Extended RM281
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Click here to see brief notes about this vehicle and technical notes about this particular drawing >>


Notes About This Vehicle

One of the first batch of standard new 64-seat Routemasters to have quarter-drop opening front windows, RM281 was new in April 1960. It started operation at West Ham Garage (WH) as part of London’s trolleybus replacement programme.
It moved around quite a lot, subsequently working out of many garages over the years: Walthamstow (WW), Stockwell (SW), Uxbridge (UX), Putney (AF), Riverside (R), Rye Lane (RL), Walworth (WL), Middle Row (X), Stamford Hill (SF), Holloway (J), Clapton (CT), Bow (BW), Palmers Green (AD), Potters Bar (PB), Finchley (FY) and Plumstead (PD).
It must of course be appreciated that the processes through London Transport’s Aldenham Works caused sub frames and bodies to be routinely separated, overhauled, and re-assembled in different combinations. As such the list of garages from which RM281 operated refers only to its bonnet number identity and not necessarily its physical reality.
It was withdrawn from London service in 1985 but returned for a time in 1986 working from yet another garage, Norbiton (NB). This didn't last long and in March of 1986 it was converted to open top and transferred to the commercial unit of London Buses at Battersea for sightseeing tours. When this was privatized in 1992 the bus passed to the then named London Coaches, lengthened by a full window bay and re-classified as ERM281, for Extended RouteMaster.
It was sold to Mac Tours of Edinburgh in 2002 which then became part of the Lothian Buses group. It then received a new engine and folding platform doors.
The bus operated the last ever Mac Tours service on 29th October 2016 and then over the period April to August 2017, ERM281 was re-roofed in Lothian’s Seafield works with parts that had been in a Yorkshire’s breakers’ yard for many years. It emerged as a very creditable replica of a London Transport Routemaster, with its blind boxes reinstated.
RM281 remains based in Edinburgh enjoying a role as a private hire bus and took full part in the British Legion fund raising day at the disused village of Imber in August 2017.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing from 1961, (‘ER001.Z.1’) revised a few times to 1965. 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 colour photographs of RM281 as it appeared in 2017. None of the detail 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 January 2019
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