Hop on a bus

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Peter Insole, 12 September 2016.

  1. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Due to popular demand I am starting this thread for those amongst us who (dare I say like me?) suffer/share a secondary passion for old buses. It will hopefully also allow us to chat away on the subject without hijacking any more of the Love Lane thread!!

    I was personally gratified to note that the London Transport RT and a Trolleybus feature in the opening posts, both subjects being closest to my heart, and indeed I have been quietly doing artwork of, searching in vain for any decent models and even starting but as yet not finishing attempts to scratch-build for the last 30 odd years or more! Hope had completely faded and I had almost given up when along came that huge Revell 1/24th Routemaster-disaster, starting me off all over again. Initially excited, but then crushed by disappointment, the delightful Hachette RT came to the most timely rescue. At last I have the pleasure of knowing that here was something where a decent representation could actually be readily attainable!

    It will be a while before I can allow myself some time to fully dedicate to it, so will start with an initial look and perhaps post odd bits and bobs meantime!

    ap goodmayes RT3225 aug '74 1.jpg ap goodmayes rt3225 compSAM_0466.JPG ap west ham garage - RT3417 LYR836  under repair, sep. '75.jpg ap west ham garage - rt3417 compSAM_0474.JPG

    Critical overall shape is pretty much spot on, something that has completely eluded every manufacturer's attempts to date. I'm sorry to say it, but some have even got it spectacularly wrong!

    Anyway, I thought it would be an idea to assess how easily it can be detailed or modified by dismantling it and finding out what individual components and materials it was made of.

    SAM_7401.JPG SAM_7402.JPG

    I had to make a special tool for these screws from an old long reach Phillips screwdriver!


    Once the chassis is off, the lower saloon lifts out...

    SAM_7404.JPG SAM_7405.JPG

    There are 3 central rods that run right up to the roof. They are loose in sockets under the ceiling and serve no structural purpose whatsoever! I can only imagine that they were intended to assist pre aligning the parts during assembly in the sweatshop (sorry, I meant factory!).

    SAM_7406.JPG SAM_7409.JPG SAM_7408.JPG

    And finally, the cab, bulkhead and bonnet assemblies are plastic and glued in place. It appears that it will be fairly straightforward to carefully remove each piece. Any lost tabs and pins could be replaced by various methods where deemed necessary!

    Only the glazing is riveted, but that should be no problem to drill out!


    Work has started on the chassis but it is away for workshop attention by an expert at the moment, so more pics when it returns!

    Last edited: 13 September 2016
  2. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Don't have my sample to hand but recall front tyres look distinctly 'radial' - I'm certain the first pic of real thing above shows cross ply tyres. This an assumption on my part, not being a bus freak, I think they would have been 9.00 x 20 - hence the spindly appearance - but maybe in much later life they had radials fitted of a different size?

    Hardly worth replacing, but I reckon some delicate work with a paintbrush to create subtle shading would make a big difference to appearance - tyres are often overlooked on models yet they have a big visual impact.
    Once the silver wheel centres are changed to brown (any idea what the LT colour for this was?) they'll look far better.
    Last edited: 13 September 2016
  3. Dog Star

    Dog Star Western Thunderer

    Ah, memories... route 156 was the way home from town when very young. A funny route as on most days the bus would run into the local garage and stand for a few minutes before continuing on the journey. Always a race to get to the front seats at the top.
  4. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    I know very little about buses, Peter, but regard those of the 50s and early 60s, up to but not including the Leyland Atlantean, with great affection.

    Here's one for your collection. Another from the AEC stable.

    RLH 68.  Northwick Park.  June 1969.  FINAL.  Personal Collection.  Photo by Brian Dale.jpg

    RLH 68. Northwick Park. June 1969.

    The red looks more orange than I remember, although this is on Kodachrome II, well known for it's vibrant reds.

    In my photo collection are a few more - Southern Vectis, Maidstone & District and Southdown mostly, and usually in black and white. I'll put them up on here - or better still, rather than hijack your thread I'll start one of my own if there's sufficient interest on this forum.

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  5. Dan Randall

    Dan Randall Western Thunderer

    I'd certainly be interested Brian (especially in any Southern Vectis stuff) and given the number of modellers that like to plonk a bus on an overbridge, many others would be too. :)):))


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  6. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks guys for your replies. Interesting point about the tyres Os, but did you know that London Transport used different tyres at each garage for specific routes? The example shown in that pic of the RT under repair at West Ham was of a Seven Kings (AP) bus. It was fitted with specially strengthened sidewall tyres! I have also noted that some had larger O/D ones, and although I'm only guessing, may have been fitted intentionally to slightly alter the gear ratios? I bought a second-hand van several years ago that had slightly larger than spec wheels. The difference in performance in top gear was surprisingly noticeable, but then so too was it's distinctly reduced ability to pull away under load or climb hills!

    Thanks as well Brian for that super pic. I go a bit gooey over those old RLH's - they worked my familiar 178 from Maryland Point through Stratford! Incidentally, EFE's model of an RLH is a little cracker - probably one of the best they have ever produced?!

    In a way I hope that this thread will be a broad one, so no fear of hijack! More memories and pics the merrier please!

