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London’s bus purchases 1946-1994 is a unique reference source, bringing together in a single volume all London Transport and London Buses postwar purchases from 1946 until privatisation. For the sake of completeness those wartime classes which were still being delivered in 1946 – Bristols, Daimlers and Guys – are shown in their entirety.
The book lists almost 22,000 buses, coaches and trolleybuses acquired in the period, both new and secondhand, involving two dozen chassis manufacturers. Most of these were now long-vanished British companies with one – AEC – accounting for some 10,000 vehicles which ranged from Regent IIs to rear-engined Swifts.
While the bulk of the book is devoted to buses and coaches owned by LT, there is a section listing demonstrators which were painted in London livery. The book ends with a summary of the blocks of registration numbers booked by LT and used primarily for buses. Within most of these registration blocks – typically of 400 or 500 numbers – there were assorted ancillary vehicles including motorcycles and various types of cars, vans and lorries.
London’s bus fleet reached the peak of standardisation in the mid 1950s when most pre-1946 buses had been withdrawn and the new Routemaster had yet to enter production. An overview of the RT, RTC, RTL, RTW and SRT classes is covered in 14 pages of text, tables and illustrations.
Following the problematic AEC Merlins and Swifts London Transport turned to Leyland’s integral National as its single-decker for the 1970s and early 1980s, buying 500 between 1976 and 1981. The durability of the structure saw 42 being rebuilt under East Lancs’ Greenway programme at the start of the 1990s
London’s Bus Purchases 1946-1994
Stewart J Brown
235 mm by 165 mm
Colour and B&W illustrations
£24 + p&p
Dissatisfied with its Daimler Fleetlines LT had plans for a new generation of purpose-built double-deckers, first with the XRM project in the 1970s, followed by an Ogle design project in the 1980s and finally with a new front-engined Routemaster in 1990.
Front-engined Ailsas and mid-engined Volvo Citybuses were among the more unusual types of double-deckers operated in London. London Buses ran 65 Ailsas, all but three being secondhand purchases, and 40 Citybuses, along with a few B10M coaches and a batch of B10B single-deck buses.
Ever wondered about London buses’ registrations? The final section lists all the number blocks used by LT for its buses from FXT in 1939 to reversed DYE in 1964. SLT 56-59 were RM1-4, but what unlikely vehicles were SLT 55 and SLT 60? Find out here.
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