Atkinson Vehicles Ltd. UK Passenger Chassis Production 1950-1963

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Although more widely known for the construction of heavy lorries than with the production of passenger chassis, Atkinson Vehicles Ltd., of Walton-le-Dale, Preston, made a late entry into the PSV market in 1950.

Their manufacturing technique was basically to assemble components produced by outside companies, such as Gardner engines, David Brown gearboxes and Kirkstall axles, by hand. Minor components, designed by Atkinson, were manufactured by Atherton Brothers Ltd, a subsidiary.

At the time, there was a move towards the underfloor engine in single-deck chassis, and Atkinson thought that there might be a market for a horizontally mounted version of the Gardner engine with a constant-mesh gearbox (a combination that only Guy Motors were offering in any quantity).

Collaborating with local operators, North Western Road Car Company and Lancashire United Transport, Atkinson Vehicles produced chassis to individual specifications.

The Alpha chassis’ were given the designation either PM745H or PM746H, the first letter of which represented the type of chassis (P = Passenger); the second letter represented the weight of the chassis (Medium or eventually Light).

The first figure represented the nominal payload + body (7 tons); the second figure represented the number of wheels (4); and the final figure represented the number of engine cylinders (5LW or 6LW); the final letter stood for the plane of the engine (Horizontal).

There was a choice of gearbox, either the Atkinson-manufactured HO556 five-speed gearbox, or the David Brown 557CM five-speed gearbox.

The top speed (with 6LW engine fitted) was 42 mph with the David Brown gearbox, or 55 mph with the Atkinson gearbox.

The North Western Road Car Company ordered the first Atkinson chassis in 1950 (Nos. 394-395), although it was not until August 1951 that they entered service. They had Weymann rear-entrance bodywork in a style popular with North Western at the time.

The very first Atkinson chassis to enter service (MTJ807) was with Sandown Tours of Burnley in June of the same year, sporting a Trans-United C41C body.

By 1952 North Western had 10 more Atkinson PM746H vehicles (Nos. 500-509) in service and two of the PM745H-type (Nos. 510-511; the only chassis of this type to be manufactured). Lancashire United purchased its first examples of Atkinson chassis in the same year with 10 PM746H-type chassis being delivered (Nos. 479-488).

Atkinson introduced a new lightweight chassis in 1952 with the option of Gardner 4LW engine. North Western took one PL744H chassis (No. 512), but found the engine too small and it was replaced by a Gardner 5LW.

The sister vehicle (No. 513) already had a 5LW engine, but both vehicles had single tyres on the rear wheels. Twin tyres were fitted in October 1955. In the event these chassis proved to be the last Atkinson chassis ordered by North Western.

The following year Lancashire United purchased ten PL745H chassis (Nos. 490-499) and a further nine (Nos. 522-531) in 1954.

By this time the PL745H chassis was interesting other operators and was fast becoming the most popular.

In 1954 the Stalybridge, Mossley, Hyde and Dukinfield undertaking put two PL745H chassis in service, and took a further six Atkinson chassis over the following years. The PL745H chassis was also popular amongst independents, including coach operators.

In 1955, Atkinson introduced the PD746 double-deck chassis, of which only one was built. It was purchased by the Stalybridge undertaking (No.70) and remained the only Atkinson double-deck to enter service.

In 1956, Sunderland Corporation took delivery of an Atkinson chassis, specially constructed with extended wheelbase of 18ft 3┬╝in, with a vertically mounted engine at the front. It was numbered 30. A similar vehicle was delivered the following year.

Thereafter, Atkinson received only two minor orders, one in 1959 from the Stalybridge undertaking and the last in 1963 from Sunderland Corporation for three PL746H chassis, just a short while before Atkinson Vehicles announced that it was to cease production of passenger chassis altogether.

Atkinson Vehicles Ltd.

UK Passenger Chassis Production 1950-1963

Chassis No.TypeReg. No.BodySeatingOperatorFleet No.

