22. A Preston Bus Eastern Coach Works bodied Leyland Olympian

PrestonBus Leyland Olympian ONTL11/2R, ECW body, A33 MRN

Over the last 30 years, the Leyland Olympian has proved to be one of Leyland’s most enduring double decker vehicles. With the prototype originally conceived and built in Bristol (as a replacement for the Bristol VR), independent companies, PTE operators and the National Bus Company modernised their fleet with this vehicle. This example seen above was bodied by Eastern Coach Works in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

Besides the ubiquitous ECW bodied examples, Alexander bodied Olympians were for some time Stagecoach’s standard double decker. Greater Manchester Transport’s examples (bodied by Northern Counties, as you would expect) represented their second generation GMT Standard vehicle. GMT’s version outlived GMT and GM Buses itself by means of the Palatine and Palatine II style of body, which was seen in the latterly renamed Volvo Olympians till 1997. Some examples remain in service with First Manchester, primarily from Bury and Queens Road garages.

Bus Route of Christmas Past: Manchester Corporation’s Eccles – Levenshulme route. Starting at the Lloyd Road terminus, Levenshulme, this service took in Stretford and Urmston prior to reaching Eccles. It had a basic frequency of every 20 minutes with a 15 minute frequency during peak hours. In 1974 it was renumbered 262 with a second 22 taking over the 40/42 route, this time extended to Unsworth. Today’s 22, operated by First Manchester, runs every half hour and includes the former Manchester Corporation route in much extended form, with its southerly terminus in Stockport (via Burnage) and northerly terminus in Bolton (via Swinton and Farnworth).

Bus Route of Christmas Present: I could have opted for the Bolton to Stockport service as the soft option. Instead, I have chosen the BRoCPre is Preston’s 22 from the city centre to Royal Preston Hospital. The service runs every 12 minutes on Monday to Saturdays during the daytime, co-working with the 23.

S.V., 22 December 2011

3 thoughts on “East of the M60 Advent Calendar: 22 December 2011

  1. The 22 was extended to Stockport and Bolton on De-Reg Day by GM Buses – it replaced the 262 between Burnage and Eccles. In the evening and Sundays, operated as two sections – Stockport-Farnworth and Farnworth-Bolton.

    The 500 limited stop service also provided a quicker alternative between Stockport, Stretford and Bolton.

    Before SELNEC/GMT, it was jointly operated by North Western and Manchester Corporation. Eccles to Chorlton journeys were opeated by NWRCC and Levenshulme journeys operated by MCTD.


    1. Hi Rob,

      Many thanks for filling me in on the history of the 22 service. I’ve only ever been on the full length of the 22 once, in May 2009. The vehicle I was aboard was a Wright bodied Volvo, hitherto seen on the 400 Trans-Lancs Express route with Superbus branding (under GM Buses North). At the time, the front seat (two individual plastic seats) was replaced by a standard bus seat with the red squares moquette.

      The 500 operated between Bolton and Manchester Airport. In its guise as a Summer Only service, it avoided Altrincham, opting for the M63, Princess Parkway and the M56, prior to reaching Ringway. Altrincham was a later addition to the route. Therefore it must have been quicker to change at Stretford for a 23/23A compared with staying on the 22 till Stockport.

      The Levenshulme journeys used to terminate at Lloyd Road, where the bus drivers’ canteen and information office was based.

      Bye for now,



  2. Regarding todays 22 dont forget that some journeys are actually operated by Stagecoach Manchester using a variety of vehicles from Stockport Depots fleet


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