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On dead row

Wandsworth Garage 4 April 1979.

Long term out of use RM 195 and newly overhauled RM 1255 which appears to be parked on `dead row`. Not an unusual occurrence as, in my experience, newly overhauled buses often suffered failures in their first week back on the road. DMS 2330 is a fairly new vehicle but not immune from a place on `dead row` and typical of many B20 type Fleetlines.

Re: On dead row

Looking at RM195 slowly disappearing you can understand why the powers that be took steps to try and stop cannibalization. After any great time off the road a bus ends up needing a ton of stuff to make it roadworthy again. The problem in the Seventies was, of course, a tremendous shortage of parts and although it was discouraged you had to grab something off a dead bus to keep another bus running. Throw in complex, maintenance heavy DMSs and I bet the inside staff were pulling their hair out!

Re: On dead row

Scratching my head wondering what the six wheel trolley was used for other than moving items in and out of the stores.

Re: On dead row

Engine barrow Roy
RM 1255 was just parked up, continued at WD until next overhaul. The DMS is in store and had been like that for over a year and parts have disappeared of it....
RM 195 was moved to Turnham Green in 1980 and then to Aldenham for overhaul 3 months later. I can't be sure but I believe a heavy gang was set up in the old V garage to put together cannibalised buses. Wandsworth didn't have many cannibalised buses, but if you went to New Cross, there was a row of twenty or so parked outside! To far to go to the stores at Peckham.....

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RM 1585, RMC 1458 and several RTs

Re: On dead row

The assumption that RM 1255 `was just parked up` isn`t accurate. What I mentioned about it being temporarily on `dead row` is - in as much as it is in a corner of the garage where only unfit vehicles are parked. And stuffing it into a corner face in doesn`t suggest that any imminent trip on the 28`s is contemplated. If anything it`s emphasising the fact that it is an unfit bus. And judging from the other pictures I took it`s at a time of the day when few buses are present on site because they are out on the road. Where RM 1255 should be....

Having zoomed in, it`s obvious that the platform is very clean and showing no sign of much use in service since overhaul. I`m sticking to my belief that the bus has a problem and is temporarily out of use. The heavily stripped DMS nearby is 1563. Another `dead` B20 DMS is also close by (next to the transit van) in my original picture but is lost by the sizing of the shot when posted here. There may be other `dead` Fleetlines in the vicinity that didn`t get captured on film as I wouldn`t have been specifically interested in those but I`d say that Wandsworth Garage, on this date, had its fair share of dead buses.

It is correct that within a couple of weeks of the old Turnham Green Garage closing operationally in Spring 1980 it became a storage location and also a gathering point for cannibalised buses which were rebuilt sufficiently to get them into the overhaul system. In 1982 it became the base of Rolling Stock Inspectors to do withdrawal inspection of RM`s prior to moving them to The Sales Department.

Re: On dead row

Parked up means just that, On the wall meant "Unfit" anyway it wasn't anything serious as it wasn't delicensed, it has a dent on rear lower N/S panel so maybe waiting for the coachmaker? It had only been at WD since 19th March.

Re your experience of failures in first week following overhaul, that will come a a surprise to most I never seen any reference in any minutes or meetings of the Rolling Stock Engineer of multiple failures of buses of any type at any garage ex overhaul and I would have thought it would have been mentioned...
Considering the high standards of inspection in both Works at every stage and at Aldenham each bus was road tested and then thoroughly inspected by DtP officials prior to leaving, most would expect a low failure rate of freshly overhauled buses. I worked at many garages whilst with RSE and as far as I remember all garages were very happy to get newly overhauled buses into service to reduce their maintenance workloads. However if the gearbox or engine failed that was the garage's problem, we didn't touch them!

I did hear of Works v depots complaints on the tube, the depots claimed ex heavy overhaul trains needed more work at 1st servicing, this was in partly true due to bodies settling down under the weight of passengers and adjustments had to be made to doors etc.

However re buses, I only ever saw what garages that didn't have the luxury of two coachmakers for just 40 buses did to keep buses running at places like Cricklewood and New Cross.

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RM 1585, RMC 1458 and several RTs

Re: On dead row

Brian Watkinson
However if the gearbox or engine failed that was the garage's problem, we didn't touch them! .

The most common reasons for failure would be related to those two components or their ancillary systems surely? I presume from the cannibalisation of neighbouring vehicles that there was still a severe shortage of spare parts. With 40% of heavy vehicle repair at that time related to the cooling system and the reported high incidence of Alternator problems for RMs, then just a lack of available radiators or charging system items may account for this casualty.

Which components were removed from the body for attention at Chiswick when a vehicle arrived at Aldenham? The two subframes were removed and stripped but what happened to the attached items?

Re: On dead row

It was a combination of shortage of parts, lack of control of requisitioning and hoarding by some garages that caused the No Bus Available crisis at this time and led to widespread cannibalisation.
I was in Stores Audit at the time and was asked by the RSE Charlie Graystock, to investigate the Stock shortage problem.
There was no system in place at the time that told another District or RSE Stores control what other District stores was holding, a system of stock location was being trialled at Tottenham.

There was a spares shortage but it was made far worse by hoarding by certain garages of spares that could keep buses off the road.
When we did the weekend unit and sub unit checks after which each District was supposedly returned to its official float of parts, we had to jemmy open lockers and cupboards at some garages to find hoarded starters and alternators fuel pumps, (you name it they had it!) that were being kept on the orders of the Dock Foremen "in case we need one"

The classic example I found of total lack of control and inept storekeeping was there were 10 RMs off the road at Camberwell district waiting side arms, while at Southall who had no RMs in the district there were 20 sitting in the Stores!!
Some District Storekeepers were also borrowing engines/gearboxes etc from other Districts on the basis of the defective item having the loaning District's "notes" sent in to Chiswick so the replacement part went back to the loaning garage. Instead they sent their own notes in with the dirty part so getting the part back from Chiswick for their stock, often sending the "right" notes in with the next dirty part leaving the loaning District short of parts in the intervening period! To overcome this Chiswick set up a NBA control team that authorised the despatch of all units to garages based on NBA returns from the operating Dept.

To answer the next point Roy, everything was taken off the RM "chassis" (rad, complete axles, steering box, carden shafts etc etc ) everything except the complete engine and the gearbox. The items taken off were all sent to Chiswick for overhaul, irrespective of date fitted.

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RM 1585, RMC 1458 and several RTs

Re: On dead row

An interesting side note to this picture is that the official sale date of DMS 1563 to Wombwell Diesels was 5.4.79, the day after this picture was taken. If it were collected on this day, I suspect RM 1255 would have needed to be moved or been mobile!

DMS 2330 lasted three months at WD, succumbing in April 1978. It was eventually repaired and put back into service in May 1981, going on to last a further decade in the capital.

My bus number (if any): DMS2216