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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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GMT's FIRST LEYLAND LYNX 501 (D501 LNA) DONATED BY FIRST GROUP

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After the success Leyland had in the single deck market in the 1970s and early 1980s with the Mark I and Mark II Leyland Nationals they were looking for a more modern replacement for the future and came up with the Leyland Lynx.  Manchester City Transport, SELNEC PTE and Greater Manchester Transport had not had a particularly liking for single deckers and really just kept their numbers to a minimum.  Consequently, it was not surprising that when GM Buses Limited was formed at deregulation on 26th October 1986 they in their first purchase of new vehicles ordered the Leyland Lynx but in a small testing quantity of just four, numbered 501 to 504 (D501 LNA to D504 LNA). 

Upon delivery these vehicles were assessed in service and a decision was taken that no more would be ordered.  In fact it is fair to say that although the Lynx was ordered in quite a few numbers across the country it was not anything like as popular as its predecessor the Leyland National. 

After six prototypes had been built Lynx vehicles went into full production and 501 was the 21st – chassis number LX1021 – the designation LX5636LXCT2RCR – B48F.  501 was first registered on 17th December 1986.

During 1995 the four Lynxs were renumbered 1401 to 1404 due to delivery of new Wrights bodied Volvo B10B ‘Superbuses’ in a new fleet number series starting at 501.  When the split occurred between GM Buses North and South Limited they remained in the North of the company, eventually passing to First Group, passing to First Pennine on 1st September 2000.  502 and 503 had been scrapped by 2003 and the remaining two 501 and 504 were taken to First Group’s depot at First South Yorkshire, Midland Road, with a view to these two and four others becoming a fleet of six reserve vehicles that could be used by different fleets when there was a temporary shortage of vehicles, but this proposal was not proceeded with. 

The other four vehicles 1405, 1407 (F362 YTJ), 1408 (F608 WBU) and 1409 (H851 GRE) all came from other fleets.  One or two members of the SELNEC Preservation Society did express an interest in possibly acquiring one of the GMB Lynx’s and in line with our policy of firsts and lasts we had both to choose from, i.e. 501 and 504 and therefore visited Midland Road, Rotherham, on 24th April 2004 to assess the condition of the two vehicles and it was deemed that both had problems.  Except for a seized engine in 501 everything else on the vehicle seemed complete in terms of its bodywork and mechanics with a full set of orange seats whereas 504 had missing seats, smashed windows and damaged bodywork.  All four Lynxs had been converted during 1995 from the original layout to the F-Reg Olympian style front end with the moulded panels removed from the offside and nearside.

Subsequent to our visit First Group took 501 inside the depot at Midland Road, Rotherham, put it over a pit and by placing an air line into it were able to check that everything else except the engine on the bus worked, i.e. electrics, brakes, steering, etc.   Consequently, we took the view that if the engine could be repaired it would seem the vehicle would be fully operational and we arranged for engineers from Walshs of Irlam, who are experts with Gardner engines (the vehicle has a Gardner turbo engine), to visit Midland Road, Rotherham, which they did but were unable to assess the extent of the damage with the facilities that were available to them.  Therefore, we reached an agreement with First Group that they would donate the vehicle to us along with its tyres and tow it to Walshs Engineering in Irlam and once there Walshs would put it over their pits and establish precisely what the problem was with the engine and to produce a quote for us in terms of costs of repairing it. 

This took some time to organise but eventually after the other five Lynxs had been towed away from Midland Road to Barnsley for scrap 501 was towed to Walshs on Thursday 24th March 2005 and we now await the outcome of their assessment of its engine and running units.

501

BATCH:

501 - 504

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(D501 LNA)

BODY:

Leyland Lynx B48F

 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Lynx LX5636 LCT2RR

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

17th December 1986

 

PURCHASED:

24th March 2005

 

DETAILS:

501 (later renumbered 1401) was the first of his batch of vehicles and was the 21st Lynx chassis built. It is the only one of the four delivered that survives.


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