Crewe Operated Central Area RF
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Notes About This Vehicle

The AEC Regal MkIV with Metro-Cammell bodywork was introduced by London Transport from 1951, with the fleet designation ‘RF’; this eventually reaching 700 in number.
Designed for private hire, the first 25 vehicles were 27ft 6ins long, with air-operated doors and glass roof panels. Several variations followed, all 30ft long: Green Line coaches with luggage racks and folding doors; green country area buses with doors but no luggage racks; red central area buses.
The first batch of red buses for the central area appeared without doors. In later days some buses changed colour, some received doors for one-man operation and some changed fleet number.
The RF established itself as the staple single-decker of the London Transport fleet of its time and gained a reputation for solid build quality – perhaps exemplified by it being heavier than the later double-deck Routemaster which seated over fifty percent more passengers. This sturdy build quality and appealing visual design may have contributed to there being so many now in preservation long after the last one was withdrawn from service in 1979.
The first batch of red buses was numbered RF289 to RF513, and one of them is depicted here in its earliest form. Of note is the route number plate above the door, similar to those fitted under the canopy of RTs but tilted down a little on RFs.
The seating capacity of this crew-operated variant was 41 but this was later reduced to 39 with the addition of luggage capacity near the front doorway in place of two transverse seats on the nearside.
It may be noted that the double direction ‘trafficator’ at the rear was later replaced by one arrow on each side. Front indicators of the rubber ‘elephant ear’ standard type was a later feature too, as were the addition of reversing lights and rear reflectors.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a general arrangement drawing ‘RF019.Z1’ revised to 1964. This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but as a specification guide to builders.
All the fine detail has been interpreted from dozens of contemporary colour photographs and some preserved RFs. The detail should not be viewed with any certainty in terms of its appearance when in service and none of it can be regarded as definitive.
It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see each part of the vehicle at a truly perpendicular angle. In real life this is of course impossible.
 
drawing copyright Douglas Rose March 2018
 
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