·         Two main route recreations, one in the Country Area and one in the Central Area

·         Travel under a Low Bridge in an RLH

·         Dusk photographic opportunities (interior lights blazing!)

·         Garage photo shoots at Harrow Weald and Guildford

 

All journeys today (Sunday 13th October) are free of charge and you can board and alight at any of the stops advertised in the timetables. However, please make sure you can make your way home again as not all the feeder services return to the same position at the end of the day.

 

If you are planning to join us for the whole day, a lunch break will be taken at the old Staines West Station, giving walking access to facilities in Staines Town Centre.

 

Please don’t delay the buses, the departure times from pick up points and photo stops need to be kept to, and can all be found listed here. Please stand on the pavement when taking photographs.

 

Event organized by R. Proctor and E. Pring with the gratefully acknowledged and vital support of Metroline, Arriva Buses, Timebus and London Bus AG (Switzerland).

 

TODAY'S COMMEMORATIVE ROUTES

 

The route pattern represents both Country Area and Central Area RLH operations. Guildford and Harrow Weald Garages were chosen, as they remain much as they were during the RLH years.

 

The first RLH route (and the oldest) was the 336 from Amersham, and we hope that you were able to join us last Sunday to commemorate that with two of the RLHs also.

 

Route 436    Guildford - Staines                                     RLH operated from Sep 1950 until Jul 1970

Route 463    Guildford - Walton                                      RLH operated from Sep 1950 until Jul 1970

Route 461    Walton - Staines                                          RLH operated from Sep 1950 until Jul 1970

Route 230    Rayners Lane - Northwick Park              RLH operated from Dec 1952 until Jun 1969

Route 230A Harrow Weald Garage- Northwick Park  RLH operated from Oct 1962 until Jan 1966

This RT route did not pass under any low bridges, but was operated by RLHs when required

 

"Feeder" routes:

 

Route 353  Berkhamsted – Windsor                  Operated by Amersham RLHs on an ad hoc basis

                                                                                                           to cover for RT's (no low bridges)

Route 703  Wrotham – Amersham Possibly operated by RLHs on QEII’s Coronation (6th Jun 1953)

as relief coaches from Amersham to London (required due to low bridge at Amersham Common).


THE RLH STORY

 

Since the replacement of open-top double-deck buses with closed-top vehicles in the early 1930s, London Transport (and its predecessors) found it necessary to use a limited number of "Lowbridge" designed buses to accommodate heavy loadings on routes passing under bridges with clearance heights lower than 14'6".

 

"Lowbridge" buses came from a variety of sources - the earliest being 8 AEC Regents dating from 1930 which originally ran on route N6 (later 336 in L.T. numbering) under the Metropolitan Line's 13'6" clearance bridge at Amersham Common. Then in 1934 route 410, which passed under a low bridge at Oxted, was converted from open-top double-deck with the purchase of 12 new "Lowbridge" AECs - affectionately known as "Godstones" as they were all based at that Garage.

 

During the second World War the increased need for public transport caused two Central Area routes to be converted from single-deck to "Lowbridge" double-deck operation, so 10 Daimlers were bought for route 127 at Merton and 20 standard STLs were converted at Chiswick Works to carry "Lowbridge" bodies. These 20 STLs were shared between route 230 at Harrow and routes 436/461 & 462 operating from the Addlestone area into Staines, thus replacing single-decks in both locations.

 

By the late 1940s the oldest vehicles in the "Lowbridge" fleet were badly in need of replacement, so two measures were adopted. Firstly, to extend their useful life, the eight 1930 vintage petrol-engined STs were re-engined with diesel units from scrapped STLs. Secondly London Transport secured the loan of new Bristol "Lowbridge" buses, originally destined for various companies in the "National" Group. These measures kept the L.T. "Lowbridge" fleet going until a permanent solution could be implemented.

