London Transport RT1 seen parked on Ham Common to recreate the April 1939 photoshoot. MARK LYONS
In addition to staging its route 65 road run on 11 April, in lieu of the traditional spring gathering, the London Bus museum recreated the April 1939 photoshoot involving RT1 on Ham Common.
Thirty buses were in service on the road run itself ranging in age from the museum’s STL2377, dating from 1937, to one of Quality Line's 2016 built Mercedes Benz Citaro Ks. Although RTs and Routemasters dominated a number of other vehicles appeared.
Although the main event covered the historic route 65 (Ealing Argyle Road – Leatherhead) buses that did not comply with the requirements of London’s Low Emission Zone operated on route 465 from Malden Russet, just outside the zone’s boundary, to Dorking. Green Line route 714 will provide three journeys each way between Richmond and Leatherhead, following the route of the 65.
Two journeys, the second of which was duplicated, also operated on route 235 (Richmond Station – Richmond Hill). London Transport gave up operating the 235 in 1966 with a replacement provided by Isleworth Coaches. Operations passed to Continental Pioneer of Richmond in May 1968 but the service was withdrawn in 1980 and existing London Transport route 71 was diverted as a replacement.
The service buses were also joined by over 20 vehicles that followed the route not in service, largely for the benefit of the many photographers who lined the roadside. In addition to the enthusiasts who turned out the event also drew significant interest from the general public.
All being well the museum hopes to reopen fully, initially from Wednesday to Sunday on 19 May. A Summer Gathering at Brooklands is planned for 27 June.