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B2235 Bus, full size, double-deck, Leyland Titan, OPD2/1, chassis No. 511956, body built by Clyde Engineering Co, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1953. Click to enlarge.

1953 Leyland Titan double-deck bus

Made
This towering bus represents not just public transport in Sydney and Newcastle but also the romance, inconvenience and danger of travel and working life on the old double deckers. For many passengers, the views from the upper deck and the more relaxed ambience there made the awkward climb up the stairs worthwhile. For the conductor, negotiating the stairs many times a day on a lurching bus to collect fares was not easy. There was some danger involved in passengers running after a moving bus and jumping onto the open back platform. These isues were to be addressed in the later Leyland Atlantean buses, which dispensed with the open platform in favour of doors at the front and allowed for one-person operation, with passengers paying the driver at the time of entry.

It seems that roof seats appeared on top of single deck horse buses as a means of increasing capacity as early as 1845. The crowds attracted by the 1851 Great Exhibition in London stimulated the practice and the double deck bus was established. The idea spread to the Australian colonies and double deck trams and buses were introduced on some services in various cities. While single deck vehicles did predominate, buses with two decks remained popular in New South Wales until the 1960s and, with their distinctive half cab design, they became an icon of Sydney as the tramway system was replaced.

Leyland Atlantean double deckers were ordered in the late 1960s to supplement the Sydney government bus fleet, and these vehicles were placed in service between 1970 and 1972. However, several developments shortened their service history including the increasing pressure for one man bus operation, the emergence of single decker articulated buses and a relaxation of the maximum length of single deckers to 14.5 metres. The last Atlantean buses were phased out in May 1986, ending the era of double decker bus operation in Sydney.

Leyland Motors had its origins in 1896, when the Lancashire Steam Motor Company was formed in Leyland, Lancashire, England. The first Leyland bus, an 18 seater with a top speed of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h), is believed to have been built in 1900. In the years up to 1925, around 40 different models were introduced by Leyland Motors.

This particular omnibus, No. 2769, is a type OPD2/1 with chassis number 511956. This indicates that it was the 1956th chassis manufactured by Leyland in England in 1951. The bus was placed into service on 4th February 1954; it operated in Sydney from Burwood, Willoughby, Randwick and Kingsgrove Depots until 1969 and in Newcastle from 1969 to 1975.

No.2769 was the last double decker bus used by the Public Transport Commission in Newcastle and made a special farewell trip through that city's main streets on 24th May 1975. At the conclusion of this journey it was driven to Sydney, carrying a busload of transport enthusiasts. On its return to Sydney it was placed into service at Burwood Depot, until finally withdrawn from service in March 1976.

Around 2,000 mechanically powered double deck buses have operated in Australia since 1905, most with British chassis and body designs following British practice. No. 2769 was the last of the old style built in Australia and represents the double deck bus in its basic form, with front mounted engine, and rear platform and staircase, usually requiring a two-person crew. The Leyland double deck bus holds a significant place in transport history and is a valued object in the Museum's transport collection.

REF:
Information supplied by Greg Travers
Lancashire Manufacturers, http://www.lanctransport.co.uk/builders/leyland.htm
Travers, Greg, 'From City to Suburb...a fifty year journey', The Sydney Tranway Museum, 1982

Summary

Object No.

B2235

Object Statement

Bus, full size, double-deck, Leyland Titan, OPD2/1, chassis No. 511956, body built by Clyde Engineering Co, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1953

Physical Description

Double-deck Leyland omnibus painted in blue and cream and numbered 2769. The bus has a Leyland style OPD2/1 chassis. There are thirteen seats downstairs, in addition to a driver's cabin and sixteen seats upstairs, with a rear corner staircase and fitted lighting.

Specifications:
Chassis: Leyland Titan OPD2 chassis number 511956
Engine: Leyland 0.600 six cylinder diesel of 9.8 litres displacement
Gearbox: Wilson pre-selector
Body: Clyde Engineering Co Ltd 59 seats, new at October 1953 at a cost of 6,004 pounds

Dimensions

Width

2500 mm

Production

Notes

It is believed that about 2,000 mechanically powered double deck buses have operated in Australia since 1905. Most had British chassis and the body designs mainly followed British practice. No.2769 represents the double deck bus in its basic form, with front mounted engine, rear platform and staircase, usually requiring a two person crew.

History

Notes

This bus went into service on February 4, 1954 operating from Burwood, Willoughby, Randwick and Kingsgrove Depots in Sydney, and in Newcastle, between 1969 and 1975. The bus was the last government operated double decker in Newcastle. The bus was withdrawn from service in March 1976 (due to a water leak from the engine cooling system). It had operated 685,917 kilometres in service with the Department of Government Transport (later Public Transport Commission).

During the use of this bus in the Government bus fleet it received four major mechanical and body overhauls. The first was in 1958 or 1959 and then again on 5th October, 1962 and again after this on 25th June, 1967 and 6th April, 1971. In April, 1974 it was given a minor overhaul at Hamilton Workshops in Newcastle and was repainted in the Public Transport Commission's new blue and white colour scheme. In fact, the bus was the last of the old type of double decker buses to be so treated at Hamilton. Furthermore, it was one of only four double deckers that were ever painted in the blue and white colours.

No.2769 was the last double decker bus used by the PTC in Newcastle and made a special farewell trip through that City's main streets on 24th May, 1975. At the conclusion of this journey it was driven to Sydney and carried a bus load of interested transport enthusiasts. On its return to Sydney it was placed into service at Burwood Deport.

While the bus was in regular use it saw service at Burwood Depot from 4th February, 1954 until February, 1960, at Willoughby Depot until January, 1962, at Randwick Depot until November, 1963, at Burwood Depot until March, 1965, at Randwick Depot until December, 1968, at Kingsgrove Depot until May, 1969, at Newcastle Depot until May, 1975 and then at Burwood Depot until finally withdrawn in March, 1976.

This bus had completed 426,300 miles in Government service. It was presented to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences on 16 July, 1976 by the PTC.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of the New South Wales Public Transport Commission Store, 1976

Acquisition Date

16 July 1976

Cite this Object

Harvard

1953 Leyland Titan double-deck bus 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 September 2020, <https://ma.as/211420>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/211420 |title=1953 Leyland Titan double-deck bus |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.