The RT4275 story
RT4275 was delivered to London Transport on 28th May 1953 as a 56-seat Central Area bus, fitted with the later, standard, type of body classified 3RT8/2. As this is one of the later examples to be built the body incorporates various design improvements made over the years and epitomises the standardised design.
The bus entered service at Sutton garage on 1st June as part of a reshuffling exercise involving the transfer of RTLs out of Sutton to Athol Street (Poplar) garage.
RT4275 received three overhauls at Aldenham Works in its lifetime and on each occasion it returned to the streets with a different combination of chassis and body, in accordance with London Transport's overhaul process. However, the body last fitted to the vehicle is identical to the one fitted from new, having originated on RT2924.
Over the years, RT4275 worked from a range of garages, and full details can be found on the next page.
In May 1963, the RT was involved in a major accident and was delicenced at Muswell Hill and earmarked by London Transport as "stored but not to be repaired" but there must have been a change of heart as by 30th October it was shown as "stored serviceable". Indeed, it returned to service (at Wood Green) just before Christmas.
RT4275's Certificate of Fitness was due to expire in March 1971, but by this time massive inroads were being made into the RT fleet by more modern buses. Rather than being sent for another overhaul, the bus was withdrawn in February and stored, pending sale.
In January 1972, the bus was sold to Lesney Products (the famous manufacturers of Matchbox Toys) who operated it as part of their large fleet of staff buses in East London, based at their Hackney factory in a blue and yellow livery..
It was repainted into a new livery of white, orange, yellow and red prior to taking part in a stunt exercise at Radlett aerodrome in April 1978 where Eddie Kidd jumped his motorcycle over no less than fourteen Lesney RTs.
The Hackney factory closed in January 1983, and all of the vehicles based there were sold to Ted Brakell, a Cheam-based dealer specialising in old London buses. It was stored at his premises in the former goods yard at Richmond, and later at Twickenham.
Around October 1987, the bus was sold to One Stop Financial Services of Ealing, and converted into a mobile estate agent's office. Repaint into a white and green livery was carried out at the Cobham Bus Museum, and entered service in its new role in March 1988.
It would seem the bus did not see much use before it was badly vandalised after being parked at an industrial estate in Hanwell. Following the issue of a police removal notice, the bus was towed to the Bus Engineering Ltd. premises in Chiswick (which were once LT's Chiswick Works) for intended repair, although the funds could not be found.
With the impending closure of the works, One Stop decided to sell the vehicle to pay the outstanding parking bills, and it was purchased by Gill and John Hinson, for preservation in January 1990.
The bus left what was left of London Transport's old Chiswick Works on Sunday 7th January, escorted by RF453. On a historical note, these were the last two buses to leave the premised by the front entrance before the works were redeveloped.
Initially the bus made a few rally appearances before restoration to London Transport livery, but the discovery of a major structural defect caused it to be taken off the road. These repairs took three years to be completed, but the work is done, and the vehicle is currently being slowly restored to its original colours. It was relicenced in May 2007 and will make the occasional public appearance as restoration progresses.
This view shows RT4275, as found at Chiswick Works - vandalsied, derelict and unloved.
More History & Old Photographs
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