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THE SELNEC PRESERVATION SOCIETY

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THE GMT MCW METROBUS AND THE PRESERVATION OF 5001 (GBU 1V)

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The SELNEC Preservation Society has made efforts to seek out and preserve vehicles that represent the advancement of bus design, reflecting the development of vehicles in the Greater Manchester area.

Most bus preservation groups have tended to concentrate their efforts on preserving the type of vehicle epitomized by the 'Routemaster', being the buses that were front engined, back loaders. However, we have specialised in an area generally overlooked or ignored by most preservation groups, being the development of rear engined buses which first appeared in prototype format in 1956. In the North West, we have concentrated largely on the following five groups of vehicles:

1.  Rear Engined Manchester Buses. Between 1959-1966, 272 of these vehicles were built, of which we have assisted in preserving two examples, 3832 and 4708.

2.  The Trail-Blazing Manchester/SELNEC Mancunians. These were the first double-deck, one-man operated buses in the United Kingdom, of which 492 were built between 1968 and 1972, of which we have assisted in preserving five examples, 1066 (Exhibus), 1142, 1177, 2130 and 2220.

 3.  The SELNEC/GMT Standard Double-Deck Bus. This was developed as a result of the bus design and development, arising out of the formation of SELNEC PTE on 1st November 1969.

     The formation of this PTE brought together 11 Bus Companies - Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Oldham, S.H.M.D., Ashton, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Ramsbottom and Leigh. Having inherited vehicles from all those councils the PTE discovered there was no interchangeability to body/mechanical parts, so set about developing a standard vehicle which could be used throughout the entire PTE region. The first bus developed was prototype EX1, following by a further 20 prototypes, and then 1,815 production vehicles on Atlantian and Fleetline chassis.

      We have so far managed to assist in the preservation of 18 of these particularly relevant vehicles, depicting bus design and development in the North West, EX1, EX19, 6901, 6912, 6990, 7077 (open top), 7143, 7147, 7185, 7206, 7232 (Exhibus), 7306, 7501, 7960, 8001, 8141, 8460 and 8765.

 4.  The SELNEC/GMT Minibus. 14 years before the vogue for Minibuses occurred in 1986, the SELNEC PTE was involved in the development of 43 Minibuses, and we have helped in the preservation of five of these pioneering vehicles, 1700, 1711, 1733, 1735 and 1737.

 5.  Other relevant vehicles delivered to SELNEC/Greater Manchester Transport. We have secured for preservation Bristol VR 408, Bristol LH 1321, Leyland National 105, Prototype B45 Olympian 1451, the first production Standard Olympian 3001, the first Dennis Domino 1751, GMT Dodge Minibus 1823 and the last Northern Counties bodied Metrobus 5320.

We have also concentrated on looking at various vehicles that Greater Manchester Transport purchased 'off the peg', being Leyland Titans and MCW Metrobuses, which were both intended in the 1980's to revolutionise the double-deck bus operating industry, being totally or partially integral vehicles, although in the end neither made much significant difference to the existence of independent bus chassis and body builders.

Although London Transport bought large quantities of these two integral or partially integral vehicles, being over 1,100 Titans and 1,400 Metrobuses, Greater Manchester purchased only 15 Titans and 220 MCW Metrobuses. The Titans were numbered in a new series 4001-4015, and the SELNEC Preservation Society acquired the last of these, being Greater Manchester's last Titan 4015 (GNF 15V) for preservation, on 7th October 1998.

Of the 220 Metrobuses purchased 190 were the conventional Mark 1 vehicles, being 5001-5190, but there were also 30 Metrobus chassis that were bodied by Northern Counties, being 5201-5210 with Cummins engines and 5301-5320 with Gardner engines.

The design of these Titans and Metrobuses (except for the last 30 Metrobuses) did not reflect the area from which they originated as do SELNEC/GMT Standards, but the SELNEC Preservation Society has been interested in their association within the Greater Manchester area. We therefore concluded that it might be appropriate to try to purchase 5001 (GBU 1V), the very first GMT Metrobus which was delivered new on 4th October 1979. The fleet of 190 MCW Metrobuses varied somewhat in construction - the first 10, 5001-5010 were DR101/6, whilst 5011-5030 were DR102/10; 5031-5110 were D102/21 and 5111-5190 were DR102/23. Of the 30 Northern Counties bodied examples, 5201-5210 were DR132/8 and 5301-5320 DR102/51.

