WITH reference to the recent articles in The Bugle on the former West Bromwich Corporation Bus No 174, I actually drove this bus many times when I was a driver with the old Corporation.
This bus was mainly used on the "track" routes 74 and 75 Birmingham Dudley Birmingham Wednesbury for which it was highly suited from a driver's point of view.
This batch of buses (The 20 contract) were simple in many ways to drive. They were fitted with pre-selector gearboxes which made gear changing an easy task, no clutch.
However, the steering was rather heavy and if they were used on Routes 10 or 11 West Bromwich – Wednesbury via Friar Park they made it hard work for the driver when negotiating the Hydes Road Island in Wednesbury.
This applied to any route where there were a lot of curves.
The brake pedal also could be very hard to operate and both these items were the subject of discussions between drivers and management.
As I said these were fitted with pre-selector gearboxes and one had to be careful when using the gear change pedal otherwise it could give you a nasty kick back as happened to me on one occasion. I was driving 174 on the main road when I must have been a little careless in making a change and the pedal shot back and trapped my left leg under the driving seat.
As a result I had to go to hospital to have several stitches in my leg.
Everything else the article said about the vehicle was spot on.
I did follow the re-building of the bus by the Black Country Transport Group at the Museum until I was taken ill.
They have certainly made a wonderful job of it.
Mr D Hickinbottom,
20 Lewis Street,