Routes & Routemasters

Between 2000 & 2005 Brian Burgess went on a quest to photograph as many of the remaining Routemaster routes as possible before they finished. The effort resulted in hundreds of images of London Transport Garages, Termini, Stands and, yes, some Routemasters too.  I am pleased to be able to display a selection of Brian's images here. 
(Read Brian's Ode to a Routemaster here).

Links to: Garage - Stand - Terminus; on this page

Aldwych Terminus Archway Terminus Ash Grove Garage Battersea Garage Blackwall DLR Station Terminus

Bow Garage

Brixton Garage Camberwell Garage Charing Cross Station Clapton Garage Clapton Pond Terminus

Dulwich Plough

Finsbury Park Station Golders Green Station Hammersmith Bus Station Ladbroke Grove Stand

Marble Arch Terminus

New Cross Garage Oxford Circus Stand Piccadilly Terminus Putney Garage Putney Common Stand

Putney Heath Stand

Queens Park Stand Russell Square Stand

Strand Stand

Streatham Station Terminus

Tottenham Garage

Upton Park Garage

Walworth Garage

Waterloo Station - Base

Willesden Garage

Routes & Routemaster Images by Brian  Burgess

Below is an extract (Withdrawal from London) from a Wikipedia article on the Routemaster - click this line for the full article.
“With Transport for London purchasing fifty Routemasters and having them thoroughly rebuilt in 2001–2, it appeared that the Routemasters would be around for some time to come but In February 2003, route 10 was split, with the Kings Cross to Hammersmith section converted to OMO operation and the Archway to Marble Arch section remaining Routemaster-operated as route 390. In the same month route 36 was curtailed between Lewisham and New Cross and duplicated by route 436 between New Cross and Paddington, operated by Mercedes-Benz Citaro articulated buses.

In March 2003, Transport for London managing director Peter Hendy advised that accessibility was a higher priority than retaining conductors, and in August 2003, as the existing contracts became due for renewal, the remaining Routemaster services were replaced, either by low-floor double-decker buses or articulated buses. Government legislation required full accessibility on 22 October 2014 under the Disability Discrimination Act; however, Transport for London was aiming to be compliant far earlier. As a consequence, the last Routemasters were withdrawn from general service on 9 December 2005”

Note: Where known, the LTB Garage Code, displayed on the associated buses, has been added to the Garage name (in brackets). Most Garages and their codes were inherited from the many bus companies that merged into the LPTB in 1933 and so there is a varied method of coding, most of them relate to the company who originally owned the Garage before the grouping. Some codes seem to make sense, e.g. BW for Bow and WH for West Ham; but then there's J for Holloway and P for Old Kent Road!. Garage extensions, additions, closures and what constituted a fully serviceable garage makes for much difficulty in consistency & precision.

Click for information on LTB Garage Codes (Site-1)

Click for information on LTB Garage Codes (Site-2)

Aldwych Terminus


ER 880 at the Aldwych terminus of the 9. This was the first of the 30 foot RM’s and the first 4 were classed as ER’s (ER 880-883) before being renumbered as RML 880.

Archway Terminus


RML 2603 terminates outside Archway Underground station after her short run from Marble Arch. She’s a bit of a North London girl, for after going into service at Holloway (J) in May 1967, apart from a spell south of the river at Putney (AF), she spent time at Highgate (HT) and finished up at the Kings Cross ‘outstation’ (KX) where the 390 route buses were garaged. RM operation of the 390 ended on 3rd September 2004.

Ash Grove Garage (AG/CH)


Ex. Stagecoach Lancashire RM in Ash Grove garage under storage for TfL.
(September 2000)

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000, legal lettering on WLT 848.

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000. Cab interior of RM 848, WLT 848. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.40 (Not used)

TfL RM’s in storage at Ash Grove garage.
(September 2000)

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000. 735 DYE was RM1735. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.36.

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000. 650 DYE was RM1650. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.37. XYJ 440 was WLT 838, RM838. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.22.

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000. RM2060, ALM 60B ex Black Prince.

Ash Grove TfL storage Sept 2000. RM2122, CUV 122C. Ex. Kerfoot Davies.

