RMs 5 to 253
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Notes About This Vehicle

After extensive testing of the four prototypes and test rigs, the first production Routemasters entered passenger service in 1959.
Continuing London Transport’s custom of attempting to obtain registrations including ‘LT’ (the prototypes were SLT56 to SLT59), RM5 to RM299 carried it in the ‘VLT’ series, with the numerals matching the fleet numbers.
Over 30 of these new RMs were licensed from July to November, though far from in numerical order, and allocated to several garages around London.
Contrary to popular belief, Routemasters were not the buses used to replace trolleybuses from the outset. The conversion programme comprised 14 stages, generally progressing round London from east to west, and older RTs were used for the first three.
Delays in the full production roll out of new RMs caused them to make their eventual appearance by Stage 4, on 11th November 1959. West Ham received 15 new buses to replace trolleybuses, though it wasn’t until Stage 6 that trolleybuses ceased operation there completely.
The 11th November was a more historic day for Poplar, having received 59 new RMs it ceased being a trolleybus depot the previous night. Four new bus routes were operated from that day, from what was now Poplar bus garage.
One of its vehicles, equipped for route 48, is depicted in this drawing, with its ‘PR’ garage code. These stencils only lasted on central area London Transport buses for a short while after this, with the codes then being painted in white directly onto the bus itself.
Though there were minor differences with some parts hidden from view, externally the early production vehicles were identical up to fleet number RM253. From RM254 upwards, all were equipped with quarter-drop front upper deck windows, absent in this drawing.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on a Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing from 1963 ‘RM001.Z.1’, revised a few times 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 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 during its early days in 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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