THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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THE LAST 25 GREATER MANCHESTER STANDARDS
There was an urgent requirement after the formation of SELNEC PTE on 1st November 1969 to find a standard vehicle for the whole of the SELNEC area as they had inherited 2500 vehicles from eleven bus fleets with no interchangeability between body or mechanical parts. Consequently, why the very first SELNEC Standard EX1 was designed and built to form the basis of 20 further prototypes and then a further 1815 production Standard vehicles on Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline chassis.
Matters then moved on in that some proving quantities were taken of the new chassis being developed and these were put into the experimental 1400 series, some of which moved on to production orders and some did not. However, the design and development of bespoke standard vehicles is very much something that related to coordinated passenger transport in the public sector and this virtually ended after deregulation on 26th October 1986 by which time all the bespoke GMT Standards had either been delivered or were on order.
The production batches were as follows:
2001 to 2030 Dennis Dominator
3001 to 3277 Leyland Olympian
5201 to 5210 MCW Metrobus/Cummins
5301 to 5320 MCW Metrobus/Gardner
When the Greater Manchester Transport vehicles actually passed into private ownership of GM Buses on 26th October 1986 the last few of these vehicles had not arrived, in that 3268 to 3277 and 5319 and 5320 were actually delivered to Greater Manchester Buses. This was what was thought to be the end of the GMT Standard, except that there were 28 further coach seated express livered Leyland Olympians on order, 3278 to 3305. However, these were cancelled by GM Buses although they were actually built by Northern Counties and were registered E901 KYR to E928 KYR, of which only E902 to E904 KYR were coach seated. They all went into Kirby Central stock ending up working for Bexleybus before subsequently being sold and now operating around the country. They are essentially the last 28 original GMT specification Standards which, rather unfortunately, never ran with Greater Manchester Transport or GM Buses, or in the Greater Manchester area.
If one considers bus purchasing policy in the late 1990 and the early 2000s one can see that as a result of privatisation the approach has been very much one of purchasing vehicles off the shelf with a limited range of chassis and bodies and very little individual development. This did not happen immediately in the Greater Manchester area, in that there were further standards still to be built before the end of the bespoke era.
Rather curiously within about 12 to 18 months after having cancelled the remaining 28 GMT specification Olympians GM Buses decided that they were to have the vehicles after all and re-commissioned 28 from a slightly higher specification Leyland Olympian chassis to be bodied by Northern Counties. However, at that stage Northern Counties had continued their development themselves because they had used the GMT Standard as their own stock vehicle to sell to other organisations up and down the country as they always had done since they first developed EX1 in 1970.
Their development saw a variation of the Standard with a peaked roof dome, a redesigned front end, different heating systems inside, different application of white and black melamine, the reintroduction of bus stopping signs and a new window behind the entrance door. 28 were built in the batch 3278 to 3305 (F278 DRJ – F305 DRJ) and they were placed in a new GM Buses ‘People on the Move’ livery with the different orange moquette upon delivery. These are interesting vehicles as they represent the Northern Counties development on the GMT Standard delivered to GM Buses and were seen to be the end of the Standard in the Greater Manchester area.
It was therefore with some surprise when GM Buses went back to Northern Counties in 1990 and ordered what are the last 25 Standard vehicles split across three different chassis designations and in a slightly revised variation of the body design used on the F-Reg 1988 Olympian in that these buses were delivered in diptac format with the painted entrance steps, coloured bars, etc., but representing a revised exterior appearance similar to 3278 to 3305. Also they were delivered in what was the then new GM Buses livery of white, orange and whortleberry and had different moquette again.
The batches were 1463 to 1467 Scania (N113s) following on from the earlier experimental series 1461-1462. 2031 to 2040 were additional Dennis Dominators but now on a later designation chassis and the first order for production Volvo B10, 7001 to 7010. 23 of these vehicles were H-Reg and the last two of the Volvo B10, 7009 and 7010, were delivered J-Reg and had a stepped entrance with spot lights for ease of entry. The Scanias and the Dominators had a brown diamond moquette and the Volvo B10s a grey diamond moquette. Consequently, these vehicles represent the very last adaptation of the original SELNEC, GMT and GM Buses Standard vehicle and it is obviously appropriate that one of these should be preserved in years to come.