Leyland Nationals with Metrowest

Discussions about the Bus and Coach Preservation scene for Midland "Red" Motor Services and related companies.
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Joined: 05:59 Monday 4th July 2016
Location: Worcester

Leyland Nationals with Metrowest

Post by TimBrown » 16:51 Saturday 9th September 2017

Not strictly preserved buses but a little bit of history as this operator was closed down in 1994 some 23 years ago. The pictures of 1854 (TVP 854S) were taken on 22 August 1993 by a manager of what was then Black Country Buses and I managed to be in the right place to rescue these photographs when they were about to be thrown in the bin. This DP National opened my eyes as it was much higher geared than the standard bus version and with the higher powered 510 engine producing around 200 BHP it was a very good bus at hill climbing around the Dudley area. It would do about 50 MPH in fourth gear and I am told that it was capable of 80 MPH in top when used on Private Hires down the motorway. On stage carriage it was a docile and flexible motor to drive and was quite happy pottering along at 30 MPH in top. I am told that these buses suffered from very heavy fuel consumption and from the passenger's point of view the 'coach' seats were uncomfortable.

It arrived at Metrowest in 1993 and was previously based at WM Coventry garage where it probably didn't get used much as the tachometer was only showing around 250,000 Km after nearly 16 years use. It was a very solid bus with no rattles and drove like new. I last saw it in Walsall some years later when it had been fitted with a Volvo engine, and believe it ended its days working in East Yorkshire area
DP National 1854 on 22 Aug 1993 004.jpg
DP National 1854 on 22 Aug 1993 001.jpg
DP National 1854 on 22 Aug 1993 002.jpg
DP National 1854 on 22 Aug 1993 003.jpg
The next picture is one I have just discovered lurking in a box whilst having a clear-out of old magazines, I don't know who to attribute it to but it shows why later Nationals were fitted with anti roll bars. Whilst it kept the buses level it made the suspension harsh and the front end of those so fitted generally shook to pieces. Dispensation was obtained by Midland Red West from the Ministry of Transport to remove these bars and their batches from about 472 onwards gradually became smoother and less rough.

Meanwhile, I expect some of the enthusiasts who have driven Nationals will have a wry smile seeing this picture of 1612 ex-Ribble NTC 612M being driven with verve and a lot of nerve; plenty of roll steer and a wonder that the air-bags stayed in place. It reminded me of driving around the Malvern's on a Friday morning in the 1980s trying to keep time!
Leyland National cornering.jpg

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Re: Leyland Nationals with Metrowest

Post by AdamH » 17:15 Saturday 9th September 2017

Some great photos Tim. They ran a number of ex-Midland Red West Nationals too and I'm sure I remember seeing a photo of one of the "N1" HHA12xL vehicles being driven in exactly the same way as that last photo.

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Location: Welland

Re: Leyland Nationals with Metrowest

Post by MattW » 22:32 Saturday 9th September 2017

Like it. I do love a National and nice to see some 'enthusiastic' driving!

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