Routemaster in 1977 Queen’s Silver Jubilee livery
Click on the drawing below to zoom in; click and drag to pan. You can also use the tools at the bottom. The thumbnail graphic at the top left shows you where you are, in the blue box, and you can also drag that around for quick navigation. Close this window to select another drawing.

Click here to see brief notes about this vehicle and technical notes about this particular drawing >>


Notes About This Vehicle

Over the years the elegant lines of the Routemaster have sat easily with many non-standard liveries away from London Transport’s (LT) Central Area ‘bus red’ and Country Area ‘Lincoln green’. The earliest of these was tried on RM664 where (apart from a few small panels) it wasn’t painted at all and operated experimentally from 1961 to 1965 in its naked aluminium panelling.

In anticipation of Her Majesty the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, in May 1976 RM2 was finished in silver, this time painted and not bare metal, and with a red relief band. This was soon followed by a similar treatment to RM442, in order to canvass interest from advertising agencies in July. The intention was to paint twenty-five buses in this style to run the following year. RM442 was re-painted red in 1976 and RM2 disappeared from the scene for quite a while.

The resulting buses were all 27ft 6ins RMs with no 30ft RMLs appearing in this guise. It seems those that took up the option to advertise produced images that were quite plain, presumably relying on the non-standard silver buses to attract attention in their own right. (At the time of writing in November 2022, it may be noted that this tactic would not now work, with many London buses deviating from overall bus red and so diminishing the strong identity in the capital.)

During their months of operation in 1977, these buses lost their standard fleet numbers and were given the temporary designation SRM, though their legal registrations remained. The buses chosen were from the newer ones passing through Aldenham for overhaul in January of that year.

Having been displayed at the Easter Parade in Battersea Park on 10th April, the buses entered service the following day. They moved around London on twenty-one chosen routes, being re-allocated in June and July, and again in August and September, to ensure a wide coverage of territory for the advertisers.

Since its creation in 1933, all LT buses had proudly and prominently displayed the operator’s name ‘London Transport’ in Johnston block lettering. The only evidence of this name on the Silver Jubilee buses was on the small triangular radiator badge. Instead, the letterforms on both sides were of Century Book Condensed, or at least very closely reminiscent of it, being the standard form used for all Silver Jubilee publicity. 

The buses were fitted with experimental all-wool carpets inside, with a design sympathetic to LT’s seat moquette. Having paid their fare, passengers were given special tickets which carried the name of the advertiser, though National Westminster bank decided against this option on its SRM18. The Woolworth adverts have been re-created here with the then fashion of over-tight letter and line spacing.

The last of these silver buses ran on the 5th November, the advertising contracts having expired that day. They were returned to Aldenham for a standard red re-paint.

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 when it was in service in this livery. 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 – November 2022
Top of page Close this window to select another drawing.
Built using Zoomify Viewer >
Close this window to return to the main website.