Leyland Olympian AL1 is the first successful experimental air-conditioned double-decker introduced by Kowloon Motor Bus ("KMB") after the failure of the air-conditioned Leyland Victory-2 G544, Dennis Jubilant N364 and MCW Metrobus S3M145.
AL1 is powered by a Cummins LT10 engine with 4-speed ZF 4HP500 transmission. The air-conditioner is manufactured by Nippondenso of Japan. Similar to most of the other Leyland Olympians in the fleet, completely-knocked-down Alexander R-type body was built on the 11-metre chassis in Tuen Mun Depot. Opening windows with lock for each are used, so that in case the trial is finally a failure or if the air-conditioning accidentally breaks down, the bus can easily return into service as a non air-conditioned bus again.
The vehicle was registered as a public bus as DX 2437 on 12 May 1988 and sooner entered into service on Route 6 (Star Ferry - Mei Foo). Normal fare was charged, i.e. $1.20 per single journey and half-fare for children and students with "Student Travel Card" that no longer existed after October 1988. In the Winter of 1988/89 the air-conditioner was switched off and the bus was operated as a non air-conditioned bus with unlocked windows. In 1990 the bus started to serve other newly established air-conditioned routes such as 2, 238M and 238X. During most of the time, AL1 is an L-Depot reserved bus and can be found on many routes at any time that have a bus shortage.
Fleet number system was introduced starting from 1991 on all air-conditioned buses. The fleet number prefix "AL" just simply stands for "Air-conditioned Leyland", and finally there are altogether 150 AL's in the KMB fleet.
The original livery of AL1 was quite different from that is currently adopted. Advertisement of "Denso Air-conditioning" in large print was shown on each of both sides and the rear of the body. However, after 1991, AL1 was repainted to the standard livery that applies on other air-conditioned buses in the fleet.
AL1 has ended its service after serving for 17 years. The bus is preserved after its retirement.
Please click on the photographs for the enlarged version.