Routemaster Variations 

Basil Hancock joined Leyland Truck and Bus in 1976 as a graduate trainee based at Leyland in Lancashire.  He worked in the body design area and, as part of his training, he spent a four week period in the middle of '77 at Park Royal.  He was employed in the drawing office and, having a great interest in older buses and trains, was allowed by the Engineering Manager to examine the drawing archives.

As a result, some years later, Basil was able to research and write an article for Buses Annual (published circa 1990) illustrating some of the Routemaster designs that were never built, including unusual variants such as rear-engined single-deckers!

I am delighted that Basil has allowed me to include his article on this website and you can access it via the link at the base of this page.

Click here for Basil's article entitled "Variations on the Routemaster Theme"

As a preface to the article Basil comments further:

Even though it has been a widely held view that the Routemaster was intended to replace trolleybuses, which it ultimately did, it has also been suggested that a trolleybus version of the Routemaster was in the original concept if perhaps never seriously considered.  According to the book "Chiswick Works" by Capital Transport, authorisation for the Routemaster project was given around 1947 and therefore, in those austere times when the RT family production was only just getting under way, a trolleybus version may have helped the financial case for the research and development of a new aluminium integral double decker, even if it was not really intended.  It should be remembered that, at that time, the postwar Q1 trolleybuses were still some while away and that RT/RTL production was to go on for another seven years.  So perhaps every justification possible was needed to gain authorisation for a new design.

In my article it was probably stretching the imagination to call the rear-engined single deckers Routemasters, but that is how they were referred to in PRV's drawings and files, so that is why they were included in the article.  The FRM possessed many RM body parts and some mechanical units, but the single deckers would appear to have little in common with RMs as we know them.  However, clearly LT were obviously enamoured with the Routemaster, and all things connected with it, and they presumably thought there was something to be gained from continuing with the name.  In view of the subsequent history of LT standee single deckers (mechanically, structurally, operationally and industrially), perhaps it is better that these versions remained as drawings only without discrediting the Routemaster name.

Click here for Basil's article entitled "Variations on the Routemaster Theme"