Leyland Atlantean


Readers may find this (click here) anecdote of interest.

From 1958 to 1972 some nine-hundred buses were built for Tehran (Iran); the first batches up to 12/1967 were 250 AEC Regent V and the last batches from 1972 to 1974/5 comprised 650 Leyland Atlanteans; making the Shah of Persia PRV's most important overseas buyer.

Here is the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi [1919-1980]) - stepping out of one of his new Atlanteans circa 1972 (he is on the platform holding on to the vertical pole).  I don't know where this was pictured - it seems it might be an airfield - nor do I know who the man stepping vigorously off the platform is; anyone know? 
(Image from the Don Matthews collection)

An Atlantean without it's body panels isn't quite so interesting, is it!?

TCH 92 - Leyland Atlantean with Roe H44/34F body GO5145 built October 1960 for Trent; pictured at (probably) the 1960 Earls Court Commercial Motor show.

b49761_7-1.jpg (89647 bytes)b49761_7-2.jpg (84667 bytes)b49761_7-3.jpg (74424 bytes)b49761_7-4.jpg (67493 bytes)b49761_7-5.jpg (74727 bytes)b49761_7-6.jpg (66632 bytes) Registration Number 926MPT Built in April 1964 (Body Nos. B49764-7); for Stockton.

b49761_7-1.jpg (89647 bytes) Registration Number CWB340B Built in November 1964 (Body Nos. B51744); for Sheffield.

b52907-1.jpg (54000 bytes)b52907-2.jpg (54332 bytes)b52907-3.jpg (81360 bytes)b52907-4.jpg (83348 bytes)b52907-5.jpg (68901 bytes)b52907-6.jpg (80983 bytes) Registration Number KTD551C Built in January 1965 (Body No. B52907); for Leyland [Demonstrator].

b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-3.jpg (90969 bytes)b53284_95-4.jpg (67067 bytes) Registration Number JWJ193D Built in February 1966 (Body Nos. B53284-95); for Sheffield.

b51796_802-1.jpg (64563 bytes)b51796_802-2.jpg (58140 bytes)b51796_802-3.jpg (67393 bytes)b51796_802-4.jpg (67942 bytes) Registration Number NFT215D Built in May 1966 (Body Nos. B51796-9); for Stockton.

b52910_59-1.jpg (88727 bytes)b52910_59-2.jpg (84333 bytes)b52910_59-3.jpg (68543 bytes)b52910_59-4.jpg (86735 bytes)b52910_59-5.jpg (97358 bytes)b52910_59-6.jpg (74603 bytes) Registration Number CUV2C Built in May 1966 (Body Nos. B52910-59); for L.T.E.

b55832_47-1.jpg (85934 bytes)b55832_47-2.jpg (86912 bytes)b55832_47-3.jpg (79470 bytes)b55832_47-4.jpg (62360 bytes) Registration Number TWE114F Built in May 1966 (Body Nos. B55832-47); for Sheffield. One of this series of buses appears in the film "Memories of Trams, Buses & Trolleybuses" on the "PRVdesign Group" page.

b56868_907-1.jpg (109790 bytes)b56868_907-2.jpg (97141 bytes)b56868_907-3.jpg (71099 bytes)b56868_907-4.jpg (67702 bytes) Registration Number BWB555H Built in May 1966 (Body Nos. B56868-907); for Sheffield.

Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (Greater Stockholm Transport Board) operated Atlantean double-deckers bodied by Park Royal. Photos © Dick Hallström

Fifty Leyland double-deckers were also delivered in 1967, mostly running on ex-tramway lines in the town centre.  They were supposed to have the same seating capacity as a two-car tramway set but on some routes passengers didn't use the upper floor, and on other routes it was vice versa (there were problems with inappropriate activities on the upper deck during evenings & weekends). So, together with forty German Büssing double-deckers, all Leylands were scrapped after only 9 years.  Fortunately three Leylands are preserved in running condition; one at the Spårvägsmuseet (Stockholm Transport Museum) and two at the Svenska Spårvägssällskapet (Swedish Tramway Association).

