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 Gomm collection


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 Bromley is here.


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 loans?


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 allocation:


  • 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 opposition.