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4 September anniversary

To mark the anniversary date of the first mass Routemaster withdrawals on September 4th 1982, here`s RM 1338 a month before that significant date on August 4 1982. It`s at the bottom of the Haymarket turning towards Trafalgar Square. From September 4 it was `game over` for this bus.

It probably would have been easier to accept so many withdrawals had it been possible to exclusively remove damaged, unfit and imminent overhaul buses to make the numbers up but when the cuts were so extensive it was frustrating to see so many perfectly good buses be available for service one day and surplus to requirements the next.

But it wasn`t entirely unexpected as these were vehicles already beyond their original intended lifespan. The greater surprise had to be the extensive refurbishment of RML`s ten years later and the buying back of some RM`s at the same time that had left London years earlier. In 1982 I don`t think any of us saw that coming!

Re: 4 September anniversary

Mentioning LT buying Routemasters back, when I ran Nostalgiabus at Mictham, we operated about 8 RMs at different times on a mixture of Surrey school routes, commercial routes and private hire.

LT approached us to buy the buses back; I gave them a price and was met with "oh that's far too expensive". I told them the buses earned the company more than that in a year. They went away. I done some costings on the use of RMs on the Surrey school routes and found that RMs were cheaper to operate than rear-engined buses, the benefits being the RMs were paid for and with little residue value compared to the box buses at about £1200 a month to finance. Then the better MPG, better reliability and quicker loading times the RM came out tops. the most unreliable bit was the conductor!

We ran the following: RM120, RM121 (owned by LBPG Sales); RMC1462 (Jim Macnamara); RM1183(destroyed by fire); RM1394; RM1571 (later open-topped courtesy of Southend Lane bridge); RM2156; RM2180, these being ex Timebus. We also had WFO410, I forget the fleet number; RM1080 ex Metroline was bought for spares; there was another Timebus bus which carried the Watford & District livery but was in such poor mechanical condition we never used it, later bought by the late Ted Price minus roof which went on RMC1462. I understand Ted found another roof and rebuilt the bus. We had another RM in the 2000 series with illuminated advert, this had been chopped around by a film company, dismantled for spares. We got it from Memory Lane.

RM1183 was ex London Country and painted green. It met with South Ruislip bridge and had the roof off RM1180. It was destroyed by an arson attack in the depot in 2000; RM1571 was parked next to it and was damaged on one side but repaired. RMC1462 met with Latchmere Road bridge and now carries the roof from the Watford & District bus.

Despite the problems with bridges, the RM fleet still made a reasonable profit for the company, so it wasn't worth selling them.

My bus number (if any): RML2532