Scania/MCW Metropolitans

37114

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Re the MD in the barn in Northamptonshire, it is definitely ex Reading and is ORD105R. 10 years ago I drove past it and the blind layout had me thinking it was a GMPTE one so I emailed the SELNEC preservation society about it. They said it was unlikely so I went back and checked and sure it enough it was Ex Reading. One of the guys I contacted then made contact with the yard owner who confirmed it as ORD105R.
 
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Excellent thread, I do recall the early days of the Metropolitan, the way they took off,so fast and smooth, and the noise, reminded me of a london tube train, they seemed very advanced compared to our usual Atlanteans and Bristol VRs.
 

TheSel

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Re the MD in the barn in Northamptonshire, it is definitely ex Reading and is ORD105R. 10 years ago I drove past it and the blind layout had me thinking it was a GMPTE one so I emailed the SELNEC preservation society about it. They said it was unlikely so I went back and checked and sure it enough it was Ex Reading. One of the guys I contacted then made contact with the yard owner who confirmed it as ORD105R.
Many Thanks - fair enough, I stand corrected (post #98 refers).
 

carlberry

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Exists is probably generous - it was pretty rough when it was passed to the stables by Charles Cook - not my photo so acknowledgement to the owner.

As the informartion came from Wikipedia I'm surprised it's that close to reality!
 

Strathclyder

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IIRC, I think the Atlanteans were exported to Hong Kong whilst the Fleetlines had already passed to London Country where they met a natural end!

The Atlanteans did indeed go to Hong Kong, to China Motor Bus to be precise (three linked images below). CMB would go to take their share of the 300+ DMS Fleetlines exported to H.K. in the 80s.



 

busesrusuk

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The Atlanteans did indeed go to Hong Kong, to China Motor Bus to be precise (three linked images below). CMB would go to take their share of the 300+ DMS Fleetlines exported to H.K. in the 80s.



All 50 of the XA class Atlantean's (and a significant stock of spares) went to China Motor Bus; this included 3 that had transferred to London Country on its formation. It is said that they wanted the 8 Fleetline's (XF class) as well but that request was refused. Additional buses were required by the Hong Kong operators following the opening of the cross harbour tunnel and the success of the new cross harbour bus routes.

China Motor Bus took over 200 DMS buses in the early 80's and ran them until 1996. But we digress (again!).
 

delt1c

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When I moved to London to London in the late 70's I remember being impressed by the acceleration and comfort of the MD's compared to the ratles and thumps of the DMS's. They seemed so ahead of their time and looked so modern, this at a time when you could still see RT's operating on parallel routes
 

Ben Bow

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So glad to have found this thread and so many people who appreciated the Metropolitans, I loved them. I did quite a bit of research on them in the late 80's/early 90's with a view to writing a book but never had time to pursue it. I wrote to all the operators and the general consensus on issues was as has been stated, high fuel consumption and corrosion, made worse by the combination of materials used in the body. However T & W stated that on hilly routes the fuel consumption was no worse than other types and the corrosion was "manageable". One thing which I don't think has been mentioned is that the two Reading coach seated examples used on the X1 had three speed gearbox/transmissions.
 

Journeyman

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How much work did it take for the Metropolitan to morph into the Metrobus? Are they radically different, and did the Metrobus design effectively deal with all the problems of the Metropolitan?
 

carlberry

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How much work did it take for the Metropolitan to morph into the Metrobus? Are they radically different, and did the Metrobus design effectively deal with all the problems of the Metropolitan?
I'd say it's closer to being radically different. The engine/drive chain are very different which dealt with the fuel consumption issue however the big problem that could have been learnt (that it rains in the UK and we like throwing salt around in winter) were ignored and the Metrobus continued with the idea of a biodegradable body. However several large operators had refurbishment programs which meant, once dealt with, they could achieve reasonable lives.
 

Journeyman

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I'd say it's closer to being radically different. The engine/drive chain are very different which dealt with the fuel consumption issue however the big problem that could have been learnt (that it rains in the UK and we like throwing salt around in winter) were ignored and the Metrobus continued with the idea of a biodegradable body. However several large operators had refurbishment programs which meant, once dealt with, they could achieve reasonable lives.
Interesting. I asked because the Metrobus was clearly a much more successful product, and they were a common sight in my part of suburban London for more than twenty years. I figured something must have improved, but the appearance was very similar, so I wasn't sure how much was actually different.
 

