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Legendary Routemaster Bus | Red London Buses


The AEC Routemaster was specifically designed for London

The traditional Red Routemaster is one of the famous Tourist Icons of London. Yet it has gradually disappeared from the city's streets, this caused it to be one of the most important issues in the recent election for London's Mayor. The bus is famous for its reliability, it kept being called back into service to replace worn-out modern buses. All the same most of them have been retired and are now used for promotions or adventure transport all over the world.

Warning: Routemaster bus fans are probably some of the most obsessive fans that exist anywhere!

This lens has been awarded a Purple Star

Click How to identify a Routemaster Bus


Symbol of London

The Routemaster bus is famous for its reliability and its open doorway which allow people to hop on and off in slow moving traffic where ever they wanted. It gives you a wonderful sense of freedom when you suddenly realised you could swap to a different bus or go by tube, or jump off and buy a newspaper, or just get off because you'd seen a friend or tourist site you'd like to visit. People also liked the bus because they had conductors (ticket sellers) who were often personalities and offered tourist advice.

photo by Dimity B Creative Commons

New Routemaster Bus Unveiled by Boris Johnson

New Routemaster Bus Unveiled by Boris Johnson

New Routemaster Bus Unveiled by Boris Johnson

The new Routemaster Bus goes into service on Monday 27th February 2012. If there is a conductor on board then the rear door will always be open. It has a double staircase designed to allow people to get off and on the bus at the same time.


History of the Routemaster

The Routemaster bus was developed during the years of 1947-1956 , the brief being to replace London's trolleybuses, which had themselves replaced trams in London, and also the older diesel RT buses. 2875 were built and all but 115 were ordered by London Transport. In 1998 over 600 Routemasters were operating in London. Most surviving Routemasters are 72 seat 30 foot long RML class models, these can be identified by an extra shorter window halfway along both upper and lower decks.

Routemasters operated outside London on the Greenline service had enclosed rear platforms, as an open platform would not of been safe at the higher speeds obtainable on traffic-free roads.

Are you a Bus Fan Poll

London Bus in Australia - RTL 547 in Sidney (Not a Routemaster, note the radiator)


Routemaster in the Falklands


Routemaster Toys


The Disliked Bendy Bus


Boris Johnson has vowed that his first act as Mayor of London will be to scrap bendy buses and replace them with a modern-day Routemaster.

Mr Johnson said that the controversial buses were abused by fare dodgers and highly dangerous to cyclists.

How to Recognise a Routemaster - Distinguishing a Routemaster from an RT

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Many people think all old Red Buses are Routemasters but in fact there were many more RTs produced. The front radiator is the easiest way to tell them apart. The Routemaster has a wide split radiator grill and the Identification of type RM1111 (Route Master 1111).

The RT's have a tall narrow split radiator grill and are numbered RT1111.

The RT, which served from 1939 to 1979, and of which 4,825 were built, the most numerous class of London bus (just 2,760 Routemasters were built for London). The RT had a 7½ft wide chassis, the Routemaster's was 8ft. There were a number of places in London right up to 1979 that could only be served by RTs because the Routemaster was too wide.

RT's are rather gaunt and stern looking in comparison with the more rounded Routemaster.

RT Bus - (photo Wikipedia Commons by Elsie)


The AEC Regent III RT was a double-decker bus produced jointly between AEC and London Transport. It was the standard red London bus during the 1950s. It was narrower than the Routemaster and was thus be used on certain routes where the Routemaster was too wide

Routemaster Heritage Route 9 and 15

Yes you can still travel on a Routemaster in London

From 2005 there are two Routemaster Heritage Routes 9 and 15

Route 9 : Buses run between Royal Albert Hall via Trafalgar Square to Aldwych

Route 15 : Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill

Even if you are not mad about buses this is the best way to visit London (try to get the front seats on the top deck)

Check London Transport for details


Jeremy Clarkson Blows up a Routemaster Bus

Jeremy presents a successful Motoring Programme on British TV called Top Gear. He hates buses that get in the way of his luxury sports car and decided to blow one up for his DVD. Unfortunately he chose to destroy one of the only 500 remaining Routemasters in the country. Andrew Morgan, chairman of the Routemaster Association, said: "It's just sacrilege and a very sad thing to do.

