Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,
This page created 2nd January 1999, updated 19th October 2005.
T44 of Bromley garage (TB), pulls away from Bromley North,
bound for duty on the distant 166, in June 1993.
Photo: Ian Smith 55712, Click for larger version.
The Titan was supposed to be Leyland's double-deck equivalent to the National:
a nationwide successor to the Atlantean.
Aware of the importance of the London Transport market,
Leyland consulted closely with LT to produce a bus that would stand up to the
conditions met in London (to avoid a follow-on of the Fleetline story).
On the customer's side, London Transport still had a large number of crewed buses to replace,
- and a large number of unsatisfactory Fleetlines)
In the event this produced a technically advanced bus that most provincial
operators considered too sophisticated - likely to be too difficult to maintain
in small workshops.
Instead of a Fleetline repeat, it was more like the Routemaster story.
(And in time, of course, those operators dealt quite happily with secondhand examples
after London had passed them on.)
There were several service prototypes of the new bus - at this stage called the B15.
Prototype 04 (NHG 732P) was to the London Transport specification,
and started trials at Chalk Farm (CF) on routes 24 and 3, from May 1976.
It was followed by prototype 05 (BCK 706R) on the same routes from early 1978.
A quick decision was made to order 50 as a starter order, for delivery in 1978.
The second LT prototype, T05.
Photo by Mike Dawes.
1T1: T1 - T263 (Park Royal Vehicles)
The Titan design thoroughly uses the high-bridge bus profile.
It is not quite a cuboid, having an appreciable camber in at the level
of the upper deck windows. From most angles its most remarkable aspect
is the huge lower deck windows, that give the bus a sense of spaciousness
conspicuously lacking in some of the latest buses for the late nineties.
Compared with the Atlantean, its direct ancestor,
the window contrast is enormous!
But no one who has ridden in, or been behind a Titan has any doubt
that there is something different about it.
The offset rear window gives it instant distinction!
In accordance with the thinking of the seventies it has separate entrances and exits,
with a rear-facing staircase coming down to the centre exit.
The interior of preserved T2, showing the spacious sense given by the large windows,
The orange moquette was cheerful even in a London winter.
Blue Triangle's T2 was operating to the LOTS Autumn Bazaar at Becontree in October 2003.
It was built with automatic fare collection in mind,
but this was already going out of favour as it was realised that
delicate coin-handling systems worked reliably when fixed to a floor
but not in the rapidly changing accelerating frame of reference of a city bus!
T1-46 were delivered with afc cabinets and multiride-ticket cancellers, and
T47 -100 had this equipment fitted by LT after delivery.
But the afc equipment was not used after May 1979 and was removed progressively
after that. This allowed two extra seats on the nearside wheelarch,
making it H44/26D. (This total of 70 is still less than a half-cab RML
- but that's the price of two doors and front wheelarches inside the bus!)
When delivered T1-31 had red livery with white upper window surrounds,
but this was followed on all the others by unrelieved red,
the cheap livery of the day.
T1 and T2 have survived as fleet specials, with Stagecoasch and Blue Triangle.
Both have been restored to original condition, with white upper window surrounds, white bullseyes
and Multi-ride stickers for their original Romford duties.
Here both are seen operating in service on route 8, on the last day of Routemaster crew operation on the route,
in June 2004, T1 at St.Pauls and T2 at Bethnal Green.
T1-T250 were the first order, and were built at Park Royal during 1978-79.
Leyland was unhappy about the Park Royal plant,
which was suffering from high costs and low productivity.
The Titans dribbled off the production line.
Consequently Leyland announced that it was closing the plant in November 1979.
It seemed that London might have to forego the bus it had helped design,
after just 250.
Leyland considered using the ECW plant to make them,
but instead built a new production line for it at Lillyhall,
on a guarantee that London would buy enough to make it worthwhile.
Production recommenced in 1981.
In the meantime Leyland had lost the expected massive Titan orders from the rest of the UK:
Manchester, West Yorkshire, Scottish Bus Group, the National Bus Company...
