London Transport RT 4742

London Transport RT 4742

Quite by chance I came across the Old Bus Photos website and was quite interested in the information given for RT 4742 on Victor Brumbys RT posting and I thought perhaps you might like chapter and verse on that particular bonnet number so here goes.

The original RT 4742 was indeed one of a batch of Country buses stored out of use at Loughton & Garston from delivery in 1954, some of them not entering service until 1958. RT 4742 was stored first at Garston, having been delivered there from Aldenham on 28th April 1954. At that time it was running on slave tyres but from its movement to Loughton as 'serviceable vehicle stored' (SVS for short) on 18th August the wheels were removed. All these RTs in long term storage were without wheels as LT did not buy tyres but rented them on mileage contracts which were adminstered by the tyre companies' staff themselves. Some vehicles were lowered on to wooden blocks (probably chunks of old railway sleepers) placed under the chassis frames but most were lowered to rest on the brake drums. During the time that these RTs and RTLs were stored new legislation regarding vehicle lighting was passing through Parliament and this required all vehicles first licensed after (I think) 1st January 1955 to have two red rear lights. Rather than modify a relatively small number of RTs to comply with the new regulations, LT decided to license each vehicle for one day so as to obviate the need to do so. It would appear that while this was happening, representation was being made to the Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation, as it then was, and a dispensation was given so that the remainder of the stored RTs and RTLS were exempted.

With the withdrawal of a large number of earlier RTs after the service cuts of 1958, RT 4742 was transferred to Garston on 21st February in order to prepare it for entry into public service and to Hitchin on 27th February 1958 where the finishing touches were given and it was first licensed from 1st March and allocated to Stevenage. During this period the first Certificate of Fitness (for 5 years) expired and it was re-certified for seven years, probably while it was at Garston. On Friday 26th January 1962 the original RT 4742 was called into works for overhaul and the chassis was given the cu number 5622 which finished its days as part of RT 3173 which is, or was, preserved carrying the body of RT 4743. Another RT was waiting to take over the bonnet number RT 4742 and this consisted of cu 5618 with body 8993 and these came together in works on 22nd January. The replacement took over the bonnet number RT 4742 wef Monday 29th January and was allocated to Stevenage. This chassis came from RT 4753 and the body from RT 4751.

On 6th January 1966 RT 4742 was again due for overhaul but due to a requirement for extra works float vehicles to cover Country bus RT overhauls, it was delicensed and the bonnet number did not re-appear until 21st October 1966 when it was applied to cu 3043 carrying body 4724. It was delivered to Garston unlicensed (SVS), probably for re-certification, and on 31st it was delivered to East Grinstead where it was licensed for service from 1st November. This chassis started life as RT 3183 and had also carried the bonnet number RT 3191. Body 4724 was originally part of SRT 70 but was re-painted green and fitted to a new RT chassis at Aldenham on 23rd March 1954. Despite the colour, it was allocated to Twickenham from 14th April until 19th May when it took up its rightful place in the Country area at Staines. It was at overhaul in 1962 that cu3043 & body 4724 came together as RT 3191and they stayed together until withdrawn through two overhauls as RT 4742. After passing to LCBS on 1/1/70, RT 4742 was finally withdrawn from service and delicensed on 3rd July 1971 and it was sold to Chris Hoyle of Wombwell Diesels wef 19th August, though it may have actually departed from LCBS premises before or after this date.

Full details of Certificate of Fitness dates for LCBS RTs are not available due to the record cards which passed to them having been thrown in a skip when the last RTs and RFs left LCBS service.

I hope you find this of some interest.

Alan Bond

06/04/12 - 15:22

Alan - a fascinating story.
Whilst I was aware of most of what went on within Aldenham Works when vehicles went in for overhaul, I have never come across reference to the cu number before - what was it please?

Bob Gell

07/04/12 - 07:18

A fascinating article. I was very interested in the way that the buses were stored on their wooden blocks. I have often wondered about this as some were stored for over four years.

Philip Carlton

07/04/12 - 16:03

A very interesting article. I never realised that LT 'hired' its tyres from tyre manufacturers on a mileage basis. Was this common at the time amongst other operators?
I do recall that the some chassis of the hybrid SRT class of buses (modified STL chassis with new RT bodies), having served their purpose and ready for scrapping, were saved and used, to 'park' float RT bodies for a while. They were merely perched on top of the chassis, not bolted down. A photo shows a larger than usual gap between the top of the tyres and mudguard of the bodies.

Chris Hebbron

07/04/12 - 18:03

Chris, West Yorkshire Road Car leased its tyres for many, many years and I seem to think this was common practice in a lot of other fleets. West Yorkshire had a tyre company fitter stationed at each of its main depots (Harrogate, Leeds, Bradford, Keighley and York). The tyre fitters were responsible for maintaining tyre stock, as well as the tyres themselves, and they could also be seen re-cutting the tyre treads from time to time, as required. (I don't know if this practice is carried out nowadays, as tyre regulations in general have changed quite a lot in recent years). Harrogate had its tyre store tucked away in a cosy corner at the bottom end of the depot, with the tyre fitter making light work of rolling large 9.00 x 20 and 10.00 x 20 tyres around to exactly the spot he wanted them. Almost an adult version of playing with a hoop and stick, and definitely an art.

Brendan Smith

08/04/12 - 06:50

London Transport certainly hired its bus tyres from the manufacturers up to the point in time when the ownership organisation was split between the GLC (the Central buses and Underground) and the National Bus Company (the Country buses and Coaches). The Tyre Mileage office, that employed a sizeable staff keeping an up to date card index recording the "daily life" of every individual tyre, occupied half of the first floor of the former East Surrey HQ building (later the LCBS HQ) in Lesbourne Road, Reigate, though the building retained the old East Surrey address of "Bell Street".

Roger Cox

08/04/12 - 06:50

South Yorkshire Road Transport of Pontefract bought their tyres, but immediately the Firm was sold to Caldaire Holdings (under West Riding) the renting system was adopted. A tyre store was built onto the Pontefract Depot, and a representative fitter attended regularly to change the tyres as necessary. The new tyre annexe was in an awkward inaccessible spot in the corner of the yard, and the poor chap often had a very difficult job to get his "patients" reasonably close to the "clinic", especially during the morning peak output.

Chris Youhill

09/04/12 - 07:00

With regards Bobs query re 'cu numbers'. To give a reasonable reply I think would require a separate article in its self, but Peter has agreed to run it this coming Friday as a follow on article, so I had better get scribbling.

Alan Bond



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