Routemasters on Film and on Television - Reference

See the Link above in the Routemaster Web Links for screen shots of over a 100 films.

  • 28 Days Later (2002, Christopher Eccleston)
  • 102 Dalmatians (2000, Glenn Close) with a Dalmatian Colored Routemaster!
  • Summer Holiday (1963, Cliff Richard)

    Does not feature Routemasters but instead Three RTs, RT2305 (KGU334), RT2366 (KGU395) and RT4326 (NLE990) RT1881 with a fake registration number (WLB991)

  • Live and Let Die 1973 James bond with Roger Moore

    AEC Regent III RT type double-decker. This has the famous scene where the top deck is removed when Roger Moore drives under a low bridge. Roger Moore took bus driving lessons for the film.

How to Visit London - Advice for Tourists

Travelcards for buses and tube

The London Travelcard and London Visitor Travelcard are the travel passes for short term visitors to London. The Travelcard is easy to purchase and as well as saving money also saves a lot of time obtaining tickets individually.

You can buy one, three, seven day travel cards. You can save even more money by buying the off-peak version.

Apart from saving you money the travel cards also you a lot of hassle, as you change from bus to tube to bus again freely without having to queue for tickets.

Tip: take a ride on the overground Docklands Light Railway which gives you magnificent views of London (use your travelcard)

Modern Routemaster Design Proposal for 2011 - One of two winning designs


Computer Graphic of New Routemaster Bus May 2010 - Boris Johnson unveils London Routemaster bus design

TFL Image

TFL Image

Routemaster Bus at Ascot Station close to Ascot Racecourse


Creative Commons by Chris J. Dixon

This was not taken during Royal Ascot when the square would be crowded with elegant racegoers. The pub just seen to the right is the the first and last halt of those determined to have a great day out.

Routemaster in London Transport Museum Covent Garden - London Transport Museum Covent Garden a Mecca for Transport fans


The splendid Routemaster, an icon of this great city sadly no longer in regular use- although some still survive as tourist buses. At the London Transport Museum

Photo by Basher Eyre under Creative Commons


Buses in the News : Atheist Bus in London

Didn't know buses could be religious!

A Row Of Wonderful Routemaster Buses

Photo by Elsie Esq.


Walkers Crisp Routemaster Advert with Gary Lineker - Gary Lineker maybe doesn't know that he is not the star in the Advert

The advert which is a parody of the Cliff Richard film 'Summer Holiday' shows Gary Lineker eating a bag of crisps and singing along to the song 'Summer Holiday'


How to Tell a Routemaster Bus from an RT Bus

Photo and description to distinguish a Routemaster Bus from an RT Bus

The Routemaster has a wider radiator and a more streamlined cowling. The older RT has a tall radiator and a gaunter more austere look. The Routemaster has twin headlights set into the cowling, the RT has single headlights on stalks.

See the comparison image below

Green Park and Ride bus in St Aldates Oxford August 2009.ALX400

Green Park and Ride bus in St Aldates Oxford August 2009.ALX400


Sinclair C5 Electric Vehicle in a Carpark in Basingstoke

What's this got to do with Routemaster's you might well ask!

None really , but one of the reasons the C5 was a failure was that it could not be seen by trucks and buses

Routemaster Buses in the News

  1. 11 Nov 2009 Strongman Pulls Routemaster Bus with His Hair

    Manjit Singh, a 59-year-old from Leicester, attached a clamp to his thick ponytail and bore the pain of pulling a seven ton vintage routemaster 21.2 metres through Battersea Park to set a new world record .

Routemaster procession at Showbus 2006, Duxford

Routemaster and RT Bus Side by Side for Comparison


Yep that's a Routemaster on the Right!

