THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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SPARE PARTS AND VEHICLE ACQUISITIONS
One of the biggest difficulties we will face in the future will be restoring the four Mancunian vehicles; 1142, 1177, 2130 and 2220, as we have virtually no spare parts for them except those we were able to remove from the scrap Mancunian 1186 (ONF 874H) that we had for a short time. This is something that will have to be addressed at the time by using the nearest equivalents or having matters replicated.
Consequently, and because of our awareness of the unique nature of spare parts - not just mechanically but principally body parts, especially moulded external fibreglass parts and internal fixtures, fittings, seat frames, moquette, etc., we have been on a parts acquisition trail since the earliest days we became involved in bus preservation, in 1987, and have built up a large collection of spare parts for ex-SELNEC/GMT Standards, both Atlanteans and Fleetlines, and those with Park Royal bodies and Northern Counties bodies. These have been stored principally on the four Mancunians, particularly as two of them don't have seats and therefore they allow plenty of space for the parts to be stored. We also have the larger parts, such as the fibreglass fittings, bonnets, etc., stacked neatly in various places around the depot in Leigh.
We concentrated on obtaining a large number of spare parts because of our growing number of ex-SELNEC/GMT Standards, which now total 18; EX1, EX19, 6901, 6912, 6990, 7077, 7143, 7147, 7185, 7206, 7232, 7366, 7501, 7960, 8001, 8141, 8460 and 8765, and we generally took the view that we had all the spare parts that we needed except perhaps the brown salt & pepper moquette which we recently acquired for 8765.
In more recent years we have embarked upon securing different parts for the different types of vehicles we have obtained for preservation, in particular we now have a supply of Metrobus parts, Titan parts, Domino parts and Seddon parts, and these are all stored at Wigan and we have started to look for Olympian parts for 1451 and 3001.
As for Bristol parts, we didn't have any of these at all and specifically visited Ben Jordan's scrap yard in Coltishall on 24th and 25th November 2000 to secure the parts we needed for our one and only Bristol VR 408, which was our major rectification project for 2001.
Thinking to the future, on the basis that we have at least 12 Standard vehicles with either Park Royal bodies or Northern Counties bodies on Atlantean and Fleetline chassis, we decided we might be best securing two whole vehicles as a source for spare parts for the future. The first problem we have, even with the existing parts we have amassed, is that it is very difficult to find the parts we need, when we need them, as they are all cramped and stacked away on the Mancunians, as we don't have the luxury of shelving and labelling. Also, as our rectification activities have shown in the past, however much one tries to anticipate the parts that are needed there will always be parts that are required where there have been no spares secured previously and where it has never been contemplated that the items in question would ever break or be missing or would be needing replacement.
If we were to obtain two whole vehicles we would need one depicting the Park Royal body and the other the Northern Counties body, and we would then have a full set of parts for both body styles and if we needed a particular item at least we would know where to find it as it would be bolted on to the right part of the bus where it should be located. Also, by ensuring that one of them was an Atlantean and the other a Fleetline, we would also have a full set of mechanical parts if these were needed for the future.
Of the 18 Standards we have, four have Park Royal bodies and 14 have Northern Counties bodies, eight are Atlanteans and ten are Fleetlines. Although the bodywork on these vehicles would not be used for anything other than ex-SELNEC/GMT Standards, mechanically securing two whole vehicles would be helpful for other preservation projects, as in addition to the Standards, we also have four other Atlanteans; 3832, 1066, 1142 and 117, and three other Fleetlines; 4708, 2130 and 2220.
Also, the Bristol VR 408 and the Metrobus 5001 have Gardner engines and a spare one of these would be obtained if we secured a Fleetline chassis.
We embarked upon looking for candidates to purchase to be a source of spare parts for the future and came across a Northern Counties Standard Atlantean built in 1971, at the same time as EX19. We were told it had dual-door Northern Counties Standard bodywork and was on an Atlantean chassis, and it would have been an ideal source of spare parts. We consequently set about securing this vehicle. It was an ex-Chesterfield 114 (PNU 114K) but we secured it on the recommendation of the individual who felt it would be an ideal source for spare parts, without actually physically looking at the vehicle and this was a mistake. When we secured the vehicle from Blackpool Council on Saturday 16th September 2000, we discovered it didn't have an AN68 Atlantean chassis as we had wanted, but a PDR1A chassis and consequently this wouldn't be as much use as an AN68 chassis would have been in the circumstances.
