Scania-Metropolitan, A new type for Black Prince
In the search to replace the ageing and rather long in the tooth Leyland Atlantean fleet at Black Prince, David Crowther became increasingly intrigued by the mightily impressive product offered by the Scania-MCW collaboration-the "Metropolitan".
The Metropolitan buses purchased by Black Prince between 1991-1993, operated alongside the other famed Swedish beast which had started to populate Morley in 1989, the front engined Volvo Ailsa.
The Volvo Ailsa became the bus of choice for a number of years, being much more rugged than the
rival MCW product.
The MCW bus was nonetheless a stylish, powerful and impressive machine, but the two speed gearbox was not very well suited to Yorkshire hillclimbing on routes such as the 428/429 and the build quality was questionable to say the least, with Metropolitan becoming known for rotting away.
The Black Prince Metropolitan intake came initially from the Leicester fleet, with examples following from London Buses, Reading Buses and finally, a preserved WYPTE example, 2612, which was sadly scrapped later in life.
A nice 1:76 scale model of KJD204P in Black Prince livery was produced by "Britbus", which you can see by following the link to our model bus page.
A photograph taken from the Black Prince archive, of each Metropolitan operated by the company, can be enlarged from the slideshow below by clicking on the image.
The details of each member of the Morley Metropolitan fleet are shown below, rounding off part one of our own Scania story.
Marshall the troops!, The "Ailsa Replacer" comes to town...
By 1995, it was becoming apparent that some of the Ailsa fleet was getting rather tired. The search was on for a vehicle or batch of vehicles which might be able to replace the Ailsa en masse. It was at this time, Newport Transport, the municipal undertaking of the Welsh city, was disposing of several Marshall bodied Scania 112 double deck buses.
The offer was made to purchase the fleet and the buses started to appear in Morley, bearing the green and cream livery from the Welsh city. The two-tone green interiors (coupled with that unique "Newport" smell!) became almost fleet standard for Black Prince for many years, because several more Scania buses with different body styles were acquired from the Newport fleet, which are detailed lower down this page.
The Newport Scanias were registered in the JBO-W series, being numbered JBO82-92W, with a second batch numbered in the PTG-Y series, PTG93-101Y, following on in the fleet to form a consecutive batch of 82-101. Black Prince operated this whole fleet of Marshall bodied machines, mostly direct from Newport, but with the exception of 88,90,91, which had been previously sold on to Redby, Sunderland, who in turn passed them on to Black Prince to complete the set.
Scania/Marshall buses of Black Prince
Each of the Marshall machines were eventually given a unique style of Black Prince livery, in keeping with the tradition we had come to love, meaning it was easy to tell each bus apart from a great distance, just by the style it was painted.
The only exception to this repainting program was JBO83W, which was an early withdrawl (1998) and did not make it out of Newport livery, although it was one of the buses branded with "Silverline Link" decals, for the 100 service between Bramley and Leeds.
Buses 97, 98, 99 and 100 also retained green livery, but repainted in the new "Leeds Suburban Buses" colour scheme, which was the new operation started by David Crowther, in 1997-his first solo foray into the world of bus operation!. Read about Leeds Suburban Buses in more detail by clicking the fleetname, which will whisk you to a green part of the history of the buses of the Crowther family.
When the next batch of buses arrived from Newport, namely the East Lancs fleet, 97-100 were stood down from the Leeds Suburban fleet, having Black Prince fleetnames re-applied on top of the Leeds Suburban Green livery.
The buses numbered 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 and S101 were chosen to represent the former Amberley operation and thus liveried in the blue and cream style which had been introduced for the 88 service from Bradford to Crossgates and latterly Colton, after the takeover of the Amberley operation and as a tribute to the former operators chosen livery and because the passengers on the route recognised the "blue" bus on the 88.
Again, each machine sported a unique application of the stylish blue and cream colours, as displayed in the gallery below, showing Marshall buses 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 and S101-this blue and cream style on the 88/88A services was to continue right until the end of operation in 2005, adorning various other members of the fleet with different body types, including sisters 461/462.
In the Black Prince blue fleet, PTG101Y was numbered "S101", it could not be simply 101, as the fleet already contained "C101" and "V101", a Citybus and a Volvo respectively!. The "S" in S101, stood for Scania. Red and yellow S94, PTG94Y was the result of a similar conflict with V94.
The Marshall bodied Scania fleet was to see use as mobile advertising hoardings, increasingly the norm for service buses in the age of fast moving "BIG" advertising campaigns.
Learn more about the advertising bus colours schemes which adorned our fleet of buses over the years, by following this link-The Advertising Buses.
82 was the first Marshall Scania to appear in advertising colours, in fact the bus arrived from Newport as an advert and was rather amusingly operated around the streets of leeds for several months, selling the services of "S.G Newport", a Mercedes car dealer from the Welsh city!.
Soon, 82 was painted in a more appropriate advert, for JWE phoneshop, a sign of the times, when the mobile phone boom was just taking to the masses!.
Other Advertisements to appear on Marshall Scania buses at Black Prince, were the superb "TOYWORLD" of PTG93Y, "Mistral Communications", PTG95Y, "BWS" on JBO84W and several rear end wraps on members of the fleet.
The era of the Marshall bodied Scania fleet at Black Prince began to draw to a close fairly soon, in 1998, when the withdrawl of JBO83W was the first inroad into the fleet. It was to be noted that the Marshall body style was not the most well constructed beast and the buses rattled, banged and leaked quite severely.
The type was gradually phased out, firstly with a stop-gap in the form of several ex Newport Transport East Lancs bodied Scania 112s, but eventually these too were replaced by the far superior product from Alexander, based on the Scania 113 chassis.
Unfortunately, as poor as the Marshall bodywork proved to be, (they were quirky and rather different from the norm) none of the type survived for further service or preservation, so we believe it is safe to say such buses are now but a memory on our streets.