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Greater Manchester only received 15 integral B15 Leyland Titans and we had hoped to secure the first 4001 (ANE 1T) but it was scrapped in 1991.

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We therefore turned our attention to 4015 which was the last of the batch and also Greater Manchester's last 'Titan' in terms of the association of the City with the Leyland chassis, which goes back many years to the pre-war TD and post-war PD vehicles. It has seen service with a number of operators since being sold at deregulation and we undertook an examination of the vehicle after it was withdrawn by MTL North on 26th April 1998 and agreed with them that we might purchase the bus for a discounted figure, less than its Net Book value, in recognition of our preservation aspirations and therefore, the vehicle was to be paid for over three staged payments, being 1st July, 1st August and 1st September 1998, so that it would become our 18th preserved vehicle on the conclusion of the payment scheme on 7th October 1998.

MTL did indicate they would allow us to move the vehicle from their Evans Road Village site, prior to us finishing the payments, to prevent any cannibalisation, but because of the storage difficulties we have encountered, we were not able to move the vehicle as quickly as we would have liked.

We were given kind permission by MTL North, to visit 4015 at the Evans Road site on Sunday, 12th July 1998, to undertake a seat swap with the other two ex-Greater Manchester Titans, 4007 and 4014, they have, in order to secure a full set of GMT orange seats on 4015, by a one for one seat cushion or seat frame changing exercise which we duly undertook on our visit that day.

Unfortunately, however, perhaps because 4015 was one of only two vehicles remaining in red on the site, (everything else being in MTL colours) and because it was parked adjacent to the fitting bays, a number of parts had been removed from it.

We alerted MTL to the fact that parts had been taken off 4015 and local management tried as best they could to restore all the parts in question. They did manage to restore most of the body parts that had been taken and undertook some work on the mechanics but it was still the case that a number of aspects of the bus were most unsatisfactory.

Firstly, when MTL acquired it from Village Coaches it had not been particularly well serviced and there were a number of aspects of wear and tear that needed to be addressed prior to the parts being removed by MTL fitters. In the end, having reached deadlock with MTL North Ltd, we had the vehicle towed on 17th June 1999 to an organisation we believed to be Leyland and Volvo specialists, Thomas Hardies, in Chorley.

Unfortunately, however, this opened up a large period of delay and difficulty. We had initially asked Thomas Hardies to establish what would be necessary to return the vehicle to Class 5 specification, which resulted in establishing the following list of 68 points that were needed to be addressed on the vehicle.

1. O/S/F 3 rear wheel rim stud holes worn
2. O/S/R 2 half shaft bolts missing
3. Various oil leaks from engine and gear box (in excess of 25 mls in 5 minutes)
4. Oil leak at hydraulic filter, engine bay
5. Rear engine flap gastruts not working
6. Steering ram rubbers worn to excess
7. O/S track rod end ball joint worn
8. Condenser requires overhaul (air system full of oil and water)
9. N/S front air bag perished to excess
10. Exhaust support bracket adrift at gearbox
11. Exhaust heat shield corroded to excess
12. N/S rear upper tie rod insecure at rear axle
13. Engine bay underail missing
14. Starter motor insecure
15. O/S inner and outer metacores gone soft
16. Rear fuel tank fuel misted
17. O/S front tyre wall cracked and bulging
18. O/S/R rear damper bobbins worn to excess
19. S & T light switch missing
20. Hand brake valve not locking
21. No demisters
22. Low air warning not functioning
23. O/S reverse light not functioning
24. No dash board illumination
25. Dash board warning lights not functioning
26. U/saloon emergency exit not working
27. Various u/saloon seat backs & bases loose
28. Bell pushes not functioning
29. U/S & L/S emergency exit warning not functioning
30. L/saloon emergency exit door hinges badly warn
31. L/saloon N/S no 2 interior lamp not functioning
32. Gearbox control panel missing
33. Side destination missing
34. Cab lamp broken and lens missing
35. Rear view mirror loose
36. Entrance doors not working
37. Entrance step lamp not working
38. Front destination lamps not working
39. Steering wheel nut missing
40. Hazard warning lamp missing
41. N/S/F fog lamp lens assembly missing
42. O/S/F indicator lens cracked
43. Wipers not functioning
44. Washers not functioning
45. Indicators not functioning
46. All engine wires disconnected
47. Engine bay wiring requires attention
48. Gearbox wiring requires attention
49. Transducer wiring missing from engine bay
50. Speedo generator missing & drive broken
51. Reverse warning not working
52. Engine stop solenoid disconnected at fuel pump
53. Number plates lamps not working
54. Water low level warning not working - front & rear
55. Entrance emergency door controls (exterior) missing
56. Entrance emergency door controls (exterior) not marked
57. Drivers cab hinges worn excessively
58. Drivers cab door tray missing/sharp edges
59. Fire extinguisher missing
60. Air gages not working
61. Horn not working
62. Dash board & side consoles in disrepair (sharp edges)
63. Cab door restraining strap not working
64. Front lighting cowls missing
65. Drivers cab, side screen sun screen missing
66. Rear engine bay door handle broken (missing)
67. Water filler point not labelled
68. Various body damage

