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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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8700 (A700 HNB)

(8700_1.jpg)

Over the years we have made a number of visits to Erdington to the premises of North Birmingham Busways and we have always been made very welcome by David Wall, the Operations Director, and the staff.  The reason for the visits is that they run a substantial number of ex-Greater Manchester alloy framed Standard Atlanteans in regular service and these vehicles are well maintained and look quite at home in Birmingham in their green and cream livery.  The full list of vehicles operated is as follows:-

Fleet No.

Registration No.

GMT No.

Chassis & Type

Body & Seat Code

First Registered

Entered Service

Previous Owner

25

A725 LNC

8725

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

04/84

15/10/98

Stagecoach Manchester

43

ANA 543Y

8543

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

09/82

24/06/02

Finglands Coachways

47

A747 NNA

8747

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

06/84

27/08/99

Stagecoach Manchester

54

ANA 564Y

8564

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

10/82

26/05/02

Finglands Coachways

57

A657 HNB

8657

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

08/83

15/10/98

Stagecoach Manchester

68

ANA 568Y

8568

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

10/82

28/05/97

Stagecoach Manchester

69

ANA 569Y

8569

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

10/82

28/05/97

Stagecoach Manchester

70

A700 HNB

8700

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

01/84

06/08/97

Stagecoach Manchester

71

A671 HNB

8671

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

09/83

22/10/02

Finglands Coachways

72

A702 LNC

8702

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

02/84

06/08/97

Stagecoach Manchester

75

A705 LNC

8705

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

02/84

15/10/98

Stagecoach Manchester

77

A757 NNA

8757

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

06/84

27/08/99

Stagecoach Manchester

93

A693 HNB

8697

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

12/83

15/10/98

Stagecoach Manchester

96

A696 HNB

8696

Leyland AN68D/1R

Northern Counties H43/32F

01/84

06/08/97

Stagecoach Manchester

In addition to these 14 alloy framed Northern Counties vehicles North Birmingham Busways also had metal framed Park Royal Atlantean 7953 (BNC 953T) being used for recruitment purposes for the NHS (their No. 53) until it was sold in December 2005 to a company called Jobs and Training (London) Ltd where upon a repaint is it used for the same purpose involving recruitment in general in both the private and public sector.

Due to the high standards of maintenance on these ex-Greater Manchester Atlanteans by North Birmingham Busways they have remained in service for quite some time now but their age is against them with the general expectation of vehicles now having low floors and air suspension and the road surfaces in Birmingham cause problems in breaking springs on the Atlanteans quite frequently.  Consequently as these vehicles now fail their MOTs it is unlikely that they will have the necessary investment allocated to them to put them back on the road and the likelihood is that one by one they will be withdrawn.

In fact our Newsletter, Number 29 of September 2005 reported on our last visit to Birmingham Busways in which we went to pick up some parts from withdrawn Atlanteans and at that stage the fleet of ex-GMT alloy framed Atlanteans had reduced from 14 to 11, in that 69 had gone for scrap, 43 was withdrawn and 72 had gone away for conversion to be the NHS recruitment vehicle to replace 53.

We were subsequently contacted in late December 2005 by David Wall who indicated that when their number 70 (GMT 8700 – A700 HNB) had come up for preparation for a new class VI MOT it had been identified that there was a small crack in the rear chassis sub-frame and the cost of removing the engine to weld this for it to pass the Class VI MOT was not felt viable and hence we were approached with a view to securing the vehicle for preservation.

We had always expressed an interest in preserving one day one of the North Birmingham Busways ex-Greater Manchester Leyland Atlanteans and keeping it in their original green and cream livery as a reflection of an example of how these Standards had gone into second and subsequent liveries for GM Buses, First Group and Stagecoach in Greater Manchester as well as other operators around the country and had potentially earmarked 8700 as being the ideal candidate, principally because of its fleet number and because we wanted an A-HNB alloy framed Atlantean in preservation if at all possible.

In all there were 326 alloy framed Standard Atlanteans built all by Northern Counties; 8433/8437-8438/8443-8765 and these are tracked to five different registration combinations as follows: 

SND ###X

represented by 8455/8460/8501 and 8508 (spares)

ANA ###Y

represented by 8601/8645

A### HNB

represented by 8662 (spares)

A### LNC

represented by 8701

A### NNA represented by 8765

Consequently, the only vehicle we have in the A - HNB registration batch of 8656 to 8700 was 8662 but this was secured for spares and therefore 8700 with its registration A700 HNB was our fifth alloy framed Atlantean standard registration plate variation. 

