Prepared by Ian Smith

Created December 1997, updated 21st October 1999

The Inside Staircase Standard LTs: LT 151-740, 742-950 (total 799) 3/1LT9/1


LT3 drawing The LT3s were ordered as replacements for the S class when it became apparent that the CCs were not going to fulfill this role. They had AEC Renown chassis and inside staircase bodies based on the principles adopted for the ST class: a full-width loading platform and a straight staircase. This did limit seating capacity to 56, however, compared with 60 on the open-staircase LT2s. They had windscreens and the larger type of front display case. For some reason, probably to do with overall length limits, the bay spacing became a uniform 35.75", compared with the 36" of the LT2s. This complicated spares keeping, and helped result in the segregation of the types by garage.
The first 360 chassis were ordered for service in 1931. Not all the bodies were built by Chiswick: Chiswick built 110 (including 10 spares); Park Royal 90, Strachans 80 and Short Bros 80.
They entered service in 1931.

There were the usual experimental buses and batches within the order, of course. One of the Chiswick bodies was built with the upper deck curved inwards, and a rear dome, perhaps as a prototype for the LT5 type to follow. It received the unique LT4 code.

A larger variant group had AEC-Acro diesel engines: LT 191-199 were coded 4LT and kept these bodies because of various modifications to do with the transmission. They operated as a group, going first to Harrow Weald (HD), then, with modified AEC-Ricardo engines in 1932 from Hanwell (HW). In 1935 they moved to Mortlake (M).

LT 439/448 were fitted with fluid flywheels and Daimler/Wilson gearboxes. Again, modifications to the bodies were needed, and these (LT3/2) stayed with petrol-engined chassis with preselector gearboxes throughout their existence. Mostly this was at Plumstead garage, where such LTs were placed together.

LT165 in LT Museum LT5 drawing

LT165 in the LT Museum, 1998
Another 450 LTs (LT 501-950) were ordered (with 463 Chiswick bodies) during 1931. Twenty of them were to be fitted with diesel engines and 20 with Daimler transmissions. Most of them were received a body design based on the LT3 but with a tumblehome at the top and a domed roof (but not as much as on the solitary LT4) They also had improved destination blinds. LT5 bodies had a large box built into the cab roof, with provision for a board placed above that (with external lamp). These lamps and boards were not allowable during the war-years, and were left unused, although the lamp housings were not removed.

LT165 in LT Museum LT165 in LT Museum

LT5/1 drawing The 103 LT5/1 bodies went a stage further, with a three piece front display: a destination line built into the cab roof, a large via-points display panel on the body front, and a roof-mounted number box.
These bodies and the LT3 bodies were interchangeable, and the float system with spare bodies ensured that they soon became thoroughly intermixed. The chassis too changed transmissions at overhaul, only settling down in 1940 once the crash gearbox petrol buses were all converted to diesel.

In 1934 there was a programme of replacing petrol engines with oil engines, and 169 LT3s/5s were converted. Another 24 were converted in order to give petrol engines to the LTC coaches in 1937. All the conversions of this group received chassis code 12LT, with the body codes being altered at the same time: 2LT3, 2LT5 and 2LT5/1 becoming 12LT3/1, 12LT5/6 and 12LT5/5. The remainder with crash boxes were converted in 1939-40, codes this time being 1/12LT3/3, 1/12LT5/8 and 1/12LT5/7.
The buses with preselector Daimler gearboxes retained their petrol engines, and worked as a group from Plumstead.

The LT3s and LT5s in service

The first deliveries in 1931 were LT3s, which went in January to Mortlake (M), Merton (AL), Barking (BK) Nunhead (AH), Elmers End (ED) and Tottenham (AR). Some of the new buses to Nunhead displaced LT2s to Leyton. Likewise the 22 preselector-fitted LTs that went to Plumstead displaced LT2s to Leyton.

1930 route no.1934 route no.RouteGarages
73A73Stoke Newington - RichmondM
173A73AStoke Newington - RoehamptonM
5A15Raynes Park - Upton Park (Forest Gate)AL
5B5Clapham Common - WansteadAL
133133Liverpool Street - South CroydonAL
134133ALiverpool Street - AddiscombeAL
2323Marylebone Station - RainhamBK
12323AMarylebone Station - Gidea ParkBK
63A63Honor Oak - Chalk Farm StationAH
82 - East Acton - West WickhamAH
112 - Park Royal - Lower SydenhamAH
168D68Kings Cross - Waterloo StationAH
12A12Oxford Circus - South CroydonED
73A73Stoke Newington - RichmondAR
7676Victoria Station - EdmontonAR

The LT5s began to appear during the Nunhead deliveries, and went to Muswell Hill (MH), Hammersmith (R), Shepherds Bush (S), Dalston (D) Chalk Farm (CF) Harrow Weald (HD) and Upton Park (U). The LT5/1s went mainly to Upton Park, and thus received that garage's distinguishing feature: a serial number on the rear roof dome, to assist in the fuelling process there.

1930 route no.1934 route no.RouteGarages
43D43Whetstone - London BridgeMH
11E11Liverpool Street - Shepherds BushR, S and D
77A77Kings Cross - TootingCF
17777AKings Cross - Raynes ParkCF
1818London Bridge - Harrow WealdHD
114B114South Harrow Station - Edgware StationHD
142B142Kilburn Park Station - Watford JunctionHD
158158Watford Junction - South Harrow StationHD
15A/B15East Ham - Ladbroke GroveU
12625CEast Ham - Victoria StationU
101A101North Woolwich - WansteadU
145B145Becontree - Woodford WellsU
224 U
172 U

The War and after

The LTs were major players in keeping London moving during the Second World War. Together with the STLs they were the major crowd-shifters. They did suffer both the direct and indirect ravages of the war. A large number were destroyed in Elmers End garage by a "doodle-bug", with even more wrecked enough to require a major body rebuild. The supply of spare bodies, built for the float to keep the required number of bodies and chassis in overhaul at any one time, was used up. Even one chassis was put together from spares to "resurrect" a destroyed bus. On the other hand, one LT was wrecked twice!

But even during the war there were new LT routes, as traffic patterns shifted. One notable one (for me) was the 126, a replacement for the single-deck "scooter" 254 route.

Most of the 1931 LTs survived the war, to be displaced by early postwar Daimlers, or by other reshuffled utilities or STLs as the RT programme got under way. The last were replaced at the end of 1949, ready for the new decade.

inside stair LT histories photo references Part 4: Bluebirds. Ian's Bus Stop LT index. Part2: CCs. Insiders.