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  • Leyland National buses

    I saw one on the road today for the first time in(in all it's handsome, rugged glory) roughly 15 years and it bought a whole load of childhood memories of riding on a Leyland National as a kid. From the noisy but distinctive sound of it's engine and transmission, the leather straps for standing passengers to hold, to the leather seats and the way the change in the driver's compartment would rattle as the bus went over a bump! How I just love these old buses. Then Midland Red got rid of them in the late 1980s and they were replaced by Mercedes=Benz 'Hopper' mini buses which were rubbish. I don't know a lot about buses but to see one of these lovely old beasts really gave me a much-needed happiness boost! Who else had Nationals in their home town?

  • #2
    Re: Leyland National buses

    I went to a festival of Transport last weekend.........there were lots of old buses........I love the old double deckers where you get on at the back, the long shiny metal pole, the windy stairs and the old bell ............now i remember going on those when i was a small child in the late 60s, very early 70s ........fab!

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    • #3
      Re: Leyland National buses

      Stockport had some until the late 1990s.

      The back lit "exact change only" sign next to the destination blinds was a nice touch.

      Much easier too see than the normal flap above the driver's head.
      The Trickster On The Roof

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      • #4
        Re: Leyland National buses

        Leyland Nationals - what great Buses!! They sure were built to last I think, as was all Leyland Buses - but the National's more so, which was proved when so many was converted to Leyland Greenway's.

        I doubt there will ever be a Bus that can be an equal to a Leyland National, that was created in such a basic style but had it's own unique charm and appreciation that made it so great.

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        • #5
          Re: Leyland National buses

          Had to Google for an image but suddenly it brought back memories of them...rode in them as a kid. Alder Valley Bus Company (combine of Aldershot and District with the Thames Valley Traction Company) which operated in Reading as well had LOADS of them, in red. When they became Bee Line they became yellow and greeny greyish in parts like the back engine cover area. They also had the double deckered Bristol VR bus in both companies...I remember how noisy the National was, how old they seemed and liked them. I liked the fact the driver took your cash and issued the ticket - by hand. The little trays by the ticket machine, and some cash nominally being in the tray still. I can even remember the smell inside them - of the fabric on the seats - well, Alder Valley / Bee Line did update the interiors a bit but it all seemed old even them - the weird colour combinations on the fabric like black / white / yellow / orange etc in geometric 1970s patterns...We used to get them if a Reading Transport (as it was then known, now Reading Buses as a operating brand name and Reading Transport Ltd being the overall company name) didn't arrive - they operated along a lot of the same routes.

          2012 is also the 40th anniversary of the National. Weirdly, when we went to Sri Lanka in 1984 they also had LOADS of Nationals still in London Red colour running around, they must have bought loads in bulk to bolster and replace the ageing fleets - I found out that they'd privatised it all in 1979 so all the buses I did see back then must have been from franchised firms, maybe some had different logos on them but all I remember is that they were red...its all State Run again now, which is good.

          I miss travelling in those buses...whats interesting is a lot of former drivers of Nationals hated them...from the shape to the problems in build and engine...

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          • #6
            Re: Leyland National buses

            Found this on the tube of you an all....the sounds bring it all back...

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            • #7
              Re: Leyland National buses

              Oh yes I am pretty sure all single deckers were Leyland nationals around where I lived. You are right about the noise. I used to hate being in bus stations where they were idling because they'd do that loud and unexpected hiss of the air breaks every once in a while. I used to jump out of my skin!

              another bus I have fond memories of is the Bristol RV double decker. There are some in sf's clip. These were around up until the late 90s where I lived. They seemed much lighter and more clattery that their sturdy Leyland Atlantean rivals. Ours were often fitted with smooth plastic fake leather seats and had a metallic, dusty smell like old phone boxes. Many a time I've bounced around in a Bristol RV!
              1976 Vintage

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              • #8
                Re: Leyland National buses



                I found this when this thread made me think of the old buses in Reading I used to travel on...It shows Broad Street, the main high street in the town in 1989 as was before pedestrianisation kicked in a few years later...it shows some of my favourite old buses that Reading Transport used to have - the Metropolitan (oval lights) and the MCW Metrobus - I liked the livery of the buses and the noises these beasts made back then as a kid - still do.