5001, which is the 21st Metrobus chassis built also represents the earlier bodywork on the Metrobus that was exhibited on 5001-5030.  These had different front grilles comprising narrow slats protruding onto the lower corner panels, small rectangular fog lights and indicators which curved round the front and sides of the bus. They also had single piece bonnets.

At deregulation in Greater Manchester on 26th October 1986, the first 10 Metrobuses, 5001-5010 were taken out of service as they were considered non-standard, particularly as they had hydraulic as opposed to air brakes which were exhibited on the remainder of the fleet. GM Buses Ltd, upon de-regulation continued to run 5011-5190 and the 30 Northern Counties bodied vehicles. The first 10 were sold, five of them going to London Transport in mid 1987, being 5001, 5004, 5005, 5008 and 5009.  They were given fleet numbers M1443 to M1447 and were converted to London specification, entering service at Potters Bar with four being transferred shortly thereafter to Wood Green.

Of the other five, 5002 and 5006 went to Cottrells of Mitcheldean and 5003, 5007 and 5010 went to Stevensons of Uttoxeter.  Thereafter, 5003 and 5010 went to Heysham Travel and then on to Blue Triangle and 5007 passed to Cottrells to join 5002 and 5006.

We were in touch with London Transport on 29th July 1992, expressing to them our interest in the possibility of acquiring 5001, which ran as their M1443, for preservation when their use of it ended. We were then in touch with 5001's subsequent operators in the Greater London area over the next seven years.  As a result of privatisation it passed to Leaside Buses Limited in January 1994, which then became Cowie Leaside.  We visited their Enfield garage to see 5001, 5004, 5005, 5008 and 5009 on Saturday 16th March 1996, all then running in white on a university contract.  All these buses including 5001 transferred to Arriva East Herts & Essex on 12th September 1997 and were put into red and cream Lea Valley livery.  We visited and saw 5001 and its four sister vehicles at the Ware site on 25th May 1998.  These vehicles then passed to Arriva The Shires on 1st May 1999, from whom we purchased the vehicle on 1st November 1999, collecting it from their Stevenage operation on Sunday, 14th November 1999.

However, it was the case in 1998 that due to the Arriva policy of selling off cherished numbers, the registration, GBU 1V, was taken off 5001 and offered for sale, so we purchased it to save it being bought by any other individual and had it placed on a Retention Certificate from 12th May 1998. Consequently, 5001, which ran for Arriva The Shires as 5351, was re-registered in May 1998 as OPP 741V. Its last day in passenger service with Arriva the Shires at 20 years of age, was 4th November 1999, when it was taken out of service and parked up at their Stevenage Depot, although up to that point, it had operated out of their Ware depot.

Arriva The Shires had the other four ex-Greater Manchester Metrobuses sold to London Transport, and by the time 14th November 1999 came around and we collected 5001, 5004 and 5009 had been taken out of service and cannibalised, and subsequently 5005 and 5008 were sold.

All these five vehicles were converted in 1986 when they were bought by London Transport and were given different destination displays, diptac internals and all the moquette and the seats were re-styled in London mode. Consequently we sought to acquire original parts to reverse this conversion from the other five Metrobuses in the batch of ten not sold to London (5002, 5003, 5006, 5007 and 5010) and have been very much assisted by Blue Triangle in Rainham who had 5003 and 5010, as on 11th April 1999, before we had actually bought 5001, we were able to remove a number of parts with their assistance from 5010.

5001 was not the first Metrobus in preservation, but as far as we were aware by 1st November 1999 it was the seventh. Indeed, our colleagues at the West Midlands Bus Preservation Society acquired, in June 1998, one of the five pre-production West Midlands Mark 1 Metrobus being 6835 (WDA 835T), which has the 59th Metrobus chassis and was exhibited at the 1978 Commercial Vehicle Motor Show. Also in 1999 First Manchester placed 5083 (ORJ 83W) in the care of the Museum of Transport in Manchester; this has the 1220th Metrobus chassis.

Our rectification schedule has seen us restore one vehicle each year recently.  We then rally it the following year whilst we work on the next project to be rallied the year after, and so on.

