55 RAU 804M ex 555 OTO 555M
Chassis No. 7304429
Body No. EL2516 H47/30D (as built) then East Lancs B5201 B45F (rebodied)
555 being one of the 1974 delivery of Leyland Atlantean An68/1R's entered service on 28th January 1974. During the first part of its working life it was allocated to Parliament Street, Trent Bridge and Bulwell.
It was withdrawn from service towards the end of 1992, and was selected to be rebodied as a single decker. NCT had a large number of similar age vehicles approaching the end of their useful lives, and East Lancs had rebodied a number as single deckers for other operators. It was depatched to East Lancs in February 1993. The original double deck body was removed, the chassis overhauled and the wheelbase lengthened around 4 feet.
A new East Lancs Sprint body was then fitted, with a seating capacity of 45. It returned to Nottingham in December 1993, and is seen in the picture below being worked on in Trent Bridge Works. Here the chassis was mechanically overhauled, and fully rewired.
Then towards the end of January 1994 the vehicle was returned once again to East Lancs for completion of the bodywork. When it arrived back at Nottingham it was painted at Trent Bridge Works into South Notts livery, and renumbered 55.
It entered service on 31st March 1994 from Gotham garage, operating on route 1, Nottngham-Loughborough.
This could have led to a number of such coversions, but it turned out to be a unique, as the lengthened chassis made the vehicle difficult to manouvere, and 45 seats was not felt to be sufficient for a large bus.
Hulleys Of Baslow
55 was withdrawn from service in February 1999, and was re-registered RAU 804M in March. The reason for this number change is given below.
It was sold to Hulleys of Baslow in March 1999 and became their fleet number 21. In June 2000 Hulleys partly repainted the vehicle, by painting the lighter blue band in the same shade as the darker one, and applying Hulleys fleetnames.
55 was sold in August 2002 to a J. Lilley of Chapel-en-le-Frith. It was kept at the premises of Bowers Coaches, in the same location. The bus was used occasionally by Bowers on school runs.
It was sold on again in March 2003 to Shamrock Buses (Dorset Heritage) of Poole. Whilst with them 55 was loaned out to Clark of Wimborne, and when returned from them with a defect, was parked in the garage until 2007....!
55 remained in the garage, until Shamrock had to vacate the premises. It was put up for sale, and aquired by NHV. The pictures below show 55 on the day it was collected from Shamrock wih the assistance of Burrows, Derby.
The dust on the windows made it impossible to see out, and since the doors had been left open, the seats were a similar colour.
Under the dirt........
Once it had arrived at our storage facility, 55 was washed outside and hoovered out internally, and actually started to look presentable.
As it had not been painted since Feb 94 (Hulleys had only painted the blue band where their name was) the vehicle was beginning to look very tired.
Returned to South Notts livery
Its first outing - The South Notts Running Day
Where did the Registration Number go?
The registration originally carried was transferred to an ex Kentish Bus Scania owned by NCT, fleet No. 355. It was previously F702 JCN.
Upon withdrawal of this bus from NCT it was sold to First Manchester as part of their dedicated School Bus fleet.
When withdrawn by them in July 2004 it went to PVS Barnsley for scrap in September 2004. As it was still registered OTO 555M at this time, the wonderful DVLA have advised us that we cannot obtain the original registration number for the vehicle. So much for completing the project !