FINAL DAYS OF 1L (1 UDH) THE WORLD'S SHORTEST DAIMLER FLEETLINE BUS
1L (1UDH) the unique 1962 Daimler Fleetline bus shortly before scrapping. Scan of photo taken in 1977 at Adderley St scrapyard, Birmingham. Its historical importance & the value of preserving such a unique vehicle was ignored by WMPTE. Thankfully photos of it survive on the net, some showing it in its heyday in its original attractive sky blue livery as Walsall Corporation No.1.
New to Walsall in 1962 it had been exhibited at the Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court, London where it created much interest. In 1969 it was absorbed with local municipal bus operations into the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (WMPTE) & renumbered 1L.
This double deck bus was a Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX with Northern Counties bodywork H37/27F - 64 seats. At only 25ft 7in long it was the shortest Daimler Fleetline ever built, 1ft shorter than later models ordered by Walsall & 4ft less than standard Fleetlines (30, 33 or 36 ft).
Weight distribution proved unsatisfactory with too little on the front axle. Later versions had a short front overhang added. It had unique rear lights & divided rear downstairs sloping window, unique tungsten bulb "cleaners lights" as well as fluorescent interior lighting for passengers.
The driver's seat was alongside the front wheel rather than above it. A long right arm would be needed for hand signals.
This bus was built when most buses were crew operated. Its single doorway, seen as revolutionary, in later years made the bus unsuitable for conversion to dual door one man operation. This guaranteed its early withdrawal from service by WMPTE in 1974 at 12 years old.
The bus survived for a while at the apprentice engineering school at Moseley Road, Birmingham. "Buses" Fleet news reported that a Mr Newman of Cannock was to buy it for preservation. The plans seemingly fell through & this piece of history was unfortunately lost forever.