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8001 (XBU 1S)

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Although for some while after the advent of rear-engined buses, there had been two types of chassis that dominated the British market, being Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines, in the late 1970's the production of Fleetlines moved to Leyland and eventually Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB production stopped, and a new Fleetline was produced, built by Leyland, being Leyland Fleetline FE30 GR.

Greater Manchester Transport had received its last Daimler Fleetline in the form of 7500 in 1974, and since that time, had received Standards bodied by Northern Counties and Park Royal on Atlantean chassis.

An order was then placed for 150 Fleetlines, of the new Leyland Fleetline, and 8001 was the first of these to be delivered in a batch of 20 'S' registered vehicles, which were delivered between June and July 1978.

The remainder of this batch, 8021-8150 were built over the next few years and were 'T', 'V' and 'W' registered. The batch 8001-8025 was bodied by Northern Counties between the batches 8201-8206 and 6931-6940.

It is true that Lancashire United Transport had seen 30 deliveries out of its batch of 90 Leyland Fleetlines, prior to the delivery of 8001 to Greater Manchester Transport (later to be numbered 6901-6930), but at this time they were a separate Company, and therefore, although these 30 pre-date 8001, it is not true to say that they were delivered to Greater Manchester Transport. As a consequence, 8001 was clearly GMT's first Leyland Fleetline, and because of this, it was considered to be a worthwhile preservation project by The SELNEC Preservation Society.

It should be noted that although 8001, the first GMT Fleetline since 7500, started off a new fleet number sequence in the 8000 series, because of production problems and delays with Fleetlines, it actually arrived some six months after the first Leyland Atlantean 8151, which was delivered in January of 1978.

These three batches concluded with 8150, which was delivered on 22nd August 1980, 6990 on 1st January 1981 and 8400 on 17th July 1981.

8001 was the first GMT Leyland Fleetline, and when the development of the body style on this bus is compared with the first SELNEC Daimler Fleetline 7206, from six years earlier, the following comparisons can be made:



Daimler Fleetline CRG6LXB

Leyland Fleetline FE30 GR

Dual Door

Single Door



Central Staircase

Front Staircase

Mk 1 Body- Flat Windscreen

Mk 1A Body - Curved Windscreen

Hopper Lower Deck Rear Windows

Sliding Lower Deck Rear Windows

White Inner Window Surrounds and Cab Area

Black Inner Window Surrounds and Cab Area

The various developments to the body work that have occurred over the years, including the Mark 1A front-end design with curved windscreen, plus all the various adaptations that have occurred to the internal design and fittings are displayed by 8001 and the comparison with 7206 certainly shows the continued and onward development of the Standard vehicle.

In 1991 there was an interesting situation with regard to these first 20 Leyland Fleetlines. The batch was 8001-8020, (XBU 1S - XBU 20S), as at de-regulation in October 1986, all 20 had passed to Greater Manchester Buses from the Greater Manchester PTE. However, due to heavy vehicle sales in 1986 to 1990, the majority of this batch of 20 XBU 'S' Registrations had been sold, and as of the 1st. January 1991, the status of these first 20 vehicles was as follows:

Greater Manchester Buses retained only six vehicles, being:

8001 XBU 1S in storage.             8010 XBU 10S Training vehicle in Training livery.

8002 XBU 2S in storage.             8011 XBU 11S Training vehicle in Training livery.

8008 XBU 8S in storage.             8020 XBU 20S In service in new GMB livery.

Five of these had seen some use, but 8001 was the only double deck in ownership in 1991, since de-regulation in 1986, never to be used by GM Buses, having been stored in various locations, latterly at Charles Street. It was allowed to deteriorate, mainly because it had suffered some damage to the front in an accident in 1986, and had never been repaired.

Also at 1st January 1991, eleven vehicles were in service with Yorkshire Rider, being 8003, 8004, 8005, 8007, 8009, 8012, 8013, 8015, 8016, 8017 and 8018. They were re-numbered in Yorkshire Rider's numbering scheme, and put in Yorkshire Rider livery. The remaining three buses of this series on 1st January 1991, were running with Thamesdown, and they were operating 8006, 8014 and 8019.

Rather interestingly, 8002 was taken out of the Reserve Fleet, and put back into service in April 1991, in the new GM Buses livery, but 8008 went for scrap in June 1991, being the first of this batch to suffer this fate.

