RF Private Hire Coach
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Notes About This Vehicle

The AEC Regal MkIV with Metro-Cammell bodywork was introduced by London Transport from 1951, with the fleet designation ‘RF’; this eventually reaching 700 in number. The first 25 vehicles were 27ft 6ins long, with air-operated doors and glass roof panels and were specifically designed for private hire.

The private hire fleet was allocated to eight central area garages, the first of which, RF2, was licensed to Camberwell on 25th April 1951. They were equipped with a microphone for couriers on guided tours.

The livery was a refreshing departure from the past. The conventional London Transport ‘Lincoln Green’ was used at lower level but with the upper areas finished in what was described as ‘flake grey’.

A particularly elegant feature was the  use of red pin stripes to pick out the window surrounds. Red too was used for all lettering except the registration plates.

All later RFs were 30ft long and either green, for Green Line or country bus work, or red for central area routes.

As with any production run of this quantity overall, external features on the RFs evolved. As can be seen here, there were no front indicators; the earlier vehicles having semaphore ‘trafficators’ – the black vertical panels on the nearside and offside elevations. The later familiar ‘elephant ear’ front indicators were to follow from 1959.

Alterations were also made to the rear indicators, which unsurprisingly caused confusion to drivers behind, both left- and right-turn arrows being to the right on the early vehicles. Later, the flashing arrows were separated with one to the left and one to the right.

Other later revisions included the addition of a horizontal handrail inside the front nearside window and a central air intake on the roof near the front.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a general arrangement drawing of unknown date and origin, of the later 30ft variants. 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 black & white press photographs of RF24 and colour descriptions and inspection of later vehicles. The detail should not be viewed with any certainty in terms of its appearance when in service and none of it 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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