Sunday 12th April 2014
Prepared on Wordpad by Ian Smith, 26th April 2014
Part 5: London Bus Museum, Brooklands
462: Weybridge Station to Brooklands: OPL08I trundled out to Weybridge on Stagecoach Southwestern Trains' parrot-livery 5836. It was a lovely fine morning, and crowds were packing the platforms in the other direction, off to London to catch a glimpse of the London Marathon.
At Weybridge Station I made my way to the bus stop over the railway bridge - no longer do RFs turn on the station forecourt. A privately preserved RM came past, heading for the RM display at Brooklands. Mercedes-Benz Citaro 3901 grumbled past in the other direction, on the Mercedes - sponsored 436 service linking their Mercedes World centre at Brooklands with the real world.
Then RML2760 rumbled up, followed by Quality Line's 9.3m Optare Solo SR OPL08.
This pair swivelled round the station roundabout and returned to take on board the massive queue. It took both buses, with standing, loading over a hundred people for the short trip to Brooklands, where we entered through the east gate, descending steeply across the Brooklands race track.
I alighted from the bus at the control point, and went to see the ordinary delights of a Cobham gathering, leaving the RT display until after I had seen what else had visited. The Museum itself, which was occupied by trade stalls so that the buses were difficult to see, I left until later.
Brooklands: The RT displayThe RTs were parked up on the bank behind the Museum tent. First, of course, was RT1, the only 75 year-old - well, the body, anyway. Next to it was RT3028, now earning its preservation with The Old London Bus, Hawkhurst.
Next came a quartet of Leylands: RTW185 in the early livery, RTW 467 and RTW75 in later livery, and narrower RTL139.
A trio of RTs showed a little of the family variety within the common theme: RT2775 has been restored to its USA tour condition by the London Bus Museum, while John and Gill Hinson's RT1784 is a rare RT3 model, with roofbox, valance and route number holder on the nearside bulkhead pillar. It sports the early post-war livery too, with the austerity-period reduced blind displays. John Herting's RT2177 is a standard Weymann-bodied RT8, dressed in the later livery with very pale grey band.
Working up the row was further variety: RT2293 - another Weymann RT8, but in the 1950s-1960s livery with cream band; RT2657, another Park Royal roofbox RT3, returned to this country from the AMTUIR collection in Paris; RT1431, a Cravens-bodied RT, superficially similar but very different on close inspection: the only common features were the chassis and the cab!
RT1396 is one of the rare Saunders-bodied roofbox RT3/3s, now with Swansea Museum. RT1705 has an early roofbox (RT3) body. RT935 - with a polished metal frame to its driver's window, is a standrd RT8.
RTs came in green too, of course.The Country Area received many of the high number ones, such as RT4494. This was actually new as an RT8/1 GreenLine coach - which meant it had a green band, a metal bulleseye between decks and no adverts. Later it became a Country Bus at overhaul, fitted with one of the Loadmeter bodies for assessing passenger loadings. It has undergone a significant overhaul, involving a new riser and platform. It is good to see it here, wearing GreenLine blinds for the Grays 723, where it began.
RT3254 was also a GreenLine bus, at Romford from new. So today it wears Romford plates, slipboard and blinds, in this case for the Baker Street to Whipsnade sevice. Later it was a red bus, one of the last at Barking, before being preserved back as a GreenLine coach.
RT4779 was a Country Bus for its first fifteen years, then spent ten years with the Central Area. After a career in the film industry, where it was scorched on one occasion, and being used as a Christmas tree, it was secured for preservation. Missing bits were located or fabricated, and RT4779 is back as a Country bus. Hooray!
RT593, a RT3 roofbox bus, was a Central Area bus for all its fifteen years of service. It was early into preservation, being preserved for over forty years. But it does look good in green!
RT3183 looks just the way I remember Country Area buses in service (I left the London Area in 1970, so missed the later Country paint variations.)
RT3491 was another Central Area bus that turned green upon preservation, back in 1973. It has spent an active life in preservation, being maintained as a PSV and used for hires. The GreenLine livery suits it.
RT604 wears London Country NBC green and white livery, quite legitimately: it was April 1977 when it received this livery at repaint, and September 1978 before it retired with a cracked block - the last RT in passenger service for London Country. It was almost immediately acquired for preservation, was repaired, and appears regularly at events.
RT3148 has been out of sight for three and a half years, undergoing remedial work. Today it wears unusual 406A Express blinds.
RT2083, I don't know why, started off as RT2084, but was reregistered and renumbered in preservation. It was also a red bus with LT, but has been green in preservation for as long as I can remember (and more).
At the top of the opposite row was an RT chassis without a body: RT4325, to judge by the registration, which last had a red roofbox RT10 body.
Then came the St.Helens Corporation RT #67, and the London Transport Museum RT4712 that had been painted gold for the Queen's Jubilee in 2002.
Guernseybus open-topper RT2494 was #14 in the Guernseybus fleet, and returned to the UK after 13 years on the island.
RT3316 is another RT that is new to me, having just changed hands in preservation to Steve Downing.
RT3775 is a bus with an interesting history. It spent nearly twenty years as a Central Area bus, before preservation in 1972. It actually was hired by LT as a trainer in 1978. It was bought by London & Country in 1994, who painted it green and put it towork on the 473 between East Grinstead Station and the Bluebell Railway at Kingscote. Retired again, it was bought by Ensignbus and went into blue and silver livery. Bought for private preservation it has reverted to red.
A trio in the RT17** range followed: RT1777, dressed as a trainer, RT1798, and RT1702.
Completing this line of RT family buses were RT4139 and RTW497, the latter at first glance looking scruffy but on second viewing being part way through a rub-down for a repaint.
London Transport's lowbridge buses were not actually low-height RTs, but Regent IIIs, but they are certainly worthy of inclusion here. RLH32 (in Ledgard livery) and RLH48 were in the external line-up, while RLH53, recently repatriated from the USA, was lurking as the cinema bus in a corner of the big tent. Also in there was another chassis, of RT2213.
Altogether a good show.
RT family buses that I saw at Brooklands today included:
Many of the buses operating on the 22 yesterday, from Ensignbus and The London Bus Company, would have been on other operational duties today. Many thanks to all those who brought RTs today - and yesterday!
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on any of them for a larger picture.