YEAR VEHICLES RESTORED VEHICLES RALLIED
1997 7206 1066
1998 7185 7206
1999 EX1 7185
2000 8001 / 7232 EX1
2001 408 8001 / 7232
2002 408 / 5001 7206 / 8001

The project for restoration for 2001 was Bristol VR 408 (AJA 408L) but its Eastern Coachworks body and its general interior condition meant that it took two years to complete, hence we had to rally 7206 and 8001 again in 2002.  We also decided that 5001 was to be our restoration project during 2002 and not wishing to delay we decided whilst finishing 408 to commence work on 5001 which we did on 10th November 2001 and thereafter worked both vehicles at the same time.

Some time prior to this, however, we decided to reverse the London conversion of the front destination display and put it back to G.M.T. specifications, in order to ensure we had all the parts to do so whilst there were still Metrobuses in use in Greater Manchester to assist with any additional parts we might discover we needed.  This exercise was therefore started early on 12th November 2000.

We had moved 408 to our working bay at the front of Leigh on 3rd September 2000 after we returned from our attendance at Heaton Park Rally that day in 7232, EX1, 8001, 1451 and 8765.  Work then commenced on it in late September 2000 running all the way through to 10th November 2001 when it went to Preston Bus for re-panelling and other work.  With it away from the depot work commenced on 5001 with it being brought to the front of Leigh during a move around on 16th December 2001 and we soon identified aspects of the vehicle that have been altered from its original G.M.T. specification by London Transport, as part of it being integrated into their fleet.

Consequently, there were a number of parts, in addition to the front destination display that were needed including new seats to reverse the London conversion.  In this regard, we have been greatly assisted by First Manchester Ltd, who allowed us to visit their Queens Road Depot on Saturday 11th March 2000, where we were able to acquire some parts from scrap Metrobuses 5056 and 5062, and on Wednesday evening, 17th May 2000 at Oldham, in order to secure a number of spare parts from scrap Metrobuses 5070 and 5188.  It did seem quite unusual to be removing parts from 5188, the third newest MCW bodied Metrobus, whilst the third oldest retained by the company, 5013 (GBU 13V) was still in operation, indeed, parked-up near 5188, ready for service on Thursday morning, 18th May 2000.

This allowed for the final completion of the restoration of the front destination display area to its Manchester specification from its London conversion.  Work then commenced on the major restoration by removing all the seat frames from the vehicle so that the inside could be cleaned as a prelude to repainting the aluminium, along with white and black areas and having the decktread treated with special brown floor paint.  Once the seat frames were out, the backs and cushions were removed and the backs were been taken to GLG Coachtrimmers in Wigan so that re-moquetting could commence once the work had concluded on the backs and cushions of 408.

The specification for 5001 is that both decks, upper and lower, were completely moquetted in all over orange with no PVC trim which is a different application than 408 which  had orange moquette on the lower deck with PVC trim and all PVC on the upper decks.  During the working days the long and laborious task then commenced in sanding down the seat frames from 5001, red-oxiding them and repainting them in grey.

As part of the London conversion on 5001 a number of aspects were added to the cab area such as a fan, bus stopping sign, etc., and these have all been removed, and we secured the correct driverís door from 5126.  The lower deck of the vehicle had been partially DIPTAC converted, which resulted in us having to remove all the green bars, being the entrance grab rails, bars around the cab area, the luggage pen and two transverse grab rails at the rear of the vehicle.  There were all taken off and were replaced with appropriate black or silver as the case may be from the spares that we had obtained from 5010.  Where we did not have spares or where the spares from 5010 would not fit (in some cases they were an inch short) then we had the original green items taken to a specialist company in Bristol where they were re-covered black for refitting to the vehicle.  The green lower deck seat poles were to be more problematical as they needed to be in stainless steel.

Determined to make sure that we restored 5001 to its original 1979 condition, not just externally but in terms of internal fixtures and fittings, application of transfers, etc., we needed to examine other vehicles from the first batch of ten, 5002-5010.  Clearly we were running out of examples to look at to use as guides.  Five of the first ten had been sent to London for the conversion, the four accompanying 5001 being 5004, 5005, 5008 and 5009.  They would not lend themselves to assisting us as what had been altered on 5001 had been altered on those as well as part of the London conversion.  We had dismantled 5010 at Blue Triangle on 11th April 1999 and had lost track of 5003. 

