Monday, 30 June 2014


Public transport in London has come a long way since the days of the horse bus and the authorities have assigned 2014 as the Year of the Bus.

Sunday 22nd June 2014 found Regent Street in Central London closed for one of the most interesting reasons in the history of the city's public transport.

And a very good reason it was too, as around 50-odd examples of public transport were on display between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly.

Whilst one or two were assisted with their arrival and positioning in the street, the remainder made their own way and under their own steam, so to speak from just south of the River Thames. Starting in Lambeth Palace Road they made their way over Westminster Bridge through Parliament Square along Whitehall passed Traflagar Square and Piccadilly Circus and eventually to Regent Street, where they remained on display for the remainder of the day.

Buses were gathered for the start of the cavalcade in Lambeth Palace Road and were sent off in batches of 10-12 at 20-minute intervals from around 9.20am. The older buses were sent away first and this fine sight shows four examples of early motor bus operation in London. K 424 a 1921 London General Omnibus Company  K / LGOC type at the head with a covered top NS type at the rear. Both currently with the London Transport Museum.

London Central Motor Omnibus Company 14 1906 Leyland / Tilling. Preserved and now in the Mike Sutcliffe Collection. Allegedly the oldest British-built motor bus.

London General Omnibus Company B 2737 B-type from the early 1900s, a type taken on by the War Department in 1914 for the war effort. Restored by the London Transport Museum to its current splendid condition, to commemorate the centenary of the involvement of the bus role in the First World War.

Chocolate Express Omnibus Company B6 1924 Leyland / Dodson. Preserved in the Mike Sutcliffe MBE Collection.

London Passenger Transport Board STL 2377 1937 AEC Regent / LPTB. Now preserved at the London Bus Museum.

London Transport T 499 1938 AEC Regal / LPTB. Now preserved by the Ensign Bus Museum.

London Transport RT 2775 1952 AEC Regent / Park Royal. Now preserved at the London Bus Museum. Eventually 4825 versions of this type were built.

London Transport MBA 582 1969 AEC Merlin / MCW. Now preserved by the London Transport Museum.

London Transport XF 1 1965 Daimler Fleetline / Park Royal.

London Transport SM 1 1970 AEC Swift / Marshall. Now in the fleet of the London Bus Company.

London Transport RML 3 1958 Leyland / Weymann and RM 2 1957 AEC Routemaster / Park Royal. RML 3 now with the London Bus Museum, RM 2 with the London Transport Museum.

Ready for the off as Metropolitan Police officers and Transport for London officials prepare for the first group of buses to depart from Lambeth Palace Road.

The cavalcade then crossed over Westminster Bridge then through Parliament Square.

Grey Green VA 115 1988 Volvo B10M / Alexander. Now preserved by the London Transport Museum. The first non-red company back in 1988 to be awarded a central London tendered service under the contracted route system.
All the above courtesy of Mark Lyons.

Around the other side of the square and the buses approach the exit into Whitehall, where the following images were captured by Rick Godfrey.

London Transport CR 4 1935 Leyland Cub / Short. Now preserved by the Ensign Bus Museum.

London Transport DMS 1 1970 Daimler Fleetline / Park Royal. Now preserved at the London Transport Museum.

London Transport FRM 1 1966 AEC Routemaster / Park Royal. The unique front entrance version of this ubiquitous vehicle now preserved by the London Transport Museum.

London General Omnibus Company LT 1076 1931 AEC Renown  / LGOC. Now preserved at the London Transport Museum.

London General Omnibus Company NS 1995 1926 AEC NS / LGOC. Now preserved at the London Transport Museum.

London Transport RM 2 1957 AEC Routemaster / Park Royal & LTE. Now preserved at the London Transport Museum. One of the first four prototypes and the only standard length RM type originally outshopped in the green 'country area' green livery.

London General Omnibus Company S 433 1920s AEC S type

London Transport STL1470 1936 AEC Regent / Weymann. Later converted to a tree lopper and re-numbered 971J in the LT service vehicle fleet. Currently preserved by the Ensign Bus Museum.

Then approaching Regent Street through Piccadilly a plethora of preserved Guy, Leyland Titan and AEC Regent double-deckers. Image courtesy of Brian Bell.

And so eventually into Regent Street.

The following images taken up and down Regent Street courtesy of John Scragg. A further selection of John's images from the event can now be viewed on his Facebook site here

Another view of the LCMOC Leyland / Tilling

Nearside aspect of the LGOC AEC S type

London General Omnibus Company LT 165 1936 AEC Renown / LGOC. Currently with the London Transport Museum.

London Transport trolleybus 1768 1948 BUT / Metro-Cammell. Currently with the London Transport Museum.

Now a selection from Steven Hodgson, with further images available on his Facebook site that can be viewed here

British European Airways 1953 AEC Regal / Park Royal. Now preserved at the London Bus Museum. One of a fleet of 65 used to transport passengers between central London and Heathrow Airport, but operated by London Transport.

The nearside aspect of NS 1995

London General Omnibus Company S 454 1922 AEC S-type

Thomas Tilling 1922 Tilling-Stevens. Part of the late Michael Banfield collection recently auctioned.

Nearside aspect of the Leyland / Dobson from the Mike Sutcliffe MBE collection.

London Transport M1 1978 MCW Metrobus. Now with the Ensign Bus Museum, one of five original prototypes.

New technology is being experimented with all the time, and WSH 62994 now operated by Tower Transit on the central London RV1 route is hydrogen powered, hence the large tanks on the roof.

Today's modern bus represented by three of the latest buses to serve London's growing population. The New Bus for London dubbed the Borismatser or indeed the 'new' Routemaster, LT 150 in the silver livery, soon to be joined by several more.

Nearside of STL 2377. Note how the interested crowd is wide ranging in ages, not just a parade for the older generation of bus enthusiasts.

Another image to illustrate the crowds that attended the event milling round a fascinating display of buses old and new.

What looks initially like any other bus shelter in London. But look closer at it and the bus stop. Both were created out of Lego outside the Hamleys toy store. Very clever.

And finally a couple of images looking up Regent Street from the southern end bedecked with flags, with the buses surrounded and admired by visitors to Central London. Images courtesy of Mark Lyons.

The event was not just aimed at bus enthusiasts, but for the general public to come out and view a wide variety of surface transport that spanned the ages from the early 1900s to the present day. By all accounts as a PR exercise by Transport for London it appears to have been a success. A huge amount of hard work was put in by a band of individuals, to ensure the event took place.

Once more though the Focus Transport team is grateful to Brian Bell, Rick Godfrey, Steven Hodgson, Mark Lyons and John Scragg for allowing us to publish their images for others to appreciate and enjoy. Especially to those who were unable to attend this unique event.

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