Ex Nottingham City Transport Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R No.540
540 was new in December 1973 and entered service on the 10th December 1973. It is the very first Leyland Atlantean AN68/1R for Nottingham City Transport. Bodied by East Lancashire Coachbuiders, Blackburn to H47/30D layout. It is one of a batch of 45 vehicles and were the last vehicles in the fleet to carry the old gold style Nottingham City Transport fleetnames.
540s first repaint into N.C.T cream/green stripe livery was applied in 1979 retaining the gold fleet numbers. Its second repaint was in May 1982, now with the fleetname at the front but not on the sides, the fleet numbers were now white/black. Its final repaint was during July 1986.
With the exception of the first few months of its service life 540 operated almost exclusively on West Bridgford route from Trent Bridge depot.
540 nears the end of its time with Nottingham City Transport.
540 was withdrawn in May 1998 and stored in Trent Buses depot on Manvers Street, Nottingham. It the moved for further storage to Bulwell depot until August 1998. On 31st of August it was relicensed and returned to service at Trent Bridge. By the 11th of January 1999 the bus was within Trent Bridge works undergoing maintenance work.
540 joins the fleet of Ken Williams at Confidence, Leicester
February 1989 saw the sale of 540 to Ken Williams of Oadby. Trading as Confidence it became their fleet no. 20. The bus was collected from Parliament Street depot after the fitment of a replacement engine. For the following eleven, nearly twelve years, 540 operated on school contracts and private hire work around the Leicester area.
Into preservation with ourselves
December 2000 saw the purchase of 540 by ourselves under the Notts & Derby Heritage Transport Group banner. This was the first Nottingham vehicle purchased after the formation of our group following withdrawl of involvement with the NTHC, Ruddington. As the bus was relatively tidy it was decided to 'use it as is'. This allowed our efforts to be spent rectifying the mindless vandalism to our Routemaster that had been operating at Ruddington the previous season.
Restoration work commences
Following the completion of our extensive conversion of the sales / display unit 728 GAU 728L it was decided to commence working on 540 in May 2004. Firstly all the outer panels and glazing sheets were removed. This unearthed a mine field of broken framework structures and corroded internal panels.
Thus weeks of work were undertaken, replacing all corroded parts with new. At times we questioned the sanity of the project as`more bad than good existed !
Framework refurbished and replaced ready for re-paneling
As work progressed it became apparent that the majority of the panels needed replacing once the framework had been treated. some 50% of the actual lower saloon framing was also replaced.
Once the front end and both sides had been panelled the decision was made to self etch and then undercoat all the window pans allowing new window rubber to be fitted.
All road wheels were then removed, brake actuators replaced and wheelarches reskinned and painted. Mud flaps were then fitted to the rear arches.
In line with re-paneling the rear end we decided (after hours of sanding down !) to replace the bonnet with one from our spare stock. The corner units were removed and refitted with their original style frankman lights as shown in the image.
Then it was time for a new exhaust system, two replacement air tanks, a refurbished starter motor and new batteries !
Nearing completion & undercoated.
By the time mid August arrived 540 was nearing completion and ready to be prepared for MOT. New glazing rubber had been fitted throughout the front upper deck framework completely rebuilt and the front intermediate entrance step replaced.
On the 8th of September it left the shed and headed for test - sailing through with no problems at all.
The wheels were also cleaned off using a needle gun and treated with a rust corrosion inhibitor.
How long can it take to paint a bus !
The reality is you wait until August then despite endless false promises the bus still isnt done but instead has gained a lovely mist effect over its entire bodywork. After various attempts at speeding them up and the issuing of a date for removal of the bus 'painted or not' we finally received a phone call to say it was in the paint booth.
Much to our suprise the finished job was superb !
Interior refurbishment begins
Seat cushions and backs were removed ready for despatch to the upholsterers and all areas of the interior repainted where required.
Following the success of winning best of class at two rallies in early 2007 we decided to finish the vehicle off externally by having the original style fleetnames reproduced in Vinyl and applied to the vehicle.