MD (Metropolitan)

MD (Metropolitan). Service 53. Camden Town, Oxford Circus, Old Kent Road, Blackheath, Plumstead Common.
Seen at Woolwich, Beresford Square. About to enter Plumstead Road. 21 April 1978.
Integral MD class double-deck Scania/MCW Metropolitan, the double-deck equivalent of the MS class Metro-Scanias
The MD was used for a while on Service 53, it was a front entrance/centre exit bus, but was used for crew operation instead on the more usual driver operator.
Photograph John King
The MD class was a double deck version of the MS class, of which the Metro Scania used on service 99 was a demonstrator.

MD's had Scania BR111DH chassis units (being of integral construction) and Scania 11 litre engines.  They were also the first 'quiet' buses to enter the fleet.  MD's ran initially on route 36 from March 1976.  The 36/A/B were gradually coverted to MD operation until complete in the summer of 1976, and conversion of the 63 followed gradually over October/November. The 53 was not converted until January 1977, all Peckhams MD location eventually ended up at Plumstead for the 122. 122a & 99 routes.

 It was not uncommon to see MD's with red painted-over sellotape hiding holes in the bodywork, usually in the vicinity of the
engine compartment, also the rear end used to 'buckle' with stress

MD 53. KJD 253P. On service 122a Erith - Woolwich via Oakhampton Crescent. Seen here at Bedonwell Road, Belvedere at the junction of Lenham Road and Orchard Avenue. MDs were used for One Man operation on 99 and 122a services.18 May 1980.
Photograph.  Steve Thoroughgood
The following is From:- London Transport Buses, 1982 Capital Transport, Laurie Bowles page 53 

After experience with Metro-Scania single deckers, London Transport inspected NVP533M, the Metropolitan demonstrator. The Metropolitan is an integrally-constructed double decker which was built by Metro-Cammell in Birmingham and based on running units by the Swedish firm Scania-Vabis. Following visits by NVP533M, London Transport made enquiries about the supply of 164 vehicles of the design. A firm order for this number was announced in August 1974 and the vehicles, classified MD, were to arrive from late 1975. The interior design was modified to match London Transport’s existing standards, but the most noticeable difference with the vehicles was in the level of external noise. They were the first double deckers in the fleet produced to ‘Quiet Bus’ specification. The bodywork for the LT order was H43/29D and the running units were Scania BR111DH. No LT body numbers are carried by the MDs and the vehicle classification is 1MD1. 

Delivery commenced in December 1975 and was completed with the delivery of MD 162 on 1st February 1977. The vehicles entered service on routes 36, 36A, 36B, 53 and 63 from Peckham and New Cross garages. Some minor corrosion problems have been encountered with these all-steel buses. A number, including MD 1, have been treated at Aldenham and sprayed with an underfloor protective coat, and other methods were also used to prevent corrosion. MD 4 was repainted in November 1979 and between February and November 1980, MDs 1—3, 5—7, .1—4, 16, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 27, 32 and 141 were repainted in October 1981, MDs 46 and 136 were repainted for the ceremonial opening of the new Plumstead Garage. All repaints have lost the white relief in common with the Fleetlines. From 12th January 1980, Routemasters progressively displaced MDs from the 36 group Lt PM and MDs were subsequently transferred to Plumstead, where they were used as crew buses on route 122 from 3rd February, the conversion being officially completed on 7th February. Other displaced MDs were converted to omo in similar fashion to DMs and these entered service on PM’s own route 78 on 24th February. Other vehicles were converted to omo for the conversion of Plumstead’s routes 99 and 122A to omo MD. On 7th September, service 192 was converted to MD omo and transferred from NX to AM. This meant that route 53 now had a mixed allocation of DMs and MDs. Between 23rd January and 26th February 1981, the rest of NX’s  MDs were replaced by RMs. The MDs were transferred to AW for crew route 180 from 5th February and then vehicles were converted to omo for routes 177, 178, 198 and 272. On 31st October, MD 136, named ‘Selkent Ambassador’, ceremonially opened the new Plumstead garage, coded PD, and the whole allocations of AM and AW were transferred in. At the same time, new route 291 (MD omo) replaced the 151 and 192 and the RMs on the 161 were replaced by crew MDs. The Catford allocation on the 180 was also transferred to PD and converted to crew MD. To provide vehicles for this, Peckham’s omo MDs on route 8 were replaced by LSs. PD thus had an all-MD service allocation on opening. 

The reliability of the class became poor and in 1979 it was decided to dispose of vehicles  CoFs expired, and also to dispose of heavily accident-damaged or cannibalised ones without repair. MDs 23, 119 and 163 were withdrawn and sent to Kingston for store in June 1979 after being stripped of useful parts. Others followed and ten vehicles were authorised for disposal in 1980. Nine passed to Wombwell Diesels in August 1980 and were broken up. The future of the tenth, MD 15, was reconsidered and it still awaited a decision on repairs at the end of 1981. During 1980 and 1981, the reliability and condition of the MD fleet has improved considerably, and in general, the remaining vehicles are to be kept for the immediate future, with repaints to improve their general appearance. A new programme of repaints began in December 1981 with MD 28 entering works. 

Contributed by
Ian J Veacock 

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