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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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7077 (WBN 955l)

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In 1972 when the SELNEC PTE commenced receiving deliveries of its first production SELNEC Standards, 145 of them were Park Royal bodied AN68 Leyland Atlanteans.  These were delivered simultaneously to the three divisions of SELNEC – Central, Northern and Southern.  The batch numbered 7001 to 7145 were split between the three divisions, 7001 to 7071 to Central, 7072 to 7109 to Northern and 7110 to 7145 to Southern.

So that these three divisions could receive the vehicles at the same time, the actual build commenced on all three batches simultaneously and the first ones to be delivered were as follows:-

7001 7074 7112
7002 7075 7113
7072 7076 7114
7110

7005

7077
7073 7006 7078
7111 7007 7079
7003 7008 7080
7004 7009 7010

As can be seen from the above, of the 145 first batch of Park Royal bodied Leyland Atlanteans, 7077 was the 20th built.  For the sake of completeness, it is the case that 7070 was the 144th, i.e. the last but one, 7143 was the 131st and 7066 was the 132nd.

Over the years, three of the SELNEC/GMT Standards which had suffered accidents involving low bridges were converted for open top work, two of which came from this initial batch of 145 Park Royal bodied AN68 Atlantean Standards, being 7032 (VNB 132L) from the Central Division , and 7077 (WBN 955L) the sixth vehicle from  the Northern Division.  Also, later, GMT Northern Counties bodied Leyland Atlantean 8172 (VBA 172S) received similar treatment.  These vehicles operated over the years on a number of special events, but 8172 was stolen, damaged and scrapped.  As for 7032 and 7077 they passed from SELNEC to GMT and then on to Greater Manchester Buses at deregulation on 26th October 1986.

Consequently, we couldn’t strip all the vinyls off the vehicle until the Manchester Evening News had visited but that very same day after the photographer had left on Sunday 7th April 2002 we commenced work on the vehicle removing all the extensive vinyls and continued to do so on an additional working day on Saturday 13th April 2002 until all the vinyls were removed.

At the same time an assessment took place of the vehicle and it was clearly evident that it will need five replacement brown PVC backs on the upper deck to make a complete set.  Also all the orange PVC cushions on the upper deck will have to be retrimmed to brown.  Obviously being an open topper the upper deck has to have vinyl seating in case the bus should experience bad weather and rain whilst attending an event. 

The lower deck has been re-moquetted in First Manchester red and is particularly tidy and that will probably be left as it is.  The cab area needs some attention and one of our members, Greg Taylor, has started work on cleaning up this area.  The bus has had several dints in various panels and some corrosion and consequently we marked up 18 panels on the vehicle that needed replacement as a prelude to it being taken to S & T Coach Panels on 1st May 2002 for this repanelling work to be completed before the vehicle is to be repainted. 

Unfortunately, whilst First York had the vehicle they replaced the mid deck front panel and the original destination display to a flat panel which clearly has to be reversed.  Luckily in our spares we have one spare mid deck front moulded Park Royal fibreglass panel.  Unlike Northern Counties vehicles where this is aluminium and can be cut to size, on the Park Royal vehicles it is moulded fiberglass and has to be resourced from a vehicle of the same design.  In fact we had secured the front panel off 7066 when stripping it many years ago in order to convert the front of 7143 back and having allocated this spare to 7077, member Greg Taylor obtained a replacement for 7143 from 7165 following a trip to the Barnsley scrapyards where this bus resided in scrap condition.

Also on 7077 the offside spotlight has been removed and this is to be refitted and we replaced the centre lower fiberglass front panel with a spare from 8549 as the one on 7077 had been damaged.  We are to replace the front licence plate with one of a more original design and dispose of the plastic replacement that it had displayed over recent years.  Also at some point whilst the vehicle has been away in  York the nearside pod has become damaged and this is to be replaced and the bonnet to be either straightened or replaced whilst the vehicle is having this rectification work undertaken.