 

The permanent solution took the form of the Government diverting an order for 20 Weymann (Addlestone) bodied "Lowbridge" AECs from Midland General to London Transport.   These were painted in green Country Area livery, given the Fleet Code RLH and numbered 1-20, and  delivered in May and June 1950.   The first 6 went to Amersham to replace the same number of ageing STs, 6 more went to Godstone to release half of the 12 "Godstone" STLs, and the remaining 8 went to Addlestone.   However, rather than being scrapped, the older STLs were retained and used to augment the Addlestone group of routes by extending them south of Woking to Guildford and Ripley.

 

This programme still left all the wartime utility "Ds" at Merton and many of the STLs in service, so a further order was placed for 56 additional  RLHs, which were delivered between October and December 1952. RLH numbers 21-52 were painted green, the remainder (RLH 53-76) were painted in red Central Area livery. It is the 50th anniversary of these ‘second batch’ buses, we are celebrating.  

 

Even then, 7 of the STL's were retained and re-licensed for use in June 1953 to assist with the Coronation traffic.

 

By the late 1950s RLH operations were at their peak.   A total of 76 vehicles were in use on a dozen or so routes running from Garages at Amersham, Addlestone, Guildford, Reigate, Godstone, Merton, Harrow Weald, Hornchurch and latterly Dalston

 

In 1958 route 127 at Merton was withdrawn, releasing its fleet of RLH's to go to Dalston to start route 178, but by 1964 the decline had set in and routes were being converted to single-deck one-man operation fairly rapidly, including route 230 in June 1969.

 

By December 1969 only four garages retained RLHs - Addlestone, Guildford, Hornchurch and Dalston.

 

The 17 vehicles based at Addlestone and Guildford were transferred on 1st January 1970 to the newly formed London Country Bus Services company (part of the National Bus Group) and they continued to operate for a few months in that guise, the last green RLHs running on 31st July 1970.

 

The red Hornchurch buses were withdrawn a couple of months later in September 1970 but the Dalston buses survived into 1971.  

 

The last RLH ran on route 178 on 16th April 1971, thus ending 41 years of "Lowbridge" bus operation in London.

 

Today more RLHs survive abroad (exported in the 1970s) than can be found in the U.K., however very few others are preserved or operational like those you will travel on today.

 

Interestingly RLH number 50, will shortly have a complete rebuilding project completed by its owners, who we wish every success, and are also planning a 50th celebration soon- but on the opposite side of the globe in New Zealand! 


SURREY TIMETABLES

 

Route 436   Staines - Guildford    

                                                                         RLH        32+48

Staines Old West Station                                          d     09:00

Staines Chertsey Lane Low Bridge                                  09:02 #

Chertsey Church                                                              09:10

Chertsey Bell Corner, near Station                                  09:13

Addlestone Dukes Head                                                  09:20

Woodham Black Prince                                                   09:28

Sheerwater Lambourne Crescent                                    09:32

Woking Station                                                                 09:41

Kingfield Green The Green                                               09:48

Send Mays Corner                                                           09:53

Burntcommon                                                                   09:58

Burpham Green Man                                                       10:06

Guildford Bus Station                                                 a     10:15

 

Route 461   Walton - Staines

                                                                          RLH        23+48

Walton Odeon                                                           d     12:35

Addlestone Site of Weymann Works (Photo Stop)  a     12:50

Addlestone Site of Weymann Works                        d     12:53

Addlestone Station                                                            12:54

Addlestone Site of Bus Garage (Photo Stop)           a     12:55

Addlestone Site of Bus Garage                                 d     13:00

Addlestone Dukes Head                                                  13:03

Chertsey Bell Corner, near Station                                  13:10

Chertsey Church                                                              13:13

Staines Chertsey Lane Low Bridge                                  13:23 #

Staines Old West Station                                          a     13:25

 

Route 436   Guildford - Staines

                                                                         RLH         24+32

Guildford Bus Station                                                 d     11:05

Burpham Green Man                                                       11:15

 

