We are concluding our look at archive images for now with this bumper selection from the West Midlands PTE in the mid-1970s. Our images from this period have not all survived in a pristine condition and most have substantial damage. We have tried to clean them up to at least make then suitable for this last dip for now into our archives.
First up is a look inside Sheepcote Street garage in Birmingham. When new Sheepcote Street was an outstation of Midland Red’s Digbeth depot but later became a depot in its own right. In December 1973 it passed from Midland Red to the West Midlands PTE but was closed as an operational depot in 1975. Heading the view are Daimler Fleetline DD13 6265, which was new to Sheepcote Street in November 1970. It moved to the former Birmingham City Transport Acocks Green garage in November 1975 and was converted to single door layout in January 1977. IT ended its PTE days at Coventry Road garage and was withdrawn in March 1981. The BMMO D9 next to it, 5364, was new to Sheepcote Street in December 1963 and remained there until its transfer to Sutton Coldfield in July 1975. It was withdrawn in September 1977. Also visible are further Fleetlines from the former Birmingham City Transport and Midland Red fleets.
Next we drop into Dudley Bus Station where a former Coventry Transport Willowbrook-bodied Daimler Fleetline, 1360, had been drafted in to provide cover as a result of a shortage of serviceable vehicles. It is in the company of a Midland Red S22, 5886, and an unidentified former Midland Red D9 and former Midland Red Leyland National. The former Coventry Fleetline was from the first batch of Fleetline chassis ordered by Coventry Transport, although the Willowbrook bodywork style was also carried on a batch of Coventry Leyland Atlanteans.
The WMPTE’s East Division (Coventry) also loaned several Daimler CVGs to support operations at the former Midland Red Harts Hill garage. Here maintenance issues tended to see buses parked up whenever they needed major attention. The rear parking area was an oil-soaked mud-based surface which during our visit was home to a semi-cannibalised Midland Red D9, three Coventry Daimler CVGs, 246Y, 249Y and 254Y, as well as former Walsall Corporation Dennis Loline 845L.
At the former Midland Red Oldbury depot we find DD12 Daimler Fleetline 6009 on the depot forecourt along with D9 5344. 6009 sports a central blue band, although it doesn’t have the beading that is normally used to position the blue band. This was a trait of the PTE’s Walsall Works with the band being omitted on repaints at other locations. 5344 was new in October 1963 at Oldbury and remained there until withdrawal in July 1976.
Another former Midland Red garage inherited by the WMPTE in December 1973 was at Sutton Coldfield where we see two former Midland Red DD12 Daimler Fleetlines 6022 and 6078. Just visible inside the depot doors is Volvo Ailsa 4528, one of three prototype vehicles bought by the PTE. These were followed by an order for 50 which was split between Oldbury and Sutton Coldfield depots and enabled the replacement of some of the vehicles inherited with the takeover of the West Midlands operations of Midland Red in December 1973.
Included in the premises transferred from Midland Red to the WMPTE in 1973 was the parking area at Adderley Street, which was used as an overflow area for Digbeth depot. It was immediately opposite the PTE’s Liverpool Street garage. The PTE based its Birmingham area Plant team here but also made use of the area to park withdrawn buses prior to sale. Our 1976-dated image shows former West Bromwich Leyland Tiger Cub 250H and former Birmingham City Transport Guy Arab/Crossley 2606. The Guy has spent time on loan to the former Midland Red depot at Oldbury.
With the demands for replacement buses outstripping the availability from elsewhere in the WMPTE’s fleet the company turned to second-hand purchases. From Kingston upon Hull came a number of Leyland Atlanteans. Pictured at Dudley in what appeared to be an out of service condition was 1143 (6343KH) parked alongside former Midland Red vehicles 5870, an S21, and S17 5464.
Finally an to end our archive selection for now and who remembers WUMPTY? The West Midlands PTE’s mascot from the late 1970s and early 1980s. The WUMPTY name came from the PTE’s initials WMPTE which were pronounced Wumpty!