Scania Metropolitan - MD60
Award Winning Vehicle - 'Best in Show' at ShowBus, Duxford 2014
Seating Capacity: 72 (49 upstairs and 23 downstairs)
Special features: Unique UK vehicle. Award-winning bus 2014
London Transport’s need for a new double deck led them to look overseas and eventually teamed up with Scania in Sweden and the result was the Metropolitan. Initial mechanical problems were largely overcome, but corrosion became an issue that was less easy to solve.
A short eight year London life meant few survived into preservation and MD60 will be one of the only left of this short chapter of London’s Transport history.
There was not much choice in the way of British builders for LTs next order other than the Atlantean and the Fleetline both of which LT had issues with so the net was cast further. Following a demonstrator having served the capital an order for 164 Metropolitan Scania’s was forthcoming. The Metropolitan was a collaboration between Scania and MCW and was a big heavy vehicle compared to others of the same era.
They first entered service in south London in very late 1975 and were generally liked by passengers and drivers but disliked by engineers! The engineering issue became acute when corrosion of the steel body reached levels that should not be expected on an old bus never mind something new.
By 1980 the batch became centralised at Plumstead where they proved popular and settled down to become pretty reliable, however political events that caused falling patronage meant these ‘odd balls’ were marked for an early LT retirement and by the spring of 1983 they had gone from front line service.
Some went for scrap immediately others found new homes, most notably with Reading Buses. Their corrosion issues caught up with them and even those that had survived the LT cull gradually succumbed. Today only two of the London batch survive in running condition. MD1 at the Scania Museum in Sweden and MD60 here at Ensign.
Entering service in Spring 1976 along with many of its batch it was based at Peckham and was a regular on the 36’s. Along with most of its sisters it transferred to Plumstead where it would spend the rest of its LT working life. Bought from LT in 1984 by a private individual it remained in as withdrawn London condition until acquired in 2007 by Paul Almeroth.
It was Paul who started the work on it and had the vehicle removed from its long term storage area to a location he could work on it. It became clear though that the scale of work needed to complete this meant that it required a contractor to carry out the work on his behalf and so it moved to Blackpool for the work. A stop start restoration saw Ensign acquire the vehicle but also complete the restoration which dult happened with the vehicle making its first public debut at the 2014 Showbus at Duxford where it won the Best in Show award which was duly collected by Paul.
It now operates within the fleet as a unique UK survivor to a class that was perhaps a little ahead of its time.