Atlantean Story

The rear-engined double decker appeared in 1960, when an early production Daimler Fleetline and a Leyland Atlantean, both with identical Metro-Cammell bodies, (68/9, MFN 968/9 respectively) entered the fleet for comparative trials.  The Atlantean came out on top, though many said this was a foregone conclusion given the large numbers of Leylands already operated, whilst the last Daimlers had gone some years previously.  In consequence, three further Metro-Cammell bodied Atlanteans arrived in early 1961 (70-2, PKT 470-2), and two more, with Park Royal bodies came in 1963 (73/4, UKT 473/4).  All these (including the non-standard Fleetline!), managed over 20 years active service.

A further pair were acquired with the takeover of the Enterprise fleet in 1967.  These (85/6, CKN 15/6D) had Alexander bodies, a make new to Eldorado, and were just over a year old when acquired.  85 was withdrawn after 18 years service, but 86 was converted to open top in 1976, and went on to give a total of 31 years service before being withdrawn in 1998.

A batch of Northern Counties bodied Atlanteans was ordered, with delivery starting in 1968 and extending over the next three years. Three of the five were conventional single-entrance (75/6/8, HUF 75/6G/KUF 78J), one had coach seats and was finished by Plaxton (77, KUF 77H), and the fifth (81, JKT 81J) was dual door - the first of this layout which was to be in vogue for several years.  Regrettably this vehicle was to survive less than two years before it was destroyed in a depot fire in 1972.  Although other vehicles were damaged in the fire, this was the only write-off.

The first 10-metre double deckers arrived in late 1971, a pair of dual door Roe bodied Atlantean PDR2/1s (79/80, LKN 79/80K) being followed by a third with one door and 85 seats (83, MKN 83K).
These were accompanied by a more normal 9m Atlantean, but unusually with ECW bodywork (82, LKN 282K).

The final PDR-series Atlantean, perhaps inspired by the ex-Enterprise vehicles, was delivered in 1971 with Alexander bodywork (84, JKT 84J).

"Eldorado Standards"

In 1973, a further Northern Counties bodied Atlantean (87, NKN 87L) was added to the fleet.  This was the first of the AN68 type, and had a radically different body style from previous examples.  Its dual door bodywork closely resembled those being delivered to SELNEC at that time, as their EX-series, and was, in its various guises, to become the standard Eldorado double decker until the end of Atlantean production.  They became known as "Eldorado Standards", perhaps because of Eldorado's proximity to Manchester, where similar vehicles went on to become SELNEC (later Greater Manchester Transport) "Standards".

Over the next nine years, a further seven were delivered.  These were:

88/9 KKN 88/9P Dual Door Flat Windscreen
111/2 UKN 111/2S Dual Door Flat Windscreen

113 XKN 113T Dual Door Curved Windscreen
118/9 KKN 118/9V Single Door Curved Windscreen
In 1990 two secondhand one were acquired, from Jubilee Coaches (108, VHD 308V) and Reliance (109, BVR 36T), both dual door with flat screens.
In the meantime, in 1981, a pair of SELNECs previous standards, the Mancunian, had been acquired (116/7, HVM 916/7F).
... and in addition to the "Standards", two new Roe bodied examples (114/5, EKN 114W/MKN 115Y) were acquired in 1980 and 1982 respectively.


As has already been mentioned, one of the ex-Enterprise Atlanteans, (86) was converted to open top in 1976, finally being withdrawn in 1998.

In 1981, the PDR1 with Northern Counties body finished as a coach by Plaxton, by then 11 years old, was rebuilt (by Northern Counties) as a bus.  It went on to give another nine years of service before being withdrawn in 1990.
One of the Mancunians acquired in 1981 (116, HVM 916F), was converted to open top before entering service, and survived in this guise until 1999.
Finally, the very first AN68, (87, NKN 87L), after 18 years of service, was converted to single door and totally refurbished by Alexander in 1991, gaining an Alexander R-type front panel on an otherwise standard-looking Northern Counties body, and was treated to a cherished registration remarkably similar to its original one - 87 NKN.  This gave it a further eight years lease of life, until being withdrawn in 1999.

The End

Atlantean/Northern Counties 118/9 (KKN 118/9X), the last Atlanteans in the fleet, were withdrawn in October 2000, bringing 40 years of Atlantean operation to an end.

For the record, the Eldorado Leyland Atlanteans over the years have numbered 32 in total, with 26 bought new, 4 secondhand, and 2 acquired with takeovers. There have been:

  • 17 PDR1's, with bodywork by Alexander (3), ECW (1), Metro-Cammell (4), Northern Counties (5) and, Park Royal (4),
  • 3 PDR2's, bodied by Roe,
  • 12 AN68's, bodied by Roe (2) and Northern Counties "Standards" (10).

The Atlantean fleet peaked in 1985, when this make accounted for 82% of the double deck fleet (23 out of 28).