Steve Newman keeps you up-to-date on Ensignbus' Vintage Fleet
Monday, 12 May 2014
So April 29/30 saw another 48 hour tube strike and Ensign was the contractor used to provide extra vehicles from outside of the normal TfL operators. So not only were modern vehicles from all over the country sourced but suitable vintage buses also re-entered service on routes 2, 8, 25, 29, 38 and 205 to name but a few. One of the vehicles from our fleet that hasn't been seen out as much as some is RT3251. Originally one of the Green Line coach batch based at Romford she was a garage-mate to our 3232 and would have felt very much at home running through East London on route 15 from Blackwall to Trafalgar Sq as seen in this shot by graham Smith heading Eastbound.
Two projects now in the home straight are MD60 and RCL2226. The MD is being made road legal to be all set for painting, hopefully later this week before returning to us for fitting of windows, seats and details. Very few of these impressive vehicles today survive and whilst perhaps not everyone's cup of tea they are part of the story of London's buses and thus well worthy of being preserved. The RCL is now internally finished and is undergoing mechanical checks prior to being tested, I will do a bit more on her next posting and its been a long project now and she is somewhat the forgotten project here.
Another being readied for paint is T499. The ARC livery is being removed and the sins it covered up are being sorted out so that next time it is publicly seen it will be concourse condition and a very handsome looking vehicle. Amongst the jobs being done are the route boards for the side and if you look carefully you can see the brackets being fitted in readiness for them.
But its not all major restorations. As the main part of the hire season kicks off freshening and gradually turning the clock back on Routemasters that have had various types of refurbishments done on them is something we are constantly doing throughout the winter. The last RM this year to undergo it is RM25 as can be seen here. Part of the work sees the yellow poles stripped, seat frames stripped and painted, platform area stripped and back to burgundy rather than red, rexine inserts to the 'advert' boards, varnishing of floors and then retrimmed in original moquette. That will be finished shortly now as this photo is a couple of weeks ago now and the retrim wasn't completed in time for rail strikes, so will get some shots of the finished item.
And talking of finished Routemaster interiors here is RCL2226. When we recovered this bus from a scrap yard in Surrey the interior had been gutted and it was used as a cafe. Since then we have put it back to RCL spec and included luggage racks, RCL trim, deep seated cushions and the original style Green Line lighting. Not the greatest of pictures but I think you get the idea.