RT4275 – NLE 939

Present status: Restored and running
(interior restoration ongoing)

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 which involved the transfer of RTLs out of Sutton to Athol Street (Poplar) garage.

Over the years, RT4275 worked from a range of garages, and full details can be found on the next page.

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.

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 through replacement 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 Rather than being sent for another overhaul, the bus was withdrawn in February and stored, pending sale.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 it 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 repair, although no work was actually carried out.

RT4275, as found at Chiswick Works in 1990- vandalised, derelict and unloved.
Photo: J Hinson

With the impending closure of the works, One Stop decided to sell the vehicle to pay the outstanding storage costs, and the bus 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 premises by the front entrance before the works were redeveloped.

RT4275 emerges for the paint shop, a little dusty on top, 24/10/17.
Photo: J Hinson

After a lengthy restoration programme, RT4275 made its first public appearance in its shiny new coat at the Barking “RT80” event on 30th March 2019.

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