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8601 (ANA 601Y)

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From a preservation point of view if there was to be an ideal candidate to secure that could be relatively easy in terms of restoration, without the difficulty of finding problems with the framework on the body it would be an alloy framed Greater Manchester Atlantean, this is because as these do not suffer from the deterioration caused by bad weather like the metal framed examples that came before them.  In fact a number of the alloy framed Leyland Atlanteans have found themselves in preservation.

The SELNEC Preservation Society however has tried to mirror the totality of the design and development of the standard body as applied to first and second generation rear engined chassis and therefore most of our vehicles are metal framed, but we do have the only alloy framed Standard Fleetline 6912 being a re-body, along with 8765 (A765 NNA) the last Atlantean Standard, which is also of alloy construction. 

All the vehicles that we have secured for preservation have been restored or are to be restored are destined to reflect the liveries in which they were originally delivered new.  When all the relevant candidates have been attended to this will reflect virtually all the liveries and adaptations of liveries used through SELNEC, Greater Manchester Transport and Greater Manchester Buses.  However, there have been a number of liveries that have been used in the Greater Manchester area that have never been applied to vehicles delivered new and therefore would not be reflected unless it was decided by preservationists to put a vehicle in the second or subsequent operating livery.  This is being done to good effect by our member, Colin McKay, who is restoring 8460 to the white and orange �People on the Move� livery.

Whereas this livery will also be depicted an 3305 (F305 DRJ) of Olympian construction it was not used on any Leyland Atlantean delivered new.  Another member, Adam Stevenson, has painted his alloy framed Atlantean 8697 (A697 HNB) to a livery that has also never been depicted on Atlanteans, being the GM Buses livery of white, orange and whortleberry which only appeared on the following new vehicles � 701, 1463-1467, 2031-2040 and 7001-7010.  It therefore occurred to us that it might be a worthwhile project to look at which liveries would not be reflected in preserved vehicles from the Greater Manchester area because they were not delivered new in those liveries or no other preservationists to our knowledge were intending to emulate the activities of Colin McKay and Adam Stevenson and to secure appropriate vehicles, be they steel framed Leyland Fleetlines or alloy framed Leyland Atlanteans to allow this project to progress.  In this regard it might be the case that if 8116 (HDB 116V) is not preserved in the Birkenhead turquoise and cream livery it ran in if it goes for preservation from Finch�s we might secure an appropriate vehicle to put in this livery.

In approaching this exercise one has to marry together what vehicles are available and identify which of them went into a livery which otherwise would not be depicted and in this regard our first target was 8601 (ANA 601Y) which had depicted on it a livery that is unlikely to be replicated on any other vehicle, being the white, orange and whortleberry GM Buses South livery with large fleet numbers on it domes.  We realise that this is currently the livery carried by 8706 at the Museum of Transport but they will no doubt eventually restore it to its original white, orange and brown livery as delivered new in 1983.  Hence we set about finding out where 8601 was based and made contact with its owners, Marshalls Coaches at Leighton Buzzard and went on a scouting trip to look at it on 23rd April 2004.

Unfortunately, on the day we were unable to go for a trip on the vehicle as it had been taken out of service due to the fact that the control unit known as the brain that changes the automatic gears had apparently failed so we were only to give the vehicle a static inspection.  It had the lower deck trimmed in a more modern light multicoloured fabric with a mixture of GMT style moquette on the upper deck.  It had previously run for Road Car and consequently the front destination panel had been changed but other than that it looked in relatively good condition.  In fact upon our visit we were quite surprised to see sister vehicle 8605 (ANA 605Y) in the yard also out of service looking a little different in appearance in the sense that it had its original Greater Manchester destination display having not reached Marshalls of Leighton Buzzard via Lincolnshire Road Car.

Discussions ensued about the potential purchase of the vehicle and nothing much more was heard until the decision was taken by Marshalls to sell both 8601 and 8605.  Because we were one of two interested parties the decision was taken to sell 8601 to us as we had expressed an interest in it for preservation and 8605 is to be sold, we understand, for scrap somewhere locally.  Having made arrangements to pay for the vehicle and put it on our insurance, we attended with trade plates travelling down to Leighton Buzzard on Friday evening, 6th August 2004, visiting the bus on the early morning of Saturday 7th August 2004.

Prior to this we had contacted Walter De Costa who is an expert in servicing and repairing automatic gearbox control �brain� units and he had dispatched directly to Marshalls, a replacement unit for the bus which they had fitted to 8601 and tested prior to our visit, being fully operational obtaining all gears.  However, on the morning of 7th August 2004 having checked the oil, water, fuel and all other aspects on the bus and having set off on our trip to Greater Manchester, the vehicle whilst going through the gears into top gear would not hold in top gear, jumping out and in again making the trip back in that condition impossible.  We therefore returned the vehicle to Marshalls yard and contacted Walter De Costa to ask what the problem might be.  It clearly was not the control unit in the circumstances and was therefore something wrong with the gearbox system and he carefully took us through a diagnostic exercise going through all the leads and connections that lead from the brain unit under the upper deck rear seat of the bus down to the EP unit under the lower deck rear seats.  Various plugs, sockets and cables were tested eventually identifying that the fault was in the EP unit itself. 

Having stripped it down we identified that it was the coil operating fifth gear that was the problem.  Luckily because 8605 is going for scrap and because already several parts have been removed from it we were given permission to remove the appropriate valve from the EP unit on that vehicle and with the assistance of some specialist tools provided to us by Marshalls, the laborious task of replacing this valve took place under a roasting hot sun.  Eventually this was achieved and with the EP unit built up the bus was tested working perfectly through all the gears including top gear and remained in top gear.  Hence Walter De Costa�s diagnosis and our members patient attention to making the repair had paid off.  We therefore set off for Greater Manchester at 4.15 pm. arriving at 8.30 pm. at our facility at East Manchester.

8601 was delivered new to Greater Manchester Transport on 6th December 1982 with chassis number 8201009 and body number 2334.  It was sold to Lincolnshire Roadcar Company on 21st July 1997 who sold it on to Fargo Coachlines in Braintree, Essex on 11th February 2002.  It then passed on 30th August 2004 to Stevensons of Essex in Rochford before eventually being sold to Marshalls Coaches on 29th October 2002, with ownership passing to the SELNEC Preservation Society on 7th August 2004.

Interestingly although the vehicle was taken out of service some months earlier it still had a valid Class VI public service MOT until 22nd December 2004.



8526 - 8765 (Type iii(A)) 

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(ANA 601Y)


Northern Counties H43/32F - Light Alloy


Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R


6th December 1982


7th August 2004


An example of this batch of alloy framed Standard Atlanteans that is to be put into the subsequent livery of GM Buses (South) Ltd, of white, orange and whortleberry with large fleet numbers.


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