Please visit the Svenska Omnibusföreningen (Swedish Omnibus Association) website where you will find links to photos and descriptions of their preserved buses (in Swedish but the Google toolbar translator largely solves the issue for those like me! Ed.).

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Registration Number A74533 Built in October 1967 (Body Nos. B54978-5027); for Stockholm. Click here to see detailed unofficial images of the first of this batch of 50 units, as it was in final production.

b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes)b53284_95-2.jpg (95117 bytes) Registration Number HVM924P Built in March 1968 (Body Nos. B55359-406); for Manchester.

b56823_42-1.jpg (102663 bytes)b56823_42-2.jpg (94241 bytes)b56823_42-3.jpg (63207 bytes)b56823_42-4.jpg (74071 bytes) Registration Number PRJ315G Built in July 1968 (Body Nos. B56823-42); for Salford.

b55744_73-1.jpg (97066 bytes)b55744_73-2.jpg (97066 bytes)b55744_73-3.jpg (76977 bytes)b55744_73-4.jpg (73764 bytes)b55744_73-5.jpg (67608 bytes)b55744_73-6.jpg (59656 bytes) Registration Number WWB214G Built in October 1968 (Body Nos. B55744-73); for Sheffield. One of this series of buses appears in the film "Memories of Trams, Buses & Trolleybuses" on the "PRVdesign Group" page.

b55974-1.jpg (101590 bytes)b55974-2.jpg (95837 bytes)b55974-3.jpg (65487 bytes)b55974-4.jpg (68462 bytes) Registration Number MTF665G Built in October 1968 (Body No. B55794); for Leyland [Demonstrator]. This bus appears in the film "Memories of Trams, Buses & Trolleybuses" on the "PRVdesign Group" page.

b56089_112-1.jpg (105509 bytes)b56089_112-2.jpg (100845 bytes)b56089_112-3.jpg (66571 bytes)b56089_112-4.jpg (74961 bytes) Registration Number JJY634G Built in November 1968 (Body Nos. B56089-112); for Plymouth.

b56136_45-1.jpg (97712 bytes)b56136_45-2.jpg (97712 bytes)b56136_45-3.jpg (97712 bytes)b56136_45-4.jpg (97712 bytes) Registration Number PBC113G Built in April 1969 (Body Nos. B56136-45); for Leicester.

b56722-1.jpg (103352 bytes)b56722-2.jpg (81855 bytes)b56722-3.jpg (65151 bytes)b56722-4.jpg (59748 bytes) Registration Number OCS817H Built in October 1969 (Body No. B56722); for T. E. Docherty.

b57014_53-1.jpg (103402 bytes)b57014_53-2.jpg (96904 bytes)b57014_53-3.jpg (67394 bytes)b57014_53-4.jpg (60591 bytes) Registration Number DWB676H Built in April 1970 (Body Nos. B57014-53); for Sheffield.

b57152_70-1.jpg (97598 bytes)b57152_70-2.jpg (94454 bytes)b57152_70-3.jpg (62032 bytes)b57152_70-4.jpg (67522 bytes) Registration Number MCO216H Built in May 1970 (Body Nos. B57152-70); for Plymouth.

b57211_44-1.jpg (107485 bytes)b57211_44-2.jpg (93525 bytes)b57211_44-3.jpg (70529 bytes)b57211_44-4.jpg (71917 bytes) Registration Number ONF853H Built in September 1970 (Body Nos. B57211-44); for Selnec P.T.E. 

b58161_75-1.jpg (108122 bytes)b58161_75-2.jpg (104915 bytes)b58161_75-3.jpg (61313 bytes)b58161_75-4.jpg (52735 bytes) Registration Number NDR506J Built March 1971 (Body Nos. B58161-75); for Plymouth.