RM45 (VLT 45) in storage at Ash Grove garage for Tfl in Sept 2000. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.12.

RM 191 (VLT 191) being stored for TfL in Ash Grove garage, Sept 2000. Ex. Greater Reading Omnibus fleet No.11.

Ash Grove TfL RM stash Sept 2000.

RM 1005 has lost it’s valuable number plate, 5 VLT for an age related replacement. She is in Ash Grove garage along with other RM’s destined for refurbishment and service with TfL. (Sept 2000)

RM 2060 stored in Ash Grove garage as part of the TfL’s fleet of ‘reclaimed’ RM’s from all over the world, RM 346 & 713 came back to the UK from Italy! In all TfL bought 50 RM’s to refurbish. This was her in 2000; here is a photo taken of her in 2004 on route 38 after refurbishment.

Battersea Garage (BA - original 'B' closed in 1988)


The original Battersea Garage (B) was opened in 1906 by the London Road Car Company on the north side of Hester Road, but by 1914 more space was needed and an annex was built on the south side. Two modernisation schemes were undertaken, first in the 1960s to allow for Routemasters to be allocated and again in 1971 when a new canteen and recreation room was built.

Battersea (B) Garage closed in 1985 with its allocation being split between Victoria and Wandsworth garages. However, Battersea (B) was given a reprieve some time later when it was used to house the London Buses (coaches & sightseeing) operations until 1988, when the entire facility moved to Wandsworth Garage. In 1993, a yard adjacent to the old (B) Garage was opened as a base, Battersea (BA), for Kentish Bus route 19 operation after it had moved out of its Covent Garden Market base.  T
he only section then remaining of Battersea (B) was a small shed which was originally an outstation from Brixton Garage housing the route 19 Routemasters. 

When the Routemasters left in July 2005 the Battersea (BA) Garage received an allocation of Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TLs for route 19, although some of these needed to be parked at (and use drivers from) Norwood Garage because there was not enough space for these larger buses.

In November 2009, Battersea (BA) Garage was closed and the whole area was razed with the majority of what was formally occupied on both the North and South sides of Hester Road being redeveloped as a luxury apartment complex..

The front entrance of Battersea Garage (BA) in Howie Street. The 19s run through the garage and exit into Hester Road through part of the original Battersea (B) Garage. 

Off duty buses on the 19 route rest in the rather dismal premises known as Battersea (BA) Garage. The covered part at this end of the garage is actually the remains of the Southern annex of the original Battersea (B) Garage.

RML 2514 escapes Battersea garage via Hester Road.

ALD 975B, RM 1975 awaits it’s next run to Finsbury park, no doubt glad to be out of BA! (Battersea garage)

One of Battersea garage’s allocation, RM 346, SVS 615 (Ex. WLT 346) at it’s terminus at Finsbury Park station.

RM 54 at rest in Battersea garage, yet another re-registered RM whose original registration, VLT 54 meant money to somebody.

RM 54’s nose.

Blackwall DLR Station Terminus


RMC 1456 basks in the sunshine with her not very LT standard age related plate in place of her original registration which was 456 CLT when she was delivered in Lincoln Green to Guildford London Country bus garage in August 1962. Note the Stagecoach branding which seems to have gone through a few different stages as can be seen from other Upton Park garage vehicles using the stand.

When comparing backsides nowadays one has to be very careful, but attention must be drawn to RMC 1456’s rear end where the construction of the RM coach and bus differs as can be seen with these two RM sisters sitting next to one another at Blackwall, with the crews enjoying a brief natter before plunging back into central London traffic. The nearside destination blind has had to be placed higher on the side to accommodate the door folding mechanism and with the loss of the open platform at the back, an emergency door has been neatly placed on the platform rear. As can be seen from the front view of RMC 1456, sloping twin headlights completes the ‘coach’ look. Inside was nicer too!

RML 2272 with yet another take on the Stagecoach livery awaits her duty turn. Looking at her running number of 6 she was an early starter that morning.

Another immaculate vehicle from Upton Park garage is RML 2541 which entered LT service in 1966 just after England’s World Cup victory.

