Reg No: XDH 56G - new 1968
Chassis: Daimler CRC6-36
Engine: Cummins V6-200 9.63 litre
Gearbox: Semi-automatic (originally automatic)
Body: Northern Counties 86 seats
OWNED BY DAVID TAYLOR
In 1968 Daimler was looking for a UK operator to try out the massive CRC6-36 chassis, prior to shipping 16 to South Africa. Walsall Corporation Transport's General Manager, Ronald Edgley Cox, was eager to innovate and ensured a Walsall bus was always exhibited at the Commercial Motor Show. This giant was the 1968 showstopper.
The Cummins engine was mounted in the rear offside corner and, at 36 ft (11 metres) long, there could be 86 seats despite a second staircase and door at the very rear. It was intended as a driver only bus and a closed circuit tv system monitored the rear exit. 1968 technology meant the cctv was unreliable so the bus always ran with a conductor.
Walsall's fleet passed to the West Midlands PTE in 1969. This bus mostly ran on the 118 Birmingham-Walsall service until briefly operating from Harts Hill garage before the premature sale in 1975 due to unreliability. A succession of small operators saw its large capacity as useful for school contracts. It was fortunate to pass to the Hale brothers at Bishops Stortford in 1978 whose persistence and enthusiasm enabled it to run until 1986. It was saved for preservation in November 1988 and, like the only slightly larger Forth Bridge, renovation has been a huge, long-term affair. Its original livery was non-standard, the sky blue and cream contrasting with the usual Walsall bright blue.