THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY
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GREATER MANCHESTER'S FIRST PRODUCTION OLYMPIAN 3001 (ANA 1Y)
We have reported previously about the development of the SELNEC/GMT standard vehicle from the very first prototype, Atlantean EX1 (PNF 941J) in 1970 through a series of developments within the 1815 production standards on Atlantean and Fleetline chassis from 7001 to 8765 between 1970 to 1984 and then the development through prototype vehicles and production vehicles of adapting the standard body to fit second generation rear engined chassis, in particular Olympians and Dominators, etc. Indeed we recap the circumstances below.
Greater Manchester Transport was keen to trial a number of new second generation rear end chassis and in doing so asked its bodybuilder, Northern Counties, to adapt the Standard body to fit, and they did so with Fodens, Dennis Dominators, Volvo Ailsas, Scanias, Dennis Falcons and Volvo Citybuses.
|Fleet Numbers||Chassis / Body||No of trial vehicles|
|1435 - 1436||Foden / Northern Counties||2|
|1437 - 1440||Dennis Dominator / Northern Counties||4|
|1446 - 1448||Volvo Ailsa / Northern Counties||3|
|1451||Leyland Olympian / Northern Counties||1|
|1461 - 1462||Scania / Northern Counties||2|
|1471 - 1473||Dennis Falcon / Northern Counties||3|
|1481 - 1483||Volvo Citybus / Northern Counties||3|
The Olympian was the most successful second generation rear engined chassis bodied for Greater Manchester, and although there was only one prototype (1451) it spawned 305 production vehicles all bodied by Northern Counties. Although an entirely different body was constructed for 1451, in order that the Standard body used on Atlanteans and Fleetlines could be utilised for the production Olympians, a spacing pillar was put on the upper deck after the first window which allowed Standard window fittings to be used on 3001 and the production Olympians. This meant they were much more in keeping with the Standard body used on Atlanteans and Fleetlines as opposed to 1451 which utilised a different approach. Although the front and back end had to be altered to fit the new chassis dimensions.
There were four trial Dennis Dominators bodied by Northern Counties for GMT and these saw 40 subsequent production vehicles. There was an initial run of 30 in 1984, from 2001 to 2030, and ten more in 1990, 2031-2040, which had the further upgraded Northern Counties Standard body used on Scanias 1463 to 1467, and Volvo Citybuses 7001 to 7010, with diptac fittings and new moquette.
In fact the SELNEC Preservation Society also owns 1451 (NJA 568W), 1461 (FWH 461Y), 1472 (A472 HNC) and 2001 (B901 TVR).
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 then the Northern Counties Standard body.
3001 was prepared for launch at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show and carried a number of unusual features not replicated when 3002 onwards were built in 1983 when Olympian vehicles went into full production. Whilst it carried the new 1981 livery of white, orange and brown it had a thin brown line between the white and orange at the bottom of the upper deck windows and a white line on the beading separating the orange and brown on the lower deck skirt panels. It also had brown wheels rather than the grey spiggot mounted colour 3002 onwards were to carry. For its Motor Show appearance it had a special non standard moquette fitted of red, orange and yellow stripes set in a beige background and all its internal transfers were in a variety of different coloured printing of green, red and black on white with odd blue and yellow examples. Because of the low height of the Olympian it could not fit the standard Manchester three part destination blind set. 1451 had been trialled with a single line dot matrix but 3001 had conventional blinds at the front but in a narrow line up of just a destination blind followed by the route number. This allowed the fleet number to be depicted in the centre of the mid deck panel above the windscreen.
It had painted on white lettering on the orange paintwork just beneath the upper deck windows on both nearside and offside, the words “The 1250th Standard Body supplied by Northern Counties to Greater Manchester”. Finally, as a finishing touch its front panel, hinged side panels and two rear heater vent panels all had their coach key holes finished off with spring loaded chrome clips – 26 in all. After the Motor Show had ended in October 1982 the vehicle went for a series of trials, not entering service until February 1983. It did so in its Motor Show condition except that the front destination display had been changed to the standard three position compact layout that was to be the standard for the future and was used on 3002 onwards, with 1451 being altered a short time later. It soon also had its wheels painted grey to depict that they were spiggot mounted.
