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HISTORY - RT1702

In the Beginning -- RT1702 began its life when chassis number 09613644 was delivered by AEC to Park Royal in March 1950 and allocated to Park Royal body number L1435. The completed bus was delivered to London Transport at Chiswick in May of the same year and given LT body number 3675 and fleet number RT1702. It was registered on 24th July 1950.

 

At that time plans had been made by the Government for four buses - RTs' 1692, 1702 (Photo), 3070 and 3114 (the latter two being Weymann bodied buses) - to make a goodwill tour of eight European countries to publicize the forthcoming 1951 Festival of Britain. Although London Transport was introducing a new livery of all red with a cream band to their fleet, these four buses had the older livery of cream surround on the top deck windows. Three buses were converted for the tour into mobile exhibitions, showing views and information about Britain; whilst RT3070 was to be used to give passengers rides around the towns they visited. RTs' 1702 and 3144 were driven to Hull Docks and shipped to Oslo on the SS Tinto and at about the same time RTs' 1692 and 3070 were shipped from Millwall docks on the SS Silvio.

 

Reunited at Oslo, the buses - the first ever Ambassadors abroad for London Transport - were checked for the tour which would take them through Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. They traveled over 4000 miles without any mechanical trouble visiting 26 towns en route including Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, The Hague, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Liege, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Dijon, Lyons, Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Poitiers, Tours, Orleans, Paris, Rouen, Lille and Dunkirk.

 

One small problem was caused by single-deck tram overhead wires having to be lifted, in several towns, to allow the buses to pass underneath. Over 122,000 people visited the buses and on their return to Great Britain on 30th October 1950, the buses and their crews were welcomed back by the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin.

 

After the tour the buses went to Chiswick to be converted back to passenger service condition and between December 1950 and March 1951 the buses entered service with RT1692 going to Hackney Garage, RT3070 to Willesden Garage, RT3114 to Catford Garage and RT1702 going to Mortlake in January 1951 to operate on such routes as 9, 33 and 73.

"A goodwill tour of eight European countries to publicise the forthcoming 1951 Festival of Britain"

​​Reunited -- In May 1951 the buses were reunited at Old Kent Road Garage to operate London Transport’s Service “J” sightseeing tour during the Festival of Britain and Routes 1, 4, 13, 17, 21, 53, 53a, 78, 89, 153, 159, & Inter-Station.

In November 1951 RT1702 was transferred to Holloway Garage where it was used on routes 4, 4a, 14, 19, 27, 27a, 58, 134, 143, 171, 172 and 292. In June 1952 the four buses were once again reunited for the “Excursion 1” sightseeing tour following which RT1702 returned to duties at Holloway.

In June 1954 RT1702 had its first overhaul coming out with its original body 3675 to work at Victoria on such routes as 10, 11, 16, 24, 52 and 137. Four years later in July 1958 the bus went to Aldenham Works for its second overhaul returning to Victoria, again with its original body 3675. In early August 1959 it was transferred to Stockwell Garage and de-licensed. It was almost immediately moved to Seven Kings Garage and on 19th August it was re-licensed to work on such routes as 62, 62a, 129, 139, 147, 148, 150, 169a 193 and N98.

Following its third overhaul in June 1962 it was moved in October of that year, still with its original body, to Hornchurch garage to work such routes as 86, 165, 174, 193, 246 and 252 until its final overhaul in July 1966. In August 1966 it was taken to Catford garage where it remained unlicensed until 30th October of that year, still with its original body. At Catford it worked such routes as 1, 47, 54, 75, 94, 108b, 124, 124a, 160, 160a, 180 and 192. Whilst at Catford it paid another visit to Aldenham in November 1969 for a repaint.

In 1971 the bus was re-certified, rather than being overhauled, and remained in service at Catford garage until July 1972 when, finally, it was withdrawn from service, and de-licensed at Bexleyheath Garage. Unlike other RTs which were usually given a different body following overhaul at Aldenham, as a GB Bus RT1702 kept its original body throughout its life.

In July 1972 RT1702 was purchased from London Transport by three Catford staff members Dennis Denton, Len Field and Bob Wilkin. Sadly Dennis Denton passed away in July 2001 and it was decided to keep the bus on the road in memoriam to him.

HISTORY - RT227

"After the disastrous bus strike in 1958, a decision was taken to sell surplus RT’s"

Working Life -- The chassis of RT 227 No 0961099 was delivered from AEC in Oct 1946 and stored at Reigate, returning to AEC in Feb ’47, Reigate in March ’47, AEC in Oct ’47 and finally also in Oct ’47 to Park Royal to be fitted with body No 1476. It was then delivered to London Transport at Chiswick in Nov ’47 as RT 227 in Central red livery. It was allocated to Croydon Garage (TC) in Nov ’47 to operate routes 12, 59, 64, 68, 115, 130, 133, 159, 166, 166A, 197 and 234 until it’s first overhaul in Sept ’51.

In Nov ’51, RT 227 returned from overhaul still with it’s original chassis and body, the chassis having London Transport No C.U. 1103 added. In Oct ’52, RT 227 was transferred to Thornton Heath Garage (TH) to operate routes 109 and 190 until Oct ’54 when RT 227 was transferred back to Croydon Garage (TC) where it stayed for the rest of it’s working life with London Transport.

