No. 48 in the Sunderland Corporation fleet was one of a batch of three Atkinson chassis, which were to be the last Atkinson passenger chassis to enter service in this country in 1964. Atkinson was better known for its lorry chassis and the company were approached by Sunderland to build these vehicles after unsatisfactory performance from the Corporation’s AEC Reliances.
The vehicles had Gardner 6HLW engines mounted horizontally underfloor. The bodies were by Marshall to the contemporary B.E.T. specification, similar to other local vehicles at the time. The twin-door bodies were specified to operate on the Pay-As-You-Enter system.
The steps into the saloon were very high, compared to the low-floor buses of today. Seating capacity was only 45 due to the dual door layout.
In 1973, the three vehicles were transferred to the Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority (TWPTE) and were painted in the yellow and cream livery of that organisation. They were withdrawn from service in 1977.
Two of the vehicles from this batch still survive today. No 46 is owned by a Mr Dyson of Huddersfield. No. 48 originally was sold to the Tyne & Wear Museums Service, and was maintained by the PTE. The vehicle was sold to North East Bus Breakers in 1992 and then acquired by NEBPT.
No. 48 was preserved in the later Corporation livery of cream window surrounds with green roof and lower panels. After 30 years in preservation, the paintwork was becoming tired, and the decision was made to repaint the bus in the original livery of green roof and window surrounds with cream lower panels. The repaint has been carried out in the Wheatsheaf works of Stagecoach Busways, and the vehicle now looks just how it did when it entered service in 1964.