MotCO

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Interesting. I asked because the Metrobus was clearly a much more successful product, and they were a common sight in my part of suburban London for more than twenty years. I figured something must have improved, but the appearance was very similar, so I wasn't sure how much was actually different.
Unless my memory is playing tricks, the Metropolitan had a Scania engine (very thirsty), whereas the Metrobus had Gardner, Cummins or Rolls Royce engines. Scania seem to have a reputation for thirsty engines, even today.
 

GusB

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The underpinnings were completely different. The Metropolitan was based on a Scania BR111DH underframe, whereas the Metrobus was MCW's first attempt at building its own complete product. It had previously built integral vehicles on other platforms, notably the Leyland/MCW Olympic and Olympian (not the later double-deck Olympian).
 

Roilshead

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the appearance was very similar

Greater Manchester PTE took some bodied by Northern Counties, whilst Alexander bodied a handful for Midland Scottish with "Ailsa-type" bodies and rather more for West Yorkshire PTE with R-Type bodies - were these less prone to corrosion than MCW's offerings?
 

37114

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I'd say it's closer to being radically different. The engine/drive chain are very different which dealt with the fuel consumption issue however the big problem that could have been learnt (that it rains in the UK and we like throwing salt around in winter) were ignored and the Metrobus continued with the idea of a biodegradable body. However several large operators had refurbishment programs which meant, once dealt with, they could achieve reasonable lives.
The rear end of the metrobus was in particular a weak area, WMPTE refurbished many of theirs and reinforced the rear end, noticeable from the smaller lower deck rear window
 

GusB

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While it's inevitable that certain comparisons will be drawn between the Metropolitan and the Metrobus, the former is the main topic of this thread. Discussion solely focussing on the Metrobus should be kept separate. Thanks :)
 

Ben Bow

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I'd say it's closer to being radically different. The engine/drive chain are very different which dealt with the fuel consumption issue however the big problem that could have been learnt (that it rains in the UK and we like throwing salt around in winter) were ignored and the Metrobus continued with the idea of a biodegradable body. However several large operators had refurbishment programs which meant, once dealt with, they could achieve reasonable lives.
The Metropolitan body suffered more than just the usual atmospheric corrosion, the steel frame and aluminium body panels suffered from electrolytic reaction because they were not insulated from each other. They literally eat each other away. Those operators who were keen on the Metropolitan had to address this issue to keep corrosion to manageable levels.
 

MotCO

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The Metropolitan body suffered more than just the usual atmospheric corrosion, the steel frame and aluminium body panels suffered from electrolytic reaction because they were not insulated from each other. They literally eat each other away.

Isn't that basic GCSE Chemistry? Or was the Metropolitan the first product which experienced this and therefore 'discovered' this reaction?
 

Journeyman

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I was thinking today that maybe LT's experience with the Metropolitan might have been better if they'd bought more of them. As well as the fuel consumption and corrosion issues, they were pretty much a micro-fleet in London, and of course that creates a whole heap of extra problems.

There were 164 MDs, which is a lot by most operators' standards, but was tiny in London terms. There were over 2500 each of the Routemasters and Fleetlines, 1400 Ms and 1100 Ts, and LT's buying policy was always huge runs of standardised vehicles wherever possible. I wonder if the Metropolitans would have fared better if LT had, say, 500 of them.
 

Busaholic

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I was thinking today that maybe LT's experience with the Metropolitan might have been better if they'd bought more of them. As well as the fuel consumption and corrosion issues, they were pretty much a micro-fleet in London, and of course that creates a whole heap of extra problems.

There were 164 MDs, which is a lot by most operators' standards, but was tiny in London terms. There were over 2500 each of the Routemasters and Fleetlines, 1400 Ms and 1100 Ts, and LT's buying policy was always huge runs of standardised vehicles wherever possible. I wonder if the Metropolitans would have fared better if LT had, say, 500 of them.
Interesting point, but probably not able to be answered with any confidence. It should perhaps be noted that the type was always confined to S.E. London garages, and the routes selected never even saw an MD operate in Brixton, for instance. If you lived in Peckham or New Cross, or Woolwich later on with no interest in buses you might think the Metropolitan had become the standard type!
 

