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Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Wee bit of a debate on Facebook about this. Are any of the group's contributors who worked at Aldenham able to confirm whether or not RM6 received a special re-fit of it's original body in 1984?

My bus number (if any): RMs737, 875 and 1353 (Driver)

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

This is from Ian's bus stop for RM6

4/80 TB from o/h (Bromley), body B159
81-83 TB
7/84 TB to Aldenham overhaul
10/84 V from overhaul(Stamford Brook), body B6 (specially arranged body-swap)
V used on 9
85-86 V
11/87 N transfer (Norwood)
1991 Iveco engine fitted
1/94 BN transfer (Brixton)

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Graham Laurie
Wee bit of a debate on Facebook about this. Are any of the group's contributors who worked at Aldenham able to confirm whether or not RM6 received a special re-fit of it's original body in 1984?
Yes it did. without any doubt whatsoever. Done to death on here a while back!
Conspiracy theory based on it not having "a canopy panel with plated over electrical socket", completely disproved by the fact that most RMs do not have the original canopy panel as they corroded a lot due to water leaks!

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Thanks Brian and Ian for that confirmation.

My bus number (if any): RMs737, 875 and 1353 (Driver)

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

I have in my possession the written reply from the Works Manager to the request made by the LT Museum for RM 6 to reappear from overhaul with B6. This came about by the coincidence (and it was just that, nothing more) of RM 6 carrying B159 being called in or overhaul at the same time as RM 192 carrying B6.

It was my suggestion for this to be done in order to create an early RM with body, frames and bonnet number of the `original` number so that it might at some later stage become the `production` RM in the LT Museum.

Both buses were non-dismount overhauls so they just changed identity.

The instruction is dated 12 July 1984 and comes from, and is signed by, the Works Manager. Under the heading WASP Programme it says:

`At the request of the Transport Museum, two RM vehicles input on the 10th July will have their bonnet numbers, reg numbers and chassis numbers changed over such as: RM 192 amend to read RM 6 and RM 6 amend to read RM 192`.

I have pictures (taken on the same day) of both buses undergoing their non-dismount overhaul. That doesn`t, of course, prove any of the above - but what I`ve quoted is what happened.

The said pictures are digitalised and are ready to upload and then to post on here but having had a very long day today and another one tomorrow, I`m not going to do it now!

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Thanks Neil, sounds similar to what was done to RM666 by it's previous Newport-based owners when they acquired the WLT 875 registration and reunited it with B.875, reconstituting it as RM875 so now there are actually TWO RM875s in existence, the Red Bus Edinburgh's former RM666 and the former Kelvin Scottish original which ironically carries B910, the original body of preserved Kelvin Scottish RM910.

Look forward to the photos.

My bus number (if any): RMs737, 875 and 1353 (Driver)

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Neil G
I

`At the request of the Transport Museum, two RM vehicles input on the 10th July will have their bonnet numbers, reg numbers and chassis numbers changed over such as: RM 192 amend to read RM 6 and RM 6 amend to read RM 192`.


Interested that you mention that they were "non dismount WASP overhauls", Neil I looked at the Aldenham paperwork "Overhaul Programme" and that lists RM 6 as being due for WASP "1" 3 July 1984, coming in with B159 and A/B 154

However the "Advice Of Body Chassis Changes at Overhaul" ( AOBCCO) used by the Mount Shop shows 24/9/84 RM 192 becoming RM 6 with body change to B6 and chassis A/B 6!!
The AOBCCO for 12 September 1984 shows RM 6 becoming RM 192 with body change to B159 and chassis A/B 159.

So what happened to A/B 154? It just became A/B 6?

I can see why some people believe that the change was simply to the white B number under the canopy!!

On that subject of changing chassis numbers, on a Facebook page, following the posting of pictures of RM 6, we have been doing checks on the A/B numbers allocated to the original AEC chassis numbers, against the current A/B numbers and only RM 1978 of those checked, carries the correct AEC to recorded A/B numbers! The others were all wrong. The buses we checked were RMs 70, 188, 1357 and 1368 and although all were within 5 of the allocated A/B number, none were correct.

