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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Vehicle Focus: MLF122 [AJ02 ZRY]

Continuing on from our vehicle focus posts, we decided to do an entry on possibly one of my favourite single decks, MLF122. London has had its fair share of odd vehicles but they always seem to depart well ahead of their time and this vehicle was no exception. The Marshall bodied Dennis Dart was one of a few demonstrator vehicles heading to London at that period and some may remember the first ever Wright Electrocity, YG52 CCX that went into service at Arriva's Wood Green garage back in 2003.

MLF122 AJ02 ZRY on the 210 at Golders Green © Stephen Hughes
The Marshall Capital body was not the most successful of single deck bodies in London despite receiving orders in huge quantities from First London who appeared to be a big admirer of the body.


London General and Metroline both had some in small batches, with the latter being inherited from MTL London, whom Metroline acquired back in 1998.

The body was a descendant of the Carlyle body which was renowned for its seemingly poor build quality and water leakage which didn't go down well with operators.. Contrary to this, with vehicles such as highly successful Plaxton Pointer around, its hard not to imagine why the Marshall did not carry the same fate.

This spelt trouble for Marshall, with their best selling vehicle not racking up many sales. Thus brought forth a demonstrator, dubbed MLF122 a dual door body finished off in London red. The interior finish was that of a First London specification as opposed to a stock one, however First were the main buyer of the body, so given that information it it doesn't seen as peculiar.

The vehicle was initially delivered to Thorpe's Wembley base in October of 2002, for induction and evaluation, however the demise of Marshall Bus but the vehicle's future in doubt and it remained in storage for 11 months before reappearing in September 2003 albeit at a new base in West Perivale (now Metroline PA). The vehicle was allocated to their flagship 210. The vehicle already delivered in London red, only needed the yellow roof bar to complete the job.

The vehicle was unique in many ways, one being the fact, it was the only Marshall within the Thorpes fleet, the other being, the fact it had an interior of another London operator, however one thing that always caught my eye, was the unusually large font used in the blinds and the fact, that although it was a single track blind it still had via-points included...odd!

Another thing was the top rear lights, were honeycomb circular LED lights, whereas the lower level lights, were that of the standard brick lighting found on existing Marshalls.

Following the procurement of Thorpes by Metroline in 2005, all Thorpes vehicles were required to be repainted into Metroline's blue livery complete with a white skirt line. MLF122 was done in March 2005 and quite a looker it was when it was done. The picture below demonstrates. It also received a new blindset.

MLF122 AJ02 ZRY on the 143 at Brent Cross © Matthew Wharmby
In March 2006, exactly a year later, it was refurbished, which saw the debranding of the Thorpes name and inclusion of Metroline logos and seat moquette. The fleet number was repositioned to underneath the windscreen in true Metroline fashion and it spend most of its time on the 326 and C11.

MLF122 AJ02 ZRY on the 326 at Barnet Odeon © Peter Horrex
Myself being a big fan of the Marshall Capital body, never actually got a chance to ride the vehicle and was gutted to find out that it had been burnt to a crisp following an engine fire whilst serving the route C11 in the North Cricklewood area in September 2009. The vehicle was said to be beyond repair, which made it even more saddening as it was a unique vehicle.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this very short post of a vehicle which had an ironically short life.

Vehicle Fact File

  • Ex-demonstrator vehicle
  • Delivered to Thorpes wembley base in October 2002
  • Not used until September 2003
  • Repainted in 2005 into Thorpes 'new' livery
  • Refurbished in 2006 to Metroline specification
  • Completely destroyed in September 2009

3 Comments:

Anonymous
at: Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:43:00 am said...

The Marshall's were really nice. I remember the Ones First had having there moquette pinned along the full length of the roof. I thought that was well cool LOL. Another thing was the second door and it's announcements "Stand clear doors opening!" And then "Doors Closing!". On the 51 reg 339 you see the same pause for the announcement but it's that the warnings was remove some time ago and replaced with a buzzing sound

Jay says:
at: Thursday, January 16, 2014 1:04:00 pm said...

I used to love the 51 plate Marshalls at Alperton when they were new on the 223 and 226. Such nice vehicles. I remember that stand clear, doors opening announcement followed by 6 beeps! Lol. Excellent Buses.

Anonymous
at: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 6:01:00 pm said...

Can you do a vehicle focus on ex Transdev DPS531 (X531UAT) that was my favourite bus of all time

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