RTWs : Wide Leyland RTs

This page updated 4th October 2023

RTW drawing

RTW 1-500 (Total 500)

Introduced: May 1949

Chassis: Leyland PD2/3, 16ft 4in wheel-base, 6 cylinder 9.8 litre diesel.
Body: Leyland, type RT6: 56 seats (26 + 30), metal frames, 4 bays. 8ft wide
The RTWs were instantly recognisable from behind by the wide red panel each side of the rear destination panel. This was not a direct result of the 6 inch extra width, but of the rubber stops that Leyland fitted for the emergency exit window! These ensured that the rear corner ads were placed much further out than on RTs or RTLs.
Inside, the difference was apparent: Each standard double-seat was fitted with a one inch wall spacer and the other four inches of extra width were on the gangway. They were more comfortable to sit in, and much easier to move around in, especially with five standing passengers clogging the aisle (the wartime permission to stand had continued postwar)

The RTWs had the distinction of being London's first 8ft wide motor buses. There had been 8ft wide buses in London Transport already, but those were trolleybuses, meant for South Africa, that were diverted to LT because of the war. They were banned from Central London and spent their days in the Ilford area. Similarly, the 8 ft Leylands were originally banned from Central London, and from anywhere with tram tracks, which limited their scope somewhat. The Metropolitan Police, scourges of public transport innovation, were only prepared to admit them as suburban buses.

RTW185 offside rear RTW185 nearside front RTW185 front

RTW185 wears the 1949 livery with cream around the upper windows, at Cobham Open Day, April 1998. Photos by Ian Smith. Click on images for larger versions.

Into service in the suburbs

They appeared in 1949, the first at Tottenham (AR) in May, not for the famous 76 but for the 41, which came no further in than Archway. It took until August to stock the 41 completely.
Then it was the turn of Alperton (ON), which took two dozen for the 187 in August and September 1949.
Shepherd's Bush (S) and Hanwell (HW: later Southall) then stocked up for the 105.
In October Leyton (T) took thirteen for the 144, followed by eight at Enfield (E) in November for the 144A, with West Green (WG) taking the next fifteen to complete these two routes. These displaced a mixture of types, including LTs, Guys and loaned Bristols.
December saw them go to Palmers Green (AD) for the 112, and south of the river for the first time to Putney Bridge (F) for the 85. They also went to Harrow Weald (HD) for the 158 and 140. For the 158 eight of the buses were second hand, being transferred from Tottenham. HD had received enough for its Monday to Friday allocation by the beginning of February 1950. Then buses arrived there for the 140.
Edgware (EW) - had to wait until February for its share on the 140, and then for the 142.
Meanwhile deliveries has started to East London, with Upton Park (U) receiving them for the 129 and 145, where they released RTs to in turn remove LTs. Barking (BK) gained RTWs for the peak journeys 23B and 23C, and the longer 145 and 148, and Seven Kings (AP) for the 139 and 148.
In June Bromley (TB) received a contingent for the 119, 126, 138 group of routes, where they saw off the hired Leeds "STL"s. But the RTWs were not to stay at Bromley very long! (I don't remember seeing them at all, despite living very close to the 126, but I was only two at the time!)

Dates Route Route Garage Displaced Replacements
May 49 41 Archway Stn - Turnpike Lane - Tottenham Hale AR (Tottenham) LT RTW
August 49 187 South Harrow Stn - Hanger Lane Stn - Kensal Rise - Hampstead Heath ON (Alperton) ST RTW
August 49
September 49
105 Shepherds Bush - East Acton - Hanger Lane Stn - Greenford - Southall S (Shepherds Bush)
HW (Hanwell)
October 49
November 49
144 Ilford Stn - Gants Hill - Edmonton - Turnpike Lane Stn T (Leyton)
WG (West Green)
LT, Bristol RTW
November 49 144A Enfield - Edmonton - Turnpike Lane Stn - Alexandra Park E (Enfield)
WG (West Green)
December 49 112 Palmers Green - Finchley - Neasden - Ealing Broadway AD (Palmers Green) STL/ST RTW
December 49 85 Putney Bridge Stn - Roehampton - Norbiton - Kingston F (Putney Bridge) STL RTW
December 49 158 Ruislip Lido - Ruislip - South Harrow -Harrow-on-the-Hill - Wealdstone - Harrow Weald - Bushey Heath - Bushey - Watford Junction HD (Harrow Weald) RTW
January 50 129 Claybury Broadway - Barkingside - Gants Hill - Ilford Stn U (Upton Park) RTW
January 50
March 50
145 Chingford - Woodford - Ilford - Becontree - Dagenham U (Upton Park)
BK (Barking)
February 50 140 Mill Hill - Burnt Oak - Queensbury - Kenton - Harrow-on-the-Hill - South Harrow - Northolt - Yeading - Hayes & Harlington Stn - Hayes HD (Harrow Weald) RTW
February 50 142 Watford Junction - Bushey - Bushey Heath - Stanmore - Edgware - Burnt Oak - Colindale - West Hendon - Cricklewood - Kilburn Par Stn EW (Edgware) RTW
March 50
May 50
148 Leytonstone - Redbridge - Ilford - Dagenham BK (Barking)
AP (Seven Kings)
May 50 145 Chingford - Woodford - Ilford - Becontree - Dagenham U (Upton Park)
BK (Barking)
March 50 23B Becontree - Barking BK (Barking) RTW
March 50 23C Creekmouth - Barking BK (Barking) RTW
May 50 139 Gants Hill - Little Heath - Becontree Heath - Dagenham Dock AP (Seven Kings) RTW
June 50 119 Bromley North - Hayes Stn - West Wickham - Croydon TB (Bromley) STL RTW
June 50 126 Beckenham Junction - Park Langley - Bromley - Grove Park - Eltham TB (Bromley) STL RTW
June 50 138 Bromley North - Hayes Stn - Coney Hall TB (Bromley) STL RTW

Part 2: The width-trials Part 3: More new RTWs Part 4: survivors

Ian's Bus Stop RT contents RTLs RTWs RTW bus histories RTW photo refs