That therefore left three vehicles that might lend themselves to assisting us, which are all operated by Cottrellís of Mitcheldean, being 5002, 5006 and 5007 and through kind co-operation of Mr Cottrell we were in a position to visit the premises to look at these three vehicles on 20th January 2002.

Two of them had been secured by Mr Cottrell direct through the G.M.P.T.E./Kirby Central arrangement at deregulation just after 26th October 1986 and therefore had very little changed on them.  The third vehicle, 5007, had however come to Mr Cottrell after operation and some conversion by Stevensons and consequently had less original features and more alterations.  We therefore concentrated our attention on the external and more importantly internal aspects, including transfers of 5002 and 5006 and a society member with his digital camera took a considerable number of very detailed and very helpful photographs so that these could be used as a template to ensure that 5001 was indeed returned to its original 1979 condition.

As we progressed with the work on 5001 (GBU 1V) we came across difficulties in sourcing various spare parts and therefore made contact with the management of First Manchester who allowed us once again to visit their Oldham Depot this time on 1st February and 8th February 2002 to secure the bits and pieces needed from scrap MCW bodied Metrobuses.  Some original parts that were hard to find on these were the original winder handle housings from above the inside of the windscreen area on the bus as these had been damaged or removed.  However, Ian Wild at First Calderline came to our rescue and took these off scrap ex-GMT Metrobus 5064 (MRJ 64W) at First Calderline's premises.  These have now been fitted, restoring the internal aspects of the winding mechanisms to their original condition to make them fully operational.

On Wednesday evening, 13th March 2002, 5001 was taken to Whittakers Coach Travel for work to be carried out on it.  Whilst at Whittakers the air suspension was to be attended to, particularly as the rear end had not been rising as high as it should and the front nearside airbag was in need of replacement.  A full service on the vehicle looking at the brakes, steering, all fluids, oils and filters was carried out.  The stop solenoid and the charging problem were also looked at.  There were also a number of electrical issues on the vehicle to be dealt with, being problems with the indicators, the internal lights, the rear number plate bulbs and in the cab area the push button gears were sticking.  Two new tyres were also fitted to the front of the bus by ATS.

Whilst the vehicle was at Whittakers for all the attendant mechanical and electrical aspects to be attended to one of our members, Jason Hartley, a self employed bodybuilder also worked on the vehicle.  He fabricated an entirely new one piece bonnet lid and had fitted to it the appropriate triangular original Metrobus bonnet lock.  Also the valance and the rear offside and nearside panels were replaced along with several panels along the skirt of both offside and nearside of the vehicle.  In addition, replacement rear corner panels secured some years ago from a scrap Metrobus were fitted, being fibreglass fittings and brand new correct specification rear lights were fitted to the bus, replacing the later versions installed whilst it was in operating service.  Furthermore, although we had fitted the replacement mid deck front panel from 5010 acquired from Blue Triangle on 11th April 1999, as part of our conversion back to the Manchester blind display from its London alteration, Jason Hartley also used the spare windscreen surround from 5010 as part of his activity in rectifying the body work so that the original rectangular front indicators could be restored to the bus.  The washer jets were also put back to their original Metrobus specification and the appropriate style wing mirrors fitted to 5001, when new in 1979, were fitted.  The correct headlight surrounds and fog light surrounds secured from 5023 were also fitted to return the front to its original condition, although the spot lights had still to be resourced.

Further to our acquisition of the book end to 5001, Greater Manchesterís last original Metrobus being Northern Counties bodied coach seated 5320 (D320 LNB) on 3rd March 2002, it became apparent that we would need certain spare parts for this vehicle to return it to its original 1987 Express condition and we were initially short of some matching individual coach seat cushions.  Very kindly First Manchester allowed us to visit their Oldham Depot on Saturday 6th April 2002 so that we could secure all the parts they were able to release to us, so that when we restore this vehicle to its original condition it will have all the parts we need.   We also obtained the missing lower deck seat back with the small headrests in place and we removed the upper deck rear emergency exit window from 5209 which was one of the few buses that still had in place the fixed separate upper rear seat headrest.  Also whilst we were at Oldham Depot on 6th April 2002 we were conscious that we still needed some parts to assist with the rectification of 5001, particularly seat frames as several of these had been replaced in London style or damaged whilst being taken out of the vehicle.  Hence during the day we not only resourced what we needed for 5320 but further items we needed for 5001. 

