Roof Box STL  Green Line
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Notes About This Vehicle

With a total of 360 built by the London Passenger Transport Board (London Transport) at its Chiswick Works within ten months, central area red roof box STLs commenced service in October 1936, largely replacing the remaining NS class. These had STL type 12 and 14 body classifications.

Existing legal agreements precluded London Transport building all the bodies required themselves and an order for a further 175 was placed with Park Royal Vehicles — these becoming STL15s. A further 327 followed from Chiswick, all of the STL12 and STL14 type, and finally the STL16s, of which there were 132. STLs existed in many forms, with body variations classified up to 20, of nearly 2700 built, though all had the same basic design of chassis.

This last batch of new pre-war STLs carried the fleet number range 2516–2647 and may be regarded as having had their external appearance taken to its final level of sophistication, though the unladen weight became slightly greater.

A new and deeper radiator was fitted, with the registration plate now mounted on it as opposed to below it. Other features of note were the re-introduction of front and rear wheel hub covers, previously fitted to earlier STLs in the fleet number 1200 and 1300 series in 1936.

Passengers benefited from the ‘Doverite’ white grips being added to the platform handrails. An improvement for drivers was that they could now enjoy better ventilation. The top section of the front cab window could be pushed open on earlier models, and now on STL16s so too could the lower. However, at this time a front nearside driver’s mirror was still to be provided, as was a cab door.

As depicted here in this rather attractive two-tone green country area livery, STL2617 entered service at Dartford in August 1939 and was transferred to Grays in November the same year for the newly re-instated Green Line routes Z1 and Z2.

On the outbreak of war in September 1939 a strict blackout was imposed. All London Transport road vehicles were fitted with headlamp and side light masks allowing out only a glimmer of light; interior lights were masked and white paint applied to the front mudguards and platform edges. In addition, a large white disk was painted on the lower rear panels of motor buses. The intention is understood to have been to assist the drivers of a following trolleybus to identify that the vehicle in front was a motor bus and could therefore be overtaken. The disk would have been helpful to the driver of any following vehicle. STL2617 would have received these blackout arrangements soon after it entered service, or perhaps even straight away.

The country area livery was changed to Lincoln green and off white sometime in 1939/40, still incorporating the blackout markings. The bus is shown here with its roof painted grey, though by late 1941 the grey pigment had become difficult to obtain and instead roofs were painted in a bauxite (chocolate brown) colour.

Notes About This Drawing

The drawing is based on Chiswick Works general arrangement drawing 3659 of STL body style 16 and dated 30th March 1939. 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.

I have inferred as much structural detail as possible from published contemporary black & white photographs, of which there are very few, and restored STL2377 which is in central area red.

The adverts are, again, based on very few black & white contemporary photographs and the colours complete guesswork, purely on aesthetics.

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 April 2020
 
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