I needed to be in London this weekend for the Hertford Running Day.
Learning that the Friday (4th June 2004) was the last day of crew operation on route 8,
with some rather special vehicles planned, I travelled down a day earlier.
Consequently I was at St.Paul's Station in the early afternoon,
and looked for a good position to observe and photograph the buses on the 8 (and other routes there).
The wide traffic island at the end of Newgate Street looked good: bus stops just before in both directions,
plenty of room, and reasonable light.
I was soon rewarded: brand-new Trident 18218 headed eastwards on the 8, then Arriva's RM5 made a guest appearance heading towards Victoria.
Then, in the midst of a flurry of bus activity,
with bendibuses and modern low-floor double-deckers going in all directions there came RT3871.
Blue Triangle's superb red RT was dressed properly for the 8, albeit with modern yellow on black blinds,
presumably made in RT sizes for the occasion.
That had just departed round the one-way system when RM1650, alias SRM3,
came from the east on a short working and turned round the St Paul's traffic system.
SRM3 has been repainted by First London in its 1977 Silver Jubilee livery.
Another Trident, 17925, passed eastwards round the traffic system. This displayed the gold advert frames recently fitted to buses on prestige routes. I thinl they look good, especially when empty! Doyenne of the Titans, T1, then made an appearance, beautifully restored to original livery, complete with "A New Leyland Titan for London Transport" on the sides and a Havering Multiride sticker on the front.
Next came a change of colour: no 80% red or 100% red here! First was GreenLine RMC1461, back from Cobham Museum almost onto its old stamping ground at Upton Park on the 15. Today it was heading for Victoria on Bow's route 8. Then from the west came green RML2456, only the second of the route's "normal" RMLs that I had seen today (the first was RML2495). Following that was RML2665 - but repainted in Stagecoach white with London red rear, dark blue skirt and red/blue rear-end swooshes!
Then came another RT! Memory Lane's red RT1790 was operating in service on the 8 as well. Looking back the other way I saw another RML coming. It turned out to be the last of the class, RML2760, with original filament bulbs blazing inside, and looking immaculate, with gleaming paintwork, London Transport fleetnames, no adverts, and polished wheel-nut covers. A beautiful sight, but behind was an even better!
It is a long time since I last saw an RTW in service in London - and what immaculate condition.
I was even more amazed as it passed and I saw that it was RTW75, long in store at Blue Triangle.
Now I know (thanks to LOTS' monthly news booklet "The London Bus"), that it was only MOT'd that very day!
RML2749 came past, heading for Bow. An ordinary member of Bow's fleet, it showed the pride of the garage in its RMLs: gleaming paint, polished wheelnuts, Indian red whhel-centres... magnificent! (A shame about the offside front panel scrape, but you wouldn't notice that against the agreeable background unless you looked hard or someone pointed it out).)
Now it was time for a change: I saw an RML coming in the distance, heading for Bow,
with empty seats upstairs....
Part Two: Riding the RMLs to Bow and back to Victoria
Bus Stop Part Two: City to Bow to Victoria