Prepared on Notepad by Ian Smith,

This page created on 2nd September 1998, updated 23rd January 2011.

The Coach RMs, RMC1453-RMC1520: London Country

All the RMCs, including RMC4, passed to London Country when it was established at the turn of the decade. A first consequence was the official allocation of the London spare (RMC1464) to Guildford, although it continued to park at Riverside when not needed.

RMC1500 at Sevenoaks Running Day, May 2010 RMC1500 at Cobham Gathering, April 2010

RMC1500 (wearing plates for RMC1486) has been preserved wearing the London Country bus livery with canary yellow cant-rail band and fleetnames. It was working on the 704/705 during the May 2010 Running Day in Sevenoaks, and was at the Green Line 80 show at Wisley Airfield in April 2010.
A group of six RMCs were used as cover for the 1971 RCL overhaul programme, mainly from Hatfield "coach allocation" but including one from Addlestone. The group progressed in turn around Romford, Grays, Dunton Green, Windsor and Godstone, the RCL garages, the entire perambulation taking a year. The "bus" RMCs at Hatfield returned to GreenLine work, the 303/A reverting briefly to RT operation until Swifts took over.

But in January 1972 the Reliance RPs arrived on GreenLine duties at Romford, and Grays received RCs for the 723. It was RCLs that they displaced mainly, but with the overhaul programme completed this now resulted in eight RMCs being officially demoted to buses. The RMCs furthered the RT replacement on the 370/A routes from Grays.

RMCs directly felt the impact of the RP invasion in February and March 1972. GreenLine routes 716/A and 718 were converted, with the RMCs going to St Albans and Hemel Hempstead for the 330/A, and to Dartford for the 499. More went to Grays for the 370. Windsor and Hatfield hung on to some of theirs for bus work too:

DateRouteGarageType displacedDisplaced by..
1/72 723/A/B: Aldgate - Tilbury / GraysGYRMCRP
1-3/72 370/A: Romford/Purfleet - Tilbury FerryGYRTRMC
2/72 718: Windsor - Harlow New TownHA, WRRMCRP
2/72 445: Windsor - DatchetWRRTRMC
2/72 460: Staines - SloughWRRTRMC
3/72 716: Chertsey Bridge - HitchinWY, HFRMCRP
3/72 716A: Woking - StevenageWY, HFRMCRP
3/72 341/B: St Albans - South Hatfield / HertfordHFRTRMC
3/72 499: Temple Hill Estate - Dartford - Downs EstateDFRTRMC
3/72 330/A: Welwyn Garden City - Hemel HempsteadSA, HHRTRMC

The RP conversion continued in April, taking the RMCs from route 715 at Guildford and Hertford. The RMCs completed the 370 conversion at Grays. Swanley gained some for the 477 and Hertford kept some (demoted) for the 341 and other routes.
Even the London spare was removed, going to St Albans for bus duties. Windsor lost the two that it had kept before.

DateRouteGarageType displacedDisplaced by..
4/72 715: Guildford - HertfordGF, HGRMCRP
4/72 370: Romford/Purfleet - Tilbury FerryGYRTRMC
4/72 477: Dartford- Orpington - ChelsfieldSJRTRMC
4/72 341: St Albans - South HatfieldHARTRMC
4/72 London spareGF to SARMC 1464RF 164

London Country RMC All the RMCs were now officially demoted to bus work (except RMC1516 which was away being re-roofed after an accident). Three RMCs succumbed to the overall advertising fashion in 1972-4: RMC1516 at Hatfield, RMC 1490 (allocated to various garages) and RMC1480 at Dartford.

During 1973 another overhaul / re-certification round was begun on the RMCs, with some treated in garages and some at Aldenham. All received the NBC corporate livery during the two-year period, even the out-of-use RMC1509. One oddity was that some received flake grey cantrail bands instead of white (the hand of Aldenham?)

During the next four years the RMC fleet gradually spread and contracted, as London Country spent its efforts trying to iron the bugs out of its newer classes. The spares shortage that was crippling LT also affected the LC fleet, and by the autumn of 1977 meant that seven RMCs were out of use, non-runners, and up for sale. Others were in the training fleet, having been made redundant by new Leyland Nationals, that London Country was buying in large numbers to solve many of its bus problems.

RMC1476 at Horsham Running Day, May 2009 RMC1476 at Cobham Gathering, April 2010

Preserved RMC1476 now wears NBC livery, complete with later NBC coloured logos and grey wheels. It was on a wet Horsham Running Day in May 2009, and at the Green Line 80th anniversary at Wisley Airfield in April 2010.

Sale to London Transport

The non-runners, plus others, were bought by London Transport in December 1977, but neither company had the parts or resources available to put all the non-runners back into service. 20 RMCs were included, of which 18 were put into LT service during 1978. They went into the training fleet, often wearing NBC green with London Transport white bullseyes, until they were repainted into red.

RMC1476 RMC1476

RMC1476 was originally preserved in London Transport training fleet livery, sporting NBC green with white bullseyes - and brown LT wheels!

(at Showbus97 left and North Weald 98 right)

London Country's survivors struggled on, increasingly acting as spares for otherwise opo-operated routes. But eventually London Transport offered to buy ALL of London Country's remaining Routemasters (RMCS, RMLs and RCLs), except RMC4. This time the contract was for LC to put the buses in order before each exchange was completed, but something went wrong with the process, leading to a row. London Country sent some of the Routemasters to Wombwell Diesels for breaking (including three RMCs). This galvanised London Transport into fresh negotiations, which resulted in completion of the sale to LT without prior repair. The three RMCs at Wombwell were also returned.

trainer RMC London Country finished its Routemaster operations properly, in March 1980. On Saturday 1st March there was a final celebration and tour, covering the routes associated most strongly with the classes in their final years: the 403 (CM), 477 (DF) and 480 (NF). That should have been IT. But Swanley put RMC 1512 out on the 477 on the following Monday, before LT asserted its new rights of ownership on the Tuesday!

London Transport eventually put 53 RMCs into the training fleet, managing to repaint 21 of them into red before they started. One even received a green repaint! But eventually they were all repainted, the last being in May 1988! RMC1518, used on the skid patch at Chiswick, had its air-bags replaced by coil springs.

Thirteen RMCs were sold by LT in June 1981 (including two that had only gone to Aldenham to have training handbrakes fitted!). Another was sold later.

Part Three: Renaissance and Continuation

Part 1: London Transport Part 2: London Country Part 3: Ongoing Part 4: Survivors

Ian's Bus Stop RM Contents Photographic references Fleet History.