The scrap buses that were available at Oldham on the day that lent themselves to supplying spare parts were as follows:-

5033 (MRJ 33W)
5082 (ORJ 82W)
5096 (ORJ 96W)
5122 (SND 122X)
5186 (ANA 186Y)
5201 (C201 FVU)
5206 (C206 FVU)
5207 (C207 FVU)
5209 (C209 FVU)

We visited Whittakers Coach Travel on Sunday 24th April 2002 to take 3001 (ANA 1Y) for some work to be carried out on it and for it to be MOTíd and to bring 5001 back to Leigh.  However, when driving through Penwortham a loud bang was heard and gallons of water flooded out from behind the driverís cab of 5001.

The fan on the heater had dislodged itself, damaging the heater causing water to leak out of the coolant system.  We turned around and took the bus back to Whittakers for repair.  Then on Wednesday evening, 1st May 2002, after we had taken 7077 (WBN 955L) to S & T Coach Painters for 18 replacement panels to be fitted we again attempted to bring 5001 back to Leigh from Whittakers Coach Travel.  However, this time it overheated due to an air lock in the coolant system so we turned it around in Penwortham and took it back for attention.

On the third attempt on Saturday 11th May 2002 we were able to return 5001 to Leigh.  On this day we moved 7077 from S & T Coach Painters to Whittakers Coach Travel for work to be carried out on it, and brought 5001 and 3001 (having passed its MOT) back to Leigh.  Following this on Tuesday 14th May 2002 Auto Windscreens replaced upper deck nearside plain glass windows three and four for the correct hopper configuration and took the sliding window out of upper deck offside position number five and replaced it with a hopper.

On subsequent working days following the return of 5001 to Leigh on Saturday 11th May 2002 considerable progress was made with its rectification and restoration.  All the seat frames having been repainted were fitted to the bus on both the upper and lower decks and over the weeks that followed re-moquetted seat backs were collected from GLG Coachtrimmers in Wigan and fitted to the entire upper deck.  New windscreen wipers were purchased for the vehicle and fitted to it and a considerable amount of work was undertaken on the cab area which was cleaned and painted, the driverís seat was removed, sanded, red-oxided, cleaned and painted and returned to position.  A steering wheel centre was obtained along with a fuse cover indicating the purpose of the various fuses at the back of the driverís cab.  A driverís door from 5126 was fitted and an original driverís cab light put in place of the London conversion.  A replacement console was obtained containing speedometer and MCW disks and fitted to the cab.  A replacement sun visor and new tax/operatorís three position disk holder was fitted to the nearside dash area. 

The entrance step had an appropriate manufacturerís MCW badge fixed to it and in the cab area new labels were applied indicating the purpose of the bank of switches on the right hand side.  Although the cab is not a major and obvious part of the vehicle as most preservationists look at the outside of the vehicle and the seating on the inside, it is important that it is given this amount of attention to restore it to original condition particularly as it is of interest to drivers who examine preserved vehicles.  This also the area that is most used regularly and the subject of most alteration over years of operation. 

One outstanding item upon the vehicleís return to Leigh on 11th May 2002 was to resource the original rectangular fog lights which had only been fitted to the first 30 vehicles in the batch.  We identified that of the three vehicles at Cottrells 5002, 5006 and 5007, 5006 had retained its two original rectangular fog lights and 5007 had retained one.  However, Mr Cottrell was not of a mind to allow us to remove these from the vehicles whilst they were still in service. 

We tried to obtain supplies from Lucas as they were made originally by them but they had been discontinued years ago and we even contacted the company Far East Motors in Singapore who bought a lot of ex-Lucas stock from where we have obtained original light fittings in the past but they were unable to help.  We rang around a number of contacts and identified two organisations who might be able to help us, in particular UK Bus Dismantlers Limited in Bromyard, Hertfordshire who had been referred to us by Holdens Vintage and Classics.  We also tried Ensign Bus at Purfleet who had received a number of the first batch of 30 Metrobuses from GM Buses South Limited, some with their original fog lights in place but again we had drawn a blank. 

5001 had to leave Leigh again on Sunday 30th June 2002 as on this day all the cushions were delivered to GLG Coachtrimmers in Wigan so that they could be completely re-moquetted and in fact the following week 40 brand new foam double cushion squares were delivered from Vitaform so that the cushions could not only have new moquette added but new fillings as well, just retaining the original wooden bases.