Bow Garage (BW)


The splendid frontage of Bow Garage (BW) somewhat marred by the parking outside. Bow Garage was built for the LCC in 1908 and was a tram depot until 1939 when she was converted to housing trolleybuses. Buses took over this impressive garage in 1959. Easy to imagine a tram clanking through the entrance, years later a trolleybus silently gliding in; and now the burble of the RM’s diesel engines.

RML’s 2456 & 2624 await their duty turn in Bow garage as the crews have a brew. Unlike their company's management at Upton Park, Bow Garage (BW) has opted for a running number to be placed in the cab window as opposed to its rightful place (in my opinion) next to the garage plate on the side by the cab. [Quite right too. Ed.]

As can be seen by her running number, RML 2749 was caught exiting BW earlier. One of the last dozen RML’s, she started revenue service at Croydon garage (TC) in December 1967.

Buses await their turn inside Bow garage.

The most senior RM, RML 2760 under repair at the back of Bow garage.

RML 2456 pokes her head outside BW on her way to Victoria. Delivered to Harlow Country Bus Garage in 1966, she has her original livery restored to fine effect.

Brixton Garage (BN)


RMs 2179 & 348 await crews outside Brixton garage. Parked up inside can be seen some 159s who, although terminating outside a closed bus garage (Streatham) further up the road, spend their off duty time in BN. 

The long and short of it....RML 2366 eases between 2 RMs before heading off ‘up town’. 

RM 348 waits for its crew to take it back to Oxford Circus after the final destination blind has been set correctly. She started work in London in July 1960 at Shepherds Bush. RMs on the 137 from BN finished on 9th July 2004. 

Another lost number plate; RM1361 trundles down Whitehall towards SW London the original plate was 361CLT. She will pass her home in Brixton Garage on the way to the Streatham Station terminus.

Camberwell Garage (Q)


Q was my home garage; from my early days I was aware of the huge bus garage in Warner Road, Camberwell as, for 35 years, my late Father was a postman based in the Camberwell sorting office that backed on to the garage. I remember well the rows of parked buses visible over the dividing wall and the growl of engines day and night (at Christmas time Dad would take me into work as he always choose night duty at Christmas to boost his wages). Camberwell was built in 1914 and in 1950 was chosen to be extended and to serve as a maintenance base for not only its own fleet, but also that of Walworth (just down the road) and Battersea too. So a large workshop complex was built with access from Camberwell Station Road, and the undercover parking area was also enlarged. 

Our local bus, the 42, was run from Q and I used to watch the bus exit from the front of the garage on Camberwell New Road and turn right to go to the traffic lights at Camberwell Green. It then turned left to pick up passengers at the first bus stop on the way to Aldgate. Between the two roads there was a little alleyway (Camberwell Passage, it's still there!) and the trick was to watch the 42 turn left at the lights then leg it through the alleyway to jump on the bus at the stop at the other end of the alley. This always seemed to annoy Mum & Dad for some reason!

RML 2273 turns short of its Dulwich terminus and enters Camberwell garage (Q) via the Camberwell Station Road entrance. The new (1951) workshops are on the right. Route 40 lost its RMs in 1982.

Opposite the bus garage entrance is the still standing Camberwell rail station, opened in 1862 by the London, Chatham & Dover Railway. This was closed in 1916 to passengers although goods were handled here until 1964. Work weary commuters, or sharp eyed rail fans, travelling home might notice the wide gap between the running lines where the platforms once were!

In pristine condition as befits its current use, RML 2725 awaits the bride and groom. Buffet in garage canteen? What’s that lurking in the background.........

.........why some brand new Merc bendy buses anxious to replace the RMs on the 12. Ironically, RMs are still running today in London, where are the bendys? 

Another private hire fleet vehicle, RM 9 snuggles up to 2725. RM 9 was one of the first production RMs into service in May 1959 and thankfully her period of being identified as OYM 374A is over and her original registration number has been restored.

Private Hire running plate on RM 9.

RML 2273, having entered the garage moments before, pauses at the fuel bay.........

.........but there's no attendant!

