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31701  The RMC Routemaster model
31701 The RMC Short Routemaster Coach
A Brief History of the RMC

   The RMC origins date back to June 1957 when London Transport took delivery of CRL4, this fourth and final prototype Routemaster had an ECW body designed specifically for use on the Green Line network. The most notable outward difference affected the rear which was modified to allow the fitting of electrically operated platform doors.

CRL4 entered service in October 1957 on route 721, after some early teething problems were sorted out the bus moved from Romford to High Wycombe where it took up duties on route 711. Public reaction to the bus was favourable resulting in London Transport ordering 68 Park Royal bodied vehicles in 1961, originally it was planned that these would be called the CR class (Coach Routemaster) however this was changed to RMC before the first one were delivered in 1962.
The batch RMC1453 to 1520 were very similar to the prototype expect for the front layout which apart from twin headlamp's was to the then standard RM design. The first buses entered service on route 715 operated by Guildford Garage on August 29th 1962. The rest of the class quickly followed resulting in a total of 8 routes being converted to the type.
CRL4's frontal area was eventually modified to match the production vehicles and the bus was classified RMC4 however it remained unique as only Routemaster not carry a Park Royal Vehicles built body.

During 1964 it was decided to make some modifications to the outward appearance of the vehicles, these changes saw the size of the front air intake grille below the front destination reduced by half thus allowing the light green band to continue right across the front. The radiator and wings were also changed, the brake cooling grilles below the head lamps were either paneled over or removed while the original radiator grille was changed to incorporate the triangular AEC badge. At the same time the registration plate which had previously been incorporated in the grille design was repositioned below this allowed an unbroken chrome surround to be fitted. The front intermediate blind box was also enlarged to the same width as the lower destination screen. At the rear the by then disused off-side route number box was also removed.

An order for a further batch of 43 Green Line vehicles was placed in 1964, these however were based on the new longer version of the Routemaster, the batch numbered RCL2218-2260 were all delivered during mid 1965 and apart from the extra half bay were to the same general design as the modified RMC's.

The Routemaster coaches continued to work on the Green Line network even after the transfer of the country area to the new National Bus Company controlled London Country. From 1972 onwards their roll was set for change after the management decided that the Green Line services would be better served using one man operated single deck vehicles, thus the Routemasters were replaced by new RP & RC class AEC Reliances, the redundant double deckers were quickly demoted to bus services where they mainly replaced the ageing fleet of RT's & RF's.
Gradually the RMC's were repainted into the standard National Bus Company green and white livery.

As an economy measure London Country was committed to full one man operation of all it's routes and from 1977 onwards the Routemasters began to be withdrawn on mass, in October 77 it was announced that London Transport would purchase 38 surplus RMC's, the last RMC, the prototype RMC4 was withdrawn from service by London Country in May 1979 and apart from it, all the other serviceable RMC buses eventually passed to London Transport were they were used as driver trainers and staff buses.

During 1989 London Buses' East London division converted six surplus RMC's for use on the new Beckton Express X15 service, these eventually passed to Stagecoach East London where they continued to operate the X15 until it conversion to one person operation.

Sadly only a handful of RMC's saw further public service after their withdrawal from the streets of London, the vast majority heading straight to scapyards of North Yorkshire.

The Model

   This model has the same level as detail as the earlier RMA release and again EFE have managed to capture the general shape and character of the RMC. The rear profile includes the four leaf platform doors and the emergency exit. All the lower deck side and rear windows have the correct beading around them which is slightly raised on the casting and has been neatly picked out with green paint on this first release.

31701 RMC Platform doors

   The colours used to depict the livery look about right and the various gold fleet names and numbers are crisply reproduced using some very finely applied tampo printing, the destination displays look correct and again in include some tiny but fully legible text.

31701 Front view
31701 Nearside view
31701 Offside view
31701 Rear view

   The opening window vents are once again re-produced using silver paint and like on the RMA model are nearer to scale than those found on the first two re-tooled RM models. The much talked about wing mirrors are once again in evidence and consequently raise the same issues mentioned in the earlier reviews of the other Routemaster Series models.

   The front layout of the model would suggest it's based on an RMC during it's later life, sometime after the fitting of the revised front radiator grille with a separate registration plate hung below. The air intake grilles below the head lamps have also been omitted, these were present on the buses when delivered but gradually got panelled over or replaced from 1964 onwards.
The model also has an unbroken light green band across the front, when delivered this was originally broken by a deeper air intake grille below the destination display.

Taking into account all of the above, some of the features don't quite fit in with a livery that appears to depict a newly delivered vehicle. EFE no doubt choose this version because it depicts the RMC's as they were during the longest period of their working lives.

Below are pictures of the EFE RMC & RCL showing the two styles of radiator, interestingly the style on the RCL with the registration inset into the radiator grille was never actually fitted to this class of Routemasters, they were all delivered with the style found on the RMC model!

31701 RMC front close up 32001 RCL front close up
A comparison of the RMC & RCL radiator grille arrangements

The Sunstar Routemaster
The Sunstar model above shows the original style of front radiator and head lamp panels

   Another very tiny error found on this model concerns the between decks roundel, (shown below) this small version should correctly have Green Line and not London Transport printed across the central bar. But to be honest you'd need a magnifying glass to spot this. It could also argued that a route number blind should have been included on the staircase panel and "Routemaster" legends applied above the fleet numbers. Without knowing the exact date to which this model is suppose to relate it's however difficult to confirm whether these features should or shouldn't have been included. The blind above the door also looks to have been applied slightly to high although this is still a vast improvement over the earlier RCL where this item was applied far too low. Finally the garage code /running number stencil holders appear to have been position slightly to far back, I'm reliably informed that only one RMC actually received this modification during it's life.

31701 The tiny but legable tampo printing
Nearside front
Offside rear
Offside front
Nearside rear
31701 London Transport Green Line RMC1506 on route 719

   Once again EFE have had to make a few compromises to produce a casting that best fits a vehicle that underwent several minor design changes during it's life, in this case the casting doesn't quite match the era of the vehicle depicted, but even so this is still a worthy addition to EFE's Routemaster family & will no doubt be welcomed by collectors of Routemasters or London Transport models.

Some possible future RMC models

London Transport Green Line
   (Early livery with small between deck roundel)
London Transport Green Line
   (Later livery with large between deck roundel)
London Country Green Line (Dark green)
London Country Green Line (NBC Green)
London Country (NBC Green)
London Transport (NBC Green) Training bus / Staff bus
London Transport (Red white bullseyes)
   Training Bus / Staff bus
London Buses
   (Chiswick Skid Bus RMC1518) Gold LT fleet names
London Buses (East London Beckton Express)
Stagecoach East London
London Buses / Centrewest Open Top RMC1515
London Coaches RMC1491
Arriva East Herts & Essex (red & gold) RMC1453
Arriva East Herts & Essex (open top) RMC1464

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