Routemaster's Last Running Day 

I am pleased to be able to display here the atmospheric story of the Routemaster's last running days written and captured by Brian Burgess. 
(Read Brian's Ode to a Routemaster here)

Images & Text by Brian  Burgess

These pictures were taken on both the 8th & 9th December 2005 (Thursday & Friday) so as to show the diverse members of the RM family taking part.  The following text has been taken from a Wikipedia article on the Routemaster as it explains the situation well and more succinctly than I can (see here for the complete Wikipedia article).

“On 9 December 2005, the last Routemasters ran on route 159. On 8 December 2005, 24 special buses, including preserved RMs and RMLs and their predecessors from the AEC Regent III RT bus family made guest appearances on route 159. 

On the last day, on police advice, instead of doing a normal shift, with crews working until around 23:00, the last Routemaster services ran in the middle of the day. RM2217 operated the final departure from Marble Arch at 12:08. Heavily delayed, it took 10 minutes to turn the final corner into Brixton garage arriving at 14:06.

Around the time of the last runs to the garage, crowds blocked the four-lane road, bringing all traffic to a standstill”
(The Last Running Dates of the Routes are shown here)

Routemaster - Last Running Day

Nice to see that on the final running day all major types of the RM family were represented. Here is RM 1312 (that should have the number plate 312 CLT) & RML 2575.

Next of the family to come along was RMC 1453, sadly not resplendent in her original livery of Lincoln Green.

Sadly again, not in her Lincoln Green livery, came what most people regarded as the Rolls Royce of the RM family; RCL 2223.

Preserved RM 545 joined the procession of privately owned RMs not on revenue service; she first worked on London’s streets in December 1960.

RML 2278’s rear tells you everything you need to know really.

RML 2753 entered service in January 1968, two months before the final RM (RML 2760) that entered service in March 1968. Here she is being stalked over Westminster Bridge by a Merc bendy bus on route 12 which lost its RMs twelve months before. At least the passengers on the RM had paid the conductor their due fare, how many on the bendy, I wonder............?

RM 613 showed off her original front end (minus nearside fog light) with air ventilation panels which were changed to solid panels from 1964. Also during that year a modification was put into place to cover half of the heater vent under the final destination blind; the cream relief band then continued across the front of the vehicle. Many garages removed these blanking plates to restore the original look.

Somewhat of a Cinderella look for RM 2097 as she joined the parade.  Possibly not as pristine as some of the shinier examples that day, but she was still on London’s streets which is all that mattered.

RM 5 in preserved mode, she can be seen here in Clapton Garage where she was in revenue service in 2000.

RM 6 followed.  The bendy bus behind, that allegedly bumped into everything in the background, forced the RMs on the 73 off the road in Sept 2004.

The ‘golden girls’ at Trafalgar Square the previous evening. RM 6 has been turned short but the Ensignbus’ RML 2405 passed by to continue to the terminus at Marble Arch.

RML 2565 which was sold out of service in 2003 returned to London for the last Routemaster running day.

Considering he was a few hours away from redundancy, the conductor on RML 2577 seemed happy enough.

The numerous tickets used to travel around London on 8-9th December during the RM last days of running.


Demise Dates of the London Routemasters


Last Year Run

Last Day Run Operator Garage Garage Code


29th August Stagecoach East London Upton Park U


31st October London General Waterloo RA


14th November First London Westbourne Park X
94 2004 23rd January Transdev London United Shepherds Bush S
6 2004 26th March Metroline Willesden AC
98 2004 26th March Metroline Willesden AC
8 2004 4th June Stagecoach East London Bow BW
7 2004 2nd July First London Westbourne Park X
137 2004 9th July Arriva London Brixton BN
9 2004 3rd September Transdev London United Shepherds Bush S
73 2004 3rd September Arriva London Tottenham AR
390 2004 3rd September Metroline Kings Cross KX
12 2004 5th November London Central Camberwell Q


28th January London General New Cross NX


1st April Arriva London Battersea BA


22nd July London General Putney AF


22nd July London General Putney AF


21st October Transdev London Sovereign Edgware EW


28th October Arriva London Clapton CT


9th December Arriva London Brixton BN

Ode to a Routemaster
by Brian Burgess

The time has come, the clippie said, to talk of many things,
Of Honor’s Oak and Hackney’s Wick, and is it one or two quick dings?
From Watford, Guildford and Mill Hill to Knockholt Pound and Bow,
This superb bus has served us well, for how much more, who knows?

Central ones wore glossy Red, Country’s shone in Lincoln Green.
Some, the Silver Ladies, sported a fetching aluminium sheen.
Green Line coaches were fastest, down leafy country lanes they flew,
Like the summer seasonal 726, Romford to Whipsnade Zoo.

There were RMC’s and RCL’s (the grandest of the fleet)
On who’s upholstered cushions you dare not put your feet.
With their double sloping headlights and folding draught free door,
Just the job to keep out the chill whilst speeding through New Haw.

RMA’s had trailers, with doors up at the front,
All had wings of fibre glass (Handy in a shunt!)
From Victoria down through Knightsbridge, heading West they’d go,
Speeding eager passengers to their aircraft at Heathrow.

But when they go, and times then pass, when only snaps remain,
I think I’ll keep just one or two, you know to ease the pain.
The RM is the London bus, the world will all agree,
Camden Town to Crystal Palace? Jump on a number 3.

© 2005 Brian Burgess
First published by the Friends of the LT Museum.

Page last updated 14th May 2016