Present status: Restored and operational
but repaint overdue.
RF 453 was delivered in February 1953 as a 41-seat Central Area bus. There were originally no entrance doors owing to police regulations at that time. It entered service at Muswell Hill garage, working routes 210 and 212.
Over the years the vehicle worked from a number of different garages—details of these will be found on the next page.
In May 1966, RF 453 was rebuilt for one-man operation. Air-operated entrance doors were fitted and the seating capacity was reduced to 39 to allow for a luggage compartment. Much of the vehicle’s subsequent life was spent at Kingston garage, but by 1973 RF 453 was based at Hounslow.
The last RFs at Hounslow garage finished in April 1977, but the bus was moved back to Kingston, which was by then the last garage operating the RF type. Although some of the vehicles at Kingston lasted until 1979, RF 453 was withdrawn from service in July 1977.
The bus was not sold, as might be expected. Instead it was loaned to the Metropolitan Police Training College at Hendon. It was replaced by a newer and larger vehicle in 1984 and was returned to London Transport. All other vehicles of this type had long been sold, making RF 453 the last of the class in London Transport ownership.
London’s buses were overhauled and repainted at regular intervals, and vehicles invariably returned to service fitted with a body from another similar vehicle. The present body on RF 453 is of interest as it was originally fitted to RF 535, a Country Area bus, and traces of the original green paint can still be found in places.
The vehicle was purchased from London Transport in January 1985 by the present owners, Gill and John Hinson. It has been restored to the last livery it carried in public service.