Friday, 1 December 2017

Santa's Routemaster?

Bus bells ring
are you listening
in the shops
snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
we're happy tonight
With Santa in a Wheatley wonderland

Gone away is the First Bus
We say "hey, it's the worst bus".
A bus that is red
So they have said
Is Santa's in a Wheatley wonderland

Later on
With our Ted
As we dream in our bed
Of the bus that was red
And the things that we've said
To Santa in a Wheatley wonderland

You will find lots of "Wheatleys" in Doncaster ...
... and once upon a time there was a Wheatley Hall, close to the river.
It was a splendid pile ...
... but after being demoted from home to the Lord of The Manor to become the 18th hole of a golf course, it was demolished in 1938. The new (green on the map above) A630 changed the whole aspect pf the area. 
Named after the demolished building, Wheatley Hall Road is home to warehouse and retail businesses galore, but notably the Wheatley Shopping Centre.
Last weekend, this typical "retail park" advertised a real treat (?) for the kiddies.
Correspondent Roy considered himself too old to enjoy this event to the full, but wondered whether there really would be a route 25 Routemaster to excite the youngsters. We all know the tendency of advertising agencies to think that all buses are red and look like those that once ran throughout the Capital.
But there it was, offering "rides" whilst not moving!
A real London bus showing route 25, but parked at Wheatley Shopping Centre. But RML 2306 isn't quite what it seems.

This AEC Routemaster has an interesting history:- the original London Transport RML2306 was new in September 1965 entering service in East Grinstead depot being the first green RML for London Transport's country services.
At the end of 1973, after a relatively short service career RML2306 was withdrawn from service (having operated on the 409 service - West Croydon to Uckfield for most of its time) and stored at East Grinstead depot and later being stored at Godstone depot until December 1977. Early in 1978 it was broken for spares at Wombwell Diesels, Barnsley.

The front sub-frame of RML2306 was then bought for preservation and together with parts from other RML's and RM's it was used to re-construct another complete RML which was renumbered using the original fleet number of the front sub-frame - i.e. RML2306 and it was then a regular exhibit at shows from 2004. In 2005 it was reunited with it's former registration CUV 306C which it still holds today.
In 2011 it was repainted in red and found its way into the ownership of British Land

British Land's property portfolio includes Drakes Circus in Plymouth, Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh, Meadowhell in Sheffield; Wheatley is a relatively minor asset! Last year the RM toured several British Land sites as part of a summer promotion.
British Land has launched ‘Eats from the Street 2016’ which sees the company’s restored red Routemaster bus, complete with a ‘green’ engine, visit 10 retail assets as part of its placemaking strategy to create Places People Prefer.

If you do meet RML 2306, do remember that your are looking at just a front sub-frame and a registration plate from the original. Even the engine is a replacement!
And the bus should be green!
Here's a good idea (?).
A Beauty Advent Calendar costing about £80.

Or even better ...
... an Advent Calendar collection of extremely rare whisky "drams" for a modest £10,000. You may be too late to buy one as only ten have been made.

But here is an even better idea:-


Find yourself a large box, feed it with a food gift a day, then take to your local food bank, bearing in mind many will be closed for the holidays, so it’s better to give less than the full calendar's worth a days but give it earlier rather than wait until Christmas Eve.

A child is born to us!
A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, 
“Mighty God”
“Eternal Father,”
 “Prince of Peace.”

The well-known "Carol Service" Bible text above was written by the prophet Isaiah some time during the 8th Century BC.

But what IS "Advent"; and why do we only remember it with a calendar? 
 Weekend Oddments blog : Saturday 2nd December 


  1. Little nit-picky point - the 409 was withdrawn between Forest Row and Uckfield in 1933 when the LPTB was formed. The trip from West Croydon to Forest Row was long enough on a standard open-platformed bus at a time when most other operators had long switched to buses with doors.

    1. I was lucky enough to be a conductor at GD Garage in 1977, and worked on many 409's to Forest Row.
      I can confirm that on an RML at speed there is NOWHERE to keep warm; the air flow comes down the side of the bus, swirls onto the platform and then heads down the lower saloon towards the (laughable) heater.
      That's why most bus conductors in winter looked like Great Uncle Bulgaria from the Wombles!!

    2. Sadly, the delights of Forest Row were denied to us Surrey school kids, with our Green Rover tickets, which were limited to travel to East Grinstead only.

    3. I used the Croydon end of the 409 and 411 in the early 70s so probably travelled on RML2306. I echo greenline727's comments about the cold. It was great the way that the front windows upstairs on Routemasters were always locked in winter, but often they were locked not quite shut!

  2. I know someone who owns a "CUV---C" Routemaster and it too should be green. However it has been extensively, expensively and beautifully restored into red, along with period adverts (inside and out).
    He is all too well aware that his bus should be green, but he maintains it to full PCV standards and manages to get a contribution towards its maintenance costs by hiring it to local bus companies for wedding hires. A red Routemaster is very popular for such work, a green one means nothing.
    But as said owner readily points out, being a "green one" at least its body and chassis match.

  3. Thanks Daddysgadgets. The blue text is a quote from an on-line source; always 100% reliable - NOT!!!