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LONDON BUSES SUMMER


News


The 1890 Three Light ‘Garden Seat’ horse-bus (Ian Jackson). T


he London Bus Museum’s second public event of the year was held on Sunday 25th June. The title ‘London Buses Summer’ took some while to agree upon, having carefully avoided using the words ‘Summer’ and ‘Holiday’. Although Sir Cliff Richard starred in a wonderful film, with memorable music and of course an AEC RT London bus, our stewards can become a little jaded when yet another visitor espies our Routemaster in reception and starts singing ‘We’re all going on a Summer Holiday…’


A select number of vehicles attended on the


day, which was just as well as there were very necessary restrictions placed upon us as to what we might display on the Finishing Straight as the Straight wasn’t, er, finished, well as far as the curing of the concrete was concerned. Frantic checking of bus unladen weights was required and resulted in some of us suddenly becoming very knowledgeable (and no doubt boring) in this field.


The Paddock display featured London Country


and Green Line buses, those associated with extended summer routes or merely days out in the country. RT3491, or ‘Evadne’ as she is affec- tionately known, was jointly designed by London Transport and AEC and featured a smooth new diesel engine, air-brakes and pre-selector gearbox, all in 1939. RLH48 is a low-height double-deck bus designed to overcome all those low railway bridges in the country. RF226 is an example of the new Green Line fleet introduced from the early 1950s and RP90 was delivered to Guildford garage in 1972 and operated on the Green Line


38


route 715, which still passes close to Brooklands. The bus that drew most attention was FRM1. This is the only rear-engined Routemaster to be produced by AEC in response to the move to single crewed buses for economic and staff short- age reasons, as well as the fact that rear-engine buses were becoming fashionable. That it was a prototype and other similar vehicles were readily available offered little hope for the Front Entrance Routemaster, which following regular service with London Transport was fully restored by the London Transport Museum. FRM1 became the first double-decker London Bus to run up and down the entire length of the refurbished Finishing Straight, much to the delight of bus enthusiasts. Our 1890 Three Light ‘Garden Seat’ horse-bus was busy all day taking visitors off-site on a 20-minute experience of riding on or in such a vehicle and was augmented by a Paris inter- station horse carriage which, although taking fewer passengers, did so in a much grander style. The configuration of the upper seating on the Three Light gave rise to the nickname of the vehicle which has had a variety of owners and roles. Following its use by Solomon Andrews and Son on a regular London horse-bus route, the vehicle passed onto Mills Circus, Chessington Zoo and even ended up in the Mathey Collection in Chicago. Returned to the UK in 1989 and thoroughly overhauled, the vehicle was donated with two other horse-buses to the LBM by the John Andrews Charitable Trust in 2007. Deryck Fill, Events Manager, London Bus Museum


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