Burntcommon                                                                   11.25

Send Mays Corner                                                           11:30

Kingfield Green The Green                                               11:35

Woking Station (Photo Stop)                                     a     11:42

Woking Station                                                          d     11:45

Sheerwater Lambourne Crescent                                    11:55

Woodham Black Prince                                                   12:00

Addlestone Dukes Head                                                  12:10

Chertsey Bell Corner, near Station                                  12.17

Chertsey Church                                                              12:20

Staines Chertsey Lane Low Bridge                                  12:30 #

Staines Old West Station                                          a     12:32

Route 463   Guildford - Walton

                                                                          RLH        48

Guildford Bus Station                                                 d     11:00

Merrow St John's Church                                                 11:12

Clandon Station                                                                11:20

Burntcommon                                                                   11:25

Send Mays Corner                                                           11:30

Kingfield Green The Green                                               11:35

Woking Station (Photo Stop)                                     a     11:42

Woking Station                                                          d     11:50

Woodham Church                                                            11:55

Woodham Black Prince                                                   12:00

Addlestone Dukes Head                                                  12:10

Addlestone L.T. Garage                                                   12:13

Addlestone Station                                                            12:14

Weybridge The Ship                                                         12:20

Walton Odeon                                                           a     12:30

 

# NO STOP HERE


HARROW TIMETABLES

 

Route 230A      Harrow Weald Garage - Northwick Park Station

                                                      RLH                                23+24

Harrow Weald Bus Garage Photo Stop   d                          1615

Belmont Circle                                                                       1621

Kenton Library                                                                       1624

Northwick Park Station                         a                               1631

 

Route 230         Northwick Park Station - Rayners Lane Station

                                                      RLH    32          48          23          24          32          48          23+24    32

Northwick Park Station                         d   16:05     16:20     16:35     16:50     17:05     17:25     17:50     18:02

Kenton Library                                           16:12     16:27     16:42     16:57     17:12     17:32     17:57     18:09

Headstone Drive Kodak Works                16:20     16:35     16:50     17:05     17:20    

North Harrow Station                                 16:26     16:41     16:56     17:11     17:26    

Rayners Lane Station                           a   16:29     16:44     16:59     17:14     17:29    

Wealdstone High Street                       a                                                                         17:40     18:05     18:17

Harrow Weald Near Bus Garage         a                                                                          17:44     18:09     18:21

 

Route 230         Rayners Lane Station - Northwick Park Station

                                                      RLH    32          48          23          24          32

Rayners Lane Station                           d   16:35     16:55     17:10     17:23     17:35

North Harrow Station                                 16:38     16:58     17:13     17:26     17:38

Headstone Drive Kodak Works                16:45     17:05     17:20     17:33     17:45

Kenton Library                                           16:52     17:12     17:27     17:40     17:52

Northwick Park Station                         a   16:58     17:18     17:33     17:46     17:58

 

 

SAFETY NOTES

 

Vehicles will not stop whilst passing under Headstone Drive Low Bridge

 

Harrow Weald Metroline garage is a workplace, passengers must alight before the buses enter the garage, and stay on the pavement outside whilst taking photographs. Please do not enter the garage premises.

 


FEEDER SERVICE TIMETABLES

 

Watford Junction/ Cobham - Staines/ Walton/ Guildford

                                                                              RLH        32             24             23

                   Watford Junction Station                                 d   07:30                         10:15

                   Aldenham Overhaul Works # (Photo stop)         a                                    10:50

                   Aldenham Overhaul Works #                           d                                    11:00

                   Staines Old West Station                                a   08:45

                   Cobham Bus Museum                                     d                    09:30

                   Walton Odeon #                                             a                                    12:25

                   Guildford Bus Garage #                                   a                    10:05

                   Guildford Bus Station #                                   a                    10:15

 

