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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Leeds City Transport – AEC Swift – MUB 193F – 93

MUB 193F

Leeds City Transport
1968
AEC Swift MP2R
MCW B48D

Pictured in Leeds in April 1970 is Leeds City Transport No.93, MUB 193F, an AEC Swift MP2R bought in May 1968 with MCW B48D bodywork that emulated the forward sloping side pillars of contemporary Alexander designs. A curious feature was the narrow width of the centre exit door. I believe that here was a total of thirty such buses, which were intermixed with deliveries of Swifts with Roe bodywork, also of B48D pattern, some of which arrived in 1967. Swifts continued to feature in the Leeds purchasing programme until 1971. The Swift MP2R was powered by the AH505 8.2 litre engine, and the first Leeds batches, of which No.93 is an example, had the semi automatic Monocontrol transmission. Later examples were fitted with fully auto gearboxes. I am sure that other correspondents with much a greater knowledge than mine of the Leeds system can give details of these buses in service.

Photograph and Copy contributed by Roger Cox


26/06/19 – 09:48

The narrow exit door was also a feature of the Roe bodied Swifts delivered in 1967/68.
The biggest batch of Swifts were the 50 delivered in 1969 were bodied by Park Royal and had full size centre doors The last Swifts came in 1971 and had Roe bodywork. In addition to the Swifts Leeds also bought thirty single deck Fleetlines with Park Royal bodywork these were identical to the fifty Park Royal bodied Swifts

Chris Hough


 

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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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Old Bus Photos from Saturday 25th April 2009 to Tuesday 10th December 2019