History of SYPTE 2013 (C113HDT)
2013 is a Leyland DAB articulated bus, or ‘bendi bus’ as its more commonly referred to. It was one of a batch delivered new to SYPTE is September 1985, 10 to operate the City Clipper service in Sheffield to a triple door design, and 3 for the former Dearnways service out to Rotherham and Thurnscoe as Service X91 (C101 to 113 HDT). This particular vehicle is one of the 3 vehicles delivered with coach seats for the X91.
The SYPTE was always trying out new things. The bendi-buses first appeared in Sheffield in 1979, with a small batch of MAN vehicles, and a small batch of Leyland DAB vehicles, which looked similar in appearance to the Leyland National. Due to issues with the Unions at the time, these early vehicles didn’t last long and all had found new owners by the time they were only 2 years old.
Unfortunately, time and circumstances were about to catch up with the batch, with change in transport policy, privatisation and an early renaissance of the local rail system all helping to reduce the need for the buses. 2011-2013 were initially transferred to Greenland Road depot to work with cousins 2001-2010, and frequently strayed onto other services like the 41 and 51, before returning to Rotherham to launch the Meadowhall Express brand on Rotherham 601 when Meadowhall opened in September 1990. Again, the arrangement was fairly short lived and the trio gained Rotherham Mainline branding and saw use mostly on service 69. As Mainline became the standard brand, eventually the buses would return to Greenland Road and all 13 operated on the extended 501/502 services between Meadowhall, Sheffield and Batemoor.
When First took over the Mainline business in 1998, the most immediate change was the closure of Greenland Road garage with most resources moved into the new bigger Olive Grove depot – however, the artics ended up at Rotherham still working the Sheffield routes.
Unfortunately, time had now caught up with them and with Leyland a distant memory and parts becoming more scares and expensive, failure rates increasing and the low floor revolution underway (something that they certainly were not!), time finally caught up with the batch and they were all withdrawn in mid-1999.
A few saw storage elsewhere and some limited use, but disposal soon occurred. Many ended up in Ireland, whilst 2008 operated at Humberside Airport. 2011-2013 ended up with Bath Bus Company and caused serious recrimination at the time – First policy was not to sell buses for onward use, but an un-named party managed to sell them as coaches! Looking back today, that person certainly had a vision and was quite correct in that, if that hadn’t happened, we probably wouldn’t have 2013 in preservation today! At present, despite enquiries with various parties including the BBC, we believe that 2013 is now a unique survivor and one that, when fully on the road, will be a real crowd pleaser. Owned by the trust, work continues to restore it initially to its Mainline image, but longer-term to its SYPTE Fastline origins.
A great deal of time and money has also gone into obtaining rare parts for the bus, which has included 2 new windscreens, which had to be obtained from DAB in Denmark. The restoration of the bodywork requires finishing, mainly on the trailer section, and there are a few mechanical issues that need to be sorted before the bus returns to the road. Without doubt, it will be a very popular vehicle on the local rally scene when it hits the road again!
Owner - SYTT