3001 had the registration number 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; 8520-8580, 3001, 8581-8627, 3002-3006, 1461-1462, 8628-8633, 3007, re-bodied 2413 & 6912, 8634-8650, 3008-3009, 8651-8657, 3010. The first 10 vehicles had Leyland TL11 engines making them type ONTL11/1R and had H43/30F bodywork.
These vehicles, and the next 15 (3011-3025) were Bristol built Olympians since the Olympian was being introduced as a replacement for the 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 24 Olympians also had a low driving position which was to change from 3025 onwards and on the Bristol built Olympians, 3001-3025, the water filler was on the nearside of the 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 the higher driving position retained. 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 looks odd, having both of these arrangements. However, for some reason or other, a reversion took place and five 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 Voith gearbox ONLXBA/1R, and 3036 to the final vehicle 3305 were ONXLB/1R. The SELNEC Preservation Society has a Voith gearbox example 3030 (A30 ORJ).
We consequently identified that having set about securing the first prototype Bristol Olympian B45/05 for Greater Manchester 1451 (NJA 568W) that we needed to compliment this vehicle by obtaining 3001 (ANA 1Y) the first standard production Olympian, which had appeared at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1982. 3001 went into service with Greater Manchester Transport at Northenden and subsequently Stockport. Subsequently, its ownership passed to Greater Manchester Buses and Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited, eventually ending up the property of Stagecoach Manchester upon their acquisition of this company. Consequently we made contact originally with GM Buses then GM Buses South Limited and subsequently Stagecoach Manchester to alert them to our interest in the vehicle so that upon it being taken out of service it would hopefully be offered to us for preservation rather than being sold to subsequent operator, as happened with 1451 or inadvertently scrapped. In this regard Stagecoach Manchester and, in particular, Les Warneford, Managing Director of UK Bus Operations of the Stagecoach Group, has been most helpful and supportive.
Of the 15 Standard Olympians delivered to GMT with Leyland TL11 engines, five of these 3011-3015 had gone to First Manchester, but the first ten, because of the arbitrary distribution of vehicles when Greater Manchester buses split North and South on 1st April 1994, remained in the south of Manchester and passed subsequently to Stagecoach Manchester. 3005, unfortunately, was the victim of a fire on the upper deck, which was burnt out and scrapped some years ago, leaving nine Leyland engined production Olympians with Stagecoach Manchester.
Initially 3001-3004, 3006 and 3009-3010 were painted in Magic Bus blue livery straight from their GM Buses South orange livery, but 3007 and 3008 went into Stagecoach white livery with blue/orange/red stripes, although shortly thereafter they were painted blue in the Magic Bus colours to join their seven counterparts.
Once the Atlanteans had been withdrawn and more Olympians were being painted in Magic Bus colours, these odd nine Leyland engined Olympians were identified as being non-standard compared to their Gardner engined counterparts, and Stagecoach Manchester sought to transfer them to other Stagecoach companies. In this regard 3001-3003 went to Stagecoach Ribble on 15th January 1999 and received for the first time Stagecoach white and coloured striped livery. 3004 and 3007-3010 had been sent earlier to Stagecoach Cheltenham and Gloucester.
By January 2001 only 3006 of the Leyland engined vehicles remained at Stagecoach Manchester, and this was only because of the fact that it had a substantial amount of work undertaken on it as a result of an accident and a need to replace its gearbox. Indeed, it was reinstated and repainted early in 2001 and was then regularly seen in service on the 192 Magic Bus route on Stockport Road, amongst other Magic Bus routes operated by Hyde Road.
Since 3001-3003 were transferred to Stagecoach Ribble as their 2147/2149/2150, we had been in regular contact with the Managing Director of that company, originally Michael Chambers and more recently Nigel Barratt. We had also maintained contact with the Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus Operations, Les Warnerford, who had originally been the Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester when 3001 operated there. He had subsequently been responsible for Midlands and North West Stagecoach bus operations before taking on his UK-wide role. Our contact with him was to become invaluable with matters that developed in March and April 2001 when we discovered that Stagecoach Holdings Plc was to sell a good proportion of its Ribble operation to Blazefield Holdings, and that this would include 3001-3003.
