Scania Metropolitan

The Scania Metropolitan was the first double decker bus model built jointly by MCW and Scania division of Saab-Scania. It was built between 1973 and 1978.

It was also the second bus model jointly built by these two companies. The first model was the Metro-Scania single decker based on the BR110/CR110 chassis, which was first built for the UK market in 1969 and sold in small numbers.

Construction

The Metropolitan was the double deck version of the Metro-Scania and was based on Scania BR111DH chassis and the body was constructed by MCW. The distinguishing feature is the asymmetric windscreen being deeper on the nearside to give the driver a good view of the kerb (a similar design being used on the Mk I version of the MCW Metrobus). It was noted for its lively performance from the turbocharged Scania engine when compared to the old fashioned Gardner and Leyland diesels used in many buses of the time, smooth ride due to air suspension (the first double decker bus to have the feature) and thirst for fuel consumption. However severe corrosion problems of the body structure led these buses to have a short life in service.

London Transport was once the largest operator of Metropolitans, with 164 being delivered between 1975 and 1977, but all of them were withdrawn by 1983. Some continued in service with other operators for several years. Notably these included Charles Cook of Biggleswade who ran them between 1983 and 1993, Whippet of Fenstanton who even operated an open top example originating from Hull City Transport, Black Prince, Alec Head of Lutton and Camms of Nottingham. Reading Buses also kept many of its examples going. MD1 is preserved in a Scania museum in Sweden and MD9 exists on a farm in Potton, Bedfordshire for non-PSV use, it was sold to the owner by Charles Cook. Other examples have been preserved within the UK, including Reading & London vehicles.

The West Yorkshire PTE (WYPTE) purchased 95 Metropolitans between 1975 and 1977. They were all withdrawn by 1985. One example entered preservation, but was eventually scrapped in the early 1990s.

The Merseyside PTE (MPTE) was another major customer for the Metropolitan and eventually purchased 60 in the mid 1970's following on from a order for 20 single deck based BR110 Metro-Scania's in 1972/73. They were all withdrawn by MPTE by the summer of 1986 prior to the formation of Merseybus brought about by de-regulation of the British bus industry outside London. Some of MPTE's double deck Metropolitan's were sold for further service with other operators - a notable example was Kingston Upon Hull City Transport, however the vast majority were scrapped and by the 1990's all of the former Merseyside examples were believed to have been scrapped.

Leicester City Transport bought 35 single deck Metro-Scanias and following their success bought 68 double-deck Metropolitans in several batches between 1974 and 1977 (and a handful of second hand ones for further service and spare parts), both in dual door configuration, and a final batch of 5 with single doors in 1977. One dual door 1975 example 301 (GJF 301N) survives in preservation, restored to original LCT cream/maroon livery, and attends regular rallies along with the last surviving Metro-Scania single decker 225 (ARY 225K).

China Motor Bus in Hong Kong acquired two Metropolitan buses in 1975. They were withdrawn in late 1980s.

End of production

The production of Metropolitans was finally terminated in 1978, the last examples going to Reading Transport (with 2 built to dual-purpose specifications with high speed rear axles to operate the express X1 service to London, Aldgate). In all 662 Metropolitan were built. MCW launched the Metrobus in 1977, and Scania launched the BR112DH chassis in 1980 as the replacement of BR111DH.


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