Registration Number JPL104K Built in April 1972 (Body No. B58337); alongside AEC Reliance JPA169K Built in March 1972 (Body No. B58313); both for London Country Buses and shown here at the PRV works. 

b59723_867-1.jpg (62328 bytes) Registration Number XJA506L Built in October 1972 (Body Nos. B59723-67); for SELNEC.

b60592_633-1.jpg (97935 bytes)b60592_633-2.jpg (84234 bytes)b60592_633-3.jpg (69805 bytes)b60592_633-4.jpg (77495 bytes)b60592_633-5.jpg (88738 bytes)b60592_633-6.jpg (68886 bytes)b60592_633-7.jpg (66836 bytes) Registration Number RTF624M Built in December 1973 (Body Nos. B60592-633); for Ribble.


Registration Number RTF614M Built in January 1974 (Body Nos. B60594); for Ribble.

b60634_54-1.jpg (97930 bytes)b60634_54-2.jpg (97930 bytes)b60634_54-3.jpg (61911 bytes)b60634_54-4.jpg (57371 bytes)b60634_54-5.jpg (62646 bytes)b60634_54-6.jpg (66858 bytes)b60634_54-7.jpg (66543 bytes) Registration Number OTY412M Built in March 1974 (Body Nos. B60634-54); for Northern General.

b60655_7-3.jpg (60670 bytes)b60655_7-4.jpg (71834 bytes)b60655_7-5.jpg (73920 bytes)b60655_7-6.jpg (63134 bytes)b60655_7-7.jpg (65244 bytes) Registration Number VPB123M Built in May 1974 (Body Nos. B60655-7); for London Country.

b60658_64-1.jpg (102483 bytes)b60658_64-2.jpg (93212 bytes)b60658_64-3.jpg (54533 bytes)b60658_64-4.jpg (61021 bytes)b60658_64-5.jpg (59437 bytes)b60658_64-6.jpg (60875 bytes)b60658_64-7.jpg (65588 bytes) Registration Number PUF131M Built in May 1974 (Body Nos. B60658-84); for Southdown.

b60882_36-1.jpg (104843 bytes)b60882_36-2.jpg (93717 bytes)b60882_36-3.jpg (58463 bytes)b60882_36-4.jpg (58732 bytes)b60882_36-5.jpg (53861 bytes)b60882_36-6.jpg (65179 bytes)b60882_36-7.jpg (74357 bytes) Registration Number GDR208N Built in April 1975 (Body Nos. B60822-36); for Plymouth.

b60224_323-1.jpg (96623 bytes) Registration Number JOV629P Built in September 1975 (Body Nos. B60224-323); for West Midlands.

b61730_63-1.jpg (83265 bytes)b61730_63-2.jpg (83265 bytes)b61730_63-3.jpg (81274 bytes)b61730_63-4.jpg (73246 bytes)b61730_63-5.jpg (74013 bytes)b61730_63-6.jpg (77265 bytes)b61730_63-7.jpg (85787 bytes) Registration Number NRN400P Built in April 1976 (Body Nos. B61730-63); for Ribble. (Photographs Copyright © (3)).

One of the same batch NRN397P (Ribble 1397) built in April 1976 (Body No. B61756) has been undergoing renovation at the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust since 2008.  Evidently in a shocking state, the extensive renovation has clearly been arduous as can be witnessed by following the work on the RVPT's forum entries dedicated to the process (see NRN397P in renovation).

Jonathan Cadwallader has kindly sent in photographs that can be seen on the NRN397P page. 

Registration Numbers WVM884-9 (5 is missing) built in July 1978 (Body Nos. B61584-703); for Greater Manchester.  


Jeffrey Ornstein sent me a link to a YouTube video of Leyland Atlanteans in New York, USA. PRV built eight of these for the New York City Transit Authority in August 1976.  They were body numbers B62061-8 (type H43/29D) and were on Leyland Atlantean chassis type AN68.

Click here for Leyland Atlanteans with PRV Bodywork in New York City


Registration Number A74501 Built in September 1967 (Body No. B54978); for Stockholm. This is the first of the batch of 50 units for Stockholm of which the official photographs of a sample are found above. The images below are unofficial photographs taken as the first unit was in final production. Click here for a the official photographs of a pre-delivery vehicle.

