Routemaster RCL2218 to RCL2260
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Notes About This Vehicle

The success of the original batch of 24 RMLs (fleet numbered 880 to 903) was followed by a surprisingly long time before they became the standard model. Further, shorter, RMs continued to be built, including the luxury coach RMCs 1453 to 1520.
The final RM was numbered 2217 and the first batch of longer RML vehicles to then follow were in the form of 43 RCLs, which were extended (and slightly modified) versions of the RMC type, and numbered 2218 to 2260.
Though the design was heavily derived from the shorter RMCs, there were several internal differences. Externally, other than obviously being based on the longer, there too were evolutionary differences.
The on-going quest to improve the aesthetics of the front wings was ultimately resolved on the RCLs. Brake grilles had been blanked off on earlier RMs as no longer required and were eliminated completely on the RCLs onwards. Other changes included the lowering of the edge of the wings, to sweep a continuous line with the bottom of the radiator trim, a consequence of which was also the lowering of the registration plate and fog lamp. All ensuing central area (red) and country area (green) RMLs followed suit.
Other notable external differences that separated the RCLs from the earlier RMCs include: the vertical folding door grab rails issue, being located inside; upper deck ‘Green Line’ bar & circles being replaced by larger ‘London Transport’ ones in new locations; rear offside route number box omitted and replaced by small ‘London Transport’ symbol; lower deck ‘Green Line’ (disappointingly) losing its more elegant underlining. A more obvious evolution was the front route number and via points box matching the width of the destination display, with amber background also changed to a more vibrant yellow.
Relative to the RMLs which would follow, there was no lower deck emergency exit window on the offside – it being unnecessary owing to the platform doors having a bespoke rear exit. There was also no front canopy route number box, which the RMLs continued to have, though the earlier RMCs didn’t have them.
The entire batch of Green Line RCLs was delivered in May and June 1965 with the first entering service on 2nd June on route 721 – as depicted in this drawing, running out of Romford garage (code ‘RE’).
The Routemaster family has justifiably won tremendous respect for its overall design and incredible achievements in lightness and longevity. To many, the RCL was the finest refinement of them all.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on two Chiswick Works general arrangement drawings: undated ‘CR.301.Z.1’ (RMC) and 1963/4 ‘ER001.Z.1’ (RML). These types of black & white sketch drawings, as implied by the name, are 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. 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 – March 2018
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