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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

All content is copyright The SELNEC Preservation Society.


GREATER MANCHESTER TRANSPORT AND BEYOND

After trials with four different orange liveries on Mancunians 2189 and 2255, and the possibility of calling the fleet Metropolitan Manchester, Greater Manchester Transport kept the orange and white livery that had been the hallmark and the visible presence of the formation of SELNEC and the SELNEC PTE, although the colours were changed slightly.

It had been noticed that the original Sunglow Orange and Mancunian White, whilst looking resplendent when first repainted and indeed glowing in the sunlight, did fade quite rapidly, particularly with exposure to bus washes, etc. Consequently, a slightly darker orange was chosen, Metropolitan Orange, for use in the Greater Manchester Transport livery. This was matched by a lighter white, being white itself, rather than the off-white Mancunian White that had been used on SELNEC vehicles, although in many of the early deliveries in the Greater Manchester Transport livery, because the buses were varnished upon painting, the white did have a partial off-white appearance.

This livery was applied new from 7401 onwards and on repaints after 1st April 1974. However, the application of the livery was the same in terms of the orange and white sections of the vehicles.

All new and repainted vehicles had applied to them the Greater Manchester Transport 'wavy M', in place of the 'lazy S' that had been used in the SELNEC era, although from 1973 onwards SELNEC had abandoned its different coloured divisional flashes and had been applying the orange SELNEC symbol to new deliveries and repaints.

Although SELNEC had been set up on 1st November 1969 with 11 bus companies, and North Western (or part of it) had been added subsequently in 1972, the formation of Greater Manchester Transport on 1st April 1974 took in some reorganisation and the area changed from being the SELNEC area to the Greater Manchester area and now it encompassed Wigan. Consequently, the Wigan bus fleet was taken into ownership as part of the Greater Manchester Transport operation with appropriate renumbering of the vehicles and eventually repainting into GMT orange/white.

Greater Manchester Transport reflected the Greater Manchester area, which was split up into ten main towns and cities:

       Manchester
       Salford
       Trafford
       Tameside
       Rochdale
       Bolton
       Oldham
       Stockport
       Bury
       Wigan

With regard to seating, EX1-EX6 had leather trimmed orange moquette in the lower deck (pattern 3088/colourway 7775). This had been altered to pattern 3351 colourway 7870 for EX7-EX21 and then pattern 3398 colourway 7870 from 7001 to 7400. From the inception of GMT with 7401, a change, although only slight, was made to the moquette used on vehicles, in that slightly more red was used in the orange moquette being applied, being upgraded to pattern 3870 - colourway 8282.

The upper deck on EX1-EX6 had a very bright all-over leather covering in orange, which became duller from EX7-EX21 and 7001 to 7400. No change was made to this from 7401 until PVC was introduced on 7483/7610, which had a moulded design.

Greater Manchester Transport continued with ordering and receiving large deliveries of the Standard bus developed by SELNEC, hence it became known as the GMT Standard from hereon in.

The company acquired Lancashire United Transport (LUT) on 1st April 1976, although the fleet of this company was not integrated into that of Greater Manchester until 1st January 1981. Influences could be seen, however, particularly with regard to deliveries of new vehicles from 1977 onwards, as although LUT had been receiving deliveries of Northern Counties bodied Daimler Fleetlines the last 90 delivered, between 1977 and 1981, were in fact GMT Standards with orange moquette and orange PVC seating. The first 30 were painted in the red and grey LUT livery and the remaining 60 were in a different version of the GMT Metropolitan Orange/White colours applied as orange/white/orange.

This livery was also the one chosen when Greater Manchester Transport started to purchase off the peg integral and semi-integral vehicles, being Leyland Titans 4001-4015 and MCW Metrobuses 5001- 5120, although the Titans had a very shallow brown skirt. Consequently, the fleet did not look like a co-ordinated organisation in terms of its liveries but trials were taking place to look for a new corporate livery to use for the whole fleet.

This involved the application of various orange and whites to 7599, and 7328 was delivered with a white roof and the rest of the bus was all-over orange. This was eventually developed into what was to become the new GMT livery from late 1980 onwards, being white roof, orange all the way down to the lower waist rail with a dark brown skirt. For those rear engined vehicles that had an exposed engine at the back, the whole of the bustle would be painted in the brown livery. This first appeared on 7328 by having a brown skirt added and also on 7268. It was also applied to a Leyland National 113 which had been made out of two damaged Nationals, 113 and 168.

