Colindale Running Day

The RT

AEC Regent III - London's classic double-decker

Buses planned for operation include RT1702, RT2177, RT2688, RT3062 and RT3871.  RT8 will work on the 142 and 240.


RT280 works a peak hours journey on the 140 from Mill Hill East to Hayes.  It is seen in Engel Park, east Mill Hill.
Photo © John Parkin
Designed before the second world war, the first RT was delivered in 1939, and another 150 followed before the war put a stop to production.  These war-time buses, often referred to as 'pre-war RTs' but properly 2RT2s, were initially allocated to Putney Bridge and Putney Garages. 
After the war, the first of the large post-war class was delivered to Leyton Garage in 1947 for the replacement of open-staircase LT class buses.  The early buses were delivered with the distinctive roof route-number box, but this was discontinued after the first few batches.
Deliveries of the RT family (which included the Leyland RTL and RTW classes) continued until 1954, when, numbering nearly 7,000, they comprised the largest standardised bus fleet in the world.  Like the single-deck RF, they were operated in red, green and Green Line liveries.  For a brief period before the appearance of the first Routemasters, the RT family (with the low-height RLHs) provided the entire double-deck service fleet, although reducing demand after the orders were placed meant that the last members of the class did not enter service until the first had been withdrawn. 
After trolleybus conversion was completed, and particularly after the introduction of double-deck one-man operation, RTs were withdrawn in droves, although their reliability meant that examples continued to appear in the most unlikely places almost to the end.  The last RT route was Barking's 62 and the last bus in service was RT624 on 7 April 1979.
Having served London for 40 years, for many, the RT represents the London bus.  Its successor, the Routemaster has beaten even this.
The RT provided the backbone of bus services in the Edgware area between 1950 and 1970, gradually giving way to one-man operation with the last RTs working on the 292A in 1973.