Whilst in service over nearly 30 years in the Greater Manchester area 7077 has received six liveries, the original SELNEC sunglow orange and mancunian white followed by GMT metropolitan orange and white whilst running as an ordinary service vehicle before it lost its roof.  Since it has been an open topper it has had four liveries, all different.  The first adaptation being white, orange and brown and then two special open top liveries followed by the First Manchester red with blue stripes which was its last livery and the livery that was seen whilst returning Manchester United in May 1999.  Whether we will return it to one of these four liveries or a livery of our own reflecting the SELNEC Preservation Society and perhaps 30 years of history within the SELNEC/GMT area is something we are yet to decide upon.

Years later after GM Buses Limited was formed, and then split between GM Buses North and South and then once these companies were sold to First Group and Stagecoach, 7032 (VNB 132L) was sold off and currently operates on the South Coast for Eastbourne Buses.  7077, however, was retained in the area by First Manchester, being used for various events, the most famous, however, was when it was chosen to bring United home from Europe after they won the European Cup on Wednesday 26th May 1999, and allowed them to celebrate not only this success, but their victory in securing the treble, having won the FA Cup and the League in the same year.  Films and photographs were seen all over the world of the team on the upper deck of 7077, in First Manchester’s red livery, coming back through the streets of Manchester on Thursday evening, 27th May 1999, surrounded by a sea of fans.

The SELNEC Preservation Society has reached a collection of some 40 vehicles and we had determined some time ago that an open topper was a desirable vehicle to secure for our growing collection, so clearly, we concentrated on the two remaining examples from the SELNEC/GMT era, 7032 and 7077.  On the basis that 7077 was still in Greater Manchester and was now perhaps the most famous open topper, appearing in news articles all over the world, this was clearly the vehicle we must try to secure.

Consequently, we had discussions in the Spring of 2000 with First Manchester, but then the vehicle was transferred to First York, with effect from 13th April 2000, where it was painted in a blue livery and vinyls added to depict the City of York, and went onto sight-seeing tour work.  Having completely renewed their York bus fleet for the new Metro Network, First ended operation of sightseeing tours as this was not a core aspect of their business.  Thus 7077 returned to First Manchester on 15th February 2002.  Having kept in touch with the Senior Management of First Group, First Manchester and First York, we were pleased therefore to negotiate to purchase the vehicle upon its return to the Greater Manchester area, and this we did with effect from 25th February 2002.

7077

BATCH:

7072 - 7109 (Type i)

(WBN 955L)

BODY:

Park Royal O43/32F

 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

1st September 1972

 

PURCHASED:

25th February 2002

 

DETAILS:

This is one of the 'Northern Division' batch of Standards Atlanteans bodied by Park Royal and one of three Standards subsequently converted to open top (7032, 7077 & 8172). It is also probably the world's most famous bus, having been seen all over the world bringing back a victorious Manchester United, after winning the 'Treble' following their success in the European Cup in May 1999. It was acquired from First York in February 2002.

We actually collected the vehicle from the Bolton Depot on Sunday 3rd March 2002, being the same day in which we had earlier collected 5320 (D320 LNB), Greater Manchester’s last Metrobus.  We set out, met at the Oldham Depot to collect 5320, then drove it to the Bolton Depot, where we collected 7077 and took both vehicles to our storage premises in Leigh.

7077 represents an excellent addition to the SELNEC Preservation Society’s collection, being not only an open topper and a famous bus, but also the longest serving Leyland Atlantean in the Greater Manchester area, having served with SELNEC, Greater Manchester Transport, GM Buses Limited, GM Buses North Limited and First Manchester, over a period spanning almost 30 years.

Its acquisition for preservation also means that one of each of the original three batches of 145 Park Royal bodied SELNEC Standards, has now entered the realm of preservation.  From the first batch, 7001 to 7071, 7001 is held by the Museum of Transport in Manchester and, incidentally, the SELNEC Preservation Society has 7070 ( a vehicle secured for spare parts).  The SELNEC Preservation Society also has 7143.