This new white orange and brown livery was obviously applied to new deliveries, being 8414 and 8417 onwards, 8415 and 8416 being delivered in the old orange and white GMT livery. It also applied to MCW Metrobuses from 5121 onwards.

As vehicles went for a repaint this new white/orange/brown livery was applied and consequently, as the years went on, through the 1980's this livery was applied to Titans, Metrobuses and the LUT fleet, as well as to GMT Standard vehicles and single-deckers. Because of this, the GMT bus fleet began to have for the very first time a sense of corporate identity which had never existed in the past, bearing in mind that even on 1st April 1974 when GMT was formed, there were still vehicles that had been running for SELNEC in the colours of the constituent companies from which they had been inherited on 1st November 1969.

In terms of the moquette on the vehicles, a change was trialled on 7595/7597-7598/7600-7620 and 7733, with orange hide/orange PVC being abandoned, with the lower-deck seat backs and cushions being all-over orange moquette, rather then them being trimmed along the edges in orange PVC. The upper-decks, which up until then had been entirely orange PVC were also moquetted for the first time and received the all-over moquette which meant the same application to the upper-deck as on the lower-deck. This trial became a permanent feature from 8101-8150, 8229-8487, 6942/47/50-55/57-90, 1437-1440, 1446 and 1451.

As a consequence of the new livery it was decided to look at a more appropriate moquette for the inside of the vehicles and from 8488 onwards vehicles were kitted out with the new brown salt & pepper moquette, trialled on 8143, more in-keeping with the darker livery. It became apparent, however, that this brown salt & pepper moquette delivered from 8488 onwards did not particularly fit in with the grey seat frames and consequently they were changed to brown from 8503 onwards, meaning that 16 vehicles (8143/8488-8502) had actually been delivered with brown salt & pepper moquette on grey seat frames.

The new brown salt & pepper moquette was also used on 1447-1448, 2001-2030, 3002-3238, 6912/2413 rebodies, 1461-1462, 1471-1473 and 1481-1483. 3001 being the exhibit at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show, had a special orange, yellow and brown striped moquette.

The deliveries of new vehicles continued apace to an extent whereby new Standards were arriving by 1985 in such quantities that the Mancunians, and eventually the earlier Standards, were being taken out of service to make way for them. This created a situation of vehicles being in service one day and taken out the next, as soon as their certificates of fitness ran out or their tax expired. However, this policy came under scrutiny as being a potential waste of public resources, particularly as the Directors at GMT who were responsible for the engineering and finance, who were making decisions on the withdrawal of vehicles and the purchasing of new vehicles, were also Directors of Northern Counties, the company supplying new buses, and a conflict of interest was identified.

In 1985 Greater Manchester Transport decided to introduce an Express Service and trials took place in terms of developing a livery with Park Royal bodied Fleetline 7173, with the nearside and rear being painted white with three stripes of red/orange/brown, and the front and offside in a salmon pink with stripes of red/orange/brown, and eventually the salmon pink livery was chosen. Although 7173 had been used for trials it never ran in its livery in service. In fact, it had shrouds put at the back of its engine pod in order to create the impression of an Olympian.

Initially six Olympians, 3061, 3073, 3079, 3097, 3127 and 3225 were painted into this Express livery, three of them remoquetted with red herringbone moquette, 3073, 3127 and 3225.

They also had applied to them a white GMT symbol which was difficult to read on a salmon background.

All new deliveries of Olympians from 3239 onwards were delivered in the Express livery with red moquette, but all had coach seats rather than bus seats, and this was carried on through to 3277, the last Olympian delivered to Greater Manchester Transport.

It was also the case that after the Metrobuses had ended at 5190 and an order was placed for 30 more, but rather than have the conventional MCW semi-integral bodywork, these Metrobus chassis were to be bodied by Northern Counties. There were 30 placed on order and delivered to GMT, with the residue being delivered to Greater Manchester Buses: 5201-5210 with Cummins engines and 5301-5320 with Gardner engines. These were all delivered in the Express livery with red moquetted coach seats.

The choice of this red herringbone moquette for the Express vehicles was somewhat unusual in the fact that GMT had already had delivered to it two coach seated Olympians, being 3139 and 3198 in all-over advent livery for two airlines, SAS and Singapore Airlines, to be used on the Airport 200 (later 757) shuttle service. When taken out of advertising livery they were painted in a white/orange and two-tone blue design that had also been used when 3213 and 3214 were converted to coach seating and down seated for more standing passengers for use on the 757 Airport Express. Hence, all four were painted in the Airport livery of white/orange/brown with blue application. This was initially used on 7638 and 8217 until these were replaced by 3213 and 3214.

