ROUTEMASTER: OPEN-TOP SIGHTSEEING CONVERSION
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Notes About This Vehicle

In later life, gradually being retired from normal bus work, many Routemaster variants enjoyed new careers as sightseeing buses.

In 1986 eleven RCLs and nineteen RMs moved across to these duties. In addition to these, twenty RMs got beheaded to become open-toppers. None of the RMCs were treated in this way though.

As the years past London Transport (LT) reduced the status of all manner of its RMs and/or gradually sold them off.

As seen here, RMC1510 was new in November 1962 and used as a training bus for a short while. It entered passenger service on Green Line route 716A from Stevenage garage in January 1963.

When London Country Buses Ltd became a subsidiary of the National Bus Company in 1970, LT’s Country Area and Green Line coach network was transferred to it. Not much later, in 1977, LT bought RMC1510 back for use as a training vehicle.

In 1985 it was re-painted red but remained a trainer. Four years later it got decapitated to became a sightseeing bus. In 1994 the bus was sold to Centrewest, one of the bus companies to emerge after bus privatization and appeared at several heritage running days and the Lord Mayor’s Show.

Centrewest became part of the growing First Group in 1997, where the bus continued performing sightseeing and similar duties. It was sold to a private owner 2017.

In 2009 a small group of senior transport professionals instituted a small event, running a few preserved London buses as a shuttle between Warminster station and the village of Imber in Wiltshire, on one of its occasional open days. The village (along with two others) was commandeered by the military for training purposes during the Second World War. Imber was intended to be handed back to the evacuated inhabitants, but this never happened.

Now known as Imberbus, this has grown into a major annual event each August and raises large sums of money for charities.

RMC1510 made its first visit to Imber in 2011 and has made several appearances since. The bus is depicted here in its modified guise, with IMBERBUS logos, radiator badge, blind displays and slip board.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on an undated Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing ‘CR.301.Z.1’. 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 that could be found and attempts to show the vehicle as closely as possible to how it looked when it entered service in August 1962, and from a few colour photographs of it in Imberbus condition in recent years. 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 May 2023
 
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