In fact these three vehicles, ANA 1Y-ANA 3Y, appeared on the asset transfer schedule and we were faced with the uncertain future that if 3001 passed to Blazefield Holdings Plc, there was no guarantee that we could secure the vehicle for preservation in the future, which was something that for many years Stagecoach had indicated would be a realistic possibility.
Acquisition of 3001
Bearing in mind how busy Stagecoach must be with its bus operations across the UK and all the work that must have gone into the sale of a considerable number of Stagecoach Ribble vehicles to Blazefield Holdings, the fact that Stagecoach intervened with the future of 3001 (ANA 1Y) was quite extraordinary. With just one week to go before the transfer, on Sunday morning, 8th April 2001, as a result of a liaison between Les Warnerford (Managing Director of Stagecoach UK bus operations), Nigel Barratt (Managing Director of Stagecoach Ribble) and Tom Wileman (Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester), an extraordinary exercise took place.
3006 (ANA 6Y) was taken out of service and driven in Magic Bus blue and yellow colours from Hyde Road to Stagecoach Ribble's premises in Blackburn, and the driver returned to Manchester with 3001 in Stagecoach Ribble white and striped livery. The vehicle was parked up at Hyde Road, effectively swapping ANA 6Y for ANA 1Y, thereby keeping 3001 in Stagecoach ownership. Subsequently, 3002, 3003 and 3006 passed to Blazefield Holdings the following weekend, on 15th April 2001, allocated to their Burnley & Pendle operation.
Upon being returned to Greater Manchester on 8th April 2001, 3001 was parked up at Hyde Road in the reserve fleet in order that it would be available should it be needed for supplementary operational services. However, having the Leyland TL11 Engine it was on odd vehicle as it was the only remaining Leyland engined Olympian in the Stagecoach Manchester fleet, all the others having Gardner engines.
As a consequence of the way matters developed with vehicle requirements, a number of Olympians were taken out of service even ones with Gardner engines and put in reserve or sent to other operating companies and a number of Dennis Dominators had also been taken out of service, Including 2001 (B901 TVR) in which we were also interested, as a future addition to our collection. It became apparent by the Autumn of 2001 that Stagecoach would not need 3001 to supplement its operational vehicles and consequently it became available for disposal and acquisition by the SELNEC Preservation Society in order to ensure its continued existence by entering the ranks of preservation.
We visited Stagecoach's Hyde Road Depot to undertake the formal transfer of ownership of this vehicle to the SELNEC Educational Trust on Thursday 29th November 2001 which was a particularly fraught and difficult day for the Management and Engineers at Stagecoach Manchester as two of their vehicles had been involved in two fatalities that very day, but this did not detract them from allowing the transfer of title to take place.
Subsequently, after discussions and negotiations the vehicle was collected on Saturday 8th December 2001. Upon arriving at the Hyde Road Depot at 8.00 am. on that morning we noted the vehicle had been parked up ready for us on charge in order that we could unplug it and drive it away. Unfortunately, we did experience a few electrical problems with the gear changing unit, but engineers from Stagecoach Manchester most helpfully swapped a control unit over from 3154 and the bus was then fully mobile.
Since being returned to Hyde Road at Stagecoach Manchester on 8th April 2001 the bus had continued displaying 2147, its Ribble fleet number and in fact Stagecoach Ribble's vinyls and legal lettering. We were helpfully given a set of Stagecoach Manchester vinyls and legal lettering for the bus with a view to rallying it in its Stagecoach stripes and colours as a Stagecoach Manchester vehicle. We also returned its fleet number to 3001. We realise it never actually ran for Stagecoach Manchester in white with blue, orange and red stripes, only running in this livery for Stagecoach Ribble as it only actually ran in Manchester in GM Buses’ white, orange and whortleberry, and in Stagecoach Manchester’s Magic Bus blue livery. However, we intended to display it as a Stagecoach Manchester vehicle at rallies, road runs and shows in recognition of the support and help this company has given us before we started to return it to its original 1982 condition.
