Glorious suburbia3RT 70th anniversary

10 May 2017

Page last updated 26 March 2017
RT190 shows the roofbox, deep valence and pillar route-plate of the 3RT3.  Seen at our Carshalton running day in 2007.
Photo © Swanswell
The first post-war RT (known as the 3RT) entered service on 10 May 1947, seventy years ago this May.  Whilst similar in design to the prototype RT1, which entered service on 9 August 1939, the body of the post-war RT was completely different under the skin from the 150 RT2s built in the early part of the war, which were timber-framed.  The new standardised and jig-build design was built in huge numbers, with 5,450 completely interchangeable bodies built between 1947 and 1954, lasting in London service until 1979.
The first 500 post-war RTs, classed 3RT3, were built equally by Park Royal Vehicles and Weymann's of Addlestone.  The first to enter service was RT402, built by Weymann's, followed within two weeks by RT152 from Park Royal.  This 500, and a further 100 built by Park Royal, were the only 3RTs with the deep valence over the bonnet and the vertical route-plate holder on the nearside front pillar.
Celebration road run
To mark the 70th years of the 3RT, London Bus Museum is organising a road run of (hopefully) all five of the 3RT3s believed to be roadworthy and preserved in Central Area livery.  This will take place on Wednesday 10 May 2017, start at Victoria Bus Station and follow route 10 to Abridge, the first route operated by 3RTs.
The buses will not be in service, but The Classic London Bus Society will be operating a trip aboard RT191, advanced booking only.  Details are given here of the plans for the benefit of enthusiasts and photographers who may wish to watch the proceedings along the route.
A later picture of route 10; RTL453 stands at Stratford Broadway while based at GM (Victoria) garage in 1965-66.  It carries the intermediate body, still with a roof-box but without the deep valence; this 1948 Park Royal body was originally carried by RT845.  As it happens, RTL453 is now a stable-mate of RT191.
Photo © Mike Beamish
The day commences at Victoria Bus Station at about 1045, when the buses will present themselves for photographs in the traditional layout.  They will depart at about 1100, travelling via Lambeth Bridge, St Georges Circus, London Bridge, Aldgate, Stratford, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Woodford Bridge and Chigwell to the Blue Boar at Abridge.  Arrival at Abridge is estimated at about 1245.
The first 3RTs were delivered to Leyton Garage, where they replaced open-staircase LTs, and the road run will continue on the garage working of the 10 to Leyton, via Wanstead and Whipps Cross.  Leyton Garage will not be open to the public.  Following a break, buses will depart at about 1530 via route 38A to Loughton, returning at about 1630.  Some of the buses will then return to Victoria via route 38.
Photographers are requested to take especial care at Victoria and Abridge, both crowded and busy locations, and to avoid inconveniencing other road users and in particular TfL bus services.
London Bus Museum withes to thank the bus owners for their co-operation, TfL for their support and Stagecoach and Go Ahead London for the use of garage facilities.