Until the end of 2023, ACT Bus will be revealing the Top 15 buses of all time in the Canberra / ACTION Bus fleet (determined by number in the fleet).

At number 9 is the Leyland National 10951/2R with 70 vehicles.

First in service: Bus 256, December 1974
Last withdrawn: Bus 318 (unconfirmed), 1992
Years in service: 18 years

The Leyland National was one of the four bus models chosen to expand the Canberra Bus Fleet in 1974-75 as part of the major upgrade of the Canberra Service at that time. An 11.3m long Leyland National demonstrator (C94763) operated in April 1974, with the first permanent vehicle – a 10.9m version – being delivered in November 1974.

Canberra was the first operator of Leyland National buses in Australia (they were also used in Brisbane, Hobart and Melbourne, with one each in Perth and Adelaide, and a few regional operators including Surfside). At 70 buses, Canberra had the largest fleet of any Australian operator.

The first 16 buses (256-271) were imported from England with the body fully built, with the remaining 54 buses (272-325) imported in kit form with the body assembled in Australia by Pressed Metal Corporation (a division of Leyland Australia).

The Leyland 510 engine originally fitted to these vehicles were prone to poor fuel consumption and heavy black smoke exhaust. In order to extend their operational life, many of these buses had their engines and gearboxes replaced – Bus 320 was fitted with a trial Gardner 6HLXB engine in the early 1980s; by the mid-1980s MAN engines from SL200 buses (which themselves received an upgraded engine) and three-speed automatic Voith gearboxes were being fitted to these vehicles.

By 1992, the last of these buses were withdrawn, replaced by Renault PR100.2 buses.


Further reading:

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This page was last updated on 20 January 2024