3001 fortunately passed its MOT on 2nd May 2002 after having had some work carried out on it at Whittakers Coach Travel and it was returned to Leigh on Saturday 11th May 2002. Thereafter on the various working days that followed working alongside 7077 and 5320, fitting into the busy schedule of activity on 408 and 5001, activities took place with 3001. On the working days we ensured that the outside of the bus was tidied up and all the windows inside and outside were thoroughly cleaned. A replacement driver’s door we fitted was painted and all the wheels were tyre walled black.
The Museum of Transport in Manchester delivered to us a single piece front destination display similar to the one that that appeared on 3001 for its attendance at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show. This was put into stock to be used when the vehicle is returned to its original 1982 condition. However, one difficulty did emerge with the bus on working day, Sunday 11th August 2002, when moving it forward as clouds of smoke came out of the electrical panel on the right hand side of the cab with a disturbing smell of burning which quickly alerted us to turn the isolator off and start to investigate. We discovered that one or two of the switches, in particular the main light switch, were faulty and that some insulation had come away arcing out. Also air gauge number two did not seem to be holding all its air and we discovered a break in one of the air pipes. This caused us to examine the bus quite carefully to put everything right.
Having had all this work carried out 3001 was washed at the local car wash facility that day, which has a large jet wash area which allows a bus to be washed in four wash cycles, two on the front and nearside and two on the rear and offside before being parked up in Leigh ready to attend the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Really on Sunday 1st September 2002 in Stagecoach stripes which it did with 7077, 408, 5001 and 5320.
Restoration of 3001
After 3001 had returned from the Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally on 1st September 2004 – which featured the full restoration of 5001 (GBU 1V) as featured in Volume 5, Number 6, our November 2002 edition it was put into storage whilst rectification work continued on Leyland National 105 (HNB 24N) and Dennis Domino 1751 (C751 YBA). However, a full inspection of the bus was undertaken in October 2003.
In its 17 years of operating service many aspects have been changed on 3001, although generally speaking most of the aluminium panels are quite straight. However, we engaged the assistance of our member and self employed bodybuilder, Jason Hartley, to replace the nearside corner panel between the front and nearside upper deck windows; to remove the conventional front destination panel and winding gear and refit the Motor Show destination display gear and cut and fit the front destination panel to fit whilst repositioning the alarm hatch to its original position; replace the windscreens with the original design reflecting the appropriate application of heater strips; replace the clear nearside/frosted offside fog lights/spotlights that had been removed; re-panel any dented panels and fit four new hinged access panels on the offside; fit three new access panels on the nearside; tidy up the rear, re-fit a spare bonnet; replace the rear lights with the appropriate units, 343 VRFS, resourced from BMAC in Hyde, Greater Manchester.
In addition, it was identified that a number of the upper deck windows have been etched at some point in its past history and Auto Windscreens were engaged to replace these windows which are two upper deck front windows, offside and nearside upper deck rear windows, upper deck nearside clear three, hopper four and hopper five, upper deck nearside hopper three and hopper four.
Jason Hartley commenced the preliminary activities in removing parts from the vehicle on Tuesday 11th November 2003 and has been helped with parts from scrap vehicles 3180 and 5308. In addition, we were allowed to secure some Olympian parts from 3024 and 3031 before they were towed off to Barnsley during a brief visit to Stagecoach’s Hyde Road Yard on Friday morning, 5th December 2003.
On Saturday 7th February 2004 the task of removing all the upper and lower deck seat frames on the bus was commenced and was concluded on Friday 27th February 2004. Thereafter, all the seat backs were removed from the seat frames and an inspection undertaken on them because unfortunately, particular those on the upper deck, the melamine has either been badly damaged or scratched.
Thereafter, over the next few working days through March and April 2004 members went through spare seat backs that have been obtained in the past from scrap vehicles and have managed to put together a full set with decent melamine in order that these can be re-covered.
