Leyland National: Success or Failure?

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by GusB, 15 Sep 2017.

  1. High Dyke

    High Dyke Established Member

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    Lincolnshire Road car had a number in their fleet, when under the NBC, including various transfers in from elsewhere. After deregulation and sale to Yorkshire Traction other examples appeared, including short versions from places like Cumbria and an oddity which came via Stanley Gath, Dewsbury (THX 212S). A short wheelbase version with a Leopard gearchange unit, not the usual National type of unit; It was situated on the left hand side of the drivers seat. The vehicle was originally with London Transport, being LS212 in their fleet.
     
  2. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Speaking of London Transport, when they needed single deckers to help replace the Merlins, Swifts and the last of the Regals (the RFs) they bought a few Nationals to put up against a few Metro-Scanias ( LS against MS) and the LSs were better (or least worst, anyway!). They'll only ever be a footnote in the history of LT buses, but the Series 2 versions which plied the Red Arrow routes lasted a fair time and were quite well regarded.
     
  3. Arctic Troll

    Arctic Troll Established Member

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    I'd agree about that, the Lynx rely didn't come close to the National. My memory may be playing tricks, but I'm sure Go North East were still using nationals after their last lynx had gone.
     
  4. GusB

    GusB Member

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    As mentioned earlier in the thread, Western SMT/Western Scottish was the only SBG company not to take any new Nationals, but they eventually put a few second-hand examples into service. They were given a major overhaul beforehand, part of which involved moving the gear selector from right to left. I'd be interested to know if LS212 was built that way, or converted later.

    The Nationals had the potential to go on for far longer, and there were various experiments which saw them fitted with alternative engines, and of course the Greenway initiative which saw them completely stripped down and rebuilt. It was probably the introduction of the 10m Dennis Dart, which had a similar capacity to the short National, along with the growing trend towards true low-floor vehicles, that halted the refurbishment process.
     
  5. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Interesting thread. We did have Leyland Nationals in Devon, but I think we had far more Bristol VRs.
    When I worked for British Road Services after leaving school I remember that some of the DAF trucks we repaired had an updated version of the Leyland 680 engine and I think we still had the odd vehicle turn up with the original 680 in too, although they would have been quite old by then.
    We also had a Foden recovery lorry (an 8 wheeler ex ECC tipper) fitted with a 6cyl Gardner engine and it was an amazing machine capable of pulling anything and it never went wrong, I was in the cab when my workmate towed a fully laden articulated grain lorry from a standing start up Haldon Hill...
    I didn't realise that some of the Leyland Nationals had been fitted with Gardner engines and having done a bit of reading up about the subject today because of this thread I've definitely learnt a bit more about the subject. :)
     
  6. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    Yes I can remember seeing the Gardner logo on the back, and being told they were rather troublesome vehicles that the company wanted rid of even though they were still pretty new.
     
  7. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    I wonder if that was the engine giving trouble, or the transmission? It's interesting how many variations of engine etc there were in the end.
     
  8. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    I didn't enquire any further at the time, I must have been too preoccupied with annoyance that my local bus company was getting rid of shiny new busses in exchange for some rather more tired looking second hand ones :D
     
    Last edited: 17 Sep 2017
  9. Cowley

    Cowley Established Member

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    Haha. They got rid of all of ours and replaced them with Ford Transit bread vans!
     
  10. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I've experienced travel in the back of a bread van. Got so desperate for a lift at the bottom of the M1 in 1967 that when this bread van stopped my mate and I hopped in the back (I think the bread had been delivered already). We were aiming for Liverpool but only made it to Luton. So, Luton in the back of a bread van (might even have been a Luton, come to think of it): character forming, or what?:lol: I've managed to avoid Luton in intervening years and try to avoid minibus travel too!
     
  11. SteveHFC

    SteveHFC Member

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    I was a big fan of Nationals when I was growing up - went to school on People's Provincial services, which were predominately National operated along with a selection of Iveco minibuses.

    It's one bus I'd like to have a go at driving before my PCV licences expires in a couple of years time (I've not worked on the buses for the best part of 20 years).

    Favourite National was Provincial (3)75 (WFX253S) - it was renumbered 375 when it was added to their Portsmouth fleet in the late 80s.
     
  12. gazthomas

    gazthomas Established Member

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    I used to travel on Leyland Nationals from Conwy to Chester in the mid-1980's. Rattly and underpowered, especially up hills
     
  13. GusB

    GusB Member

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    We had 3 Nationals for the town service (GSO1-3V), then some bright spark decided that second-hand Dodgy S56 minibuses would be a far better idea. I didn't think anything could rattle as much!

    The Nationals all found homes in different parts of the Stagecoach empire, as did their registration marks which were transferred over to a batch of Olympians. They too eventually headed south (while we got ancient Bristol VRs in return - gee, thanks!) :)
     
  14. delt1c

    delt1c Member

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    In London they were used to replace RM's on several routes when converted to OPO. They worked well and gave little problems. Even Loughton garage which had some very hilly routes managed well with 100% LS fleet, I can't recall any failures on the 250. IN london the LS was the unsung hero
     
  15. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That was the case in many parts of the country, but a lot of Nationals ended up being sold on by NBC companies to independent operators. I've been doing some research into what happened to all the LNs belonging to my local company (West Yorkshire) and very few went straight for scrap when they were finished with.
     
  16. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    Coming back to the original question, it is difficult to answer as it became effectively the only vehicle available for large companies due to the way Leyland was allowed to swallow any competitor. That said, if the question was whether it was better than say a Seddon RU then the answer is yes. Than a Bristol RE3 can be debated.
     
  17. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Loughton never had RMs, of course, so no direct conversions there. Actually, I can't off-hand think of any direct conversions to LS from RM, but I stand to be corrected. I take your main point, though.
     
  18. delt1c

    delt1c Member

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    Never said Loughton had RM's, it had LS's for 250 and 1 other route then Titans were transfered and replaced by LS's. There were a couple of routes converterd to LS OPO, one in the Hammersmith area as i worked on the 11's and rember thinking it was strange to see an RM route converted to OPO LS
     
  19. GusB

    GusB Member

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    I wouldn't expect there to be many Nationals still in service in original condition, but does anyone know if any of the Greenways are still in service. I would assume that DDA requirements have done away with them on ordinary stage-carriage operation, but they still around on contract work anywhere?
     

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