In 1964 three Atkinson Alpha PM746HL single deck buses were delivered to Sunderland Corporation. These vehicles were bodied by Marshalls of Cambridge with dual door layout and a capacity of 45 seats. The order for the vehicles was in December 1963, (for number 46), with final delivery of numbers 47 & 48 arriving in January 1964.
WBR 246 is one of a final batch of Atkinson PSV’s built for the UK market, and was the only one of the three of the batch to be originally fitted with a 6 speed overdrive gearbox, normally used for coach work. However as this was deemed unsuitable for one-man operator town service work, it was replaced as early as mid 1964 with the Leyland Leopard style Pneumocyclic arrangement.
The dual door layout was designed for speed of passenger loading and unloading together with what eventually became an ill-fated flat-fare scheme. Another fast loading scheme was the fitting of a pre-paid token & fare ticket machine which was situated on the nearside by the front door.
Number 46 passed to the Tyne & Wear Transport Authority on the 1st April 1974 when it was re-numbered 1846. All three were originally based originally at the Fulwell Depot, and withdrawn by Tyne & Wear in July 1977. Of the three, only number 47 was not saved for preservation.
WBR 246 bus was originally purchased as a provider of spares for preserved 1956 Northern Counties bodied Atkinson Alpha PL745H (XLG 477) of the SHMD fleet. After another source was found for that role it was decided to preserve 246 for on-going restoration.