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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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acquisition OF ALLOY FRAMED NORTHERN COUNTIES BODIED LEYLAND ATLANTEANS 8455 (SND 455X) AND 8645 (ANA 645Y)

Within this website, we have set out a detailed article depicting the design and developments arising out of changing construction techniques at Park Royal and Northern Counties and as a consequence of operating service of the SELNEC Standard between the very first prototype EX1 (PNF 941J) through 20 further prototypes and 1815 production Standards built on both Atlantean and Fleetline chassis concluding with the last Standard on a first generation rear engined chassis 8765 (A765 NNA).  We will in a second article consider how the standard body was further developed in respect of the second generation rear engined chassis applied to such vehicles as Scanias, Olympians, Dominators, etc.  However, in the collection of SELNEC and GMT Standards we have put together we have attempted to reflect some of the design variations, particularly over the 14 year period 1970 to 1984, and our collection of Standards stood as follows:-

Leyland Atlantean/Northern Counties prototype

EX1

Type iii

Ä

Daimler Fleetline/Northern Counties prototype (dual door)

EX19

Type iv

Ä

Leyland Atlantean/Park Royal Mk1

7032/7077/7143

Type i

Ä

Daimler Fleetline/Park Royal Mk1

7185

Type ii

Ä

Leyland Atlantean/Northern Counties Mk1

7147

Type iii

Ä

Daimler Fleetline/Northern Counties Mk1 (dual door)

7206/7232

Type iv

Ä

Daimler Fleetline/Northern Counties MK1 (single door)

7366

Type iv

Ä

Leyland Atlantean/Northern Counties MK1A

7501

Type iii (R)

Ä

Leyland Atlantean/Park Royal Mk1A

7960

Type i (R)

#

Leyland Fleetline/Northern Counties Mk1A (single door) GMT

8001/8141

Type iv (R)

Ä

Leyland Fleetline/Northern Counties Mk1A (single door) LUT

6901/6950/6990

Type iv (R)

Ä

Leyland Fleetline/Northern Counties Alloy Frame

6912

Type iv (A)

Ä

Leyland Atlantean 1B Chassis/Northern Counties Alloy Frame (Colin McKay)

8460

Type iii (A)

#

Leyland Atlantean 1D Chassis/Northern Counties Alloy Frame

8765

Type iii (A)

#

Ä = Semi-automatic
# = Automatic

It is evident however that most of this collection reflects the steel framed body as the only alloy construction Standards that we have secured for preservation are the one and only alloy framed Fleetline being the rebodied ex-LUT Standard 6912 (PTD 640S) 8460 (through member Colin MacKay) and Greater Manchester’s last Atlantean 8765 (A765 NNA).  There were however 326 alloy framed GMT Standards built (328 if the prototype 7511 and the Fleetline 6912 are included).  There were 8433/8437/8438 and 8443 onwards.  Of these 8765 clearly represents the last alloy framed Atlantean Standard but there have been a number of design and developments as indicated in the article in Section 5 of this newsletter, between 8433 and 8765.  Clearly therefore it would be helpful if additional examples from this batch of 326 vehicles were secured for preservation.  We are conscious that our member Colin MacKay has an early example 8460 (SND 460X) which is included in the list above and is to be restored not in its original white, orange and brown livery but in the subsequent “People on the Move” livery which had the darker GM Buses orange all over except for a white roof, windscreen surrounds, headlight surrounds and doors.  This is the livery that was depicted new on the final batch of 28 Olympians, 3278 to 3305. 

Acquisition of 8455 (SND 455X)

(8455_1.jpg)

We actually own 8662 (A662 HNB) but this was purchased as a spare alloy framed Atlantean mainly as a source of parts for 8765 and would clearly act as a reserve vehicle for any additional alloy framed Atlanteans the SELNEC Preservation Society or its members secure for preservation.  It was therefore not planned but clearly a worthwhile acquisition, when we were offered the opportunity of securing what is in effect the last Leyland Atlantean to be used in Greater Manchester by a subsequent operator and owner of the Greater Manchester Transport Fleet, Stagecoach Manchester, this being 8455 (SND 455X).   Ironically, this came to us from Stagecoach Manchester who actually finished Atlantean operation in revenue earning passenger service in 1998, it being First Manchester that ran Atlanteans far longer with the final examples coming out of service in January 2002.  However, Stagecoach Manchester operated Atlanteans beyond this date in the sense that they secured a small number of them and put them in the training fleet and used them as training vehicles long after the last First Manchester Atlanteans had been sold for preservation or scrap and they only finished Atlantean operation in terms of driver training duties in May 2003.  All the Atlanteans that had previously run for Stagecoach Manchester had been painted blue with yellow writing as part of the Magic bus fleet and none had operated in passenger service in the white livery with red, orange and blue stripes. 

