Leyland Atlantean GSC 659X
Bus 659 was one of a batch of 45 buses bought by Lothian Regional Transport to replace Leyland Atlantean PDR1`s in the 851-900 (JSC 851-900E) group. The X-Reg batch of buses were delivered between August & October 1981 and were numbered 621-659(GSC 621-659X) service buses & 660-665 (GSC 660-665X) Airport and Private Hire Coaches. The X-Reg batch of buses came fitted with the new rationalised 680 engine classed as the AL/11, which was the forerunner of the TL11 engine. It shared many components with the TL11 such as the Cylinder block although it was still normally referred to as a “680”. The batch was also fitted with an air throttle control and the new LVA gear control system. 659 was delivered to Shrubhill works on the 21/10/1981, to be fitted out. After which she was delivered to Longstone garage, being made available for service at the end of that week. 659 remained in service at Longstone for all its service life, working all of Longstone’s double deck routes from 1981 to 2000.
After the withdrawal of the Atlantean fleet in late 1999 most Atlanteans were taken to the now empty Shrubhill Works and placed in storage awaiting sale. This was not the case for 659 along with three other X-reg Atlanteans. Instead of being placed into storage they were used take people to the Tall Ships Race in Glasgow from the 30/7/99 to 2/8/99. From these four buses 646, 648, & 659 were then loaned on to Arriva Scotland West to operate school services from the beginning of November 1999. The buses were finally withdrawn from passenger service in December 1999 and sold to Houston Ramm (dealer), Suddon, Rochdale. 659 was 1 of 10 buses sold to Trevor Thomas Coaches of Porth in South Wales for school Contracts. Being Edinburgh last Atlantean it was however retained by LRT for a special farewell service to the Atlantean’s on the 3rd of January 2000. 659 along with 635, 640, 642, 646, & 647 were selected to operate service 4 from Hillend to the Jewel. GSC 659X made the final journey departing from ASDA at The Jewel at 19:29 to Longstone Depot. At Leopold Place 659 was joined by 635 for the last part of the journey. At 8.20pm 659 pulled into Longstone Garage for the last time. This was the final working of an Lothian Atlantean on stage carriage work in Edinburgh.
In July 2004 Trevor Thomas Coaches places 659 and her sisters for sale on a popular internet auction site. At the time I had noticed the bus but sadly being fully committed to another expensive restoration the cost was just too much for me to save the bus. 659 was sold and she passed to the Crazy Fire Engine Company in Glasgow to be converted into an adult entertainment bus.
Out of the blue in August 2005 the bus appeared once again on-line for sale. The bus now has been partially stripped and converted and this was reflected in the asking price for the bus. I called my mate Graham and he agreed to save the bus with me so a call was placed and the bus removed from the site within hours of it appearing.
On the 22nd August 2005 the bus was bought and taken to the nearby Hillington Bus Museum for initial storage and repair before running the bus back to Edinburgh. On the 9th of Oct 2005 659 came home to Edinburgh. The bus was placed into storage at Gifford pending completing of my Tigercub project, sadly this came to an end on early 2007 when an arsonist set fire to the building containing the bus. After a break from the buses I returned in July 2007 to start work on 659. This Gallery will showcase the work being done by My Father Brian, my colleague Graham, and myself to fully restore this bus back to a mid 1990s condition.