Routemaster Bus at Leicester Forest East Service Station - Welcome Break Service Station

Routemaster Bus at Leicester Forest East Service Station

Routemaster Bus at Leicester Forest East Service Station

JJD 498D - 1966 AEC Routemaster - decorated in Children In Need Livery, was previously black.

formerly RML2498. First RML2498 AEC Routemaster Double Deck Bus JJD498D, built in June 1966 for London Transport, in service until at least 2002.

M&M's Routemaster Bus RM2561. This has been gutted to make an entrance into M&M World

M&M's Routemaster Bus RM2561. This has been gutted to make an entrance into M&M World

M&M's Routemaster Bus RM2561. This has been gutted to make an entrance into M&M World

Text with BIG Picture - Routemaster RM2050 ALM 50B The Aldwych March 2012

Routemaster RM2050 ALM 50B

Routemaster RM2050 ALM 50B

A working Routemaster on a beautiful Spring Day

Routemaster and Bus Websites

  • Routemaster Association
    Main Routemaster Website
  • Routemaster Photos Website
    Routemaster UK photo collections within this site cover Routemasters & other Heritage vehicles across the UK.
  • London Transport Museum
    London Transport Museum Covent Garden Buses & Tube trains a must visit
  • Oxford Bus Museum
    The Official Oxford Bus Museum Website, I'm a member here, try to arrive by rail Oxford to Worcester Line
  • Buses on Screen
    This is a celebration of buses as they've been depicted on screen over the years, on film and on TV
  • The AEC Regal
    AEC Regal, a marque which flourished in various forms for about 30 years starting in 1929
  • Routemasters - Last Stop!
    Photographers Jet and Ralf Obergfell created LastStop! - a visual journey of the Routemasters final months. Through a mixture of still life, portrait and documentary photography, jet and ralf obergfell offer fresh perspectives on the vehicles iconic
  • Routemasters Appaeraing in Films or Onscreen
    Brilliant collection of screen shots of the Routemaster appearing in Movies,Films and in Television Series(over a hundred!)

Routemaster Bus RML 2430 JJD 430D passing through Abingdon on a Rainy Day

Routemaster Bus RML 2430 JJD 430D passing through  Abingdon on a  Rainy Day

Routemaster Bus RML 2430 JJD 430D passing through Abingdon on a Rainy Day

Red Routemaster Bus in a barn

Red Routemaster Bus in a barn

Red Routemaster Bus in a barn

Old Buses at Kingston Bagpuize including a Routemaster

Old Buses at Kingston Bagpuize including a Routemaster

Old Buses at Kingston Bagpuize including a Routemaster

Routemaster ,RMA 13, NMY 656E acting as Hotel Reception The Crazy Bear Stadhampton

Routemaster ,RMA 13, NMY 656E

Routemaster ,RMA 13, NMY 656E

Fabulous restaurant(s - one Thai brasserie, one British bar) in insanely luxurious boutique hotel (branches also in London & Beaconsfield). Also has farm shop attached. The interior has been done out very luxuriously (the seats have been removed)

Routemaster Bus on Edinburgh Royal Mile - RM281 VLT281



There is small fleet of Routemasters doing a guided tour of Edinburgh. Doing a guided bus tour is a great way to learn about a town.

This bus was formerly a London Transport AEC Routemaster RM281 VLT281 on route 253 in Hackney.


ERM 163 Routemaster Cab, Waverley Station Edinburgh


The Gay Bus - Some People are Gay Get Over It!

Some People are Gay Get Over It!

Some People are Gay Get Over It!

The sides of Buses are ever popular to advertisers as it it allows access busy city workers, increasingly they are used to get campaign messages such as this across. The secret of this type of advertising is that the bus implies solidity and reliability it is a powerful medium.




(Not a Routemaster)

Routemaster Passenger Feedback - I am a bus fan but not an expert so please be kind!

GentlemenGogoVEVO on May 01, 2012:

I've never seen a bus like your photos..funny.

julieannbrady on March 17, 2012:

I've always been fascinated with the Routemaster buses. Lovely to see such a beautiful tribute page.

stickyboard on February 09, 2012:

Hey Great lens! I just made a lens on 100 Great things about London and figured you might like it? It's a collaborative thing, so you might even like to contribute?

