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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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40 YEARS OF SELNEC EVENT ON SATURDAY 31ST OCTOBER AND SUNDAY 1ST NOVEMBER 2009 AT SPORTCITY IN MANCHESTER AND THE MUSEUM OF TRANSPORT IN BOYLE STREET, MANCHESTER

The rationale behind planning the SELNEC ‘40’ Event was that we would move all the vehicles we wished to display from their various bases to Sportcity, Car Park No. 2, on the Friday 30th October 2009 so they would be ready and in position and available for the event to commence at 9.00 am. on Saturday 31st October 2009 followed by the Sunday 1st November 2009 with us returning the vehicles to their various bases after the event had concluded on Monday 2nd November 2009.  Hence, members and drivers turned up at our Leigh premises initially at 8.00 am. on Friday 30th October 2009 and we started to get the vehicles ready for departure.  We had already visited the premises a couple of weeks earlier to make sure oil and water were topped up and other aspects of the vehicles, such as indicators, lights, etc., were all functional.  We started off by taking three vehicles from Leigh to Sportcity being 3001 (ANA 1Y), 5320 (D320 LNB) and then 4116 (HDB 116V).  The next wave of vehicles took a little more time to prepare, in that we had to bleed the Atlantean engines on EX1 (PNF 941J) and open topper 7077 (WBN 955L).  4002 (ANE 2T) left fully restored to be launched at this event as a new restoration in GMT orange and white livery and EX1 and 7077 followed it to Sportcity.   At the same time members had arrived at our premises in Croft at 8.00 am. to go direct to Sportcity with 5001 (GBU 1V) and open topper 7032 (VNB 132L). 

Unfortunately, one of the vehicles we had hoped to take to the event 7232 (VNB 203L), our exhibition and support vehicle, developed difficulties with its fluid accelerator system, which it has had before, and was deemed unsafe to drive.  Therefore, unfortunately, as it does depict photographs of our collection it was a great shame it could not attend the event, particularly as we had hoped to run a number of bus related videos/DVDs during the day on the upper deck.

Whilst we were waiting for the vehicles to arrive from Croft and Blackburn, member James Fairchild had organised for our latest edition to the collection, Leyland Cub 1702 (B702 UVR) to be delivered, which had been bought from South Yorkshire on a low loader.  Unfortunately, however, because of the condition of the vehicle which was quite dirty and run down in a blue and cream livery, it was not felt fit to display it at our event at Sportcity so it was taken direct to our storage facilities in East Manchester. 

Prior to this event on Thursday 29th October 2009, we had collected 7960 (BNC 960T) from its storage premises in Cheshire and moved it to our premises in East Manchester from where it was driven to Sportcity to pick up all the drivers from the first wave to take them to Blackburn whilst three other drivers were taken separately by car to our premises in Croft to collect the second wave from Croft being Bristol VR 408 (AJA 408L), Leyland Olympian 1451 (NJA 568W) and Daimler Fleetline 7206 (VNB 177L).

Six vehicles from Blackburn were taken to Sportcity, being Seddon Pennine EX56 (YDB 453L), Dennis Domino 1751 (C751 YBA), Leyland National 105 (HNB 24N), 6990 (DWH 706W), 7185 (WWH 43L) and 8001 (XBU 1S).  Finally 7960 being used as a shuttle bus to take drivers around was finally parked up at Sportcity.  Our members and drivers then went to our premises in East Manchester.

The only vehicle we did manage to move on the evening of Friday 30th October 2009 from East Manchester to the event was Leyland Atlantean 4645 (ANA 645Y) and therefore an early start was embarked upon on Saturday morning 31st October 2009, to bring the rest of the vehicles that we intended to use from East Manchester to Sportcity, the first one being 3301 (F301 DRJ) Leyland Olympian followed by 7010 (J710 ONF) our Volvo B10 double decker.  The next vehicle scheduled to be moved from East Manchester to Sportcity was our Dennis  Dominator, 2040 (H140 GVM) but unfortunately it threw its belts and broke down, thereby necessitating work to be carried out on it.  Unfortunately, it blocked in a number of other vehicles that it was intended to move from East Manchester to Sportcity.  However, we were able to move 8700 (A700 HNB) and 3009 (ANA 9Y) in North Birmingham Busways and Delaine livery respectively.

