Vintage Bus

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We have a beautiful AEC Routemaster in our fleet. This bus is available to hire!

This bus was new in 1966 to London Transport for routes in the North London area. This bus is known as RML2434 and was part of a fleet over nearly 2800 Routemasters built for London Transport during the 1950/60s.

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This picture shows RML2434 in its early days in Watford on London Route 347. Photographer unknown

Buses in service were painted green and in the central area were and still are red. The Green area became part of the London Country fleet in 1970 so RML2434 became part of that National Bus Company, RML2434 would continue in this role until the late 1978. when it was sold for scrap to a bus breaker in Barnsley.

RML2434 was bought back from the scrap yard in 1979 by London Transport as they were undergoing a shortage of buses for Central London bus routes. At this stage RML2434 was 13 years old and in a sorry state however during the summer of 1980 the apprentices in the Aldenham Coach Works rebuilt 2434 and returned it to service, this time in London red.

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RML2434 on the last day of Routemaster operation of the 43 in 1987. Photograph R. J. Waterhouse Web Site

The 1980s were kinder to RML2434 were it operated from Bow Garage on bus routes in North and East London, it was a regular on Route 8 in East London running through Fleet Street and past St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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By 1993 RML2434 had relocated from East London to North London. Seen here in Euston Station. Photograph Andy Reeve-Smith

The Routemasters were legendary in their service to London. Their fast loading times and short footprint made sure they stayed in London service for 60 years! By the early 1990s the remaining 600 of the near 2800 fleet were given huge refurbishments with the intention of running them for at least another 10 years.

Initially RML2434 had its AEC 590 engine replaced with a new Cummins C series engine. The reason for this was parts for the now defunct AEC company were becoming rare but also as these engines had been rebuilt so many times they were no longer able to be skimmed. Later in 1993 2434 went to South Yorkshire and had a substantial rebuild with new interior and modern lights.

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RML2434 now part of the Arriva London fleet on route 73 during 2004. Photograph Steven Hughes.

During 1994 the Conservative Government privatised the London bus companies. RML2434 now joined the London Northern fleet, later in 1996 to become part of the Cowie bus fleet. Cowie rebranded as Arriva in 1997.

From 1993 – until 2004 RML2434 plied its trade with Arriva London as part of the 73 route from Victoria Station to Stoke Newington through the North London suburbs. Quite remarkable that at 37 years of age this bus was still in 7 day a week service!

Sadly by the early 2000s the Routemaster story in London was drawing to an end. The early 2000s push towards wheelchair accessible vehicles meant that between 2003 and 2005 the Routemaster fleet was withdrawn from mainline London service. RML2434s day came in September 2004 when it was pushed out by the conversion of Route 73 to new Mercedes Benz Citaro bendy buses.

The story of RML2434s life is that its always bounced back, and sure enough she did just that and was transfered to Clapton Garage to replace some poorer condition RML buses on route 38 from Victoria Station to Clapton Pond. This time the reprieval was short lived and on 29 June 2005 the inevitable happened and RML2434 was withdrawn from service from London for good!

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Living on borrowed time. RML2434 on the 38 in 2005. Photographer unknown.

At this stage the Routemasters place in history was guaranteed. All of the buses withdrawn in the 2000s found new homes with owners all over the globe. This London Icon was bought by Dubliner Nigel Bennett. Nigel set about having 2434 restored to its original London Country Lincon Green livery and in 2006 RML2434 came to Ireland after 38 years of faithful service in London.RML2434e.jpg

RML2434 with its ‘Central Cousin’ ex Putney RML2575 in Dublin. Photographer Darren Hall.

RML2434 joined our fleet in 2012 and took to the road once again in 2013 and is now a busy bus doing private hire all around Ireland. During 2017 RML2434 made some guest appearances on the 193 Ashbourne – Dublin route.

2018 saw a new member to our Routemaster fleet! This special bus is a very rare Routemaster Coach RMA57.

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RMA57 at the start of its restoration. Note the lack of an engine!

AEC had limited success with the sale of Routemasters outside of London. The last Routemasters built were for British European Airways (BEA), who are now British Airways.

BEA had a curious set up with the ‘West London Air Terminal’ in Kensington. Passengers would check in here and then be whisked out to Heathrow along the M4 and delivered to their plane. These Routemasters had uprated engines and could hit 70 mph along the motorway.

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Back in the USSR. BEA51 and later RMA51. Note the luggage trailer! Photographer Mega Anorak

The RMAs had relatively short lives and were replaced by the Victoria Line extension to Heathrow in 1979 and later joined to London Transport fleet. They were deemed to be unsuitable as they had forward doors and were mostly disposed of. Most of them were cut up for scrap and today very few remain in roadworthy condition.

RMA57 was towed all the way from Croydon to Ashbourne and a full rebuild has started. We have even sourced an original uprated AEC690 engine from a hospital generator from Harlow Hospital in Essex. RMA57 will soon join the operational fleet and may even do the odd Ashbourne Connect service!