TD: Mann Egerton 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. They entered service from Muswell Hill garage in December 1946. A representative example of the first batch, TD29, is shown in a separate drawing.

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.

Though outwardly very similar to the Weymann bodies, there were several variations on those from Mann Egerton. Though the Mann Egerton bodies neither needed nor had the sliding door, the recess to receive it remained in place, probably because there was no benefit in re-designing the body to be fundamentally different from those supplied to provincial operators. 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.

More conventional (for LT) winding side drop windows were fitted on the second batch. The cab and rear windows were visually different too, though only the rear one in shape. The whole frame of the front blind box on the Weymann bodies protruded downwards creating a small canopy over the cab window, causing the gutter 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.

The rear window on the earlier Weyman bodies allowed the relief band to continue horizontally and uninterrupted around all three sides. The drawback of this was that the top of the rear seat back was clearly visible. This was amended on the Mann Egerton batch with a less generous expanse of glass, and so masking the top of the rear seat back, with the clean lines of the relief band being sacrificed and humped upwards. In reality though, the smaller window did not mean any loss of light inside the bus.

Also changed at the rear was the frame of the blind box. As at the front, the Weymann bodies had a more substantial frame in height, this time causing the whole box to be cranked upwards rearward from the roof line. As such, the Mann Egerton bodies, with slightly slimmer box frames, maintained the horizontal roof line. 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. More  noticeably perhaps was the change from a hinged cab door to a sliding one on the second batch.

This drawing attempts to depict the bus in its final form, by which time a few features had been added, such as the additional vertical handrail to the left of the doorway.

Other differences included here for the period, and generally to all LT buses were: rear reflectors (a legal requirement from 1st October 1954); ‘elephant ear’ front trafficators from 1959/60 (fitted widely across most LT buses from 1958); separate rear arrow flashing indicators (from 1959/60). Above the rear registration plate was the rear light, and to its left a brake light. The brake light changed from orange to red during the life of these buses, as it did on other LT vehicle types.

Though in their final days still displaying the maximum speed limit below the unladen weight, the legal requirement for these had ceased from 1961. Originally equipped with three roof ventilators, that nearest the front was later removed and thus omitted here, as was the frontmost offside drop window. 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 TDs.

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 very few survive in a restored and running condition now.

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.

All the fine detail has been interpreted from a very few black & white and colour photographs of sufficient quality that could be found of TDs with the later Mann Egerton body. Owing to the age of the photographs, some fine detail has had to be gleaned from restored TD89, TD95 and T792, all of which have the same Mann Egerton body. 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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