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, Worcester depot
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 Withdrawn (8/85).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
LocationBull Ring Bus Station, Birmingham.
DescriptionLoading passengers for a Service X43 to Great Malvern.
Datec. 1985
SourceUnknown.
TimBrown on Tuesday 24th April 2018
I did my driving training on S27 and S28 with Ken Blatchford as the instructor. I hoped to be able to take my test in 336 PHA 336M as this was a fairly well balanced and lively motor, but on the day the only spare bus was 204. I was somewhat dismayed as this one had the heaviest steering of them all, didn't pull well and seemed to lose its air very quickly when trying to do reversing manoeuvres. The test route from Quinton Testing Station took in most of Smethwick and central Birmingham so plenty of winding roads, hills and thick traffic to contend with. Despite my dislike of 204 passed and did a number of years part-time casual driving and later became a full-time driver. The nicest S27 i drove was Bromsgrove's 208 which was used to give me motorway driving experience; now that bus had light steering, progressive brakes and a lively engine - easily capable of the then motorway limit of 70 MPH.

AdamH on Thursday 26th April 2018
If you don't mind me asking Tim, what year did you pass your test?

TimBrown on Friday 27th April 2018
Adam I am not sure of exactly when, but it must have been late in 1982 or early 1983 when I took the PSV test, as it was known in those days. My badge number was HH 53940 and in case you are wondering why it is a South Western HH number, I was living in Chard, Somerset at the time and travelled up to Worcester every other weekend for the driver training which Midland Red West did at the time for those willing to pay for the privilege. Of course, as soon as I had passed the test the company inevitably wanted me to come and do Saturday late turns whenever I was in Worcester which was never my original intention, but being a life-long bus enthusiast I accepted and the rest is history. Originally I only wanted a full PSV single deck licence to prove to anyone in authority that I was qualified to drive full-sized preserved BMMO buses despite being without a left leg - at that time anyone with a car licence could drive a fully loaded 36 foot bus provided the passengers were not fare paying and all members of the Society or Group. Things have been tightened up considerably since those days - and probably for the best as it is only fair that the drivers of large vehicles prove their competence to drive them.

AdamH on Friday 27th April 2018
I had no idea that MRW offered driver training to non-staff. That situation had certainly changed by the time I joined the company in 1994. By that time they also had a small selection of manual gearbox Leyland Leopards for driver training as all new starters required a manual licence to drive the Mercedes L608D minibuses. My instructor was Mr Peter Carpenter who, like yourself, has since written a number of books on Midland Red.

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