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THE ROUTEMASTER (RM)

When you think of a classic picture postcard set in London what do you see?  More than likely you will see a black cab and a red double decker bus with Big Ben in the background! Well the bus you have just imagined is the Iconic London bus called a Routemaster.

The Routemaster forms the backbone of our fleet - we have 5 of these buses including an open-top example.

The Routemaster was developed by AEC in partnership with London Transport back in the 1950's.  In total 2,876 Routemasters were built between 1959 and 1968 and amazingly approximately 1230 are still in existence today.

​Originally designed to last 17 years many examples actually served the capital for over 40 years, with the last batch not being withdrawn until December 2005.

Our RM765 at Shepherds Bush Green in West London back in 1984 and published with kind permission of Moving Britain

To keep these buses on the road for so long they went through various stages of modernisation, most notably in the 1990's when the interiors were given a major facelift with modern seats, lighting, flooring and windows. Mechanically these buses were also retro fitted with modern engines.  To the aficionado this modernisation took the soul out of the Routemaster bus.

 

Luckily all our examples were withdrawn before this modernisation and therefore still retain all their original 1960's interiors as well as their original AEC engines.

RM765 on London's Regent Street back in 1996 and published with kind permission of Richard Grantham

 

In 2006, the Routemaster was voted one of Britain's top 10 design icons alongside Concorde, Mini, the red telephone box and the Spitfire.

All our examples were built between 1961 and 1964.

 

 

 

To keep these buses on the road for so long they went through various stages of modernisation, most notably in the 1990's when the interiors were given a major facelift with modern seats, lighting, flooring and windows. Mechanically these buses were also retro fitted with modern engines.  To the aficionado this modernisation took the soul out of the Routemaster bus.

 

Luckily all our examples were withdrawn before modernisation and therefore still retain their 1960's interiors and original AEC engines.

Bristol (BL)

RM548 on London’s Piccadilly by Green Park back in 2003 and published with kind permission of Graham Walker

The only single-decker in our fleet our little BL is also the newest vehicle, entering service with London Transport in 1980.

After a legal battle over her ownership, she returned to passenger duties in London to operate with the newly privatised London Sightseeing tour fleet based at Wandsworth garage, she remained there until 1992 when she was sold to the Bath Bus Company for further sightseeing service and in 2004 was sold again to Western Greyhound in Newquay, Cornwall where she was used during the holiday seasons in their heritage fleet.

Finally in 2011 some 47 years after first entering service RM1783 was retired from passenger service and sold for preservation.

RM1783 after being converted to an open top bus and painted white for the Liverpool Garden Festival

We have tried to work out how many miles our three buses travelled during their working lives and how many people may have travelled in them – we estimate that both these figures are in the millions!

Routemaster4Hire, Unit E, Schappe Building, Llay Industrial Estate, LLay, Wrexham, LL12 0PB, Tel: 01978 799 909  email: hello@routemaster4hire.co.uk

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