On Saturday April 30th 2005 the last Atlantean in First Leeds fleet was driven away into preservation, from Bramley Bus depot. Ten years later the bus returned to its final home on May 15th 2015.
Bus preservation does see time fly by very quickly and in the years since the open top Atlantean was purchased, the bus has been given a much needed complete restoration, by owner Kiran Tolson.
The bus 6020 GUG547N (UWT620N) was part of an order initially set up by Leeds City Transport for 40 more Leyland Atlanteans for delivery beyond 1974. Leeds had standardized on the 33' dual door Atlanteans in the 'OMO' livery used on the transport departments buses at the time. However the 1972 local government re-organization act, saw the creation of the Metropolitan County Councils and the newly created West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (PTE). With the new PTE came a return to the standard 31'2" length vehicles, with this in mind the PTE amended the Leeds order, calling for single door bodies with 5.5 window bays in the upper saloon, with 43 seats and 33 seats in the lower saloon. Charles. H. Roe of Cross Gates, Leeds bodied these vehicles using styling cues from the LCT bodywork. The initial batch arrived between August and September 1974 with original registrations UWT601-620N being replaced by out of sequence plates. 6020 did not enter service straight way, the bus was given a few extra fixtures and fittings for the 1974 Commercial Motor Show held at Earl's Court, London.
From October 1974 until March 1975, 6020 started its working life from Sovereign Street depot in Leeds. Transferring to Headingley depot in March 1975 until October 1986, then moving to Bradford Hall Ings depot until February 1991. Above 6020 is seen working in Bradford during 1990, pulling away from the Bridge Street bus stops. During the next couple of months work started on 6020 to be converted into a special tree lopper vehicle, down at the Yorkshire Rider engineering works at Kirkstall Road, which closed in 2011 and has since been demolished. The bus arrived back at Sovereign Street as part of the Driver Training fleet, before finally settling down in Bramley bus depot. As 9339 the bus passed to the Badgerline company in April 1994, then by early 1996 to the newly formed First Bus as part of the Leeds City Link fleet.
Above 9339 is seen being put through her paces as yet another new driver learns the tricks of the trade, while passing through the newly redesigned Leeds City Bus station. The reversed lower deck nearside saloon windows were used for the selling of bus tickets for the Elland Rd football specials on home tie match days. By late 2001 the bus was given its final repaint into the No2 training livery, then in 2003 it gained the five digit First UK fleet number of 90065. This Atlantean was still used as a driver trainer and a ticket sales unit until March 2005, stored at Bramley pending her future.
Luckily the bus was saved by Kiran and it was collected by Kiran, Neil, myself and a lad called Johnaton on April 30th 2005, the top of article picture shows the bus inside Bramley on the day of collection. The bus made its was to York by way of the Keighley Bus Museum and then through to its new home, to join other former West Yorkshire PTE Atlanteans in storage. During the summer months of 2005 the bus was given a rub down and painted into the Yorkshire Rider livery, in time for a quick visit to the 2005 Sheffield Meadow hall vintage vehicle rally. During 2006 the bus visited the Sandtoft and Huddersfield greenhead park bus rallies.
Kiran then became acquainted with a gentlemen called Neil Millington, who is still well know in the bus industry, who has a very small but distinctive collection of classic coaches. It was here that Kiran was able to really start the restoration of 6020/9339 back into her Yorkshire Rider guise from around 2009. With help from several people who worked along side MR. Millington and M&J restoration prop Mr. Holion. The bus was stripped down on the nearside then completely rebuilt using various materials, with new structure poles and replacing damaged panels, the bus was taking shape.
Seen during the initial restoration process, 6020 was given new struts and panels, with still more work to be done. The window pans were rebuilt and moulded to suit the lines of the Roe body, the front end dash was replaced with new lights and indicator clusters. By 2012 the bus had moved again, this time to the Keighley Bus Museum, were the final restoration took place. The bus was placed on some lifting gear so the chassis could be given some attention, it was looking good for a finish into time for the Metro 40 celebrations. But as ever best laid plans and so on, say a delay with the bus getting finished in time. But all was not lost, the bus was then dispatched to Sheffield were friend and fellow preservationist Darren Sentence was able to complete the repaint of 9339 into the Yorkshire Rider livery. Then quickly back to Keighley for the final finishing touches, and a possible return to the road.!
After a few road tests and the MOT and service successfully passed the bus was insured and taxed ready to rock and roll. The first full public outing was the 2015 Spring Dewsbury Bus Museum open day event, the bus was parked up and rested, later returning to Keighley still with some work to be done.
With some parts donated from another Atlantean 9339 was able to undergo another road test and able to be fit to return back to Bramley depot.
With proud owner Kiran at the wheel of 9339, the bus departs Bramley bus depot for the last time. The bus performed very well and even managed a couple of photo stops on the return trip to the Keighley Bus Museum. It is hoped for this Atlantean to be used on a KBMT members outing reliving the 1974 Yorkshire Dales trips as run by LCT and WYPTE.
Keep an eye out on the KBMT website and the two remaining running days planned by the KBMT. If anyone has any photos of 6020/9339/90065 in service during her life as a public service vehicle please get in touch. Then these can be passed on the Kiran to form an archive for the history of this remarkable vehicle.