Carshalton flash-backWorcester Park 2008


Leyland Titan PD2 double-decker (8' wide)
Buses planned for operation: RTW75, RTW467
Recreating the 1950 experiment, RTW467 in Mitcham at last year's Carshalton Running Day.
Photo © Geoff Ragg
The 500 members of the RTW class were London's first eight-feet wide double-deckers, delivered in 1949 and 1950.  Like the South African trolleybuses before them, they were initially banned by the Metropolitan Police from central London and from roads with tram tracks, so went to garages such as Tottenham, Alperton and Southall. 
However, the extra width of the gangway made them ideal for heavily-trafficked routes, and London Transport persuaded the police to permit a series of experimental workings through central London.  The first, for a week in May 1950, included the transfer of RTWs to Merton Garage to operate the 88.  The experiment was a success and the RTWs became the mainstay of trunk routes like the 6, 8, 11, 14, 15, 22 and 24.
Having proved the concept, the RTWs were followed by the Routemaster at 8' wide.  Once the RMs had filled their first role of replacing the trolleybuses, it was inevitable that they would start replacing the RTWs, which started in 1963 at Putney and finished in 1966; the last in service being RTW467 on route 95 on 14 May 66.
However, the RTWs proved useful in training Routemaster drivers, and 130 continued in this role in both Central and Country Areas for a further four years, until the last was sold in 1971. 
Putney Garage (AF) ran RTWs on the 14 until late 1963, when they went to Brixton.  Putney itself continued to enjoy RTWs from Battersea (including RTW467) and Hackney on the 22 until early 1966.  AF provided RTLs for the 93, but RTWs occasionally covered; RTW409 is seen here crossing Putney Bridge.
Photo Alan Cross collection