Routemaster Prototype RM2
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Notes About This Vehicle

The development of London’s famous Routemaster continued decades of tradition for bespoke vehicles designed by London Transport and its predecessors for use in the capital.
The desire for the next generation of London bus was conceived in 1947. Legislation of the time did not permit vehicles of two axles to exceed 27 feet in length and within this restriction the maximum carrying capacity was the aspiration.
What emerged was far-sighted in so many ways, with lightness of construction being almost an obsession. An aluminium alloy body was constructed with sufficient integral strength to negate the need for a chassis, with the former mounted on two sub-frames instead.
Every last drop was squeezed from the length restriction and even the radiator was mounted beneath the engine to gain a few more inches. During this time, legislation was relaxed to permit vehicle lengths of 27 feet 6 inches and advantage was quickly taken to mount the radiator in the conventional position in front of the engine.
The new 64-seater bus was first shown in its prototype form as RM1 at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1954. Soon afterwards a further three prototypes were built, two with different engines. Over the next few years it was extensively tested, and, as to be expected, modified during its development phase.
As with RM1, RM2 was built at London Transport’s Chiswick Works with heavy collaboration with AEC and Park Royal Vehicles and taken into stock in March 1955. After extensive testing along with RM1, RM2 entered revenue earning service on 20th May 1957 in country area Lincoln green.
It was returned to Chiswick on 8th August and re-painted in central area red. It then went to the local garage at Turnham Green to operate on route 91 in September.
As seen in this drawing, of note was the use of the label ‘ROUTE’ above the rear offside blind. This was not a feature on RM1 and indeed did not last long – not being included on the red re-paint. Furthermore, the small embossed ‘ROUTEMASTER’ on the bonnet and cab on RM1 was dropped.
After extensive testing of the prototypes, the first production Routemasters entered passenger service in 1959.

Notes About This Drawing

This drawing attempts to show RM2 as closely as possible to how it looked in autumn 1957, though as noted above, the bus was in a state of continuous modification.
It is based on a Chiswick Works ‘general arrangement’ drawing of later production vehicles (‘RM001.Z.1’) which differed considerably in outward construction. 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 in this particular interpretation has been sourced from contemporary black & white photographs, and its present state of restoration. None of the detail here can be regarded as definitive.
It should be understood that all four elevations are seen here as one would see all parts 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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