Leyland Olympian History

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Statto

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Merseyside PTE had it's heart set on Atlanteans [seeing as it's predecessor had the first one] so never brought many Olympians, apart from the evaluation fleet, Merseybus bought a batch of 70 Olympians in 88/89 first 15 & last few of the batch went to Laird Street.

GMPTE though, went with Olympians on NC body from early on, with a revised destination blind compared with the other GMPE types
 
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A0wen

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Merseyside PTE had it's heart set on Atlanteans [seeing as it's predecessor had the first one] so never brought many Olympians, apart from the evaluation fleet, Merseybus brought a batch of 70 Olympians in 88/89 first 15 & last few of the batch went to Laird Street.

GMPTE though, went with Olympians on NC body from early on, with a revised destination blind compared with the other GMPE types

Presumably GMPTE needed new vehicles where Merseyside didn't?

GMPTE also wanted Titans but don't think they ever got their full order.

Probably the most seamless transition from Atlantean to Olympian was London Country who got their last Atlantean in Feb 1981 (W reg) and their first Olympian in April 1982 (X reg).
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Presumably GMPTE needed new vehicles where Merseyside didn't?

GMPTE also wanted Titans but don't think they ever got their full order.

Probably the most seamless transition from Atlantean to Olympian was London Country who got their last Atlantean in Feb 1981 (W reg) and their first Olympian in April 1982 (X reg).
Northern General received Atlanteans in Dec 1980 and their first Atlanteans in Aug 1981.

However, Ribble had pre-production Olympians before receiving their last Atlanteans but keeping to production examples, the last Atlanteans arrived in Jan 1981 with Olympians arriving in Jun 81.
 

DunsBus

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Lothian took its last Atlanteans between August and November 1981, then its first Olympians in March 1982. The Olympians were replacements for two Titans which were ordered and subsequently cancelled.
 

jammy36

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Plymouth were a loyal Leyland customer who took some 254 Atlanteans between June 1960 and December 1981 when their last Atlantean arrived (TTT171X). Three Olympians were then delivered in March 1982 (TTT172-174X with body numbers running consecutively from the Atlanteans) and then no more. The three Olympians only lasted a handful of years in Plymouth before being sold on. In fact one of the original 1960 batch of Atlanteans TCO537 would outlive the Olympians, being retained in ancillary use at Plymouth until 1989.
 

GusB

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This thread has been started to continue discussion of the Leyland Olympian, and follows on from the earlier posts in this thread (posts #1-5 have been copied over):

I have a particular interest in the Olympian for a few reasons. First of all, double-deckers were rare in my rural neck of the woods; we had a handful of ageing Fleetlines and another handful of even older Bristol FLFs which were primarily used for school contract work and I might occasionally get to travel on a Fleetline which was allocated to the free Fine Fare (later ASDA) bus during school holidays.

Secondly, it was a model that was present throughout much of my life and essentially was the double-decker of my generation. Up here we had a handful of the Northern Scottish's ECW-bodied TSO-X batch, soon to be followed by a few of the B-LSO intake. The former had semi-automatic transmission while the latter had 3-speed Voith gearboxes and I was struck by how different they sounded. There was a brief period of time when the Grampian Scottish project was coming to an end (pending de-regulation) and we had a load transferred from Aberdeen to assist with repainting from the green/cream livery that they carried into the then-new Aberdeen Citybus colours.

Finally, the Olympian had a fairly nomadic existence in terms of production. It started off being built in Bristol, moved to Workington, moved to Farington briefly and then back to Workington before ultimately ending up as a Volvo product and being built at Irvine.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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This thread has been started to continue discussion of the Leyland Olympian, and follows on from the earlier posts in this thread (posts #1-5 have been copied over):

I have a particular interest in the Olympian for a few reasons. First of all, double-deckers were rare in my rural neck of the woods; we had a handful of ageing Fleetlines and another handful of even older Bristol FLFs which were primarily used for school contract work and I might occasionally get to travel on a Fleetline which was allocated to the free Fine Fare (later ASDA) bus during school holidays.

Secondly, it was a model that was present throughout much of my life and essentially was the double-decker of my generation. Up here we had a handful of the Northern Scottish's ECW-bodied TSO-X batch, soon to be followed by a few of the B-LSO intake. The former had semi-automatic transmission while the latter had 3-speed Voith gearboxes and I was struck by how different they sounded. There was a brief period of time when the Grampian Scottish project was coming to an end (pending de-regulation) and we had a load transferred from Aberdeen to assist with repainting from the green/cream livery that they carried into the then-new Aberdeen Citybus colours.

