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581 J

Built : 1952
Registration : MXX 244

RLH 44 began its career in Country area green colours, at East Grinstead garage. It also worked from Addlestone, Godstone and Reigate garages before overhaul in 1956, one of three during its career.

It remained in the Country area, based at either Amersham or Addlestone, until the end of its passenger carrying career in 1970. RLH 44 was transferred to the new London Country Bus Services organization on the day of its formation on 1/1/70, but only lasted until 31/7/70, on which day it worked the last RLH service for London Country, a late night run on route 461A (more details).

By May 1971, RLH 44 was converted into a uniform distribution vehicle. The work was carried out by Brewsters Coachworks of Wrotham, and involved removal of all bus seats, panelling over the rear platform and most of the windows. Fluorescent lights were provided, using electricity from a shore supply, and perspex skylights were fitted in the roof.

The vehicle was given departmental number 581J. The J suffix was used to signify service vehicles with AEC engines. Interestingly, 582J and 583J were both AEC Matador breakdown tenders, introduced at the same time.

581J was then driven to various London Country garages, where crews would be handed new uniforms over a small counter, which they could then try for size in the fitting room, left of the new hinged entrance door. Upstairs, hanger rails stored the new uniforms. 581J visited Garston and St. Albans garages particularly often.

A new uniform issuing bus, Leyland National number LNB 57, was introduced and 581J was declared surplus in April 1982. Used as an office for a while at Stevenage garage, the vehicle was acquired for preservation by Mr Tippetts of Swindon in 1983.

Timebus purchased the vehicle in December 1990. During the next decade, the front upstairs windows were uncovered, and the vehicle was used as a Timebus crew/storage bus.

In 2008, a major refurbishment included repanelling most of the exterior, re-instating 2 windows downstairs and the front blindbox, and reconfiguring the interior. The vehicle is now available for static hire under the Timebus Space brand, known as the Control Bus, particularly for outdoor events.

385-0812-m-w/jpg 18th August 2013

Hemel Hempstead bus station

Photo by, and ©, E. Pring

356-709mw/jpg 1 August 2010

Addlestone, reversing into site of the former bus garage, having just arrived with an 'RLH40' recreation of the final London Country RLH operated service of route 461 forty years earlier. The brick pillar on the far left is believed to be from the original garage.

Photo by, and ©, E. Pring

338-0454 27 April 2008

Crawley Down, West Sussex, recreating old route 424

Photo © E. Pring

photo 20 June 2005

Northampton, stretching its legs

Photo © E. Pring

photo 13th October 2002
Former Staines West Station, 'RLH 50' event, celebration cake
View RLH 50 Event Galleries

Photo © E. Pring. Click to enlarge

photo 13th October 2002
Harrow Weald Metroline Garage

Photo © E. Pring. Click to enlarge

photo June 1997

St. Albans Bus Garage (enthusiasts' rally)

Photo © E. Pring

3 May 1987

HCVS rally, Battersea Park

Photo © M. McClure

64527-m-w/jpg 1981 or 1982

Stevenage Bus Garage

Photo © A. Warr

30 June 1978

Hatfield Bus Garage

Now wearing a National Bus Company 'mirrored N' logo over the former blindbox area, replacing the previous London Country 'flying polo mint'.

Photo © M. McClure

photo June 1974
Garston Bus Garage
1952-11-02-ac/jpg November 1952
On Route 424
Victoria Road, Horley

Photo ©, and used with permission, of A. Cross

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