Curiously however the four Atlanteans that were put in the training fleet were painted in this livery, hence they were unusual in being the only Atlanteans used by Stagecoach Manchester in this livery.  The four vehicles are TV1 8451, TV2 8452, TV3 8455 and TV4 8472. 

The other three of these were disposed of some time ago but 8455 carried on, finally being retired in May 2003, and it was entirely by accident when in discussions with the Stagecoach Group regarding potential future projects in respect of their plans for the withdrawal of Leyland Olympians and Dennis Dominators that the subject of the sale of their last remaining Atlantean came up and we were offered it at a very reasonable price.  It seemed too good an opportunity to turn down and let Greater Manchester’s last Atlantean go for scrap.  As a consequence of discussions with Stagecoach Group the ownership was transferred to the SELNEC Preservation Society on 28th August 2003.  The bus had been new to Greater Manchester Transport on 20th November 1981 with body number 2173 and chassis number 8101435 and it had carried by the time of acquisition four fleet numbers.  As well as its original number 8455, it was renumbered to 4455 and then in the training fleet became TV3 and finally it received a five digit national Stagecoach Number 15855.  Our acquisition of this vehicle was reported in the October 2003 edition of Buses Magazine on Page 51 under the following terms:-

The last Leyland Atlantean, driver trainer 15855 (SND 455X) has gone to the SELNEC Preservation Society”. 

In fact we visited the Hyde Road facility of Stagecoach Manchester on Sunday 31st August 2003 to collect the vehicle, but unfortunately the automatic gear system would not change into top gear and therefore we took it back for some remedial work, eventually collecting it on 19th October 2003 and taking it to our storage facility in East Manchester.  It has had all its seats and seat frames removed from the upper deck but still has 19 seats on the lower deck.  There has also been a storage area created where seats have been removed on the nearside of the lower deck and next to the driver’s cab a platform has been built upon which an additional seat has been fitted for the driving instructor with an additional handbrake fitted for the instructor to operate, should the need arise.  We intend to keep the vehicle in this driver trainer configuration for the time being and it may even in fact assist in training some of our members as drivers in the future, whilst at the same time representing one of the first of the alloy framed Atlanteans and an interesting comparison to 8765.

It should be noted that there are other alloy framed Atlanteans in preservation as well as Colin Mackay’s 8460, being 8551 (ANA 551Y) and 8573 (ANA 573Y), both restored externally in white, orange and brown GMT livery in which they were delivered.  8697 (A697 HNB) has been restored to GM Buses livery, the second livery of white, orange and whortleberry and currently in preservation awaiting restoration are 8758 (A758 NNA) and 8763 (A763 NNA), both still in First Manchester red as is 8765 (A765 NNA). 

Acquisition of 8645 (ANA 645Y)

(8645_1.jpg)  (8645_2.jpg)

Along with the SELNEC Preservation Society’s acquisition of 8455 another related acquisition has occurred, that being alloy framed Atlantean 8645 (ANA 645Y) through a rather unconventional route.  SELNEC Preservation Society member, Lea Worrall, was particularly keen on the way in which four alloy framed Leyland Atlanteans had front end damage rectified by the fitting of the new more modern lower fibreglass front with the square headlights, rectangular fog lights and horizontal slatted grill which had been a new feature on the last 28 Olympians, 3278 to 3305.  In all four Atlanteans and six earlier Olympians were treated in this way (8486/8645/8721/8753/3043/3047/3093/3131/3160 and 3201).  It was originally thought that all four converted Atlanteans had gone for scrap particularly after the wholesale withdrawal of Atlanteans by First Manchester after the end of operations in January 2002. 

However, of these four vehicles, 8645 had not been seen in any of the scrap yards in Barnsley and therefore investigations took place to try to track where it had gone after it left Crook Street in Bolton and it was tracked to a dealer, with whom we made contact.  Unfortunately he could not recall to whom he had sold it, but it had been sold for use by Morris Dancers. 