Also moves were afoot, in terms of Government circles, to introduce competition into bus operations in order to move them into the private sector and take them out of the hands of local councils or PTE's. Consequently, deregulation was due to take place on 26th October 1986. A private company was set up to take on the responsibility of the Greater Manchester Transport area, being Greater Manchester Buses Ltd, and in order to prevent there being too much competition for this new company in late 1985/early 1986 the withdrawn Mancunians and early Standards had their engines smashed up or taken out so there would not be a pool of second-hand vehicles for the new operators coming into the market to use in competition. This policy became exposed and appeared in the press, and subsequently was withdrawn.

It became apparent to the PTE that it would be left with a considerable number of surplus vehicles after 26th October 1986, once deregulation had commenced, as from that point onwards it would be the co-ordinating body for bus operations in the Greater Manchester area but it would no longer be an operator itself. It would co-ordinate Greater Manchester Buses and all the other private operations that were being registered to operate routes upon deregulation.

Consequently, GMPTE set up a joint venture company with Kirkby Central in South Anston near Sheffield to dispose of the surplus vehicles. At deregulation this saw the removal from the fleet of all 7000 series Fleetlines, all Atlanteans below 7560 which were not fully automatic, the 15 Leyland Titans from 4001-4015, the first ten Metrobuses which had hydraulic brakes from 5001-5010, the four prototype Dennis Dominators from 1437-1440 and a whole raft of single-deckers and non-Standard vehicles.

Greater Manchester Buses also did not intend to be set up with the full number of depots that had been operated by the PTE, abandoning three of them: Birchfields Road, Northenden and Frederick Road, and over the weekend of 25th and 26th October 1986 an enormous shuffling of vehicles took place.

The above three depots were emptied of all the vehicles that were to be moved to GM Buses ownership and then became the repository of all the surplus vehicles not required by GM Buses from all its depots.

From 26th October 1986 onwards there commenced for the next couple of years a programme of the PTE, through its joint venture company, of selling off these surplus vehicles, many of which came back to Manchester operated by new independent companies in competition with Greater Manchester Buses itself.

To prepare for the new operation, Greater Manchester Buses was set up into four regions:

1. West in Wigan, Bolton, Atherton, Leigh and Salford

2. North in Bury, Rochdale and City North (Queens Road)

3. East in Oldham, Tameside, Glossop and City East (Hyde Road)

4. South in Trafford, Stockport and City South (Princess Road)

It was decided to keep the livery white/orange/brown, although the GMT 'wavy M' would go. The GMB livery simply became a coloured stripe above the lower waist rail:

       Green for West
       Brown for North
       Yellow for East
       Blue for South

There was an appropriately coloured GMB symbol in the four colours to match the divisions and the region name was added above the entrance door, again in the colour to match the region in question.

Pool vehicles, Express liveried buses and all head office vehicles had a red GM Buses symbol.

Even at the point of deregulation on 26th October 1986 the entire fleet had not been painted in the white/orange/brown new GMT livery introduced in 1981, there were just a few vehicles left in orange and white.

Obviously a lot of vehicles that were destined to be taken out of service were not repainted and consequently a number of the Bristol VR's never received white/orange/brown livery. In fact, all of these had been withdrawn and scrapped prior to deregulation, except 408, which had been stored for some time in Altrincham and was eventually sent to the Kirkby Central arrangement for sale and was sold to Willis's in Bodmin before being secured by the SELNEC Preservation Society in 1998 for preservation.

The double-deck vehicles which had not been withdrawn and were still operating in GMT orange/white at deregulation were 4011, 7005, 7142, 7185 and 7269, and 7185 was subsequently secured for preservation by the SELNEC Preservation Society.

As a prelude for deregulation on 26th October 1986, the new GM Buses coloured stripes, fleet names and depot names were applied to many vehicles in the fleet, but on a hit and miss random basis, which meant that it was applied to a number of buses that were not actually taken into the GM Buses fleet of 26th October 1986 and were left with the PTE and Kirkby Central to be disposed of. Also, the opposite situation was true, in that several vehicles were still operating for Greater Manchester Buses from day one of the new operation, on 27th October 1986, in the unaltered white/orange/brown GMT livery.

In fact, GM Buses Ltd had taken on board more vehicles than they had registered routes for, and did not operate all the buses they had acquired, putting a number of them into what was known as the 'mothball fleet' in order to have an extra supply of vehicles should the need arise, depending on the outcome of tendering for subsidised routes.

