Prepared on Notepad by
This page created on 12th July 1998, revised 30th July 1998
Production buses, RM5-7, 9-879, 904-1253, 1255-1452, 1521-2217. (Total 2119)
1959: into ServiceThe production buses started to trickle off the lines at Southall (AEC) and Park Royal in May 1959, after RM8 in September 1958. A trickle it was, to start with, with just fourteen buses by the end of June, thirty-one by the end of July...
Meanwhile the first three stages of the trolleybus conversions
(Carshalton and Bexleyheath in March, Clapton and Lea Bridge in April,
Bow and Ilford in August) had been managed using surplus RTs.
RM9 in 1998 has gained opening front windows and a later grille during its half-century.
|PR, WH||5: Bloomsbury - East Ham|
|PR||5A: Aldgate - West India Dock|
|PR||48: Waterloo - Poplar|
|PR||284 (nights): Charing Cross - Becontree Heath|
|PR||23 (with BK RTs): Aldgate - Becontree Heath|
|PR||9 (Sundays): Mortlake - Aldgate|
|PR||56 (Sundays): Limehouse - Poplar|
For a very different, contemporary, account of the RM conversion, have a look on Dick Gilbert's trolleybus conversion page.
But back to 1959: the Routemasters were not an unalloyed success! They were very different beasts from the very familar trolleys that they replaced. Engineering faults abounded, so that very soon many of the original allocation were replaced whilst the originals returned for fault analysis.
Stage 5, February 1960
West Ham received a second dose (29 new, 30 second-hand), and Walthamstow (WW) received its first 47 RMs. Trolleybus routes that went were 557 (Chingford Mount - Liverpool St), 669 (North Woolwich - Stratford Bdy), 685 (Walthamstow - Silvertown), 689 and 690 (Stratford - East Ham circulars).
|WH, WW||58: Silvertown Stn - Walthamstow|
|WH||69: North Woolwich - Stratford Bdy|
|WH||162(shared with BK RTs): Wanstead Stn - Barking|
|WW||256: Chingford Mount - Hackney|
|WW||257: Chingford Mount - Liverpool Street|
West Ham did better for new buses in stage 6, receiving 61 RMs in March and April, all new to passenger service (with a few ex trainers), most having opening quarterlights at the front. Walthamstow again was the other depot, getting 44 buses, including the remaining five of the early trials buses. The trolley routes that went were the 623 (Woodford - Manor House Stn), 625 (Woodford - Wood Green (- Winchmore Hill)), 687 (Walthamstow - V&A Docks), 697 and 699 (Chingford Mount - V&A Docks), the remaining network in the East End. The replacement bus services formed a new network rather than direct replacements, and saw the closure of Forest Gate (G). The RTs from G joined the RMs in WH, and shared the extended 69 and new 249A with RMs.
|WH||278: Walthamstow - V&A Docks|
|WH||69 (some RTs): North Woolwich - Chingford Mount|
|WH||249A (some RTs):|
|WH||299 (nights): Chingford - V&A Docks|
|WH||41 (shared with AR RTWs): Archway - Tottenham - Stratford|
|WW||123: Archway - Tottenham - Manor House Stn|
|WW||275: Walthamstow Central - Woodford Bridge|
|G||closed: RTs to WW|
West and North-west London took the next trolleybus hit,
with Hammersmith Depot (HB) closing for bus work
and Highgate (HT) converting to RMs.
Hammersmith lost trolley routes 626 (Acton - Clapham Junction),
628 (Craven Park - Clapham Junction) and 630 (Harrow Road - West Croydon),
while Highgate lost the steep-hill route 611 (Moorgate- Highgate)
with its specially-braked trolleybuses.
Hammersmith Depot was converted to be the base for the BEA RFs, and the replacement bus services operated from Shepherds Bush (S) and Elmers End (ED)
|S||220: Mitcham - Harlesden|
|S||268: Golders Green Stn - Finchley Road Stn|
|ED||64 (extra workings): Addington - Tooting Broadway|
|HT||271: Highgate Village - Moorgate|
|HB||converted for BEA coaches|
Further new RMs trickled to join the existing allocations during the summer and autumn,
compensating for the RM's continuing trials and tribulations,
and providing spares whilst others were cycled through recall processes.
RM 422 went to the Commercial Motor Show in September, but was considered yesterday's news.
Stage 8, November 1960
Hanwell Depot (HL) (as distinct from Hanwell Garage (HW), now renamed Southall),
was the next recipient of RMs, as trolleybus routes 607 (Uxbridge-Shepherds Bush Green)
and 655 (Acton Vale - Brentford (- Hammersmith (- Clapham Junction))) were deleted.
Hanwell actually received new buses twice over, as about half its first lot were replaced before the year end by an experimental batch with non-automatic gear changing. The originals went into store, mainly at Holloway (J), Cricklewood (W) and Stonebridge (SE).
|HL||207: Uxbridge Stn - Shepherds Bush Green|
|HL||207A: Chelsea - Hayes and Harlington Stn|
|HL||255: Clapham Junction - Turnham Green|
Highgate (HT) received a second tranche of 117 RMs, to replace routes 513/613 (Parliament Hill Fields - Holborn - Hampstead Heath), 517/617(North Finchley - Holborn), 615 (Parliament Hill Fields - Moorgate), 639 (Hampstead Heath - Moorgate) and 653 (Tottenham Court Road - Aldgate). Bus route 143 (Archway - Hendon Central) was also taken over by HT, and route 63 gained an RM allocation.
|HT||17: North Finchley - Farringdon Street.|
|HT||214: Parliament Hill Fields - Moorgate|
|HT||239: Hampsteads Heath - Moorgate|
|HT||253: Aldgate - Warren Street Stn|
|HT||N93: Trafalgar Square - Hampstead Heath|
|HT||143 (ex-RT): Archway Stn - Hendon Central Stn|
|HT||63, shared with PM (RT): Parliament Hill Fields - Crystal Palace|
More North London trolleybus routes went this time, worked by Highgate (HT), Edmonton (EM) and Wood Green (WN):
627 (Tottenham Court Rd - Waltham Cross), 629 (Tottenham Court Rd - Enfield Town),
659 (Holborn Circus - Waltham Cross) and 679 (Smithfield - Waltham Cross).
