LEYLAND TITAN IN LONDON BUSES LIVERY
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Notes About This Vehicle

Following the success of the single-deck Leyland National, a project was conceived in 1973 and designated ‘B15’ for a double decker. The name ‘Leyland Titan’ was revived from the much earlier front-engined double decker of the 1920s to 1960s.
Five prototypes were built between 1975 and 1977 fitted with Leyland’s 500 series engines. The London market being a priority, numbers 4 and 5 were evaluated there, with the overall design notably influenced by London Transport.
In due course, single- and dual-door options were offered to operators as was a flexible approach to the location of the staircase. The production vehicles received the Gardner 6LXB engine following concerns over reliability and fuel economy of the British Leyland 500.
The initial order of these 68-seater vehicles from London Transport was for 50, subsequently increased to 250, with bodies to be built at Park Royal Vehicles, later to be transferred to AEC in Southall. This arrangement led to industrial action embroiling both suppliers and an unacceptability slow pace of delivery. The first vehicle was not delivered until August 1978.
Despite Park Royal’s long and splendid history of body building for London (and elsewhere), owing to these disputes productivity had become very poor. The industrial action had equally disastrous effects on AEC and its closure was announced in October 1978. Park Royal however continued its tardy supply rate blamed on the replacement of skilled, with semi-skilled workers. Its closure was announced in October 1979 and so ending a long and illustrious association of London Transport and its predecessors with two once highly revered suppliers.
The consequence of this sorry tale was that the whole project could have been cancelled had it not been for LT’s guarantee of sufficient orders and so Leyland chose to build a new production line at its factory in Workington which had previously built the Leyland Nationals. The first 100 Titans took some 14 months to deliver whereas the next 150 appeared in half as many.
The significant attention paid to LT’s requirements however led to a much lesser take up elsewhere. Greater Manchester PTE reduced its original order of 190 to a paltry 15 with West Midlands PTE acting similarly and buying a mere five against its initial requirement of 80; Reading Transport however bought 12 to full LT specification. London eventually purchased 1125 Titans but also opted for 1440 of Metro-Cammell Weymann’s rival ‘Metrobus’.
The Titan class was largely superseded by 2001 with the Metrobus surviving a little longer. Both were deemed inappropriate with the by then demand for low-floor vehicles and the last Titan ran in London in June 2003.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing ‘T001.Z.’ dated 28th April 1980. This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but as a specification guide to builders.
All the fine detail has been interpreted from dozens of colour photographs of T21 in preservation in August 2015 though this is not representative of how it looked when entering service in March 1979 most notable being the ’London Buses’ logo which was introduced in the 1980s. None of the detail can be regarded as definitive.
It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see each part of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.
 
drawing copyright Douglas Rose December 2015
 
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