He did recall that a Liverpool garage had carried out some repair work on the vehicle and so through contact with this organisation we obtained a phone number and eventually spoke with the organiser, Margaret Lawlor, of the Solitaire Morris Dancers in Liverpool.  Upon first telephone contact to ask about the bus they thought it was a wind-up but realised the seriousness of the approach once documentation about the SELNEC Preservation Society and our collection of vehicles had been sent to them in the post.  Subsequently, a small group of members visited the site in Netherley, Merseyside, where the bus was kept on Saturday 31st May 2003 and we were pleased to see the vehicle in almost out of service condition.  It had been resprayed in First Manchester red with a blue section added below the lower deck windows, the three piece destination display had been blanked out and other than the fact that part of the parcel bars on the luggage rack had been removed in order for the dance uniforms to be hung up it was otherwise totally intact. 

This vehicle had been delivered new in white, orange and brown, to Greater Manchester Transport on 22nd June 1983 with body number 2433 and chassis number 8300316 and had seen a number of subsequent liveries.  It had in fact only been acquired by the Solitaire Morris Dancers on 22nd August 2002 and apparently thereafter in order to get the vehicle through its Class V MOT to be certain that the bus was safe for transporting the children who take part in the Morris Dancing activities, a considerable amount of money had had to be spent on the vehicle in terms of its steering, brakes, mechanics, etc.  Clearly as this had only taken place within the previous nine months of our visit on 31st May 2003 the Morris Dancers were not keen to part with the vehicle as they had clearly invested in it for the future and consequently it would not lend itself to being a preservation project for many years to come.  This was disappointing to our member Lea Worrall, particularly bearing in mind that Morris Dancers and other second and subsequent operators of ex-public service vehicles do tend to use them until such time they are worn out and are in need of replacement which would mean preserving a vehicle at a stage when a lot more rectification work would need to be undertaken. 

However, we did canvass the possibility with Margaret Lawler of undertaking an exchange with a newer vehicle, perhaps a A-Reg bus from the last batch 8731-8765, but other than being 12 months newer there was not really much to be gained, although if this was an agreeable course of action, Solitaire Morris Dancers would like their next vehicle, whenever it arrived, to be in a livery designed by themselves.  All that had happened with 8645 is that it had been repainted in First Manchester red and some blue paint added to make it look a little different with the words “Solitaire Morris Dancers” applied to the offside and nearside mid-deck panels.

Nothing definite was decided but we felt we ought to see what potential exchange vehicles were available and again turned to Ian Wild at First Calderline who had been so helpful in assisting us with obtaining vehicles in the past and allowing us to secure a considerable number of spare parts, spare engines, etc.  We had also already obtained two preservation candidates from First Calderline, being Fleetlines 6912 (PTD 640S) and 8141 (GNF 16V) and they had also supplied a Fleetline for preservation at the Museum of Transport, being 8017 (XBU 17S).  Subsequently, we had been allowed to remove parts from 8636 (ANA 636Y) and to purchase 8662 (A662 HNB) as a whole spare alloy framed Atlantean vehicle.  As it happened although First Calderline/Huddersfield no longer ran ex-Greater Manchester Atlanteans two were still in service with First in Leeds at this time, being 8557 (ANA 557Y) and 8737 (A737 NNA).  Clearly the latter of these was a newer vehicle than 8645 and in fact one of the very last batch alloy framed Atlanteans to be built and it was identified to be the one in best mechanical condition.  However, it was in fully operational day to day service.  So here we were with a situation of the Solitaire Morris Dancers having brought 8645 up to an operational standard which they were happy with, and First in Leeds still running 8737 in day to day service and it was doubtful that anything would happen for some considerable time.  However, a turn of events then occurred which were unexpected. 

Firstly, we were contacted by Solitaire Morris Dancers on 11th August 2003 when, in anticipation of the need to renew the MOT by 22nd August 2003, it had failed its Class V MOT on seven different categories. 

            1)                  Excess play in the right hand steering mechanism king pin.
2)
                  Front suspension – six u-bolt nuts had no locking device.
3)
                  Right hand shock absorber link fouling spring and fitted the wrong way round.
4)
                  Air build up too slow and air tank strap adrift.
5)
                  Below effective service brake performance.
6)
                  Right hand front wheel nut fitted the wrong way round.
7)
                 
Exhaust system heat shield insecure.

Bearing in mind this vehicle had passed its MOT one year earlier some of these items clearly must have been at fault at that time and one can only assume they had a particularly enthusiastic examiner on the MOT day at Express Travel in Speke, Liverpool.  Clearly the Solitaire Morris Dancers now had a problem as they only had 11 days left in which to have all this work undertaken which would possibly involve some considerable expenditure.  The possibility of swapping 8645 for 8737 therefore became a much more attractive proposition.

