THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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THE PRODUCTION STANDARD OLYMPIANS 3001 - 3305
3001 was Leyland Olympian chassis No. 475 and Northern Counties body No. 2386 and was built in between Atlantean 8580 and 8581, and featured the alloy body arrangement that was now the Northern Counties Standard body.
After its appearance at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show, 3001 entered service in what was then the standard livery of Greater Manchester Transport of white/orange/brown. It had the registration No. ANA 1Y. It was intended that the first 25 production Leyland Olympians were to be registered as ANA 1Y-ANA 25Y, but delivery problems prevented this from happening and only the first ten received these registrations.
The production scheme at Northern Counties indicated that the vehicles were built alongside Atlanteans in the following sequence:-
3001, 8581-8627, 3002-3006, 1461-1462, 8628-8633, 3007, re-body 2413, 8634-8650, 3008-3009, 8651-8657, 3010. The first ten vehicles also had Leyland engines making them type ONTL11/1R and had H43/30F bodywork.
These vehicles, and the next 15 (3011-3025) were Bristol built Olympians tentatively being a replacement for a Bristol VR, which had been their main double-deck vehicle, built at the Bristol factory.
The next 15 Olympians built had moved into a different registration sequence in that they were now 'A' Registration, and because at that time it was impossible to secure any numbers lower than 21, 3011-3020 were delivered as 'off the shelf' numbers A576 HDB-A585 HDB and the remaining five - 3021-3025 were A21 HNC-A25 HNC.
There was also a change in engine designation during this batch of 15 vehicles, in that the first five - 3011-3015 continued with the Leyland engine design, ONTL11/1R, whilst 3016 had a Gardner engine ONLXB/1R, then 3017-3025 had Gardner engines ONXLCT/1R. The seating arrangements remained the same, H43/30F. However, 3011-3013 and 3022 onwards had the new full length long Hopper windows, and 3014-3021 were the last Olympians to be built with the shorter Hopper windows.
These buses were also built back-to-back with Atlanteans, as follows:-
3011-3014, 8675-8684, 3015-3018, 8685-8688, 3019, 8689-8693, 3020-302l, 8694-8700, 1471-1473, 3022-3025.
These first 25 Olympians also had a low driving position which was to change from 3026 onwards. The windscreen washer hatch position on 3001 was not replicated on 3002-3025, but this position was used again from 3026 onwards, until a new position was found for 3100 onwards.
On these 3001-3025 Bristol built Olympians, the water filler was on the nearside of these buses, with a spring-loaded catch over it. From the next batch to be delivered, 3026 onwards, the water filler cap was to be moved as an exposed facility on the offside of the vehicles. Also, these first 25 Olympians had a heating arrangement facility vent on the offside rear of the vehicle in the mid-deck panel.
There were experiments with a new heating system on 8620, and this was fitted to 3025, under the staircase behind the driver's cab, which necessitated the fitting of two vents at the top and bottom of the panel on the exterior of the vehicle between the driver's window and the first passenger window.
Indeed, 3025 had both original and new heating units on board, but from 3026 onwards, the previous heating arrangement was abandoned and a higher driving position was introduced. Consequently there was no vent on the mid-deck panel at the rear of the nearside, but all future vehicles had the arrangement of the heating under the staircase with the adapted vents on the panel at the top and bottom, behind the driver's window. 3025, of course, looks odd, having both of these arrangements. However, for some reason or other, a reversion took place and four vehicles were fitted with the earlier heating arrangement, being 3086-3089 and 3091.
The next delivery of vehicles starting at 3026 saw the chassis designation changed, and 3026-3035 were ONLXBA/1R, and 3036 to the final vehicle 3305 were ONXLB/1R.
Indeed, the body building sequence at Northern Counties continued as follows:-
8701-8765, 3026-3031, 3035, 3033-3034, 3032, 3036-3122, 2001-2030, 3123-3175, 1751-1770, 3176-3200, 1801-1810.
All vehicles up to 3122 had the two vents at the rear, but vehicles from 3123 onwards just had one vent on the nearside, between the engine compartment, and the rear window because a vent had now appeared on the offside of the vehicle on the rear mid-deck panel where the previous heater vent had appeared, but this time it was in place of the vent on the offside rear of the vehicles.
