Old Bus Photos

London Transport – AEC Routemaster – CUV 308C – RML 2308

London Transport - AEC Routemaster - CUV 308C - RML 2308

London Transport
1965
AEC Routemaster
Park Royal H40/32R

OBP seems yet to have a picture of Routemasters in the Country Area livery, so here is one. RML 2308, delivered to London Transport in November 1965, is seen at Biggin Hill in the following year. These green buses, which totalled one hundred in two batches of fifty, RML 2306- 2355 in 1965 and RML 2411 -2460 in 1966, were all powered by the AEC AV590 engine de-rated to 115bhp, the same setting used in the earlier RT type, though the RML was 5cwt heavier. Semi automatic gearboxes were fitted rather than the fully automatic variety used in the Central Bus Routemaster fleet. The 410 ran between Bromley and Reigate on an hourly headway, with intervening ‘short’ journeys between Bromley and Biggin Hill; the picture above shows RML 2308 operating such a ‘short’. Because of a low railway bridge near Oxted station, the 410 route was run for many years by lowbridge double deckers, notably by the ‘Godstone’ STLs ((Godstone being the operating garage) and then by the RLH class (20 diverted Regent IIIs from a Midland General order for 30, and a further 56 built for LT). In the early 1960s LT(CB&C) yearned to standardise the Godstone fleet on RTs, and became impatient about the delays to the promised lowering of the roadway beneath the Oxted bridge. I was then a clerk in the South Divisional Office at Reigate, and pointed out that the offending bridge could be circumnavigated easily via Station Road East, then under the high bridge on the A25, and back into Oxted via East Hill Road. This solution was eagerly leapt upon, and RTs replaced the Godstone RLH fleet in November 1964. This allowed full interworking of the routes 409 (West Croydon – Godstone – Forest Row) 410 (Bromley – Godstone – Reigate) and 411 West Croydon – Godstone – Reigate). When the roadway under the Oxted Station bridge was ultimately lowered some time later, the 410 reverted to its original route. The LT Country Bus business passed to the National Bus Company in January 1970 under the name London Country. In 1978, with Routemaster mechanical spares becoming akin to hens teeth, and London Transport snapping up such parts as did become available, the entire London Country RML fleet was sold to LT, who repainted most of the vehicles red for service in London, though RMLs 2306, 2337, 2417, 2420, 2421, 2423, 2424, 2425, 2426, 2427, 2433, 2436, 2438, 2448, 2449, 2458 and 2459 were immediately scrapped for spares. In the early 1990s LT replaced all the original power plants in the survivors with Iveco and Cummins engines, RM 2308 suffering the inflicted indignity of a Cummins motor in 1993. It continued to serve London Transport until its withdrawal in March 2004.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


02/12/19 – 06:37

In actual fact, the Central London RM’s and RML’s had an either/or gearbox.
If top gear was selected when stationary, the bus would be in automatic mode, however, the driver had the option of driving them as a semi auto, and changing gear manually.
Unless fully loaded, or pulling away uphill, second was usually selected to pull away.
It may well be that in later life they were all converted to fully auto, but they weren’t when new.

Ronnie Hoye


02/12/19 – 09:46

The Central Bus Routemasters had fully automatic gearboxes with manual over-ride, a feature of auto boxes that continued into the later age of buses with auto transmissions by ZF and Allison, though not with the (dreadful) three speed Voith. Nowadays it seems that this feature has gone for buses, and the driver’s only over-ride option is kick-down. The Country area RMCs, RMLs and RCLs were semi auto only.

Roger Cox


03/12/19 – 06:30

I don’t know if its the way they’re set up, but some buses are awful. They seem to snatch when they change up, and lurch when changing down. The poor driver always gets the blame, but in reality there’s not a lot He/She can do about it.
Driver properly, a bus with a manual box, be it three pedals or semi auto, will always give a smoother ride than an automatic.

Ronnie Hoye


03/12/19 – 06:32

I had the pleasure, until recently, when prevented by ill health, of being a regular driver of RML 2440 a refurbished and re-engined bus – owned by Peter Cartwright. This most definitely was of the Fully automatic type. The coaches were semi-auto only – RMC and RCL.

