B-Type

B-Type Bus
B-Type Bus

The B-Type was one of the first reliable motorised mass produced buses. It was first manufactured in 1910, became very popular and over 3000 were made during its lifetime. The B-Type also helped spell the end for the horse drawn bus, as it could run all day without rest unlike the horses, so produced much higher profits for the bus route operators. 

B-Type Bus Rear

B-Type Bus Rear

 

The B-Type could transport a total of 34 passengers, 16 inside and 18 on the open top deck. It had a top speed of 16 mph, but the legal limit at the time was 12 miles an hour, so it wasn’t considered slow, and was fairly speedy when compared to horse drawn buses.

B-Type Modified for Military Use.

B-Type Modified for Military Use.

The B-Type was constructed of a wooden frame, steel wheels, and a chain driven gearbox. At launch it did not have headlights, and electric lighting wasn’t widely available until 1913. During the first world war, many B-type buses were requisitioned by the War office and modified for military use transporting troops.

K-Type

K-Type Bus Front

K-Type Bus Front

The K-Type bus was introduced just after the second world war had ended, with soldiers returning to London and the population expanding rapidly. It was also the time that the first bus stops were introduced, with buses previously only stopping at the passengers request. 

K-Type bus

K-Type bus

Between 1919 and 1921 1050 K-Type buses had been produced, with the capacity to carry 46 passengers, 22 inside and 24 on the open air top deck. The driver sat to the side to the engine at the front, out in the open himself.

S-Type

S-Type Bus

S-Type Bus

The S-Type bus was introduced around 1920. It was an open topped double decker, larger than the similar designed K-Type, and could carry 56 passengers as opposed to the smaller K-Type’s 46, making it popular on the busier routes, and more passengers per bus made tickets cheaper, although the open top was not so popular during the winter compared to the equivalent trams that had enclosed roofs.

S-Type Bus Side Shot

S-Type Bus Side Shot

S-Type Bus Front Shot

S-Type Bus Front Shot

NS-Type

The AEC NS-Type bus was first designed in 1921-22 and introduced in 1923.

NS Type Bus (Open Top)

NS Type Bus (Open Top)

The bus featured several important modifications over previous models, it was lowered so getting on and off was easier for the passenger, and it was also much more comfortable than both its predecessors such as the K-Type and S-Type, and also the trams available which all had wooden slatted seas whereas the NS Type had padded and upholstered seats.

NS Type Bus Enclosed Top

NS Type Bus Enclosed Top

Early models had exposed top decks as height restrictions from the police had banned taller prototypes due to clearance with over head obstacles like bridges, tram lines, overhanging trees etc. It wasn’t until 1925 when covered top deck models were given the go ahead. It was also around this time when air inflated pneumatic tyres made it onto buses giving a much more comfortable ride than the solid rubber tyres that had gone before.

NS Type Bus Rear Showing Staircase.

NS Type Bus Rear Showing Staircase.

STL-Type

The STL Type bus was introduced in 1932, and was considered the first really modern London double decker bus, and was so popular nearly 2650 were built, mainly put to use in London, where their popularity in being able to adjust to the rapidly expanding routes required for the ever increasing population meant they were favoured by London Transport over more old fashioned trams that were fixed in their travelling routes.

AEC STL Bus

AEC STL Bus

The original STL models had 60 seats but was quickly reduced to 56, and was the standard double decker seen in London for over a decade.

AEC STL Bus - Side View

AEC STL Bus - Side View

RT-Type

The RT Type, or to give it its full title: the AEC (Associated Equipment Company) Regent III RT was the predecessor of the iconic Routemaster model and shared very similar looks.

RT Type Buses

RT Type Buses

The RT was built using a separate ladder chassis and coach built body, and was first designed in 1938. The first batch were in production when the second world war broke out in 1939, which halted production with only 150 examples making it into use.  The first models used AEC’s 8.8 litre engine.

RT Buses

RT Buses

Production recommenced in 1946 after the war had ceased, with minor changes to the design, and a larger 9.6 litre engine. In total London transport received 4674 of the post war design bus, and a similar number again were supplied to bus route operators in other areas of the UK and abroad. 

RTW Bus

RTW Bus

Other variants of the RT were introduced which used the different Leyland Titan chassis, and were called the RTL which was longer than the standard RT, and the RTW which was 6 inches wider at 8 feet wide rather than the usual 7 foot 6 inches.

The RT became the main London bus used in the late 1940′s and `1950′s until it was replaced by the lighter and more capacious Routemaster RM type bus.

Routemaster

 

Routemaster RM

Routemaster RM

The Iconic Routemaster bus, known as the RM first designed in the 1950′s became an instant classic. It used a lightweight alloy body, wich produced a 64 seat bus for the same weight as the 56 seat RT model it replaced. It also differed from previous models by not using a seperate ladder chassis, but rather an alloy monocoque, to which 2 subframes were attached, the front to carry the engine and suspension, and the at the rear for the rear axle and rear suspension. It also had several other innovations from the period, such as independent front suspension, power steering, fully automatic gearbox and servoed hydraulic brakes.

The Routemaster was 8ft wide, 27 ft 6 inches long and 14 ft 4.5 inches tall, capable of seating 64 people in total with 28 downstairs, 36 upstairs. It weighed 7 tons 7cwt unladen or fully laden 11 tons 10cwt. The double decker used one of two engines, either the AEC AV590 9.6 litre or the Leyland 0600 9.8 litre diesel rated at 115 bhp.

Routemaster RML

Routemaster RML

Several years later the Routemaster RML was developed, a longer version of the routemaster, effectively made by adding an extra 2ft 4 inch section into the centre of the bus, increasing the length to an ever 30 feet. This was the higher capacity model designed for the increasingly busy major central London routes, as it could seat a total of 72 people. The RML can be identified by the small extra square central window in profile view of the bus, both in the bottom and top deck, that doesnt match all the other equally sized windows.

Other versions of the routemaster were developed, such as the RMC, or Routemaster “Coach” version, designed for longer journeys, with wider, more comfortable seats. It was quite often seen in different liveries other than the London red.

The RCL was based on the RML, designed to take over several London bus routes, andthe idea was to offer “Private Car Comfort” to commuters as cars were becoming more affordable, and has the more comfort orientated features of the RMC but in the RML’s longer bodyshell.

The Routemaster buses ran in London until 2005, when they were finally retired from service on the 8th December.