TD: Weymann Body
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Notes About This Vehicle

The ancestry of London Transport (LT) single-deck buses from the late 1920s shows many quite different designs sharing the fleet designation prefixed ‘T’ and based on AEC’s Regal chassis. The last of these, T718–768 (delivered 1946) were in Central area red, and T769–798 (delivered 1948) in Country area green.

At the time Metropolitan Police requirements dictated that no doors be fitted to crew-operated Central area buses, but this did not affect those in the Country area. As such, the final batch of Country area Ts had a sliding door.

Mounted on Leyland’s PS1 ‘Tiger’ chassis, the Leyland version was designated ‘TD’. The earlier AEC ‘STL’ double deckers had an equivalent ‘STD’ from Leyland and the TD was seen as the single-deck version of that.

The first batch of 31 TDs was built with bodies from Weymann ostensibly the same as the penultimate batch of Ts. These bodies may be perceived as somewhat ‘provincial’ in style, with sliding side windows seldom seen on LT buses. As depicted here, they entered service from Muswell Hill garage in December 1946.

The second batch, numbered TD32 to TD131, had timber-framed bodies supplied by Mann Egerton and entered service in October 1948, this time from Hornchurch garage. A representative example of the second batch, TD95, is shown on a separate drawing.

Though superficially similar to the Weymann bodies, the later Mann Egerton bodies were completely different – nothing was the same. Although the Mann Egerton bodies neither needed nor had the sliding door, the recess to receive it remained in place, probably because there was no cost/benefit in re-designing the body without it. However, this caused a different spatial requirement not necessary on the Weymann body and, as such, the doorway opening on these was narrower. One knock-on effect was that the widths of the side windows were notably different on the two batches when one compares the two body types, as was the emergency exit.

The underside of the Weymann bodies was quite high above the ground and thus had long support brackets to allow the ‘lifeguards’ to do their job. Higher up, the Weymann bodies only had a rain gutter over the doorway, emergency exit and cab door, the rest of the circuit simply being a bead. The Mann Egerton bodies were provided with a somewhat unnecessary gutter all around the front and both sides.

The Weymann bodies had a hinged cab door whereas those from Mann Egerton slid and this was becoming the norm on LT buses, and now being permitted by the Metropolitan Police.

The whole frame of the front blind box on the Weymann bodies protruded downwards creating a small canopy over the cab window, causing the bead to dip to incorporate it. The Mann Egerton bodies had a more slender lower frame enabling a neater straight gutter beneath, retaining the roof line above, and obviating the overhang.

As seen here, the rear seat is visible through the back window, accompanied by the clean lines of the relief bead following around the vehicle. To achieve this, the blind box was cranked upwards, sacrificing a continuous horizontal roof line. The slightly slimmer height of the box frame on the later Mann Egerton bodies rectified this, though the sacrifice this time was a shallower rear window, masking the seat back and with the relief bead cranked upwards.

Also of note, Weymann bodies had radiators with chromed surrounds whereas Mann Egerton’s were of polished aluminium; some are known to have been swapped during service.

The 1930s fashion of curved and flared lower rear panel profiles was perpetuated on the Weymann bodies, though not on the later Mann Egerton ones. Overall, the unladen weight of those in second batch was about 5cwt greater.

The drawing here attempts to depict the bus in its earliest form, based on a few LT press photographs, where the wartime masking of the side lights and white disk on the rear were still in evidence.

Several evolutionary features were added to many LT vehicles during the life of the TDs, these included: rear reflectors (a legal requirement from 1st October 1954); ‘elephant ear’ front trafficators (fitted widely across most LT buses from 1958); separate rear arrow flashing indicators (from 1958); driver’s mirrors and arms were revised too. Above the rear registration plate was the rear light, and to its left a brake light; the latter changed from orange to red during the life of these buses. In their final days TDs could still be seen displaying the maximum speed limit below the unladen weight, though the legal requirement for these had ceased from 1961.

Specifically to the Weymann TDs, the kick plate below the cab door was painted over at first overhaul. Originally equipped with three roof ventilators, that nearest the front was later removed on many TDs. The photographic record also suggests that the route number stencils above the door had fallen into disuse by the end of the working lives of this class of bus.

Withdrawals of TDs started in August 1956, with the last (all with Mann Egerton bodies) operating from Edgware garage in October 1962. Many went on to new lives elsewhere, though none with Weymann bodies survive.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing ‘2565’, itself based on Metro Cammell Weymann’s drawing ‘design no.V.2330/1’ revised to 24th April 1956. This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but as a specification guide to builders.

The drawing here attempts to depict the bus in its earliest form, based on a few LT press photographs, where the wartime masking of the side lights and white disk on the rear were still in evidence. None of the detail can be regarded as definitive.

It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see each part of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.

© drawing copyright Douglas Rose –January 2021
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