The RF Story

Appendix - the re-certified RFs

Page last updated 14 January 2020


The last phase of the RF story was the re-certification of a batch of 25 RFs for use on the Kingston routes 218 and 219.
The RFs re-certified for 3 years between mid-1977 and early 1978 were the former Chiswick staff buses 314, 471 and 486 (which uniquely never returned to public service), plus 346, 369, 428, 437, 441, 452, 481, 492/5, 502/4/5/7, 510/1/2/6/8, 520/2.  The other two of the 25 were 536 (certified for 1 year in August 1978) and 381, which had a 4 year CoF granted in 1976 when at Sutton.
The work for re-certification was largely carried out at Stonebridge Park and Hanwell garages, although RFs 495 and 507 were dealt with at Croydon.  RF437 was the first one back, followed a couple of weeks later by 381.  There was considerable variation in livery.  Most had some or all of: a white roundel in place of the fleet name (second bay), flake grey window relief, gold fleet numbers in the conventional positions; the exceptions are listed.  Some, but not all, retained the traditional gold bullseye on the rear emergency door.
The re-certified RFs were as follows:
314  white window relief, white roundels on the centre (third) bay
346  white fleet numbers applied using registration number transfers.  The only 'Uxbridge RF' (single-window doors) recertified.  [Withdrawn Aug 78 with accident damage]
369  white window relief, gold non-underlined fleetnames
381  white fleet numbers
428  white fleet numbers, on the offside placed below the first bay window
437  white fleet numbers
471  white roundels on the centre (third) bay
481  white fleet numbers, on the offside placed below the first bay window
486  [not used at Kingston]
492  white window relief, white roundels on the centre (third) bay
495  gold underlined fleetnames, the centre bar of its front bullseye was painted grey with red LT decals, but this was repainted back to standard very close to the end
502  white window relief, gold underlined fleetnames
507  gold underlined fleetnames
512  gold underlined fleetnames
518  [Sold Jul 78]
520  white fleet numbers applied using registration number transfers
536  non-underlined fleet names were carried before re-certification in 1978.  [Withdrawn Mar 79 with accident damage]
The earlier recerts such as 346/381/428 and 437 arrived back with the correct white 'pay as you enter please' decals on the front nearside panels.  Thereafter, most arrived without and remained so, though Kingston improvised on a few by applying later yellow style ones with lower-case 'exact fare' on at least 471 and 520 and 'please' on 502 and 512.


346 was the only one with 'Uxbridge' single-pane doors and luggage pen. It had not been a very popular machine at K (likewise 512) previously and there was some degree of surprise that it was chosen for the programme.  It was written off in an accident well before the final day, as was 536. RFs 452 and 518 were also withdrawn early with chassis defects (518, at least, with a story attached).


The RFs in service on the last day of the 218/219 are listed on the 218 page.


Most interestingly, a little known fact is that the Vehicle Transfers schedule 121/1/CR of 22 Mar 79 lists RFs 381/437/504/505/507 and 522 to be retained in service beyond 30 March as cover for BLs.  510/511/512 were marked to be 'cleaned up', and 314/492/507 the nominated covers for the farewell tour.


In fact, no RFs did remain in service and they were moved speedily across for storage at Royal Victoria Dock, from which those which didn't sell were ultimately driven up to Booths at Rotherham, for scrap.  


Thanks to Mike Nash for many of these details.