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Vintage buses to grace Barking streets again

PUBLISHED: 14:46 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 26 March 2019

The RT and RM buses used to take passengers across routes in London. Picture: David E Jones.

The RT and RM buses used to take passengers across routes in London. Picture: David E Jones.

David E Jones

It’s been 40 years since RT and RF buses travelled the streets of London. this Saturday they are going to roaming the streets again.

Dozens of people gathered in 1979 to see the buses into retirement. Picture: David E Jones.Dozens of people gathered in 1979 to see the buses into retirement. Picture: David E Jones.

The RT1 first entered service in August 1939 and after surviving the Second World War the last were seen off in Barking in 1979. RT’s were phased out for the iconic Routemaster.

Barking saw some of the last RT’s because the bridge at Chadwell Heath station at the time was too thin for the newer buses to use.

The London Bus Museum is offering free rides on the vintage buses from Stagecoach’s Barking garage and Go Ahead’s River Road garage.

Peter Osborn, the treasurer at the museum, is organising the event to celebrate the bus. Nearly 7,000 of them were on London’s roads at their peak.

Dozens of people gathered in 1979 to see the buses into retirement. Picture: David E Jones.Dozens of people gathered in 1979 to see the buses into retirement. Picture: David E Jones.

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He said: “It is a bus that is held in a great deal of affection by bus enthusiasts because it was particularly well-designed.

“It’s a lovely bus to drive, its comfortable and, clearly, extremely well-built. It’s British engineering in its heyday.”

All of the buses at the event are at least 65 years old.

“The chance for the public to ride on such classic vehicles is obviously rather special,” Peter added.

The main venue will be at Barking where there will be a ‘garage open day’ with RTs inside and outside.

The River Road garage will show non-red RTs and offer a show of the garage, including rides through the bus wash.

The buses will run along current routes on the number 62 and 23C thanks to permission from Transport for London

There will also be a free bus running between the two garages.

To mirror the original procession that saw them off in 1979, there will be another convoy to show off the vehicles.

An original 1939 RT1 was bought by the museum in 2010.

The vehicle had been under threat of being scrapped in the United States, but it was brought back to the UK by some enthusiasts.

A private collector bought the bus and spent £200,000 in refurbishing it, but decided to sell in 2009.

Despite interest from overseas, the museum was given 12 months to raise the £150,000 needed to buy the RT1.

Thanks to the help of donors, it made the purchase in 2010.

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