Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,

This page created on 22nd December 2001, updated 30th January 2009.

RM Resurrection: the Marshall rebuilds

RM180 at Charing Cross, front o/s RM180 at Charing Cross, rear o/s
Rebuilt RM180 in servivce on the 13, 26th October 2001.
Ken Livingstone, elected as the new Mayor of London, and Transport for London (the new body with oversight of as much of the Capital's transport as the Government would allow), declared their faith in the Routemaster, with its quick loading/unloading and conductor service on heavily congested West End routes. As a practical expression of that faith TfL began to buy Routemasters as they became available during 2000. Reading Transport gave up Routemaster operation in July, and many of their fleet returned to London. Others came from Halifax and North Wales, and from several preservation sources. They went into store at Ash Grove.

Then in 2001 rebuilding started. Marshalls of Cambridge won the contract, and the buses were taken to Cambridge for the work to begin:

  • The basic bodyshells were found to be in excellent condition in all cases but one, despite their forty-plus years ages. They were repanelled and painted;
  • The engines and transmissions were removed, and replaced with new drive-trains: Cummins B-Series engines, Allison gearboxes and Voith retarders;
  • The electrics were replaced, with new fluorescent lighting on both decks to give a bright, safe internal environment;
  • Externally there were new bright headlamps and sidelights, and new light clusters on the rear;
  • Seating and internal walls were recovered in new materials;
  • Grab-rails were covered in yellow high-grip material;
  • Cab windows were replaced with a non-opening variety like the RMAs;
  • Winding windows were replaced with inward-opening hoppers;
  • Advertising frames were fitted.
RM1735 rear n/s RM1005 front n/s
Rebuilt RM1735 and RM1005 in service on the 13, 26th October 2001. The impact of the new lighting on the ambience of the buses, and the high visibility of the new handrails and light clusters, especially on a dull October day, is apparent.

Re-entry into service

The first of the refurbished buses appeared from Marshalls in May 2001, and together with the following twenty was allocated to Sovereign London for use on route 13 (Golders Green - Aldwych), thereby releasing the RMLs that had been leased by Sovereign. These were reallocated to RML users in London to provide a float to allow for their refurbishment in turn.

More of the Marshall RMs went to London Central at New Cross for the 36, where London Central's own RM refurbishment programme has seen less extensive work carried out on their existing RMs.

RM848 of the first batch was further fitted with an electronic Allison T270 gearbox by Cummins in Wellingborough, and was allocated early in 2002 to Shepherds Bush, where RMLs are also being so fitted.

Another batch of ten appeared from Cambridge in the spring of 2002, and went to Clapton to increase the number of buses available on route 38. These came from refurbishment with a white cantrail band.

Further buses were acquired during 2002, to be re-engined by Cummins at Wellingborough and then refurbished by Arriva.

The Marshall refurbished RMs:

Number Reg.No Source Allocation
RM 23 JFO 256 Reading Mainlne Sovereign, EW RM2089, Baker Street, front n/s
RM 45 AST 415A Reading Mainlne Sovereign, EW
RM 54 LDS 279A preservation
RM 85 VLT 85 Blue Triangle Arriva, BA
RM 121 SSL 806 First Capital Sovereign, EW
RM 180 XVS 830 Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 191 AST 416A Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 324 WLT 324 Halifax Joint Committee Sovereign, EW
RM 329 MFF 578 preservation Sovereign, EW
RM 346 SVS 615 T.Daly (from Italy) Arriva, BA
RM 441 LDS 341A KD Coach Hire Sovereign, EW
RM 548 SVS 618 Marie Curie
RM 652 WLT 652 preservation Arriva, CT
RM 659 KFF 239 Halifax Joint Committee Sovereign, EW
RM 713 TSK 270 Shepherd Neame Brewery Arriva, BA
RM 838 XYJ 440 Brakell London Central, NX
RM 848 WLT 848 Reading Mainline London United, S
RM 875 OVS 940 Tim Daly London Central, NX
RM 909 WTS 418A preservation Arriva, CT
RM 931 MFF 580 Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 1005 ALC 290A Tim Daly Sovereign, EW
RM 1018 PVS 828 Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 1145 LDS 402A Wealden PSV Arriva, CT
RM 1164 NSG 636A Tim Daly Arriva, CT
RM 1185 XYJ 427 preservation Arriva, CT
RM 1204 204 CLT Halifax Joint Committee Sovereign, EW
RM 1218 218 CLT preservation Sovereign, EW
RM 1280 280 CLT Tim Daly London Central, NX
RM 1292 NVS 485 Arriva London, BN
RM 1312 MFF 509 preservation London Central, NX
RM 1562 562 CLT preservation Sovereign, EW
RM 1568 BNK 324A Tim Daly Sovereign, EW
RM 1627 627 DYE Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 1640 640 DYE Reading Mainline London Central, NX
RM 1735 735 DYE Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 1776 776 DYE Red Bus Fish and Chips, Newcastle Arriva, CT
RM 1913 ALD 913B Capital Citybus Sovereign, EW
RM 1933 ALD 933B Tim Daly Sovereign, EW
RM 1968 ALD 968B Sharp, Glasgow Arriva, CT
RM 1975 ALB 975B preservation
RM 2050 ALM 50B preservation Arriva, CT
RM 2060 ALM 60B KD Coach Hire, Dyserth Arriva, CT
RM 2071 ALM 71B Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 2089 ALM 89B Reading Mainline Sovereign, EW
RM 2122 CUV 122C KD Coach Hire, Dyserth Arriva, CT

Ordinary Routemaster operation was being wound up in 2003-5, and route 13 was no exception. The Marshall rebuilds were reallocated around the Routemaster fleets or put into store. The complete loss of the iconic London Routemaster was assuaged somewhat by a proposal to operate refurbished RMs on two central area Heritage Routes....

Re-engineered RMs Heritage Routemasters. Photo references. Bus Histories..

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