The London Suburban / MTL Volvo Olympians

This page created 7th February 2007. by Ian Smith

London Suburban 201-210, 212-217

Palatine II 2-door drawing London Suburban Bus was one of a succession of new companies that the Government of the day had hoped would challenge the experience of the established London operators under the tendering regime. It was new to London, being part of Liverpool-based Gemsam Holdings. They came onto the London scene in September 1993, capturing routes 4, 271 and N6, quickly followed in January 1994 by route 41.
To service the routes London Suburban acquired a base in Edmonton (ED), with fifteen ex-London Titans and ten new dual-doorway Volvo Olympians with Northern Counties Palatine II bodywork. Six more arrived for the January increase in work. They wore a livery of milk chocolate brown, white and pale red.

MTL London V201-210, V212-217

Palatine II 2-door drawing As with many of the new start minnows, London suburban was quickly swallowed by a bigger fish. This was MTL, another Liverpool-based company. They at least disposed of the chocolate and white. Their plain red livery, using a less lustrous red than Stagecoach, always managed to look washed out and drab. The first to be repainted was renumbered 2201 and given MTL London Suburban fleetnames, but when the rest were done it was MTL London that appeared on the sides. V-prefixes followed too, matching other types in the MTL fleet.

Edmonton Garage was closed too, and the Volvos moved to Holloway (HT).

Palatine II 2-door drawing

Metroline V201-210, V212-217

A respectable livery followed after MTL London was bought by Metroline in July 1998. Again one of the outsider companies had been taken over by the experienced London neighbour. Anyway, Metroline gave them blue skirts, separated by a white coach-line, plus their smart fleet-name. At first they continued at Holloway, still operating on the 4 and 271, but they were selected for operation on route W7 for an experiment in non-checking of passes starting in November 1998. This only lasted until August 1999, when the Volvos returned to the 271. Although the normal allocation to the 4 and 271 they were often picked for the two double-decker duties on the C2, Oxford Circus - Parliament Hill Fields, at times when single-decker DNLs couldn't cope.

V205 on 271, Highgate, February 2001 V205 on 271, Highgate, February 2001

V205 was at the Highgate terminus of route 271 in February 2001.
V205 on 271, Highgate, February 2001

Replacement Volvo B7TLs arrived for deployment in January 2001. These were intended for the W7 and 271, but instead were used on 4, 17 and 134, leaving the Vs on the 271 and W7. February saw V213 stolen and damaged. The W7 coverted to new buses in March 2001, leaving the Vs marching up and down Highgate Hill on the 271.

This they did without fuss for several more years, until May 2005, when they were transferred to the training fleet. Oddly, they were replaced by older VA-class Olympians. They quickly came out of store in July when needed following the London bombings. They returned briefly to Holloway for route 4.

In August 2005 many of them became trainers, either at Holloway or at North Wembley.

V203 on 4, St.Pauls, April 2002 V210 on 4, St.Pauls, April 2002

To my surprise the Vs were still much in evidence on route 4, in the heart of the City of London, in June 2004. Here V203 and V210 pass St.Paul's Station, heading for Archway.
Bus Stop Volvos Centrewest bus histories photo refs Airbus