So the eventual line up on Saturday 31st October once we’d had the vehicles reorganised were on the front row the SELNEC vehicles 7185 (WWH 43L), EX1 (PNF 941J), 7206 (VNB 177L), EX56 (YDB 453L) and 408 (AJA 408L).  Next on the second line were the GMT vehicles; firstly Leyland National 105 (HNB 24N), Leyland Fleetline 8001 (XBU 1S), Leyland Atlantean 7960 (BNC 960T), Leyland Fleetline 1451 (NJA 568W),  Leyland Olympian 3001 (ANA 1Y), MCW Metrobus 5001 (GBU 1V), Leyland Titan 4002 (ANE 2T), Leyland Fleetline 6990 (DWH 706W) and Dennis Domino 1751 (C751 YBA).

Thereafter on the next row we had 8460 (SND 460X), 7032 (VNB 132L), 4645 (ANA 645Y), 4116 (HNB 116V), 5320 (D320 LNB).  On the back row were 1737 (HJA 121N), Leyland Olympian 3301 (F301 DRJ), Volvo B10 7010 (J710 ONF), Leyland Olympian 3009 (ANA 9Y) (Delaine colours) and Leyland Atlantean 8700 (A700 HNB) in North Birmingham Busways colours.

In order to link the Society’s SELNEC ‘40’ event with the Museum of Transport’s own event to mark this anniversary, a special bus service was arranged to link our site at Sportcity with Boyle Street.  The Museum provided their own bus link between Boyle Street and Victoria Station, operated by a mix of types mostly in pre-SELNEC liveries with SELNEC divisional flashes applied.  These included ex-Bury Atlantean 116 (REN 116) and pioneer Mancunian 1001 (HVM 901F) as well as some half-cabs.  Also used on this service was the Museum’s Centreline Seddon 1722 (XVU 352M) and, now privately-owned, Standard Fleetline 8017 (XBU 17S).  On Sunday the Telford Bus Group’s Fleetline Mancunian 2236 (RNA 236J) operated as a duplicate, running with its Atlantean cousin 1001 at one point. 

The input into the service between the two events was shared between the Society and the Museum together with contributions from a couple of other preservation groups.  This service ran every 10 minutes between 1030 and 1730 on both days, giving visitors a chance to sample a wide variety of vehicles. 2236 also ran on the Sportcity service, as did the Bolton Bus Group’s Atlantean 232 (FBN 232C) - deputising for its rostered sister 185 (UWH 185). The Museum used GMT Atlanteans 7001 (VNB 101L) and 8706 (A706 LNC), prototype National EX30 (TXJ 507K), Magic Bus-liveried GMT Olympian 3065 (B65 PJA) and, to illustrate the fate that befell the vehicles inherited by SELNEC from its constituent companies, former Stockport PD3 5871 (KJA 871F) in GMT orange and white livery. 

Unsurprisingly it was the use of the SELNEC Preservation Society’s vehicles in service which stole the show.  The Society’s vehicles are highly sought-after by those enthusiasts who like to ride on, as well as view and photograph, preserved buses and who regularly attend running events up and down the length of the country specifically for this purpose.  The anticipated use of the Society’s Bristol VR in service saw the event visited by several enthusiasts from southern England, some of whom had brought ECW-bodied Leopard 81 (HNE 641N) all the way from Eastleigh in Hampshire.

It had been intended to only operate a small sample of eight SELNEC Preservation Society vehicles on the free bus service.  On the list of runners were prototype Standard Atlantean EX 1 (PNF 941J), Standard Fleetline 7206 (VNB 177L), Bristol VR 408 (AJA 408L), Titan 4002 (ANE 2T), Metrobuses 5001 (GBU 1V) and 5320 (D320 LNB), National 105 (HNB 24N) and Seddon EX56 (YDB 453L).  7206 had a problem with its throttle and 7185 (WWH 43L) took its place.  On the Saturday morning, the Society’s first public journey was undertaken by 4002 (ANE 2T) at 1015 from Sportcity to the Museum of Transport, appropriately enough as this bus was making its public debut at the event having recently been restored to GMT orange and white livery with a shallow brown skirt.  