Although we have Atlanteans that are both PDR and AN68, we already have a spare PDR engine which we extracted from the scrap Mancunian 1186 (ONF 874H) and is why we wanted an AN68 Atlantean for spares.
Worse than that the bodywork, although built by Northern Counties to a Standard style, was not the Standard design, as all the fixtures and fittings were different and all the panel sizes and window sizes were not compatible with a SELNEC/GMT Standard. It looked similar but just wasn't close enough. Consequently, we had a bus that was not what we wanted in terms of its chassis or bodywork. However, rather curiously, and ironically, although we had secured this vehicle as a source for spare parts for the future, the Chesterfield Group, who have Chesterfield 123 and 124, being Leyland engined Daimler Fleetlines, had been seeking to secure 114 for preservation for a number of years but had failed to acquire it. We were therefore delighted to be able to sell the vehicle to them for a nominal sum in order that we recouped our expenditure and they obtained a very desirable vehicle for their collection for preservation. This, however, put us back to square one as we still needed a Leyland Atlantean AN68 chassis and a Daimler Fleetline chassis, along with a Park Royal and Northern Counties body.
We were told that Bolton Council were releasing their playbus, ex-SELNEC/GMT Northern Counties dual-door bodied Fleetline Standard 7215 (VNB 186L), which we felt would be an excellent choice, because not only would it have the Northern Counties body and Daimler Fleetline chassis we were looking for, but it was also of a dual-door structure which would assist if there was ever any damage to that section of 7206 or 7232, which come from the same batch, being 7206-7251/7280-7281. Also, of course, we have the prototype dual-door Northern Counties Fleetline EX19 for which it would have acted also as a reserve for spare parts.
Unfortunately, during our discussions with Bolton Council we were unable to raise sufficient funds to buy the vehicle as it was sold for further use rather than scrap, for some £3,200 for use by a catering company in St. Helens on 25th September 2000. We are now in the process of trying to contact that organisation to make them aware of our interest in the bus, so that when their use for it ends, perhaps in two or three years time, and if it then goes for scrap, we might obtain the vehicle for scrap price and park it up as our source of spare Northern Counties and Daimler Fleetline parts.
We were more lucky with the other half of the equation, being a Park Royal body and Leyland Atlantean AN68 chassis. We were contacted by the Shropshire Playbus Association who had 7070 (VNB 170L) and had been using it for many years as a playbus but were now upgrading to a Leyland engined Daimler Fleetline from the Southend fleet, being MRJ 237W, a much newer vehicle.
Having secured a Southend Fleetline as their new playbus, this meant that 7070 was surplus to their requirements. Despite the fact that the vehicle had been regularly maintained for a number of years, had an MOT and was mechanically sound, they were only offered £350 as scrap value by breakers in Barnsley and we were told that if we could match the price we could have the vehicle as a source for spares and gladly we paid that sum in order to secure it.
Having secured Chesterfield 114 as an abortive source for spare parts, and having parked it up in accommodation reserved for this purpose in Bolton, we did not want to move the bus, having sold it to the Chesterfield Group, until we had a replacement for it. Hence, it stayed in that position until we picked up 7070 from its location in Shrewsbury on Sunday 10th December 2000.
We drove 7070 back to Bolton, and a photograph of it on its way is shown in the centre pages of this newsletter. We had no problems whatsoever and parked it up at our site at the same time Chesterfield 114 was collected by the Chesterfield Group and taken away by them for preservation.
Although 7070 represents a full set of spare body parts for a Park Royal Standard and is fully operational and in very good condition, as it still has an MOT and a good AN68 Atlantean chassis, having been used as a playbus it does not have any seats in it. We do, however, in any event have a large supply of seat frames, backs and cushions that we have built up over the years.
We have achieved half our objective now, in that we have a whole vehicle representing a Park Royal bodied Leyland Atlantean AN68 and were on the look out for a Northern Counties bodied Fleetline. Either 7215 if it becomes available again, or another ex-SELNEC/GMT Northern Counties bodied Fleetline, be it a Daimler or Leyland Fleetline depending on what becomes available, and we will be keeping a look out when opportunities arise.
Having secured in the past a number of Standard parts and having taken the view to secure two full Standard vehicles, this would address the 12 SELNEC/GMT vehicles in our collection. We have already built up a selection of parts for Metrobuses and Titans. We also have a number of Dennis Domino parts, mainly because we obtained them from Norths scrapyard's when they were dismantling the 15 Dennis Domino's they had secured in September 1998, and from Carl Island we bought a 'job lot' of Domino spares from Charles Street some years earlier.