For the sake of completeness we should point out that there were two further alloy framed vehicles built by Northern Counties.  Firstly the prototype alloy framed Atlantean 7511 (GNC 292N) which also featured photochromic windows, carpets and tachograph and appeared at the 1974 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show.  Also there was one alloy framed Standard Fleetline in that 6912, a metal framed ex-LUT variant delivered in 1978, was burnt out in a fire at LUT in 1981 along with Jumbo Fleetline 2413 (VTC 503M).  Both were rebodied by Northern Counties in 1983.  Both buses were new with metal frames and 2413 had its Jumbo Northern Counties dual door body replaced by an extended version of the metal framed Standard body making it a one-off metal framed Fleetline with higher seating capacity of H47/34F – 81 seats.  Unusually however, 6912 whilst also being rebodied in 1983 received the then Standard alloy framed body, making it look particularly unusual being the only alloy framed Standard Fleetline and only one of two Fleetlines (with 2413) delivered ‘new’ in white, orange and brown.  6912 is also owned by the SELNEC Preservation Society.

Because of our desire to depict 8700 in North Birmingham Busways colours when it came up for repaint during 2005 it was repainted in the original green and cream livery which these vehicles operated in for many years rather than the revised green and cream livery used more recently, so that when we did secure it for preservation it will be in the most appropriate colours.  In fact there was an article called Atlantean Contrasts published in the February 2000 edition of Buses Magazine which dealt with Atlanteans retiring in Edinburgh and thriving in North Birmingham under the heading “Atlantean lives on”.  There was a four page article featuring a number of photographs of Atlanteans operated at that time by North Birmingham Busways which in addition to the ex-Greater Manchester vehicles featured ex-Blackpool, Brighton and Plymouth Atlanteans and featured within the article a photograph of 8705 (A705 LNC) in a line up with East Lancs and Park Royal bodied examples and a photograph of 7953 (BNC 953T) in driving training livery.  Interestingly there was also a photograph of ex-Brighton 4 (TYJ 4S) running the North Birmingham Busways green and cream livery in the article and this has subsequently gone on for preservation in Brighton corporation blue and white livery at Southdown Historic Vehicle Group.  Rather curiously and something that was not known about until after we had earmarked 8700 for potential preservation, was that the ex-Greater Manchester alloy framed Northern Counties Atlantean Standard that appeared on the cover of the February 2000 edition of Buses happened to be their number 70 (8700)!

Once North Birmingham Busways had decided that they were to withdraw 8700 they made contact with the SELNEC Preservation Society and discussions then ensued about us securing it for preservation.  It appeared that the crack in the chassis sub-frame was not that severe and would not make the bus unsafe as it was relatively insignificant except for the rather rigorous standards of the Class VI MOT which are understandable on the basis that these are designed to protect public safety.  North Birmingham Busways did however undertake some work on the vehicle for us and put it through a Class V MOT which it passed without any difficulty on the basis of the lower specification required for this level of test.  Subsequently upon paying for the vehicle, we obtained the appropriate documentation, the V5 and the MOT and had the taxation classification changed from bus to PLG and then visited North Birmingham Busways on Saturday 11th February 2006 tax disc in hand in order to collect the vehicle, which we did, and returned it to Greater Manchester that day without incident except a slight problem with overheating.  Very kindly David Wall had put on board a selection of ex-Standard/Atlantean parts they no longer had a use for to assist us with our ongoing rectification and preservation activities.  Noted in the depot during our visit was 72 (8702 – A702 LNC) looking resplendent in its blue NHS Recruitment livery having been recently converted. 

The vehicle was delivered new to Greater Manchester Transport on 23rd January 1984 and thereafter passed to North Birmingham Busways, via GM Buses Limited/GM Buses (South) Limited/Stagecoach Manchester Limited, on 6th August 1997.  It was purchased by the SELNEC Preservation Society on 26th January 2006 and has body number 2540 and chassis number 8300476. 

Because of the impending decline of the operational Atlanteans by First Manchester (which eventually occurred in January 2002) there had been organised a Bolton Atlantean Running Day which took place on 11th August 2001.  On that day the SELNEC Preservation Society attended with Atlantean Standard bookends being the very first prototype Standard Atlantean (EX1) (PNF 941J) and the very last Standard alloy framed Atlantean 8765 (A765 NNA).  Rather coincidentally North Birmingham Busways sent up a Leyland Atlantean to attend the event which just happened to be their number 70 – 8700 (A700 HNB)!

We are very much indebted to David Wall and all at North Birmingham Busways for allowing us to secure this vehicle for preservation and it will feature in a number of road runs, rallies and shows in its North Birmingham Busways green and cream livery as it did at the Spring Transport Festival at the Museum of Transport in Manchester on 26th March 2006. 

8700

BATCH:

8526 - 8765 (Type iii(A)) 

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(A700 HNB)

BODY:

Northern Counties H43/32F - Light Alloy
 

CHASSIS:

Leyland Atlantean AN68B/1R
 

FIRST REGISTERED:

23rd January 1984
 

PURCHASED:

26th January 2006
 

DETAILS:

Retained in it's last livery and condition of the original green and cream of North Birmingham Busways, indicative of their ownership of a number of vehicles from this batch.


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