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The end of RML 2557

Thirty five years ago this week the first red RML was written off when 2557 was destroyed by fire at Holloway Garage.

In a fortuitous example of being in the right place at right time, I was able to get these pictures which I`ve never put into the public domain - until now.

Whilst driving an early turn on the 27`s on Sunday 13 Februray 1983 I looked, as I always did force of habit, through a gap between buildings near Tufnell Park Station on the approach to Archway for a few seconds window of opportunity to see into the outside parking area at HT Garage. Created when an influx of buses from the `old `Holloway Garage (J) joined the already large allocation of the former Highgate Garage (HT), it had long ceased to be used for routine daily open parking due to schedule changes and vehicle reductions. But for many months, two long term `off the road` Routemasters had been `dumped` there - RM 163 and RML 2557.

Everything was `normal` as I drove past around 10am. But on my next trip four hours later I was amazed to see that, even in the few seconds of opportunity, RML 2557 had been destroyed by fire. A quick run from Archway terminus to HT Garage on the pretex of topping up our radiator on what was a bitterly cold day enabled a quick look. Amazingly there was nobody around. Despite the cold there was a air of warmth around the wreckage and, of course, a strong smell of burning and water everywhere. Quite surreal. I didn`t have my camera with me and, fearful that I wouldn`t make it back before dark and that the bus might (but probably not) be moved that night, I phoned a mate and asked if he could get us to HT from Stamford Brook as soon as I finished work.

So in fading light I got these pictures:

I went back the following morning when the light was much better;

It`s not often that you can take a picture of the top deck from the lower deck!

Maybe in it`s immobile state it was moved to the outside yard by trying to drag it with a chain placed around the platform pole. Never a good idea...

Funny how the windscreen double skin is never so obvious in normal conditions

If ever proof was needed of fibre glass not liking heat..

And how bizarre that the gold fleetname has re-appeared

Re: The end of RML 2557

What caused the fire Neil? Was it a non runner or did the engine run? Looks remarkably like the same damage as that to RMs 1768 and 500 when flywheels exploded, or was it arson? Fibre glass doesn't burn half as well as the magnesium in the RM pillars when it gets going, wee used to do firework displays with the swarf!

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

Re: The end of RML 2557

In the clear out of junk posts we seem to have lost your reply Neil!

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

Re: The end of RML 2557

I noticed that earlier!

Doesn`t surprise me as the `junk` reply wasn`t in usual forum speak which was enough to stop me from looking at the link that went with it.

I can`t remember exactly what I wrote other than to re-affirm what I put in the original text along the lines of 2557 being a `dead `bus for a long time in the same position in the yard before the fire.

I don`t recall any obvious reason for it being out of use. It was quite complete including with an engine - but if it was capable of running I don`t know. But a unit change such as an engine or gearbox wouldn`t be a likely reason to abandon the bus for so long at a time when there wasn`t a spare parts supply problem. And it would be a careless oversight if it was a B Frame fracture for it not to have got to Aldenham.

What do you reckon about that bent platform pole? Looks very much like a clumsy attempt to move it either on the road in desperation or a lazy way of pulling it out of the garage to the outside yard.

Re: The end of RML 2557

Yes that is more or less what you wrote earlier. In the garages they used the platform stanchion to start off towing buses backwards off a pit or off the wall if non runners instead of using the towing eye under the platform. They put a chain round the base of the stanchion and into the towing eye at the front of an RT. It was only intended to get a bus moving.

The base of a stanchion is very strong. well certainly on the RT, RMs less so.... looks like that one didn't want to budge, maybe the shoes were rusted on.
The RMs used to have a towing bracket on the rear of the bottom rail of the rear lower frame, but these may have been taken off when the rear corner bottom compass rails were removed when the rubber compass panels were fitted.

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

Re: The end of RML 2557

I don`t ever recall seeing a bus moved in a garage by putting a chain around the platform pole. It only takes five guys to push an empty RM on level ground and that`s how I`ve seen incapacitated buses moved in garages.

It was quite usual for dead RM`s being made ready for scrap collection to be pulled out of parking bays at Bus Sales by using a chain attached to the towing eye of an MD and the platform pole of an RM. Admittedly some of those RM`s had seized brakes but there was very little strength in the platform pole and these bent readily. On the basis of what I`ve seen, I would never advise any attempt to drag an RM via the platform pole.