This was necessary because when the vehicle had been in London they had re-foamed the seats in a shaped style which was not original G.M.T. specification.  Having had all the cushions delivered to GLG Coachtrimmers, 5001 itself was taken to Preston Bus so that rectification work could commence and whilst the bus was being taken up the M61 to Preston its indicators decided to fail along with its windscreen wipers.  However, once at Preston Bus they set about replacing all the panels that had been identified as being too badly damaged to be filled and sanded down, being virtually the entirety of the mid-deck large and deep panels on both the offside and nearside along with some other odd panels on the lower deck area and around the cab. 

Both side engine doors were taken off, re-fabricated and replaced and a brand new roof dome that we had secured from N & M Fibreglass in Bromsgrove was put on the bus to replace the damaged original.  Furthermore, the four fibreglass wheel arches were all attended to with various bits of alterations and damage repaired and restored along with two new flaps added to the front offside and nearside.  In addition to the external aspects of the bodywork whilst at Preston Bus the fitters kindly put some replacement black melamine onto the ceiling of the cab area as this had become damaged in the past.  Also Preston Bus fixed the windscreen wipers that had failed on 5001ís trip to Preston and it was collected early on Sunday morning, 14th July 2002. 

Prior to collection however and once the bus had left the bodyshop at Preston Bus it had its chassis engine and drive units all steam cleaned and then sprayed in protective anti-corrosive grey paint.

Also on 14th July 2002, 7077 was taken up to Whittakers Coach Travel for some odd bits of mechanical work to be carried out, being an extension to the engine breather pipe and a problem with a water leak to be resolved and an electrical fault with the nearside indicator.  The brown paint also needed to be re-done, in that inadvertently when we had the GMT brown manufactured, HMG Paints had produced code 06C50 as opposed to 06C40 and consequently the brown was too light.

At the same time 5320, having passed its MOT and been fully serviced, was returned to Leigh and on the way back we called at GLG Coachtrimmers and picked up all the seat cushions which had been re-moquetted.  Consequently, on the working day of Sunday 14th July 2002 and an extra additional working day slotted in on Saturday 27th July 2002, an extra amount of effort was put into resolving all outstanding aspects with regard to the vehicle which saw all the interior  seats being finished in terms of backs and cushions, except for two on the lower deck that sit on the raised wheel arch which need further attention as they are a different design.  We also saw a considerable amount of work being carried out on sanding down all the panels that had either been filled or needed the red and cream paintwork from Lea Valley to be smoothed off ready for repainting.  All final bits of filling and sanding were also carried out on the exterior of the vehicle with some attention being paid to the wheel arches.  Inside work carried on with the cleaning of the windows and window surrounds and the cab area.  In between these two additional working days we had Auto Windscreens visit on Wednesday and Thursday 24th and 25th July 2002 to replace an additional seven windows in that we had noticed there were a number of the windows on the vehicle which whilst the right configuration, i.e. hoppers and plain glass, had been etched and needed replacing.

In terms of the two hoppers that had been etched we had spares in stock supplied to us earlier from First Calderline and these were fitted to position five on the nearside and position five on the offside.  However, the two fixed pieces of glass on both sides of the upper deck at the rear along with the rear upper deck emergency exit glass and the two pieces of fixed glass at the front of the upper deck were all etched and we had no spares.  In any event most of the vehicles that have been withdrawn from service also had these pieces of plain glass etched as well so we commissioned Auto Windscreens not just to change over the two hoppers but to cut for us new glass to be fitted for these five plain windows.

In the end UK Bus Dismantlers Limited sent to us a set of rare rectangular fog lights of the correct size, LA8, on 24th July 2001.  The silver rear castings were second hand and one had a second hand reflector with fluted glass.

In addition, a new reflector and plain glass lens was provided for the second light unit.  We also identified that the precisely correct rectangular fog lights that we needed with the right amount of glass fluting on the front and stainless steel casings, are in fact on 1751 (C751 YBA), our one and only remaining Northern Counties bodied Dennis Domino.

At the end of the working day on Saturday 27th July 2002 5001 was returned to Whittakers for its second spell there, this time for the final aspects to be rectified.

