|One of the former
country area Routemasters sold back to London Transport in
1980, RML2336 remained in use with London Central on route
12 up until 2004. Here it is at Camberwell Green in
May 2000, having just arrived on a short working from Central
London and about to head for Camberwell depot for a crew change. After
a spell in Lancashire and Nottingham, RML2336 was sold to
Ensignbus in 2010. A picture of it in service with London
Country can be seen on the Before
and After page.
|Another of the
London Country Routemasters that was sold back to London Transport,
this is former Greenline coach RCL2250. LT put these vehicles
directly into service on route 149, rather than on driver
training duries as they did with the shorter RMCs. It is seen
in July 1982 on a peak hour extension of the service beyond
Liverpool Street to Victoria. The location is Bressenden Place,
a fabled location in the 1980s for the many commuter coach
services that used to start there. Grey Green and Maidstone
& District Invictaway coaches can be seen in the picture.
|Not your average
London Routemaster. Under Stagecoach ownership, East
London restored RMC1461 to frontline service in Greenline
coach livery, operating it on route 15 along with two red
RMCs. The RMCs had been sold back to London Transport by London
Country in 1979/80 for use as driver trainers. RMC1461 was
seen at Upton Park in April 1998. Routemasters on the
15 gave way to Dennis Tridents in 2003, and RMC1461 is now
|Another of the
specials on the normally RML operated 15 was RM1599, one of
three RMs returned from Perth to East London to replace front-entrance
RMA vehicles which were exported to Portugal for sightseeing
duties. It was seen at Paddington awaiting it's next turn
of duty early in 2000. A picture of it operating in Perth
in 1996 is on the Before and After
1998. Hardly peak time for open-toppers, but that didn't
stop Centrewest from putting their RMC1510 out for a turn
on the 23. It is seen departing from Liverpool Street.
This is another of the former Greenline coaches that was repurchased
by LT for training duties and then found its way back into
service. It is still a member of the First London heritage
|As London Central's
oldest Routemaster, RM9 has been turned out in near original
LT livery. AECBus found it in a back street near Westminster
Cathedral in May 2000. It had been working some sort
of private charter but the ultimate destination blind and
route number under the overhang give away the fact that it
could sometimes be found on route 36, and was also a visitor
to route 12. This bus remains in Go-ahead London's special
events fleet and also appears at rallies.
|Not all Routemasters
were new to London Transport. This is one of a batch
of forward entrance models that were bought by Northern General.
Following disposal by Northern, a few found their way onto
London sightseeing services with various operators over the
years. Open top FPT 588C, one of three owned by the
Big Bus Company, was seen at Victoria in 2004, and had been
given an LT style fleetnumber, RMF588. FPT 588C is now working
on Malta. Photo by Suzy Scott.
own RLST became branded as the Original London Tour and operated
by London Coaches (now a part of Arriva). Some RMs were lengthened
by addition of an extra bay (thus becoming half a bay longer
than an RML) and given the code ERM (extended RM). One such,
ERM47 (originally RM84), was seen at Victoria in May 1999.
Most of the ERMs were subsequently bought by Mac Tours and
are still used on tours of Edinburgh today.
|Kentish Bus won
a contract from London Transport to operate route 19 during
the 1990s. This was before the time when LT required all buses
on London contracts to be red, so even though the RMLs used
were supplied by LT they ran in Kentish bus maroon and yellow.
RML2586 was seen in Picadilly in December 1993. Later when
Kentish Bus and South London came into common Arriva ownership,
the routes were transferred to operation by Arriva London
South and the RMLs were painted red.
|For a while in
1998, Surrey heritage operator Nostalgiabus tried running
a service between Kingston and Epsom, in competition with
Arriva who were winding down their operations in the area.
