Routemaster - RM1

Routemaster RM1 was the first of the four prototypes ordered by London Transport.  It was designed and built at LT's Chiswick Works with the combined skills of London Transport, AEC & PRV.  Initially designed to take an RT engine it was later given a new AEC engine.

Particularly noticeable is the number plate LTE1954 (the false registration before it was officially registered in 1955 with the number SLT56).  There are also no direction indicators, nor any advertisements that initially would be merely to show its heritage.  

RM1 was licensed in January 1956 and went into service the following month (on Wednesday February 8th 1956) at Cricklewood.  It had a relatively short service life undergoing many modifications, especially to the front-end, and from 1960 was used for driver training. 

Clearly the engine cover and front sections are very much different from the production Routemasters which were redesigned due to accommodating changes to the forward running unit and also to give the driver greater visibility of the kerb.  In 1964 RM1 was refitted with the newer styled front-end bringing it in-line with the rest of the fleet.

Here RM1 undergoes its first tilt tests at LT's Chiswick Works.

These are the first official photographs of the vehicle taken in the summer of 1954 before its unveiling at the Commercial Motor Show in the September.

RM1 taken during the LGOC Centenary exhibition at Horse Guards Parade in July 1956.

RM1 is now preserved at the London Transport Museum's Acton Depot where it was pictured here in March 2008 (Click here for the Featured article). Now looking very different to how it first appeared in 1954.

Take a trip on the lower deck front seat of RM1.  (Click the left link to download or just play the video below).

Filmed during the London Transport Museum Depot's open weekend 10th October 2009.  Having left the depot we begin our filming part way down Bollo Lane, just beyond the junction with Roslin Road (Click here for the Google map/streetview of the film start point).  Passing by Chiswick Auctions on the corner of Colville Road we pass Chiswick Park Station and turn left under the bridge into Acton Lane.  Bearing right into South Parade, we continue on over the mini roundabout, passing the Murco Garage, and with Acton Green Common on our right, we pass several junctions until our filming stops at the pedestrian crossing just before the junction with The Orchard.

Beyond our filming, the trip was to take us right, passing Turnham Green Station then right into Chiswick High Road. Then after passing by the location of the now defunct London Transport Chiswick Works,  the route took us around the Chiswick Roundabout north into Gunnersbury Avenue and right again into Gunnersbury Lane before arriving back at the depot opposite Acton Town Station.

See also the RM Links page & the 60th Anniversary Run article.

Here are three of the prototype Routemasters pictured on the 25th September 1983 at LT's Aldenham Works (Images Basil Hancock).