In the end it became apparent that they had far too many vehicles and consequently large quantities of Standard vehicles were sold off to a number of operators up and down the country, including 30 vehicles to East Midlands (7560/7561/7567-7570/7572/7574/7576-7578/7580/7584/7586//7588/7591-7593/7600-7601/7603/7615-7616/7620/7629/7636/7641).

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Also 72 vehicles to Yorkshire Rider (6912/14/18/20-23/26/30-34/36-37/57-59/7685/91-98/7706-8/25/35/37/44/47/50/61-62/65/73/81/89/97/99/7800/8003-05/07/09/12-13/15-18/25/26/28/31/33/34/40/44/
45/48/52/53/55/65/67/69-71/85/87/92/97.

Interestingly, 8001, which had been at Leigh for most of its operating life, between 1978 and 1986, was transferred to Princess Road Depot and actually received the blue City South colour scheme. However, this vehicles was involved in an accident just before deregulation and, although acquired by GM Buses, it never actually ran in service. It was, in fact, dumped at the side of Charles Street in 1986 and stayed there for five years, until purchased for preservation by the SELNEC Preservation Society in 1991.

The opening fleet of GM Buses comprised 2,004 vehicles, as indicated below:

Coach 1-12, 21-25, 27, 30-33, 35, 36-38, 47/8, 52-55, 64-67, 81/2, 85/6, 88, 90/1, 97, 100
Leyland National 132-4/6-41/4/5/7/8, 150/1/3/4/7/9-62/5-7/9, 170/6-80/6-95/7-203/5, 228, 232/4-40/3/5-50
Leyland Leopard 435-464
Leyland Lynx 501-504
Ailsa 1446-48
Leyland Olympian 1451
Scania 1461-62
Dennis Falcon 1471-73
Volvo Citybus 1481-83
Fleetline single-deck 1697
Leyland Cub 1701-2
Seddon midi 1714/6/7, 1720-24, 1730-34/8-40/2
Dennis Domino 1751-70
Dodge S56 1801-50
Dennis Dominator 2001-30
Leyland Olympian 3001-3267
Leyland Titan PD2 3270
MCW Metrobus 5011-5190, 5201-10, 5301-18
Standard 6912-37/39-90, 7032/77, 7208/15/6/23/7/32/46/81, 7560-7638, 7640-55/7-7960, 8001-26/8-8172/4-8765

Quite soon after Greater Manchester Buses began operating it became apparent that the four divisions were not financially viable and they were reduced to three, with the North area being axed. Queens Road (i.e. City North) moved into the East region, as did Rochdale, and Bury went into the West region. Consequently, the vehicles had their yellow stripes replaced by a brown stripe for the North and a green stripe for the West.

In order to balance up the arrangements, Hyde Road (i.e. City East) went from the East Division to the South Division and was renamed City Central. Consequently, their buses not only had their yellow designations changed to blue, but their depot names above the entrance door changed from yellow (City East) to blue (City Central).

Prior to Greater Manchester Buses being formed, an additional order of 28 Leyland Olympians had been placed to be bodied by Northern Counties to continue with the Express liveried and coach seated design that had been depicted from 3239 onwards. However, not certain of its viability and its operating profits, GM Buses were reluctant to take on board the cost of 28 new vehicles and the order was cancelled.

As the order had been placed by the PTE, they were left with having to deal with the vehicles and after the first three had been built they had their specifications changed. Only three of the 28 had coach seats, the remainder were built with bus seats, and all 28 were leased by Kirkby Central to Bexley Bus before they were sold off to other companies. The 28 were registered E901 KYR-E928 KYR, and E902, E903 and E904 were coach seated CH43/26F, the rest being bus seated B43/32F.

When they came back from the lease arrangement with Bexley Bus, the three coach seated ones were exported (i.e. E902 to E904). E901 and E905-E910 went to Busways Sunderland, E911-E912/ E914-E915/E917-E925 and E927 went to Busways Newcastle and E913/E916/E926 and E928 went to Fareway in Merseyside.

It became apparent to Greater Manchester Buses that the new livery was not particularly distinctive and work was undertaken to find a new design, which was eventually decided on, being a white roof and all-over orange (very similar to the trial of 7328) but with white entrance door, windscreen surrounds, white headlamps and a large new orange symbol 'GM Buses - People on the Move'. In place of depot stickers new depot identity white depot roundels were developed and put beneath the driver's cab on the offside and above the entrance door on the nearside. Some area names were also changed, to reflect the operating depots concerned:

Atherleigh - Atherton
Salford - Swinton
Trafford - Altrincham

At the same time as this was being devised, GM Buses decided that they did need 28 new Olympians, and a repeat order was placed by Northern Counties for these to be built, as the original 28 had by this time been sold.