Clearly the costs in rectifying all these aspects, of lack of servicing for a number of years and cannibalisation of the vehicle at MTL North Ltd, would be far too expensive and consequently we concentrated on undertaking those aspects that were a priority. In that regard we asked Thomas Hardies, using their expertise, to establish what was necessary to return the vehicle to a legal condition to drive it on public roads, in terms of windscreen wipers, lights, etc., and to ensure that the vehicle was serviced to the extent whereby it would run reliably and not break down, in order that we could move it short distances from one place to another, and that it was fully manoeuvrable in forward and reverse gears so we could drive it into and out of our storage premises. This last aspect was key and crucial to us, because the vehicle would not work at that stage in anything other than first gear.

A considerable period of time then elapsed whilst work was carried out by Thomas Hardies. First of all we were told that all the work had been carried out and then it transpired that very little had. At the end of the day it became apparent that the gears would not work until we obtained a control unit, as the two we had apparently acquired initially were from a Leyland Olympian and a Mark II National.

After several trips back to MTL North Ltd, we secured two control units off scrap Titans (ref: TR101) and these seemed to sort out the electrical problem with the gears, but still they would not work in forward and reverse, and in the end we were advised that the only way to resolve this problem was to have the bus converted from fully automatic to semi-automatic and this we agreed to.

Eventually we were advised the bus had been restored to the condition we requested (i.e. that it could be driven on roads reliably, that the water system and fuel system had been sorted out, all the lights were working and the gearbox problem had been resolved). It was therefore rather disappointing when on 22nd July 2000, having collected the bus from Chorley, we were faced with the fact that it broke down just 15 miles later in Westhoughton, due to a water system problem, which apparently had been fixed, and the vehicle would not work in reverse gear despite all the time Thomas Hardies had spent on the gearbox problem. Also, the lights which we had asked to be fixed were not fully operational on the day.

Consequently, the AA were called and after a two and a half hour disruption in a small part of Westhoughton, 4015 was towed back to Thomas Hardies where they agreed to put right all the difficulties. This they did except for the fact that when we collected the vehicle on 6th August 2000 it still would not work in reverse gear.

We raised these problems with Thomas Hardies, as a result of which engineers of theirs visited our premises at Frog Lane on a couple of occasions before they eventually agreed to take it back to their premises in Chorley, which they did on Saturday 17th February 2001.

Because the vehicle would not start, due to the fuel contamination problem, the bus could not build up sufficient air so that the brakes could be released and consequently an effort was made to wind the brakes off manually. Unfortunately, 4015 is a vehicle with air suspension which meant that without the engine running, there was insufficient air to pump up the suspension system to allow access to the brakes to wind them off. This would not have been a problem with a leaf spring vehicle, such as the Atlantean and Fleetline Standards.