So, looking at our collection of vehicles the only ones where we are really short of spares are the Mancunians, and, as indicated earlier, it is unlikely we will secure parts for these and this will need to be addressed in the future.
We also have four Seddon Minibuses and whereas we did secure some parts from 1703 which would help with the rectification of 1700, they would not be much use for the other three Seddons, 1711, 1733 and 1735, because of the different bodywork style and different seating structures.
We decided that it might be wise to buy a whole Seddon as a source for spare parts for the future, to assist with 1700 in some respects but mainly with 1711, 1733 and 1735 when they are to be rectified. In this regard we made contact with the owners of several Seddons still in existence, and in September 2000 St. John's Ambulance relinquished their requirement for their Seddon Minibus, 1737 (HJA 121N), which they were using as a mobile ambulance. We purchased the vehicle from them and collected it on 28th October 2000, and drove it with a current MOT on our trade plates and parked it up at our premises in Wigan where the other four Seddons are based. All five are now parked together and a decision was subsequently taken to keep 1737 as a preservation candidate due to its excellent mechanical condition.
As we had attempted to complete the exercise by securing 7215 (VNB 186L) to be our Northern Counties bodied Fleetline and, incidentally, a dual-door configuration, but this fell through. We reported this fact in a newsletter, and that we were on the lookout for a new candidate to be our Northern Counties bodied Fleetline to act as a source of spares for the future.
As a consequence of that newsletter story we were contacted by John Cherry from Aintree Coachlines, who at the time owned and operated ex-Greater Manchester Titan 4002 (ANE 2T). This featured in our video of our attendance at the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally on 5th September 1999 in 1066, 7206, 7185, 1751 and 6990.
He indicated that he had a Fleetline that he had acquired sometime earlier, that was surplus to his requirements, which happened to be ex-LUT 573/GMT 6950 (YTE 587V) which he said he would let us have at a nominal scrap value, and consequently a deal was done.
Members of the SELNEC Preservation Society went to the premises of Helms Coaches where the vehicle was stored, on 11th March 2001, and drove the vehicle back on trade plates to our storage premises at Wigan.
7070 had been converted to a playbus and does not contain any seats, its bodywork does not look in a particularly good condition (which it needn't be as it is only a source for spare parts). However, quite a different appearance was gained from 6950 as a blue and cream complete vehicle in Merseyline livery full of seats and fully operational. Indeed, it drove extremely well on its trip back to Wigan and except for the fact that it has been purchased for spare parts it would, if not a duplicate for other vehicles, have been an ideal candidate itself for preservation. Indeed, it is probably in better condition than 6901 and 7501, but they are very relevant firsts, and 6950 is just one of a batch of 90 Standard Fleetlines that were delivered to LUT of which we already have the first and last (6901 and 6990, as well as 6912) and other preservationists own 6927 and 6931.
The vehicle was parked up and we did not intend to take any parts off it unless we actually have a specific need. Then a number of members expressed the view that it was too good to scrap and was a mid 69xx Express of the LUT Standard. Hence we have decided to keep it for restoration so we are again on the look out for a Northern Counties bodied Fleetline to be a spare parts vehicles. We do have a number of Fleetline and Northern Counties spare parts in any event in store at Leigh, and we would only actually take something off 6950 if we had no other option.
Interestingly, back in 1991 when 8001 was stored in Atherton, in a particularly bad condition, having been purchased still damaged from its accident in 1986, we photographed it parked next to 6950, which looked resplendent at the time in white and orange training bus colours. It is quite ironic that ten years later 6950 is purchased for spares while 8001 has in recent months been resplendently restored to its original 1978 GMT condition.
Whilst we already have three Leyland Atlanteans for spares we are conscious that the Leyland engine and some of the parts on these vehicles are not as robust or long lasting as some of the similar units in the Gardner engined Leyland Fleetlines and mainly because of an unexpected discovery we have embarked upon an additional spare vehicle being alloy framed Automatic Leyland Atlantean 8508 (SND 508X) which is in exactly the same condition as when it came out of service at Bolton Depot with First Manchester and has been made available to us very kindly by its owners LTC Limited in operational condition.
