Leyland National Mk.1 Long 2 Door Cumberland Motor Services ERM35K. CMS 350 on Whitehaven town service 05.
Former Tilling Group-controlled Cumberland Motor Services based in Whitehaven operated bus services in the former county of Cumberland. The boundary changes of 1974 saw the abolition of Cumberland, Westmorland and parts of north Lancashire when the county of Cumbria was created. The new factory at Lillyhall near Workington where Leyland Nationals were built was in Cumberland’s operating area, so it was not unexpected for a pre-production vehicle to be trialled in service nearby. Chassis no 005, numbered 350 in the Cumberland fleet, was the first Leyland National delivered to an operator and the first to enter service.
On March 13th 1972, ERM35K was officially handed over to the National Bus Company at the NBC’s Central London headquarters in New Street Square, followed by a short demonstration run to Waterloo and back.
Three days later on March 16th 1972 ERM35K commenced duties on Whitehaven town service 05, a 20-minute route operating daily between Bransty Crescent and West Cumberland Hospital. The three-times hourly frequency over hilly terrain provided useful live test data for Leyland engineers.
In early 1976 ERM35K was converted to single door and upseated, operating with this layout until withdrawal in 1985 after a creditable 13 years in service. It was hoped ERM35K would be saved for preservation. It hung on for three more years, gradually being stripped of useful parts, but regrettably this important vehicle was scrapped in 1988.
The original livery worn by ERM35K has been a subject of debate over the years, and is understood to have been neither the traditional red used by the Tilling group of companies including Cumberland Motor Services, nor BET Group red used by neighbouring operator Ribble Motor Services. ERM35K’s original body colour was short lived however as it was repainted NBC Poppy Red in June 1973.
We are grateful to Robbie Forster (Dorset Model Buses), Ron McCullock, and Mike Morton (Workington Transport Heritage Trust) for their assistance with historical aspects of ERM35K.
• Colours/details of final model may vary from illustration
• Authentically detailed die-cast model from EFE Road
• Complementary to OO scale model railways (1:76 scale)