RM 1097 shows the final southern destination blind of the 12. This route used to be a long one, stretching from Harlesden in NW London to South Croydon in SE London. Over the years, the route has been cut back and back to Oxford Circus to Dulwich. 

One of the PH fleet shows off her ex RM number plate, WLT 470 having entered service as R370 LGH with a fleet code of NV 170 (Volvo Olympian with Northern Counties coachwork) in 1997. RM 470, the original plate owner, lost her plate to have MFF 504 thrust upon her before being shipped off to Germany in 1994.

RM 541, a 1960 veteran, sits nervously amongst the training fleet. It is the fact that she has been parked next to 352 CLT which has taken on the identity of her younger sister RM 1352 who met the breakers torch in 1994? Or is it the wet weather roof of NV 176 dangling over her? London Central had 3 NV open toppers whose ‘lid’s were kept at Q.

Charing Cross Station Stand


August 1997 & ERM80 awaits passengers at its pick up point by Charing Cross station. Originally RM80 was extended using parts of scrapped RM1329; then given the ‘Extended RM’ number ERM80. 

Clapton Garage (CT)


On a sunny Sunday in September 2000, some of Clapton’s fleet relax after a hectic week ploughing their trade across central London.

RM5’s companion’s include another RM which is RM901 and sits 4th along the line of RMLs.

Resting somewhat without accolade and tucked in the corner is RM5, numerically the first production RM after the first four prototypes. RM5 was finally delivered to LT in June 1959, RM’s 6,9 & 11 appearing before her. (See her here on the last run day.)

Some more of CT’s allocation rest up.

Amongst the fleet keeping out of the sun inside CT is WLT888 which was one of the original batch of the 24 30’ buses which would become to be known as RML’s (see below).

RML2552 is temporarily unfit for service, although she certainly is not unfit to become a design icon.  

The first four RML's were actually numbered as ER880-883, the ER standing for Extended Routemaster but this description was changed to RML in August 1961. If it ever goes quiet in the snug, just inform all and sundry that the 30' RML is actually 29 feet, 10 & 9/16ths inches long!  (And that's just about 9,107.4875 mm, as if to demonstrate the beauty of fractions. Ed.)

Clapton Pond Terminus


Route 38 terminus at Clapton Pond. ALD 968B is RM1968 which was one of the refurbished TfL RM’s. The fixed windows on the upper deck are a ‘spotting’ feature. Behind her is RM2060 which is pictured here before refurbishment whilst stored in Ash Grove garage.

Route 38 terminus at Clapton Pond. RML2122 on the stand. Upper deck front windows reveal her TfL refurbishment, compare to an ‘original’ front end on RML 901 on the same stand.]

One of the granddads of the RML fleet entering service in Jan 1962, RML 901 (WLT 901) was over 5 years into her LT service before RML 2534 (JJD 534) behind joined the fleet. 

RML 2287 turns into the Clapton Pond stand for a rest after her trip from Victoria. She started serving London in 1965, although at a Country Bus garage, Godstone (GD), as cover until Lincoln Green RMLs arrived.

RML 2304 also comes in for a rest. She was a garage mate of RML 2287 (left), also starting work at GD in 1965 in the familiar red livery. 

Dulwich Plough


RM 1174 has lost her 1962 number plate of 174 CLT and judging by the faded route adverts, is a transfer from NX where she worked the 36. She also displays the old terminus destination ‘Dulwich Plough’ which for some reason around this time was changed to ‘Dulwich Library’. Many London bus routes had a terminus which was either opposite or next to a public house. In this case, The Plough pub was just round the corner on Lordship Lane. Note the old style white on black destination blind and the newer yellow on black intermediate points blind above.

RML 2499 is next on stand with the newer yellow on black destination blind showing ‘Dulwich Library’.

The crew of 1174 have now changed the final destination blind for their next run. 1174 started work from Norbiton garage (NB) in 1962.

RML 2613 has been cleaned up a bit by Q as she carries a 50th RM anniversary vinyl. It has to be said that the RMs running from Q were not kept in the best of condition, perhaps because its class demise was looming. The crews also seem bemused as to why anyone would want to photograph an old bus......RM operation on the route 12 ended in November 2004.

