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Manchester Corporation Transport Department had always been keen users of double deck vehicles, and after the Second World War, built up a large fleet of conventional front-engined/rear platform Crossleys, Leylands and Daimlers, which were the backbone of the Motorbus Fleet, along with the Trolley Buses, which had first been introduced in 1938, the last batch 1301-1362 having been delivered in 1955. The Trolley Buses occupied the Fleet Numbers in the 1000 batch. By 1959, the large batch of conventional post-war motor buses in the Manchester Fleet were in three separate numerical blocks. Crossleys 2000-2219, Leylands 3000-3620, Daimlers 4000-4579. The last Crossleys had been delivered in 1949, however, Leyland and Daimlers deliveries continued, the latest batch in 1959, being Metro Cammell bodied Leyland PD2's in the batch 3521-3620.

After the radical change in Bus Design with the introduction of the Leyland Atlantean prototype in 1956, Manchester Corporation Transport Department purchased 10 of these vehicles in 1959 for evaluation, being numbered in the ordinary sequence of conventional Leyland Titan PD2's deliveries as 3621-3630. They were on Leyland PDR1/1 chassis with Leyland 0600 engine and H44/33F Metro Cammell bodywork. Upon entering service, they were so different they attracted the attention of the public, and were nicknamed 'Red Dragons'.

Conventional PD2 Leyland deliveries continued in 1961 at 3631, and in 1962, three years after the trial with the 10 Red Dragons, Manchester Corporation Transport Department purchased 40 further rear-engined vehicles, but this time they were the Daimler Fleetline versions, being two batches 4590-4609 and 4610-4629. The first of these, 4590, appeared at the 1962 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show.

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They were on Daimler Fleetline CRG6LX chassis with Metro Cammell H43/33F bodywork, and the Fleet number of 4590 followed on from the normal Daimler numbering from the last batch of vehicles which had been purchased in 1961, being the batch of CVG6's 4580-4589. The fronts of these Daimler Fleetlines, like the 10 Leylands before them, were flat, and the internal features had the same colour co-ordination as the conventional back-loaders of green/cream/brown. However, the penultimate of the Daimler Fleetline deliveries, 4628, was delivered in a more modern design, with a shaped Windscreen and Fibreglass front.

After this initial batch of 40 Daimler Fleetlines, Manchester purchased more conventional front-engined Daimlers, as they had done with the Leylands - the next batch being 4630-4654 in 1963. However, from 1964 onwards, all deliveries were to be of rear-engined design after the delivery of the last Leyland Titan PD2, 3720 in June of 1964.

The next batch delivered in 1964 was a repeat batch of Daimler Fleetlines with the CRG6LX chassis and Metro Cammell H43/33F bodywork, numbered in the batch 4655-4684, and had, as all subsequent rear-engined deliveries, the more modern style of bodywork that appeared initially on 4628.

The next delivery, after a six year gap, was a repeat order for Leyland Atlanteans. These were 72 vehicles on a PDR1/2 chassis with Leyland 680 engines and Metro Cammell H43/33F bodywork, and were numbered in the ordinary Leyland sequence following on from the last of the batch of Titans, as 3721-3792.

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The third batch of Daimler Fleetlines was delivered in 1965, and a third batch of Leyland Atlanteans in 1966, being 4701-4760 and 3801-3860 respectively. These had the same body and chassis specifications as the previous Daimler and Leyland batches, but these later deliveries had a different interior colouring, including Red Melamine and Red and Black Seating.

In total, 49 of the original Flat Front design and 223 of the later Curved Windscreen and Fibreglass Front design of these buses were delivered, making a total of 272 vehicles in all. These vehicles were delivered in Manchester red with a cream band, but a few received the short lived white band when Manchester Corporation Transport Department was renamed Manchester City Transport.

Leyland Atlanteans

Daimler Fleetlines


UNB 621-UNB 630



4590 NE-4609 NE



BND 721C-BND 792C



4610 VM-4629 VM



END 801D-END 860D



ANA 655B-ANA 684B



DNF 701C-DNF 730C



FNE 731D-FNE 760D


The next batch of rear-engined vehicles was scheduled to be:

                        Leyland Atlanteans 3901-3948

                        Daimler Fleetlines 4801-4848

However, by this time, Ralph Bennett had taken over as General Manager, the Company, was now called Manchester City Transport, and these vehicles eventually became the trail-blazing Mancunian vehicles, being the first purpose-built, one-man operated, dual door, double deck buses in the UK. Consequently, they started entirely new Fleet Number sequences, 1001-1048 and 2001-2048, although they retained the originally planned Registration Numbers starting with 901F for the Leylands and 801F for the Daimlers.

In the period 1968-1972, 492 Mancunian vehicles were built, by which time Manchester City Transport had been absorbed with ten other Bus Fleets into the SELNEC PTE, and new double deck vehicles thereafter were SELNEC Standards in the batches EX1-EX21 and 7001-7500. The SELNEC livery was orange and off white and this livery was applied to these 272 Manchester rear-engined vehicles on repainting in the 1970's including 3832.

None of the original 272 rear-engined Leyland Atlanteans and Daimler Fleetlines from the Manchester Corporation Fleet were preserved when they came out of service, although individuals, who were later to form The SELNEC Preservation Society, did try to preserve the first Manchester Corporation Transport Daimler Fleetline, 4590, in 1980, but because no space would be made available in the Museum of Transport at that time, since the vehicle was thought to be too new, the bus was lost for preservation and went for scrap.

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