• Leyland National WBW735X: first main operator - UK Atomic Energy Authority Harwell (1982 - 1991)

Vehicle details


16 February 1982


WBW735X (UKAEA and post-Tappins), 653GBU (with Tappins)

Fleet number(s)

"SN12" (Strathtay Scottish operated 11 Leyland Nationals with fleet numbers SN1 - SN11)


Leyland National (LN NL116AL11-1R)

Chassis number



Leyland AL11 (aspirated) then Leyland TL11-B 245bhp at 2100 rev/min (turbo) Diesel


Mark 2, long, single door, no pod


B52F plus 23 standing. Total 75 passengers.

New to

UK Atomic Energy Authority Harwell

Other operators

Tom Tappin Limited of Didcot (18 June 1991), Tappins Coaches Limited of Didcot (6 March 2007), Routemaster Buses Limited of Nantwich (1 November 2010). Withdrawn from service on 24 June 2014.

Current owner(s)

Taybus Vintage Vehicle Society member(s)

Current livery

Strathtay Scottish (second white band version).
Painted to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the bus company which operated seven similar buses.


Restored and on the road since 2015


Best in Show Roland Williams trophy: Scottish Vintage Bus Museum 2015


Vehicle history

The Atomic Energy Authority in Harwell owned four virtually identical Leyland National 2 buses for staff transport. JTF971W and JTF972W were bought new in April 1981 and in February 1982 WBW735X and WBW736X were added to the fleet. WBW735X was sold to Tappins Coaches Limited of Didcot in 1991 for use on a shuttle service from Reading to the Thames Valley (Industrial) Park. By this stage the original Leyland AL11 engine had been changed to a Leyland turbo TL11-B 245 and the seats reupholstered.

Routemaster Buses Limited bought the bus from Tappins nineteen years later and it was painted into their two-tone green “London Country” livery in July 2011. Used for school and other contract work, including rail replacement duties, it was withdrawn from service on 24 June 2014 after 32 years, 4 months and 9 days possibly making it one of the longest-serving Leyland National 2 buses.

In preservation

WBW735X was purchased for preservation on 1 August 2014 and rallied for a few months in "as acquired" condition with some restoration work carried out between events.

During its over 32 years of service work this Leyland National bus had only had three main owners/operators and unusually has never been linked with a major bus company. This means it could be painted into a livery representing any bus company without too many problems as there’s not a well-known “original” livery for it to wear.

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of Strathtay Scottish WBW735X was brush painted into the second version of their livery complete with white stripe. It returned to the road on 17 May 2015 when it won the Roland Williams award for the Best Bus at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum's Running Day at Lathalmond.

Unfortunately the bus developed mechanical problems returning from Glamis Castle on 12 July 2015 including a blown head gasket which resulted in the bus being off the road until February 2016. During this time a number of other 'pending' work tasks were also completed.

For further information about the restoration of this vehicle, see the blog here, or click on one of the latest blog posts below. Please note that this blog is independent from and not in any way related to TVVS.