3001/08-30/33/3221-3244 had electronic display numbers, with 3002-07/31-32/34-82/86-220/245 on windows with blinds. 3083 had an experimental liquid crystal display. This was only side/rear numbers - they had roller blinds at the front.
All the buses from 3001-3238 had been delivered in the then new livery of Greater Manchester Transport of white/orange/brown and had conventional bus seating, being H43/30F, although certain vehicles were delivered adapted for the Airport Service, being 3139 and 3198, which were CH43/16F with coach type seating fitted.
Indeed, these two vehicles were originally in advertising livery for aircraft companies, 3139 being SAS Airlines and 3198 being Singapore Airlines. Thereafter, Greater Manchester Transport adapted 3213 and 3214 to put on the Airport 757 Express Service and changed the seating arrangements to CH43/16F, as the two previous Atlanteans that had operated this service, being 7638 and 8217, carrying a distinctive blue addition to the white/orange/brown livery had been withdrawn.
However, it was the case that Greater Manchester Transport was to introduce a special Express Service on a number of routes and subsequently six Olympians were painted in a salmon based Express livery with a red/orange/brown stripe; 3061, 3073, 3079, 3097, 3127 and 3225. The livery was determined after trials on 7173.
These were ordinary Olympians in service, so painted to reflect this new service, and some were re-moquetted in red moquette.
Thereafter, it was decided that the remaining Olympian deliveries would have the red moquetted coach seating from new, and this was to take place from 3239 to the end of the batch they had ordered, 3277. Unfortunately, delays in the seating meant these vehicles were delivered without any seats, and most of them were stored at Bolton Depot until the seats arrived and the buses were able to enter service in the new Express livery with coach seating arrangements CH43/26F. This colour scheme was also applied to the 30 Northern Counties bodied Metrobuses 5201-5210, with Cummins engines and 5301-5320 with Gardner engines.
Because of deregulation, and the formation of G.M. Buses Ltd, a new livery was introduced using white/orange/brown with various coloured stripes. Then an all-over orange livery was adapted with white roof, white headlamp surrounds and windscreen surrounds and with a large Transfer GM Buses - People on the Move. Originally this was to be the Metropolitan orange as on previous examples, and indeed, the first of the final batch of 28 Olympians, 3278, was painted in these colours, but before it left Northern Counties it was repainted in a darker orange.
These remaining 28 Olympians also featured a return to the bus-seating arrangement of H43/30F, but depicted the slightly modified Northern Counties Standard body featuring a peaked dome, different lower fibreglass front panel below the windscreens and an additional window on the nearside after the entrance door. Originally 28 vehicles had been ordered to follow on after 3277, but GM Buses did not take the vehicles on and they entered service in Bexleyheath, London, E901-E928 KYR.
Also, internally, a number of features were altered in that bus stopping signs were re-introduced for the first time since the Mancunians in 1972, an entirely different heating system was set up with full-length heater ducting along both the nearside and offside deck floors, a new orange moquette was introduced to replace the salt and pepper brown moquette used previously, also a reversion took place in terms of the allocation of the white and black melamine.
When the Standards were first delivered from EX1 onwards and the early production Atlanteans and Fleetlines, the white melamine had been on the ceilings of both decks and was extended down below the window level, with black melamine thereafter. However, because of graffiti and other problems, it was decided that the black melamine would start higher up and consequently the white would finish at the top of the window level, then the black melamine would follow it, and this has been the case since, in terms of Atlanteans since 7585 and in terms of Fleetlines since 7481 and, of course, all Olympians had seen this application, being 1451, 3001-3277.
For some reason however, from 3278 onwards a reversion took place to the previous arrangement, in that the white melamine would now continue from the ceiling down to the bottom of the window arrangement on both decks.
Consequently, the 306 'Standard' Olympians delivered to Greater Manchester have spanned an array of different chassis details, engine configurations and body designs, but most striking of all, four different liveries: 1451 being GMT orange/white/orange, 3001-3238 being white/orange/brown, 3239-3277 being express salmon with red/orange/brown bars and 3278-3305 in the new G.M. Buses all-over orange, People on the Move livery.