Rail replacement buses

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
72
recently I have seen a model of a Routemaster bus in BR livery maroon cream and sausage decols Rail Replacemet.The present day rail replacement buses are used when engineering works are in progress however seeing this routemaster model makes me think routemaster buses must have been used for withdrawn rail services in the early 60s,if so where did they takeover from rail services.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

CatfordCat

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2013
Messages
639
recently I have seen a model of a Routemaster bus in BR livery maroon cream and sausage decols Rail Replacemet.The present day rail replacement buses are used when engineering works are in progress however seeing this routemaster model makes me think routemaster buses must have been used for withdrawn rail services in the early 60s,if so where did they takeover from rail services.

The livery you describe is, as you're probably aware, is fictitious.

Having long term rail replacement services in dedicated livery (like what Ensign Bus are or have been doing recently on bits of Overground) is a fairly recent concept.

LT buses have carried 'Special Railway Service' on their blinds from the 1970s, prior to that they had 'Railway Emergency Service' - a quick search doesn't come up with any RMs on 'RES' - I found this one of a couple of RTs at Dartford.

That's not of course to say it didn't happen - and as well as planned services, there would have been occasional one-offs following accidents etc when anything available would have been used.

There was more of a tendency to use hired coaches for rail replacements in London in to the 70s and 80s (bearing in mind both the long term staff shortage that LT had for much of the 50s and 60s and also that they would only require a driver not a conductor) - and the 'commercial operations' side of what are now the privatised London bus operators didn't exist until the 80s. (partly staff shortage, partly less flexible union agreements - many of the London operators who do commercial work have a core of full time staff but a pool of part-timers they can call on to drive / control rail replacement services.

Once RFs were converted for "one man operation" they would appear a bit more often, and then in to the 70s other OMO types did.

Some London bus routes - while operating as ordinary bus routes - did offer travel to rail ticket holders in lieu of a closed railway line - 240A served as a replacement (initially intended as temporary while the line was converted to part of the Underground) for Edgware - Mill Hill East (more about it here) and the 63 was extended south from Honor Oak to Crystal Palace when the Crystal Palace High Level branch closed for good (I'm not sure if there was any form of ticket acceptance on the 63) - and there were a few other examples in the country bus area in the Beeching years.

There were some medium term special services - I have seen a picture of a pre-war bus on a special service covering part of what's now the Central Line while it was being converted from LNER suburban line

And the Port of London Authority's railway was covered by a special bus service after bomb damage in 1940, and this service lasted in to the 60s (latterly with standard RTLs - picture here)

ETA - I am of course talking about LT as it was into the mid 80s. I'm sure there have been RMs and RTs appearing on rail replacement at times since London buses privatisation / since small operators have started acquiring Routemasters and returning RTs to PSV status.

That having been said, the crew of Quantock Motor Services' 1945 Utility Daimler (at that time running in London Transport livery) had to persuade one or two people that they weren't a rail replacement service when they took it to the running day at Worcester Park a few years back...
 
Last edited:

PeterC

Established Member
Joined
29 Sep 2014
Messages
3,235
Some London bus routes - while operating as ordinary bus routes - did offer travel to rail ticket holders in lieu of a closed railway line - 240A served as a replacement (initially intended as temporary while the line was converted to part of the Underground) for Edgware - Mill Hill East
Tickets to the unbuilt Northern Line station at Mill Hill (The Hale) were still available from London area BR stations in 1962. I don't know when they were withdrawn but as a curious 11 year old I spent ages trying to find it on the tube map. It was only with the benefit of Google that I ever discovered the full story and the ticketing arrangement on the 240A
 

Bookd

Member
Joined
27 Aug 2015
Messages
445
From the point of view of bus spotters the best RRPS must have been cover for underground strikes in the last year or two. I have seen pictures of a row of RT and RM buses on layover in Northumberland Avenue, and I believe that even RT1 was turned out for the odd turn.
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
10,517
I think RM operation on rail replacement services in LT days was very limited, simply because a two man crew would have been needed for safety reasons, even though the conductor wouldn't have been needed for ticketing reasons. In the days before wide-scale opo coaches would usually be used, just as they were when private firms were contracted to run certain routes during overtime bans by the TGWU in the 1960s. For instance, the 160 route on which I travelled to school was coach-operated at weekends. I can remember the driver having to leave his seat and open the sliding door manually!. best-known operation of 'special routes' by Routemasters were the Biggin Hill Airshow, which was always a Country Area preserve with buses from all over the Southern garages (those operating the 400+ series of routes), the Derby, which Central Area was allowed to participate in as Epsom and Tattenham Corner were within their remit, and the Grand Prix at Brand's Hatch, which in theory might have been thought to allow red as well as green buses, but in practice (I not only lived in the area but also attended this event) I can only remember Green Line vehicles on, from all over the Country Area, plus a smattering of buses from such local garages as Swanley and Northfleet. These operated as 703 (later 719) Green Line 'extras'.
 