Finsbury Park Station Terminus


RM 85, VLT 85 on the stand at Finsbury Park station sporting it’s RM50 vinyl.

One of Battersea garage’s allocation, RM 346, SVS 615 (Ex. WLT 346) at it’s terminus at Finsbury Park station.

Golders Green Station Terminus


RM’s 324 & 2089 await the off from Golders Green to head south into the City to terminate in Aldwych. As can be seen from the running numbers alongside the BT running plate (Edgware Garage), RM 2089 is first into the fray.

RM 1204, 204 CLT at the northern terminus of route 13 at Golders Green underground station.

The left hand lane being full, RM 324 forms a second queue of 13’s ready to go South into the City. 

Slightly earlier, RM 2089 had pulled up at the stand. A National Express coach takes the opportunity of creeping into the ‘in’ lane to go ‘out’ !

The Sovereign fleet was comprised of refurbished RM’s stemming from the decision in 2000 by TfL to extend the life of its RM fleet. When TfL was formed in 2000, the then Mayor, Mr Livingstone, committed the TfL to retaining a fleet of buses to run in central London with a conductor. This caused a problem for TfL who had to embark on a buying spree to bolster the current RM fleet (of all types) of 601 by trawling the UK and Europe to find ex LT RMs and bring them back to London. Provincial fleets like those in Reading were used to source some of the 50 buses brought back to London. Marshalls at Cambridge were the contractor chosen to refurbish this fleet and the engine and gearbox installation installed were similar to those used in the Dennis Dart which proved most popular and led to the refurbished fleet being known as ‘Dartmasters’. Marshalls went into administration in 2002 and the remaining refurbishments were undertaken by the bus companies themselves. RM 324 went from the LT reserve fleet in 1997 to a PSV dealer & breaker, PVS at Carlton then she went onto serve with the Halifax Joint Committee with a fleet number of 32. RM 1204 followed the same trail as RM 324 and ended up in Halifax with a fleet number of 36. RM 2089 arrived at Golders Green in Sovereign colours via Blackpool and Reading bus operators.

Hammersmith Bus Station


RM 2078 enters Hammersmith bus station after her run from Aldwych.

After unloading her passengers, 2078 parks up for a break before going back into the city.

Taking advantage of the rest period, RML 2757’s clippie has a cough & drag. Methinks nowadays the close proximity to the ‘place of work’ would preclude this scene?

RML 2511 comes down the Caledonian Road in August 1997 from its Archway start point to enter the Kings Cross gyratory on its way to Hammersmith. This version of route 10 dates from 1988 when the original route from Abridge to London Bridge was withdrawn. 

RML 2259 follows its sister through KX to Hammersmith. In Feb 2003 the route was split and the KX to Hammersmith part converted to one man operation. The portion KX to Archway was taken over by the new 390 route and the RMLs continued to serve on that route until the end of RM operation on the 390 in Sept 2004.

Ladbroke Grove Stand


Here is RML 2623 on the stand at Ladbrooke Grove awaiting its return run to Liverpool Street in June 2000.

RML 2522 (JJD 522D) speeds along the Strand, on her way to her terminus at Ladbrooke Grove. October 2000.

Marble Arch Terminus


RML 2561, JJD 561D at route 390’s terminus at Marble Arch after it’s rather short run from Archway station.

RM 1725, 725 DYE at the 159 terminus at Marble Arch. Buses offloaded here then ‘stood’ across the road to await their return trip to Archway.

If you are stuck behind RML 2295 as she works her way through London to Archway Station you will have plenty to read. This was another red RML that was sent to the Country Bus garage at Godstone to work until green livered RMLs were available.

New Cross Garage (NX)


New Cross Garage’s ‘Hangar Queen’ October 2000. Identity unknown. (View 1)

New Cross Garage’s ‘Hangar Queen’ October 2000. Identity unknown. (View 2)

New Cross Garage’s ‘Hangar Queen’ October 2000. Identity unknown. (View 3)

New Cross Garage’s ‘Hangar Queen’ October 2000. Identity unknown. (View 4)

Again on a hot August day in 1997, RM1002 has lost its valuable number plate 2CLT and and been given a DVLA age related one.