It was subsequently decided to vary the vehicles advertised in the Museum’s event programme so that other members of the collection could be enjoyed.  This introduced some unpredictability to proceedings, which for many added to the enjoyment of the occasion.  One member hastily travelled from Watford specifically to ride on Olympian 3001 (ANA 1Y) which, although not rostered, saw service on both days as did its prototype sister 1451 (NJA 568W).   Birkenhead & District-liveried Fleetline 4116 (HDB 116V), GMT-liveried sister 8001 (XBU 1S), Atlantean 8460 (SND 460X) and Dennis Domino 1751 (C751 YBA) all worked at least one round trip each day.  Also used on service on the Saturday only were open-top Park Royal Atlantean 7077 (WBN 955L), closed-top curved-screen sister 7960 (BNC 960T) and LUT Fleetline 6990 (DWH 706W), each of which accomplished one return journey.  Although the weather on the Saturday was largely mild and sunny with slowly-increasing but variable cloud levels, the same could not be said for the Sunday when the exposed Sportcity site was blasted by a fierce wind and some torrential rain; 7077 thus remained firmly on static display!  It is believed to be the case that 1451, 3001, EX56, 4002 and 6990 had not carried passengers on a free heritage service since entering preservation with the Society.  In total seventeen different Society vehicles operated thus, while the Museum operated ten of their collection and three privately-owned buses also ran on service.  How many visitors managed to ride on all thirty?

A number of numerical / vehicular coincidences were available if one was so inclined – the chance to ride on no less than five “001” numbered vehicles - 1001, 3001, 5001, 7001 and 8001; Greater Manchester’s first and last Metrobuses and its first two Olympians including a B45 prototype; and the chance to sample two XBU-S Fleetlines.   Indeed those aboard 8017 on its third and final trip on the Victoria shuttle on the Saturday could then proceed on the next departure to Sportcity which was operated by 8001, a rare chance to sample two such vehicles back-to-back.  It was also the first occasion that two Greater Manchester Seddons have operated in service on the same day in preservation, and as already noted one could also sample two Mancunians back-to-back on the Sunday.

As is usually the case with events at the Museum of Transport, visiting vehicles were parked outside on static display for the occasion.  Over the course of the weekend these included Metrobus 5120 (SND 120X) - which was also displayed at Sportcity, Atlantean 8763 (A763 NNA), Leopard 81 (HNE 641N), former LUT and latterly Chester Fleetline 6960 (BCB 613V) recently restored to Chester City Transport livery as its 79, North Western Bristol RE 382 (SJA 382K) and Bolton Atlantean 185 (UWH 185).  More visiting buses were on display inside the Museum including Standard Atlanteans 8151 (VBA 151S), 8551 (ANA 551Y) and 8697 (A697 HNB).

The Society’s large display area at Sportcity allowed an impressive, well laid-out display of vehicles - many of which remained on site all weekend protected by additional security measures.   As well as the seventeen Society vehicles already mentioned as having operated on the bus services, other members of the collection on display here were open-top Atlantean 7032 (VNB 132L), dual-door Fleetline 7206 (VNB 177L), Olympians 3009 (ANA 9Y) and 3301 (F301 DRJ), Volvo D10M / Citybus 7010 (J710 ONF), Standard Atlantean 8700 (A700 HNB), 4645 (ANA 645Y) in GM Buses North livery and Seddon 1737 (HJA 121N).  Whilst the first two of these have been restored, the others remain in as-acquired condition depicting the liveries of their last owners.  Unfortunately, when the site was being cleared after the event, 7032 (VNB 132L) had to be towed away having suffered a fuel leak and with water ingress affecting its cab electrics and gears. 

Other GMT-related vehicles on static display at Sportcity comprised Standard Atlanteans 8622 (ANA 622Y) in Greater Manchester Buses rail red “tomato soup” livery, 8696 (A696 HNB) with a GM Buses-liveried front end but otherwise in the livery of A-Jays dance troupe from Oldham, 8758 (A758 NNA) in GMT orange, brown and white livery but with GM Buses west-area flashes, Standard Fleetline 8137 (KDB 137V) which is a play bus nowadays, Oldham Corporation Atlantean 163 (OBU 163F) and Fleetline Mancunian 2236 (RNA 236J) when this wasn’t operating in service.  A more modern vehicle still very much in public service, and new in GM Buses (North) days, was First Manchester Volvo B10B / Wright 60343 (N548 WVR) which visited the event on the Sunday.  Smart Yelloway MRJ 100W, a Plaxton Supreme-bodied Leyland Leopard, provided a welcome parallel with the era when GMT and its vehicles were very much part of the Greater Manchester scene.  Bolton Corporation Crossley 8 (DBN 978) and Salford halfcabs 179 (WRJ 179) and 511 (FRJ 511) from the Tameside Transport Collection completed the line-up; these also provided a Salford City Transport bus stop and post which was used as the stop at Sportcity for the free bus service.

Visiting vehicles not associated with Manchester also came along to support the event.  These included one of the last Atlanteans built, Fylde 75 (B75 URN) - in Blue Buses livery as fleet number 45, fellow former Fylde coast resident UHG 353Y, an East Lancs-bodied Atlantean which served all its working life as Blackpool Transport 353, and a trio of buses from the Merseyside Transport Trust’s extensive collection; “jumbo” Alexander-bodied Atlantean 1111 (UKA 562H), East Lancs-bodied Atlantean 1836 (TWM 220V) and Panther 1054 (FKF 933F). 

