Friday, 27 May 2011


by Tony Wilson
Sunday 22nd May saw a ‘Country Bus Running Day’ centred on the Berkshire town of Slough. Whilst most of the routes radiated from the town near to the railway station, a significant number also served the ‘Royal town’ of Windsor and had HM Queen and Prince Philip been of a mind to, they could have observed a fine selection of former London Transport buses from the 50s, 60s and 70s pass by their ‘Royal pile’ during the day. Indeed their presences was noted by the flying of the Royal Standard flag from the battlements, and perhaps imagine what HRH might have to say about the old ‘uns as they trundled up and down Castle Hill.
Up to the end of 1969 London Transport had two distinctive operating areas, the ‘red’ Central and suburban area and the ‘green’ Country area. The staple diet for the period from 1950 was the AEC Regent double-deck (the RT) and the AEC Regal single-deck (the RF).
However, at the coming of the National Bus Company era, the ‘green’ area was broken away became London Country Bus Services and a whole new set of buses and coaches eventually swept away the ‘old order’ of AECs. For now though let us wallow in some good old fashioned nostalgia as recalled by the vehicles that operated on the special day.
That said though, as well as the vintage vehicles on offer during the day a number of other more up to date buses and coaches graced the streets and passed before the lens of the Box Brownie. A selection of these are reproduced and provided quite a contrast with the ‘old order’.
1.         AEC products in both red and green liveries provided the staple diet for passengers in Central London and the surrounding suburbs and countryside during the 1950s, 60s and into the early 1970s. Double-deck RT 2083 and single-deck RF 281 rested between duties at Slough Station.

2.         RF 673 in the traditional London Transport country green livery as it reached the top of Castle Hill amidst visiting tourists.

3.         The same bus as it pulled away from the stop near to the Windsor Guildhall offered an opportunity to show the rear aspect where the emergency door was incorporated into the bodywork. No modern service bus that I know of has this facility, which now appears on the sides of vehicles.

4.         The nearside aspect of RT 2083 out on the road south of Slough as it recreated route 457D between Pinewood and Windsor. A particularly handsome vehicle in the standard Country green livery and a credit to the preservationists concerned.

This article is continued in the Feature Articles section of this blog.