There are many explanations for this. Original allocation of A/B numbers was incorrectly recorded OR applied: The numbers were mixed when side members were changed or Aldenham changed the numbers to match the body numbers! but that doesn't sound right as many don't and what was to be gained from doing it?

Although the official RM "chassis numbers" are the RM number, not the A/B number, LT still needed to know which A/B frames chassis "RM 1978" actually comprised of for Works and garage purposes.

Meticulous records were kept at Aldenham at all stages of the overhaul process and by the Stats Office. All body and chassis changes were recorded on the AOBCCO sheets.

The records of what comprised a Routemaster, body number and A/B numbers were used by both Works and garages for maintenance and programming purposes. This coupled with the complexities of continuous taxation and the Works Float system with its body changes and changes to stock numbers, it seems very odd to me that these numbers are not correct now.
Any other ideas anyone?

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Brian

I have that same overhaul intake paperwork - somewhere. If you have your copies to hand, what frames did RM 192 arrive into Aldenham on?

If it`s A/B 6 and the body was B6, then all that happened was that RM 192 was re-numbered as RM 6. No body was lifted, no frames were exposed. Both buses were overhauled in situ in the new area created for non-dismounts which was away from the line beneath the gantry. As the body lift system had ceased some time previously, the re-numbering and continuous taxation system ceased too. The RM 6 / RM 192 situation was, therefore, a straight number swap between those two vehicles and thus the only instance of an identity change happening to a non-dismount overhaul - and happened only by special arrangement.

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

I can only find what RM 192 left Aldenham with after July 1980 overhaul Neil, from the Finishing line sheets and that was indeed A/B 6.

Your analysis of these "overhauls" is supported by the paperwork I have been able to access. Unfortunately it is all handwritten, even the programmes that used to be typed!
I magnified the AOBCCO sheets for September 1984 and they show as follows :-

RM 192 arrived at Aldenham with Body B6 A/B 6 and left with Body B159 A/B 154
RM 6 arrived at Aldenham with Body B159 A/B 154 and left with Body B6 A/B 6

I made a mistake earlier in reading the "chassis of RM after its March 1980 overhaul as A/B 159 so there wasn't a spare A/B hanging around...:)

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

I think your findings confirm the scenario as described. It would not surprise me if it was poor handwriting or just a simple mistake that mentions frames 154. We examined the facts at the time (and got someone to check that RM 192 really did have A/B 6 before it arrived at Aldenham) to reach the conclusion that the identity change was worth doing to create an early production RM where `everything matched`. It was never the intention to go into `nit-picking` detail as that would be both lost on, and of no interest to, the majority of visitors to the LT Museum if RM 6 was to be there at some point way in the future.

And it was important to take that pro-active approach then as RM`s were already being withdrawn and almost none were around that had `everything matching` nor were ever likely to be again because body exchanges on overhaul had already stopped and overhauls were not likely to go on for much longer. I had a way of being able to see the Overhaul Intake sheets that were produced every month. It was just on a routine reading of one that I noticed what would probably be the last ever chance of a low bonnet number and low body number being on separate vehicles that would both be in Works simultaneously. It had to be worth following up because we had already started to talk about the choice of RM to be in the LT Museum.

I`ll be honest, it was a `grey area` as regards the legality of two vehicles exchanging identity as whatever the forerunner of the DVLA was then had not been happy with the concession of continuous licensing resulting in identity changes. Maybe you can expand on that, Brian, but my understanding was that when the `traditional` overhaul system ceased, so would the `renumbering practice` and I seem to recall that assurances to the effect were given. I may be wrong but I also recall that LT were under a lot of pressure to stop doing what would have been illegal anywhere else and the fact that it was still happening by historic dispensation in the early 1980`s was at odds with general vehicle licencing policy by then. I suspect that it was only because the practice died a natural death when body lifts stopped that the heat was off because I do remember being braced for a `knock-back` in our request given that we were asking to do this long after the dust settled.

Given that most RM`s carried four different registration numbers over their lifetime, what we asked for with RM 6 wasn`t really any different except for no body lift taking place and the timing of the request being questionable!

