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The paragraphs below describes the Fleetline chassis with Daimler CR designations. If you want to see the Leyland FE Fleetlines, visit Leyland Fleetline.
The Daimler Fleetline was a well established double-deck chassis with drop centre rear axle. It was developed by Daimler Transport Vehicles in 1961 and built in the Daimler works in Coventry. It was a direct competitor to the Atlantean. After formation of British Leyland Motors Corporation, there are some changes to Fleetlines. At the 1970 Earls Court Show, Leyland 680 engines were offered as an option in all Fleetline double and single deck chassis. Power ratings of 125kW at 1800rpm (Gardner 6LXB), 114kW at 1750rpm, or 123kW at 1900rpm (Leyland O.680) were available.
Both single-deck and double-deck Fleetlines were available in 9.144m (30 feet), 10.058m (33 feet) and 10.973m (36 feet) chassis, although 36 feet long double-deckers were only supplied to Johannesburg and Walsall in small numbers. The wheelbases were 4.953m, 5.639m and 6.096m respectively.
The Fleetline had a number of features. They are common to Leyland Atlantean. The engine and the radiator were located at the rear of the vehicle. The bus was driven by semi-automatic transmission, the front door had no step and there was sufficient space for the money box.
The Coventry works had built 7224 Fleetlines, including single and double-deckers, before the production line of Fleetline was moved from Coventry to Leyland, Preston. The reason of the move was the expansion of production of Jaguar XJ6 and XJ12 cars. The transfer involved hundreds of machine tools and thousands of parts and components. Some interesting thing was that the last Fleetline chassis, which was built in September 1973, was supplied to China Motor Bus Company of Hong Kong.
The major differences were in transmission, axles and steering. Fleetline had a Daimler Self Changing Gears Box operated by an electro-pneumatic and incorporated an integral transfer box. Alternative gear ratios of 1.026:1, 1.0925:1 and 0.833:1, when applied to the constant 5:3:1 rear axle ratio, gave overall ratios of 5.68:1, 5.12:1 and 4:61:1 respectively. The rear axle was a two stage drop centre double reduction unit. A spiral bevel crown wheel and pinion, offset to the right hand side, past the drive through straight spur gears on each side of the chassis to the road wheels. The front axle and worm and nut steering had optional power assistance. However, all Fleetlines in Hong Kong had not had this option so that the driveline seemed very heavy when it was heavily loaded. Other components and parts of the Fleetline were very similar to those of Leyland Atlantean.
The Daimler Designation remained until 1974.
China Motor Bus Company received one CRG6LXB-30 in 1972 It was allocated RLX1, and later redesignated as SF1, so as to give conformity of the codes of short Fleetlines when a batch of short Leyland Fleetlines arrived Hong Kong in 1980. Then it endorsed an order for 30 CRG6LXB-33 chassis, and they arrived Hong Kong in 1974. Kowloon Motor Bus Company received 300 Fleetlines between 1974 and 1976, 143 of which were CRG6LXB-33. They all received Metal Sections bodies. However, some of the Fleetlines in CMB Fleet received Alexander CB4 bodies when the Metal Sections bodies were scrapped. They were LF1, LF5, LF13, LF18, LF21, LF25-30.
London Transport ordered a total of over 2500 Daimler and Leyland Fleetlines between 1961 and 1978. Since the acceleration, fuel consumption and top speed was poorer than the conventional buses, the operator started to withdraw all of them in 1979. Kowloon Motor Bus and China Motor Bus endorsed orders for 100 and 200 respectively. Most of them received Park Royal bodies, but some of them received bodies from Metropolitan Carmell Weymann. Kowloon Motor Bus designated them 2D8-107. "2" means second-hand and "D" means Daimler. Since KMB had introduced some seven CCGs and CVGs before these 100 vehicles came, they started the number at 8. One of those in CMB, XF206, had its seats converted to high backed seats like the Leyland Titans and Olympian demonstrators. It was then redesignated as FC1. These buses were withdrawn in 1994 and most of them were resold to China. The Chung Wah Shipyard of Hong Kong Took 3, converted to 3+2 layout for 106 passengers by Ensign Bus, the dealer who contracted to dispose all except those scrapped London Transport Fleetlines.
At least 30 were supplied to Citybus of Hong Kong, a newly established bus hire company at that time. Some of them were converted to open top buses and at least two of them provided free shuttle bus service between Edinburgh Place, Central and the Peak Tram Station at Admiralty. They had a very attractive livery of green background and tilted people. At least one of them (ex-LT DMS2146, D30, CZ 8526) was transferred to Guangzhou in late 1991 and fitted with a new roof.
Most of the other Fleetlines were taken by other operators in Britain and they were happy with the performance of them.
Although Daimler Fleetlines were not the longest bus in Hong Kong at any time, it was regarded by people as "Jumbo" because it carries the largest number of passengers. The reason for large passenger capacity is that the CRG6LXB-33s were all in 3+2 layout, which was the first time in Hong Kong. When the population increased drastically in early 1970s, Hong Kong Government permitted the 3+2 layout in buses, so as to increase the passenger capacity. Since the existing buses in the territory, say CVG5s, CVG6s and Regent 5s were only about 2.3 metres wide, they could only retain the seats to 2+2 layout. The 2.4 metre wide and 4.3 metre tall Fleetlines enable them to have 3+2 layout. This layout continued for about two decades. The rule was broken by the Mitsubishi MK117s imported in 1990. However, the double deckers remained 3+2 layout until a 12 metre Duple Metsec bodied Dennis Dragon delivered to Citybus of Hong Kong in 1995. The choice of 2+2 layout was not because the population stopped increasing, but because the people in Hong Kong demanded more comfortable seats and the physique of citizens had become stronger in the past twenty years.
There is a remarkable innovation of destination display by China Motor Bus Company, and it was experimented in a Fleetline. A special roller with three sub-rollers was fitted into a Fleetline (LF106), resulting in a more flexible route display. Since then all operators in Hong Kong adopted this to all its vehicles. LF106 was withdrawn in mid-1997.
All the Daimler Fleetlines in franchised bus company in Hong Kong had retired by 1998. Most of those retired not later than 1996 were driven to China. The rear doors of the vehicles were moved to the right to facilitate the left hand drive condition of the vehicles. Some of them even converted to Left hand drive! They worked very well in many cities in China.
There are a number of serious accidents involving Fleetlines, but most of them were Leyland Fleetlines. The most serious accident involving Daimler Fleetline happened on 4 November 1992. A CMB CRG6LXB-30 (XF46/CH 8794) overturned when it was travelling downhill on Chai Wan Road. The driver of the Route 85 bus was killed and 30 passengers injured. Investigation showed that the driver did not take the first speed when the bus was travelling the steep Chai Wan Road. The Transport Department of Hong Kong remedied by prohibiting the buses without automatic retarder when moving downhill from roads steeper than 1:10.
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Page created: 31 May 1999
Last updated: 13 February 2020