Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith ,

This page created on 4th July 1998, updated 20th February 2015.

The Leyland/Weymann prototype, RML3


RM3 at Cobham, 1997 In some ways RML3 was the prototype that LT didn't want. MCW had been a major builder of London trolleybuses before the war, including the chassisless examples that had so influenced the Routemaster design. Their Addlestone factory (the Weymann works) had been vitally concerned with the manufacture of RTs, particularly for the Country Area.
Leyland too had traditionally had a proportion of London's chassis supply, as epitomised by the STDs, the TDs and the RTL/Ws. So RML3 was an expression of LT's multi-sourcing policy rather than a statement of intent with regard to these manufacturers. Weymann never did get to body any other RMs, but Leyland did provide a significant number of engines - some still in operation today.

RM3 during the 1997 repaint, Cobham

RM3 at Cobham, 1997, rear RML3 was the Leyland RM with Weymann bodywork. The body was shaped slightly differently from its elder sisters: especially significant was the remodelling of the front dome, rounding it more, and the different treatment of the front upper window surrounds, giving a less cowled look. The heater grilles were incorporated from the start. At the back and sides the appearance was very much that of the production RMs to follow, with the slightly rounded bottom side panels making an appearance. The slightly art-deco feature of incorporating the nearside light into the platform handle had gone, the light being moved onto the panel and a standard hand-rail fitted. The rear indicators were now orange flasher panels instead of the illuminated arrows of RM1-2. Full production type displays were fitted from new. Unique body features included the sideways-opening bonnet and a heavier surround to the upper deck emergency exit.
The radiator and bonnet arrangement was an attempt to improve nearside kerb visibility by narrowing the bonnet. The radiator still projected, and a design of lumps and curves tried to tie together the cab-front, headlights and radiator, not terribly succesfully. But it was a good step along the way to the production front.

RM3 at Cobham, 1997. (Sorry its so dark)
Mechanically, it was fitted with the Leyland O.600 9.8 litre engine, power steering, a fully automatic hydraulically actuated gearbox, and Clayton Dewandre hydraulic brakes.


1957: Into service

RML3 took more than a year to appear, LT taking it onto stock on 1st July 1957. It was then sent off to Leyland for adjustments and testing.

It returned to Willesden (AC) garage, starting driver training in early January 1958. Service running on the 8 and 8B followed from 22nd January. But in January 1959 RML3 was involved in a heavy collision with a lorry, which wrecked the front end. RML3 was transported to Chiswick and repaired, re-entering service in March. But by November 1959 its prototype testing days were over.

1959-1972: Trainer duties

On 1st November 1959 RML3 took up driver training duties, at Clay Hall until it closed (11th November!), and then Upton Park (U).

It was renumbered to RM3 in September 1961, when the RML prefix was adopted for the 30ft RMs. Performance was sporadic. Drivers did not like the very light power steering (they also didn't like the very heavy steering on RM1). RM3 spent several periods out of work, for a while yielding its differential to keep RMC4 on the road.

It received a repaint and thorough overhaul at Aldenham in 1965, having been off the road since September 1963. Like the other prototypes, it lost its original front end at this stage.

RM3 ended its trainer days at Clapton (CT) in April 1972, when it was withdrawn.

RM3 at Chiswick. RM3

RM3 at Chiswick in June 1983: photo, used with permission, by Adrian J. Stuart-Robson

1974 - : Preservation

Having been the Cinderella prototype, RM3 was the first into preservation. The London Bus Preservation Group at Cobham bought her, and she is still to be seen there (Now the London Bus Museum, Brooklands). More photos on the Cobham web site.

A change came in 2004, when RML3 re-emerged fitted with a replica of the early Leyland front, and its original number. Relicensed as a Public Service Vehicle, RML3 became one the regular vehicles on the Museum's public services, usually between the Museum and Weybridge Station.

RML3 at Redhill Road, Cobham Museum, April 2008. RML3 at Woking Station, Cobham Museum, April 2007.

RML3 at work: in Redhill Road opoosite Cobham Museum, on the 477 to Weybridge Station, in April 2008, and at Woking Station on the 474 shuttle to Longcross in April 2007.


 7/57    received by LT from Weymann
         sent to Leyland (Lancashire) for testing.
11/57    Chiswick.
 1/58 AC driver training, then service on 8, (8B Sundays)
 1/59    collision: repaired at Chiswick.
 3/59 AC service on 8, 8B.
11/59 CL trainer
11/59 U  trainer
 9/61    renumbered to RM3.
 9/63    out of use
 3/65 PR to Aldenham overhaul, new front, repaint.
 7/65 TH from overhaul into store
 8/65 NX trainer
 8/66 NX into store
12/66 NX trainer
      CT trainer
      WW trainer
 3/69 CT trainer
 4/72 CT withdrawn into store
 2/74    sold to LBPG, Cobham.
 1998    still preserved at Cobham Bus Museum
 4/02    at Cobham Museum Open Day
 5/04    fitted with replica of original front: renumbered RML3
 7/04    at RM50
 9/04    used on last crew days on 9, 73
 6/05    used on 8 during Stratford Open Day
10/06    on Pre-Hibernation Day duty (497)  
 4/07    on Open-Day duty (474: Woking - Chobham)
 9/07    used on 9,15 Heritage Running Day
10/07    on Pre-Hibernation Day duty (462)  
 4/08    on Open-Day duty in snow (474: Weybridge - Cobham Museum - Wisley Airfield)
 6/08    used on X25 for Bow Centenary
10/08    on Green Day duty (462) 
 9/09    used on 2 during Cricklewood Open Day 
10/11    at Cobham Hall Opening, Brooklands 
 9/13    at Willesden Garage Open Day
 6/14    Year of the Bus display, Regent Street
 7/14    at RM60, Finsbury Park
 9/14    at Ongar for "End of the Tube"
 9/14    at Earl's Court for RM1's 60th birthday
12/16    active at Purfleet Running Day

Photographic References

For a key to the references see the bibliography

RM_1 p32    3/56      at Weymann, Addlestone, grey primer, no interior, early radiator
H56 p127    3/56      at Weymann, Addlestone, grey primer, no interior, early radiator
RM_1 p34              interior, lower saloon (back)
AIHLB p42   1958  AC  on 8 to Willesden Garage, Willesden
RM_1 p32    1958  AC  on 8 to Old Ford, Willesden
LBM137 p21        AC  on 8 to Old Ford
RM_1 p33    3/58  AC  on 8A to Alperton, Marble Arch
RM_1 p33    1958  AC  on 8 to Shoreditch, nr Marble Arch
LSubB p34         AC  on 8 to Shoreditch, Edgware Rd
RM_1 p35    1958  AC  on 8 to Wembley, rear view
RM_1 p35    1/59      accident damage to front
LB&TA p128  1978      at Cobham, preserved
BM3RM p20   1983      at Cobham Bus Museum, preserved
LB6395 p80  7/83      at Chiswick Open Day				
RM_2 p69              at Cobham museum, preserved
CB70 p29,30 2001      at Cobham museum, preserved, 4views
TLB482 p33  9/04      on 73 to Hyde Park Corner, Stoke Newington
TLB491 p33  6/05      on 8 to Old Ford (Stratford Open Day)   
LBM142 p03  9/07      on 15 to Tower Hill

Ian's Bus Stop RM Contents RM2 RM3 CRL4, RMC4