David Oldfield


03/12/19 – 09:15

RML 2440 was sold by LCBS to London Transport in June 1979. It then went into Aldenham for conversion to LT specifications, including the addition of full auto operation of the gearbox before entering service as a red bus. In ‘Country’ service it was semi auto only.

Roger Cox


06/12/19 – 06:51

Your suggestion, Roger, about avoiding the low bridge at Oxted, which presumably was not greatly disadvantageous to passengers, is typical of a situation whereby nobody thinks of a solution for decades and it’s staring them in the face!
It certainly seems odd to my eyes in seeing a bus routed for 410 which is not lowbridge. I’m sure I’ve said before that the unique lowbridge STL’s (always with their sliding doors open, to avoid being illegal) would appear from time to time at Morden to cover overhauls of the lowbridge red D’s on the 127 and latterly lowbridge Tilling Bristol K’s, sometimes green and sometimes red!
With the ex-Romford Green Line D’s coming to Merton Garage, which took a while to repaint them into red, pre-war RT’s on the 93 and Maidstone Corporation Daimler CWG6’s, Morden Station’s Forecourt was was a real hotchpotch of colour, types and companies. Wonderful!

Chris Hebbron


08/12/19 – 06:18

There is a lot of truth in what Chris says, especially in large organisations. People become blinkered, because things have always been done in a certain way. A new employee with fresh set of eyes can often reveal new ways of doing things, that no one has previously thought of. It’s all a bit like the Hans Christian Aderson’s "The King’s New Suit of Clothes". Send for Danny Kaye!

Mr Anon


09/12/19 – 06:25

Ah, Danny Kaye. I always recall "The Court Jester" – The constant muddling up of "The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!" Classic!

Chris Hebbron


09/12/19 – 12:20

Chris, if memory serves the quote from Danny Kaye went something like,
"The flagon with the dragon is the chalice with the malice, the vessel with the pestle is the brew that is true". How do I remember that?

Stan Zapiec


09/12/19 – 16:27

Here is the script gents
http://www.irossco.com/comedy/poem10.htm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzmnSyqv37A

John Lomas


 

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London Transport – AEC Merlin – SMM 15F – XMB 15

SMM 15F

London Transport Board
1966
AEC Merlin P2R
Strachans B46D

In the mid 1960s London Transport began moving away from its ageing bespoke designs – RT family/ RF/ RM family – and belatedly began investigating the standard offerings of the bus manufacturing industry. The ensuing saga became a sad, expensive story of incompetence, profligacy and waste, from the RC Reliances, XA Atlanteans and MB/SM Merlins/Swifts of the 1960s, and onward through the 1970s and beyond with the Daimler Fleetlines and Metro Scanias. The first London Transport Merlins (Chiswick clung to this appendage even when Southall changed the name of the AH691 engined 36 ft long version to Swift 691) had Strachans dual doorway bodies seating 25 at the rear and accommodating (exceedingly closely – I speak from personal experience) 48 standing passengers in the lower front section. These early examples of the Merlin had a low driving position that was raised on later production models. Classified XMS, fourteen of them equipped with coin operated turnstiles went into service in central London on Red Arrow service 500 in 1966 and performed that duty well. At the same time, the Country Area was pursuing a policy of adopting the Merlin for conventional one man operation as the XMB type, and had nine Strachan B45D bodied examples ready for service in the early months of 1966, but the T&GWU refused to accept them. All except XMB 1 were then repainted red, de-seated to the 25 plus 48 standing format, and used on Red Arrow services. The solitary Country Area survivor, XMB 1, which had 46 seats and then carried the registration JLA 57D, went into store, during which time it was first reclassified as XMB 15 in November 1966, and then re-registered in January 1967 as NHX 15E. In August 1967 its registration was changed yet again to SMM 15F, and it continued to spend time in store with occasional forays out and about for route surveying and training purposes. Finally, in January 1969, nearly three years after delivery, it was transferred to Tring garage where, in the following month, it carried its first fare paying passengers on the single bus allocation route 387 between Tring and Aldbury village. In 1970 it became a member of the London Country fleet, but its identity crisis was still set to continue. In mid 1971 it was reclassified MBS 15 in accordance with the rest of Merlin fleet, but in November 1973 it was sent to the by now GLC controlled London Transport who repainted it red and promptly put it into store. MBS 4, formerly XMB 4 was sent from LT to LCBS in exchange. MBS 15 saw very little, if, indeed any service use with LT thereafter, before being dumped at the old Handley Page airfield at Radlett in 1975 along with very many other unwanted LT Merlins. The following web page illustrates the chequered career of this bus:-
https://ccmv.aecsouthall.co.uk/

