Leyland Atlantean - NRN397P

Since 2008, the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust has been renovating the PRV bodied Leyland Atlantean NRN397P (Ribble 1397) built in April 1976 (Body No. B61756).  Evidently in a shocking state, the photographs immediately below show one of the same batch (NRN400P) in its new pristine state in 1976.

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 above Copyright © (3)).

The extensive renovation has clearly been arduous and is witnessed by the images below all of which have been kindly provided by Jonathan Cadwallader:

These taken on the 22nd April 2012 when NRN397P had a temporary reinforcing frame installed to prevent the upper deck collapsing. The corrosion of the body pillars and waist rails was so bad that they all required replacement from just above the lower deck windows.  At the time, whilst that work had yet to begin in earnest, the bus had to be moved carefully in order to access other vehicles. 

And these on the 19th February 2013. 

And this on the 15th of October 2013............... 

And now, photographed by Geoff Meek of the RVPT during March/April 2014, showing the recent progress.  Jonathan Cadwallader explains that a great deal of what is shown here is brand new as the condition of the bus was very poor when work began, many parts either missing or severely corroded beyond repair. Some components have been recovered from VPA153S, a similar vehicle new to London Country.  (Atlantean VPA 153S, Body No. B62533 was built June 1978 for London Country Fleet No. AN153. Ed.)

And now in May 2014, again photographed by Geoff Meek of the RVPT, progress shows that all the windows have now been installed, together with the lower deck emergency door. Work continues on internal panelling, the electrical systems and on connecting the engine, brakes & throttle etc.

Now by August 19th 2014 Jonathan Cadwallader's images show that the internal lighting is in place and the majority of the seats are installed on both decks. Destination blinds have just been fitted and work continues on the driver's cab.  The reconditioned engine was recently fired up for the first time.  Other than repainting, most of the remaining work is some wiring and the fitting of air pipes and ancillary equipment under the floor that will be difficult to photograph, so it may be some time before there are any worthwhile images to display; however, it should only be a few months from now to when 1397 is back on the road.

Saturday the 18th of October 2014 was an important occasion because a major reorganisation of the main shed required many vehicles to be moved, including 1397, that for the first time in preservation happened under her own power. Although still some way from being finished, work has been continuing on the air and electrical systems.

March 17th 2015 shows the driver's cab almost complete. 

Most of the static testing has now been carried out and, in the next few weeks, 1397 will be road tested and any faults found and rectified before she is presented for an MoT test. Once a certificate has been granted, she will be sent to a professional coachpainter to receive the original NBC Poppy Red livery as delivered to Ribble. All being well 1397 will be fit for the road before the end of May 2015 (photos & information by Jonathan Cadwallader).  

March 31st 2015; and after seven long years the renovation work of this 39-year-old bus is complete. Here photographed by Jonathan Cadwallader whilst being tested within the yard at Freckleton on Tuesday, NRN397P is ready for a road test and, if all goes well, an MOT test will follow before an appointment with a paint shop in Blackpool for a coat of poppy red. 

1397 should be carrying passengers at the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust's Morecambe running day.
(see http://www.rvpt.co.uk/morecambe-running-day-display)

It's now August 2015 and Jonathan Cadwallader writes; unfortunately 1397 did not appear at RVPT's Morecambe running day!  A disaster with the paint formulation meant that the initial application of paint had to be completely removed and the bus rubbed down again before repainting.  This caused a significant delay.  However, the second attempt has been successful and an MOT test has now been completed.  This leaves only minor details to be resolved.

In the first image 1397 is passing a Burlingham bodied PD3/4 that will be a donor bus for a similar vehicle in due course, and in the second image 1397 is seen passing B900 WRN (fleet #900), the only 1980s era Leyland Tiger that Ribble had. The fleetname RIBBLE, on the rear bustle, is too large but it will be staying that way for the time being!  It is now planned to use 1397 for the first time at our Lytham Hall Running Day on 31st August. (The completed paint job looks superb. Ed.)

And finally; at least for NRN 397P, Jonathan Cadwallader writes; our 1976 Atlantean (fleet number 1397; registration NRN 397P) did run at our event at Lytham Hall. The images below show one at the Hall in the sunshine with a Lytham PD2 and the other later in the day by the Ribble estuary after the clouds had gathered. I think that there was a slight blow in the exhaust system but other than that she ran very well.  We had a static display at the Hall and ran several of our fleet through the grounds and around the town every 10 minutes. Our 1931 Leyland Lion 1161 (fleet number 1161; registration CK 4518) had fuel problems early in the day and is seen about three minutes in backfiring repeatedly. All is well now!

Here is a video of the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRos_1-KeB8

Well this is the final chapter in this tale of renovation & preservation and I am pleased to have had the opportunity of displaying these images and Jonathan Cadwallader's comments on this site. Congratulations to all involved! Ed.