Arriva London’s Green Line Heritage Fleet Routemaster bus in historic line-up at Brooklands


RMC 1453 (far right) and the four prototype routemasters
RMC 1453 (far right) and the four prototype routemasters

The ethos behind Arriva London’s Heritage Fleet is to maintain a moving history of London, and to this effect buses from the fleet are often invited to prestigious days out to continue that theme.

Such a day out was last weekend at the London Bus Museum Routemaster Day at Brooklands, where Arriva London’s RMC 1453, the first production Routemaster coach, joined the first four prototype Routemasters to celebrate 60 years since they first entered passenger service.

The location of the museum is close to the historic Green Line route 715 from Hertford to Guildford that the Routemaster coach first entered passenger service on, so it was an ideal opportunity to re-create the route for the day. RMC 1453, along with prototype Routemaster coach CRL 4, ran a special service during the day from Cobham Village via Ripley to Guildford and back.

RMC 1453 started work at Hertford garage in August 1962, when the Routemaster coaches replaced single deck RFs on route 715 between Hertford and Guildford.

The bus spent nearly 10 years at Hertford on cross-London Green Line coach work before moving to Grays in April 1972 and Reigate in February 1973 for more traditional bus work.

RMC 1453 out on route 715 again
RMC 1453 out on route 715 again

An overhaul at Garston, Watford in November 1973 saw the bus reappear in National Bus Company (NBC) Leaf Green livery with a white cant rail, grey wheels, London Country logo and NBC arrow in white.

It returned to bus work at Reigate, but moved around the old London Country area with spells at Grays, Leatherhead, Chelsham and Harlow before a return to London Transport ownership in January 1980.

It has only worked in London service twice since its London Country days.  The first was on route 159 on the very last day of Routemaster operation in December 2005, and the second was on route 123 on the 50th anniversary service on 19th June 2010.

Since its adoption into The Arriva Heritage Fleet, it has been seen regularly at rallies and prestigious events, such as Late at the Tate, and as one of the stars of Sing London’s promotional video.

In 2013, Arriva London joined forces with the National Trust to restore the Heritage Fleet bus back to its original Green Line coach condition. Since then she has been used regularly for the National Trust summer bus tours.


Tags:   News
Published : Wed 29th Jun. 2016
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