This article discusses how bus operating companies in the West Midlands of England used the MCW Metrobus manufactured by Metro-Cammell Weymann.
The Story of the West Midlands MCW Metrobus
Metro-Cammell Weymann produced a new type of bus to compete with the increasing mass of British Leyland, who by that time owned Bristol, Daimler and their own fleet. It had previously worked with Scania, to create the MCW Metropolitan, but this was not a success in the West Midlands. Therefore, it was decided to trial the MCW Metrobus.
The first five buses, delivered in 1978, were numbered 6831-6835. These were numbered SDA 831S - SDA 834S, and WDA 835T. 6831 was used from Washwood Heath garage, on comparative trials with a Leyland Titan (B15) demonstrator on route 94. The next bus, 6832 was used from Coventry garage. 6833 went to Dudley and 6834 went to Wolverhampton. The final example, 6835, went to Washwood Heath.
The Mark I Metrobus
The first production Metrobuses were delivered in an order by WMPTE for 75 examples, to be delivered during 1979. The first few production buses went to Selly Oak Garage, to operate the Bristol Road routes (61, 62, 63). They replaced the unreliable ‘Jumbos’ there. This batch was later increased to 90 buses, which were numbered 2001-2090, and registered BOK 1V – BOK 90V. They were known as MCW Metrobuses DR102/12.
At the same time, two buses were delivered with Rolls Royce engines, as a trial. They took numbers 7006/7007, following on from the Leyland Titans WMPTE owned. They were registered BOM 6V/BOM 7V and became MCW Metrobuses DR104/4.
The next order was for 185 more MCW Metrobus Mk1s, numbered 2091-2275. These were delivered in 1980-1981, and registered in the GOG 91W – GOG 275W series. They were spread widely across WMPTE’s operating area, from Coventry to Wolverhampton, and were known as MCW Metrobuses DR102/18.
The next set, the final set of Metrobus Mk1s for WMPTE, were ordered as 160 vehicles, numbered 2276-2435 and registered KJW 276W – KJW 325W, and LOA 326X – LOA 435X. They were MCW Metrobuses DR102/22.
Metrobus Mk1s continued to be delivered to other operators after this, including to London Transport, who took Mk1 Metrobuses until ‘C’ registrations. However, for the West Midlands, these were to be the last.
MCW Metrobus Mk2
The Metrobus Mark 2 was an improvement on the Mark 1. It had significantly fewer operating parts, a new style of the doors, and aesthetically, the replacement of the former asymmetric windscreen with a symmetric one.
The first bus, NOA 436X, was paraded with some publicity, and was displayed at the Sandwell Historic Vehicle Parade in 1982. It was part of the biggest order for Metrobuses WMPTE ever placed, for 425 vehicles. They were delivered over several years, from 1982 to 1985, spanning suffix ‘X’ and ‘Y’ registrations, as well as prefix ‘A’ and ‘B’. Numbered 2436 to 2860, and registered NOA 436X – NOA 475X, POG 476Y – POG 610Y, ROX 611Y – ROX 667Y, A668 UOE – A735 UOE, A736 WVP – A773 WVP, B774 AOC – B796 AOC and B797 AOP – B860 AOP, this is the first batch which has members still in service to this day. The batch was known as MCW Metrobuses DR102/27.
Next was the second, and final order for standard Metrobus Mk2s by WMPTE. MCW Metrobuses DR102/48 spanned ‘B’ and ‘C’ registrations, and consisted of 50 buses. B861 DOM – B886 DOM and C887 FON – C910 FON were registered 2861–2910, and were the last batch to be put into service by WMPTE, before deregulation brought about the coming of West Midlands Travel.
WMPTE becomes WMT
With the deregulation of the bus industry in 1986/1987, WMPTE ceased operating bus services, and the services and vehicles were sold to a private firm, West Midlands Travel. WMPTE felt strongly against deregulation, and several Metrobuses were painted in liveries showing their concern. WMPTE continued to campaign until the legislation was passed by the government, but fate was inevitable. West Midlands Travel came into being in late 1986. Note no vehicle numbered 3107 was ever used.
The first buses delivered to WMT were 50 Metrobuses for ‘TIMESAVER’ branded services. This was a new network of limited stop services both around the county and out into Staffordshire, and a bold new silver livery was created for it. The buses were numbered 2911-2960, and featured 66 coach seats, rather than the standard 73 bus seats. They also included carpets, and the destination blinds were single, with destinations and via points featured on one blind, rather than two as on all the other Metrobuses. This was to allow more space for the prominent TIMESAVER branding. These buses were registered D911 NDA - D960 NDA, and were MCW Metrobuses DR102/59.
|6831 - 6834||SDA 831S - SDA 834S|
|7006-7007||BOM 6V - BOM 7V|
|2001–2090||BOK 1V - BOK 90V|
|2091–2275||GOG 91W - GOG 275W|
|2276–2325||KJW 276W - KJW 325W|
|2326–2435||LOA 326X - LOA 435X|
|2436–2475||NOA 436X - NOA 475X|
|2476–2610||POG 476Y - POG 610Y|
|2611–2667||ROX 611Y - ROX 667Y|
|2668–2735||A668 UOE - A735 UOE|
|8101-8114 later re-numbered 2961-2974||A101WVP - A114WVP|
|2736–2772||A736 WVP - A772 WVP|
|2773–2795||B773 AOC - B795 AOC|
|2796–2860||B796 AOP - B860 AOP|
|2861–2886||B861 DOM - B886 DOM|
|2887–2910||C887 FON - C910 FON|
|2911–2960||D911 NDA - D960 NDA|
|2975–2989||E975 VUK - E989 VUK|
|2990–2999||F990 XOE - F999 XOE|
|3000-3020||F300 XOF - F320 XOF|
|3021-3104||F21 XOF - F104 XOF|
|3105-3106||G105 FJW - G106 FJW|
|3108-3124||G108 FJW - G124 FJW|