Route 210

Stuart Perry's notes on RF performance

Page last updated 2 August 2013
Star performer RF500 at Finsbury Park on 9 May 1964, a few weeks before Stuart started driving the 210.
Photo © Alan Cross 


Stuart Perry's notes on working the 210 whilst at Muswell Hill (MH) in the 1960s are on the previous page.  He adds the following detailed notes on RF performance:


As most readers will not have had the experience of driving the RF, I thought it would be of interest to explain that, although mechanically all the red RFs were identical, the performance varied dramatically.  All the RM's in the garage during my time were new and performance was pretty uniform - the odd one, e.g. 1640, was a cut above the rest, but basically when you got in the cab you knew what to expect.  Performance of the RTs varied, but not vastly apart from one or two exceptions - e.g.4278 very good and 2905 very bad.


It was the RF where there were so many differences.  I was on the 210 rota in 1964 before moving on to the 43 and you might find it interesting if I run through the "regulars" that year.  [Ed note - I have recorded in square brackets the final identity of the buses Stuart refers to, since all changed identity on overhaul after 1964.]


RF337 [RF398] - A very flat performance.  No pulling power and a struggle with a full load; the engine seemed to be very weak.


RF354 [RF482] - A very powerful engine but spoilt by heavy steering.  It might have been better on a route with less twists and turns than the 210.


RF434 [RF537, preserved by LT Museum] - A nice bus, but whilst the top end speed was good, it lacked pulling power in the lower gears.


RF441 [chassis to RF510, preserved] - Second best bus in the garage.  Powerful and fast but the pre-select was sticky and there was delay accelerating up through the gears.


RF453 [RF533] - Again problems with heavy steering.  The engine was no better than average and not very inspiring to drive.


RF454 [RF381, preserved by BaMMOT] - Truly awful.  No pulling power at all, but worse still it was always boiling.  You had to fill up with at least a can full or water on each visit to Golders Green, cutting into your tea and fag break.  [As this was one of the 25 recertified buses, it seems likely it was later fixed!]


RF462 [RF526] - A very smooth pre-select but that apart nothing to get you excited.  OK to drive but fairly forgettable.


RF475 [RF434] - Lovely light steering.  After half a duty, no stress at all in the arms.  I mentioned elsewhere it had an RT steering wheel.  Might that have had something to do with it?


RF480 [RF439] - A reliable old plodder that would never let you down.  The best feature was the exhaust noise.  I loved to drive it up Highgate Hill with a full load just to hear the engine.


RF500 [RF538, latterly a Chiswick staff bus, now preserved] - This is the one.  Everything was perfect and I could have carried on driving all day.  You were reluctant to hand it over.  I loved to really let her rip on the Staff Bus at night in light traffic.