1950 RTW335 - KXW435
56 (30 upstairs and 26 downstairs)
Perfect for weddings and film jobs, PA system
London’s buses were normally built to 7ft 6in wide until, the suburban 8ft wide RTWs arrived. Initially banished to the suburbs for fear of their width causing accidents they were allowed into the Central Area following Met Police/London Transport trials.
As only 500 were ever built and just over half of these were exported to Ceylon in the 1960’s there are not to many RTW’s left in preservation. RTW335 was recovered from Germany in 2004 and after gradually fading in storage in the UK was acquired by Ensignbus in 2009. The vehicle was despatched to Blackpool where the vehicle was contracted to be returned to fully restored condition.
RTW Class History:
The RTW was London’s first 8ft wide motor bus and was instantly recognisable by a number of features that were unique to the class and gained them the 6 inches extra. Inside the gangway was where the majority of the extra width was deployed making it easier to pass standing passengers and of course easier for the conductor to move around. Originally however the fear that these wide vehicles would block Central London to a stand still meant that the Met Police would not permit them to operate in Central London and thus they were banished to the suburbs!
Deliveries started in 1949 and they were deployed on routes that terminated outside the central zone such as Tottenham’s 41 and Alpertons 187 route. By June 1950 over the 300 of the 500 had been deployed when it was agreed that a trial could be done to see if the vehicles would be allowed to migrate into Central London. So on one Sunday 300+ RTWs were swapped to allow eight routes, all passing each other at Notting Hill Gate, to allow for maximum ‘meet ups’ of these 8ft ‘behemoths’ for a week to take place. London did not grind to a halt… So a second trial was arranged this time focusing on the vehicles being ‘forced’ to pass each other in Shaftesbury Avenue, followed by a third in the City, all passed off without incident and the wider RT was permitted to enter ‘downtown’.
This new permission meant that a lot of swapping took place as the extra width meant these vehicles were far more at home on some of Central London’s busiest routes, which is where they plodded on giving good service, albeit they were heavier on the steering for the poor old driver. However this migration to the centre also speeded up their withdrawal as new Routemasters were delivered, also 8ft wide, they started displacing the RTWs at a rate of knots. The end of their passenger days came in May of 1966, but being the same width as an RM they made ideal trainers, and staff vehicles and the very last one stayed with LT until 1971. For more on this class why not visit Ian's Bus Stop
Delivered to Chiswick in May 1950, RTW335s first allocation was in June 1950 where she made up one of the isolated batch of RTWs briefly at Bromley. In February 1951 she moved across to Willesden as part of the migration of RTWs into Central London, here she stayed until March 1954 when she went for first overhaul from where she was briefly sent to Dalston before moving on to Hackney. Returning again for overhaul in December 1957 she stayed as a works vehicle for some time before returning to Willesden in November 1961. Here she was destined to work out her days and was delicensed on July 1, 1965 and put into store.
Purchased by Joseph Schwahlen she left for a new home in Germany on February 17, 1966 and was delivered by our Chairman Peter Newman to Solingen in Germany. She would spend the next few decades being used by Hywema to demonstrate their vehicle lifts before being sold to a collector in France. Acquired by a UK group in 2004 she was returned back to the UK but initial plans for her restoration fell through and she was donated to the Ensign collection on the proviso it was restored. A protracted restoration taking nearly four years followed but the end results were pleasing and the vehicle made its first passenger carrying run back in service on December 7, 2013, some 48 years after her last run.
Date of first registration: June 1950
Chassis: Leyland PD2
Chassis number: 502132
Engine: Leyland 0600
Body Number: 3220
Seating: 56 seats, 26 downstairs & 30 upstairs