Armchair Bus Leyland Olympians

This page created 18th April 2003 by Ian Smith


Armchair Olympian drawing Armchair Passenger Transport had long been a coach operator from the Brentford area, and won a LRT contract to operate route 260 (Shepherds Bush - North Finchley) starting in June 1990. For this they acquired twelve new Olympians, with Alexander bodies, plus three secondhand Atlanteans. The buses appeared in a startling livery of orange and white, that was difficult to keep looking good: very quickly it looked dowdy, secondhand and cheap. From late 1993 they acquired black skirts and diagonal orange at the rear.

370 was lost in a fire in February 1998. The survivors were classified LA in February 2002.

Later, when Armchair lost the 260 they worked on the 65 and 237, until Armchair lost the 65 too in June 2002. All the Alexander-bodied Olympians were then put up for sale, plus some of the all-Leyland variety, and most moved north to Lancashire. Two went to Mullany's at Watford, and one to Longleat for safari park conversion.
370 in Kingston, October 2001

(Above) Thanks to Matt Wharmby for the the rear-end view that enabled me to complete this drawing. (There are too few published photos of the backs of buses!)

(left) 370 sidles through Kingston Bus Station on a 65 working in the late afternoon of 27th October 2001, by then wearing the fashionable rear-end diagonal and a black skirt.


Armchair also won a contract for the 65 (Ealing Broadway - Kingston). It couldn't get buses in time for the September start, and London & Country filled the gap on a temporary contract until Armchair could take up the reins in January 1991. For this Armchair had acquired seventeen all-Leyland Olympians.

They received fleetnumbers L546 etc in February 2002.

After the 65 passed to London United in June 2002 some were sold, and the others worked with the Volvo Olympians on route 237, until a new contract required low-floor buses from January 2003. They were promptly withdrawn, and sold to a variety of operators. Some went north to Lancashire to join their predecessors at Blue Bus and Holmeswood Coaches, while others went to Comfy Bus at Southport. Cedrics of Wivenhoe had a couple, while three went to replace Metrobuses with Carousel of High Wycombe.

Armchair all-Leyland Olympian drawing 554 at Cobham, April 2003

(left) 554 is one that stayed in the "London" area after its days with Armchair. It passed to Carousel Buses of High Wycombe, who gave it overall London red and added their symbol that is similar to the London Country flying polo. Here it is seen in its new colours at Cobham Museum's open day in April 2003.


Armchair bought a secondhand Leyland Olympian in 1995, from Rhondda Transport. Built in 1982 MUH289X had an ECW body, and looked much like the all-Leyland batch. It was repainted orange and white with black skirt and diagonal rear end. It was used as a spare, and for periods as a dedicated trainer, before disposal in March 2000, reappearing with Fargo Coaches of Bracknell.

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