Capital boost for Olympians
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• The big freeze on new double-decker buying in London appears to have thawed somewhat, with the news that London Buses Limited (LBL) has placed an order for 28 Northern Counties-bodied Leyland Olympians, for its newlytendered Bexley area operation.
The vehicles are not being bought outright, but will be supplied on contract hire through Kirkby Leasing, working closely with both Northern Counties and Leyland Bus. Delivery of the Olympians is planned to be made in time for the start of the Bexley operation early next year.
The new double-deckers are standard 9.6-metre models and have the same specification as the 260 Olympians supplied to London buses between 1985/ 86, with 132kW (17'7hp) Gardner 6LXB engines coupled to five-speed Hydracyclic fully automatic gearboxes with integral retarders.
The deal represents Northern Counties' first major double-deck bodywork order from London for some years. According to NC's managing director David Cherry, it is also "the biggest single new contract to have been placed for a batch of double-deck buses to be built in 1987 by any major manufacturer."
The Northern Counties bodies will have standard alloy frames with a single front doorway layout. Three will have high backed coach seats, while the remaining 25 will each be equipped with 73 moquette-trimmed bus seats.
Ian McKinnon, chairman of Leyland Bus claims: "In today's depressed double-deck market, 28 chassis represent a significant order. When they are delivered they will bring to almost three hundred the number of Olympians in service in the capital."
General manager of London Buses' Selkent 'D' division, Bryan Constable, who is responsible for the new Bexley operation, says: "We won the LRT tender for the Bexley services on the basis of providing new vehicles."
Commenting on the order, Glynn McKenzie, director of finance of Kirkby Leasing — a company owned jointly by Kirkby Central and Lombard North Central — says: "This is another example of Kirkby Leasing providing a tailor-made package for the PSV industry."