Even though of very similar appearance to 1236, which is already in the Trust’s
collection, 1330 has been added to the collection as it represents what was
basically the standard Merseyside double-deck bus delivered between 1972
Some of the later examples lasted in front line service with Arriva, (successor to
MTL, Merseybus and the MPTE), until 2001.
Although the PDR type Leyland Atlantean was without a doubt a highly
successful chassis it was superseded in 1972 by the AN68 series Atlantean.
The AN68 differed from the earlier Atlanteans by having, amongst other
additions, power steering, dual circuit brakes and a fail-safe parking brake as
standard. The revised chassis also gave greater protection from collision
damage to the steering box and the brake pedals and also catered for a wider entrance step.
The Leyland 680 engine, supplied as an option on the PDR1 Atlantean and retrofitted to most of Liverpool’s earlier Atlanteans, was fitted to the AN68 as standard. The pneumo-cyclic gearbox was retained, but was modified along with the flywheel and angle drive so that all three units used the same oil supply. This not only simplified routine servicing but also lowered the operating temperatures of all three of the units, reducing the flywheel’s tendency to overheat.
Amongst the earliest orders, and by far the largest order placed for the AN68/1R in 1972 (the first year of production) was that of 250 ordered by the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (MPTE). These chassis were delivered in three batches, with the first 100 (MPTE fleet Nos. 1296 – 1395) receiving Alexander of Falkirk bodywork to the MPTE’s specification, similar in appearance to that fitted on the batch of 60 PDR Atlanteans (Nos. 1236 – 1295) supplied earlier in 1972. The next fifty were bodied by East Lancs whilst Alexander bodied the final 100. Eventually 756 AN68's saw service with the MPTE of which 529 carried bodywork by Alexander to the PTE's design.
1330 entered service during November 1972 operating from Prince Alfred Road (PAR) garage and was used mainly on services 60 (Dingle-Bootle), 61 (Aigburth-Seaforth), 73/73A/73B (Woolton/Netherley/Childwall-Pier Head) and 79/79A/79B/79C/79D (Netherley/Belle Vale/Lee Park-Pier Head).
1330 was withdrawn from service on expiry of its initial seven year Certificate of Fitness (CoF) in November 1979 and dispatched to the MPTE’s Edge Lane Works for overhaul and a repaint (B4 Dock). After overhaul, the original MPTE livery of dark green with cream side window surrounds was replaced with an overall advert for Higson's Brewery prior to re-entering service from Edge Lane in July 1980.
After five months 1330 was transferred to Litherland but it only stayed for a short spell then it was transferred to Gillmoss in May 1981, as it was the normal practice for buses painted in overall advertising liveries to tour around the city’s garages to ensure that the advert was seen by as many people as possible. It also appeared in the 1981 Lord Mayor's parade.
The twelve month contract for the Higson’s advert expired in July 1981 and so 1330 returned to the works for another repaint. However, rather than being repainted into fleet livery, it was repainted into another overall advert, this time for St Helens Glass, a local double glazing installation company. 1330 carried this advert from August 1981 to May 1982 before gaining fleet livery of Verona green and Jonquil, along with brown skirt panels and window surrounds.
Although back in fleet livery, 1330 continued its nomadic existence, operating out of Edge Lane Garage (June 1982 to March 1983), Green Lane (March 1983 to September 1983), back to PAR for a short spell (September 1983) before returning to Green Lane (October 1983 to October 1986).
Previous to 1984, the MPTE had placed orders for approximately 100 new vehicles every year to enable it to renew its fleet on a rolling basis. However, with the withdrawal of the “New Bus Grant Scheme” and the uncertainties brought about as a result of the proposed Deregulation and Privatisation of the British Bus Industry in 1986, the MPTE ceased to place large orders for replacement buses and instead buses were retained beyond their normal life-expectancy of 12-13 years.
On the demise of the MPTE on “D Day” (26th October 1986) 1330 passed to the newly created Merseybus (Merseyside Transport Ltd) which had replaced the PTE as a bus operating company and was transferred to St. Helens’ Jackson Street Depot mainly for use on school bus duties until it was withdrawn and placed into the reserve fleet in July 1991.
After a spell allocated to various holding pools (mainly paper only transfers), it re-entered service in August 1992 as a loan bus to cover for vehicles whilst they were being overhauled and so it ran out of Gillmoss in August and Green Lane in September before being transferred to Garston in October 1992, where it remained until being withdrawn for disposal in June 1995. At some stage it was re-painted into Merseybus’s maroon and cream livery although the date that this happened is not clear.
In September 1995, 1330 was saved from going to the scrap heap by being acquired by the Sapphires, a Kirkby based dance troupe who continued to use it until passing it to the Belmont Morris Dancers, a Lancashire based dance troupe who nicknamed the bus Harry Potter.
After a period of storage at another preservation group’s premises, 1330 arrived at Burscough in February 2006 having been very generously donated to the Merseyside Transport Trust by the Belmont Morris Dancers. Unfortunately the bus was delivered to Burscough in a very poor condition with most of its lower panels missing or damaged, along with other fittings such as seat cushions and lights missing, which is a great shame as the bus had been complete and in good condition when it had been collected by a third party in September 2005 from the Belmont Morris Dancers who had looked after the bus very well.
Restoration work will begin when time and resources become available, in the meantime it is safely stored undercover. It has not yet been decided which livery to repaint 1330 into, and when the time comes it will be a hard decision to make as the bus has carried so many!