Northern Counties had at this stage slightly amended the GMT Standard body and so these 28 Olympians were delivered with the new arrangement, being a peaked dome, a new front grill, a window behind the entrance door, bus stopping signs, roof vents, a new heating system and the application of white melamine, reverting to its previous application down to the bottom of the window line on both decks.

It was also decided that a new moquette would be devised in-keeping with this bright orange and white livery and a different orange moquette was used that had been previously applied to minibuses 1501-1550 and 1771-2000, and same design on 1601-1680 but in red.

In terms of the orange to be used for the new GM Buses livery, this was to be the same Metropolitan Orange that had been used by GMT, indeed to the stage whereby the first of the new 28 Olympians, 3278, had been built and painted in this colour in the new all-over application. However, a decision was taken very late on to go for a darker orange and consequently 3278 was repainted at Northern Counties before delivery in the new darker orange with a white roof, white entrance door, white headlamp surrounds and white windscreen surrounds, this being referred to as 'GM Buses' orange.

Also, for this delivery of 28 Olympians which were on the new turbocharged chassis, the company had reverted to bus seating. Consequently, new deliveries were in these new colours and repaints of existing vehicles were put into these new colours with the new large orange Greater Manchester Buses 'People on the Move' transfers applied to them.

The Express fleet, however, remained the same as it had in early GM Buses days, it just had the red initial GM Buses symbol replaced by a reversed out big 'People on the Move' symbol.

The new livery was not particularly popular and quite early on trials were undertaken with adapting it and a black thin skirt essentially around the area of the sills was applied experimentally to 7872, 8695, 5049 and 3156, being Park Royal & Northern Counties bodied Standards, a Metrobus and an Olympian.

One of these, 7872, had an experimental small black GM Buses 'People on the Move' transfer applied to it.

As a consequence of the trials with the four vehicles mentioned above, three experimental GM Buses liveries were introduced of white/orange and the thin black skirt, although by the time this came into regular use it had become a dark grey called whortleberry. 8314 had standard orange 'People on the Move' logos. 3298 had standard orange 'People on the Move' logos on the sides and a small black and white GM Buses logo (no People on the Move) on the front, with whortleberry surrounding on the side windows of both decks. 3289 was the same as 3298 but it had black and white GM Buses logos (no People on the Move) on the sides and a smaller version on the front.

After trials for some time the version on 3289 was adopted as the new GM Buses livery.

Unfortunately, some of the repaints looked a little odd in that most of the brown skirts had been painted over in orange to create the new GM Buses livery, prior to the application of the whortleberry skirt, and subsequently. On many vehicles, however, Metropolitan Orange had been used on vehicles in Metropolitan Orange to extend it, so they actually had the new 'People on the Move' livery and partial new GMB livery operating with the old GMT orange. In some cases, although the new GM Buses orange was used, it was used to extend Metropolitan Orange, which looked rather odd with or without whortleberry skirt.

GM Buses had operated as a private company from deregulation on 26th October 1986, and although it had contracted somewhat and closed a number of depots in Altrincham, Swinton, Tameside and Rochdale, it was still thought by the Government to be too large and it was required to be split into two halves. This happened with an artificial split into GM Buses North and South operationally on 31st December 1993 and formally came to effect on 1st April 1994 with an arbitrary split between the depots that fell into the North Division and the South Division.

This meant that although fleet numbers from the GM Buses fleet were intact they were randomly disbursed between the two companies depending on what depot the vehicles happened to be in at the time of the separation.

Interestingly, prior to privatisation on 31st March 1994, six vehicles had been purchased back from Yorkshire Rider and been given original fleet numbers (6919/7685/7725/7762/7773/8026), and since privatisation on 31st March 1994, a considerably larger number were bought back (6920/6922/ 6926/7691/7698/7706/7707/7708/7797/8003/8004/8007/8012/8013/8016/8018). 

