RT2, first RT2Worcester Park 2008

The RT

AEC Regent III - London's classic double-decker

Buses planned for operation include RT113, RT190, RT1702, RT2043, RT2794, RT3148, RT3491, RT3871


2RT2 RT2, numerically the first production RT dating from 1940 (although not the first to be delivered), stands at Epsom Station at the far end of route 93 from its home base, Putney Bridge.
Photo © Jim Andress
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, and became regular performers on the 93 alongside Merton and Sutton's STLs and Daimlers.  We are pleased to be able to operate one example on the 93 on 10 August 2008.
Carshalton finale, 2007
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.
Early post-war RT3-bodied RT190 operated one journey on the short-lived Cheam local route 262 at our Carshalton running day last year.
Photo © Jimmy Sheng
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 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after the orders were placed meant that the last members of the class did not enter service until the first had been withdrawn. 
When new, there were several cases when green buses were delivered to Central garages for a short period until their own buses arrived; one of the garages involved was Sutton.  We will recreate this early feature of RT life by running a green RT on some Sutton routes.
The 32 shortly before withdrawalAfter trolleybus conversion was completed, and particularly after the introduction of double-deck one-man operation, RTs were withdrawn in droves, although their reliability meant that examples continued to appear in the most unlikely places almost to the end.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.
RT4293 on route 32 passes another RT in Mordenhall Road.  It is heading for St Helier Ave Middleton Rd ONLY, as distinct from the usual terminus of St Helier Rose.  The date is 8 Jan 54, the first day of full RT operation on the route, following the final London Daimler journey the previous day.
Photo © Alan Cross