                When I watched the vid, I was amazed at how chaotic it was back then, steady streams of buses coming out of Station Rd, turning left or right up and down Broad St and all the pedestrians walking across the road whilst the buses came along - bit like a foreign country back then...Now its all so different, the buses as mentioned before are all ultra modern - I reckon Reading Buses have the best fleet in the country in terms of service, speed and modernity - we even have wi fi on buses now - for free! All the routes are coloure coded i.e. yellow 26, red 9, jet black Newbury, generic buses are metalic greys but all the designs are brilliant from the typography and the actual liveries, but I still recall fondly these old buckets and how the main street was back then. Not only that but I can see whats changed on the high st itself - Midland Bank, Lloyds Bank both changed now but still in the same places, Debenhams long gone and made way for the frontage to The Oracle Mall, LittleWoods is now Poundland and some other bar...etc, etc...

                I actually hoped that in that vid I'd catch site of my parents...no go...:cry:

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                • #9
                  Re: Leyland National buses

                  Here's a good write up of these buses, along with a feature on the engines used.

                  http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/2009...land-national/

                  http://www.aronline.co.uk/blogs/2011/10/10/essays-the-500-series-diesel-leyland-loses-its-head
                  Last edited by Richard1978; 01-09-2012, 23:04.
                  The Trickster On The Roof

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                  • #10
                    Re: Leyland National buses

                    Originally posted by Trickyvee View Post

                    another bus I have fond memories of is the Bristol RV double decker. There are some in sf's clip. These were around up until the late 90s where I lived. They seemed much lighter and more clattery that their sturdy Leyland Atlantean rivals. Ours were often fitted with smooth plastic fake leather seats and had a metallic, dusty smell like old phone boxes. Many a time I've bounced around in a Bristol RV!
                    Here's a Bristol RV done out in the livery of Northumbria Buses, one of the main companies running services across the North East in the 90s. These are the ones I remember. I quite like the livery. It was very distinctive but eventually the company was taken over by Arriva and the entire fleet was painted turquoise.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    1976 Vintage

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                    • #11
                      Re: Leyland National buses

                      Originally posted by Trickyvee View Post
                      Here's a Bristol RV done out in the livery of Northumbria Buses, one of the main companies running services across the North East in the 90s. These are the ones I remember. I quite like the livery. It was very distinctive but eventually the company was taken over by Arriva and the entire fleet was painted turquoise.

                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]3526[/ATTACH]
                      I love this livery. Reminds me of an OMD album cover

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                      • #12
                        Re: Leyland National buses

                        I have not noted any on my Travels, I guess now the great bus that is the Leyland National will be in Museums now, but amazingly they still ran in my home town about 9/10 years since. Same as Leyland Tigers - though techinicaly they are more of a Coach, they are both quality buses. I recall fondly going to College on both these buses in 1999. Often I have thought since "if I ever go on a road trip, these are the 2 i'd probably have in my list of vechiles, if I was in such a position to afford one".

                        I have always thought that Leyland National's are just such a quality vechile even though they were not always quiet but they truly have stood the test of time and rightly so I think as a ledgendary bus, more so in a way given they ran from the start of the 1970s, may-be the later year's of the 1960's i'm unsure, but considering their lifespan and the year's they ran, they just never appeared out of place at all I thought.
                        Last edited by 80sChav; 27-01-2013, 20:07.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Leyland National buses

                          I remember Ribble buses had Nationals and then North Western buses taking over in 1986. I remember going to Southport on Nationls to go on a pub crawl around Southport way back in 1995 when i was 17. Happy days. BTW you could buy a Leyland National off ebay, every now and again they pop up on there. I was going to buy one at 2500, but i don't have the room to store it..

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                          • #14
                            Re: Leyland National buses

                            Originally posted by escorteclipse1990 View Post
                            I remember Ribble buses had Nationals and then North Western buses taking over in 1986. I remember going to Southport on Nationls to go on a pub crawl around Southport way back in 1995 when i was 17. Happy days. BTW you could buy a Leyland National off ebay, every now and again they pop up on there. I was going to buy one at 2500, but i don't have the room to store it..

                            It was around the mid 70's Ribble took their first delivery of Leyland Nationals. At Southport bus station (since demolished) they would operate to & from & I believe were garaged overnight. The 100 route back then was from Southport to Preston via Hesketh Bank (where I then lived), Tarleton and then the A59 to Preston & back.
                            sigpic
                            Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Leyland National buses

                              They were undoubtably a classic piece of British engineering (despite their transatlantic bodystyling which was a bit controversial at the time they were introduced) that really lived up to their name as they could be seen on roads throughout Britain well into the 1990s with some towns still using them in the early years of the 21st century. I can't help but think that they were specifically designed for use in medium sized towns and suburbs of larger cities in an era of rising car ownership just like Routemasters were specifically designed for use in central London in the 1950s. London now has new Routemasters (well, it's London so it has to get the best) but I doubt whether there will be another iconic and long lasting bus as the Leyland National used in provincial towns and cities across Britain.

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