In the picture above, taken early in London Country days in 1970 at Tring garage, XMB 15 has lost its London Transport roundel on the front panel, but has yet to receive its LCBS “Flying Wheel” symbol. The Strachans bodies on the early Merlins proved to be of sounder construction than the Metro-Cammell examples on the later deliveries, which quickly showed evidence of structural failure in the roof section above the central doorway.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


10/05/19 – 06:58

Thank you Roger,
Little known about vehicle article and photograph, I just thought these were rather mundane vehicles but did travel on the Red Arrow when they were new. So which one was the model done of ?, possibly a Dinky Supertoy or a Corgi, I did have one, but in my younger days it was repainted to look like an LUT Seddon, that will start the comments flowing, methinks.

Mike Norris


10/05/19 – 07:00

Didn’t quite a lot of these end up being sold to Belfast after being stored at Radlett?

David Pomfret


11/05/19 – 07:00

Several of the Strachan bodied versions along with the regular ones ended up at Gatwick Airport. Gatwick Handling had both types but Bcal and Airtours only had the latter ones. Nearly all replaced by Leyland Nationals.

Keith Hanbury-Chatten


17/05/19 – 06:50

In fairness to LT they were far from alone in having to withdraw MCW Scanias early as they suffered badly from corrosion. The one bought by WYPTE were all withdrawn early for this reason.

Chris Hough


17/05/19 – 10:32

All MetroScanias suffered this fate but, eventually, the Metropolitan had feet of clay. It did not fail as quickly as the MetroScania but in later life there were serious corrosion problems at the back end which some operators addressed by rebuilding them. The reasons for the LT failure with "off the shelf" designs is well documented (here, as elsewhere) – a sad indictment …..

David Oldfield


18/06/19 – 07:49

Surprisingly, when the Docklands Light Railway had a strike last year, 40-year old Metropolitan MD60 turned up on the replacement service. No corrosion apparent. So there’s a bit of life left in the design in London yet.

Bill


19/06/19 – 05:38

Bill, There are very few Metropolitans on the road now, because of the dreaded ‘metal moth’. MD60 is only in circulation thanks to a very lengthy (and no doubt costly) rebuild by the guys at Bus Works Blackpool and owners EnsignBus. See reference to it here: http://ensignvintagebuses.blogspot.com

Petras409


26/06/19 – 09:45

Leicester Trust have one on the road as well.

Roger Burdett


17/07/19 – 07:04

Sister vehicle XMS6 (JLA 56D) finished up with The Violet Bus Service at Blackrock, County Louth but none of the Strachans bodied Merlins ended up with Citybus/Ulsterbus in Northern Ireland.

Bill Headley


 

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London Transport – Leyland Tiger – JXC 288 – TD 95

