Vehicle loans and special workings
Page last updated 12 July 2014
Enfield's RF480 works the
107 past Stirling Corner to 'Ponders End Stn and Garage'.
Photo © JGS Smith, Peter
There were several cases over the years where the scheduled RF
requirement at weekends was more than the garage allocation of the
type. This situation was routinely covered by loans from
other garages arranged, apparently informally, by the garage
engineering staff. Known examples include:
227: For many years, the peak weekend
requirement on the 227 was covered by borrowing. The
arrangement pre-dated RFs. The official memo directed
borrowing from distant Leyton, but in practice engineers used
closer garages, usually Croydon. Terry Cooper mentions Bromley borrowing from
Croydon and New Cross. A photo of Croydon's RF460 at
213: Norbiton borrowed to meet
a Saturday peak requirement on the 213, again the
arrangement pre-dating RFs. Sidcup were a regular
provider. For more on the 213, see Derek Fisk's notes about North Cheam.
208: By 1966, D had 12 RFs but
required 14 on Saturdays. John Hinson recorded on more than
one occasion that one RF was brought in from Leyton and one from
Edgware. There are also reports of loans from Tottenham
and Bromley (sic, see above), also Enfield in later
years. The requirement to borrow probably dated from the end
of the 208A in 1958, as the
208 had used buses spare from that route at weekends.
In addition, loans were sometimes required to cover a
temporary shortage. Mick Parsons
notes that Leyton (who operated crew RFs on the 236) borrowed doored buses from Loughton when
required - this would be natural as the two garages were in the
same engineering group. He comments 'I have on quite a few
occasions pulled onto a stop on the 236/210 road and the wombles have looked totaly
puzzled as to why they were confronted by a set of doors, but in
the winter the doors were a lot safer, the wombles could not jump
on or off at traffic lights - and the bus was a lot warmer'.
Can anyone help with more details of these
Kingston's RF426 has been pressed into service
to cover a failed Green Line coach - probably a newer
type. It sits outside St Albans garage, sometime in the
early to mid-1970s, ready to work back to Crawley as a 727.
Photo © Steve Fennell
In addition to their scheduled routes, red RFs occasionally
appeared on unscheduled workings in the Central Area, although
strict union rules would have prevented many such
possibilities. By their nature, these workings are likely
often to have gone unrecorded, but we note here the ones of which
we are aware. In addition, there were numerous loans of
red RFs to the Country Area, and occasional instances of red RFs
pressed into service to cover defective Green Line coaches.
Red RFs worked on the following routes that had no official RF
- Route 20: Jim Blake photographed RF685, then based at Loughton
for route 254, working route 20 in replacement for a failed
MB. Route 20 replaced former RF route 20B in 1969.
- Route 107: the occasion (reported to be September 1972) is
not known, although the existence of at least two photos of RF480
properly blinded working E13 suggests a 'put-up job'. Enfield
had an allocation of MBs and later SMs between July 1970 and
September 1972 for the 107; its OMO RF allocation was for the
121. Blinds were interchangeable
between RF, MB and SM and it would be expected that all
the garage's single-deck routes were on the blind.
- Route 270: Steve Fennell records the use of Fulwell's RFs 384
and 545 on the 270 in July 1975 due to SM shortage, but notes
that this local initiative was very short-lived due to union