On 5th March 2005 two members visited the LTC Limited test track in Aston Way, Leyland, with a view to finding a facility that could be used to test out our vehicles during the rectification process in the safety of a special facility without putting them through their paces on public roads. We went to view the facilities available, which were most impressive. They have two test tracks with different features on each and a variety of road surfaces, inclines, embankments and all aspects for vehicle to be tested in terms of their speed, steering, brakes, etc. Whilst leaving the facility we noticed the rather distinctive appearance of an ex-First Manchester Leyland Atlantean in rail red nearby and upon further investigation discovered it to be 8508 (SND 508X) which had been used for some years to store parts of dismantled acoustic facilities which was due, after several years, to be reconstructed in the Summer of 2005. Consequently after discussions and negotiations with LTC Limited about ownership of the vehicle we collected it on Saturday morning, 27th August 2005, and parked it up at our East Manchester facility. It has chassis number 8162210 and Northern Counties body number 2235. Therefore it along with 5312 brings us to seven buses thus far acquired for our very long term spare part requirements.
On 12th August 2005, we secured for spares a rare Northern Counties bodied coach seated Gardner engined MCW Metrobus 5312 (D312 LNB). 5312 was secured with a view that it would be wise to have a spare Gardner engined Metrobus and in this regard rather than obtaining one of the conventional MCW bodied examples, i.e. in the style of 5001 (GBU 1V) we felt a Northern Counties coach seated example might be more worthwhile for spare parts. This is because not only would it lend itself to being a source of a Metrobus chassis and Gardner engine fixtures and fittings it would also offer us a more unique fibreglass fittings used on these 30 rare vehicles bearing in mind that we have two of them in preservation, being 5302 and 5320. It is also an excellent spare source of coach seats in that it comes with a full upper and lower deck set for not just the other two coach seated Metrobuses but also what we hope will be our coach seated Olympian, 3277 (D277 JVR).
In 2005, we decided to try rescue an original SELNEC Standard registration number and save it from being lost forever. In this respect we turned our attention to 7070 (VNB 170L). This was the first whole vehicle we secured for parts and is the only vehicle from which we have actually removed items subsequently. The additional seven vehicles we have more recently secured for spares as whole buses have been parked up whole and would lend themselves to being MOT’d should the need arise for them to be restored, if that was a subsequent decision taken. This is unlikely to happen with 7070 but one of our members expressed a concern that it would be a shame to lose the registration plate VNB 170L bearing in mind it represents an original SELNEC standard plate and for that matter one of the VNB’s we have in our collection. Consequently the view was taken that it would be appropriate to have this registration plate removed from 7070 and possibly used on the SELNEC Preservation Society van that we use quite frequently for collecting or moving parts around. Normally a vehicle would need to be MOT’d before the registration plate could be put on a retention certificate and then moved onto another vehicle. This is because the donor vehicle has to have a tax disc to enable this procedure to take place. However in the particular circumstance of 7070 it had been converted to a play bus and consequently could be taxed with an appropriate fee with insurance coverage not under the MOT Regulations but the Vehicle Plating & Testing Regulations from which being a play bus it would be exempt by virtue of the V112G process. Therefore the vehicle was taxed using a V112G form and therefore with a valid tax disc we were able to apply to have VNB 170L put on retention.
The first stage of the process once making the application to the DVLA was to be notified of the new registration number that would have to be allocated to 7070 which was YNE 87L and was allocated to it on 3rd January 2006 and a new tax disc issued on the same date in this number. At the same time a certificate was issued (valid for six weeks) being a V948 ‘Number Plate Authorisation Certificate’, to allow new physical registration plates as YNE 87L to be manufactured for 7070. Thereafter a retention certificate was received being the V778 in respect of VNB 170L on 10th January 2006 and a new V5 for 7070 was also received reflecting the new registration number YNE 87L on the same date. The next stage of the process is to physically fit the new registration plates (YNE 87L) to 7070. Thereafter when we upgrade and replace our society van with a newer longer wheel-based model we will transfer the plate VNB 170L onto it.
Here is a list of vehicles acquired by SELNEC Preservation Society for spares:-
6950 (YTE 587V) – Northern Counties bodied Leyland Fleetline
7070 (YNE 87L - ex-VNB 170L) - Park Royal bodied semi-automatic Leyland Atlantean
7848 (UNA 848S) – Park Royal bodied automatic Leyland Atlantean
8124 (HDB 124V) – Northern Counties bodied Leyland Fleetline
8508 (SND 508X) – Northern Counties alloy framed Automatic Leyland Atlantean
8662 (A662 HNB) – Northern Counties alloy framed automatic Leyland Atlantean
5312 (D312 LNB) – Northern Counties bodied coach seated Gardner engined MCW Metrobus