Finally, the Olympian had a fairly nomadic existence in terms of production. It started off being built in Bristol, moved to Workington, moved to Farington briefly and then back to Workington before ultimately ending up as a Volvo product and being built at Irvine.

My first journey on an Olympian was probably on one of the pair that United's Darlington depot received in Dec 82/Jan 83, so probably in early 1983. I'd seen Olympians in Buses magazine and also Northern ones on Tyneside but these were the first I'd been on and they were so different from the usual VRs. Incidentally, Northern was getting their Olympians whilst United was still getting their final VRs. One of the first United Olympians went to Ripon depot for their share of the Leeds service but it was quickly revealed that they had smaller fuel tanks and so couldn't do a full days' work so was swapped for one of the last VRs.

I don't do bus rallies and running days so my final Olympian journeys were some time ago. In 2014, I lived in Northampton and had a days' holiday to burn so headed off for a day out. I never plan to travel on particular buses; I just plan a route to go to interesting places and see what turns up. Eventually, I reached Stratford and instead of the usual Stagecoach Trident, the X16 was an L reg Northern Counties example which was in rude health for a 20-year-old machine. I thought that was going to be it but I was surprised when I got to Northampton and my final bus was an Olympian instead of the usual e200. Even as we headed to Hunsbury, I contemplated that this would be my last trip on an Olympian.

That was it, or so I thought, but I was on holiday in Cornwall in 2017 and travelled to Falmouth; First Kernow was using their final closed top example on the Park and Ride contract (credit to photographer) which was an unexpected bonus! https://www.flickr.com/photos/busbo...F-UP2rfA-YEC44H-VkAuU3-2g9vFeJ-Tpsw9Q-2fc9Kaa
 

bobslack1982

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The prototype Olympian with the Bristol VR front panel always looked odd to me. (Not my image)


Probably in a minority but I liked the look of the TWPTE Olympians (C-LFT models) with the HELP bumpers. (Not my image)

 
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Swanny200

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This thread has been started to continue discussion of the Leyland Olympian, and follows on from the earlier posts in this thread (posts #1-5 have been copied over):

I have a particular interest in the Olympian for a few reasons. First of all, double-deckers were rare in my rural neck of the woods; we had a handful of ageing Fleetlines and another handful of even older Bristol FLFs which were primarily used for school contract work and I might occasionally get to travel on a Fleetline which was allocated to the free Fine Fare (later ASDA) bus during school holidays.

Secondly, it was a model that was present throughout much of my life and essentially was the double-decker of my generation. Up here we had a handful of the Northern Scottish's ECW-bodied TSO-X batch, soon to be followed by a few of the B-LSO intake. The former had semi-automatic transmission while the latter had 3-speed Voith gearboxes and I was struck by how different they sounded. There was a brief period of time when the Grampian Scottish project was coming to an end (pending de-regulation) and we had a load transferred from Aberdeen to assist with repainting from the green/cream livery that they carried into the then-new Aberdeen Citybus colours.

Finally, the Olympian had a fairly nomadic existence in terms of production. It started off being built in Bristol, moved to Workington, moved to Farington briefly and then back to Workington before ultimately ending up as a Volvo product and being built at Irvine.
Northern Scottish had the SSA-X batch first which saw life in many colours, the Yellow, the yellow and blue and the green, they had the Alexander bodywork and were for a while used on the 59 route, then there was as you say the TSO-X batch, then the YSO-Y and A-FRS batches with Alexander bodywork which was about the same time that Grampian followed with their A-FSA batch, then Grampian and Norther Scottish got their B-MSO and B-LSO batches respectively. It did make me wonder why Northern switched briefly from Alexander to ECW then back again? I know that Lothian gained a couple of X reg olympians 666 and 667 (666 unlucky enough to be involved in a fire) but had originally ordered Titans.

I called this shape the Mk1 Alexander RL Olympian with the mk2 being the later E and F reg intake.
 

