Routemaster Long - RML2405
72 (40 upstairs and 32 downstairs)
PA system which makes this bus ideal for tours of London.
A London Icon through and through! The version of the Routemaster that lasted through until the end of their reign in front line service in 2005, the RML is the longer version of the Routemaster that carries 72 people seated. Operating as a normal service bus from 1966, RML2405 was in 2002, selected to be one of 12 Routemasters that were painted gold for the Queens Golden Jubilee celebrations that year. Today it has been returned to its original red livery and maintains its original open platform layout. An ideal bus for moving large numbers of people in an icon that once was part of the Royal celebrations.
Routemaster Class History:
The Routemaster or RM is without doubt one of the most famous types of bus ever to run in the capital. The original necessity was for vehicles to replace the Trolleybus which was due for replacement in 1959. Following a lot of research it had been decided to increase the capacity of London’s buses from 56, such as the RT, to 64. Following numerous changes and nearly five years of development the RM finally entered service.
By 1962 the entire Trolleybus fleet had been replaced almost exclusively by Routemasters. In this period RM8-879 were all built and had entered service. Increasing the length and capacity of the RM was another contentious point, with both the Unions and Met Police being against the idea. However in 1961 a batch of 24, 30’ long 72 seat versions, known as the RML or Routemaster Lengthened, were built to trial. These took the numbers of RML880-904. Following this batch, whilst the trial continued with the longer versions, production continued on the standard length RM producing numbers RM905-1452.
The next version was the batch between RMC1453-1520, which were built as Routemaster Coaches (RMC). These had such delights as deeper more comfortable seats, Green Line livery, powered rear doors, twin headlamps and interior luggage racks and were far quicker.
Following this batch production again returned to the standard RM which ran through from the number RM1521-2217 which became the very last standard length RM built.
Following the success of the RMC’s the next batch to be built, which were by many, seen as the zenith of RM design being the RCL’s. These took the numbers from RCL2218-2260 and were built to replace the Green Line RT’s on the busy (but declining) routes from Essex into Aldgate. Similar in comfort levels to the RMC they were a longer and more powerful version
Permission had now been granted to run the longer RML’s in Central London and the final production batch ran from RML2261-2760 were all built to this specification. Two batches of 50 of these RML’s were built for the Country Area and were delivered in Green being RML2306-2355 and RML2411-2460.
The final type of RM to enter service with London Transport was the RMA, or Routemaster Airport, version which originally ran for British European Airways bringing passengers to and fro between Central London and Heathrow before the Underground was extended there.
The Routemaster was gradually withdrawn from London in the 1980’s before a change of plan saw many of the longer versions (and some standard length ones) be refurbished in 1990-92 when they received new engines, lighting and seating. In 2000-01 some had another refurbishment where they were fitted with more environmentally friendly engines and new gear boxes.
However, the policy changed in 2003 and the final 20 routes were given warning that at next change of contract the vehicles required would not be RM’s. One by one these routes were withdrawn with the very last, the 159’s, finishing on December 9, 2005. However, such is the popularity of this type of vehicle that around 16 were retained for use on two heritage routes in Central London.
For more on this class why not visit Ian's Bus Stop
Following the successful experiment to operate a longer version of the Routemaster the final 500 were all built to this specification. RML2405 was one of these and was delivered in January 1966 to Finchley garage for the route 104, which coincidently had been the very first route to get RML’s some five years earlier in an experimental trial.
Its stay here though was short lived moving onto West Ham some three months later where it would stay until moving onto Chalk Farm in 1972 where it would often be seen on the 24’s. By 1975 it was working at Bow garage working on route 8. By the time it went through the 1990s RML refurbishment programme it was working out of Westbourne Park on the routes 7 and 23 where it would be destined to continue serving until its final withdrawal.
Through the privatisation process 2405 vehicle was in the Centrewest fleet which became part of First Group plc. It was whilst with First that in 2002 it was selected as one of 50 London buses to carry the Golden livery for the Queens Jubilee celebrations. Having been repainted back to red it lasted in service right up until the last day of route 7 in July 2004 when it was withdrawn before passing onto Ensignbus.
The vehicle was repainted gold for the 50th anniversary of the Routemaster and wore the colour for two years before returning once again to the traditional red which it wears today.
Date of first registration: January 1966
Chassis: AEC Routemaster
Chassis number: RML2405
Engine: Cummins C-series
Body: Park Royal
Body Number: B2365
Seating: 72 seats, 40 upstairs and 32 downstairs