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The first prototype Olympian 1451 (NJA 568W) which we have in preservation was most unusual in that it had a special body built for it by Northern Counties to fit the Bristol Olympian chassis which was not an adaptation of the normal Standard body as had all other prototypes been before it.  Subsequently, it looks most unusual.  It was also the only Olympian delivered in orange and white to GMT and the only one with a metal frame body and the only with orange moquette. 

When the production series started at 3001 the first 15, as with 1451, had the Leyland TL11 engines with 3016 (A58 HDB) first Gardner engined Leyland Olympian, which we visited in June 2004 at M R Travel being a one off designation of ONLXB/1R due to its Supercharger.  The remaining nine of the batch of ten Gardner engined Olympians, 3017 to 3025, were the first with the normal chassis designation ONLXCT/1R, with 3025 being an experimental vehicle in the sense it had the higher driving position on both, the original heating system and the new more substantive heating  system utilising what was previously the luggage space behind the driver.

When Greater Manchester Transport turned to looking at its next Olympians after the first 25 they stayed with the Gardner engined variety as they did for the remainder of all the deliveries through to the last Olympian 3305.  However, the first ten of the next batch 3026 to 3035 were ordered with Voith 3 speed manual as opposed to Leyland 5 speed hydrocyclic gearboxes for evaluation purposes.  In fact this batch of ten Voith Olympians also transversed the changeover from A-reg to B-reg vehicles, the first eight being A-reg; A26 ORJ to A33 ORJ, and the remaining two in B-reg being B34-B35 PJA.

Thereafter, Greater Manchester Transport decided to continue with Gardner engines but with Leyland hydrocyclic gearboxes and this was the way in which matters proceeded from 3036 through to 3277.  A slightly different variation was embarked upon on the last 28 vehicles, 3278 to 3305, in that they had Gardner engines with ZF gearboxes.  Curiously however one vehicle 3176 also appears to have been fitted with a Voith gearbox but this was not from new but a subsequent conversion.

At the SELNEC Preservation Society we are keen to represent a variety of different designs and developments of vehicles and although we have 3001 which has been put back in white, orange and brown condition in its 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show layout, it is different to all Olympians that followed.  Also it is one of the TL11 engined Olympians with the low driving position and early body work with short hopper windows and original heating layout.  Consequently, we thought it would be sensible to obtain a more standard Olympian with a higher driving position, Gardner engine, later body style with full length hopper windows and the more sophisticated heating system. In so doing it seemed rather than just obtain any such Olympian we should attempt to perpetuate one of the Voith gearbox examples and preferably one with a �A� registration as 23 Olympians had this year mark 3011 to 3033. 

Whilst monitoring the batch of ten vehicles 3034 which was B-reg came up for scrap first and we had targeted potentially 3031 as a preservation project but that was withdrawn with an engine problem.  Then, Stagecoach Manchester who had all ten of these vehicles put 3027 and 3028 in the training fleet.  Shortly after this 3033 came out of service for scrap with an engine fault and 3032 was withdrawn, painted and passed on to a charity as a playbus. 

Consequently, we were running out of potential preservation projects and decided 3030 would be an ideal choice with a tidy fleet and registration number, A30 ORJ, and conversations the ensued with Stagecoach Manchester with a view to securing this vehicle as opposed to three remaining in the batch 3026, 3029 and 3035. 

Having entered into discussions with Stagecoach Manchester about securing this vehicle for preservation we travelled on it several times in service, principally on the 216 service from Manchester to Ashton, and its looks as if the vehicle might not become available until the Spring of 2005.  However, because of an influx in new vehicles and a change in policy, the bus was taken out of service in August 2004 despite the fact that it had only shortly before been through a Class VI MOT on 19thJune 2004.  It was also the last of the ten Voith gearbox Olympians to run in service with Stagecoach Manchester.  The vehicle had been stored in the yard for a few weeks at Hyde Road garage but was brought in and put over the pits so that any missing parts could be replaced and the vehicle could be checked over to make sure it was mechanically sound, with the ownership passing to the SELNEC Preservation Society on 17th September 2004.  We originally visited the depot to collect the bus on Saturday 18th September 2004 but unfortunately the batteries were flat and would not hold a charge and the brake lights developed a problem.  Consequently, Stagecoach Manchester agreed to rectify these issues and we returned three days later on Tuesday evening, 21st September 2004, to collect the bus. 

Kindly, Stagecoach had washed the bus and painted the wheels and we were able to take it away and move it to our storage premises in East Manchester.  It was clearly evident why the vehicle had been withdrawn from service in that it had developed a head gasket problem and although this would not prevent us taking it to the �Big Orange� event on 9th and 10th October 2004 this will have to be attended to shortly thereafter.

It was delivered new on 9th July 1984 to Greater Manchester Transport and passed to Greater Manchester Buses Limited on 26thh October 1986.  Thereafter, it passed into the ownership of G M Buses South Limited on 1st

Although numerically only 30 different from 3001 there are a significant number of design differences as follows: 

3001 (ANA 1Y)

3030 (A30 ORJ)

Leyland TL 11 engine

Gardner 6 LXB engine

Leyland 5 speed hydrocyclic gearbox with throttle dip

Voith 3 speed gearbox

Low driving position

High driving position

Short hopper windows

Full length hopper windows

Old heating system

New heating system

Forward facing front lower deck offside seat

Inward facing front lower deck offside seat

Jump socket under offside driver�s flap

Jump socket beneath cab door

Water filler offside rear

Water filler nearside rear

Single cab bulb

Twin cab bulbs

Special destination layout

Standard 3 position designation layout

Red, orange, yellow striped moquette on beige background

Salt and pepper brown seats

Non-standard internal transfers

Standard internal transfers




3016 - 3035

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(A30 ORJ)


Northern Counties H43/30F Light Alloy



Leyland Olympian ONLXBA/1R



9th July 1984



17th September 2004



Of the 305 Production Standard Olympians, only ten had Voith gearboxes (3026 - 3035) of which 3030 is the fifth and last used in service.


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