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TOPIC: semi-buses, coach's?

Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 00:54 #45597

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Cam - Truck & Bus Transportation magazine ran an article about the Landliner sometime in late 1945.
Below is an article from the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin of January 26, 1946, that recaps a lot of the info from the T & BT article.

There were reports to the W.A. Govt that 6 Landliners had been built, and were in operation on the East Coast.
I believe this was "sales talk", designed to assist the sale of the sole Landliner operating on the Frankston route.

The Cheetah, that the W.A. Govt ordered two of, was supposed to be a superior design, with an improved body design, a much lighter tare, and an improved steering system.
However, it appears that no Cheetahs were ever built, either, despite the W.A. Govt order, and despite quite a bit of "sales spiel".

The Landliner purchased by the W.A.G.R. was registered in Victoria to the 31st Dec 1947, so information tendered to the select committee, was correct in stating that it was registered, when purchased, in mid-1947.
However, it appears that Mt Hall may have known that the registration of the Landliner was not going to be renewed by the Victorian authorities, once the current registration ended .. so he was probably pretty keen to part with it.

One has to wonder about the drivers ability to handle this monster. It appears that the driver was located in the centre of the bus (enough, on its own, to make driving more difficult) .. but besides that point, the hydraulic steering apparently suffered from substantial "lag", when the wheel was turned.

It was reported that it took up to half a turn of the steering wheel, before any steering response was noted .. and when the steering response came, it was sudden and sharp.

A District engineer of the W.A. M.R.D. claimed in his evidence to the select committee, that he followed the bus to Cranbrook, and noted much "erratic" steering movements at speed .. :o

In addition, this bus was a full 8' wide .. wider than all of the then-current W.A. buses .. and the bitumen sections, on the best country highways in W.A. (such as the Albany Hwy), was reported as being only 16' wide .. :o

As you can see, there were many serious problems in the handling, size, driving position, and mechanisms of this monster. I couldn't begin to imagine the hassles trying to co-ordinate 2 engines, 2 cogboxes, and 2 x 2-speed diffs, once the bus had done some serious miles.


"MOTOR NOTES (By "TAILSHAFT")

NEW BUS DESIGN WILL REVOLUTIONISE TRAVEL


An entirely new design of road passenger vehicle which is being introduced on long-distance service this year promises to revolutionise road travel for Australians in all States.

So successful and revolutionary is the new design of vehicle that its Australian designers and builders have taken out world patents.
The first vehicle which was demonstrated in Melbourne recently before a group of leading transport officials and parliamentarians, earned high praise from spectators. It is known as the 'Landliner.'

"Truck and Bus Transportation", the trade journal in Australia for the Road Transport Industry, states that the new design will put bus travel comfort in Australia far ahead of that offered by Greyhound and other American, British and Continental services.

This new design of vehicle has been developed co-jointly by Dyson's Peninsula Bus Lines, a large Victorian bus organisation, Fowler Constructions, and the Ford Motor Co. of Australia.

It differs in many essentials from the standard four wheel bus and is a great advancement on the newer semi-trailer, articulated bus, which has been gaining in popularity in all States.

The ordinary type bus is 30 feet long and seats up to 33, while the semi-trailer passenger saloon is up to 35 feet long, seating up to 55.
The new Landliner design, in effect, compresses the tractor vehicle of the semi-trailer bus down to the space taken by an open 8 h.p. sports car, and locates it under the front part of the body of the bus, in the same manner as the 4-wheel bogie is located, at each end of a tram or railway carriage.

The arrangement allows seating to be installed in the body right over this power bogie, and the saloon can be built to the full maximum 45 feet.
This in turn, provides seating for 80 people for metropolitan type of work, or super-luxury individual adjustable reclining seating, for about 35 on long-distance 'cruising' services.

Used as a metropolitan bus the vehicle seats over 20 more people than Melbourne's newest tramcars, and 38 more than the largest main line first class, express carriages on the NSW railways.

The 'tractor' power bogie gives the vehicle truly amazing manoeuvrability for a vehicle of its size, for it can make a complete turn, in its own length.
This bogie has a turning radius of over 110 degrees both to the left or right while the front wheels also steer as with a car.

Two Ford V8 engines and 4 speed gearboxes are used to provide and transmit power. One engine drives the rear axle of the forward bogie. This is the engine located in the bogie frame, between axles. A two-speed axle is used, giving 8 forward ratios.
The second engine is mounted at the end of the vehicle and drives the single, extreme rear axle, also of 2-speed design.

