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Prepared in Notepad by Ian Smith, updated 23rd April 2002.
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COBHAM OPEN DAY, 7th April 2002

Part Three: the Routemaster Years

Cobham Open Day without Routemasters would be unthinkable. But there was a double ration here this year. Not only was there a good selection of preserved buses, but a good number working on the services between Brooklands and Weybridge Station, Stoke d'Abernon and Cobham Museum.

Preserved RMs

It would be easy to look at the RMs - all in red - and think that they were all the same. On closer inspection there was an interesting variety of detail:
RM1000, with its non-standard registration mark, wore early LT livery, and had a V-radiator badge, brake ventilator grilles and full-depth ventilation louvres.
RM1069 had its brake ventilators plated over.
RM40, also with plated brake grilles, still wears its service paint. How long can it last? RM1000 and RM1069 at Brooklands RM40 at Brooklands

RM737 has an early-style radiator bullseye badge, and a restored offside destination blind aperture.
RM597, "Alfred" has been repainted with a brown roof and cantrail band.
RM1224, ex Stagecoach Scotland, bears a reminder of that on the front.

RM737 at Brooklands RM597 and RM1224 at Brooklands

RM1138, for years in the London Transport reserve fleet at Hatfield, is now resplendent in preservation.
RM1368, the ex-Chiswick test bus, has been a single-decker since losing its top in a fire in LT days.

RM1138 at Brooklands RM1368 at Brooklands

RM3, is the Leyland-engined prototype, with a unique Weymann body.

Working RMs

RM479has been fitted with a RMC rear end and doors, for service with Timebus Travel.

RM3 at Brooklands RM479 at Brooklands RM479 at Brooklands

RM999 spent five years as Reading Mainline No15, and has continued with Reading Heritage Travel. It was working on the Brooklands-Cobham shuttle.
RM848was Reading Mainline No40, after service in Blackpool. It has been bought back by Transport for London, and has been refurbished by Marshalls in Cambridge. It is fitted with a new Cummins engine and Allison gearbox. The body now has new lighting (inside and out), new high visiblity grabrails, refurbished seating and revised hopper ventilators. It has been allocated to London United (and carries its number on the bonnet)
RMC1485 started life as a GreenLine coach. London Country sold it back to London Buses in February 1980, and after a period as a trainer it became an upmarket bus for Stagecoach East London, who still operate it. It now wears London red with cream band, with Stagecoach logos on the sides.

RM999 in Redhill Road RM848 in Redhill Road RMC1485 in Redhill Road

Working RMLs

The two oldest RMLs, from the first batch built when the Unions would not accept the longer buses generally, were both at Brooklands for London United. ER880 wears London United Tramways livery and its original number, while RML881 wears later London United livery with a grey band.

RML880 at Brooklands RML881 at Brooklands

At least four of the Golden Jubilee RMLs were there. The harsh sun-light emphasised the difference between the pale gold vintyl covering and the more honey-coloured paintwork on the details. Perhaps they will look better when they gain adverts! Certainly the London United fleetnames on RML2414 look better than the unadorned panels. RML2414 (London United), RML2431 (Metroline) and RML2450 (Stagecoach London) were all working on the shuttles, while RML2620 (Metroline) was parked at Brooklands. RML2414 in Redhill Road RML2431 and T747 (T1983) in Redhill Road

RML2450 and RML2414 in Redhill Road RML2620 at Brooklands

While London was persevering with the Routemaster the rest of the country was looking to the Leyland Atlantean and Daimler Fleetline. London had trial batches of both. XF3 was a Country Area Daimler Fleetline. These buses had a lockable gate so that the upper deck could be locked out of use in off-peak times to allow one-person operation. (In those sensible days it was illegal to operate double deckers without two crew). XF3 was also experimentally fitted with a Cummins V6 engine for a while. After refit with the standard Gardner engine it had the last Certificate of Fitness to expire in the class, and so was the last in service in December 1981. Twenty years on XF3 looks good in preservation.

RME1 is an advert for the modular construction used on the Routemaster. Originally in 1966 a short front-entrance vehicle operated for BEA by London Transport, it was bought by LT in 1979 for use as a trainer (RMA29). Its staircase was removed. It went to Strathclyde Scottish for spares in 1988, then did the round of dealers and scrapyards without succumbing. In 1992 it was acquired by Shaftesbury & District and a long-term rebuild was started. It emerged in 2000 with a complete extra bay, and with a staircase amidships.

XF3 at Brooklands RME1 at Brooklands

Part Four: Newer Buses

Ian's Bus Stop Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.