GusB

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Northern Scottish had the SSA-X batch first which saw life in many colours, the Yellow, the yellow and blue and the green, they had the Alexander bodywork and were for a while used on the 59 route, then there was as you say the TSO-X batch, then the YSO-Y and A-FRS batches with Alexander bodywork which was about the same time that Grampian followed with their A-FSA batch, then Grampian and Norther Scottish got their B-MSO and B-LSO batches respectively. It did make me wonder why Northern switched briefly from Alexander to ECW then back again? I know that Lothian gained a couple of X reg olympians 666 and 667 (666 unlucky enough to be involved in a fire) but had originally ordered Titans.

I called this shape the Mk1 Alexander RL Olympian with the mk2 being the later E and F reg intake.
I suspect the switch to ECW for a brief period of time was possibly for similar reasons as Lothian switched, ie Leyland undercut Alexander on price, but that's just purely speculation on my part.

We didn't see any of the original Alexander examples here until later on when NLO6 (SSA6X) was transferred. The next two Alexander batches passed us by, until they started the repaints into Citybus livery. NLO39,42 and 43 moved up, received their new colours but didn't make back to Aberdeen, presumably because the dual-door examples would have been entering service in the city around that time. We also had NLO1 (OMS910W) for a while. It was the only ECW Olympian in the fleet to be fully-automatic and again it received Citybus colours without every seeing service in the city fleet again. It, together with NLO15 (TSO15X) were transferred to Western/Clydeside, although I believe these vehicles were reunited with their siblings at Perth after Stagecoach's purchase of Western.
 

Whisky Papa

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Merseyside PTE had it's heart set on Atlanteans [seeing as it's predecessor had the first one] so never brought many Olympians, apart from the evaluation fleet, Merseybus bought a batch of 70 Olympians in 88/89 first 15 & last few of the batch went to Laird Street.

GMPTE though, went with Olympians on NC body from early on, with a revised destination blind compared with the other GMPE types
Indeed they did - my first encounter with one was when conducting from Northenden garage one evening (after a day in the Schedules Office at Stockport). This is the Portway terminus of the 100 in Wythenshawe, sadly I can't be certain of a date but the bus would have been pretty new. My driver (and photographer) was the late Pat Keeley, later to found Tame Valley in Hyde. I'd never ridden on the odd-looking prototype 1451 which was based at Queens Road, although I was party to discussions about the best use of its novel single-line electronic destination display.

Olympian GMT Reduced.jpg

At that time I never thought I'd be driving Olympians of various sorts for a living a few years down the line!
 

Swanny200

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I suspect the switch to ECW for a brief period of time was possibly for similar reasons as Lothian switched, ie Leyland undercut Alexander on price, but that's just purely speculation on my part.

We didn't see any of the original Alexander examples here until later on when NLO6 (SSA6X) was transferred. The next two Alexander batches passed us by, until they started the repaints into Citybus livery. NLO39,42 and 43 moved up, received their new colours but didn't make back to Aberdeen, presumably because the dual-door examples would have been entering service in the city around that time. We also had NLO1 (OMS910W) for a while. It was the only ECW Olympian in the fleet to be fully-automatic and again it received Citybus colours without every seeing service in the city fleet again. It, together with NLO15 (TSO15X) were transferred to Western/Clydeside, although I believe these vehicles were reunited with their siblings at Perth after Stagecoach's purchase of Western.
I know a lot of the Northern Scottish buses and some of the coach fleet ended up at Strathtay including some of the early X reg Olympians.
 

PG

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Finally, the Olympian had a fairly nomadic existence in terms of production. It started off being built in Bristol, moved to Workington, moved to Farington briefly and then back to Workington before ultimately ending up as a Volvo product and being built at Irvine.
One of the differences between those built at Bristol verses elsewhere was the location of the radiator cap. On Bristol built buses it was on the rear at the offside, while later buses has it on the offside at the rear. Both were 'fun' for the vertically challenged to top-up due to being over 5 feet above the ground, which invariably resulted in a lovely trickle of antifreeze down your arm as you struggled with the watering can held above your head :s
 

GusB

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One of the differences between those built at Bristol verses elsewhere was the location of the radiator cap. On Bristol built buses it was on the rear at the offside, while later buses has it on the offside at the rear. Both were 'fun' for the vertically challenged to top-up due to being over 5 feet above the ground, which invariably resulted in a lovely trickle of antifreeze down your arm as you struggled with the watering can held above your head :s
It's these little details that I love about these threads :)
 

Devon Sunset

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The first batch that Eastern Scottish got were the ULS-X ECW bodied ones with Gardner engines. Subsequent deliveries had Alexander bodies and from the B reg batch onwards TL11 engines which were much faster in both acceleration and top speed. Lowland bought 901/2 which had coach seating and could get up to about 65mph for the East Lothian express services. There was also the 2 bought for Citylink work with Alexander RLC coach bodies (CLL144/5?). First then bought some of the last Volvo Olympians with Royale bodies and split steps which were decent.
 