After we had collected 7077 from Bolton Depot it was parked up in Leigh in its two tone blue City of York colours.  Most of this blue colouring is paintwork but a considerable amount of the graphics featuring landmarks in York and the wording were vinyls.  Because we wanted to return this vehicle to a colour scheme reflecting SELNEC/GMT we were keen to remove all the vinyls and the blue colouring.  However, we did not do so immediately as we wanted to show it in the York condition for those individuals who had not seen it by taking it to one event and so we took it to the Museum of Transport’s Spring Festival on 24th March 2002, along with 3001 as reported under Section 4 of this newsletter. 

We were then to commence work in removing the vinyls from the vehicle, but having featured in the Manchester Evening News under our general preservation activities and quest to secure funding for a permanent working museum on 29th December 2001, they were to run an updated repeated article because of recent developments.  This being not just the fact that we had donated to us significant vehicles by two of the largest bus groups in the country, 3001 the first production Olympian by Stagecoach Manchester, and 5320 the last original Metrobus delivered to Greater Manchester by First, but that we had also secured 7077 this open top vehicle.   In particular, they were interested in its connection to the return of Manchester United when they won the Treble in 1999.

Hence the Manchester Evening News were to revisit our premises in our premises in Leigh and this they did on Sunday 7th April 2002.  They took photographs of the vehicle and the story appeared in the Manchester Evening News on Friday 12th April 2002.

On Saturday 11th May 2002 on an extra working day we collected 7077 from S & T Coach Painters and took it to Richard Whittaker in Penwortham for some work to be carried out on it.On delivering the vehicle to Whittakers Coach Travel we returned 3001 (ANA 1Y) and 5001 (GBU 1V) to Leigh from these premises.  

Thereafter on the evening of Wednesday 29th May 2002 we collected 7077 from Richard Whittaker where various items of work had been carried out, being the replacement of the nearside pod with a spare from 7066 along with all three pieces of a new valance.  The nearside sill had been replaced along with the vent above the bonnet, part of the heater system.  A fog light had been replaced on the front offside of the vehicle and the whole bus had been fully serviced and had its chassis, engine and drive units steam cleaned and painted in protective anti-corrosive grey paint.  Also whilst there the bus had been totally repainted in our own promotional livery for the SELNEC Preservation Society designed to reflect the fact that this Atlantean had run in the SELNEC and Greater Manchester area for nearly 30 years encompassing a number of operators and liveries.  The front end is painted in First Manchester red with blue stripes, reflecting its last livery in Greater Manchester and that used by First Manchester and most famously seen when the bus returned Manchester United to the city in May 1999, them having won the European Cup and completed the treble.  Then, working backward in time, it had GM Buses orange, followed by GMT metropolitan orange and SELNEC sunglow orange all separated by diagonal white lines.  There is also some white relief on the front around the windscreen and headlamp area.  The skirt and the bonnet have been repainted in the later Greater Manchester livery from 1981 onwards in terms of the brown used at that time with the wheels painted in GM Buses orange.  

On collecting the bus on the evening of Wednesday 29th May 2002 it really did look quite striking in its repainted format, although at that stage we had yet to apply the diagonal white lines separating the various oranges which we did on Saturday 1st June 2002 on an extra working day at Leigh.  Also on this day fleet numbers were put on the vehicle along with SELNEC Preservation Society vinyls and various Leyland Atlantean badges, front hub caps and the tyres were painted in tyre wall black.

The cab area also saw some rectification.  We were keen to ensure that as it had been invited to take part in the Queens Golden Jubilee/Lord Mayor’s Parade combined event, the Festival of Delights, on Bank Holiday Monday, Queens Golden Jubilee, 3rd June 2002 it was ready for this event and we had a special banner made for both sides in black with white writing with the SELNEC symbol and the legend “FESTIVAL OF GREATER MANCHESTER PTE TRANSPORT”.  The bus therefore in its partially completed promotional livery on behalf of the SELNEC Preservation Society attended the Queens Golden Jubilee event on 3rd June 2002  along with 7232, our Exhibus Standard.  

