Midland Red (West)
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VehicleLeyland Leopard PSU3B/2R — Midland Red type code: SDP27
DP49F Marshall
Number204 (JHA 204L)
OperatorMidland Red (West) Limited (withdrawn)
New (2/73) to Birmingham & Midland Motor OC Ltd. (Midland “Red”), Birmingham. Operator renamed (29/3/74) to Midland Red OC Ltd. Passed (6/9/81) to Midland Red (West) Ltd., Worcester. Withdrawn (8/85). Operator privatised (22/12/86) as Midland Red West Ltd. Passed (12/87) to Passenger Vehicle Spares (Barnsley) Ltd. (dealer), Carlton
LocationPadmore Street depot, Worcester.
DescriptionWaiting for the scrap man.
DateSaturday 28th December 1985
SourcePhotograph © Chris Sampson
TimBrown on Monday 28th December 2020
204 JHA 204L, I remember this bus quite well because I took my PSV driving test in it about 40 years ago from the Quinton Test Centre. The late Ken Blatchford was my instructor and I well remember the message "get your foot down, you are in service, not driving a preserved bus!" said with a grin on his face. Well-liked 336 PHA 336M had been booked for the test, but it was not available and my heart dropped like a stone when 204 was the replacement. It was sluggish in throttle response, had snatchy fierce brakes and very heavy steering and felt as though you were heaving a Centurian tank around, it was also a difficult one to reverse as the air reservoir tank seemed to empty very quickly after a couple of brake applications when doing that awkward offside of the road reverse into a side street and the buzzer kept coming on meaning sitting half way round the manoeuvre holding up other traffic whilst revving it to get the pressure up. Despite my reservations I passed the test in it and must have driven all round Smethwick and West Birmingham, but can't remember if the route actually included the city centre. A few days later I had the pleasure of doing my motorway training 'upgrade' with 208 JHA 208L; what a difference, immediate throttle response, quick acceleration, nice gearbox action, progressive brakes, well weighted steering and easily capable of 70 MPH on the M5. All that said, these DP's were robust vehicles capable of taking a lot of hard work, I think the fact that they were never fitted with power steering led to their early demise after a mere 12 years service.

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