Around this time, The SELNEC Preservation Society was contacted by GM Buses, to be told that 8001 was also to be sent for scrap with 8008 unless we could raise the capital to purchase the vehicle, and after negotiations, we did manage on 1st December 1991 to make arrangements to purchase this bus, and hence, it entered our ownership, and since then has received some attention to repair the accident damage, being fully restored by September 2000.

GM Buses was split into two companies on 13th December 1993 and thereafter these companies were privatised on 31st March 1994, becoming GM Buses South and GM Buses North. Interestingly, this privatisation lead to additional aspects of activity with this batch of 20 XBU Fleetlines.

In terms of distribution at the split of the Company on 13th December 1993 and privatisation on 31st March 1994, GM Buses had four vehicles left of the original six. 8001, had been purchased by The SELNEC Preservation Society and 8008 had gone for scrap. Of the remaining four, all four, 8002, 8010, 8011 and 8020 passed to GM Buses South Ltd.

In terms of competition, it was then the case that GM Buses South went into the Merseyside area and painted 17 Northern Counties bodied Fleetlines into a turquoise/cream livery and named them Birkenhead and District. Four additional vehicles joined the line-up, bringing the total to 21 of these vehicles running in Birkenhead, being 8002, 8020, 8021, 8024, 8035, 8037, 8042, 8043, 8061, 8068, 8098, 8100, 8101, 8103, 8107, 8116, 8135, 8137, 8138, 8144 and 8145. Consequently, one can see that the two service vehicles in the XBU batch from GM Buses South, 8002 and 8020 made up this batch of 21 turquoise/cream vehicles running in the Birkenhead area.

8010 and 8011 were in the Training Fleet until 8011 was sold to a private owner and 8010 was taken out of the Training Fleet to be used as a storage for seats at Charles Street, then being taken for scrap to Bennett Street in the summer of 1995. The Birkenhead and District operation also came to an end in 1995 and the 21 vehicles were taken out of service and parked up at Bennett Street where they were sold off to other operators.

GM Buses North did not inherit any of the XBU Fleetlines at the split on 13th December 1993 or privatisation on 31st March 1994. However, it was the case that they purchased back some Northern Counties bodied Atlanteans and Fleetlines from Yorkshire Rider to whom GM Buses had sold over 70 of these vehicles shortly after de-regulation. Part of their purchases involved the first 20 batch of Leyland Fleetlines 8001-8020 in as much as seven of the 11 of these vehicles sold to Yorkshire Rider were purchased back, being 8003, 8004, 8007, 8012, 8013, 8016, 8018, just leaving four vehicles with Yorkshire Rider, being 8005, 8009, 8015 and 8017.

Upon being returned to GM Buses North they were painted in their new livery but with a special Green Band rather than a Grey Band as they were to be used amongst other vehicles in competition in Merseyside in the GM Buses North Liverpool Fleet. However, after operating for some time, the Merseyside operation was abandoned and the vehicles were painted with a Grey Band in the normal GM Buses North livery and since then has been sold or scrapped. 8001 was our major restoration project for 2000 when we undertook to restore it to it's original 1978 GMT condition.

This has involved ensuring that the lower deck has been fully kitted out with the orange moquette/PVC trim seat cushions and backs, and the upper deck in the moulded style of orange PVC trim, which has necessitated certain cushions and backs being recreated to match the original style by Gordon Morris of GLG Coach Trimmers of Wigan, whose assistance is very much appreciated.

Work continued on this vehicle on our scheduled working days and on other working days, in order to ensure it would be ready to appear for the very first time, fully restored in Greater Manchester Transport livery at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally at Heaton Park on 3rd September 2000.

Essentially, all the interior work on the bus was finished on our working day of Sunday 4th June 2000, and thereafter we needed to concentrate on the exterior of the vehicle, particularly replacing moulding where we had removed the rusted metal clips holding the windows in place and generally filling bumps and scrapes, then sanding it down ready for its repaint.