Jason Hartley had hoped to have concluded the work on the exterior of the vehicle by the end of February 2004, but was delayed. However, he had partially returned the front destination display to its original Motor Show condition and has undertaken quite a bit of work on the lower fibreglass front and the windscreen surround area. Also some of the damaged panels on the nearside had been replaced and this is the progress he had made when our working days returned to Leigh on Sunday 25th April 2004 when a large contingent of members set to work on rectifying other aspects of this vehicle which involved the cleaning out of the inside, scraping the floors of all chewing gum, etc.
Work commenced on sanding down the rusted area on the seat frames and re-oxiding them and paint stripping work began on the many coats of paint on the four wheels and on some areas of the aluminium body work where bubbling had been identified under the beading.
On the first 25 Olympians the rear upper deck emergency window is different in that it is all glass resting on a rubber surround and not supported by a frame, a construction that was changed to a stronger format from 3026 onwards with the glass being set in a frame. Unfortunately, this window is etched on 3001 and therefore we had to get a spare from a vehicle in the same batch and did so with the kind permission of Stagecoach Manchester from 3024 (A24 HNC). However, that too had been etched and therefore Auto Windscreens took that away to use as a template and made a new piece of toughened back window glass to be refitted to 3001 with the hinges, levers, etc.
Unfortunately, working conditions are not ideal and in some cases windows have not been removed from this bus for many years and therefore it took three visits by Auto Windscreens on 17th March 2004, 16th April 2004 and 7th May 2004.
On the working day Sunday 16th May 2004, the control unit and one trans-sign flip-over route number box unit were returned from Alliance Electronics who had serviced them, only to discover that despite the boxes we had came out of sister vehicles 3012 and 3015 they were not compatible as they are three track numbers and the ones on 3001 are four tracks. Consequently, on this day the two units on 3001 were taken off the bus and taken to Alliance Electronics thereafter for repair.
Over a series of working days between May and August 2004 the entirety of the inside of the vehicle was completed. All the melamine has been cleaned and all the aluminium on the windows and window hoppers on both the interior and exterior of the vehicle cleaned with Solvol Autosol bringing the aluminium up to a presentable appearance. The upper deck heater vents have been painted in the appropriate colour of light brown and both decks of the vehicle have had their floors painted in the appropriate light brown deck tread paint. All the seat frames that were removed have been sanded down, red oxided and painted in the appropriate dark brown gloss paint and been refitted to the bus. The cab area has been cleaned and painted as has the area around the windscreen and the air doors. All the transfers have been removed because this particular vehicle had a special set of green and red transfers when it appeared at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show, which are going to be replicated as part of its rectification.
On the exterior of the vehicle extensive work was undertaken to paint strip, down to the bare metal, all the beading on the mid deck and lower deck of the bus and to sand down where all the transfers had been and where in particular the red, orange and blue stripes had been applied. A small number of dents were filled and sanded as well in order to prepare the vehicle for its eventual re-painting.
Jason Hartley was unable to finish work on the bus at Leigh so on Sunday 1st August 2004 it was back-end towed to S & T Coach Painters in Blackburn, who continued the rectification of the bodywork commencing on 9th August 2004.
The bodywork carried out was to finish the front end in terms of replicating as near as possible the unique destination and route number panel, fitting a replacement windscreen surround, exchanging the windscreens for ones with the correct heater strips and the re-hanging and refitting of the lower fibreglass front. This was made up of a corner panel on the nearside from a ex-Greater Manchester Fleetline operated by Chester City Transport, the right hand corner panel used was in First Manchester red having come off an Olympian and the centre panel from Stagecoach Magic Bus 3024.
In addition whilst the vehicle was at S & T Coach Painters in Blackburn they replaced four panels on the lower deck nearside and two panels on the lower deck offside. In addition, they recreated the three hinged hatch panels on the lower deck skirting on the nearside of the bus and four similar panels on the lower deck skirting on the offside. On the back end they replaced the bonnet with a spare obtained some time ago from 3015 and refitted the correct rear light units that we had provided for them. Whilst working on the front end they attended to the roof dome and also fitted the new windscreen wipers and wing mirrors we had supplied to them.
