1952 AEC Regal IV bus – RF395

© Michael Wickham

© Michael Wickham

Date: 1952
Registration: MXX 283
Acquired by Museum: 2008
Current State: Fully restored, operational. It is currently stored off site.

RF395 was one of London Transport’s 700 RF class single-deck buses. An AEC Regal Mark IV, with 41 seat bus body by Metro-Cammell Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd, Birmingham. It has a 9.6 litre six cylinder horizontal diesel engine mounted under the floor. The brakes and the pre-selector gearbox are operated by compressed air. A fluid flywheel transmits the drive to the back wheels in place of a clutch.

The bus was taken into stock towards the end of 1952 and entered service with London Transport in January 1953 as RF310. It was overhauled three times during the time it worked for London Transport, and appeared as RF323, RF374 and finally RF395, the number it now shows. It was withdrawn from service during April 1971 and sold during February of the following year. The bus then had several owners including an angling club and a scout group (who drilled holes in the internal trim for hooks etc). The bus was professionally restored in 2003, after laying derelict for some years.

Some interesting finds came to light during the restoration – pre-decimal bus tickets were found behind panels for routes; 208, 210, 211, 233, 236, 213 and 173, confirming that the bus worked from a selection of different garages. A .303 British Army issue rifle bullet was also was also found! While the body was being built in 1952, a hammer and sickle symbol was painted behind the panel above the half glazed entrance partition.

Red RFs were not fitted with entrance doors until later because the Metropolitan Police thought they delayed passenger loading and were dangerous! RF 395 never had doors fitted and was one of the last crew operated single-deck buses in London.

 

Chassis: AEC Regal IV
Body: Metropolitan Cammell B41F
Engine: AEC A219 9.6 litre diesel (horizontal) with air operated pre-select gearbox
Vehicle Classification: 2RF2
Date into service: 1953
Date of withdrawal: 1971