A Saturday post just to ask a question which has been posed by Mark Bailey who writes:
A friend of mine has come across two brief reports in Commercial Motor in January 1958 stating that Glasgow Corporation Transport Committee had agreed to lend a one-man-operated single-decker to Plymouth Corporation for a month. The inference is that Plymouth wanted to test a single-decker with the Leyland O.680 engine, and the only vehicle available at the time to that specification would have been a newly-delivered Glasgow Leyland Worldmaster.
I know it was almost sixty years ago, but can anyone confirm, or know of photographic evidence, that this loan ever took place? The vehicle would have stood out not only by being single-deck in an all double-deck fleet, but also through Glasgow's distinctive green orange and white livery.
It is suggested that this loan never actually happened, but it would be interesting to see if anyone has further information on the matter.
I for one have never heard of this and I am fairly sure it never happened, but has anyone else got anything to add?
The Leyland Worldmaster (Wikipedia)
Succeeding the Leyland Royal Tiger underfoor-engined heavyweight single-decker bus or single-decker coach chassis which sold more than 6,000 from 1950 to 1956 was a difficult call, but Leyland answered it with the Royal Tiger Worldmaster, it retained a substantial steel ladder-frame chassis dropped in the wheelbase and overhangs and arched over the axles to which operators could fit a body of their choice. A Leyland O680H horizontal engine (the smaller-volume 0.600H was optional but rarely chosen) was mounted at the middle of the chassis frame, driving back through a pneumocyclic semi-automatic gearbox to an overhead-worm rear axle, steering was via a worm and nut mechanism.
Sales ran from 1954 to 1979 by which time more than 20,000 had been built making it Leyland's most successful bus. In comparison, by 1985 approximately 17,000 Leyland Atlanteans had been built, Leyland Leopard sales terminated in 1983 after deliveries totalled over 12,000.
In global terms only the Ikarus 260 and 280, Bedford SB (45,000 over thirty-eight years) ‘Old Look’ and "fishbowl" GMC single-deckers(around 40,000 each), and the Mercedes-Benz O303 (38,018 over 18 years) beat the Worldmaster for overall sales. The Worldmaster was an unequivocal success for Leyland and an aptly named model.
Very few Worldmasters were sold in the United Kingdom. Glasgow Corporation took 30 RT3/1 from 1956 with Weymannbody frames finished by the corporation's skilled tram-builders over the next two years. Halifax Corporation took ten with complete Weymann bodies in the same year.
Other than these two batches, the only home-market orders for Worldmasters were for the RT3/2 coach version, which attracted a small band of devoted followers comprising Gliderways of Smethwick, Smith’s Tours of Wigan and Ellen Smith Coaches of Rochdale. Gliderways used Harrington coach bodies whilst the Lancashire operators had Plaxtonbody theirs. Between these three fewer than ten coaches were sold, at the time the Leyland Tiger Cub and AEC Reliance dominated the underfloor-engined single-deck coach market. The arrival of the L1/2 Leyland Leopard in 1959 followed by the PSU3 version in 1961 confined UK-registered Worldmasters to a trickle of undelivered export chassis, one of which (an ERT2/2) went to Happiways of Manchester in 1963, bodied by Duple (Northern) in the former H. V. Burlingham factory. Like Smith of Wigan, Happiways became part of today's Shearings coach operation.
The RT3/2 was withdrawn from home market sale in 1961 and the RT3/1 in 1964