Golders Green 1969

The RF Story

Green RFs in the Central Area

Page last updated 19 May 2016


Whilst red RFs saw regular service in the Country Area in the 1950s and 60s, often at weekends when traffic patterns were different in the country, the occurrence of green buses in the Central Area was more unusual.  The most famous instance in the case of RFs was the transfer to the Central Area of 13 green RFs in 1969, which operated the 210 from Muswell Hill garage for many months before being repainted red.  The RFs concerned were 545, 563, 570, 580, 590/8, 602/3/8, 617, 627, 632 and 685.


RF545 arrived at Muswell Hill from St Albans on 1 Jan 69 and was repainted red in May of that year.  It is joined by another at the Golders Green terminus of the 210.  After its last overhaul, RF545 emerged as RF421 and is still actively used in service.

Photo Jeff Lloyd collection


During the overhaul cycle in the period 1960-62, back in the days when every red RF was needed and older single-deckers were still operating, Kingston garage received a number of green RFs on loan from the Country Area to cover while its buses went off for overhaul.  These included RFs 543, 547, 550, 551, 556, 560, 566, 577, 619, 643 (believed to be the only one still extant, although not currently roadworthy), 655 and 674, plus (briefly) Green Line RF291.  The buses stayed for varying periods and worked on the RF routes operated by Kingston at the time.  In addition, RF674 was briefly based at Norbiton during the winter of 1961-62.  There is a black & white photo of RF674 on the 218 in John Hambley's book LT Buses & Coaches 1960 at page 31. 


Earlier on, six green RFs were transferred to Sidcup (routes 228 and 241) in December 1956, staying green until overhaul at the end of 1957.  These six were a quid pro quo for the six red RFs converted for Green Line operation, but a further twelve were loaned, also to Sidcup, between September 1956 and December 1957 to cover for the earlier round of overhauls.


Green Line RF33 on loan to FulwellAlso worth a mention are the brief allocation to Leyton of Green Line RF107 (with possible operation on the 236) in early 1963, along with trainer RF59, both in the short-lived pale green livery, as were RFs 33 and 42 which worked the 206 from Fulwell at around the same time.


This shot of RF33 working the 206 from Fulwell in 1963, wearing the pale Green Line livery, is from Ian Armstrong's collection


To remember the green RFs at Kingston, some Central Area journeys at the Kingston 2009 event were operated by green buses.  Also in operation at that event was RF421, which in a former incarnation as RF545 was one of the green RFs at Muswell Hill.