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Hi Neil My edited reply has disappeared I must have taken too long finding the information !
I made a mistake with the A/B of RM 192 on the AOBCCO sheets for 1984 I magnified them and the A/B for RM 192 was A/B 154 not 159, as you know these are handwritten sheets and far from clear!

In summary from the AOBCCO sheets and supported by Finishing line data from previous overhauls

RM 192 went to Aldenham with B6 on A/B6 It left with B 159 A/B154

RM 6 went to Aldenham with B159 on A/B 154 and left with B6 A/B 6

Given the time both buses were in the Works (non dismount overhauls took far far longer than dismount ones) I have no doubt that RM 6 has B6 and A/B 6.

Your appraisal of what led to the death of continuous taxation is spot on, it had been queried outside of London quite a few times, when I got RTL 960 I was puzzled why the Leyland plate showed a different chassis number to that on the brass plate, and I worked there!! Alan Bond educated me on the details of chassis number swapping, I'd assumed up to then the log books were altered!
Yes, the Works Float system was finished and due to the small numbers of RMs going through it had no use, as it had been in 50 buses a week days a superb production control tool for regulating the mix of buses in the Works at any one time.

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

I can remember Neil T and I thinking at the time that non-dismount overhauls would be either the death of Routemasters or of Aldenham - or both - as we couldn`t believe how long it took per bus.

We were in a better position than most people to know what the achievable and always maintained timescale was for a body lift, flow line overhaul as Mortlake was the only garage to get the same buses back from overhaul - albeit with a different bonnet number. Three weeks or fifteen working days was almost 100% reliable. So reliable that we knew on what day to expect an out-shopped bus to arrive. And it happened, on the predicted day. Time and time again. There was a published programme of intakes available to view in advance but there wasn`t a published programme of out-shopping. Not really needed because it logically followed that every bus going in had to be replaced by a bus coming out.

But Mortlake was different. We had our `own` buses back because of the special water filling system fitted. So that often meant an out-shopped loan bus came as temporary cover until our `own` bus was ready - hence knowing that this would happen three weeks after said bus went to overhaul. In any other garage this pattern didn`t happen and most people outside of Aldenham would be hard pressed to know long an RM overhaul took. We saw the proof repeatedly.

How farcical was it that non-dismounts were taking many weeks to `overhaul`? In the case of RM 6, nearly three months. And the finish quality of non-dismounts was poor in comparison to how the system once was. How many of us found it fascinating to see the Aldenham overhaul process in action with bus bodies tipped on invertors and also being transported high above a long line of managed activity? One thing that I thought summed up the futility of non-dismounts was that the area around each bus looked like a rubbish tip. I should be able to upload some pictures tonight of RM`s 6 and 192 - you`ll see what I mean about the clutter around them. I`m going to guess that it will make you sad to see what things degenerated to.

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Well I'm blowed, my edited post turned up!! :)
WASPs were a last ditch attempt by the CME for Aldenham to hang onto some work Neil. The garages had GASPs, which was an amended 16 rota system and the non dismount overhauls could have been done there and then to Aldenham for painting.

We tried non-dismount overhauls in 1972 on a few buses in the 500 range. They were done over a pit in the Mount Shop, no 4 post Hywema lifts in those days!

They took twice as long to do as it was almost impossible to change a panhard beam which a lot of them needed and have a mechanical overhaul going on the same time as bodymakers were in the pit doing the multitude of L/S underfloor work needed.

The loss of the two height position gantries - the higher position allowing underfloor work to be done and lower body panels then dropped down to normal height allowing roof work and upper saloon body work, also slowed things down as this work had to be done on moveable wooden platforms. These buses were no less 6 weeks in the works

I left Aldenham in 1978 but got a job that required me to go to Aldenham from time to time, I went in the Works towards the end to find a great lot of open spaces, a few old mates who lived locally hanging on and little work being done as the move to Chiswick was approaching. Yes it was sad and worse for the staff that had committed to LT and moved to Aylesbury, Watford, St Albans etc who in the end lost their jobs in the BEL fiasco!

I was lucky I need to leave Aldenham to cut down my 5 hour travelling time having moved to Kent just before the Planning Manager thought I'd like to go back to Aldenham again in 1975!