CatfordCat

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2013
Messages
639
I think RM operation on rail replacement services in LT days was very limited, simply because a two man crew would have been needed for safety reasons, even though the conductor wouldn't have been needed for ticketing reasons. In the days before wide-scale opo coaches would usually be used, just as they were when private firms were contracted to run certain routes during overtime bans by the TGWU in the 1960s. For instance, the 160 route on which I travelled to school was coach-operated at weekends. I can remember the driver having to leave his seat and open the sliding door manually!. best-known operation of 'special routes' by Routemasters were the Biggin Hill Airshow, which was always a Country Area preserve with buses from all over the Southern garages (those operating the 400+ series of routes), the Derby, which Central Area was allowed to participate in as Epsom and Tattenham Corner were within their remit, and the Grand Prix at Brand's Hatch, which in theory might have been thought to allow red as well as green buses, but in practice (I not only lived in the area but also attended this event) I can only remember Green Line vehicles on, from all over the Country Area, plus a smattering of buses from such local garages as Swanley and Northfleet. These operated as 703 (later 719) Green Line 'extras'.

A few thoughts -

At one time, central bus 21 was extended from Farningham to Brands Hatch for races - there's a photo (looks early to mid 50s) on London Bus Routes (here)

At least one Maidstone Corporation PD2 got a turn on the Green Line extras to Brands Hatch in the mid 70s when LCBS were having a vehicle crisis, and Dartford's allocation of RMCs was replaced by hired Maidstone buses. It's possible that an Eastbourne Regent V (they were covering at Swanley around the same time) may also have made it - although I've not seen a photo of the latter.

the 'southern area' of LT's country area (and later LCBS) included Grays (GY) garage - they also helped out on the Epsom and Biggin Hill specials.

Picture of Biggin Hill specials (410 and 705 reliefs) here

It was not unknown before 1970 (and occasionally happened after) for red buses to be loaned to country bus garages at peak summer weekends (or occasionally if there were vehicle shortages or emergencies - think Leatherhead garage got flooded in the late 60s and red buses were brought in to cover for buses that were being dried out) - although I've not seen many pictures of red buses on green line routes (except as emergency replacements for coaches that had broken down in London) - possibly they kept green buses on Green Line reliefs and put the borrowed red buses on local bus routes, so the Green Lines would stand out more in London?)

Ascot races also got quite a lot of relief workings on Green Line 701 until that service faded away.

There were a few special services within the red bus area - Manor House to Tottenham (for Spurs matches), West Ham Stadium (the greyhound stadium, not Upton Park), Wimbledon greyhound stadium - all of which had RMs at some point.

Hadn't been aware of the 160 being part covered by coach operators during overtime bans (also a route very close to my original home) - was it Thames Weald? There's a few pictures on SCT61 of them doing odd temporary routes in the 60s - one here
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
10,517
A few thoughts -

At one time, central bus 21 was extended from Farningham to Brands Hatch for races - there's a photo (looks early to mid 50s) on London Bus Routes (here)

At least one Maidstone Corporation PD2 got a turn on the Green Line extras to Brands Hatch in the mid 70s when LCBS were having a vehicle crisis, and Dartford's allocation of RMCs was replaced by hired Maidstone buses. It's possible that an Eastbourne Regent V (they were covering at Swanley around the same time) may also have made it - although I've not seen a photo of the latter.

the 'southern area' of LT's country area (and later LCBS) included Grays (GY) garage - they also helped out on the Epsom and Biggin Hill specials.

Picture of Biggin Hill specials (410 and 705 reliefs) here

It was not unknown before 1970 (and occasionally happened after) for red buses to be loaned to country bus garages at peak summer weekends (or occasionally if there were vehicle shortages or emergencies - think Leatherhead garage got flooded in the late 60s and red buses were brought in to cover for buses that were being dried out) - although I've not seen many pictures of red buses on green line routes (except as emergency replacements for coaches that had broken down in London) - possibly they kept green buses on Green Line reliefs and put the borrowed red buses on local bus routes, so the Green Lines would stand out more in London?)

Ascot races also got quite a lot of relief workings on Green Line 701 until that service faded away.

There were a few special services within the red bus area - Manor House to Tottenham (for Spurs matches), West Ham Stadium (the greyhound stadium, not Upton Park), Wimbledon greyhound stadium - all of which had RMs at some point.

Hadn't been aware of the 160 being part covered by coach operators during overtime bans (also a route very close to my original home) - was it Thames Weald? There's a few pictures on SCT61 of them doing odd temporary routes in the 60s - one here

Thank you for your observations, pertinent as always.

I don't remember the 21 extension - I would probably have seen them though, just as I must have seen RTLs operating on the route from Sidcup but I just don't remember, being very young at the time.

You're absolutely right about Grays being included in the 'southern' section of Country Buses, there being a particular reason for this. The 'ring' around outer London in which Country Buses operated basically ended at Epping/Brentwood originally, the area from there southwards to the Thames being either covered by red buses e.g. routes 247 and 250 or, in the Grays area, Eastern National. The latter wanted out and so Country Buses expanded as it were from Northfleet across the Thames. I wonder how those Grays buses traversed the Thames for the 410 Biggin Hill before the Dartford Tunnel opened!

I can't say who operated those coaches on the 160, I am afraid, but it wasn't Thames Weald or Margo's or Lewis's or Timpson, probably a firm I wasn't previously aware of. It could just have been RACS, come to think of it, but that is a stab in the dark. Would RACS have been seen to 'break' an industrial action? Probably not

P.S. Unbelievable now, but there were football specials on Saturday afternoons to Charlton Athletic too. I used to catch one from Eltham Church (161 stop). Never operated by RM. only RT.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top