Events : Preview – Leyland National 50

To celebrate the joint fiftieth anniversaries of the Leyland National and the Lillyhall factory, the Workington Transport Heritage Trust are organising a unique free event, LN50, to take place in Whitehaven on the Bank Holiday weekend of 30 April to 1 May 2022.

  • A free event for all ages this coming weekend
  • Lakes College to Whitehaven Harbour Park and Ride service
  • Most types of Leyland vehicles taking place
  • Free bus tours
  • Trade stalls
  • Refreshments
  • A once-in-a-lifetime event commemorating 50 years of Leyland Bus in Cumbria

A large selection of vehicles will be on display along the historic harbour-side and adjacent areas. Others will be busy running frequent free tours based around the former CMS Whitehaven town services, to and round the former Leyland National factory at Lillyhall, and a park and ride between Lakes College and Whitehaven harbour.

There will also be a Leyland National 50 exhibition in the Beacon Museum Portal, many opportunities for photographs, trade stands and a continental market on the historic Sugar Tongue Quay.

Almost 8000 Nationals were produced at the Workington plant between 1972 and 1986. Seen here are the very first and very last production models

At the heart of LN50 will be one of the largest gatherings of Leyland Nationals since the factory closed in 1993, comprising vehicles from the earliest to the latest, with a few one-off surprises as well as the Trust’s own vehicle collection.

There will be other Leyland types too, from Atlanteans to Olympians, plus an emphasis on other buses from the major groupings at the time of the Leyland National’s heyday – in particular from the National Bus Company and the PTEs which ran services up and down the country.

John Clancy, Mike Humble and Keith Adams will be there too, armed with filming equipment for an upcoming DVD project. As a bonus, you might even catch a vehicle being driven on one of the tours by Mike himself (Barrow Corporation No:20 – a National 2), so you have been warned.

These sort of events are pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime affair so, if you are passionate about the dear old Leyland National or British buses in general, get yourself to Whitehaven.

We might just see you there…

Leyland National 50

Mike Humble


  1. I remember seeing Leyland Nationals on the streets of Carshalton, Sutton, Croydon, Banstead, Norwich, Reading and Northampton years ago. Pity we don’t see many of them now.

  2. We had an odd variant of the Leyland National at Basingstoke Bus Station in the eighties,it was an articulated or bendy bus,I never saw it in service but I always wondered what happened to it?

    • They were Leyland – DAB underfloor engined artic bus underframes built in Denmark to which Leyland National bodyshells were adapted to fit. Hampshire Bus had a couple of them after South Yorkshire PTE, another user was McGill’s of Barrhead who ran theirs between Glasgow and Paisley.

  3. A shame I cant make this event but it sounds worthwhile and interesting. The Leyland National takes me back to happier times…

  4. Whitehaven is my home town and I worked at the bus factory when it was converted into a warehouse in the nineties, but I’m away from town this weekend, so will miss all the fun.
    The National was a very familiar sight round here, as Cumberland Motor Services were keen to support the local factory and bought Nationals when their fleet of Bristol single deckers wore out, and the Lillyhall factory employed 600 workers at its peak in the seventies. West Cumbria’s traditional industries were dying out at the time and unemployment was rising, so this new factory and the associated industrial estate at Lillyhall was a godsend for the area.

  5. 8,000 Nationals built in 14 years sounds tremendous. I remember when they launched they looked futuristic at that time. I didn’t own a car till 1975 so tended to use buses more often then.

  6. In the late 1970s we usually had DAF buses in the Netherlands, but as a test, the regional bus company had purchased a test model from Leyland. Got to ride this bus quite a bit, more noise and rattles than the DAF buses of that time. It remained at 1 Leyland bus.

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