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

As promised, the pictures of RM 6 and RM 192 taken in Aldenham Works on 22 August 1984 .....














Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Thanks for those Neil :)
Was this how "WASPS" were done in 1984 Neil? So much body damage showing and the only inspection markings showing at least in the photograph, for work to be done is a new lower screen on RM 6 and some R/R U/S Emergency Door work and a rear panel to be removed and repaired on RM 192? I hope the bodywork was done later prior to repainting? Garages did more work for repaints!!
Have you any finished photos?
AS an aside I can't place where this is in the Works, is that the paint line in front in the rear shot of RM 6? If so this is in the area that Leylands took over unless the number of paint booths was reduced.

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

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Brian

Unfortunately I don`t have pictures of either bus at the end of the `overhaul`. I would have liked some but short of being able to source the information from someone at Aldenham (and we kept asking), it was no longer a case of knowing almost to the day which part of the Works the bus had progressed to. The pictures were taken when both buses had been there for a few weeks and with little to suggest a rapid rate of progress, it would have been just a lucky guess as to when RM 6 was nearing completion. Would anyone have thought it would be outshopped some three months after going in for overhaul?

You`ve picked up straight away on the few inspection markings on either bus that would normally indicate a fair bit of body work about to happen. Under the old system, a bus was barely through the door at Aldenham when it was covered in inspection marks. In my pictures, both buses have been in works several weeks and there are few signs of meaningful progress. And plenty of signs still of road dirt, fuel deposits and, on the o/s front of RM 6, black stains indicative of a garage whose Leyland Nationals were clumsily oil filled with the slops being picked up by the wash brushes and subsequently beaten onto the front of every following bus. Yes, that`s how the once rapid, comprehensive, impressive overhaul procedure dropped in standard. All that extra down time per bus resulting in a finish that suggested it had been rushed.

I cannot honestly remember where in the works RM 6 was. The lack of roof height and of outside windows must narrow down the location possibilities, so the far (Leylands) end could be it. I do know that it wasn`t near RM 192 which I think was in the Accident Shop area. I really wanted both buses to be together but they were nowhere near close.

Eventually on October 11th, RM 6 arrived at Stamford Brook - but with no tax disc so it couldn`t go out in service. Then some unusual adverts arrived for it which turned out to be relevant to a British Airways commercial that required a very tidy RM with these adverts on both sides and filming with the Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial in the background. So its first trip out on October 16th wasn`t actually in service but for something rather prestigious. During it, the offside indicator stopped working and then the gearbox red light came on with the loss of third and top gear - luckily the latter was towards the end of the filming so we came back to Stamford Brook slowly and the bus spent the next two and a half days off the road. It then managed eleven days use before having to be left at HT garage with the same gearbox problem again. It then spent six days off the road and managed half a day in use before the offside indicator failed again twice the following day. And so it went on - the most unreliable RM that I ever encountered.

Re: Was RM6 reunited with Body 6 in 1984?

Thanks Neil, the date thing explains a lot, the external marking was chalk, yellow wax crayon was used on glass and lasted much longer. Probably a lot of the external marks have faded or been rubbed off, that is why the Inspection Schedules were filled in. Shots of RM 6 at V suggest at least some panels were changed and the front dome dents knocked out!

Using wax crayon on external panels was totally forbidden as it bled through the finished paint as one apprentice and the Paint line Foreman found to their dismay when the said apprentice left a rude message for another apprentice on the side of a bus in the Body Shop in yellow crayon :)

I did Pre-view Inspection during my apprenticeship, it coincided with the changed Inspection rules on what was removed and what was left on.
We had marked up an RT and an RM and the Chief Inspector Len Leatherdale turned up with a wet swab and rubbed most of the crosses out! Only those panels with more than two large dents or cut through were to be replaced.
The dented ones were not even replaced by a BP (panel beat)mark.

When the first bus went through the Works the gloss showed up the dents even more and grown men cried at the result :( It was awful!! The overhauls looked worse than repaints which had started in the April> After that some Inspectors resorted to making some of the dents a lot worse than they were....

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