of London Routemasters being bought by operators all around
the United Kingdom for private hire and wedding hire use has
continued unabated throughout the second decade of the 21st
century. After a spell in the north-west RML2290 had found
its way down to Cornwall in 2014 to see service with OTS of
Falmouth. As well as being available for hire it has also
been used on regular service, the 325 "Headland Hopper"
around Falmouth, on which it was pictured in August 2014.
|RML2657 is a heritage
vehicle in the Stagecoach Cheltenham & Gloucetsr fleet,
where its official fleetnumber is 12657. In May 2014 it was
used in service alongside a number of other heritage vehilces
to commemorate 85 years since the inception of Cheltenham
& District and the retirement of a key member of staff.
The picture is taken at Churchdown
Midland Red South have heritage Routemaster 12565 (RML2565)
in the fleet, painted in the colours of the former Stratford
Blue company, which was absorbed into Midland Red in the mid
1970s. It was also in action at the Cheltenham & Gloucester
|Classic Bus North
West launched summer seaside service 12 in 2012 using Routemasters
and other classic vehicles. RML887 remained in London for
most of its life, passing to London General in 1994 and being
ther last bus to operate on route 14 in November 2004. It
remained in the London General events fleet for a few more
years before eventually being sold to CBNW. It was pictured
in action in July 2012 by Ken Jones.
|Former BEA front
entrance Routemaster RMA29 was for many years in the fleet
of Shaftesbury & District, where it was lengthened with
the insertion of an additional bay and known as RME1. It's
pictured here in July 2011 at Ferndown while on hire to Verwood
Travel for their once a week service between Verwood and Bournemouth.
The plaque indicates it is the last day of operation of that
service, as the associated school contract passed to Go South
Coast's Damory division and the commercial operation was no
longer viable. S&D sold RMA29 to a new owner in Yorkshire
of High Wycombe had two Routemasters in their fleet. They
were used mainly for special duties, but ran occasional peak
hour journeys on the company's routes. They were retained
by the owners as preserved vehicles when the operation was
sold to Go-ahead Group in 2012. RML896 was seen in service
at Wooburn Green on a running day on New Year's Eve 2009.
|Former London Routemasters
are now popular all over the country as private hire vehicles
for special events, especially weddings. RML2280 is with Doncaster
independent Wilfreda Beehive and was seen at Doncaster Lakeside
shopping centre in May 2006. Photo by
in use as a wedding hire vehicle is Redroute Buses' RML2322,
pictured here at Greenhithe in December 2012. Although I've
put it on the "outside London" page this is traditional
Routemaster territory, as country green Routemasters were
allocated to Dartford and Northfleet depots and ran on the
frequent service between Dartford and Gravesend.
|First Eastern Counties
still occasionally run RMLs in the Great Yarmouth area during
the summer months, although RML2623 is no longer in the "Flying
Banana" livery that it had when seen at the Showbus rally
in September 2006.
|RM2151 is used
on the "Holt Flyer" between Holt Station (of the North Norfolk
Railway) and Holt town centre, where it was photographed in
April 2006. Photo by Terry Gower.
owned Edinburgh tour operator Mac Tours runs a number of open-top
AEC Routemasters. Ten of these were acquired from the Arriva
Original London tour fleet and had an extra bay inserted when
converted for open-top duty in London and were classified
ERM. Number 4 in the Mac Tours fleet, former ERM90 was seen
ascending to The Mound in April 2007.
RM787 was converted to open top after withdrawal
from London service and used for a couple of seasons as
a special events vehicle in the Quantock Motor Services
fleet. It was pictured on the lengthy Minehead-Lynmouth-Ilfracombe
service in the summer of 2005. Photo
by Bob Wingrove.
RM787 later moved to York Pullman for open top tours of
York, although thst operation was sold to Transdev in 2011.
