Far from its native United Kingdom, in a New Jersey industrial suburb of New York City, a Leyland Atlantean double decker bus sits and waits in a parking lot on a street of auto repair and accessory shops. How this former staple of the British mass transit system got here, and what will happen to it, are mysteries.
The Atlantean was the first rear engine, front entrance double decker bus introduced in the U.K., debuting the configuration that replaced the famous AEC Routemaster and other front engine double deckers. With over 15,000 produced from 1958 to 1986, the Atlantean was widely used in the U.K. and was exported to Singapore, Australia and other countries. A quirk of history is that the last purchaser of the Atlantean in 1985-86 was the public transportation system of Baghdad, Iraq. The bus system was one of many things that fell apart after the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, so I never saw one and was not able to include them in my CCs of Baghdad of a year ago.
This open-topped Atlantean apparently has had multiple owners during its at least three decades of existence. The Peter Pan Bus Lines logo is visible on the sides of the upper deck, covered by the reddish orange paint job. It may have begun as a New York City tour bus operated by a major bus company, then moved down the food chain to a smaller independent tour/party bus company (or several) as it aged, and finally come to rest near Jersey City, with the Manhattan skyline visible to its left, beyond the wall that now overshadows it. Is there a second (or third or fourth) life in its future? If anyone has the urge to give it one, you can try calling the number on the wall.