In Aug 1997 another of NX's (New Cross) 36 allocation awaits its return journey to South London.

Looking somewhat dwarfed by her stable mates, DSL 540 awaits a return to traffic. Behind the dreaded ‘age related plate’ she is RM 1033 which was delivered to ‘X’ Middle Row garage (North Kensington) in Jan 1962. Someone somewhere is no doubt delighted with their number plate reading 33 CLT acquired from this bus in 2000.

Looking pristine for her age (May 1962), RM 1104 gets the wall view at NX.

RM 1119 climbs into NX after terminating short.

RM 687 pulls away for the bus stop opposite it’s home garage to proceed to its Lewisham terminus whilst RM 1119 behind divests itself of passengers ready to sneak across the busy road into its home.

RM 1380 is looking good for her 40+ years as she awaits further duty at NX. She started working for Londoners just a few miles down the road at Rye Lane garage (RL) ; long buried under ‘new’ development, sad really as it was modern garage built in 1951 and one I remember fondly.

RM 1002 (above left): The driver has opened his cab window for some cooling air and has already changed the front destination blind for its return to New Cross Gate before reaching the current route's terminus at Victoria.  I’ve no doubt that in the days of old London Transport, any Inspector on duty in the Victoria Bus Station would have taken a dim view of this. 

Oxford Circus Stand


Brixton Garage’s RML 2753 is seen on the stand in John Princes Street (just off Oxford Circus), route 137’s northern terminus.

London Transport had a practice where terminating buses were held over in the near vicinity of the route’s actual terminus until required for the return run. These were known as ‘stands’ and were good places to photograph a static bus!

Piccadilly Terminus


RML 2622 is first out off the stand turning into Piccadilly on its way to Acton Green, the West London terminus of this route. The arrow which is part of the route branding is quite apt as when the bus turns left to go down Oxford Street, its route basically runs dead straight to the terminus.

RML 2455 now moves to the front of the stand ready to depart on a slightly shorter service than RML 2622 (above) terminating at Shepherds Bush.

Route 94 Piccadilly terminus in Charles 2nd Street October 2000.

Putney Garage (AF)


The entrance to Putney Garage (AF) just off Putney High Street. This garage has a long history serving London’s transport needs. Opened as horse bus stables in 1888, it became a motor bus garage in 1912. It was the first garage to operate the RT class of buses with RT1 in 1939. It’s original title of Chelverton Road was changed to Putney in 1963.

The low roof and cramped conditions are typical of many of the early 20th Century bus garages still in use. The gloom has triggered the flash of my camera and obscured the number plates of RML 2654 and RML 2317 but shows the 2 RM routes based there....until 22 July 2005 when the 14 & 22 ceased to be operated by RMs.

Putney Common Stand


NML 618E, RML 2618 on the stand at the Putney Common southern terminus of route 22.

The crew of RML 2618 take advantage of the shade.

RML 2412 has arrived on stand and is forced to sit in the sun. Being a London Country bus when delivered to High Wycombe garage in Feb '66, she will be used to the more rural, leafy streets of Putney.

Putney Heath Stand


Three of Putney garage’s RMLs (left to right) 2305, 2475 and 2680 on the stand opposite the Green Man pub Putney Heath which was the 14’s terminus. Their nice warm garage is just about a mile away in Chelverton Road.

RMLs 2316 & 2475 display their engine manufacturer on their rear panels. Both had Iveco engines fitted in 1991, but 2316 had a CAT engine fitted in 2002. Both types of engine were silenced when the RMs on the 14 were replaced in July 2005. The Green Man pub is just opposite.

RML 2680 rests at the Putney Heath stand. 

The driver of RML 2475 has decided to give her engine a bit of cool breeze whilst at rest. If she had any serious problems, all that would be needed is a quick bimble down the hill to Putney High Street and then a left turn into Chelverton Road to seek sanctuary in AF, Putney garage.

Queen's Park Stand


RM1002 and sister await their next turn at the Queens Park stand which was in Claremont Road. The actual terminus of route 36, Queen’s Park LT station, is just over the wall behind. She lost her desirable number plate of 2 CLT in 1987.

