Scania/MCW Metropolitans

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90sWereBetter

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Many enthusiasts will be aware of the Scania/MCW tie-up in the 1970s, which produced the MCW Metropolitan double decker to compete against Leyland's offerings in the market. A sales success (all the PTEs and London Transport took batches) quickly became a fiasco as the buses started corroding within a couple of years of service. They also drunk enormous amounts of diesel compared to your bog-standard Gardner 6LXB and Leyland 0680s in contemporary deckers. I think some of LT's 164 Metropolitans lasted just three years in service before being withdrawn and dumped at the back of depots waiting for their Certificate of Fitness to expire, and most of the PTEs got rid of their fleets in the early 1980s, most of them being replaced by the Metropolitan's descendent the MCW Metrobus, which was a far sturdier workhorse.

Yet, it appears there were a trio of operators which made them work, Tyne and Wear PTE and the council-owned Leicester and Reading fleets all seem to have got a reasonable lifespan out of their Metropolitans. My question is, largely how? Did they tackle the corrosion problems head-on with rebuilds, or was it pure magic that they persevered with them?

Does anyone have any concrete dates as to when these three operators finally withdrew their last examples? I can't find any photo evidence of the Tyne and Wear Metropolitans lasting much past deregulation into the Busways era, while the municipals seem to have kept them in service until the early 1990s.
 
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Richard Scott

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Many enthusiasts will be aware of the Scania/MCW tie-up in the 1970s, which produced the MCW Metropolitan double decker to compete against Leyland's offerings in the market. A sales success (all the PTEs and London Transport took batches) quickly became a fiasco as the buses started corroding within a couple of years of service. They also drunk enormous amounts of diesel compared to your bog-standard Gardner 6LXB and Leyland 0680s in contemporary deckers. I think some of LT's 164 Metropolitans lasted just three years in service before being withdrawn and dumped at the back of depots waiting for their Certificate of Fitness to expire, and most of the PTEs got rid of their fleets in the early 1980s, most of them being replaced by the Metropolitan's descendent the MCW Metrobus, which was a far sturdier workhorse.

Yet, it appears there were a trio of operators which made them work, Tyne and Wear PTE and the council-owned Leicester and Reading fleets all seem to have got a reasonable lifespan out of their Metropolitans. My question is, largely how? Did they tackle the corrosion problems head-on with rebuilds, or was it pure magic that they persevered with them?

Does anyone have any concrete dates as to when these three operators finally withdrew their last examples? I can't find any photo evidence of the Tyne and Wear Metropolitans lasting much past deregulation into the Busways era, while the municipals seem to have kept them in service until the early 1990s.
I remember going on Reading Metropolitans in 1991 but don't think they lasted much longer.
 
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Many enthusiasts will be aware of the Scania/MCW tie-up in the 1970s, which produced the MCW Metropolitan double decker to compete against Leyland's offerings in the market. A sales success (all the PTEs and London Transport took batches) quickly became a fiasco as the buses started corroding within a couple of years of service. They also drunk enormous amounts of diesel compared to your bog-standard Gardner 6LXB and Leyland 0680s in contemporary deckers. I think some of LT's 164 Metropolitans lasted just three years in service before being withdrawn and dumped at the back of depots waiting for their Certificate of Fitness to expire, and most of the PTEs got rid of their fleets in the early 1980s, most of them being replaced by the Metropolitan's descendent the MCW Metrobus, which was a far sturdier workhorse.

Yet, it appears there were a trio of operators which made them work, Tyne and Wear PTE and the council-owned Leicester and Reading fleets all seem to have got a reasonable lifespan out of their Metropolitans. My question is, largely how? Did they tackle the corrosion problems head-on with rebuilds, or was it pure magic that they persevered with them?

Does anyone have any concrete dates as to when these three operators finally withdrew their last examples? I can't find any photo evidence of the Tyne and Wear Metropolitans lasting much past deregulation into the Busways era, while the municipals seem to have kept them in service until the early 1990s.
From the people I know who used to work at Tyne and Wear PTE, they employed people more or less full time purely to repair the corrosion, I get the impression this was for political reasons.
 

JonathanH

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The first withdrawals of Reading Metropolitans were in October 1989. The majority had gone by October 1991 with large numbers of withdrawals in October 1989, March 1990, February 1991 and September 1991. Four held on until around April 1992.

The 21 former London Transport vehicles were introduced in 1983 and used to remove slightly older K- and M-reg Bristol VRs alongside some brand new Titans. The remaining P- and R-reg VRs were withdrawn in 1988 broadly corresponding with the arrival of new Olympians and the Tyne & Wear Metropolitans. Presumably the money wasn't available for new buses and the Metropolitans were available at a good price.