The gearbox of the rear engine has a free wheel, enabling it to idle, when its extra power is not required. In true sense, the rear engine acts as a booster when loads or gradients are heavy.

These engines are synchronised to obtain equal effort. Either motor can be started and run independently, and vacuum gauges on the instrument panel give the driver constant indication of the behaviour of both engines.
The driver's seat is at centre in extreme front where the semi-circular construction of the frontal windshield gives him an unimpeded forward view.
He drives and steers by 'indirect means', through an ingenious system of hydraulic controls. Gear shifting is accomplished by mechanical linkages.

These vehicles will be used for service between Melbourne and Sydney and, later, other capitals.
The fittings are being designed for luxury travel, using aeroplane type seats equipped with shock absorbers to give 'armchair' comfort.
An observation parlour at rear with large perspex windows will make the body design as unique as the mechanical accomplishments.

Vehicles will carry a refrigerator, serve ice water, provide card tables, serve morning and afternoon tea within a vibrationless, air-conditioned, and sound-proofed body. A toilet compartment is included in the design.
Although powerfully braked, slowing and accelerating will be smooth and gradual.

From a maintenance viewpoint, the principle has many advantages, for the power bogie with front engine and driver's controls, can be disconnected from the main body, and driven out for service inspection, and another unit driven in to replace it. This changeover takes about half-an-hour."
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 00:55 #45598

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There's a lot of details on the AUSTRALIAN BUS FLEET LIST site about all semi trailer buses

I've lifted some details on the Landliner & Cheetahs for your information.

Neil




Australian Bus Fleet Lists - Western Australia

Fowler "Landliner" & "Cheetah"
3 vehicles

Landliner
Chassis manufactured by Fowler Constructions Pty Ltd; Length 13.7m; Steered by hydraulic swivelling of undercarriage beneath driver; Powered by 2 Ford V8 petrol engines, one mounted in the front undercarriage, the other at the rear; Hydraulic braking fitted to all six wheels, however trailer brakes were operated independently of power bogie brakes by means of a steering-column mounted hand valve; Emergency vacuum-hydraulic brakes also fitted to trailer; Originally fitted with 30 seats, but thought to have been re-seated to at least double that capacity prior to entering service with Dysons / Peninsula; Demonstrated to Victorian politicians 28.11.1945; Ran off road travelling empty to Balcombe Military Camp whilst attempting to overtake a milk van; contrary to popular opinion, cause of accident was deemed to have been due to insufficient room to pass rather than by hydraulic steering system failure 08.03.1946; Re-licence refused by Victorian authorities & sold to WAGR c. --.06.1946; Report prepared by Victorian Transport Regulation Board inspectors for WA Minister for Transport deemed the "Landliner" suitable for WA conditions, but suggested freight-only tests be undertaken prior to passenger use --.06.1946; Observed in Kalgoorlie en-route to Perth --.07.1947; Observed in WAGR Midland Workshops being re-painted --.09.1947; In service with WAGR c. --.10.1947; Parliamentary Select Committee recommended withdrawal & fitting of alternative steering system 02.12.1947; Returned to service unmodified (subsequent to Victorian Transport Regulation Board advice that the hydraulic steering system was safe if regularly maintained) early --.--.1948; Recorded in WAGR documents as being a 44-seater --.06.1948; Withdrawn, shortened & converted to conventional 50-seat trailer to be hauled by Foden prime mover (F1); registration plates transferred to (F1) --.11.1948; Withdrawn when prime mover (F1) was converted to a truck 18.10.1963

Fowler Cheetah
Chassis manufactured by Fowler Constructions Pty Ltd; one tonne lighter than "Landliner" with improved rear-engined cooling system; Order placed (approx 8 months prior to inspection and report on prototype "Landliner") c. --.10.1946; Steered by hydraulic swivelling of undercarriage beneath driver; Powered by 2 Ford V8 petrol engines, one mounted in the front undercarriage, the other at the rear; Arrived at Kalgoorlie by rail from Melbourne 02.03.1948; In service by --.03.1948; Recorded in WAGR documents as being a 44-seater --.06.1948; Withdrawn, shortened & converted to conventional 52-seat trailer to be hauled by Foden prime mover (F3) --.12.1948; Withdrawn from revenue service --.--.1961; Used to transport workers constructing Kwinana-Jarrahdale bauxite railway, presumably until the line opened in --.--.1963