  7. David Varley

    David Varley Western Thunderer

    Might be of interest -
  8. Jon Fitness

    Jon Fitness Western Thunderer

    I managed to knock up this 1:43 scale Bolton Transport all Leyland PD2 from a much modified Wistow kit. Loads of work but the end result puts a smile on my face!
    IMG_0196 (1280x960).jpg IMG_0197 (960x1280).jpg

  9. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    I have a few photographs of RTs taken in the mid 1970s shortly after we moved to Aylesbury. These are a mixture of mine and my dad's. We used to Red RTs and RMs on the evening works journey from Aldenham.


  10. Yorkshire Dave

    Yorkshire Dave Western Thunderer

    Where would you source the LT decals, destination blinds, fare charts, AEC radiator badge, adverts, number plates, garage plates etc?
  11. DougT

    DougT Western Thunderer

    Fantastic photos, the advert on the side of the bus at Edgware is obviously for a model railway exhibition And what the driver of the 347 is doing is anybody's guess!!
  12. unklian

    unklian Western Thunderer

    A survivor and a recommendation to visit the East Anglian Transport Museum at Carlton Coleville Lowestoft . I fell in love with trolley buses again, what a supremely civilised form of transport, so quiet ....... RIMG4679.JPG
  13. oldravendale

    oldravendale Western Thunderer

    That pulls some files from the memory bank!! When I was at school in Harrow we used to wait for the works buses from Aldenham which were all pre war RTs at the time. They had different bodywork from the post war RTs with roof route boxes front and rear and the cab windows had a downward curve to the lower body line. There's some good pictures here. IAN'S BUS STOP: The LONDON TRANSPORT RTs I don't think I ever took a picture of an RT - there were so many of them!! And the excitement when we saw RM1, RM2 and RML3 being what we'd now call beta tested I suppose, on certain routes in London.

    And I went to Carlton Colville many years ago, Unklian. It's a bit too far for a day trip so I've not been back, but I certainly agree with your assessment. It doesn't receive the publicity it deserves, but perversely maybe that's why it's so evocative.

    Last edited: 15 September 2016
  14. mth

    mth Western Thunderer

    You can alway's kit bash it into this................
    1059 VLT66 Routemaster Tow Bus.jpg
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  15. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Hi MTH, Have you no shame? Wasn't the RM ugly enough before doing that to it?!

    The trouble with using the Revell kit for converting into a breakdown tender beastie is that it would be based on the very parts that are the most horrendously erroneous anyway!!

  16. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Fantastic shots, thanks to all!

    I would add a further question about the Edgware RT. How had that poor old tree bashed, blindless former Seven Kings (AP) bus got there?

    There is a tale to tell: Back in those heady but sad last days of those busses I am perversely proud to recall that I was given the massively illegal opportunity to drive RT3016! I didn't take it very far, maybe my courage failed me or I was just too excited to concentrate, but I was immediately and completely besotted by the old girl! Admittedly, her steering was rather heavy, but oh, what a mover! Smooth, so smooth! Far too easy for a complete novice! I was hooked!

    In a moment of utter madness, I contacted LT and enquired about purchasing one! I was informed that the quoted price included a full Certificate of Fitness etc. Thankfully I decided not pursue the matter any further. A few years later I had a conversation with someone who had done so. He recounted that his bus was an absolute wreck, and that buying another one as a donor from a scrap dealer was the only option. When he acquired his "spares only" Christmas tree he found it to be in such good order that he had it tested, and it "sailed through with flying colours"!

    London Transport had clearly got itself into a terrible state. I have been assured that their system of identifying vehicles for scrap or re-licensing was supposed to be efficient, but the evidence of our own eyes was there for all to see. How many times were apparently healthy and even freshly overhauled vehicles withdrawn or relegated to training and staff duties while those retained for further service were in absolutely dire condition?

    Dare we imagine that this might have been deliberate? After all, the staff and public would get so fed up with those awful old fashioned broken down heaps of junk that they would be glad to be rid of them in favour of some lovely shiny new OMO jobs! "Make 'em suffer and they'll be grateful for what they get" or just quietly go away and let us get on with our "Modernisation Scheme" seems to have been the policy.

    Our railway line had to close we were told, as there weren't enough passengers using it. Mind you, there were only five trains at odd times per day, and none made any connections at either end! Does that sound familiar?

    Oh dear, I am a bit cynical?!

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  17. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    Fox transfers do some LT and other bus stuff.

  18. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks Col for the Fox suggestion - I hadn't occurred to me that they might do bus transfers as well!

    To think it has been worrying me for so long and that I have measured and drafted artwork for all of the RT/RM/Central area and Green Line graphics already, but never got round to finding the best way of getting it made up!!

  19. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Hi Dave, I knew I'd seen that old Seven Kings bus before!

    The long hot summer of '76, happier times - My familiar stamping ground, Ilford York Road! (I went back to live just round the corner from here, 1979 to '83).


    ap ilford york road july'76 RT2106 6.jpg ap ilford york road july'76 RT2106 7.jpg ap ilford york road july'76 RT2106 8.jpg
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  20. AndyB

    AndyB Western Thunderer

    Please excuse my ignorance, but can someone tell me what the 'stencil'-like letters and numbers (just behind the driver's door - "AP12" in the picture above) signify?
    Were they the equivalent of a shed-plate on a loco? Or maybe a coded shopping (maintenance) date? Or the driver's number? Or....?