Berkhamsted/ Amersham - Staines

                                                                              RLH       48

Route          Berkhamsted Top of King's Road                     d   07:05

353              Ashley Green Church                                          07:10

                   Chesham Nashleigh Arms                                    07:15

                   Chesham Broadway (for Station)                           07:20

                   Amersham Station                                              07:30

                   Chalfont St Giles Pheasant #                               07:42

                   Chalfont St Peter Church #                                   07:48

                   Gerrards Cross Station #                                     07:53

                   Gerrards Cross Packhorse #                                07:55

                   Slough Crown (for Station) #                                 08:15

                   Windsor Bus Garage #                                        08:27

                   Old Windsor Wheatsheaf #                                  08:33

                   Staines Old West Station #                             a   08:45

 

# = no evening return service to these points

 

Staines – Harrow

                                                                              RLH        23+24        32+48

                   Staines West Station #                                   d   14:30         14:30

                   Harrow Weald Garage (Photo stop)                  a   15:45

                   Northwick Park Station                                   a                    15:55

 

Evening Return Journeys

 

Harrow - Watford Junction/ Cobham

                                                                              RLH        23+32        24

                   Harrow Weald Near Bus Garage                      d   18:25         18:25

                   Watford Junction Station                                 a   19:00        

                   Cobham Bus Museum                                    a                    20:05

 

Harrow - Amersham/ Berkhamsted

                                                                              RLH        48

Route          Harrow Weald Near Bus Garage                      d   18:20

703              Pinner Green The Bell                                         18:31

                   Northwood Hills Station                                        18:34

                   Northwood Station                                               18:37

                   Rickmansworth Station                                        18:50

                   Chalfont & Latimer Station                                   19:06

                   Amersham Station                                              19:15

Route          Chesham Broadway                                            19:25

353              Chesham Nashleigh Arms                                    19:30

                   Ashley Green Church                                          19:38

                   Berkhamsted Top of King's Road                     a   19:43


RLH BUSES HERE TODAY

 

The five buses attending this celebration today were all built in October 1952 - hence the 50th anniversary celebrations.  

 

RLH 23

Oct 1952                                Delivered to L.T. in green livery

Oct 1952 -  Feb 1955             Addlestone

Feb 1955 -  Sep 1955             Hornchurch (route 248 in green livery)

Sep 1955 - Nov 1955             1st overhaul and repainted red

Nov 1955 -  Feb 1959             Harrow Weald

Feb 1959 -  Apr 1959              2nd overhaul

Apr 1959 -  Dec 1963             Hornchurch

Dec 1963 - Feb 1964             3rd overhaul

Feb 1964 -  Jun 1966              Dalston

Jun 1966 -  Sep 1967             Stored unlicensed

Sep 1967 - 1987                    Preserved by David Pring

1987 -         date                     Operated for charters by Timebus (David Pring), London

 

RLH 24

Oct 1952                                Delivered to L.T. in green livery

Oct 1952 -  Aug 1955             Addlestone

Aug 1955                                1st overhaul

Aug 1955 -  Sep 1958             Addlestone

Sep 1958                                2nd overhaul

Sep 1958 - Oct 1963             Addlestone

Oct 1963 -  Nov 1963             3rd overhaul

Nov 1963 -  Dec 1969             Guildford

Jan 1970                                 Transferred to LCBS

Jan 1970 -  Jul 1970               Guildford (ran on last day of green RLHs)

Aug 1970 -  Feb 1971             Stored unlicensed

Mar 1971 -  Mar 1973             Clarnico staff transport bus, London E15

May 1973 - Sep 1986             Exported to Switzerland and used by various organisations & shops

Sep 1986 - date                     Rebuilt, repainted in red and operated by London Bus, Basel, Switzerland (Marco Ghidorzi) – from where the bus was driven yesterday to be here

 