Fowler Cheetah
Chassis manufactured by Fowler Constructions Pty Ltd; one tonne lighter than "Landliner" with improved rear-engined cooling system; Order placed (approx 8 months prior to inspection and report on prototype "Landliner") c. --.10.1946; Steered by hydraulic swivelling of undercarriage beneath driver; Powered by 2 Ford V8 petrol engines, one mounted in the front undercarriage, the other at the rear; Arrived at Kalgoorlie by rail from Melbourne 02.03.1948; In service by --.03.1948; Recorded in WAGR documents as being a 44-seater --.06.1948; Withdrawn, shortened & converted to conventional 52-seat trailer to be hauled by Foden prime mover (F2) by 30.06.1949; Withdrawn 25.06.1961




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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 01:25 #45599

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Oldb - Thanks for the additional info. I could find no record of the Cheetahs actually being delivered .. thus I was under the impression the Cheetah order had been cancelled.
There are very few pics of the Landliner, and I have been unable to find a single picture of the Cheetahs.

The "West Australian" reported on the conclusions of the select committee, as below, and the recommendations were quite harsh and rigorous.
It was a classic case of Govt setting the proper conditions for the project, long after it had been instigated by unqualified people.

Excerpt from the "West Australian", 3rd Dec, 1947 ..

"It was an extraordinary state of affairs, the report stated, that two Cheetah buses, to cost about
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 09:46 #45600

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Here's a few shots of one from a few years back. Not as impressive as the Land Liner but a semi bus nonetheless



Running around the Newcastle area in the 50's and 60's



Pretty sure this is the same one put out to pasture in Gunnedah



And the bottom right photo is it a few years ago when I had a look to buy it. The body had been stripped by an "enthusiast" who was going to restore it. It had the Commer petrol engine with a 4 speed and 3 speed joey box behind. I beleive Ian Storey purchased it a while ago, after I last saw it. He had it on the market last year
Some play hard to get
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 10:37 #45601

  • Swishy
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GR8 info JuanTrak
any body wanna guess hoo made this body



coz it dont look like any of the other semi/bus ones
it twaz used to cart to the military base @ Portsea n owned by the peninsula bus lines B 4 Pappy converted it to our family holiday caravan doodadd
LOL

Cya

[ch9787]
OF ALL THE THINGS EYE MISS ................. EYE MISS MY MIND THE MOST

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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 16:05 #45602

  • mammoth
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Bruce, It wasn't a case of an enthusiast stipping the trailer, because the white ants got there first. The Commer prime mover was sold to buyer in Victoria and the trailer chassis to a local person. To rebuild it as a bus would be a ground up exercise with no plans, just a photo, some panel sheeting, front dome, and glass. The trailer springs were very stiff, more like lowloader.
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 16:46 #45603

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Swishy - Your familys rig looks like it was built by a crowd of horse float builders, not coach builders. It has no curves anywhere, unlike the aerodynamic designs of most of the coach-built buses of the 1940's and 1950's.

It appears to have been built to a very basic design, and I'd hazard a guess, it was built in a run-of-the-mill, machining and fabrication shop. Maybe a caravan-builder, built it?
There certainly wasn't any "designer" input into it .. so that cuts out any of the larger coach-builders who had qualified designers on the payroll.

I guess that would have made for a very roomy and comfortable caravan? .. but I don't know how your old man went fitting it into the average caravan park!
Maybe the older caravan parks had bigger bays, and a lot more room, to accommodate semi's? .. :)
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 17:14 #45604

  • Cunning Stunt
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Bruce, It wasn't a case of an enthusiast stipping the trailer, because the white ants got there first. The Commer prime mover was sold to buyer in Victoria and the trailer chassis to a local person. To rebuild it as a bus would be a ground up exercise with no plans, just a photo, some panel sheeting, front dome, and glass. The trailer springs were very stiff, more like lowloader.

Sorry Steve, just going on what the previous owner, Peter Kerr, told me when I had a look at it. He said he had sold it to a guy who was going to restore it (which makes him an enthusiast in my eyes) and that guy insisted in stripping it on site then never came back.

At least that's what Peter told me.
Some play hard to get
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 18:14 #45605

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Ron, I'd guess it's a WW2 effort, they used semi trailer buses because of the better capacity, and they didn't have the luxury of a lot of materials to choose from to build it. I think there was a few semi trailer beses in Melbourne in WW 2.
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Re: semi-buses, coach's? 13 Feb 2011 19:17 #45606

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JuanTrak
Sme again
Do U think it could/would have the same lines as this Grummet body


(curved crns @ front, Sloping under body tin work from 5th wheel height to lower deck)

Jist guess n

Cya
[ch9787]
OF ALL THE THINGS EYE MISS ................. EYE MISS MY MIND THE MOST

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