On-off Titan is off but not finished vet
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THE ON-OFF saga of the Leyland Titan lurched last week into what the manufacturer hopes is a temporary "off". The Eastern Coach Works labour force has turned down plans to build Titan bodies at Lowestoft.
As a result, Leyland has cancelled its £3m planned expansion of the ECW factory, after exploratory site work was undertaken, and the extra jobs for semi and unskilled assembly workers will not now go there. 1. he move reflects the earlier Titan disaster at Park Royal, where the import of prefabricated vehicle assembly upset a craft-oriented workforce. Park Royal closes in June, and ECW's future is less than certain.
Leyland had hoped' to build Titan and Olympian (B45) double-deckers side-by-side at Lowestoft from early next year, in view of the common parts in the two models.
But it is looking earnestly for a new Titan assembly point, and may reconsider where Olympians can be bodied. The company wants Titan to be built at a Leyland group plant, but has not ruled out the possibility of using an independent company's premises.
It already plans to build Titan underframes at the Leyland National plant at Workington. It works on the prefabrication principle and there could be less worker resistance to Titan assembly there. Its options, otherwise, are limited. The company may fight shy of approaching the only other traditional coachworks in the group — Charles Roe at Leeds.
The Roe works are well filled with conventional bodies for conventional doubledeckers, and the recent Baghdad order for Atlanteans (p.22) is to be bodied by Willowbrook.
A Leyland spokesman assured CM that the company will keep Titan in production, "almost certainly" at another company site.