RT Farewell - 40 Years On!
Many believe that the
classic London bus was the RT (AEC Regent III).
RT1, the prototype RT entered service in 1939, and this year (2019)
celebrates it’s 80th year.
Forty years ago on the 7th April 1979, the last RT ran in
service with London Transport from it’s Barking garage on route 62 which ran
from Barkingside to Barking ending 40 years of service from this almost 7,000
strong fleet of buses. On that date in
1979 these grand old buses were sent off in style by the public, enthusiasts
and London Transport. Moving ahead 40
years to the 30th March 2019, a celebration took place at Barking to
remember the events from forty years ago, when around 40 preserved RT buses
assembled at the very same garage to re-live that day in 1979. The garage is now operated by Stagecoach London, as is route 62. So it is with great pleasure that independent
transport videos can bring you a programme that features this superb
celebratory event, which also includes archive cine film and a photo gallery
from that day in 1979!
Our 2019 coverage
starts very early at Barking garage as the RTs arrive for the day. We see them parking up and preparing to carry
passengers once more. Filming takes
place on Longbridge Road, which is adjacent to the garage, as well as inside
the garage, recreating scenes from the days when the RT was the mainstay of the
London Transport fleet. Our filming
continues further along Longbridge Road as we see both red and green RTs (and a
few RFs) in action working alongside the modern buses, which included some ‘New
Routemaster’ (LT class) buses in East
London Transit livery. Our cameras
take a ride on RT4779 (OLD 566), AEC Regent III with a Weymann H56R body. It is operating on part of the 62 route,
travelling to Chadwell Heath and then returning to Upney Lane close to the
junction of Longbridge Road. On arrival
we see the RTs lining up for a photo shoot in the garage yard. Stagecoach
London kindly supplied an open-top ALX400 double-decker for use as a
grandstand for the many photographers present.
It was then time for the procession.
Just like in 1979 the RTs left the garage for a grand cavalcade to
Barking. The local police closed the
road to all traffic so the RTs could leave en-mass. As this brilliant day came to a close the RTs
arrived back at the garage to drop off their passengers and then return from
whence they had come, ending a perfect day.
We now present a cine film shot by well-known transport photographer,
Malcolm King, on the 7th April 1979.
This is a fascinating insight to what was done 40 years ago to give the
RT the send-off it deserved. We close
with a photo gallery taken by your cameraman also on that day. We hope you enjoy this programme as much as
we did presenting it to you.
|| 1979 & 2019
|| 75 mins
|| Within UK - £16
|| Rest of world -
|| DVD -R
|| Picture Aspect 16:9