One of the most difficult aspects we have had to address in trying to return this vehicle to its original 1982 Motor Show condition is to secure the correct moquette. This bus had a beige moquette with red, orange and yellow stripes known as sunburst and despite months of discussions and negotiations with Holdsworths, who own the right to this design having purchased the company Firths who originally made it, eventually notified us that they were not prepare to make the 40 to 60 metres we needed in the pattern shop and were only prepared to make a minimum quantity of 350 metres in the main factory at standard price or 70 metres at premium price of £49.00 per metre for a small quantity. However, it came to our attention that a number of companies had purchased an updated version of this design of moquette until a few years ago, before Firths had been acquired by Holdsworths. During the Leyland event on 11th July 2004 certain members identified that a very similar moquette had been used to re-trim ex-Ribble Leyland Atlantean 1481 (TRN 481V). Consequently, enquiries were made of Stagecoach North West on 22nd July 2004 and the Engineering Director, Paul Lee, identified a quantity of the appropriate moquette in the stores which he had delivered to the depot in Preston and which we collected in our member, Colin McKay’s Leyland National 2 Ribble 831 (DBV 831W), on return from the Blackpool Movin event which was also attended by our own 8001 (XBU 1S).
We are indebted to Stagecoach Group and in particular, Paul Lee the Engineering Director of Stagecoach North West, for finding this moquette, letting us acquire it and donating it to us without charge. This will certainly assist us greatly in returning the lower deck of the bus to its 1982 Motor Show condition bearing in mind that only this one vehicle ever carried sunburst moquette and the remainder of the fleet, 3002 onwards up to 3238, received salt and pepper moquette before the red herringbone coach seats were introduced.
Consequently on working day, Sunday 22nd August 2004, this moquette along with lower deck and backs which had been removed from 3001 were taken to GLG Coachtrimmers so re-trimming could commence.
3001 was collected from S & T Coach Painters on Tuesday evening, 17th August 2004, and driven the short distance to Whittakers of Penwortham where further work was carried on it. The chassis drive units and under the wheel arch were steam cleaned and spray painted with anti-corrosive grey paint and the whole exterior of the bus re-painted in its original white, orange and brown livery with the special brown line below the upper deck windows and white line on the lower deck beading, as depicted at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in 1982, and also it depicts brown rather than grey spigot mounted wheels.
The lower deck backs and the sunburst moquette that we had acquired from Stagecoach North Western were dropped off with Gordon Morris at GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers on working day Sunday 22nd August 2004 followed by the lower deck cushions on working day on Sunday 29th August 2004.
Mechanically the vehicle had a full service with particular attention paid to the power steering that had become inoperable and the problem with the rear nearside air suspension. The accelerator that was sticking in the cab was attended to and some of the fibreglass mouldings on the back end were lined up. Whilst the vehicle was at Whittakers of Penwortham, S & T visited to finish off some work, fitting the nearside upper deck window and replacing a driver’s windscreen that had been cracked whilst the bus had been at their premises. They also fitted glass to the unique destination display on the front of 3001 as it appeared at the Commercial Vehicle Motor Show and whilst based here the stair melamine area which had become damaged was replaced.
On Tuesday evening 7th September 2004 we visited Whittakers of Penwortham to fit the vehicle with a full set of external vinyls comprising white Greater Manchester Transport ‘M’ blem fleet names, legal address, fleet numbers and all the small ancillary transfers for the service areas of the vehicle, such as water, fuel, oil, emergency exits, etc. Also we had made the very special wording and fitted it to the nearside and offside just below the upper deck windows on the orange paintwork “The 1250th Standard Body supplied by Northern Counties to Greater Manchester”.
The vehicle was then MOT’d on Friday 10th September 2004 and the final job was to fit chrome spring loaded silver clips over to the hinge panels that had been fitted to the vehicle, the lower fibreglass front panel and the two rear ventilation panels, 26 in all.