It was clearly evident that the previous publicly funded GMT policy of ordering hundreds of new buses every year to replace perfectly good operational vehicles was not economically viable, because after GM Buses had been formed into a private company the purchase of new vehicles was a rarity with only a total of 53 new double-deck vehicles being delivered in the seven years (1986-1994) before the company was split into two divisions. These were the 28 Olympians: 3278-3305, ten Volvo City buses: 7001-7010, ten Dennis Dominators: 2031-2040 and seven Scania 113's: 1463-1467. These 25 vehicles, delivered after the 28 Olympians, had the new Northern Counties bodywork that had been applied to the 28 Olympians adapted for them, but in addition they had the requirements for the diptac disabled adaptations by having coloured handrails and bright floor markings.

In addition, another moquette was chosen being a diamond style moquette with a brown background on 2031-2040 and 1463-1467, and a grey background on 7001-7010.

With the GMT livery of white/orange/brown and the GMB liveries, there had been differentiation on the colour of the wheels depending on how they were attached to the vehicles. Those buses that had ordinary wheels were painted with brown centres while spigot mounted wheels would be painted in light grey known as Derwent Grey.

After the companies had split into GM Buses North and GM Buses South under different management, developments were undertaken in order to distinguish the fleets from each other, and again the issue of livery was looked at. Greater Manchester Buses South Ltd had a white and blue symbol and as an employee owned business this was actually flashed on the bottom of the symbol. They didn't do very much with the old GM Buses livery to develop it, all they really did was take the whortleberry window surrounding around the front and the back of the upper-deck and had very big fleet numbers put on the offside front and rear roof domes. This remained the livery of GM Buses South Ltd until such time as it was bought by Stagecoach Manchester, although there were some experiments undertaken with changing the Express livery. Firstly, they considered painting it in a pink and blue colour and eventually they settled on cream and blue. They also ran an operation in Birkenhead, with their last Fleetlines painted in turquoise and blue, but the operation was short lived.

During the time that GM Buses South Ltd was an employee owned company there were no further developments with the moquette. Upon the take-over by Stagecoach, their corporate all-over white with blue/red/orange stripes were applied to most Olympians, all Dennis Dominators and some of the Metrobuses, but no Atlanteans saw this livery as all the Atlanteans and the early Olympians received dark blue Magic Bus livery, although 3007 and 3008 were in white striped livery for a short time. It is fair to say that a few Atlanteans that went into the training fleet did get the Stagecoach white livery with stripes, but no Atlantean did so that was in operating service. Rather ironically, some ex-Greater Manchester Atlanteans running for Stagecoach Ribble were indeed painted, and run, in Stagecoach corporate white and striped colours. New Stagecoach vehicle deliveries had standard Stagecoach grey/striped moquette, but existing vehicles were re-trimmed in previous styles, principally salt & pepper.

It was the North company that saw the greatest development of livery as a result of the companies being split into North and South, as they adopted a GM North symbol in white and black and developed further the GM Buses livery. They experimented by adding light grey to it. Trials were undertaken on 7706 with large areas of light grey, but in the end they settled for a light grey band in the middle and extended the whortleberry window surrounds around the front and back of the lower deck. They also added two white stripes around the skirt area to separate the whortleberry/orange/whortleberry. Those buses that had previously had brown wheels had whortleberry wheels although spigot mounted vehicles retained Derwent Grey. There were one or two experiments undertaken with GM Buses in that one vehicle, 8373, was painted in yellow and white, and 8403 was painted in all-over LUT style in light red with a yellow band. When GM Buses North ventured into Liverpool for a short time the same livery was used but the centre band was green instead of grey.

GM Buses North also embarked upon some rectification of a number of vehicles, in particular Atlanteans and Metrobuses, undertaking diptac conversions, with some buses getting coach seats on the upper-deck, some on the lower-deck, some on both decks. They also developed a corporate red moquette which was used on all new single-deck deliveries and on remoquetting existing double-deck vehicles.

GM Buses North also altered the Express livery, with the vehicles being painted in cream, orange and whortleberry, with others having additional whortleberry added.

When they undertook conversions with coach seats some of these were done in the red moquette and others were done in a grey moquette with an orange/red/brown stripe down the middle, and this is how matters stayed until such time as First Group took over. They experimented with a red and orange combination on Metrobus 5147, but in the end settled for an all-over red colour with two thin blue lines and blue wheels, being the fleet colour for inherited vehicles, although certain vehicles had two thin yellow lines. First of all they ran with blue Greater Manchester symbols replaced by First Manchester in smaller typeface. All new double and single-deckers were painted in the corporate First Group purple and lilac colours.

First Group maintained the red moquette that had been developed by GM Buses North Ltd, for buses in their corporate red colour scheme but new vehicles delivered in corporate First Group colours came with matching First Group corporate purple and lilac moquette.


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