The Olympian was the final chassis produced by Leyland Bus, with the very last model leaving the Workington plant in 1993. With the recent change in legislation regarding step-entrance double-decker buses taking effect in this coming New Year, the last ones in daily public service cease operating this weekend within the county they were assembled.
Preston Bus is marking the occasion with an Olympian farewell day – this Saturday, 31st December.
Once the mainstay of many bus fleets, the Olympian, along with other step-entrance double-deck buses, is no longer able to operate public stage carriage workings after 31 December. Loyal Leyland operator Preston Bus is marking the occasion this weekend
Even though the Leyland Olympian was designed, engineered and first assembled in Bristol way back in 1980, it’s generally thought of as being the most highly-regarded PSV built by Leyland during the company’s twilight years. Production moved to Leyland and then Workington in Cumbria with the very last chassis – a tri-axle export chassis bound for Kowloon – being rolled out of Workington in 1993.
The Olympian, in name at least, continued for some years after the parent company Volvo closed the works and moved its UK bus production activities to Irvine in Scotland. Within the ranks of the big bus operators, the Leyland Olympian was viewed as a sturdy, well-engineered design which was infinitely more widely accepted than previous products such as the first-generation National.
An Olympian (on the right) seen here on shed at Preston Bus’s Deepdale Road Depot when new in 1984 alongside Leyland’s other highly-regarded decker chassis – the Atlantean
With the new regulations regarding DDA compliance (disability access) step-entrance double-deck buses coming into effect on 1 January, the older types of deckers are all bowing out of service this weekend on stage carriage operations. Preston Bus is one the last operators in the UK to still use the Olympian and they are marking time this New Year’s Eve.
It’s fitting to see this farewell take place in Preston with the former Leyland plant being only a few miles away. Preston Bus and the now closed independent operator, John Fishwick and Sons, both had strong ties with Leyland Bus. Both operators would regularly assist Leyland in development by testing prototypes and new designs in real world environments in their fleets and feeding the data back to Engineers.
Preston Bus, once a municipal operation before being sold to its employees and now in the incumbency of the Rotala Group, will have its remaining Leyland Olympians running on a handful of routes this Saturday. The company will then be offering them along with spare parts for sale on the open market.
If you’re in the Preston area this Saturday and want to mark a little bit of public transport and Leyland history CLICK HERE for further information.