Anyway hope you like it - it all based from a blog if you're interested

anonymous on January 10, 2012:

I loved your legendary Routemaster before and just got on board for a quick ride after noticing my blessing had worn off....fresh angel dust for a nice shine!

Stacy Birch on January 05, 2012:

You have no idea how much I like Double Decker Buses, I've always wanted to go out on one, but I live in middle America. Awesome Lens.

Stacy Birch on January 05, 2012:

You have no idea how much I like Double Decker Buses, I've always wanted to go out on one, but I live in middle America. Awesome Lens.

Anthony Altorenna from Connecticut on November 17, 2011:

Excellent lens! I saw a double-decker bus at work recently in downtown Boston -- could this bus have been a RouteMaster Bus?

WriterJanis2 on November 12, 2011:

Oh I love double decker buses. Great photos!

gamecheathub on November 12, 2011:

I've never seen a Routemaster bus that wasn't red before. Seems kinda blasphemous to be any color other than RED. Great lens. I especially liked the guy that blew one up. Fun chaos!

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on November 07, 2011:

Nice lens. I like red bus and these look very smart especially the Modern Routemaster Design Proposal for 2011. Thanks for sharing. Blessed

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 15, 2011:

Fantastic images. The sight from the top deck must be absolutely fantastic on the routemaster bus....I have always wanted to ride on one. Best of wishes.

TravelingRae on August 14, 2011:

What an informative and interesting lens! Blessed by a SquidAngel 8/14/11

LikinTrikin LM on May 15, 2011:

Very nice lens..done in a way that's interesting and enjoyable to read..It gets my blessing for today!

Pete Schultz on March 14, 2011:

I recognized the red double decker bus...but did not know any of the history, which is very interesting. A red double decker operates on the north shore of Lake Superior in the summers here in Minnesota. I will be paying attention to the make and model. Nice lens.

Shelly Sellers from Midwest U.S.A. on March 05, 2011:

Nicely done and super photos! I have to show my son this page...he will love it!

Katherine Tyrrell from London on February 28, 2011:

What a wonderful lens. Routemasters are something visitors to the UK still look out for. Blessed and added to The Best of the UK (in Travel/UK)

I can vouch for the "get an Oyster card" advice. I saw a major operation to identify fare dodgers just recently. Hordes of transport police stopped a bendy bus, got everybody out on the pavement and checked everybody's fares. It looked like they were charging fare dodgers!

Kathy McGraw from California on February 10, 2011:

Very interesting, I learned a few things and quelled my thought that the Routemaster was a regular double decker bus :)

kimbesa from USA on February 05, 2011:

Love this! I'm lensrolling onto my London travel lens. Thanks!

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on February 04, 2011:

What an interesting story about the Routemaster bus. Loved the pictures. Congratulations on your review.

kimmanleyort on February 04, 2011:

I really enjoyed reading about the Routemaster bus. This lens is featured today on Squidoo Lens Reviews. Stop by and pick up a badge if you would like.

sorana lm on February 03, 2011:

I am a fan of this bus too. When I lived in London, I used to take the bus and sit at the top, in front. Just loved it.

Paul from Liverpool, England on January 02, 2011:

Good lens - you might like which I found when I was looking for a pic of a bus to illustrate a lens module

anonymous on December 27, 2010:

A wonderful tribute to an icon that has caught the attention of the world and beautifully accomplished! I've wanted to ride on one of these since I was little.

Senora M on December 24, 2010:

Very cool lens. Looks like a lot of work was spent on it! Congrats on the purple star!

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on December 21, 2010:

Great lens. I used to ride enough Routemasters in the late 70's and early 80's when I was working in London. For bus fans this lens is a masterpiece. Your Purple Star was well deserved.

norma-holt on November 23, 2010:

Great lens and interesting topic. We had double decker busses in Sydney for years and they were a great favorite. I loved the front seats on the top deck. Made you feel in charge of the world. Featured this on Classic and Vintage Cars and thanks for blessing Plastic is Death.

KimGiancaterino on November 22, 2010: