Rejected Modernized 1st Livery RF
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Notes About This Vehicle

A word of caution: very little is known about this livery and only one rather indistinct photograph. The text that follows includes some conjecture and should not be regarded as in any way definitive.

In July 1965 RF136 was taken into Chiswick Works with a view to modernizing the now 15-year-old Green Line RF fleet inside and out. In this first incarnation the vehicle was presented for evaluation as depicted in this drawing, in a pale pearlescent grey with a broad Lincoln green relief band and flanked with polished aluminium trim.

The new relief band caused the garage code and running number stencils to be moved down to clear it, where they were centred above the front wheel arches. Nearby, London Transport’s new style tiny fleet numbers now resided below the expanded relief band.

Large bright orange indicators were fitted instead of the rubber surrounded ‘elephant ear’ type first fitted to London Transport vehicles in 1956 and generally from 1959. The new indicators were much lower down on the front of the coach, also as a consequence of the much broader light green relief band having replaced the earlier slim ones only surrounding the windows all round.

The front wheels received bright ‘nut rings’ and the rear wheel disk covers were picked out to match. A single-piece front driver’s windscreen with a sweeping curve also replaced the original two-piece opening one. In vogue at the time, smart twin headlamps were fitted.

The prevailing GREEN LINE bar & circle that had been cleverly positioned and incorporated to form part of the opening flap for the radiator coolant, disappeared. (On all other RFs operating on central and country area bus routes, the flap had a LONDON TRANSPORT legend.) A new and simpler bar & circle in green and yellow was added lower down and repeated at the back. The new headlamps and
re-positioned bar & circle caused the front registration plate to be moved nearer the bottom of the vehicle.

Rear reflectors had been become required by law from 1st October 1954 and circular ones retro-fitted to vehicles built before this. The opportunity was taken to incorporate them in newly designed rear light clusters on RF136.

The original mudguards on RFs were quite expansive with squared tops and as such should probably not have worked visually; in the new design they were replaced by smaller and more conventional rounded ones as portrayed here.

The story is that the new livery was rejected and the coach re-appeared strikingly differently in March 1966. Most features were however retained from this earlier design. The broader mid band in light green, still with its polished trim survived, as did the new twin headlamps, curved windscreen and rounded mudguards. The most obvious change though was the pearlescent grey giving way to the traditional Lincoln green.

Soon afterwards a further 174 RFs were modernized to this later design, though the experimental rounded mudguards on RF136 were not regarded as aesthetically pleasing and the standard square-topped design was reinstated. This is a bit surprising as the rounded design ought in theory to have worked better. One wonders just how much human beings get used to things and find something different not to their taste. One for the psychologists to ponder.

Apart from the hub cover and AEC badge, the wheels were changed to green throughout, unlike on both RF136 experimental liveries.

Important Notes

The restoration of RF136 to this first modernized livery was largely completed in September 2019. All known physical features from the re-design that had survived the intervening decades were retained, including its reversing light, which would probably not have been fitted. Crewe operated RFs did not have reversing lights as the conductor was available to help. As such, these lights were fitted for one-man operation soon after RF136’s conversion.

When RF136 was undergoing its initial transformation, a fleet of new single-deckers, designated RC, was being delivered in November 1965. The extensively pearlescent grey livery was used on these and formed the basis, from a small surviving area of original paint on RF136, of the new paint mix for the 2019 restoration.

In September 2019 not all transfers were in place and I have added a few likely ones. They appear here in gold, again as known to have been applied to the RCs.

I have omitted the circular rear reflectors fitted on the restoration as they were not required by law until a little after the original conversion. As with the reversing light, it is quite possible these reflectors were in place when the 2019 restoration commenced.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a general arrangement drawing ‘RF019.Z1’ revised to 1964. 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 contemporary black & white and colour photographs of other modernized livery RFs of the time, in their eventual guise. Also used were colour images taken on 8th September 2019 of the Epping-Ongar Railway’s restoration. The detail should not be viewed with any certainty in terms of its appearance when presented for evaluation 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 September 2019
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