The BMMO S22 was designed by BMMO specifically for one-man operation use on their long distance stage carriage services, or “X” services as they were often known. Mechanically the BMMO S22 was identical to the BMMO S21 with a BMMO 10½-litre engine coupled to an SCG semi-automatic 4 speed gearbox. Other similarities with the type S21 included fixed side windows with forced air ventilation and rear luggage compartments.
Although the S22 shared the same basic body structure as the S21 there were a number of differences which set them apart. Most noticeable was the front grill which was of a new design very similar to the BMMO D9 double-decker. Other differences include illuminated “Pay as you enter” signs at the front and yellow flip-over “Limited Stop” at the side and rear.
All type S22 vehicles were new in overall red BMMO bus livery, as the attractive red and black livery for coaches and dual-purpose buses had now been consigned to history, and metal scroll “Midland Red” fleetnames were fitted to the front and rear. Interestingly, gold transfer fleetnames were fitted on the centre panels at the sides and no other vehicle type was ever fitted with this type of transfer.
The interior differed from the type S21 as the seats were a deep cushioned, high back bus seat covered in red vinyl with no separate head rests, but incorporating a top grab rail. These were on cool days exceedingly comfortable seats! The capacity of 45 was less than the S21 as a large interior luggage pen replaced 4 seats behind the drivers cab.
The entire batch of 37 type S22 vehicles were fully constructed at BMMO’s Central Works at Carlyle Road in Edgbastion, and delivery to the depots began in December 1967. As with many BMMO built vehicles a number of minor specification changes occurred during production, these included the fitting of a larger front destination number display to vehicles built from fleet number 5894 (registration number MHA894F), and the discontinuation of the yellow “Limited Stop” sign at the side and rear. Also, for reasons unknown, number 5903 (registration number MHA903F) was fitted with top sliders in some of the side windows.
Early vehicles fitted with the original small destination number display (fleet numbers 5879–5893) were later upgraded to the larger type when they were overhauled. Also, when in later life these vehicles were demoted to normal bus work, and at this time the rear luggage compartments were paneled over.
During the construction of the final batch of BMMO S17 buses, three vehicles, numbers 5722–5724 (registration numbers DHA722C–724C), were used for development work and classified as BMMO S21A from new. These vehicles were mechanically identical to the BMMO S17 but each featured 48 coach seats with headrests, and each vehicle had the seating finished different colour schemes to test public opinion. Bodywork was to the basic BMMO S17 design but painted in red and black BMMO coach livery.
In December 1967, BMMO reclassified the vehicles to BMMO S22, presumably as this designation was deemed more suitable as they were not for coach duties the type S21, but long distance stage carriage as the type S22 class. They were again reclassified in July 1970, this time to BMMO S17 when they were fitted for one-man operation.
The type S22 was, like most BMMO production, a highly reliable and unremarkable vehicle exactly as per their design brief! The class gave good service on the “X” routes and private hires when new, and later on to service work as the vehicles were cascaded to less demanding work.
Only two examples of the type are known to have survived, these are fleet numbers 5901 and 5905 (registration numbers MHA901F and PHA505G). More details of these vehicles can be found on the “Midland Red: BMMO S22 — Preserved” page.
Many Thanks to Mark Tunstall for providing much of the information on these pages.