Routemasters were used, such as RM2156 seen in Epsom in April
1998. The service was not commercially successful and Nostalgiabus
eventually ceased operations. The old 406 route continues
as a London Transport sponsored service, allowing Travelcard
holders to get well outside the old Greater London area, paralleling
the situation at Watford in the north.
|The classic turn
of the century London Routemaster scene. RML895, refurbished,
re-engined and displaying Arriva logos, departing from the
West End of London for Streatham on the 159 in 2001. The 159
was the last regular route to have Routemasters with final
withdrawal on 21st October 2005. Photo
by Stephen Howden.
RM6 into Golden Jubilee livery for the 2002 celebrations.
It remained in this livery throughout 2003, appearing regularly
on route 137 until the Routemasters on this service were replaced
in July 2004. This photo was taken at Clapham Common in May
2003. RM6 remains in Arriva London's fleet for special operations.
original RML, RML880 (latterly carrying original fleetnumber
ER880) was a regular on London United's route 9 right up to
the end of Routemaster operation in September 2004. AECBus
caught up with it at Picadilly Circus in September 2003.
||Route 13, run by
Sovereign, was the first to get the RMs refurbished by Marshall
and fitted with Cummins B series engines, when Transport for
London expanded Routemaster use in 2000. RM1562, pictured
here in September 2003, was unique in having an ISBe engine
and was reputedly the fastest bus in London at the time. RM1562
has passed to First for operation on heritage route 9 and
is currently employed on that service.
was seen near Kennington Oval tube station in September 2002
while running route 36. Routemasters on this route were replaced
in January 2005. This bus went on to become an open-topper
first with Quantock Motor Services and then with York Pullman,
who were still using it on open-top tours of York in 2010.
Further pictures can be found on the Before
and After page. Photo by Stephen
|One of the last
London routes was London General's 14, which ceased along
with the 22 on 30th July 2005. RML2422 was seen at Putney
Heath in February 2005.
|The 38 was another
route that kept Routemaster operation well into 2005. RM652,
another of the RMs refurbished by Marshall and fitted with
a Cummins engine, stands at Clapton Pond terminus in September
2003. This bus passed to East London for operation on heritage
service 15 and is currently still employed on that service.
| Routemasters of
various operators could be found on tube replacement services
up to 2007, but such operations are rare now as most do not
meet the requirements of the low emission zone. This is RML2532,
in the hire fleet of Marshopper, New Romney, being used by
Sullivan Buses in June 2004. Sullivan Buses also have two
Routemasters of their own.
still be seen in London, on heritage service 15 between Trafalgar
Square and Tower Hill. RM2050 was seen on route 15 at Charing
Cross in 2007.
|Another of the
Cummins powered Routemasters still in service on heritage
route 15, RM871 was seen outside St. Pauls in April 2009.
|One of the former
BEA Routemasters used originally for passenger transfers between
Heathrow and central London, Ensignbus bought RMA50 from Mac
Tours in 2009 to replace sister RMA58 which could not operate
in the London low emission zone as it still had an AEC engine.
It was seen in December 2009 at Lakeside on one of the company's
popular X80 running days. RMA58 has been sold for further
that continues to run Routemasters in East London and neighbouring
counties is London Bus Company, which continues the heritage
operation of Blue Triangle. RM1966 was pictured at Epping
in April 2014 on a service that runs in conjunction with the
Epping-Ongar preserved railway.
|The bus of many
"if onlys". Would AEC have had a rear-engined
double-decker to rival the Atlantean, Fleetline and VRT?
Would LT have avoided the great DMS debacle? (seriously distorting
the secondhand market by dumping, at the taxpayers' expense,
thousands of perfectly good Fleetlines because they didn't
suit LT's maintenance regime.) In the event, FRM1 remained
unique and AEC had no double-deck model to offer in the 1970s.
Here it is in April 1982, passing the former BEA terminal
(now the Pallisades) opposite Victoria Coach Station on the
Round London Tour. It is now preserved by the London Transport
Museum and appears at some rallies and running days.
|Another RM oddity
was RM1368 which was converted to single-deck after its upper
deck was badly damaged in a depot fire. It never seems to
have run in service as a single decker, but spent a number
of years in the LT departmental fleet before passing into
preservation. It was seen in the sun at the 2003 Amersham