London Transport - Leyland Tiger - JXC 288 - TD 95

London Transport
1949
Leyland Tiger PS1
Mann Egerton B30F

Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945, the London Passenger Transport Board found itself seriously short of serviceable vehicles, partly through enemy action but equally because of the time expired nature of much of the fleet. To compound the problem, 55 T type AEC Regals and 20 Leyland Cubs were sent to assist in war ravaged Belgium and Germany. To meet the needs of the capital city, the Ministry of Supply (that still oversaw the allocation of resources in the immediate post war period) sanctioned the delivery of a number of standard provincial types of buses to London, which was still taking the tail end deliveries of utility double deckers, mainly Daimler CWA6 plus a few Guy Arabs. Thus between 1946 and 1948 the AEC Regent O661 (STL) and Regal O662/O962 (T), Leyland PD1 (STD) and PS1(TD) appeared on the London scene. From 1st January 1948 the LPTB became the nationalised London Transport Executive, and help began arriving in the form of vehicles on loan from provincial operators, notably Bristols from Tilling group companies, though Tilling itself did not sell out to the government until September 1948. In 1946 LT was allocated fifty AEC Regal O662 buses (7.7 litre engine/crash gearbox – basically the pre-war design) but also thirty one examples of Leyland’s very new Tiger PS1. These eighty one vehicles were fitted with Weymann B33F bodies of unprepossessing appearance, characterised particularly by a front destination indicator box that “frowned” over the top of the driver’s windscreen. In 1948 a further thirty Regals were acquired, but these were of the O962 variety with 9.6 litre engines and epicyclic gearboxes, consistent in specification with the new RT double deck fleet. At the same time another one hundred PS1s came into LT ownership, though these still had the standard 7.4 litre engine and crash gearbox. The 1948/9 Regal and Tiger deliveries were fitted with Mann Egerton B31F bodywork (later reduced to B30F) displaying much cleaner lines than the earlier Weymann bodies. One would have expected the preselector gearbox Regals to have been allocated to the Central (red) fleet, but they all went to Country area garages, while all the crash gearbox Regals and PS1s operated in red livery. Given London Transport’s unenthusiastic attitude to “non standardisation”, these provincial type single deckers clearly earned some measure of respect, for they lasted between ten and fourteen years in LT ownership. Seen above on the A23 Brighton Road during the 1971 HCVC Run is Mann Egerton bodied TD 95, JXC 288, which entered service in May 1949 and was sold in August 1963. In 1965, now in private hands, it undertook a series of extraordinary Continental journeys to Rumania, Hungary, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Hamburg, Helsinki, Lenningrad, Moscow, Warsaw and Berlin, followed, in 1965, by a trip to France and Spain. Then again in 1966 TD95 went off to France, Belgium, Prague, Offenbach, Budapest and Belgrade. Throughout the performance of this amazing machine was exemplary. It then passed into preservation in May 1967 to be restored into its previous LT guise. In that form, as with all Central Area single deckers of its time, the front entrance has no door at the insistence of the Metropolitan Police, who clearly took the Spartan view that the possibilities of a passenger falling out or incurring influenza from draught were rendered insignificant against boarding and alighting delays.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


08/08/17 – 06:07

The seating capacity of 30 seems rather low for a full sized post war halfcab saloon, most provincial versions averaged around 35 seats. Did these TDs have a standing area at the front with inward facing seats or was it a luggage pen which took up some of the space?

Chris Barker


08/08/17 – 08:36

Chris,
I rather think that, in view of Roger’s views on the attitude of the Metropolitan Police, the reason for the low seating capacity lies in that direction, rather than standing area or luggage pen!

Pete Davies


09/08/17 – 06:42

The full service life of these buses shows that LT could successfully operate standard provincial designs when they put their minds to it. This opens up the oft-debated cherry – was the Routemaster really necessary? Would PD2’s, Regent V’s or CVG’s have done the job of replacing trolleybuses and later on the RT family just as well? All were available in semi-auto form which would probably have been a minimum requirement for LT. Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow for example seemed to manage and Birmingham even got large numbers of Crossleys to work. Food for thought!

Philip Halstead


09/08/17 – 06:43

I know the Green Line and Country area RF’s had doors, whereas the central area red versions didn’t, was it the same story with these?

Ronnie Hoye


09/08/17 – 06:44

Pete’s comment is true, but it is also relevant to remember that the T&GWU of the time had considerable influence upon the vehicle configuration and seating layout of the LT fleet. These Tigers were used on intensive urban routes where low bridges and other obstructions prevented the operation of double deckers. Free movement of the conductor and easy access/egress for passengers would have been important issues.

