The Leyland Fleetline was only the second rear-engine double-decker bus chassis to be produced by a UK manufacturer when it debuted in 1960. Initially designed by Daimler, the Fleetline offered numerous improvements over the first UK rear-engine bus, Leyland’s Atlantean, such as a drop-centre rear axle, which enabled a lower body height without inconveniencing passengers with an uncomfortable seating arrangement or ceiling height. While Leyland would later offer the drop-centre rear axle on the Atlantean, this option was dropped when the two companies were brought together under British Leyland in 1968. The Daimler name continued to be applied to the Fleetline until this was phased out, in favour of the Leyland name, in the mid-1970s.
Birmingham City Transport (later West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive or WMPTE) was the second largest Fleetline operator (behind London Transport) and it had well over 1,000, including single-decker Fleetlines (introduced in 1965). Other municipal fleets, including Midland Red, would bring the number of Fleetlines in the Greater Birmingham and West Midlands area to well over 2,000 vehicles. The last of West Midlands Travel’s Fleetlines was withdrawn in 1997.
Thanks to the help of Transport Museum, Wythall, these new 1:76 scale Fleetline produced by Rapido Trains will feature the same superb level of detail as their BCT ‘New Look’ Guy Arab IV. They are producing both the original and the rebuilt front headlamp/indicator arrangements.
Other Layland Fleetline models are available to add to your collection.