Of note is that Reading bought 12 secondhand vehicles from Tyne and Wear in 1986, of which two were used as driver trainers, seven in service. The ones which entered service did so over a period of two years but didn't last long. [I recall that the padding of the seat backs was not very substantial on these.]

Source: http://www.buszone.co.uk/RTLFfleet.xls (a fleet list of former Reading Transport vehicles)

The October 1989 withdrawals coincided with the arrival of 10 Optate Deltas
The 1991 withdrawals coincided with the arrival of 15 ex-Harrow Buses Metrobuses.
 
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Five Metropolitans were taken into stock by Maidstone & District in 1975, nos. 5251 to 5255 (KKO251/2/3/4/5/P). They were part of type comparison trials undertaken on behalf of NBC that also included 5 Alexander-bodied Ailsas and 5 of the early versions of the Series 3 Bristol VR.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Does anyone have any concrete dates as to when these three operators finally withdrew their last examples? I can't find any photo evidence of the Tyne and Wear Metropolitans lasting much past deregulation into the Busways era, while the municipals seem to have kept them in service until the early 1990s.
The final TWPTE/Busways example went in mid 1988 having managed to rack up 10 years service.

Another operator was Newport Transport who also had Metro Scania single decks, the longest living having notched up 18 years in service IIRC. Their Metropolitans last only 10 years, going in 1985.
 

DunsBus

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The final TWPTE/Busways example went in mid 1988 having managed to rack up 10 years service.

Another operator was Newport Transport who also had Metro Scania single decks, the longest living having notched up 18 years in service IIRC. Their Metropolitans last only 10 years, going in 1985.
Ah yes - 499, the only TWPTE/Busways Metropolitan to receive Busways livery. It was then preserved by Busways, but was scrapped in 1994 after suffering terminal engine failure whilst en-route to a rally.

TWPTE made the decision in 1985 to start withdrawing its Metropolitans, with corrosion being cited as the main reason behind it.
 

Robertj21a

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Leicester liked their Metropolitans and put a lot of effort into correcting the corrosion problems. I believe their last ones ran in service in December 1993.
 

Stan Drews

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Go Whippet was an avid fan of the Metropolitan, and acquired many second hand examples that had originated with London, Tyne & Wear, Reading, Hull. They were still running a fair number by the mid 1990s, although think they’d all gone by the end of the decade.
 

Journeyman

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They looked like interesting buses, and I'm a little annoyed I never got to travel on them - the last London Transport ones were withdrawn mere months before I started taking an interest in buses, around the time I started at secondary school. I've only ever seen a few up close, including a bunch in a scrapyard in Twickenham, and a preserved one somewhere, but I can't remember where.

They certainly had an attractive look to them, and as predecessors of the later much more common Metrobus, they were an interesting chapter in UK bus development.
 

Robertj21a

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They looked like interesting buses, and I'm a little annoyed I never got to travel on them - the last London Transport ones were withdrawn mere months before I started taking an interest in buses, around the time I started at secondary school. I've only ever seen a few up close, including a bunch in a scrapyard in Twickenham, and a preserved one somewhere, but I can't remember where.

They certainly had an attractive look to them, and as predecessors of the later much more common Metrobus, they were an interesting chapter in UK bus development.
There's 2 now fully preserved and attending rallies (when allowed) - Leicester 301 and London Transport MD60.
 

JonathanH

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There's 2 now fully preserved and attending rallies (when allowed) - Leicester 301 and London Transport MD60.
Reading 101 (GRX1N) is taxed as well I think although whether it attends rallies (when allowed) may be a different matter.
 

Richard Scott

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Remember seeing one or two in Lydney bus sales late 1990s, they were there for years, no idea what happened to them, scrapped I expect. Think one was ex London?
 

Swanny200

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There is a Tyne and Wear one preserved in Gateshead with the hope of getting it back up and running, in a bit of a state just now though.
 

Andyh82

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It's before my time but between 1975 & 1977 WYPTE bought 95 for use in Bradford, but by 1985 they had all been withdrawn and none were still around when Yorkshire Rider was created in 1986
 

David Verity

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I suspect the length of time kept and the amount spent on repairs would be linked to the written down value at any one time - awkward questions would be asked if buses were sold leaving a hole in the book value. I was at Tyne and Wear at the time the large number of Metropolitans came into the fleet - mainly because the inherited fleets were ageing and Leyland/Daimler couldn't deliver fast enough to keep up with the COF expiry dates.
 