In March ’55, RT 227 want to Aldenham for overhaul for the last time and emerged in April ’55 with the same body but with the chassis from RT 278, No 0961301, LT No: C.U.1157. (The chassis from RT 227 ended up on RT 4547 in June ’68 exported to USA). In April ’58, RT 227 was withdrawn from service at Croydon and in Nov ’58 was transferred to Stockwell for storage.

After the disastrous bus strike in 1958, a decision was taken to sell surplus RT’s and in April ’59, RT 227 was sold to Birds Commercial Motors, Stratford-upon-Avon. Following this, it was then sold to Warners of Tewkesbury, Gloucester. Prior to entering service with them, the bus was fitted with platform doors and painted green by Carlton Coach works of Cheltenham. After serving Warners faithfully for fourteen years (longer than it was in service for London Transport), RT 227 was sold for scrap in July ’73 to a local dealer. RT 227 was purchased by some young enthusiasts and was next seen in Sept ’73 in a field in Wilmington in Kent. In 1974, it was then seen in Poplar Garage (PR) in a partly dismantled and very dilapidated condition. The bus stayed in this condition until March ’77 when it was purchased by the 1702 Preservation Society for spares for RT 1702. However, it was decided to restore the bus back to it’s working order and so the mammoth task of fitting everything back together, including re-wiring electrical circuits and restoring the but to a roadworthy condition again, commenced.

Finally, in 1981, RT 227 went to the M.O.T station at Mitcham for it’s class 5 M.O.T after restoration. It failed on two minor points, the brake light lens had gone orange with age and the exhaust had a small hole in the pipe. The lens was replaced and the exhaust bandaged and it passed at the second attempt. After laying derelict for 4 years and then a further 4 years of restoration work by a few dedicated hardworking enthusiasts, RT 227 was back on the road and ready for it’s debut.

At 10am on the 5th April 1981, the inauguration ceremony of RT 227 took place at Poplar Garage (PR). Over 50 members and friends attended with champagne glasses raised in one hand and special inauguration cake in the other. With the final speech over and the ceremonial tape broken to the sound of three cheers, RT 227 moved off to take part in a bus rally in Barking to mark the second anniversary of the last RT route in London (service 62).

Green Becomes the New Red -- The original livery of RT 227 was red and not the present livery of LT Lincoln Green. The reasons for this change in colour are as follows:

  • The last operator fitted platform doors and LT did not have them to their red RT’s.

  • RT 227 was already in green livery and thus ideal for painting in LT Lincoln Green.

  • RT 227 would add to the number of green RT’s now preserved.

  • This livery represents LT Country Area services seen in the Bromley and Dunton Green area (e.g. routes 402, 410, etc.).


RT 227 is now back on London’s roads after an absence of 22 years and has been to many rallies. These include: Barking, Canvey Island, Cobham, North Weald and many more, picking up prizes as well. RT 227 has also attended many open days at London Transport Garages such as Crawley Garage (CY) in 1984, Plumstead (PD) in 1991, Aldenham (ON) in 1992/93, Croydon (TC) in 1992, Fulwell (FW) in 1993 and Peckham’s (PM) closure in 1994. It has attended transport events such as Chiswick in 1984/85, Muswell Hill Odeon in 1988, RT 50th in 1989, LT 60 at Staines in 1993, East Anglia Transport museum in 1995 and a ‘Transport in Bexley’ Exhibition at Hall Place, Bexley alongside RT 1702 & RM 8 in 1995. RT 227 has also done members trips for the London Passenger Transport League (L.P.T.L.) and London Omnibus Traction Society (L.O.T.S.). RT 227 has operated in service at many rallies and on 7th July 1989 it operated in service for SELKENT alongside RT 1702 on route 160 from Catford to Welling.

On suggestion from SELKENT M.D. Bryan Constable, RT 227 was painted in wartime livery including netting on windows, reduced blinds etc, for D-Day celebrations at Goldsmiths College, New Cross on 5th June 1994. It stayed in wartime livery for VE-Day celebrations on 5th May 1995 and VJ-Day celebrations on 18th August 1995.

When purchased by the 1702 Preservation Society in March 1977, RT 227 was stored, as previously mentioned, in Poplar Garage (PR). On closure of Poplar Garage in 1985, RT 227 moved to Bexleyheath Garage (BX) courtesy of SELKENT. In 1986 RT 227 moved to Plumstead Garage (PD) until in 1993, due to overcrowding, it was moved to Catford Garage (TL). In 1994 the newly privatised STAGECOACH SELKENT decided they no longer wanted RT 227 in the garage, London Central came to our rescue and RT 227 moved to New Cross Garage (NX) where it is stored alongside RT 1702. In 2001 New Cross decided that they did not have enough room and we moved back to Catford, courtesy of Stagecoach alongside RT 1702.

In 2003. it was decided to look for someone else to look after RT.227. Because of storage, spares, and the fact that we are all getting older, and to look after two buses was getting beyond us. We were approached by Mr Colin Mudie from Devils Bridge near Aberystwyth in Wales, who after inspecting the bus and agreeing that the bus would still be preserved we agreed to transfer the bus to him. We assisted him in taking RT.227 to Wales on 4th May 2004. Arriving 5th May 2004