Routemaster - RM1361
64 seats (36 upstairs and 28 downstairs)
PA system which makes this bus ideal for tours of London.
One of London’s icons just the way you remember them! Despite having served the capital for over 40 years as a front line service bus and having undergone many modifications along the way, RM1361 was returned to its original look following a one year restoration that saw it completely stripped down and returned to the look they proudly wore when new. With original trim, colours and lighting this bus is sure to evoke memories of London from a different age. Retaining its original open platform area an with a friendly conductor to greet you and your guests, this vehicle is sure to be a talking point and provoke memories from anyone who used to travel on Routemasters.
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
RM1361 entered service at Stockwell Garage In December 1962, thus starting it connection with South London that it would carry through until withdrawal. Throughout the 1960’s it moved within the vicinity spending time at Thornton Heath, Rye Lane, Camberwell and Brixton. The 1970s would see it move from Camberwell through Tottenham, Streatham, whilst the 1980s would see it go first to Peckham, then to Poplar, vefore returning to South London at Stockwell, then Camberwell again. However it would be Brixton Garage that 1361 would call home for most of the rest of its life going there in December 1992. It first received an Iveco engine whilst here and working on the route 159 where it also wore the attractive red and cream route branding this route displayed for a period in the 1990’s. On privatisation it passed to Cowie Group, which later would become Arriva London North and South.
In 2001 it received a Scania engine, before being withdrawn when the 137’s was finally converted from Routemasters in July 2004. It passed on to Ensign who sold it to a private preservationist who instigated a return of it to original visual and interior condition. The vehicle was then loanded back to Ensignbus for use within its heritage fleet, where it is a popular performer.
Date of first registration: 5 December 1962
Chassis: AEC Routemaster
Chassis number: RM 1361
Engine: Scania D9
Chassis/Body Code: 8/5RM5/8
Body: Park Royal
Body Number: B1110
Seating: 64 seats (36 upstairs & 28 downstairs)