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To Leyland, the development of rear-engined double-deckers had made considerable progress since 1952. A new model was designed with a set back front axle to provide an extreme front entrance under driver supervision. A pyototype, designated PDR1 and given the new name "Atlantean" became an exhibit at 1956 Earls Court Show. The layout is revolutional, but many proved Leyland components have been used in Atlantean. The Atlantean incorporated with vertical Leyland 0.600 engine. It was placed transversely at the rear. Drive was taken in a straight line from the engine through a Pneumo-cyclic gearbox, mounted in the offside rear corner.
The Atlantean has a light and strong fabricated frame. Light alloy floor plates were riveted direct to the framework. They fulfilled the dual purpose of reinforcing the frame and providing a foundation ofr the saloon floor. The platform type sub-frame concept was retained for the prototype. A drop-centre rear axle allowed the flat floor, only one step up from ground level, to continue for the full length of the bus.
The production Atlantean PDR1/1 chassis was introduced in 1958. It has simpler mechanical specification than the prototype, with conventional front and rear axles, leaf springs all round and a channel section frame.
In February 1972, after more than 6000 Atlanteans had been built, Leyland announced the Atlantean AN68 series. The new chassis provided a wider entrance and several safety features. The audible and visible red alarm warning devices prevented engine overheating. A fail-safe parking brake, the steering box and brake controls were protected against damage from severe head-on collision. Stainless steel air-piping gave greater resistance to corrosion. Two models were offered: AN68.1R (9.4m) and AN68.2R (10.2m). Power assisted steering was standard on the AN68.2R and optional on the AN68.1R. The steering pump was power driven, which replaced the early belt driven system. The only Available engine was Leyland O.680.
In the latter part of 1972, Kowloon Motor Bus and China Motor Bus wanted to expand their service, but the manufacturers were busy building buses for domestic operators. The two companies turned to buying second hand vehicles. One of the major bus types is the Atlanteans. 12 Western Welsh Weymann bodied Atlanteans of 1960 were purchased by China Motor Bus Co. They were modified before shipment by the installation of additional radiators under the rear upper deck seats. China Motor Bus also bought nine 1959 Weymann bodied PDR1.1s from Trent, and more than twelve 1960 MCW bodied buses from Maidstone and District. The passenger capacity was (L39/34F). 50 buses bought by London Transport in 1965 were also sold to CMB. The operator increased the passenger capacity to 75 and installed more sliding windows. 71 second hand Atlanteans were bought by Kowloon Motor Bus from various operators. A PDR1/1 (592629, ex-Ribble NRN615, 2L15, AD7453) was fitted with a Gardner 6LX engine in 1975, after it overturned. It was the only recorded Gardner Atlantean appeared to be reasonably successful. In 1977, Singapore Bus Services ordered 20 AN68.2R Atlanteans. Half of them received extremely angled bodywork by British Aluminium Company, while the other half were bodied by Metal Sections. When the trial gained success in 1978, a further 100 Alexander L type bodied AN68s, together with another 100 Metsec bodied buses have been ordered in 1979. When they entered service in 1980, the Metsec bodied buses were slightly different from that of those before. They are more like the Dominators.
Citybus of Hong Kong bought 99 L type bodied Atlanteans in 1993. They were refurbished and the service fleet received Alexander R type front end. All the service buses have been phrased out and sold to South Africa. However, the L type body of A628 and A660 Atlanteans have been retained and have become training buses since they arrived Hong Kong in 1993.
The Metsec and BACo bodied Atlanteans have been sold to Mainland China. They can be seen in different cities.
200 more Atlanteans (H51/32D+12) were introduced by Singapore Bus Services from 1984 to 1986. They received Alexander R type bodies. They were the last production Atlanteans. One bus was sold to Citybus of Hong Kong as its training bus (A699). All except 34 buses have been withdrawn from SBS fleet.
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Page created: 6 July 1999
Last updated: 15 January 2001