Swanny200

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The first batch that Eastern Scottish got were the ULS-X ECW bodied ones with Gardner engines. Subsequent deliveries had Alexander bodies and from the B reg batch onwards TL11 engines which were much faster in both acceleration and top speed. Lowland bought 901/2 which had coach seating and could get up to about 65mph for the East Lothian express services. There was also the 2 bought for Citylink work with Alexander RLC coach bodies (CLL144/5?). First then bought some of the last Volvo Olympians with Royale bodies and split steps which were decent.
I always thought all 4 of the Coach bodies were on Olympian chassis, but the Fife and Western examples were on B10M-50 chassis, always wondered if there was potential for more of the RLC/RVC, especially for the likes of Stagecoach but I don't think they were ever specified with a toilet. I don't know if any of the RLC or RVC bodies exist anymore, I know that the Western Scottish RVC was converted by East Lancs into a single decker, and B145GSC which was one of the Eastern batch ended up in the fleet of WJC via being a Jesus Army Bus and I expect was scrapped along with the majority of the fleet when the company went bust.

Edit: WLC had a few rarities, they also had the "Ebdon's Olympian", which had an ECW body and what looked like a Royal Tiger Doyen grille.
 

GusB

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*LL144 was apparently burned out, according to the comments on this flickr image (by georgeupstairs)
 

Swanny200

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*LL144 was apparently burned out, according to the comments on this flickr image (by georgeupstairs)
which probably means that out of the 4, none remain, two of the others were rebodied when they went to Rhondda and the Jesus Army bus would have more than likely ended up scrapped when WJC lost their licence and went under, out of all of the WJC stock, only a couple of the rare ones ended up going elsewhere, XSA 5Y which was the unique B57 bus, new to Northern Scottish and a double deck C reg coach whick I believe was one of the highest bodied Van Hool coaches ever seen in the UK, I'm not sure much of the rest ended up more than scrap which is a shame as there was a few that if I had the money I would have saved.
 

GusB

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After some digging I've found out a bit more about *LL144 (warning, contains an image which some viewers may find upsetting!)

Edited to correct fleet number - thanks @carlberry :)
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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The first batch that Eastern Scottish got were the ULS-X ECW bodied ones with Gardner engines. Subsequent deliveries had Alexander bodies and from the B reg batch onwards TL11 engines which were much faster in both acceleration and top speed. Lowland bought 901/2 which had coach seating and could get up to about 65mph for the East Lothian express services. There was also the 2 bought for Citylink work with Alexander RLC coach bodies (CLL144/5?). First then bought some of the last Volvo Olympians with Royale bodies and split steps which were decent.
The difference between the most pedestrian Gardner 6LXB and the fast TL11 was quite noticeable.

I think Eastern's Dunbar depot got a number of Olympians for the 106 in LL116 ALS116Y, LL143 A143BSC, and LL159/160 B159/160KSC. The latter two were TL11 and must have been a good tool for the A1 ahead of the arrival of 901/2.
 

Bristol LH

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My last trip on an Olympian was in Gibraltar in February 2019. This was courtesy of Calypso Transport, who were still operating left-hand drive G 77960, which is fitted with an ECW dual-door body and a Leyland TL11 engine. She was new as a Leyland demonstrator in 1981 and spent a period in Iraq when relatively new, though this didn't lead to any orders. She was employed on the service between the Spanish frontier and the centre of Gibraltar, going back and forth every half hour and not overexerting herself. A remarkable survivor.

I know that she was still in use later in 2019, but I haven't heard anything of her since.

Lovely 'Lympian - 7 | Being only the sixth Leyland Olympian … | Flickr
 

Swanny200

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My last trip on an Olympian was in Gibraltar in February 2019. This was courtesy of Calypso Transport, who were still operating left-hand drive G 77960, which is fitted with an ECW dual-door body and a Leyland TL11 engine. She was new as a Leyland demonstrator in 1981 and spent a period in Iraq when relatively new, though this didn't lead to any orders. She was employed on the service between the Spanish frontier and the centre of Gibraltar, going back and forth every half hour and not overexerting herself. A remarkable survivor.

