XF: Daimler Fleetline, LT
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Click here to see brief notes about this vehicle and technical notes about this particular drawing >>


Notes About This Vehicle

The Daimler Fleetline, along with the Leyland Atlantean, had become the staple one-man-operated double-deck bus outside London by the mid-1960s. London Transport (LT) had experimented with a ‘forward entrance’ Routemaster, RMF1254, in 1962, though it never operated in passenger service in the capital.

In 1965 LT bought eight Fleetlines, designated XF, and fifty Leyland Atlanteans, designated XA. These were both genuine ‘front entrance’ buses, with the engine at the rear. LT specified a modified internal floor, staircase and seating arrangement, and the bodies had their then standard front and rear direction indicators fitted.

The external appearance of the XF and XA Park Royal Vehicles bodies were very similar other than at the rear, which had to be different to accommodate the engine units from Daimler and Leyland. At the front, the towing holes either side of the registration plate were also slightly differently located, to facilitate attachment to the anchor points for the Daimler and Leyland chassis.

The XFs entered service in Country Area green from East Grinstead garage in September 1965. Though capable of one-man operation, legislation of the time prohibited it for double-deckers and so these XFs had conductors. A lockable gate was fitted at the bottom of the staircase, the intention being to run the XFs in driver-only configuration, legally, as single-deckers. One-man agreements had already been in place with the unions for single-deckers in the Country Area.

At the same time the Leyland XAs were running in the Central Area, with the customary red livery, out of Highgate garage. The XFs seemed to be performing more reliably and with better fuel efficiency than the XAs, though the conditions in the two areas were not comparable. A swap was therefore arranged in April 1966. For a short time green XFs could be seen in central London territory and red XAs outside, but without a noticeable change in performance levels in either vehicle type.

By July 1966 legislation permitted driver-only double-deck operation and LT was keen to try this. The XFs returned to East Grinstead but chose to run them as one-man with the upper deck locked out of use, in effect mimicking a single-decker. This caused logistical problems and ceased in April 1967.

For about two years further XF/XA Central/Country swaps took place at other garages from May 1967. Both vehicle types were being evaluated against the highly successful front engine rear-platform RML, which of course required both driver and conductor.

XF and XA front and rear roof domes were of fibreglass and small metal plates may be observed in this drawing showing where the internal grab rails were secured at the front. Also of note is the red reversing warning light, and light itself, fitted in anticipation of there being no conductor to aid the driver with such manoeuvres. The XAs neither needed nor had them, being intended for crew operation.

The ‘slip board’ holder below the front nearside window was replaced by a ‘Pay as You Enter’ transfer, introduced with full one-man-operation after London Country Bus Services had been formed for the commencement becoming part of the National Bus Company on 1st January 1970. All LT Country Area operations and vehicles were transferred to it, including all eight XFs.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing XA.001.Z.1 dated 28th February 1967. 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.

An extensive number of detailed photographs was taken of XF1 in its restored condition. Reference to London Transport black & white press photographs was made and a few contemporary colour images of vehicles in service were consulted.

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 –January 2022
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