The continuing work on this vehicle was part of an ongoing process to ensure it would be ready for the Museum of Transport organised Historic Trans Lancs Vehicle Rally on 3rd September 2000. In this regard, intensive sanding activities took place on Sunday 25th June 2000 and that evening, 8001 was taken to Richard Whittaker's premises in Penwortham, in order for them to take not only a full mechanical and electrical service on this vehicle (as had previously been carried out on 7232), but so that specific problems could be addressed, as follows:-

Fit and replace air filter mechanism.
Fix or fit new Stop solenoid to operate from driver's cab.
Fix or replace RAD alarm system.
Fix bonnet-lifting mechanism so that the bonnet opens fully.
Check the tyres to make sure the pressures were up to the appropriate standard.
Check the rear springs and replace if necessary.
Look at the electrical system behind the driver's cab.
Replace missing hazard switch and warning buzzers and generally bring electrics up to full specification.
Bleed out the fluid acceleration system in order for the vehicle to maximise full speed.
Investigate the low air reading on the front brakes by repairing the brakes or the gauge to restore this issue to good order.
Repair the bottom hinge on the Emergency Exit door.
Remove the offside vent so it could be replaced by ourselves later.
Secure one offside wing mirror to the bus reflecting a short-lived wing mirror design.

8001 remained at Richard Whittaker's until Friday 14th July 2000 when it was moved to Preston Bus, who undertook to replace all the nearside roof panels on the vehicle. They were also going to steam-clean and spray paint the chassis in protective grey paint, but did not have time to do so before we collected the bus to take it back to Leigh to undertake work on it, which we accomplished on Thursday 20th July 2000.

When we acquired 8001, a number of plain glass windows had been fitted in it so consequently we needed to restore its original configuration of windows. In fact, this required the fitting of all four sliders which had been removed and the re-fitting of certain hopper windows as follows:-

        Lower deck/offside number 2
Put in slider window, remove hopper window
        Upper deck/offside number 2
Put in hopper window, remove plain glass window
        Lower deck/offside number 3 (small)
Put in slider window, remove plain glass window
        Lower deck/nearside number 4
Put in slider window, remove plain glass window
        Lower deck/nearside number 3
Put in slider window, remove hopper window
        Lower deck/nearside number 1
Put in hopper window, remove plain glass window

This was undertaken by Auto Windscreens on 21st July 2000, at our premises in Leigh, at which time they also fitted two new windscreens to the bus.

We carried on working on the vehicle on our normal working day, Sunday 23rd July 2000, and that night took 8001 back to Preston Bus so they could then undertake the high pressure steam-clean and spray paint of the chassis, engine and drive units, which they did, and we were able to collect the vehicle again on Thursday evening, 27th July 2000, to return it to Leigh to continue rectification work on our scheduled next working days of both Saturday and Sunday, 29th and 30th July 2000.

On Friday 4th August 2000 8001, along with 1066, EX1 and 7206 was taken to Martins of Middlewich where all four vehicles passed their Class 5 MOT's.

Thereafter, on Sunday 6th August 2000, after another working day at Leigh, 8001 was again taken to Richard Whittaker's so that further work might be undertaken, and on this occasion the accelerator master cylinder was replaced and work was carried out on the bodywork on the lower deck Emergency Exit door.

The bus was collected, and returned to our premises in Leigh on Thursday 10th August 2000.

Thereafter, final preparations were made to the vehicle on our working day of Sunday 13th August 2000, so that it could yet again be driven to Preston Bus, this time for its repaint to be undertaken by Ambrose Fox, which indeed did take place, with us visiting on Friday 25th August 2000 to apply the transfers. We then collected the vehicle on Tuesday 30th August 2000 and took it, for a third time, to Richard Whittaker's premises to see if the outstanding problem of the sticking accelerator could be resolved. The bus was collected on Saturday 2nd September 2000, and returned to Leigh, in order for it to be made ready for its very first appearance, fully restored in Greater Manchester Metropolitan orange/white, at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally from the Museum of Transport to Heaton Park, on Sunday 3rd September 2000.

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8001 is also the first restoration project we have painted in the GMT colours of Metropolitan orange/white, as previously our other examples, such as 7206 and 7185 have been in the SELNEC colours of sunglow orange and mancunian white. Also, the GMT livery applied to 8001 has a particular brown livery applied to the four wheels to make the vehicle look different from those running for SELNEC. Not only is the orange a darker shade and the white lighter but the wheels are brown as opposed to orange, as with the SELNEC livery.

It has taken us from between December 1999 to August 2000 to make the full internal and external rectification of 8001, to return it to its original 1978 condition, and in particular, finding the original windscreen wipers and wing mirrors was not easy.



8001 - 8150 Type iv(R))

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(XBU 1S)


Northern Counties H43/32F - Mark 1A



Leyland Fleetline FE30GR



19th June, 1978



1st December, 1991



GMT's first Leyland Fleetline which also features the Mark 1A body design.

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