RML 2673 on the Queen’s Park stand awaiting her return to South London. As she seems to be terminating short of the normal route terminus at Lewisham, a break in NX must await her.

Russell Square Stand


RML 2542 rests up in Russell Square before running back to East Acton. The RMs on Route 7 were displaced on 2nd July 2004.

Strand Stand


Routes #6 & #9 lay over on their Strand Stand.

Aug 1997 and the route 13 stand further along the Strand holds buses awaiting their return to Golders Green (Note the Sovereign take on LT bus red!)

August 1997 and RML2693 has mechanical problems at the Strand bus stop whilst the resplendent doorman of the Waldorf Hotel looks on.

August 1997 Whilst RML2693 suffers a breakdown on the Strand RMC1510 an ex Green Line 'coach' converted to an open topper, and being used on revenue service picks up.

RML 2650 lays over in the Strand before struggling back across central London to Hammersmith. As can be seen, the bus is liveried for the 94 route which also runs from Shepherd’s Bush Garage (S) but has been called on to provide a runner for its sister route. The roof at some time appears to have lost an argument with some overhanging branches, judging by the dents and bumps along it.

A rose between two thorns!  RMC 1456 looks rather different from when she was delivered to Guildford garage in August 1962 to commence driver training on Green Line route 715 from Guildford to Hertford. She would have been resplendent in Lincoln Green with the Green Line roundel on the upper deck sides and the Green Line motif with a large initial G and final E with London Transport underneath on the lower deck sides. Seating on the RMC’s was reduced from the standard RM so that more legroom was given with seats which had a deeper squab for more comfortable seating on the long routes. Fluorescent lighting and luggage racks enhanced the ‘coach’ ambiance. When 1456 staggers into Upton Park garage after a hard day on London’s road, she will see her sister 1461 sitting there in original condition. Perhaps she dreams the night away remembering her Green Line days?

Streatham Station Terminus


After ‘alighting’ it’s passengers, RM 1124 will do two right turns to bring it onto the forecourt of the closed Streatham Garage where it will lay over until it’s return to Marble Arch. Her original number plate of 124 CLT has been sold off somewhere. 

Route 159 Streatham Station terminus in October 2000 which used the frontage of the closed (1992) Streatham Garage. Now demolished and replaced with new bus station.

RMs 1324 & 1593 sit together at the Streatham Station stand awaiting return trips. They date from Dec '62 and May '63 respectively and have managed to retain their original number plates. Also note the two different ‘intermediate points’ blinds, reverse order with one doing away with Westminster altogether. 

Tottenham Garage (AR)


Tottenham Bus Garage opened on July 7th 1913 (my birthday!; that is the day and month) and its constraints are obvious as these RMLs awaiting the call to traffic do appear to be somewhat hemmed in by the low roof and numerous support columns.

RML’s 2518 & 2747 show both ends of the 73 route.

On a hot August day in 1997 RML 2350 enters the King's Cross gyratory with its cab and bonnet open.

RML 2562 brings up the rear of one of the lines of AR’s fleet. The constraints of the 1913 built garage can be seen with the proliferation of roof supports which must make positioning of 30’ buses a chore. 

RML’s 2632 & 2678 look to be having a private conversation in this quiet corner of Tottenham Garage.

And a rather atmospheric image of RML2638 (NML638E) at Tottenham Garage during the RM's final days.

Upton Park Garage (U)


Upton Park Garage dates from 1907, but it’s present configuration dates from an extensive rebuild in 1931. Compare the space available to manoeuvre buses here as opposed to Tottenham or Bow, which were built during the same era.

Upton Park Garage.

RML 886 resting between runs in Upton Park Garage. Sept 2000.

RMC 1461 was new to Guildford Country Bus garage in August 1962 and is seen here nicely preserved by Stagecoach in its original livery & her original registration.

RMC 1461 sits alongside RM 613 who has 6 years seniority over RML 2641 (Into service 1961/67).

I wonder if RMC 1456, pictured here at Blackwall DLR above in this gallery which also lives in ‘U’, feels slightly jealous of her sister RMC1461 who has retained its splendid Green Line livery? Above (right) RMC 1461 shows the ‘as delivered’ look of the RMC’s into Green Line service; the original luggage racks remain in place and are visible through the windows.

