I got back from my holiday yesterday to find that two of the Sightseeing buses had been sold and this replacement MCW Metrobus was already in service! The open top Metrobus known as ‘Big Bertha’ () and a closed top Volvo Olympian ( ) have moved on to pastures new.
The 1947 Leyland PD2/3 will remain for the forseeable future but was unserviceable yesterday morning so I had to jump straight into this machine and take it on the two tours of the day. Fortunately the cab layout is very similar to the previous Metrobus so it all felt very familiar.
Previously used by Harrods in London for a City Sightseeing Tour, this bus is fitted with tables and comes complete with a kitchen at the back of the lower saloon!
Our tour route takes us ‘off piste’, away from normal bus routes, including the pretty Ilsham Green and Meadfoot Beach. Having a full height roof at the front means that we have to pass under low branches very carefully. Behind the bus in the photo is a low railway bridge at Preston Sands and clearance is down to the proverbial ‘fag paper’! Only joking, it’s a few inches but still quite tight.
In other news, I’ve been invited to drive a VERY historic bus soon. It dates from between the wars and is just coming to the end of a thorough restoration. Watch this space!