However, the bus was still owned by First Leeds and in service (or so we thought) but upon enquiring as to the possibility of when it might actually be available, bearing in mind its MOT was not due to expire until March 2004, we were advised that it had limped off the road some days earlier with a broken gearbox angle drive.

Urgent discussions then took place through Ian Wild at First Calderline based in Halifax with First Leeds who had actually transferred the bus back to First Huddersfield, where it was parked up awaiting disposal to the scrap yards in Barnsley.  However, arrangements were put in place through First Calderline for Queensbridge to repair the angle drive, which they did, and then very kindly the bus was thoroughly checked over, serviced and Class V MOT’d by First Calderline.  All this took place by Friday 29th August 2003 meaning that we were able to purchase the bus (and make payment for the angle drive repair) and collect it, which we did after our abortive attempt to collect 8455 (SND 455X) on Sunday morning, 31st August 2003.  By now however 8645 had been off the road for just over a week.  We therefore discussed the timings of the exchange with Solitaire Morris Dancers because we needed to ensure that 8737 was painted in the livery that they had now chosen for it being all over silver, whortleberry around the upper and lower deck windows with a royal blue band around the lower deck skirt panels with the words “Solitaire Morris Dancers” on the sides, front and rear in the same royal blue colours.  This was something that the Solitaire Morris Dancers wanted and it was a necessity in any event to have the bus repainted as First Group quite understandably did not want one of their ex-vehicles running around in Barbie 2 livery. 

We therefore spoke with a coach painter based at Penwortham and agreed that a three week timescale would be needed to peel off all the vinyls and sand down the Barbie 2 paintwork on 8737 and then undercoat it and paint it in the new Solitaire Morris Dancer’s livery, with a target date of the vehicle being ready for collection on Saturday 20th September 2003.  During this time Solitaire Morris Dancers could use a series of cars to transport the Morris Dancers to local events and they would have to hire a vehicle for the two away trips they would have to undertake between the date 8645 came off the road on 22nd August 2003 and the intended date of the exchange on Saturday 20th September 2003, which was a crucial date because they had an away event to attend the following day, Sunday 21st September 2003.  

As it happens all went according to plan and 8737 was collected from the premises at First Huddersfield on 31st August 2003 and delivered to the painters at Penwortham in Preston, then collected three weeks later on Saturday 20th September 2003 and driven straight to the yard in Netherley, Liverpool, where 8645 was kept.  It was parked up next to 8645 so photographs could be taken, legal documents were exchanged, showing transfer of ownership of 8737 to Solitaire Morris Dancers and the subsequent transfer of 8645 to the SELNEC Preservation Society on behalf of our member, Lea Worrall, at the same time.   

8737 had been new to Greater Manchester Transport and delivered in all over green advert livery for ‘Chester’ Ales on 16th April 1984 with body number 2583 and chassis number 8301855 and had been acquired by Yorkshire Rider trading as Bradford Traveller on 1st September 1997.  It then had its ownership moved to First Huddersfield on 28th June 2000, with ownership transferring to the SELNEC Preservation Society on 31st August 2003 and then on to Solitaire Morris Dancers with effect from 20th September 2003.  All paperwork exchanged, we then put some fuel in 8645 moved all the costumes and property across from it to 8737, swapped batteries between the two buses and then set off back towards Greater Manchester in order to park 8645 up at our East Manchester facility, albeit not in its intended bay whilst the filming was being undertaken for the pop video for Fun Loving Criminals.

8455

BATCH:

8433/37 - 38/43 - 8525 (Type iii(A)) 

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(SND 455X)

BODY:

Northern Counties H43/32F - Light Alloy
 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R
 

FIRST REGISTERED:

20th November 1981
 

PURCHASED:

28th August 2003
 

DETAILS:

The last Atlantean to be operated by a successor company to Greater Manchester Transport. Converted to Driver Training duties in Stagecoach Stripes.

 

8645

BATCH:

8526 - 8765 (Type iii(A)) 

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(ANA 645Y)

BODY:

Northern Counties H43/32F - Light Alloy
 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R
 

FIRST REGISTERED:

22nd June 1983
 

PURCHASED:

20th September 2003
 

DETAILS:

One of only 4 Atleanteans to be fitted with the later style, post 1988, Olympian grill front.


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