New Bus For London
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Notes About This Vehicle

When Boris Johnson became Mayor of London, one of his first actions was to instigate the removal of ‘bendy-buses’ and introduce new ‘Routemasters’ within four years. What he of course meant was open rear platform buses.
The press latched onto this and dubbed it with a silly name that I won’t give credibility by using it here. A competition was launched in July 2008 and the winner was a design from Heatherwick Studio and built by Wrightbus of Northern Ireland.
With timely accuracy the first prototype arrived in London in December 2011 just in time to fulfil the Mayor’s pledge to have the new bus on the road within his 4-year term. Seven others followed. The first of these entered service in February 2012 on route 38.
The reality is that the resulting bus has little in common with the Routemaster and is occasionally and more sensibly (albeit rather unimaginatively) called the ‘new bus for London’. The vehicles actually carry ‘LT’ fleet numbers.
Teething troubles were inevitable, the most publicized being the noisy ventilation system. Even after what was regarded as successful testing of the prototypes and the re-elected Mayor authorizing the purchase of 600 production vehicles, the ventilation was still causing problems. There were historical echoes in the bus not having any opening windows, harking back to a similar decision with FRM1 in 1967. FRM1 only lasted a few months in this guise and at the time of writing it seems the same may happen to the new LTs following complaints from passengers.
What is beyond question is that the new buses are very well built and perform like a technologically advanced trolleybus, being driven by batteries topped up by an on-board diesel engine; the latter not driving the bus at all. The acceleration is very reminiscent of this more relevant ancestor, providing comfort and relative quietness.
Comparisons with the Routemaster are somewhat fatuous, just because both have an open rear platform – the new bus does not always operate in this configuration anyway. Over half a century of advancement in all manner of technology, design and regulations, and very different operating conditions, further highlight this.
Somewhat disappointing is the overall outward styling which shows signs of having been rushed. The curvaceous (though not always seductively so) body has many asymmetrical features, with windows of several different shapes and sizes – note the upper deck windows, nearside and offside, either side of the emergency roof exit.
Time will tell if the new bus is as successful as its supposed predecessor.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a general arrangement drawing. This type of black & white sketch drawing, as implied by the name, is not intended to define detail but act as a specification guide to builders.
All the fine detail has been interpreted from dozens of general and close-up colour photographs taken for the purpose and attempts to show the vehicle as closely as possible to how it looked soon after it entered service on 22nd June 2013. 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 – December 2013
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