As the Routemaster celebrates its 70th birthday, MARK LYONS looks at rare variants of the vehicle throughout its history.

RM1000 (100BXL) was the only one of the first 1,600 Routemasters not to have a registration mark including the letters LT. It has been preserved with the same advertising, proclaiming its status as the 1,000th bus of the type, that it carried when new.
LEFT: Prior to entering service, the first two Routemaster prototypes were extensively tested, including stints at the Fighting Vehicles Research Establishment in Chobham. During this period, they were often seen at the former country area garage in Staines.

The first Routemaster made its debut in August 1954, although at the time it was simply described as “London Transport’s new double deck bus”.

Over the next 14 years, another 2,760 of what was quickly named the Routemaster were built for London Transport. The vast majority, over 2,100 buses, “standard” RM class buses which were painted red and operated on central area bus routes. Another 524 buses formed the longer RML class whilst there were 68 standard length vehicles built for Green Line use, the RMCs, and 43 of the longer RCL variant for coach use.

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