London Transport was left as almost the only customer for Leyland's superbus.
T251-253 were built from Park Royal parts as a pre-production run at Workington,
while T254-263 were built with mix of PRV and Leyland parts.
T257 was used as test-bed for Clayton Dewandre brakes, and
T261 was delivered with a turbocharged Leyland TL11 engine,
for comparative tests.
The first production Titan: T1.
Photo by Mike Dawes.
2T2: T264-T425 (Leyland, Lillyhall)
The all-Leyland Titans started to appear from May 1981.
London Transport accepted them as part of the aborted 1979-80 order for 250
(of which 100 had been replaced by Metrobuses).
These were all delivered without autofare equipment,
and with the four-wide bench seat fitted over the nearside wheel arch.
T345 was fitted with a non-turbocharged Leyland L11 engine for comparison purposes,
in place of the normal Gardner 6LXB.
All-Leyland Titan T369 of the second batch is now in preservation.
with a wrap-round advert for its sponsors it is seen at North Weald rally in 1998.
Photos by Ian Smith: click on them for larger, much clearer versions.
These were similar to the second batch,
and were distinguishable from the earlier buses
by having a Leyland name-scroll instead of the Leyland roundel on the front.
These later buses were kept separate from the earlier batches
as they had Clayton-Dewandre brakes, similar to those on the Metrobuses.
The last were delivered in 1984,
after LT had placed its whole order for double-deckers with MCW that year.
(Leyland had previusly threatened to shut the plant unless LT did the same for them
the year before).
Leyland closed the production line in 1984,
making LT dependent on MCW Metobuses for new orders
until the next generation - of Metrobus Mk2s, Olympians, Dominators and Ailsa had been assessed.
T684 was experimentally fitted with a Voith gearbox.
T876-T880 were fitted with Leyland TL11 engines.
T881-T885 were fitted with Leyland L11 engine.
T1030 has been beautifully restored in preservation, and is seen here at Cobham Museum Open Day, April 2002.
T916 is a typical 3T3, still at work for London Central in September 1998, at Ludgate Hill.
These five were built in 1978-9 for West Midlands PTE as a test batch.
They had a front entrance and front staircase, seating 73 (H47/26F)
They were withdrawn by WMPTE in 1983, and bought by LT in May 1984.
Initially they were allocated to Turnham Green (V),
then went to Aldenham for a repaint into red.
They then went to the Chiswick Experimental Shop,
before going to Forest District for MOT preparation.
They were licensed in early 1985 as type trainers,
but this duty did not last long.
In April 1985 they were fitted with mainly coach seating,
although retaining the 5-wide bench seat upstairs and some of the lower deck bus seating.
They were painted with a broad white band between the decks,
and branded for Selkent Travel.
They were used on the 177 Express and hire duties from August 1985.
It was December 1978 when the first few Titans - now class T - started to arrive.
They went to Hornchurch (RD), where they began a complete replacement of the DMS class
on routes 165, 246 and 252. Deliveries were slow,
and the conversion was not completed until October 1979.
This pattern, of gradual changeover of a whole garage,
was one that was to be repeated at other garages in the east end of the LT area.
Meanwhile the last RT route converted to RM operation at Barking, in 1979,
and the DMS class was being replaced wholesale, by new Metrobuses, Nationals and even Routemasters.
Towards the end of 1979, in November, the conversion of the other Romford garage,
North Street (NS) from DMS to Titan began, covering routes
66, 66B, 103, 139, 175 (Sunday only), 247A and 294. This took until July 1980 to complete.
T1059 on route 1 at Aldwych, September 1998.
The Leyland makers name on the front is apparent.
Photo by Ian Smith. Click for larger version.
Continuing the East end theme, Barking garage's Routemasters were displaced
early in 1980. Route 62, last outpost of the RT, was converted in mid January
after using Routemasters only from April 1979.
It was followed in February by route 87. They ran as crewed buses at first,
until agreement was reached for their opo.
At about this time the "flip-flap" made its appearance on the Titans (and other buses).
This was a flap on the front that could be flipped to indicate "Pay Driver"
or "Pay Conductor", as appropriate.