A picture of it in London service in 2003 is on Before
and After page. Quantock still run between Minehead
and Lynmouth but no longer with a Routemaster and are well
known for their classic bus running days.
|One of the former
BEA Routemasters used originally for passenger transfers between
Heathrow and central London, and later on a variety of duties
in the London Transport ancillary fleet, former RMA50 was
seen working for Lothian subsidiary Macs Tours in livery for
the Britannia Tour in July 2003. This bus is now in the Ensignbus
fleet. Photo by Stephen Gow.
|The Big Red Bus
Company ran RM2106 in full LT livery on their summer Sunday
and bank holiday service between Seaton Sands and Beer during
2006 and 2007. Proprieter Pat Avery provided this photo of
it in the summer 2006 season. It has now passed to Alpha Bus
Company and is in use for wedding and private hires. Photo
by Martin Fowler.
|Halifax Joint Committee
made a name for themselves as operators of Routemasters in
the Halifax area. Dennis Darts and Metrobuses thern
became the mainstay of the fleet, until operations were sold
to Centrebus in 2010. Former RM1214 was pictured in April
2000. This vehicle has retained by HJC for special operations
in the Yorkshire Heritage fleet.
ran Routemasters in Reading for a six year period, the last
two years until July 2000 under Reading buses control. The
vehicles themselves came from various sources including Scottish
operators and Southend, and many later returned to London
for the TfL refurbishment programme. Former RM316 was seen
in use in July 1996 as Reading Mainline No. 14. Unlike many
it still had its original registration number.
|Another that managed
to keep its original registration number was former RM1650.
It was seen at work in May 1999, by which time Reading Mainline
was under Reading Buses control and the routes were being
wound down. This returned to London after its time in Reading
and is now a silver liveried special events vehicle in the
First London fleet. More pictures are on the Before
and After page.
|A rear-view shot
of no. 12 as it loads in St. Marys Butts in January 2000.
This was one of those acquired from a Scottish operator and
retained the Scottish registration mark it received while
there. It was running on Line A to Turnham Farm, which was
withdrawn a month later as the run-down of Mainline got under
way. For more Reading Mainline pictures see the Mainline last
day feature on the features page.
|Another user of
Routemasters was Southend Transport. Following takeover by
British Bus and passing into the control of London & Country
they were rapidly withdrawn and many in fact passed to the
Reading Mainline fleet. Here Southend number 106, former RM949
is seen in the resort's bus station on a local service to
Canvey Island. Photo by Ian Banks.
|RM1183 was another
member of the Southend fleet, numbered 109 by them. Under
London & Country management it passed to the parent company
who intially numbered it 4109. In December 1983 it was seen
on a Santa Special working of route 406 at Ewell. Subsequently
it was painted into the company's light green livery and ran
on Surrey heritage services for a couple of years before being
painted in Lincoln green and renumbered RM1183 again.
in service with Stagecoach at Perth until 1997. Number 605
(RM980), having lost its original registration number and
received a dateless Scottish one, was seen in the city in
August 1996. This bus is now preserved and is pictured on
the Preserved AECs page.
|One of the Perth
Routemasters was transferred to Western and worked alongside
Volvo Olympians in a version of A1 livery. Former RM650, numbered
1101 by Western, was seen at Kilwinning on the former A1 main
road service in August 1997. This bus has now been painted
in traditional Alexander (Midland) livery and is available
for private hire and special events. It is usually kept at
the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum at Lathalmond.
|South Wales Transport
hired RM26 from Strathtay Scottish in 1989, due to a shortage
of vehicles, and then repeated the exercise five years later
by hiring RML2735 directly from London Transport. Hugh Jones
captured both events and the pictures are featured on Mike
Morant's PSV Archive pages. Photos by
also an avid user of Routemasters, and some of these survived
merger with Western and the second demerger to remain in use
at Paisley into the mid-90s. RM367 was seen at Johnstone in
September 1986, shortly after making the trip north from London.
managed to get hold of some Routemasters even before passing
into the Stagecoach empire, and made sure that passengers
would have no doubt about what sort of bus they were travelling
on. Former RM512, numbered 701 by United Counties, was seen
at Kempston on the cross-Bedford service in March 1988.
Stevensons of Uttoxeter always kept an
interesting fleet, one of which was this former Northern
General front-entrance Routemaster seen at the Spath depot
in July 1982. This bus was later sold to Stagecoach and
ran in their Magicbus fleet from 1986 to 1991, when it was
sold back to Go Northern for preservation. It is now registered
PCN 762 having lost its original registration while with
The remaining Stevensons operations, centred on Burton and
Swadlincote, are now a part of the Arriva Midlands operation.
|Seen with Northern
General in National Bus Company red is Routemaster 3107 alongside
3145 which had a London registration and acted as a demonstrator
for four years before being purchased by Northern. Photo
courtesy of Northern Routemasters, www.northernroutemaster.co.uk