On the following Monday 13th September 2004 we took 5001 to Whittakers of Penwortham for the MOT failure suspension work to be carried out for a re-test and at the same time collected and returned 3001 to our storage premises in Leigh. Thereafter on the next working day, Sunday 19thSeptember 2004, the entirety of the inside of 3001 was re-cleaned involving all the melamine, windows, cab area and various aspects of the paintwork were touched up. At the same time the lower deck seat backs and cushions were returned from GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers and fitted to the vehicle and new lenses were put on the front indicator/side light units and side indicator units. Because Gordon Morris at GLG Wigan Coach Trimmers used up all the sunburst moquette on the lower deck of the vehicle we were then faced with the dilemma as to what to do with the upper deck. We had originally selected a good set of seat backs and cushions for re-covering because of the condition of the brown melamine and a set of cushions that were in First Manchester red which would not be of any use to us. However, because the decision was taken to return the upper deck to the entirety of salt and pepper an enormous exercise went on during the day of sourcing at decent set of 19 salt and pepper seat backs and 19 salt and pepper cushions for all the double seat units and we sent off to GLG Coachtrimmers parts of the upper deck rear five seater unit for re-covering in salt and pepper.
On the following working day, Sunday 26th September 2004 the re-covered five seater unit for upper deck back was collected from GLG Coachtrimmers and refitted to the bus and all the very special internal transfers that we had made as depicted at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show were fitted. Some of these were in green and white, red and white, black on white and one yellow and black transfer and one blue and white transfer. We also fitted new Leyland scroll badges and an Olympian badge that we had made up.
It was noted at this late stage that the back of the driver’s seat was quite worn so we took it to our East Manchester premises to swap it with the good condition back on 3030 on Saturday 2nd October 2004 to discover the fitting was entirely different. We therefore dropped it off at GLG Coachtrimmers the following day, 3rd October 2004, for it to be re-trimmed in black hide and it was collected along with the two lower deck rear seat arms rests on Friday 8th October 2004 and fitted to the bus just one day before the Big Orange event of 9th October 2004. Also late on we had discovered that we had not replaced the black cab phone in the bus and this was fitted on this same Friday 8th October 2004, having been borrowed from 7232 which does not actually need it in its current state as an exhibition vehicle in any event.
Also again on the last day before the Big Orange event, Friday 8th October 2004, two brand new front wheels centre hubs were fitted with red metallic centres with silver Leyland scroll kindly sent to us by David Wall at North Birmingham Busways.
The vehicle was launched fully restored in 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show condition at the Big Orange event on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October 2004. The only aspect we had not managed to resolve by that time was the side and rear flip over electronic numbers because by the time we had fitted the three position units that had been serviced by Alliance Electronics in Sheffield which worked perfectly satisfactorily on the bench we realised that the wiring on 3001 related to the four position units taken out and we did not have a chance in the limited amount of time to re-wire it. However, except for this one minor difficulty the bus was fully completed.
3001 was joined at the Big Orange event with four other new restorations launched at the same time; 7032 (VNB 132L) open top Atlantean in the GM Buses grey, orange and whortleberry livery only it carried, 105 (HNB 24N) in GMT metropolitan orange and white livery applied to this short wheelbase single door Leyland National, 1751 (C751 YBA) the first of only 34 Dennis Domino chassis and the only remaining example with a Northern Counties body returned to the unique Centreline livery of orange, white, yellow and brown. Finally, member Colin McKay’s alloy framed Leyland Atlantean 8460 (SND 460X) in GM Buses white and orange “People on the Move” livery.
3001 - 3015
Northern Counties H43/30F
Bristol Olympian B45 - TL11-2R
1st February 1983 (1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show)
29th November 2001
The first production 'Standard' built on the Olympian chassis of which 305 were made and one of only 15 with a Leyland (as opposed to Gardner) engine. For its appearance at the 1982 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show it had a special design of brown/orange/yellow stripped moquette fitted and the wording 'The 1250th standard body supplied by Northern Counties to Greater Manchester' painted just below the upper deck windows.