Another flap was located on the door to the driver's compartment.
Barking's omo routes were converted from DMS to T in June and July 1980.
The routes were 23 (Suns), 145, 148, 156, 169, 179, 199 and N95 (crew).
In March 1981 new Titans started to replace RMs on the North Street (NS) routes 174 and 175,
in crew operated format, the changeover taking until October 81 to complete.
April 1981 saw Upton Park (U) operating its first Titans,
starting the conversions of DMS routes 23, 147, 162 and 238
that would continue into the following year.
Upton Park also gained a Sunday allocation on route 5, using DMSs and Titans
Walthamstow (WW), having just got used to Fleetlines,
started to operate new Titans from September 1981,
on routes 34, 97, 97A, 123, 144, 158, 212, 275 and 276.
These conversions also lapped over into 1982.
East Londoner: T326 has always been an East London bus,
and is seen operating for Stagecoach East London at Kings Cross in June 1998.
It has lost its circular Leyland logo from the front grille, but retains one on the back.
After the grey skirts and white bands of the London Buses era,
the Stagecoach Titans have reverted to unrelieved red.
Photos by Ian Smith. Click for larger versions.
The conversions continued apace as the number of new Titans coming from Workington increased,
displacing Fleetlines and Routemasters in the suburbs.
The Titans were concentrated in the eastern areas, and then in south and south-east London,
leaving the arc from Northeast London round to the Southwest as Metrobus country.
They went to Hornchurch (RD), Romford North Street (NS), Barking (BK),
Poplar (PR), Seven Kings (AP), West Ham (WH), Upton Park (U), Leyton (T)
and Ash Grove (AG).
South of the river they went to Camberwell (Q), Walworth (WL), New Cross (NX),
Bexleyheath (BX), Plumstead (PD), Sidcup (SP), Catford (TL) and Bromley (TB).
South Londoner. T1102 is now preserved in early all-red livery, but in service was always a South London bus.
It is seen here at Showbus, Duxford, in September 2005.
A few went west: a number went to Westbourne Park (X) for comparative trials, running alongside Metrobuses,
but were transferred to New Cross for the route 21 conversion in November 1985,
and in 1990 Westlink acquired 13 when it acquired route 131 (Wimbledon - West Molesey)
by tender from London & Country.
T1 was sent to Aldenham for a pilot overhaul in March 1981,
but returned to Hornchurch (RD) untouched. It became the garage showbus,
retaining its white window surrounds upstairs after the others had been repainted.
For the 1983 LT50 celebrations it acquired the LT Golden Jubilee symbols on each side
and the name "Aldenham Ambassodor".
T112 and T113 were overhauled in 1983,
and were painted in a mainly white livery for the 177 Express service to and from Thamesmead.
They were renumbered TE112 and TE113.
They were used less for this exclusive role after the arrival of the coach-seated
ex-West Midlands Titans, and could then be seen on other Thames-side services.
T169 was at Preston for development work 1983-4,
then was overhauled in 1985 and resumed service.
T66 emerged from overhaul in 1983
wearing beautifully finished General livery and fleetnames, for the LT50 celebrations.
It also wore the name "Aldenham Diplomat".
T547 was delivered wearing a square rear registration plate, for some reason!
T747 was delivered in gold livery for LT50 in April 1983, numbered T1983.
It went to Camberwell (Q) for the 188.
It was transferred in June to Round London Sightseeing Tours.
In the autumn of 1983 it was transferred to Catford (TL) for general use,
and was repainted into standardd livery in August 1984.
The last new Titan allocated for service was T1096 in November 1984, to Bromley.
(It was delayed, so arrived after the last numerically, T1125.)
A second-hand one arrived later, bought from Fishwicks of Leyland:
T1131 was no stranger to London, having been prototype 05,
trialled in London back in 1978.
Part 2: Nationalisation, Privatisation, Dispersal.
For a MUCH more thorough history of the Titans
see the article by Matt Wharmby in The London Bus Magazine, Vol 115, Spring 2001.