Front entrance and rear engined Routemasters

Front entrance and rear engined Routemasters

The front entranced Routemaster RMF1254 was unique in London and after being banned by the unions it was sold to Northern General who were the only provincial operator of Routemasters. All of Northern Generals Routemasters were built more or less to the same specification as RMF1254 except they had Leyland O.600 9.8 litre engines. When RMF1254 operated in the North of England it was fitted with a Leyland engine for the sake of standardisation. It survives in preservation, as RMF1254 back in London Transport livery and an AEC AV590 9.636 litre engine reinstated.

The British European Airways front entranced Routemasters had their own luggage trailers - hence the tow-bar - but were of the earlier shorter length. After their West London to London Heathrow airport route ceased, they became driver trainer vehicles and staff transport for London Transport but none resumed normal PSV work. They were originally owned by BEA but operated by London Transport.

The rear engined Routemaster FRM1 was to have been one of three exhibits at the 1966 Motor Show - including one in Sheffield Corporation colours. Leyland pulled the plug on this, they had not long before taken over Associated Comercial Vehicles Ltd (AEC) and wanted to promote their own Atlantean so only FRM1 was built.

Many lessons were learned, however, and the Leyland TN Titan of the late 70s early 80s emerged with these features - becoming almost the FRM series 2. Despite all the problems surrounding Leyland at this time, the TN Titan gained an enviable reputation among operators, engineers and drivers alike. Regrettably, there were no longer AEC engines available - just Gardner and Leyland.

David Oldfield

To see a photograph of RMF 1254 click here



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