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The next time in our busy schedule with 408 and 5001, when we had time to undertake some work on 7077 was Saturday 6th July 2002 and we started work on the upper deck which because of being exposed to the sun and rain had areas where seats had rusted and areas had been bleached out.  Also it was clearly evident that to obtain a full matching set of brown PVC backs and orange PVC cushions on the upper deck we would need to have replaced five backs and five cushions as well as repainting all areas on the upper deck including the seat frames and the floor, etc.

Also it was apparent the lower deck would need two replacement seat cushions, a replacement back for the rear seat and replacement rear seat nearside arm, all of which would have to be covered in First Manchester red as that was how the lower deck had been last re-trimmed.

Also on this working day, 6th July 2002, activity was taking place in addressing these replacement seats on the inside of the vehicle, new wing mirrors were fitted to the bus along with new windscreen wipers and various other tidying up exercises took place. 

We ordered a supply of paint from H. Marshall Guest (HMG) for all the various re-painting exercises that were taking place in respect of sunglow orange and mancunian white on 408, metropolitan orange and white on 5001, along with the various colours used on 7077 and those we were using to touch up 3001 and 5320, along with floor paint, seat paint and everything else.  Hence a very large order for us was placed for some 24 tins of paint and included a tin of the original GMT brown paint used on the 1981 livery which had been applied to the skirt and bonnet of 7077.  We knew from research that the specific code for this brown was 06C40 which is what we ordered and what had been confirmed to us by HMG.  Unfortunately, however, the actual paint tin we collected which went unnoticed was stamped 06C50 being a slightly lighter shade.  When we had collected 7077 freshly painted on Wednesday evening, 29th May 2002, we had felt the brown looked a little light but felt this was perhaps because at that stage it had been freshly painted and would darken in time.  In didn’t darken and research going back through the paperwork indicated what had happened and consequently HMG were contacted and they agreed to produce the correct code of paint O6C40.  Hence in order to ensure that this bus reflected correctly the historic colours used by SELNEC and its successors since 1969, 7077 was returned to Richard Whittakers on Sunday 14th July 2002 for the brown to be repainted.  At the same time an indicator problem was put right, the breather pipe was extended in the engine and a water leak was attended to. 

The bus was then collected on Saturday 27th July 2002 us having delivered 5001 to Whittakers Coach Travel for work to take place on it for it to pass its MOT.  Thereafter other aspects of preparing 7077 on working days Sunday 4th August 2002, 11th August 2002 and 18th August 2002 were carried out when the final outstanding vinyls and badges were fitted.  The side and rear destination numbers were changed to new yellow blinds to match the front, a new licence plate was added and further work was undertaken to clean up the cab area and continue to rectify the seat frames, backs and cushions and the general condition of the upper deck with work commencing on the seat frames and floor on the lower deck.  The bus was therefore on schedule to be in the presentable promotional condition we wished it to be in ready for attendance at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally on 1st September 2002.

In 2003, 7077 was provided to take part in a celebration of 100 years since Bury Football Team won the FA Cup. This took place on Easter Monday 21st April 2003.
Upon arrival in Bury Town Centre we parked up outside Bolton Street Railway station at about 6.30pm. We saw the steam train on which the team were recreating their success of winning the FA Cup 100 years earlier, pull into the station, being engine number 42765.

Thereafter a series of photographs were taken as the team met the Lord Mayor and then joined 7077. Judging by the number of individuals boarding the bus, filling most of the upper and lower decks, we suspect we had the main team and the reserves. Then we waited for the photographers to take a number of shots and set off in 7077 in the short trip around Bury under looming storm clouds with well wishers lining the streets and waving us on. We drove at a slow pace so that the event could be witnessed by all concerned, eventually arriving at the Town Hall where the team disembarked to undertake celebrations. The event was recorded by BBC North West News Tonight in a short piece transmitted just after 11.05pm on the evening of Easter Monday 21sr April 2003, which clearly showed 7077 evident in three shots.


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