The LONDON TRANSPORT RT FAMILY: RT1
This page created 7th September 1997, last updated 23rd February 2015.
RT 1 (Total 1)Introduced: its a long story! - but lets say May 1938
Chassis: AEC Regent III, 16ft 4in wheel-base, 6 cylinder 9.6 litre diesel, A182 / A185
London was seeking a new standard bus.
The Regent, London's T-series, in all its variants (Short T, Short T Lengthened),
had served it well during the thirties,
but the design team at Chiswick knew that technology had moved on.
With single deckers they had tried mid-engines, with the Q series,
and were now trying out a flat underfloor mid-engine in the TF.
A rear engine was being designed into the diminutive CR.
But with "high-capacity" double deckers, where crew operation was a
necessity for the forseeable future, the open rear platform and segregated
driver seemed still the best option.
RT1 (chassis) wearing the temporary body from TD 111. Drawing by Ian Smith 1997
Meanwhile Chiswick was preparing the new body.
This had composite metal frames as well as complete double-skinning
- even on the domes.
Another major departure was the use of just four bays between downstairs bulkheads.
The passenger accommodation had also received proper thought from the engineers and designers,
producing an interior that was a good place to be, for both passengers and crew.
RT1 in its first trial livery. (Ad colours were guesswork). Below: Restored RT1 at Wisley (April 2010).
In all it was a design that succeeded by attention and innovation in detail as much as in the broad sweep of the overall design.
Livery was also under review. The first colour scheme was basic overall red, with a silver roof and white surrounds to the upper deck windows, plus polished aluminium trim lines following the aluminium mouldings along the body sides. The bus was photographed and reviewed in this livery, but it seems not to have met with approval. It did re-appear in its first days in preservation and again in its post-rebuild form.
A revised livery was worn for the next round of official photos. The roof was painted red overall, avoiding the awkwardness with the smooth rear dome. The aluminium trim-lines were painted over, to be replaced by a cream band, and the white upperdeck window surrounds became cream. This new livery became LT's first post-war standard livery, (although it was not used on the other pre-war RTs).
RT1 in its second livery. (Ad colours are guesswork)
In this livery it entered service from Chelverton Road garage in Putney (AF), where it was in service from 17 June 1939 until October 1945. In 1945 the chassis was withdrawn, and the unique body placed on the chassis of RT 19. This new combination was numbered RT19, (FXT 194).
In 1954 the body went onto the chassis from SRT45 (itself previously under STL2551)
to form Mobile Instruction Unit 1019J. This arrangement was brief however,
as in 1955 the RT1 body was mounted on the chassis of RT 1420
(A Cravens-bodied bus whose body lost an argument with a railway bridge).
(RT 19 then acquired a Tilling STL body that had previously been fitted
to a post-war 3RT chassis during the SRT period when bodies were in short supply!)
In 1997 it began a period of restoration. At some time the body framing had been damaged, and much would need to be renewed. The body was propped and sections of the framing dismantled one at a time for evaluation and rebuilding. This has taken some time! It finally re-emerged in time for the Cobham Museum Open Day in April 2009. It was then the subject of an appeal by The London Bus Preservation Trust (Cobham Bus Museum), to raise funds to buy it for the museum and avoid its sale to America again. This was successful, and since April 2010 RT1 has a secure home with the Museum.
RT1 at Duxford (September 2009), Wisley (April 2010).
