Routemaster - RML2734
72 seats (40 upstairs and 32 downstairs)
PA system which makes this bus ideal for tours of London.
A beautiful Routemaster available for hire.
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
RM2734 was new in November 1967 when it was delivered to Hanwell Garage primarily for use on the 207s. Exactly a year later she moved on to Southall where she was when she got her first repaint in September 1970. Initially returning to Southall she them moved to Leyton garage where working for the 48s was a regular haunt. Her first major overhaul came in November 1974 after which she was returned to service this time to Croydon. March 1975 saw her stay south of the river with a move to Stockwell and then in the Autumn on to New Cross. December 1981 was her next overhaul from when she then moved to the East this time going to Bow Garage. In February 1986 she moved to Shepherds Bush which due to the privatisation meant that moves did not happen in the same way as with the old London Transport and thus she stayed here for the best part of two decades as a regular on route 9 and 94. In June 2002 she gained the latest low emission engine of the day and having lasted until the end of Routemasters on the 94s she having been recently upgraded moved on to the 13s.
Following this final withdrawal she passed to Ensignbus (dealer) and was old onto a Training Company in East Sussex. A long term hire then saw her move to Blackpool where she operated on the seafront service before again returning to Ensign in January 2013 when it was decided to retain the vehicle for use within the vintage fleet.