At Keele, I soon became familiar with PMT (Potteries Motor Traction), the main bus operator in the Potteries, and a member of the BET group. PMT provided contract services to Keele, primarily to transport domestic staff to the University. Many staff were women from the neighbouring pit village of Silverdale: the village still had a working colliery at that time. A regular vehicle was L859 (859REH), a lowbridge Leyland Atlantean with Weymann bodywork. This vehicle was one of many that were unusual in having split seating arrangement upstairs, with long bench seats and a sunken off-side gangway at the rear end of the saloon, to keep within the height requirement of 13’ 9”. This was due to the existence of low railway bridges in Stoke-on-Trent and Longton. If you were lucky, you might be treated to a ride in one of the favourites, C8763 (763CVT), an elegant AEC Reliance / Willowbrook coach, approaching the University via Silverdale and Keele village reaching the campus from the west.
PMT seemed to struggle at times with a shortage of available vehicles. In part this was due to a decision to adopt the Daimler Roadliner as their standard single-deck vehicle. Between 1966 and 1969 a fleet of thirty buses with Cummins engines was accumulated: they were extremely powerful and good hill-climbers, but their flimsy bodies suffered from flexing and sympathetic vibration from the transmission. I suspect they were also too sophisticated mechanically for PMT’s maintenance regimes. Partly because of their unreliability, and resultant vehicle unavailability, a batch of elderly Leyland PS2 half-cab single-deckers was hired from Birmingham Corporation Transport in 1970 which were already 20 years old. I noted 2247/9/52/6-9 (JOJ247, etc.). In 1971, PMT also acquired second-hand nine Leyland Tiger Cubs from Stratford Blue: 2741-5AC becoming PMT 401-5, and 3945-8UE becoming PMT 406-9.
Two trunk services operated on axes through the Newcastle area, those between 98 and 103 operating to Stoke and Longton, whilst those between Newcastle and Hanley ranged between 30 and 37. The Hanley services terminated in Gitana Street: some running direct via Basford, and others via Garner Street close to Etruria station and the Twyford sanitaryware factory. The outer ends of these services were to Clayton (33 and 101), Westlands (31 and 102), Trentham (32) and Wereton (34), and Crackley Estate, Silverdale (36 and 99). Service 100 came up Keele Road as far as Poolfields, but after I left, was extended up the hill to the University on 1 October 1977 to replace the contract services that had run until then.
Over the four years I was at Keele, I managed to cover most of the PMT network, visiting Tunstall, Leek, Buxton, Stafford, and travelling by express bus to Manchester.
Top: Crosville FS DFB228 JFM228D pulls in to pick up a home-going student at the main entrance to Keele University whilst working route C84 from Newcastle to Chester in snowy weather in early 1970.
Bottom: PMT AEC Reliance coach with Willowbrook bodywork C8765 765CVT lays-over in Keele University car park between duties on the University contract service to Newcastle-under-Lyme via Silverdale in 1972.
Top: Leyland PD3 H708 708AEH with MCW bodywork and H811 811JVT, a full-front Leyland PD3 with Willowbrook bodywork lay over at Newcastle between duties in 1970. The latter vehicle was ordered by Baxter but delivered to PMT following takeover of the former company.
Bottom: bearing an outward similarity to the AEC/Willowbrook coaches, the unique PMT Leyland Tiger Cub with Willowbrook bodywork, C858 136EVT, negotiates Hanley’s one-way system en route to the Bus Station in spring 1970.
A Marshall-bodied AEC Reliance 1039 AEH139C calls at Tunstall on its way to Hanley in 1972. The National fleetname with double-N symbol has been applied to this vehicle.
Several small operators worked local services from Newcastle. Duggins (Mrs Irene Belshaw), trading as Princess Bus Services of Priory Garage, Clayton Road, Newcastle ran 545GVD, an old AEC Reliance on their route to Silverdale and Park Site. Pooles Coachways Ltd of High Street, Alsagers Bank, ran a fleet that included some Burlingham- bodied AEC Reliances serving Knutton, Chesterton and Audley. Both fleets were painted in maroon or brown liveries. By this time Sargeant of Wrinehill had ceased to run.
Further afield, two operators utilised double-deckers on routes based on Hanley. Foremost of these was S Turner & Sons Ltd of High Lane Brown Edge whose service to Hanley was operated by a small fleet of five immaculate Daimler Fleetlines with Northern Counties bodies in a rich chocolate livery, officially described as ‘Tudor maroon and cream’. Procter & Son Ltd of Leek Road, Hanley although mainly a coaching operation also ran a service using Alexander-bodied Fleetlines in a blue and cream livery from Hanley via Cheddleton to Leek.
Other operators with rather more mundane vehicles were Berresfords Motors Ltd of Cheddleton, near Leek, who had a mixed fleet of coaches and buses. However, their main route between Hanley and Bentilee was worked mainly with a fleet of ex-Stockport Corporation Leyland Titan PD2s with Leyland bodywork from the batch 265 to 296. W Stonier & Sons Ltd of High Street Goldenhill ran a trunk route between Kidsgrove and Meir (in parallel with PMT’s route 3 between Talke Pits and Meir). The fleet comprised a collection of second-hand double-deckers, mainly Leyland, but included two AEC Regent Vs from Yorkshire Woollen District and two Dennis Lolines from City of Oxford. Stoniers was taken over subsequently by Berresfords in December 1976.
Exhibiting Turner’s fine chocolate brown livery, Daimler Fleetline no. 7 JBF991H climbs up Old Town Road into Hanley past Safin House with the service from Brown Edge in 1972. Note the winding gear of Deep Pit Shelton in the background.