Synopsis: RT 1 5/38 1RT chassis built EYK 396 6/38 CS 1RT chassis mounted under TD118 body, registered 6/38 HW service running trials (Hanwell) 12/38 CS return to Chiswick 3/39 CS 1RT chassis mated with RT1 body 18246: 1RT1 livery trials. 6/39 AF into service 10/41 GM transfer (Victoria, Gillingham St) 10/45 1RT chassis separated from RT1 body. RT19 FXT 194 10/45 RT1 body mated with 2RT chassis from RT19: 2RT1 9/46 1RT chassis dismantled at Chiswick. 1019J - 10/54 RT1 body mounted onto chassis from redundant SRT 45, became Mobile Instruction Unit 1019J. 1037J - RT1 body mated with 3RT chassis from RT 1420: 3RT1, became 1037J, Mobile Instruction Unit (trade plates). */55 (2RT chassis (ex RT 19) mated with Tilling STL body) 403GH 7/67 in service as 1037J on 403GH red trade plates 8/73 WH */78 delapidated at rear of West Ham garage. */79 bought by Prince Marshall, overhauled and repainted in original livery RT 1 EYK 396 */79 used on Last RT parade at Barking */81 AH in store in Nunhead garage */83 Obtained Certificate of fitness, to allow PSV use, but... */83 Exported to USA, by Bevan Funnel Ltd. */86 Re-patriated to UK for preservation */88 RT1 Group formed */97 In store awaiting body framing work */98 Bought by Mike Selt */98 Start of reframing by Ian Barrett: see Preserved Bus magazine for a series of articles on this 4/09 at Cobham Museum Open Day, Wisley, post restoration 9/09 at Showbus, Duxford 4/10 bought by The London Bus Preservation Trust 4/10 at Cobham Museum Open Day, Wisley 6/12 at AEC Centenary: Walthamstow Pump House 4/14 active at RT75 Celebrations: Ash Grove (22) 4/14 active at RT75 Celebrations: Brooklands (462) 9/14 at Hampton Transport Gala/Fair 11/14 in service on 11 7/16 at West Ham garage open dayRT1420 / RT1 at the RT50 celebrations, 1989.
Photo, used with permission, by BusSpotter.
Click for larger picture
Photo References:For a key to the references, see the bibliography.
LB&TA p25 1938, ST1140 at Hanwell, n/s view FRT p22 1938, ST1140, at Chiswick? o/s view LBP&P p35 1939, at Chiswick displaying 164A to Aldgate, o/s livery1 FRT p24/25 1939, at Chiswick displaying 164A to Aldgate, livery1 LB2939p131 6/39, in Chiswick licensing shop, displaying 148 livery2 ALoLBW p87 6/39, in Chiswick licensing shop, displaying 148 livery2 BusEx61 p5 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying 164A (o/s) livery2 BBB7 p70 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying 164A (o/s) livery2 LBM2 p7 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying 164A (o/s, n/s) livery2 ALoLBW p83 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying to Morden Stn (o/s) livery2 LB&TA p25 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying to Morden Stn (n/s) livery2 RTJub p04 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying to Morden Stn (n/s) livery2 LB2939p138 7/39, in Bushey Pk displaying to Morden Stn livery2 LBBW p65 7/39, at Hampstead Heath, press outing livery2 FRT p26-31 7/39, official pics, various views including details exteriors, and interiors. FRT p32 7/39, on tilt table at Chiswick FRT p33, 7/39, two views on Press launch day (13/7/39), Aldwych FRT p48 1943, on 137 to Sloane Square (GM) livery2+ LBiC p52 1949, RT19 with RT1 body, on 74 (F) livery2 FRT p90 1950, RT19 with RT1 body, on 96 (F), n/s rear livery2 CBY-3 p62 1953, RT19 with RT1 body, on 85, (F) livery3 FRT p119 7/67, as 1037J, based at Wood Green, polished! livery3 LTBG p85 7/67, as 1037J, based at Wood Green LBiC60 p47 7/67, as 1037J, near Wood Green, (n/s rear) livery3 LBM145 p27 8/73, as 1037J, in West Ham Garage HeyLB2 p73 9/78, as 1037J, in West Ham LT, (n/s rear) livery3 LT3362 p36 4/79, displaying 164A to Morden Stn: Barking livery1 last RT day: 7/4/79: (o/s front view) LT6395 p64 4/79 last RT day: 7/4/79: (rear view) FRT p126 4/79, at Barking on last RT day.(n/s front view) RT p271 4/79 Final Run of the RT Bus, Barking Town Hall GDRT pxx, 7/79, Islington, showing 164A to Morden Stn livery1 LTBG p48 */81 in Nunhead garage, showing 164A Bus383 p90 */87 at Wisley for filming livery2 AIHLB p03 7/89 Leighton Buzzard rally (o/s rear) livery2 displaying 22 to Homerton BS#9705 1989 at RT 50 celebrations livery2 Bus414p404 7/89 at Aldwych Bus415p460 8/89 at RT50, Covent Garden PrB4 p08 1998 during rebuild PrB5 p10 1998 during rebuild TLB537 p34 4/09 at Cobham Gathering, Wisley TLB597 p37 4/14 in service on 22 to Shoreditch Church, Holborn Viaduct livery1: red, silver roof, polished Al trim, livery2: red, red roof, cream band, cream upper window surrounds, livery2+: as 2, but cream surround to lower windows too, restricted display. livery3: red, red roof, cream band.