Atkinson Vehicles Ltd.
UK Passenger Chassis Production 1950-1963


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 3žin, 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.

Type

Reg. No.

Body

Seating

Operator

Fleet No.

1951

FC2118

PM746H

EDB321

Weymann

B42R

North Western

394

FC2119

PM746H

EDB322

Weymann

B42R

North Western

395

FC2120

PM746H

MTJ807

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC2386

PM746H

BCW314

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC2387

PM746H

NTF670

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC2388

PM746H

OMA600

Plaxton

C41C

Altrincham Coachways

-

1952

FC2389

PM746H

OTE228

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC2390-2393

PM746H

OTD531-533

Northern Counties

B44F

Lancashire United

479-481

FC2737-2742

PM746H

FDB500-505

Weymann

B42R

North Western

500-505

FC2743

PM746H

OTD537

Northern Counties

B34C+27

Lancashire United

485

FC2744-2746

PM746H

FDB506-508

Weymann

B42R

North Western

506-508

FC2747-2748

PM745H

FDB510-511

Weymann

B42R

North Western

510-511

FC2878

PM746H

EM5357

Burlingham

C41C

Lawrenson, Bootle

-

FC2996

PM746H

FDB509

Weymann

B42R

North Western

509

FC2997

PL745H

FDB512

Weymann

B44R

North Western

512

FC2998

PL744H

FDB513

Weymann

B44R

North Western

513

FC3049-3050

PM746H

OTD535-536

Northern Counties

B44F

Lancashire United

483-484

FC3051-3053

PM746H

OTD538-540

Northern Counties

B34C+27

Lancashire United

486-488

1953

FC3076

PL745H

RTC688

Roe

B44F

Lancashire United

497

FC3077-3078

PL745H

RTC686-687

Willowbrook

B44F

Lancashire United

495-496

FC3079

PL745H

RTC681

Northern Counties

B34C+27

Lancashire United

490

FC3080-3081

PL745H

RTC689-690

Roe

B44F

Lancashire United

498-499

FC3082-3085

PL745H

RTC682-685

Northern Counties

B34C+27

Lancashire United

491-494

FC3197

PL745H

TTC882

Burlingham

B44F

Camplejohn Bros.

-

FC3204-3205

PL745H

SMA868-869

Northern Counties

B34C+27

SHMD

106-107

FC3233

PM746H

CCW708

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

1954

FC2362-2363

PL745H

NWW806/
805

Burlingham

B44F

Kitchen, Pudsey

-

FC3198

PL745H

KVA317

Burlingham

C39C

Fitzcharles, Grangemouth

-

FC3234

PM746H

STD833

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC3300

PL745H

NWY44

Burlingham

C41C

Everett, South Kirkby

-

FC3303-3311

PL745H

TTD291-299

Roe

B44F

Lancashire United

522-530

FC3312

PL745H

TTD300

Northern Counties

B34C+27

Lancashire United

531

FC3476

PD746

UMA370

Northern Counties

H60CD

SHMD

70

FC3480

PL745H

DYJ191

Duple

C39C

Watson, Dundee

-

FC3587-3592

PL745H

RPT126-131

Willowbrook

B45F

Venture

166-171

FC3593

PL745H

VS6440

Duple

C41C

Doig, Greenock

-

FC3594

PM746H

DCW222

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC3750

PM746H

UTJ306

Trans-United

C41C

Bracewells, Colne

-

1955

FC3836-3841

PL745H

RUP433-438

Willowbrook

B45F

Venture

172-177

FC3927-3936

PL745H

WTB61-70

Roe

DP40F

Lancashire United

552-561

FC4127-4128

PL745H

XLG477-478

Northern Counties

B34C+27

SHMD

108-109

FC4214

PM746H

ECW363

Plaxton

C43F

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC4215-4216

PM746H

XTD664-665

Plaxton

C43F

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC4240

PL745H

SWX768

Duple

C41C

Pemberton, Upton

-

FC4355-4360

PL745H

TPT109-113

Willowbrook

B45F

Venture

179-183

1956

FC4361-4363

PL745H

VPT547-549

Willowbrook

DP41F

Venture

184-186

FC4385

L664LWEXL

GGR230

Roe

B41F

Sunderland Corporation

30

FC4639

PM746H

987BTB

Plaxton

C43F

Bracewells, Colne

-

FC4656

PL745H

JHL670

Plaxton

C41C

Young, Hornchurch

-

1957

FC4364-4366

PL745H

VPT550-552

Willowbrook

DP41F

Venture

187-189

FC4984

L644LWL

NHL127

Plaxton

DP37F

Simpson, Rosehearty

-

FC5106

L644LWEXL

JBR631

Roe

B41F

Sunderland Corporation

31

1959

FC5807-5809

PL745H

993-995GMA

Northern Counties

B34F+26

SHMD

110-112

1963

FC9054-9056

PL746HL

WBR246-248

Marshall

B45D

Sunderland Corporation

46-48


 

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