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London's Moving History

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For bus enthusiasts Thrash Merchant, Hamstargirl, one42ChrisP, Esoteric Desi, MarkusGL1, Kevin R Boyd, Claire Pendrous, Arthur156, Gen Gibson, Micael Lindgren and particularly MeAtHome, who is a Routemaster fan.

Also for London cab fans DavidStorey and Cabert!

London must be one of the very few cities in the world where its transport is a critical part of its image. The black taxicabs, red double-deckers and the London Underground are amongst the first things that anyone would think of when London is mentioned.

A Metrocab (?) [author's correction: FX4] and AEC Rouemaster RM1968 on Fleet Street.

Does the licence plate ALD968B (matching the registration RM1968) mean that this bus is based in the Aldwych depot?

Kevin R Boyd, Jean-Pierre-Montauban, and 30 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Kevin R Boyd ages ago | reply

    This is a good photo!

    No, the cab isn't a Metrocab, it is one of the very old FX4 design that London has used for decades made by London Taxis International - there's a newer updated model in purple behind. Check out the details on their website at www.lti.co.uk/previous-models/fx/

    The Routemaster you have captured is on one of the two Heritage routes which are specifically run with this type of bus. All other routes now have low floor buses operated by driver only. Whatever the type, though, they are all predominantly red like this bus. London Transport did let contracts to private operators, who were allowed to paint them in ANY colour the liked, but the effect raised questions in the House of Commons and so something was done to put the red colour back where the tourists wanted it - initially in Zone 1 only, and now for all contracts.

    The license plate on the bus is not significant to the depot it is or was based at. British number plates do tell a limited story - the second two of the first three letters indicate the licensing office, no doubt one in Central London in this case, and the first one is a sequential. London Transport used to block book registrations to match the fleet numbers, so notice the numbers 968 match RM1968.

  2. johan m b ages ago | reply

    did a google search on the number plate and one of the first things up was this picture, more searching came up with that LD means it was registered in north west london and the B at the end tells us 1964 was the year

  3. Mwr-Cwm ages ago | reply

    Thanks very much for the photo. Appreciate it.

  4. Can Pac Swire ages ago | reply

    Kevin R Boyd and Markus,

    Lots of thanks for the additional info!


    I suppose you wanted my photo added to your group? Just did it. Thanks for asking!

    from: Swire / CP

  5. Mike-Lee ages ago | reply

    Nice catch!! Been in both of those many times... Nice memories...

    Seen on your photo stream. (?)

  6. Little Gemini ages ago | reply

    oooooh thank you Swire i do really miss those i dont go in the city that much so i dont really see those buses anymore but they had one on the 38 73 routes that run down the end of my street but now there bendys thanks again.

  7. dazzling ray [deleted] ages ago | reply

    Thanks for taking the time to add your pic to the London Black Cabs Pool. :)

  8. Stephen Rees ages ago | reply

    For many years the 15 ran from Ladbroke Grove (the Eagle) to East Ham (White Horse) - the current tourist operation is merely a shadow of what for over a hundred years was one of the key trunk routes of the central bus system. There is no Aldwych depot - and buses in London always ran from garages. the term depot only applied to trams and later trolleybuses. The 15 was operated by Upton Park and North Kensington (Middle Row).

    The practice of matching registration plates to fleet numbers was introduced with the RM. Prior to this bodies and chassis of the RT were separated for heavy overhauls at Aldenham. Many old RM number plates were kept in use after the buses themselves were scrapped.

    The decision to make all buses red again should be creditted to Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who also ensured that the bus service in London would be improved significantly - a major policy shift that all now benefit from

  9. Can Pac Swire ages ago | reply

    Thanks, Stephen Rees, for the additional info!

  10. C.B. Whittemore ages ago | reply

    What a terrific photo! I love how it captures movement and contrasts the black cab with the red bus. I've posted a copy to carpetology.blogspot.com in a post about the color red around the globe. I also love your bus photos!

  11. Can Pac Swire ages ago | reply

    Thank you for your kind comment, C B Whittemore! And for adding my pic to the carpet blog too.

    Cheers from Canada!

  12. Alexander 53 ages ago | reply

    Thanks Canadian for the nice add.
    It is a wonderful document for the not British.

  13. Ronto ages ago | reply

    Not only is it a great pic, Swire, but I've learned a lot from reading the interesting information provided in the various comments. London Transport is a fascinating subject. One of my favourite places to visit is the London Transport museum in Covent Gardens.

  14. David Bapty RIP ages ago | reply

    miss the Rm's,they should be still running

  15. Can Pac Swire 120 months ago | reply

    Hi David Bapty: Tell me about it. I wish there're more of 'em around!

  16. cybertect 109 months ago | reply

    If you look just behind the cab you can see the garage code, indicating to which garage the vehicle is allocated.

    In this case it's WA, belonging to East London Buses' short-lived Waterden Road garage, which was open between 2004 and 2007, when it closed to make way for works on the site of the 2012 Olympic Games.

    Not to be confused with London Transport's former country bus garage at Watford (High Street), which used the same WA code between 1925 and 1952. :-)

    East London now operate the 'heritage' 15's Routemasters from West Ham (WH).

  17. Global Cool 103 months ago | reply

    If you like Routemaster buses you should come to our free events on them this summer... www.globalcool.org/lifestyle/art-of-conversation-special-...

  18. Can Pac Swire 103 months ago | reply

    Thanks very much for the information, Global Cool!

    What a great concept! We need more conversation and less iPod, PSPs!

  19. Can Pac Swire 103 months ago | reply

    @ Cybertect: Thanks for the info too. You're obviously an expert on London Transport and a walking encyclopedia on the Routemaster!

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