RLH 32

Oct 1952                                Delivered to L.T. in green livery

Oct 1952 -  Aug 1955             Guildford

Aug 1955                                1st overhaul

Aug 1955 -  Oct 1957             Guildford

Oct 1957 -  Mar 1958             Addlestone

Mar 1958 -  May 1958             Godstone

May 1958 - Oct 1958             Addlestone

Oct 1958                                2nd overhaul

Oct 1958 -  Nov 1963             Addlestone

Nov 1963                                3rd overhaul

Nov 1963 -  Dec 1969             Addlestone

Jan 1970                                 Transferred to LCBS

Jan 1970 -  Jul 1970               Addlestone (ran on last day of green RLHs)

Aug 1970 -  Feb 1971             Stored unlicensed

Oct 1971 -  Jun 1973              Lesney staff transport bus, London. Blue livery

Jun 1973 -  Oct 1974             Ensign Bus Co, Hornchurch

Oct 1974 -  Nov 1976             LBPG, Cobham Bus Museum, Surrey (partial conversion to caravan at one stage by one private owner). Red livery

Nov 1976 -  Jul 1997               Restored and preserved in green livery by Peter Gascoigne/ Modelstone Bus Club, Merseyside

Jul 1997 -   Feb 1998             Bought by David Pring and Richard Proctor

Feb 1998 -  date                     Preserved by David and Ewen Pring

 

RLH 44 (581J)

Oct 1952                                Delivered to L.T. in green livery

Oct 1952 -  Feb 1954             East Grinstead

Feb 1954 -  May 1954             Addlestone

May 1954 - Jun 1954              Godstone

Jun 1954 -  Jul 1954               East Grinstead

Jul 1954 -   Jan 1956              Reigate

Jan 1956 -  Mar 1956             1st overhaul

Mar 1956 -  Jan 1960              Amersham

Jan 1960                                 2nd overhaul

Jan 1960 -  Jul 1964               Amersham

Jul 1964 -   Oct 1964             3rd overhaul

Oct 1964 -  Dec 1969             Addlestone

Jan 1970                                 Transferred to LCBS

Jan 1970 -  Jul 1970               Addlestone (operated last green RLH service on evening of 31st Jul 1970- a route 461A)

Jul 1970 -   Oct 1970             Stored and then converted to Mobile Uniform Issue Store for LCBS - renumbered 581J

Oct 1970 -  early 1980s          Used by LCBS as Mobile Uniform Issue Store at ex LT Country Area Garages

Jan 1983 -  Dec 1990             Preserved privately in Swindon

Dec 1990 - date                     Preserved and used as store by Timebus (David Pring), still in Uniform Issue Store configuration

 

RLH 48

Oct 1952                                Delivered to L.T. in green livery

Oct 1952 -  Feb 1954             Amersham

Feb 1954 -  Oct 1955             Addlestone

Oct 1955 -  Mar 1956             Hornchurch (route 248 in green livery)

Mar 1956 -  May 1956             1st overhaul

May 1956 - Jun 1956              Godstone

Jun 1956 -  Jul 1959               Guildford

Jul 1959 -   Sep 1959             Godstone

Sep 1959 - Dec 1959             Dalston (route 178 in green livery)

Dec 1959 - Feb 1960             Amersham

Feb 1960 -  Mar 1960             Dalston (route 178 in green livery)

Mar 1960 -  May 1960             Godstone

May 1960 - Jun 1960              2nd overhaul

Jun 1960 -  Dec 1964             Addlestone

Dec 1964 - Sep 1965             Stored unlicensed

Sep 1965 - Jul 1974               Whippet Coaches, Hilton, Hunts

Jul 1974 -   Mar 1975             London Bus Preservation Group, Cobham

Mar 1975 -  Dec 1983             Johnny Walker Whisky - used in Belgium

Dec 1983 - May 1984             London Bus Preservation Group, Cobham

May 1984 - date                     Restored and preserved by Richard Proctor

 

To exchange more information about RLHs, including details and photos of all the surviving buses, visit the RLH Bus Information Centre Web Site:

http://www.timebus.co.uk/rlh/