There were direct replacements, plus some new routes.
West Green garage, due to close shortly, received five RMs too for use on the 269.
This would have left Highgate with just a Sunday trolleybus requirement on the 609, alongside Finchley's trolleys. This was met by allocating RMs to the 609 on Sundays.
|HT, EM||127: Victoria - Waltham Cross|
|HT, WN||259: Holborn Circus - Lower Edmonton Stn|
|HT||276: Streatham - Tottenham|
|HT||609 (Sundays, with FY trolleys): Barnet Church - Moorgate|
|EM||279: Smithfield - Waltham Cross|
|EM||279A: Tottenham Hale Stn - Flamstead End|
|WG, WN||269: Tottenham Court Road - Enfield|
In July Highgate received an oddity: RM 664, the unpainted RM. This was a trial, to see how well the aluminium construction of the RM coped without external paint. Underground trains were now running without paint, and paintless buses would be significantly lighter. RM 664 carried advertising for the Daily Express, on all panels at first, but latterly only on the sides. It stayed at Highgate until December 1962, then circulated around a variety of locations: Poplar (12/62), Rye Lane (1/63), Mortlake (9/63), Stonebridge (12/63), Finchley (1/64); Cricklewood (3/64), Hanwell (5/64), Fulwell (7/64), Shepherds Bush (10/64) and Walthamstow (2/65). After three and a half years it was looking grubby: garages found it impossible to match replacement panels to the patina of the old, giving it a gently pie-bald look. It was despatched to Dorking in mid-July for preparation for painting, which was carried out at Hounslow. In August 1965 it restarted work from New Cross garage as just another red RM.
Edmonton's conversion was completed at this stage, as its contribution to the 649 disappeared to the scrapyards. Also converted was Stamford Hill, losing routes 543/643 (Wood Green - Holborn Circus), 647 (Stamford Hill - London Docks) and 649/649A (Waltham Cross / Wood Green - Liverpool St).
|EM, SF||149: Waltham Cross - Victoria|
|SF||67: Northumberland Park - Wapping|
|SF||243: Wood Green - Holborn Circus|
|SF||243A (Sundays): Wood Green - London Docks|
|SF||N83 (night): Trafalgar Square - Tottenham Garage|
Stage 12 saw Wood Green's conversion completed, and Finchley's started. Routes that lost trolleybuses were the 521/621 (North Finchley - Holborn Circus), 609 (Barnet Church -Moorgate), and 641 (Winchmore Hill - Moorgate). The latter was replaced by the 141, but that also took over the old tram-replacement route 179 to Grove Park, so a RM allocation was made to New Cross for that. Finchley's conversion also introduced the longer Routemaster, the RML, for the first time.
|FY||104: Barnet Church - Moorgate|
|WN, NX||141: Winchmore Hill - Grove Park|
This was the last stage of the original trolleybus conversion plan. The trolleys in North London, and in the North-west, would go, leaving just the South-western network with post-war trolleybuses. So Finchley finished its conversion, and Stonebridge and Colindale both went in one fell swoop, Colindale permanently. Trolley routes to go were: 645 (Barnet Church - Canons Park), 660 (North finchley - Hammersmith Bdy.), 662 (Sudbury - Paddington Green) and 666 (Edgware - Hammersmith Bdy.). Finchley and Stonebridge both received RMs, as did Cricklewood and Middle Row. Simultaneously Wood Green gave its allocation for the 259 to Tottenham.
|X||293 (peaks): Acton - Paddington|
|X, SE||18 (with RTs from ON): Aldenham Works - Wembley|
|FY, SE||260: Barnet - Hammersmith Broadway|
|SE, W||266: Edgware Stn - Hammersmith Broadway|
|W||245: North Finchley - West Hendon|
|AR||259: Holborn Circus - Lower Edmonton Stn|
New Cross received some extra RMs for use on the Round-London Sightseeing Tour.
The postwar trolleybuses were sold for further service in Spain, dooming the South-western network based on Isleworth and Fulwell depots. The remaining routes were the 601 (Tolworth By-pass - Twickenham), 602 (The Dittons - Kingston loop), 603 (Tolworth - Kingston loop), 604 (Wimbledon Stn - Hampton Court), 605 (Wimbledon Stn - Teddington), 667 (Hammersmith Bdy - Hampton Court) and 657 (Shepherds Bush Green - Hounslow).
Isleworth Depot closed, Fulwell converted to RMs, and there was a local reshuffle of duties, giving RMs to Norbiton and Hounslow (as well as RFs to Fulwell) and making Kingston single-decker only.
|FW||267: Hampton Court - Hammersmith Broadway|
|FW||281: Tolworth Broadway - Tolworth|
|FW||285: Hatton Cross - Kingston (- New Malden)|
|NB||131: Wimbledon Station - Walton on Thames|
|NB||282: Dittons - Kingston circular.|
|NB||283: Tolworth Broadway - Kingston circular|
|AV||117 (extended and converted from RT)|
The trolleybus conversion was complete. Electric traction had disappeared from the London Transport road fleet.