Walworth Garage (WL)


Just up the road from Camberwell, on the other side of the road, is Walworth Bus Garage (WL). Built for horse trams in 1871, it converted to electric trams in 1903. The Luftwaffe did some unplanned structural alterations during the blitz and since then WL has undergone a few upgrades and fluid uses since it converted from trams to buses in 1951. Until then it was known as Camberwell Tram Depot but with the coming of motor buses its name was changed to Walworth Road (where the entrance to the garage was situated) to avoid confusion with Camberwell just a few hundred yards down the road. I never went in as there were no RMs there!.

Waterloo Station - Base (RA)


Waterloo Station never seemed to be regarded as a fully fledged garage.  It was initially a bit of waste ground that was appropriated to house the Leyland Nationals required for the numerous Red Arrow services which ran from Waterloo Station and, being bounded by a housing estate, it suffered weekend restrictions. In fact, it only consisted of a small covered workshop, bus wash and an office block; it was never an old time brick built edifice like Camberwell or Bow, harking from the past, and so always seemed a poor relation in the bus garage world.  Perhaps that's why it was generally known as Waterloo base as opposed to Waterloo garage.  In the 1990s an allocation of Routemasters for route 11 joined the site. These stayed until June 2002 when space was required for the ill-fated MB articulated (bendy) buses which replaced the much shorter Leyland Nationals. Because of the extra space required to stable these, the route 11 Routemasters were transferred to Stockwell garage. Revenge was sweet for the evicted RM’s as the bendy buses only lasted until September 2009 when they were replaced.

RA was opened to provide a base for the extensive Red Arrow network which ran several routes from Waterloo station. Here’s some of its allocation of GLS’s.

The original occupants of RA were Red Arrow Leyland Nationals. Here GLS438 is seen with RMs at RA.

There were RM’s at RA. In the 1990s an allocation of Routemasters for route 11 joined the site and stayed until June 2002.  Here we see RM 994 enjoying the summer sunshine.

RML 2342 rests in RA, she started life with LT in the Lincoln Green livery of the country division at Northfleet Garage (NF) in November 1965.

RML 2305 awaits its next run from RA, she is another red RML that was sent to Godstone Country Bus garage (GD) in October 1965 to cover for RMLs to be delivered in green.

Unlike their country cousins, RML’s 2389, 2606 and 2615 are all central buses delivered in red.

RML 2618 cools of in a corner of RA awaiting its next trip.

At first glance GLS438 (above right) does not look like the typically familiar Leyland National. She was in fact one of the modified Mk2 LN’s which were given a makeover after London & Country (who had a large fleet), asked East Lancs coachbuilders in Blackburn to bring their fleet up to date. They had a Gardner engine fitted at an engineering company in Reigate and then were shipped up to Blackburn for the body modifications; hence the slightly altered front aspect (the back view is even more different!).  As LS438, she was accepted into the LT fleet in 1981 working the Red Arrow services until shipped off to Reigate and then to Blackburn in 1993 being reborn as GLS438 and returned to Red Arrow service in 1994 at RA where she is seen here keeping some RM’s company. The G prefix in front of the original LS code denotes the ‘Greenway’ name given by L&C to the project. The proximity of the aged London County Council flats is obvious and why restrictions were placed on this “base’s” operations.

Willesden Garage (AC)


Willesden Garage (AC) line up October 2000.

RML 2689 at Willesden Garage October 2000.

The entrance to Willesden garage dating from 1912.

The War memorial sited at the original entrance commemorating casualties from WW1. Note the logo of the LGOC (London General Omnibus Company) which was then the major bus company serving London. The circle and cross bar later became familiar as the LT badge; a coincidence perhaps?

Some of AC’s fleet having a Sunday off.

RML 2701 was delivered in Oct 1967 just 5 months before RML 2760 completed the LT order for RMLs in Mar 1968.

RML 2285 rests over the weekend ready for Monday. No route set yet, she could sally forth as either a 6 or a 98.

Page last updated 14th May 2016