XF: Daimler Fleetline, NBC
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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 and designated them 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 XFs entered service in the LT 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 at the bottom of the staircase allowed the XFs to run 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 any 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; with the gate locked the buses could run as one-man, 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.

For the commencement of the National Bus Company on 1st January 1970 London Country Bus Services Ltd (LCBS) had been formed. All LT Country Area operations and vehicles were transferred to it, including all eight XFs.

In the early days of LCBS its vehicles were inherited from London Transport, which organization continued to maintain them for a time. As such the various function labels, including the operator’s legal lettering with its new address, was almost certainly still in LT’s Johnston style.

It is known that XF4 and XF6 received a simple interim green and yellow livery, but it is unlikely that all eight did. A little later a more striking green and yellow livery appeared, but again it is doubtful that all eight were repainted in that style. The National Bus Company was established from 1970 and adopted a heavy block capital logotype with double arrow for all its subsidiary companies. London Country Buses gradually painted its vehicles in the somewhat uninspiring colour scheme depicted here.

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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