Roger Cox


11/08/17 – 06:27

Philip raises an interesting point. Could London Transport have managed without the Routemaster? I think that, yes, it probably could, but some curious features of the London Transport engineering situation have to be taken into account. The RT/RTL/RTW/RM families were designed to be taken to pieces like Meccano for processing through the Aldenham overhaul system. Firstly, however, did LT need a fleet of some 2760 Routemasters in the first place? When the initial deliveries went into service in 1959, LT already possessed a surplus of RT and RTL buses. The last RT deliveries came in November 1954, and 81 went immediately into store until 1958/59 when the RM production scheme was already in progress. Similarly, 63 of the last RTL deliveries were stored until 1958. On the grounds of ‘non standardisation’, the 120 entirely sound Cravens bodied RTs had already been sold off in 1956 when they were only between eight and six years old, and, by 1961, over 200 of the earliest RTs (discounting the so called ‘pre war’ machines that were withdrawn in 1955 when they were 13 to 15 years old) had gone when they were only some 10 years or so of age. Nonetheless, ever besotted with its inward thinking, LT brought out the costly Routemaster, claiming that the capacity increase of 8 seats over the RT family was essential for trolleybus replacement. (It seems astonishing now that London Transport seemed utterly exempt from any kind of cost constraint, but the profligate attitude was to continue in later years with the catastrophic Merlin/Swift/MetroScania charade and then the Daimler Fleetline debacle.) Undoubtedly, standard offerings from the manufacturers catalogues could have provided entirely satisfactory fleets for the Capital’s public transport needs, but for the rigid LT engineering system. London Transport did not employ, at its garages, engineers as they were understood by municipal or company bus operators. London Transport had ‘fitters’. If anything went wrong, that part was simply removed and sent to Chiswick in return for a replacement item. Mechanical analysis was not part of the scheme of things. That was Chiswick’s job. Likewise, body/chassis overhauls were totally centralised at Aldenham, where the chassis and body were separated and sent down different overhaul tracks, the chassis being dealt with more quickly than the bodies. At the output end, the next completely rebuilt emerging body and chassis were put together and given the fleet number of a bus that had just gone into the works. Thus, identifying a London bus by its fleet number was essentially meaningless. Nevertheless, the Aldenham system could have worked equally well with jig built bodywork mounted on a standard provincial chassis type. Indeed, the early Routemasters were exceedingly troublesome, and it took some years of development to make them truly reliable.

Roger Cox


12/08/17 – 07:37

I only travelled on one of these once, on the 240A. I have wondered whether that was part of the original 240 route left for single deck operation after the rest of the route was converted to double deck buses during WWII. I do not recall seeing a standing area or a luggage pen.
I doubt if the standard double deck buses of the mid-1950s would have done the job as London Transport specified automatic gearboxes for the red Routemasters and semi-automatic for the green country area and Greenline Routemasters, probably to provide a mechanically common set of buses for the country area depots. In any case, Greenline drivers sometimes worked a country route when necessary (they were paid the same as the central area crews, which was slightly more than that paid to the country area crews).
That said, I never warmed to the Routemaster. My favourites in the late 1950s and 1960s were the Southdown Guy Arab 4s wit Park Royal Bodywork and Weymann-bodied Dennis Loline IIIs.

David Wragg


14/08/17 – 07:31

The offside seat behind the driver was a single seat on the central area TDs as illustrated here – www.flickr.com/photos/ (taken at a route 227 running day) – think the idea was to give the conductor somewhere to stand without being in the way as passengers got on/off.

Jon


15/08/17 – 07:56

Referring to Philip Halstead’s comment about standard types, the Guy Arab (which, like the others, was available in semi-automatic form) should not be forgotten, particularly in view of the large number operated in Hong Kong. It’s been suggested that if something will work in Hong Kong, it will work anywhere!
As for Birmingham’s Crossleys, they were of the later type with engine design modified by AEC. Apparently they were more successful than the CVD6s that BCT were obliged to take because of a shortage of Gardner engines.

