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Sunday, 27 September 2009

RTWs return to route 41



In my last message I briefly mentioned Saturday's celebration of the introduction of RTWs now some 60 years ago.

RTWs 75 and 467 reinacted the class' introduction to route 41 in 1949 in glorious sunshine to the huge enjoyment of all who were able to take part and those who came to see it.

The introduction of London's first eight-foot wide buses was initially restricted to the suburbs until a series of trials convinced the Metropolitan Police that they could be deployed to the busy central London routes where their extra room was to most benefit.

These two buses have shared the same space on several occasions before. One of my earliest memories of RTW75 is it running in convoy with 467 on one of the first Manchester-Harrogate runs circa 1971 although on that occasion it broke down on the M1 returning to London. RTW75 was carrying LOTS members and subsequent criticism of it by the London Bus Preservation Group for 'abandoning' it led to a chilly relationship between the two organistions for many years.

Ted Brakell owned RTW75 at the time and in those days it was often used on film and TV work. Indeed for some time its interior green rexine was painted maroon to resemble the interior of the Routemaster so as to make it a little more acceptable. You will see it in countless episodes of 1970s television series. Both it and 467 came together again in "Who Dares Wins" starring Lewis Collins which I worked on at the time. More details of how this was done is at http://www.busesonscreen.net/screen/screenfmw.htm. Interestingly 467 was used for interior shots in this film - the Director not being interested in the colour scheme at all!

Thanks for all your comments - various emails are telling me you are enjoying these periodic notes so please tell your friends!

1 comment:

  1. Indeed a good day, the pleasant weather adding to it. It was interesting to see how many people put their hands out at stops and stared in dismay when we went straight by. One young mother and her two children were fortunate to be able to board RTW75 and ride from Crouch End to Tottenham, despite her son's protestation that he didn't want to go on this one but a real bus. The look of bemusement when the "conductor" issued them with Route 41 Gibson tickets was accompanied by the question "what is this?". How times have changed, and what the rest of the riders yesterday would have taken for granted in their childhood was something totally new to this family. However, the mother enjoyed herself and expressed a wish that all buses could have seat cushions as thick and comfortable as those of sixty years ago.

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