wagga Wagga in the late 60s
18307PJ.jpg
I also recall seeing a few used as (towed) rest rooms for road crews along the Hume in Vic around this time.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby system improver » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:59 pm

The Mark IV in one of the shots was also a 31 seater, although the Mark IIIs all look to be the 41 seat two version.

There a still double decker or two which might still be restored if a spare $250,000 was found. However, storage would be the main problem.

I might add that there was not an OPS1 in the MET Heritage Fleet before it was given to "custodians", which is a bit of a surprise. The eight heritage vehicles are:

1. Bus 887, Ansair Volvo B59
2. Bus 826, Leyland National
3. Bus 301, Inter K6, Preston W/S body
4. Bus 776, Freighter (Vic) AEC Mark VI
5. Bus 624, Freighter (SA) AEC Mark IV
6. Bus 347, Comeng AEC Mark III (shortened to 32 seater)
7. Bus 531, Martin & King AEC Mark III (two door)
8. VR Bus 384, Comair Bedford SB3

This list always needed added to it an OPS1, an OPS4, a double decker and a drop ender. Since then, a MAN Mk 1 and a MAN Mk 2 would have rounded out the set. Ozlotto is worth $10 million this week!
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby melbtransport » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:31 pm

There old pics, but still good ones, system improver :D
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby Windy » Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:36 pm

I've always loved the quintessential British look the Melbourne half-cabs have. I'm not normally a fan of half-cabs but these are an exception. The TD5s look VERY similar to the London Transport RTLs, and I know that their design was derived from the Leyland bodywork. Thanks for that selection of photos.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby E.L.Wood » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:35 am

ROUTE660 wrote:Can I have one of the titan deckers there is plenty of them in last picture I would like see a ex tramway board double deck fully restored route660.

There's one down at Drouin awaiting a 'white knight' to save it, unfortunately the reality is no one would have te time and money to restore it, but feel free to acquire that one route 660 and your dream could be fullfilled :roll:
yolo seems to be a bit of a trend!
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby system improver » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:18 am

Windy wrote:I've always loved the quintessential British look the Melbourne half-cabs have...


Yes Windy, the double deckers were modelled on the Leyland design (who made bodies as well as chassis then). Although it had the last number in the 45 bus series (245), it was imported from Leyland in CKD form in 1940 and used as a "pattern" for the other 44. These 44 were, somewhat strangely, made by three body builders - Cheetham & Borwick (17), Martin & King (17) and JA Lawtons (10). There were minor differences between these 44 and the imported bus, the major one being width. Number 245 was 7' 6" wide (the British standard) while the others were 8 foot wide.

As far the single deckers are concerned, whilst the British influence is undoubtedly there, this actually improved on anything that was British at the time, in my opinion, and stands as the ultimate design of single decker half cabs. The main design trick, as far as half cabs go, is getting the cab right, especially around the windows.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby VQ » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:30 am

Damn, fitzroy workshop has not changed in how it looks in 50+ years except for having a roller door section, I'd be more interested to see interior images of how the workshop looked back then with the cleaner bay inside before they moved it out and the engineering section.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby On Air » Wed Jan 14, 2009 7:59 pm

Is that a desto box on the off side in the 31 seater?
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby boronia » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:21 pm

From the inside it certainly looks like one :!:

There seems to be an aperture for a similar sign visible externally on the nearside too, also a peep-hole and a winder can be seen on the inside panels, but not the big box.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby Dave Wilson » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:59 pm

system improver wrote:The main design trick, as far as half cabs go, is getting the cab right, especially around the windows.

Having driven long Comeng 436 all the way back to Sydney in 1980, I can say that the cabs, from a driver' s point of view, weren't that fantastic. The most obnoxious thing was that the bottom of the desto box was too low causing an interruption to vision.

Aesthetically, however, they were generally very pleasing in appearance. The early post war livery was the most elegant in my view.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby User xxx » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:06 pm

There is one thing the 31 seaters that the tramways board were certainly different in body style then the frogs in sydney but for if was to choose which one I would like to preserve I would choose both there is nothing like a classic 31 seat frog from sydney and a 31 seat half cab leyland single deck from melbounre route660.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby CHAIRFIX » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:30 pm

I've just bought what I believe is one of the 27 Preston bodied OPS1's for $1 off e-bay. I beleive it is a preston workshop body due to the fact the chasis number starts with 46 indicating a 1946 chasis build as well as the drivers window having a drop away as opposed to the comeng bodies being straight through. I have relisted it on e-bay as I can't afford to move it let alone restore it. I would post pics, but havn't figured out how yet. Oh and by the way they do have desto windows on each side.
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Re: Some Melbourne 31 seaters

Postby system improver » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:30 pm

Whilst the chassis were built in 1946 (in Britain), the bodies, by both the MMTB at Preston and Comeng in Sydney, were built in 1948 and 1949. Both were built on 46 series chassis. The chassis number would lead to vehicle identification.

Here is the ebay link for those interested:

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Rare1946-Leyland ... 4cebc46939
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