Peter Williamson


16/08/17 – 06:50

Peter, only the second half of the Birmingham Crossley DD42/6 1949/50 order for 260 buses, numbers 2396-2525, had the HOE7/5B downdraught engine. The first 130, numbers 2266-2395, plus the earlier 10 buses delivered in 1946, numbers 1646-1655, were delivered with standard HOE7 engines that were retained to the end. Even so, as you point out, Birmingham regarded the Crossley engine more highly than the contemporary Daimler CD6, individual examples of which proved to be extremely variable in quality.

Roger Cox


16/08/17 – 06:52

I apologise Peter for omitting the Guy Arab. I well remember the Hong Kong Arabs while living out there in the mid-1980’s. They would storm up Stubbs Road on the route on the Island over the mountain to Aberdeen. At the summit they would be boiling profusely but by the time they had thundered down the other side and had chance to cool down a bit they were ready to return. The same can be said about the DMS’s. London offloaded them over there in large numbers saying the were unreliable or some such excuse. They operated quite happily for CMB in far more taxing conditions than London. 30deg of heat, mountainous terrain, severe traffic congestion and some ‘enthusiastic’ handling by the Chinese drivers.

Philip Halstead


17/08/17 – 07:19

I think I might have got on well with the bus drivers in Hong Kong, as my colleagues used to say my style of driving was ‘enthusiastic’! I suppose they were right. Southampton to North Lancashire or the Southern end of the Lake District as a day trip . . . Yes, some of them used a different word!

Pete Davies


17/08/17 – 07:20

Interesting to see mention of Guy Arabs in a thread on Leyland Tigers. Have no personal memories of either as too young but I have pictures of my grandfather stood in front of both a Guy Arab and a Leyland Tiger TS8 while he worked for Thames Valley. Pictures of Thames Valley liveried Guy Arab’s I can find but a Tiger TS8 with ECW B35R coachwork in Thames Valley livery seems to be more of a challenge.

Andrew Stevens


18/08/17 – 06:32

Andrew: that was Thames Valley’s golden age—at least for enthusiasts! There are also some pictures of TV TS8s in the later pages of Thames Valley 1931-1945 and near the beginning of Thames Valley 1946-1960, both written and published by Paul Lacey. The last of the TS8s were withdrawn in October 1954. As a young passenger I loved the "woody" sound of the engine, the groaning in second gear, the gentle whine in third and the big Clayton heater on the front bulkhead.

Ian Thompson


17/05/19 – 07:13

When the TD 32-131 Mann Egerton bodies were built they had 31 seats, but one was removed to give the conductor more room, I think in the mid 1950s. London roads were narrow, and the 26ft x 7ft 6 in size was standard at the time. Luggage pens are a recent idea!
The comment about route 240A – originally Edgware to Hale Lane Mill Hill later extended to Mill Hill East Station, the low bridge at Mill Hill station preventing double decks from Mill Hill to Edgware. TDs originally alloc to EW as 240/240A. If LT had completed the 1935-40 works programme that they should have done the link from East Finchley via Mill Hill East, Mill Hill Hale Lane to Edgware of the Northern line would have replaced the LMS steam line for the Northern line to link up with the route to Golders Green. When the Mill Hill bridge was rebuilt when M1 opened at the southern end, a new bus station was built under the main line at Mill Hill, and route 240A which had had TDs from 1949 to 1962, then RF’s was withdrawn and covered by an extension of route 221 from North Finchley to Edgware with Routemasters.

Mark Jameson


18/05/19 – 06:13

26ft x 7ft 6in was standard for double deckers, but the standard size of a PS1 was 27ft 6in x 7ft 6in. If London Transport’s were really only 26ft long, that would go some way to explaining why they only had 31 seats, but it seems most unlikely.

Peter Williamson


19/05/19 – 07:25

Peter is right. The LT TD class were entirely standard PS1 buses having an overall length of 27ft 6ins on a wheelbase of 17ft 6ins. The usual wheelbase for a contemporary 26ft double decker was 16ft 4ins. The erroneous 27ft length figure for the LT TD class comes from the usually accurate Ian’s Bus Stop site. A few examples of 17ft 6ins wheelbase PS1/4 chassis for the then new permitted length of 27ft for double deck bodywork were taken by Birch Bros in 1951.

Roger Cox


 

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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Wednesday 11th December 2019