1951

FC2118PM746HEDB321WeymannB42RNorth Western394
FC2119PM746HEDB322WeymannB42RNorth Western395
FC2120PM746HMTJ807Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC2386PM746HBCW314Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC2387PM746HNTF670Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC2388PM746HOMA600PlaxtonC41CAltrincham Coachways

1952

FC2389PM746HOTE228Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC2390-2393PM746HOTD531-533Northern CountiesB44FLancashire United479-481
FC2737-2742PM746HFDB500-505WeymannB42RNorth Western500-505
FC2743PM746HOTD537Northern CountiesB34C+27Lancashire United485
FC2744-2746PM746HFDB506-508WeymannB42RNorth Western506-508
FC2747-2748PM745HFDB510-511WeymannB42RNorth Western510-511
FC2878PM746HEM5357BurlinghamC41CLawrenson, Bootle
FC2996PM746HFDB509WeymannB42RNorth Western509
FC2997PL745HFDB512WeymannB44RNorth Western512
FC2998PL744HFDB513WeymannB44RNorth Western513
FC3049-3050PM746HOTD535-536Northern CountiesB44FLancashire United483-484
FC3051-3053PM746HOTD538-540Northern CountiesB34C+27Lancashire United486-488

1953

FC3076PL745HRTC688RoeB44FLancashire United497
FC3077-3078PL745HRTC686-687WillowbrookB44FLancashire United495-496
FC3079PL745HRTC681Northern CountiesB34C+27Lancashire United490
FC3080-3081PL745HRTC689-690RoeB44FLancashire United498-499
FC3082-3085PL745HRTC682-685Northern CountiesB34C+27Lancashire United491-494
FC3197PL745HTTC882BurlinghamB44FCamplejohn Bros.
FC3204-3205PL745HSMA868-869Northern CountiesB34C+27SHMD106-107
FC3233PM746HCCW708Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne

1954

FC2362-2363PL745HNWW806/
805
BurlinghamB44FKitchen, Pudsey
FC3198PL745HKVA317BurlinghamC39CFitzcharles, Grangemouth
FC3234PM746HSTD833Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC3300PL745HNWY44BurlinghamC41CEverett, South Kirkby
FC3303-3311PL745HTTD291-299RoeB44FLancashire United522-530
FC3312PL745HTTD300Northern CountiesB34C+27Lancashire United531
FC3476PD746UMA370Northern CountiesH60CDSHMD70
FC3480PL745HDYJ191DupleC39CWatson, Dundee
FC3587-3592PL745HRPT126-131WillowbrookB45FVenture166-171
FC3593PL745HVS6440DupleC41CDoig, Greenock
FC3594PM746HDCW222Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne
FC3750PM746HUTJ306Trans-UnitedC41CBracewells, Colne

1955

FC3836-3841PL745HRUP433-438WillowbrookB45FVenture172-177
FC3927-3936PL745HWTB61-70RoeDP40FLancashire United552-561
FC4127-4128PL745HXLG477-478Northern CountiesB34C+27SHMD108-109
FC4214PM746HECW363PlaxtonC43FBracewells, Colne
FC4215-4216PM746HXTD664-665PlaxtonC43FBracewells, Colne
FC4240PL745HSWX768DupleC41CPemberton, Upton
FC4355-4360PL745HTPT109-113WillowbrookB45FVenture179-183

1956

FC4361-4363PL745HVPT547-549WillowbrookDP41FVenture184-186
FC4385L664LWEXLGGR230RoeB41FSunderland Corporation30
FC4639PM746H987BTBPlaxtonC43FBracewells, Colne
FC4656PL745HJHL670PlaxtonC41CYoung, Hornchurch

1957

FC4364-4366PL745HVPT550-552WillowbrookDP41FVenture187-189
FC4984L644LWLNHL127PlaxtonDP37FSimpson, Rosehearty
FC5106L644LWEXLJBR631RoeB41FSunderland Corporation31

1959

FC5807-5809PL745H993-995GMANorthern CountiesB34F+26SHMD110-112

1963

FC9054-9056PL746HLWBR246-248MarshallB45DSunderland Corporation46-48