Routemaster FRM1
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Notes About This Vehicle

The fundamental design of the Routemaster was tested to the full in making a genuine front entrance variant.
The vehicle was developed (either discretely, or secretly, depending on your viewpoint) and entered service on 26th June 1967 with little fanfare. Its ancestry was still clear for all to see despite so many outward differences.
The overall length was increased to 31ft 3ins thus rendering the after-thought central square side window of the RMLs unnecessary, though the 72-seat capacity was maintained. Most noticeably of course, the front end was very different for the lower deck as well. From this drawing the emergency exit arrangements can also be seen.
As with all prototypes, this vehicle went through many modifications; this was the first front entrance, rear engined double-deck bus London Transport had designed and built. Originally having no opening windows made for a rather stark and, in Routemaster terms, regressive look.
FRM1 suffered a rear end fire on 31st August and was withdrawn for repair and considerable modification. When it re-entered service on 1st December it looked quite different outwardly. The introduction of familiar quarter-drop windows improved the family resemblance, and no doubt the ventilation, which had thence depended on a forced intake system above the run of lower deck windows. An air intake on the front was also incorporated within the London Transport bar & circle.
Concurrent with standard production RMs of the time, FRM1 had a disappointing grey relief band and less stylish London Transport fleet name, without underline. The fleet number was a complete departure from its ancestors, being white and miniscule. In its later years, these were moved and changed to the larger conventional gold outlined type; the garage and running number codes also moved.
As a passenger carrying bus it saw sporadic periods of activity until the mid 1970s when it joined the sightseeing tour fleet. It was acquired by the London Transport Museum in 1983.
It continued the amazing lightness of construction, coming in much lower than its contemporaries from traditional bus manufacturers, in the form of Atlanteans and Fleetlines. Here we are nearly 50 years on and no bus has improved on this. Even though, as it transpired, only one was ever built, in testimony to it, it succeeded outstandingly in performance terms, though not in its timing.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing from 1965, (‘FRM7.1.Z1’) revised a few times to 1967. 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 several black & white and colour photographs of sufficient quality, as well as examination of the vehicle in its much later condition as acquired by the London Transport Museum, and attempts to show the vehicle as closely as possible to how it looked when modified and re-entered service in Decemer 1967. None of the detail can be regarded as definitive.
drawing copyright Douglas Rose March 2018
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