You may notice, in the monochrome images below, how this bus differs from the bus shown in the official photographs - it is much darker - and it probably wasn't.  Stockholm's buses at the time were in a livery of deep red with a cream upper section or stripe.  So why the difference in the images?

The images below may have been taken on orthochromatic negative film that, being insensitive to red, rendered red as almost black on a positive print - because the red areas of the negative are unexposed and virtually clear. The panchromatic film, used in the official photographs, being sensitive to red, rendered it as a distinct shade of grey.  Note; panchromatic film is less sensitive to green which results in greenery being relatively dark, whilst the opposite is true for orthochromatic film. 

However, by the 1930's panchromatic film superseded orthochromatic film and, although much stock remained available for many years, it is unlikely that it was being used in the '60's. So is there another explanation?  Well, yes, there is!  A cyan filter over the lens would reduce the transmission of red light and thus produce the same result (red showing as black rather than grey) on prints from panchromatic film.  However, whilst these photographs are quite good, they are clearly amateur and, in my opinion, it is unlikely that such an otherwise rarely used filter would be employed.

The most likely explanation is that the images are direct prints from colour negatives that tend to be lacking in contrast due to the overall reddish-orange tinge used for colour-masking.  Monochrome photographic paper is orthochromatic (insensitive to red and more blue/green sensitive so can be developed in red light) and since colour negatives are colour-reversed with positive red appearing as cyan-green, the red parts, that are cyan-green on the negative, would cause cyan-green light to be shone on the monochrome photographic paper and with the paper being sensitive to blue-green-cyan that part of the image would appear much darker. Ed. [Ok, so maybe they painted the first one black!]

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Registration Number 681KD, Built in February 1964, is a Metro Cammell bodied Atlantean PDR1/1 for Liverpool Corporation; fleet number L681. Jonathan Cadwallader advises that that the images were taken at Liverpool Corporation's Edge Lane Works. "Older, front-engined buses in for overhaul are visible through the windows in at least two of the images."  He also suggests the photographs are not of a newly built bus judging by the chassis picture and the internal advertisements displayed on the lower deck. (I agree this is undoubtedly certain as one of the chassis images shows a fair amount of road grime and the tyres are unclean. Ed.)

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(Photographs Copyright © (4)).

Jonathan further comments that 681KD was one of 380 broadly similar MCW bodied PDR1/1 Atlanteans bought by Liverpool Corporation. The design was innovative and apparently widely admired, though only Bury and Oldham Corporations ordered similar bodies from Metro-Cammell. The interiors were relatively spartan with quite a lot of bare aluminium panels. The first batch was registered 500 KD - 699KD (with fleet numbers L500 - L699) and were delivered from November 1962 (501KD is preserved by the Merseyside Transport Trust and here it is during Easter 2011).

In July the following year it was decided to order a further 120 and although a contract was eventually placed with Metro-Cammell, five other bodybuilders submitted tenders for the work, including Willowbrook, Strachans, Alexanders and Park Royal.  Without a date on the photos of L681 we cannot be certain, but I would speculate that, before submitting their tender, Park Royal sent a photographer to Edge Lane Works to make a record of the sort of finish and appearance that Liverpool Corporation was expecting. By the time that tenders were invited all of the first batch were in service, so L681, being one of the last to be delivered, was selected to be the subject for the photographer

So, that's my theory. Park Royal lost out but the photographs survived in their archive. Of course, it's also possible that Liverpool took the photographs themselves and sent a set to each of the bidding coachbuilders. 

Editor: I think Jonathan may well be correct in his analysis of how the photographs came to be in the PRV archives. However these photographs are marked with LTB Director of Research, Chiswick as the copyright holder and that probably doesn't mean that they are actually from their photographer; merely stamped as incoming to that department.  I think it most likely that LTB were "looking" at the Atlantean as an OPO vehicle to replace (run alongside) Routemasters, the production of which was in decline by the mid 60's. It's quite likely that LTB were in touch with Liverpool Corporation over this and LTB obtained the images (probably from the Corporation) and passed them to PRV as PRV were their preferred supplier. (Can anyone comment further?)