Goldfish62

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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.
I have happy memories of the Leicester Metropolitans when I lived there, as well the equally impressive Metro-Scania single decks.

Together with the Dominators, they presented a much more modern image than the stuff being run by Midland Red East.
 

Strathclyder

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It was mentioned upthread that two Metropolitans (with the MS type designation) were bought by Hong Kong's China Motor Bus. They arrived there in November 1975. Here they both are in service in the early 80s (from the John Law & John Lidstone Flickr collections respectively). Given HK's subtropical climate and the Metropolitan's tendency for corrosion, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were both gone by the late 80s. CMB later took the Metrobus in respectable numbers (in both twin and tri-axle forms), but that's a discussion for another thread.


 

busesrusuk

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It was mentioned upthread that two Metropolitans (with the MS type designation) were bought by Hong Kong's China Motor Bus. They arrived there in November 1975. Here they both are in service in the early 80s (from the John Law & John Lidstone Flickr collections respectively). Given HK's subtropical climate and the Metropolitan's tendency for corrosion, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were both gone by the late 80s. CMB later took the Metrobus in respectable numbers (in both twin and tri-axle forms), but that's a discussion for another thread.


According to the Mike Davis book, China Motor Bus 1933-1993, both buses as stated were introduced in November 1975 with MS1 being withdrawn in 1987 and MS lasting until December 1989. Given that these were unique in Hong Kong they lasted quite a while compared to other fleets - 12 years for MS1 and 14 years for MS2.
 

Strathclyder

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According to the Mike Davis book, China Motor Bus 1933-1993, both buses as stated were introduced in November 1975 with MS1 being withdrawn in 1987 and MS lasting until December 1989. Given that these were unique in Hong Kong they lasted quite a while compared to other fleets - 12 years for MS1 and 14 years for MS2.
Ah, so a bit longer than I thought. Not bad given the climate, the punishing operating environment, their unique status in HK and the type's reputation for corrosion. CMB's (and HK's as a whole) sole TN15 Titan (CD 1213/TC1) lasted about the same length of time (withdrawn in the early 90s, if I recall correctly), but again, that's a topic for another thread.
 

busesrusuk

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Ah, so a bit longer than I thought. Not bad given the climate, the punishing operating environment, their unique status in HK and the type's reputation for corrosion. CMB's (and HK's as a whole) sole TN15 Titan (CD 1213/TC1) lasted about the same length of time (withdrawn in the early 90s, if I recall correctly), but again, that's a topic for another thread.
The "across" website suggests it was withdrawn in 1998 - 18 years. However I started visiting HK in 1994 and never saw it on my trips in 94, 96, 97 or 98...
 

Strathclyder

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The "across" website suggests it was withdrawn in 1998 - 18 years. However I started visiting HK in 1994 and never saw it on my trips in 94, 96, 97 or 98...
A few sources I've read suggest that it was withdrawn in 1995. I'm certainly not able to find pics of it beyond the first half of the 90s. Could be way off the mark here, but the '1998' date could very well be when it was stricken from the fleetlist; scrapping most likely occurring sometime between '95 & '98. Again, I could be talking complete nonsense here, but it's entirely possible.

But I digress; we're drifting way off-topic here. Perhaps a thread on the TN15/B15 Titan is in order, if one doesn't already exist...?
 

beermaddavep

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There are loads of Metropolitans in this old compilation, with sound, in amongst many other north eastern gems such as the Northern Routemasters, Marshall Camairs etc. Some nice footage of the metropolitans from around the 5 minute mark. Not my video.
Enjoy the nostalgia 8-)
 

Journeyman

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MD138 on Thames News in 1984! Amazing how upset people were about something so trivial...


Anyone know the ultimate fate of this vehicle? Ian's Bus Stop lists the sale and says it was for motorhome conversion, but the trail goes cold after that.
 

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