Although having a long history in Britain, Leyland has not yet started supplying buses to HK till 1970s when the demand for public transport is blossoming.
Soon after the opening of cross harbour tunnel those existing models especially that of CMB did not have enough capacity to cater for the need.
Therefore, CMB introduced a 30-ft Fleetline (RLX1) in 1972 from Daimler amid the obsoletancy of brand new front-engine bus in Britain since the end of 1960s.
Fleetline is characterized by the first rear-engine bus in service in Hong Kong. Its low floor entrance, thanks to the drop-centre transmission system and U-shaped chassis, enables installation of body of lower floor. It carries CRG6LX-30 chassis and a Metal Sections body.
After the success of prototype RLX1, CMB (then KMB, CTB and even Argos afterwards) introduced more Fleetlines in 33-ft to replace Atlanteans and half-cab Guy Arabs MK4 in the cross harbour routes from 1974 onwards.
These Long Fleetlines are therefore classified as "LF" whilst that of 30-ft RLX1 was renamed as "SF1".
Having a capacity of more than 120 passengers, CMB recognized it as equivalent to a "Jumbo" Boeing 747
In the promotional campaign of the newcomer of its fleet, a banner showing the slogan "Jump On a CMB Jumbo" was affixed on the near side of the bus.
For this reason, Fleetlines are also nicknamed as Jumbo Bus in Hong Kong.
Re-bodied LF48 w/NWFB banner after franchise handover in 1998
LF107 - The 1st Alexander-bodied Fleetline. One of those deployed for trial of new fleet livery of CMB
Apart from exceptionally high capacity, Fleetlines also brought about some breakthrough features to franchised bus in Hong Kong:
(1) 3+2 seater
(2) Low floor body - stair free in entrance door
(3) Periscope ¡V enable surveillance of upper deck condition
(4) Facilitate One-Man-Operated (OMO) mode
(5) Direct access of driver to Passenger cabin
However, it has its disadvantages as follows:
(1) Insufficient torque output ¡V not suitable for climbing uphill slope
(2) Poor cooling efficiency ¡Vhigh breakdown rate at summers
DMS Fleetline is a 30-ft version built according to London Transport for introduction to service after trial of rear engined Atlanteans. It carries Park Royal body and Leyland O.680 engine as standard specification. Due to high breakdown frequency and widespread dislike by drivers and passengers, they were retreated from service in 1979 and sold overseas via Ensignbus. Soon after the opening of Mass Transit Railway in HK, CMB has a thirst of fleet for running feeder bus routes to Admiralty and Central MTR stations. Hence, CMB acquired, in phase, a total of 207 DMS Fleetlines via Ensignbus in 1980-1984. They were modified to suit HK service conditions, including Gardner 6LXB engine, ¡§reversed T¡¨ destination blind, flat instead of curved windscreen, removal of exhaust outlets on top of engine hood. Besides MTR feeder routes, they were also deployed for routes to Stanley, because of its flexibility in narrow roads. KMB also acquired DMS to resolve fleet sustainability problem. CTB also introduced them for inauguration of Shenzhen-Hong Kong shuttle routes and bus hiring business until arrival of new batch of air-conditioned Olympians.¡@