Landmark Spectra preserved

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The first low floor double-decker bus to be built in Britain has entered preservation. The Optare Spectra, numbered 4001 in the National Express West Midlands (NXWM) fleet and which carries the cherished registration ‘R1NEG’ was donated to The Transport Museum, Wythall on Friday (June 19).

New to Birmingham Central in January 1998, 4001 was transferred with the rest of the Spectra fleet to Wolverhampton garage in July 2009.

Malcolm Keeley, a Trustee at the museum told CBW: “We would like to thank those those at NXWM who have ensured 4001 has entered preservation and for their generosity in donating it to us.

“The Spectra was a significant ‘step change’ in double-decker bus design, with low entrance, low floor and low emissions. 4001 was the first one to be completed by Optare and delivered to a customer. It’s also a step change for us at The Transport Museum, Wythall where previously the newest vehicles in our collection were an MCW Metrobus and a Ford Transit.

“The Spectra was one of the designs that showed a newly confident bus industry had rebooted itself after the cautious level of investment following deregulation.”

Asked about plans for the future of the vehicle, Malcolm replied: “While our plans are still at an early stage, with its place in history, it would be logical in due course for it to be returned to its original livery, complete with special branding.”

For more details of the museum, call 01564 826471. Visit www.wythall.org.uk.