Rapido Trains UK is to add another classic bus to its range: the famous Leyland National Mk 1.
The Leyland National is a true ‘Marmite bus’. But love it or loathe it, the National played a seminal role in British bus history and, in 2022, it celebrates its 50th birthday.
We love an underdog here at Rapido Trains UK and given that the National celebrates such a milestone this year, we’re delighted to announce that we’re adding it to our growing range of 1:76 scale buses and coaches.
The National was born when the newly formed British Leyland Motors Holdings joined forces with the equally new National Bus Company to build a standard single decker that was suitable for all areas of the country. Hence its name.
The new bus was unveiled at the 1970 Commercial Motor Show at Earls Court and visitors took in its modular construction, Michelotti styling and distinctive roof-mounted ventilation pod. In a bid to level up the country’s economy, it was to be built at a brand new factory in Workington, which was suffering with the decline in the steel industry.
ERM35K was the first National to be handed over to an operator on March 13th 1972. Symbolically, it was Cumberland. Production got into full swing but reaction was mixed. For some operators and passengers alike, the new buses were a revelation; others were less enamoured.
Orders (including export orders) were steady but Workington’s National production line never ran at full capacity. Other avenues were explored, from 1978’s low-cost Series B version to using body parts on new railcars.
The National Mk 2 made a low-key debut in 1979 and the most obvious change was the bulbous nose, which covered a front-mounted radiator. Mk 2 production continued until 1985 when Halton Borough Transport received the last, C49OCM. Workington switched to making the National’s replacement, the Leyland Lynx leaving
the National, like most BL products, to divide opinion, something that continues today, a half century after its introduction.
We’re delighted to give the Leyland National the Rapido treatment, with finely detailed interior and exterior, front wheels that steer and lights.
Our first batch of models comprises Mk 1 Nationals. Selecting the liveries for this batch was difficult. But we’re pleased to reveal 11 new colour schemes, covering a wide geographical spread and different eras.
We wish to thank Transport Museum Wythall and Basil Hancock for their help with our Leyland National project.
Our stunning 1:76 scale model buses boast many innovative features:
- 100% accurate proportions based on laser scans of the real thing
- Injection-moulded plastic and die-cast metal construction
- All body weld lines, extrusions and rivets accurately rendered
- Full, multi-coloured interior with no large posts blocking aisles
- Separate etched-metal interior grab poles
- Pose-able front wheels with rubber tyres
- Flush glazing throughout
- Working headlamps & interior lighting
- Key detail differences
- Requires a 9V 500mA DC power supply (not included)