Also whilst at Whittakers the indicators which had been inoperable since the trip to Preston Bus on 30th June 2002 were repaired; some of the warning lights checked in the cab area and the console secured, and the fog lights received from UK Bus Dismantlers Limited were fitted and wired up.  Also whilst there some repair work was carried out on the entrance step and inside some support work carried out on the rear destination display hatch and the aluminium area around the bottom of the staircase.

In the meanwhile identification of the final aspects required of the bus had been identified at the working day on 27th July 2002 and members of the SELNEC Preservation Society went to the Barnsley scraps yard on Thursday 1st August 2002 to obtain the final odd bits and pieces needed for final rectification being:-

Lower deck seat poles x 4, including screws and rubbers.
Six seat bolt retaining nuts
Two seat legs from seats on raised wheel arch
plinth
Driverís seat nuts x 2
Destination winding housing.
Cab door catch.

However, there were no Metrobuses either compatible or with appropriate parts in place on the day although interestingly seen there in one of the yards for re-sale was Titan 4006 (GNF 6V) and in a scrap condition one of the first batch of 30 production Dennis Dominators 2006 (B906 TVR).  Consequently, the team moved on to First Halifax and First Huddersfield through contact with Ian Wild and most helpfully all of the parts required were obtained from scrap ex-Greater Manchester Metrobuses that were available.  Also, most kindly, he allowed one or two parts to be taken off a scrap Leyland Olympian 3012 (A577 HDB), one of the 15 Leyland engined original production Olympians which will assist with rectification of 3001, in particular the rare white flip over electronic destination displays from the side and rear which need to be replaced and the brain unit that controls them, as those are not functioning on 3001.

Jason Hartley revisited 5001 whilst at Whittakers on Saturday 3rd August 2002 to correct and properly re-hang the bonnet by repositioning the offside rear frame so that it hangs square and the retaining bolts fit evenly at either side.  Also where previously the one piece fibreglass back panel had been cut and the beading put in place this was removed and re-fibreglassed to refill it into a one piece unit.

It had been anticipated that 5001 would have been taken to its MOT on Friday 2nd August 2002 by Whittakers in Penwortham, but due to the rectification work taking longer than intended this had not taken place and the MOT was scheduled for Monday 5th August 2002.  As a consequence, we had a split working day on Sunday 4th August 2002 with certain members working at Leigh on the open topper 7077 along with putting some the finishing touches to 3001 and 5320 and the remainder of the party went in the Exhibus Mancunian 1066 to work on 5001 with the kind permission of Richard Whittaker at his premises in Penwortham.  On the day most the final parts obtained from the visit to First Halifax and First Huddersfield were fitted to the vehicle leaving just one lower deck seat remaining.  Unfortunately it was identified that the lower deck silver bars that we obtained had different fittings to those required on 5001, meaning that the first few Metrobuses must have had a different design. However, we managed to extract from our stores the original green seat bars taken off the lower deck seats and these were sent away for re-covering into stainless steel.

The final work was carried out on the vehicle in sanding it down ready for its re-paint and then the members returned to Leigh in 1066 but unfortunately the front upper deck offside window had worked its way loose and flew out of the bus on the motorway crashing into the road and smashing which required members to report the incident to the Police.  Luckily it did not hit any vehicles and no harm was done.  This will mean we have to replace this window in due course. 

The final touch to the unique lower fibreglass front of these very early Mark I Metrobuses, such as 5001, is in respect of the front grill.  This has narrow slats which were soon replaced by the much wider grills and thereafter simpler aluminium mesh fittings.  The original 30 however also had the narrow slatted lower part of the grill with a protruding overhang that went over the lower corner panels that contained the fog lights and were shaped around the fog lights so that the slats went all the way up to the fog lights.  These have been cut off all the early Metrobus fronts in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and elsewhere.  However, we did obtain a very good condition front panel from the West Midland Bus Preservation Group which required a small bit of work to be carried out on it.   However, the site where it was stored whilst awaiting rectification work accidentally sent it with surplus aluminium for scrap!  We discovered this on 29th July 2002 and frantic attempts were made to locate a replacement.  Eventually society member Greg Taylor managed to locate one at the Imperial Bus Company in Rainham who kindly let us have it.  It actually came from 5045 (MRJ 45W) and arrived on 8th August 2002.  It was sent to a fabricator the following day who is to return it to its original 1979 condition by 31st August 2002 with narrow overhanging slats at the bottom to match up to the rectangular spotlights. 

