The fleet of AEC Regent Vs used for schools transport was becoming rather old and obsolete in terms of spares. Taff-Ely looked around for suitable replacements and settled on Leyland Atlanteans from Southampton and Newport. There could not have been a greater contrast in the status of the Atlantean in the source fleets. Those from Newport were the last Atlanteans in a fleet which had once totalled 43, whereas those from Southampton had been replaced in their home fleet by almost identical vehicles which were to be the last of 194 of the marque delivered to that fleet.
It is likely that Taff-Ely would have bought all nine of the Newport batch, but two had already been sold. The batch had been 10-18 (TDW 310-318J) in the Newport fleet and they were Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 chassis with Alexander H43/31F bodywork, new in 1971. Taff-Ely retained the relationships between fleet number and registration number and hence Newport 10, 13-18 became Taff-Ely 80, 83-88. Of these 80/84/86 were repainted by South Wales in Swansea before operating in Pontypridd but the last arrivals, 83/87/88, retained their Newport green and cream livery and 85 ran initially in green and cream, being repainted in October 1983.
The gap in fleet numbering was filled by the two from Southampton. 81/82 (TTR 161/163H) were Leyland Atlantean PDR1A/1 chassis with East Lancs H45/31F bodies and had been new in 1970 as Southampton 127 and 129 respectively. These were also repainted by South Wales in Swansea prior to working for Taff-Ely.
A feature of the secondhand Atlanteans was the use of the number blinds to show the fleet number, although in some cases the aperture was painted over and the fleet number placed there.
The Newport Atlanteans were withdrawn in 1986, although it appears that only 80 saw regular service after about 1984. The Southampton pair lasted a little later, being withdrawn in 1987.
© David Beilby