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The paragraph below describes the Fleetline chassis with Leyland FE designations. If you want to see the Daimler CR chassis, visit Daimler Fleetline.
As mentioned in Daimler Fleetline, Leyland changed the chassis designations of Fleetlines from Daimler system to Leyland system in early 1974. The prefix "FE" preceded the the overall length in feet, followed by "L" or "G" for Leyland or Gardner engines, and the final suffix letter "L" or "R" for left or right hand drive respectively. In the 1974 Earls Court Show, Leyland exhibited an FE33LR chassis with a quieter than standard engine installation pack. It was developed primarily for London Transport. by using a lightly turbocharged version of the Leyland O.680 engine producing 122kW at 1850rpm, a cleaner exhaust and drive-past noise level of only 82dB(A) could be achieved. The radiator was mounted independently to reduce vibration and the fan was driven hydraulically. The turbocharged 680 engine was redesignated as Leyland 690. A prototype registered TGX 854M entered service with London Transport. Then the operator endorsed an order of 679 Fleetlines with quiet packs in 1974. 400 of them were fitted with Leyland 690 engines and the remaining Gardner 6LXBs. The chassis with quiet packs could be identified by the twin scoops mounted at each side on top of the fibreglass cover. The last Fleetline for London Transport was registered THX 646S in 1978. It was given the fleet number DM2466 and had Park Royal Bodywork (H44/27D). The Leyland Fleetlines in London Transport, like their Daimler counterparts, retired in their mid-life overhaul and were liked by other operators. They left the fleet in mid-1980s. A number of them ended up in China and other British operators. The first two digits of chassis number of Leyland Fleetlines were the year of production, and the 5 digits followed were the number built starting from that year.
One of the Citybus Leyland Fleetlines with Leyland O.680 engine (L15, CP 2073) became the first double decker in China since 1930s when it was driven from Hong Kong to Shenzhen in December 1981.
From 1975 to 1980, 275 FE33AGRs were delivered to China Motor Bus Company of Hong Kong. The first 76 received Metal Sections kits and the rest received Alexander bodies. Kowloon Motor Bus Company took 458 FE33AGRs from 1974 to 1977. 158 of them were bodied by Metal Sections and the rest British Aluminium Company. There were three Metal Sections bodied Fleetlines (CMB's LF106, KMB's D888 and D931) had some parts from the Hong Kong Operators. The China Motor Bus also ordered 30 Alexander-bodied FE30AGRs, They were built in 1979 and delivered in 1980.
When Leyland launched its Titan, the company announced that the Fleetline would be phrased out around 1979. However, many Fleetlines were bought by loyal customers of Fleetlines in the late 1970s. The last Fleetline (chassis No. 8002356) was built in summer 1980. It was a FE30ALR supplied to South Notts. It was bodied by Eastern Coach Works (H44/31F), registered SCH 117Y and entered service in 1982.
There were a number of serious accidents that Leyland Fleetlines involved. The most serious ones are described below.
On 22 July 1979, a CMB broken down Fleetline (LF180, BP1055, 7605518) collided into a queue of passengers at North Point Ferry Pier, resulted in 5 deaths and 46 injuries.
On 12 October 1980, a KMB Fleetline (D1031, BV5003) overturned on Lung Chung Road when the route 87 bus was travelling from Lek Yuen to Tai Kok Tsui Ferry Pier, a man was killed and 49 people injured.
On 13 December 1994, a CMB Leyland Fleetline (LF213, BR5378, 7703563) was hit by a KMB Dennis Dragon 3N106 (DJ6989, DDA607/219) at the junction of Yen Chow Street and Un Chau Street, Sham Shui Po. The driver and a passenger of the Dragon were killed and 12 people injured. The chassis of the Fleetline was bent after the accident.
The Leyland SCG 340 semi-automatic transmission enabled drivers to give fast accerlerations. The manual selection of gears were very useful on roads in Hong Kong, especially in traffic congestions and on steep and winding roads. Although it could not achieve high speeds, its acceleration rate could be as high as minibuses and taxis.
All FE33AGRs in NWFB and KMB have already been withdrawn. One FE30AGR of NWFB (SF15) was converted to a staff liaison bus. The bus was subsequently preserved in 2018. It was repainted in 2020.
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Page created: 31 May 1999
Last updated: 18 March 2020