Whisky Papa

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Greater Manchester Transport had 10 1974 examples used almost exclusively on the 400 Trans-Lancs Express, based at Ashton (and later the new Tameside garage I assume - if they lasted that long?). I managed the odd ride on them as a teenager - I also had a short ride on a Newport Corporation one on a Merrymaker excursion to Cardiff.

In addition to the corrosion issues mentioned, my memory seems to be that they were not found to be particularly fuel-efficient, even on a limited-stop service like the 400. The GMT ones certainly did not have a particularly long life.
 

Robertj21a

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Greater Manchester Transport had 10 1974 examples used almost exclusively on the 400 Trans-Lancs Express, based at Ashton (and later the new Tameside garage I assume - if they lasted that long?). I managed the odd ride on them as a teenager - I also had a short ride on a Newport Corporation one on a Merrymaker excursion to Cardiff.

In addition to the corrosion issues mentioned, my memory seems to be that they were not found to be particularly fuel-efficient, even on a limited-stop service like the 400. The GMT ones certainly did not have a particularly long life.
I think most Scanias are poor on fuel consumption - they really are heavy duty beasts!. Their popularity is, I guess, down to their reliability.
 

David Verity

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Greater Manchester Transport had 10 1974 examples used almost exclusively on the 400 Trans-Lancs Express, based at Ashton (and later the new Tameside garage I assume - if they lasted that long?). I managed the odd ride on them as a teenager - I also had a short ride on a Newport Corporation one on a Merrymaker excursion to Cardiff.

In addition to the corrosion issues mentioned, my memory seems to be that they were not found to be particularly fuel-efficient, even on a limited-stop service like the 400. The GMT ones certainly did not have a particularly long life.
I recall seeing them dumped behind the new Tameside garage in late 1982. Possibly been there since the first Certificates of Fitness expired.
 
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TheGrandWazoo

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I suspect the length of time kept and the amount spent on repairs would be linked to the written down value at any one time - awkward questions would be asked if buses were sold leaving a hole in the book value. I was at Tyne and Wear at the time the large number of Metropolitans came into the fleet - mainly because the inherited fleets were ageing and Leyland/Daimler couldn't deliver fast enough to keep up with the COF expiry dates.
Of course, the TWPTE ones were retained whilst 1973/4 Atlanteans were disposed of to willing purchasers in 1980/1 with the Metro related reductions, and newer 1979 Fleetlines were transferred to Northern General. Mind you, those Fleetlines had MCW bodies and were also prone to a few issues
 

Richard Scott

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I think most Scanias are poor on fuel consumption - they really are heavy duty beasts!. Their popularity is, I guess, down to their reliability.
Didn't they have a 2 speed transmission, possibly similar to the Voith transmission used in sprinters? Wasn't some of the poor fuel consumption attributed to this?
 

Roilshead

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WYPTE bought 95 for use in Bradford

They were ordered by Leeds City Transport, but delivered to WYPTE and diverted to Bradford District to improve the age-profile of that fleet as Bradford City Transport had ceased to order new vehicles in the run-up to the creation of the PTE.
 

DunsBus

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Of course, the TWPTE ones were retained whilst 1973/4 Atlanteans were disposed of to willing purchasers in 1980/1 with the Metro related reductions, and newer 1979 Fleetlines were transferred to Northern General. Mind you, those Fleetlines had MCW bodies and were also prone to a few issues
It was actually the 50 similarly-bodied Atlanteans that went to Northern General, along with the last ten of the final batch of Atlanteans.

I recall seeing them dumped behind the new Tameside garage in late 1982. Possibly been there since the first CoFs expired.
Likewise, Glasgow, by then Strathclyde PTE, got shot of its 40 in 1981-82 on expiry of their CoFs.
 

Swanny200

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I think IIRC after the Metropolitans left TWPTE, they still went for Scania but with a rare Alexander body
 

bobslack1982

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I think IIRC after the Metropolitans left TWPTE, they still went for Scania but with a rare Alexander body
In 1982 they acquired 2x BR112s with Alexander RH bodywork. (Not my photograph). They did order further Alexander bodied (PS and RH) Scania single and double deck vehicles in the 90s, while other Busways depots generally stuck with Olympians.

The vehicle below is preserved.

1612797638168.jpeg
 

David Verity

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Swanny200

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In 1982 they acquired 2x BR112s with Alexander RH bodywork. (Not my photograph). They did order further Alexander bodied (PS and RH) Scania single and double deck vehicles in the 90s, while other Busways depots generally stuck with Olympians.

The vehicle below is preserved.

View attachment 90214
Yes then the odd, dare I say Nottingham Lion look C reg Alexander bodied ones with the very large front bumper, which some of them lost later on in life.
 
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