On Monday 5th August 2002 5001 was taken to the MOT Testing Station in Blackburn by Whittakers.  It passed and consequently was collected on Tuesday evening, 6th August 2002, by members of the SELNEC Preservation Society and moved it from Penwortham the short distance to Fishwicks in Leyland where it was to be repainted.  Unfortunately on the way difficulties were experienced with reverse with the vehicle jumping out of gear and when being driven to Leyland it would not engage top gear; its Voith three speed automatic gear box remaining in second.  This is unfortunate because in the three years we have had the bus we have never experienced gearbox problems before and for this to happen with four weeks to go before Heaton Park and whilst the bus was on its way for its re-paint is a difficulty we did not envisage.

On the same evening, Tuesday 6th August 2002, whilst delivering 5001 to Fishwicks for repaint to commence work on it, we also collected 408 which had its re-paint concluded, having been delivered to Fishwicks some time earlier on 4th July 2002.  This was driven back to Whittakers of Penwortham so some work could be carried out on it and so it could be MOTíd. 

Subsequently, we had automatic gearbox specialists visit the bus at Fishwicks in Leyland on 8th August 2002 and 23rd August 2002 but to no avail.

5001 was worked on by a small group of members at Fishwicks on Sunday 18th August 2002 and Friday 23rd August 2002 when the transfers were applied.  Thereafter it was collected fully re-painted from Fishwicks on 25th August 2002 and taken to Whittakers Coach Travel so the gearbox problem can be rectified ready for collection on 29th August 2002.  On 31st August 2002 the final touches will be carried out on this working day in order that it will be ready to attend along with 7077, 408, 3001 and 5320 at the Trans-Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally to Heaton Park on Sunday 1st September 2002 where it was launched as a brand new restoration along with 408 and featured in Bus & Coach Preservation's November 2002 publication. 

KEY DATES Ė 5001 (GBU 1V)
 

4th October 1979

First registered.

26th October 1986

Taken out of service with GMT.

Mid 1987

Entered service with London Transport as M1443.

29th July 1992

First interest in preservation expressed to London Buses.

16th March 1996

Visit to see 5001/5004/5005/5008/5009 at Cowie Leaside.

12th May 1998

Re-registered OPP 741V.

25th May 1998

Visit to Arriva East Herts & Essex depot at Ware.

11th April 1999

Parts acquired in anticipation from 5010 at Blue Triangle.

1st November 1999

Purchased by SELNEC Preservation Society.

4th November 1999

Last day of service with Arriva the Shires.

14th November 1999

Collected by SELNEC Preservation Society from Arriva Stevenage.

12th November 2000

Work on front destination panel commences.

10th November 2001

Work on full restoration commences.

20th January 2002

Visit to Cottrells to view 5002/5006/5007.

13th March 2002

Taken for servicing and repair at Whittakers.

24th April 2002

Water coolant fault.

11th May 2002

Return to Leigh for ongoing rectification.

14th May 2002

Auto Windscreens replaced three windows.

30th June 2002

Taken for re-panelling and chassis painting at Preston Bus.

14th July 2002

Return to Leigh for ongoing rectification.

23rd July 2002

Rare rectangular fog lights acquired.

24th July 2002

Auto Windscreens replaced seven further windows.

27th July 2002

Return to Whittakers for further rectification.

5th August 2002

MOT passed at Blackburn Test Centre.

6th August 2002

Moved to Fishwicks for repaint.

8th August 2002

Replacement original front panel acquired from 5045.

29th August 2002

Return to Leigh after repaint and gearbox service.

31st August 2002

Final preparations.

1st September 2002

Trans Lancs Historic Vehicle Rally to Heaton Park.

 

5001

BATCH:

5001 - 5190

gmt.gif (2279 bytes)

(GBU 1V)

BODY:

Metro Cammell Weyman H43/30F

 

CHASSIS:

MCW Metrobus DR106/6

 

FIRST REGISTERED:

4th October, 1979

 

PURCHASED:

1st November, 1999

 

DETAILS:

Built on the 21st Metrobus chassis, this is Greater Manchester's first ever semi-integral Metrobus which has the early hydraulic brakes.


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