The weather had been reasonable on Friday 30th October 2009 when we were moving all the vehicles from their various locations to Sportcity Car Park No. 2.  First thing on the Saturday morning 31st October 2009 at the start of the event all the vehicles were basked in sunshine allowing some excellent nearside photographs to be taken, although it did cloud over later in the day.  However, Sunday morning 1st November 2009 saw a tremendously wet and windy start to the day that actually blew away the bar and hog roast tent that we had in place on Saturday 31st October 2009 which also meant that the day had slow start until such time as the weather improved around lunchtime to the extent whereby we even had some sunny spells in the afternoon, again allowing photography this time of the offside of all the vehicles which we had spaced out not only in rows per livery, i.e. SELNEC, GMT, GMB, etc., but also spaced apart from each other to allow all the vehicles to be photographed individually without other buses being in the way.

Having so many buses travel to this event with a good proportion of them being used on the shuttle service to and from the Museum of Transport, it was inevitable that we would come across some mechanical problems and this is true with 7206 (VNB 177L) where its intermittent continuing problem with its fluid throttle reoccurred meaning the vehicle had to be returned to our premises early on Sunday afternoon, being sent to Leigh where it can be worked on in due course.

The heavy rain on the Sunday morning had caused water to seep through the upper deck floor into the cab of 7032 (VNB 132L) thereby shorting out the gears not allowing the vehicle to move, which was the second problem we had with this bus as it had sprung a fuel leak the day before.

The event officially concluded on the Sunday afternoon 1st November 2009 and we did return a couple of vehicles to East Manchester that evening.  Principally however, Monday 2nd November 2009 was a day set aside to return all our vehicles to their respective bases.

First thing in the morning once we had returned the final vehicles to East Manchester we took to Leigh all the vehicles that were returning in the first wave being 3001 and 4116 which were parked in the middle of the depot followed by 4002, 5320 and 6990.  At the same time three vehicles were returned to Croft being 408, 7077 and 8001.

Yet again we used 7960 as a shuttle bus to follow the vehicles to Leigh and Croft to bring the drivers back to Sportcity for the second wave of vehicles being returned to their respective bases with 1451 and 5001 going to Croft and a total of six vehicles being taken to Blackburn being 105, EX56, 1751, EX1, 7185 and 8460.  Again 7960 operated as a shuttle bus to bring back the drivers from Croft and from Blackburn and the last job of the day was to try to move 7032.  The cab area had dried out but the gear selector had shorted out and consequently a spare gear selector was taken off one of our buses held for such eventualities 7070 (YNE 87L – previously VNB 170L) which did the trick in that it made the bus mobile.  Although the fuel leak remains a problem with this vehicle it did not prevent it from being returned late on Monday evening to East Manchester after we had parked up 7960 there as a prelude to it returning a few days later to its storage area in Cheshire.  7032 was later returned to Leigh.

All in all an enormously difficult event to organise being the first event we have actually organised ourselves rather than just attending events put on by other organizations.  This had involved areas, such as booking the site, bar, food, portaloos, wheelie bins, etc., liaising with preservation groups in terms of the visiting vehicles, as well as organising the marshalling and display of all our own buses and those from other preservationists.  We had to arrange advertising in Buses and Bus & Coach Preservation and the display of two very large banners advertising the event on the railings of Car Park No.2.

We had to have all our vehicles MOT’d and taxed and to hire additional security to look after the vehicles on Friday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday evening, and then there was the enormous exercise of bringing all the vehicles to the event and returning them thereafter and the provision of the free bus service from our site to the Museum of Transport, which we ran all day on Saturday and all day on Sunday, interspersing in most cases with vehicles from the Museum of Transport undertaking a similar trip.  There was also the provision of permanent mementos to all participants being substantial glass paperweights depicting the SELNEC symbol and the dates 31st October to 1st November 2009. 

26 non-half cab vehicles exhibited, considerably more than advertised and these were:

Nationals EX30  & 105
Seddons EX56 (1700) & 1722
Domino 1751
VR 408
Atleanteans Bury 116, 1001, EX1, 7001, 7077, 7960, 8460, 8706 & Bolton 232
Fleetlines 7185, 8001, 8017, 8116 & 6990
Metrobuses 5001 & 5320
Olympians 1451, 3001, 3065
Titan 4002

 


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