In the end the tow company managed to pump sufficient air into the suspension system, via an air line, to lift the bus enough in order for access to the brakes to wind them off and then they were able to tow the vehicle the short distance from Wigan to Thomas Hardies' premises in Chorley.

Once there the gearbox was removed and sent away to specialists to be returned and refitted to the vehicle and the bus now works in all gears, forward and reverse. Also, whilst there, one of our members, Colin MacKay, visited to remove the existing six volt batteries on the vehicle, which had gone flat during its last stay at Thomas Hardies, from 17th June 1999 to 6th August 2000, replacing them with a fully charged set of four six volt batteries.

We also arranged for Autoglass to visit 4015 whilst at Thomas Hardies, which they did, to replace the two offside upper deck windows that had been damaged. Unfortunately, however, another problem was identified with this vehicle which just seems to attract difficulties one after another. It all began when we first acquired the vehicle from MTL North Ltd, as it hadn't been properly serviced by previous owners, Village, and even before we were able to collect the bus several engine and body parts had been removed.

The latest problem is that there is some engine damage due to pipes freezing during the winter. The policy we adopt with all our vehicles, as do several operators, is to run them all year round, summer and winter, with a 2:1 water/antifreeze mixture. In this way there is no danger of the water in the engines freezing if there is a particularly cold night in the autumn or in the early spring, let alone winter, bearing in mind that several vehicles are parked outside.

Also, because we use our vehicles quite infrequently compared to an operator, the other reason for having a constant 2:1 water/antifreeze mixture is so that there is sufficient antifreeze in the system when we reach winter, to protect the vehicles. They use very little water and if we didn't operate in this way we would have to drain a third of the water system every winter and top it up with antifreeze if we had run them with pure water in the summer.

When we delivered 4015 to Thomas Hardies it, like all our vehicles, had within it the 2:1 water/antifreeze mixture on 17th June 1999. However, when we attempted on the first occasion to collect it, on 22nd July 2000, it broke down in Westhoughton, and a large proportion of the water drained out. On returning the vehicle to Thomas Hardies' premises in Chorley, we did not realise that they had topped it up with pure water, rather than the antifreeze mixture that was in it beforehand and because of this, after it had returned to Wigan on 6th August 2000, over the winter of 2000 the water froze and has damaged parts of the engine.

We have taken up this matter with Thomas Hardies, on the basis that if we delivered a vehicle to their premises with antifreeze in the water system then that is how it should have been collected from them, and it must have been obvious to them when repairing the water leak that, despite it being the summer, the system had antifreeze in it.

The Thomas Hardie operation at Chorley, where the vehicle has been kept for some time, closed its bus operations to concentrate mainly on haulage aspects in late May/early June 2001, and consequently 4015 was moved from that facility to the Wigan operation of Thomas Hardie Ltd.

Five of the fifteen Greater Manchester Titans had the rare Leyland TL11 engine fitted, as opposed to the standard Gardner power unit, which included 4015, being 4003 and 4012 - 4015.

SELNEC Preservation Society successfully acquired 4002 (ANE 2T) on 1st January 2005, which has now been restored into it's original condition. (See 4002 page for more information on it's acquisition and restoration.)

The current status of the 15 ex-GMT Titans is as follows:



scrapped 1990



Preserved, SELNEC Preservation Society



scrapped 1993



scrapped 1991



scrapped 1986



Preserved in Swindon livery by ITG Anston Mass Transit



Location Facilities Film Bus, Southend









Preserved, D Rogers



Movie Go, Carrowdore, Northern Ireland



scrapped 1992



scrapped 1999



scrapped 1999



Preserved, SELNEC Preservation Society



4001 - 4015

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(GNF 15V)


Park Royal H47/26F



Leyland Titan TNTL111RF



5th February, 1980



7th October, 1998



4015 is the last of these 15 integral vehicles and Manchester's very last 'Titan' of all.

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