I know that she was still in use later in 2019, but I haven't heard anything of her since.

Lovely 'Lympian - 7 | Being only the sixth Leyland Olympian … | Flickr
Looks good for nearly 40 years old if she is still going, if she was used on that route from 1990 when Calypso bought it, with no hills and not being overworked, it could still be there for long while yet.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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One place that didn't have too many Olympians was Wales. National Welsh had 10 new, SWT had 7, though Crosville had a few more with some new for the Cymru Coastliner and around Wrexham but also quite a few in places like Holyhead and Pwllheli!

Of the municipals, Cardiff had a small number and Inter Valley Link had 3.
 

Swanny200

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One place that didn't have too many Olympians was Wales. National Welsh had 10 new, SWT had 7, though Crosville had a few more with some new for the Cymru Coastliner and around Wrexham but also quite a few in places like Holyhead and Pwllheli!

Of the municipals, Cardiff had a small number and Inter Valley Link had 3.
SWT had a couple of the ECW coach bodied ones that were new to Eastern National for the Cardiff to Swansea link, same style body as the Invictaway Olympians that Maidstone and District used, I don't know how many companies had them, I know apart from Eastern National and M&D, Thames Valley and Aldershot had some too and one of the Newcastle companies possibly Armstrong Galley
 

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The last time I went on an Olympian was 2019 too. It was a yellow and white Skills Coaches ex Dublin Olympian running a shuttle service between the tram at Nottingham Station to the City Ground. It was rammed with football fans such as myself, so there were no seats left. The Dublin Olympians were quite short so they didn't have loads of seats, they also have an ugly green interior.
The contract was then run by Tridents formerly used on Uni services, then it passed to CT4N who use Tempos, Versas and their one OmniDekka.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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SWT had a couple of the ECW coach bodied ones that were new to Eastern National for the Cardiff to Swansea link, same style body as the Invictaway Olympians that Maidstone and District used, I don't know how many companies had them, I know apart from Eastern National and M&D, Thames Valley and Aldershot had some too and one of the Newcastle companies possibly Armstrong Galley
The ECW Olympian coaches were new to Eastern National, Alder Valley, Maidstone & District and London Country, as well as Wessex with the prototype.

The only ones in Newcastle, AFAIK, were ex LC/M&D ones that ended up with Northumbria eventually.

SWT/First Cymru obviously received more secondhand ones in due course.
 

Tempest3K

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I know that she was still in use later in 2019, but I haven't heard anything of her since.

Was running in Jan 2020 when I was there, remember doing a double take when I saw it coming towards me as I walked over the border into Gib!
 

Swanny200

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The ECW Olympian coaches were new to Eastern National, Alder Valley, Maidstone & District and London Country, as well as Wessex with the prototype.

The only ones in Newcastle, AFAIK, were ex LC/M&D ones that ended up with Northumbria eventually.

SWT/First Cymru obviously received more secondhand ones in due course.
Yes, you are correct, memory has kicked back in, the C-GKE batch ended up with Northumbria and then one or two ended up at Clydeside later on in life
 

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The difference between the most pedestrian Gardner 6LXB and the fast TL11 was quite noticeable.

I think Eastern's Dunbar depot got a number of Olympians for the 106 in LL116 ALS116Y, LL143 A143BSC, and LL159/160 B159/160KSC. The latter two were TL11 and must have been a good tool for the A1 ahead of the arrival of 901/2.
Dunbar had three Olympians allocated in Eastern Scottish days - LL116/43/59. All passed to Lowland in 1985, with LL160 joining them the following year. When 901/2 arrived in 1987, LL143 was upgraded with coach seats then transferred to Galashiels for use on the 62.
 

Devon Sunset

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The dif
The difference between the most pedestrian Gardner 6LXB and the fast TL11 was quite noticeable.

I think Eastern's Dunbar depot got a number of Olympians for the 106 in LL116 ALS116Y, LL143 A143BSC, and LL159/160 B159/160KSC. The latter two were TL11 and must have been a good tool for the A1 ahead of the arrival of 901/2.
The difference between the Gardner and the TL11 was massive. The Gardner was fine for city work with a top speed of around 48mph but the TL11 would easily get into the mid 50’s and was quicker all round. Dunbar had a special place in my heart, my dad started there as a conductor and I had a lot of relatives there. Sadly now a supermarket.
 
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