To kick-start July we are launching a brand new feature, helping to banish those Monday morning blues while at the same time allowing us to showcase our extensive photo archive. Each Monday morning we’ll treat you to a trip back in time with our “Monday Morning Classic”
For our first Monday Morning Classic we go back 35 years to 1978, when the once massive RT fleet of London Transport was down to just a handful of routes, and with a year left to go.
The 140, which in those days ran from Heathrow Airport all the way to Mill Hill Broadway (using the eastern end of what is now the 114 routing) was still RT operated until July 1978, when it went over to RMs. These two photos was taken in early January of that year.
Taking an RT to Heathrow from Harrow was an excellent spin, especially the section through the tunnel approaching the airport. There was also a Sunday-only variation running via Cherry Lane Cemetery which added a couple of miles and some fast running sections to the route.
The destination displayed above is “Heathrow Airport Central” – in the days before Terminals 4 and 5 all flights could be accessed from the current T123 bus station, so terminal numbers were not needed on buses.
RT2076 (LYF14) seen in the photo above entered service in April 1951 from Thornton Heath garage, working on the lengthy 109 service from Croydon to Central London as well as the 190. It was transferred around the system a lot in its first two decades, eventually settling down in Harrow Weald (HD) in January 1967, where it remained for over a decade, finally being withdrawn from service in April 1978, just a couple of months before the 140 lost its RTs.
It survived as a trainer for a few months at Bexleyheath, and went for scrap in March 1979.
Below we see a rear view of RT4711 (NXP996)on the same route, and also taken in central Harrow, though the location has changed beyond recognition in recent years. I don’t have such a comprehensive history of this bus, but it also outlived most of the class, as by the time this picture was taken there were less than 200 of the once 4825 strong fleet still in service. The bus is looking quite grubby, as, although not seen in this shot, there was still a lot of slush around following an earlier snowfall.
The cold weather at the time is evidenced by how well wrapped up the people boarding the bus are – though perhaps this is just 1970s fashion!
Of the adverts on the bus, Portman Insurance is still going strong, but Colliver Fisher do not seem to be in the car business any more, but a firm of the same name (quite an unusual name) is still in business close to Harrow as an estate management company.
RT4711 is heading east on the 140, towards Mill Hill Broadway.