AEC Regent III - London's classic
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
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.
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
Deliveries of the RT family (which included the Leyland
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
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.
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operation, RTs were withdrawn in droves, although their reliability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
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
. 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